As long as a story is God-honoring, my next biggest concern is that it is enjoyable to you, the reader. Reader reviews help me understand whether I am, in fact, pleasing and entertaining those who pick up novels and stories I've written. From time to time, though, other indicators arise that help me gauge the quality of the stories that I am offering the reading public.
Top Shelf Magazine Nomination
Just a few days ago, I was surprised when Top Shelf Magazine reached out to let me know that their staff and judges had nominated Strong Ambitions (Emmett Strong Western #3) for one of their annual indie book awards. I'm tremendously grateful for Top Shelf's interest in Strong Ambitions, and I hope it will encourage those who have not yet given the Emmett Strong Western Series a try to take a look.
Enthusiasm for the Short Story
This morning, I woke up to find that my recently released standalone short story Just Shy of Mexico is the #1 new release in Amazon.com's One-Hour Romance Short Reads category. Why romance? I'm not completely sure (unless it's in the sense that Zane Grey referred to his Westerns as Romances). While several of my works have a strong romantic aspect, Just Shy of Mexico isn't one of those. Yet folks are enthusiastic about the story. (I've already had requests to develop a series built around the main character.)
Not Simply Crowing
I hope you don't take this brief post as simply an opportunity for me to toot my own horn. First of all, as it says in 1 Corinthians 4:7, "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"
No, I'm posting this to give thanks: (1) to God for giving me the opportunity to write, (2) to readers who use some of their precious recreational time to invest in my stories, and (3) to folks like Top Shelf Magazine for making the stories I've written more visible to the reading public.
So, many thanks to you all. And now, I'd better get back to that next novel!