Nope, didn't final in the Golden Heart. My goal all along has been to do better than last year's scores. Guess I'll find out in a couple of months whether I achieved that.
Am I disappointed? Sure, some. But not suprised. I get such a mixed bag of feedback on all of the contests I enter--usually one or two judges love it to death, and at least one thinks its utterly crap.
I'm kind of noticing that the contest circuit is a bit of a crap shoot. The feedback from most contests is great, but there's no guarantee that the same manuscript will be judged the same from one judge to the next, or one contest to the next. I've heard of manuscripts that win with perfect scores in one lineup score only middle of the road in the next.
And judging this year shows it too. I scored one Golden Heart manuscript fairly high (high 8's out of 9). It didn't final. Either all the finalists were pretty much perfect (which is possible...they don't release the finalists' scores, so we don't know how many 9's and 8's they actually receive), or taste varies widely among the judges.
So, how did I celebrate my non-remarkable afternoon? With leftover birthday cake and about 400 new words on my current work in progress. That's a pitiful amount for me, but I fully admit that I was having attention trouble :)
Congrats to the finalists!