Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Welcome to Love Inspired Debut Author, Carla Capshaw

What To Expect When You Final in the Golden Heart
Musings from a 2x Winner

With calls going out next week and tension levels rising, some of you writers may be wondering what possessed you last November to enter the Golden Heart. For those of you who don't know, the Golden Heart contest is presented by Romance Writer's of America and is the Romance writing industry's combined Oscar, Golden Globe and Palme d'Or for its pre-published authors. In other words, it's a pretty big deal. If you don't final, no worries. The GH is not a mandatory step toward publication, but if you do final get ready for an awesome ride and RWA's National conference to be a whole lotta fun. ;-)

Why, you may ask, is it fun? To answer that, I have to back up a step or three and give some perspective. The Golden Heart is a hard nut to crack. For fifty bucks you get five judges who give you a subjective number and...that's it. No comments on how to make the manuscript better, no reasons for the cruddy score you totally didn't deserve, and no excuses for why she turned into a lunatic and grew fangs the day they judged GH manuscripts and totally missed the brilliance that is your story. Unfortunately, it only takes one troll, er, perfectly impartial judge to knock a great manuscript out of contention. In fact, given the subjectivity of the GH judging process (which bears an eerie resemblance to the real world book buying public) it's safe to say not every entry that deserves to final does. However, it's also safe to say that anyone who does final does deserves it.

If you do final--and I'm assuming all of you will :-) -- congratulations! You should be very happy. Your writing life has just begun an instant upswing. The months between finaling and the awards ceremony should not be squandered. You may never have as great an opportunity to generate interest in your pre-pubbed writing than you do in these next few golden months.

Does a GH final mean a sure fire sale? Unfortunately, no, but it does provide instant credibility with agents and editors, so get those query letters out there. Polish the partials and perfect the fulls because you will receive requests for them. That said, do not miss registration day for editor and agent appointments at RWA's national conference. IMO, the biggest perk of being a current GH finalist is that you get first pick at those all-important time slots. No group sessions for you. Do your homework. Pick your dream agent/editor and have your computer ready bright and early on sign-up day.

If you're a finalist, short of selling your first born to garner the necessary funds, do attend RWA's national shindig, this year being held in San Francisco. Conference signals the last few days of being able to work your "current Golden Heart finalist" status. Granted, I haven't been a Rita contender (here's hoping ;-), but having been a GH winner twice, I think it might be even more important for GHers to make the conference than Rita finalists. Where the Ritas are kudos for a job well done, the Golden Heart is serious business for those on the cusp of breaking into the fiercely competitive world of Romance Publishing. If you're committed to selling, the only way to do it is to make contact with the agents and editors who want to publish your work. IMHO, face to face contact works wonders and there's no better ice-breaker/door opener/interest wrangler for a pre-pub than being able to say you're up for that pretty golden bling.

Which brings me back to why conference is fun. From the moment you pick up your badge with "Golden Heart Finalist" in bold letters beneath your name, you're the belle of the ball. Along with all the business benefits and the cute golden heart pin you're given, there's the champagne reception, which is a blast even if you don't drink like me because you get to mingle and squeal with all your favorite authors and fellow finalists. The awards ceremony takes on a whole new level of excitement when you're sitting in the front rows. When the presenter reads off the finalists in your category, it's just plain fun seeing your picture on the jumbotron and hearing your name and book title announced before an audience of your peers.

When you get the call next week congratulating you on your Golden Heart final, pick yourself up off the floor from where you've fainted ;-), do a Snoopy dance with your critique partners and then get going. You've got a lot of work to do and a ton of fun to have in the coming months.

Blessings to each of you,

Carla Capshaw

Carla is promoting the new Love Inspired Historical line by giving away this month's releases. That's two books. One book to two names randomly drawn at 9 pm MST. Just comment on her post today and leave a method to reach you. For a peek at this month's releases: Love Inspired Historicals.

Visit Carla at
2004 and 2007 Golden Heart winner, Florida native, Carla Capshaw has wanted to be a writer & world traveler since she was ten years old. A lover of passionate stories with compelling, nearly impossible conflicts, she's found Inspirational Historical Romance is the perfect vehicle to combine lush settings, vivid characters, and a Christian worldview. Her Roman set, debut novel will be published by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals in June of 2009. Currently working on a sequel, she still lives in Florida, but is always planning her next trip...and plotting her next story.


  1. Welcome to Seekerville, Carla.

    Hmmmm, I wonder how many of today's readers will fess up to entering this year's GH. I wonder how many are nail biting already?

    I had to check, this year calls early aren't they? Looks like a Monday and Tuesday instead of Friday.

  2. Congrats Carla on your debut book coming out next year. Thats so exciting.

    I look forward to seeing who will be in the finals of the GH.

    Oh and for the book drawing I have to say it
    Pick me Please.
    Its ok if i dont get picked.

  3. Carla, What a fun and exciting ride you had and are still having it sounds like. Congratulations on the new historical line. I'm looking forward to it. my cell number is 480 225 6245.

