I have a new holiday—a new day of celebration. March 26th. Why? Because three weeks ago, on March 26th, I was given some pretty fantastic news. My manuscript, THE LAZARUS GAMBIT, is a Finalist in the 2012 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Awards, in the category: Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. (unfortunately, no romantic elephants were spotted in the list of finalists*)
It's only been three weeks, but already it feels like a lifetime—in a good way. I've met an amazing group of women (online) in my fellow finalists, and we're continuing to get to know one another. Everyone seems genuinely thrilled, both to be finalists themselves and for all of the other finalists. They exemplify the kind of enthusiastic support for other writers I believe is the hallmark of RWA® and my own Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter members. Winning would be icing on the cake, but I think we all feel as though the real prize is being named a finalist.
But beyond the award itself was the immediate boost I felt about my writing. I've worked hard to improve my craft and I'd hoped I told an engaging story which would connect with readers, but there was always that doubt in the back of my mind. You know that voice that whispers to writers? The one that tells you that you're wasting your time. That tells you that you're fooling yourself. Well, the validation I felt on the 26th was like getting a shot of adrenaline, and it hasn't worn off so far.
I'm going to the RWA Conference in Anaheim in July and I'm looking forward to all the hoopla surrounding the Awards. From what I understand from previous years' finalists, this ride is just beginning, and it's an E-Ticket all the way (appropriate, I think, seeing as the conference is being held across the street from Disneyland!).
I have a feeling that in years to come I'll view this as a watershed moment in my writing career. You know, before the 26th, I didn't realize just how huge finaling would be. It really is overwhelming and something I wish were possible for every writer to experience. Since that isn't the case, I'll do my best to share as much of it here as I'm able. And if you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask!
I just realized I made it to the end of this post without telling you anything about THE LAZARUS GAMBIT. I think I just flunked self-promotion! :-) Next post will be about the book — I promise.
*I sometimes get tongue-tied. Not too long ago, at a MWV-RWA meeting, I was describing what type of romance I write and I said that romance was always a strong sub-plot—you know, I write Steampunk and Urban Fantasy and Post-Apocalypse Adventures, all with Strong Romantic Elephants. O.o
... I've since named my elephants Beatrice and Frank, and they truly are romantic!