Arthur and I went back to his room -- the useless irritant in the shape of a cat came in and made some noises to induce awakeness and I induced her to leave the room.
Arthur was just falling asleep when I got another phone call. "This better be Writers of the Future," I groused as I walked to the phone. It WAS.
Joni Labaqui introduced herself and I took a few deep breaths and told her I was sitting. I was steeling myself to hear that I was going to remain a finalist, so my brain stopped working after she said, "I'm pleased to tell you you've won ..." I probably said, "This is really exciting!" fifty times. Joni wanted to know if I was a Wordo and I told her I was the chair. I did have enough presence of mind to ask her when I could blog the news and to ask her what story rights I was selling.
So what this means is that I win a cash prize of $500 and Galaxy Press will pay me to print my story in the Writers of the Future XXIII Anthology. I haven't seen the contract, yet -- Joni runs the contest, and Galaxy Press does the publishing -- so I don't know what the rate is, but I've heard that it's in the high end of the professional range (five to ten cents a word) for first international rights. (First rights means that I can sell the story again -- say, if someone like Ellen Datlow likes it so much that she wants to buy it.) Sometime in the middle of August I'll be flown to (probably) LA for a week-long writer's intensive workshop. I'll get to meet folks like K.D. Wentworth, Tim Powers, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card, and a slew of folks listed here at http://www.writersofthefuture.com/judges.htm. It will be a little bit like a Wordos session, only all day every day for a week and with marketing tips. One of the Illustrators of the Future will be chosen to illustrate my story and I'll get to see the art. My understanding is that for a week I'll be treated a little like a rock star, with at least one limousine ride to a wine-and-dine event ("Oh, you'll hate that, John" said Mark when I told him). I have to scare up a tuxedo or rent one.
...And then there will be book signings and "meet the author" events once I get back to Eugene. I imagine that I'll be teaming up with fellow Wordo Damon Kaswell a lot since we'll be in the same anthology and with previous Wordos finalists for other WOTF events in the Willamette Valley.
This is my first story sale, so I'll probably photocopy my check. I also get a reallly cool Lift Off Award from the Wordos. Off to write a writer's bio -- I can't decide if I should use this