    Thanks for giving us such insight on the life of a finalist. The national conference is so huge and can be overwhelming. It must have been extral special to have all that inside attention.

    As a finalist, were you able to get extra appointments for the conference? Or was it just easier to talk to the editors and agents as you ran into them at the parties etc.?

  4. Carla, I'm going to forego the customary instant welcome to focus on one thing:

    You called a judge a troll...

    ROF, LOL!!!!!

    Love it thiiiiiiiis much.

    (And I can say that because as Mary likes to point out ad nauseum, I'm a troll judge...


    So nice to have you here, kiddo, and super congrats on both your GH wins and your sale to LI historical. Smart people over there, to grab that hot potato manuscript up like they did. Awesome work.

    And Tina's right: (like there's a surprise...) who will 'fess up and admit they entered????

    I did, first time, so I'm a virginal GH entrant, but no pins and needles. That's the joy of having a really smack-down busy life, I rarely know what day it is except for major holidays, and that's only because my family expects food.

    So I gotta shop for some.

    Come on, out there, who else jumped into the water?

    We can commiserate together next week.

    Or slap each other on the back.

    Either way, we toughed it out, right? And there's a lot to be said for having the guts enough to put it out there.


    You said FIVE judges????

    Say it ain't so.

    I'm Irish. I don't know five people of ANY ethnicity who all agree on the same thing.




  5. Hey, um, an email addy is sufficient for the drawing. We get a lot of tourists through here who do not have a visible profile on Blogger and when I draw their names I cannot reach them, unless they left an email addy.

  6. I'll fess up to admitting I'm disqualified from this year's GH. Never enter a contest in a hurry. And if you do enter, double check the contest rules. Stooopid double-spaced synos.

    Yeah, Ruthy, five judges. And you only get a number score, which actually is kinda nice with judging.

    And on that contest note...

    The deadline to enter the TOUCHED BY LOVE contest is rapidly approaching. Didn't Carla win this one last year?

    Inspirational Romance Categories: Contemporary (under 75,000 words), Contemporary (over 75,000 words) and Historical.

  7. Wow, that sounds SO exciting. It makes me want to enter, lol. Congratulations to you for finaling twice. That's really an honor. Thanks for the blog.

  8. You guys never run out of ideas do you?? This was a terrific post - once again! I kind of think of this site as "school" sometimes, and I better start taking notes!

    And I'm going to be honest, these book drawings "draw" me in too, so count me in on the fun!!

    A Seekerville fan,

  9. Ooops! Forgot my email address for the drawing!

    kimfurd at hotmail dot com

  10. Hi Tina and Jenny!

    Thanks for posting. :-) This is my first blog so I was nervous no one would. lol

    You're right, Tina, this years calls are a different day than usual. I know last year was a Sunday because I was driving home from Savannah, not breaking the speed limit, but just about in an effort to get to the phone since my cell had died. Ugh!

    Jenny, since except for the lovely Tina who invited me today, you're my first ever blog poster (THANK YOU) go to my website,, join my newsletter loop (there's always a catch ;-) and send me your address by email on my Contact page. Let me know which of the LIH books you'd like this month and I'll happily send it to you.

  11. Congrats Carla! Your book is amazing from all that you told us and I can't wait to read it.

    I didn't enter the GH this year, but perhaps next years if I'm not agented and sold by then. :)

    Can't wait for Nationals. I love it!!! And can't wait to see you with your first sell ribbon. :D

  12. Carla - great post. And look at all these comments. You won't be lonely today :-)

    I entered GH - again. Like Gina, I got disqualified once because of a stooopid rule (page # in header not footer) I learned my lesson :-0 I'm not waiting for a call, though. I'm a pessimistic optimist (cynical is a better word). I know I'm not going to final so I won't worry about a call. Of course, there's almost no way I could possibly go to the conference so that almost guarentees I'll final. See, I'm such an pessimistic optimist!

    One day I will be at one of these conventions and I hope to meet all you FHL-er's that have been so helpful this past year.

    Tammy Doherty
    2007 TBL finalist (I finalled, must be doing something right!!)

  13. Hmmm, you ladies almost make me want to be an author just so I can enter contests like this (I'm naturally very competitive :-) But in the meantime, I'll continue to read, review and interview all of you!

    ryanx6 [at] msn [dot] com

  14. Hi Sandra,

    Great to see you! Thanks for visiting!

    You asked: "As a finalist, were you able to get extra appointments for the conference? Or was it just easier to talk to the editors and agents as you ran into them at the parties etc.?"

    I want to answer this, but please delete you post. Having your number there is making me nervous. :-)

    As a GH finalist, you don't get *extra* appointments, but you do get *first pick* (one each) with your favorite editor and agent. For example, when I finalled in 2004, I researched and found out the Michelle Grawjkowski at the Three Seas Literary was the only editor looking for Colonial set Historicals, the type of story I had at the time. I prayed about it, made the appt. the first day of sign-ups and she signed me two weeks after National that year. Thank the Lord because she's wonderful and I love her dearly! Granted, nothing is impossible with God's help, but without the GH final, I may never have met her. She only took a handful of appointments that year and they filled up that first day.

