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RPLA Showcase: John Chaplick

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Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
Royal Palm Literary Award

Each year at the Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. Our goal is to showcase the best of the best at the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards and provide First Place winners with a well-deserved spotlight. Not only are we recognizing extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.

2015 Published Romance

The Rivergrass Legacy by John Chaplick


John Chaplick won First Place in the Published Romance category. In The Rivergrass Legacy, a Colombian drug cartel’s use of a Florida tropical fish hatchery to launder dirty money forces a Boston aristocrat to join forces with rural Southern farmers to solve a mystery.

Click the link to read a sample:

Excerpt from The Rivergrass Legacy

Q & A with John Chaplick

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?

A: I usually create my own ideas based upon my experiences and other readings that inspire me. For example Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion was inspired by Dr. William Lane Craig’s article entitled God: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist; my next book Bridge of the Paper  Tiger came from my own experience as a forensics accountant; my RPLA winning novel The Rivergrass Legacy came from my visit to a tropical fish farm in South Florida…and also from my experience as a forensics accountant specializing in fraud and money laundering.

Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?

A: The Rivergrass Legacy was my first RPLA submission five years ago under the title In the Presence of Evil and it failed miserably. I then increased my activities at  FWA, joined two critique groups, did a LOT of studying, and rewrote it as The Rivergrass Legacy. It’s success is, I think, a testimony to the importance of objective, third party critiques and doing enough homework before a writer attempts to go public with his/her final product.

Q: Who do you credit with inspiring your writing?

A: My writing was inspired by sheer panic. The day after I retired I found myself sitting alone (my wife was at work) at the breakfast table with absolutely nothing to do..no one needed my advice anymore, I had no pressing commitments, and no urgent reports to write. I panicked, swore that this was NEVER going to happen again, and I began my exploration of the publishing arena.

Q: Any tips for new writers?

A: The best tips I  can offer for new  writers are: a) join a writing group like FWA; b) read, read, read; c) NEVER submit anything until it’s been reviewed by at least ten objective and experienced writers.

Thank you for sharing, John, and congratulations! Visit John Chaplick’s website: www.EngagingBooksBlog.com
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Follow Bria Burton:

Blogger at St. Pete Running Company

Award-winning author Bria Burton lives in St. Petersburg with her wonderful husband and two wild pets. They will soon welcome a baby boy (their first) in November 2017. Her fiction has appeared in over twenty anthologies and magazines. Her novelette, The Running Girls, is a 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist. Her novella, Little Angel Helper, won a 2016 RPLA. She has earned two First Place RPLAs for unpublished manuscripts. While she writes, her dog and cat do their best to distract her, which is why they star in her family-friendly short story collection, Lance & Ringo Tails. She’s a blogger and customer service manager at St. Pete Running Company. As a member of the Florida Writers Association, she leads the St. Pete chapter and serves on the statewide FWA Board. She’s also a member of the Alvarium Experiment, a by-invitation-only consortium of outstanding authors who created The Prometheus Saga, Return to Earth, and The Masters Reimagined anthologies.
Website www.briaburton.com

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One Response

  1. Jerry Tabbott
    | Reply

    I can definitely relate to John’s situation, except I knew from fourth grade (won class contest) that all I wanted to do was write. Life intercedes though. Work. Family obligations. Career (work you find you’re good at and enjoy). These, some early disappointments, and the easy discouragements encountered in my immaturity, put me off the path.

    However, now within two years of retirement, the spark has reignited. A story I’d only played with in my head, became more compelling and I thought maybe I’d just do a written “storyboard” – a rough representation. I still didn’t have the confidence I lost in my youth. But as I committed more and more words to paper, it came more alive to me. I had weaknesses and inexperience, but felt again I could write. I’ve been working hard at it since, joined several excellent critique groups, studied the craft, followed articles and blogs offering often exceptional advice. And it has all helped mold my work. My skills may never be what they could have been if I remained dedicated in my 20’s, but I do have skills now…hopefully enough to please my readers.

    Whatever happens to my finished work, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

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