With my literary agent, Rachelle Gardner.
Last night at the ACFW awards ceremony my name was called for the historical romance category of the Genesis. I WON!!! That still hasn't sunk in 100%. It was one of those moments you imagine a million times but are sure isn't going to happen. You want it to happen so much but you're afraid to hope.
As I made my way to the stage all I could think was Really, God? You chose me? In my mind He smiled in that way He always does just for me. I got the impression of an answer. It was, Yes. REALLY, Brandy. I think He also gave me a laugh that was full of joy. He's the best at keeping secrets and is a fan of the "big reveal." Speaking from experience here. :-)
Earlier that day I was sick with nerves. I couldn't eat. I couldn't concentrate. I actually had to go up to my room and give myself a firm talking to. My friend, Carla Laureano, came up and sat with me for a little while. I call her Metro because she's so stylishly modern, as I could never be. You should see the height of the heels that girl can wear! She used to be a professional ballet dancer, so I suppose she can handle the pain. She calls me Vintage, and rightfully so. We're good at talking each other off the ledge in a pinch. Since the announcement in May that we were Genesis finalists there have been a lot of late night Facebook chats between the two of us. We talk about the publishing industry. And life. And lots of whatever.
You know what the best moment was last night? After I stepped off the stage and had my picture taken, Rachelle Gardner jumped up in a crowd of 800 people and came running toward me. She gave me the biggest hug and said, "I'm so proud of you, Brandy." Repeat: Rachelle Gardner said that she was proud of ME. Talk about a surreal moment. I think she may have actually kept me from collapsing onto the floor.
I have watched Rachelle for three years and I can honestly tell you that she is always a woman of integrity. She's strong. And smart. Passionate about the dreams of her clients and fights hard for them. Besides that, she's friendly and always makes me feel welcome. If you were watching the live stream last night there's a reason you kept hearing her clients mentioning her name.
So, here I am sitting in the hotel room in Dallas thinking about all this. Tomorrow I fly home to Colorado and everything that is to come. I'm excited. And awed. And thankful. Mostly, I'm thinking about all my writing friends in all the various stages of publishing. You are all so brave and have tons of heart. I'm so proud to be in such honorable company. Don't ever doubt your gifts or minimize the importance of your stories. You matter. And your calling as a storyteller is a high one. Don't be afraid to write vulnerable. That's where the magic happens. I'm in awe that I got to experience some of that magic last night.