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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Week

It’s been nice knowing you. I hope you all have prosperous writing careers, and maybe mention me in your dedication someday. It can be something like this: To Mary, whose head exploded waiting for the Golden Heart calls.

The first time I entered the Golden Heart was in 2003. The morning of March 23rd (no, I didn’t remember, I had to look it up), one of my friends mentioned that the following week the calls would be going out. They’d be going out on Tuesday. I had kind of put it in the back of my head before that, but teased about taking Tuesday off to be home for the calls. (In those days, I would do anything not to go to work.) I turned away from the computer, told my husband the calls would be going out the following week and I’d be depressed.

Less than an hour later I got a call.

I don’t even remember what the woman said. I had only entered one ms, Hot Shot, and it had made it. My head was buzzing. I would be published. I was on my way. I joined the 2003 loop, found wonderful friends, but still went to NY with no pink ribbon.

In 2004, I entered Hot Shot and another ms that had done really well in contests, Where There’s Smoke. The day before the calls, I told the secretary at school that I MIGHT get a call, and if I did, please call me to the phone.

She forgot.

I was music teacher in those days, and (I hope no one from my district is reading this) in between the classes that day I would run over to check eHarlequin, which had a GH board. I couldn’t check email, so this was the next best thing. The first person that morning to get a call was Stef Feagan, with her first Pink book. I got an email from Trish Milburn, and another from Emily McKay, and the secretary came over the intercom to say I’d gotten a phone call and the person would call back at 11.

It was 9:00.

I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but who else would call me at work? I had put some applications out for a new job (this was the horrible school) but surely fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to have them call me on the same day the GH calls were going out.

I continued checking the eHQ boards, cheering for the others, holding hope in my heart.

At 10:58 I was in the office, waiting for my phone call. It came ten agonizing minutes later. Hot Shot had finalled again. My primary emotion was relief. I wasn’t a one-hit wonder. I got through the rest of the day somehow and came home too party online with my friends.

In 2005, I didn’t enter Hot Shot. I entered two other books, Smoke again, and Beneath the Surface. I had mixed feelings the day the calls went out. It would be nice to final, but I really didn’t want all my family vacations to be about RWA conferences, so I told myself if I didn’t final, it was a sign.

I didn’t final. And that was okay. Everyone told me I was such a good sport and they couldn’t believe I could be so happy for them when I didn’t make it, but really, I was okay. (Until I saw the scores for Surface, which would have finalled if not for that SIX!) Seriously, not bitter.

This year is different.

I want this so bad. Both the books I entered had wonderful contest success (but so had Smoke, and it was always middling in the GH). I’m going to Atlanta anyway. And damn it, I was supposed to have my pink ribbon three years ago. If I can’t have a pink ribbon, I at least want another Golden Heart.

If I final, I know it won’t be the thrill it was the first time. I know the feeling will be more of relief. I know that finalling will mean more work – one of the books is halfway through revisions from my agent and she hasn’t even read the other one yet.

Okay, now that I’ve laid this all out here, I don’t want you feeling sorry for me if I don’t final. I know what the competition is like, I know the vagaries of contests. But I’m still going to be waiting for that call.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I woke up this morning and thought, "Only three more days."

I think I want this GH more than the first one, too.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

I'm thinking we've all got the jitters this week, that heightened level of anticipation. I keep wondering if I put my cell number on my entry forms because I won't be around my home phone that day. If I didn't and have to wait until I can get online at the end of the day to check out the list, I might be the one whose head explodes. (BTW, Mary, the opening of this post was hilarious.)

At 5:38 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

Thank God, Esri and Trish. I'm not alone! Trish, I'm wondering the same thing about my cell!!!

Good luck, ladies! May we be partying on Friday!

At 5:40 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

You know....I really thought there would be more responses to this. We're not the ONLY ones who can't get our minds off it.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

You're not the only ones with jitters. I didn't even enter, and I've got king-sized butterflies every time I think about it.

I'll be on the road most of Friday--sure hope I can check in and get some good news before I land in a weekend-long Internet free zone.

Good luck, ladies!

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Mary, no you aren't the only ones! I've been thinking about this all week too!
I entered A Reputable Rake in the Regency category of the Rita and The Marriage Bargain in Short Historical. And I really want to final!
I remember last year sitting at the computer all day HOPING. Waiting for the phone to ring.
On thing I know for sure--
You all are wonderful writers, good enough to final, good enough to sell to a publisher. It's this business that is so strange. You just have to have the right manuscript at the right time to the right editor. There's no way to predict how to do this so ---
Never Never Never Give Up (Winston Churchill)
and Diane

At 7:55 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

GOOD LUCK, Diane!!!! I know those books have been raking in the accolades, and I think in a way that's almost harder because of the high expectations.

Terry, you didn't enter? Had you already sold by the deadline? Hope we have good news for you Friday!

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

I sold in July, way before the deadline. And I'm not eligible for the Rita, 'cause my book isn't out until this year.

I thought I'd get a year off, just coast through all the contest nerves, but NOooOOooOOoo! I'm just as anxious as ever for everyone else!

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Congratulations again, Mary! Cute post and I'm so glad you finaled again! Have fun in Atlanta!


At 5:09 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

Thanks, Theresa!


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