Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Getting the RITA finalist call for Tempting the Knight (there will be exclamation marks)

So I was busy eating my lunch on Friday afternoon, contemplating whether to drive to our local multiplex in the Angel Islington to see Zootopia with my sons and my husband or be a good girl and walk when the phone rang.

'Hi, is that Heidi Rice?' Said a voice in a warm American accent.

'Yes, speaking,' I replied round a mouthful of cheese sandwich, thinking is this what I think it is? No it can't be? Surely they're not doing RITA calls on Good Friday? What's the date again? And anyway I got a RITA call last year I can't possibly have gotten another one!

'Hi Heidi, this is Alyssa Day...' At that point it all becomes a little fuzzy, because I was screaming OMG OMG OMG ALYSSA DAY!! inside my head while trying to swallow down my cheese sandwich and also remember to breathe ...

She mentioned my book Tempting the Knight, part of the Fairy Tales of New York quartet I wrote with Kelly Hunter, Amy Andrews and Lucy King, and said RITA finalist and Contemporary Romance Short at some point too, I'm almost certain... But I was hyperventilating far too hard to actually hear anything , except my babbling about how excited I was (as if she couldn't tell that from the hyperventilating) and how I was eating my lunch (like she needed to know that *facepalms*)... We then proceeded to have a half-way coherent chat (coherent on her end, anyway) about the conference in San Diego, would I be coming, how excited I was (again, sooo not necessary)... And then I put down the phone, and just stood in my kitchen waiting for the news to actually sink in – and hoping I'd remembered to thank her (still not sure about that).

Then I rushed out the door to tell my husband, who was busy cutting  the front hedge with his strimmer. He said something like 'Oh that's cool, maybe it'll be third time lucky... ' And then carried on cutting the hedge. So then I had to shout at him the full import of what had just happened over the sound of the strimmer to the whole  neighbourhood. For goodness sake this was a SUPER BIG DEAL. I'd just been nominated for an Oscar. He nodded, looking a bit puzzled, congratulated me again, said something about Leo DiCaprio and if it was his year, maybe it would be mine and carried on strimming....

I then ran into the front room to tell my two sons - who congratulated me without looking up from the TV then asked if we could take the car to the Angel!!

So far so NOT NEARLY EXCITED ENOUGH... Bloody men! They just didn't GET IT... So then I did what I should have done to start with and texted my best writing mate Abby Green - I cannot repeat the text here as it was a little profane (I swear when I'm excited, a lot, I'm a Londoner, this is how we roll). She congratulated me (properly) and then promised to break my legs if I ever moaned about my writing career again (fair enough). Then I hit Twitter and Facebook, as you do... In the middle of lots of lovely congrats from so many of my writing mates and readers, I got a call from my good mate Scarlet Wilson who sounded as flummoxed as me but more so, because she had just found out she had finaled TWICE in the same category!! .... Go Scarlet!!

By the time I'd calmed down enough to think coherently, we had to make a mad dash to the Angel, and nearly missed the start of the movie. (Zootopia's rather good btw, or at least I think it is, I wasn't exactly capable of being objective, I would probably have been entertained by having the phone book recited to me).

Needless to say, four days later, I am still on a high. And don't plan to come down any time soon. I'm all signed up for the conference in San Diego, I have my flights booked and I am quite simply thrilled to bits to be able to go to RWA16 sporting my RITA FINALIST ribbon and pin.

I have a huge debt of thanks to give romance-writing goddess Jane Porter and the fabulous team at Tule Publishing for letting us write these stories the way we wanted to (and giving me my best cover ever), but most of all I want to thank Kelly, Amy and Lucy.



