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DABWAHA Final Match: Iron Kissed v. Spymaster’s Lady

sidebarlogoAfter many a bracket and much trash talking, it’s down to two books:

Patricia Briggs’ “Iron Kissed” vs. Joanna Bourne’s “The Spymaster’s Lady.” Quite a battle: exceptionally-researched and written historical romance with plot twists and uncommon characters battling conspiracy and mystery, pitted against a paranormal series with a kick-ass heroine in an entirely different era dealing with werewolves and… conspiracy and mystery. Two very different books yet both are similar in key areas: strong characters, nimble writing, deft twists and turns, and incredibly absorbing writing.

Jane asked Joanna Bourne and Patricia Briggs to do a quick interview to highlight their books in the final match, and their answers are highly awesome.

Iron KissedSpymaster's Lady

Have you been watching the DABWAHA?

Joanna Bourne: Obsessively.

I watched last year, too. Though less obsessively.

This year I figured out how everything works. Mostly. It takes me a while to get up to speed.

Patricia Briggs: Of course!

Did you fill out a bracket?

JB: This is too painful. Too embarrassing. I am sooooo far down in the standings.

I would have done better to pick titles out of a hat. Or use astrology. Or ask my cat.

PB: Yes (scuffs toe in dirt and looks at the floor). I kind of feel about this, the way I feel about authors giving critical reviews of other people’s books :) Mostly I’m better off if I just let all the readers have fun. I tried to resist the urge to look when one of my books were up, until the bloody battle was over, when I fail, I vote. For me.

Did you pick yourself to win and if not, why not!!! To whom did you think you would fall?

JB: Ummm … no. I didn’t pick Spymaster’s Lady. Because I didn’t expect it to win. I picked Blue-Eyed Devil as tha winnah, having great respect for that book.

PB: No. I have no basis for judging my own book against other people’s books, the experience between writing and reading is just too different. I am very flattered to have lasted up until now (particularly against this crowd of awesomely great books). As far as picking other people’s books . . .I love to read, and  picking my favorite book is like picking my favorite child. It just doesn’t make sense. And really, what makes the best book? The one I enjoyed reading the most? First, I don’t remember which one I enjoyed most and second . . . there are always two people involved in a book: the writer and the reader. And when I’m grumpy, no one writes worth a darn .

If you could change one thing about the DABWAHA, what would it be?

JB: If I were blue-skying over what might be cool new features … I’d love to see the book covers and links to the author website lined  up conveniently near each ongoing match. Lotta work, though.

PB: I know this is a lame answer, but I have to say: nothing. I have a great deal of fun reading the comments along the way :) This years it seems like it is easier to tell when the voting is taking place and where — though I might be benefitting from experience

If you could win the HUGO/NEBULA/RITA or the DA BWAHA, what would you choose?

JB: The hugo award is so delightfully . . . ummm . . . anatomical . . .


Since I am pinned upon the screen, like a butterfly being studied by an entomologist, I will admit I’d rather get the RITA — or at least the RITA Finalist place.

This is because they serve these really nifty hors d’oeuvres at the party after they hand out the RITA, (hors d’oeuvres being a combination of mystery and tastiness I cannot resist,) and I can go out and drink champagne with some of the finalists afterwards, which one cannot do electronically.

PB: You know, this is like those “trick” topics I see every now and again at SF Conventions — “Least Favorite books of the year.” “Bad endings to good books” “Over-rated authors” No matter what you say, you get yourself in hot water! What if I said DA BWAHA and someone from the Nebula committee said, “Ha, her loyalties are suspect — she cannot win our prize!” Just kidding. Honestly, though, I think a reader’s award is more fun.

What is your ideal book award?

JB: An ideal book award is like an ideal prom dress. It fits just perfectly. It doesn’t bind or pinch. It covers up those pesky imperfections with a well-place ruffle here and a little drape of fabric there, and you don’t feel silly wearing it

What you want is that everybody says how good you look in it and how well it suits you. Maybe you even get whistles.

PB: My favorite thing is the first review that is happy with my book. Everything else is gravy.

Why should you win?

JB: Heck.

Spymaster’s Lady has carriage chases, desecrated churches, knife fights, smugglers, a drive-by shooting, nudity, hot consensual sexxxing in a bathtub, dark family secrets, betrayal, lies, passion, and hot French spies.

