Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hitting the High Points Down Under

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

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 ( ), 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
Way back in 2004 when I first started writing the manuscript that eventually became The Treasures of Venice, I never dared to DREAM of being included in such exhaulted company!


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.


flchen1 said...

Woot, AC!!

Jane said...

Congrats on being a finalist, Aunty Cindy. I wish I could take your place and attend the awards in Sydney. I can't think of any honors to mention.

limecello said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
limecello said...

Yay - Aunty Cindy, that is *awesome!* Very exalted company indeed, and you're right there with them! Congratulations :D

flchen1 said...

AC, you should be proud!! Yay, you, for living the dream!!

As for honors, like Jane, I'm blanking... I did get a little mushy when my "baby" spontaneously gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy, I love you SOOO much!" *sniff*

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Wow Fedora and Jane!

You two were neck & neck for the chook but looks like Fedora won by a feather. :-)

Hey Jane,
If you can go in my place, PLEASE DO! I'm sure all the Banditas and BBs would be thrilled to see you.

still wishing she could go...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWWWW! Thanx, Lime!

Wow, you didn't miss the chook by much either!

Put him to work, Fedora!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOOOO! Was that for Valentine's Day, Fedora? How positively ADORABLE!

Now when s/he is a teen and whining about what a MEAN MOMMY you are (and they ALL do that, don't they?) remind your Lovely Child what s/he said. ;-)

I still have some hand drawn cards my son made for me with he was about 5 or 6. SHHH! Don't let anyone (esp. not the GR) know I have a mushy side.


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Fedora, it's been a while since you've seen the chook! Clearly he's revisiting old haunts! Not that you're old. OR a haunt, actually...

Hmm, might rethink this post.

Think, think...

Anna Campbell said...

Aunty Cindy, huge congratulations on finalling in the romantic suspense category of the Australian Romance Readers Association awards. I gave a great squeal when I saw you there too. So many of my friends are up for awards - and a lot of them are regulars on the Banditas as guests.

I mean, just a quick look and the past guests include Nalini Singh, Annie West, Kelly Hunter, Kathleen O'Reilly, Bronwyn Jameson, Paula Roe, Eloisa James, Anne Gracie, Kandy Shepherd, Jo Davis and Denise Rossetti! Clearly the way to final in an award is to hang out with the Banditas!

Congratulations too to Madame - I loved Wicked Little Game so I'm so excited it's there. And Christine is up for favorite Aussie author too.

Needless to say, my major thrill this year has been my nominations in the awards too. Last year, Untouched won favorite historical and that was a huge thrill!

Sadly, I'm teaching a workshop in Adelaide the weekend the dinner is on so I won't be there in person. But I'll certainly be there in spirit. Good luck Banditas and Bandita buddies!

Donna MacMeans said...

Let me add my congratulations to AC, Christine and Anna. I wish I could go in your place, Cindy. It would be wonderful to cheer you guys on.

Not going to mention awards. This is your day and you deserve every minute of it!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Cindy, mega, mega congratulations on finaling in the Australian Romance Readers Assn. What an honor! And you're in very impressive company, too!

I think the very first honor I ever won was my favorite, probably because I was only fourteen and it was the very first thing I'd ever won. I took first-place in a state speech competition and I remember how very excited I was. And how completely unexpected the award was!

flchen1 said...

Thanks, AC! It was pretty adorable--I'm trying to enjoy the snuggles and lovin', because they're growing up super fast! I haven't hit the teen years yet, but let me tell you, I am just dreading them ;) Gotta store up some of these moments like "time in a bottle" (is that how the song goes?)

And LOL, Anna! Hey, I'm OK with being an old haunt ;) I'm definitely no spring chicken (so to speak!) and my kids probably do find me pretty frightening... perhaps the GR will find those characteristics um... appealing? *snort*

He can see how he likes hanging out with the kids tomorrow--we've got this week off :D

PinkPeony said...

Congrats! I LOVED the cover of that book and I adored every page in between. :)

High point of the week: An email from a group of Army Rangers in Afghanistan saying they open my care packages first when ever they get a mail drop. :o)

Congrats Anna and Christine too!

Helen said...

Well done Fedora have fun with him

Aunty Cindy
I am still jumping up and down here for you and I will be at the awards dinner and I will be having a glass of champagne to celebrate for you I know you will be there in spirit.

Congrats as well to Anna and Christine and all of the other finalists. As Anna said a lot of them have been guest bloggers here at The Bandits and it would be awesome to have everyone of them at the awards night.

The next convention will be held here in Sydney in 2011 so if we are very lucky you all might be able to attend fingers crossed.

Honours that I have had being Tafe student of the year in 2008 that was a great thrill.

Again I am soo happy for you and good luck to all of the finalist.

Have Fun

Emmanuelle said...

Great news !! congratulations ! *\o/*

Gillian Layne said...

Congratulations to all three of you! :)

Deb Marlowe said...

Congrats AC! And to Anna and Christine! How wonderful!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Woot! The Banditas are on a roll, down under! Congratulations to all three of you. I am sure Anna or Christine will do the honors for you and take lots of pics as well.

