Gratitude and Golden Hearts

I’ve recently returned from the 2011 RWA National Conference in New York City. And while I didn’t win the Golden Heart necklace, I did win the Daphne Du Maurier award for best single title romantic suspense and received loads of requests. So I left happy. Besides, my good friend Diana Van Dyke won the Golden Heart for her romantic suspense manuscript Spy in the Mirror and it was well deserved. I’m very proud of her!

But once I got home, my husband asked, “Did you write a speech?”

I have to admit that last year I did not write a speech, but it made awards night very stressful to point where I actually hoped they wouldn’t call my name. So this year I did write one. The last thing I wanted, if my name was called, was to forget any of the people in my life who helped me get this far in my writing career.

Then my husband asked, “Am I mentioned in the speech?”

I, being the smart wife, said, “Of course!” Then I thought about it–maybe I should post the unused speech. After all, just because I didn’t win doesn’t mean that I don’t owe a million thanks to many people. Just because I didn’t win doesn’t make their efforts worth any less. So, at the risk of seeming presumptuous, I posted my speech below. And you never know–maybe I’ll get a chance to give it next year.

“First, I’d like to thank RWA and the Golden Heart judges for this amazing honor, as well as my critique partners Christine Glover, Karen JohnstonJuliette SobanetMary Lenaburg, and Angelina Lopez for their brutal honesty and constant support.

Thank you also to Karen Anders, Grace Burroughs, Heidi Betts, Virginia Kantra, and Priscilla Kissinger for their unending encouragement.

This manuscript wouldn’t be here without the guidance of many gracious and talented teachers including Margie Lawson, Bob Mayer, Mary Buckham, Mary O’Gara, Dianna Love, Robin Perini and Laura Baker. And a special thanks to Roxanne St. Claire who last year taught me to sacrifice without pity during the revision process. My manuscripts, and I, are grateful.

Then there are the wonderful women of the RWA Washington, DC, Kiss of Death, and Lowcountry chapters along with my 2010 and 2011 Golden Heart sisters.

And speaking of sisters, I have four I’d like to thank–in no particular order! Kieran, Colleen, Kristin, and Devon. I love you all!

Most important on my list is my husband for his 28 years of constant love and support  who, along with my father, taught me that men who protect and sacrifice for their families are the real heroes. And my mother who is here with me tonight and loves me unconditionally, as well as my twins who taught me not only how to love unconditionally but that a full night’s sleep is for wimps.

Finally, three women to whom I want to give a special thanks. Susan Wiggs who gave me a scholarship to my first RWA conference and started me on this journey.

Suzanne Brockmann whose book Letters to Kelly found me seven years ago, during the darkest days of my life, and brought me back to the world of romance novels where hope and love conquer all.

And Sherrilyn Kenyon who yesterday reminded me that while courage lives in grand gestures, and can sometimes be found in the simple enduring of every day life, it is more often experienced in that thin, quiet space between hitting delete and send. Thank you.”

18 comments on “Gratitude and Golden Hearts

  1. Oh Sharon, your speech touched my heart. You are an incredible and amazing person who is beyond talented as a writer. I believe in my heart that you will get published one day. And I am honored to be considered one of your friends.

    May all good things happen this year.

    • Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks for being my date all week! And I’m grateful as well for your friendship. Soon we’ll both be published and will wonder why we worried so much.
      Take care!

  2. Juliette says:

    This is an amazing speech, Sharon. I’m glad you posted it:)

    • Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks, Juliette. You know, better than most, how long it took to get that manuscript polished for these contests and I couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks! Can’t wait for Critique Group to start up again!

  3. robincovington says:

    Excellent speech! You’ve already won life’s greatest awards . . . family, love, friends. Congrats!

    • Sharon Wray says:

      That’s beautiful, Robin.Thanks for the sentiment. And if I haven’t mentioned it, your waterworld mermaids blog rocks! And it makes me laugh everytime I think about the name and where it came from!

  4. What a lovely speech and so wonderful to post it, too. Congrats on all the journey and great success, it’s much deserved!

  5. Mary says:

    You make me CRY! It is MY honor to read your words filled with emotion and intrigue. I know they will be published one day and I cannot weight to celebrate that moment with you. Thank you for being my friend first and my critique partner second. I cherish those relationships…blessings and grace to you…

  6. Hey, sweetheart, just for that nice note I’ll support you with love and pride for another 28 years, then you can write another speech. ;-)

  7. kierankramer says:

    Yes, this was a beautiful speech, Sharon!!! Thanks for including me in it!!! I have the utmost faith you’ll achieve all your dreams. XOXO

  8. Hi, Sharon! That was a wonderful speech – thanks for sharing it. Huge congrats on your Daphne Du Maurier award, and I’ve no doubt we’ll be hearing more speeches from you in the future. Best wishes and happy writing!

    • Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks so much, Robin. I wish you’d been in New York as well. I hope to hear good news from you soon! Maybe an agent, contract, or GH nomination? I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  9. Awwww. *sniff* I love it! I wish I had been in NY this year. Anaheim or Bust! :)

    (I didn’t write a speech last year either, but after getting yelled at the night before the ceremony at a chance meeting with the Romance Bandits, I scribbled some notes so they wouldn’t yell at me again.)

  10. Wow, Sharon, I found this posting a bit late, but your speech was wonderful — certainly much better than the one I gave. I am so glad you trounced me in the Daphne.

    Hugs,
    Diana

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