Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Getting the RITA news

Last Thursday I got the news that my book, The Autumn Bride was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award. Usually RITA finalists get a phone call telling them they made the final cut.

But I was away from home, in Queensland, on my annual writers retreat with eight other writers, and not near my phone. This is where we go. (Yes, it's a tough life, but someone's got to do it.)

We each have our own rooms so we can work undisturbed. Mornings are for quiet writing time, then we meet for lunch, and a writing-related discussion. After lunch, we continue writing — we're all multi-published writers and we all have deadlines. In the evening, we either buy our dinner and bring it back for a working dinner, or we go out to a restaurant.

On the Wednesday night we'd gone out for a night of pure socialization — one of the group had to leave early next morning, so after an evening workshop we went to the local surf club for a meal and some live jazz. Followed by a few more drinks back at the hotel. Late night.

So Thursday morning at 7.30 am (crack of dawn!) I was still in a really deep sleep. Persistent banging on my door. I stumbled to open it and stared blearily out. Three of my friends stood there in wet swimsuits and towels. I blinked, still half asleep. They started leaping up and down, grinning and babbling about something.

I fixated on the leaping. My friends are not normally leapers. Frogs, I remember thinking. It's something to do with frogs. It's a charade or something maybe. Did we talk about frogs last night?

So busy was I trying to work out the significance of the frog theme that it took me a few moments to hear that they were telling me I'd finalled in the RITA.

It hadn't been on my radar at all. I had no idea of the date.
They'd been so kind as to let me sleep while they'd gone for their 6.30 am swim.

Later I checked my email and there was a lovely email from RWA President Terry McLaughlin.

So I didn't get a call, but I had frogs and an email instead.
 And a wet patch on the front of my nightie, from all the hugging.

Pretty special, I think.
I had a lovely day — almost the whole day I was answering emails and messages on FB and twitter about the RITA. It was like a party. And of course, that night we went out again and celebrated.

So thank you to everyone for the warm wishes. And the frogs.

The full list of the RITA finalists is here.

18 comments:

  1. How lovely! Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Judy. Yes, I'm delighted.

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  2. I knew from what you'd posted that you were away, so when I saw your name in the list I wondered how they'd managed to phone you (the time difference only adding to the problem). I think friends doing a frog dance is nicer than a phone call, anyway! Congratulations, even if it did lose you a day or so of writing.

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    1. Thanks Helena. They tried to phone me, but got Dwayne (my answering machine) and I really appreciated Terry McLaughlin's lovely emails - but the frogs were special. :) And losing a day's writing for such a cause is also very special. I'm still smiling, just thinking about it.

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  3. Congratulations on such a wonderful achievement!

    I you realize that we'll all me expecting a frog to somehow appear somewhere in one of your future stories - (even if it's not a "real" frog but instead a statue or reference to someone in the book!).

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. It's very exciting. And if a frog appears in one of my stories, only a few extra special people will get the reference. ;)

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  4. Congratulations on being a RITA Finalist! :) How many times does this make?

    The part about frogs was quite, quite funny.

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    1. Thanks, Mary -- it's 5 times a RITA bridesmaid, never a bride.

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  5. Such fabulous news, Anne, and well deserved. I'll be crossing my fingers for you.

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    1. Thanks Leisl -- but please don't cross your fingers — you need them to write your lovely books. :)

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  6. Congratulations Anne, you deserve to win IMHO, as you are a great writer. I've enjoyed all of your books as they are published, and again every year or so. Of course, being an Aussie is just the icing on the cake! :)

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  7. Dear Eunice -- thank for that lovely comment, and for your good wishes. And it's lovely to know that readers like you, who first wrote to me ages back, are still reading my books. Thank you! xx

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  8. Dear Anne,
    sorry I can't contact you directly (not techno-minded enough to ste up default mail!!) but when are you going to give Marcus his happy ending...in a super humbdinger with all Merridew and Renfrew families together ?

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  9. Hi Anonymous, I will give Marcus his happy ending, but I can't say when, I'm sorry. I have contracted books to finish first, and that has to take priority. But I'm delighted so many people have written to me about him, and I will write his story when I can grab the time.

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  10. You completely deserve it. Congratulations. :)
    It's the first time I write you, but it's some years I follow you.
    My favorite book is still The Perfect Rake, because, you know, Gideon... but I loved a lot also the others. YOu really write so well.
    I'm Manuela, and I follow you from Italy. :)
    Again congratulations, I love your work (also the places where you do it...!) :)

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    1. Manuela, thank you so much for your lovely comment. Your comment has made me smile so much. And yes, Gideon is special -- thank you. And thank you for following me and for reading my books. :)

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  11. What a wonderful story. Getting good news in the midst of friends is the best!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia, yes, it was perfect timing to get the news while we were all together. And being notified of your comment made me read through this again, and now I'm grinning again, remembering.

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