Susan Sey said...

Hurray, AC! You're a super star, and it's about time the rest of the world started recognizing your superstar-ness!

As for my own high points, I have to say being a GH finalist for the first time in 2006 was a huge one. Winning in 2008 was so vastly unexpected I have very little recollection of any of it but I'll bet it was awesome. :-)

And when I see my book--that dark horse GH winner--on the shelves this July? I can't promise I won't sit down and bawl right there in the book store. :-)

MsHellion said...

Congratulations, Aunt Cindy!! That is a wonderful Valentine's Day "bit of love"!

And I'm sorta laughing at Susan Sey. I mean, I'm laughing because I can't blame her because I'd probably do the exact same thing if one of my dark horse manuscripts ever made it to print: I'd sob in the middle of the bookstore until Barnes & Noble finally escorted me off the property and told me not to return until I promised to stop frightening the small children.

Louisa Cornell said...

HUGE CONGRATS, AUNTY !!! I am SO excited for you! Very well deserved I might add!

And Madame Christine and La Campbell !!! Big SQUEEEEEEE for you as well!

I LOVED all three of these books and I am SO glad to see them get the recognition they deserve !!

Gannon Carr said...

WOOHOO!! Congrats, AC!

*raising a glass of cyber-bubbly in your honor*


Virginia said...

Congrats Aunty Cindy, what an honor! I am so happy for you! I can't think of anything I have ever been honored for right now!

A toast to you with the bubbly!

Janga said...

Congratulations on being finalists, AC and Anna and Christine! Such great news! It's clear from the list that Aussies have splendid taste in romance novels. :)

Pissenlit said...

Woo hoo! Congrats, Aunty Cindy!!

Also, congrats to Anna and Christine!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Fo,
When I looked over the list of finalists I too was impressed at how many of them have been here in the Lair! SNAPS to us for having so many GREAT WRITERS as friends and guests!

Sorry to hear you won't be at the awards dinner.:-( We'll have our own private celebration later. I hope Mme is going, and Helen can very definitely represent us!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Donna, wish you could be there too! One of these days the Banditas will have to meet up in Oz. What a blast we will all have!

Don't be so modest about awards. After all Mrs. Brimley took the Golden Heart and several other prestigious awards, and Moonlight recently WON the Aspen Gold. You have a right to toot your own horn a little! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Those early triumphs really help built our confidence, don't they. I remember being selected for the All County Honor Band in 7th grad. Not many 7th graders made it so I was really happy.

And hey, winning a speech tourney prepared you to get up in front of ALL those people when you won the Golden Heart in 06! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Fedora on being an old haunt! I doubt you are.

But your kids have the whole week off school? I can see Christie and Jeanne trembling in their bucket boots. They just got their kids BACK to school after all the snow. At least here in NoCal the weather is nice and sunny this week so you can send them outside! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWWW! Thanx for loving the book, Pink.

And what a fantastic high point to hear from our troops in Afghanistan! GOOD ON YOU, Girlfriend, for sending those special care packages!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Ah Helen!

Why do I suspect YOU are one of the driving forces behind these nominations?!?! HUGS TO YOU and all the other members of ARRA for such an honor! 2011 in Sydney sounds WONDERFUL! I better start saving my pennies now!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Emmanuelle, Gillian, and Deb!

I was so excited I just had to share the news with everyone here in the Lair!


Christie Kelley said...

Woohoo!!! Way to go, AC! I'm so happy you were nominated.

And congrats to Christine and Anna!

No great honors for me lately. Although, I heard from my editor that Something Scandalous already sold to Spain. Not an award, but a check coming.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Bunches, Dianna!

May 15 in Oz should be a lovely autumn evening. (HEAVY SIGH) I REALLY wanna go! Yes, I hope everyone who does go takes lots of piccies to share!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Smoov!
I think YOU have that super-starness even more than I do! You were so poised and perky up there in 08 collecting your Golden Heart! WOOT!

Yes, the 06 GH was indeed a pivotal honor. After all, it brought us all together to create the Lair! Can't get much better than that!!!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

ROFL, Hellion!

I think I half-screamed the first time I saw The Wild Sight on the shelf. I started to scream then remembered where I was so kinda cut off in mid whoop.

And yes, it was B&N. I'm betting they get that a lot! :-P


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thank you, Louisa!

Whoop and holler all you want here in the Lair. Sven, the cabana boys, and the gladiators don't mind. Matter of fact, they will probably join in, esp. if the blenders have been going full tilt. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thank you both for the toasts, Gannon and Virginia!

I really appreciate your good wishes!

Cabana boys! MORE Mimosas!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I couldn't agree more! Every category of finalists has FABULOUS authors! It means so much to me to be included among them.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Pissenlit!

Have another round (or three) of bubbly!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

MUY BUENO, Christie!

A sale to Spain is definitely something to celebrate! And I forgot to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the piccie of Eric Bana you had in your post yesterday. He is GREAT hero material, IMHO!


Beth said...

