By Kristine Cannon
Scottsdale resident Crystal Waltman has been nominated for a 2020 Author Academy Award for her book “Quitting to Win.”
Released July 7, “Quitting to Win” is nominated in the health category.
“It is a true honor and a surreal feeling,” Waltman says. “I don’t see myself as a literary genius, but after losing a best friend to mental illness, I realized there are so many people who are suffering quietly. Turning tragedy into triumph is a daily choice.”
Described by Waltman as a book about sports, spine surgery and sobriety, “Quitting to Win” shows readers how to let go of the past and release the shame of guilt, how to feel physical and emotional pain while also maintaining spiritual fitness and how to love the person they are and are meant to be.
“‘Quitting to Win’ stems from the simple phrase: ‘Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?’” Waltman says. “Success can sometimes come from what you don’t do.”
Waltman is a fourth-generation Arizonan and a former first baseman for the 1997 Central Arizona College softball team that won the NJCAA national championship.
In 2015, she broke her back in three places and now lives with a metal cage, two rods, eight screws and three spacers.
Waltman also battled alcoholism and described she entered that battled with a “competitive, sports-like mentality.”
“I couldn’t picture myself past the age of 40,” she says. “When I made it to 40 years old sober, I felt a calling to write it all out and release the shame and guilt and show compassion for others.”
Since the release of “Quitting to Win,” Waltman has received messages from readers daily—and it’s this reader feedback she says is the most rewarding part of writing the book.
“Hearing stories of how mothers and daughters became closer, because ‘Quitting to Win’ opened the dialogue of some uncomfortable life lessons,” she says.
“How couples after reading the book together were able to share their stories with their partner, which brought them closer. The process of being vulnerable opens me up to criticism, so faith has been my pillar of strength.”
Waltman’s goal is to get the book in recovery centers in all 50 states “to remove the shame and guilt of addiction, alcoholism and raise awareness to mental illness.”
“‘Quitting to Win’ is designed for small-group study, with discussion questions in the appendix,” she adds.
And if the book wins the Author Academy Award, Waltman hopes it’ll help raise awareness to those suffering from emotional and physical pain.
“Crystal’s proven path gives you the tools you need,” says Kary Oberbrunner, founder of Author Academy Elite and the Author Academy Awards. “She is a warrior of self-care. Her raw stories of sports, sobriety and spine surgery give all those who suffer a message of hope.”
“I have watched Crystal as she has developed into the person she is today, living her best life by setting boundaries,” adds Waltman’s sister, Jessica Zaragoza. “I admire her spiritual fitness and her willingness to carry the message to others.”
According to Oberbrunner, hundreds of genre-spanning books written by authors from around the world are up for an Author Academy Award this year.
The goal of the awards, he says, is to “further connect this global community of authors, maintain excellence and integrity of the book publishing industry, and raise awareness that the stories being told and the authors who write them are worth our attention.”
With 16 categories, the Author Academy Awards’ entries are reviewed and evaluated on popular vote, social contribution and overall presentation by the academy’s voting membership, comprised of best-selling authors, literary agents and industry leaders.
Voting is closed, but the top 10 finalists in each category were slated to be announced August 25.
The top 10 finalists will then be invited to present their book synopsis at an Author Academy Awards Red Carpet Session on October 23 in Columbus, Ohio.
Winners will be announced that evening at the Author Academy Awards Ceremony.
In the meantime, Waltman will soon release the audio book for “Quitting to Win.”
She’s also creating a digital course called “Eating to Win” and plans to, hopefully, write another book of the same name.