Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

RITA and Gold Heart Madness!

This year is the first year I’ve participated in either of these contests. When I was unpublished, while still a member of Romance Writers of America, I just didn’t have the confidence to enter the Golden Heart. Which is really kind of dumb because the only way I could get that confidence was to sell my first book, thus rendering me ineligible for the GH. (Like I said, dumb).

So with last year being my first sale, and with my one and only book at the time, I entered. Tuesday night was like Christmas Eve for me. I couldn’t sleep. SO EXCITED. I finally drifted off around dawn, and then got up a couple hours later to gape at Twitter, madly refresh the RWA website, glare at anyone who touched the phone, and about have a stroke every time it rang.

I’m telling myself that this is normal behavior for a grown woman too, and that every other writer who entered–regardless of how many times they had entered–was doing the exact same thing. In my sleep-deprived yet oddly hyperactive brain, the idea kept rolling around about romance writers and Cinderella, and that metaphor appealed to me yesterday.

  • We–Okay, I spend a lot of time dressed in a way not fit for company(Like Cinderella, man). I have clothes on. Yes, technically, they’re pajamas, but I didn’t sleep in them! This-is-my-lounge-around-comfortably-and-writeWEAR.
  • Writing is hard work. Maybe you don’t end up covered in soot and cinders while doing it–unless you’re totally into your research and need to know how to describe the smear of soot on skin in some kind of crazy detail–but even if you start out looking normal, like with your hair fixed and your makeup on? By the end of a particularly hard writing session, you might look like you’ve spent the last twelve hours scrubbing floors and toilets. Some scenes put you through the wringer.
  • You secretly really want to go to the ball, but you’re never entirely sure whether you’re actually Cinderella… or an Ugly Stepsister.
That last one is where my metaphor breaks down. And where I surprised myself. I didn’t expect my little single entry to get anywhere, but none of the books I read got through either. And one of them seriously made me a fangirl for life with just that one book, which btw, taught me a lesson about covers. I hated the cover of it, even though it was professional and fit the book(all the bright primary yellows and reds put me off). So, when I got my pack and sorted my books, I put it in my pile of books I didn’t really want to read and made myself read before the ones I really wanted to read(aka: the carrot books). And it turned out being my absolute favorite(I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover… BUT USUALLY YOU CAN.).
In the wake of my RITA-virginity-losing contest experience, that’s the only thing that I’m actually sad about: that one book(with the terrible cover) that was so so good and didn’t make it through. I want to tell you what it was, I want to tell everyone that they should read it(It was even kind of a medical romance, though it was single title and not category), but I don’t know if I am allowed!
Instead, I am wondering if you judged the RITA’s this year, if you had any books you were sure would get through and didn’t(You don’t have to name them, unless we’re allowed! In that case, tell me so I can sing the praises of this one book!)? Or did you have some you were sure would and DID? And if you didn’t judge the RITA’s, do you have any books you read last year that you loved beyond belief and want to recommend(Since you can)? 🙂
And because I always forget to mention my own books (with yet another take on Cinderella), my March release: Uncovering Her Secrets
Uncovering Her Secrets -- March 2014A chance to make amends…
Hiring her ex, the irresistible Dr. Preston Monroe, is Dr. Dasha Hardin’s secret atonement for her unforgiveable past. A plan suddenly complicated by his touch, which still makes her heart zing! Preston must reluctantly trust Dasha and soon wants to discover more about this new feisty, vulnerable woman—the only woman with the strength to fight for his irredeemable soul….



13 thoughts on “RITA and Gold Heart Madness!”

  1. There’s a book I loved that didn’t make it either and I want to shout out my love for it too.

    Maybe since it didn’t make it, we can at recommend it?

    1. I just don’t know if we are allowed! I want to know though. I WANT TO HEAR and commiserate!

      I am trying to think of a sneaky way to do it, only now I can’t because I’m all… I READ THIS BOOK, and any book I mention that, oh by the way is the best book ever… is going to be clear where I read it 🙂

  2. “In my fantasies about winning the RITA, I am always much younger.” That’s the first line of my acceptance speech. Does that make you feel better? LOL
    I had one book make it through. Liked another book even more, but it didn’t. It’s really a crapshoot how reader/judges will respond.
    With the new system, I think I’m not going to enter next year.
    I’m dying to know who you are a fangirl of now. private e-mail?

    1. Haha! I love it 😀

      In my fantasy of RITA acceptance, they say my name and I promptly pass out and they have to call hot paramedics to revive me. I can’t even fantasize about public speaking LMAO.


  3. HI, Can’t we say now that the nominations are done? I had a history-making book in my judging experience. I gave it 100%. Was thrilled to see it finagled. Irony? It was a paranormal and I don’t really super love that genre but really I think it was more of a YA that lacked a home since the YA category got nuked. Anyway, it was spectacularly awesome!
    LOL this conversation is pretty pointless if we can’t name titles…..
    Fiona x

    1. I just double checked and it says you can praise books at a later date, but still never signal that they were part of your Rita duties…


      Lynne says it’s a crapshoot what gets through, but I see that you two both had books that you called, so to speak. Maybe that comes through repeated effort. Or maybe I am still not exactly the target audience… I love my quirky and humor in books! I love romance, but I also love Terry Pratchett probably more than is healthy 🙂 If he wrote a Cinderella story, I’d be in heaven! (If he has, someone please tell me now omg)

  4. Oh Amalie, I NEVER want to give a speech. One of my CPs can tell you that when she sat next to me during the GH awards, I kept muttering that I wished I’d never entered. Then I promptly entered the next year and went through the very same thing. 🙂 So I like finaling, but the prospect of winning and standing up there in front? Not so much.

    I had a paranormal entry in my Rita packet that I absolutely loved, but it didn’t final. I gave it a perfect score and everything! Another book that I gave an almost perfect score did make it (and I was happy because it was a really good book).

    1. Hahaha! See, my pessimism says that if you want to win one of these and you do get nominated, you have to go to the ceremony where winning would force you to give a speech… and thus be the less preferable option at that time. So I’m shocked you didn’t win! 😀

      So you got 1 for 2. That’s pretty good if luck really is a factor(and hence me thinking it isn’t the biggest of a factor… still has to be a good book.)

  5. Amalie, I have a vision of you being wheeled on stage (by the two hot paramedics), your award is put into your hand and one of the paramedics delivers an impromptu acceptance speech on your behalf, then they wheel you back off again. So you see you have to enter again next year, because we need that video 🙂

    1. BAHAHAHA. I love it when my hot paramedics turn out to be all eloquent and whatever. Those paramedics need to be in one of your books, Annie! Heck, that whole scenario needs to be in your book. Hot paramedic + lovely lady up for award of some sort but with public speaking phobia… what a way to meet! I’d read that book!

  6. The whole ‘getting to be a published author’ feels a little like Cinderella, doesn’t it? And even tougher than breaking in is finaling in a contest like the Golden Heart for unpublished authors, or the RITA’s for published. While I wasn’t eligible this year to read RITA entries, I have read GH entries I thought were amazing, but didn’t cross to the finish line.

    For what it’s worth, I ADORED your debut, Amalie – it was most definitely finalist worthy! Now I’m off to ‘my own little corner in my own little chair to be whatever I want to be’….:-)

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