What an amazing year 2016 has turned out to be for my work! I’m so gratified by the love my books have received. From the community StoryWalks in Somerset County, New Jersey, and New Richmond, Wisconsin, this summer for It’s a Firefly Night (Blue Apple Books) to the wonderful awards bestowed upon It’s a Seashell Day (Blue Apple Books) over the spring and summer, it’s extremely rewarding to any author to know that their books are touching people’s lives.


In April, I was honored to attend the 2015 Florida Book Awards in Tallahassee to receive the Gold Medal/Reichert Award in the Children’s Literature division for It’s a Seashell Day. And then to participate in their Word of South Festival the next day, where I was part of an Author Panel Discussion with the other winners (http://floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu/winners/all.html#childrens).


In August, I received the wonderful news that my book was a Gold Medal winner for Children’s Picture Books by the Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA) 2016 President’s Book Awards [https://fpa.memberclicks.net/2016-winners].


Winning the awards themselves is just the beginning of other valuable rewards that I’m thankful for:  the chance to meet other Floridian writers of all genres and to network after our initial meeting at these events.  It’s meant the chance to get to know librarians, teachers, booksellers and avid readers through these new connections—fellow literary and literacy enthusiasts whom I’d never have met otherwise.


To round out this dream year for me and my books, I was also thankful to be featured at several other wonderful book celebrations. I connected with young ocean enthusiasts at the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Bay Preserve Children’s Education Center in Osprey, Florida, for a reading and seashell craft activity for It’s a Seashell Day. Then off to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Florida, in June, for their Down by the Seashore Family Night & Summer Camp. And in September, there was the Florida Heritage Book Festival in St. Augustine, Florida, where I met many outstanding authors with books for all different genres and readerships.


In between these events, I participated in numerous bookstore and library appearances as well. I count myself very lucky to be able to do what I love, keep company with authors I respect, and meet fans and inspired readers (both young and old) who enjoy curling up with a good book and letting it take them on a grand adventure.


And speaking of adventures, I can’t wait to see what literary adventures 2017 has in store for my books!


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