Or otherwise known as glamour day 2!
Saturday we had a slower start, which was really quite nice as I didn't sleep well AGAIN and we'd partied until 1 a.m. Fiona and I met up with my "stalker" Nicole Flockton - Nicole showed up EVERYWHERE I was and then we realized a lot of it was due to the fact that she was in the next ROOM! Anyway Nicole joined us for breakfast, which was great - I really felt like I got to know here a lot better during the week.
Fiona and I both planned to attend the Michael Hauge workshop, but by the time we got there it was sitting on the floor only, and my wardrobe kind of prohibited that. Instead I got a coffee at Starbucks and I caught up with Rula Sinara and we had a long chat in the lobby. It was just the sort of hour I needed, because the rest of the day went in a flash.
I attended the Harlequin Author session at 11; had lunch at the Hilton with the Petticoats and Pistols crew, then went straight to the RITA rehearsal. After a short break, Fi and I left for a meeting off-site, we just got back and I had to get ready for RITA night as I was meeting the Mills and Boon editors at 6 for a light dinner before the main event.
Before the ceremony I did a "red carpet" segment with Harlequin's Jayne Hoogenberk - you can watch in on youtube on Harlequin's channel. It was so fun and the best segment was Fiona Lowe's who I am sure considers that boomerang very lucky...
Then it was into the ceremony. Sarah Morgan was at our table, along with her editor Lucy; Fiona was my date, Trish Morey was on my other side (we giggled a LOT) and the lovely Yvonne Lindsay beside her, and Starr Ambrose, who I met the first night of my very first conference was seated with us along with her agent and editor. It was just my luck that the Series Contemporary category was second to last for the WHOLE night, so I had a long time to be nervous. But I will confess that when Fiona Lowe won for Boomerang Bride I jumped up and cheered and then with a red face sat down as I had the sudden thought that people might think I was her...I was and am so excited for her. She deserved every bit of success with her big book that could.
Of course the results are no secret now and of course Sarah Morgan won our category for Doukakasis's Apprentice! I have to say that I am so happy for her and that the RITA went to our editorial office (Harlequin in London). After her very glam "photoshoot" with Nora Roberts (okay, will confess to being slightly jealous about THAT), we all moved to the bar for a champagne toast! Ms. RITA got passed around and the mood was definitely jubilant.
Around 11 Fiona and I left for the Samhain afterparty (Fiona was my date - actually, I called her my conference wife. She looked after me so well! I love her.). There was food and free drinks and a dance floor and it was truly just what I needed - something fun and upbeat rather than the inevitable letdown that generally happens after the RITAs and honestly a little more bittersweet for nominees. It was WAY better to go out on a high note.
And that was it. We got back to the room around 12:30 and I was up and making a hasty "I need to do this fast so I don't cry" goodbye to Fiona by 6:45. 7.5 hours of flying and 3 hours of delays later, I finally made it home.
It was good to be home. But I'm so glad I went. Next year Fiona has to final so *I* have an excuse to go!