What more could you ask?

PB: I’m not sure I should. Spymaster’s Lady is a great book. I read it several times and then passed it to my friends and family as a must read! It is also a romance — and Iron Kissed is not. On the other hand, Iron Kissed is the book I am proudest of, it did exactly what I wanted it to in the way I wanted it to do. So, may the best book win.



  Which will win? That’s up to you.



So, head on over to The DABWAHA voting site and make your pick. You have 14 hours to vote, talk trash, pimp your choice, get out the vote and Twitter your fingers off. Game on at 9:00 AM Eastern until 11:00 pm Eastern.

Thanks again to our sponsors:

  • Harlequin at 30% off
  • eBooks at Fictionwise
  • eBooks at Books on Board. Books on Board is selling the Harlequin series books at 30% off and will have differing formats than the ones at Harlequin including iPhone/iTouch compatible formats.
  • Author Maya Banks is offering up a great prize to the last place bracketeer: $50 GC to online bookstore, Godiva chocolate basket, and ARCS of Sweet Persuasion (June 09) and Sweet Seduction (Oct 09). Perhaps this prize might affect some voting behavior?

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. carolyn jean
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 08:56:06

    Okay, even though I am HUGELY and INSANELY invested in this contest *G* I feel like either way it will turn out right.

    I am such a fan of you guys! And if you came to my house, you would find beloved, well-read (and marked up, underlined and otherwise lovingly abused and treasured) copies of multiple books from both of you on my bookshelf.

  2. Jia
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 09:11:36

    OMG, I actually picked the final match-up correctly!

    (Okay, yeah, so I’m a little behind…)

    I also find it hilarious that I got the final round correct while getting everything else so horribly wrong.

  3. ReacherFan
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 10:51:49

    For someone who read almost NONE of the nominated books, I managed a tie at 197 in the 2nd chance tourney. I will account myself lucky. GO IRON KISSED TO WIN! I’d like to get that right. :-)

    The final 4 was awesome.

  4. Darlynne
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 12:23:25

    Two writers whose work I so admire created books I loved. Tough choice. Congratulations to both of you.

  5. joanne
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 12:41:32

    This year my phenomenal tie for 205th place is totally in support of these authors and has absolutely nothing to do with not knowing WTF I’m doing with the DABWAHA voting.
    that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Thanks for the great books and the great interview!

  6. Lou
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 13:50:45

    Congratulations to both authors. :)

    IRON KISSED to win though! *grins*

    I haven’t done too badly in my brackets (23), but in the end I’ve go to pimp for my favourite book.

    If Iron Kissed wins, over at our blog we will have a ebook give away. So go vote for Briggs!

  7. Robin
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 14:07:35

    I definitely have my favorite here, but even if it doesn’t win, how great is it that two such well-written books are in the finals?! Quality does matter!

    It’s almost enough to make me vote next year without my usual cynicism (aka what I think people will vote for rather than what I think should win).

  8. Heather
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:11:29

    I have watched the voting and will take part next year. I even will get with Twitter so I can trash talk with the best of them!

    Patricia Briggs is amazing and with my limited budget, Iron Kissed was one of the few hardcover books I bought this year (I think I buy one hardcover a month). But now I will have to check out Spymaster’s Lady.

    Thanks for the interview. Love to hear from one of my Top 10 favorite authors!

  9. library addict
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 21:49:35

    Yay! Iron Kissed managed to come from behind for the win :) So, as awful as I did with my brackets at least I picked the winning book in the 2nd chance tournament.

    Congrats to Carolyn Jean.

    Thanks Jane and Sarah and everyone at DA & SBTB for a fun-filled few weeks.

  10. carolyn jean
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 06:11:54

    I am so grateful to be the winner! This is so exciting!!! And this whole tourney was so fun – I really appreciate the time and work you all and the Smart Bitches put into it.

    I just don’t know what to say except Thanks!!!!


    Carolyn Jean

  11. Christine M.
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 08:15:22

    Congrats to both authors but I’m slightly confused, here. Ms Jean claims she’s the winner and when I go on the DaBwaha page, the final results I see are Briggs 555 votes and Jean 543 votes….

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