2015 Royal Palm Literary Award Winner ~ Sprinter

At this year's RPLA Banquet, I listened as each category winner was announced, and the joy of writer after writer swept over the room.

As a contributor to The Prometheus Saga, I was equally thrilled for my fellow Alvarium Experiment authors who won awards, including some of the Saga stories: Jade Kerrion, Antonio Simon, Jr., Parker Francis, Ken Pelham, Daco, and Elle Andrews Patt (not pictured).

When the novella category came up, I waited as 3rd, 2nd, and 1st places were announced. Finalist Little Angel Helper was not among them, and I admit I had a brief moment of disappointment. I'm really proud of that little novella, but as in all contests, we cannot all be winners. And I quickly realized that being a 2015 RPLA Finalist is still a thrill, too.

The very last genre was Women's Fiction. As 3rd and 2nd Place were announced in the Unpublished category, my shoulders slumped and I found myself giving up hope. If anything, I thought I would get 3rd Place, maybe 2nd. With those winners announced, I allowed myself to feel disappointed all over again.

But then...

"An Olympic race. A murder. A daughter without a mother who dreams of professional running. But Riley Sprinter can't escape her past, no matter how fast she runs from it."

I know that logline! And I think I can improve the wording if I just...oh, they're calling my name!!

As I lifted my head to see that my logline was, indeed, displayed on the big screen, I knew it was true. Sprinter had won FIRST PLACE! The shock was overwhelming. I covered my mouth as I waded from the back of the room, half aware that I was gasping into my hand.

My critique group friends, Rachel and Maria, cheered for me. The Alvarium Experiment table applauded, and I crossed the stage in disbelief. By the time I got to the photo op, I was smiling so hard my face was starting to hurt. 


About Sprinter

Throughout the years, I've talked quite a lot about Sprinter on this blog. The novel is a hybrid of women's inspirational sport fiction. Riley Sprinter's mother was murdered at the Athens Marathon in 1986. The story begins fourteen years later. Riley lives in embittered isolation, but her dreams of professional running have never truly abandoned her. After assaulting a stranger at a coffee shop, she attends mandatory counseling sessions. Through the retelling of her own story--what happened leading up to her mother's death and what happened after, including her loss of faith in God--she finds a reason to pursue her dream once more.

My next step is to review the judging rubrics from the RPLA contest that I should receive shortly, do one last edit, and start submitting the novel to agents and publishers again.


The Win in Pictures

Yes, smiling so big my mouth hurt.

From Rachel's perspective:


And then there was the celebration afterward. Lots of pictures, lots of fun.

We had to take a selfie. Rachel, me, and Maria. Critique groups are the best!
Fellow Pinellas writers  and RPLA winners David Edmonds and Gino Bardi
  The Alvarium Experiment sweeps the RPLAs!
Celebrations continued with a glass of Merlot at the bar


FWA Collection #7 Revisions: Stories of Starting Over

 Features my short story, "Empty Girl"
 My dear author friend Beda who had a beautiful story in this year's collection.
We were signing buddies
They had a wonderful signing set up for us


Volunteering in Silent Auction

Rachel is an Eckerd student and Susan is the SA Chair
The St. Pete Writers Group basket, "A Date With Yourself," had a winning bid of $60
I did manage to sneak into one session: Ask the Agent Panel 


The Prometheus Saga Book Signing

Six of the twelve authors signing books together

Needless to say, it was a fabulous time. It's my seventh year in row at the conference, first year as a volunteer. I'm already excited about next year.

Back to that logline. I think I'll shorten it to something like:

A race. A murder. A daughter without a mother. Riley Sprinter can’t escape her past, no matter how fast she runs from it.