A little backstory first:
On April 8th, I received the phone call from ACFW that I was a semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest. Just writing that sentence makes me giddy! Since our esteemed house guests were on their way (as well as my husband who's been out of town for two months), I'd actually been cleaning the toilet at the time. So there I was, toilet brush in one hand and my phone in the other. I almost didn't answer the call because I didn't recognize the number. Imagine!
Ane Mulligan's voice greeted me. I heard the words "American Christian Fiction Writer's" and "semi-finalist."
My senses heightened. The air around me shifted, just like crazy novelists like myself always say it does when something really important happens. "Really?" The word came out as a half-breath.
"Yes." There was happiness in her voice, and excitement too.
Tears welled in my eyes and spilled over. I tried to say something but couldn't. Finally I choked out a few words, "That's . . . so . . . wonderful." Unbridled joy welled up inside of me. You know how sometimes it seems like the tears you're crying are coming from a different place and not yourself? That's what it was like. Uncontrollable weeping for joy.
Ane told me a few other things, wished me well, and I hung up the phone. I kept on crying. I stared at myself in the mirror and I smiled. I saw my eyes widen and my brows furrowed in disbelief--two other body language tags we novelists are fond of.
I started cleaning the toilet again, because that's what sensible people do, right? I moved on to the sink, but by that time I could hardly see. I thought to myself, If I ever had any doubts about writing or that this was what I'm meant to do, they've all been washed away. And my tears kept washing, just like I was washing the floor.
I felt fully alive. There's a quote: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." On April 8th, that's what happened for me.
I don't know what God's ultimate plan is for my writing. All I know is that my hope is to be an instrument for Him. A scribe. That's what I try to be. And I do love to write. I love the places it takes me, and the things I discover about myself.
Even if I don't receive the phone call from ACFW on May 13th, saying that I've made it to the finals, I sure am thankful. I'm thankful that God looked down and paid a little extra attention to me, typing away. I imagine one corner of His lips tipping up in a smile. And then a little favor floated down in my direction.
From the ACFW email: "The attached press release has been forwarded to one of your local newspapers, The Gazette, on your behalf. Additionally, a specialized release has been sent to every major CBA literary agency and publishing house."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOCAL WRITER, BRANDY VALLANCE, SEMI-FINALIST IN PRESTIGIOUS INDUSTRY FICTION WRITING CONTEST
writer Brandy Vallance received the honor of semi-finalist in the prestigious Genesis Contest, American Christian Fiction Writers' respected contest for unpublished writers. Since its inception in 2002, the Genesis Contest (originally named the Noble Theme) has been the leading fiction contest for unpublished Christian writers. “The Genesis is the premier contest in the Christian Booksellers Association for the unpublished. It's THE place to get noticed by a publisher.” – Colleen Coble, CEO of ACFW. Colorado Springs, CO
With over 550 entries in this year’s contest, making the 117 semi-finalists list is a noteworthy
accomplishment. Vallance is a semi-finalist in the Historical Romance category. Winners will be announced on September 24, 2011 during the awards event at the ACFW Annual Conference in
. St Louis, Missouri
ACFW notes that over the life of the contest, a significant number of Genesis finalists have gone on to publication. "Among them are authors who are now multi-published, and whose books appear consistently on CBA and ECPA bestseller lists, and those whose published works receive recognition through readers' choice and industry-awarded honors. That speaks highly of the role of the Genesis Contest in helping launch author careers."
"Writers looking to break into publishing need every advantage they can gain in the pursuit of a contract. When an agent sees 'Genesis finalist' or 'Genesis winner' in a writer's proposal, it means something: This is a manuscript that deserves a closer look." – Rachelle Gardner, WordServe Literary Group
“ACFW's Genesis Contest is a springboard to a writing career in Christian fiction, and winning the Genesis Award against such an impressive pool of talented writers is, in my opinion, a great accomplishment. I can't think of a better way to jumpstart a writing career than to be a finalist in the Genesis Contest.” – Julie Gwinn, Fiction Manager, B&H Publishing Group
"We've watched the Genesis Contest grow from being a start-up operation to the well-respected event it is today. We think the Genesis Contest is a good place for beginning authors to dive in and get started." – Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Agency
For More Information Contact: Camy Tang, ACFW Genesis Contest Coordinator