Monday, October 25, 2010

Catch of a Lifetime - The Book and The Award!

I spent the weekend at the NJ Romance Writers' Put Your Heart in a Book Writers' Conference and, boy, what a great weekend!

Disclaimer: Two of my books were 2/3 of the finalists in the Best Paranormal category of the Golden Leaf contest, so I was already hyped when I got there. ;) And, yes, as you can see, one of them won. But more on that later.

The fun started in the lobby. It's so nice to walk into a hotel (even if you've been there before) and see people you know who hold open their arms for a big hug with a big smile on their face. Then come the "catch-up" stories because, even though we're all wired in and see each other posting on FB, blogs, loops, etc., nothing beats that one-on-one personal time to catch up on the day-to-day stuff, and, of course, the "oh my God, you won't believe" stuff. :)

Roommates arrive, room keys are gotten, suitcases unpacked, and the workshops begin. I gave one on contests. Unfortunately, I was up against the published author retreat so the turnout wasn't fabulous, but the people who attended said I gave them a lot of things to consider when entering contests. Since I was clueless when I began entering contests, without any thought other than winning (oh, how naive!), I spent my money willy-nilly. In the days of pre-electronic contests, postage was as expensive as the entry fee and let us not forget ink and paper.

Then came the reception for the awards. The ladies of NJ pulled together an AMAZING amount of giveaway baskets. It would have been nice if I'd remembered to bring my raffle ticket, because I'm fairly certain my number was called. Of course, if I'd thought to thoroughly check my name badge holder, I would have found out that I'd actually planned ahead and put the ticket in the badge holder, but silly me thought I'd left it in the room. sigh...

Then the highlight of the night - the awards. NJRW has the Put Your Heart In A Book Contest for unpublished authors and the Golden Leaf contest for published authors, complete with a great slide show like RWA does for the Golden Heart and Ritas. Even with a stage and podium. I love watching people win awards. We all work so hard at our writing that it's nice to celebrate with the winners.

For the Golden Leaf awards, they show the 3 finalists and then the wonderful Ann Walradt (who I think is a thespian, and if not, definitely could be) reads an excerpt from the winning book. My category was second to last to be announced and there were about 8 or 9 of my chaptermates in my row. When Ann read the first line of Catch of a Lifetime, they all turned my way. "You won!"

Yep. The award is beautiful and makes a really nice bookend with the Prism Wild Blue Under won at National. But I think the absolute best part of winning was hearing Ann read the beginning of the book to the audience and hearing their laughter.

Chapter 1

There was a naked woman on his boat.

Logan Hardington shook his head and rubbed his eyes, but the picture didn’t change. Lady Godiva was sprawled over a pillow on his deck, a navy blue blanket draped over the bottom half of the curviest ass he’d seen in a long while.

Long, blonde—almost yellow—loose curls tumbled over creamy shoulders all the way down to that blanket, the ends pooling in the dimples above her ass, some strands twirling along the visible portion of her cleft near the light blue markings of a faded bruise.

Shapely legs, one slightly bent, only a shade or two darker than the fiberglass boat deck, trailed from beneath the blanket, one small foot flexing in the soft morning breeze. A hint of upturned nose peeked from beneath the blonde jumble, pink lips pursed in sleep, slender fingers disappearing beneath her cheek. He wondered what color her eyes were.

And why she was naked.

On his boat.

Hungry gulls cawed overhead, but she didn’t stir. The wake from McKye’s charter jostled the Mir-a-Mar as the day’s fishing tour set out, but that didn’t rouse her either.

Oh hell. She was probably a drunk co-ed who’d followed some “sailor” home. He’d seen that walk of shame many mornings. Didn’t these people think of the repercussions?

Logan looked back down the pier where his son, Michael, chatted with Tony as the wizened old salt chopped chum, and Logan smiled. Ah, the things he would have loved to have seen as a boy. The things he should have been able to show Michael from day one—

And would have if his ex-girlfriend had only mentioned a little thing like a pregnancy…

Logan tamped down the anger at Christine—who, according to his son, now went by Rainbow for God-only-knew-what reasons—and focused instead on the next female to make him wonder what men ever saw in women.

Then Lady Godiva moved and the blanket slipped to the side and Logan knew exactly what men saw in women.

The fun continued on Saturday with great speakers, informative workshops, and having the chance to sit down, face-to-face with my agent and get some business done. I did some chapter business, issuing invitations to the editor/agent panel we have in March, and meeting new people.

