To tell the truth, I’d forgotten all about the date Romance Writers of America® notifies contestants if they are Golden Heart® finalists. You may have noticed on the news floods had tried to wash Louisiana away over the past few weeks.
I’d been helping my mother prepare to fight a rising river, my stepdad had been in a fight of his own in the hospital, and I’d buried my fourteen-year-old dog. Sounds like a bad country western song, huh?
But it could have been so much worse and it’s all getting better now.
Generally, I have a very good life, and I’m thankful. But can you see how the date may have slipped my mind?
The night before call day, my dear friend Colette Auclair sent me a text. Good luck tomorrow.
It took me a minute to figure out what kind of good luck I should look for.
Early Friday morning was filled with phone calls but none from RWA®.
I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter if I made it to the finals or not, but my “Hemingway detector” zapped that lie. (If you don’t know what that is, ask me privately or look up Hemingway’s writing advice.)
At 9:30, my cell phone buzzed and a local number and name flashed on the screen. Farrah Rochon, my SOLA chapter sister. I’m on the board (program director and president-elect), so it’s not unusual to get calls from chapter members.
“You know why I’m calling, right?” Farrah asked.
I’m thinking, what have I done or what does she want me to do?
“Not really,” I said.
“Sure you do.” Farrah reeled in the bait.
I didn’t bite because I was still trying to figure out what Farrah was talking about when she started reading the official notification. “I’m pleased to inform you…”
I’m not sure exactly what I said. There’s no doubt I screamed. And I was still trying to figure out why my chapter sister had called me with this big news. She writes contemporary romance. Not my category. Lives in my area. Then it dawned on me. Farrah had recently joined the RWA® board. Duh… Call day challenged brain.
Finally, I thought to ask which manuscript.
She told me BETTER DEAD in the paranormal category. Thrilled, I squealed again, then thanked her and we chatted a while. I learned that she’d been assigned my name completely at random. How wild is that? I thought the conversation was winding down, but she’d have none of it. She dragged it out a bit longer, sweet little devil that she is, and then told me ONE MORE BREATH was a finalist in the inspirational category. Double final! More screaming. A tear or two. And the luckiest day ever.
Congratulations to all the RWA® Rita® and Golden Heart®Finalists!