Last Friday the phone rang while I was writing. It's still too cold to work out in my office so I'm in the living room for a few more weeks. Nelson sat behind me playing a video game, but since he has an aversion for talking on the phone I reached for it. My pulse increased when I spotted the area code because it wasn't a Cdn one. Nor was it an 800, 888 or that one will all zeros.
When the caller said she was Ane Mulligan from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I knew it was good news about a contest. I'd spent March entering 5 different writing contests and writers volunteer as coordinators and judges for many different contests. Of the 5 contests I entered, the earliest I expected a response was around Apr 18th from Duel on the Delta.
But Ane called on Apr 8th. I was so excited. And confused. She said I'd semi-finaled. I missed the 'semi' part because writing contests don't have 'semi-finalists'... you go from a contestant to the finals. Even in big contests like the Genesis where there are 60 or so entries in a category like mine - Historical Romance.
When Ane said 'semi-finalist', I heard 'finalist'. She went into details about what I needed to do when my manuscript was returned in a couple days and the deadline for the final round. I read her words... but I was still confused because she hadn't actually said the name of the contest yet.
So I finally blurted out, this is for the Fool for Love, right? It was the first contest that came to mind because it was the last I'd entered.
Ane said no, I semi-finaled in the Genesis.
The Genesis? How can I describe my feeling when she said that one word... a thousand horses galloping through me veins... a landslide of boulders tumbling down a mountain... freefalling before pulling the cord to open your parachute...
She explained that the Genesis had changed. My entry had scored high enough to be in the top 20% of my category and would now go on to a new semi-final round. I know I sounded like a dope. And if I didn't know Ane, I'd believe she thought I was a dope. Thank goodness we've met and she knows better. I hope.
To keep myself grounded, I'm telling myself it's no big deal - just another step in a contest. But I've received enough personal congratulary emails from writing friends - some from my favourite authors - to realize this is a big deal. It's the Genesis. And it may be the only call I get from the Genesis people. (Not that I don't believe in my writing, but judges are readers and not every reader likes what I write or how I write it.)
So please allow me to gloat over this 'call'. Breathe Anita ... just breathe...