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.

Workshops

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.

Networking

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!

finalist badge

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 Paul Linzey who won Gold in the category of unpublished autobiography or memoir for Safest Place in Iraq.

Cheers to Aimee Hill who won Gold for River of Gray and Chet Meisner who won silver for D.I.T.T.O. in the category of unpublished thriller or suspense.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