Words of Thanks

RWA National conference is over, but this conference of 2012 will live on in my memory in very clear detail. I was a Golden Heart finalist, and in truth I had little understanding of what that meant to anyone else.

The jumbo screen when they announced my name and flashed my photo and book title:

The nomination gave me a boost of much needed confidence. It was an achievement I thought I would never realize, and now I’ll never forget the experience. My friend Lynne Marshall always says that we can never do this alone, this writing thing. And I think she’s correct. When they told us to write a two minute speech it was harder to write than any query letter I’d ever attempted, and believe me, I hate writing those things. Anyway, there were so many people that I wanted and needed to thank but I had to fine tune it to get it all in there in the time frame.

Here is what I would have said had I had that great good fortune to stumble up onto that stage: 

I love Mick Jagger’s words:

“No you can’t always get what you want…

                                              And if you try sometime, you might get what you need.”

I tried a lot of times, and it took ten solid years to get to this point. This is such an honor, and it’s both what I wanted and needed.

Thank you to RWA, my fellow finalists, my chapter mates at Los Angeles Romance Authors, (WOOT!) and my awesome writer’s posse: Lynne Marshall, TJ Bennett, Dee J. Adams, Trish Cerrone, Melissa Jarvis, and Gina Bono who is my current critique partner, and the person holding my hand tonight and keeping me calm. Also, I want to give a huge thanks to my beta readers, Gayle, Donna, and Marge.

To my family, Anna, David, and Marcus, who are here with me tonight, my Mum and my family in Australia, and my mother-inlaw in NYC, thank you for always believing in me, even when I began to question.

To Jenny Crusie, and the Cherries, Lani Diane Rich, and the Betties, you are so generous with your knowledge of the craft of writing and in providing a safe place for discussion. You are truly the best.

To The Wild Rose Press, thank you for taking a chance on me. The first book in my desert series: Unlock the Truth, will be published in 2013.

I’m dedicating this award to my nephew Josh, who passed away in March but is here tonight in spirit.

Thank you everyone. Goodnight.

You can see from the above how many people are deserving of words of thanks, and there are even more: people who taught me in online classes, or in person at UCLA Extension, other writers who gave countless workshops at our local chapter, or at prior conferences, and the list goes on…far too many names, for two minutes. You almost want to stand up there and say: Thank you to everyone I know. You are all amazing. Thank you, and goodnight. Because seriously, that’s what I would have meant. Even though I didn’t win in my category your support, and your hooting and hollering at the event, and your hugs and words in person and on my blog or other internet loops, meant so much. If you’re reading this blog, then somehow I know you, you are in my life, so consider yourself heartily thanked. : )

Photo of me and Gina on awards night: 

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30 Responses to Words of Thanks

  1. I am so pleased to read this, Rob! I think your grace is admirable. We were way in the back and couldn’t fight the crowd to come and find you, but I so wanted the chance to give you a hug and wish you good luck! I will see you in the coming weeks, you are one classy lady and a fantastic writer!

    ~V

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Awwww! Thanks so much Victoria. Your words mean a lot.

  3. Marge says:

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to “pre-read” your books. You are blessed with a talent to make words “flow” into a delightful read. Just keep in mind- the best is yet to come. Hugs, Marge

  4. Love the speech. thank you for including me in it. You looked beautiful, and though you mentioned you would have been too nervous to actually get through the speech, if you’d won, I know you would have handled it like you do everything else in your life – with grace and class.

    Loved sharing some of that night with you and Gina. 🙂

    • Robena Grant says:

      It was lovely to see you. I especially enjoyed the post conference breakfast where you and Dee J. let me ask a few questions about the journey. It’s amazing how little I know of what is ahead. Maybe that’s a good thing. Ha ha.

  5. Janie Emaus says:

    You looked beautiful and I am so glad I got to spend time with you at the conference.

    Janie

    • Robena Grant says:

      Janie, it was so great to see you. It must have been an awesome experience signing your first book at RWA National’s Literacy event. I can only aspire to same for future years. ; )

  6. Dee J. says:

    I echo what Lynne said. It’s a beautiful speech and I’m honored to be included. You looked gorgeous and I know you would’ve delivered those words with the grace and elegance that is you no matter how nervous you were. So happy for you and proud of you! I’ll always be cheering you on!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks, Dee J. I’m so happy you have confidence in my public speaking ability. Ha ha. I think the knot in my stomach is finally relaxing and it’s almost two days later.

  7. Carol says:

    Once again, it was a pleasure to meet you. Gracious and beautiful. I was so hoping you would win. Cheers and will be looking for your books.

