Our First Ruby RITA!!! (And Other Thrills from the 2012 Nationals Awards Ceremony)

RWA Nationals 2012 ended nearly two weeks ago, but we’re still buzzing with excitement over the Rita and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony.

In addition to being in a ballroom with Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Robyn Carr, Joanna Bourne, Deanna Raybourn, Victoria Alexander, Kristan Higgins, Cherry Adair and many, many more romance superstars (including RWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Brenda Jackson!!), we had SIX Rubies up for awards, including our very first Rita nominees, Elizabeth Essex and Darynda Jones.

Given the size and strength of the competition, we’re delighted to report that fully HALF those Rubies took home the prize, and Darynda won our VERY FIRST RUBY RITA!!!!

For those of you who’ve never been, the Awards ceremony is rather like the Oscars (minus the goofy dance numbers), with dazzling colored lights, huge swathes of silky, velvety curtains, orchestral music, a baritone-voiced announcer, and a raised stage that nerve-wracked nominees have to climb up to to give their acceptance speeches, with a video crew filming everything and blowing it up on FOUR, count-em, FOUR enormous Jumbotrons.

Attendees are dressed in their fabulous best, as you can see here (left to right: Brenda Jackson and the model for all her heroes: her husband; Ruby Sally Eggert, looking gorgeous with fellow Firebirds Heather Nickodem, Diana Belchase, Kathleen Bittner Ross, and Talia Quinn Daniels; and a radiant Elizabeth Essex enjoying the glam).



As the nominees are announced, the Jumbotrons show special screens for each one with her author photo and book title, and for the Rita nominees, their beautiful covers. Behold some Ruby-licious examples:



If you’re lucky enough to win your category, up you wobble to the podium, trying to keep breathing, and praying your Spanx don’t spontaneously roll to the floor while you express your gratitude to all the amazing people who make your writing life possible. So, yeah, here are pictures of me and Liz Bemis and NORA FREAKIN’ ROBERTS all at the same podium. Really. NORA. Although her jewelry was maybe ever so slightly fancier than ours (Liz had to go with stuff safe for baby Riley to gnaw on, and mine was picked out for me by my teenage daughter at Claire’s). (Did I mention Liz got to SIT with Nora during the ceremony? And word is Nora spent more time cooing over baby Riley than paying attention to her shiny new Rita??? ‘Cause Nora is just that chill, and Riley is just that adorable.)


But, for the Rubies, the really big story of the evening was watching our wonderful Darynda snag that precious golden statuette!!!!

Here, recorded for posterity, is the story in pictures:

Left: One of the TWO times Darynda’s nominee screen popped up on the Jumbotron. (The other was for her nomination for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements).

Right: Darynda stands up under the dazzling lights when HER NAME IS CALLED as the winner!!!




Left: Darynda makes her gracious speech, which includes a shout-out to her adorable Street Team, the Grimlets, and ends with a war cry of “RUBY DOMINATION!!” (Yay!!! You rock, Darynda!!)

Right: Darynda generously passes her Rita around to everyone for good luck, and gorgeous Ruby Vanessa Barneveld gets a special snuggle.






Left: a passel of Rubies (and no doubt future Rita winners), including Anne Marie Becker, Rita Henuber, Darynda, triple-Prism-award-winner Tamara Hogan, Laurie Kellogg, Liz Talley, and me, form a Wall of Ruby Pride.

Right: Darynda’s Rita at home, along with flowers from the proud folks at St. Martin’s Press, and her newly-minted Daphne.



Can we all just say WOW??!!!!!!!!!


Your Ruby Sisters are so proud of you, Darynda!!!


Here’s to many Ruby Ritas still to come!!!


45 responses to “Our First Ruby RITA!!! (And Other Thrills from the 2012 Nationals Awards Ceremony)”

  1. Gwyn says:

    ‘Twas a good thing there were none to see as I danced in my chair, raced down the stair, hugged poor Hubble (who hadn’t a clue), and basically, made a complete and utter ass of myself!! I can only compare it to (given the time of year) watching a dear friend win the Olympics!!!! Ruby Domination, indeed!!! I wish I could have been there to share those winning moments with all of you. I’m always proud to be a Ruby, but after first hearing that our Tammy sweep the Prism Awards, I could have burst when Ruby names were announced during the GH and RITA ceremonies. Well done, Sisters. You may have taken home the prizes, but we all bask in the glow of your accomplishments.

  2. Shoshana says:

    I can’t believe I missed the Ruby Domination speech. Congrats again to all our Ruby nominees and winners!!!

  3. WOW indeed! Congratulations! So proud of all our Rubies who were nominated. It was icing on the cake to see you, Elisa (hilarious speech!), Liz and Miss D win.

    Speaking of cake, I thoroughly enjoyed the cake-sicle dessert. Thank you to the RWA award committee for that treat!

    Darynda, thanks for letting me hold and massage RITA for good luck — I think her charms are already taking effect!

    Sally — you look stunning in that gorgeous dress!

  4. Tammy Baumann says:

    Yay for you my friend!

    I know right now you’re thinking you don’t deserve all the hoop-la, because that’s just how sweet you are, but you do! Please bask, if even for just a moment.

    Thank you for holding my trembling hand before my name was called the other night. But even more, thank you for still being my buddy even after all the fame and fortune that has come your way!

