It's late and I'm shutting down lights and headed upstairs. You know, the usual end-of-day Daddy stuff. Everyone else is fast asleep having gone to bed hours before. Locating my wayward phone, I notice two things. A critically low battery and a voice message. Nothing major. The battery is always seems low - damned smartphone. The message? Probably just the automated school alert system telling me Augusta County Schools would be enjoying a two-hour delay come morning. This would cap off the last two days the kids just spent at home from school due to almost inclement weather. Call it a nice gentle return to the academics and athletics provided by our local schoolers.
In the message, Ms. Joni Labaqui, Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests Director, apologized for the lateness of the hour but figuring, wisely and correctly, I wouldn't mind, considering the subject of the call. She wasn't calling to tell me about my local schools at all. The news was about my entry into the writers side of the contest. You know the one. L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest. Yeah, that's the one.
When I woke at the bottom of the stairs (Note: Falling down the stairs is a metaphor. No VA-based finalists were actually injured as a result of this voice message) I continued on to bed where, rumor has it, I was able to sleep. But you can't always trust rumors, which is why they get a bad rap.
A half-day later when time zones caught up to us again, Ms. Labaqui informed me that I was a finalist in this quarter's contest!
I've entered the contest before. Several times. A couple of my stories received no response. A couple of others, honorable mentions. If my sources are correct, about 10% of entries get honorable mentions. Those are great encouragement too. The knowledge that you're moving in the right direction sure gets you through those lonely hours at the keyboard.
She said eight stories, one of them mine, went to the four final judges who will pick the three winners. And (holy crap) looking down the roster those judges are selected from is enough to give butterflies to any stomach. (Note: This is not a metaphor. Looking down that list is literally enough to materialize fully-formed Lepidopterans from the quantum foam directly into your digestive system.) (Additional note: Do not include references to the digestive system in future posts. It's kinda gross.)
Ms. Labaqui expected to have results to us in the next few days and its already Thursday.
Today eight finalists are wondering who will be selected for those three spots.
And I'm one of them. Pretty damned cool.
Fingers crossed and best of luck to my fellow finalists.
|Art by the amazing Frankie Forzoni|