If you all follow along on my social media channels, then you know that every Thursday, I post what I call a “Writer’s Musings”. The topics vary from time to time. Some are writer’s tips, others are book progress updates, and then some are just stories or life lessons. Today’s blog post are all of my musings from the month of May, which just so happened to be a very exciting awards month.
May 6th, 2021
Writer's Musings Series: Awards Update
What a week, what a week! If you caught my musings on April 8th, then you know that I am currently up for a few award nominations with my book Against My Better Judgment. Well the last few days have been full of a wide range of emotions.
This past Saturday, May 1st, the Oklahoma Romance Writers Guild announced the winners of their annual Hearts Awards. I was a finalist in the Young Adult Romance category for Against My Better Judgment and honestly that was enough of an honor for me! I am so happy that a fellow Wild Rose Press author took home the prize for the category. CONGRATULATIONS Nicole Bea !!!
And speaking of my publisher, The Wild Rose Press just recently celebrated their 15th Anniversary! It's great getting to be a part of a publishing family that has been in business for so long, and it was great getting to celebrate them this weekend.
If that weren't all enough, earlier this week I found out that I made the short list for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize! The Eric Hoffer Book Award community said that being included on the short list is an honor of itself, and I now understand why! 🤩 There were over 2500 book submissions and 100 judges. Out of all of those books, only 134 made the short list cut. And I was one of them! WOOOOOOOO 🥳
What a weekend/week it has been. I'm going to get back to writing because all of this has inspired me to continue to do better, writer better, and always push myself to be better.
If you are interested in continuing to follow along with the awards season, May 10th will be the next big date! That day the Eric Hoffer Awards will announce the Category Finalists & Winners, as well as the Grand Prize Winner. While I have absolutely zero expectations going into this, I'm still eager to watch and celebrate all those whose names get called! 🎉🎉
Have a great weekend everyone! Talk to you all next week -B.T. ✏️
May 13th, 2021
Writer's Musings Series: Awards Update
Wow. Just, WOW. I've been too busy celebrating to actually get on here and tell you the awesome news! My mini awards season is a wrap, and I'm thrilled with the results!! While I didn't bring home the Big W, the 10-year-old-me is still over the moon.
🏅 2021 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Finalist: Out of 2400 submissions I made it to the very short list of 134 finalists
🏅 2021 Eric Hoffer Category Award - Honorable Mention in Mystery/Crime: There was the winner, 1st runner up, and then 3 honorable mentions and I was one them!
🏅 2021 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Finalist: This is specifically for debut authors
🏅 Oklahoma Hearts Awards Finalist for the Young Adult Romance category
This has been such a week and you all have been such a force of encouragement, pushing me and inspiring me to do better and keep creating. The Eric Hoffer team sent me lots of different links, so I've popped them all in my bio linktr.ee for you to check out if you want to read more about my book or check out the other finalists!!
What a whirlwind. I still need to let this all sink in. Have a great weekend everybody. -B.T. ✏
May 20th, 2021
Writer's Musings Series: Throwback Thursday Edition
The last few weeks have been primarily dedicated to award updates (i.e. Hoffer Awards! Oklahoma Romance Awards!). This this week I'm going to go back to a writer's lesson in the form of a story. If you are keen on book 2 of the Mauzzy and Me Mystery Series, then you might want to read on…
Some time ago my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, offered their authors an opportunity to each write a themed short story to be included in an anthology. The only prompt was that it had to involve a cookie recipe. Always up for new ways to stretch my imagination (and get published) I decided to throw my hat in the ring.
I knew I wanted my short story to somehow tie back to Sara Donovan (co-protagonist of Against My Better Judgment), and since cooking was involved I knew I could have fun with a variety of disasters starring Sara front and center. So I took a break from writing Book 2 and began the mulling process.
For about 2 weeks straight.
I was stumped.
Thankfully, after a fortnight of tossing and turning, it was my wonderful, beautiful wife, who gave me the firecracker idea.
With that one simple word, I had the inspiration I needed and hit the keyboard.
A pinch of mystery here, a dash of cipher there, and a heaping cup of Sara's imagination all over the place. Soon another fortnight passed (that's 2 weeks, in case you didn't know) and I had my entire premise finalized. I was so jazzed about the story I quickly fired off a note to the publisher just to make sure it was along the lines of what they wanted.
Alas, it was not. Ah sweet rejection, we meet again.
Now I had a decision to make. Either I scrap what I wrote and start over again, which would push Book 2's publication date well into 2022, or I forgo the anthology. I was pumped about this idea I had finally managed to hash out, but now it isn't going to work for the anthology. As Sara would say, "should I listen to my head, or my heart?"
Let's just say I passed on the anthology but not the story 🧐
Have a great weekend everyone, -B.T. ✏️
May 27th, 2021
Writer's Musings Series: Zoe’s Foul Jar
Have you all tried numerous tricks to break a habit? Or told yourself "this time I'm going to get up early and work out" and then come morning you hit snooze again?
Well, I have been working on a particular character in the book to try and break a habit. A habit of foul language. If you read Against My Better Judgment, then you know Sara's best friend Zoe has the mouth of a sailor and the height of an elementary school student (ok, that's a slight exaggeration). Pairing that juxtaposition of a character with the overall feel of the book….Zoe's language was not a fan favorite by readers. But I appreciate the feedback and have therefore been having a lot of fun trying to write in how Zoe breaks her habit.
Enter a classic habit breaker technique: a jar.
That's right, Zoe has a foul language jar. Any time she drops a PG-13 word, she also has to drop a dollar into the jar.
So why did I write Zoe with such strong language? Well, fun fact, the book was originally written strictly as a mystery, never intending to be read by younger readers. But my publishers were interested in retooling it for a young adult/cozy mystery subgenre instead. Overall, a lot of nuanced changes were made to the characters, but I chose not to adjust Zoe's language because I felt a college freshman with Zoe's spirit would be enthralled by the freedom of speech. Specifically, curse words.
While I enjoyed my reasoning for Zoe's language, I can see why it would be jarring to readers who have not been reading every single rough draft of the book (I think my wife is the only poor person who has had to deal with that, ha!). And honestly it's been really fun implementing a change that my very own readers are requesting. There are people out there, like YOU, who care enough about my story to have formed opinions. I hope you enjoy book 2 and Zoe's jar.
💸 How much do you think she will have paid by the end of the book? 💸 -B.T. ✏️
Originally posted on Instagram & Facebook