    Being a GH finalist also makes it 'easier' for doors to open with editors and agents. You have to be willing to overcome shyness (definitely me) to talk to them, but a GH final signals that you're at the very tippy top of the slush pile and they do express more of an interest in your work. Most editors and agents *are* trying to find new material to buy and they're looking for writers who are serious about their craft. They know how competitive the GH is, so knowing you're a finalist does give you some 'street cred' with them.

  15. I like Vicki's attitude. If I am not sold and agented by then.


  16. In fact, given the subjectivity of the GH judging process (which bears an eerie resemblance to the real world book buying public) it's safe to say not every entry that deserves to final does

    One of the smartest things I've ever read about entering contests. Brava, Carla!

    As a former RITA finalist, the conference is pretty fun then, too.

  17. Hi Ruth,

    Well...sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade. lol

    I bet you're not a troll at all. IMO, a troll is one who marks unnecessarily low based on their own biases. You know, the ones who give a 2 out of 5 with an "I only like Historicals" on your Contemporary manuscript or worse, a low score with no feedback at all. Ugh!

    OTOH, if a judge can support her low score and gives helpful comments, she's not a troll. She's lovely and wonderful. Hopefully, we all fall in this category if and when we ever have to give a less than stellar score. :-)

  18. Hey Gina,

    I loved your blog the other day! Too bad about your DQ, but I better everyone else who entered this year is breathing a sigh of relief. ;-)

    The Touched By Love contest is WAY cool! Yes, I won last year. The certificate is gorgeous and the money prize is helpful for all those writing expenses. Any Inspy authors who haven't entered, should give it a try. It's a great contest!

  19. Jessica and Kim, thanks for posting! Kim, The Seekers is a great blog. I've gotten hooked on it in the last few weeks myself.

  20. Okay, I just noticed your comment photo shows you in front of the Roman colosseum, LOL. I love it.

    Nice tie in to your release, The Heart Beckons.


  21. Hi, Carla! So glad you're here today. I was cracking up at your desperate email to FHL. :) If I'd known you were nervous, I would have gotten online before cleaning my filthy house. (Gee, wish I'd had the excuse not to do it earlier). I do know how nerve wracking a first blog experience is, though. You did a great job!

    As I was reading, I was feeling that ol' GH excitement once again! I remember the day calls went out a couple of years ago. My mom called and for the first time in her whole life was chatty! Then my hubby got on the phone like three times to discuss who knows what. And he's not usually chatty on the phone either. I could NOT believe it! I was a wreck all day. And you know, I think that's the year I finally (after years and years of entering) got the call.

    Of course, that finalling manuscript still hasn't sold. :)

    So good to see some new faces on here today! Thanks for visiting Seekerville.

    Hey, for any who haven't seen it yet, Carla has a great new website! Be sure to check it out:


  22. Please don't dispute Ruthy's troll-ishness. She's been known to reach throught the computer screen and slap people just to reinforce her tough image.

  23. So we've got someone here who was disqualified for single spacing a snop......
    and someone disqualified for putting the page number in the header rather than the footer?


    I got disqualifed once for single spacing MY snop, too. Hello picky! It's not like I used Wingding font and neon pink ink. C'mon people!
    Nit pick much????

  24. Now I'll tell you a little GH story and NO, it's not the one where I got a ONE for Petticoat Ranch, a ONE, a stinking, slimy cruel, awful low score that was just plain nasty and undeserved. But I'm over it, so I won't speak more about that ridiculous ONE, this was about six months before I got it contracted mind you, but moving on, because I am so over that ONE!

    No, my story is about Montana Rose (formerly called China Doll). Coming in 2009 from Barbour!
    I was having a lot of good things happen in contests with Montana Rose the year I entered it in the GH. So sure, let's give the Golden Heart a whirl. I printed it up (that's when you had to send a printed manscript to prove you had a finished book) and had it all ready, waiting for the first opportunity to mail it.
    I had the date memorized when it needed to go in the mail.
    The date came, I got out my oh, so shiny manuscript and checked online for the mailing address and

    It's missed the deadline.

    I have no idea why I thought it was the date I had memorized.

    It was so absurd I couldn't even feel bad about it, seriously, like God Himself must have not wanted me to enter that year.

    Probably clearing the road for Pam or Myra to win.'re welcome.

  25. Actually, my dq was for page # in footer when should be header. Ya, way nit picky! To lose $50 over something an editor would probably forgive/overlook really hurt. But I got over it (eventually!)

    Once, I entered TBL and received an e-mail advising me of a better way to format my entry & offering me to make the change before the entry deadline. That's how contests should be run. I know, GH has more entries (probably?) so can't be as flexible as TBL.

