Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Few Thoughts . . . the Selah Awards edition



Let me welcome you to my first “A Few Thoughts” edition. Some (like today’s entry) will be more serious and thought provoking, but not all! I have future “thoughts” to share with you on everything from the NCIS season finale (sniff) to chocolate. If you enjoy these, please let me know!

Now…

I’d like to share a few thoughts with you today about the Selah Awards.
The Selah Awards are given each year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. They are awarded to books published during the previous calendar year. Selah Awards are given in nineteen categories.

I had no plans to enter Covert Justice in this or any other contest. My reasons included, “It’s my first book so it doesn’t have a prayer,” and “no one has ever heard of me” and the ever so fun, “I don’t want to waste money entering a contest I have 0% chance of winning.” 

My writing mentors tag teamed me one day and set me straight. They were quite persuasive and their threats logic convinced me that as an author, it is my job to promote my book in every way I can, including entering contests I have 0% chance of winning. ;) (When someone develops a sarcasm font, I’m going to be an early adopter).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my phone blew up with the news that Covert Justice was a finalist in the Mystery/Suspense category of the Selah Awards.

Covert Justice
I stared at my phone for quite a while before I actually believed it was true, even though my sources aren’t the kind of people to joke about something like that. Then I started giggling the way someone does who’s received a great shock and isn’t sure if they should laugh, cry, shout “Hallelujah,” or run away until it has all blown over.

Because now I had a problem. 
A big problem.
I don’t like competition. I’m the person who wishes everyone could win. Even in sporting events when I have a strong favorite, I always feel sorry for the losing team. :( 

But now, I have to go to a banquet and someone will read my name, and then in front of about 400 people I will find out whether or not Covert Justice actually won. 

I am not going to win. I am completely okay with that. The other two books in the category, No Place to Hide and Rodeo Rescuer, are both fabulous (yes, I've read them and so should you) and both were written by my friend and writing mentor, Lynette Eason. She is awesome. Seeing my name in the same category as hers makes my stomach turn flips. The phrase “it’s an honor to be nominated” has never made as much sense to me as it does now. 

But in the past few days, I’ve felt this gnawing (and, frankly, highly annoying) sense in my gut that I haven’t handled this well. Oh sure, I made a small announcement on Facebook. I put the “Selah finalist” logo on my blog page, and then I dropped it. 

I don’t like calling attention to myself. I don’t like being in the spotlight. I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

Anyone else seeing a problem here? 

There have been a lot of “I’s” in this post. 

Yes, I wrote the book.

But *I* am not now, nor have I ever been, responsible for it selling, for it reaching anyone’s heart, and most certainly not for it being a Selah finalist. 

When I keep quiet, I’m really only protecting myself and that comes straight from a place of pride.
What I should have been doing is sharing the great news with anyone and everyone who would listen! I should have been recounting the story—the way God impressed on me the idea to enter the Killer Voices contest, the way He enabled me to write more words than I’ve ever written in a few short months, the way He guided me through selling the book, signing with an agent, and all the crazy steps of the revision and editorial process that ultimately led to the book landing on shelves and in people’s homes.

Covert Justice is not mine. It is His. Any glory or praise Covert Justice receives is also not mine. It is His and His alone.
And I’ve been squelching it out of pride and my own insecurity.

It’s kind of late to do much about it other than send this post out into the world. The awards will be presented tonight and I will be there. I bought new shoes, had a pedicure, and even tried out some new sunless tanner. When I walk into the banquet and people acknowledge Covert Justice, my goal will be to point them to Jesus. To how amazing He is. To how blessed I am to get to have a tiny part in building His Kingdom by writing the stories that He gives me.

I’m not attending so I can soak up the attention and bask in my fifteen minutes of fame.
My prayer, my heart’s desire, is to be a reflection of my Savior. To make His name great and to spread His fame.

I covet your prayers—not that Covert Justice wins—but that God will be glorified.

Click to Tweet: A Few Thoughts on tonight's #SelahAwards2016 at #BRMCWC. 

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