Okay, I’m back! And guess what – I WON! I won First in Category for the Paranormal Award at the Chanticleer Authors Conference (#CAC18). Can you believe it? I can’t, because this rarely happens to me. I often get close, but no cigar. Truthfully, I’m stunned! I honestly believe Virtuous Souls deserves recognition, and I want it out in the world, so I’m thrilled! Nothing else I say really matters, but I’ll jabber on anyway.
After attending the conference, I understand why the Chanticleer team liked my manuscript – they are my manuscript—a little rough on the outside with a lot of good beneath the surface. I’m sure many of them have seen great writers overlooked and now they’re out to save squealing lambs from an untimely slaughter. Thank god for them. In a world where people care more about marketing over substance, they look for quality. I like that.
I enjoyed the conference. I’ve been to lots of conferences in my 30 years in higher education – not all of them were captivating. This time I was engaged, got some ideas, learned some new tricks, jotted down a few phrases, and met some people. I even got a bit intimidated. Can we please stop talking about Stephen King! I will never write like Stephen King!
One last thought. I know I’m not supposed to say this, but it’s the truth. I was thrilled that I won the award. I was happy that people read my book and loved it. Today, authors HAVE to find a way to stand out. I’m glad I went. I’ve wanted to be recognized for my efforts, something that rarely happens in academia. But, I still felt bad for the people who lost and the family members and friends who had to console them. Is that pathetic? I always thought I’d enjoy this type of recognition even though competition makes me uncomfortable. Now I know my discomfort holds true, even when I win. I’m trying to decide; does this make me super sensitive or just plain crazy? Is this a gender thing? Can the fear of losing outweigh the potential thrill of winning for those of us who want community and believe competition can upset the balance? But then, how do you sort out the good from the bad, reward talent and hard work, and still support community?
In the SciFi panel I joined on the first day of the conference, one audience member said it best. “Good science fiction always addresses one of the important questions.” And, I’ll add, “In the best science fiction, there are no answers.” For now, I’m going to enjoy a sweet victory!