    FHL judges are nicer, too. Sorry, Mary :-0 You're comments were "harsh" but in that constructive way a critique should be done. I'm a big FHL/TBL fan, in case someone hasn't noticed :-)

  26. And another thing about that ONE, which no longer bothers me AT ALL, completely at peace with the ONE, the lowest score possible, I got discrepancy judged and
    well, anyway, no sense belaboring it, because of course I'M OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!

    When I got the entry back with my scores...this was when you sent a disk with your book saved on it. Do they still make you do that, or is it online now?
    When I opened my score sheets the disk was broken. As if the person who gave Petticoat Ranch that creepy ONE had hated it so much that giving me a ONE wasn't enough for her. She also took the disk and smashed it into a thousand people.

    I mean, sure, it could have gotten broken in shipping, but I always suspected otherwise.

  27. Oh, and by the way, welcome Carla!

  28. Carla,
    Congrats on your GHs and on your debut historical! I'll be watching for it! It's great that Steeple Hill is publishing historicals. We all love them! And having a faith element will be even better.

    So glad the RWA conference was a good experience for you. I didn't attend for a number of years, thinking I wasn't close enough to publication to spend the time and money on the BIG conference. Once I made the plunge and attended my first RWA, I decided the benefits were worth every penny. Hope to see you there this year!

    Tammy, congrats on your FHL final! I hope lots of folks will be attending the FHL conference in SF on Wed prior to RWA! There's a great lineup of speakers, and it should be a fantastic day!

  29. Hey Missy! So glad you're here--even if you had to clean your house first. lol

    I put out an equally pathetic plea to my home chapter of TARA and Vicki, Julie and Phyllis dropped by! Hi you guys! So glad you visited. I'll pay you later. ;-)

  30. Carla says she's giving away a copy of my first historical for Love Inspired, FRONTIER COURTSHIP, and I'm delighted. I LOVE that book. It was written simply because I desperately wanted to, and ended up just right for Love Inspired's historicals. Is God's timing awesome, or what?
    Valerie Hansen

  31. Hi Tammy,

    I think all of us are like you and your "pessimistic optimistism" from time to time. That's probably good so we stay humble, yet hopeful.

    Thanks for posting!

  32. Mary, my beautiful and dearly beloved friend, you got the best judge of all..

    An editor who signs checks.

    And well deserved, girlfriend.

    And don't you be goin' out there, tellin' my friend Carla that I'm really a troll...

    She knows otherwise, in fact, she thinks I'm a pretty cool gal.

    (Carla, remember me? Big teeth, frizzy hair? Attitude out the wazoo????)

    And Carla, you're right about those judges that come into a contest with a preconceived notion.
    Many a good manuscript has fallen between the cracks because of that.

    (Note: I am telling myself this so that when I don't final next week, I can blame 'those judges'... Kind of fore-shadowing the whole thing, ya know?)


  33. I can't wait to try my luck at the GH again. My first try my scores were dismal, but last year I did much better. I am working on a manuscript right now to enter next year. Good luck to all who are awaiting to hear their results.

  34. Hi Janna,

    How cool we have a promoter in the house! :-)

    I hope you'll give the new Steeple Hill Love Inspired books a try...but only review them if you love 'em, k? Just kidding of course. That only applies to mine. ;-)

    Seriously, I'm so glad you came by. Blessings to you!

  35. Monday and Tuesday as in 3/24 & 3/25?? I didn't realize it was so soon. Next week is going to be so exciting!

  36. Wow, we are going to have to refill the croissant tray and make more coffee.

    Welcome ladies. Julie Leto and Valerie Hansen are here, egads, I have to go change out of my jammies.

    I love the GH countdown and the frenzy online. Such fun.

  37. Oh, no! I judged you in FHL, Tammy.

    Ummm...I judge differently on days I'm annoyed with my husband. I hope you didn't get the... threw a fit because he ran out of clean underwear day.

    Or worse yet the...threw a fit because he wasn't in the mood for chicken and biscuits day.

  38. Congrats on your book coming out, Carla.

    I'll fess up. I entered the GH for the first time this year and will be attending the National Conference for the first time as well. This is all new to me and enjoying the experience.

    Loved the article and I cannot wait to read your book. Historical Inspirational is my favorite.

  39. Congrats on WINNING the GH twice Carla! You deserved it both times! And I cannot wait to buy your book and have you autograph it!

  40. Pam’s GH secrets:

    You will need a headshot ASAP. If you don’t have one, don’t spend $500 on glamour photos. Find a friend with a REALLY good digital camera and take a bunch of pictures. My publicity shots are 7 years old. I’m already replacing them with THIS digital pic made by my 14 yo. No, it’s probably not what I’d want on my book, but it’ll do for now.

    In years past, RWA posted a spreadsheet of attending editors and agents. I can’t find it on the website right now, but get your hands on that sheet ASAP. Research any that are acquiring what you write.

    Don’t be afraid to send query letters (or some form of communication) to all the agents and editors who have already rejected the ms even if they aren’t going to RWA. Also, branch out and send to all the ones you DIDN’T send to the first time!

