contests, Writing Life

I Tanked on Friday and Finaled on Saturday

 

To say it’s been a whirlwind weekend would put it lightly. On Friday, I received nightmare scores from the Golden Heart contest (the biggest and most prestigious unpublished contest in the Romance world). I didn’t final. Nor did I come in the top quarter, or second quarter or third. I landed in the ‘Get out of Dodge’ quarter. I picked myself up off the floor, dusted my fanny and went back to the keyboard. What else is there to do?

The next day the phone rang. I could see the number wasn’t local. My breath hitched as I picked up.  A very nice woman from the Kiss of Death chapter was on the other end with the news that I had finaled in the Daphne. The Daphne du Maurier contest for romantic suspense (The biggest contest for my kind of writing)! It took awhile to breath properly again, but I managed to thank her before I ran down the stairs to tell PJ. I’m not sure what I said to him, but I babbled a bunch of words that clearly made no sense, because he gave me that ‘you’ve really lost it now’ look.  So then I hugged him. He got that.

Now I could feel really really bad about Friday, or really really good about Saturday, and to be honest I’ve done a bit of both. But the key, I think, is to let this stuff wash over me like waves and keep on swimming. That’s my motto for today. Just keep on swimming.

I’ve saved the heart-warming part of this story for the end. When I let my local chapter (VIC) know about my bad and good news they rallied to support me not only with encouraging words and lovely notes of congratulations, but also with stories about their crazy up-and-down experiences with contests that made me both laugh and cry. Their friendship and wise guidance mean the world to me.

How has your weekend been?

 

31 thoughts on “I Tanked on Friday and Finaled on Saturday

  1. Congratulations, Jo-Ann! I’m thrilled for you. Finallying in the Daphne! For sure the very best! I’m happy dancing for you all over the place. I will tell you my published book VERMONT ESCAPE bombed at the Golden Heart. Now, I’ll admit it wasn’t in the place that it was when it got published, but still…. If you got anything helpful from it, take it. Otherwise, just chuck it and, as you said, move on. But how awesome to move on to the Daphne! Again, super congrats!

    Like

    1. Hi Marsha
      I love Romance writers. They don’t ever pretend to be perfect. Thanks for sharing your GH experience. I loved your book Vermont Escape.
      I’m also excited to be going to Texas for the first time in my life. Are you going to the conference?
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

      1. Jo-Ann, are you coming to the RWA conference in San Antoinio? I’ve not planned to go. Long story.) But if you are I may have to reconsider. At least drive down to meet you there. Email me, please!

        Like

      2. Hi Marsha
        Oh please reconsider, if you can fit it in, I’d love to meet you. The conference is 96% full and they’ve filled three hotels, but I managed to register and found a nice room for me and PJ about a block away at a Best Western. The workshops look fantastic (as always). I’m pumped.
        Best
        Jo-Ann

        Like

  2. Contests are tough. Huge congrats on the Daphne final, and hugs on the Golden Heart numbers. That is SUCH a tough contest, because no feedback can be given – just points. The publishing business is always up and down, and sometimes in the same weekend like you’ve just experienced. You’re on your way, Jo-Ann!

    Like

    1. Christine
      Thanks for stopping by and cheering me up. I have to say I don’t like the judging feedback from the GH. Getting numbers with no comments really feels like a nasty spanking without just cause. And I paid fifty dollars for it! I don’t think I’ll do that again.
      I agree it is a tough business, but I do love the writing part.
      Thanks so much for stopping by, wishing me well and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  3. Congrats, Jo-Ann! The Daphne is an awesome contest. I’ve come to the conclusion that the contest world is just like the publishing word…there are judges/readers who will hate your work and other judges/readers who will LOVE the same work. What’s important is that you love your work. That’s what keeps me writing at least. 🙂 Congrats again!

    Stephanie

    Like

    1. Hi Stephanie
      I agree. You are absolutely right. It’s all subjective. I keep reminding myself that not everyone is going to like my work, but still….
      Thanks for your congratulations. It’s the second time I finaled in this contest and I can’t wait to go to the ‘Death by Chocolate’ event at the Nationals for the results.
      My weekend may have started out rough, but it sure is ending with a rosy horizon.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Like

    2. Boy, did you nail that right, Stephanie. A couple of years ago, the same entry of VERMONT ESCAPE finalled in one contest and bombed in another. LOL It’s nuts fur sure. And still we do it.

