Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seekerville Welcomes 2012 GH Winner Karen Fleming

Thank you so much to the Seekers for giving me this fabulous opportunity to be their guest blogger today.


 I’ll start by saying everyone’s writing journey is unique. It has to be. Otherwise, there would be no distinction between authors’ voices. No special energy or emotion only that specific writer can infuse into a character that makes them become real to the reader. Stories are as varied and special as the people who write them. If not, then every book would be the same.

Last year after I was laid off from my job, I made a list of writing goals to achieve within the next six months. The fourth goal on that list was to enter the Golden Heart.

Just after that, my father-in-law became ill and after ten days in the hospital, he was transferred to a rehab unit. Suddenly I was the only one home during the day to help with getting my mother-in-law to the rehab center for visits and running the gazillion errands that crop up for three households (mine, my in-laws, and my mom).

While I worked outside the home, I wrote at night. That was when I was the most productive. But suddenly, my writing time at night swas getting shorter and shorter. I wasn’t checking goals off my writing list, I was scratching through them because the deadlines had come and gone. And I was getting angry with myself. So I stopped and claimed a block of time during the day when no one else was around and I talked it over with God.

I won’t say it was a prayer because I was not on my knees and I didn’t have my eyes closed. I was pacing my living room, gesticulating with my hands, telling Him what I didn’t understand, pouring out all my frustrations and asking Him why I couldn’t do these things that I truly believed He wanted me to do. And I asked Him if He really wanted me to write, would He please help me get it together.

I found my index card with the list of writing goals. The first three items had big fat x’s through them. I looked at the next one. Oh no. This is the big one. My friend entered last year and she didn’t final. She’d since sold the manuscript, but it didn’t final last year. How could I expect to final if she didn’t?

But I printed out the requirements for entering the contest and I paid my entry fee. There was no way I would forfeit my entry fee. I was determined. I did all my family duties by day and very late at night, I edited, and polished and tweaked that manuscript until I was so deep into the story, I couldn’t see past the words. Then I sent it to my two wonderful critique partners and they gave me their comments.

I stood in line at the post office with my big box addressed to RWA headquarters in Texas. The postal worker told me I was in luck. That day was the last day they were offering guaranteed overnight delivery. I smiled, taking that as confirmation that I was being obedient to God. It had nothing to do with finaling or winning the contest. I had already won because I had met a goal that had to do with my writing and it felt wonderful. I marked the block on my calendar for March 26, 2012 with, “GH Finalists announced.” And I didn’t think about it again.

My phone rang at 9:14 am on March 26th. I looked at the area code on the display. We have family in Texas. I have all their phone numbers coded into my phone. It wasn’t one of them. Maggi Landry introduced herself and I think I forgot to breathe for the rest of the phone call. I don’t think I screamed in her ear—if I did, I am soooo sorry. I tried not to cry until we hung up. 

I was dazed. Stunned. I looked up and said, “Oh, I hope You know what You’re doing, because this is all You.” I called my husband. After I said hello he asked if I’d already booked my airfare. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t shocked. I was. My hands shook while I typed the email to my chapter letting them know I’d finaled. And the cyber Snoopy dancing began. An hour later my friend and critique partner, Carol, sent an email that said she was a finalist too—in the same category, with the story that she had sold a few months before. Oh, boy.

 I had never been to Nationals and I had never entered the Golden Heart. I was in the deep end of the pool. Carol already had a hotel room booked and offered to let me bunk with her. Our other CP, Dixie, emailed and said if we were going, she had to be there too so she could cheer us on. Did I mention how much I love my CP’s? I researched airfare and booked our flights. We decided it would be easier for Carol to stay overnight with me the night before our flight and we’d ride together. It was thrilling to final, but to share it with my friend made it extra special. People were surprised that we were so supportive of each other when we were each other's direct competition. We just shrugged and said we would squeal and clap the loudest no matter which one of us walked across that stage.

One of the most amazing things about finaling happened only days after the finalists were announced. We were all invited to join an email loop created for us by a former finalist class as their gift to us. We spent four months preparing for nationals by getting to know one another and sharing our struggles and the heartaches that had shaped us and brought us to this moment. Not even one of us was focused on winning. We counted ourselves blessed to be in our group. We call ourselves The Firebirds. We have a website, with a blog and some fun content and we are sisters in writing bonded together forever through our trials and triumphs.

