Since my grandmother's been having trouble, I've been so conscientious about having my phone on me and checking for missed calls when I've been away. Except for yesterday. I just hopped in the car, punched my Bluetooth to call my aunt to check in, and headed home.
I decided to be efficient after I made it there. I washed dishes. I did laundry. I cooked dinner. I practiced with Jack (so that I could shoot a superior smile the teacher's way). And a little after 6, I checked the weather to make sure I wasn't heading out into a tornado before I started rummaging around for clothes to wear. Somewhere in this process of searching, I pulled my phone out of my purse. I don't know why. Probably to reassure myself that it was present and accounted for because I have a strong attachment to my phone even with the ringer off.
And I noticed I had a missed call. And a voicemail. From area code 207. I figured it was a super special offer of some sort but hit "play" to listen to the message. And this is where it went insane.
APPROXIMATELY TWO MONTHS BEFORE A RAINY TUESDAY NIGHT IN NOVEMBER
I love Twitter. I first read of a writing competition there being sponsored by Avon Romance. Writers could submit a novella to be included in Debbie Macomber's upcoming title, A Family Affair. There was no entry fee. I pondered it briefly and figured there was no real way I could write a story in the time allowed (due October 1) of high enough quality to accomplish a win in what would be pretty steep competition.
And then my writing friend/co-worker SJ sent it to me. And I explained to her that I didn't think I had it in me. The style, the competion, etc.
And then my nonwriting but very supportive friend Mary sent it to me. Three times is too many times to ignore. I sat down and wrote the 23,000 words for this story. I had already plotted it. All that was left to do was write it.
I sent it in. And made plans on what to do with it after it didn't win the contest. Maybe I'd publish it myself for my six friends to read. Or maybe I'd release it installments a la Pioneer Woman.
And then I got a call from New York. More specifically, I missed a call from Executive Editor Lucia Macro in New York. And I nearly died. My heart raced. My face was covered in a light glow (of perspiration) because I am A FINALIST. I am ONE OF THREE.
Holy. Cow. Y'all.
I called my spiritual advisor, the one who hoists me up to the high road, because she deserves a little good news now and then from me. And I called my friend SJ.
And then I took Jack to his class in a monsoon, but I didn't even care.
I went online to Avon's Facebook page. And my name is there.
I went to their blog. And my name is there.
I have an email from Lucia Macro.
And I've listened to the phone message twice more.
I think this is real, y'all. The winner will be announced today. First place is published in Debbie's book (and a check, too), and the others are paid in books. And whether I win, place, or show, I can't imagine feeling more pumped than I do right this minute. I can't lose! I took this screenshot of their blog as visual proof. Notice the time. Yeah, I didn't sleep. I'm running on sugar and Diet Coke right now.
UPDATE: So, I won't be showing up in Debbie's new book. And I'm still so excited about being a finalist that I can hardly sit still so it's all good.