Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So...I got this Email....

So. I have this Blackberry phone that I got last week after leaving my nice LG Chocolate phone on a Delta aeroplane. I'm an audio person. I like to have my phone make different noises when I get messages and phone calls. I have this little 'chirp' that it does when someone Instant Messages me. At 3:02 a.m. I heard that chirp. I'm a light sleeper, it woke me up.

I do have a point. Bear with me.

I had gone to bed fairly early. I haven't been sleeping well and I was tired. I had spent the evening watching House and 24 and resolutely tried not to be glued to my email and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award message boards. You see, yesterday was the date they were notifying the quarterfinalists. I had made a vow that I would be ok with the outcome because just the fact I had enough novels finished and edited that I could choose which one to submit was an accomplishment. I felt pretty good.

By the time I went to bed at 11 p.m. EST, ABNA administration had still not notified us. I decided that I'd wait until the morning. Then, at 3:02 a.m., I woke up to check because of my Blackberry chirping. It turned out that it was a spammer. At least I think it was; I didn't recognize the weird number attached to the request and anyone who knows me should know that at 3:02 a.m. I'm not really in the mood to chat on my Blackberry because, you know, I'm sleeping. It's quite a common thing to do at that time of night, believe it or not.

However, while I was groggily looking at my Blackberry, I decided to check my email. I had an email from ABNA. I skimmed it, thinking it was a rejection. Then after I'd closed it, it occurred to me that the word "happy' had been used. I was pretty certain that the ABNA administration wasn't sadistic enough to say they were happy to reject me so I read it again. Yes, ABNA administration is pleased to inform me I MADE THE TOP 500 quarterfinalists! Even if the 10,000 entry limit hadn't been reached, I had managed to get through on my pitch and then, when given to reviewers to read, they liked it. They even compared me to Neil Gaiman. If you read my blog regularly, you'll know I love Neil Gaiman's writing. He's my favourite writer aside from J.K. Rowling.

Needless to say, at the moment, I'm on cloud 9. I didn't expect this. My optimist glass is worn a little thin these days and I find myself relying on the pessimist glass instead. I think this means I get to throw that one away for a while and get a new half-full one. I actually submitted under a pseudonym as an experiment. I'm going by Sam Hoffmann, and my book is a fantasy entitled "Sleep". It's open to customer reviews so if you get a chance, pop on and read my excerpt. You can view it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UG3CFS .

I don't think I have to tell you I'm in shock. I am. I'm also ridiculously happy. I am sad for those that didn't make the cut though; from what I read, there was some tremendous competition and I'm honestly flattered and honoured that my entry was selected. I'm sure there were some great entries that slipped through the cracks. I was one of those last year and I know that feeling of deflated disappointment. I refuse to be superior and say I'm better. I'm not. More than anything, I feel like I won a raffle; my number was picked and I won a prize. I think good writing is involved but one thing I've learned since I started seriously writing and trying to get published is that I'm one of millions of good writers who are struggling to get read.

I will say that it really is about perseverence. I've whined about giving up writing a few times in this blog but when it comes down to it, I don't think I can. It's such a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I never like rollercoasters until I'm on one. I usually panic, kick up a stink and make myself nervous the whole way through the line waiting to ride. Then, as soon as it starts moving, I realize I do like that adrenaline rush a lot; it makes me feel alive

For me, this is my very first success with fiction. Even if I don't go further, I got this far. I got a review of a book I wrote that made me feel like a real writer. I got compared to Neil Gaiman. To me, that's a success in itself. I won't lie and say I don't want to make the next round, I do. Badly. Yet if I don't, I have something to boost me when I'm down. I've said all along that when success does comes for me, I'll appreciate more because of my struggle to get it. It's true. At the moment, I can't figure out who to thank at the moment, God, my mum, my sister, my friends and the strangers who've read my blog and offered me words of support. So I'll thank all of them/you. It's that kind of day.

Happy Tuesday.


Samantha Elliott said...

Congrats, Cap'n! I'll be rooting for you from the sidelines, and I'm super excited to get a chance to read your excerpt!


frydzz said...

So awesome....congrats! :-)

Cindy said...

I'm not surprised, I knew it was just a matter of time. :) And I'm glad it's "Sleep," I wanted to read more of it.

teacherwriter said...

Props to you! That is so exciting. And I can relate to the struggle, keeping upbeat, etc. I will definitely get on to read and review your excerpt. Good luck in the coming months. Onward and upward!

K. Long, a fellow ABNA contestant