    Love you even more than my GH Win!!

    • Awwww, right back atcha, my love. I was so excited when you won. Well, you know. You were there. Thank you for being there with me too. What an amazing evening! My first thought when they called my name was, “Crap, did someone screw up?” For a split second I was sure they called the wrong name. That’s happened to me before, so that could be why. Hahaha. I got half way to the stage for an award once and they announced, “Oh, sorry, Darynda is the runner up. Not the winner.” I was waiting for the announcement. πŸ™‚

  5. I must say I was very glad to have Riley seated at my table too. I told my husband that next year I’M taking a baby as my date so Nora Roberts will hang with me.

    My husband’s response? “You better be renting that baby!”

  6. AWESOME! Is there any other word to use. Unlike Gwyn’s hubby, mine knew exactly why I was hanging out on my laptop, and when I did my squeal and dance, he asked, “Who won?” Rubies won!

    Congrats to all the Rubies who finaled and came home from Cali with gold and other rockin’ awards. We’re so proud of you.

    BTW: You all look fab and I’m still jealous.

  7. Addison Fox says:

    It was such a wonderful night and I am so very proud of my Ruby sisters. Congratulations to you all!!!


    I have to add in a few cheers for our littlest Ruby, Riley. He was such a dream – so good and sweet. I know I got in my fair share of snuggles during the conference and his little tuxedo for the ceremony was too sweet.

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    It was adorable that Darynda let everyone rub RITA’s belly for good writing luck! πŸ˜‰

  9. Great post, Elisa. And let me offer my congratulations again to all of the Ruby finalist and winners. A big thanks to Darynda for letting me sleep next to RITA. I’m hoping some of the magic rubbed off on me during the night. πŸ™‚

  10. Kat Cantrell says:

    Congrats to all the Rubies! I’m so blessed I got to see it all live and so thrilled for all of you.

  11. Thanks for the wonderful post, Elisa. It was a wonderful evening, and I have never been as proud to be part of a group that really supports each other as I was at that ceremony.

    One of the great memories that has stayed in my mind was at the moment each of the Ruby winners were called, there were people across the ballroom who stood up cheering, and I know they were all Rubies!

    I’m going to cherish the memories of that night for a long time! (But I think it safe to say that I will never be talked into false eyelashes again, RITA nom or not!)

  12. LOVE the pictures! Thanks for sharing! I was so sad to have missed it, but I sat at my Tweetdeck and watched the names pop up in my stream and I cheered from home. Definitely a great night for the Rubies! πŸ™‚


  13. So proud of all my Ruby Slipper Sisters!!! Wish I had been there to see all the excitement. Thanks for doing this blog post, Elisa, and making me feel like I was there in person.

  14. Thanks, Elisa. Loved the pictures and recap. Everyone looks so gorgeous. Very proud of all my Ruby sisters!!

  15. What a beautiful post, Elisa. Love seeing all the pictures and reliving that beautiful night. Congratulations again to all the Rubies who were nominated as well as those who won. Such talent!!

  16. Diana Layne says:

    Woot! I missed the ceremony but it sounds like it was fabulous and full of sparkling Rubies!

  17. Kate Parker says:

    Congrats to all the Rubies who won, were nominated, or got to attend the ceremony. From the looks of the pictures, y’all rocked the house. I hope we have even more Rubies up for awards next year in Atlanta, because I’m going to make sure I get to be there and cheer you on in person.

  18. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!! What a week that was. I am just so proud to be a Ruby. Hugs to all my ridiculously talented Rubies!!!!

  19. Barrett says:

    We are all so very proud of our LERA sisters Darynda and Tammy! I’m tellinig you…it’s in the water out here!

    • Hahaha, it must be! We’ve had so much success lately. SOOO cool! Thanks for stopping by, you! I’ll miss seeing you tomorrow. πŸ™ Hopefully next month.

  20. Kim Law says:

    Fabulous post, Elisa. You just brought the fun night right back!!! I so LOVED seeing Darynda get up there and get a RITA!!! There will be many, many more to come from the whole group, I’ve no doubt!

  21. Liz Talley says:

    Well, I totally missed this post yesterday, but I had to stop by and say how honored I am to be in the company of these amazing women. I’m inspired by you every day, and I’m super proud of all our nominees and winners. Hey, just being nominated means you win πŸ™‚

  22. eli yanti says:

    Congrtsss, Darynda πŸ™‚

    You won, i’m speechless *lol

    from the first i read your book and really happy and appreciate and lucky won it from you and don’t know to say anything but 100% i love charley and especially “Reyes”.

    hope he is a real guy *daydream πŸ™‚

  23. eli yanti says:

    ups.. forget, congrats to all nominees too πŸ˜€


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The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: LOL. Thank you, Darynda! πŸ˜€ And yeah, that buzzer is a tricksy beast!
  • Darynda Jones: I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, VIVI!!! That was the coolest thing ever, seeing a sister up there kicking ass...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: It’s certainly tricky, but I did indeed have a blast! πŸ™‚
  • Kate Parker: Wow, Vivi, it sounds like you had a blast. congrats on doing so well. That buzzer sounds like a demon.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Thank you, Anna! I tried to give ’em a fight to the finish! πŸ™‚