2022 EVVY Award Winner!

2022 EVVY Award Winner!

On Monday, August 29, Driven: A Rita Mars Thriller, took the Silver Award in the Fiction, LGBTQ category. I want to thank all my readers who took the time to review my work, who sent messages of encouragement and who rolled up their sleeves to help get my book produced and promoted. I could not have asked for more caring support. 

About the EVVY’s

The CIPA EVVYs™ is one of the longest-running book award competitions on the Indie publishing scene, running for nearly 28 years. This annual contest is sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association (CIPA).

The CIPA EVVYs™ was founded by Evelyn Kaye twenty-eight years ago. Ms. Kaye was instrumental in bringing independent aspiring authors recognition for their literary endeavors. It is open to all types of independently published books from small presses that are too often overlooked by the giant publishing houses. The contest has grown to receive entries from as far away as England, Belgium, South Africa and Dubai. This year alone, the competition drew more than 400 entrants.

There are over 50 categories eligible to compete which allows a wide range of genres. The panel of judges is comprised of teachers, business leaders, critics, editors and, of course, readers. In this competition judges must follow strict CIPA qualification process.

Awards are given to the top three highest scorers in each category. To achieve an award is certainly an honor. 

The CIPA EVVY’s continue to be a leader in providing a pathway for independent authors to gain recognition for their work. 

Next in the Series: Blackwater’s Abyss

Next in the Series: Blackwater’s Abyss

Imagine being held against your will in a mammoth swampy area with little access or no way out. A legendary demon mule lurks behind loblolly pine and the remnants of forests long dead.

You were brought in through darkness so rich and deep that it feels more like traveling in a different space as you cannot determine sky or land. Walking the treacherous ground feels like you are entering a dangerous abyss.

You don’t know where you are, and if you try to escape, you face vast, treacherous ground, or the risk of being absorbed into a marsh hole. Even the forests have drowned here, losing their grip on the land through brackish water and changing tides.

The smell of death, and struggle is all around you, with muskrats, mosquitos, snakes and the like. This can be a hostile environment.

This is Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, with its 28,000 acres of brackish wetlands and ghost forests holding a gloomier story of untold mystery and menacing despair.

Blackwater embodies a darkness that earns its namesake. Waters blackened with tannins, dying forests, and black marsh mud that can swallow someone in just a few unfortunate steps make this an unfortunately perfect place to go and never be found.

Blackwater’s mystery is found in a network of hiding places for those escaping the law or toward freedom. Places to hide are abundant for hunters, trappers, and criminals alike, and it’s easy to imagine entering the dark vastness to hold someone hostage, for example, or to disappear from the public eye.

This includes people living in the horrors of slavery and seeking their freedom by using the area as part of the Underground Railroad. Dressed in disguise, people who were enslaved covertly traveled at night through snaking creeks into the deep darkness of the area, careful to avoid slave hunters and their dogs.

It’s not hard to imagine a cold, stark winter here, with the blackness of night covering a ghostly stillness that envelopes the loblolly pine and cordgrass, only to be interrupted by the sound of a bat flying overhead, or the black water’s subtle movement as a muskrat swims to its burrow on the marsh’s banks.

The area’s marshy guts are also home to bald eagle, peregrine falcon, Sika deer, fox, coyote, vole, and rats. Once a great source of timber, Blackwater’s wetlands, fields, and meadows are now interrupted by hammocks of loblolly pine and salt encroached forest, with mosquitoes and fireflies abundant in the heat of summer.

Blackwater makes the perfect backdrop for my second book in the Rita Mars Thriller series, Objects of Desire, being published in late 2022.

You can learn more about release dates and more of the series’ perilous plot twists and turns at www.valeriewebster.com.  

SINC Colorado Finalists – Silver Falchion

SINC Colorado Finalists – Silver Falchion

Congratulations to my Sisters in Crime fellow writers!  Here are the Colorado Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award Finalists!  