Nationals gave us a chance to trade in all the cyber hugs for real ones. We set up meet times, tagged tables during keynote luncheons, and spent free time out by the pool trading info and insights on what we had learned so far. The photographer for the awards reception where each finalist received her certificate didn’t arrive until we were halfway through. One of our Firebirds, Diana Belchase, was so thoughtful and wonderful that when we got started she had each person pose with their certificate while she snapped their photo. She posted them all on her Facebook page so each GH and Rita finalist could claim theirs.

All the repeating GH finalists from the year before had prepared us newbies for what to expect at the luncheons, workshops, the reception, and even the awards ceremony. There was a rehearsal. We had to walk across the stage and stop at the podium to say our name into the microphone. They plastered our pictures up on four huge screens.

Then it was time to get ready and go down to the ballroom. I was nervous. Not because I expected to win, I didn’t. There were only four finalists in the inspirational category. The other three had already sold their stories and had a release date. I would have been thrilled for any one of them to have the honor.

In my defense, I had queries out to agents who had requested partials, but I had not sent anything to an editor. My father-in-law’s illness had progressed and by then he was home with partial hospice care and the rest provided by family, which claimed a lot of my time, so I had not been very aggressive in seeking publication. But I was trusting God to guide me with my queries and connections and He was doing that. Coming to Nationals was part of that plan to move me forward.

Joni, another chapter friend, came as Carol’s guest and I had Dixie as my guest all sitting at the reserved table. Inspirational category was fourth up. I was still turning my head around taking in the glitz and glamor of the ceremony and then it was our turn. As they called the finalists names and our pictures flashed up on the screen, I sat between Dixie and Carol and we were holding hands. Joni snapped our picture. I had my eyes closed with my head bowed. I asked God’s blessing for whoever it was, and then I couldn’t breathe. Joni said she thought I didn’t hear them say my name. I heard. I just couldn’t believe it was me.

One of the other finalists had insisted we write a speech—just in case. So all the Firebirds made a pact that we would thank her during our speech if we won. I was crying so hard when I got on stage, I thought I wouldn’t be able to speak. I took a deep breath and suddenly I felt a warm peace wrap around me and I looked out over that crowd of 2,000 people and I thanked God, Rachel, my critique partners, my family, my husband, and my chapter in a clear and strong voice. I later found out, at the exact moment I was calmed; Carol had said a prayer for me.

I don’t recommend holding out to go to Nationals until you’re a Golden Heart finalist because there is so much to learn and use to advance your goals as a writer available to you whether you are a finalist or not. But I have to say, for firsts, this was THE BOMB. I wear my GH necklace every day.

Advice and suggestions to the writers out there. Enter contests that offer you feedback, so you can see what is working and what isn’t. Don’t stay stuck on one manuscript. When you’ve done all you can do, “bless and release” as one of our Firebirds taught us. Send it where it needs to go and start working on the next story. I said I have 4.5 manuscripts completed. I have blurbs for six others. I can have a synopsis and the first three chapters ready within two weeks of request. You don’t have to have a degree in English to be a good writer. You must have an open mind and willing heart with the ability to learn. And lots of patience. Some people will love your writing, some won’t. Every one has an opinion. But if two or more people make the same comment about something in your story, be willing to look at it from a different angle. Maybe you didn’t convey what you meant to as clearly as you thought you did.

And finally, keep the faith. Not every experience I’ve had writing has been pleasant. But I have learned something that I could use to move forward. And those things that weren’t as pleasant, they were usually because I got ahead of God in the plan. I pray God’s best for you in your writing.

Love’s Advocate by Karen Fleming

Katherine Harper, a child’s advocate and former foster kid working in family court, uses her job and countless hours of volunteer work as an escape from her fear of being alone. Until Nick Delaney, corporate attorney and city council hopeful, gets cited for contempt of court and is sentenced to two months working opposite her in family court.

