Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Long-Winded Experience with June 15th...or The Day I Waited on the Phone to Ring

Earlier this year, I let y'all know in this post that I'd been chosen as a double-semifinalist in the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest. I'd already made the decision to attend the ACFW Conference this year, but being selected for the contest meant, "Hey, this could turn into a big deal."

Then, June 15th--the day finalists were to be announced--took its sweet time getting here. Impatience controlled me, urging me to count the weeks/days on my dry-erase calendar. I labeled the special day with a black marker, as if the slightest chance existed that I might forget. My writing friend and I traded emails and critiques, both of us preparing our books. I prayed for peace, and honestly, to not care if I didn't final. I prayed the Lord wouldn't let me be disappointed--whether I went forward in the contest or not.

As the 15th inched near, regret took over.

"You shouldn't have made a big deal out of this."
"There are plenty of people who can write better than you."
"You're not going to score above seven other semifinalists."

(Anyone else have a pessimistic inner self?)

So when the day showed up, I went to work like normal. Checked patient's vision like normal. Scanned their eyes like normal. Assisted the doctor like normal.

Except I checked my phone a total of 19,477 times. All before noon.

By the time I clocked out, no phone calls received, I'd shrugged off any hope. Nope, I hadn't finaled, but I'd find a way to get over myself and congratulate whoever did. I knew some folks on the semifinalist list, and I wanted them to win. Yet, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want my name on that list.
For some reason, the finalists were being announced later in the day, I discovered.

So I went home like normal. Cleaned the house. Rubbed the note off my dry-erase calendar. Drove to Walmart. Went home again a little defeated, mostly trying to forget the day had carried significance.

My phone's battery was nearly dead (I wasn't lying about checking it 20,000 times), so I plugged the thing up in the kitchen and trudged off to the bedroom to watch TV.

A little while later, I heard my ringtone singing. I darted off the bed and into the kitchen to see my husband handing me the phone. A unfamiliar number lit up the screen...

And I knew.

My grin exploded before I even heard the category coordinator's voice. For a girl who can't stand talking on the phone--yes, I will ignore your call and text you--I launched into that conversation without any apprehension. On my back deck (because no, I'm not going to stay in a room with someone and talk on the phone), I listened to the amazing news, all the while feeling a bit like a wasp could sting me and I wouldn't care. Which wasn't at all true. If a wasp had chosen that moment to land on me, I would've freaked, dropped the phone, and run squalling and bawling into the house.

Bugs scare me, okay.

I've told you this incredibly long story in order to share one thing: Thanks to the Lord's blessing, I am indeed a finalist in the romance category of the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest.
This means a myriad of things, including the fact I need to buy a formal dress for the Awards Gala.
It also means I'll be hosting a multi-book giveaway soon! Yay for free books!
At this point, I honestly won't care if I don't win--well, not much. The experience at ACFW will be a major blessing no matter what.
Until then, I'm getting my latest novel polished (the one that finaled). Because opportunities like this aren't meant to be wasted, and I aim to do my part.

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