It humbled this old country boy.
It did. My YA "Beyond the Smoke" just won the 2009 Will Rogers Medallion for best youth western. The award was presented at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock September 12th. The picture is one of me with Will Rogers impressionist William Reeder.
The award release read: "It is with a great deal of pleasure that I inform you that your book,"Beyond The Smoke", has been selected as a 2009 Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner. The Will Rogers Medallion Award is presented each year to those books that represent an Outstanding Achievement in the Publishing of Western Literature. Your book exemplifies the combination of excellent content, high production values and honoring of the Cowboy Heritage that the award was created to acknowledge.
"As you know, Will Rogers was a respected writer as well as cowboy entertainer. We hope and believe that the Will Rogers Medallion Award willhelp to expand the heritage of literature which honors the traditions andvalues of the American Cowboy, which Will did so much to embody and demonstrate. The Medallion Award was created initially to encourage the continued upgrading of the quality of published books of Cowboy Poetry. This year, other categories have been added to honor a wide range of Western Literature, including Western Fiction - Young Adult .
"While the Will Rogers Medallion Awards are separate from the Will Rogers Awards, they do share a common goal of recognizing outstanding achievementin the advancement of contemporary cowboy skills. Congratulations on your selection. It was well deserved, and we hope to see further award-quality publications from you in the future."
The copy of the award shown is before engraving since at the time of this column I haven't received it yet. I'm pleased to receive it for obvious reasons, and even more so because it will help to get the youth title out where it may help introduce more young people to the western genre.
My Publisher, the JourneyForth imprint of BJU Press also received an award plaque for the book. Editor Nancy Lohr said, "Congratulations on receiving this honor, authors like you are few and far between. So light the campfire and cobble up s'mores, time to celebrate. We will be pleased to also nominate this book for the Spur Awards given by the Western Writers of American as well."
I'll be signing copies of the book at a joint book signing with mystery Writer Donn Taylor at Hastings in Plainview TX on September 15th in the afternoon and in the morning on Sept 16th at Mardel's in Amarillo. Following that I'll be signing at the American Christian Writers Conference in Denver Colorado. I would be most pleased if any of you from the area were there.
Finally, the literary agency that I represent has just started a new blog entitled "From the Heart" at http://hartlineliteraryagency.blogspot.com/ and I'd be most pleased if you dropped by. We'll be sharing the writing duties talking about writing and getting published and answering questions that people post. Go by and become a regular follower and we'll try to make you real glad you did.