His reappearance in her life dredges up all the old hurts she tried so hard to leave behind. But when she’s named Citizen of the Year, she finds herself thrust into the limelight and suddenly a women’s group declares her the perfect candidate to go against Nick for the council seat. Their differences of opinion within the courtroom are nothing compared to the varied long-term ideals each has for the city of Pemberly, Georgia.

Is a man trying to give back a portion of what he’s been blessed with the best choice for teaching a woman with a battered heart how to forgive the trespasses against her when he and his father are to blame? If he can’t, he’ll not only fail God, he could cost Katherine and himself the love and sense of belonging God has waiting for them.

Karen Fleming started writing in February of 2009 because a friend asked her to write her a story. After much cajoling she did, and discovered herlove for creating a world where good always wins and the guy always gets the girl.

She loves HEA’s and her husband accuses her of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. By writing inspirational romances, she don’t have to take them off. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that because the guy and girl have put their trust in God, their lives together will be blessed. With that assurance, their faith will get them through whatever life throws their way.

The theme she infuses into each of her stories is “using stories of faith to share hope.”

Once again this year Seekerville will be reimbursing one person their Golden Heart Entry fee. This opportunity is open from November 15 through to the Golden Heart deadline of January 2, 2013. Send proof of entry to the Seekerville email address. Winner will be announced on January 7, 2013.

Please note the deadlines for the Golden Heart have changed. 

November 15, 2012, the 2013 Golden Heart Contest opens to entries.

Entries must be submitted to RWA's contest site no later than 5 p.m. CT, January 2, 2013. Entrants who fail to meet this deadline will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

The Golden Heart contest is limited to 1,200 paid entries.

More information on the 2013 Golden Heart Awards is available here.

Are you entering the 2013 Golden Heart?  For you published authors...have you ever entered the GH? Comment today for a chance to win a Seeker book of choice as available. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Um, am I really the first one commenting? Even before Helen has put the coffee on? Wow! Not to make anyone jealous, but I got to meet Helen in person and have my picture taken with her at the ACFW conference this past weekend. That was one of my conference highlights. You can see the picture on my Facebook timeline.

    Congratulations on your GH win, Karen! What a thrill it must have been to cross that stage. Wish I could have been there to cheer for you.

    I entered the GH in 2007, 2008, and 2010. I finaled and found out how RWA treats all the finalists like royalty. The best part, though, was getting to know the other finalists. Yay Pixies and Unsinkables!

  2. Congratulations, Karen! I haven't entered the GH. I've thought about the last two years but have been too chicken to do it. And I have two completed, polished manuscripts.

    I just may do it this year. I'll pray about it first.

    Thank you for reiterating what I already know. Keep writing that next story. I've got a third that needs polished and I'm writing a new story as we speak.

  3. Hi Karen:

    I believe once again that your heartwarming story serves to demonstrate that the most sincere and prayerful people tend to final in these inspirational contests. I think there is something about being genuine that shines through in an author's writing. I also believe that when you reflect God’s inspiration in your writing, rather than trying to create it on your own, your words touch the spirit. This makes all the difference.

    I hope I will be able to read your award winning story soon. Thanks for sharing. Your experience is truly inspirational.


  4. Hi, Keli. Conference was great, as was meeting you in person!

    Blogger has taken an intense dislike of me lately. At least twice a week it eats my post--repeatedly. Grrr.

    Congratulations, Karen. May you sell that manuscript soon, if you have not already.

    The coffee pot is ready, so pull up a chair and have a cuppa!

  5. Congrats on your GH win, Karen!

    I know the RWA board members love making those calls. It must be fun to be on the other end and hear all the babbling joy.

    I remember my first GH call, I babbled something about not even caring anymore than I had squirrels living in my ceiling because I was a GH finalist. She must have really thought I was nuts.

    I'll be keeping your father-in-law in my prayers.

  6. Oh my stars, first I hear Karen's touching and absolutely WONDERFUL story of her Golden Heart win...

    Karen, congratulations on a monumental SCORE!!!!! :)

    And then the GWYNSTER stops by first, yet another reminder of the year I tried to BUY a GH for my resume by entering four (4) FOUR manuscripts and crashing... burning... repeatedly, I mean, seriously, I still have SCARS, big SCARS and they're painful....

