Royal Palm Literary Award finalists from the WYL Community

Writing the story we are compelled to tell often involves relentless pursuit: grinding away day after day, month after month, sometimes year upon year. The satisfaction one gets when such a project bears fruit in print can be euphoric and surreal. Yet, what if it gets better than that?

Imagine opening your email one day to find these words: “Congratulations! Your entry is a finalist for the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!”

Two members of the Writing Your Life community just received such a message, and you can imagine their elation.

Teresa TL Bruce

I am delighted to congratulate Teresa TL Bruce and Peggy Best in being named finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition!

Teresa TL Bruce has been a part of the Writing Your Life editing team for several years, and is a freelance proofreader, editor, and writer. She copy edits for College Park Community Newspaper and authors the blog Teresa’s unpublished flash fiction entry, “Pickup at Alligator Station,” was selected as a finalist for the RPLA competition.

Teresa’s reaction to the news she was a finalist: “I opened the email just before bed and grinned so hard my face hurt!” 

Peggy Best

Writing Your Life client Peggy Best has two entries selected as finalists in the RPLA competition: A Soldier’s Daughter, in the unpublished creative nonfiction category, and Unsung Hero, in the published book-length biography category.

“When first notified of my finalist status for Unsung Hero, I was amazed,” recalls Peggy. “The book is an act of love and shows respect for all those who are unsung heroes. Since this is the first book I’ve published, I was astounded.”

Peggy’s first book, Unsung Hero, published in 2018 and available from, and Barnes & Noble, tells the story of her father. It contains his memoir of life in a POW camp during World War II and continues with Peggy’s research into his life as a military officer. It is a memoir, biography, and tribute to her own unsung hero.

“To [also] get notified I am a finalist for the first chapter of my new book Dandelion Child: A Soldier’s Daughter, well, the surprise gave way to ecstasy. I guess I am a good writer after all,” Peggy says.

Peggy’s new book, published by Life Story publishing, is scheduled to release in December 2018. Dandelion Child: A Soldier’s Daughter, is the memoir of her life as a child of the military during the Cold War from 1947-1969.

“I plan to market [the books] together. One is about my father, the soldier. The other is about me. the soldier’s daughter. Naturally, I’ll place the [RPLA Finalist] logo on the covers of each book, cross my fingers, and hope they sell.”

As for what empowered her to complete her memoir, Peggy admits, “I would not have had the courage to attempt these undertakings had I not met Patricia Charpentier.”

The Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLA) competition was introduced in 2002, coinciding with the first Florida Writer’s Association (FWA) conference held in Orlando.

The RPLA is an all-volunteer effort which rewards work in over forty categories encompassing all genres, in both published and unpublished works. Multiple, anonymous judges use judging rubrics to score and provide feedback on each entry. If a set score is reached, that entry becomes a semi-finalist. Semi-finalist entries move on to a final judge. If the score from that final judge reaches a second set point, the entry becomes a Finalist and is eligible to win an award. Only the top three scores in each category are awarded as First, Second, and Third place for that category.

On the current 2018 competition, Su Gerheim of the RPLA Committee states, “The competition has grown in both size and reputation, and the entries are increasingly professional. It’s an understatement to say that competition is stiff.”

When will we know who the winners are? Names will be announced for the very first time during the RPLA Awards Banquet, Saturday, October 20th, during the annual Florida Writers Conference, hosted by FWA.

We wish the best of luck to Teresa and Peggy in this competition. Writing Your Life is so proud of you both!


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