So. Many. Emotions.

There are so many emotions in this.


I know I signed up for the award. I know I was told I got a 5-star review and that put me in the running for further consideration. I know I wrote the book to the best of my ability. I know I gave it the best fighting chance by giving it a gorgeous cover, solid artwork, and decent formatting.


But that doesn’t mean I expected to win anything.


I’ve submitted Rise to a few different contests. It didn’t make it to any proper judging. It wasn’t a finalist. It wasn’t an honorable mention. Rise was basically swept aside by the competition. Other covers beat it out (which, truthfully, still stings a little when I think about what covers have received awards over Rise’s cover). So as the lack of recognition continued, and my standing continued to be seen as nothing in the eyes of judges, I had deemed that even my outstanding cover wouldn’t be enough to garner attention for Rise.


But then this happened.


Yes, Rise is not placing second in the tippy-top, most renowned literary award contest. It’s not the biggest book award. It’s not one that will make people of the industry go, “Wow!” Either Rise didn’t place in any of those big name contests, or I couldn’t afford the entry fee (quite often it was the latter).


None of that matters to me. This is a reputable book contest. This is a contest that many larger houses and firms look at to see who places. This is something of merit. This is something that does display that Rise is and can be recognized for its strengths.


Before today, my optimism for this story was low. It was beginning to feel like, no matter how long I had worked on it, no matter how many hours I poured into it. No matter what I did to make it look as excellent as possible, and sound as epic as it is, it would only ever sit at the bottom of the barrel. That there was no such thing as raising it up to the level that I felt the story was deemed. Not because I came up with it. Not because I wrote it. Not because I think I need recognition. Truthfully, I don’t care about that.


The pride I’m feeling in this accomplishment isn’t in myself.


I’m feeling joy in the Creator who gave me this story to tell. Pride in the story itself, and in the characters within the pages. I feel like I’m celebrating their triumph, not mine. I feel like I’m just observing. A third party. Someone on the sidelines waving a flag and cheering on the characters. Celebrating and rejoicing with them that their stories are getting noticed. That their tale has been placed on a winner’s block.


And like a proud parent, I’m on the sidelines, grinning and cheering and waving their banner.


Today, The Rise of the Raidin was announced as the second place winner of the 2022 Readers’ Favorite Book Award in the category for YA Urban Fantasy.


And I am beside myself.