Winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Carol Award for Dauntless!!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Thoughts on Winning the Carol Award for YA Fiction

This was a pretty exciting week for me. On Saturday night I learned that I won the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writer's Carol Award in the Young Adult fiction category for Dauntless! For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's not quite the Oscars of the Christian fiction world (that would be the Christy), but it's definitely up there. Maybe the Golden Globes.

Those sorts of moments are always a bit overwhelming. Emotions run high, and it takes a while to sort everything out. But now that things have settled, I want to share how I'm feeling about it. 

1) My writing journey has been pretty bumpy lately. Sales haven't been what I hoped for and some of the reviews have been downright harsh. I love writing, but I was feeling like it wasn't loving me back very much. So this award means a lot. It means that my industry and the ACFW organization that mentored me said, "Job well done." That did my bruised writer's heart a world of good, and I'm incredibly grateful. 

2) I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't there for the presentation, but it just wouldn't have been financially or logistically wise for me to have traveled to Nashville this weekend. However, I feel like God orchestrated things so that I was with many of my closest friends here in Virginia (at an unrelated party) when I watched the live feed and learned I won. They whooped and hollered so loud that strangers down the street joined in just for fun :) That was awesome and made the evening very special even though I wasn't at the live event! I'm also blessed that I had a friend there to receive the award for me, and another who is delivering it home to me.

3) There's also a bittersweet side to this. I started two new jobs within the last year, which was very necessary for our family finances with two kids in college, and I haven't had the mental energy to create entire worlds in my head anymore (a.k.a. write novels). This award is very encouraging, but right now I don't really know what my writing future holds. I realize some women work and raise a family and still find the time and energy to write, but evidently I'm not those women. I would appreciate prayers for guidance for my writing future. I hope to get back to it if and when God moves on my heart with a new story idea and opens the opportunity for me to work on it.

The good news is that I still have a novella coming out next month as a part of the Austen in Austin collection. I also have a nearly finished book 2 for my Deep Within series that I can potentially dust off and finally get out into the world. And I have an idea for a nonfiction book, which might prove a little less grueling to write than a novel. 

As I mentioned in my acceptance speech, God has been my writing partner in this journey, and I couldn't have done it without Him. I'll just have to continue to trust in Him as I move forward from here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Valiant Heroines: Simone Biles

All female Olympians certainly deserve the title of valiant heroines: young women who have faced and overcome nearly impossible odds. This year there are many who deserve great honor, including Simone Manuel, who was the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming, which is quite a testament after the sad history of African-Americans and public swimming pools. And of course the entire U.S. female gymnastics team has been amazing this year.

But I especially enjoyed the story of the amazing Simone Biles. This three time world champion and now 2016 Rio Olympics all-around gold medalist started life in a difficult place. I love her spirit and her courage, and as you might have guessed from my book Dauntless, I love gymnastics too. Enjoy watching Simone's story.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Signing Fun!

Fun news for those in Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas! I'll be signing books at the Hampton Barnes and Noble on Friday, September 12, from 5-8. Hope to see you there. Plan to hang out for a while and chat. Click here for map.

I'll look something like this.