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The Power of Three

As part of the Rubies’ continuing series on 2014 Golden Heart finalists, I’m shining the spotlight on my two dear friends and critique partners, Kimberly MacCarron and Pintip Dunn. The GH brought us together years ago. Much to our delight, all three of us are finalists again. Pintip has two nominations — one Paranormal and one YA — Kim also earned two, in YA, and I have one.

Some people have commented, “Three CPs finaling together? What are the chances? Was there something in the mojitos water you’ve all been drinking?” So we thought we’d let you in our “secret.” You’ll find there’s a lot of mojitos hard work involved. 🙂

~ Vanessa

KPV2012

Pintip Dunn, author of CARLIE IN CRISIS (YA category) and FIT TO DIE (Paranormal): Rubies, thank you so much for having us on your blog. This is particularly special for us, since Vanessa herself is a Ruby.

Kim, author of CHASING FIREWORKS and TO FEEL OR NOT TO FEEL (YA)Vanessa and I met back in 2010 when we finaled in the GH together.  Two months after the calls went out, I finally decided to look for a fellow YA finalist.  I found Vanessa through her website and left her a message.

Vanessa, author of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE (YA): While most of our 2010 class, the Unsinkables, had come together on a Yahoo loop, Kim was MIA. Lost alone at sea. No one even knew how to set up a search grid for her!

Kim: Lost at sea is right. As I was months behind the getting-to-know-you stage, I was completely overwhelmed when Vanessa sent me to the bigger GH loop.  I wasn’t a member of a local chapter.  I didn’t even know what a CP meant. When I jumped into the Unsinkable fray, I felt like I was drowning.  Vanessa was truly my life preserver.

Vanessa: I knew I’d love Kim forever when she showed up to the Orlando conference with flashing pins in the shape of a margarita glass for each of us YA finalists to wear. And she made us all margaritas in her room.

Kim: *covers face* I can’t believe I lugged a blender to Nationals.

Pintip: Given the number of mojitos we’ve consumed at Mike’s? It doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Vanessa: And to think this all came about because I had a website!

Pintip: Says our website guru. Vanessa single-handedly built websites for both Kim and me! We didn’t even need to ask. After we finaled this year, she just started working on the websites because that’s one of her many areas of expertise. If that’s not the mark of a true friend, I don’t know what is.

Vanessa: I really care about both of you. And your online presences – lol! I’m just learning how to build basic websites. You two are my own personal guinea pigs. 🙂

Kim: Okay, okay! I’m finally on board with the website idea.  Especially since an editor tweeted she couldn’t find a GH finalist — and specifically said all writers should have websites.  I always assumed it was like putting the cart in front of the horse if you aren’t published.  Thanks, Vanessa, for convincing me and for putting our awesome websites together!

Pintip: There’s an extravagant seafood dinner with your name on it when you come visit us this summer!

Vanessa: It was my pleasure. Mmm, seafood!

Pintip: By the time I crossed paths with Vanessa and Kim, they were already close friends. I met Kim at our very first Washington Romance Writers retreat in 2011. Since we both wrote YA, it was natural for us to gravitate toward each other.

Kim: All the retreat newbies that year formed a group blog called the Waterworld Mermaids, so Pintip and I knew each other best from there.

pintip3

Pintip Dunn

Pintip: Although we’d read for each other before, we didn’t become close until I finaled in the GH in 2012. I had never been to the National conference, but Kim really took me under her wing. She has this mentality of “my friend is your friend” and included me in everything.

Vanessa: Pintip and I also met around this time. She introduced herself on The Golden Network’s Yahoo loop, and I sent her a welcome message “from the other side of the world.”

Pintip: I totally knew who Vanessa was, since I’d heard about her from Kim. Plus, she and I have the same agent, Beth Miller from Writers House. I responded to her sweet welcome message, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Vanessa: Since then, thousands of emails have criss-crossed the Pacific between us. By the time we met in Anaheim that year, we got to know each other so well. I felt like I’d known her forever!

Pintip: I think we all need friends with whom we keep in touch on a daily basis. Kim and Vanessa are those friends for me. While Vanessa and I have exchanged thousands of emails, Kim and I have exchanged thousands of text messages. I even had to upgrade my texting plan to “unlimited” because of her!

Kim: There were days I didn’t feel like writing, and I’d get a text from Pintip:  Feel like sprinting?  And I’d think, “Hell, no.” But I’d cave into the peer pressure, and then wonder afterwards why I hesitated at all when I love writing so much.

Kimberly+MacCarron

Kim MacCarron

Pintip: We hold each other accountable. That’s the key.

Kim: Vanessa was the one who introduced me to NaNo in 2010 and we both finished a book in a month that year.

Pintip: And then, a couple years later, Kim made me try out NaNo. Not only did we smash the word count, but both those manuscripts finaled in the GH this year.

Vanessa: Ah, the power of writing sprints. I prefer those kinds of sprints rather than the ones that involve running shoes.

Kim: When we aren’t sprinting as part of NaNo or the Rubies’ Winter Writing Festival, we’d hold our own sprints.

Pintip: We’d even get Vanessa in on the action. Kim and I would set our alarms at 6am, which is evening for Vanessa, and we’d all sprint together.

Vanessa: The 14-hour time difference between us can certainly be a drag. Yet, distance is no impediment when it comes to lending support, and these two women are always ready to cheer me up when I’m down. They are both so much wiser than I am and I would trust them to talk me off the figurative ledge anytime.

Kim: Most of all, I think the three of us believe in each other even when we have self-doubt—especially then.  If we notice we haven’t heard from one of our group, we send out that S.O.S. alert, and we haul them back into our boat. NO BOATMATES LEFT BEHIND.

Pintip: Kim and I live near each other, so we see each other on a regular basis. But so much of what we do is online, it doesn’t feel strange at all to see Vanessa once a year (although I wish it were more!) It doesn’t make me feel less close to her because she’s far away.

Kim: That’s why I love Nationals so much—Vanessa has only missed one since 2010, and I felt adrift at that one.

Pintip: And now the Group of Awesome (which is what we’ve dubbed ourselves) has finaled in the GH together! It’s been a dream of ours, but I never thought it would actually happen. It’s like dreaming about winning the lottery or receiving a seven-figure advance — fun to talk about but not very likely.

Vanessa: Finaling in the GH is surreal enough, but to be a finalist with two of my closest friends? It’s off-the-scale exciting.

Pintip: What’s more, with our most recent finals, all three of us are being inducted into The Golden Network’s Hall of Gold this year, which makes it even more special.

Kim: And since Vanessa has already sold, this will be the last year all three of us will be eligible.

Vanessa: Fingers crossed all three of us sell this year. That’s our dream.

VanessaB_AuthorPhoto

Vanessa Barneveld

Kim: It’s as if I finaled five times this year.  Two of mine, two of Pintip’s and one of Vanessa’s. Since the three of us have critiqued and brainstormed like crazy on all the books, there’s a piece of us in all of them.

Pintip: So long as one of us finals, I always joke it’s like the others have, too. I’ve gotten to know, and count among my friends, many of the Unsinkables, Lucky 13’s, and Rubies, and I’m sure Kim and Vanessa feel the same way about my Firebirds. I was even Kim’s date for the awards ceremony last year! So I got to participate in the excitement and glow of the Golden Heart, even though I didn’t actually final. Of course, now that we’ve finaled together, I can’t go to Nationals this year.

Vanessa: On account of, oh, giving birth. But we know you’ll be with us in spirit. I hear RWA might be live-streaming, so maybe you can watch the awards from the delivery room and tweet at us between contractions.

Pintip: Ha. That would be fun!

Kim: Maybe she’ll deliver her baby early and bring him along.  I’ve already told her I’ll take my shifts.  I still have my baby sling, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Vanessa: Clearly. I mean, they have 7.5 children between them, and they still have time to thoroughly pick over my manuscripts. Pintip is amazing at giving constructive feedback and for keeping us disciplined. Kim is insightful and an editor extraordinaire.

