Anyone who attended high school or college had to write a story for an English assignment. Some dreaded the task, others relished in the exercise. (I was the latter.) Upon graduation, a majority of people never write another story. A select few become successful award-winning authors.
I’ve always considered myself in the middle category. A self-published author that entered contests and submitted my books for awards, but always received the dreaded, Thank you for your submission, however… Ugh. I love to write. I love to solve mysteries. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I wanted a win in my repertoire.
Never give up!
My latest entries were in two categories for the annual League of Utah Writers Quills Conference. Eleven days before the conference, I received an email. Dear Quills Awards author, Congratulations! This email is to let you know that your book is going to be recognized at the awards banquet.
My heart stopped for a few seconds. I was in shock and ecstatic at the same time. For the first time, my work was being recognized by a group other than family and friends. I told a few people, still unsure what the email entailed. Did I receive fourth place or an honorable mention? Not once did I contemplate a win.
The food and company (a multiple winner and writer of the year) at my table kept my butterflies in check until the awards ceremony began. I sat, listened, and clapped as fellow writers achieved success. When it was time for my first category, the Olive Woolley Burt Award for Creative Writing, First Chapter (Novel), the butterflies swirled. The League President, John Olsen, announced first through third honorable mentions. Not me. Third Place. Not me. Second Place. Not me. I thought, better luck with my other category.
Then, the most unbelievable thing happened. John announced my name! I received First Place for the first chapter of my upcoming mystery novel, Butterfly Premonitions (due to be released in 2022). I couldn’t text my husband fast enough to announce my achievement.
When the coveted Quill Awards for Published Books began, I assumed my chances were slim. I’d already received an outstanding honor. In the Novel category, John announced the four recommended reads and Silver Quill winners. Then, for the second time of the night, he announced my name. I had won the Gold Quill Award for my novel, The Accident. I was ecstatic, thrilled, elated, euphoric, and twenty other synonyms. My feet still haven’t touched the ground since the night of the banquet.
Never stop writing. Never stop submitting your work. Always believe in yourself. The most surprising events can happen to you too!
Nancy Roe is an Award-Winning Author and Professional Formatter. She has self-published seven books and is writing her next mystery. (Butterfly Premonitions. A missing father. A murdered stepmother. A reopened cold case. Can Merli find the truth among the lies, or will the murderer get deadly revenge?)
Nancy served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter, The League of Utah Writers, Just Write Chapter, Writer’s Circle, and Communications/Publicity Chair of the Newcomers Club of the Greater Park City Area. Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and lives in Utah with her husband and four-legged children, Max and Addison.