    For those editors and agents who will be attending RWA, include a note in your query letter that you would like to meet with them unofficially at the conference at their convenience.

    Join the unofficial 2008 Golden Heart loop when it is formed. If you frequent any loops, you’ll probably see it posted, or someone will email you. It is a fount of info mainly because there are always repeat finalists who are willing and able to answer every question imaginable for the next 4 months….long after your family and non-GH writing friends have moved on. I belong to the 2001 and 2004 groups.

    Didn’t enter this year for the first time since….uh…2000. I didn’t have a new full ms (yes, the ms has to be complete to enter the GH) that I felt was ready.

    Okay, make that SOME of Pam's secrets. I'm sure I left out a bunch. Work the final, but don't be obnoxious is the key.

    Pam – 3 time GH finalist: 2001, double 2004; 2004 Winner

  41. Hi Tina,

    My Meez with the Colosseum is my regular and writer Meez. I got the background from the Meez site. The one you used today (from WAP?) is my St. Patrick's Day Meez. I'm a 1/4 Irish and green is my *favorite* color. :-)

  42. And C.J. Wilson is here!!!

    Welcome, C.J.

    Are you eligible for the
    RITA this year?

    How many Seekers are RITA eligible?

  43. Carla said: Being a GH finalist also makes it 'easier' for doors to open with editors and agents. You have to be willing to overcome shyness (definitely me) to talk to them….

    At the 2001 reception for the RITA and GH finalists, an editor from one of the CBA houses was there. She only came in for the awards ceremonies and to meet with some of her authors. She wasn’t there to take appointments or anything. But since she was there and I was there lol, I introduced myself and she agreed to take a second look at my ms. As always, don’t butt in on another conversation, but try to make contact if you can without…again…being obnoxious.

    One year at the ACFW conference, I desperately wanted to talk just a FEW moments with a particular editor, but she was always surrounded by other people. The timing was never right, and since I can tell when others are hovering, I’m sure an editor or agent can too! Never did connect with her that year.

    (Hey, we need a post about how to hover gracefully. Maybe we can get an editor or agent in here to talk about that! lol)

  44. Mary,

    You crack me up. That's all I've got to say. ;-)

    That, and selling is the best revenge for any old 1. :-)

  45. Congrats on your GH experiences. I, like Gina, DQ'd this year, and I'll echo her comment: Never, never run into the post office at five minutes till closing time after dashing to the copy store 15 minutes earlier! SIGH. Oh, well. Lesson learned.

    Nice blog, Carla. :-)

  46. More fun stuff about the GH:

    People you don’t know congratulate you on the elevator.

    Out of almost 2000 people, someone eyed me across a table of eight and informed me she had judged my 2001 GH finalling entry. I have her card somewhere and I know who she.

    Oh…if you are a double (or triple!) finalist, you get a ribbon for each final. I only had one in my packet and requested another one. Hey, you’re due! And you get one of those little gold heart-shaped pins to put on your name badge. If you win, you get a heart-shaped pendant necklace.

  47. Julie! Long time no see...not that you'd remember, but you and another gal did a fun workshop at Magnolia State Romance Writers in Mississippi a few years ago. It was great.

    Welcome to Seekerville!

  48. Hi Carla,

    Way back in the twentieth century (1999) I was a GH finalist. From your description, nothing much has changed. The same angst, trolls, and wonderful opportunities. Someone asked about getting extra appts. as a GH finalist. Here's what I did. I signed up for the appt. that RWA so kindly allowed. Then I bravely told a couple of other editors I ran into (on purpose) that I was a GH finalist. They expressed interest, I chit-chatted nicely for a couple of minutes and next thing I know they said, "Send me the book."

    So, yes, being a finalist really does get the attention of agents and editors. The ending to my story is that I sold to two of those editors within months. I felt like Cinderella!!

    Linda Goodnight
    award winning author

  49. Tammy, huge congrats on your final! Yes, you must be doing something right. FHL is a big contest.

    And yeah, that's a dumb reason to be DQed for the GH.

  50. I'm not naming names, but someone (Mary) wrote, "Ummm...I judge differently on days I'm annoyed with my husband. I hope you didn't get the... threw a fit because he ran out of clean underwear day."

    THIS, my sweets, is a *perfect* example of a troll judge. ;-)

  51. 51 comments??!!! Good grief, I got here late.

    Well, I'm kinda glad I started my crazed contest-entering binge after the deadline for the GH, or else I'd be really nervous next week. And I doubt I have anything I could hock that would bring enough moolah to get me to San Francisco this summer. Maybe next year. Then again, I hope I'm not eligible next year.

  52. Oh, and congratulations, Carla, on your first book with Steeple Hill! Woo hoo! And it's not a bonnet book, either! Gives me hope for my medievals.

  53. Oh, my gosh, Carla! I didn't recognize your photo! :-) Or your writing name! We sat at the same table at the GRW Maggie Awards luncheon two years ago when you won! And we chatted last year at RWA!