Kim: I think the most important thing you can do as a writer is to find good friends you trust to give you their true critique, with plenty of positive feedback as well.  It’s also important to have a few people who serve different functions.  I always give my manuscript to Vanessa first because she’s gentle in her comments.  When it’s the first set of eyes on new words, there’s a lot to be said for gentleness.  Vanessa can also find every hyphen error.  I suppose I throw those in all willy-nilly, and I just rely on her to fix them now.

Vanessa: Nice work on the hyphen in willy-nilly, Kim. Snort!

Kim: Pintip is exceptional at telling me when I’ve completely missed goal and motivation or had my main characters kissing straight through a turning point.

Vanessa: You sure like your kissy bits.

Kim: I certainly do.

Vanessa: Didn’t Pintip make you a storyboard?

Kim: And she had to show me how to use it. As a complete pantser, the storyboard idea gave me hives, but I pressed on and outlined my last book.  I now see the benefits of plotting out some of the main points.  So I guess Pintip has made me a plotting pantser.  Or a pantsing plotter.

Pintip: Above all else, I think a good critique partner is someone you trust implicitly. They push me to improve, and I never worry they will judge me for my writing. Truly, we have the same dream — to help each other be the best writers we can be. I don’t know where I would be without these two!

Kim: I think the Dom Helder Camara quote I put on my website sums it up:  “When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream.  When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.”

Vanessa: So true!

And speaking of websites, you can find each of ours at these convenient locations and learn about our Golden Heart books:

Kim MacCarron

Pintip Dunn

Vanessa Barneveld

Two of us tweet too and we’d love you to tweet us back:

Kim

Vanessa

Do you have a Group of Awesome? A duo, even? Tell us what brought you together! 

 

238 responses to “The Power of Three”

  1. Kim Law says:

    Hello ladies! So glad to see you here. And wonderful post! Your support and love for each other truly shines through!

    Kim, I love that quote. Not sure I’ve heard it before, but it’s so fabulous.

    Congrats on all the finals ladies! I think it’s wonderful that you’ll all be inducted into TGN’s Hall of Gold together this year.

    And Pintip!!! Congrats on the new baby!

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    • Kim Law says:

      Oh, and I have a brainstorming group of awesome. We don’t critique, but they make ever book so much better! We’re all in the same local chapter and just drifted together over the years 🙂

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      • Thanks, Kim! Isn’t that a great quote? I’m happy to hear you found a brainstorming group of awesome in your own chapter. There have been many times where a CP has said, “Well, what your heroine did [insert brilliant idea] instead?” and given me a whole new perspective.

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    • Kim,
      I love that quote so much! It’s fun to final with friends. And I think brainstorming groups are just as important! I need about a hundred more brainstormers for my books. lol.
      And I love that quote as well. Clearly. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Kim! Brainstorming groups are the best, aren’t they? A quick shout-out to my Firebird Brainstormers! So much creativity and genius and support and generosity in that group!

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  2. Annie West says:

    Lovely post, Vanessa and congratulations to all three of you!

    I’ve got a fabulous bunch of writer friends who cheer, support, sympathise and suggest as well as celebrate. They make all the difference. In particular, I’m lucky to have a brilliant CP – talented historical author, Anna Campbell. We met at a writing conference and haven’t looked back since. She’s there when I need her, whether it be brainstorming or picking out the problems with something or helping me celebrate or plan. Pure gold! Where would we be without our friends?

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    • Annie, thank you so much for that lovely mention. Right back atcha! Occasionally I wake up screaming from a nightmare where we missed meeting each other at that conference. EEEEEEEK!!! That was my first conference and I was as nervous as Kim was when she turned up with her blender. You were so kind plying me with champagne – I knew then that we were fated to be friends!

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    • Hi, Ann! Oh, that Anna Campbell is so lucky to have you as a CP. 🙂 I’ve been lucky enough to receive loads of helpful crits and good advice from both of you over the years.

      Conferences can be hard for the more introverted among us, but it’s so worth coming out of your shell just a bit to talk to other attendees, isn’t it? You never know what can come out of a chance conversation at conference.

      Thanks for joining us here today! x

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    • Annie,
      That’s fabulous about you and Anna. Good writing friends/CPs are like pure gold, aren’t they? Thanks for joining us and giving a special shout out to your friend. They really deserve it!

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    • Pintip says:

      Thank you so much, Annie! And Anna, yikes, what a nightmare! I find that’s one of the many skills of CPs — plying you with alcohol! 🙂 Have heard about you ladies from Vanessa, so it’s lovely to “meet” you! 🙂

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  3. Hiya Kim! Hiya Pintip! And a specially big hello to my old mate Vanessa! What a fun interview – I bet you guys have a wonderful time when you get together, drinking all those margarit…uh, doing all that critiquing! I so agree with you about the wonderful friends you make in this business. I finalled in the Golden Heart in 2006 and all the girls were such buddies, that we ended up setting up a blog called the Romance Bandits which has just celebrated its 7th year of blogging together. It’s wonderful to know people have your back, isn’t it? Congratulations to all of you for your fabulous Golden Heart finals!

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    • G’day, maaate! Thanks so much for dropping by. I agree on how wonderful it is to know people who have your back. I know I can count on you, Kim, Pintip and the Rubies.

      Wow, the infamous Lair’s seven magnificent years old? Congratulations! The Banditas hold a special place in my heart — you all once sponsored me so I could attend Nationals one year.

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    • Anna,
      I love the group blogs because you really keep up with each other’s lives that way–even after the buzz of the GH has worn off. 🙂 Go, Romance Bandits! Happy Blogoversary to you. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Hiya Anna! Like I said in the previous comment, so nice to actually meet you! And wow, seven years for a blog! That’s so impressive! Congrats!
      I love hearing about good writing friends, so thank you so much for sharing about you and Annie!

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  4. Waving to Vanessa and hello to Kim and Pintip! I love this relaxed chatty post! You’re obviously such good friends and CPs and so wonderfully supportive of each other! Congratulations on your GH stories! Fingers crossed that 2014 is the year that sees you all sell – you’re obviously writing wonderful stories with your GH finals over the last few years.

    🙂

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    • We’re crossing our fingers and toes, too, Sharon. It would be great for us all to sell in 2014. 🙂 One down, two to go…
      And thanks for the lovely compliments.

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Sharon! I so appreciate the crossed fingers! I feel so blessed to have Kim and Vanessa as both friends and CPs.

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    • *Waving* right back atcha, Sharon! It really is wonderful to have terrific writer friends who will support you at a moment’s notice. 😉 I’m keeping everything crossed for Pintip and Kim this year. We’d love to achieve a publishing hat trick!

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  5. Lee Kilraine says:

    Vanessa, Kim and Pintip,

    What a fun post! You guys know each other so well, it’s like you’re finishing each other’s sentences. I always hear that the best thing about a Golden Heart nomination is the friendships that blossom, and I think this post is proof of that. Your Group of Awesome sounds awesome! I’m lucky to say I have found some pretty awesome CPs, although we have yet to meet in person over blenders of margaritas. 😉 Congrats on your sale Vanessa, and I’ll cross my fingers for Kim and Pintip selling this year too!

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    • Thanks so much, Lee! My fingers are crossed for Kim and Pintip too. They both work so hard and are brilliant storytellers. (I’m not at all biased!) For me, it’s certainly true that the most valuable thing about a GH nomination is the friendship. And living on the other side of the planet, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have crossed paths with Pintip and Kim if it weren’t for the GH! This year we have a small group compared to previous years and getting to know each other has been a lot of fun.

      May you soon be clinking margarita glasses with your CPs!

