Oh, Happy Day!

darius_4502As most of you probably know, Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for the 2013 RITA awards, and Darius: Lord of Pleasures was among those selected in the historical category. (If you’d like to see all of the finalists, they’re here.) The historical category finalist list reads like a cross between my keeper shelf and my TBR pile, so I am very pleased to be in this company.

The winners are announced at RWA’s National Conference in July, and it’s an exciting, tense, fun evening for the finalists. The author, accompanied by the book’s editor, goes up to the microphone in a room full of 2000+ peers and industry professionals. A few minutes are allotted for the author’s comments, and a very pretty metal statuette is presented to each winner. Much applause, a few tears, a few drinks and many congratulations.

RITABut wait a minute. The editor is there, but where is the publisher, the person who ultimately made the decision acquire that book rather any one of thousands of others? Where’s the copy editor, who caught more typos and wordos than Carter has liver pills, and where’s the proofreader who caught her fair share as well? Where’s the production editor, who kept the manuscript moving through an entire chocolate factory of transformations, from story to shelved book?

And let’s not forget about the Art Department, who came up with an eye-catching cover; book making, who somehow changed bytes into books; the sales folks who talked that book into retail outlets; the publicist, who led the cheers for the book as if her name were on the cover; the foreign sales agent who sold the book in Japan among other places; the formatters who have to tweak the file so it loads smoothly onto at least a half dozen different retail ebook platforms…. the booksellers, the bloggers and reviewers, the admin staff holding the universe together, the web geniuses who present the book so beautifully on the website…

giantsDarius might be my story, but it’s not my book. It’s our book–all of us who put it together, read it, talked about it, boosted it on its way to this recognition. So, thanks to you, thanks to my book team, thanks to RWA. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

Newton’s quote comes to mind, though writing a romance novel is by no means an accomplishment comparable to his contributions to science: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

My story; our book. Who are your giants? The guy who keeps your car running? Your day care mom? Your kid’s counselor? Your sister-in-law? To five commenters, I’ll send signed copies of Darius: Lord of Pleasures.


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30 comments on “Oh, Happy Day!

  1. You are so right Grace! There are so many people who help us through life … and so often, we hardly even notice. I’m thinking of a great aunt who was like a grandmother to me (she raised my father). She was just a hard working farm woman who died when I was in my early twenties, but she had a big influence on my life…much much more than I realized at the time. I think of her more often than I do anyone including my parents.

    Congrats to you (and all who helped) on your nomination. I loved DARIUS.

    • My godmother was also a hardworking farm woman (with a master’s in animal science), a Quaker by birth, and a saint come to earth. I was one of many “one more’s” she made room for in addition to her own six children, and her contribution to my well being is without limit.

  2. It’s a difficult question for me to answer because I think that everyone whose life has intersected with mine has contributed to the self-awareness that propelled me onto my current path, whether that person’s influence was positive or negative. Would I have chosen to leave a secure job and start my own business if it weren’t for people like the perfectionist co-worker who eventually made my daily work life hyper-stressful? I wouldn’t want to give her too much credit, but her influence certainly comes to mind as much as that of the former boyfriend who gave me the “a-ha!” moment to help me rethink how I approached creating my own business.

    But if you’re asking about my current giants, they would have to include my parents, that former boyfriend who is now a great friend, my “sister,” a couple of fellow writers and a couple of fellow bakers, the editors of the magazine I write for, the store owners who help me promote my business, and my market manager. And I am probably still forgetting a few important folks! They all play their roles in encouraging me and helping things run smoothly.

    (I would be terrible at writing an Oscars acceptance speech! Too many wonderful people to acknowledge! And isn’t that a fabulous “problem” to have?)

    Many congratulations to you and your team, Grace. I personally think all your books deserve such recognition, but Darius makes an excellent representative for all the Lovely (and not-so-Lonely-any-more) Lords!

