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In the Center Ring: The RPLA Finalists

September 1, 2013

–by Chris Coward

Chris Coward compressedOther than RPLA Chairperson Jim Thompson and the engraver, no one knows. We’re talking about the winners of the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition.

Nor will we be any wiser until October 19 when the winners’ names are announced at the Awards Banquet during the 12 Annual Florida Writers Conference, “The Greatest Writers Conference on Earth.”

But the finalists–we know who they are. Congratulations to them and to all of their friends. We are, after all, a writing community living our motto, “Writers Helping Writers,” and the success of one is the success of all.

Scant comfort, at first, if you didn’t final! Been there, done that. I’ve entered three RPLAs, but received recognition in only one. But speaking personally, I wouldn’t have missed the six award banquets I’ve attended for anything. There’s bonding, partying, and the celebration of the crazy pursuit we all share: writing. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Doug Alderson
Deborah A. Allen
Laura Andrews
Jill Andrews
Linda Barbosa
Denise Bates Enos
Tom Bender
Linda Benson
Darryl Bollinger
Susan Boyd
Daniella Brooks
Bridget-Jeff-Callaghan &
Jeff Swesky
John Cammalleri
Derek A. Cockerham
Chris Coward
Bette Lee Crosby
Patricia Crumpler
Laurance Davis
Rhett DeVane
Arthur M. Doweyko
Dianne Farb
Donna S. Fernandez
Mary Flynn
Jane Ellen Freeman
Fern Goodman
M.W. Gordon
Marti Green
R. M. Prioleau
Dottie Rexford
Anne Reynolds
Ted Reynolds
Millie Richmond
Linda Rocker
Rodney Romig
John Ryan
Faun Joyce Senatro
Janet Sierzant
Claire M. Sloan
Phyllis Smallman
Richard Newell Smith
Kimberly M. Smith
Kristen Stieffel
M.R. Street
Dana J. Summers
Gayle H. Swift
Lynn Ullin
Marie Vernon
Amelia Waters
Gloria Taylor Weinberg
Carol White
John J. White
Julie Anne Wight
Cynthia Williams
Gerry A. Wolfson-Grande
Christine Yarbour
Ben Hale
Heather Hamel
Chris Hamilton
Joan J. Harris
Anne Hawkinson
James R. Hodge
John Hope
Sharron Riddle Houdek
Victoria Humphrey
Bradette Jepsen
Sharon E. Johnson
Beda Kantarjian
Melissa S. Kosciuszko
Philip L. Levin
Joan Levy
Dean C. Lohse
Kate Maier
Anne Martin Powell
Jane Ann McLachlan
Gabriel McMichael
Mark McWaters
Ann Meier
Donna Meredith
Elizabeth Nebergall
Mark Newhouse
Virginia Nygard
Lois S. Patton
Laura Pelner McCarthy

If you are a finalist, congratulations. If you entered the RPLA and didn’t final, congratulations, as well, for your courage, perseverance, and willingness to pursue your dream. We’re all on that path.

I look forward to seeing you at the Banquet.

“The Greatest Writers Conference on Earth” will be held October 18-20, 2013, at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. See the FWA website,, to learn more, to register, and to make your agent appointments. Also check out the full set of FAQs. Questions? Contact


Conference information

Hotel: Call 800.380.7724 and be sure to tell the reservations clerk you’re with FWA so that you can get the special FWA rate of $115 per night. Or book online: Book A guest room for The Florida Writers Association 12th Annual at Orlando Marriott Lake Mary for $115 USD per room, plus tax , per night.


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