I have a tendency to jump right into things, so my first attempt at writing came in the form of a 90,000 word novel called TLS Titan. Curious as to why it was not quickly picked up by a publisher, I joined the Florida Writers Association and attended the first available writer’s conference. It was painful, but I soon understood why the manuscript did not sell, and that was simply because it stunk, in every possible way. It’s funny how little you need to learn to realize there’s a great deal you don’t know. The shock of discovering that I knew so little about writing was a serious blow, but I recovered and started over with much shorter works, although probably not short enough. The novel was rewritten and has since been published under a different title.

I like the length of a novella because it gives me enough room to develop my characters and plot in detail, while still being short enough to write, edit, re-edit, and read in a reasonable amount of time. Novellas, however, are hard to place in the market; they’re too long for most magazines and too short to publish as a stand-alone traditional book. I think the e-book might just bring the novella back to the forefront of publishing, since it gives readers something to sink their teeth into and the length has little bearing on the cost of publication.

May 2008

2008 CNW/FFWA Florida State Writing Competition

2nd Place, Novel Chapter, Unpublished

Like the River

Writers of the Future

After I realized the significance of writing for a specific market, I found the Writers of the Future Contest, which is open to unpublished authors only...and it’s free. They accept short stories and slightly longer works of science fiction and fantasy. Writers of the Future holds four contests a year, selects three winners each quarter, and then publishes a book of the collected works at the end of the year. What more could a new writer ask for? Sure, less good writers to compete against, but the organizers encourage you along the way and each quarter they publish a list online of all the Honorable Mentions and Finalists. If you read the books they have published over the past few years, you’ll learn what they’re looking for, and before long you'll start seeing your name on that list of Honorable Mentions.

January 2008

Writers of the Future Contest, 1st Quarter 2008

Honorable Mention, Short Story

Cold Harvest

July 2008
Writers of the Future Contest, 2nd & 3rd Quarter 2008
Honorable Mention, Short Story
​They Came Out of the Sun (AKA: Alien Rendezvous)

April 2011
Writers of the Future Contest, 1st Quarter 2011
Semifinalist, Short Story
​The Emporium

Florida Writers Association​

The Florida Writers Association is a wonderful organization and provides a fantastic learning experience. They association organizes writer critique groups, holds conferences, and arranges for interviews with agents and publishers. FWA also recognizes the hard work of its members each year through the Royal Palm Literary Awards. Writers can enter their work in multiple categories of fiction, non-fiction, published, and unpublished. Each work is graded independently and if your manuscript scores high enough, you’re a Finalist in the competition. The Finalists in each category are then ranked against each other to determine the first, second, and third place winners. The winners receive an award at the year-end banquet and hold the bragging rights for at least a year. These awards are made on the quality of the writing alone, without consideration for the expense and marketing issues a publisher has to consider when reviewing a manuscript. This feedback on your work from your peers is truly meaningful, and a measurable milestone to help gauge your progress as a writer. Thank you, Florida Writers Association.

November 2007
Royal Palm Literary Awards
​2nd place, Short Story, Unpublished
Cold Harvest

November 2011
Royal Palm Literary Awards
1st place, Novella, Unpublished
​The Emporium

November 2013
Royal Palm Literary Awards
1st place, Novel, Unpublished
​Outpost Earth

On Writing and Awards

A Nuts and Bolts Beginning

I always enjoyed technical writing associated with my engineering work, and began to suspect I could use the same basic data, with a twist of course, as the foundation for a decent science fiction novel. I was totally wrong but the effort did lead me to discover my love of writing, which has also been the greatest challenge of my life (excluding golf, but that’s simply impossible).​