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Of Tough Love, Alter Egos, and New Friends: A Final RITA Post, I promise (with pix)

My favorite picture is probably this one (taken by Joanne Lockyer) ofpam_atpodium me up on the podium making my acceptance speech, seeming for all the world as though I knew what I was doing there, at least if you don’t count the effect of my searching the ceiling for inspiration — much as one of my alter egos, Sydney in The Edge of Impropriety, does, “as if to consult some hidden text secreted up there.”

I love the glamorous blue and purple backdrop, don’t you?

But as for my knowing what I was doing, don’t you believe it for a second. I must have been a complete zombie when I staggered up there — I have a few vague memories of Madeline Hunter hissing take the statue but after that I have no idea how I managed to get through the list of thank-you’s I’d scrawled down. Or how I garbled it. I do remember the loud cheer that went up from my local San Francisco Area RWA chapter when I thanked them — which was great, a responsive universe — and they sang “Happy RITA to you” when I attended my local chapter meeting last Saturday.

Thanks again, ladies.

But then, I haven’t discovered any down sides to getting a RITA® yet. I get up in the mornings these days, write my (pitifully small) daily word quota, and figure that I must be doing something right — or will be, after serious attention and editing — and I wish every writer could have that daily dose of confidence.

While as for the tough love I mentioned in my acceptance speech that my very smart editor Laura Cifelli directed at the manuscript of Edge. I didn’t exaggerate the toughness — when she sent me that ringing, forthright, and pam_withlaura totally spot-on revision letter she was on the verge of delivering her fourth child, and not in any mood to mince words. It’s okay: I’ve since started my own tough-love file to be applied to the thing I’m writing when it’s worthy of being called a manuscript, and I think I learned a lot from Laura’s fearless criticisms.

That’s me and Laura over on the left at right after the ceremony (taken by Beth Barany, I think) and acting two variations of shellshocked.While at the right here I am with a great new friend I met at National, the smart and talented Miranda Neville.

And if anybody has the picture they took (I know someone did) of me and the fabulous Joanna Bourne, who won the RITA® for Best Regency, whom I admire (as Georgette Heyer would say) excessively, and who made me so so happy during the ceremony rehearsal by being funny and snarky and wonderful when we sat together, though I’d never met her before — I’d love to get a copy…

…to put right ~~~ HERE ~~~

But until then, gotta go. I’ve got writing to do.


  1. I think you should always arrange to be photographed in front of violet and blue! It really is a superstar shot.

    Since we are all in awe of your writing… I’d like to know what you’re referring to in terms of your achilles heels, that you editor urges you to address. Maybe you’d rather never admit them in public… I could understand that! But I’d love to know, because your slip sure never shows in the final accomplishments!

  2. Oh the usual stuff, Susie, for any romance writer who’s had her life changed by Marcel Proust… lots of variations on the theme of sacrificing forward momentum in the attempt to get stuff to be as multifaceted as I want it to be.

    Which is why I haven’t tried to sell the thing I’m working on now. Not that I don’t want it to see the light of day — I do — but not under deadline pressure. Not until I’ve given myself enough time to slather on as much stuff as I want, with a trowel, and then (under Michael’s unsparing eye) scrape away most of it. With a scalpel. And find the backbeat you can dance to.

    Somehow, with Carrie, this was much easier. Because I had this overriding conceit of the S/M alternative world being like Snoopy’s doghouse — anything and everything was hidden there; the book sort of boogied from revelation to ba-da-bing revelation. But then, I didn’t write Carrie under deadline pressure either.

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