These were the butterflies in my stomach last night and this morning. I'd entered Enemy Within in the romance industry award contest. The RITA is the romance industry's top award for romance fiction. We like to say it's our Oscar, on par with science fiction's Hugo award. The main difference being that authors cannot enter their own books into the Hugo - they must be nominated (like the Oscars) by *other* industry professionals. Romance Writers of America allows authors with a qualifying work to enter the contest directly, though books are nominated as well. Thus it is that RITA finalists are called finalists rather than nominees.
Today, the phone calls went out notifying finalists. RWA had announced the date a few weeks ago and all of us who'd entered a book had quietly marked our calendars. We swore the nerves wouldn't get us - that whatever happened, happened. And yet. Whenever you put your work out and ask others to pass judgement on it, the neuroses strike deep. You assure yourself you wrote the best book you could, but the fear rises from out of nowhere that your best simply isn't good enough. I managed to hold off the jitters until Thursday night.
I thought I'd done a good job of keeping my cool this morning, too. Got the DH off to work. Got showered and sat down to work on a blog post for my other secret life at Word Whores. Yahoo IM popped up. My friend, Jeffe Kennedy, who usually spends her early mornings working on *her* books, asked if I'd heard anything yet. It was 7:45am. Then MSN Messenger pinged. My friend and fellow critiquer, Melinda Rucker-Haynes, wanted to know what was happening. Anxiety pitched high at that point. I figured that no one would call prior to 8am my time, IF they were going to call at all.
At 8:02, the phone rang. Relief dumped through me. Enemy Within was good enough in at least one category. Assuming that long distance phone number wasn't someone calling to ask for money for some cause or the other...It wasn't. It was RWA National calling to tell me Enemy Within had finaled in the Best First Book category. YAY! Shaking, I hung up and IM'd both waiting friends. Melinda initiated a video call so she could ask me exactly what had been said in the phone call. That's when the phone rang again. 8:09. The book had finaled in the Paranormal category, too. Melinda got to watch and listen while I took that call. WOO HOO! I am thrilled and excited and can't think straight.
Then I realized. I have no idea where along the Inside Passage the DH and I will be come late June...where the heck am I going to catch a flight to NYC for the RWA National Conference and the awards ceremony? Who cares?? I'll walk if I have to. Congrats to all the finalists! See you in NYC. Just promise to catch me if I pass out?