Sunday, July 19, 2009

Easy Money won the GH! No, really. It did.

Last night, the RITA & Golden Heart award winners were announced with much pomp and circumstance (though not the actual song) at the RWA National Conference. It was a fabulous spectacle. Anne Stuart was delightful. The presenters poised and elegant. The honorees spoke beautifully. I was enjoying myself thoroughly, cheering on the other wonderful finalists I've met over the course of this awards trek and not in any way expecting to win.

All week people heard me just casually saying, "Oh, no, I know I'm not going to win." I wasn't saying it in order to avoid jinxing myself. I really, honestly, I-swear-to-god, 100% believed they weren't going to call me. (As I believe I mentioned here on the blog a couple times.) I was happy not winning. It meant I was less nervous about the whole thing. Finaling is a HUGE honor and there's a lot of talent swimming in that pool of finalists.

Then the weirdest thing happened. Easy Money won. It really did.

I love that book, but I wasn't expecting this - and now I must think seriously about revising the squishy parts in the middle and making them as taut as the beginning on which I was judged. Luckily I know exactly what I want to do with it, thanks to the fabulous input of my most excellent fellow finalist Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Lots of people tweeted about last night and I'm sure there will be blogs-a-plenty about who won what, what was worn, and who said what (I wish I could remember exactly what I said). So I'm not gonna talk about everyone else. You can find that a dozen other places. I'm gonna talk about me. (Narcissism, yay!) Here are a few things you would only know if you were sitting next to me during the ceremony (like Kelly and the kickass authoress of regency awesomeness Sara Ramsey, who won the GH in her category, were).

Vivi's Golden Heart Highlights:
1. When they called my name, the first words out of my mouth were, "Oh, shit." Luckily, I think the first word I said into the mic was something like "Wow" which is more socially acceptable if not more eloquent.

2. I did not have a speech prepared beforehand (again, not about jinxing, just didn't think I was gonna need one), but at the rehearsal, the woman running it (whose name completely escapes me at the moment) scared me into writing one by telling me I wasn't allowed to say anything about not having anything prepared. So when we sat down forty-five minutes early (required) in the VIP seating, I yanked out a pen and laughingly scrawled on my hand a few people I should thank, with the editorial assistance of Kelly Fitzpatrick, Sara Ramsey, and Sara's friend. (Oh. my. god. I can't believe I'm spacing her name right now. Where is my brain? Why does it have these enormous holes in it? I talked to her a lot, totally enjoyed her vibe, hung out in their hotel room, she just flew in from Paris, shares my passion for Kresley Cole, what the hell is her name? The Golden Heart has thrown me up onto Cloud Nine and there isn't enough oxygen up there for my brain to function properly!) Ahem, back on topic. The list on my hand, in case you're curious, was "RWA, judges, GSRWA, fellow finalists, fam & frnds, SP". From that, I sorta almost made a coherent speech. In front of nearly two thousand people. I think I said "awesome" about seventeen times in forty-five seconds. While I fricking cried. Yup, I'm a nerd. I totally got all sniffly and weepy. I can write funny, but apparently my public speaking is more on the tragic side of the spectrum. (Though several people called it genuine and someone said I made her cry, so maybe it wasn't too terrible.)

3. I called my mom & dad immediately after the ceremony ended. Then my Aunt Kris, who had already seen the results on some posting somewhere and answered the phone with "You won!" Then my friend Kaye Chambers, who responded when I told her I'd won with, "No. Really." I had to tell her four times before she believed me. Which is not because she doesn't believe in me, but more because she believed me all those times when I said it wasn't going to happen. My sister gave the phone to my nephews and had them congratulate me - which had me tearing up all over again, cuz a four-year-old lisping "Congratulations, Auntie" is just about the most precious thing ever. Then I lost my phone, which, if you know me, you know is totally out of character. I don't lose things. ***If you were at the conference and you've seen a silver & blue flip phone that looks like it's been through the wars, please email me!***

4. I have never been congratulated so much in my life. All the people I'd connected with over the week - renewing old friendships and starting new ones, at workshops, parties, or just randomly - were all so happy for me, it was amazing.

I did have a few Swiss-cheese-brain moments, also. No one was wearing name tags anymore and without that crutch my over-excited neurons weren't making the necessary connections. I nearly introduced Anne Hope to Jess Granger (Beyond the Rain releases in just a couple weeks!) as Anne Cain. Don't ask me why. That's the name my brain provided. When I went over to say hello to Jess later, she was sitting with Leis Peders0n, her editor at Berkley (who I met at Emerald City, pitched to at Emerald City, and who I think has a partial of mine). My brain saw Leis Pederson and said "That's Diana Peterfreund." Which, to be honest, was probably a good thing, considering how spastic I can get around editors and agents. (I'm hoping the nervous spasms and oh-my-god-what-do-I-say twitches will fade with time as I get more accustomed to this wild-and-crazy publishing biz.) I then got talking to K.A. Mitchell and Jess wandered off, I thought with her entire group, but then Joanna Bourne (how awesome is she?) was introduced behind me to Leis. And simultaneously the words, "Oh, she didn't leave with Jess" and "That isn't Diana Peterfreund" seared through my brain. Quickly followed by, "My God, was I just rude to Leis Pederson?" Not that it would have been any better to be rude to Diana Peterfreund. I generally try not to be rude at all. (Bitchy, yes on occasion. Rude, totally uncalled for.) I think it was Sara Ramsey who later comforted me with, "Don't worry, no one remembers anything that happens after eleven." Which I can only hope is the case. I certainly didn't mean to ignore Leis. I'll blame it on the Golden-Heart-cloud-nine-asphyxiated-swiss-cheese-brain. I was not firing on all cylinders last night. As evidenced by the fact that my phone is missing. I've never lost my phone before.

Okay, now that I've rambled and babbled and gushed, let's get back to the point of the post: Thank you everyone for your congratulations and your support. You are all awesome and deeply appreciated.

I found my phone (woot!) and Sara's friend's name is Terry. Hi, Terry!


Natasha A. said...

Congratulations!!! That is fantastic! :D

Anna Richland said...

Way to go Vivi! We were rooting for you out here in Seattle.

Leah Braemel said...

Congratulations, Vivi! I was alternately tearing up and laughing at how you wrote up your speech and gave it. (I was following along on Twitter - I was so thrilled for you.)

Mary said...

Congratulations, Vivi! You are amazing!

Kate Diamond said...

I am just so happy for you! I made squealing noises when I heard (the people at the Reluctant Fisherman in Cordova were certainly intrigued...)

Michele Staci said...

Vivi - Just want to say CONGRATULATIONS. I know you've probably heard it a thousand here's a thousand and one! Can't wait to add your win to the newsletter for the September Issue!

Vivi Andrews said...

Thank you, Natasha, Anna, Leah, Mary, Kate & Michele.