Best Action Adventure FinalistMurder at Buckskin Joe by JvL Bell

Best Investigator FinalistAt First Light by Barbara Nickless

Best Attendee Thriller Finalist – Fallen Star: The Divine Devils Book 2 by R Weir

Best Investigator FinalistStriking Range: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

I have read these authors and recommend you give them a try if you haven’t already.  Well worth your reading time.

Engaging stories have three elements: mystery, thriller, and suspense. Since 2008, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards have recognized the best stories from the previous year told through various media. Judges are professional writers, book reviewers, librarians, academics, and—in specialized cases—specific industry peers. Focus is on quality, not popularity.

Winners will be announced at the Killer Nashville Awards Dinner on August 20, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Rocky Mountain Writers WOTY Award

Rocky Mountain Writers WOTY Award

Each year the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) present a Writer of the Year (WOTY) award.  Here are 2022’s three finalists.

Amy Rivers is an award-winning novelist and writer of short stories and personal essays, as well as the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. She was recently named 2021 Indie Author of the Year by the Indie Author Project. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about.

Karla M. Jay is the award-winning author of When We Were Brave, It Happened in Silence, and The Puppet Maker’s Daughter. She has wanted to write books since she was seven. Originally from the east coast, she makes her home in Salt Lake City. Over the years she has written in several different genres, ranging from humor to noir.

Pamela Nowak joined RMFW in 1993. She’s been contest chair, president, chaired five conferences, was 2010 WOTY, honored with the Jasmine Award and named an Honored Guiding Member. Pam currently presents workshops, judges contest, and critiques.

Voting is open now


Terror as Theater

Terror as Theater

Is slaughter our new entertainment? 

The Buffalo supermarket killer live-streamed from a camera mounted on his helmet  — an up close and gruesome first-person view as he fires into 10 people, some of them crawling on the supermarket floor. That’s what we excitedly hope to see on social media?

Here’s who kept the streaming going as people died and presented terror as “theater”:

  • Twitch
  • Streamable
  • Facebook let it ride for more than 10 hours

And just a note about #Zuckerberg – he’s quietly formed American Edge. American Edge has launched a campaign committed to fight antitrust legislation in Washington. They’re placing op-eds in regional papers throughout the country, commissioning studies, and collaborating with partners, including minority business associations, conservative think tanks, and former national security officials.

With this kind of big-money backing, we haven’t seen the last of streaming blood lust.  They’re beating the drum as if regulation is a restraint of tech development – don’t be fooled.  Follow the money.


2022 RONE Awards

2022 RONE Awards

Each year InD’tale Magazine honors the very best books in the Indie and Small publishing industry by awarding their RONE award.  Not offered lightly, any contending book must go through one of the most rigorous processes in publishing, with the three distinct areas of focus that are required to make a book successful in the publishing world.  Here are the magazine’s details about award eligibility:

  1. The Review Round: All books in each given year (January 1st – December 31st) must have been read and reviewed by our professional staff of reviewers and be given a 4.5 – 5.0 star rating. All eligible books must be originally published and submitted within that qualifying year. Those books that meet those qualifications will become the nominees and progress to the second round of voting. 
  2. The Reader Voting Round: In the second round, all nominees must be voted on by the reading public. The books with the highest number of reader votes will progress on to become finalists. There is a one book limit in this round, however.  If an author has more than one book that has received high ratings, that author will choose which book should continue.  This rule gives authors the very best chance of success in this round.
  3. The Judges Round: Each book in the finalists will then be read by a group of industry professionals consisting of editors, writers, professors etc. and be judged on a one to five scale from a specific list of requirements such as characterization, technical writing, overall arc, editing etc.  Those scores will then be tallied by a professional accounting firm unrelated to InD’tale or its employees to determine the winner of the coveted RONE award, along with the honorable mentions.
  4. Rules and genres are subject to change without notice depending on numbers in each genre. 

All awards are announced at the annual RONE award gala where winners are presented with the Crystal RONE award.