Saturday, 18 August 2007

My Week In Dallas: Day Six - Saturday

I knew straight away on Saturday morning that I was in trouble. No, not a hangover! That thing in my side that went ‘pop’ when I was dancing at the Harlequin party had stiffened up in the night and I discovered I couldn’t even roll over in bed. Ouch. I limped my way through the day. Thankfully, it got a bit better towards the evening.

Today I did some workshops. First was Jane Porter’s “Ultimate Characterisation: the Alpha Hero and the Unforgettable Heroine”. Absolutely fab. I tend to write my heroes a little too nice sometimes and I got some really good insight into how to toughen my men up a little. I grew up with sisters and went to an all girls’ school, then studied dance (mainly girls at collage, again!). It was great to get a woman’s perspective on the male brain.

I hobbled into the awards luncheon and couldn’t find anyone I knew. I was starting to get tired of being on my best behaviour and introducing myself constantly. I also couldn’t even look at half the food, lovely though it was. My stomach was still full up from the last few days.

The afternoon brought the Mills & Boon Authors’ get together, which I ducked in and out of to attend the rehearsal ceremony for the awards ceremony that evening (gulp!). The pain in my side meant I found it really difficult to get up the steps onto the stage to say my name into the microphone for the sound check, and it was extremely odd seeing a four-foot high version of my face and my book cover projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. People kept asking me whether I was getting nervous and I truly was, although I was doing my best to stay in a state of denial.

I’d got to the point where I just couldn’t concentrate and only managed ten minutes of my final workshop before I gave up. Thank goodness for the CDs! I’m eagerly looking forward to their arrival. My husband was so sweet. He was at a party with the girls and kept sending me text messages from different friends all cheering me on and passing good luck messages on from friends and family. I was ready to cry at least three times.

After chatting with Jenna and Trish I went back to my room to get ready for the evening. Now the jitters really were hitting me with full force. And to make it worse I was late meeting my editor in the lobby because I couldn’t get a lift. They were all full of people making their way downstairs to the ballroom.

The rest of the evening was a bit surreal. Sometimes, when I’ve been waiting for an event for a long time, when the moment comes, something in my brain refuses to believe it’s actually happening. It happened on my wedding day. I was the calmest bride in the universe ever. Inside, I was thinking, ‘I can’t really be getting married today, can I?’ Much the same happened during the RITA and Golden Heart ceremony. The adrenaline disappeared and I just kind of sat there. And when my categories came up, I held my breath, then let it out again. I was in a strange kind of limbo. Actually, I think an adrenaline surge would have been better.
Afterwards I just felt really tired and, all of a sudden, really homesick for my husband and my kids. There was a last chance to catch up with people before we all made our way home the next day. Everyone looked so fabulous and I was really pleased for my edior Kimberley Young. I might not have come up trumps for her, but Barbara Hannay did, so she got a little plaque and got to go up and collect Barb’s statue. I didn’t mind losing out to her book one little bit – it was fabulous. And Tracey Ann Warren won Best First Book for ‘The Husband Trap’, which was also a great read. And I’m very pleased that Tamera Alexander won Best Inspiational for ‘Rekindled’, because that was a stonker of a book too. Only sad Gemma Haliday didn’t get anything because I loved her sassy ‘Spying in High Heels’.

So that’s it. My week in Dallas. Didn’t come home with a statue, but I came home with a bunch full of great memories and some lovely new friends. Jenna and I decided we were ‘transatlantic twins’ as we look freakily similar and even laugh the same. Trish will always have a special place in my heart for being bold and sassy and unbearable funny. And then there were all the lovely people I met: Marion Lennox, Melissa McClone, Teresa Southwick, Sandra Marton, Olivia Gates, Jennie Lucas, Carol Grace all the people from eHarlequin – especially fortworthmom, she’s a one-woman dynamo! I know I’ve forgotten loads of people, but I’ve always said I’m awful with names.

As for the elusive little gold lady…I’m just gonna have to roll up my sleeves and write some better stories!


Ray-Anne said...

Fab post Fiona - thank you for sharing. Maybe one day ..[ Ray-Anne stared whistfully out of window] :)

Penny Robins said...
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Michelle Styles said...

Fiona --

There is no accounting for judges or juries. The thing to do is to concentrate on writing the best story that you possibly can. BTW, I just received the sign up post for the RITA judging.
I think you have done a marvellous job and I enjoyed reading about your adventures.

liz fenwick said...

Sounds like a brilliant time. It was fab reading all about it :-)

Barb said...

I agree with Michelle, Fiona. There's no accounting for judge's tastes. I just feel incredibly lucky that my name came up this year. You should be very, very proud of yourself for getting TWO nominations for your very first book. That's absolutely fantastic and brilliant and virtually unheard of!!