    • Jennifer, you’re right–a LOOONNNGGGG acknowledgements page is a sure sign of a happy, well supported author author. So glad you’re enjoying the fruits of your courage and hard work!

  3. My husband is my giant in my life, especially since we moved away from our home state almost four years ago. He has consoled me, helped me find a good job, and comforts me whenever I need it most.

    Congratulations! Darius is my favorite Lonely Lord–Gareth is second but I’m still reading through the series, up to Andrew now. πŸ™‚

    • Lovely, when our partner is our best friend. Somebody studied couples who’d been happily married for a long time (decades), and both husbands and wives most often responded that “my spouse is my best friend,” was the best descriptor of their marriage.

  4. The teachers and therapists at my sons school are my heroes. My son was diagnosed last year with Asperger’s Syndrome and he was born without his left hand. These women work with him everyday to help him be able to do things on his own and he has really thrived with his schoolwork under their guidance. He loves them and can’t wait to see them everyday and I love them for their patience and caring with my special child.

    • Hats off to you, Sheryl, for being the mom you are. Any family with a special needs member faces enormous challenges, but it sounds like you’ve found excellent support for your son, and that leaves you free to BE the mom, rather than the in-home therapist, OT, PT, ETC..

  5. As Jennifer said there are so many people that got me to this point in life that it would take forever to name them all. I would have to list all my teachers and most of my relatives, so I will shorten the list to the here and now and the two biggest giants in my life right now are my parents. Of course they have been my giants most of my life, but I honestly don’t know how I could have gotten through the last 9 years without them and this past week was no exception.
    I would also include on the list my boys’ teachers at school and all the therapists who spend countless hours helping them be the best boys they can be.
    And you would be on my list as well. You are a huge blessing and giant in my life and I know I can never say thank you enough.
    You know how excited I am about the Darius nomination and I am already lucky enough to have a signed copy of this most beloved book, so there is no need to enter me into the contest.

    • Sarah, I know a lot of moms with a lot of special needs kids. A) Nobody does it well alone, not for the typical kid, not for the atypical kid; B) You are a first rate mama. Your menfolk are lucky and blessed to have you, and c) Thanks!

  6. I’ve started Darius this weekend. He’s been sitting patiently on the shelf waiting for me to be willing to pick up the last unread Grace Burrowes book I have in my possession (Hopefully, I’ll be able to buy a few more Lonely Lords and the last Scot soon).

    Congratulations on the award (though I’m still totally in love with Ethan). I can say I never really knew about, or contemplated, the army of people necessary to get the story from your home to mine. No one can do anything with out the shoulders of others to help them along.

    • Hope you enjoy Himself–Vivvie apparently does.

      One of the pleasures of being a published author is that you have some means of boosting others into the pumpkin patch. You can give them a quote for their books, spot a promising contest entry to pass along to your agent, offer encouragement, and commiserate.

      I’m not a giant, but boosting somebody along the way is immensely gratifying.

  7. I shall start with you Grace, because I have loved (and hope to continue loving) corresponding with you. It is a delight I look forward to. I am wondering why I have forbidden myself from continuing the dialog while I was accomplishing a task that I have not had enough time for. “More fool I.”

    My sister is a huge ongoing giant in my life. She is the one person who can follow my wonky train of thought and knows in her DNA where I am coming from. In addition, she has been a concrete support many times, most generously. Such a blessing!

    Then there is the major mentor of my career, A. Jean Ayres of blessed memory. She taught me how to think… or perhaps showed me that I could thing critically AND intuitively at the same time. I channel her often. If I stand on the shoulders of giants, these are the ones directly under me.

    Of course there have been many others along the way who have profoundly impacted me, but not as strongly as those above πŸ™‚

    I love that Darius found his way out of the muck into a place where he could reclaim his self worth. The story was great, but that is what put him on my “favorite Grace’s heroes” list.

