Monday, April 02, 2012

How Not To Take An Important Call

Once a year, Romance Writers of America (RWA) sponsors two major contests: the RITA awards for published authors and the Golden Heart awards for unpublished authors. Every year around the end of March, RWA announces the finalists for the two contests. The majority of RWA members are sitting at their computers early in the morning, watching as the names of the finalists show up at the RWA website. I certainly planned to be seated at the computer watching while the names appeared, but my plans went slightly awry.

Let’s back up to the Friday before the big event. I checked into my favorite hotel for the weekend in order to write uninterrupted. On Sunday night, a friend sent me a direct message on Twitter. She said she dreamed that I finaled in the RITAs. I scoffed and messaged her back: You Were dreaming. In a second tweet, I added: I’m managing my expectations—below sea level.

I knew the competition in the Regency Historical category and didn’t think my two books stood a chance against those heavy hitters. I’m fairly new, and my third book HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE just came out. I just felt any hopes otherwise were unrealistic under the circumstances.
Monday morning dawned, and I checked out of the hotel early so I could go home and watch the announcements. I drove out of the parking lot and my car decided to stop—as in it wouldn’t move. Not even an inch. At that moment, I just knew this day was going to stink like swamp water. I called the dealer to haul off my car, and then I called mom to rescue me.

After I got home, I couldn’t wait to boot up my computer. Then the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and didn’t recognize the number. I picked it up, and when I didn’t hear a voice right away, I hung up.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

Yep, a few minutes later, the phone rang again. The same name showed up on the caller ID. Puzzled, I answered it. A very nice lady said her name was Lorraine Heath and that she was calling on behalf of RWA. I held my breath and started shaking.

She told me that I triple finaled in the RITAs. I teared up, and only Lorraine knows what crazy stuff came out of my mouth. J Then I booted up the computer and got deluged with congratulations.

The Deets: HOW TO MARRY A DUKE finaled in Best Regency Historical and Best First Book. HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL finaled in Best Regency Historical. And I still can’t believe it!

Have you ever gotten surprised after having low expectations? Tell me about a time when you unexpectedly got really great news. Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE (US & Canada Only)

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security—if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate—and irresistible—attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . .

 When Will is caught in a tryst with the ton’s shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways . . .

Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing.   

***Vicky's winner is Renee!!  :)  (Please note you must reside in the USA or Canada in order to receive this prize!)  Send your mailing details to as soon as possible!  Thanks***


Laurie G said...

I went to an amateur theater group production of West Side Story that was amazing!

The opposite is also true: I went to a multicounty HS scholarship awards ceremony that I had high expectations for and it was so overblown and pretentious that I was nauseated by the whole event

The greatest news was when our daughter surprised us with the news that we were going to be grandparents!!

CONGRATS VICKY on your two noninations!!

Man Candy Fans said...

Laurie - a grandbaby is a wonderful surprise! Congratulations!


Leanne Tyler said...

My first sell came in email, not a phone call. We were told the finalists for a contest I'd entered would be notified by October 31. So I didn't check my email Oct. 30th because I wasn't expecting anything. I was floored when I saw the message that I'd won and my story was going to be published. And I kicked myself for not checking my email earlier.

Congratulations on your good news. So glad Lorraine called you back! I hope your car repairs weren't too major either. Will be anxious to hear how you do in the RITA's this year.

Chrisbails said...

Don't count me in the drawing. I already bought this book. Just wanted to share. I had low expectations when I met my new sister-in-law. I did not like her because of something that she said, so I did not talk to her or anything. I then decided that I should give her a chance(my husband stated that I should try). So I did and we get along great. The girl is funny and makes me laugh.
Congrats on being a finalist, both books were great and deserve to win.

Man Candy Fans said...

Leanne,that's a great story and a fabulous prize!

Chris, how wonderful that you & your sister-in-law became friends. And thanks for the thumbs up on my books. :-)

CrystalGB said...

Congratulations on your Rita nominations. I am so happy for you. :) I am always so happy when something great happens when I least expect it. :)

Donna Alward said...

Oh, major congrats! I saw your name ALL OVER the lists and there was so much fab buzz about it!

And don't worry about blubbing and anything you might have said, lol. I did the same thing. I think board members kind of expect it. They have the greatest job in the world on RITA/GH day.

Deborah Blake said...

I love this story! And a TRIPLE final! Way to exceed expectations!

When Elaine Spencer was first reading my ms (having been passed along by Lucienne Diver), she surprised me by sending me an email the morning after she received it, telling me she'd already read half and loved it. I was so accustomed to slow response time from agents, it came as a real surprise. She then went on to explain that she hadn't expected it to land on her desk, so she had plans (pre-wedding counseling with her then hubby-to-be) and probably wouldn't get the rest until Monday (that was about 11:30 Fri). THEN I got an email at 6:30 AM on the next day, a Saturday, saying she'd read the rest and still loved it, and wanted to talk to me. Of course, then she didn't get a chance to call until Monday, so my head just about exploded :-)

Thankfully, that story had a happy ending too.