    Okay, they're not painful, but I got a well-deserved kick in the patoote, LOL! Oh, Karen, what a glorious story of affirmation! Yayayayayay for you! Those Golden Hearts don't come easy (what Keli Gwyn is politely NOT saying is that she double-finaled in the year I tried to do the same thing...Right, Kel????? And that's how we met, because she came to Seekerville, this amazing newbie, and we fell in love with her, with or without the hat.

    Hey, I brought the new seasonal creamers!!! And it's happy Thursday day and (for those of you from last weekend) the recipe for the Red Velvet Cake is at Yankee Belle Cafe today" but then come back here after you print it and have fun with Karen!

  7. We are a species who loves happily ever afters! Congratulations, Karen.

    Now have you sent that puppy out??

  8. Lovely story, Karen. Those hours and hours you gave your family (when you'd hoped to be writing) will be made up to you. I know.

    Congratulations on your Golden Heart. This is the first time I've even considered entering it. You're a good salesman!

  9. Congratulations, Karen!

    And thank you for sharing your floor-pacing prayer. Yes, prayer--knees or no knees!

    I spent the past hour doing the very same thing before sitting down at my computer. Finding your post is surely the first step in God's affirmation of his plans for my writing.

    I don't write in the romance genre, so no Golden Heart for me. :)

    But I'm learning a lot from you Seekerville posters that I can use to enrich the relationships (and much more) in my mystery WIP.


  10. Welcome to Seekerville and out of lurk mode, Linda.

    We hope that we can help you on your journey, as so many have helped us.

  11. There's more time this year to enter the GH. They have totally revamped the timeline. So DO check it out.

    And Keli is right. RWA knows how to treat their finalists. They hold a reception for the finalists and you feel like princess.

  12. Karen, Congratulations on your win!

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Why are we amazed when God answers prayers?

  13. Hi Karen. Congratulations.

    I'll pray about entering the GH. Then maybe I'll go look up the rules.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us today.

    Jackie L.

  14. Karen, your story brought a tear to my eye. I love hearing about when God meets someone where she is and draws her closer to Himself. And when He answers those heart desires. Congratulations!

    Your story reminded me that I need to keep my story and writing journey committed to God first and to keep on writing. :) Love your post today!

  15. Congratulations Karen. What fun reading your writing story.

    Jodie Wolfe

  16. Thank you Keli Gwyn.

    It was like being swept up like Dorothy and landing in the land of Oz. All the finalists are amazing people and we each are so thankful we have become life-long friends.

  17. Christina that is the best way to plan your forward momentum. Before I entered, I prayed about it too. It was a test of my faith and determination to do what I believed God wanted me to do. And all the responsibilities that came with finalling keep me grounded and focused on Him during a very personal and writing time and the choices I had to make leading up to Nationals.
    Follow God's leading and you'll be a winner whether it means a pretty gold necklace or the peace of knowing you're doing what you should.

  18. Vince,
    Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. I tend to write with a lot of emotion in my characters. I use doubt and the need to strengthen their faith as their means of overcoming their "life's" challenges. I think that relates to what people are faced with in the real world every day and it gives them hope/proof that they can overcome their struggles by keeping their faith.

  19. Once you start being a GH entrant it's hard to stop. The beauty of GH is that you need a full msc. If you write a new one every year you have that many more completes.

    Both my first two releases by Love Inspired were Golden Heart entry. Hopefully the one that did final will be a release soon.

    Myra won the Golden Heart the first year I finaled. She went on to sell her msc. Julie was a finalist that year as well and sold hers.

    Janet did you sell your GH finaling msc?

  20. Karen I am a reader and I was so excited for you as you told your story of the GH win and the trip leading up to it...
    I am so happy for you that you never gave up with all you had on your plate at the time. thanks for sharing today
    Paula O(

  21. Thank you Helen. I am so thrilled to be here today. Everyone is so warm and welcoming.

  22. Thank you Mary for the prayers. He's a great man. It's hard to see his strength slipping away each day. He seems comfortable, and we are so grateful for that.

