Since returning to my home state of Florida after 21 years in Seattle, I have delighted in seeing the beach on a regular basis, the beautiful mossy oaks and the majestic royal palms. I did not know when I engaged with the Florida Writers Association I would have such a wonderful Royal Palm surprise in store!
At last week's FWA annual conference I received the Royal Palm Literary Award, first place for historical fiction, for my novel Sharavogue. It was an honor hoped for but not expected, and I am thrilled to be among so many talented writers who were recognized.
It was my pleasure to be sitting next to my new friend Linda Reynolds, whose unpublished thriller manuscript Spies In Our Midst also won a RPLA -- her book to be out later this year. And Mary Ann Weakley, my new friend from the book signing tables, won the RPLA for her memoir, Monastery to Matrimony, A Woman's Journey.
At the signing tables I also met Nadine Vaughan, who writes children's books and historical fiction, and lives just minutes away from me. We may be collaborating on some things soon. A shopper at heart, I picked up a copy of The Lantern by my friend Joanne Lewis, as well as The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare by Arliss Ryan. Both of these are intriguing and hooked me on the first page.
Here is a partial list of the RPLA winners (from NE Florida), provided by Vic DiGenti, FWA Regional Director. For the full list see the FWA website:
Congratulations go out to a host of NE Florida writers who hauled in a large number of RPLA Awards. This includes the Book of the Year Award to M. W. Gordon, whose book Deadly Drifts took first place in the Thriller/Suspense category (Published), and went on to garner the Book of the Year (Published) award for having the highest total number of judges' points. BTW, Mike was the speaker at last month's Ponte Vedra FL Writers meeting.
General (Pre-Published) FIRST PLACE –BABE by Elle Thornton Fantasy (Pre-Published) FIRST PLACE – The Jaguar Key The Eternals: Book One by Kate Maier writing as Katherine Starbird Science Fiction (Published) Second Place – Lifespan by T. J. Silverio Women’s Fiction (Pre-Published) FIRST PLACE – Merciful Blessings by Lynn Kathleen (Pen name for Nancy Quatrano and Daria Ludas Historical Fiction (Published) FIRST PLACE – SHARAVOGUE by Nancy Blanton Novella (Pre-Published) Second Place – The Magic in the Middle by Mark Reasoner Thriller/Suspense (Published) Second Place – Power Fade by Keith Gockenbach Thriller/Suspense (Pre-Published) THIRD PLACE – A Lion in Spring by Kenneth R. Overman Autobiography/Memoir (Published) FIRST PLACE –Meeting Her Match: the Story of a Female Athlete-Coach, before and After Title IX by Debbie Millbern Powers SECOND PLACE – From the Inside Out by John David Tinny THIRD PLACE – A Life of Blood and Danger by Daniel J. Hill. Educational/Informational (Published) Second Place – Schools: A Niche Market for Authors by Jane R. Wood
Writers conferences and book festivals are such fun and great ways to meet and learn from other writers. They are not great places to sell books, unless they also open and advertise the book fairs to the local reader community. But as I noted recently in another blogger's post (and I can't remember which one or I would link), it does not matter how many books you sell at these events, it is about the people you meet and the effort you make to get your name out there. I sold only two books at St. Augustine's Heritage Book Festival, but one of the readers is a wonderful person who gave me a great review. Was it worth it? You bet!!!
So in addition to the thrill of winning a literary award for Sharavogue, the other benefit is the confirmation that it is important to continue writing. I am working on the prequel and sequel to Sharavogue and my research is uncovering some remarkable stories to tell. Stay tuned...
And mark your calendar for the Amelia Island Book Festival, February 19-21, 2015.