This week I had the honor of attending the Southeastern Writers Conference which was held on the captivating St. Simons Island in Georgia. The tranquility of the retreat and the breath-taking beauty of the island created a magical setting for the conference. As a newcomer to the conference, I was unsure what to expect. What I discovered was a group of wonderful, generous people who truly embrace the logo, "writers helping writers." I met some amazing writers who happily shared their writing experiences and offered advice. I had a marvelous time learning from the fantastic speakers and socializing with the other attendees. On the last evening I attended the SWA Awards banquet. I didn't think the conference could get any better, then the most unexpected thing happened . . . I won several awards! My pre-published novel, Behind the Mask, won both the Hal Bernard Memorial Award for best novel and the Edna Sampson Award of Excellence for best novel by a first time attendee. I was shocked and honored by such a distinction. Thank you SWA for the generous recognition.
I just returned from vacationing in South Carolina. Vacation in and of itself is a great thing, but on my way to Murrells Inlet, I checked my e-mail and discovered that I was a winner of the 2014 Florida Writers Association Short Story Collection #6. You’re probably wondering what that means and why I’m so excited. It means my short story, The Bridge, was selected along with fifty-nine others to be published in the FWA Collection #6 The First Step. Writers submitted short stories, up to 1,200 words in length, relating to any first venture. Judging this years contest is New York Times and USA Today best selling novelist, Mary Burton. From the sixty selections, Ms. Burton will now select her top ten choices. The top ten will be announced later this year at the FWA Writers Conference in Lake Mary, Florida. This was my first writing contest, so I was ecstatic to learn that my story was going to be published. Thanks to FWA, I can now add, published author to my resume.
Dana Ridenour is a retired FBI agent. She spent most of her career as an FBI undercover operative. An award-winning author, Dana lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina with her amazing husband. She is the author of two FBI undercover thrillers: Behind the Mask and Beyond The Cabin.