2017 has truly been a year for the books. Not necessarily in a good way, but let’s just say it won’t be forgotten about anytime soon. Filled with ups and downs, it sure kept me on my toes. One of the biggest surprises that came my way was when I received an e-mail informing that I was a finalist in the 2017 Literary Classics Awards. To be perfectly honest, I thought this was a joke. I didn’t even remember submitting in December of 2016, so much had happened between December and June that I plumb forgot all about it. I was in shock for several weeks. I kept thinking ‘I am going to receive another e-mail telling me there was a mistake.’
There was another e-mail… ‘Here it is,’ I thought to myself. ‘I am going to be told there was a mixup and they are apologizing for the inconvenience it has caused.’ I took a deep breath. I clicked open on the message that was sitting in my inbox. I was not expecting what I saw. I WON SILVER! WOOZER! Seriously, I won?? I recall screaming so loudly I scared my cats so badly you could hear their claws on the hardwood floor as they raced out of my bedroom. This wasn’t a joke. It was actually happening. One of the biggest goals I set for myself in my writing career happened. It was no longer a hopeful wish that someday might come true. This was the REAL DEAL! I WON SILVER!
We planned our trip, booked flights, our room and set off for Rapid City, South Dakota. I remember asking myself: ‘What is in South Dakota?’ Everyone who heard I was flying to South Dakota asked the same question I did. I will tell you what is there, wonderful people, fantastic views, beautiful starry nights (living in a metropolitan city I appreciated that one) and an incredible experience that can only be described as nothing short of amazing.
Literary Classics is an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in literature. Through their awards, book reviews, and seal of approval program, they help individuals sort through the many books in circulation today. It is their goal to help you (the reader) select the finest books available. Additionally, their programs offer opportunities for publishers, authors, and illustrators to receive recognition for providing excellence in literature.
It’s more than just an award, more than just a seal of approval. It’s a huge vote of confidence. I feel deeply honored that a prestigious organization such as Literary Classics, took the time to review my work and say, this is a good book. We like it, let’s help promote excellence in children’s literature and include Little Katie Goes to the Moon among that list.
The awards ceremony was built around three days, over Labor Day Weekend. We had a meet and greet while we enjoyed wine tasting at a chic local winery. We enjoyed a very lively author’s roundtable discussion, where we exchanged experiences, tips, how to’s (and what not to do, don’t be that ‘needy author’ who always wants but never gives) and getting to know each other on a deeper level as more than just authors. A writer’s conference was arranged, and it was open to the public. The sessions were held in conjunction with the Great American Book Festival. These sessions discussed topics such as; Marketing your books, better understanding copyright laws, and social media strategies.
The Great American Book Festival, or otherwise referred to as GABfest was so much fun! Authors from around the globe and South Dakota presented their award-winning work at Main Street Square all day Saturday. While it was quite warm, we had a very good time. We promoted our work while creating relationships with fellow authors and readers. Authors gave readings and improv skits throughout the day, and local performers held musical and dance performances. Saturday’s event gave writers of all skill levels a chance to learn from each other.
Talking with a fellow award-winning author of the Oathtaker Series, Patricia Reding, she made a comment that I still find myself mulling over. “We’re not here to compete with each other. We’re here to support, and work together as we share our work and build bonds that are stronger than all else.” These words resonated with me. As authors, we are a community. We are all working to achieve the same result. We are each other’s support system. We build each other up, encourage to keep going and not give up when all of the odds seem so overwhelming. Our bonds are stronger than all else. Trish is such sweetheart! She helped to make everyone feel welcomed, and apart of things. I am very grateful for our friendship.
Everything ended with a BANG as the awards recipients were treated to an elegant evening of cocktails and passed appetizers.The formal gala was held at the Dahl Fine Arts Center. We mingled, took silly photos (as you can see) and relished in the fact that this was a night about us. Everyone in attendance worked so hard and overcame many obstacles to get to where they are today. Every person in attendance poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their book(s). This was a much deserved night of pampering and made to feel special.
I have been asked if it was worth it to submit my book? To anyone on the fence about submitting their book, this is a great opportunity for you as an author. You will be rewarded in ways that go beyond winning an award. The friendships you will make, and the insights you will come away with just a few of the many things you will experience.
I am forever grateful for Literary Classics and the brilliant people that work there. I’ve gained enormous confidence as a writer, and am so excited to keep moving forward. I have been encouraged in ways I can’t even express. As I move forward with my writing endeavors, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who have been so loyal, and provided unfailing support to me and my books over the years, and a big welcome to my new readers! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next on my writing road!
Here are a few more of the photos from the events that took place over Labor Day Weekend. Have questions about any of the pictures? Leave a comment below, and I will get back to you.
From left to right:
My arm candy for the night Connie with her arm candy
Group photo of the award recipients who were present to receive their awards.
To view a complete list of all the winners and their titles, click here!