Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Very Special Christmas Eve Surprise

Less than an hour before our Christmas Eve celebration was slated to begin, I took a break from my busy preparations to check my email messages. An unfamiliar name and intriguing "Contest Entry" subject line caught my eye. One click later, it caught my breath.

My contemporary romance, Season of Surrender, made the final round of the Phoenix Rattler, Does Your Story Have Bite? contest! (See the www.edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/ for a list of finalists.) Wow! With Christmas decorating (40,000 thousand lights or thereabouts) and party hosting in full swing from the time I submitted my entry until the third week of December, I'd forgotten all about the contest.

My first reaction was to read the message again. Much slower this time. Then I wanted to holler the news to my daughters. But I decided to wait until the whole family was present.

When the nine of us sat around the dining room table, I raised my glass of sparkling grape juice and offered a toast. "I have an announcement," I said. Their faces lit up with curious interest. I knew they wondered what in the world I would say next. So I paused a few seconds to heighten the moment, and then quietly let out my secret. "I'm a finalist in a fiction contest."

Their reaction was spontaneous, unanimous, and loud. From all the shouting and cheering, you'd have thought their favorite teams just won the superbowl. It stunned me more than the email had, and wrapped a band of warmth around my heart.

The hoopla has passed now. But I look forward to updating my bio to include: Phoenix Rattler contest finalist. Yay! And I'm eagerly awaiting the feedback from the contemporary fiction judge, Melissa Endlich of Harlequin. Whether I win or not, what an awesome opportunity. Thanks, Lord.

My congratulations and best wishes to all the other finalists. I know we can't all win, but I pray the Lord uses this competition to further His plan for each one of us for His glory. In Jesus' name.