And it's Natasha ...
Here's a funny little twist of fate. I'm ready to blog about the series fiction RITA finalists .... only to find I'm one of them. ggg. Not that I'm complaining you understand.
First, I'd better introduce you to RITA. This one belongs to Barbara Hannay who won last year's Traditional Category (which is now no more) with her wonderful 'Claiming His Family'.
And then, for those of you who don't know, I'd better explain what a RITA is. Named after the Romance Writers of America's first president, Rita Clay Estrada, RITA Awards® are presented annually to the best published romance novels of the year. It's the romance world's answer to the Oscars and all very glam. As with the Oscars a nomination is really exciting.
[Britain's RWA, if you follow me, is the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association). In the UK the Romance Prize is awarded annually for the best category fiction book. That's a monetary prize and the Betty Neels Rose Bowl. All other romantic fiction published in the UK is covered by the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Think Baftas.
Australia has the R*by, but that's only open to Australian authors so I don't know so much about it. Ally, Nic ... help me out here.]
Since I have finalled for the RITAs I can tell you what it's like to receive the 'call'. First off, I'd forgotten it was 'the day'. Partly, I suspect because I very nearly forgot to enter. I also forgot to renew my RWA membership. It's been that kind of a year!
So, I wasn't waiting for anything. I was busy doing something else when the phone rang. My husband picked it up and I heard him say 'Sorry? Who?' And then to me, 'It's a call for you. From America.'. And still I suspected nothing.
I think I was quite sensible, though it took a while and a couple of glasses of red wine for the news to really sink in.
Since I am a finalist I'm going to be supremely selfish and show you my competition. vbg.
2008 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance Finalists
Always a Bridesmaid by Kristin Hardy
Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition - (0-373-24832-6)
Gail Chasan, editor
Fall From Grace by Kristi Gold
Harlequin Enterprises, Everlasting Love - (0-373-65404-9)
Beverley Sotolov, editor
Make-Believe Mom by Elaine Grant
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance - (0373714459)
Victoria Curran, editor
Night Mischief by Nina Bruhns
Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Nocturne - (0373617720)
Natahsya Wilson and Tara Parsons, editor
Sleeping Partner by Kelly Hunter
Harlequin Enterprises, Sexy Sensation - (978 0 733 58182 3)
Joanne Carr, editor
Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance - (0-373-71454-8)
Laura Shin, editor
The Mile High Club by Heidi Rice
(available in the US as The Millionaire's Blackmail Bargain (Harlequin Presents))
Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern Extra - (9780263854008)
Bryony Green, editor
The Tycoon's Princess Bride by Natasha Oakley
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Presents - (978-0-373-12667-5)
Jenny Hutton, editor
Impressive company to be in, isn't it! And you can find the full list here.
Winners of the awards will be announced August 2nd at the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony to be held at RWA’s 28th Annual National Conference in San Francisco, California.
Can I just point out that's 5371 miles away from where I live? 8645km. 10 hours flight time, not including the inevitable delays and other assorted problems where I get lost because I have no sense of direction at all!
'Tis very tempting. It's not going to happen, though. After the year we've had I'm taking the children to the Dordogne in France. Which means, if I win it'll be our Trish Wylie making her way up to the podium on my behalf.
Since she's representing me I feel I should have some say on how she presents herself. What d'you reckon - red or blue?
Kate Winslet's had both dry-cleaned and returned them to Trish now so either one is fine. Donna says I ought to mention footwear but Trish is really picky about shoes.
I can't say I'm holding out much hope for these.
And now I'd better get on with updating my shamefully neglected website. Also need to decide whether I intend to pretend I'm still twenty-seven. Probably is time to grow up a tad.
Natasha's next Harlequin Romance Wanted: White Wedding is released in NA and the UK in May.
You can find out more about it if she gets round to updating her website and you can hear her moan about her sheikhs, dying people carrier, broken boiler, broken sofa and other assorted disasters by visiting her blog.
Her contribution to the Niroli series, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride', is available here and is nominated by the Romantic Times Magazine for Best Presents of 2007 (And I'm missing the Romantic Times convention too.)