    I AM excited about your book! And love your website!
    All the best!

    PS: Hi CL! Glad you could stop by! Hey, Valerie!

  54. Awesome bunch of faces on board today...

    Linda, haven't seen you in forever, girl! Welcome to Seekerville.

    And C.J....

    If I get another chance at life, I'm picking C.J. or A.J. as my name. They're just that cool.

    And Tammy, did I judge you as well, either in the Barclay or FH&L?


    Maybe we should talk about that privately, hmm???


    And Julie, Valerie: Heidi Ho, good neighbors! Welcome aboard.

    Tina, there's a fresh bag of Starbucks Hazelnut alongside the coffee bar and I just opened a new tray of home-made Easter cookies.

    Help yourself, ladies, and don't be afraid to have seconds. I think Cheryl's coming soon with a nice, nut-studded almond Danish. Outrageously good.


  55. Congrats on BOTH your Golden Heart wins, Carla!!! And on your upcoming release :-)

    I finaled in the GH 3 times, 3 years running and like you say, its definitely a fun ride and one I wish for everyone!

    I love your point about subjectivity, too. Judges, like readers, will be all over the map.

  56. Carla, your post is inspiring not only to GH entrants, but all writers!

    In years past I've judged a couple of GH entries that IMO deserved to final--and more. I was so disappointed when they didn't.

    One of the many things I love about you (besides your talent) is how upbeat you always are. You definitely know how to make the most of every opportunity--and it's paid off big!

  57. Did I mention that RWA Faith, Hope & Love inspirational chapter is hosting a contest, TOUCHED BY LOVE, for unpublished authors.

  58. NO, it's not the one where I got a ONE for Petticoat Ranch, a ONE, a stinking, slimy cruel, awful low score that was just plain nasty and undeserved.

    OKAY, Mary, we know, we know.

    Seekerville visitors, I've tried to tell Mary that the judge was confused and thought a 1 was a perfect score, but NOOOOO, she insists on telling this story over, and over, and over. Sheesh!

    Oh, and for the record, Petticoat Ranch is now a published book, for crying out loud.

  59. Oh my GOSH, Tammy got Ruthy and me BOTH?

    I can only say that the whole PMS judging component may not be fair (this sentence does NOT relate to the above sentence mentioning Ruthy btw, or me for that matter, it's just one of those facts of life) but it is reality.

    Judging are human and sometimes, maybe, they're not giving an entry their best selves.

    For more information go to

    Or maybe this is more of a vodoo thing...

  60. Nothing in the writing world has ever made me as nervous as waiting for the call on GH call day.

    Not even appts. with editors.

    I don't know why, but it's just so exciting!

  61. Congrats on your two GH Wins, Carla, and on your first sale! I can't wait to read your debut book :-)

    I finaled in the GH 3 times (double final in 06, single final in 07) and won last year and both years were a complete blast! Of course, I'm partial to the GH because I sold as result of my editor being one of the final judges *g*

    Best of luck to everyone who entered this year's GH and RITA contest!

  62. I don't tell the story on my stupid ONE in the GH that often, Pam. Because I am completely over it!

  63. Wow, Beth Andrews is here.

    Mary, pass her an espresso. And do not eat the last amaretti cookie.

    Congrats on your sales..multiple even to Supers, Beth.

    She sold her GH winning msc to them. Neat huh???

  64. Carla, wise words for GH finalists! I finaled a couple of years ago and sold my first book immediately after (not the finalist ms, but one that was already with editors).

    My advice to finalists is to immediately email any editors who have any of your submissions and let them know the good news. It ups your kudos immediately and encourages them to read you faster.

  65. Hi Debby!

    That's too funny. I knew I knew your name and couldn't place from where. Now, I remember how lovely it was to speak to you both times.

    Thanks for jogging my memory and for stopping by. *And* for being excited about my book! lol I hope to see you in SF this summer, too.

  66. Marlene!

    Thanks for coming by, Sweetie!! Marlene is one of my CPs who puts up with me endlessly. I love her to death.

    If any of you happen to remember my goofy, bobble-headed acceptance speech at the GH last year, this is the Marlene I 'couldn't remember'. When I said, "I know I'm forgetting someone *really* important" my friends yelled from the audience, "Marlene!"


    Thankfully, she loves and forgave my blonde moment. I don't know what I'd do without her if she didn't. :-)

    Any don't worry, babe, your GH day is coming.


  67. Amy,

    Congratulations on taking that first GH step! I'm so glad you're enjoying the ride. :-)

    I'll be at National this year, so look me up if you'd like while you're there. As some of the other ladies have said you're first conference can be a little overwhelming, but don't worry, you'll do great!

    Thanks for being interested in my book! I really hope you enjoy the whole line of Love Inspired Inspirationals as well.

  68. Hi (NYT Bestseller :-) C.L. Wilson!

    Thanks for coming by. I just love her. If any of you enjoy fantastic Fantasy novels, her Tairen Soul Series is FANTABULOUS!!!

