So, I WAS going to spend today writing you some Moon/Fish while I finished up a critical scene with Jackson. (Like, my beta reader is sending me demanding e-mails as I type–it’s THAT CRITICAL.) Anyway– I stayed up late last night writing, and was looking forward to sleeping in and then getting a head start on the Moon/Fish and getting Jackson out of danger.
Alas, I was not to sleep in.
I keep my phone under my pillow as I sleep, and this morning was no exception. It rang at 7:22 a.m. and I answered it like the zombie I was.
It was Cheyanne McCray–she’d called to let me know that A Fool and His Manny had finaled in the RITA (TM) contest this year.
And I was ecstatic.
Now I love all my books–and when I’m writing, I’m absolutely sure, THAT book is possibly the best thing I’ve ever written. And then I finish and I’m ABSOLUTELY SURE it’s crap and I’m embarrassed for turning it in at all.
But Dustin and Quinlan were special– I felt that as I was writing. I have to say that the audiobook narrator sort of confirmed my suspicions when he DM’d me to say his voice broke toward the end, and he was sorry, but his wife told him that it sounded in character so he hoped it was okay.
“But this was a happy book!” I said, laughing.
“Yeah, but I think that’s why I cried.”
Well–that had to be something, didn’t it?
And I have to admit–given that one of the things on my editing table is a book about how to craft a category romance, it’s sort of nice to have confirmation that I can, at least, write a decent one, right?
I loved writing this book. It was fun. It made me happy about my job. And people have told them it made them happy to spend their time reading. I know–I am very aware–that finaling in a contest like the RITAs or the LAMMYS or the INDIFAB’S can sometimes be just the happiest of accidents–your book fell into the hands of the combination of judges that would like it the most. TADA! You have recognition. I am MORE than aware that MANY books that didn’t get recognition today deserved it, and that there is bias–unconscious and otherwise–in any judging platform that attempts to assess something as personal as reading and find the story that appeals to as many people as possible.
But being aware of all that doesn’t mean I’m immune to recognition.
I swim in an ocean populated by giants. Lovely whales, shy octopi, flirty dolphins, and I am at best a socially awkward manatee. But for the second time, a group of fellow travelers spotted me from afar and thought I was a mermaid. I’m going to put on my scales and my best seashell bra and do my best impression of a mermaid for them–because it’s still an honor I dream not of.
And I will continue to honor my fellow creatures swimming in the tides of romancelandia. You are a beautiful, diverse group of amazing and talented people, and my wish is that all of you get your moment to put on your scales, brush your hair, and be honored as the stunning mermaids you are.
Now, somebody tell me if my seashell bra is on straight–because if that thing slips we’re all in for a helluva ride.
A Fool and His Manny can be read as a standalone, but it’s actually the fourth in a series. If you’d like to start reading, you can find the series here–