Well, it’s official. I did not final in the Historical category of the Golden Heart. I know…I know…it’s a travesty. An injustice. A horrid example of man’s inhumanity to man…oh, no wait…that’s something else. This was actually just a blip on the radar.
When I arrived home with no call waiting to breathlessly tell me I was awesome and had made the finals, I figured one wasn’t coming. I glared at the phone for a few seconds—okay, maybe more like 30—then I went and changed into my workout gear and went for a run. No sense watching a phone that didn’t seem inclined to ring.
While I’m running, I get to thinking, why am I not more disappointed? I remember being way more upset when Outlaw Bride didn’t final in 2005. Maybe because that was my first shot at the GH and I had high hopes. I mulled that over but realized no, that wasn’t it. Brimstone was a superior manuscript to Outlaw Bride. With two more years under my belt my writing had improved immensely. I should have had higher hopes for Brimstone. And in truth, I did. I expected to final (Ah, ego…). So then, why wasn’t I more crushed when the call didn’t come?
As my feet beat the pavement and the frigid temperatures bit into my skin I had an epiphany. While making the finals would have been great, my intent was to use it as a marketing tool, an extra foot in the door to snag the attention of an editor and/or agent. But I already have the attention of an editor. And if I got the attention of one editor, could I not also get the attention of another editor or agent based on the merits of the book without the “GH Finalist” tagged onto the query letter? ‘Sure, why not,’ I shrugged. (Which made me trip a little, but what can you do?).
I’m glad I entered the contest. It meant I took a shot and that’s always a good thing. I’m not a big believer of living your life like an armchair quarterback. But not making the finalists doesn’t impact my goals for the year. I still have every intention of beating down the doors of agents and editors in an effort to sell this series. I still plan on revising Outlaw Bride once Brimstone is out the door. And Book Two of the series, Saving Grace, will be at least first drafted by the end of the year. And if I can swing it, I will once again do NaNoWriMo in November with a romantic suspense that has been picking away at my story brain.
Not being a GH finalist has not changed any of that. And it hasn’t changed the belief that someday soon I will get a call of my own saying, ‘Hell yes, we’d love to publish your book.’
If nothing else, not making it to the finals drove that reminder home.
And another plus: Big congratulations to my buddy (and San Fran roomie!) Julianne MacLean who was nominated for a RITA in the Historical category. Way to go Julianne!!