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Tear down the streamers. Deflate the balloons. The Dance is over (that’s what they call the NCAA Tournament). The winners of the first annual DA BWAHA are as follows:

Colleen Gleason’s The Rest Falls Away is our champion and is awarded

  • A bad ass feather quill pen with which to pen her next romantic opus
  • The graphic proclaiming her book the winner
  • A free one-month ad space on both Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author, month and content to be determined.
  • Pimpage like nothing else, guaranteed.
  • A $50 gift certificate for irreverently awesome style from

The burning question was how does it feel to be the winner of the first annual DA BWAHA Tourney?
Book Cover

First I’d like to say how totally delighted I am that THE REST FALLS AWAY was nominated in the original 64, and that the competition was one of the most fun things I’ve seen to come out of book-blog-land. Leave it to the Smart Bitches and Dear Author to create their own kind of March Madness!

I haven’t read all of the 64 books, but based on the ones that I have read, I can say that I’m absolutely thrilled to have been included with such great novelists–the ones I’m familiar with were indeed wonderful books, and now I want to make sure to read all of them.

Big honking thanks to everyone who voted for THE REST FALLS AWAY, and especially to Nora Roberts, who is one of my idols. What a thrill to compete against HIGH NOON for the championship!

And, yes, since you asked, Jane, I will tell you that I did fill out a bracket, and I didn’t pick my book to win. I didn’t even pick my book to make it past the third round, so WOW! (I picked HIGH NOON to win it all, in fact.)

Thank you again for a great contest and a lot of fun. Next year, I really hope to see more trash talking!

Oh, and advice for authors competing next year: when you fill out the brackets, pick your own book to win! It looks really bad if you win and you have your book falling out after the third round. Sheesh.

Thanks again to Sarah, Candy, and the Ja(y)nes! This was a lot of fun!

The best bracketologist of all is Laura D. Laura received 128 out of a possible 192 points or, in other words, (because Sarah for one couldn’t explain how the pointing works if her life depended on it, and fills out her own bracket for the NCAA based on colors and towns she’d like to visit) Laura’s bracket was 67% accurate. The breakdown of the of her picks were as follows:

  • First 32 matches: 24 correct
  • Sweet Sixteen: 10 correct
  • Elite Eight: 5 correct
  • Final Four: 2 correct
  • Championship: 1 correct

It was her choice of the champion, The Rest Falls Away, by Colleen Gleason that resulted in her win, putting her over the top of second place finisher Amy R who would have won if High Noon had been the champion. How did she pick her picks? In her own words:

Wow! I was NOT expecting to find anything like this in my in-box! What a nice change from ads for penis enlargement and cheepViCodin.

It feels pretty doggone cool to have won. I’m sitting here with a goofy ol’ grin on my face, thinking “Hmmmm. Vegas?” Truthfully though, it was pure dumb luck. Well, that and an enormous dose of stupidity. When filling in my bracket I forgot that High Noon had been written by Nora. Otherwise, it would have been my pick all the way through. I intend no offense to ANY of the other brilliant authors, especially Colleen Gleason, but…she’s Nora…and the odds were pretty good in her favor. Plus, it was a really good book. (Can you believe she’s going to publish number 200 soon? Wow!)

My picks were made heartlessly: I picked the book I thought would win. In several cases, I enjoyed the “loser” much more than the “winner”; but knew I was in the minority. I would have been interested to see how things would have changed if “Agnes/Hitman” hadn’t faced off against “High Noon” in the first bracket. A big surprise for me was “My Fair Captain” beating “Dirty”. I’ve read and loved both (very different) books, but “Dirty” is a keeper for me. Other favorites from the tourney include “Wicked Lovely”, “Vampire Queen’s Servant”, “Driven”, “The Rest Falls Away”…….and I could keep going.

Her winning haul was:

  • A 6-month subscription to PaperSpine, courtesy of the fine folks at PaperSpine. Yay, PaperSpine!
  • A signed collection of the books that made the Elite 8 of our DA BWAHA Tournament
  • Mad Props
  • Big Ups
  • A graphic for your personal site proclaiming to all and Sundry (Sundry, I know for a fact, is SUCH a silly cow so you totally want to rub it in her face) that you are The Winnah.
  • A $50 gift certificate for irreverently awesome style from

The winner of the 2nd Chance Pool is Joyce D who won by a fairly healthy margin. She had a 134 points and the next competitor had 102. But, had High Noon won, she would have tied with entry Never That Easy (sounds like a racehorse name) at 102 points because you get more points for the final round. Both Joyce D and Never That Easy had picked The Rest Falls Away, as the ultimate champion. Only two people picked The Rest Falls Away, to be the champion, even in the 2nd Chance Pool.

  • Sweet Sixteen: 15 correct
  • Elite Eight: 6 correct
  • Final Four: 2 correct
  • Championship: 2 correct

Joyce D won some fab prizes including a $25 gift certificate to Turn the Page bookstore.