    The GH call is earth-moving. And your squirrel story may be the funniest I've heard so far.

    Wishing you the best with your writing too.

  23. Oh Ruth, the cake sounds fabulous. And I can't image entering 4 stories at a time. I would be in panic overdrive.

    I think we only had 1 double finalist in our crew, but we had several repeat finalists and two sisters that finaled in separate categories. It was such fun watching them cheer each other on.

    Thank you so much for letting me come visit will all of you today. You guys are so warm and friendly. This is a real treat for me.

  24. Thanks Tina.

    Love's Advocate is on its way to 2 agents by this weekend.

    Another story has finaled in the Maggies, and I just received the email yesterday letting me it is a finalist in the Golden Pen, as well.

    It is scary when everything starts taking off, but it is the greatest ride on the planet. :>)

  25. Okay fellow Karen. You didn't warn a Kleenex alert!!!

    This is a fantastic story within a story. Thank you!

    And for the usual amazing generosity of the Seekers! All the best to those who enter... Go for it!!

    It's national Thank You Day I hear. So... Thank you all!

  26. Oh, thank you Debra.

    And I definitely recommend entering. It means you are stepping out on faith and the rewards for that faithfulness come in so many ways before the phone calls to the finalists begin in March.

    You can't grow if you don't stretch your wings.

    Finaling and then winning were all the big shiny cherry on top of an ice cream Sundae.

  27. Thank you Linda.

    Wishing you encouragement and assuredness in your writing.

    And the Seekers are awesome with their writing tips. I've learned so much reading their posts too.

  28. Thank you Bridgett.

    You are so right about the being surprised. Sometimes I stop and apologize to God for letting my mind limit His greatness and ability.

  29. Thanks for sharing your story, Karen! It was very inspiring, and I could relate to how you suddenly seemed to have more time during the day but were having a hard time writing. I can't wait to see what happens for you in the near future!

    I entered a lot of contests, but I never entered the Golden Heart, mostly because I had entered so many contests by that time of year that I was out of money. LOL! And the GH was the most expensive, especially since I was delaying joining RWA. I did enter the Genesis three times with three different mss. but never finaled. I finaled in the Christy Awards with two of those books (thanks to my editor, Jacque Alberta!) and in the Carol Awards, and actually won a Carol Award last weekend! I was really surprised that I wasn't too nervous, not as nervous as I thought I would be, anyway. And I didn't have a speech written out! Just a list of names that I wrote on one of my place cards after the awards banquet started! But I'd imagined myself giving that speech a hundred times, so I sort of had it memorized. Hahaha!!!

  30. Does anyone else wish there were "Like" buttons on blog comments like on facebook?

  31. Thank you Jackie.

    Pray and be at peace with how God leads you.

    I firmly believe that we each have our own special timeline with our writing. It has nothing to do with the number of years you've been writing or the number of completed manuscripts.

    I was feeling insecure over lack of years in my writing life, but I found out one of the other GH Winners had been writing a year less than me.

    I didn't final because I'm "all that". I finaled because of where I was in several areas of my life and God decided now was the time for me to move forward. How big that step forward is--is totally up to Him. It scares me, but it also thrills me that He is that much into my life.

    After you pray, if you feel this is the next step God wants you to take, "Bless and Release" knowing that every part of you are still safely in His hands.

  32. Welcome to Seekerville, Karen! And thank you for sharing your inside story and your journey to the Golden Heart :)

    The one thing that stood out to me (besides your pacing prayer - something I do often!) was that you had set goals, but when you weren't able to accomplish the first couple, you didn't give up. You focused on the next, doable goal. And look what happened!

    Such an inspiring story!

  33. Thank you Jeanne T.

    Wishing you all the best in your writing.

  34. Thank you Jodie.

    This has been an amazing year.

  35. Thank you Paula.

    I still fumble and stumble all the time. But, I aim forward each time I get up.

    Wishing you the best.

  36. KC,

    That is so kind of you. Thank you, even if it wasn't a designated day for saying so.

