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31 July 2009

One RITA , Two Carries, and Many Good Friends


Absurdly brief, after all the elaborate preparation. But it was as long as I could stand. And, well — I won, that’s all. I mean, sometimes life is like that, you know: no complications, no reversals. Later for the intricacies...

That's Carrie, the intrepid girl heroine of my Molly Weatherfield erotic novels, speaking from the midst of a deeply compromised situation at the far reaches of my sexual imagination.

But what she has to say will serve quite well for how I felt two weeks ago in Washington DC, when (if you don't already know) my most recent romance novel, The Edge of Impropriety, was awarded Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award for Best Historical Romance, at our annual National Conference.

Joyous, amazed, and exhausted. And (like my overeducated, motormouth heroine) willing, just this once, to let complexity and unlikelihood pass without brow-knitting analysis.

And perhaps also little bit like Stephen King's Carrie before the bucket of blood descends -- which might seem an outré comparison unless you remember the movie really well. I searched YouTube for clips, but everybody only wants to show you the carnage.

What I remember best, however, is the moment of happy triumph, done in silent slow motion, as she makes her way up through a sea of smiling faces and applauding hands to the microphone to be crowned prom queen.

Swear to God, that's what it felt like.

Some hints for future RITA® hopefuls:

It's best if your book has a long title: I was so dim-witted and slow on the uptake that I might have missed my name being announced if the awards presenter hadn't had to make her way through the thicket of syllables in Impropriety.

You'll feel less like an idiot afterwards (take it from me) if you haven't repeatedly assured every last one of your wonderful, long-suffering friends (see below for pix) that you have absolutely no chance of winning.

There's bound to be someone you forget to thank -- my mea culpa is author/blogger Lisa Dale (check her out at Book Anatomy 101 or at her smart, wonderful, inquisitive interview of me). Online thanks aren't as good, but they'll have to do -- Lisa, thanks again.
And that's all, folks, at least for now. No complexities or reversals. I've got my ass back in the chair (which is what you want, as a writer, qua Nora Roberts in that delightful New Yorker feature story in the June 22 issue) and am happily back to work on the new book. Because the real -- the maddening, exhilarating, scary -- fun has got to be in the everyday work of writing. But I'd be lying bigtime if I said that all the smiles, hugs, applause and congratulations weren't a huge encouragement.

As are the friendships. So here are the pix I promised.

Hoydens at lunch in DC:

That's Janet Mullany and me seated, and (left to right), Lauren Willig, Mary Blayney, Diane Whiteside, and Kathrynn Dennis standing.



And hoydens over drinks in San Francisco:

(left to right) Me and Tracy Grant in back, and Amanda Elyot, Kalen Hughes, and Doreen DeSalvo in front.

No Lynna Banning, I'm afraid. We're going to have to do something about that. How about some more celebrating? I know there's lots of good news from the just- and soon-to-be-published among you.

Do tell.

And hey, thanks everybody. Again.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Lynna Banning said...

Pam, I'm really sorry I missed the conference this year, and especially the Hoyden gatherings.
It would have been nice to cheer you on your way to the podium....

What can I say? Lynna is dancing with Mills & Boon in London in a not-so-successful pas de deux. I now have a new editor (Linda Fildew) and a new mandate: a Western (!) proposal by September.
Also I'm reading Lauren Willig's Deception of the Emerald Ring--what a fun "voice" I'm finding!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Mary Blayney said...

Pam, I am so impressed that the judges realized what a skilled writer you are. That does not always come through in the RITA judging. I hope that external validation means something to you. EDGE was in an incredibly crowded field. It was the outlier -- a book that is great AND different.

I judged in a final round this year (not historical) and found it a real challenge. Would do it again in a minute but it did feel like a responsibility, FWIW the book I ranked as number one did win...

I have a book (STRANGER'S KISS) out at the very end of August and a novella in an anthology (THE LOST) at the end of November. Thanks for asking. I'm working on the next book in the Kiss series followed by the next novella -- both out in 2010. I am so lucky and working hard.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

congratulations again Pam. No news yet, but keep your fingers crossed.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

You were missed, Lynna. Crossing fingers for the western proposal.

And Mary, congrats on the good times coming up (note to readers: Mary is not telling you that STRANGER'S KISS just recently got big positive mention in Romantic Times -- Mary, you're going to have to tell them the specifics yourself).

While as to having an outlier book that won -- yes, it's amazing, gratifying, and hopefully encouraging to other outlier romance writers.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

(crossing more fingers for Elizabeth)

12:29 PM  
Blogger Victoria Janssen said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy you won.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mary Blayney said...

The nicest part of my good news is that the Romantic Times reviewer Kathe Robins came by to introduce herself at the Literacy Signing because she likes my writing.

Friends tell me I have a 4 1/2 star review for STRANGER'S KISS and my duke hero gets a Kiss. This is not a RITA nomination but it is fun. I will see it for myself when I get home to my issue of RT -- am on a writers retreat (house sitting for a friend) until Monday.

Pam, can you give some hints on the next book?

6:22 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Congrats again, Pam! So sorry I wasn't there, but I'm glad we had a Hoyden gathering in San Francisco just before the Ritas. Loved hearing about the event from you!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

As I said before I was SO pleased that EDGE won the RITA ! I drove up to DC from Alabama with two friends from our hometown writing group. As I only had one VIP ticket to the awards, Jean, got to sit with me as Tammy sat with me last year. When they called out the name of the winner I shouted "YES!" and startled poor Jean! It is just so nice to know that such a unique and classy book CAN win a RITA.

Mary, I am REALLY looking forward to your next book! The Kiss series has really been terrific so far.

As for me, I did get to meet my agent at Nationals which was really great. And she was sitting with me when my third book, The Deceit of Desire, won the historical category of the Daphnes. It won the Royal Ascot Hot and Wild category the night before which is definitely an award near and dear to my heart.

So, the full of my 2009 GH is on the desk of an editor at Mills and Boon and I've had requests for the full of it at another house and a request for a partial and synopsis of The Deceit of Desire at that same house.

So, as always, it is a matter of hurry up and wait. It is nice to have an agent to do the legwork at last.

And yes, Pam, could we please see a little hint about your next one. After all, they WILL be putting something to the effect of "by the RITA AWARD WINNING AUTHOR" on the cover of this next one!

7:39 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Thanks, Victoria and Tracy. And congrats, Mary. While as for the new book -- it's a Jane Austen retelling, from the p.o.v. of a relatively minor character whom I've always wanted to know more about. It's one of those books that purports to tell what REALLY happened.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

And I was there cheering when Louisa's Royal Ascot win was announced. As Julie Anne Long puts it, National really is summer camp for grown up ladies. Which works well after a year with your ass in the chair.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Kathrynn Dennis said...

Lunch was fun, you guys! And now I can say I had lunch with a RITA WINNER...and yep, you are right Pam, Nationals is like summer camp for us grown up ladies. ;-)

8:33 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Here's to more lunches, celebrations, summer camp squees and hugs, all you grown up ladies!

11:42 PM  
Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

Pam, I'm just so thrilled for you. Now I feel sorrier that I couldn't get to RWA this year, but I'm proud to have been able to bask in your pre-victory glory in SF!

9:20 AM  

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