Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Golden Heart and RITA Tribute

A huge Seekerville congratulations
to the 2009 RITA and Golden finalists.

Special congratulations to Cara Slaughter,
one of our own brought home the Golden Heart
with her final in the inspirational category with Love on a Dime.

A huge woohoo from all of us!

And a shout out to friends of Seekerville who finaled:


Contemporary Series Romance Category

The Right Mr. Wrong by Cindi Myers
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin American Romance (ISBN: 0373752032)
Wanda Ottewell, editor

Inspirational Category:

Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers (ISBN: 1-4143-1019-6)
Karen Watson, editor

The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson Inc., Women of Faith Fiction (ISBN: 978-1-59554-148-2)
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors

Golden Heart

Regency Historical Romance

Midnight Promises by Anne Barton

As many of you are aware, the contests will announce the winners Saturday evening, July 18, in Washington D.C. at the gala awards presentation, which is also the last day and hours of the annual RWA Conference.

For those of you not familiar with RWA; Romance Writers of America is the largest organization of romance writers in the world. RWA began in 1980 in Houston, Texas with 37 members. Today RWA has over 10,000 members, of which over 2,000 are published in novel length fiction. RWA also has an operating budget of one million dollars (financial statements are available online for members only) There are approximately 126 local chapters and 18 special interest chapters and 7 foreign chapters. Since 1981 RWA has held an annual conference in a different U.S. City each summer.

Upcoming conference cities include:

2010 - Nashville, TN

2011 - New York, NY

2012 - Anaheim, CA

2013 - Atlanta, GA

2014 - San Antonio, TX

2015 - New York, NY

2016 - San Diego, CA

The purpose of the RITA and Golden Heart contests is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance novels, novellas, and manuscripts.

The RITA , began as the Golden Medallion in 1982 and became the RITA in 1990. It was named after the first RWA president, Rita Clay Estrada.

Who won those first awards?

1983 Golden Medallion Winners

Best Category Historical Romance Defiant Love by Mara Seger

Best Contemporary Mainstream Romance Opal Fires by Lynda Trent

Best Contemporary Sensual Romance The Heart’s Victory by Nora Roberts

Best Contemporary Sweet Romance Renegade Player by Dixie Browning

Best Mainstream Historical Romance The Endearment by LaVyrle Spencer

Best Young Adult Romance Andrea by Jo Stewart

1982 Golden Medallion Winners

Best Category Contemporary Romance Winner Take All by Brooke Hastings

Best Category Historical Romance Rendezvous at Gramercy by Constance Ravenlock

Best Mainstream Category Romance The Sun Dancers by Barbara Faith

Best Mainstream Historical Romance Day Beyond Destiny by Anna James

You can find a complete list of all the RITA winners past through 2008 on the RWA web page.

When an author receives 3 RITA awards, in the same category, they are inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. Nora Roberts was the first inductee into the Hall of Fame, and has since qualified in three different categories.

The Golden Heart Awards began in 1984 . There are currently ten categories and the contest is capped at 1200 manuscripts. Approximately ten percent of those first round manuscripts will become finalists. In 2008 there were 70 finalists. This year there are 67 finalists.

Who won those first awards?

1984 Golden Heart Winners

Contemporary 80,000 Words and Up Susan E. Fox

Contemporary 65,000 - 80,000 Words Barbara Dawson Smith

Contemporary Under 65,000 Words Christine DeSmet

Historical Maureen E. Kurr Historical Series Mary E. Butler

Traditional Lisbeth L. Chance

Young Adult Janice Boles

1983 Golden Heart Winners

Contemporary Series Melanie Catley

Contemporary Single Title Kathleen Eagle

Historical Betina Lindsey

Historical Series Barbara L. Jones

Historical Series Vivian N. Doering

Young Adult Patricia Pinianski

You can find a complete list of Golden Heart winners through 2008 on the RWA site.

The Golden Network chapter, a special interest chapter of RWA which is comprised of only Golden Heart finalists and winners, maintains the Golden Heart Hall of Gold which lists authors have finaled three or more times in the Golden Heart competition.

By the way, Seekerville's own Pam Hillman is a Golden Heart Hall of Gold inductee.

Who has finaled the most in the Golden Heart competition?

Trish Milburn

2003 Romantic Suspense
2003 Romantic Suspense
2004 Romantic Suspense
2005 Romantic Suspense
2006 Romantic Suspense
2006 Young Adult
2007 Young Adult
2007 Young Adult

Interested in entering the 2010 Golden Heart? You have just enough time to start preparing and to save your money for the $50 entry fee. Writers do not have to be members of RWA to enter.

Registration for the 2010 Golden Heart is usually available online in late September with the form available in the October RWR. You may register and complete your payment at that time. Registration ends the middle of November; however once the contest reaches its 1,200 entry maximum, it will close to new entries, even if it is prior to the deadline. The requisite 6 copies of a partial including synopsis(not to exceed 55 pages) and one copy of the complete, including synopsis will be due at the RWA offices approximately the first week in December.

You can see the 2009 timeline and the fine print details here.

Once again, congratulations to the 2009 RITA and Golden Heart finalists. We hope to see your name on that list in 2010.


  1. Good morning Seekerville. Hope everyone is staying warm. Ten inches of snow here in Denver. Pass the cocoa and the Krispy Kremes.

