Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not Winning a RITA

So for those of you who missed the main event, my first book, Enemy Within was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. This contest is billed as the Oscars of the romance industry. It was a huge deal (to me) to final in two different categories: Best First Book and Paranormal. I'll say right away the book didn't win in either category.

And that was surprisingly okay with me. I think my friends and family were more disappointed than I was. My friend and RWA11 roommate Jeffe Kennedy had taken on the task of texting my husband the play by play. After the fact, she showed me the profanity (on his part) laced reactions. My biggest regret of the evening was that I had a huge, long list of people to thank. I only regretted not getting to say thank you in that public venue.

I'd been strangely ambivalent about the possibility of winning a RITA in the first place. Isn't that odd? When my agent, Emmanuelle Morgen, asked why, I'd said something about there being no where else to go. She assured me there were all sorts of pinnacles to strive for after a RITA - the NYT list, foreign rights, movie deals, hard back...I think I may have asked whether winning a RITA would ensure another book contract. We won't go into the response on that one. I may have acquired a new bruise.

Kidding. I guess my trepidation about possibly winning a RITA with a first book stemmed from the fact that I feel like I'm still learning about writing. I haven't mastered it in any way, shape, or form. (Some days, the whole writing thing stomps all over me - so there's a ways to go for mastery.) Is it stupid to say that while Enemy Within is a romance novel, the romance wasn't really the point of the story? And the RITAs really are about the best romance has to offer. So, no. I wasn't disappointed.

But I also won't stop entering the contest.