With equal parts excitement and disbelief, I’m humbled to announce that Fall Risk has been awarded the 2017 Top of the Mountain Book Award in the nonfiction category! This is the first time I’ve won an award for any writing, let alone a book-length manuscript. I am, for once, speechless. A special thanks to Northern Colorado Writers for sponsoring the award, and to all the judges and people who made it possible.

Winning the Top of the Mountain Book Award is a huge step towards publication. As part of winning, I’ll have an opportunity to speak with a literary agent about the manuscript. I’ll also have an opportunity to resubmit to many agents and small presses since the manuscript is now an award-winner. Perhaps most importantly, winning has helped to restore my confidence in my work and myself.

It’s been a tough couple of years. This welcome news, however, feels like the beginning of a shift towards something else. There is, I think, a new life that I’ve sensed in the shadows for some time, but which now I can start to see, maybe even touch. I’m so thankful for family, friends, and other writers who pushed me to keep going.

For years, successful writers have told me the same thing. “If you believe in your work, keep submitting.” Through the rejections and silences, that can be tough advice to follow. My writing community was pivotal in my persistence. Without them, I don’t think I would have had the drive to keep going in the face of rejection.

My writing journey is far from over. This, however, is a huge milestone for me. It is a reminder to surround myself with supportive people, submit as often as I can, and most of all, never stop writing.