With Guest Piper G Huguley.
Thank you for having me to this wonderful blog. Seekerville has been such a friend to me and I’m glad to be able to be able to have something to contribute to this storehouse of knowledge. Folks may be in the midst of making a decision about whether or not to participate in the biggest, most prestigious contest of the year and I want to give a few more nudges in anyone’s direction if he/she are unsure if they are going to enter the Golden Heart®. If you meet the qualifications and are not published, you should enter and here’s why:
1. You get a great phone call. I don’t remember who called me last year, but this year it was Leslie Kelly. I immediately dubbed her Santa Claus. Because Old Saint Nick might as well have been calling me as her. Unbelievable.
2. You get a cool place of honor in all social media. Sometime later that day on March 26, all the new nominees get linked together in a place of honor on Yahoo. There are exchanges of twitter handles, e-mail addys, and a new Facebook page. Now you are in a class with some 30+ people. This represents power as shown in number 3…
3. I’m a loner nerd. It is true. In college, I was a worker loner nerd. Now I have sisters! When two of us Dreamweavers (Golden Heart® finalists class of 2014) made the quarterfinals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the Dreamweavers turned out in full force to leave us reviews and good wishes. It was awesome! As for the Luckies (class of 2013) since we have started to publish, we are having a fine time subverting the Amazon algorithms! (There is a very confused someone out in Washington State who cannot fathom why a New Adult novel about young people loving it up the newsroom seems attached at the hip to that Reconstruction era romance about African Americans—heh, heh.)
4. If your family doesn’t understand your current writing issue, your fellow Golden Heart® sisters will! These are folks who are practiced in craft and writing. They are champion readers. If you want to brainstorm, it’s not hard to find help to do that. A number of them already have a well-oiled machine in place to critique and brainstorm, since that’s part of what got them to the Golden Heart® in the first place. But no one minds helping you out in a pinch.
5. Make your announcement –any announcement-- in the e-mail forum you will be cheered! You may not think the announcement is such a big deal, but just reveal it to your fellow Golden Heart cohort and they will cheer you on! It makes you feel very good about yourself. I try not to abuse this privilege though. Writers need to be lifted up way too often…
6. If you don’t feel like hearing goofy contest comments, enter the Golden Heart®! You won’t get any here—it’s just a bunch of feedback numbers. I wish I could write a column about doing what you need to do to take advantage of the system, but I don’t know this new system. I know the one from the past two years, so my knowledge is meaningless here. I’m obsolete. I’m sorry. *dodges rotten tomatoes and eggs*
7. If your family is fed up about hearing about your Golden Heart® dress, snap a picture and put it up in the forum. Your fellow Golden Heart® folk will oooh and aaaah over the beauty that is to come.
8. When you get to RWA, you may attend a dinner with your Golden Heart® class. No loner nerd over here anymore! People will eat with me. Just because I wrote a story. That’s pretty cool.
9. It’s only $35.00! Yes, RWA waited until I was ineligible to reduce the price! Seriously. That’s a pretty good deal.
10. I am grateful for all of the friendship that people have extended to me over the years, whatever the origin. People gave me great comfort during the initial loss of my mother. In terms of my writing, I have benefited greatly from all of my writing friendships. The Golden Heart ®has allowed for the creation of yet another kind of writing friendship and I’ve been blessed by it.
Please notice that I did not indicate you should sign up for the Golden Heart® to make connections with agents or editors, to get a heart-shaped necklace, or so that you can be treated like a queen at the conference when everyone sees your pink ribbon. That’s because these things may or may not happen for you. A fair portion of both of my classes, the Luckies and the Dreamweavers, are blowing it out of the water with their agent news, acquisition news or sales numbers. But these things, to me, are icing on the cake. I have far more enjoyed the companionship and the warm embrace. Kind words from others, when people reacted in a way I didn’t expect, have sustained me. I am grateful for all of it.
What do you prize most about your writing friendships-- wherever they may take place?
Today Piper is generously giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Piper G Huguley is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series which follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. The Preacher’s Promise is book one in the series. Upon release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts.
Huguley is also the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four in the series, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.
The Preacher's Promise
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.”—Daniel 3:17
1866 – Oberlin, Ohio
Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s no where for her to go.
Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn’t want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died—that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn’t have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.
To keep THE PREACHER’S PROMISE, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together--somehow.
The 2015 RWA Golden Heart® opens to entries on December 2, 2015. Details can be found here.