  69. Great post. I keep forgetting to enter it because, well, I keep forgetting when it is. Someone wanna remind me this year? :D Unless I sell by then.

  70. welcome and sign me up.

    b dot werts at sbcglobal dot net

  71. Pam, thank you for more wonderful GH advice! I totally forgot about the picture business. Mostly because I hate having mine taken (thus the Meez today). I had mine snapped at Walmart or somewhere for the 2004 GH and just used the same one again last year.

    Terrific reminder about contacting those editors, too! Offering to meet for unofficial appts is brilliant! I never thought of that--see, I said I was shy.

    The thing about the yearly loop is that it's unoffical. The Wet Noodle Posse was the first one in 2003?? I could be wrong on that, but I'm pretty sure it's the one that started the trend. Anyway, there will probably be one from here on out, but you never know since they're voluntary. If there is a loop, do like Pam said and join it. Every answer to even the tiniest question can usually be had there.

    Thanks again, Pam!

  72. Carla, The 2001 GH finalists had a loop. That's how I met Delle Jacobs, Judy Duarte and Debra Holland. Judy, Debra & I were finalists in the Short Historical Category.

    I don't know what I would have done without the 2001 GH loop!

    Again, it's all unofficial on Yahoo, so if you final, don't contact RWA asking about the 2008 loop. It's usually formed by one of the finalists.

  73. Hi Carla,
    Sorry I'm late to comment on your wonderful blog. Kudos on both your wins. If your entry is typical of those who win, the the GH picks only the best.

    I'm waiting to see your name up in lights for the Rita.

    Jean Mason--who's still waiting to read some of book 2!!

  74. Leslie, lesson learned. Hopefully, you won't be eligible by next November, but if you are, my fingers are crossed for you. :-)

    Linda G., I just LOVE hearing success stories like yours! Magnifico!

    Melanie, a "Bonnet book"? I never heard that, but it's a perfect description. lol Yep, LIH is looking for lots of time periods from what I understand. Mine is set in Ancient Rome as is my sequel.

    The first month LIHs were out they featured a Medieval. Did you get a chance to see that one? It's call THE Briton.

    Thanks to all three of you for coming by!

  75. Hi Tawny, Karen and Beth! Three of my favorite people in the world. :-)

    Thanks so much for visiting!!

  76. Oh Carla you made my day.
    I have joined your email list and have sent you an email.

    I have enjoyed reading all the posts. i think i have now missed breakfast and in danger of being late again but it was worth it.

    wonder if anyone will write a book on a writer entering contests waiting for there big break. I think this blog would give lots of inspiration especially the coments!

  77. Abby, great suggestion about contacting any editors who may already have your work. Like I was saying, editors want good stuff and a GH final signals that you've got the goods.

    Pammer, lol. Go mark your calendar now. Nov. 1 is D-day.

    Bev, you're in.

    Thanks for you comments!

  78. Hi Jean!!

    Another of my wonderful (and abused) CPs. Thank you for commenting.

    And I'm working on it, I promise I am. ;-)

  79. Jenny,

    It has been a great day, hasn't it! Everyone has been so lovely and helpful. Thanks for joining my loop (even if I did have to bride you. ;-)

    Now, get some breakfast and have a fabulous day! :-)

  80. Carla, Carla, Carla, are you like an officer in the marines and you ordered youw whole platoon to leave a comment? Wow, girl. what a great day on Seekerville.

  81. LOL. She's a hoot isn't she?

    At least we were prepared. Of course the entire desert tray is gone, someone even ate the centerpiece.

    I'll be back later tonight to pick the book winners.

    Carla, thank so much for joining us today. I mean, I'll still be around but I've got to make Mary and Ruthy start cleaning up this place. He he.

  82. Welcome to Seekerville, Carla!

    Can't wait to read your books!

    Cheryl Wyatt

  83. Nope, no Marines, Mary. Just wonderful friend. :-)

    I did just want to add a thank you to everyone who came by and especially to Tina who invited me today. You all are wonderful!!

    Also, I received an email from Hannah Alexander. She and Valerie are the authors of this month's LIHs I'll be giving away. Her house has been flooded by some bad storms where they live in Missouri. Please pray for her and her family. She wanted to post today, but couldn't get through.

    Lastly, for everyone who finals in the GH next week, I hope you have a fabulous time and sell big!


  84. You deserved to win those GHs. And you handled the wins with style. Can't wait to see who finals this year....

  85. Carla, darlin'. You know I can't wait to read your book. I didn't enter the GH this year, but can't wait to see friends who final. Yay!!

  86. More friends! YAY!!

    Hi Elissa and AM! So glad you came by. Elissa, I love that picture. It's gorgeous!

  87. Hi Carla:

    Thanks for a very informative post. I entered 2 manuscripts into the Golden Heart for the first time. I too, didn't realize the finalists would be announced next week. But... I'm NOT going to dwell on the results, I'm just not!!

