Monday, March 24, 2008


Pam here. According the the RWA website, 2008 Golden Heart calls will start on Tuesday, March 25th. RITA calls will also go out this week. Instead of a teaching post, I thought it would be fun to talk about past and CURRENT contests calls and emails.

Hoping to see lots of squealing, screaming, totally excited posts from the 2008 finalists in the next few days!!!

Here’s part of an email I sent to my local chapter in 2004 when I finalled in the Golden Heart:

“I got the call too!!! It was about 5 minutes after ten EST, but I just now got access to email.That's x 2, ladies. I'm a double finalist in the inspirational category with:"The Missionary and the Mercenary" and "Marrying Mariah"”

Yes, a DOUBLE finalist! I couldn't believe it. I had hoped (prayed) for one, but when she said "and there's more", the wind just left my lungs and I squeaked "more?"

What could possibly be "more", unless I had finalled twice? was great....even greater than last time because I knew know hard it is to final!"

So, while we're waiting for news of today's calls, tell us about your most exciting contest call or email. Be sure to clarify if it is past or present (2008 Golden Heart or RITA). We don’t want readers getting confused about who’s finalling this year.


  1. It's really today, Pam?
    I went and checked to see if any results were posted. How long does it take? All day? Several days?

  2. I thought calls went out tomorrow. Now you're making me all paranoid.

  3. Mary & anonymous. I had heard that calls would start today, but I just checked the RWA website and it says the 25th.

    Ugh. My bad. I should have checked there before posting.

  4. Is it today? Or tomorrow? Well you just never know with RWA. I have heard tales of calls for Monday in years past that started on Sunday. I am going to keep my ears to the ground.

    Report back to this blog with any and all news.

  5. I got a call when I finaled in the Gotcha! contest. My kids were making so much noise in the background that I felt kind of rattled. I wasn't sure how to respond, so I said, "That's great." I think the caller had expected more, so she seemed to try to get me more excited by saying, "That means your entries [I finaled with both my entries] will go to an editor at a publishing house." And I said, "Yeah, that's exciting." Still wishing I could throttle my kids, who were getting even rowdier.

    Truthfully, I wasn't all that excited, because after entering I realized that the final round judge was from a publisher who wasn't likely to be interested in my books, who'd already rejected one of them, and I'd wished I hadn't even wasted the money on entering. But it was still worth it. A great morale boost, plus the comments I received were really helpful and encouraging. I'm still kind of riding that high.

  6. Mary, RWA tries to contact everyone in one day, but they don't always succeed.

    If they haven't contacted everyone by March 26th, then they will post the officical list.

    Tina, I remember one year that one of the category coordinators started calling a day early and created a lot of buzz. Finally, I think they all just started calling people. It was kinda fun, but crazy, because the whole thing lasted about 3 days!

  7. By 2005, I'd entered the Golden Heart several times and never finaled. So I didn't note the date calls would be made to finalists. When I got a call from the RWA office, Erin Fry, I think, on that Good Friday, I thought as president of my RWA chapter that I'd forgotten to file a report and made some comment to that effect. She said, "You don't know what date this is, do you?" And laughed. And just that quickly I knew. She went on to tell me I'd finaled. I got teary and babbled like an idiot. Orphaned Hearts didn't win, but I met three wonderful inspirational finalists: Tina, Julie and Myra. Myra's book won, but all of us had prayed for God's will and celebrated with her.

    In 2006, I entered Stolen Hearts and this time waited breathlessly for the call. I was in Florida at the time so I kept checking my answering machine at home. But no call. So that afternoon I went golfing, sorry I didn't final. When I got home, I found e-mails from the Seekers congratulating me. That's how I learned Stolen Hearts had finaled. Whoever had called wanted to speak to me in person and didn't leave a message until late that day. Missy's book was also a finalist that year. Neither of us won. But both finals were wonderful experiences I will always treasure.

    When you're flying that high, it's likely you'll crash too. Which is what I did in late summer of
    2005. I'd expected something good to come from that first final. Like a sale. Or at least an agent, but neither happened. And it was a tough pill to swallow.

    It wasn't until Steeple Hill announced they would launch the Love Inspired Historical line that Orphaned Hearts sold. This September that book will release as Courting Miss Adelaide.

