2023 Aurora Awards

Woo hoo! The Hollow Boys wins the Aurora Award!

The Hollow Boys coverI am thrilled to announce that on Saturday night, my novel, The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1, won Canada's Aurora Award for Best YA Novel. You can find the complete list of winners in all categories here.

The award ceremony took place online. I didn't attend because of a conflict, plus, I'll admit to being a tad superstitious about the Auroras. Any time I've attended in the past, I've lost, and the three times I've won, I did not attend, so now, going 4-for-4, I will likely be even more superstitious.

Canadian writer, Mark Leslie, was one of the hosts and was kind enough to read my acceptance speech for me:

Wow! Fantastic news. My apologies for not being virtually here to virtually accept the award in virtual person, but my granddaughter's band, Housewife, is playing at the Riverfest music festival, and this will be the first time I’ll get to see her perform live since the pandemic, and, well, she’s more important to me. Nothing personal.

However, to make up for my absence, Mark will perform a handstand while he reads my acceptance speech in a suitably enthusiastic manner. Go Mark!

Thanks to everyone who voted for The Hollow Boys. The response to this book has been very gratifying, but this is the best news yet. A special thanks to Cliff Samuels, the CSFFA, and everyone involved with the Aurora Awards who work so hard each year to ensure the awards are run smoothly, transparently, and fairly.

The Hollow Boys and The Dream Rider trilogy would not have been possible without the support and advice of the following people:

My writing critique group: Melissa Gold, Sue Witts, Rebecca Simkin, and Maaja Wentz

My Beta Readers: Ami Agner, Emily Bloch, Laura Rainbow Dragon, Kerstin Langer, and Daria Rydzaj

And my editors: Susan Forest and Adrienne Kerr

Again, thanks for voting for me. Okay, Mark. You can resume your normal vertical position. Or lie down. Up to you. Do your thing. And thanks for filling in for me.

As I said, this is my fourth Aurora, but the first for a book length work. All my earlier wins were for my short fiction, so this is especially exciting.

Thanks to any and all of you who nominated and voted for The Hollow Boys. Your support for the book and my writing means a lot to me.

The Hollow Boys and the rest of the trilogy are available for purchase from all major retailers.

The Hollow Boys is on the Aurora Ballot!

The Hollow Boys cover and reviewsI am thrilled to announce that my urban fantasy novel, The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1, is a finalist for Canada's 2023 Aurora Awards for Best Young Adult Novel.

The Auroras are fan-voted awards recognizing the best of Canadian SF & Fantasy published the previous year. You can view the full 2023 ballot here.

Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident may vote for the Auroras. If that's you, I hope you'll consider voting for me.

Below, I explain how to vote, as well as how to download the Voter Package with your complimentary copy of all the nominated works.


How to Register to Vote

To vote, you must be a 2023 member of the Canadian SF & Fantasy Association, the body that administers the Auroras.

(If you nominated works for this year's awards, you're already registered and can skip this step. Just jump down to "How to Vote.")

To register for 2023, go here and click on "Not a Member Yet?"

Enter your info, then select a username and password. (If the password box contains black dots, hold down "DELETE" to clear the box, then enter a password.)

Registration costs $10 CAD, which lets you vote and download all the nominated works.

Registration closes at midnight July 22.


How to Vote

Log in to the Aurora Awards site, then go to the Member's Home page. From there, click on "Voting," which will take you to the live 2023 Aurora voting ballot.

The Auroras use a ranked voting method (more info here).

To vote, sort your choices from 1 (your favourite) to 5 (your least favourite), by dragging your selections with your mouse (or finger for touch screens).

Drag your choices above the voting line (the line that says, “No pick underneath this line will be counted”).

As you do this, your choice will display its ranking. If you make a mistake, just move your choice to a different position or back below the voting line.

You do not have to rank all nominated works in a category, and you do not have to vote in all categories.


I hope you will at least vote for my novel, The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1, nominated under the category "Best Young Adult Novel." Here are some reasons to consider the book.


The Hollow Boys

The book has been widely praised by the top publishing review sites. You can see some review highlights in the graphic at the right and can read the full reviews here.

Readers agree, rating The Hollow Boys from 4.8 to 5 stars (out of 5) across the major retailers and book social media sites:

  • Amazon 4.8 ⭐
  • Barnes & Noble 5.0⭐
  • Kobo 4.8⭐
  • Apple 5.0⭐
  • Google Play 4.8⭐
  • BookBub 4.9⭐

Hopefully, you've read the book and agree with those reviews and ratings. If you haven't read it yet, read on to find out how to get it as part of the Voter Package.


