As you know, Bob, one of my werewolf stories made Finalist for Q4 at Writers of the Future. I've been waiting for four weeks to find out the results. I knew the call had to come soon...
The handsome and hard-working Eric James Stone had his "Unforgettable" book launch last night, which I attended. Scott Parkin saw me and asked "Did you get the call yet?" I answered in the negative, and he commiserated with me for a moment before going back to where he'd been.
Ten seconds later (like, literally), my phone rings.
"Hi, Julie." I've spoken with Joni all of three times in my entire life. I still recognized her voice. She sounded happy.
Therefore I refrained from saying "Hi, Joni, just tell me I didn't win." Instead I said "Hi, Joni." I'm pretty sure I already started bouncing, though I tried to contain myself.
"You won. Third place."
I have often described characters feeling "like a marionette with cut strings." I've never actually felt like that... until last night. I, uh, held myself up on a handy shelf. I told her how shocked I was to win with this story, because of Dave's famous werewolf hate, and she said "I guess he liked this one!"
And so did the rest of the judges.
I swear I wrote this as part of a Codex prompt; I finished it in February 2015, and I remember the idea being something about abysses (Weekend Warrior? Anyway, it ended up being too long to actually enter, and I'm not sure I finished it in time in any case), but I cannot for the life of me remember anything else. I actually ended up revising it for the Contest with Dave's sensibilities in mind, expanding it and changing the ending to something a little less-- okay, a lot less depressing. Especially in light of what he said about about my last Finalist, which was "is it a story about a werewolf, or is it a story about belonging?" Well, that first one wasn't, particularly, at least not in my mind, but this one definitely is.
There were a bunch of people I knew at the book launch, of course, because the Utah writing community is vast, and they were all super happy for me. Utah has a ridiculous proportion of winners, as well--four of us were there. We took a picture. It was awesome.
SO. ANYWAY. I'M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD. DO THE DANCE OF JOY WITH ME.