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    • Lee,
      You’re absolutely right about the friendships blossoming being the best part of the GH experience. I have so many wonderful writing friends through this contest. It’s just such a fabulous and fun way to meet others in your same boat. I’m glad we’re in the same boat this year!
      I’ve been googling drink recipes for Dream Weavers. lol. If that’s our name this year…Have blender, will travel. 🙂
      Either way, we’ll definitely have to toast the 2014s with some margaritas.

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Lee! I don’t think meeting in person is at all a prerequisite for being good friends. By the time Vanessa and I ever laid eyes on each other, I already considered her one of my closest friends! That’s why I’m not letting the fact that I can’t attend the conference get in the way of me making close friends among this year’s class!

      Be sure to have an extra margarita for me!

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  6. Pintip, you are also in the 2012GHFirebirds with me (that was one awesome gown you wore to the awards ceremony). I’ve gotten close to several in the group and remained tight with all the Firebirds. My critique group (my life savers) are sisters at heart. I’ve made some wonderful friends and making more. Before becoming a writer, I thought all authors were reclusive. I don’t know about other genres but this mostly-women-writers-of-romance is one powerfully supportive group! Congratulations everyone!

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    • Hi, Kathleen! Pintip’s dress was *spectacular* and she looked incredible in it. Her family attended the ceremony and it brought a tear to my eye to see how proud they were. Totally agree with you on the supportive romance community. Aren’t we lucky to be a part of it? 🙂

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    • Hi, Kathleen,
      You’re exactly right about this particular community of writers being powerfully supportive. So many romance writers really pay it forward. Every.Single.Day. Truly.
      And, yes. Pintip’s dress was spectacular. As she is.

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    • Pintip says:

      Aw, you guys are so nice to me. Thank you!
      Kathleen, you are such a central part of the Firebirds, and I am so glad that we got a chance to meet as GH sisters. I still remember fondly the conversation we had at the FAB awards. “Powerfully supportive” is a great description for this writing community. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. Talia Quinn says:

    Hi fellow Firebird, fellow Lucky, and nice person I’ve probably met through Pintip and Kim! *waves*

    I confess, I’m jealous of your daily check-ins and flurry of emails and texts! I cherish my writer friends dearly and rely on their critiques (including Pintip’s 🙂 ), but I don’t have anyone quite that intimately involved in my process as cheerleader, sounding board and drinking buddy. It sounds absolutely lovely! I’m with Vanessa–may you all get to enjoy first sales together this year!

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    • *Waving* back at you, Talia! I laughed when I found out about Pintip needing to upgrade her mobile plan in order to keep up with texts! I think I need a bigger hard drive because I’ve kept almost all of Pintip’s emails over the years. 🙂

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      • That is a true story. Her husband was like, “What’s up with all these texts to and from this number…” Which was mine. So I told her to upgrade. Clearly the texts were gonna keep comin’ in. haha.
        And I’ve kept all of your emails as well…just looked back on that very first interaction between us four years ago.

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        • Pintip says:

          Ha ha. Hubby totally thought there was some kind of mistake, because how could there *possibly* be so many texts to this number. But nope, I assured him there was no mistake! Lol. 🙂

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    • Hey, my Lucky 13 Sistah–Talia!!!!
      It took years of solitary writing before I found these two. But, you’re right. It’s great to have them both wear so many hats–sounding board, cheerleader, CP, editor, drinking buddy, and best of all…friend.
      We’re all “lucky” to be in this community. Which clearly includes you. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Talia! I’m so glad we had a chance to meet. Anytime you need a sounding board, you know I’m here for you! I’m so proud of your successes this past year!

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  8. Hi gals! It is so cool you’ve been with each other through the crazy ride of writing! I have just recently found two writers in the Greenville, SC area to join up with. Our monthly lunches keep me sane, and we are leaning on each other more and more for CP duties. In fact, gotta give a shout out to one of the ladies, Frances Fowlkes. Her first book is coming out MONDAY with Entangled. It’s called THE DUKE’S OBSESSION and is a sweet Regency romance. Check it out!

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    • Oh, yay, for Frances, and yay for *you* and your recent sale, Laura! Pintip and Kim keep me sane also. However, I probably drove them insane recently with my relentless campaign to get websites up and running!

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      • Pintip says:

        Are you kidding, V? Kim and I are so thankful for everything you did for us! In fact, I felt so guilty every time I had to bug you for yet another tweak!

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    • Laura,
      That’s great that you found some CPs who can meet up for lunch. So much of what we do is solitary–writing, revising, social media stuff…that it’s nice to get out of our yoga pants, whip off the hair scrunchy thing and get ourselves out in public. haha.
      And congrats to YOU for your recent sale! Still trying to come up with a new title? Didn’t like my Very, Very suggestion? haha.
      And I will definitely check out Frances’s book! Good luck to you both!

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    • Pintip says:

      Yay for Frances! I will definitely check it out. And yay for you, Laura! You know I’m already a fan of your writing, so I will be snapping your book up as soon as it hits the shelves!

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  9. Shelly Alexander says:

    How wonderful that three writers & friends can help each other produce such magnificent work. Good luck!

    Shelly Alexander

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  10. *waves to three of my girls*

    Hi guys!

    I’m lucky enough to have finaled in the YA category this year with all three of these ladies and I must admit, our little YA group wouldn’t be the same without all of their awesomeness. 🙂

    I love this interview. Your bond comes through loud and clear. And Vanessa, all these websites are gorgeous. You did a great job.

    I joined a blog years ago with some wonderful ladies, the Romance Writer’s Revenge. I’ve stayed close with them through the years and they’ve been a real source of support. And through one of those pirates, Terri Osburn, I became fast friends with Jessica Ruddick, one of our other YA finalists. 🙂

    I can’t wait to meet 2/3 of your little trio in San Antonio!!

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    • *Waving* back at you, Marnee, our fellow YA finalist! I loved your blog yesterday.

      I’m sad that 1/3 of the Group of Awesome will be missing at Nationals this year, but Pintip does have a very good reason to stay home. 😉 I can’t wait to meet you in San Antonio. Do you think we should start a campaign to encourage Kim to bring her blender and margarita ingredients?

      Romance Writer’s Revenge is an *awesome* blog name. I just had to check it out right away. I’m so glad none of the other pirates forced me to walk the plank! I shall return!

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    • Marnee,
      That’s great about your blog experience. I’ve heard about Terri from so many different people that I have to wiggle my way into her circle. :::starts wiggling in:::
      And I love Vanessa for making me FINALLY get a website together. You’d think she was a dentist pulling all my teeth out for the amount of dragging my feet I did. She’s such a sport!
      Can’t wait to hang out with you in San Antonio!

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      • Sorry, Kim! Now that your website’s up and running, you’ll have to start posting on your very own blog. But don’t worry, if I have to pull any teeth I’ll use anesthetic this time. Or maybe you’d prefer laughing gas?

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    • Pintip says:

      Marnee, we will meet up at some other point, I’m sure of it! This writing community has a way of making great distances very small. Just look at Vanessa, all the way over in Australia! What a great blog name, and if the other pirates are as awesome as you and Terri, I’m guessing you have a pretty awesome group over there! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m so thrilled we are GH YA sisters!

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  11. Jessica Ruddick says:

    What an inspiring story! This is my first time finaling in the GH. I can only hope my experience will be as wonderful as yours. (So far, so good!)

    I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio. (And Pintip–I’m just a few hours south of you, so perhaps we can have a mini-con after the baby.)

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    • Hi, Jessica, our fellow YA nominee! I hope you’re enjoying the GH ride so far. It’ll really intensify once we get to Nationals. Can’t wait to meet you there!

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    • Jessica,
      If you’re only a few hours south of Pintip, you’re even closer to me. 🙂 We should all meet up!
      And you’re so far ahead of the GH experience than what I was my first year. It actually gets better and better. Once you meet in person, it’s so different. When you finally put the faces and personalities together with a name on emails, it’s great!

