Am I too cynical? Maybe. My first thought before clicking on the link that would take me to the winners’ list was let’s go see who has the biggest Yahoogroup.
I wasn’t too surprised by any of the names. Jennifer Crusie won 6 categories and an honorable mention in one. I love her books (except for Welcome to Temptation–I have no idea why I just can’t get through that one) but that still made me have a visual of the troops mobilizing after the interim results. And a book winning Best Romance and Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fict makes me grind my teeth just a bit.
The big shock? And I’m in no way going to be objective about this one–I loved the book. Worst Romance: The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe. WHAT?
Did the people voting in this category just happen to be lucky enough to miss some of the total CRAP being published? Is The Real Deal the meatiest book on the shelf? No. Is it the deepest, most complex conflict I’ve ever seen? No. But it’s a fun book, and I had a blast reading it.
Context. I’d love to see some context on this one. How many people voted in this category, and how many did The Real Deal get? Percentages! It was in the running for Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fict in the Feb 15 interim results, after all. (Wouldn’t it be ironic if Bet Me had stayed in the Best Romance category and The Real Deal had won Best CL/WF?) (Although, I would have griped about that, too, because to me, both of those books were romances, with Crusie’s leaning well-toward Funny Women’s Fiction.)
And I just plain old hate that category. If you want to have some fun with Worst Titles, or Worst Cover, or Most Laughable Historical Heroine Name, all well and good. Worst Romance is just mean. And the online romance community as a whole is a very small world, so I never underestimate the chances of somebody seeing a chance to get a little revenge for some past slight, whether real or imagined.
Then, of course, the whole thing is skewed by AAR’s dismissal of e-books. While the big print authors have enough troops to drown out the probability of an e-book winning–maybe–a lot of good books were overlooked in this contest. And no, it doesn’t make me want to boycott and send pissy emails and flame the boards, but it makes me a little sad. AAR’s pretty important to the romance community, and my book won’t matter a whit to them.
The new Award is very, very pretty, though. And I loved Linda Howard’s “acceptance speech”:
“Okay, I’m speechless. It’s a good thing I’m writing this instead of trying to talk.
. Whenever I’m writing a book it’s as if I’m in a void, with nothing but me and the book and I don’t have a clue if I’m doing anything right or creating the biggest clunker in the universe. Then Laurie e-mailed me that I’d won Best Romantic Suspense, Strongest Heroine, and Best Villain, and just knowing that I’ve done something right in the past gives me hope that I’ll be able to wrestle a coherent tale out of my current tangle of characters. So thank you for the atta-girl. I’ll keep wrestling with this beast, and y’all keep reading.”
(If for no other reason than it being comforting that even the stars have monkeys.)