Monday, April 4, 2011

Rita Finalist Kendra Leigh Castle

Friday, March 25th was an exciting day for romance writers everywhere, because that was the day the finalists were announced in the Golden Heart and Rita contests -- the two BIGGIES in the world of romance!

This year, I was thrilled when I learned that my buddy Kendra Leigh Castle is a Rita Finalist in the Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure category! So without further adieu, here's Kendra talking about being a Rita finalist...

Thanks for letting me come over to celebrate, Aunty Cindy! I’m still doing the Dance of Joy. Well, okay, it’s more like a really happy shuffle by now, but I’m still really excited.

Did I sit around on Friday the 25th wishing for my very own “You’re a RITA finalist” call? Well, duh, yeah. But did I actually expect to GET a call? Nope.

Don’t get me wrong. RENEGADE ANGEL is a book I’m very proud of, one of those stories that showed up in my imagination and insisted I write it right now (and of course, I was writing a contracted book at the time, so it gave me fits trying to hold a big, bossy fallen angel at bay while I worked on something else that people were, you know, paying me for).

But lots of amazing authors enter the RITAs. Finaling isn’t something you expect. It’s just something you dream of, something you hope for. I’ll tell you what, though. Dreaming of how it would feel to have a member of the RWA board call me up and tell me my book was a RITA finalist was nowhere near as amazing as having it actually happen.

I’m never going to forget the sound of Jeanne Adams’ voice, and how lovely it was to have someone to be excited with me in that moment. She’ll probably remember me as the least coherent finalist she spoke with…I have vague memories of my mouth opening and increasingly high-pitched sounds coming out of it. And some words, which may or may not have made sense when strung together. I’m thinking “not”. Still, she was very nice. And I’m glad I waited until I hung up to sound my barbaric yawp (complete with booty-shaking victory dance).

RENEGADE ANGEL is a book that means a lot to me, for a few reasons. It marked a new chapter in my fledgling writing career, the beginning of my relationship with Harlequin (which is awesome, btw), and apart from all that, was just a hell of a lot of fun to write. Raum will probably always be one of my favorite heroes—see the picture I used for his inspiration and try not to melt—and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s found a way to get even more attention for his big, black-winged self.

It isn’t really important whether or not I win. I mean, yeah, I would love to! But right now, I’m just busy being honored that I’ve been singled out among all my amazing peers for contributing something special. Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you!

Thank YOU, Kendra for sharing your story and your very YUMMY hero with us! Oh, and thanks for telling us about your call from my lovely Bandita Le Duchesse, Jeanne. Actually, Aunty would be curious to hear that yawp and see your booty-shaking victory dance. If you do win (and my fingers are xxed that you will!), will you do an even more vigorous version of that dance? Will sequins be involved?!?!

Do any of you readers have any suggestions for Kendra when she goes up on stage to claim her Rita award on July 1st? Any dance moves or costume suggestions?

I happen to know that Kendra is taking her dad as her date for the big awards ceremony, but if you could go, who would you ask to go with you? And what would you wear?


Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Oh, I know what dance I'm doing. Check it out:
And I fully intend to do the bit that involves standing on my head.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OH MY! That standing on the head bit looks painful. But I do hope you wear those black vinyl short-shorts with the row of red hearts across the back. The Rita Awards might never be the same!


Kendra Leigh Castle said...

LOL, I thought you might enjoy that:-) Just gotta figure out whether I can even make my booty move like that...

Marie Force said...

Looking forward to cheering madly for Kendra at the ceremony!

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

I'll blow kisses at you, Marie:-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I have great faith in you shaking your booty just like that! :-) Actually reminded me of some Taihitian dancers I've seen, just no grass skirts.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Wish I could be there with you Marie, but I'll be cheering here at home and expect you to CALL ME as soon as Kendra's name is announced. ;-)


Linda Wisdom said...

Yay Kendra!!!

I am so happy for you.

Oh yeah, you could so rule that dance. After a bunch of mojitos.

Cheryl Brooks said...

Just get up there and shake your booty, Kendra!!!! Marie and I will be out in the audience screaming our heads off!!!!!

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo Kendra huge congrats on finaling I gotta say I loved this book and Raum such a great story I have all of your books you are and autobuy author for me.

I will be cheering you on from Oz and I too have my fingers crossed for you I would love to be there and see you do the happy dance with a RITA in hand.

Way to go

Thanks Aunty Cindy for having Kendra visit

Have Fun

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

AC, is it sad that I actually got in front of a mirror yesterday and attempted it? It is? Well, um...didn't happen, then:-)

Linda, I would say that alcoholic fuel is definitely required! Mojitos...mmm.

Helen, thank you SO much! I always love hearing from've been one of my readers from early on, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate you sticking with me:-)

Whatever happens (and I really, truly have no expectations...I'm just happy to be nominated, trite as it sounds), I intend to look fabulous. Sequined hot pants. Platforms. Hells yeah.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Oh hell, missed your comment, Cheryl...I am SO GLAD you and Marie will be out there! I expect tee-shirts. And signs. And several rounds of The Wave. Well, but I'll take you guys just being there:-) We're gonna have FUN! And I think my dad is taking us out to dinner on Thursday, if you're interested! I told him my friends want to meet him. He's a trip, you'll love him.

Sharon Lathan said...

OMG! This is what happens when you are snowed under with life, launches, and events. How did I miss this FABULOUS NEWS? Super duper mega congratulations, Kendra! I am SO thrilled for you! I will be in NY in the Rita crowd cheering you on! Hopefully we can connect. So excited for you!!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Linda!
We could ALL attempt that happy booty-shakin dance after a few mojitos. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I want PICTURES! Lots of incriminating pictures... ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You're most welcome, Helen!

So glad you love Kendra's books. They really are DA BOMB! And now she has a Rita nomination to PROVE what we already knew. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Practice makes perfect, Kendra!

Practicing in front of the mirror is NOT sad at all... unless your family caught you in the act. Then deny everything. Or blame it on me, I don't mind. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGS!!! So glad you dropped by to share the fabulous news.

And you'll be at the awards ceremony in NYC? Then ditto what I said to Cheryl, LOTS of incriminating pictures! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOOO! T-shirts with a piccie of Raum on the front would be KEWL!

I want one!


diva donna said...

I'm several dasys late. But I still want to say: Yeah on thr nomination. I so loved Raum. July 1st is my birthday. So I'll go with you help you pick up the award. We'll pick your big hunky hubby and I'll take Raum and we can go out and Parrtyy!!!