I’m back from the RWA conference and, dear dog, I am tired. But it was a FABULOUS conference!! So fabulous I don’t know where to begin.
I loved having our annual Playground breakfast with Barbara Vey of Publisher’s Weekly. I spent a little time with Faygie Levy from RT Bookreviews and she’s just a doll! I also got to have coffee with editor Whitney Ross from TOR (no, I’m not switching genres; she’s someone I’ve been corresponding with online and wanted to meet face to face), and spent some quality time with my fellow Presents authors (they’re all really lovely people!). I got the honor of introducing two of my favorite authors to each other (Carole Mortimer and Beverly Barton), and bonding with my fabu CP. It was an action-packed few days, and I’m totally beat, yet completely energized as well. But, of all the wonderful, wonderful moments at Conference, two stand out, and those are the ones I want to share.
Wednesday night, Readers for Life Literacy Signing: Being in a room full of the biggest names in Romancelandia can be a little soul-destroying. Folks don’t like to make eye contact (lest they feel obligated to buy your book), and seeing the line for another author stretch past your table into the hall can drive home your place on the food chain in no uncertain terms. But it was an amazing time! I sold a few books, sure, but this was the first time folks came to find *me* because they were fans. They’d read my books and enjoyed them. They wanted to meet me and tell me. Wanted to take pictures and talk about the characters. WOW! Let me tell you, NOTHING makes me love my job more than that. I wanted to hug them, buy them drinks and bring them home with me, but didn’t want to scare them. Hearing from a reader is the high point of my day – any day – but meeting them in person? Knowing that out of the 500 other authors they could be talking to right now they chose to come see me? I was floored, thrilled and honored. At that moment, I didn’t think the conference could get any better.
But I was wrong…
Thursday night, OKRWA’s National Readers’ Choice Award reception/ceremony. I was totally and completely thrilled to simply final in this contest – much less double final – and had no expectation of winning. I was really just there to support Rhonda Nelson, who also finaled in the Short Contemporary category and enjoy the fact I was a finalist. When Rhonda took home the award for Best Short Contemporary I was THRILLED, honestly, thrilled. Not even a moment of disappointment for myself.
But the night got even better when they announced The Secret Mistress Arrangement had won Best First Book! OMG!!!! OMG!!!!! There aren’t enough exclamation points to describe the excitement! I was so excited, I have no conscious memory of my acceptance speech.
This is my lovely trophy, which will now grace my bookshelf.
I also got lovely bling:But all stories have a Problem Child twist, and here’s the embarrassing story to go with my wonderful moment in the sun…
As soon as they had everyone sit down for the awards bit to start, I realized I should have visited the Ladies' Room first. I really needed to pee. But, I couldn’t leave. First, I didn’t know what order they’d be doing the awards in and didn’t want to miss my categories, and second, it would be rude to walk out during someone else’s big moment. They had to be just as excited as I was, and they deserved to have my attention.
But it wasn’t easy. You know what it’s like when you have to pee and that’s all you can really think about and thinking about it only makes it worse. It didn’t help that Rhonda and Smarty Pants found my condition amusing. By the time they got to Best First Book – the last category – I thought I was going to die. Or embarrass myself.
This may also explain why I have little memory of my speech.
I accepted, left the stage, almost threw my trophy at SP, and ran from the room. I can’t imagine what people thought during my immediate flight. Thankfully, the bathroom was close by.
So, the realization I was a NRCA winner – that lovely, blissful, yay me moment – came while I was sitting on the toilet.
There’s a memory I’ll cherish.
But I will also cherish this moment.
Upon my return from my dash to the Ladies’ Room, I got to accept everyone’s good wishes and get this photo. Rhonda Nelson and I with our lovely trophies as we prove – again – that Southern girls ROCK. Because if you can’t share a moment like this with a good friend, then it’s a lonely moment indeed.
So thank you OKRWA, the judges, the readers, and my editors for making that moment possible. I’m still just tickled and honored in ways you don’t know.
So, we can party in the comments. Or you can tease me. Or you can tell me about a moment in the sun for you that was a little twisted. But tell me if you haven’t read TSMA, because to celebrate this awesome thing, I’ll be giving away a copy of this Award-Winning book. (Oh, that was so cool to type…)