‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ days

Apr 10, 2015 | 11 comments |

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, was one of my late dad’s favourite books. As a result, many ‘Alice’ expressions became part of our family’s life.

I’ve thought of my dear dad even more than usual recently, as the past two weeks have had a decidedly ‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ quality. As many of you know, my manuscript, Port Fairlight Summer, has been nominated as a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist 2015 in the Contemporary Romance category.

The Golden Heart® contest recognizes excellence in manuscripts by unpublished romance authors, and to final is an honour that’s gratifying and humbling, as well as exciting and scary. Like Alice following the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and discovering a fantasy world, the Golden Heart® nomination has catapulted me into a new, and somewhat surreal journey of discovery, learning and adventure.

Although this experience may give me new opportunities as a writer, the sense of community with my Golden Heart® sisters, the women with whom I’m sharing this journey, is an even greater blessing.

I’ve already discovered these women are a lot like me, juggling families, care giving, and day jobs, and squeezing writing into odd moments. Like me, they write because they have to. We are writers so we write.

They’re women who have the same insecurities as me, and who experience many of the same doubts about their writing. Yet, like me, they’ve persevered, often through tragedy and unimaginable life challenges, and kept writing.

They’re also women who’ve transported kitchen appliances across the continental United States to whip up cocktails in writing conference hotel rooms. They’re women who share my brownie obsession, both baking and eating them. And they’re women who post pictures of posh frocks and sparkly shoes as we ponder that most essential question, what to wear to the awards ceremony when the eyes of thousands will be on us.

On the map, we’re a scattered community, stretching from New Zealand to England, and across the United States and north to Canada. But in our hearts, we’re already close in ways not defined by geography.

When we meet at the RWA National conference in New York City in July, there will be hugs and maybe even a few tears.

Unlike Alice, though, we won’t wake up from our adventure to find it’s all been a dream.

Congratulations to the Golden Heart® class of 2015. I’m honoured to be amongst you. 


  1. Renee Ann Miller

    Jen, What a great post. Like you, I’m finding the Golden Heart experience a wonderful adventure. A bit overwhelming, surreal, and exciting. I can see why it’s referred to as a sisterhood. Even though we are separated by distance, we are sharing this journey together, and it bonds us.

  2. Sue Bavin

    Many congratulations, Jen, to you and to all the other nominees. It must feel quite overwhelming and I can understand why you have compared it to the Alice experience. I’m delighted that you are going to attend the RWA Conference. What a special occasion that will be.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks, Sue. We all appreciate your good wishes. I hope to share some of my RWA National conference learning with you.

  3. Jeanne

    Happy to be sharing this novel experience with you!

  4. Heather

    Such a great post. Honored to be sharing this experience with you and so many other brilliant ladies.

  5. Julie Glover

    Very nice! I look forward to meeting you in person soon. 🙂

  6. Sharon Wray

    Loved this post, Jen. I’m sorry I’m a few days late, but I tweeted it anyway. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see you in July!!!

  7. Maria Powers

    Such a great post. Thank you Jen for sharing it. I’ve shared it again and again with people who ask me what it’s like.

  8. Priscilla Kissinger

    Oh Jen, what a beautiful post! I’m glad I found my way to your blog! 🙂

    You’re right, it is much like a trip down the rabbit hole alongside Alice. Colors are brighter, everything’s exciting and we’ve gotten to meet all sorts of people from all walks of life.

    Being a finalist is a wonderful surprise. But even better, it allows us the opportunity to grow our circle of friends and confidantes.

    I’m so blessed to be a part of this amazing group. And am soooo pleased to call you my GH sister! 🙂


  9. Arlene McFarlane

    Jen, you definitely captured the essence of our 2015 GH group. Thank you for posting such beautiful and touching words.

    Can’t wait to give hugs this summer!

    Arlene ~

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Arlene, and all my GH sisters for visiting, commenting and sharing. Looking forward to meeting you in person in New York. Hugs, Jen.


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