Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Big Events at the League of Utah Writers

THE FINGER TRAP won the DIAMOND QUILL Award from the League of Utah Writers last Saturday at the annual Fall Conference. I was blown away. The Diamond Quill is the highest award the league offers for published work. It represents the highest score given by third-party judges across all categories, young adult, non-fiction, fiction —all of it. There’s only each year and this year, Tony Flaner (and I) got it.

THE FINGER TRAP is my most personal. It was the book that convinced me to try to become a professional author. This was the shove off the cliff, the character that dragged me into the dream. Its existence completes its theme, this award is the crown upon that idea. This is validation the likes of which I never imagined I would see. Yeah, I’m pretty happy about this.

CELESTE won a RECOMMENDED READ QUILL, kind of a third place Bronze Medal in the Young Adult category. Not bad for the middle book of a trilogy I thought. Eleanor continues to amaze me.

And for my sins, I was made President Elect of the League of Utah Writers. I’ll follow the wonderful Jared Quan who took the gavel this year from Chris Todd Miller. President is a three year commitment; elect, president and past president. I’ve joined this group and will wield ultimate power over the organization in 2018 where I plan to use its resources to possibly build a monster insect to take over the world and make me king or something else. Plans are still in flux.

Founded in 1935, at 81 years old, The League of Utah Writers is Utah’s oldest and foremost writing organization. It provides education and opportunities to its members and community involvement across the state. It has been very good to me, as you can see above. Also it has linked me with some of the the coolest, most generous, fellow writers and sufferers on the planet.

When I began this journey into art and publishing, I did so with a list of ideas that would help me survive and navigate the rough waters of I was entering. One of those rules was to the idea that to achieve your dreams you must help others achieve theirs. Other rules, corollaries to this perhaps, were the idea to “give back” and to “say yes” to opportunities.

These all come together in this chance to be part of a great organization with vision and enthusiasm. It is a reward unto itself.

The key to happiness is gratitude. The poorest man can be happy if grateful, the richest miserable for thanklessness. This goes to the heart of mental health, a struggle I and many artists wrestle with creatively and personally. I can say though that I am, this day, truly grateful for the many great things that are happening to me and which I can share.



  1. Great stuff! And congratulations, Johnny! ^_^

  2. Does this mean I won't have to dodge Terra and others' feet from kicking you under the table?
    Congrats, my friend, well-earned (or is that well-deserved?).

    1. Hey! I would never kick Johnny. At least not on purpose anyway. :)

  3. Kudos again to you, Johnny. Soon you'll be a super star!!!!!!!!! And well deserved, I might add.