After snagging Book of the Year at the Selah Awards last month, The Right Kind of Fool is making me proud once again by being named as a finalist for an American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award in the historical category. The winner will be announced in mid-September, but in the meantime I have to confess it’s pretty fun to whoop it up and celebrate on social media with readers, writers, and, well, my mom!

Regardless of which of the books in my category win come September, I feel like I’ve already scored a substantial prize. The hero in this story is a 13-year-old boy who’s deaf. I’ve been intrigued by American Sign Language (ASL) since second grade when Mrs. Lashley taught us the alphabet and we performed “Do You Hear What I Hear” in ASL at the Christmas pageant. (I still feel a strong urge to sign “shepherd boy” when I hear that song.)

So who should pop in on my Facebook announcement to congratulate me? Mrs. Lashley!! And here’s what she said. “I loved the book. The story kept me wondering and wanting to go on. Your characters have nice depth to them.” Let me just say, Lee Lashley is not a woman to hand out praise for the heck of it.

So there you go. My first favorite teacher–who helped instill my passion for reading and writing–loved this story. I’d say that’s a win any day.