Monthly Archives: March 2016

Awards–What Do They Mean?

Yesterday was a monumental day in the world of romance authors, for some more than others. The Romance Writers of America announced the finalists is its annual RITA (published authors) and Golden Heart (unpublished authors) contests.

Alas, my books did not make the cut. But in all honestly, I had no expectation that they would. Thousands of books are judged by an equal number of readers, and the scores are largely subjective. To final, a book must not only be of a certain quality, but must also fall into the hands of three judges who love it. Ever read a book a friend highly recommended only to think to yourself, “meh?” Yeah. That happens, as proven by the fact that some of my favorite stories and authors from last year did not make the cut.

Authors’ reactions to losing can range from anger, cynicism, and defeat, to mild disappointment and a commitment to do better next year. Apparently, this disparity in response is universal in any artistic industry in which awards are distributed (music, television, film). In fact, I’ve pulled a bunch of quotes by famous people about awards. What shocked me is to see that Tom Cruise had the most balanced opinion (or, at least, the one that most mirrors my own).

At one end of the spectrum, you have these:

Of course awards matter. Frank Ocean

It’s very validating when you are new in the industry to get awards. It boosts your self-esteem. Sheena Easton

I’ve won many awards and I want more. If you want to call it hunger then I’m hungry for awards. Shah Rukh Khan

At the other end, you hear this:

Awards are meaningless to me, and I have nothing but disdain for anyone who actively campaigns to get one. Bill Murray

Awards are so unnecessary because I think we get so much out of our work just by doing it. The work is a reward in itself. Natalie Portman

Do awards change careers? Well, I haven’t heard of many stories where that’s the case. It’s a fun excuse to meet colleagues and celebrate people who’ve done well that year in certain people’s eyes, and it’s nothing more than that. Benedict Cumberbatch

And then there is the Tom Cruise opinion, which is how I feel (except for the part about having won many, since I’ve yet to win any, LOL!)

Awards are wonderful. I’ve been nominated many times and I’ve won many awards. But my journey is not towards that. If it happens it will be a blast. If it doesn’t, it’s still been a blast. Tom Cruise

While Ms. Portman makes an excellent point, it seems a tad bit disingenuous. Yes, awards are not necessary, but they are fun. And I imagine it feels amazing to win (like Ms. Easton reports). However, I’d also guess that Mr. Cumberbatch is not wrong when he says it doesn’t necessarily change careers. For some it might, but there are certainly prior RITA winners whose names I’ve never heard before.

Basically, today I’m feeling proud of my friends who’ve been nominated and will cheer them on in July. Sure, I have a little envy for the thrill they must’ve experienced when getting the call, yet I am not depressed or jaded or bitter, because I know their accomplishments do not diminish my own.

I’ve released four books in my first fourteen months in the business. That feels amazing. I receive lovely emails from readers who’ve been touched by some of my work. Honestly, nothing could mean more than that to me. And I’m constantly making new friends in the industry, which has been such a gift for this stay-at-home mother of two.

Yes, next year I will ship off my work and cross my fingers, hoping I might get a turn in the spotlight. That nagging voice of self-doubt that says I’m an imposter might finally quiet down if I ever win a big award. But most importantly, I look forward to continuing to engage with my readers. They, after all, are the real prize to be treasured.

XO-Jamie

Age and Beauty

I’ll be fifty later this year. When I say that aloud, it still shocks me. I don’t feel a day over thirty-five—until I look in the mirror.

Sometimes my heart aches a little when I take stock of my thinning hair, my saggy middle (no, not the one plaguing the first draft of my current manuscript), my wrinkles and age spots. Of course, there are other things I love about being this age, most significantly my experiential wisdom. There’s nothing quite as reliable as education acquired through the school of hard knocks. It yields hard-earned knowledge, which in turn inspires a sturdy kind of confidence. The kind that awakens a different kind of beauty: the beauty of empowerment.

Sure, by every objective measure, I was physically prettier at twenty-five than I am today. Yet, I wouldn’t trade a tighter body (or even my thicker hair) for the self-assurance, courage, and freedom I know at this age. I’m still a daughter and a sister and a friend, but I’m also a wife and a mother. I’ve learned to persevere, to let go when I must, to grab for what I want, and to handle rejection. I’ve learned that I am not defined by the way that I look, but rather by the limits my own fears and doubts impose. That understanding makes it easier to clear away doubt when it crops up (which, of course, it still does, although with less frequency).

And what I think I’m finally accepting, despite the reflection in the mirror, is that I am more beautiful as this woman than I ever was when my muscles were taut, my hair glossy, and my skin still wrinkle-free. I hope my daughter (and other young women) learn this secret much sooner than I have, because then they can waste less time blowing out their hair and more time dedicated to the things that bring them genuine fulfillment.

xo-Jamie

 

 

Katherine’s 12 Months of Beauty–No. 3

I’M OBSESSED!

I am one of those gals that loves to be pampered, but the reality is that my daily beauty rituals are whittled down to a super-speedy routine. Then I met this little product…Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.37.44 AM

Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer allowed me to pamper myself in seconds every time I stepped into my shower. My skin felt smooth as silk from the second I put this product on, and it lasted all day. I was worried when I first bought this lotion that it would be greasy, slippery and an overall mess in the shower, but it wasn’t at all. This lotion soaks into your wet skin magically, and by the time you grab your towel to dry off, it has already evaporated. My skin looks, feels and smells amazing in seconds! I LOVE THIS PRODUCT!

I AM NOT OBSESSED

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.36.59 AMWith the Maybelline New York Lip Studio Color Blur Matte Pencil. Yuck…it was dry, dull, and cakey. There is a white tip on the end that I had no idea what to do with. Was it an eraser, sponge, etc? This product did not even last one hour on my lips. It was so dry that I kept applying my lip gloss over it. I tossed it after 10 days.

This product was a bust in my book.

Next up for March…Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.30.13 AM

Best Razor- Schick Hydro Silk Trim Style ($13.99 at drugstores). Reviews claim it offers a close, lasting shave (including intimate areas. #summeriscomingwinkwink.)

Best Shave Cream- Completely Bare Moisturizing No Bump Shave Gel Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.30.50 AM($8.99 at CVS). Reviews claim that the exfoliating beads means no more razor burn, nicks, or ingrown hairs.

Have you tried any of the products that I have reviewed? If so, which ones and what did you think?

XO-Katherine