  2. Honey, I brought you Krispy Kremes and some nice, homemade whipped cream for that cocoa.

    Keep the slippers on and pray for spring!

    Congrats again to Cara and all finalists. What a natural high! You rock, ladies!


  3. Good morning! Tina, thanks so much. Cara, a huge congrats to you! Hope I get to meet you in person at Nationals. :)

    Snow and hot chocolate sounds good. Here in Maryland there's a cold mist and lukewarm coffee.

    But it's almost the weekend!

  4. Congratulations Cara!!! Never tire of seeing your name on the Golden Heart finalist list!!

    Congratulations to all the Golden Heart and Rita finalists! Hi there, Anne! You must be excited!!

    Sorry about the snow, Tina!


  5. ANNE!!!! Congrats to you again!!!

  6. Anne!!!

    You rock, woman! Congrats from everyone in Seekerville. Wonderful, wonderful news.

    Hey, Dave just brought home a fresh pack of 8 o'clock coffee...

    I'm putting on a pot as we speak, piping hot. And he brought donuts, too, a nice assortment. He thinks I'll use them to bribe small children, but I think Seekerville is way more deserving today.


  7. Oops, sorry, had the Golden Retriever account up.

    My bad.

    This is me. With a baby Golden.

    I love puppy kisses.

    Ruthy (for real this time)

  8. Congratulations Cara. Hopefully you'll be next off unpubbed island with this stellar manuscript. smile

    no more military drills. yeah

    Thanks Ruthy for the hot cocoa although some iced cocoa would be better here in the Arizona desert. We're having a gorgeous spring day in the mid seventies.

  9. Congratulations to everyone who finaled!!!

  10. Tina-kins, this pic shows my ardent love and sympathy for your snowboundedness.


  11. Way to rub it in, Sandra!!!

    Poor Tina and Audra...

    Man the shovels, girls, we're heading to Colorado!

  12. Ruthy, is that your house?

    For Colorado snow you can go to

  13. Wow, loved the trip down memory lane with the Golden Heart and RITA award winners.

    Also...I need to double-check to see if Trish Milburn has more GH finals than Delle Jacobs. Be right back...

    Delle was a veteran GH'er the first year I finalled, and she was such a wonderful mentor to all of us newbies.

    Oh, btw, Cara, there should be an informal GH yahoogroup you can join. It's usually started by one of the finalists. I loved being part of the 2001 & 2004 GH loops.

    The whole group gets to continue to scream and post !!!!!!!! long after everyone else has settled down.

    Signing off with another happy whoo-hoo for CARA!

  14. Yep, looks like Trish has one up on Delle.

  15. Thanks for the congratulations! I'm busy trying to get ready for Nationals--reservations etc. And I need a pic. Some of you probably know I'm camera shy. I need a photo that erases the yrs. maybe 20or 30 of them. This is really fun!!!

  16. I missed Krispy Kremes. Drat. To say they're heavenly is an understatement. They're like eating baby angels. Yumm.

    Since we're talking Golden Heart...

    The Golden Pen is the contest hosted by The Golden Network, that odd assortment of past and present Golden Heart finalists. I'm coordinating the historical category, although we do have an inspirational category too.

    Finaling in the Golden Heart gives you the honor and priviledge of judging the first round of the Golden Pen. Hint. Hint.

  17. Congrats Cara,

    And hello Seekerville. Especially those snowbound in the Mile High. I'm not big on cocoa, well actually it's not big on me. I remember getting ill as a child and that's all I'd had earlier, anyhoo... Might I have herbal tea instead.

    We had our snow on the western slope here in Grand Junction.
    Yesterday old man winter came for a visit today the sun is shining and the sky in blue. There's a wee bit of nip in the air, but it's shaping up to be a lovely day. Gets any warmer and I may pull out my shorts and sandals like I did last Saturday.

    Having said all that, I take it the Golden Heart for published authors. I'm so up on all this can't you tell.
    I've been at this for years and just finally sent an entry for the Touched By Love Contest.

  18. Uggh, Tina P. Why did you have to mention Touched by Love? Now I feel too guilty about goofing off online when I should be making my long and short category spreadsheets to see how many entries we have so far.

    Guilt is not for someone who enjoys Krispy Kremes.

  19. Okay, enough about the Krispy Kremes already.

  20. Snow? What snow? It's almost all gone : )

    Cara, we'll keep singing your tributes right through the awards, just so you don't forget you're a finalist, hee.

    Great recap of the contests, Tina. I've been around so long, I remember most of them. No comments, ladies...

    Since having the stomach bug a few days ago, I haven't had any coffee. Do you suppose my pot-a-day habit is cured?? One can only hope, right?

    But hey, I can still have donuts! Pass'em by!

  21. Cara, congratulations! And if you find that magical photographer, you have to promise to share his/her name.

  22. Congrats Cara!! And also Anne!! I was excited to see you both on there!!

    And what fun to read that blast from the past, Tina. Thanks for sharing. It was cool to see Kathleen Eagle as a GH finalist!! :)

  23. Hey, Seekers. This post showed up as an incoming link when I signed in to update my blog. It still stuns me every time I see that list of finals next to my name. It's just so unbelievable.

    HUGE congrats to all this year's finalists!