Opal’s Wish – Koru Award of Excellence finalist

opals-wish-1600x2400A few months back, I decided on a what-the-heck-whim to enter Opal’s Wish (Crystal Warriors #4) in the “long romance” category of the Romance Writers of New Zealand Koru Contest a reader’s choice award for excellence in a published novel. So two days before the contest entries closed, I found myself swearing at my printer, which, although it claims to print double-sided copies, was so NOT doing what I asked it to do. And after far too many frustrating hours, very late that afternoon I gave in and raced off to Warehouse Stationery to get three copies of my print-formatted eBook printed and bound.

Thank goodness they could do it within the hour. With a color cover, too. Which only left racing back to the Post Office to hopefully get my entry on the overnight courier….

Phew. Made it! Got home… and rather than relief at making the entry deadline, I ended up getting smacked upside the end with a huge dose of “What the hell was I thinking, entering the 4th book in a series in prestigious contest like this?”

I mean, you have no idea how many hugely talented published authors we have in RWNZ — authors whose books continually get Top Picks when they’re reviewed in Romantic Times Book Reviews, authors who’re multiple RWA RITA finalists, authors who’ve won the RWA RITA in their category. I am so not in their league. Worse, this book I entered in the Koru? Yeah, Opal’s Wish is not only self-published, it’s THAT book — the one that nearly didn’t get written because I was almost crippled by the realization that I’d ticked so many tropes that contributors to a couple of very well-known review blogs happened to loathe. Meaning every time I sat down to work on the manuscript, all I could hear in my head was those reviewers and commenters listing all the reasons why I shouldn’t be writing this book, this way.

Even after some sage advice from an awesomely talented author-friend, once I finally pushed through my fears and wrote Opal and Danbur’s story how I first envisioned it, I couldn’t help that niggle of fear that maybe, just maybe, those reviewers and commenters were right: there’s a reason they dislike these particular tropes. There’s a damn good reason why they don’t work in a story.

And don’t get me started on the whole coffee-bean dress cover art disaster. Hell, Maree. What were you thinking???

Well, we all know that way lies insanity. So I told myself myriad versions of this: It’s too late now because a) the damn book is published, and, b) the damn entry is already on the overnight courier. Suck it up and deal.

And we all know the best way to suck it up and deal (AKA cope with realizing you’ve done something dumb and potentially embarrassing) is to put it out of your mind. Right? Right.

Fast forward a whole lot of weeks, and the Koru finalists were recently announced on the RWNZ loop.

When I scanned the email, at first I didn’t even see my name because I was excited to see another author-friend’s name listed TWICE in the short romance category — four finalists and she has TWO books in the final. Go Yvonne, you little beauty, you!!! Not to mention Frances, who has finalled for the second year in a row in the long romance category, and won the category last year :) And then, while I was calling out to DH about the finalists being named, I spotted my name. Yep, I wasn’t seeing things: Opal’s Wish is one of 4 finalists in the long romance category of the Koru Contest Award for Excellence.

ZOMG. I’m so chuffed that the reader-judges liked Opal and Danbur’s story! And whatever the final placings, I’m so honoured to be a finalist in my category, along with Zana Bell (Fool’s Gold), Frances Housden (Chieftain By Command) and Lizzie Tremayne (A Long Trail Rolling).

Thanks for letting me boast.



UPDATE 29th August 2015: Opal’s Wish placed second in the Long Romance category — WOOT!


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