So you all just cracked me up this week. Here I thought I’d posted a good blog on “what makes a great romance,” and then the discussion turns to focus on my poor decrepit RITA. So I feel I should offer both a defense and some thoughts for anyone who might gain one in the future.
RITAs are delicate creatures. Swanlike in their grace, they also have their quirks. Take the pen. Most winners will tell you, that through no fault of their own, the pen has snapped off. Mine lasted for about seven years, then one day snap, off it came. I think one of the kids was holding her, rather manhandling her, and it was gone in an instant. I’d been warned–by no less than Kristen Hannah and Megan Chance–both vets of the RITA and having had small children around theirs.
RITA also has another dirty little secret. She gets a little mangy. It’s almost like rust. But you can clean it off, still you have to wonder about a girl who can’t keep her polish together. Then again, perhaps I shouldn’t rely on the kids manhandling her to keep her clean. So I’ve gotten a little better about dusting her off.
Nicole Burnham is convinced that if you rub a RITA it will bring you luck. She does have some evidence to backup her theory. I caught her copping a feel of mine–and the next year, like genie magic, she won her own. I have had no reports as to how her RITA is faring, but I have to imagine her RITA gleams and is still proudly holding her pen. Nic is just that sort of person. And no, I don’t rent my RITA out for magic parties.
Some people like to dress their RITAs up. Give them new outfits for the seasons and generally keep them looking like a well-dressed and larger version of Barbie. I’m not naming names, but Rachel Gibson does come to mind. Then again, Rachel is always well-dressed and I would imagine she has a dress code for her office as well. I just want to see the tiny Ann Taylor store where she buys RITA her new clothes.
I’ve got my own theories about the feng shui of RITAs. Right now she sits behind me on a bookshelf, beneath the framed print of the Tempted by the Night cover. I keep telling myself that in this position, she’ll watch my back. But the truth is, RITAs are snarky little bee-yatches, who like to lord their superiotiry over their domain. She used to sit to my right on my desk, but I got tired her looking at me and saying with her glinty little glare, “I’ve been alone for 12 years now. I’m a fluke, you hack. A fluke I tell you.” I would point out to the little rust-prone floozy that I’ve had two nominations since then, but I know her response. And it wouldn’t be kind.
Oh, I could get her plate reglued, dust her more often, and place her on an altar dedicated to creativity and genius, where she could glow for all to see, but that would only go to her head. I think the dust makes her work a little harder, remember that creativity is a gift, and that the books are written not for praise and glory, but to warm hearts.
Or maybe that was me who needs to be reminded of those things.