After barely catching my breath, I drove to Lake Mary for the 7th Annual Florida Writers Association Conference and presented two writing workshops, moderated the editors and publishers panel, and attended the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet. I was among a dozen or more NE Florida writers who took home awards. Windrusher and the Trail of Fire won 2nd place in the YA fiction category—congratulations to Hank Racer, who took 1st with his book, River Rats. This was one of the best writing conferences I've attended.
Then it was back to Atlanta the following weekend for the Cat Writers Association Conference. These folks know how to have fun while learning a thing or two about feline health,
writing, and writing about cats. CWA holds an annual competition as well, and I was excited to learn that Trail of Fire had won not one, but both of the top awards for fiction. First, it was announced that my third in the series won a
Muse Medallion, the top award for book-length fiction. One of the judges wrote that, "This author has created an innovative fantasy that is entertaining and inventive. The main character is wonderful: noble, yet humble and dominant, yet gentle and understanding. Great job!" Above, you see the proud author, grinning ear to ear, as he holds up his Muse Medallion. With me is Kim Thornton, one of the presenters at the awards banquet, and another Muse Medallion winner. Thanks to photographer Betsy Stowe for sharing her photo of the joyous occasion.
The competition attracted well over 200 entries covering non-fiction and fiction, and along with the 40 different categories eligible for Muse Medallions, the contest also honored entries with 17 different special awards presented by conference sponsors. I couldn't have been more surprised when they announced that Trail of Fire had been selected as the winner of The World's Best Cat Litter-ary Award, sponsored by, who else, The World's Best Cat Litter. Despite the whimsical name, it's a highly-prized award since it's presented for the outstanding novel, short story, poem or radio/television dramatic script which portrays cats and cat ownership in a positive way.
Ruthanne Brockway, a longtime journalist and former editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, was the judge for this category, and she commented, "What distinguishes this book is the smooth pace of the writing. Never too rushed. Never too slow. Always interesting. The author describes a fire and makes the reader feel it, smell it, see it: Wow! That's a page-turner."
After the CWA Conference it was back home for Thanksgiving week where we prepared to host a bunch of family for the annual celebration of over-eating.
This month will see more activity, but nothing like last month as we prepare to fly across country to share Christmas with our sons, daughter-in-law, and of course, our very special granddaughter who will turn 1 the week before we arrive. In the meantime, I have two book signings lined up in Jacksonville, so if you're looking for a special gift for that cat-lover in your life, let me suggest an award-winning trio of books featuring a heroic cat.
Look for me here:
- Borders on Southside Boulevard this Saturday, December 6, from noon to 4:00 p.m.
- And at the Barnes & Noble in St. Johns Town Center on Friday, December 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. I'd love to see you.
Until then, I hope your days are filled with the love and happiness of the season.