  37. Melanie, I'm floored that your manuscript didn't final in the Genesis. I was a semi-finalist this year but not a finalist. I guess it's one of those God things to encourage the forward progress, but telling me not yet. It's His timing. And look at you now, Melanie. I had a parent tell me after I shared one of your posts (new cover) on FB, "Oh, she is our favorite. Excited she has a new book." and then she went on about your stories and how wonderful they are. I've told her she needs to tell you. *g*

    Like buttons on blog post would be the BOMB (isn't that the word Karen used) but then we wouldn't be able to read all these lovely responses.

  38. Super congrats to you Melanie.

    It sounds like you are flying with the stars.

    Thank you for stopping by and wishing you continued success with your writing.

  39. Whoa, Karen. Melissa E judges the Golden Pen. Great news. Seeker Glynna Kaye sold due to her Golden Pen win.

    Praying for that first sale!!!

  40. Thank you Jan.

    He's my friend. He doesn't get upset with me if I'm venting about a situation and trying to understand the why of it. He would rather I talked to Him about it than anyone else.

    Sometimes that dialogue and venting are all He wanted me to do. Like an acknowledgement from me that what I am facing is too big for just me. (That happens A LOT.)

  41. My dear, sweet Karen~ I am so proud of you. You have perservered through trials that would take the best of us down. You have had so much to deal with this past year and yet, you stopped, took a deep breath, and asked your Father for His guidance. And then you listened and obeyed and He has led you to this point! I am honored to have been one of the first that you shared Loves Advocate with and can't wait to read it again when it is published.....I still have a copy of the original manuscript!! (I need to get you to sign that for me, btw!) We have been friends for a long time and I could not be more proud of you than I am right now. Keep on have so many more stories in that crazy, sweet head of yours. And finalist in another contest?! YEAH!!!!! Exciting! You'll win that one, too, I just know it! I love you!!!


  42. Welcome to Seekerville, Karen! The ups and downs of your story touched my heart. God is so good! We've all had those talks with God at one time or another. How blessed we are that He hears whether we're pacing or on bended knee.

    In 2005, I met Tina, Julie and Myra through the Golden Heart and that contest led us to the rest of the Seekers and friendships that I cherish. Myra won that year, but we all sold our manuscripts. Though mine didn't sell until 2006, two years later. Missy and I were finalists in 2006. The Golden Heart's only feedback is a score so it's not a contest for help with craft, but when a manuscript finals, editors and agents pay attention.


  43. excuse my confusion. oh, and I think you have to be a RWA member to enter either contest, right?

  44. Debbie,

    Thank you so much. I think all the good is a balance for the bad from this year. It has kept me in the middle, and as Frank would say, "Don't go getting cocky. You know what will happen."

    So, humble I try to remain.

    I'm so blessed with friends like you who have believed in me from the beginning. (And I will sign your copy of a really rough draft-that wouldn't have won any awards if I'd let it loose on the writing world) :>)

  45. Well Janet, thank you so much for you guys leting me visit. It is wonderful to have a place to share triumph and struggles and give credit to the One who is there with us no matter what comes.

    The seekers and their readers are great people and such a blessing.

  46. Karen
    I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments. This was a wonderful story (although I had to find a kleenex in order to finish it) and I so appreciate your willingness to share. I look up to you and your faith as a wonderful example to follow. You make Plant City proud!! I can't wait to read Love's Advocate and all the others that are sure to follow. Love you!!

  47. Debra. The Golden Heart is RWA's national contest. Check the rules to make sure you qualify before entering.

    And yes, you do have to be a member and you cannot let your membership lapse at anytime during the length of the contest.

    As others have already stated, it isn't a contest for a beginner because there is no feedback from the judges, so you won't get any direction on what did/didn't work in your story.
    That's the main reason I had not entered the GH sooner. I waited until I had finaled in a couple of chapter level contests (which sometimes do not require RWA membership, but charge a nominally higher entry fee if you aren't a member) and I was getting consistently positive feedback on my story.

    That's when The Golden Heart found its way onto my list of Goals.

    So, if you think your story is readyy, I say go at it, guns blazing. The worst that will happen is you don't receive a call from Texas on finalist day. The best that can happen--lots of possibilities.

  48. Diane, that is so kind of you. Your firm faith and trust in God have always been a witness to me to never give up.

    Thank you for being my friend and being the wonderful person you are.