    Congratulations on your finals in the GH and for the helpful advice.

  88. Tina i think i was guilty of eating the centerpeice but it was chocolate so thats my excuse.

    I have loved reading all the comments

    Carla thanks for also coming by my blog today. I will add you to the draw for Julies book also.

  89. Tina, I've straightened up the kitchen and the front room.

    Mary's on bathroom detail.

    And hey, did ya' notice how quick Squirl was in and out.....

    Uh, huh.

    Guess who was supposed to cook for tomorrow?

    Mm hmm.

    Supermarket brownies again.

    Hey, Cheryl, at least get some with varied icings, 'kay? Not just the plain ones.




  90. Since it's imaginary food, why don't I cook.
    Better yet, you all just IMAGINE I cooked.
    Imagine I wrote about it tomorrow to.
    Carrot Cake.
    Grown men weep.

  91. you know as ive been up way longer than you in the day you post why dont i supply the hot cross buns.
    (im going out for some right now).
    My imagination is very hungry today.

  92. We have one confirmed winner.

    Congratulations to Janna!!!

    Pass that woman a hot cross bun and a LI Historical.

  93. Congrats to Tammy for winning a LI Historical courtesy of Carla Capshaw.

    And good luck when the GH calls go out next week, Tammy.

    We'll be rooting for you!!

    And to our guest blogger, Carla. Thanks so much for being such a fun guest.

    We are pretty sure you broke our stats counter today!!!

  94. Mary - must've been a good day with hubby 'cause your comments really weren't trollish at all.

    Ruthy - hmmm, you've got me wondering now if you were that troll one year...just kidding ;-0

    Last year was the first time judges put names on my critique sheets...and only for my finalist ms. No names on my other ms, and it didn't do well at all. Could I have been judged by Mary & Ruthy TWICE in one contest? Eeegads :0

    Now I'll blame PMS for those low scores. Couldn't possibly be that I need to polish my work more. Nah, no way it's that. LOL

    Geez, I really want to meet all of you. I'm harboring delusions of attending the ACFW conference in September. Don't know why - can't afford to fly to MN any easier than SF. But a girl's gotta dream.


  95. Thank you Carla for a fun post, loads of great insight, and of course for the book give-away. And thank you to Seekerville...this place is awesome :-)


  96. Carla, I'm late to the party, but thank you for sharing your exciting ride as a GH finalist. It is a very inspiring story, and you book sounds wonderful.

  97. Janna, Tammy and Jenny, your books are on the way. Congratulations. I hope you enjoy them! :-)

  98. Hi Lorna!

    Better late than never. :-) I'm glad you came by. Thank you for the compliment on my story!

  99. Hi Tina,

    I couldn't resist since this will make post 100. ;-)

    So glad you said we broke the stat counter and not the scale. After all of Mary's carrot cake and Jenny's hot crossed buns the scale is looking pretty rickety too.

    Thanks again for a great day everyone. You made my first blog painless and fun. :-)

  100. wow, 101 comments! you guys have been busy :)

  101. I'm joining you guys late, but thanks for being here, Carla!

    Now I want a hot cross bun...


  102. Thanks Carla. You did a great job today.

    I am armed with fresh hot cross buns. the ones without mixed peel.
    but there are plenty of them left if you really want one of those.

  103. Great post, Carla! I'm really looking forward to your book coming out!

  104. Hi Carla!

    This is weird because someone named Carla Capshaw befriended me on Shelfari and I didn't know who she was or how she found almost-friendless me on there (well, I have 2 other friends besides you:-). And then I saw Tina's post to Contest Alert about your guest blog. It's FATE!

    Maybe FATE will get me that call on Tuesday. Yes, I entered. I blogged that I wasn't going to say I wasn't expecting to final like everyone (including me) always says. I was going to say I expected to final and that way I could feel great for 4 months while I waited to hear that I did, indeed, final. And if I didn't final because of some troll (LOL), then at least I'd only feel bad for one or two days. But deciding right off the bat that I wasn't going to final meant I'd feel bad for 4 months and 2 days. Right? It sounded good back then, anyway...

    Thanks so much for the post. Very informative, as were so many of the other posts that followed. (I read every one.) And *major* congratulations on your sale of THE HEART BECKONS. It sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it.

  105. Hi Camy and Stamped,

    Thanks for stopping by!

  106. Hi Debby!

    Hey everyone, Debby Mayne stopped by. She's got a fun 'top ten' going on at her blog. She was kind enough to include me in her list. If you have time *after* you checked out The Seekers, visit Debby at:

  107. Hi Stephanie,

    How ya doin' friend? So glad we 'met' on Shelfari. Do we have any books in common yet?

    Fingers are crossed for you and your GH entries!

    Thanks for your interest in my book. My heart flips over with joy every time someone says that. :-)

  108. Congratulations to all of your authors for living your dream. It is so complicated and until reading all of this I had no idea how long the process could be! I appreciate your abilities. Cindi