by Tawny Weber
Today is Friday the Fourteenth. Ahhh, yes, we just escaped that dreaded Friday the Thirteenth by one day. Whew. The only thing worse could have been the thirteenth, filled with black cats, spilled salt and ladders to walk under. Ack - total bad luck! Are you superstitious? My first response would be to say, no I'm not. I love Friday the Thirteenth. Its always been lucky for me (got a fab kiss from my crush one memorable 13th), I have three black cats and spill things all the time. Then I realized I actually AM superstitious. Just not with traditional superstitions.
For instance, I used a very special pen to sign my first Harlequin contract. A gift from some amazing writers who I love to pieces, it's engraved with my sale date and title. It was a ritual of delight, as I filled the gorgeous purple fountain pen with ink, signed that page, then toasted with champagne. Now, my second Harlequin contract I couldn't find the pen. We'd built new cabinets and I knew it was in there somewhere, but had no clue where... so I went ahead and signed the contract with a plain ole pen. The results? Not nearly as positive as the first round. Insane line edits, an early release that affected numbers, promotion challenges... you name it. Let me tell ya, with my third contract due to arrive in the mail any day now, my purple pen is sitting right here on my desk, full of ink and waiting!
Another of my personal superstitions? Pajamas. Really!! The first year I finaled in the Golden Heart, back in 2004, I was still in my jammies on my way to get dressed having given up on getting a call, when the phone rang. 2005, I had just gotten up, still in my jammies when that GH call came in. 2006 the GH call woke me up! I was in my pajamas when I got THE CALL from my editor offering to buy Double Dare, and again when my agent offered me representation. I've always wondered if I'd have won at least once if I'd worn my pj's to the award ceremony.
Before I sold, I was a total contest diva. I always color coordinated my entry, so the rubber band matched the clip, which matched the colored paper between the entry and synopsis. Which color depended on which manuscript it was -each had their own "feel" and was coordinated accordingly. (Hmmm, maybe this post is simply letting everyone know I'm a little crazy, rather than an ode to superstitions).
In a week and a half, the Golden Heart and RITA calls will go out. How many of us will sit there, waiting by the phone with a rabbit's foot clenched in our fist, or a four leaf clover held between our fingers? Me, I'll be in my jammies, of course.
Do you have any superstitions that are yours alone? Any special steps or rituals you follow? How does that work for you? Have you ever skipped it and regretted it? If so, do you think the power of your superstition (mind over matter... you think something bad is going to happen and your belief creates the result) plays into the results, or are you like me and my special pen, and realize how vital that superstition is after the fact?