FWA Conference: The Gathering of the Tribe

The gathering of the Florida Writers Association in Altamonte Springs this year meant long days, catching up with friends, and receiving an award for my third book. This year’s theme was Writers at Work.

Funny that most of us took off work to attend. I wasn’t teaching this year, so I got to wander and relax.


Kudos to Carol J. Post for all the workshops and interviews she conducted. How busy was she? Her shadow had trouble keeping up.

Carol J. Post leading a workshop.

The workshops ran the gamut of all stages of writing and marketing. People huddled in animated clusters in the lobby, the bar, and the ballrooms to talk about writing. The youth segment of the conference was the largest in FWA history. Panel discussions presented trending industry news and experiences.

The special guest speakers were Delilah S. Dawson (Florida Writer of the Year), Sherrilyn Kenyon (National Guest of Honor), and Jonathan Maberry (National Guest of Honor). Each spoke with candor and enthusiasm about the writer’s journey from avid reader to prolific writer.


A few highlights for me were meeting amazing people like award-winning author Micki Browning. Thank you, Micki, for not entering the contest this year in my category. Thank you also for signing a copy of Beached. She taught a workshop on conducting underwater investigations. With two decades of law enforcement experience, diver and Retired Division Commander, Micki knows the coolest stuff!

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Nina Love, Donna Kelly, Carol J. Post and I enjoy the Royal Palm Literary Awards dinner.

So after long, fun days and nights of workshops and networking, we gathered in the ballroom for dinner and the Royal Palm Literary Awards Ceremony. Dinner was delicious.

Dessert by the chef at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs.

The dessert was a masterpiece! I ate the chocolate typewriter and white chocolate paper. The chef at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs always surprises us with something special.

Dr. Paul Linzey teaches at Southeastern University and he won Gold at the Royal Palm Literary Awards.

A special shout out to Dr. Paul Linzey who won Gold in the category of unpublished autobiography or memoir for Safest Place in Iraq.

Cheers to Aimee Hill who won Gold for River of Gray and Chet Meisner who won silver for D.I.T.T.O. in the category of unpublished thriller or suspense. I took home the bronze for West of Famous.

West of Famous in the Compass Crimes

And now, back to work. The East book is not going to write itself. So here I go on a writing marathon with thousands of other writers to participate in writing 50,000 words in November. This challenge is known as the National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is calling!

Win a signed copy of West of Famous

Goodreads.com is Facebook for readers. If you love to read, this is the place to learn about all the upcoming books in your favorite genres. In fact, many authors giveaway books to Goodreads readers to build readership and gain reviews–that word-of-mouth buzz that can help books by new authors (like me) get discovered. Even the established best-selling authors giveaway books on Goodreads. I won an advance reader copy (ARC) of one of Jody Picoult’s books once. *Fan squeal*

Soooo, I’m hosting a giveaway of ten signed paperback copies of West of Famous to readers in the U.S. and Canada. To win one, simply enter the drawing in September and Goodreads will select ten winners. The winners will receive their books in early October.

To my readers in the U.S.–thank you! To my readers in Canada–Thanks, eh?

To my readers in Japan:

Doumo arigatou gozaimasu! If you are a fan of my Compass Crimes books and you live in Japan, add your name to my newsletter so I can let you know when there will be giveaways of digital copies for you. At this time it is a logistical and cost issue to run a giveaway of paperbacks from the U.S. to Japan.

Why would you want this book?

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West of Famous is a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards in the suspense category. The winners in all categories will be announced in October.

5-Star Reader's Favorite Rating

The action and mounting tension in West of Famous doesn’t stop till the end. This is a book you won’t want to set aside for later. Coupled with a touching rendering of family love and values, along a belief in God, West of Famous will appeal to all who believe in the ultimate goodness of human beings. Don’t hesitate to read this one.

Reader’s Favorite 5-star review by Viga Boland.

Fisher also packs the pages with a supporting cast of FBI agents, investigators, Florida retirees, and eco-tourists that add intrigue and subplots which propel the story forward. The author expertly develops fringe characters to add another layer of relationships and unpredictability to this riveting crime story. With an emphasis on following the evidence and clues to find the kidnappers, crime fiction fans will appreciate the details of the investigation. Fisher’s ability to anchor the story with a strong sense of place makes this a memorable story with a unique Floridian flair.”

RECOMMENDED by the US Review
Florida Writers conference faculty
Author Linda Fairstein

WEST OF FAMOUS is a terrifically smart, strong thriller from Joni Fisher, whose crime novels get better with each entry in the series. 

Linda Fairstein, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Alexandra Cooper novels and winner of the Nero Award

So, enter today on Goodreads.com and if you win a signed copy, please post a one or two-sentence review on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, and whatever other social media you use to connect to your world. As the author of one of 800,000 books published in 2019, I greatly appreciate your spreading the word.

In researching this book, I lived on a trawler named Seeker for a week. What an amazing way to live! This was the view one morning.

Book Signing on a Boat

Caryn and Paul Frink helped me tremendously during the research phase of my third book. They hosted me on their Nordic Tug and answered hundreds of questions. Their answers and suggestions helped shape the story of West of Famous into a suspenseful tale that involves kidnappers, boats, and Loopers.


They invited me to come sign books on their boat at the AGCLA “Looper” Rendezvous in Norfolk, Virginia. They allowed me to use their
names and the name of their boat—SEEKER—in the book. But a book signing on a boat?
It sounded fun.

Kimberly Russo is the Director of America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association.