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    • Pintip says:

      Jessica,
      Absolutely let’s have a I mini-con after the baby! My YA GH sisters from 2012, the DoomsDaisies, got together for a writing retreat last fall, and it was fabulous! I hope you love being a first-time finalist as much as I did, and I’m so glad we finaled together!

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  12. Elisa Beatty says:

    Awww, this is so sweet! (And big hugs to my Firebird and Unsinkable sisters as well as my Ruby!!)

    Mutual support like you three have found is the only way to stay sane while trying to juggle writing and the rest of the life.

    With my crazy day job, I struggle to keep the writing going. If I didn’t have my CP Eileen Emerson, nothing would get done at all. We’re not quite up to daily check-ins, but our sprint dates are often the only way I get writing done.

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    • Big hugs to you, my Ruby-Unsinkable sister Elisa! You are absolutely full of awesome and I salute you for bringing so much to the Ruby blog in addition to writing, family and work. I’m a convert to the sprints too. Sometimes 20 minutes is all I can manage, but it’s amazing how far you can get in just a short amount of time, isn’t it?

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    • Elisa,
      You thread through all of our GH classes. haha. Awesome! You’re lucky to have Eileen. Truly having someone just to light a fire under you some days means the difference between writing and surfing the internet. lol. My other friend Holly is texting me now because we’re supposed to be sprinting…
      shhhhhh….don’t tell her. I was supposed to be back to revising twenty minutes ago…

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      • Pintip says:

        Kim, you are so busted! Ha ha! I’m not even pretending like I’m sprinting right now…

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    • Pintip says:

      Elisa, big hugs to you, too! Your relationship with Eileen is so inspiring. So much talent in one family! I love sprinting with you both during the Winter Writing Festival and look forward to it every year! Thanks so much for all of your hard work getting the GH finalists onto the Ruby blog. I know I’ve said this before (but it bears repeating because it’s so true): you Rubies are the best!! 🙂

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  13. Hi ladies! I love the magic of all three of you finaling! I could hear these stories all day long. Congrats!!!!!

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    • Thank you, Carlene! Three really does seem to be a magic number. 🙂

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    • Carlene!
      :::waves to Waterworld Mermaid:::
      Thanks for stopping by! And, yes, three does seem to be a magical number. It’s always been my favorite number. Plus I loved CHARMED, where the power of three set them free. haha.
      I even had my pic taken in front of the Charmed house in LA.

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    • Pintip says:

      Hi Carlene! I love the magic that is *you*! Thanks so much for stopping by, my mermaid sister. It means a lot. 🙂

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  14. jbrayweber says:

    What a fun interview, V. I love how you guys just chat as if we were all sitting in a cafe. You guys have great chemistry, and that’s not always easy to find. 😀

    I am fortunate to have a great group of writer friends, aside from my fabulous Ruby sisters. And out of my awesome group, I have a best friend for life. I’m a luck gal!

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    • Aw, best friends for life are hard to come by, Jenn! Hold on to that awesome friend.

      Kim and I have often said we wished we lived around the corner from each other. We’d find ourselves sitting in a cafe and chatting all day together, I’m sure! Oh, and writing too. Definitely.

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    • Jenn,
      Best friends for life are so difficult to come by in this world–writing or otherwise. It’s just extra special when they overlap.

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    • Pintip says:

      Jenn, aw, how wonderful to have found a best friend for life out of your writing friends! You are definitely one lucky gal! I wish we were all sitting in a cafe. Vanessa is right — I think we’d be there all day! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. I really enjoyed reading this post. And getting to know Vanessa — Kim and Pintip are fellow Waterworld Mermaids, so happily I’ve gotten to know you two over the years, but I really enjoyed how your friendship and support of each other is so evident in every comment … and Vanessa if Pintip delivers early, I’ll be on the list to babysit, too. Great interview!

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    • Thanks for dropping by, Denny! I’m so envious of you getting to see Kim and Pintip on a regular basis. 🙂 I’m all set to visit Pintip just before her due date. Some of my friends here have joked that I might have to step into the role of midwife if Pintip delivers early!

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    • Denny! My Waterworld Mermaid GH sister! Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad to hear you’ll be on babysitting duty if Pintip delivers early. I can’t do much about the feeding though. Those days are done. Thankfully.
      We have to get together for lunch soon. Just no Ramen Noodle place.

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    • Pintip says:

      You guys are cracking me up. And now I’ve got proof of your babysitting offers, so don’t you dare back up!
      Denny, another reason why finaling this year is so magical is because I get to do it with you, my dear mermaid sister. We’ll find a lunch place Kim can tolerate — and sneak off to ramen noodles on our own, ha ha.

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  16. Abby Sharpe says:

    That web post was full of Awesome! Thanks for the glimpse into your writing lives and friendships.

    I love writing sprints! The only problem is when we chat instead of write! *laugh*

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    • Hi, Abigail! It was awesome of you to join us here. 🙂 Yes, the temptation to chat can be strong. Sometimes you have to set a timer on the chats too!

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Abby! Yes, chatting can be a real problem. V, setting a timer for chatting is a great idea — in theory. But whenever I try it with Kim, I end up turning off the alarm and continuing our conversation, lol.

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  17. Abby Sharpe says:

    Hey – I want to know – when you got your GH calls, what did you do? In regards to each other, I mean.

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    • Kim and Pintip are in screaming distance of each other, so they were in contact right away. 🙂 I was the last to find out thanks to that pesky time difference. I knew both Kim and Pintip had received their nominations when I woke up and checked the RWA website. I’d received an email overnight saying I was a finalist, but I actually thought it was a mistake. I emailed Pintip to congratulate her and she confirmed that the RWA notification I’d received was the real deal. Then I’m pretty sure the whole world heard our screams! I can’t wait for all three of us to celebrate our finals in person. It’s all still surreal!

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    • Abby,
      I was on a bus heading to the National Museum of History with my daughter’s class, and Pintip and I were texting each other. Bummed we hadn’t heard anything. Yet. Then our friend Denny was the first person posted, so we were very excited for her. Pintip was next. I was so excited for her she had entered outside her comfort zone–in Paranormal, and we wanted her to final there. My call came pretty quickly after that, so there wasn’t much waiting around, really. I didn’t have much time to think about it all because I was busy counting heads in the museum by the time my second call came in. I couldn’t keep up on the internet because of my location and chaperoning job, so the only news I had came via texts. I answered a few calls while ducking behind an exhibit of a human skull. No joke. When I finally got on the email when I returned home, Vanessa had sent us an email saying she received a weird email about the 2014 GH community, but she didn’t reach the phone in time earlier. When she checked the number, she thought it was a telemarketer. Since she’s in Australia, it makes it a little harder to get news because of the time difference. So, she wasn’t even sure if she finaled. I jumped on the RWA website and saw her name, and I literally screamed so loud that my husband jumped in the kitchen and almost dropped a glass. I couldn’t stop screaming for a few minutes. My heart was pounding, and all I could think of was “We did it!!!! We did it!!!!” I wanted to final sooooooo much together since this is Vanessa’s last eligible year. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      It was surreal. Kim and I just kept hoping V would get the nomination, too, and then we got the email from her. I was already celebrating, but when it became official, yes, I believe there was screaming involved. Lots of it. 🙂

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  18. What a nice interview, Vanessa. It’s wonderful to read about how your friendships with Pintip and Kim developed and how supportive you are of each other. Writing can be such a solitary job and having friends like these from around the world must make such a difference!
    I’m lucky too to have the most amazing supportive group of writer friends. The encouragement and feedback they give is priceless.
    I’ll be cheering for you all at Nationals.

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    • Kandy,
      You’re exactly right. Writing friends–and the support they give– are absolutely priceless.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Pintip says:

      Thank you so much, Kandy! How lovely to hear about your supportive group of friends. I think it makes all the difference in the world.

