Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Conference memories and SQUEEs!!!!

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…)



susanwilson44 said...

Congratulations on your award, haven't read that book yet and I'm not quite sure how I've missed it as I thought I'd read all your books.
As for twisty moments, it has to be the time (as a very flat-chested woman) my gel bra burst during an interview. I could feel the warm wet feeling spreading across my breast and stomach, as well as spreading across the red satin shirt I was wearing! By the way, I got the job, after the women on the panel nearly peed themselves laughing!

Cheryl said...

Congratulations to you and to Rhonda! We are all so proud of your accomplishments! Having our HOD members be so successful is such a wonderful thing! I read the book and it deserved the award many times over! I have read all of Rhonda's books too - which one got the award?

We are proud of you! Sorry I missed all the fun!

Laurie said...

No I haven't read The Secret Mistress Arrangement yet but I'd love to!!

CONGRATS! Best wishes for continued success with your writing!

I think we all can relate to your having to go to the bathroom story!

LA said...

You made your Momma proud!!!! That's what really counts!

Denise said...

Congratulations on winning Best First Book!!! =) I can definitely relate to your having-to-pee story...I think I must have the smallest bladder in the world (TMI?) so I've experienced plenty of those moments myself. Sadly.

Glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time at the conference!

Playground Monitor said...

Yes, we are so proud of our Problem Child as well as our HOD sister Rhonda.

This wasn't a moment in the sun but a coooooooooooold winter night when I attended a Christmas office party with a formal dress code. I hardly ever wear pantyhose anymore so I just pulled out a pair from a bag of them in the closet. Halfway through the party I felt them start to creep down and a trip to the ladies room revealed they elastic has completely given way. They were so old the elastic had rotted. I'd have just taken them off, but they were the kind with the built-in panties and it was a rather cold night to be going commando. The only saving grace was they were control top, so I was able to sort of fold and twist and tuck the stretched-out waistband under and let some of that uber-Spandex hold things in place.

The next day I went through that pantyhose bag and ended up having to toss about 90% of it. But that was better than ending up with another saggy pantyhose tale to tell.

Angel said...

So proud of you, PC, and Rhonda as well! Y'all were so cute and conference!

One plus about your story is that the bathroom actually had a free stall immediately. I was really surprised by the lack of waiting in the bathrooms at the hotel we were in. They had plenty of large bathrooms instead of tiny ones with 2 or 3 stalls. Normally you can wait in line forever for a bathroom at conference (making it just as quick to brave elevator traffic and go to your room to pee).

Oh, Susan, bless your heart! :)


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I so understand needing to pee very badly. It can ruin everything because that's all you can think about! Fortunately, you can bask in your award glow forever now. :)

Jean Hovey said...

Next time you are up for an award, I'm going to bust right up in that mojo lunch and bring you some Depends.

Good think y'all (the other y'all being Lynn) weren't at the pirate show. No woman pees at a pirate show.

CrystalGB said...

Congratulations on your award. I am so happy for you.

Sherry Werth said...

Congratulations again to you PC and to Rhonda! The awards are well deserved and very pretty. And Yay, I got to see them up close!

Ah yes Jean...the pirate show. The experience will forever be with me. And the look on your face! ;-D

runner10 said...

Congrats on your award. The first of many!!!

Crystal said...

CONGRATS to you! and to Rhonda as well! I'm so happy for you--you have worked very hard. Sorry I had to miss all the fun.

gigi said...

That was a great picture I could just feel your excitement with the big smile on your face. To win for best first book is a wonderful accomplishment.

I hate to say it but I haven't read
TSMA so, enter my name in your drawing.

Instigator said...

SQUEEEE! I squeed with you then and I'm going to squee with you now. :-) This is awesome, PC, and we're all so proud of you. Of course, we always knew you were AMAZING but now the whole world knows it too.


Jane said...

Congrats, PC. I loved TSMA.

catslady said...

Just a big congratulations and I know very few people that like to get in front of a crowd and speak for any reason!

chey said...

Congrats on your award!
I haven't read TSMA.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Mazel Tov on the award, Kimberly!

No need to enter me; I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Anonymous said...

I am proud of you, PC. I know how hard you've worked and I'm glad to see that hard work awarded.

PC's Mom

Smarty Pants said...

I was proud to hold your award as you dashed frantically from the room. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

have not read it
congrats on the win
u look great
kim h

Vicki said...

It was great to see you at conference and of course admire your shoes. :) You've always got the best shoes.

Major congrats on the award. It was awesome to see you and squee with you right after it was over.

Your workshop rocked and I came home telling everyone, I don't suck!

Julie Miller said...

Congratulations, PC!! Well-deserved.