Submitting Your Ballot

When you've ranked all your choices for the categories you’re interested in, click the “Send Ballot” button at the bottom of the form. This will lock and submit your selections.

Do NOT submit your ballot until all your selections are done. Unlike the nomination process, you will not be able to edit your ballot once submitted. Also, if you close your ballot before submitting it, your choices will be cleared and not saved, and you will have to start again.

In other words, don't start to vote until you know everything you wish to vote for and can complete your voting in one session.

Remember, for your ballot to count you must click the “Send Ballot” button at the bottom of the form. Voting closes at midnight on Thursday July 29.


The Voter Package

The Voter Package contains electronic versions of all nominated works, made available through the generosity of the nominees and publishers so that voters may read the nominated works and make an informed decision when voting.

You can download the Voter Package from the Member's Home page (or directly here). Access to the Voter Package closes at midnight July 22, the same day registration closes and a week before voting closes


Thanks for any consideration you might give to voting for The Hollow Boys. Regardless, thanks for being a fan and supporter of my writing.

Nominations now open for the 2023 Aurora Awards!

The Hollow Boys coverThe nomination period is now open for the 2023 Aurora Awards, recognizing the best of Canadian SF & Fantasy published in 2022.

This year, I have two works that are eligible to be nominated:

  • The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1 is eligible under "Best YA Novel"
  • "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is eligible under "Best Novelette / Novella"

Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident may nominate for the Auroras. If that's you, I'd truly appreciate any consideration you'd give to nominating me.

I explain how to nominate below, but first, let me talk up my two works, because I'm very proud of them, and both have received a lot of critical notice.

The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1

This first book in my new trilogy has received universal praise, sitting at between 4.8 and 5.0 stars on all the major retailers plus garnering great reviews from top book review sites:

"This arresting series kickoff from Smith grips from the start as it introduces its inventive milieu, its flawed but fantastically powered hero, its playful worldbuilding, and a host of tantalizing mysteries. … Takeaway: Thrilling YA fantasy." —BookLife (Editor's Pick)

"An assured, confident novel with strong world-building, sharp dialogue and the perfect balance between action and emotional growth for its main characters. … In short, this is a must-read story for YA fantasy fans." Blueink Review ( Starred review)

"Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun. … I enjoyed The Hollow Boys a great deal, turning pages long after I should have been abed. Smith has produced the best Canadian superhero adventure since James Alan Gardner's Dark vs. Spark novels." The Ottawa Review of Books

If you haven't read The Hollow Boys but would like to, here are some options.

  • You can read the first four chapters for free here.
  • I am also offering a discount from my website store here. Use the coupon code "AURORAS23" at checkout to get the ebook for $0.99 (Regular $4.99 US). Note: this coupon expires when the nomination period ends April 22 and is restricted to the first 100 downloads.

"Gypsy Biker's Coming Home"

The story has also received recent recognition. It's currently a finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards under the "Fiction" category, as I wrote about earlier. So, yeah, it's a good story. Thanks to the same Alberta Magazine Awards, the story is available to read online.

How to Nominate in the Auroras

To nominate, you need to register to be a member of the CSFFA (Canadian SF & Fantasy Association). Go here and click on "Not a Member Yet?" to register for 2023.

Fill out your name, email, and home province, then select a username and password for the site. NOTE: one weirdness with this form—you'll find the first box to enter your password is filled with black dots. To get rid of them, just click in the box, then hold down your "DELETE" key until they all disappear. Then enter your password in that box and in the one below to verify it.

Registration costs $10 CAD, but this allows you to both nominate (this step) and vote on the final ballot. Not much to pay, imo, to support Canadian SF & fantasy.

Once you're logged in, click on the "Pay Membership Fee with PayPal" button at the bottom to be taken to a PayPal screen. Don't use PayPal? You'll have the option to pay by debit or credit.

You'll then be taken back to the Awards site. Click on "Log in" under "You Are A Member?" then enter your brand new username (or email) and password. You'll then be on the Aurora Awards main page. Select "Nominate" from the middle of the screen to access the online nomination form.

You can nominate up to five works in each category, but you don't need to nominate in every category or that many in any category.

To nominate a work, just click on one of the boxes under the category and select the appropriate title of the work you wish to nominate from the dropdown list of eligible works. Click on the "Update nominations" button for the category, then move to your next category.

The Hollow Boys is eligible under "Best YA Novel" and "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is eligible under "Best Novelette / Novella."

The nomination period closes at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Thanks again for any consideration you give to nominating my writing!

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