Super congrats, AC, Anna and Christine! What a wonderful honor and so well deserved :-)

Like Susan, my GH finals and win were huge honors to me but the best part was selling that winning book *g*

And my kids often honor me with the World's Meanest Mom title which is nice and all but I do wish it came with a tiara or at least, some sort of certificate ;-)

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations, Aunty Cindy! How
absolutely wonderful for you! We wish the best for you in the finals!

I'm proud to say I have received
acknowledgment on many levels for
my volunteerism, but that's all I
will say. I'm with Donna, this is
your big day! Enjoy! P.S. I will
celebrate by reading "Venice" for
a second time and I really loved
it the first time around!

Pat Cochran

Pat Cochran said...


Please allow me to congratulate
Miss Anna and Madam Christine on
also finaling in this competition!
And also all the other "Friends"
of the Lair who are on the list!

Pat Cochran

jo robertson said...

Susan, the 2006 Golden Heart finals will always have a special place in my heart because it brought the Banditas together!

jo robertson said...

Wahooo on selling Something Scandalous to Spain, Christie. Now that's a reason for breaking out the bubbly!

PJ said...

Congratulations AC, Anna and Christine! I'm so proud and pleased for all of you!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GOOD ONE, Beth, on the World's Meanest Mom! LOL!

I had that title for several years back when my son was a young teen. ;-)

And nothing ever matches the excitement of that first sale, I think. Truly a memorable moment!


PJ said...

Helen, start tuning your vocal chords so you can scream extra loud for all of us who can't be there! Oh, and free free to hoist a glass of bubbly for us too. *grin*

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWW! Thank you, Pat, for having TToV on your keeper shelf! That is quite an honor for me!

I know Fo WON an ARR award last year for "Untouched" and she and Mme both have FANTASTIC BOOKS being recognized this year, so it is really wonderful to be included with them and so many other GREAT writers!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jo-Mama, you said it!

The 06 GH was EXTRA SPECIAL for bringing all of us together, and by extension all our wonderful BBs! Cabana boys! Another round for everyone!



Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thank you, PJ!

I'm soooo proud to be included in such FANTASTIC company!

And yes, Helen will have to yell extra loud and drink an extra toast for all of us, but I'm confident she is up to the task! ;-)


Cassondra said...

HUGE Congratulations Aunty Cindy, Christine, Anna, and all the BBs who finaled as well!

What illustrious company we hang out with here in the lair!

Lessee...I've won some awards, but maybe the one which touched me most was the first--I won an award in 7th grade--first place in a Speech tournament. It was my first time public speaking of any kind, and though I went on to do an awful lot of it, that made a big impression on a little kid. And taught me that I could do something I'd never known I could do. That little bitty trophy was such a big deal to me. In fact, I may still have that somewhere. Hmmm..Now that you've mentioned it I'll have to go and look.

The other awards that have meant so much to me were the writing contest finals and wins. I'd been struggling with my first manuscript, and I got some good advice and applied it, and at last I started to final and win. That spring and summer was so cool--waking up to check email to see how I'd done in the latest contest tha twas due back. It gave me a whole new level of confidence in my writing.

I know this must do that for you, too AC, having your work nominated alongside those authors who've been in the business for years and years. What a wonderful honor!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Meant to say WTG for all your wonderful awards for volunteering with your church and various other causes! Those organizations are so lucky to have a talented and dedicated lady like you. Keep up the GREAT WORK!


Cassondra said...

Jo said:

Susan, the 2006 Golden Heart finals will always have a special place in my heart because it brought the Banditas together!

Me too Jo!

And because I finaled I got to play with all of you cool girls.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Cassondra,
Those early awards were SO important! See all that confidence your first speech award gave you?!?!

And I'll never forget my first RWA contest final either. It was in 2005 and was the Daphne. Really gave me a BIG BOOST in my confidence level!

And we are all SO GLAD you came to the Lair with the rest of us 06 GHers! We wouldn't be half so KEWL without you! ;-)


Helen said...

Don't worry everyone I am tuning the vocal cords already and building the muscles in my arm for all of the toasts to these wonderful authors that I will be making.

Whoo Hoo
Really I can't describe how thrilled I am for you and all of the other finalists

Way To Go

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, great news about the sale to Spain! Congratulations!

Thanks, everyone, for the congratulations. I'm absolutely stoked!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Wow - you are in great company there, as you deserve to be! Congratulations!

Nancy said...

AC, mega-congratulations! You're in illustrious company. Fingers crossed for more kudos for this fabulous book!

Huge congratulations also to Anna C. and Christine. I wish I could be there to celebrate you all. Alas, but I'll have to settle for doing it from here.

As for my personal high points, one I'm especially fond of is my first debate tournament win. My partner and I won the novice division at our first tournament together, and I got a speaker award. I think I floated back to campus.

An irreplaceable one is the moment the nurse laid the boy in my arms for the first time. I was tired and spacey and giddy and relieved all at once. I can hardly believe he's looking at colleges already!

Nancy said...

Helen, I also am depending on you to give an extra shriek for me. Sending you a lung power and throat soother boost to help you represent all of us for whom you'll be cheering rep. *g*