  49. RE: Golden Pen & Melissa Enlich of LI

    Oh, Tina, I was squealing and jumping around when I told my husband last night. That was the main reason I entered. I so wanted to get my work in front of her.

    I'm super excited, so thank you.

  50. Karen,

    Thanks for sharing your amazing story! Always love hearing those.

    I was a GH finalist in 2008 before I even knew what it meant. Haven't finaled again in that one - I find it can be quite a fickle contest at times! But if I ever do final again, I'll understand the 'star' quality!

    Best of luck with your writing!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  51. OOPS!! Sorry about that. Forgot I was logged on to my work account.


  52. Karen!!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing your Golden Heart experience with us!

    I totally relate to the special bond with other finalists. Tina, Janet, Julie, and I dubbed ourselves the "Fab Four Golden Girls" almost immediately, and I will cherish their friendship forever!

    Of course we were all drooling over Julie landing a fabulous agent AND a book contract almost immediately. My winning ms. didn't find a home for another three years.

    But wearing that beautiful gold necklace? That's a thrill in itself!

  53. You don't have to be an RWA member to enter, it just costs more if you aren't a member.

    If you have a polished manuscript you should enter. Many authors receive requests from the judging editors (who are kept top secret) before the winner is even announced. But remember there is no feedback on this contest. However the opportunities and exposure for winners and finalists is huge.

  54. Karen, such a wonderful, heartwarming story...and it's true!!!

    So thrilled for you and for all those who final in the Golden Heart.

    Loved your mention of the peace that filled you when you walked to the mic. Ah, the power of prayer and the awesome response to prayer that comes from our Loving God. He is so good.

    Rejoicing with you, and so glad you could be with us in Seekerville today.

    Hugs and love!

  55. What a lovely story. Congratulations, Karen!

  56. Debby--just saw your wave from yesterday. I'm waving back! Sooo nice to meet you. I MUST officially meet Janet next time there's an opportunity. :)

  57. Thank you, Christina! Yeah, I entered early versions of The Healer's Apprentice AND The Merchant's Daughter and they both flopped in the Genesis. But that was okay. They've both been revised quite a bit since then! And you can be sure they needed it!

    The moral of this story is that you should never give up! And also that you should revise a LOT before you send to a publisher. Or, at least, I should. LOL!

  58. Karen,

    Your testimony was much appreciated. I know that you will continue to have much success as God surely intends. I hope the success with the Golden Pen works out for you.


  59. Tina,

    I believe it started just this year, but now, you do have to be a member of RWA to participate in the GH. That is why I sent off my money two weeks ago and now I have that all important member number. On some of the boards people were rejoicing about the increased time to submit, but grumbling about the membership requirement. I wonder if this requirement will mean any changes in the numbers this year?


  60. Big congratulations, Karen, on your win.

    I plod along working on my first novel, learning the ropes. I know daily writing time is key, I just haven't managed to fit it in the right spot yet.

    Your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  61. Karen, welcome! I'm so glad to have you with us! What a great post. What a great story of you and your cp's and new GH friends supporting each other. :)

    Thanks for sharing your GH story with us!! So exciting. Congrats!

  62. Wow! Piper. Good to know. I bet that was put into effect as there was so much not romance entered in the GH last year.

    Tina emailing from the public puters at work.

  63. Hi Karen, What a heartwarming story. Your firsts truly were THE BOMB. smile

    Thanks for sharing with us here in Seekerville. Have a fun day.

  64. Thank you so much for the well wishes to Susan, Myra, Debby G, Patricia, and Piper.

    It is so great to be able to connect with others experiencing the same things and drawing strength from the same well.

    Wishing all of you the best in your own writing.

  65. Andrea,

    I know exactly what you're going through. I've never managed to write every day, but I try to as often as I can.

    Hang in there and write your passion/heart. If you do that, the emotion will come through in your characters and readers will feel connected to your story.

    Wishing you much success in your writing.

  66. i am another one of those who God asks to be encouragers by reading and blogging about books. Congratulations, Karen...waving and jumping and yelling...and thanks for sharing your story!

