I promised in my last post to give you a blow by blow description of my experience at the 2016 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers. I've always loved this event. The workshops are informative for all levels of writing and the members are warm and friendly. Have a question? Just ask. There's always someone to help out or give you an answer.
This year's conference did not disappoint. My book, The Good Twin, had finaled in the Maggie Awards Contest, so I attended with an added bonus.
I arrived late Thursday afternoon, checked in to the hotel, and took an hour to decompress from traveling before heading down to register for the conference. When handed my goodie bag, I proudly wore my badge that stated, Maggie Finalist on a bright purple ribbon. My next stop was the lounge for a glass of wine and an early dinner. Within minutes another lady approached and asked if she could join me. Naturally, I said yes. This is how it works at conferences. You say hello to people you don't know, and then talk about anything that comes to mind. Not long after, two more ladies joined us. Thanks to a good conversation I now have two new Facebook friends.
My Friday morning was filled with good workshops, and I met an old friend, whom I hadn't seen in over fifty years, for lunch. The afternoon was a repeat of the morning, and dinner that night saw me with another group of new friends discussing the days' events.
I woke up on Saturday only slightly nervous. The Maggies would be announced at the dinner that night. I tried not to think about it, but couldn't stop myself from composing an acceptance speech. Silly, I know, but sometimes that's how it is. Later in the afternoon, I was waylaid by the Maggie Chairperson and asked to give a short speech in front of a video camera on what the Maggies meant to me. Wanting to be humble, I said I didn't care if I won--that just being a finalist was like the cherry on top of the sundae. I lied. I did care. I really wanted to win, but at this stage, the competition was top-notch.
Everything went fine until I walked into the ballroom and saw the cameras set up. They would be streaming the event live on YouTube. Now, I got nervous--so nervous I could barely eat. After a heartfelt and tearful dedication to a GRW member who had passed away the week before, they got down to business. Thankfully, they presented the Published Maggie Awards first. I'm not sure my nerves could have stood waiting any longer. Win or lose, at least I could relax and hit the dessert bar.
My category, Single Title, was second on the list. The chairperson read off the finalists in alphabetical order. I was last. "And the 2016 Maggie goes to..." was announced. I held my breath determined to clap and cheer for the winner because by this time I was convinced it wouldn't be me. I stared at the video screen. "Suzanne Rossi for The Good Twin!"
Hey! That's me! I won! Somehow I made my way onstage. To this day, I'm not sure what I said as I accepted the award, but friends assured me I made sense and even made them laugh with one comment. I honestly don't remember, but I do know I thanked my editor, Johanna Melaragno. This was the last book she edited for me before leaving the company. I also thanked my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.
It took a week for me to return to reality. I have the certificate in a nice frame and the Maggie Medallion pendant on a lovely chain. I can honestly say it was the proudest moment of my career.
I want to publicly thank the judges, GRW, and especially, Maggie Chair and Coordinator, Christina Crayn. You guys put on a spectacular show. I will never forget the 2016 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference.
Oh, and before I forget, my book, Killer Conference, the second in the Snoop Group series, was released in all formats this month, too. It's all about a critique group that solves murders, and of course there's a healthy dose of romance in the bargain. The first book was A Novel Death. Number three, A Taste of Death, is going through critique at the moment.
Wow, this was some October! I hope you all have a great month of November and I'll be back with tales of Thanksgiving.