"To be honest, the scope and implications of international recognition haven't even hit me yet," said Lawson. "We had winners from Finland, Nigeria, and England in with the U.S. winners, but I can't even conceive of the number of people my writing may touch. I hope they like it."

His latest story, "Moonlight One", is about a murder on the moon. Ehrly and Gwen Kennedy are the only two people living. When Gwen wakes up she finds her husband brutally stabbed to death, her only source of help is her ex-fiancé, Jonas Wren.

Lawson stated, "Moonlight One", is a hard science fiction mystery piece. "Hard" science fiction just means you're rigorous about the science and its implications. This story shows my fascination with locked room, cabin-in-the woods mysteries.

Lawson grew up as a Methodist preacher's son and lived in several small towns in Ohio. He joined the Navy at 18 and deployed three times on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, including on September 19, 2001, in the immediate response to 9/11. He got out of the military completely for four years and acquired a B.A. in Business Administration from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. After graduation, he joined the Kentucky National Guard, where he is currently the company commander for the Headquarters Company, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade. But he has always had a love for writing.

"I remember being very young and having a friend of the family at our house asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. 'I want to write big, fat novels,' I told him. Given that, I've only published short fiction so far. I don't think it's taken me far enough yet, I'm working on it."

"I started writing creatively in 7th and 8th grade with an extracurricular activity called 'Power of the Pen.' It helped shape my understanding of what a story should be," said Lawson. "I've dabbled between then and now, but didn't start writing seriously until I got back from flight school in 2010. That's when I started entering contests and submitting stories again."

Several of Lawson's new concepts and ideas for stories come while driving to and from work. He has even written some based on his Guard experiences. "The Aeronaut," a second-world fantasy story, incorporates some real aeromedical issues and a fight for air superiority. He hasn't marketed it yet, but it's one of his favorites.

"Capt. Lawson is yet another example of the academic talent and prowess inherent in our citizen-Soldiers. The willingness to serve is not bound by any facet of race, gender, culture, social economic, or education level," said Col. Michael Stephens, commander of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade. "I am excited for Stephen's success and will follow his writing in the future. He has been a great company commander and will continue to benefit the National Guard, the Commonwealth, and as a writer-society as a whole."

Lawson has an urban fantasy piece "Leaders Taste Better," slated for publication in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, issue 57, in June. It's a story about an urban-dwelling dragon whose human pet has been kidnapped. "Game Theory" is a flash fiction piece, scheduled for publication in Daily Science Fiction sometime this month or June. It is a hard science fiction study on performance enhancements and hypocrisy. He also won first in an Onthepremises.com contest in 2015 with "Gifted."

Galaxy's Edge recently sent him a contract to publish, "The Death of Arthur Owsley," as well, and his story "Bullet Catch" won second place in the 2017 Jim Baen Memorial contest.

"Writing and the Guard keep me busy, but these two things work together extremely well. As an M-Day aviator, I devote part of my time to flying and command, part to MBA classes and one to two days a week to just writing," said Lawson. "Between semesters, I write a lot more. Everything that people have paid me for so far, I've written between semesters. So, I think my success will pick up more after I graduate."

It's not too late, Lawson encourages everyone to pick up a pen and start writing. "I'm nowhere close to mastery yet, but only practice rewires your brain to be good at a specific task. Make mistakes. Don't give up. I'd like to see more Guardsmen and veterans enter these writing contests. We have a voice and a debt to our culture to help shape its conception of the future through science fiction."

Lawson's published work, as well as some unique content, can be found on his blog at stephenlawsonstories.wordpress.com.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre's most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful for budding, creative talent in the world of fiction. The 380 past winners of the writing contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,450 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times best sellers and their works have sold over 53 million copies.