Got a call yesterday from Andi Leroy, Paranormal Category coordinator, at Valley Forge Romance Writers. HELL TO PAY is a finalist! Holy smokes! I had to confirm receipt of the finalist status by today, which I did. But it almost didn't happen. I was backpacking this weekend in a wilderness area (obviously without internet access). Due to misadventures including 20 degree nighttime temps in a 30 degree bag (that's a bad combo), high altitude sickness (we forgot to "hike high, sleep low" and did the exact opposite because, well, we're idiots), and hubby's utter boredom with glorious nature sans hot showers, we returned home a day or so early. So when I got Andi's call, it was serendipitous to be home! And I almost didn't pick up the phone with the Pennsylvania area code -- had to be a wrong number, right? Telemarketer or something. Nope. Real deal.
This finalist status is the closest I've gotten with HELL TO PAY. It's been a real labor of love, and I've worked for over 2 years on it, taken it through numerous exhausting full edits, and I'm just doggone proud of the final result. My hope is that someone else will like it. I knew I was getting close when I missed the cutoff for Golden Heart by half a percentage point. Close, so close! But so many authors get close. We'll see if I make contact with the brass ring at some point….
So I'll get the judge comments tomorrow and will have 1 week to edit and resubmit for a big-J Judge to review. Nail biter for sure, but at least I'm in the top 5 and that's at least a step in the right direction.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.