Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rita and Golden Heart Awards

The Romance Writers of America's annual conference starts TODAY and ends on Saturday night with their big awards ceremony. Awards are given in several categories for published authors (the Rita) and unpublished authors (the Golden Heart). Having been a finalist in the Golden Heart once, I know how exciting it can be! (for a list of all the Rita finalists just click on the title of this blog post)

I'm sorry that I won't be in attendance this year, because I have five good friends who are finalists in the Rita and Golden Heart and I'd love to be there to cheer them on. But even if I can't be part of the excitement that is going on in Orlando even as I type, I wanted to give a shout-out and special good luck wishes to these five finalist.

My Bandita Beth Andrews whose book A Not-So-Perfect Past is up for a Rita in the Contemporary Series Romance category. Beth and I both made our first sales very close together. Her stories have engaging characters and lots of genuine emotions. I'd love to see her become the first of the Banditas to bring home that lovely silver statue!

Tina Ferraro is nominated in the Young Adult Romance category for her book The ABC's of Kissing Boys. I was lucky enough to make Tina's acquaintance way back in the days when we were both struggling AYUs (As Yet Unpublished) and she helped me a lot when I was writing the story that became The Treasures of Venice. Not only did she read first draft chapters for me, but she took a whole slew of pictures of San Michele En Isola when she was vacationing in Venice, and sent them to me! She was also my roomie at my very first RWA National in Reno in 2005 shortly after she'd just made her first sale. Tina's YA books are brimming with adorable characters in very real situations and I'd love to be cheering on my true blue friend in person.

Brenda Novak is a chaptermate of mine and one of the nicest people I've ever met, not to mention her tons of enthusiasm and generosity! She's always willing to share her time and knowledge of writing with aspiring and fledgling authors (like the fantastic cover quote she gave moi for The Treasures of Venice). Plus there's the incredible effort she makes every year toward research for juvenile diabetes. I'll admit I haven't yet read her Romance Novella finalist On a Snowy Christmas, but Brenda is a wonderful writer and she deserves to win just on her reputation alone!

Now for my two friends who are nominated (neither for the first time) for Golden Hearts:

My Bandita KJ Howe is probably the only person I know who has visited more exotic places than I have! Honestly, I am bewildered that KJ hasn't won several Golden Hearts already and been multi-published because she is a fantastic suspense writer! She's a finalist this year in Contemporary Series Suspense/Adventure and I'll have every digit crossed that she brings home "the gold!"

Keli Gwyn is also a chaptermate of mine and another genuinely nice person! I happen to know and admire how hard she has worked at perfecting her craft and building her author-presence. Her wonderful blog Romance Writers on the Journey showcases new authors and is just one example of Keli's generosity and commitment to all romance writers. She is nominated for a Golden Heart in the Inspiration Romance category with a manuscript that has been burning up the contest circuit all over RWA and should definitely be rewarded, along with its author, with a win and a fat publishing contract!

So there you have my admittedly very biased choices for a few of the Rita/Golden Heart winners in this year's competition. Do you have any favorites who are nominated for awards? I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Parties, Contests, and More

My in-person launch party for The Wild Irish Sea was last Sunday and a fun time was had by all! I saw lots of friends, many for the first time in a very long time, and made a few new ones. We ate plenty of yummy pizza and chocolate cake, along with a special treat -- two packages of Tim Tams! I managed to get one from each box, but they didn't last long.

After my horrible week, it was so nice to have something positive happen. I was also gratified that every person who had already read TWIS told me how much they loved Parker and wanted to read his story.

I was also happy that most everyone had found a copy of the book at Barnes and Noble or ordered it from Amazon. Unfortunately, it appears that Borders in my area are not stocking it. BOO! HISS!

But BIG THANX to Venus (one of my lovely followers on this blog) for sending me this very cool picture of The Wild Irish Sea on the shelf in the Barnes and Noble in Honolulu! I only wish she had put her own smiling face in the piccie. Or better yet, that I could go there, see the book for myself, and take my own photo of Venus. If anyone else out there has seen TWIS in your neighborhood bookstore, or even on your own shelf, PLEASE email me a photo! I'd love to post it here on the blog!

Finally, because good things really do come in threes, last Friday I received an exciting phone call from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA. The Treasures of Venice is a finalist in their published Maggie Award contest! I'm so surprised and thrilled to be a finalist. Thrilled because not only is this a prestigious contest, but the Maggie award itself is a beautiful sterling silver pendant. Surprised because the contest doesn't have a romantic suspense category and I had to enter in the single title category and thought there was NO WAY I would final. Goes to show how wrong I can sometimes be!

So now it's YOUR TURN! Share some of your good news with me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In a Crazy Daze!

The Wild Irish Sea officially hit the shelves last week, but I've been a crazy frenzy of blog tour, personal crises, and heat exhaustion to the point that I haven't been able to enjoy anything.


That old saying couldn't be more accurate -- When it rains, it really does POUR!

Both the DH and I had car problems in the past two weeks. UGH! Nothing worse than having the car just stop running. Mine turned out to be a simple fix, his not so much. But the good news on his car was that it was completely covered under warranty. Still, running back and forth to the mechanic and coordinating times and places and vehicles is a huge hassle.

Plus I've been having some medical issues and was not happy with my primary care physician. Push finally came to shove and I had to go out and find a new doctor. Trying to find someone you trust to provide your medical care is even worse than car problems.

Then, of course, there's my ongoing blog tour that requires me to write NINETEEN insightful and/or witty blog posts in four weeks (not counting my usual blog posts on Romance Bandits and Casablanca Authors). And I'm also obliged to visit the various blogs who are kind enough to let me be a guest. Yes, it's fun but also exhausting. Plus, since I have yet to find a way to quantify the effectiveness of a blog tour, I can't quite escape the nagging feeling that the whole thing is a waste of my time and effort.

What do YOU think? Do you read posts of authors on blog tours? Have you ever purchased a book because you read about it from an author's guest post?

Do you think the fact that it will be 102 degrees (farenheit) for the next three days has upset Aunty's equilibrium?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010



Today is the "official" release day for The Wild Irish Sea!

I'm having a launch party over on the Casablanca Author's blog (just click on the title of this post to go there) and I'm giving away a copy of the book. All you have to do is leave a comment for a chance to win.

This is my third book to make it into print, and I have to say that I'm just as thrilled to see this one on the shelf as I was the previous two! I don't think this will ever become 'old hat' for me. Each journey to publication is unique and the final result is sooo gratifying!

I've already heard from two friends this morning that they have seen copies on the shelf at two different local book stores. I'm off this afternoon on my own search. I'll be the one clutching my 'Signed by Author' stickers and grinning like a fool!

If you find The Wild Irish Sea on a shelf anywhere... even in your home, PLEASE send me a photo! I'd love to put some up here on the blog.