Maureen's Atlanta

Atlanta 2013 was my 10th consecutive RWA conference. It's hard for me to believe that I've been going since 2004, but I have. Every year. And I'd love to post photos from all of them like Angi did... But my digital life is not that organized. (Note to self, find and organize photos.)

So, instead, I thought I'd just give a recap of some of the highlights of this year.

I swore I wasn't going to go again this year, since I'm not writing romances at the moment, but then I changed my mind at the last minute. ;)  And I'm so glad that I did. Great conference.
(I blogged a bit about the overall vibe of the conference here, if you're interested.)

Not only was there a great positive vibe this year, but Simone St. James, one of the founding bloggers of this blog, won not one, but two RITA awards!!!

Simone's fabulous book THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE (which already won best first book from the Canadian Crime Writers' Association) won Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Best First Book at the RITAs.

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO SIMONE!!!!! Simone is also in my local RWA Chapter, Toronto Romance Writers. I've known her since about 2005 or 2006 and I couldn't be more proud and happy for her!

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If you haven't checked out this book yet, you should. It's a 1920's set ghost story/mystery/romance.

And here are a few photos of Simone on the night.

Simone accepting her first RITA of the night. Best novel with Strong Romantic Elements (and before I got smart enough to switch from "auto" to "movie" on my camera.)

Simone right after the ceremony. Still a tad in shock, I think. :)

And with me a few moments later.

Part of Simone's speech for RITA win #1.

And her speech for RITA win #2 (handed out by la Nora no less!) That's Nora Roberts in case you're not a big romance fan. :)
The commentary you can hear right after her name is announced is my friend Misty Simon, and then me claiming I knew she'd win all along. LOL. I actually did get a strong feeling while the finalists were being announced. Not like a psychic feeling. Just a hunch based on the other books nominated, whether they had been nominated or won their categories, and the fact that Simone had already won her category. :) All deduction, dear Watson.

The RITAs were definitely a highlight. As was seeing so many friends, meeting new ones, and learning a heck of a lot, too!

But the thing I'll miss about Atlanta the most? The Alma Cocina restaurant. Here is my half-eaten plate of fried avocado tacos. Yum. Full disclosure? I went to this same restaurant 3 times over 5 nights. Yes, it was that good.

And here's a (very dark) photo of Stephanie Doyle, Simone St. James and Molly O'Keefe at our first trip to that very restaurant...


  1. I just got nervous all over again watching Nora name the nominees... LOL!

    What a night. Thanks Maureen!

    And I remember letting Angi hold a RITA, you know, so she can practice for future years :)

    1. Ha! One of the photos I almost posted was one of you and Angi. It looked to me as if she was trying to steal one of your RITAs :)

  2. Great photos! :) Yes, I would be nervous and excited seeing Nora too! :) Love her JD Robb books.

    Wow... must be a great restaurant...

    1. My friends and I have a serious weakness for good Mexican food and try to find the best place near every conference hotel. Atlanta was a standout Mexican restaurant winner for me. LOL

  3. Sounds like a compelling story, I can't wait to read it.

  4. LOVED SEEING YOU Maureen. HUGE congrats to SIMONE!!
    Can't wait to take you to Mia Tierra Cafe in San Antonio next year.( http://www.mitierracafe.com/ ) I had no idea you liked Mexican that much. This place is famous and open 24 hours a day.


    1. Oh, great! Now I have to go to San Antonio....

  5. Great conference recap, Maureen. It was wonderful to spend even a little time with you and so great to see Simone win TWO beautiful RITA statues. I, too, have that pic of Angi looking to grab one and run :-)

    I'm looking forward to San Antonio--that'll be a great city for good food and really fun get-togethers!