The Golden Heart contest is one of the most important for unpublished romance writers. Each year, the organisers receive about 1,000 entries in 10 different categories. These are whittled down to 100 entries. Acquiring editors at publishing houses judge the finalists, and the winners are announced at a ceremony often dubbed the Oscars for romance writers. In this contest, though, winning isn't everything--many past finalists have gone on to publication as a result of the comp.
This year, I entered two YA manuscripts. I forked out over 200 bucks in entry, stationery and postage fees. ("I'm stimulating the economy," I assured myself.) I airmailed the mss from Australia to the US on November 15. Usually, it takes up to seven days for mail to reach its destination. Plenty of time, I thought, to meet the December 2 deadline. If entries don't make it to RWA's Texas office by then, they're disqualified.
But yesterday, day 14 after mailing, I realised it wasn't looking good for my entries. They still haven't made it. How can this be? Did they get chucked into the seamail postbox instead of the airmail one? Did the plane's pilot make a detour in Tahiti and decide to stay? Or maybe a disgruntled postal worker delivered the mail to the garbage dump.
Ironically, the same thing happened to me about a month ago, when I had to snail-mail my final-round entry for the Golden Pen Award. The preliminary round in that comp is judged by Golden Heart finalists/winners. Somewhere, somehow, my mail went astray.
Whatever the reason, I had to take action this time.
Or rather, my dad did.
He lives in America, so he told me to email my entries and he'd take care of the rest. Despite sore, arthritic fingers and crippling back pain, he stayed up till the early hours of this morning, printed out a whole pine tree's worth of manuscript pages, collated and bound them, burnt my full mss to disks, and sent them off by FedEx. Three cheers for Dad!
Now getting to the final round in the GH means more than ever. It's one way to pay Dad back for helping me out so readily.