Last Sunday was a very special Valentine's Day for yer olde Aunty. Yes, my DH came through with a lovely bouquet of flowers, and my son even managed to buy me some candy. Both of these gifts were nice but not in comparison to the VERY SPECIAL email I received late that afternoon.
The email was from Margaret Mason, the Awards Coordinator for the Australian Romance Readers Association, congratulating me because "...The Treasures of Venice has reached the final round of the 2nd annual Australian Romance Readers Awards in the Favourite Romantic Suspense category."
I'm sure I let out a squeal heard all around my neighborhood. Then I went to the website (http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/awards.html ), looked at the list of finalists and went into full-blown hyperventilation! I mean, look at the list for just romantic suspense:
Favourite Romantic Suspense
- Burn / Linda Howard
- Dark Country / Bronwyn Parry
- Dark of Night / Suzanne Brockmann
- Feel the Heat / Cindy Gerard
- Hidden Fire / Jo Davis
- Kindred in Death / JD Robb
- Made to be Broken / Kelley Armstrong
- Shoot to Thrill / Nina Bruhns
- Stolen Heat / Elisabeth Naughton
- The Treasures of Venice / Loucinda McGary
Even today, the idea that readers as far away as Australia are reading my books, enjoying my stories and loving my characters stretches the limits of my imagination (and you all know I do NOT lack for imagination)!
Truly, being a finalist for this award is the greatest honor of my writing career thus far. And the fact that I am sharing this honor with my fellow Banditas Anna Campbell and Christine Wells (both finalists in the historical category and Favourite Australian Author) just makes it that much more special!
In 2006 when this same story (then titled Jewels of the Madonna) became a finalist in the Golden Heart contest, I believed it just couldn't get any better!
I was wrong.
Having my book recognized and singled out by readers is THE BEST FEELING EVER! My only regret is that (barring a lottery win) I won't be able to attend the Awards Ceremony and dinner on May 15th in Sydney. But I will definitely be there in spirit, raising my glass of bubbly high, and I know that Fo and Madame and so many of our wonderful BBs and other readers will be there cheering when my name is announced!
And one of these days, I hope in the not-too-distance future, I WILL be there to attend, whether I'm lucky enough to final again or not. After all, I haven't been Down Under since 1999. I think I'm past due for another visit!
My very best and sincere good wishes to ALL the finalists and kudos to the winners!
Okay, Aunty will stop gushing now and let the rest of you have a turn. Let's celebrate some High Points today! Please share some of your greatest honors! Don't be shy, step right up and have some cyber-bubbly.