Proud Recipient of the IPPY Book Award!

IPPY Book Award
IPPY Silver Medal Award for Nonfiction

Writing the truth about my life wasn’t easy.  Consequently, winning the IPPY Book Award for Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa made my efforts worth it. Suddenly, I got noticed amongst the greats.

I struggled with sharing my dark secrets. Then one day, I realized I needed to face my demons. If not, they would destroy me.

Immediately, repercussions surfaced. My husband of forty years didn’t want to hear about it and our sons didn’t seem to care.  Also, my best female friends said, “No! Keep it a secret. People only want to read happy books.”

And yet, Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa is a ‘happy book’.

The book tells why I left society. How I fell in love with a man and nature. With our kids, we took an adventure into Africa and delivered a boat back to the Bahamas. Four teenaged boys aboard …on a big ocean. Just imagine.

Berkeley Memoir Writing Conference

I submitted my book at a writing conference in Berkeley and was told, “Leave out your dirty little secrets!”

Consequently, I wept. Drank too much wine. Chewed my nails.

I withdrew inside myself, self-doubting. Not good.

Neale Editorial Writing Services

IPPY Book Award
Melanie Neale’s Professional Office

Enter my editor, Melanie Sunshine Neale of Neale Editorial Services.   Neale saved my soul!

After reading Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa, Neale said, “I love the incredible secrets. If you leave them out, your book will be like any other travel book. Boring.”

Neale was dead on!

Winner of the IPPY Book Award for Nonfiction

In May 2017, I learned my book, Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa, received the book award.  Suddenly, I am the proud recipient of the Silver Medal Nonfiction IPPY Book Award!

As a proud recipient– my feelings?  Validated!

My belief in helping others by sharing my dark secrets contributed to this award. We save the world by sharing our mistakes so that others will not endure the pain. We grow through sharing.

The IPPY Book Award

Ippy Awards
New York City, New York

Each year since 1996, the Independent Publisher Book Awards competition identifies a reading list of progressive, thought-provoking books. These are books that touch lives, advance careers, and stretch our imaginations.

With the tagline, “Recognizing Excellence in Independent Publishing,” the IPPY Awards showcase the best books around. This year, the awards were presented at a gala ceremony during the BookExpo America convention in New York City.

I attended and relished every moment of it!

Best yet, my niece and her beau, a vintner of the Bashakill Vineyard in New York, joined me in celebrating. He introduced his fine wines to me. The night possessed such glory!

My niece is a poet and author of her own book–soon to be published. She is also the professional chef at Bashakill Vineyard, running the Blind Dog Catering business.  I am a very proud Aunt!

All 5,000 entrants for the IPPY Book Award were automatically considered for a shortlist of Outstanding Books of the Year. These books recognized titles that broke new ground in specialized categories. These were “Most Original Concept” and “Most Likely to Save the Planet.”

Top Ten Bestseller List

Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa is now on the top ten bestsellers list on Amazon.

To all my readers, thank you for buying my book.  You put me at the top!

I read all your comments and consider you part of my intimate family. After all, you now know all my secrets…


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  1. Your writing skills make everything you do interesting!

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