Monday, July 9, 2012

RWA Conference

by Carolyn Brown

The RWA Conference is just around the corner and that means the RITA reception is coming up. I’ve got shoes that make my feet look semi-skinny. There’s not a dress in the world that can accomplish that feat but I do have one. I promise I won't embarrass the Avalon authors by wearing bibbed overalls and my gray hair in dog ears.

The schedule for all the RITA stuff arrived via email this past week. It says that I should have a two minute speech prepared in case they call my name to come up there and get the statue for the winning Inspirational Book! My first thought was, Good lord, I’d have to tell everything I know about all my neighbors, friends and enemies if I was expected to talk for two whole minutes. My second was, Good lord, I’ll have to speed up this slow Texas drawl to even thank Ellen, my fans and fellow authors, Husband and especially Lia for going to battle for me to keep the title. The Ladies’ Room—Ellen protested that the title was a bathroom and Avalon is, after all, a wholesome publisher.

I can not explain how excited I am about this honor, folks. And I do appreciate all your support and virtual pats on the back since the announcement was made. Special thanks to Shirley Marks for the awesome roses the day the RITA’s were announced.

But I surely did not do this all on my own. Without my characters, Trudy and Billy Lee, it would have never happened. And they’re going to be right there on my shoulder the whole time the reception is going on. You see, it all kind of fell into my lap this way:

Secrets told in the church ladies room are supposed to stay in the ladies room. But that didn’t mean that what Trudy heard during her Great-Aunt Gertrude’s funeral in the ladies room wouldn’t change the rest of her life.

Trudy had a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion; a two timing husband that had been cheating for their entire married life; and a mother with Alzheimer’s residing in the local nursing home. She didn’t really need a rambling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knick-knacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident odd ball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert and in her will she’d left him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That was fine with Billy Lee since he’d been in love with Trudy since before they started to school. And just spending time with her was something he’d never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rose up from the old house on Broadway and right along with it rose up a relationship. But was Trudy too scarred from what she’d heard in the ladies room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

Y’all want a couple of excerpts?

From the first chapter:

Marty lowered her voice slightly. “Remember when Trudy did the overnight sleepover in Dallas with Crystal and her little friends on what was it? Her seventh birthday so they could go to the see Disney on ice? Lori Lou came over to my house and borrowed my casserole recipe for hot chicken salad. I caught her coming out of his house the next morning when I delivered the morning paper.”

My stomach did thirty-nine flip-flops before it settled down to plain old nausea. If I got sick they’d hear me and then I’d have to endure a gazillion apologies with excuses about how they should have told me but really thought I knew and was ignoring it to keep my marriage intact. Hearing the words was so much worse than the niggling little suspicions I’d had through the years. My two cousins had turned on the lights and showed me exactly what Drew was and now I had to deal with it.

I wished I had that little twenty-two pistol from my nightstand. When they came to clean the church bathrooms after the funeral dinner there would be my two female cousins, one bullet for each. If only I’d had the good sense to carry a gun in my purse instead of candy bars.

From the middle:

“You two stop telling secrets. It’s bad manners to whisper like that. You will upset Billy Bob and me.”

“It’s Billy Lee, Momma.” I corrected her gently.

“I know Billy Bob Thornton when I see him. It’ll hurt his feelings if you call him Billy Lee. He’s been my favorite movie star for a long time, so don’t try to play games with me. Now get us some more tea. My glass is almost empty and his is half full.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

Billy Lee followed me to the kitchen. “Play along with her. It’s really kind of fun.”

“For you. You get to be a famous movie star. I’m just a waitress allowed to sit at the table.”

“But it is Thanksgiving and you’ve got family,” he said.

“Oh, no you don’t. You’re not playing the orphan card with me today, mister. And if you’re going to be Billy Bob Thornton today, then get on in there and keep her flirting and happy.” I pushed him toward the dining room.

He patted me on the shoulder. “Yes, ma’am. I’m on my way. Did I ever play on Golden Girls?”

“I don’t know but that’s one of her favorite shows. If she says you were on Beverly Hillbillies, don’t argue.”

I’m honored that The Ladies’ Room has been nominated for a RITA. It seems fitting that Avalon has one final big bang before it completely bows out to Amazon Publishing. And I’ll do my very best to represent all of you well! Yes, Shirley, I’m leaving my Bahama Mama lime green pajama bottoms at home so I won’t be tempted to wear something comfortable that night.

Thank you all in advance for your support. I'll be too nervous to even know my name that night!


Carolyn Hughey said...

I'm so thrilled for you, Carolyn! And I'm so bummed I'm not going to be there to see you. But regardless of whether or not you win that heavy statue, just being nominated, and wearing that pin is
a major accomplishment. You are a WINNER in my book!

As for the Ladies Room, I loved that story!

Carolyn Brown said...

Carolyn, I pouting that you can't be there! Thank you for all your support and kindness and I'm so glad that you liked Miz Trudy and Billy Lee's story!

Shirley Marks said...

I love you Miss Carolyn. :)

Now that you're a RITA Nominee we'll be holding you to a much higher standard. You're right to leave the lime green pajama bottoms at home.

A RITA nod is an incredible achievement. I agree with Carolyn Hughey. You don't need a golden statue to prove you're a WINNER.

Erin Niumata said...

NO ONE deserves to win this RITA more than you Ms. Brown! Fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

Carolyn Brown said...

Shirley, you are awesome, girlfriend! You always inspire me!
Okkkaaay, I'll leave the pajamas at home. I just knew you'd tell me that it was okay to wear them to the big celebration!

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Carolyn, what marvelous excerpts you chose. Perfect! Enjoy every moment of the Rita ride. I've got fingers and toes crossed for you!

Carolyn Brown said...

Erin, bless your've helped me get to where I am! Thank you!

Carolyn Brown said...

Jennifer, thank you! Those are two of my favorite scenes in the book...well, there is that one when she let's the devil overrule when she takes care of the car he's taking away from her, too!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm so excited for you and cannot wait to read this book!

Carolyn Brown said...

Jennifer S...thank you so much. Hanging out with Trudy and Billy Lee was a lot of fun but I got to admit, writing in first person is a lot harder than I'd thought it would be.

Beate Boeker said...

Catching up with posts a bit late here - but there's still time to keep my fingers crossed for you! Enjoy the moment in the spotlight! We're all cheering you on, Carolyn.