Amy came up with the original idea of doing sexy modern makeovers of classic Fairy Tales (and then explained to me in words of one syllable what oblique meant when I instantly pooh-poohed the idea! Duh!),  Kelly edited my book brilliantly and Lucy helped me come up with a great family history for my heroine (who was the sister of her Beast of a hero)... But more than that, we wrote The Fairy Tales of New York together, after spending months and two thousand plus emails brain-storming the plots, the characters, their connections, their hopes and dreams and conflicts and their backstories, and liaising on everything from the floor plan of the Irish American pub in Brooklyn where our heroines connect to the design of the uniform they wore at the convent school in Upstate New York where they all met as teenagers... The standard of their stories was so high, they challenged me to make my story the best it could be, they let me use their remarkable characters in my book, and they gave my story added depth and complexity by helping to build a whole wonderful world around all four of our heroines and their heroes. But best of all, they made the whole process an absolute hoot! I wrote all about it on The Pink Heart Society if you want to know more...

TBH it almost feels a little bit greedy to get the pleasure of a RITA nod on top of all that Fairy Tale goodness... But hey, I'm all for being the princess in my own modern day fairy tale, especially if it means I can now go shop for a new posh frock to wear at the Awards do!

16 comments:

Michelle Beattie said...

Heidi that is so exciting and men don't get it. That's the truth. Sadly a lot of people not in the industry don't get it either. I'm glad you texted a fellow writer. WE get it! I loved this post and totally felt there with you and can only hope I'm fortunate enough to get a similar call one day. Congratulations on your Rita nomination. I will be in San Diego cheering on all the Tule finalists!

Heidi Rice said...

Thx so much Michelle, what a lovely comment, and fingers crossed you get the call too some day (and your DH doesn't carry on strimming the hedge when you tell him, lol!)

Abby Green said...

AMAZEBALLS! And yes, I will break your legs if you EVER feel like you have cause to moan again. I mean, we all do, but you don't anymore :) xx

Heidi Rice said...

Yes Sir!!

Jane Porter said...

I so love this. Because this is what it's supposed to feel like and be like for talented authors. It should be about YOU, and your talent and your voice and the stories YOU want to tell. So very glad you got the RITA nod. Every book in this fantastic series should have gotten a nomination....I love what you four authors did together and admire you all immensely Congrats and can't wait to celebrate in San Diego!

dstoutholcomb said...

Congratulations!

denise

Ann Harrison said...

I can imagine your despair with the men in your life. I honestly think it takes another writer to understand the importance of any contest nomination and how good it makes you feel.The most wonderful think in this business is the way other writers always have your back and are there for you. And its nice to know that no matter how good or famous a writer you are, your feet are still firmly on the ground.
Huge congratulations Heidi.

Heidi Rice said...

Jane you're a superstar... And I agree all our stories were terrific!

Cheers Denise!

Ann, you're absolutely right, only other romance writers get it really, that said my guys did eventually get it (after I banged on about it for the rest of the evening... Lol)!!!

Amy Andrews said...

OMG I grinned like a loon reading this, Heidi. Writing FToNY with you and Lucy and Kel was an awesome experience. So thrilled the Knight got a RITA nom :-)

Eileen A-W said...

How exciting Heidi!! I loved reading the books in the series and understand why you wee nominated. Wishing you lots of luck and a major Congratulations!!

Heidi Rice said...

God, wasn't it a hoot Amy, I think we may be the dream team! We should do it again, definitely!

Cheers Eileen, so glad you loved the series too.

Shelagh Merlin said...

Congratulations Heidi! I loved every book in that series and I'm so pleased you got nominated. I was thrilled to see the other Tule nominations (amazing for a relatively new publisher but no srprise given the quality of the stories they publish) and pleased to see Scarlet Wilson nominated too as I love her books. Time to bask in the glory!

Anne McAllister said...

Huge congratulations, Heidi. Sport your RITA ribbon all over San Diego, and maybe you'll get to take the lady home on the plane with you. Fingers crossed.

Loved the stories in your series -- all four of them. And I especially envied your cover, Heidi (still do. Just got done saying, "Are there any more like him available?" to editorial).

You go, girl!

Heidi Rice said...

Cheers Anne, I wish!! So glad you loved the series and yes, that cover *swoons* Good luck finding one like it!! X

Kelly Hunter said...

Love this, Heidi. Thank you. Now all we need to do is buy that pub... and fill it with hot Irish musicians. And romance writers.

Heidi Rice said...

Kelly, OMG!! YESSSSSSSS! First pint of Guinness is on me.