This past Saturday--July 14th--was the annual Awards Ceremony for the Romance Writers of America at which the 2007 finalists for the RITA (RWA's version of the Oscar for published novels) and the Golden Heart (the award for unpublished manuscripts) were honored and the winners announced.
It was fantastically fun.
And, okay, kind of stressful--in an exciting, nervous-energy kind of way. Because it took place in Dallas, it was a fairly long way from home for me and for most of the other attendees...which created its own kind of community, one that had vibrations of giddiness paired with exhaustion, of chaos amidst strict timetables, of introductions to strangers and reunions with old friends.
As a GH finalist this year for my manuscript According To Jane, I was privileged to meet some outstanding writers, a number of whom were fellow finalists in my category--Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. Here's a shout out to a few of those wonderful women: Maureen McGowan (http://www.maureenmcgowan.com/ and http://www.drunkwritertalk.blogspot.com/), Laura Martello (http://www.la-mitchell.com/), Beth Watson, and Kimberley Howe (http://www.kjhowe.com/ and http://www.romancebandits.blogspot.com/)! Check out their websites/blogs when you have a chance :-).
Despite my good friends from the Chicago-North Chapter of RWA insisting that I write an acceptance speech, I'll confess to not taking this task at all seriously until two days before the conference, when I typed a few notes on an index card. I didn't practice it until, well, an hour before getting dressed for the Ceremony (just ask my mystified but very supportive roommate!) because I have a tendency to turn an unhealthy shade of chartreuse when even thinking about being onstage...let alone being onstage in front of an audience of 2,000 writers, literary agents and editors. So, hearing my name called as the winner that night was a shock, a delight, an honor and a moment of sheer terror all rolled into one. It was also a humbling and joyous experience impossible to forget. Thanks to everyone who shared this event with me!
Bestselling author, fellow Cherry writer and past-RITA winner, Alesia Holliday (aka Alyssa Day), posted photos of the Dessert Reception, which followed the Awards Ceremony, on her blog. Take a look at her pics, which are at: http://warriorsofposeidon.blogspot.com/ .(I'm the one on the right, dressed in blue, still looking dazed.)
There are additional photos and mini recaps of the speeches that were live-blogged by the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels at: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/C39/ under their RWA National--Dallas 2007 archives.
Finally, The Knight Agency has a couple of pictures up on the agency blog as well. They're at: http://knightagency.blogspot.com/. My picture was taken by my friend Julie (who has her own great blog: http://strategerie.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/dallas-its-a-wrap-people/#respond) and it features my good friends Erica, Karen and Simone.
Fun, fun, fun...but now it's back to writing and to my regularly scheduled "normal" life...