I attended the EPICon - Electronic Publishing Industries annual conference this past weekend. My contemporary western book "Perfectly Good Nanny" had been chosen as a finalist in their contest. But I had already signed up to attend the conference, since it was only a 3 hour drive from my home , before I found out I was a finalist.
I arrived in Portland, OR at 9 am on Friday morning, set out my books in the book store and sat in on the end of the annual meeting. Then I attended an awesome workshop by Penny Sansevieri, owner of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. She had lots of great information about using your websites and blogs for marketing and how to "use" the internet to capture more readers. Then we had lunch where I met up with two of my RWA chapter members, Jim and Barbara and sat with a Wild Rose Press Editor, Rene Stephens. The keynote speaker was the owner of Powell's Book store in the Pearl District in Portland. He was entertaining and had some interesting statistics. That afternoon I taught a workshop on "Looking For Romance, what you need in your book to keep an editor and a reader turning the pages". Jim and Barbara attended, giving me moral support and someone to take some pictures! The day ended with a gathering of TWRP authors and editors.
Saturday started with a leisurely continental breakfast, then a class on how to make a book trailer, which I found interesting and believe I could tackle. Then another class from Penny which again was very beneficial. In the afternoon I attended a Publisher panel and then walked through the Lloyd Center Mall. I purchased two belts for a whopping $3.98! I love when there are sales on top of sales! But I was suckered in by a nice young woman who was at a kiosk in the mall. She used a product on the underside of my wrist that left my skin soft and smooth. She offered me the product at an ungodly price and I flat out told her I wasn't worth it. She didn't like that answer. As we had already discussed she couldn't take off my fingernail polish because it was there to go with my outfit for the awards ceremony, she told me her boyfriend was a screen writer and had her back reading again. She wanted to know about my books and took down the titles and my name and I ended up buying her product at a reduced price. ~sigh~ But I was radiant at the awards ceremony just like she promised! LOL
After dressing up, I headed down to the area for the before the dinner/ceremony champagne and hors dourves and met up with Genene and Chris from my chapter. Then Jim and Barbara showed up and we had a nice little gathering. Chris was also a finalist in the contest. So she and I stood there sipping champagne and sparkling cider hashing out how many times we'd been finalists and never won. And come to find out it was her first final, but I'd finaled quite a few times and never won. When they opened the doors for dinner, Jim commandeered a table close to the door and the stage. Which got us the food first and made it easy to hear the hilarious emcee they had. Genene giggled all night!
I was lucky, my category came up third on the program. When the announcer walked up to the podium with two trophies everyone was whispering, "A tie, must have been a tie". And my heart hammered thinking, More of a chance! She read off the finalist and then The Winners are: Paty Jager and Liana Laverntz. I stood, handed Jim my camera and went up on the stage. Now I know what people mean when they say it felt like a dream. I thanked the judging committee for all their work on the contest and made a comment about the proof of the talent at The Wild Rose Press with two of their authors tying for the award, and walked off holding my trophy. I sat at the table and the butterflies left my stomach. I still couldn't believe I'd won, but was relieved the wait was over. We laughed some more and waited for Chris' category, she didn't win, but was happy to have finaled. The owner of All Romance eBooks, Barbara Perfetti, was at our table. After the ceremony she handed me a bottle of champagne to celebrate with. Since we still have bottles in our barn from our wedding, 29 years ago, I gave the bottle to Chris.
Thank you everyone who along the way has encouraged, helped me out when my stories were going no where, and believed in me. It was all of you who kept me writing! This award is for you too!