In our last LoveCats post, Bron shared news about the Romance Writers of Australia conference held last weekend in Sydney at the gorgeous Sofitel Wentworth hotel. As you saw in her post, several of the LoveCats were in attendance and a very good time was had by all! The conference is a chance for professional development, networking with publishing professionals, and catching up with author friends. That means partying wherever possible!
Bron shared the exciting news that I was the winner of a RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year) award in the short romance category with Conveniently Wed to the Greek.There were only four finalists in this category and lovely Rachel Bailey was one of the others for Tempted by the Wrong Twin. So two out of four finalists were LoveCats! (I wish Rachel and I could have shared the win!)
|So thrilled to have won that trophy I just had to party until two o'clock in the morning!|
Hearing my name announced as the winner was truly an exciting moment of total disbelief. I initially felt glued to my chair and felt very shaky as I made my way to the stage to accept my award and thank my editor and the teams at both the London and Sydney offices of Harlequin Mills & Boon.
|Accepting my award - both exciting and nerve-wracking|
I got asked lots of questions about the RUBY event. I thought I might share some of the them with you.
Q. Did you have an acceptance speech prepared?
A. About an hour before the awards dinner started, several LoveCats asked this of both me and Rachel. We both said no. Our practical pride mates reminded us both that we each had a one in four chance of winning so perhaps we should get a few thoughts down just in case. Hmm. Good advice. But I didn’t want to be seen by anyone being so presumptuous as to assume I might win. So half an hour before the dinner started, I made my way to the hotel ladies room and, behind closed doors, scribbled on a scrap of paper a short speech of thanks to RWA, my publisher and my critique partners. I also mentioned that Conveniently Wed to the Greek was not an easy book to write—the most emotional I’d written, about a hero with unspeakable tragedy in his past and a heroine struggling with the bitter disappointment of infertility. When I stood up there in the spotlight in front of all those people, I was so glad I had prepared some words. Thank you fellow LoveCats for the advice!
|Just before the award dinner with fellow LoveCats Amy Andrews (centre) and Rachel Bailey. Rachel was also a finalist for the RUBY. Amy was a double finalist for the equivalent American award, the RITA this year|
Q. What prizes do you win with the RUBY?
A. The finalists get a cute red RUBY finalist badge and a certificate. The winner gets a lovely trophy. And kudos. We all get the kudos of finalling and winning in a very competitive field of published authors. It is an honour.
Q. How are the RUBY awards judged?
A. Books published in the previous year (2017 in my case) are judged by both readers and RWA writer members and scored to a set of criteria. The books with the highest scores from the judges win the awards. This year there were four categories: Long Romance, Short Romance, Romantic Elements and Romance Novella. A big thank you to the judges.
Q. Is it true that your critique partner predicted you would win the RUBY?
A. My critique partner Cathleen Ross (published by Escape and Entangled) is the first to read my stories (and me hers). She is known to be psychic. Reading through the newly written chapters of Conveniently Wed to the Greek, she told me she loved the story and it made her cry. She said it was an award winning story and I should enter it in the RUBY. Psychic powers or good judgment? Who knows!
Q. Are you still on a buzz?
A. I most certainly am!
It was an honour and a privilege to win Australia’s top award for a published romance novel in the short, category length division. Truly a highlight of my life!