Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lucky Charms

As I clicked the "accept charges" buttons the RWA web page, I knew I was taking a gamble. Again. I was spending a lot of money, money I hadn't earned, to go to New York City and attend the RWA National Conference 2011. But I had a good feeling about this conference and I'd earned the money to go via saving money by doing a lot of home improvements myself (and with the help of friends). Plus I'd been typing for quarters for a while and I'd payed myself for "trying to get published" letters. Every one of those letters garnered another $1, $5 or $10 in my savings for the trip.

My good feeling turned out to be better, initially, for other people going that I would room with while I was in NYC. My CP Sharon Wray finaled in the Daphne and the Golden Heart. Another friend finaled in the GH. More people finaled that I knew and I was thrilled for them.

I did NOT final in the GH. That kinda stung for a bit, but then I figured at least I KNOW great writing when I read it. Besides, I was beginning to feel like a good luck charm.

Apparently the cosmos thought so, too. And out of the blue, two very special people, published in different genres, asked if I would pick up their prizes for the Readers' Choice Awards in one case and in the Daphne in another if they should "by some miracle" win their category. Of course! Why not? I figured it would be fun as long as I didn't hit the champagne till AFTER they won.

So off to the conference I went via a long drive to DC to see old friends and give my darling teen time with her BFF in Centreville. Then I hopped on the Vamoose bus in Arlington, VA and rode up to NYC with my CP and future roomie, Sharon.

The first night we were in town, we chilled, and I met a lot of amazing published authors in my favorite category line, HQN Mills & Boon Presents/Modern Heat (Riva), and Medical. I had a serious fan girl moment when I met the delightfully charming Carole Mortimer. I think my tongue just went haywire and danced around the room, but in the end we had a lovely discussion about her heroine in one of her Duke series -- her favorite and I loved this heroine, too. So we just talked about our favorite subject: writing. I had the great fortune to meet Sandra Marton, Melanie Milbourne and more fabulous authors during that night and the rest of the week. MORE ABOUT THAT LATER.

Any rate, Wednesday morning arrived and I went to the Readers' Choice Awards. This was a swank deal put on by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. Champagne Mimosas, breakfast, coffee, and a 20 year celebration. Two of my Heart of Dixie Cohorts joined me from OKAY LISTEN HERE, Kathy Bone and Jean Hovey aka Alicia Pace. I sort of got confused when the final was announced for our friend Melanie Dickerson's books and thought she'd won, but apparently I handled my confusion well. OKRWA likes we southern ladies.

Anyway... MELANIE WON! Best New Book for 2011!!! THE HEALERS APPRENTICE won!! Woohoo. I got to go back up and say thank you for real. It was a great moment. I truly enjoyed it.

Later that night, Sharon and I got ready for the Kiss of Death Romance Chapter's Death by Chocolate party during which the winners of the Daphne would be announced. Wow. Sharon was nervous. I just hated wearing my Spanx, but hey, I looked fabulous in my new blue dress so all was well. We went down to the party, got platefuls of goodies and I got wine and we chatted at the finalist table with other finalists. They were all in different categories so we could cheer happily for each other!

So finally, my dear friend and CP, Sharon WON THE DAPHNE for best Romantic Suspense, Single Title, in 2011 for unpublished writers. That was the best news!! The best win for an RS writer. It capped our day and set the tone for the rest of the conference. Then it was time to wait for my friend, PAULA GRAVES' published category RS announcements.

And lo and behold SHE WON THE DAPHNE for Category Series RS for her book, CHICKASAW COUNTY CAPTIVE!! How cool is that? I was so stoked for her. Another win.

Two other dear Southern Magic Unpublished authors I love were also at the Daphnes. Heather Leonard placed second in the unpublished paranormal RS category and Louisa Cornell WON the unpublished Historical RS category.

Wow! This was beyond exciting. By Thursday the news had gotten out. Apparently, my Lucky Charm status had reached epic proportions. Another friend and fellow GIAMx4 buddy, rubbed shoulders with me and guess what? Yup. She WON THE GOLDEN HEART FOR CATEGORY SERIES. Woohoo. There are more stories, more cool wins, more amazing victories.

I had a great time at the conference. Wonderful and amazing people opened up to me. I learned a lot. I laughed a lot. And I really enjoyed my status as a Lucky Charm.

Stay tuned! More Lucky Charm stories on Friday!!


Mina Khan said...

Enjoyed the post Christine! Thanks for sharing. I didn't get to go this year, so it was nice to get the inside look. :)

Sharon Wray said...

And you were an awesome Lucky Charm! I just hope that next year I can return the favor. Thanks for all your love and support--I'm sending it right back to you!

Christine said...

Hi Mina: I hope you get to go again next year! It was a great conference. Always happy to see my writing friends in one place. They "get" me!


Christine said...

Hi Sharon: I feel like you return the favor all the time with your counsel, wise advice, and awesome critique!! You are a great friend. May all good things come to you this year :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

How fun, Christine!!! Thanks again for picking up my award for me and bringing my loot all the way down to Alabama!!! You are the girl with the winning touch, methinks! LOL! Next time I'm up for an award, I want you there! :-) And maybe next year you will be picking up your own award! It would only be fair. And all of us will be cheering for YOU!

Tami Brothers said...

Sounds like fun, Christine! Definitely let the news get out about this lucky streak. You might get a bunch of pre-paid invites to other conferences. Heck, some people might just come to your house just so they can be "near" you when they put their submission in the mail or hit send on the computer... Hmmmm... Nice idea. What time do you eat breakfast???

Love ya!


Katherine Bone said...

Christine, a lucky charm? Why didn't I know this? ;)

Seriously, we are going to have to do Lunch! I know that works for two other fabulous writers we know. :D

So glad you had a wonderful time in NYC. I wondered why I only saw you during Melanie's award ceremony. You were busy, girl!

I'm eager to hear more...

Anonymous said...

That's great, Christine. I didn't get to Nationals this year but would love to see you up there next year. Keep pluging away, the stars will align for you too.

Sia Huff

RedPeril said...

So glad to finally get a to hear a bit about your experience! I delighted in hearing all of the good news.

And you know what they say about the company you keep and all that. ;) 'Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future!' That's right, it's not just a warning quote directed at angsty teenagers. >.>

~Angela Blount

Christine said...

Hi Everyone: Thanks so much for coming in and checking out my Lucky Charm Status!

Tami, I get up super early. I'll rub shoulders with you at the M&M.

Kathy: You know I'm always up for a lovely lunch with a lovely friend. Let's arrange it!!

Sia: Thanks for your kind words. I hope one day that luck will mirror back to me but in the meantime it's great to be in the company of winners!

Melanie: I had so much fun at the Readers Choice Awards. The OKRWA Chapter is great. Thanks so much for asking me. We'll have to have a celebratory glass of champagne soon!!

Hi Angela: I think I have a fortune of friends already. I'm so blessed by all of you and by my family. All else truly is icing on my life cake.

Heather said...

All I am saying is that I have submissions that need to go out. I am waiting to hit send until Saturday when I have you seated next to me.

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow Christine, you were definitely a busy Lucky Charm !! And your day is coming, sweetie! I can feel it. In the meantime we need to all make sure you are around at the next conference! It was so wonderful to have so many of my Southern Magic sisters there at the Daphnes!

Christine said...

Hi Heather: I'll come by and give you a big hug filled with lucky charms for your submissions.

Hi Louisa: It was magical to have so many of us there at the Daphnes! I was so happy for everyone--wonderful party, too!