Let’s start with the obvious.
A. I didn’t win the RITA for best short romance. For the record? I’m not particularly disappointed–Teri Ryan won, she was adorable, and her speech was charming. I’m glad I got to hear it. Finaling in contests like the RITAs is a particularly sweet form of validation, and I’m not going to lie–I love it when it happens. But it’s not the only reason I write. Sure, I may never final again. But I might. And I’m honored just to have been in that company. Funny story about that moment? I texted Mate with, “Nope,” when she was announced. He texted back with, “Sorry–she got a lot of applause when her name was called.” And then he sent me a screen shot of my slide from the streaming video, to prove he was watching. Which was incredibly sweet. And that was a little win itself.
B. My actual travel time to Newark airport was a fucking nightmare. Again, some of this was covered on FB, but I think this story deserves a retelling. Mate and I arrived at Sac Metro about an hour before my plane was supposed to board and I made a horrifying realization: in the dark, half-asleep, I’d put on two different black tennis shoes. You heard that right. 0.0 So keep in mind that the next thirty hours–which is how long it took me to get from Sacramento to Manhattan was done in mismatched sneakers.
Now my first act once I got in the airport was to hit up a friend whom I knew would be taking a train in. “Hey, Rayna… ‘sup?” And because she loves me, she bought me a new pair of shoes that I got to wear for the rest of the trip. But that didn’t help during the nineteen hours of layover in Dulles, nearly six of which were spent ON THE TARMAC in two different attempts to take off. Ugh.
The worst part was when, at one-thirty in the morning, the plane waiting to take off was told to come back because the flight crew had timed out. That was bad–but the passengers in the back, where I was seated, started to get ugly. (I don’t know why people do this–if someone tells me my pilot is too tired to fly, I believe them.) So we had to wait another half-hour to deplane because we needed security at the gate so their flight attendants didn’t get beat up. BLARG.
Anyway, we deplaned, it was fuck-all in the morning, and the plane was taking off at eight a.m., which meant any attempt to find a hotel would result in about three hours of sleep. I slept in the terminal, the plane FINALLY took off at 10:30 am, and by the time I got to Newark, boy was I out of it. By the time I was in the cab on my way to Manhattan, I couldn’t discern between the scent of New Jersey (Elizabeth) and my own body odor, and after I actually got there and showered, I was knocking things off tables with the sheer gravity of my exhaustion.
In that time, someone asked me if my mismatched shoes were comfortable, to which I responded, “One of them.”
C. After all that, the actual time spent in New York was lovely. The elevators at the Marriott Marquis are still out to get us–have no illusions–but in between classes (one of which I gave!) and award ceremonies and signings, I got two visits with my dad’s family, and boy, have I missed out not contacting them before. I need to remember that they’re wonderful, kind and warm people. I know I was there for business, but they were still my favorite part of the trip.
D. My last two days went something like this:
* Wake up at 6:30 a.m. after five hours of sleep (RITAs were the night before) so I could give my class.
* Three more classes, lunch, then got ready for signing.
* Signing from 3-5.
* Changed, went downstairs to meet Karen Rose and Andrew Grey and their spouses so we could go see Wicked.
* Went out for late dinner, got back at one, talked to bestie and roommate until 2, 2:30, fell asleep while she was still staying awake for an early flight.
* She left at 5:30.
* I got up at 6:30 a.m so I could pack before my cousin came to pick me up.
* Picked up at 8:30. Brunch with family at 9:30.
* After brunch, went to cousin’s house to visit his wife and adorable son. They took me to the airport at 4:30.
* Boarding at 6:30. Plane took off at 7:30.
* Home and in bed at 1 a.m.
In case you were wondering where I’ve been for the last two days?
I’ve been SLEEPING. Because brother, that was a long week.
Anyway, about that night at the RITA’S…
First, there’s the picture with me and Mary Calmes, because she was my plus one and I was super proud she was there. <3 p="">
Next, there’s a picture of me and Kate McMurray and… are you ready for it? JR WARD. Because miracles do happen, and apparently even if you barf a little fangirl all over her, she’s still pleasant, kind, and charming. It’s all a blur–that’s all I remember.
But OMG I MET JR WARD AND SHE DIDN’T RUN AWAY SCREAMING.
And seriously– even if I’d won, the RITAs still wouldn’t have been better than THAT.
Also– for those following social media…
The RITA’S were awesome. But I hope they were just a beginning. The validation from your peers really isn’t complete unless ALL YOUR PEERS are involved in the awards process. I was pleased to see we were making inroads in diversity and inclusion–but we’re not all the way in country yet. I hope this program continues to be more and more diverse, until nobody even raises an eyebrow at the diversity of the winner–all that people notice is the outstanding quality of the book.
And now, maybe a little writing… you know. Before I go sleep some more.
I think I’m still catching up.
By the way? The kids and the dogs seem to have noticed I’m back. I’m so happy to be home.