I recently got word from GRW that Sawyer's Rose was a finalist for the Maggies in October. The Georgia Romance Writers website defines it this way:
The Maggie Award for Excellence has been given out by Georgia Romance Writers for over three decades. It is a highly respected award in the writing community.
I have worked on Sawyer's Rose for over a year and a half and thanks to the best critique partners a person could have this is the result. (Thank you Maggie, Cheryl, Trish, Sherry and Becke.) I also have a slew of beta readers who offer story advice and let me know where things did or didn't make any sense. (Thank you Kimmy, Dennie, Anita, and Scarlet.) I am not sure any writer ever placed in any contest without great critique partners and then painstakingly writing and rewriting again and again. For me it has been a battle of learning all the things new writers have to learn and the things I am still learning like:
Show vs. Tell
Point of View-Head-hopping
Adding Emotional beats in the right places
And for me plain old grammar and punctuation (No I didn't pay attention in high school English. I was probably hiding behind my English book reading a romance novel.)
So my first real reward has come and it didn't come easy. But it does come at a time when I needed to hear something good related to my writing. When I first decided to pursue publication I jumped in whole heartedly. I joined GRW and RWA and I go to the events and I submitted to the Virginia Ellis workshop each year so I could learn. I've already pitched a couple of times and got the rejections that followed and then took a deep breath and pitched again. I have submitted to the Maggies, sure I wouldn't place but wanting the feedback of critiques from those that do not know me. That can be invaluable. Not sure how this has happened, but someone must have liked Sawyer's Rose for this to be where things have gone. I don't know how the story will do in October, but I do know at this moment this is a huge honor regardless. I am thrilled, excited and still in shock but it is starting to sink in. This doesn't mean Sawyer's Rose will get published but it does mean if nothing else I am making progress toward that goal and it feels really good.