I am awaiting my fate. In one more week, I shall Know.
My fate in the 2011 RITAs, that is.
The RITA is the Romance Writers of America's big annual award for published authors, equivalent to a Nebula in science fiction/fantasy or an Edgar for mystery writers. I entered The Sergeant's Lady in the Historical Romance category, and it's also eligible for Best First Book. The scores have already been turned in to the RWA office (first-round judges are fellow authors), and the finalists will be announced on the 25th. A week from today. Board members call the finalists, and throughout the morning the blogosphere and the twitterverse are humming as people squee over having gotten The Call. Then, at 2 PM RWA time, high noon my time, the whole list is posted on the RWA site.
This is my first year in the RITAs, since The Sergeant's Lady is my first published book. But I entered the Golden Heart, the equivalent contest for unpublished romance writers, three or four times on my journey to publication. So I know what I will be doing next Friday morning. Because of the time zone factor, calls can go out pretty early for us West Coast women. So the phone will be on the bathroom counter while I take a super-quick shower, its ringer turned to its highest volume. If I take the bus to work, the phone will be in my hand the whole time. If I drive, it will be on the seat beside me--and should it ring, I can't promise to obey the local law against talking while driving.
At the office, the phone will sit on my desk. I will warn my husband not to call me on my cell phone--if he needs to reach me, Gmail text or my work number are better, since I won't be, like, disappointed it's just him. I will have vowed the night before not to look at romance blogs or my twitter feed until after noon. Oh, no indeed. I will be a busy little worker bee.
I will break that vow. I will not be able to resist checking at least every 20-30 minutes to see if anyone from my categories has been called yet.
And if I do get that call? It'll be a first, since I never finaled in the Golden Heart, but I figure I'll do my best imitation of Felix Hernandez striking out the side against the Yankees. If I had a cheering section, I might be tempted to do a Cam Newton, but that'd look a little odd in the office, methinks. I'll then call my husband, email my critique group, tweet the news, congratulate all the other finalists I know, and break my diet with a celebratory lunch at that awesome Indian place around the corner.
And if, as is statistically far more likely, I don't final? Well, I'll feel disappointed. I'm terribly competitive, and I wouldn't have entered if I didn't think I had at least a tiny chance. So I'll probably take a few minutes to feel sorry for myself, then congratulate all my friends who made it through (and whom I'll be cheering for at the awards ceremony in NYC this summer!)...and go drown my sorrows in a diet-breaking consolatory lunch at that awesome Indian place around the corner. Mmm, gulab jamun...