So. This little novel about teens living in a small Montana farming community is what got me nominated for an Appalachian Arts & Entertainment Award. When I wrote it, I never imagined such a thing. These awards include nominees from all thirteen states that encompass Appalachia, so it’s kind of a big deal just being nominated. Somehow, somehow, I made it to the top three finalists for Best Writer. Me.

My beautiful friend Michelle Ward-Ciancio is also a finalist, nominated for her wonderful painting. She is so talented, and I am so proud of her.

Back when we were students at West Carter, I doubt either of us imagined an accolade like this one. We were just two kids from a small eastern Kentucky town. Not unlike the fictional town of Rust, the place I created in my novel. I drew so much attention inspiration from my home, from the people I know and grew up with. That makes this even more special.

I’m very hopeful I can make it to the award ceremony, and even if I don’t win? Just being nominated is a wild enough experience.

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