And then came the karaoke party. No, I did not sing. I wanted to, but I am aware enough of my deficiency in that area to know better than to pick up a microphone. Others, hysterically, do not have that same realization and I thank they for a really fun evening!

It's so nice to get together with other writers and industry people. I envy those who can do this full time and make a living at it. I'm still in the day job which recently went full time, but one of the conditions was that I can take enough time off to do my writerly things. That would have been a deal-breaker for the job, and I'm so glad they came through.

Now, it's only about 3 months until the next conference... sigh.

What do you have coming up "writerly" wise?


  1. Sounds like you have a wonderful time. Congratulations on your win!

  2. Wow, Judi, CONGRATS! The only "writerly" thing i have coming up is trying to kick myself in the butt to get back to work on my WIP.

  3. Thanks ladies! And, man, I walk into the day job and am REALLY glad I had a high point over the weekend b/c I feel as if I got beaten up and it's only 10 of 10... sigh. Real life - why can't we live in our imaginations...

  4. Judi, congrats to you, girl! Sounds like a very cool conference, and I can tell you enjoyed every moment. :-)

  5. Another prize? Can it be? Congratulations, Judi. It looks fabulous.

  6. Judi, Congratulations on the win! Sounds like you had a great time at conference. I love getting "revved" up by my writing pals;)

  7. Congratulations, Judi! Very well deserved. I just LOVED that book! And I've always appreciated your valuable advice on doing contests! I gotta get me one of those shiny doodads!

  8. Great going, Judi. It was a wonderful read!

  9. Your award looks great. It's nice to have a pair. Hoping that the Genies will be as fulfilling for you, 'cause I know they're going to be just as entertaining for me.

    Frankly, I know how hard you work, Judi so your win isn't a huge surprise, but the pleasure of seeing your work recognized is fabulous. Super picture! Congratulations.

  10. Judi it is beautiful and hard earned!

    Don't those guys at the day job realize who they have in their midst?
    Congrats Lady Judith!

  11. Congratulations Judi! How awesome! It's beautiful!

  12. Judi, congrats!! What a lovely award ;). I've heard GREAT things about the NJ conference -- glad to hear you had such a wonderful time!

  13. Many congratulations, Judi! I think you're going to need a couple of new bookshelves -- one to hold your books, the other to hold your awards!

  14. You are a winner under any circumstances Judi, but how wonderful to have earned this exciting award. We're all so proud when a girlfriend shines!!! Enjoy and keeeeeeep going!!!!

  15. I've had a pretty crummy day at the day job, but you ladies (and guys) have made it a brighter day. Thank you!

  16. Yay, Judi on winning the Best Paranormal category of the Golden Leaf contest!!! I love your books and was so damn proud to see a wonderful friend like you, win recognition for your fabulous stories this year. One of the things I love about ya is you are one of the supportive people I know when it comes to writing no how. It would take pages to list what I've learned from you.

    I'm so glad to see the awards rolling in and may it continue.

  17. lolol! you know I really can spell, not that you'd know from my first comment. Extreme business seems to be bitting everyone I know. Good think the computer knows my name and website or who knows where these comments would have flown today. Gah.

  18. Congrats on the win! Sounds like a fun time.

  19. Congratulations--I feel good just reading about your award! I hope the "glow" lasts for a long time.

    My next writerly event is the annual meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) held in Portland, Oregon this year. I'll be meeting mentors, fellow writers, and future readers (I hope!).

  20. Judi,
    What a wonderful win for another of your terrific books. It's so nice to see you being recognized for your talent and hard work. Carry on, girl.

    But take a minute or two once in a while for yourself.

  21. It's absolutely beautiful, Judi! And well deserved. I'm glad you had a great time at the conference. I know you thrive in that environment.

    I have a book-signing in 12 days, but that's the only writerly adventure on my agenda.

  22. Congrats, Judi! I loved Catch of a Lifetime and can just imagine Anne reading the opening. FYI, the year I ran the Golden Leaf Contest, I did not want to have to read in front of all of those people! I asked Anne if she'd read them for me...and from that year on, she had read the excerpts to the delight of her audience.

    BTW, Anne is a true thespian and has appeared in many roles in the past. I wish I could remember the name of the one lady she played, I loved when she'd slip into character and delight her audience at meetings.

    How awesome to win the Prism and the Golden Leaf all in the same year for two different books! I loved the trilogy and can't wait to read the first book in your new trilogy: I Dream of Genies!

    Enjoy the Spotlight, you deserve it!

  23. I loved reading from your winning book. :)