Archive - April 2015

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Winner, NECRWA Readers’ Choice Award
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The Ex Lottery Is A Finalist

Winner, NECRWA Readers’ Choice Award

What an amazing way to end my birthday month. (Birthdays are celebrated for a month, right?) THE EX LOTTERY won first place in the New England Readers’ Choice Awards for long contemporary romance. The New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (NECRWA) sponsored the competition and announced the winners Saturday morning during the 2015 Let Your Imagination Take Flight awards banquet in Burlington, MA.

And THE EX LOTTERY won! See a list of all the winners and finalists at http://0092d63.netsolhost.com/blog1/.

I missed the conference. I was attending another meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, that had been scheduled a year earlier. But I kept up with the events on social media.  Since I knew my novel was a finalist in the Readers’ Choice awards, I mentioned it to a few of my closest friends at breakfast Saturday morning.  At noon, I rushed back to my room to check my email and twitter, but no announcements. I grabbed a sweater too. (I dressed for the Low Country, not the mountains. Who knew April could be cold?)

At our late lunch, my friends asked, “Did you win?” And I admitted that I’d not received an announcement so I thought—probably not. But I was still happy. After all, I was a finalist with authors like RITA winner Nancy  Herkness and USA Today Bestseller Sophie Moss. And the NECRWA is the RWA chapter that boasts Kristan Higgins as a member. So being a finalist was almost as wonderful as winning—almost.

Saturday night, I went to the Asheville banquet. My husband and I danced and laughed with all our wonderful friends. A wild turkey even snuck up to see what all the fuss was about when we stepped outside for a moment. And we shared a little bread for all her trouble.

When my husband and I returned to our hotel room, I decided to check my email one last time. And there it was—an email congratulating me for winning. I may or may not have done a small happy dance in my pajamas—and it had nothing to do with the fact that I had finished off three glasses of wine at the dinner-dance. I was just still in dance mode. My husband offered to take me to a local bar for a celebratory drink—to drag our friends out again—but three glasses of wine is two passed my limit. So I posted on social media and pulled up the latest Nora Roberts on my Kindle to celebrate my new career success doing what I love best—reading romance.

Thanks again, readers. It’s wonderful when reviewers and critics praise a book, but to a writer, the most important opinion is that of a reader.

The Ex Lottery Is A Finalist

The Ex Lottery is a finalist in the New England Readers’ Choice Award Contest for long contemporary romance.  I was a little nervous sending my Southern girl protagonist to the North for a competition, but apparently, Tory won the readers’ hearts.  Actually, it may have been Tory’s adventures in Ireland that won their hearts. Whatever the reason, I was thrilled to receive an email from the contest coordinator congratulating me with the news that The Ex Lottery that was a finalist in this competition sponsored by the Romance Writers of America—New England Chapter.

Entering book contests can be stressful. I approach the stress by simply assuming that I will not win, but that I will learn something new from the judges that will make me a better writer. Like every author, I insert a little of my soul into every one of my books so having the stories judged is difficult. The strategy seems to have worked for me. The Ex Lottery won the first contest I ever entered—long before I finished editing the final draft—and was reviewed by a literary agent. I remember doing a little happy dance as I walked along the riverfront of Augusta—where I happened to be when I received the news. The Ex Lottery was also honored with a featured review in Kirkus Reviews magazine and given top ranks by judges in The Writer’s Digest contest. But this year’s New England contest is very special to me because readers are judging the initial round of the contest. If readers love my book, I know I am doing something right.

The winners of this New England contest will be announced on April 25th at a breakfast awards banquet during the 2015 NEC Conference entitled Let Your Imagination Take Flight in Burlington, MA. I wish I could attend, but I’ll be at another meeting in North Carolina. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I would love to win first place, but even if I don’t take first place, I feel I’ve already won by making it into the finals. Thanks New Englanders for loving a Southern girl protagonist who was unlucky in love, but lucky in numbers.

See a list of all the finalists at http://0092d63.netsolhost.com/blog1/.

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