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    • Thank you, Kandy! I’m so lucky to have you in my corner. We actually live in the same city but rarely get a chance to catch up. But when we do, we certainly get together in style, right? Looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio! x

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  19. Jean Willett says:

    What a wonderful time for all three of you. Great friends support each other and you show that in this interview. I’m so happy to see you together for the finals again. Best of luck! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jean! The three of us are all so lucky to count you in our GH family. When I think of great writing friends, I always think of you. 😉 Can’t believe we’ll miss our tiramisu this year…

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    • Pintip says:

      Thank you so much, Jean! Kim is right — we are so lucky to have you in our GH family. Thanks so much for your support over the years!

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    • Thank you, Jean! You’re such a sweetheart. It’s always lovely to see you at conferences, and I hope we’ll see you again this time around. 🙂

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  20. Hi, all! Just had to chime in. Not quite the same situation, but in 2010 one of my critique partners (the fabulous Lizbeth Selvig) and I both finaled in the Golden Heart (*waves at other Unsinkables*). Liz won the GH and went on to sell that book and three others to Avon Impulse. Fast forward to 2014 and now Liz is a Rita finalist with her second book and another member of our critique group, the wonderful Ellen Lindseth, is a GH finalist! (The fourth member of our group, who writes as Naomi Stone, is also published in urban fantasy.) So glad to have all three of them in my corner!

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    • How wonderful about your group, Nancy! It’s great to have your CPs and writing friends in your corner. Loved Liz’s recent post about learning how to brag a bit about yourself. It was so funny and fun and just plain Liz. It’s so exciting to get to root on a RITA-nominated Unsinkable. And you get to cheer for Ellen as well! How cool for you! You have a great little corner. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Nancy, what a wonderful CP group you have! And how nice to have Liz final on the Rita and Ellen in the GH in the same year! That will be such a fun ceremony for all of you! Best of luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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    • Wow, Nancy, you are really part of something awesome! It makes me so happy to hear of friends lifting each other up and sharing successes. Congratulations to your entire talented group!

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  21. Ladies,

    Congrats on all of the finals! It’s so good to see crit partners who really love and support each other. Keep up the good work.

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  22. Amanda Brice says:

    Three of my favorite ladies, all in one post!

    Major congrats to my Ruby sis Vanessa, and my WRW sisters Pintip and Kim!!!!

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    • Thanks so much, Amanda! It’s a small world, isn’t it? 🙂 Everyone seems so connected. I love that we stay that way! Thanks for supporting us.

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    • Pintip says:

      Thank you, Amanda! You were one of my very first supporters of Fit To Die, and I’ll always remember your kind words! Thank you so much for your support, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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    • Thanks, Amanda! There must be something in the mojitos of DC — the region is producing many fine YA writers like yourself, Kim and Pintip!

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  23. Jillian Lark says:

    Hi, Group of Awesome! Love the name, how you met and interact, and the websites. Congrats on all the finals and being inducted into the TGN Hall of Gold together! Good luck with the sales this year, too!

    I have three wonderful CPs. Two of them live far away on the West Coast, so we email, DM, text, and call. I met Haley through an online writing class, Cheryl at my local chapter, and Lia right here on the Rubies when we finaled in the 2012 Make-It-Golden contest.

    Lia’s the only CP I haven’t met in person, so I’m thrilled she’ll be at RWA14. I’m looking forward to meeting Kim, Vanessa, and the rest of our GH sisters, too.
    Pintip, I’m aorry I won’t get to meet you, but I can’t wait to see photos of you and your baby.

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    • Jillian,
      Isn’t is amazing how you can be close to people who live so far away? That’s one great thing about the internet. Long-distance isn’t long-distance when we’re writing together. Supportive friends have very long arms. 😉
      Can’t wait to meet you in San Antonio!

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    • Pintip says:

      Hi Jillian,
      I’m sorry I won’t be able to meet, but I’m sure our paths will cross sometime in the future. How wonderful that you will be able to meet Lia at RWA this summer! That will be so much fun! And judging from my experience with Vanessa, it will be like seeing a friend you’ve known forever, even if it’s the first time you actually meet in person. It’s been so great getting to knowing you on the GH loop! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. 🙂

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    • Hi, Jillian! I’m looking forward to meeting you at Nationals.

      How fantastic to hear our Make It Golden contest brought you and Lia together. I’m sure you’re just as grateful to those who invented the internet/email/texts as I am! They’ve enabled writers all over the world to connect with CPs in ways that weren’t possible 15, 20 years ago.

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  24. Bonnie Staring says:

    Great interview, ladies! I was so excited to see all of your names on the finalist list (especially Kim and Pintip with two finals each!). Vanessa I met through judging one of her entries in a contest, and Kim’s a fellow Lucky 13 who keeps our YA group on track. It’s terrific that you all found each other and help each other create fantabulous stories that need to be available for purchase, like, right now! I’m part of a brainstorming group, where all of us write in different genres and bring differing skills to the table for brainstorming, beta reading, critiquing and celebrating. Sometimes it’s nuts when we’re all working on something, but that makes it fun. Sending cabana boys and cupcakes to you all! Have fun at National!

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    • Bonnie,
      You know how I love your special delivery of cabana boys and cupcakes. 🙂 I think it’s great when your group reads different things. My friend Tammy is in a group like that–where they all write in different genres. Two or three of her CPs are Rubies, I believe.. Chime in if you know who you are…:-)
      It’s so wonderful because it keeps you fresh and makes you tiptoe outside of your comfort zone. Each genre brings something to the plate. Love that!

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Bonnie! I really enjoyed meeting you last year, and I think that it’s great that your brainstorming group spans the different genres! I’m in a similar brainstorming group. Part of the Firebirds broke off into a brainstorming group, and it’s been so amazing seeing all the different skills and viewpoints that are brought to the table. Thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks as well for the cupcakes and cabana boys. 😉

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    • Bonnie, I was super-excited when *you* finaled last year. You’ve always been so kind to me, always saying such lovely things, and being generous with cupcakes and cabana boys! Your brainstorming group sounds like a lot of fun! I hope we’ll see you in San Antonio.

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  25. Julie Mulhern says:

    What a lovely post. I love stories with happy ending – and blenders.

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    • Don’t ever underestimate the power of the blender. Right, Julie?
      Go Team Dream Weavers!!! haha

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    • Pintip says:

      Dream Weavers! Dream Weavers! Dream Weavers!!!
      I am also Team Dream Weavers! (I would be, regardless, but with Kim as my CP, do I really have an option? Ha ha.)
      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie, and I hope you all make good use of that blender in San Antonio!

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    • Lol, Julie! I think Kim might have inspired a few people to bring their own kitchen appliances to Nationals this year!

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  26. Carrie Padgett says:

    Awesome post about the Awesomes! I’ve enjoyed getting to know all of you and look forward to meeting Kim and Vanessa in San Antonio.
    I have a local group I meet with weekly and they’re a great help.
    Kim- I think you pack the blender!!

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    • Carrie,
      I’ve so much enjoyed getting to know all the 2014 GH finalists this year! We’re such a small group that it feels a lot more close-knit than usual.
      I will definitely pack the blender. I think I’ve acquired a certain reputation. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or just embrace it….
      Think I’ll embrace it.

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    • Pintip says:

      Carrie, that’s so great you have a group to connect with weekly. That face-to-face time makes such a huge difference! I’m so glad we finaled together, and I too have enjoyed getting to know you. Have so much fun in San Antonio, and know I will be with all of you in spirit!

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    • Awesome of you to join us here, Carrie — thank you! It’s been lovely getting to know you on the 2014 loop and I can’t wait to finally meet in person. Let’s hope Kim brings the blender to break the ice even further. 😉

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  27. Tammy Baumann says:

    Hello to three of my favorite people!

