Always A Bridesmaid...the Susan Lucci of the Romance World
In March of this year I received my 11th RITA® nomination from Romance Writers of America® for my book, Becoming Dante. It’s the romance industry’s highest writing honor. To date I have never actually won a RITA, which means I’ve had the most nominations without a win for any author in the history of RWA. That’s 0 for 11, people. A big ol’ goose egg in the win column. I’m approaching a number of Susan Lucci-esque proportions. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride.
Okay, that’s not really fair because there’s something a little sad if someone is never a bride, unless it’s by choice. Receiving eleven RITA nominations is seriously cool, even if I haven’t won. It’s not easy to get a nomination. There are a lot of fantastic romance authors out there who are unbelievably fabulous writers. So, I’m really proud to have received that many nominations.
And then the phone calls came…
People say the funniest things…
Me: Hey, Not-My-Mom! <Name changed to protect the guilty.> Guess what? I just received my 11th RITA nomination.
Not-My-Mom: That’s wonderful honey! Which book?
Me: Becoming Dante.
Not-My-Mom: I don’t think I read that one.
Me: <Actually she has. She proof-read it for typos. Worth arguing? Nah.> Okay. I’ll bring over a copy.
Not-My-Mom: Thank you. That would be nice. <Significant pause, full of nonverbal mom-speak.> So. Do you think you can actually win this time?
Me: <Don’t answer the phone. You’re working> Hello?
Friend: Hey, congratulations on the RITA nomination!
Me: Thanks so much. It’s such an hon–
Friend: So, how many is this one?
Me: <trying hard to sound modest> Eleven.
Friend: That’s obscene. Are you going to wear all those nomination pins again this year? What do you call them? Your chorus line?
<Explanation: When you receive a RITA nomination, RWA gives you a silver pin in the shape of a RITA statuette that you can attach to your name badge at the national conference.>
Me: I call them my dancing ladies. And yup. I’m going to wear all eleven of them.
Friend: I really have no sympathy for you, you know.
Me: Huh? <Damn. I really need caffeine. Why did I give up caffeine? I love caffeine. It loves me. It helps my brain work. It helps me think. It helps me right. I mean write. It helps me sound mildly intelligent.>
Friend: No sympathy. Eleven nominations is as good as a win.
Me: Yeah, but if you win, they give you a gold pin to wear on your badge. Plus, they give you this really cool statuette. And you get to say you’re a RITA winner. Not just a nominee. <Okay, now I’m sounding ridiculous. And I have the sneaking suspicion there was a teensy-weensy whiny sound happening in here. Just say, “screw you” and hang up.> Listen, I have to go. But, I really appreciate the support.
Ex-Friend: No sweat. What are friends for?
Me: What do you mean you need a picture of me? <Please don’t let me sound as panicked as I feel!>
RWA: Day, you’ve been through this eleven times. We always need a picture of you for publicity purposes.
Me: You don’t get it. I don’t have pictures of me. I don’t have them on purpose.
RWA: We need one by April 9th. A recent one.
Me: <Recent? Rats! Foiled again! And in only two weeks. I need to lose 359 pounds and 20 years in two weeks. Yeah, that’ll happen.> Look, I don’t think two weeks is going to cut it. I’m not sure two years will be enough. Can’t we just use my dog’s picture? Yoda’s really cute.
Me: Look, I’ll try. But you’re asking to have someone take a picture of me that doesn’t look like I’m A) unbelievably old; B) unbelievably fat; and C) okay, maybe not ugly, but at least it would help if I looked a little less like Cinderella’s evil stepmother.
RWA: Okay, do that.
Me: Okay, no. <I hate when people go silent. I know I’m supposed to outwait them. That’s the trick. Just stay silent until they cave first.> But I’ll do my best. <I get hit by a sudden realization.> Wait. They put our pictures up on a really big screen during the ceremony, don’t they?
Me: <Images of a ginormous, well, me runs through me head. I cannot handle this!> Fine. I’ll do it. But, I’m giving you fair warning. My husband sucks at photography. So, don’t be surprised if I look a little fuzzy around the edges, have droopy ears, a big old toothy grin, and a moustache. It’s me, not Yoda. Really.
Bottom line? I really am proud to have received an eleventh RITA nomination. It doesn’t matter whether I win a gold dancing lady. I’m already a winner because I get to write books I absolutely love and associate with some of the most wonderful people in the industry. And that’s what’s truly important. The rest? It’s icing. Which I can’t eat if I ever hope to lose those 359 pounds. Ever.