  8. Robena Grant says:

    Carol, it tickled me that you introduced yourself, and I’m only sorry that we didn’t have time to sit and chat over coffee or a drink. Next time! And now, even though I know you, you will always be my pink flower. : )
    I was stretched to the max at this event and seemed to turn up where I was supposed to be either puffing or three minutes late. The four days seemed to flash by in a minute. Next year should be more sane. I think.

  9. It was so exciting to see your name and picture up there, Roben! Thanks for sharing your speech with us. You are a wonderful, warm, giving person, and I’m so glad to know you. Happy writing!

  10. Terri Osburn says:

    You looked beautiful and it is an honor to have been included in this group with you. I’m glad we finally found each other and were able to chat for a while, but we must set aside an entire evening to do that again in Atlanta. Your career is just taking off and I’m sure I’ll be happily hooting and hollering for you for years to come. 🙂

    • Robena says:

      I wish we’d had more time to talk, too. I hope everything settles down for you and if you ever want to chat feel free to send me an email via my website contact. Definitely in Atlanta!!! Happy writing and wishing you huge success with your submissions.

  11. Maria says:

    What everyone else has said Robena. You lead the way with your grace and humor. There are no words. Thank you for sharing this journey with us all.

    • Robena Grant says:

      I loved spending time with you, Maria. At the meetings at LARA we never have enough chat time. It’s always rush in rush out, head of to a board meeting, or some other important event. And hey, could be you next year. Or Christine, or Rick, or better still, all three of you. : )

  12. What a thrill to see that screen with you on it! Our table of LARAites at the back exploded in cheers. You know you are one special lady when you can elicit such unbridled enthusiasm and love.

    Thank YOU for being the wonderful, measured, thoughtful, engaging soul that you are. You were the first face I saw when I attended my first LARA meeting in October of 2006. You greeted me with warmth and welcome. Every interaction I have had with you since then has been the same–warm, fuzzy and leaving me in a better place than before. Thank you for being the person you are and for your dedication to this creative process we share.

    Best to you always,
    Christine London

    • Robena Grant says:

      It’s funny, Christine because my daughter, her SO, and my son were in the back of the room and they could not believe the response. My daughter told Lynne Marshall that even some group from Anaheim was hooting and hollering. : ) I said maybe it was some of the OCC crowd who know me. Anyway, she was impressed, and it takes a lot to impress her.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  13. You looked beautiful! How exciting to see your name on the screen!

    When I started writing my girlfriend told me to join the Cherries because I would get support and good advice. I had never even read a blog, and didn’t know how to comment, but you were one of the people that left me a response. You made me feel welcome, like a “real” writer. I have loved reading your wise words on other sites, including your own.

    I’m excited to follow along on your journey (and I hope to join you someday, too!) Maybe we’ll actually meet in Atlanta!

    • Robena Grant says:

      If you go to Atlanta, most definitely we will meet. And you are a real writer. I love your blog and told Colette so. BTW she is very sweet. : )
      The Cherries always arrange a get together. I had to miss it this year as it’s usually on Thurs evening and this year they switched to Wed and I was booked. It was overwhelming this time but I’m sure it will all be back to normal for next year. Either way, we will at least have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. So keep writing. Polish that manuscript and keep me posted on your good news. : )

  14. You looked beautiful and I am so glad to get to “hear” your speech. SO very proud to belong to your chapter. What an incredible kind and gracious writer you are.

    Cheering you on, always, Bev (aka Barbara O).

    • Robena Grant says:

      Ha ha, AKA Barb O.
      I was in a daze just entering that VIP door, can you imagine how I would have been if I’d won? Thanks for your kind words.

      For those who don’t know the story, Bev, from my own chapter, LARA, was an usher at the awards ceremony and she enthusiastically congratulated me and I was so confused as to why author Barbara O’Neal/Samuels was hugging me. I’d just spoken with Barb O. that morning and Bev was dressed in similar style and colors and she has the same length hair, and…okay no more excuses. : )

  15. Julie says:

    I’m not going to put my pom-poms away just yet, you could be nominated for any damn thing at this point!

    I’ll just repeat what everyone else said, your speech was terrific, your words are inspiring, and it is a pleasure to “know” you.

  16. Robena Grant says:

    Awww, Julie. Thanks. And right back at you. : )

  17. londonmabel says:

    I’m really happy for you. 🙂

    (Even if you didn’t post a full length pic of your new dress!)

  18. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks, London. We can blame the lack of photos on my daughter because they’re all on her iphone. One day she’ll remember to send them but believe me, waist up is better. ; )