Country Roads is nominated for a RITA™ award!

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Dear Readers,

On Wednesday morning, March 26th, I hung up the phone after chatting with my parents, and noticed there was a voice mail. Dialing in, I heard a woman’s voice say, “This is Claudia Dain. Would you please call me back?” Now I know who Claudia Dain is--a fabulous writer of historical romance--but I’ve never met her in person and she certainly wouldn’t be calling me out of the blue.

Then I remembered that today was the day the RITA™ finalists were notified. A little flicker of excitement started dancing in my chest, but I told myself it had to be something else. I had just signed up for a new marketing program sponsored by RWA™. Perhaps they wanted to discuss something about that.

However, I ran downstairs and told my husband about the message. It was a delaying tactic because I was afraid to call Claudia back, afraid it would douse that little flicker of hopeful excitement. Of course, my husband told me it call her back immediately!


Celebratory RITA™ roses from my
fabulous publisher Montlake Romance.

I did and that little flicker of hope turned into a raging bonfire of stunned joy as Claudia told me Country Roads had been nominated for a RITA™ award in contemporary romance. She patiently listened to me hyperventilate in her ear before she gave me details about the email the Romance Writers of America™ would send me.

As soon as I hung up, I raced back downstairs to my waiting husband where I shrieked, kissed him, and began dancing around the room like a lunatic.

You may not have heard of the RITA™ Awards, but to a romance writer, they are the equivalent of the Oscars. There’s a huge ceremony at the national Romance Writers of America™ conference in July, attended by over a thousand people. The nominees get dressed up in sparkly evening gowns and are treated like visiting royalty. Your editor sits at the table with you while your head shot and book cover are flashed up on giant screens as they read the nominations. If you win, you make an acceptance speech and receive a beautiful golden statuette of a reading lady.

The truth is: I don’t expect to win. Equally true is the fact that I’m totally okay with that. Just being nominated is such an amazing honor and validation. It means my peers consider my book the absolute best of the best when it comes to a romance novel. Knowing that is more than enough to put a smile to my face and a spring in my step whenever I think about it.

Not the mention the fact that now I have a great excuse to try on sparkly dresses!