April was a pretty chill month, and I enjoyed it. With all I do, it’s nice to have relaxing months from time to time. Still, April had some fabulous moments I can’t wait to share.
ISSA Awards Nominations
I’m beyond honored to have six nominations for the ISSA Awards. This is my first year trying for these awards, so receiving nominations in six categories was super special. I’m up for USA Female Vocalist of the Year, USA Female Rising Star, USA Female Album of the Year for It Is What It Is, USA Female Single of the Year for “Afterthought,” USA Female Songwriter of the Year, and USA Female Emerging Artist.
Since April 2, voting has been open to determine the finalists. I’m so grateful for everyone who took the time to vote for me. The poll closes tonight, April 30, at midnight, and the finalists will be announced live on May 2. I’m buzzing with anticipation to see if I’m a finalist in any of my categories. There’s so much talent recognized for the awards this year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for great news. Who knows? In two days, I may be an ISSA Awards finalist.
“I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” on Live in the Living Room
A few months ago, I filmed a special acoustic performance of “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” for Live in the Living Room. It was the best surprise when I found out my video was included in the April episode. I’ve participated in Live in the Living Room before, and I loved being back to play one of my favorite songs on my EP.
You can watch my performance of “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” and the full episode on Live in the Living Room’s YouTube channel. Huge thank you to the LITLR team for including me this month.
Charting on Radio TFSC
This month, I received two chart placements on Radio TFSC’s Top 24, which was a total surprise. Seeing my songs chart on radio stations feels just as magical as the first time. I swear, this feeling will never fade.
First, “Homecoming Queen” charted at number 5, and second, “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” charted at number 20. The fact that “Homecoming Queen” is still receiving so much love over a year later blows my mind. Also, “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” is very close to my heart, so it’s the best feeling seeing this one land on the chart.
On top of this, somehow, I missed a tweet from November 1 when “Afterthought” hit number 1 on the Daily Top 24. That’s right, number 1! How I didn’t see this until now is beyond me, but I’m stunned “Afterthought” took the top spot, especially during It Is What It Is release month.
Thank you so much to Oli and all the Radio TFSC listeners for supporting me and my music. I’m forever grateful.
Speaking of Radio TFSC, Oli invited me to send a video for something super fun. I can’t say more now, but I seriously can’t wait for this surprise. I hope to share more soon.
“If I Die Young” is Coming in May
I’m delighted to share my second cover song, “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry, will be released May 12. I had so much fun recording this song, and you can read all the details about this one and my other songs in my studio stories. Stay tuned for my special rendition and a behind the cover video coming in May. I’m sure there will be more surprises that I don’t even know of yet. The unexpected opportunities are always memorable.
While you wait, listen to my first cover song, “Homecoming Queen” by Kelsea Ballerini, on your favorite major platform here. We’re less than two weeks away from “If I Die Young” release day.
Kicking Off the Story Academy
Shifting gears to author land, I enrolled in the Story Academy with Bethany Hensel this month. I connected with Bethany on Twitter during a pitch event in March, and her eight-week course is exactly what I feel I need right now to keep learning and growing as an author. I’ve always been a student at heart, and since graduating with my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction last June, I’ve been searching for ways to continue my education. The Story Academy is the perfect way.
Bethany is such a talented editor with infectious enthusiasm, so I’m honored to be in her class. I’m only a few lessons in and already loving this course. It’s amazing to be in a class with like-minded writers who are eager to further their education. Getting the chance to connect with others, have meaningful conversations, and improve my craft all at the same time is magical. I seriously can’t wait to see what the rest of the course holds. When it’s over, I know I’ll be an even better writer than I am now.
Revisions for My YA Fantasy Continue
April turned into quite the revision month. After receiving the best feedback from my third beta reader, I did another full pass of the manuscript. Once I sat with this revision for a bit, I went back in and did another round of deeper line edits. This story has truly transformed from when I drafted it during NaNoWriMo last November.
It’s wild to say, but I feel like I’m finally getting close to wrapping up revisions. Before I do, though, I have to add another chapter before the epilogue to resolve some loose threads. Since I’ve been revising so much, I have to admit I’m a little nervous to write this chapter. I want it to live up to the rest of the story, so I’m really going to have to polish it once it’s written. I know I can do it, though. For some reason, finishing a book feels both daunting and exciting at the same time. I’ve already written two books, so I’ve learned how to set my doubts and fears aside and just do it. Finishing a manuscript is always rewarding, and I’m eager to add this last chapter and truly wrap up the story before doing a final pass of line and copy edits.
Receiving Amazing Editor Feedback
Since I’m almost done revising the manuscript, I’ve started putting together my query package, focusing on the query letter, synopsis, and opening pages. I believe receiving feedback is so valuable, so I sent my materials to editor Michelle Rascon for a first impression critique.
When I got the email with my feedback, I was nervous to open it. A bunch of doubts started to creep in, but I pushed them away and reminded myself how much I believe in this story. Finally, I gained the courage to open the file and was completely blown away by the positive feedback and fantastic suggestions. Michelle’s critique fueled my confidence in this story, gave me validations, and set me on a path to polishing my query package even more. I couldn’t recommend her enough to any authors seeking feedback on their materials.
This story is a piece of my heart. I’m very proud of it, and seeing it being received well by beta readers, critique partners, and editors means the absolute world to me. I don’t plan on officially querying this project until late summer or early fall. Still, taking steps to prepare for this novel’s querying journey has filled me with excitement and determination. I’m looking forward to working on the manuscript more and getting it in the best place possible before sharing with literary agents.
Looking Ahead to May
May is going to be a packed month. I’m releasing “If I Die Young,” which I seriously can’t wait for. It’s also awards nominations month, and I’m feeling all the butterflies. Wish me luck! In author land, I’m going to keep revising my manuscript while I query my other novel. On top of that, I scheduled an exciting interview, and of course, my birthday is May 30. So, you can say I’m about to have a fun and busy month.
Thank you so much for following my journey. I’m blessed for every opportunity and can’t wait to see what May has in store for me.