So now some bracketology. Only two people picked The Rest Falls Away as the champion. Its competitor, High Noon, was the overwhelming favorite, having been chosen 51 times. The top five books that were picked as champions are as follows:

  • High Noon 51
  • Agnes & Hitman 30
  • Natural Born Charmer 27
  • The Serpent Prince 24
  • Demon Angel 20

Of the brackets, I thought the paranormal one was the toughest with Meljean Brook’s Demon Angel, Patricia Briggs’ Blood Bound, CL Wilson’s Lord of the Fading Lands, The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold and so forth battling it out. The winner came out of that paranormal region. We had the toughest time filling the Contemporary region in part, I think, because none of the readers who slated the nominations (Sarah, Candy, and the multiple J’ers at DA) read a lot of straight contemporary. We read Romantic Suspense, Women’s Fiction, and Chick lit. We also read categories which have their region. The Novel with Romantic Elements was like a catch all for us. Blood Bound could have easily gone there. (That would have been an interesting matchup between Magic Bites and Blood Bound).

One more area of post-mortem that has nothing to do with this year’s contest and everything to do with next year’s: what would you like us to do differently? We’ve taken into account that the US is not the center of the known universe (I know, I was shocked, too) and after round 1 we opened voting to everyone world wide by hosting voting polls for 24 hours. We’ve also heard and agree with the criticism that the YA category doesn’t need to feature the best-of-YA as a genre, and should focus on YA romance, since this is, after all, a romance tourney. Agreed. Jane and I have talked about soliciting nominations prior to our development of the 2008 DA BWAHA slate of 64 books, and how to conduct voting, so we want to hear your opinions. All of ’em.

Some other topics we would like for you to consider is whether the idea of the sponsorship bothered you. How do you feel about authors encouraging their readerships to vote? If you didn’t participate, would you next year and if not, what would make you participate? If you did participate, are you likely to participate in the future?

What else would you change for next year? Please give us your thoughts. On our end, we promise to build up next year’s DA BWAHA so it is bigger, the prizes are more spectaculawsom, and the bragging rights stretch into the vast infinite reaches of the internet. Or, something like that. Definitely bigger, badder, and more bodacious prizes, to be sure.

Special thanks to Speak Its Name, The YA YA YAs, Uniquely Pleasurable and Teddy Pig who helped fill our slate of YA and GLBT regions. And more special thanks to our sponsors:


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-HUH!
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:40:02

    […] if you get a chance, pop on over to the announcement thread (or this one) and say […]

  2. Nora Roberts
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:51:00

    Congratulations to Colleen–and to Laura.

    And thanks to DA and the SBs for tons and tons of fun. I’m already juiced to play next year!

  3. ilona andrews
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 08:04:49

    (That would have been an interesting matchup between Magic Bites and Blood Bound).

    No, it wouldn’t have been. Patty would’ve killed me like there was no tomorrow. :P

    Thank you so much for running the tournament. I had loads of fun following it.

  4. Colleen Gleason
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:34:50

    Thanks again, Nora, for the congrats…as I mentioned on SB, my knees are still shaking from the championship round.

    Thanks also to the Js and Sarah and Candy for a really fun tourney.

  5. Jeaniene Frost
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:36:06

    Congrats, Colleen!

  6. Colleen won! « Sassymonkey Reads
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:56:12

    […] April 8, 2008 by sassymonkey Colleen Gleason won DABWAHA!!!! […]

  7. Jackie
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 11:21:32

    Huzzah, Colleen!

  8. heather (errantdreams)
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 11:39:09

    Many congratulations to the winners, and better-luck-next-times to everyone else!

  9. The Lovely Ladies of Estella's Revenge
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:12:13

    Congratulations, Colleen! A much deserved win!

  10. Sherry Thomas
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:59:27

    Congratulations Colleen and Nora.

  11. Esri Rose
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 14:44:53

    Oy, girlfriend! Big congrats, Colleen!

    Laura, 67% is really high, even considering that you picked the last one by mistake. Ever think of moving to Vegas?

  12. Christine
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 15:13:08

    Congratulations Colleen and Laura!

    That was fun. Thanks DA and SB! ;)

  13. Jennifer Estep
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 15:21:32

    I thought this was a lot of fun, especially since everyone else at my office was doing their NCAA bracket. I told them my bracket was cooler because it was about books. :-)

    I’d love to be able to nominate books for the tourney next year. Maybe you guys could even let folks vote on which books get into the tourney? Just a suggestion.

  14. Jen
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 08:27:01

    CONGRATS COLLEEN!!! (and laura)

    -the flint Jen

  15. Laura
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 15:12:24

    I’m still grinning my goofy grin! A HUGE Thank You! to Dear Author and Smart Bitches for such a fun contest. I look forward next year, and my rightful place at the bottom of the pack. ;)

    Thank you also to the sponsors who provided such lovely prizes (!), & the authors for autographing the books (!!!!!!!!!!).

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