  67. Wow, Karen, thanks for sharing your story. It gave me goosebumps! Loved the detail -- I could feel the emotion. Makes me think that I'll love reading your books because I'm what I call an emotional reader. Hurry up and get published please. :-) I know, all in God's time.

  68. I will still be checking the comments section this evening and tonight and responding, but I wanted to say THANK YOU very much to Tina and all the Seekers for inviting me to be a part of their wonderful blog world.

    I have enjoyed today so much and thank you to every one that took the time to leave a comment. Today has been fabulous.

    Wishing everyone overflowing success with your writing and in your lives.

    God Bless.


  69. Thank you Marianne. I appreciate the encouragement.

  70. Oh Kav, thank you so much.

    I'm going as fast as I can and hoping to have good news soon.

    I'm not known for my patience, so I struggle with "all in God's time" everyday.

    Wishing you the best.

  71. Dang it, Karen. This blog made me cry. Such an inspirational story. I'll second all of it. Enter the GH contest! Finaling changed everything for me but best of all, introduced me to this amazing group of women who make up the Firebirds. Each and everyone of them is a gift.

    And Karen is one of the sweetest of them all. :)

  72. Congratulations on your GH win, Karen! Welcome to Seekerville!

    We have several GH finalists in our Seeker group and 2 winners, Myra and Pam! I finaled in 2009 (didn't win) and it was thrilling going to Nationals.

  73. Where's Pepper???

    If you know her on Facebook, check it out!!!


  74. What a beautiful post.
    Karen, congratulations again, and big, big hugs.
    You are so right in saying that the neatest thing about this contest is the group of women who join together and take the journey as a team, not as individuals. It was a most memorable event and one I know I will cherish forever.

  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. Thank you Terri. But you are thought of just as sweetly. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    And yes, enter the Golden Heart. If you final--it will be the experience of a lifetime (even if you've finaled before). No two years and group of finalists are the same, so the connection will be special to your class that year.

    And it is a lofty goal to set for yourself. It says you believe in what you are doing and you think you are ready for the world to see your work. And it is a leap of faith, suspended in mid-air, until the phone calls are made in March.

    Go for it. The contest is electronic this year too, so you can't complain about the cost of postage any more.

  77. Thank you Cara.

    This is a very talented group.

    I love the fun and caring you all share with each other and allow us as your followers to enjoy along with you.

  78. Hi Robena.

    The time leading up to Nationals went so quickly with all of us getting to know each other and then finally taking Anaheim by storm from PF Changs to the After Parties.

    I am so happy to say I have 63 awesomesauce sisters.

  79. Hi Karen! Congrats on your win and thank you for kindly sharing this with all of us. I enjoyed it and if you would allow me, please : I think you have a lovely spirit and a lovely approach to this adventure called writing.

    Bless you!

    I find it truly inspiring that both you and your friend chose not to let the competition get in the way. And I really could understand when you said that you couldn't believe you won when you did! (I've participated in a few writing contest and I know what you're saying feels like!)

    Thank you again and congrats :-)

  80. Ganise,

    Thank you so much for such a thoughtful compliment. I'm very grateful.

    I wish you much success in your writing.

  81. I entered for the first time last year and spent the calling day a nervous wreck. Congrats to you, Karen.

  82. Welcome Karen and Congratulations on your success story! I really enjoyed reading about your writing journey and especially love how you've trusted and leaned on God.
    Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo

  83. As a reader, this is the first time I have heard of the Golden Heart contest. Live and learn.

  84. I would love to win.
    Enter me!
    Sarah Richmond

  85. Stopping by with a followup to the comment I left early Thursday AM.

    I'm thrilled to report that the Lord came through for me in an amazing way. And it all started with Karen's post. :)

    I think if you click on my name (above) you'll jump to my brand new website, where you can read the details.

    Oh, what a difference a day makes, when you let the Lord map your itinerary!


  86. no I'm not entering but would love to win a book!

  87. I have a question for those who are more experienced! Are you able to pay the entry fee and that holds your spot, until which time you send your manuscript? I would like to enter before the spots fill up, but my final edits won't be done until a week after the GH opens for submission.

    Any advice/tips would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!