I can’t tell you how excited I was to win the RONE award for my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. I sat in the audience, watched all the other winners go to the podium, and about halfway through the evening (shiver), I noticed they were giving acceptance speeches. What? I raised my eyebrows and looked at my husband. “They’re giving speeches! I didn’t know they gave speeches.” Still, I relaxed in my chair and cheered fellow authors on as they were escorted to the stage by handsome romance cover models. Sigh. I mean. Come on. It was a romance conference, after all. The masters of ceremonies were TJ MacKay, founder of InD’Tale Magazine; and Catherine Bybee, NYT bestselling author. The keynote speaker was Anne Perry. Her accent alone held me captive. I was thinking maybe they had forgotten about the “Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit” category. After nearly two hours, the ceremony was winding down and there wasn’t any mention of the women’s fiction novels. I was a nervous wreck and sat riveted, unable to move. My category was the last one of the evening. When they announced my name, I about fell out of my chair. I walked slowly to the podium (no, not because of the hunky model–well, maybe a little) but because I was trying to figure out what to say!
I highly recommend InD’Scribe Reader & Author Con. It was an exhilarating experience complete with professional workshops, book signings, author luncheons, bar chats, dances, parties, great food, and much more.
By the way, RONE is pronounced “Rone-y” like Grammy or Emmy. The award ceremony was a festive, dressy affair complete with a red carpet, photos, cover models, and entertainment. This year’s entertainment was provided by a guitarist and a Prince/Michael Jackson impersonator (one in the same). Several hundred authors and readers attended the conference in California. I met authors from many states and other countries–Canada and England, in particular. I also got to meet four fellow Soulies: Alina K. Field, Darcy Flynn, Susan James Berger, and Janna Shay. Unfortunately, I have a new phone and am having major issues with it so I can’t show you their pretty faces, but trust me, we had a great time!
For those who aren’t familiar with the RONE voting process, it is three-fold. The first tier is based on reviews. Authors must receive a four-star rating or higher. The second phase is public voting. Basically, your fans and friends vote for their favorite authors. IF you make it through that round, you become a finalist. The third phase is judging by industry professionals. One NYT bestselling author told me it’s harder to get a RONE than a RITA by RWA. I wouldn’t know since this is all new to me. I can tell you that it’s a humbling honor and I was pleased that several Soulies were awarded Honorable Mention this year.Did I mention there were cover models?! Here’s the proof. Hubba. Hubba. You should have seen my husband’s reaction when he saw this photo! He actually stole my camera when my back was turned and had someone take a photo of him fake choking the model! In another photo, hubby unbuttoned his shirt and opened it Superman-style while they both held their fists in the air. Michael loved it. Paybacks are, you know… There were several models in attendance–mostly male, and Michael Foster (above) appears on some SMP covers. Now, I know you’ll attend the 2016 conference which will be held in Burbank next year! Go forth and submit your 2015 novels for review. Here’s hoping several Soulies bring home the RONE in 2016! Thank you for reading, reviewing, and voting for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. This has been a magical year thanks to you. All of my titles are on my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/bethcarter