News from Nationals: Anne Barton Wins the Golden Heart!

RWA® Nationals 2011 came to a stunning conclusion. My talented critique partner and treasured friend Anne Barton won the Golden Heart in the Regency category! I’ll be your guide as we take an up-close-and-personal look at that enchanting evening.

Anne and I donned our finery. I’d worn my dress last year in Orlando, but Anne found a stunning teal number that looked super on her. She’s got a real flair for fashion.

Keli with Anne Barton before the Awards Ceremony

Anne’s cousin Lisa Connelly met us in the lobby where we snapped some pictures. Lisa was a GH finalist as well and is also Anne’s critique partner. I told them I wanted to see them both get a new necklace. Yeah, I dream BIG.

Anne and her cousin Lisa Connelly

I sat beside Anne at her table in the VIP section with Lisa on her other side. While I was giddy with anticipation, Anne sat composed as can be. She’s a class act!

The presenter for the Regency category was our friend and fellow 2008 GH finalist Courtney Milan, who is a NYT best-selling author as of last week. Am I proud? You betcha!

Anne and Courtney Milan

The Awards Ceremony begins with the announcement of the Golden Heart winners. This year the first category was Regency, in which Anne was a double finalist. Meg Cabot, emcee for the long-anticipated gala, got things rolling with her great brand of humor.

Very soon Meg introduced Courtney, who read the names off the six finalists and their titles while their pictures were displayed on the jumbotron screens placed throughout the ballroom. I held my breath as Courtney opened the envelope.

“And the winner is ‘The Proper Miss—’” That’s all I heard before I threw my arms around Anne. She’d won! I hope I didn’t hurt her ears too much because I believe I shrieked.

Anne made her way to the stage and delivered her acceptance speech. I attempted to get a good picture, but this fuzzy shot was the best I could do with no flash across a crowded ballroom. Trust me, she looked great and was her classy self.

Anne receiving her Golden Heart

After Anne rejoined us, we waited with bated breath as eight more categories were announced. At long last it was time for Lisa’s category, Contemporary Single Title. Since Anne had won, I wanted so much for Lisa to win, too, thinking how cool it would be for cousins to bookend the Golden Heart portion of the ceremony. I’m a romance writer and am all about happy endings.

I got my wish. Lisa won as well. I shrieked some more and shouted something. If memory serves me, it was “That’s two for two!” I cried, which is nothing new for me. I weep easily. Anne had worn the most endearing sweet smile ever since she won, but when Lisa’s name was read, Anne shed tears, too. I think she was even more excited about Lisa’s win than her own, but that’s the way Anne is. She’s generosity personified.

Lisa receiving her Golden Heart

Anne’s lovely and hardworking agent, Helen Breitweiser, joined us at our table and shared in the excitement of Anne’s win. I have a hunch Helen will be letting editors know about her talented, Golden Heart winner client. My new dream is a First Sale for Anne.

Agent Helen Breitweiser and Anne

Anne went off to sip champagne with Helen, and I returned to our room where I did a happy dance that didn’t stop until Anne returned in the wee hours. She let me hold her Golden Heart necklace, and I snapped a picture of it along with the card Courtney pulled out of the envelope hours before.

Anne's Golden Heart and Announcement Card

I can’t think of a more wonderful ending to a great week. I still smile every time I think about Anne’s win. I’ll cover other aspects of the conference in upcoming posts.


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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21 Responses to News from Nationals: Anne Barton Wins the Golden Heart!

  1. What a wonderful description of a wonderful evening! Congrats to everyone. I’m sure we’ll be enjoying these books on the shelves in no time. 🙂

  2. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Wow! Sounds like an amazing evening – thanks for sharing it with us. Congratulations to Anne and her cousin!! Can’t wait to hear first sale news 🙂

  3. I think you two must be about the best pair of critique partners in the world. (I still smile remembering the blog post Anne put together to announce your first sale.) Congrats to Anne. She looked lovely – the color could not be more perfect for her. And wow, I hadn’t known she and Lisa were cousins. What a great night for them both 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing, Keli. Great description of your night. Go, Anne!

  5. So glad she won and congratulations! I was also a Golden Heart Finalist’s date. So fun to be in the VIP section!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Sherrinda says:

    Congratulations to Anne! i’m so glad you were able to be there and share in her joy! GREAT pictures!

  7. It all sounds sooo exciting. You all are on Cloud 9, that’s for sure.
    Maybe next year I’ll make it to Anaheim.

  8. stacysjensen says:

    Congratulations. Look forward to future posts about the conference too.

  9. Oh what a very special night that must’ve been! With your descriptions, I felt as if I was there too, Keli! 🙂 A big congrats to Anne and her cousin – – and how wonderful they had YOU there cheering them on. Thank you for sharing this, and Happy 4th of July to you today! 🙂

  10. Susan Mason says:

    Keli, I was SO happy to hear that Anne had won! And I ‘m so happy that you were there with her!! How exciting! Thanks for sharing this amazing night!


  11. Congrats to Anne and Lisa! I’m glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time celebrating with your friends. Blessings to you, Keli…

  12. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Gwyn says:

    Wonderful blog. Wonderful conference. Wonderful sisters. Congrats to both Anne and Lisa!

  14. Anne Barton says:

    Oh my gosh. Keli, thank you for the wonderful recap of the night. But mostly, thanks for being the most thoughtful friend anyone could ever ask for! I had such a great time with you in NYC . . . the GH was just icing on the cupcake. 😉

  15. What a great evening! I love your recap! Felt like I was there experiencing it. 🙂

  16. Aislinn says:

    Congratulations to both Anne and Lisa.What an awesom year for you both.

  17. Rita Garcia says:

    Keli, you made me feel, almost, like I was right there shrieking with you! Congratulations Anne and Lisa! Thanks, Keli for sharing the adventure!

  18. Wow, how exciting. You must have had a wonderful time.

  19. Wow, Keli, what a fun night! Gets me anxious for the ACFW Banquet in a couple months. (I’ve warned you that you’re getting a big hug from me, right?) 🙂

  20. Sylvia/proud mom says:

    Thank you Keli for the recap and great pictures. I’ve heard wonderful things about you from Annie. As I sat next to my phone and computer on Friday night I imagined all that was going on in NYC. You captured it all… So, as we settle into life after Nationals, I offer congratulations once again to my cousin Lisa and my very talented and loving daughter Anne Barton.

  21. Jessica says:

    Yay!!! I don’t even know her but I knew who she was and was so excited to hear she’d won! Congrats!!!

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