Ever since I heard about Romance Writers of America I knew it was where I needed to be if I wanted to be serious about my writing career and so I joined as soon as I could.
When I learned about the Golden Heart contest I felt that if I won a Golden Heart award it would mean that I had a really good story and would be a successful author in my genre and so of course I’ve chickened out each and every year.
I known. I’m insane. This year I got close to entering but at the last minute I psyched myself out and convinced myself it wasn’t ready.
I fear I’m one of those writers who may never think their completed manuscript is polished enough to be seen, judged or read by anyone else.
However, this article isn’t about me and my crippling anxiety. This article is about the ones who overcame their insecurities, took the plunge and entered their work in the biggest romance contest out there.
Before we go any further I just want to say,
Congratulations on taking that leap of faith and putting your work out there to be judged. I hope to one day follow in your footsteps.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets talk a bit about what the Golden Heart award actually is.
The Golden Heart Award is a contest to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding manuscripts written by members who have not published a novel or novella.
Approximately 1,200 romance manuscripts are entered in the Golden Heart each year by RWA members who have not accepted a publishing offer for or self-published a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 or more by the contest entry deadline.
A writer may enter a romance manuscript in one of eight contest categories. In the preliminary round, the manuscripts are read and judged by General RWA members. Entries meeting the qualifications to final will proceed to the final round of judging.
The final round of the contest is judged by acquiring editors from romance publishing houses. Many Golden Heart finalists sell their manuscripts to publishers as a result of the exposure from the contest.
Romance Writers of America reveals the Golden Heart winners at the Awards Ceremony at the RWA Annual Conference. Golden Heart winners receive a gold, heart-shaped necklace in recognition of their achievements.
The Golden Heart winners for 2016 will be announced on July 16 8-10pm at the annual RWA conference in San Diego, California. For further information and to view past winners and to watch the 2015 awards ceremony check out RWA’s Gold Heart Award page.
Keep in mind that you will not be able to read the stories listed below due to the fact that they haven’t been published yet. However, you can check out the up and coming authors and show them some love.
To keep up to date on any information look for and use #RITAGH or #RWA16 .
2016 Golden Heart Finalists
“An Education” by Brooke Salisbury
“Façade” by Susan Bickford
“Off the Rails” by Monique Headley
“Shelter Me” by Gabrielle Luthy
“Smiling Underwater” by Sydney Carroll
“The Sniper’s Second Shot” by Tracy Brody
“Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot” by Melonie Johnson
“Soul Song” by Rayn Ellis
“Surrender to the Movie Star” by Melanie McCarthy
“Volunteering Her Heart” by Erin O’Brien
“Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher” by Seana Kelly
“Besotted with the Viscount” by Susanna Malcolm
“A Curious Correspondence” by Amelia Ridley
“The Earl and the Pussycat” by Elizabeth King
“The Impetuous Miss Milton” by Renee Ann Miller
“My Lord Mercenary” by Tracey Amey
“Saving Columbine Ranch” by Karen Miller
“Taming the Earl” by Elizabeth King
“An Unbridled Gentleman” by Eileen Emerson
“Undone” by Elizabeth Rue
“Wild Women and the Blues” by Denny S. Bryce
“For the Love of Termites” by Kimberly MacCarron
“One More Breath” by Pamela Kopfler
“Scottish Warrior” by Laura Stolmeier
“Better Dead” by Pamela Kopfler
“Constant Craving” by Kari W. Cole
“Don’t Call Me Cupcake” by Tara Sheets
“Kissed at Midnight” by Ainsley Wynter
“The Mer Chronicles: A Duty Too Far” by Kate Ramirez
“Taxing Courtship” by Jaycee Jarvis
“WØLFF: Rise of the Valdyr” by Alison Pritchard writing as Alyson McLayne
“Escape from the Harem” by Diana Belchase
“Four Tragedies” by Layla Reyne
“In the Wrong Sights” by Tracy Brody
“Love in Hiding” by Diane Holiday
“Ruby Red” by Melanie Novak
“The Truth Is in the Tango” by Arianna James
Short Contemporary Romance
“Back in the Saddle” by Susan Breeden
“Breaking Her Rules” by Sarah Hall
“In the Fast Lane” by Evie Anderson
“Rescuing Riley” by Carrie Nichols
Young Adult Romance
“The Accidental Boyfriend” by Lori Freeland
“The Beekeeper” by Meg Kassel
“Between Never & Always” by TL Sumner
“The Expedition” by Mary Sullivan
“Field Guide to a Girl” by Nicole Hohmann
“The Other Cheek” by McCall Hoyle
“Senior Tag: The Underwear Games” by Sheri Adkins
Sadly, I couldn’t find contact information on all the writers. If you know of any contact information that is missing or incorrect please let me know.
Wednesday @ 9am “The 2016 RITA Finalists”
Friday @ 9am “How To Handle Your Families Concern Over Your Weight”
- Are you a romance writer? If so have you joined RWA and have you thought about entering the Golden Heart Competition?
- What are you feelings toward writing competitions? A waste of time or an invaluable outlet?
- Do you have a manuscript that you’ve been working on but can’t get up the courage to submit it to a contest or publisher? If so, why do you think you haven’t taken the leap yet?
8 thoughts on “The 2016 Golden Heart Finalists”
Darla said: I fear I’m one of those writers who may never think their completed manuscript is polished enough to be seen, judged or read by anyone else.
In prior business I learned this mantra “Done is better than perfect.” Words for a writer to live by because “perfect” is as subjective as opinions about our writing. At some point you gotta sing “Let it Go!” and share your work. Put on the big girl panties and chill a bottle of wine to be ready for feedback and look at it not as criticism, but polishing your gem until it shines. You go to be in it to win it. Good luck and hope to meet you at RWA.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you Tracy for your words of encouragement. Hopefully I will “Let it Go” soon 😉
Hey Darla, what a fab piece. The world is missing your voice. Get something polished for next year!! You can find me at sarahrhallauthor.WordPress.com or on Twitter @sarahrhall
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you Sarah 🙂
Hi Sarah, I just wanted to let you know that your website information is updated on the article now. Best of luck with your entry!
Thanks for the shout-out, Darla! Now, what are we going to do about you not letting go? Listen, I hear ya–it’s a scary world out there. But it’s all about connection–we want to connect to people with our writing and readers want to connect to the world via our writing. Have you considered smaller chapter contests before building up to the GH? Do you have a sisterhood who are helping you with your goals and challenging you to look into why you’re not meeting them? This has been invaluable to me. The smaller contests have great judges and the detailed feedback can really help you address any “issues” before you enter the GH. It can also help you understand where your target audience is–and also understand that not everyone’s going to like your writing, but that’s okay. Don’t get caught up in the hype, stay true to yourself and your voice, let the story you need to tell come and remember–as *awesome* as being a finalist is, a lot of very, very successful authors never made it to the finals, or never even entered. Keep your eye on the prize and let the rest fall away 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the pep talk and suggestions Gabrielle. I think I might try a chapter contest before the GH deadline this winter.
Hi, Darla, and thanks for the shout out! Like you, I never think my work is polished enough to go out into the world. Luckily, I have an awesome critique partner and encouraging friends in my local RWA chapter, Georgia Romance Writers, who insisted that I enter the GH. As a matter of fact they insisted I enter the GH. So glad I did!
LikeLiked by 1 person