    I'm not sure the Golden Heart impacted any of that, but it taught me about God's timing. It also gave me a reason to buy a great dress and gave me four very special friends...and from them this great group of writer friends at Seekerville. That makes me a winner. :-)


  8. Melanie, some people just naturally get more excited than others. Julie, for one! lol

    Also, I'm so used to talking business at the office, that I have this weird out-of-body feeling talking on the home phone with anybody regarding my writing....esp. if dh or the kids are in the same room.

  9. Janet Dean and Tina Russo!!! It's Donnell Epperson here. It's so cool to 'see' you! I'm on pins and needles with my two GH entries, but I'm trying not to think about it. Luckily, we had a mini-conference at my local chapter, so I'm busy getting my requested stuff ready to go to the editor I pitched to.

    Janet, I'm so excited that your book is coming out soon! Woo hoo and praise God for you! Can you believe it's been, what, 6-1/2 years since we met in New Orleans?


  10. Donnell, you sweet thing. How did you find us???

    I hope you final. You SO deserve it. You are such a hard working writer..through everything going on.

  11. When I got the GH call in 2005, I think I disappointed my caller when I didn't scream in her ear and act more excited. It was just one of those things where I'd had a really strong feeling my ms. would final, so when the call came, it was more like confirmation than a complete surprise.

    This year, not so confident but still hopeful. And I bet I sound a LOT more excited if the call does come!

    Hugs to Tina, Janet, & Julie, my co-finalists in 2005! THEY are absolutely the best thing to come out of the Golden heart experience!

  12. Janet, what a great call story. You're right: getting the call that you're a Golden Heart finalist doesn't automatically pave the road ahead with good tidings. Sometimes there are several more years of hard work ahead before you sell.

    And, as some of you have testified, there's more hard work afterwards too!

  13. Welcome Donnell! Wishing you all the best when calls go out.

  14. You know, I never got this. I never was on pins and needles, I never knew the day, and to await it breathlessly.

    I think that's a bad sign on my part. Not sure exactly which cog as slipped but one definitely has.

  15. Even now, with all this talk, well, I entered the Rita, but I just feel an absolute peace that I won't be a finalist that I can't seriously consider being anxious.

    And no, there is no chemical reason for my abnormal calm.

  16. Donnell, pink spyders are my favorite kind, especially coated in milk chocolate...

    Or was that ants?

    Or crickets? No, I think they're dark chocolate, the 60% variety, you know what I mean, very anti-oxidant, healthy-body friendly. The chocolate, not the crickets, I really don't think eating bugs or worms is all its cracked up to be.


    Tomorrow's the big day, huh? I didn't think of that all weekend, with the whole God Rising thing, joyous celebration of faith, praise in song, word and deed, you know, first things first...

    And the family wanted food.

    And my in-laws needed and deserved a visit.

    And the dogs had to use the outdoor facilities a number of times, so I didn't think of GH until last night, and went to bed thinking today was the day.


    But it's kind of fun to anticipate, isn't it? To wonder if a crew of FIVE judges can all agree to either love or not love your work.

    I'm the youngest of five girls. We can't agree on the time, much less reading tastes, so it's an interesting judging profile we've got going in the GH.

    So I'm looking at this like Christmas. Maybe you get a present, maybe you don't, but as long as there's chocolate, a box of wine and a commiserative friend, I'm okay.

    I'm okay.



    (A moment of silence to observe the expected and understandable ensuing pity party...)

    ... okay.



  17. Mary, I'm glad you entered the Rita. What's life, if we don't take a chance?

    And I have so much fun with your books that, prizewinners or not, they make the grade with me.

    You're solid, kid.


  18. Mary said: You know, I never got this. I never was on pins and needles, I never knew the day, and to await it breathlessly.

    Mary, you mean you never took the day off work to stay home and wait for the GH call?

    I did in 2004! Can you believe it?!? lol The problem was that I couldn't get on the internet because I was on dial-up (still am. ugh) and I couldn't write either. When the phone rang, I glared at it, wondering how I was going to get rid of my hubby or my mother FAST!

    But it was a unfamiliar perky woman's voice and she said "This is so-and-so with RWA." I said, "I know who you are!" lol

    Then, after I got off the phone and called my dh, I danced around the den for a few minutes before I realized I had FAST internet access and about 7 or 8 phone lines at work, so I went on to work.

    Truly, Mary has the right idea though. Too many years I haven't finalled, so it's better to just go about your business and hope for the best.