Kimberly Russo, Director of the America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGCLA), had also answered research questions. After she
read the book she said, “I would say that the Loopers depicted in West of Famous were very true-to-life.  Besides being friendly, most Loopers are super helpful and are generally willing to assist others they meet along the
way. It’s a pretty close-knit community so they look out for each other and lend a helping hand whenever they can.”

The nickname Looper comes from the path the boats take. They loop around the eastern U.S. by cruising up the eastern coast, traveling in rivers and canals and lakes inland and then down rivers and canals and waterways to the Gulf of Mexico. They tend to winter along the southern coastline and Florida.


They live on boats of many kinds. The smallest was a personal watercraft.

Sailboats and tugboats dominated the marina. Each afternoon at the Rendezvous, they held a crawl. Hosts allowed other Loopers and Loopers-to-be to crawl through their homes. The variety of floor plans and sizes of the boats amazed me. People looking for boats probably became overwhelmed.

Norfolk, Virginia adopted the mermaid as its signature icon. Mermaids showed up in metal, wood, ceramic, and glass.

Most of the Loopers I met lived full-time on their boats. Some owned “dirt” homes and cruised seasonally. The Rendezvous brought together seasoned Loopers, new Loopers, and hopefuls to learn about weather, route
planning, marine electronics, and the joys of using Amazon Prime.

Two families with young children gave a seminar on how they manage schooling, doctor’s appointments, and other issues. I’d have to say I was shocked to see a blind man with a guide dog get off a boat. He and his wife are Loopers.

After a morning and afternoon of workshops and seminars, the Loopers enjoyed the crawls at the Westside Marina in Norfolk and Tidewater Yacht Marina across the river in Portsmouth. Caryn and Paul docked Seeker at the Westside Marina.

During a crowded time on Seeker, I ended up telling guests about the features of the 37-foot Nordic Tug and Caryn talked about my book. Caryn also managed to get my 30-second book trailer to loop on her laptop. Of course, a Looper knows how to loop…


What a wonderful few days! Caryn and Paul hosted me and introduced me to sunsets on the fly-bridge over ‘docktails.’ I’d forgotten how wonderful it felt to be rocked to sleep on a boat. Thank you again, Caryn and Paul, for your friendship!

Thank you, Greg and Sue, for the champagne and the tour of Lucky Me. Cheers to the anchoring experts, Scott and Karen DeVoll.

Lucky Me is owned by Greg Costa and Susan Costa Blais.

If you want to know about the blind Looper see www.greatloop.org and for a year in the life of a Looper, read Caryn’s blog https://intheloop365.wordpress.com. You can read more about Caryn and Paul’s help in the research stage here: Call Me Trawler Trash.

The next AGCLA gathering is the Fall Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama, October 14-19. To all the Loopers, happy adventures!

Cheap Thrills from Bestselling Authors!

Do you crave reading books with nail-biting suspense, twisted plots and great characters who get caught up in whirlwinds of crime, deception and lies? Do you enjoy wondering who will survive…and who won’t?

From the mountains of West Virginia, to acute-care hospitals, to North Korea, and the hallowed halls of our educational system, join us for these incredible stories of healthcare gone wrong.

Pre-order an extraordinary, limited collection of medical thrillers written by USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon best-selling authors for 99 cents today! You are supporting a worthy cause in Operation Renewed Hope Foundation and helping reduce homelessness.

I’m a devoted fan of Timothy Browne, MD’s medical thrillers.

photo of author Dr Timothy BrowneHe has a book in this collection! Nab this collection or don’t come crying to me that you missed out.

Here are the links to buy:


Barnes and Noble


Giveaway and Interview at The Reading Frenzy

The good folks at The Reading Frenzy interviewed me and are handling a giveaway of a set of my books in paperback!

ISBN 978-0-9972575-2-6

South of Justice cover art

West of Famous in the Compass Crimes

These are all the books in the Compass Crimes series so far. I’m working on the fourth, the East book which is set in along the Appalachian Trail. For those of you who asked for Nefi to rise into a lead role once again, rejoice.

If any of you have hiked the Appalachian Trail, please contact me. I’d love to learn about your experience for research.

Happy reading!

Click here to go to the giveaway and the interview.

West of Famous Book Trailer

My third suspense story–West of Famous–comes out in February and I’m pleased to share this book trailer. (Think of it as a movie trailer on an author’s budget.)


Thank you, David Ivester, for your knowledge and skill in promoting my work!

This is the third book in the Compass Crimes. This one is set in Florida. The research was exceptionally fun. You can read about it in my blog “Call Me Trawler Trash.” I know far more about airplanes than boats, so I sought out people who know boats. A special thanks goes out to Paul and Caryn Frink for sharing their trawler with me for their shake-down cruise. Paul, a career Navy man and engineer, understands more about boats than I’ll ever need to know. He was kind and patient while answering thousands of questions. He didn’t bat an eye when I asked where one could stash a 120-lb. person on his boat. He just started lifting hatches and asked, “Living or dead?” Note to self: Never mess with an engineer.

Trawler Hosts Caryn and Paul Frink

Caryn has been my best friend since grade school. It was a joy to spend time with her and to understand why she loves boating. They completed their first loop while West of Famous was being completed. Their accomplishment was far more daunting than mine by far.

Paul and Caryn Frink earn their Loopers gold burgee

Thanks also to Kimberly Russo, Director of the AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association) for answering all my questions about the AGLCA, otherwise known as Loopers. These intrepid souls live on boats and motor up the east coast, through rivers and the Great Lakes and turn south to travel through waterways down to the Gulf of Mexico. The LOOP the eastern states in boats. What an unusual and close-knit group!

The Loopers play a role in this story.

I pray the story is as exciting to read as it was to create.