    I meet Kim for the first time in her room in 2010 and imbibed one of her blender drinks! (I too, could not believe you hauled a blender to Nationals, but it was love at first sight because of it!) Then I met Vanessa, and we sorta threw Kim under the bus at the TGN party, but we bought her many drinks to make up for it. (I think I’m still making up for it by buying Kim drinks!) Then Pintip and I were 2012 finalists, but I felt like I knew her already because Kim wouldn’t shut-up about her! Kim and her girl crushes….sheesh!!

    I adore all of you and can’t wait to see you guys in San Antonio!!

    Good Luck!!

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    • Tammy!
      You know you love me and my blender-packin’ self! Can’t believe you didn’t even MENTION your powerhouse of CPs. They aren’t special enough for you? All you could talk about was alcohol? 🙂
      And since you JUST sold your first (of many more to come) book, that means you’ve all sold now. Right? Why don’t you name some names? Come on! You’ve got a Ruby or two…
      Don’t be shy…it’s so unlike you…

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      • Tammy Baumann says:

        So expressing my love for you three isn’t enough? Fine. I have the BEST crit group on earth. So there, Maccarron! It consists of Robin Perini, Shea Berkley and Louise Bergin. So yes now that I, the slacker, have finally sold a book, we are all golden heart finalists and have all sold! YAY!! (And we complete each others sentences and buy sandwiches for each other, too. I love them.) 🙂

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        • That wasn’t so hard, was it?
          And you know I’ll never stop you from telling the world how much you love me. Never. 🙂
          Just wanted you to give your CPs credit. They certainly deserve it. haha.
          Love when Shea told you to stop wasting her time with a rough draft! Gotta love that little kick-boxin’ Polly Pocket.

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          • Tammy Baumann says:

            Yeah, they tell it straight, baby! But I could have never gotten published without them. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Tammy! You’re one of those people I automatically loved upon meeting, partly because of your sparkling personality and partly because I’d heard SO much about you from Kim! And talk about a powerhouse critique group!! Shea’s another one of Kim’s friends I inherited, and I was lucky enough to meet Robin at the recent WRW retreat. Now, all I have to do is meet Louise, and then I’ll know all four of you! Have some drinks for me in San Antonio, and hopefully we’ll be able to toast your amazing success for real at some point in the future. I’m SO HAPPY for you, and congrats again!

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      • Tammy Baumann says:

        That’s a plan to toast at a later date, Pintip. So sorry to miss seeing you this year, but can’t wait to see pix of that new baby!

        Next year, perhaps we’ll all be ineligible for the Golden Heart and then we’ll be whining about wanting RITA’s!! 🙂

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    • Waving madly at you, Tammy, and cheering loudly for your first sale!!!!! It’s so well deserved. You were immediately adopted into the 2010 YA MargaRITA group. I hope you’ve done your research into roller-coasters in the San Antonio area. For those of you who don’t know, Tammy and I went on a roller-coaster binge at California Adventure in 2012. We live dangerously, don’t we, Tammy? 😉

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      • Tammy Baumann says:

        Hi Vanessa!

        There’s a Six-Flags in San Antonio! I’ve added my name to their promo emails to see if I can find us a deal. We just need some transpo and we might be able to swing it!!

        Congrats on your first sale, too! Can’t wait to hear all about it soon!!

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        • Oooh, really? I know a special someone who’ll have a car. I wonder if this special someone will lend us her car AND her blender.

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          • Tamy Baumann says:

            Yuppers. That’s exactly who I was think of, too. But will Kim scream like a baby on the roller coaster?

            Let’s find out!!!

            Yay!! Maybe on Friday?

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  28. Darcy Woods says:

    Trifecta Love Fest!!!! 🙂

    Wonderful interview, ladies. I just adore getting the backstory on how star-crossed (or I guess ocean-crossed) CP’s find one another!

    Similarly, I met my CP’s (Jenn Stark & Bria Quinlan) when we finaled together in 2011. They are the wind beneath my wings. I have also been known to thank them for sandwiches in acceptance speeches. Strange? Perhaps. But they get it. Which is exactly what awesome CP’s do–they get you, even when no one else does.

    Kim, Pintip, and Vanessa, I am SO very thrilled for your multiple finals and that you are getting to share this experience together! Likewise, may you ALL be ineligible next year. 😉 (Congrats again on the sale, Vanessa!)

    It’s truly an honor to know the three of you. Such a talented, hard-working, supportive trio–no wonder you gravitated together!

    Will be cheering for each of you come Nationals time!

    *cannon blasts of heart-shaped confetti*

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    • Darcy,
      It’s so funny that you said LoveFest because I kept saying, “Girls, we need to tone this down. It’s like a lovefest.” And this IS toned down. lol.
      It’s awesome how CPs grow organically as a result of the GH. You really do make friends for life. And I adore your CPs as well. I know Jenn through Honestly YA, and, as you recall, I wore Bria’s book name as a tattoo. Where? I’ll leave that to the imagination. But I’m SURE there’s a pic somewhere…haha.

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    • Pintip says:

      Likewise, my dear friend! You, too, have awesome critique partners!!! It’s so neat the three of you met when you were finalists together. And yeah, Kim kept reminding us, “Too lovefest, girls,” so it’s funny that you should use the word. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m looking forward to many more years of friendship!

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    • Hi, Darcy! My cats here are just loving the confetti blast. 😉 Thanks so much for the congrats and for being so supportive. It sounds like you have a wonderful group of awesome. What could be better than surrounding yourself with people who really get you and your sandwich references? (I’m very intrigued about that now!)

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  29. Sarah Andre says:

    Girls! What a powerhouse of 3…it was almost like you were finishing each other’s sentences. To be such strong writers critiquing for each other is almost a guarantee for the 5 GH nominations. Pretty jealous about all the partying and mojito/margarita imbibing. 😉

    Still looking forward to meeting Vanessa(met Pintip and Kim at WRW.)

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    • Sarah,
      It was so great meeting you at the WRW retreat! I look forward to seeing you again in San Antonio. And I’m sure there will be plenty of mojito/margarita imbibing there as well. We have lots to celebrate! Great friends! Amazing accomplishments! Texas hats! Boots! Let’s not forget the boots. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Sarah, it was so great to meet you at WRW! I can’t believe you came all the way from Texas, and I hope you make this trip a yearly tradition! Looking forward to mojito-partying with you in the future! 🙂

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    • Looking forward to meeting you in person too, Sarah! You’re welcome to join in on the partying and imbibing any time. Without doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kim, Pintip, and all the critique partners who’ve pushed me in the nicest possible way!

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  30. The Golden Hearts have set a thousand literary balls rolling and some great friendships, too. Writing can be hermit-like, so isn’t it wonderful that we can come together like this, even though we may live many miles apart. Love the dresses, too. Very envious!

    Natalie Meg Evans

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    • That’s exactly right! It’s great when you can rely on sprinting with a friend even when you’re in your pajama pants and jam-smeared t-shirt. Nobody gets you like another writer. And it’s so much better when they get your characters and writing as well. Miles are nothing when it comes to your writing friends. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Thank you so much, my Firebird sister! Being from across the pond, you know more than others that distance is no deterrent to friendship and support! I’ve loved hearing about all your successes and look forward to hearing more! Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Hi, Natalie. It’s crazy to think I might have missed out on meeting so many wonderful people if it weren’t for the Golden Heart.

      Pintip’s silver gown is definitely Oscar-worthy, isn’t it? She looked even more amazing in person that night.

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  31. Amy DeLuca says:

    Well, that was super-fun! Thanks for a great post girls. I finaled with Kim in the YA category last year, and I can testify to her “my friends are your friends” policy. She introduced me to Pintip and so many other wonderful people at RWA in Atlanta.

    And of course, her and Pintip’s mysterious and powerful “deal with the universe” is responsible for my finaling with her again THIS year with MY CP, McCall Hoyle!! I can’t wait to meet Vanessa this summer, and as she pointed out– Kim’s an amazing editor–my stories would be soggy and sad without her input. Thank you for a wonderful reminder of what a team sport this writing thing is and demonstrating how valuable we are to each other! p.s. Awesome work on the websites, Vanessa!

