Just landed in Denver for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference, where I get to do a little teaching and writing and bookselling and a lot of learning, and where my good friend CRAIG HOLT’S novel HARD DOG TO KILL is a finalist in the Colorado Gold Writing Competition!
Since I was a finalist already, I knew this was either going to be good news (that I didn’t place in the contest, but I could be happy to be a finalist), or astounding news (that I’d placed).
“Are you ready?” she said. “Your story is one of the winners!”
I’m not sure what she said after that. Something about this being the biggest quarter in the history of the contest (8,000 plus submissions?) and how they were flying me and the other eleven winners (three for each quarter) to LA in April for an all-expense-paid week of workshops and parties and classes with instructors like Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth, and guests like Larry Niven, Ken Scholes, Robert Sawyer and Mike Resnick.
I’m still stunned just thinking about it. And yes, I’m incredibly excited.
I couldn’t get to sleep that night. I had to step out for a walk. I felt, and still feel, overwhelmingly grateful. I am so thankful that something in my story caught someone’s eye. I know how subjective story judging is. There were surely stories better written, funnier, smarter, sexier. But someone noticed something in mine that set it apart, and I thank my good angels for that.
The Conference is the Real Prize
Yes, there is a generous cash prize, and yes, they publish the twelve winning stories in an anthology. But the real prize is the conference and the intangibles of learning and exposure that week.
A 2010 Winner Explains the Benefits of the Contest and Conference
Brad Torgersen wrote a complete breakdown of the value of the contest and all of its intangibles on his website, here.
Thank you, Writers of the Future! : )
A week ago last night, I learned that my fantasy novel, The Jack of Souls, won the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s unpublished novel competition for the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. I’m just getting over the shock, so I feel I can post it.
The announcement ran after they cleared plates from the awards dinner at the conference. Before announcing winners, they announced the names of all eight finalists and their novels, ala Oscars format.
It took a long time. Cruelly, they served no wine at the tables.
As they listed each finalist and the title of their novel, I imagined a door of probability slowly closing. Six years ago I submitted to the contest and didn’t even make the finalists, so now with each finalist name, it seemed the door closed a little more. When they announced the second place winner, only a crack of light remained, so it was extremely surreal when they announced my name next and I saw The Jack of Souls on the screen.
I rose and accepted the award and sat again. I know this because I found myself at the dinner table with the same people I’d eaten with, the award folder in my hands.
Here’s the link to the results of all the category winners for the competition:
An agent/editor party followed, where I met some fun and interesting people including the agent who judged the contest. Good things in the offing!