After days of anticipation, nail-biting tension and many anxious moments wondering who were going to be this year's winners of the RITA and Golden Heart awards for best novels and yet-to-be-pubbed manuscripts respectively, seems all anyone can concentrate on is where the chocolate desserts are, and how long it'll take to get to the front of that dessert line.

Amid the glitz and glam and gorgeous shoes, the talk among those who just attended the 2009 RITA awards presentation isn't of the show -- though bestseller Anne Stuart   as emcee was thoroughly entertaining in costume and ingenuous delivery -- and revelation of Nashville, TN, as the location of the 30th anniversary RWA National conference in 2010. It's pretty much about attendees winding down, making plans to see each other again next year (like YTBP Keira Soleore, left, and I, who're making a tradition of meeting at the RITAs), and getting set to get back to the serious business of writing novels once back home tomorrow.

The RITA and Golden Heart winners -- check out the full list here -- probably will be partying late into the night.  But despite the joy and, well, chocolate, for most of us, Saturday night at RWA National is bittersweet.  Sure, we miss our homes and families and want to get back to real life -- and the writing life.  Yet we'll miss the atmosphere of National, and the nurturing support of colleagues who lend an ear to hear career woes, who help hammer out vision and who share triumph -- or tears -- after agent and editor appointments. 

And RWA National reminds us how fortunate we are to be working w/in and amidst an industry that's so woman centered, in which one never has to work twice as hard to be seen as competent. One simply is seen that way by virtue of the fact that the romance biz seems to draw chicks who are Type A overachievers who can't help but make good things happen for themselves and, in turn, others.

Phrases like "we've turned the page on another RWA National," or  "we've closed the book on another chapter of an RWA conference cycle" would be doing up the prose a bit purple.   Perhaps it's best said by comparison: Like my swank RITA shoes, this year's RWA National conference was absolutely fabulous.  As was bringing you a little of the "National" flavor here at H2H. 

Who knew that flavor'd turn out to be chocolate?

How many of the RITA winners have you read?  Which ones would you like to check out?
Message Edited by Michelle_Buonfiglio on 08-14-2009 11:31 AM
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-19-2009 07:52 AM

I was sad that a few of  my friends didn't win, but being nominated is such an honor, I don't think they were as sad as they might have been. It was fun to dress up -- and see everyone else glammed up -- and, yes, to enjoy the sight of Anne Stuart dressed as Cleopatra and the Statue of Liberty.


You found chocolate? I was noshing on radishes and carrot sticks and you had CHOCOLATE? Well, I can't complain, especially since I got to hang out with author and investigative reporter HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, who is an upcoming featured author on B&N's Mystery Book Club in a few months.


There were some tearjerking moments at the RITA awards -- one winner couldn't attend due to devastating health issues, for instance. Another winner started to write as a way of honoring the sister she lost twelve years ago -- and yesterday was the winner's deceased sister's birthday.


Then there were the heartwarming speeches from the Golden Heart winners who just sold their first stories, and the clever speech detailing the life and career of author Jennifer Greene (including a debate where Anne Stuart insisted that the pen name had a life of its own!).


An unforgettable week, and the ceremony last night was the perfect way to end it. 

by amyskf on ‎07-19-2009 04:09 PM
I've read some of them, almost half --I'm with Becke, it has to be such an honor to be nominated. I'm gonna have to check out Seducing Mr. Darcy, erm...I would like to do the same.
by Author Keri_Stevens on ‎07-19-2009 08:29 PM

With all I've been reading, I cannot believe (and kind of cringe to admit) I've only read two of the RITA winners this year: TRIBUTE and SEDUCING MR. DARCY."


At this rate, I'm going to create a To Be Read pile to rival Becke Davis's.  Thankfully I get that 10% B&N discount on all purchases!

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-20-2009 01:17 AM
What's really sad is that they know me by name in the local bookstore. I guess I buy rather a lot of books?
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-20-2009 01:18 AM
I have read a lot of the RITA nominees/winners, and it's hard to go wrong with any of them.
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-20-2009 11:36 AM
Well Michelle, I'm glad you and your shoes are back home and I'm glad that you've enjoyed the conference at the envy of us little  people and I have to say that I've read maybe half of this year's RITA winners so it looks like my pile will be growing and growing and growing. Well at least it's not my waist from all the chocolate. ;-)
by Lisa_Kroener on ‎07-20-2009 02:38 PM

I have to admit I haven't even heard of many of this year's winners before. *hangingmyheadinshame*


Of course I've read Stephanie Laurens and the Nora, and I'm also a regular visitor of Rachel Gibson's Blog TGB, but the others... One or two names are vaguely familiar, but other than that...


Seems like I have to catch up a bit...

by Author LeeRhuday on ‎07-21-2009 03:40 PM

Probably the most memorable moment of the ceremony for me was RITA nominee Rachel Hauck's acceptance speech for her friend and RITA winner, Susan Warren.  Such grace and class rarely come together, but they did in that speech. 


Many of the winning books, and quite a few of the nominated ones, are in my growing TBR pile. 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-21-2009 04:11 PM
There were several kleenex moments. I couldn't even tell my husband about those without choking up.
by Keoweegirl on ‎07-21-2009 07:52 PM

It was a great conference!  I've read about 1/3 of the RITA finalist books.  I was glad I had stuffed my purse with tissues once the acceptance speeches started.  There were many tear inducing moments. 


Becke, I didn't get any of the chocolate at the reception either.  I went for the healthy stuff first (didn't eat dinner) and by the time I got to the chocolate bar it was all gone.  Good thing I had a stash back in the room. :smileyhappy:


Love meeting both Michelle and Becke in person for the first time.  They're lovely ladies who I hope you will all have the opportunity to meet someday.  

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-21-2009 09:05 PM
Aww, that is so sweet of you! I'm jealous of your chocolate stash -- wish I'd thought of that!
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-23-2009 06:21 PM

Yes, it's always nice to hear someone's enjoyed meeting you.  Guess we never really hear 'bout when the opposite happens, no?  As for the chocolate, I had a great stash, hand made by super-reader/reviewer PJ...


Now, I've got to confess that I read very few of the RITA winners, but many more of the nominees.  I did have the honor -- maybe dubious for her -- of attending Chippendales with one of the nominees, but I'll be discreet about whom...


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