My Golden Heart® Call Story 2016

To tell the truth, I’d forgotten all about the date Romance Writers of America® notifies contestants if they are Golden Heart® finalists. You may have noticed on the news floods had tried to wash Louisiana away over the past few weeks.


I’d been helping my mother prepare to fight a rising river, my stepdad had been in a fight of his own in the hospital, and I’d buried my fourteen-year-old dog. Sounds like a bad country western song, huh?

But it could have been so much worse and it’s all getting better now.

Generally, I have a very good life, and I’m thankful. But can you see how the date may have slipped my mind?

The night before call day, my dear friend Colette Auclair sent me a text. Good luck tomorrow.

It took me a minute to figure out what kind of good luck I should look for.

Early Friday morning was filled with phone calls but none from RWA®.

I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter if I made it to the finals or not, but my “Hemingway detector” zapped that lie. (If you don’t know what that is, ask me privately or look up Hemingway’s writing advice.)

At 9:30, my cell phone buzzed and a local number and name flashed on the screen. Farrah Rochon, my SOLA chapter sister. I’m on the board (program director and president-elect), so it’s not unusual to get calls from chapter members.


“You know why I’m calling, right?” Farrah asked.

I’m thinking, what have I done or what does she want me to do?

“Not really,” I said.

“Sure you do.” Farrah reeled in the bait.

I didn’t bite because I was still trying to figure out what Farrah was talking about when she started reading the official notification. “I’m pleased to inform you…”

I’m not sure exactly what I said. There’s no doubt I screamed. And I was still trying to figure out why my chapter sister had called me with this big news. She writes contemporary romance. Not my category. Lives in my area. Then it dawned on me. Farrah had recently joined the RWA® board. Duh… Call day challenged brain.



Finally, I thought to ask which manuscript.

She told me BETTER DEAD in the paranormal category. Thrilled, I squealed again, then thanked her and we chatted a while. I learned that she’d been assigned my name completely at random. How wild is that? I thought the conversation was winding down, but she’d have none of it. She dragged it out a bit longer, sweet little devil that she is, and then told me ONE MORE BREATH was a finalist in the inspirational category. Double final! More screaming. A tear or two. And the luckiest day ever.

Congratulations to all the RWA® Rita® and Golden Heart®Finalists!



  1. Bonnie Rehage April 7, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Such exciting news! I’ll have all my fingers crossed for you on the big day. And my toes, if that will help.

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 8:40 am

      The final is a win but I appreciate you crossing any and everything!

  2. Victoria McHenry April 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

    It’s a huge win for you and so well deserved. I guess there is a God, and an angel or two of your own watching over you! I have no doubt whatsoever that great things remain in store for you!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Gotta love the Angels. We all need ’em.
      Thanks, Vicky.

  3. Sara Portman April 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

    So excited for your final this year, and what a cute story. When everyone else snatched the phone up to answer, you didn’t even know what the call was about! A very good surprise 🙂

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Yep. I had a serious blonde moment. Thanks for the kind words.

  4. tamrabaumann April 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

    So fantastic Pamela! Congrats! A double final! YAY! Its news it seemed you could really use. I hope all is well with you and your family and I’m so sorry about your beloved dog. She is surely smiling at the news from her plush bed in doggie heaven. ;0)

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

      I’m still heartbroken about little Gucci. Thanks for remembering her and the congrats.

  5. jenniferbrodie April 7, 2016 at 10:26 am

    What a gorgeous wee dog – chock full of character! You must miss her terribly – even if our dogs live to a grand age, they’re still gone too soon. But, yes, congratulations Pamela-Pamela 😉 on your 2016 double GH final! Can’t wait to see your beautiful face on the big screen in July – I can’t be there in person this year, but shall be watching it live on the RWA website. And, yes, like you said, by being a finalist you’ve already won – brilliant!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Thanks so much Jennifer. She was a character.
      I’ll miss you in San Diego. Thanks for the support. XOXO

  6. FarrahRochon April 7, 2016 at 11:43 am

    It was my truest pleasure to make that call!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

      And my truest joy to receive it, Farrah.

  7. Cheryl Rogers April 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    You deserve to be excited! Writing is such hard work and only fellow writers truly understand such validations!! So happy for you! I can say there’s another famous writer in my Sola group!!!

  8. Priscilla Oliveras April 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Super SUPER excited for you, Pamela!! You’ve worked hard for this and it’s great to see your work recognized! I can’t wait to cheer you on in San Diego!

    And I can’t wait for our write-in Sunday together in a couple weeks!

    Hugs, Pris

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Yep. You’re gonna love my NOLA. Thanks for celebrating with me.

  9. Arlene McFarlane April 7, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    You’ve worked long and hard, my Dragonfly sister. Enjoy every second of this experience. Will see you in San Diego for big hugs in 3 months!!!
    Love you. xo

    • Pamela Kopfler April 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Love you, too, Arlene! I’m so glad you’ll be in San Diego. 😘

  10. smashedpicketfences April 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    So exciting!! Congrats to you, Pam!


  11. Jean Willett April 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Whoohoo! You’re using your blog 🙂 Congratulations X 2!! So excited for you. I’ll be cheering from my new home. You’ll have to come visit for a rest! Sending out a big hug on losing your dog. They’re like family, no? May you float happily to San Diego.

  12. Maria Powers April 7, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    My day has been a bit dreary – it’s raining here in Southern California and we totally need the moisture, but it’s gray and dreary. Your story made me so happy and brought a huge smile to my face. I loved it. So much joy.

    Snoopy happy dancing for you and all of the other finalists.


  13. Brynn Kelly April 8, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Gorgeous story. I’ll be watching the ceremony from afar this year, but with all the wonderful Dragonflies on the screen it’ll feel like I’m right there. Your dog was such a cutie – how wonderful that you had such a long happy time together.

  14. Sharon Wray April 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

    What a lovely call story, Pamela. Your double finals are so well deserved! I can’t wait to see you in San Diego so we can celebrate! 🙂

    • Pamela Kopfler April 8, 2016 at 8:11 am

      It’s a date! Thanks for all your support.

  15. Catherine Rull April 8, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Congratulations, Pamela! Wow! Some sunshine through all that rain! Enjoy being one of the belles of the ball in San Diego this year. 🙂


    • Pamela Kopfler April 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Thanks so much! I wish we could all be there. 😢

  16. jushaw April 8, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Oh, wow, you really had things working against you when that call came–and then it was from Farrah! How sweet! Keeping everything crossed for you that you’ll take home a win! Or two.

    • Pamela Kopfler April 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Thanks, June. I know you’re invested in one of my manuscripts. Go, Burl.

  17. tracypoole40 April 8, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Congratulations on you making finals in two categories! A shiny bright spot after all you’ve been dealing with. Look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 9, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Thanks and double congrats back at ya, girl!

  18. Laurie A. Green April 8, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Many congrats on the DOUBLE FINAL, Pamela! Oh, what a feeling! And in two categories, to boot. Your multi-talents are shining through. So happy for you and wishing you a wonderful experience as you board the Golden Heart crazy train for another wild ride. Ah, how I miss those days. Best of luck in the finals, Firebird sis!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 9, 2016 at 1:48 am

      Feel multi-crazy right now! Thanks for the Firebird love, Laurie.

  19. Jaimie Bergeron April 8, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Sorry to be late checking in. You know how much I love my CP and your work .:-)

    Looking for you to go all the way!!!

    • Pamela Kopfler April 9, 2016 at 1:44 am

      Never to late to celebrate! Love you too and thanks for everything!

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