Caution: Long blog post coming up. Image-heavy too.  And I apologize in advance for my camera’s totally inaccurate time stamps.

1. Pre-Departure

Everywhere I look, I see authors with other artistic talents.  They can paint, draw, sew, knit, quilt, garden, graphic design, compose, play instruments, and whatnot.  I play casual games and have nothing to show for it.  (Well,  lots of good memories with the kidlets but His Hawtness and I debate on whether that constitute as quality time.   I say yes. *g*)

But ever since the shea butter episode, I’ve developed an obsession with hand-making beauty products.  Not for myself, but as promo items.  For RWA Orlando I did bath bombs.  Facial scrubs for New Jersey RWA’s conference and RT Los Angeles.  In between I also made solid lotion bars as belated Christmas presents.

By the beginning of the year I’d already decided to make lip butters for RWA.  I’d really, really hoped that by June I’d have a cover for the first book in my 2012 trilogy, but since the release is still 11 months out, no.  All the same, my enthusiasm remained undimmed.  I love giving away good swag.  I love doing repetitive chores, especially fresh from deadlines.

Here’s the lip butter chronicle, for Janine especially, starting with empty jars.

And now they are being filled. 

Next the caps go on.

The above batch is for Courtney Milan.  Next batch is for me.

This is the image I used:

My name appears a bit off center since I had to correct for the idiosyncracies of my printer.

And this is the bottom label:

And yes, those are the tentative titles and release dates for the trilogy.  We are set on the first title, but the other two hadn’t quite finished the testing process yet.

I had a blast.  Made 900 of them and took about 800 to NYC.  They went really fast.  And now I have to think what to do next year.  :-)

2) The conference

Even more fun and more exhausting than usual, since it is NYC.

I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibit, which is macabre and stunning.  On my way back I passed this house on Fifth Avenue.  I recognized it as the template I used for Camden’s New York townhouse in Private Arrangements.  Like seeing an old friend.

This picture is from Random House’s offices, overlooking Central Park.

Le sigh.

And here’s my roomie Shellee, also known as one third of Ivy Adams, author of The International Kissing Club, before the New York Public Library.  Some chicks are born to pose.  So jealous.

The trouble with RWA?  Not enough time.  I didn’t get to see enough of Meredith, of Kristan Higgins, or Julie James, of…The list goes on and on.  I didn’t even get to see enough of my roommates!

But still it was a good one, I have to say.

HIS AT NIGHT won the RITA® for Best Historical Romance.  It was such an incredibly tight category that I didn’t even bother prepare notes for a speech.  The thrill was all the sweeter as His Hawtness flew in that afternoon to be with me.  He’d been kicking himself for missing the RITA moment in Orlando.  But I wasn’t so sure that it would be a good idea for him to come, since the chances of repeating was next to nil.  But woot, he got his way and it was awesome.

We stayed in New York over the weekend and went all over Manhattan.

I love greenery on balconies, especially balconies overlooking Central Park.

Look at those spikes.  So that’s how a Manhattan townhouse protects itself from cat burglars.

I wish my garbage can was half so pretty.

LOL.

And of course, this.

I would not have gone had His Hawtness not wanted to see it.   The Statue of Liberty is an over-familiar sight and I usually stay away from long lines crowded places.  Besides, I stepped onto American soil not via New York but San Francisco, five thousand miles to the West and across a different ocean.

But I’m so glad we went.  The moment Lady Liberty came into view, I had tears in my eyes.  Unlike many immigrants into the country, I did not come to the United States to escape persecution or a life of hardship.  I had a happy, safe childhood in China, surrounded by friends and a tightly knit neighborhood community.

But this is where I have made my home.  This is where I vote in every election, big or small.  This is the birthplace of my children.  And I am part of the fabric of American life.

3) Foreign Covers

You didn’t think I was going to forget them, did you?

