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RPLA Showcase: Robert Hart

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2016 Unpublished Short Story

Spears and Promises by Robert Hart

In Spears and Promises, tragedy and understanding emerge during the cultural clash between a white undergraduate from southern Africa and a post-graduate African MD forced to room together in Ireland during the colonial era.

At the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author Robert Hart won First Place in the Unpublished Short Story category. Each year at the RPLA 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. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.

Click the link to read a sample:

Excerpt from Spears and Promises

Q & A with Robert Hart

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?

A: Most of my stories develop from a trigger, perhaps a happening, often a phrase that stays in my head like an earworm, “. . . his eyes glowed like white pickled onions,” “. . . he smelled of urine and cast off clothing,” “. . . the edges ragged from her teeth and damp with saliva,” which I then hand to my imagination. The premise of the story is usually a memory, sometimes more than one, that forms a framework for the images.

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

A: A year at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, provided the setting. School in South Africa during the era of apartheid provided the arguments. The climax was based on an incident that was instrumental in the creation of the first intensive care unit in Edinburgh. Although the story is fiction, a product of imagination, the emotional hold of each incident has never left me. It is now available in print and Kindle format from Amazon.

Q: Whom do you credit with inspiring your writing?

A: My mother, a bibliophile who taught me to read before first grade, and the authors this enabled me to read. Brought up without TV, radio, or cinema, I lived in their imaginary worlds.

Q: Any tips for new writers?

A: Develop a firm grasp on story structure and the essential elements of creative writing—dialogue, setting, scenes, arcs, POV etc. Help is available in books, courses, and the Internet. Do not neglect spelling, grammar, and acceptable formatting. All great stories are character driven; it’s up to you to bring your fictional heroes to life. Join a critique group. Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Thank you for sharing, Robert, and congratulations! Visit his website: www.daytonaareawriters.com/robert-hart.html

A message about supporting literacy in Florida:

If every member of FWA went to Smile.Amazon.com, chose Florida Writers Foundation, Inc. as their charity and, instead of logging into Amazon.com, logged into Smile.Amazon.com, FWF would receive 0.5% of the purchase funds. Every time.

We could significantly fund the literacy efforts of our organization. No money out of your pockets…just some invested time to set this up.

How easy for us to make a difference. To see all of our work, please read the pages of our website www.floridawritersfoundation.com. You’ll be proud.

Tom Swartz, President, FWF

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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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