Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Roar of the Crowd: Recapping the 2013 Golden Apple Awards

RWA/NYC’s 2013 Golden Apple Awards Honorees

Lifetime Achievement Award - Dee Davis

Publisher of the Year - The Wild Rose Press

Author of the Year - Hope Tarr

Editor of the Year - Angela James, Carina Press

Agent of the Year - Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

Media Source of the Year - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Bookseller of the Year - Stacy Agdern, Posman Books (Grand Central Terminal)

Librarian of the Year - Cathleen Towey, Westbury Memorial Public Library, Westbury, NY

In a nutshell: A grand time was had by all. But it was so much more than that! The furious efforts of the Chapter Board and volunteers guaranteed a splendid event. Libations and nibbles livened everyone up. Editors, agents, media folk attended. Many chapter members put on their party attire and swept in. Friends of the chapter and past members came to celebrate. And our honorees (or their representatives) were entertaining and gracious and just plain fun.

The annual Golden Apple Awards publishing industry honors that the chapter holds is always a great opportunity for mingling and networking (with the odd spontaneous pitch thrown in for good measure). But what it is mostly about is wallowing in our love of romance fiction and embracing the people who create it. We are the champions of romance, a genre that all too often is lambasted.

As our Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dee Davis said, what is so great about our community is that we all “get it”. We love what we write – or what we publish, or sell or share or promote or talk about. The energy level was Everestian. The laughter was constant. Applause plentiful and enthusiastic. In the acceptance speeches, the honorees were delightful and engaging. In the introductions our President was informative and funny.

What I personally loved about the evening was meeting some new people, seeing some folks I haven’t seen in a bit, congratulating people on new jobs, new sales, new achievements and successes – and new babies! And I loved meeting the friends, relatives and loved ones of our honorees who beamed with pride.

I watched as some of our chapter’s newer – and shy – members worked up their courage to introduce themselves to editors and agents and make pitches for their work. Our members who had made first sales during the year proudly displayed their “First Sale” ribbons. And I was purely inspired by the energy and commitment and passion that every single person exhibited. That’s why this community is so welcoming, so supportive and so great. Because of people just like the ones that filled our room last night.

It was with sadness that we heard the speech sent by Rhonda Penders, of The Wild Rose Press, our Publisher of the year, who could not attend due to a death in her family. We look forward to seeing her in the future to give her the award.

Jenny Bent, of The Bent Agency, was trapped in the wilds of New Hampshire at the last minute, but texted her acceptance to her new agent, Louise Fury, who took the award back to the agency with her usual flourish and great humor.

Meeting Cathleen Towey of the Westbury Memorial Library, our Librarian of the Year, was a special treat for me, as the daughter of a librarian. The Westbury Library is a small but lovely local branch that provides a wealth of wonderful experiences for local residents, and Cathleen mans the helm ably. I can now look forward to visiting with her when time – and writing – permit and share more with her about our romance community.

From a personal perspective, I was thoroughly tickled to death to be able to meet our Editor of the Year, Angela James, Editorial Director of Harlequin’s digital first Carina Press. It was a bit less than a year ago that I answered my phone to hear “This is Angela James”. The call was “The Call” and she was telling me Carina wanted to publish my book.

And now, this week, just three days before getting to hug Angela, and thank her for taking a chance on me, that book was released. So to be able to tell her how much this has meant to me, and how much I have enjoyed this debut experience, was the icing on a most marvelous and festive cake.

When the evening drew to a close, when all was said and done, in high spirits and full of energy, everyone departed. We headed out into the thunderstorm that struck during our event, to run for subways, grab cabs, head back to apartments in New York City, or Long Island, New Jersey and other environs. We were full of smiles despite the prospect of getting rained upon. Honorees had their awards. Some authors had business cards. And everyone had a marvelous time. Truly, a happy ending to a lovely evening.

Which is, after all, what romance is all about!

Lise Horton is the 2012 Past President of RWA/NYC. Her debut novel, Words of Lust, was released on 9/9/13 by Carina Press and she is currently at work on book 2 of the Stellato Siblings series and looks forward to a long and mutually enjoyable publishing relationship with Angela James and Carina Press. And she apologizes for spilling beer on the Treasurer during the bartending frenzy. Please visit her at


  1. What a great recap! Makes me wish I was able to join you. And congratulations to you, Lise, on the release of your first book! May you have a long and rewarding publishing career :-)

  2. Thanks for stopping by, ladies. The GAA is always a marvelous event - that energy and enthusiasm that is just intoxicating was rife and I had a marvelous time! Thanks for the support, Cris! Can't wait to see you again soon! In the meantime I'll have to "keep in touch" by reading your latest release!