First up, Turkish Private Arrangements.  I am so often a NYT bestseller overseas.  Why not here too?  :-)

Google Translator tells me the title means Signed with Marriage. I can totally get behind it.

Spanish paperback edition of Delicious.  I squeal every time there is food on a Delicious cover.

Italian Delicious. Love the pearls.

Russian Not Quite a Husband. Retitled Can Not Forget. Be still my heart, is that a streak of white I see in her hair?

And last, but definitely one that gave me a whole day of lols, German Not Quite a Husband, retitled Dangerous Passions.

When I saw the image this morning I immediately did a double take.  Is it…?  Yes it is.  The stepback from Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady!   I don’t know why but I’m still giggling.

(By the way, I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Jo at the RITAs, and more adorable and witty company I could not have hoped for.)

And this concludes the report on the first part of my summer.  :-)

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34 Responses
  1. Alexa Bourne says:

    Sounds like a GREAT time! Thanks for the recap and congrats again on your SECOND Rita!

  2. Lauren says:

    Congrats Sherry on your second Rita award. I didn’t have any doubts that you would win many of these from the first moment I started reading Private Arrangements (still my favorite of all time, by the way).
    Can’t wait for the trilogy in 2012!

  3. peggy h says:

    Congratulations, Sherry! I was following SBTB Sarah and DA Jane’s twitter feeds online that Friday night. My husband was startled when I gave a little shriek of joy when I saw you’d repeated. I loved His at Night, so was very happy for you!

    (I keep reading about how awesome your acceptance speech was. Sounds like it was extemporaneous since you mention you hadn’t prepped, but did someone take a video? It would be great to watch! Plus your dress looks fabulous! :))

    Congratulations again—looking forward to next year’s trilogy!!

    • Thank you, Peggy.

      There is a video on Facebook, but I think you might have to be friends with Karen Pinco to see it–I couldn’t figure out a way to embed it elsewhere. But I can post a transcript here.

  4. *2012trilogynewssquee*

    Lovely RWA recap, Sherry! How awesome that your husband was with you for your RITA win! Many, many congratulations.

    Thanks for the peek at your upcoming titles and pub dates. Woot! Now the countdown can begin. The lip balm tins look fantastic–may I ask, how’d you fill them so neatly without glopping lip goop everywhere? (Maybe there’s an obvious answer, but I am seriously craft-impaired.)

    • How do you know there wasn’t lip goop everywhere? :-P

      My first batch I did it with little pipettes. But then I just started pouring by hand. My glass beaker has a wonder little spout and any spillage and whatnot was wiped away with q-tips.

  5. Kim says:

    Congratulations again on your RITA win. Like Peggy, I keep reading that your speech was funny and also brought tears to everyone’s eyes. The blogs said you acknowledged your husband in a very sweet way. Do you remember what you said or is it all a blank?

    The pictures are great. It sounds like you were able to do quite a bit of sightseeing along with your professional duties.

    Finally, is there any update about your contemporary? Last I heard, wasn’t your editor or agent looking it over?

    • Agent hated the contemporary. And I had Meredith do a read–since she and I both like SEP books–and she had roughly the same problem, although she didn’t come out and say it in as harsh terms. LOL.

      So I have to find some time–not any time soon–to fix up this baby. I’m thinking of Kristan Higgins-ing it, the Sherry Thomas way. And no, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

      Will work on getting the vid.

      • psychoidiot says:

        Nooooo don’t torture the heroine… >.>; haha, that’s what I think of when SEP and Kristin Higgin’s books come up.

        Congrats on your win!

        • Amber says:

          Fade to black, that’s what I thought of when you said the Kristan Higgins way. Same reaction though, noooo :)

        • LOL, no. I don’t torture the heroine. Just that I asked Meredith instead of Janine to read for me since I know we have at least some contemporary taste alignment.

          In fact, not only did I not torture the heroine, I Mary Sue’d her, which was why both my agent and Meredith had problems w/ the book.

