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Where are they now? – GH classes of 2005 & 2007

Welcome to the next installment of our The Golden Heart Finalists: Where are they now? series. Today, the Rubies are hosting Golden Heart finalists from 2005 and 2007.

Since the 2005 finalists were heading to Reno for the RWA Nationals, we chose to be “The Wild Cards.” The 2007 finalists met in Dallas–but, of course, with ‘007 as our year, we were the “Bond Girls.”

Thirteen finalists checked in with us today and volunteered to tell us what’s been happening with their writing careers since. If there are other 2005 or 2007 finalists who would like to share your updates today, please join us in the comments!

Here are new releases from the Wild Cards and Bond Girls!

 

Isle of Hope Fly Away with Me Claiming Her Cowboy
   Picture Imperfect  The Way to London
 Suburbs Have Secrets  North Wind  Coming Home

 

Before we hear from them, here are a few stats from the group of finalists who contributed to today’s post.

  • Finaled in 2005 – 62%
  • Finaled in 2007 – 54%
  • Finaled both years – 15%
  • Published by Big 6 – 70%
  • Published by Small/Midsize Press – 31%
  • Indie-published – 70%
  • Hybrid (indie and traditional) – 70%
  • Writing full-time – 31%
  • Bestselling list/RWA Honor roll – 15%

So let’s hear from our finalists…

Barbara Wallace (who is both a Wild Card and a Bond girl) is enthusiastic about the impact that finaling in the Golden Heart had on her career. “How didn’t it impact my career? To start, winning my category allowed me to get feedback from editors that I wasn’t getting from the slush pile. Even though my winning story was rejected, Jenny Hutton from Harlequin/Mills & Boon offered to work with me on a new book which ultimately became my debut. In 2012 I revised my GH manuscript and sold it to Entangled publishing. To date, that book, Weekend Agreement, has been my best selling book and has been published in 3 countries. I’m up to 20 books now. So yay GH!” And the good news continues. Barbara writes full-time. “I launched an indie mystery series this month called the Sadie McIntyre series. I’m also still with HQ romance. In fact I have a new book with them in November.”

Marilyn Brant finaled in 2007, and for her, “The Golden Heart gave my manuscript a lot of exposure to editors that it might not have had otherwise. My agent at the time was able to send that book — According to Jane — out to a number of publishing houses and, after a revision based on that early editorial feedback, a NY publisher bought it. So, I’m very grateful for my GH experience!” Marilyn is staying busy. She “just released the final book in The Mirabelle Harbor Series, which is a set of six contemporary romances that revolve around one suburban Chicago family and their friends. It was my 20th published book and a big milestone for me.” And she’s excited about what the future holds, as she’s “working on a standalone women’s fiction/romantic suspense novel. It’s a fun project, and I love delving into a completely different manuscript that presents a whole new set of narrative and plotting challenges. I’m not yet sure if it’ll be a indie release or if it’ll be a better fit for traditional publishing, but that’s one of the advantages of our current industry — writers have choices! My main writing goal is simply to work on projects that deeply interest me and that are, hopefully, compelling to readers.”

Connie Cox (also writing as Chris Co) finaled in 2007Now published by Big Six, small press, and indie, she says that the “Golden Heart gave me credibility as a pre-published professional writer within RWA. The Golden Heart had little/no discernible affect on my writing career.” She’s had some time off from writing, but that’s about to change. “After taking a three year hiatus from focused writing due to personal issues, I am getting back into the discipline of writing on a schedule again. Currently, I am enjoying writing and publishing as a indie writer. I don’t see that changing any time soon, but never say never.”

Bronwyn Parry (2007) believes that “winning the GH helped get me published and agented.” She’s still writing, although she’s currently in a “transition to writing historical romances, both Australian-set and Regency.” A full-time writer, she’s “honoured to have finaled twice in the RITAs and the Daphne Du Maurier awards (2010 & 2013); also to have won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Romantic Suspense three times.”

Alix Rickloff (also writing as Alexa Egan) believes that her 2007 final helped her career. “While the manuscript that finaled in the GH didn’t initially sell, the recognition I received definitely helped when my agent approached publishers with the next project.” A hybrid author now, Alix does not currently write in the subgenre she finaled in. “Right now, I’m working on a new historical fiction project that I plan to submit to my publisher, but if time permits, I would love to return to play in my historical paranormal worlds.”

 

Susan Fox (2005) and Cindy Procter-King (2007) shared insights into their future writing plans.

Susan Fox (a hybrid author who writes full-time) hopes “to continue writing contemporary romance/women’s fiction for Kensington. I just finished an 8-title series (Caribou Crossing Romances), have sold the first 4 in a new series (Blue Moon Harbor), and hope to continue writing the Blue Moon Harbor books for the next couple of years. And then, probably move on to another series.”

Cindy Procter-King (also writing as Kate St. James) says that she is “in the process of indie re-issuing a single title as Kate St. James that was formerly with Samhain. I have two other indie titles as Kate and then three other titles that remain with Red Sage, and for which I will likely never get back the rights. I have received rights back on all my Cindy Procter-King titles and I am mainly pursuing an Indie career as Cindy, although I do have a couple of trad foreign rights editions still out and older audiobooks still out. While it would be nice to pursue both pen names, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am too slow of a writer and so I am going back to my first love of romantic comedy and small town romances. I also enjoy writing what I call sassy suspense, which describes my last release as Cindy.”

 

The four finalists in the 2005 Inspirational category all mentioned a huge impact that the Golden Heart had for them. Their Golden Heart experience led them to lifelong friendships with each other. They’re now part of a group and blog known as Seekerville.