  19. Mary again: I just feel an absolute peace that I won't be a finalist.

    The problem with this is that I was so absolutely floored that my inspiration historical finalled in the Short Historical category in 2001, after the inspie category didn't make. So, never say never, Mary!

    Besides, your work is wonderful and I fully expect you to final in the RITA! Wouldn't that be so cool? The first Seeker RITA finalist!! Can't wait!

  20. Where's Ausjenny? Jenny, we miss you!

  21. One way to distract yourself from GH Call anxiety--make a dentist appointment. I'm due for my 6-month checkup, and when I called this morning, they "just happened" to have a cancellation at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

  22. I think I shared in an earlier post that my hubby got on the phone several times the day of the calls in 2006. Plus, my mom called and was chatty for the first time ever. I couldn't bear to cut her off. So I was very anxious.

    But I don't know why I was so crazy that year. I had sat by the phone several years before that without a call. I guess I'm just too big of an optimist. I'll be crazy when I finally get to enter the Rita next year.

    Welcome, Donnell!

    Melanie, it's hard to celebrate with wild kids around! LOL Can you imagine how much you would have scrared them if you'd screamed or started dancing and singing. :)


  23. Okay, Myra, that's one extreme measure I think I'll forgo!

  24. Yeah, Pam, I seriously considered saying no to that appointment so I could stay home and wait for THE CALL. But I was afraid if I didn't take the appointment, it would be a guarantee of absolutely NOT getting a call!

  25. Last year I coordinated FHL's TBL's Long Contemporary catagory, so I got to call the finalists. Boy, was I nervous, which is so weird becuase why would I be nervous calling someone to give her the good news?

    Today I've been e-mailing entrants to let them know their entries and/or entry forms and fees arrived. I'm already getting nervous about calling the finalists.

    Did I mention the deadline to enter the contest is April 1st? Spread the word.

    Oh. When my medieval finaled in the 2005 Golden Gateway historical category, I found out through e-mail. I stared for minutes at the e-mail before opening it because I was afraid it wasn't what I thought it was. That was one of the few times I was happy to be wrong.

    With the GH last year...well, I blogged about my response a few weeks ago. I didn't say anything to anyone for a day or two. Finally after two of my CPs were gushing about finaling in the Rita and GH, I figured I ought to tell them because they'd whack me upside the head if they heard about my final when the offical list was posted.

    Actually the whole call thing was such a blur that until the official Fed-Ex'ed confirmation arrived from RWA headquarters, along with the pretty gold heart, I still wasn't sure if I'd imagined the whole thing or not.

  26. I finaled in the Gotcha. At first, I wasn't going to answer the phone 'cause it was a long distance number on the ID and I thought it would be a salescall. But I did pick it up and boy was I shocked. I never even expected it. Let's just say, I probably scared my kids with all my screaming. Oh yes, it was wonderful. I can't imagine finaling in the Golden Heart. That would be an incredible honor.

  27. its the 25th in australia does that count?

  28. Pam im here.
    just last night i did something shocking! I read!!!!!!!!! The this morning i was running late.
    Oh no thats right last night the post came after i went to bed
    Its been an interesting weekend.
    Had to have the ambulance out to take mum to hospital 11.30pm saturday night. I collected her after Church Easter Sunday she seemed ok till she got home and started hulucinating again! but it stopped she slept well and i read!
    books that say dont put me down or else have a lot to answer for when its 1am and ididn't sleep the night before.
    So last night i didn't come online much. and this morning well i slept till the alarm went then had to work.
    Oh mum is fine today

  29. Gina - you called TBL long contemporary finalists last year? Oh my! Here's my story about that:

    My husband & daughter had gone to the movies, the baby was in bed and I'd just made popcorn for myself (and the dog). The phone rang. I worried it was a bad call about hubby & daughter (I worry like that - it's a quirk I gotta work on). When I answered, a woman asked to speak with Tammy Doherty. Telemarketer at that hour? Yup, that was my first thought. Quite sarcastically, or perhaps a touch nastily, I said "this is Tammy." (think - "ya, this is me, so what do you want already" and you've got my tone!) The lady - Gina! - introduced herself, told me I finaled, explained what would happen next. All I remembered was that my manuscript finaled in a contest. Whoo-hoo!

