Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lightning Strikes - Twice!

The craziest thing happened last Friday morning.

It was RITA and Golden Heart Call Day - a date which I have celebrated annually ever since I became a Ruby back in 2009 with my Golden Heart final.  My folks and I were in Ohio visiting my gran for an early 89th Birthday celebration (her actual bday is this Sunday), so we were hanging out and chatting in their hotel suite while I watched the RITA nominations go out, hoping to see some friends popping up on the list.  I had entered, but I wasn't nervous really because I didn't have any expectations for myself - though I had jokingly (okay, semi-jokingly) informed my folks that they would have to take me out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants to console me later.

I had popped over to the Ruby blog to cheer on the finalists announcing they'd just gotten The Call when the craziest thing happened. 

I got an email.

You were expecting me to say my phone rang, weren't you?  Nope.  My big moment came when I saw an email from fellow Ruby and current RWA President Diane Kelly.  Asking me if I was awake.  Telling me to call her if I was.  (I'm Alaskan, so if I'd been at home I would have been asleep for several hours more.)

I stared.  I stood up.  I sat down. I stood up again.  I announced to my parents, "Something just happened.  Diane Kelly just asked me if I'm awake.  There is only one reason she would ask that today."  Then I burst into tears.

I took about thirty seconds to calm down - my mom might have hugged me, my dad might have wondered about my sanity - then I called Diane.  And she confirmed it with the most beautiful words in the world: Double Finalist.

Mid-Length Contemporary Romance, for my Lizzie Shane books Romancing Miss Right and Falling for Mister Wrong.

There was more crying.  There was laughing.  There was me trying desperately to keep it together and not babble.  When I got off the phone I told my parents, "I'm a Double Finalist."  And I completely lost it.

I am not, under normal circumstances, a big crier.  But as I called and texted and emailed my nearest and dearest to share the news, I cried the whole dang time.  Apparently, that kind of validation flooding your system can be pretty overwhelming.

A little over an hour later, I got to go tell my grandmother in person - who is one of my most devoted readers and staunch supporters.  It couldn't have been more perfect.

My (incredible, amazing, supportive, brilliant) parents did take me to dinner at Mezzo that night, along with my aunt who has beta read everything I've ever written, but it wasn't a consolation.  It was euphoria.

It still feels like a dream.  An honor so big I can't make sense of it.  But I plan to enjoy every second of it.