So there I was - innocent as a lamb - noodling on the Net when along came an e-mail that set my world spinning.
But wait, I'm sorry. I need to back up a pace or two and catch you up. I need to fill you in on the complete picture of my life at a most extraordinary moment in time.
My son and his wife had just arrived in town for the holidays. My daughter had also just arrived home from Michigan State University. My hubby and our entire family were camped out in the kitchen, making traditional Christmas Sugar cookies (Grandma DeCou's recipie...Yum-Yum...!) for Christmas Eve festivities in a couple of days. A sudden comment came from my son, Dan. "Mom, while Mary's out for a minute, can you show me the top you got her for Christmas? I think I may have gotten her the same thing. I want to make sure my gift is different from yours."
The top in question was already wrapped and under the tree, but I since I had ordered the item on line, I had an e-mail confirmation from the company, complete with a photograph of the item.
"Sure - " I answered. "Come on over to the computer. I'll show you there."
Okay, question. Busy as we were (cookie dough waited - as did green and red sprinkles and multi-colored sugar-balls...) why did everyone follow? Why? Because a God moment was brewing, and God knows exactly what He's doing. Always.
I paged through my e-mails and as I hunted down and opened the confirmation notice Dan wanted to see, I also noticed a new, unopened missive that made my heart pound. The sender was Nicola Martinez, Editor in Chief of White Rose Publishing. The subject line: Hearts Crossing Contest Entry.
I passed it by. I didn't want to click the 'open' button at all. In fact, I showed Dan the picture of my gift item - found out duplication was no longer an issue - then took a deep breath and logged off my e-mail account.
Here's my justification: Just days away from welcoming 14 family members to my home on Christmas Eve, I didn't want to find out I had lost the Hearts Crossing writing contest sponsored by White Rose Publishing. I was happy and content. I didn't want anything to interfere with that fact. When you don't "know" there's always hope, right?
You see, this contest meant a great deal to me. For quite a while now, I've wanted to break into the Christian inspirational market, and White Rose has a strong, growing reputation in the industry. So, the contest, which I entered back in September, was a wonderful opportunity to do just that - but at the same time, I was realistic enough to realize victory was beyond my wildest hopes. After all, a lot of incredibly talented people were vying for the grand prize - a book contract with the publisher.
So, I figured the e-mail would read something like: "Thank you so much for entering the contest. While your submission featured many appealing elements, the competition was very tight, and we regret to inform you that..."
Yeah -- you get the drift.
When I turned away from the computer, I caught my husband's eye and he could tell something was up just by looking at me. All I said to him was, "I think the verdict is in on Hearts Crossing." Steve sweats and bleeds publication issues right along with me - a partner in the best sense of the word. Unfailingly supportive he said, "Well, come on! Open it up! Let's find out!"
I was, shall we say, somewhat less enthusiastic. In fact, I was nervous as all get out. I even explained all the reasons why I avoided opening the e-mail. His answer to that somewhat psychotic behavior? "Marianne. Really. If you win, we're all here around you. If you've lost, we're all here around you. What more could you ask for?"
Dang he's smart sometimes!
I huffed and I sat, opening up my e-mail once more. Another deep breath later I clicked on the e-mail from Nicola. As it opened, Steve quipped, "Hey, it'll probably say Congratulations or something!"
First word of the e-mail? "Congratulations..."
I have to confess, and don't tell Nicola this, but, initially, I didn't read much beyond that first word. I burst into tears. Meanwhile, Steve and the kids burst into whoops and cheers. What a thrill! What an honor! I found myself blessed by such an incredible moment, and I got to share with the ones I love so much, and who have supported me through all the inevitable rejections and sad times that also come along quite frequently in the world of publishing.
The tentative release date for Hearts Crossing is January 29th. Below is a video trailer for the book. Also, if you visit my website: http://www.marianneevans.com/ you can read a blurb and excerpt!
Please stop by, enjoy the read, and leave a comment on my guest book. I'm eager to know what you think!