Tina Radcliffe (a 2005 & 2007 finalist) is a full-time writer, published now with a traditional Big Six publisher. She says that, through the 2005 Golden Heart, she’s “forged friendships that have lasted over ten years.” Along with Myra Johnson, Julie Lessman, and Janet Dean, Tina “became part of a larger group in 2005… Seekerville has been active for ten years and has been a Writer’s Digest Best 101 Websites for Writers for four years running. Our goal was to give back to the writing community and we have.”

Myra Johnson agrees.  In 2005, “the four of us [Inspirational finalists] joined with several other writers we kept bumping up against in contests, and we became “The Seekers,” supporting, encouraging, and praying with each other on the road to publication. A couple of years after forming this private support group, we launched the Seekerville blog, now celebrating its 10th anniversary. We have a loyal and continually growing following of both published and unpublished writers, plus many readers.” A hybrid author now, Myra is still writing. “I hope to keep writing more books and continue publishing both traditionally and independently.”

Janet Dean (a finalist in 2005 and 2006) adds that the Seekers have been very successful. “Over time all of us Seekers got The Call. Without their support, I’m not sure I would have been able to handle the ups and downs of this business. Today Seekerville is celebrating its tenth birthday with a lively, caring community of writers and readers. With 43-44,000 unique hits a month, Seekerville is a platform for Villagers and Seekers alike, as we promote our published books and host industry professionals.” Janet has this to say about reinventing herself in the ever-changing publishing business. “My publisher Harlequin closed the historical line of Love Inspired, the imprint/line I wrote for. The popularity of genres ebbs and flows, which often means writers must reinvent themselves and consider the options, as I’m doing. There’s never a dull moment in publishing!”

Julie Lessman (2005) believes that the Golden Heart “got me noticed by my agent.” Now a published author through the Big Six and indie, she’s “been in the Christian market for eight years and plans to try my hand at the secular market soon.”

 

Before we close, here are some last thoughts from our “Where are they now?” writers!

Tina Radcliffe: There is no limit in this business. I’m thrilled and honored to be doing what I love.

Marilyn Brandt: I loved getting to be one of the ‘007 Bond Girls! *waving* Can’t believe it’s been a decade since then… Here’s wishing all the GH finalists from years’ past good things — in the writing world and in all areas — and cheers to the new groups ahead!! 

Barbara Wallace: Always willing to chat. I’m on the RWA board of directors as well so I can answer whatever questions people have…

 

Thanks to Marilyn, Connie, Janet, Kimberly, Susan, Myra, Julie, Rae, Bronwyn, Cindy, Tina, Alix, and Barbara–from the Bond Girls and the Wild Cards–for joining us today.  And if you’re a 2005 or 2007 who didn’t have the chance to check in, please leave us a comment and let us know what you’re doing!

19 responses to “Where are they now? – GH classes of 2005 & 2007”

  1. Jeanine Englert says:

    WOW, what am amazing group of finalists and now published authors! 🙂 There are so many of you that I have read, and you are so talented.

    I wish you all the best in your writing futures, and thank you for sharing updates on what your writing journey has been over the last decade!

    Happy writing,

    Jeanine

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    • ELIZABETH LANGSTON says:

      It’s so much fun to hear about what they’ve all accomplished–from publishing books (as many as 20+ in 10 years!) to writing full-time and doing what they love.

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  2. Congrats ladies on your successes. I have a few of your signed works on my keeper shelf, having met you at conferences. You were my inspiration.

    I adore the covers. All of them are beautiful.

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  3. Hope Ramsay says:

    Once again, I’m blown away by the talent on display in this post. You ladies rock, and I love your covers! Wishing you all continued publishing success.

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  4. Vivi Andrews says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! (And those gorgeous books!) Another impressive group if GHers! Wow.

    And thanks to Beth for hosting today!

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  5. Tamara Hogan says:

    So many familiar names! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your past experiences, and what’s coming next!

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  6. Gwyn says:

    So lovely to catch up with my Bond sisters! To see so many familiar names is uplifting. Made my day.

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  7. It’s great to see my 007 Sisters here! I still have the video of the 007 A View to a Sale skit we did for the TGN Retreat. What fun we had!!!

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  8. Thank you so much for including me in the post! I fondly remember the Bond Girls and and our doomed group blog, which fell prey to Internet gremlins and shortly thereafter we disbanded. It’s wonderful to see a group still going strong after all this timee.

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  9. […] of the Bond Girls as well as the Wild Cards (the GH finalists from ’05) are featured on the Ruby Slippered blog. Hop on over to catch up on my own goings-on, as well as several others, including B.C. writer […]

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  10. Darynda Jones says:

    WOW!!! Congrats on all of your successes and welcome! Such incredible talent. Thank you for joining us!

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  11. It’s great to see so many familiar names of authors I’ve read. Congrats on all your successes!

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  12. Tracy Brody says:

    Love hearing how the groups and Seekerville Blog got their names as well as seeing you all writing your success stories.

    1+

  13. Thanks for sharing this. It’s very encouraging. Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come and how many amazing people we’ve met on this journey!

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    • Thanks for letting us check in with you. Being part of Seekerville was such a great story to learn. Having a community that supports you and giving back are so important as writers. For me, becoming part of the Rubies was one of the best things to happen as a result of a GH finalist (although getting an agent was pretty cool too 🙂

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  14. Janet Dean says:

    Thanks for opportunity to look back at the thrill and blessings of being a Golden Heart finalist! Entering that contest was a giant step towards my dream of publication.

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  15. Myra Johnson says:

    What a fun trip down Memory Lane! Thank you so much for sharing this review of how far we’ve all come over the past decade+! What a thrill!

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