I am so very very happy to say I have won the RWA RITA Award for Best Historical Romance of 2011.
In my never-ending quest to reveal the nitty-gritty of publishing, I will tell you how it went.
At the Awards Dinner, I was sitting at the table marveling at the process of selecting winners, which seems to contain both the inevitability of tides and the randomness of wave formations. I laid a fork to hold down what page of the booklet we were working through, watching the Finalists, of whom I know just a lot one way and another, and trying not to let panic come creeping with little cat feet into my mind.
I keep drinking cups of coffee and not eating the dessert because, y'know, cake and not good for you and the whole boring sugar metabolism thing and self-restraint on general principles ...
I had corner bent the page where my own particular fearsome trial lay. I turn to that page because it is now time. Lay the fork across it.
They read through the Historical Fiction Finalists. Because I am not panicking ... really truly not panicking ... I am thinking, "If I lose, I'll allow myself to have one of those cakes. Probably the chocolate one. But the vanilla icing one looks pretty good. Maybe it has lemon flavor inside. Now, is that a third kind of cake there or is it just white cake and the light shining on it funny ..."
I'm thinking along like this while they read out the names of the Historical Finalists. They say, "The Black Hawk" and I have not been following, so it is a doubletake moment while I work out that they've just named the winner and it's me. "Go on!" says Pam-Hopkins-the-agent using an exclamation point. "You won!" she says, using another.
They let you practice beforehand where you will walk and I am good at following simple, straightforward directions. I proceed to follow directions and discover the podium is approximately where I expected to find it. I am safe so far ...
The light up there is so bright I couldn't read the note I wrote.
What is is -- I'd written down my agent and editor names so I wouldn't forget them and stand there mouthing in small frantic gup gup gup like a goldfish. But I got them right. Then I said some extemporaneousity that seems to have made sense because no one later asked me why I was babbling idiocy. Then I got down the exit ramp without tripping.
I thought it all went off rather well.
[ETA]: The most excellent Jina Bacarr took a video of the speech wherein I seem to speak very slowly. This is because I think kinda slowly, at the best of times, I'm afraid, and I was trying not to forget my agent's name and editor's name. The speech is here. One can see it in Safari and IE, but maybe not in Fireforx. See also the acceptance speeches of Ann Aguirre here and Tessa Dare here. [/ETA]
hawk attrib velosteve acceptance kristenkoster