Please help me welcome my Twitter buddy Terri Osburn. Did I also mention she’s a new Golden Heart® nominee? You won’t believe the exciting ride she’s been on since March!
First off, thank you to Carrie Spencer for inviting me to share my Golden Heart experience with Romance University. This site is a phenomenal resource for writers and it is my honor to play a part even if only for a day.
In the days leading up to March 26, 2012, I kept telling myself not to expect a call. Forget about the calls. Try to be happy for the writers who get the calls. And then shortly after arriving at work that Monday morning, I received a call from an out-of-state number I didn’t recognize.
Could it be? Maybe. OMG! No way!!
These are the things that ran through my brain before I’d even answered the phone. The darling and highly talented Jeanne Adams asked for me and my intelligent response was “YOU ARE KIDDING ME!” No lie. That is how I answered this call. Thank goodness I’ve known Jeanne for years so she already knew I’m a bit of a basket case.
Jeanne laughed (with me, not at me I’m sure) and gave me the schpiel that I’d finaled but my brain was stuck in overdrive making it difficult to communicate. A lot of “OH MY GAWD!” and “I can’t believe this” peppered the conversation. Well, my half of the conversation. But Jeanne has assured me I did not curse in her ear. Thank goodness!
I proceeded to happy dance throughout the day, to the amusement and confusion of my coworkers, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week.
Just after nine on that fateful Monday morning is the moment the train left the station. And let me tell you, that train takes off in a hurry with no time to buckle your seat belt never mind get a good grip.
Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook lit up and I received many congratulatory emails, including a few from some of my favorite Contemporary Romance (my category) authors. Thankfully, my child is the only one who was privy to my reaction to those emails, but let’s say I did an excellent impersonation of someone loaded up on really good drugs.
And then there’s the Class of 2012. For those who don’t know, every year the Golden Heart® finalists create a Yahoo group and proceed to squee, share, and support each other in one giant wash of love. Talented, gorgeous, smart, and funny, I am proud to stand beside my fellow Firebirds knowing we are all rising from the ashes together, soaring into the next phase of our careers with grit, determination, and a pretty gold pin on our lapels.
Some in the group have finaled before, some have already sold, and others (like me) are first time finalists still trying to break through to the next level. Which is where the next loop-dee-loop (official term, I looked it up) of this ride comes in.
What do you do with all this GH® power and enthusiasm? Why, you send your baby out into the world with that “GH® Finalist” in the subject line and wait for everyone to gush and coo and beg to find the perfect home for your masterpiece.
Then the rejections roll in (read: harsh smack of reality upside the ego), you take the hits (with support from your GH® sisters) and send again, hanging your bruised ego on the firing range for another round. And if you’re lucky, as I have been, you talk to the right person at the right time who hands your manuscript to the perfect agent for you and she loves it.
This is when the train picks up speed, you swallow bugs but don’t mind because you’re screaming with joy, and the world is suddenly filled with new possibilities. I think of Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates as my fairy godmother not just my agent. Too early for her to have gotten me fully into the ball just yet, but she recognized that I deserve an invitation. And I will always be grateful for that.
In a month I’ll be floating around the Anaheim Marriott at the RWA National Conference struggling to stay sane while remembering all the new faces and names. And, of course, working hard not do or say anything truly embarrassing.
Lucky for me this is not my first Nationals, but in the past I’ve always been invisible. Another aspiring writer, hovering on the fringe, watching the action. This year I’m in the action, a circumstance I find both exhilarating and horrifying. The one thought getting me through is this. No matter what happens on awards night, I’m already a winner. To win that necklace would simply be the topper to what has already been a life changing experience.
So if you’re contemplating entering the Golden Heart®, but haven’t quite made up your mind, I say go for it. Believe in your work. Believe in yourself. You never know, you might be the one getting that life changing phone call. Just be ready, because this is one wild ride.
RU Writers – have you entered the Golden Heart® yet? Do you have plans to?
Join us on Friday when Larry Bjornson tells us how he conquers writer’s block.
Bio: Terri Osburn has been reading Romance for more than twenty-five years, and writing her own stories for the last five. She is a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category, a PRO member of RWA, and is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates. She writes small town contemporary novels with a touch of humor, a healthy dose of angst, and a satisfying sigh at the end. For the last four years Terri has blogged with a group of aspiring writers and published authors as the Bo’sun aboard the Romance Writers Revenge. These writing pirates have been known to toss chocolate into their rum, and love chatting about their favorite books, authors, and writing tips.
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