This finalist status is the closest I've gotten with HELL TO PAY. It's been a real labor of love, and I've worked for over 2 years on it, taken it through numerous exhausting full edits, and I'm just doggone proud of the final result. My hope is that someone else will like it. I knew I was getting close when I missed the cutoff for Golden Heart by half a percentage point. Close, so close! But so many authors get close. We'll see if I make contact with the brass ring at some point….
So I'll get the judge comments tomorrow and will have 1 week to edit and resubmit for a big-J Judge to review. Nail biter for sure, but at least I'm in the top 5 and that's at least a step in the right direction.