1. Mistaken By Moonlight, Regency Historical, 2008I won in the Regency Historical category. One week later, it sold in a two-book deal to Berkley Publishing. The title was changed to Mistress By Mistake and that book was released in 2009. Damsel In Disguise was published in 2010, Temptress In Training will be out in July of this year, and Passions and Pretense will be released next April.
I can be contacted through my website, www.SusanGH.com.
2. I decided to enter the GH that year because I'd sent portions of this manuscript through a few other RWA Chapter contests and it did surprisingly well. I had to really hurry to finish the full manuscript to make the Golden Heart deadline, and I really hated parting with that $50 knowing I wouldn't be getting any feedback, but I thought this time I might take a chance. I don't often gamble, but I'm so glad I did!
3. When I got the GH call I was literally walking out the door with my family on our way to a Spring Break vacation on Lake Erie. I was so stunned I can barely even remember the phone call. I'd had so little hope of finalling that I hadn't even remembered that was the day calls would be going out. That vacation is kind of a blur, but I do recall that I walked around with a stupid grin for the longest time.
4. Being a Golden Heart winner has not changed how I write, or what I write, but it has done a lot to give me confidence to continue writing. What better validation is there than to know you've been ranked among the best of the best by your peers? I think on some level, it is even more precious to me than the contracts I've signed with my dream publisher. I have so much respect for my fellow writers and to be honored by them this way is priceless. When I'm stuck in the middle of a book that seems to be going nowhere, when my characters feel flat and boring, I remind myself that I suffered through all the same doubts and frustrations in that winning (and bestselling!) manuscript. If I managed to pull that off in the end, then surely I can fix this one, too. So I quit whining and keep writing.
The friendships I have built with some of the other GH finalilsts from 2008--the Pixie Chicks--have been life-changing. That is the very best side-effect of finaling, I think; you become a member of a super special kinship. I've learned so much from these wonderful writers! And it has been so much fun to follow each other's careers over the past few years. That is something that will stay with me long after memories of the award ceremony have faded and my pretty golden pendant has tarnished. That is something you get whether you win or simply get to forever call yourself a Golden Heart finalist.