    • He’s a little outside the lines, but the RITA author judges apparently like that. I’m thinking of putting his story out on audio, which would mean even I get a chance to re-read it!

      I have countless giants in my life too, my six siblings, my daughter, and my parents foremost among them.

  8. My giant is my son. He makes me reach deeper and try harder. He will encourage me and support me through anything. As he has grown up and turned into this positive minded person, he cast that positive net over me, too…which helps me believe that I can do anything.

    I also believe that all of Lonely Lords should have been nominated. Each book had my heart in my throat… and running down my chubby cheeks. Congratulations on the nomination. I will be cheering for you.

    • Tracey, you will LOVE the Captive Hearts, then. Stock up on Kleenex.

      My dad parented seven children. He also was the Evan Pugh Professor of Dairy Science at Penn State (an endowed chair–yee haw!). He as 400+ publications to his name, has taught thousands of students from all over the world, and advanced the knowledge in his various fields of research time and again.

      Ask him what accomplishments he’s most proud of and he’ll say, “My marriage to your mother and raising you kids.”

      My kinda dad. I feel the same way about my daughter. She has been my greatest blessing, my dearest gift, the good big thing in my life.

  9. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Grace, you deserve the nomination because you gave all those others quality prose to work with. I’m not belittling their work, but they have to have something good to do that work with/for. πŸ™‚

    I give credit to so many people, without whom, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. (some might say that it is more blame than credit πŸ˜‰ ) Who are these influences and helpers in my life? My parents, my teachers – some much more than others, friends and family, but especially my maternal grandmother for helping me to understand my mother better.

    Again, Congratulations!!

    • Glenda, everybody in the RITA nomination historical class is secretly relieved Joanna Bourne didn’t have a book out in 2013. We would each of us cheerfully lose to Jo, and in 2014, we probably will.

  10. Darius was a wonderful novel and hero. It brought the right note to start the Lonely Lords Series. I am very pleased for you upon hearing that it was a finalist for the RITA Awards.

    I want to say thank you to my in-laws. We do not see them often given the distance of where we live but when they come visit, they give us the break we need in our daily routines. Instead of attending the before and after care, kiddo stayed at home with them, enjoying the personal drop off/pick to and from the school. Mom-in-law took charge of the kitchen, hot meals await us when we get home.

    Simple, ordinary household chores completed brought certain relief to a working mom like me.

    I hope to personally meet you one day, Grace. At NOLA in May perhaps?

    • Merci, I would love to meet you and more of my readers, but NOLA won’t be it for us. I’ve put all my conference pennies into the Eloisa James writing seminar in Tuscany next month, and will probably not even make to RWA National in San Antonio.

      My editor has graciously volunteered to accept the RITA award for me, though. I might never get to see that statue if she does.

  11. Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination! I love that cover, too! My giant is my “little” brother, who has built his own business & has kept me employed for 10 years. He also has been a rock for his wife, who has been fighting breast cancer for 5 years. I really don’t know how he stays so strong, but we all appreciate him for it.

  12. That’s is one of the reasons we love you so much – you are a generous soul! Don’t enter me – I loved this story and am so happy you are up for a Rita. It takes a village – most definitely. I think everyone we meet has touched us in one way or another. And, of course, all those who are close to us.

    • And our Kit-tehs!!! There are some times in my life when the greatest comfort I could find was in a purring kitty, cuddled in my lap while I tried to write. They just know when we need them… pups and ponies too.

  13. My giants … hmm…I’m going with my girlfriends.
    I am wealthy in my friends. They keep me moving in a positive direction.

  14. Oh Grace, I am so happy for you!!!! totally well deserved… I love Darius… absolutely… I cried and rejoiced with him!!! and Vivian…
    Big hug!

    • Kassia, me too! And oddly enough, one of the scenes that got to me most was when he was fighting for Vivian’s honor bare knuckle, in the dirt, surrounded by men of all classes who rooted for him.

      I hate violence, but I did not hate that scene.