        • And Amber, good gracious, there is no fading to black on this one. (My agent refers to this one as my erotic contemporary–but it’s not, just quite hot.) When I said Kristan Higgins, I just meant maybe some more family involvement, rather than focusing exclusively on the H/H.

  6. Lisap says:

    900 lip balms? I’ve never done 900 of anything, ever–impressive! Probably by the time I make it out to an event you’ll be giving away hand-carved gourds or embroidered rugs so I’ll look forward to that ;-)

    Congrats again on the rita win–and btw–I discovered little individual packets of instant coffee at the store so now I’m all set for baking. I didn’t know it came that way-yea! So now your homemade–ness is spreading even more. :-)

    • LOL, my hands are useless when it comes to anything artistic, so no chance of carving or embroidering anything. And 900 was just therapy enough for so many deadlines at once.

      I didn’t know you can buy individual packets of instant coffee either!

  7. Teresa says:

    Congratulations on the Rita, and great blog post.

    And please please if you, keep the title Reforming the Virgin – it´s an awesome and memorable title. It´s intriguing. Looking forward to October 2012 already for a book whose title might not even be that one, just based on that title!

  8. Karenmc says:

    Thanks for the update and photos (love the garbage can). It looks like RWA was way busy, but that weekend of sight-seeking sounds like a perfect ending!

    Video please?

  9. Janine says:

    Love the lip butter chronicle! If it smells half as good as the lotion bar, then it’s awesome swag.

    Congratulations again on the RITA. I soooo wish I could have been there.

  10. The lip butter chronicle is all for you, darling. And some of them smell okay too. :-)

  11. Kim says:

    Ouch. Did your agent do anything to soften the blow, such as to say that she at least liked the characters names (LOL) or was it thumbs down on everything? I like SEP books too, but it sounds like neither Meredith nor your agent saw a homage to SEP in the manuscript.

    • LOL, you don’t understand. I am such a fan of my own stuff that if you want to get through to me, you have to be harsh. You have to say “It sucked” in so many words or I won’t hear you. :-)

  12. Is there a full-length picture of your Rita gown anywhere? It looks stunning.

    How lovely that your husband got to see you win. Ever since I read about him clearing out of the house with the kids for 2 weeks when you needed to do a crash rewrite (of NQAH, I think?), he’s kinda been my hero.

    Congratulations. Can’t wait for the 2012 books.

  13. Selene says:

    Congrats on the RITA!

    And you’re having three books out in a year? Wow, you’re lightning fast! Good news for us readers of course. :-)

    Selene

    • Thank you. I am not sure whether my speed qualifies as lightning–except maybe in comparison to my prior speed of output. :-)

      Did you manage to maybe reference your major 2nd half conflict in the first half of the book yet? (Sorry, can’t help the shop talk.)

      • Selene says:

        Well, in the book itself, there’s really just one major conflict, the stakes just go up in the second half.

        For the query, I managed to write a version that included the final stakes/conflict, but then I didn’t like it. It felt like it revealed too much, like there was no point in reading the book, you know?

        I’ve written yet another one now that I’m rather happy with. Though I’m not sure I trust my own judgement on queries–they feel like very different beasts compared to novels.

        I guess I’ll find out when I send it out there. If no one even requests pages, the query probably sucks. :-)

        Selene

  14. psychoidiot says:

    Also yes!!! 3 books in 2012 so far away…

  15. Amber says:

    Congratulations on your win, again!

    And, wow. That Delicioso cover does look delicious.

    How did you transport all those jars!? I’m not sure I have a good idea of the scale but they seem big. And possibly heavy.

    • They are not big at all, in fact, most of them are tiny, right about an inch across and 3/4 inch or so thick–inside I took about 250 of them with me (150 for Courtney Milan and 100 from me for the booksellers) and had the rest in my check-in luggage.

      They were maybe 20 lbs altogether and took up a fair amount of room–which was kinda great, cuz when I’d given all of them away, I had space to put the big RITA box in the luggage. :-)