Novel is a Winner!

I received some very good news today that I have been awaiting with bated breath.

I entered my novel in a competition sponsored by Southwest Writers, a big writers' group based in New Mexico. The competition requires the submission of the first twenty pages of the novel, plus a one-page synopsis. Agents and editors judge the contest, and people enter from all over the country.

The way they run the contest is by first announcing that three finalists have placed in each category, then holding a banquet in September to reveal which of the finalists has received first, second, or third place.
Here's the letter I opened just now:

Congratulations! You are a winner in the Southwest Writers competition. Your contest entry was selected from among hundreds of entries and ranked as either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the category you entered. You will join an impressive list of writers having attained this status. Please share this exciting moment with us on Saturday, September 22, 2007. We will dine at the _______ Hotel at ____________, at 1:00pm.

I am also going to win a small cash prize, but that really doesn't matter to me. There are only a few moments in life when you get to enjoy the feeling of achieving a dream. Writing is a solitary activity, and it means everything to have those hours of work produce something that other people will enjoy, and, I hope, even find uplifting.