As all serious, semi-serious, and even hobbist writers know, you can put your writing out there for years, and see it blow away in a sour gust of hot air caused by a million sighs of the unimpressed. That’s why even the slightest encouragement, be it a five or four star Amazon rating, an excited kid getting you to sign a book flap at a festival, or hitting the best sellars list even if it’s only for an hour, keeps you going. Unless you are one of fortunate few, you just aren’t in it for the money.

The end of 2023 brought a few good things my way that keep me going, adding that extra editing session to polish up something that was merely good, but needed to be better. Here’s what happened:

First, in the last quarter of the year, Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom was the category winner for Legacy Children’s Books in The International Book Awards. Previously, the book won a Gold Medal in Global Book Awards, and was a finalist in the IAN, Wishing Shelf,┬áReaders’ Favorite, and Indie Excellence Awards. Finally, it was also long listed by the the Green Earth Book Awards. You can read more about it here:

Second, and maybe even dearer to my heart, my YA submission of the first chapter of a WIP, won the YA category of Southern Breeze’s annual writing contest. Southern Breeze is my chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I’ve been an activie member of this organization for a little over a decade and this is the only time I’ve placed first, so this was pretty sweet!

Here’s hoping that 2024 will find me pushing my writing to new levels, whether it’s awarded or not!