If you saw the recent Daily Graphic article, you know that my novel, The Silver Suitcase, placed in the top five in the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, out of 110 competitors. Thank you to those who have so warmly congratulated me—it means more than I can express.
One of these five books will be published and the author awarded $20,000. To keep things suspenseful, the winner won’t be announced until February 16 at their writers’ conference in Denver. I cut the article out and stuck it to my fridge, yet I’m still having trouble believing it!
If this sounds déjà vu, it’s because last year I placed in the top ten. But by the time I left for the conference, I knew I was out of the running and could relax, more or less. This year I hadn’t planned to attend at all.
My plan was neat and tidy and sensible. I’d get my critique back, re-work the book again, and enter it for the third-time’s-a-charm next year. I would save up my money and vacation time. And my health would be back to normal. Yes sir, 2013 would be my year.
It seems God works on a different timetable. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more thrilled with this surprising top-five turn of events. But suddenly I was faced with the dilemma of whether to go to the conference. I had set aside neither money nor vacation time. My health issues require a daily nap lest by suppertime, I start curling up like an eight month-old fetus. And why on earth would someone with lung issues go anywhere near the mile-high city where every breath provides only half the oxygen you get at sea level?
Yet on the off-off-off-off chance I would win and not be there… well, how crazy is that? And what if I don’t place next year? And what if my health only gets worse instead?
I can work myself into a pretty good stew.
Friends and family were telling me to go. My husband practically threatened to toss me in a snow bank if I didn’t. Then my 80-year old mother offered to come along, “if you think it would help." The same day, two different friends posted two different scripture verses within minutes of each other. Neither intended it specifically for me. These two do not know each other and I am their only mutual friend. The first was Isaiah 31:1. “Woe to those who… rely on horses…and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not seek help from the Lord.” The other was Psalm 33:17. "A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.”
What does any of this have to do with horses? Nothing, except metaphorically. I was definitely trusting in the wrong things and forgetting where true strength comes from.
So, you guessed it—I’m going. And so is Mom. Maybe she’ll get fired up to write a sequel to her autobiography. Maybe I’ll find a publisher and maybe I won’t. Maybe an agent will take me on, or maybe I’ll spend the three days curled up like a fetus.
And just maybe this is more about making memories with my mother than it is about any silly book. Stay tuned.