      Like

  4. Super happy for you! and what a bonus getting kudos right after a spanking 🙂 …. What was your title? Is this the story you won the ECO with?

    My last GH entry a couple of years ago was the combo of both…… Out of 9 I got 5.0, 5.5, 8.9, 9.0, 9.0 for a total of 37.4 (and anything 37.6 and up made the finals!) so the moral of the story is that judging is subjective.

    I think the Daphne rocks because the judges know the genre.

    Hope to see you in San Antonio!

    Like

    1. Hi Kathryn Jane
      Thanks for sharing your GH story. I like your moral: judging is subjective. And you are so right- the Daphne rocks. I love the feedback the judges give. They seem to understand what I’m trying to do.
      No it’s not the story I won the ECO with. This is a new one and I think my best, Covert Danger. The tag line: single woman, double life. It’s been great fun to write.
      Will you be in San Antonio? I’m definitely going. I can’t miss the chocolate after all. I’d love to meet you.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Like

      1. Great tag line! Yes I’ll be in San Antonio, my first trip to National. It was cool being at your table when you won the ECO so maybe we’ll have a repeat at DBC 🙂 I’ll watch for you while I’m selling raffle tickets when the event begins…. Maybe we’ll try for a Canadian bunch as I know several of my Canadian KOD friends will be there too!

        Like

      2. Hi Kathryn
        That sounds like a great idea. I’m still trying to figure out how to get tickets to the DBC, but that’s just a detail. One of my main goals for this trip is to get to know my fellow DBCers better. It’s my second Nationals and the first was a complete blurr. Looking forward to seeing you again.
        Best Wishes
        Jo-Ann

        Like

  5. I love your motto, just keep on swimming. Because really that’s all you can do. I still haven’t managed to enter a contest. I did tell myself I’d try to enter two this year. BUT – I’ve nearly finished the first draft (and some of the editing) of my thriller. Super Congrats on the Daphne and I know you’re going to have a great time in Texas.

    Like

    1. Hi Pat
      Thanks for your congratulations. I wish you were heading south with us. I’ll miss your sense of humor at the events.
      Congrats on almost finishing the first draft of the medical thriller. The amount of writing you manage on top of a full time job amazes me, so I wouldn’t beat yourself up about not doing more. The contests are always there, and when you have time you can enter some. I like the anonymous feedback (most of the time). Now the GH is a different matter .
      I know I’m tired when I start writing with a lot of acronyms and brackets.
      Again, thank you for stopping by.
      Carpe Amore
      Jo-Ann
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  6. Congrats on finalling in the Daphne! At least those judges know something about rom/sus. Keep on doing your thing.

    Didn’t they change the GH to emphasize romance and downplay anything else, including suspense? Is there even going to be a rom/sus category next year?

    Like

    1. Hi Kate
      Thank you. I’m sooo excited.
      Yes they did change the judging criteria for the GH this year and a lot of cross-genre writers are pretty upset about it. But when I look at my scores I can’t even blame them on that. Clearly, my four judges didn’t like my work. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day and I get to polish up my Daphne submission.
      I appreciate you coming to visit and add to the conversation.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  7. Hi Jo-Ann. Congrats on the Daphne final – that’s awesome!!! Don’t worry about the Golden Heart – that happens. I also was in the bottom quarter for my scores on FATED, which sold to Kensington the next month (the EXACT same partial (no edits) resulted in a request for full and then an offer), which is the first book in the Dark Protector series, and the 10th book comes out from Kensington in December. We bought a lake house with my last royalty payment. So…those four judges might just be wrong.

    Keep writing, and enjoy the Daphne final. That’s wonderful! 🙂

    Like

    1. Rebecca
      I can’t thank you enough for this comment. Talk about giving me hope! My goodness.
      Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you really enjoy your lake house.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  8. What a remarkable weekend you’ve had, that’s for sure. So many things in the contest world are out of our control. All you can do is hang on for the ride and embrace the best moments and walk away from the rest.
    Looking forward to seeing you in Texas.

    Like

    1. Hi Jodie
      I like the embracing part. I can’t wait to be clicking glasses and sharing tales in Texas. The workshops sound amazing!
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  9. I am so happy for you – finaling in the Daphne – again! That’s just fabulous! I had my share of weird marking in the GH so I totally sympathize with you. I think they are going to get less entries if they don’t smarten up. I know you’ll have a great time at the Death-By-Chocolate evening in San Antonio.
    The K.O.D. know good writing when they see it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s