Linda Henderson said...

Congratulations, I'm so happy for you. Well about the biggest thing I ever had with low expectations was when I had surgery and the doctor had pretty much told me I had cancer and when he did the surgery, all I needed was a hysterectomy. He told my nurse friend that was taking care of me in recovery that he had expected to open me up and then just close me up to die and he was totally surprised there was no cancer. So I believe in miracles.

Barbara E. said...

I had applied for a job in August, finally got called for an interview in late September and had pretty much given up on the job, even though I felt like it was my dream job and I really wanted it. I got a few hints that I might still be in the running when they called to let me know they were checking my references in late November, and then finally in mid-December I got the call from my new boss telling me I got the job. I have to say, that was the best Christmas present ever after being out of work for 6 months.

Barbara E. said...

Forgot to say CONGRATS on the Rita noms! Hope you win them all.

Renee said...

Congratulations. I am not a writer but a teacher. I was asked by the principal to got to the Assistant Principal's office (my former dept chair) and help her with a bit of writing. Turns out, it was about me. She asked me questions, and I answered them and promptly forgot about it. At the end of the year, we announce the Teacher of the Year. I was doing bus duty that day and was running late to the faculty meeting because all of the buses had not yet left. Over the radio, I hear that they are looking for me in the faculty meeting. I left the buses and flew into the Media Center knowing I had not been nominated for Teacher of the Year so did not know what the fuss was about. Come to find out, my principal had nominated me for the Corky Kell Award given to an outstanding teacher in the county (180,000 students) who fosters outstanding relationships with her students. I was apparently, the hands down winner of the year. All I remember was realizing I had won and my mother, husband, and children had been hustled to the school and secluded for the award. It is a more prestigous award than Teacher of the Year because it applies to all teachers in the county, not just one school. I was floored and know how you feel. Again congratulations! You have been nominated in the whole country!

Di said...

How exciting to be acknowledged with those nominations! Best of luck. It's been a while since I've been happily surprised in a big way like you were, but I'm grateful for the happy little surprises - like winning a good book!

Man Candy Fans said...

Great story, Deborah. Elaine is wonderful - congrats on landing such a great agent!

Man Candy Fans said...

Linda, what a wonderful blessing! Thanks for sharing your story!

Man Candy Fans said...

Barbara, that's fantastic - and yes, that's one xmas present you'll never forget. I'm very happy for you!

Man Candy Fans said...


What a terrific honor! Congratulations!!!!

Man Candy Fans said...


Your comment is a great reminder to all of us to find something positive each day. Thanks for stopping by!

chey said...

I remember dreading an event, then going to the event and having a good time.

Pam Asberry said...

Congrats on being a finalist in the RITA's, Vicky! I have yet to receive exciting writing news like that, but last year I was thrilled to learn that my workshop proposal was accepted for the state music teacher's conference. Continued success!

Jeanne M said...

Vicky -

Congratulations on being a finalist three times over!

I've been fortunate enough to get great news twice and found out that the impossible can sometimes be a reality after all.

I was told back in 1971 that I would probably never be able to have children. I had test after test but of course there was always "just one more" to try. Of course back then they hadn't come up with the ways available today. Fianlly the docter said he was going to do just one more test but this this time check to be sure I wasn't pregnant because the next test was going to be a "dangerous" one and I would be one of first to go thru it. Becasue of this they had to rule out the remote chance that I might after all be pregnant!

The test result was YEAH! They don't know how but I beat the odds and was finally pregnant at last after trying for so long. Two years later another miracle happened and I was pregnant again.

Today you have options then it was a blessing from God making possible what docters said was impossible.

Linda McDonald said...

Congrats Vicky! That is so awesome! I am always happily suprised when I have gotten job offers for the jobs I have wanted. :)

erin said...

Congrats!!! I haven't had the pleasure of reading your books, but they are on the top of my wishlist :)

I have to say that this scenario fit when I first applied for the job I have now (and have had for over 5 yrs). I thought that I had interviewed horribly and that I blew my chance and it was the job that I really, really wanted. I went home and cried. A week later, I got a call from the HR department offering me the job and I was speechless. The HR recruiter laughed at me and said that the department called her right after my interview and said that I was the one they wanted.

Carol L. said...

Oh Vicky, you truly deserved those nominations. Congrats.
The only news I'd consider the best was when my daughter was only 8 years old and hospitalized for eleven months with Bone Cancer and when we went home (finally) they called us and told us after all that time she was de4finitely in remission. :) That was 17 years ago and she's still my healthy miracle. :)
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your nominations! I love it when something great happens unexpectedly.