For a complete list of RITA finalists, click here.
Monday is supposed to be a discussion of life's ups and downs. It's hard for me to feel down when right now my life is going pretty well. THE KILL was nominated for a Rita in Best Romantic Suspense, and I'm absolutely thrilled. But at the same time, I read a lot of fantastic books, many romantic suspense, that I think also deserve recognition, but didn't make it. Perhaps they didn't enter.
It's ironic because I almost didn't enter THE KILL. It's hard for me to judge my own books. I thought the first two in the trilogy had a better chance. But it seems to be THE KILL that's getting the attention (both in the RITA and the RT reviewers choice nominations.) Maybe I should read the book . . . (I don't read my books when they are printed. It feels too funny to me.)
Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS to all the finalists. This is a great list of authors.
But since this article is about ups and downs, I can say that I was a little down yesterday. A book I absolutely loved when judging the RITAs (in a different category than RS, of course) didn't make it. I was shocked. I loved this book. So I felt a little bummed this morning when I didn't see her name on the list.
I think that's the way with all of us, and one of the reasons why romance writers are the best. We support each other. Yes, we're competitive and possibly a little green-eyed at times, but 99% of the time we support our fellow writers in everything. When I went on the Levy Bus Tour last year, the head of the event said that she'd never seen any other genre as supportive and genre promoting as romance writers. There were fourteen of us on that tour, and we were happy to cross-sell readers who came up to us.
For example, a couple times I sat next to Susan Andersen, one of my favorite authors. She called her book "romantic suspense light." So the next time she said that, I said, "And I'm romantic suspense dark." For the rest of the weekend, whenever anyone said to me they thought my book would be too scary, I told them to go try Susan's book because she was lighter on the violence (and I've since read it and it is a wonderful story, too! BTW, Susan wrote one of my favorite heroes Elvis Donnelly in EXPOSURE.)
I am genuinely thrilled when someone has good news to share, no matter what it is. Because we really are a small community, and only other writers really understand about the stories. I can share quirks that my husband or mother or best friend would frown at (or want to send me off to the loony bin), but a fellow writer just nods and lights up. "Yes, I talk to myself all the time, too!" Only fellow writers understand that characters really become alive for us, that when we're writing, those characters are our favorite (so when someone asks who my favorite hero is, I have to say the one I'm writing now. Unless, of course, he's not talking to me then I cuss him out.)
So congratulations to all the finalists, because it is a thrill. And I'm also toasting everyone who entered and didn't final because I KNOW there were a lot of good books out there that didn't make it. I judged one of them.
BTW, a note to the Golden Heart finalists . . . a year or so ago I judged a book that I loved and knew it wouldn't final. I don't know how I know, maybe I'm psychic (ha!) but I remembered the story. I then saw that the same book finaled in another contest and I remembered the title (and the story, like a year later! The mark of a strong voice.) I then learned that this author sold. I knew she would, eventually. Sometimes it takes awhile, so don't lose the faith! And judging IS subjective. The books that final are good--no doubt about it--but there are many good books that don't make it. Keep writing!
Now, to segue into something completely different, I have to mention that my book, FEAR NO EVIL, is out in bookstores tomorrow. I gave my best friend an early copy (I know she'll go out and buy three tomorrow!) and she read it this weekend and said it was my best. (And I didn't even pay her to say it! Okay, I did take her out to lunch last week, but she's not that easily bought.)
In FEAR NO EVIL, Dillon Kincaid, a forensic psychiatrist, has 48 hours to find his sister, Lucy, before she's killed on a live webcast. The only way to find her is to locate renegade FBI agent Kate Donovan who knows more about the killer than anyone. Problem: she's wanted by her own government for murder.
Romantic Times gave FEAR NO EVIL a Top Pick as well. So if you want something scary (that promises a happy ending), I hope you consider my book!