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    • Hi, Amy!
      I’m so excited that our “Deals with the Universe” paid off for all of us! haha. I had to put you in there, but I knew you wouldn’t be happy without your CP, so I tossed McCall into it–not even knowing her. And now that I do? Man, I can’t imagine her NOT being in our YA finalists group. 🙂 Both of you are amazing writers so I’m sure my “Deal” didn’t do a thing. But it makes me feel good anyway. haha.
      It truly is a team sport sometimes, isn’t it? I’m glad to be part of your team.
      Can’t wait to hang out in San Antonio with you and McCall–and all of our writing friends. 🙂

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    • Pintip says:

      Amy, I’m SO happy to be finaling with you this year. The Savvy Seven’s are such a great group, and all of you were so sweet about including me last year. Gotta admit, I though Kim was crazy when she first proposed our Deals with the Universe, but then I embraced it — and look what happened! Goes to show we need to embrace Kim and her ideas more often. You and McCall have such a great friendship, and I’ve loved getting to know both of you better! Here’s to more good times ahead! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    • I’m so looking forward to meeting you, Amy! It’s so special to be able to celebrate a GH nomination with your CP, McCall. How freakin’ exciting! You’re right about writing being a team sport. Sure, we have to do the initial work ourselves, but I for one need the input of my CPs, especially when my ideas seem a little bit out there!

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  32. Gail Hart says:

    Congrats to the three of you for finalling together!

    I don’t have a regular CP and the moment, but I was in a wonderful crit group, the Uno’s Goddesses (named for the restaurant where we met), for over six years. I met Kate Parker (yes, a Ruby) and Peggy Parsons at a Washington Romance Writers Christmas party in the early 2000s. None of us had ever met before and we just sort of randomly wound up standing in the same corner and decided to give each other a try as CPs. And the rest, as they say, is history. I can’t say how much those ladies helped me inprove as a writer. The group broke up after two of us moved, but I’ll call on Kate for a beta read if I ever finish “that book” she’s been waiting for since 2009. 😉

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    • Love the group name, Gail! So fun. When I was pregnant with my first child, I used to go to Uno’s after every doctor’s appointment. At first it wasn’t a big deal because the appointments were spaced out, but in the last couple months, I gained significant weight. I blamed those weekly appointments because I had to hit up Uno’s every time. haha.
      Distance doesn’t matter with CPs. Just hang on to them. Tight. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

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      • Kim’s right — distance doesn’t matter. The Group of Awesome is proof of that! 🙂 But finding a group of awesome in the first place can be a challenge. I think I got really lucky.

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    • Pintip says:

      Gail, many friendships have been formed at the WRW Christmas party! And Kim and I also have a regular restaurant — a place where we meet 90 percent of the time. It’s so fun to have those familiar places, isn’t it? So lovely to hear about your critique group, and even if the group breaks apart, the friendships last. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    • Thanks so much for being with us and sharing your CP story, Gail! Let’s give CPs around the world a big round of applause for helping writers grow.

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  33. Sharon Wray says:

    What a wonderful story! As a fellow Unsinkable and 2014er (as yet unnamed) I know the feeling of being lost in that 2010 class after the whole Nashville flooding thing. I love hearing how you all came together and worked hard and are standing on the edge holding each others’ hands.
    Congratulations to all three of you. I have no doubt you’ll go far together!

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    • I’m holding your hand, too, Sharon! 🙂 Thanks for being a wonderful friend and constant source of inspiration and perseverance. I always love the story about your agent. And Nan’s too. Just keep trying, huh? I guess that’s what we have to do.
      I can’t believe we were in the same first year class together. Let’s hope this is the last eligible year for us both. Then we can have the same bookends of GH classes.
      Can’t wait to see you in San Antonio. And if luck holds, I’ll see you for coffee in Clifton way before then. Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Pintip says:

      AND a fellow Firebird! Don’t you dare forget about us, Sharon! And I, too, am also holding your hand. I am so glad our paths crossed, and I am lucky to call you my friend. I know there are so many good things in your future, and I am looking forward to seeing your success. Thanks for your support, especially in this past year.

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    • As-yet-unnamed? Aren’t we called the Dream Weavers??? (Winks at Kim.) Whatever the 2014 class is called, it’s certainly full of talent — I’m in awe of your many GH successes, Sharon. I can’t wait to celebrate with you in San Antonio! Thanks for visiting us here today.

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  34. Congrats to all three of you! What a great story. And how lucky you are to cherish each other as both friends and critique partners. Will be looking for all of you at Nationals!

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    • Thanks, Miranda. I’m sure we’ll see each other at the Lucky 13s dinner. Can’t wait to see you and reconnect.

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Miranda! As much as I value these two critique partners, I think we will always be friends, first and foremost! Hope to meet you someday! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Miranda! We’ll be looking out for you. It’ll be easy to spot Kim — she’ll be the one holding the blender. 🙂

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  35. Joanna Shupe says:

    Lovely story ladies! Where would we be with our CPs? My CPs are all fellow NJRW members, and they ROCK. I swear, they save my sanity (and my stories) on a regular basis. We have a blog together (www.thevioletfemmes.com) that helps us all stay connect. Oh, and there’s plenty of wine!

    Congratulations to all three of you!

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    • Joanna,
      The wine is a definite necessity. haha. It’s great that you all blog together, and I love the name! At first I thought it said “violent,” and I thought, hmmmm. Interesting. Then I found your site, and understood. Love the lavender! And loved your femme stalking! lol

      0
    • Pintip says:

      Ha — I read “violent,” too! What a clever blog name. So lovely to hear about your awesome critique partners, Joanna, and thanks so much for stopping by!

      0
    • Thank you, Joanna! Terrific to hear you have a close-knit, sanity-saving group. Love your blog’s name – the Violet Femmes. Brings back memories of my teenage musical preferences. 😉

      0
  36. Nan Dixon says:

    Wow – This is so wonderful – Group of Awesome is absolutely right!!!
    Unclear why I haven’t been offered Mojitos in your room, Kim?? We are Unsinkable Luckies together! Guess you have to be a YA autho? Pintip will so miss you at SA – and Vanessa it will be great to see you again Unsinkable Sista.
    I think the right Crit Group plays a huge part in your writing career – and I think my group taught me how to write. Here’s hoping that you’all continue to climb the career ladder together – Sales for everyone this year!!

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    • Nan,
      That blender-packin’-margarita-makin’ episode was once. But, I have been googling a mixed drink called The Dream Weaver, and I’m willing to make those for us IF… Bribery. I’ve sunk to an all-time low in my campaign. haha.

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    • Pintip says:

      Ha ha — I can’t wait to taste the Dream Weaver! I’m sure it will taste like a dream come true! Nan, so fun to final with you after meeting in 2012! And super duper congrats on your recent sale! So happy for you!

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    • First sales and mojitos all round, Nan! Congratulations to you on your fabulous and well-earned first sale! I love what you said about your group. I’ve learned so much about writing from my various crit partners and groups over the years.

      0
  37. The power of three, indeed! You can feel the love and support between you three come across in your post. Thank you for sharing your stories – and congrats to you all!!

    0
  38. Lovely interview, ladies! And congrats to the “Group of Awesome” on finaling together!

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    • Thanks, Steph! I’m excited to share the 2014 GH experience with you! Since I kinda shoved my way into your DoomsDaisies group…glad I’m legitimately with you this year. lol.

      0
    • Pintip says:

      Thanks, my DoomsGirl! So happy to final with you again, my dear friend. Fingers crossed for you for this upcoming year. 🙂

      0
    • Thank you, Steph! It’s super awesome to be a finalist with *you* this year!

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  39. Marni Folsom says:

    Aw, look at you gals! I’m thrilled to see — to feel! — how much you support each other, and how much fun you have doing it!

