Two Years Later

As many of you know, I attended my first RITA and Golden Heart ceremony while in Dallas in 2007. Afterward, when Ann had gone to her room after having endured all she could stomach of the massive desert reception crowds, I sat alone with several pieces of cheesecake. I knew no one other than Ann and her agent, Laura Bradford. Everyone else was a blur of nameless faces--which was worse because I didn't even know what the famous writers looked like. Although I'd had a great, exciting, overwhelming conference, I was an exhausted wreck by its conclusion.

I'm exhausted tonight, after my third RITA and Golden Heart ceremony, but I'm not a wreck. I know so many people now that my head spins with the range of published big names, clambering cohorts, aspiring talents, chaptermates, bloggers, critique partners, friends...and yes, fans. Tonight I was again sitting by myself eating desert after the ceremony--but alone by choice. Ann had started up a conversation with someone else while sitting on a sofa some ways away, and Cathleen had gone to have a smoke. My plan was to finish desert and head to bed.

Before that happened, a woman came up to me and said, "You're Carrie Lofty, aren't you?"

Mind you, I wasn't wearing my name tag. Just me in formalwear. Color me taken aback. Me? Recognizable? Dude!

I said that I was. She wanted to tell me how much she loved WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS, and that she'd only just finished it this week. She'd attended part of the promo workshop panel I was on this afternoon, which is how she recognized me.

How incredible is that? Two years ago...alone because I knew no one and had nothing more than a rough manuscript and some tasty cake. Tonight...a random fan wanted to tell me how much she appreciated the book that manuscript became. I continue to be humbled by this experience, but in ways I hadn't anticipated.

I want to congratulate all the winners, but for me, tonight, having that anonymous woman single me out was my win.

I fly home tomorrow morning. More tales from DC when I return.

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