    Sorry I didn't register your name, Gina. I was just too excited, although you probably couldn't tell by my bland tone of voice. But I'm with Mary - I have complete confidence that I will not final in the big national contests (GH and/or Genesis) so I'm not going to fret about it. And when I do finally get another call, I'll try to sound more excited and actually remember who I'm talking to!

    At least when I don't get the call, I'll know I "lost" to some fantabulous writers :-)

    Tammy - who won't be sitting by the phone all day tomorrow, waiting for 'the call''s just my job to have that headset and wireless connected to me all day long. Really, it is my job....LOL

  30. Tammy, how funny!! And to think poor Gina got the brunt of your irritation. :)

    I'm still laughing that you AND the dog get the popcorn. My dog loves to sit and wait for me to "drop" pieces. Yes, I admit, I drop them accidentally on purpose. :)

    We seem to have a lot in common. I have that worry quirk as well. So does Mary, by the way. When her phone rings, she begins to plan the color casket she'll need. (Sorry, Mary, I had to share your secret quirk.) ;)


  31. To be honest, my favorite contest call was an email from MARA's Fiction form the Heartland contest. I'm not sure why, but I love that contest. Manuscripts are judges in their different categories and ten overall finalists are chosen from all the entries. Out of those ten, first, second and third place are chosen. I won first place in 2003 with a Historical entry and then again last year with Gladiator.

    I was thrilled to see Melanie Dickerson won this year. That makes two years in a row that an Inspirational author has won. YAY!!

    Fingers are crossed for all the GH and Rita contestants tomorrow. Can't wait to see who all you finalists are. :-)

  32. Missy - it's great to know I'm not so strange. Or at least that I have company in Strangeland!

    Our dog loves 'homemade' popcorn (not microwave). She prefers it to be handed to her - she takes each piece daintily, like a lady :-) She won't eat it off the floor...until she's sure the bowl is empty!

    Today is the day! Best of luck to all the GH entrants.

  33. Hi Donnell!!! I'm tickled to see you here!! Hoping you get good news on your GH entries!!! It was so great seeing you at RWA last year.


  34. Gina, It does feel a little surreal doesn't it? You begin to think you imagined the whole thing. At least that letter proved that it really happened!

    Jessica, I know what you mean about answering the phone when it's long-distance or a private number. Still, I've had some good calls like that.

    Jenny, so glad your mum is feeling better. What a scare!

    Oh, Tammy, I do the same thing. I get a lot of telemarketers at work, and if I've got time I play with them like a cat with a mouse! lol

    Once I got this guy so flustered that when I asked him, "What do you sell?" and he said "We sell free stuff" I lost it. I just howled in his ear. "You sell FREE stuff?!" lol It was one of the funniest TM calls I've ever had.

  35. CARLA!

    Too cool about winning the Fiction from the Heartland contest.

    Marrying Mariah won 1st place overall in 2000 or 2001. Next to the Golden Heart, that was one of the most exciting wins for me too.

  36. Pam - that's funny about the TM call. My husband likes to "play" with them too (sometimes). Once he asked a telemarketer for her company phone # so he could call her back. Boy was she flustered!

    Congrats to everyone on past wins and finals. I hope to read about lots of you getting 'the call' today :-)

  37. Best wishes Myra, Pam, and Mary, and anyone else who entered.

    I think Myra's got the right idea, although a dentist appt might be extreme. You need a distraction. I could never sit around and wait for a phone call, which is why I would probably never pay much attention to the announcement dates.

    And since I never answer phone calls from unfamiliar numbers, I'd more than likely get a voicemail message and have to return the call, which might then cause anxiety. So when I get to the point of serious contest entry, I may have to rethink that practice. (g)

  38. Pam's just getting us revved. Since I'm a day late posting then the calls did go out..or emails for those who didn't get calls. I know one gal Kit Wilkinson who finaled in the GH and I am SOOOO proud of her!!!! Just had to shout a big WOO HOO!


  39. Only 3 calls on the FHL loop - Linda is RITA, Kelly is GH Contem. and I don't know what category Denise entered.

    Should there be more calls for Inspy finalists?

    The RWA website says calls are going out on the 26th...guess they just didn't get to them all. Not that I'm waiting, 'cause I'm not. I know I won't be getting a call. Actually, I'm pretty sure I won't because I entered before making what I consider the "winning" edits ;D

    Hope to see lots of excited messages on the loops tomorrow :-)