    I have a great friendship with my long-time CP, Joy. We met at a UW Commercial Fiction course in 2007. I’d been asked to read a freshly-written passage aloud in class and was embarrassed because it meant admitting to a room full of sci-fi and hard-boiled detective writers that I wrote Romance (the romance writer stigma was STRONG in that room!). Afterward, my now CP approached me to say I was brave, that she also wrote romance, and we should hook up for critiques. Seven years, four kids, two international moves and a hells lotta’ emails later, and we’re still exchanging pages and rooming together at nationals. Sometimes, as you know, it all just clicks. 🙂

    Happy Hall of Gold to you all, big congrats to Vanessa for the sale, and I’m envisioning first sale ribbons for Pintip and Kim at next year’s conference!

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    • Marni,
      That’s awesome about you and Joy! I feel you on the “hells lotta’ emails later…” You’re absolutely right. When it clicks, it just does.
      I’m still holding out hope for a sale ribbon this year. Lol. Of course that would be a miracle, considering my agent hasn’t submitted anything. Yet. If I could just got off the damn internet and finish my revisions…
      Going now…now…
      …..

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    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, Marni! I love hearing the story about you and Joy. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. It sounds like you have a very strong friendship indeed. How lucky we both are to have clicked with our respective CPs. Have an awesome time in San Antonio this summer. I’m sorry I’ll miss meeting you (again!) but one of these days, one of these days…

      0
    • Hi, Marni! How fabulous to hear how you and Joy got together and have stuck together through all those upheavals. Talk about finding a kindred spirit!

      Thank you for the sale congrats! I’m making my own deals with the universe to make those sale ribbons materialize for Pintip and Kim. 🙂

      0
  40. India Powers says:

    Hi Kim, Pintip, and Vanessa,

    I loved reading your story and am so excited that the 3 of you all finaled together this year!!! Woohoo!!!

    I also belong to a great critique group–the Aphrodite Writers. Last year I finaled in the Golden Heart with one of my cps, Sonali Dev. Her book, A Bollywood Affair, comes out this October. It was so fabulous being at Nationals with her and all the Aphrodites last year. It truly made finaling in the GH even more magical.

    I’m looking forward to being at Nationals again and cheering you all on this summer! Best of luck! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by, India! Always great to see a Lucky 13 sis. It truly does make everything super special when you share it with your CP, doesn’t it? I’m so excited about Sonali’s book! What a gorgeous cover!! And the premise is wonderful as well.
      It’s cool when you’re reading a part in your CP’s book, and you think, “Hey, that was MY idea!” haha. And it’s equally as cool when you put their ideas in, and you think, “Hey! Why didn’t I think of that?” I’ve got lots of Heys here right now, but I’m too lazy to edit them.
      Thanks for stopping by! Can’t wait to see you in San Antonio!

      0
      • Pintip says:

        Ha ha, Kim. What about when I put one of your ideas into my books, as an inside joke between us, and then you tell me I have to take it out because it doesn’t actually make sense with the plot?! Lol. 🙂

        0
    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much, India! How wonderful that you finaled with your CP last year! This is the first time it’s happened for me, and it has indeed been magical. It kinda takes the sting out of me not being able to attend. I’m
      looking forward to reading Sonali’s book, and thanks much for your kind words! Have fun at San Antonio this summer!

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    • Thank you for sharing in our excitement, India! It’s so great to hear of all these CP success stories. Congratulations! I hope we’ll see you and the Aphrodities in San Antonio!

      0
  41. Yay to the “Group of Awesome” – three of my favorite writer friends! I actually thought you guys had known each other FOREVER. That’s how it felt whenever I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with you at the RWA conferences. Cool to get a behind the scenes peek of how you joined forces. Congrats on your many, many successes!

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    • Jacqui,
      I may have met you before I even met Vanessa. 🙂 I know I met Katrina first down by our fountain. Can’t wait to head back to the ‘ole Swan and Dolphin. haha.
      It’s fun to get the behind-the-scenes stories. Can’t wait to create more stories (with you) in San Antonio. See you there!!! 🙂

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    • Hi, Jacqui! We love hanging out with you at Nationals, and I’ve got a stack of photos to prove it! Thanks so much for joining us today. Can’t wait to see you again and celebrate your many publishing successes since we last met.

      0
    • Pintip says:

      Hi Jacqui! Yet another friend I met through Kim and Vanessa! I still remember our meal at the Cheesecake Factory — we certainly indulged ourselves, didn’t we? Too bad I won’t get to see you this summer, but hopefully our paths will cross again soon! Thanks so much for your well wishes, and super congrats to YOU!! 🙂

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  42. AE Jones says:

    Wow! What a great story. Three CP’s who found each other and then all final again? Kismet, hard work, mojitos…whatever it takes, keep up the good work!

    I met Kim as a Lucky sister last year and am so happy she is in this year’s GH group!

    AE

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    • Thanks, AE! I have to say it’s all of the above, but the mojitos are definitely fun. Hard work? Not so much. haha.
      Love to see a Lucky 13! Hope to see you in SA.

      0
    • There’s definitely something magical about all this! Thanks so much for dropping by, AE!

      0
    • Pintip says:

      The key is to work hard first — and then celebrate with mojitos! Ha ha. Thanks so much for stopping by, AE! Have fun in San Antonio!

      0
  43. I think it is completely awesome the three of you have finaled together again! It is a testament to your talent, tenacity and friendship.

    I have been fortunate to be involved in a couple of critique groups since my first GH final in 2007. I belong to an amazing group now – published traditionally and self-published. I am the only hold out, but it doesn’t matter to them. They’re a great group – tough critiquers, great plotters and a fantastic source of support. I met them through our love of Regency romance and our membership in the Beau Monde chapter of RWA.They keep me in the game.

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    • Louisa, I’m always impressed by your contest successes. You’re a real inspiration. I’m dreaming of the day when I finally hear you sing out, “I got the Call!” I’m also impressed to hear your crit group is going strong after seven years! Congrats to all of you.

      0
    • Pintip says:

      Louisa, sounds like a fantastic critique group! Tough critiquers, great plotters, and fantastic supporters — what else could you possibly want?! And I’m also very impressed you have stayed together so long. Thanks for sharing this story with us, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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    • Louisa,
      Having read your wonderful GH entry (which I gave a 50/50), I don’t blame you for holding out. And it’s so wonderful that you have a great critique group who supports each other. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      0
  44. Thanks so much to everyone who took time to comment, tweet, Like, and squee along with Pintip, Kim and me today! It was really lovely to hear so many stories of strong CP bonds in the romance community. 🙂

    0
  45. It’s nice to see friends come up through the ranks together. I’ve found some great writing friends myself I hope to do the same with.

    0
    • Thanks for stopping by, Traci! Sharing this experience as a trio is really quite extraordinary.

      All the best to you and your writing friends!

      0
    • Pintip says:

      Thanks so much Traci! So glad you’ve found such great friends, and best of luck to you! 🙂

      0
    • Traci,
      When I hear bestsellers who’ve been around for quite a while give a keynote speech talking about their humble beginnings and the other well-known writers who were their friends then and NOW, it always makes me smile. It’s inspirational. Writing friends don’t come and go. They stay. And they’re with us on the same journey.
      Here’s to many years with our fellow travelers.

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  46. What a fun post. Your support of each other is so obvious. Even if that wasn’t the topic of the post, I’d still pick up on it from your interaction. Looking forward to meeting Kim and Vanessa at Nationals. Hope to meet you sometime in the future, Pintip. 🙂

    0
    • Thanks so much, Asa! I am very grateful to have Kim and Pintip’s support. I don’t what I’d do without *any* of my writer friends. It isn’t much fun drinking mojitos alone. 😉

      See you at Nationals!

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  47. Pintip says:

    Asa, I hope I meet you, too! It’s such a small world, I’m sure our paths will cross again. Have fun in San Antonio, and thanks so much for stopping by!

    0

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