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By J.C. Bruce

The Florida Writers Association, the state’s largest and most prestigious literary organization, has announced that my books Strange Currents and Mister Manners have won both gold and silver medals in the 2021 Royal Palm Literary Awards.

Strange Currents won first place in the category honoring the best published mysteries in Florida. Strange Currents is the fourth of a five-book Strange Files series published by Tropic Press.

My draft of Mister Manners, which at contest deadline had yet to be printed, won the silver medal for best unpublished manuscript, also in the mystery category. Mister Manners has now been published and is available as an ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook.

The awards were announced at the Florida Writers Association’s recent remote awards ceremony. The annual competition, in its twentieth year, received 577 submissions.

“Even in these difficult times, writers are writing—and marvelously,” said Chris Coward, Royal Palm Literary Awards chairperson.

In all, the competition covered 27 adult genres and 5 Youth genres, with published and unpublished entries considered separately.

The five books in The Strange Files series, in addition to Strange Currents and Mister Manners, include the The Strange Files, Get Strange, and Florida Man: A Story from the Files of Alexander Strange. Alexander Strange, the protagonist in this series, is the world’s only full-time reporter of news of the weird living aboard his converted fishing trawler in Goodland, Florida.

The Florida Writers Association, 1,600 members strong and growing, is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization that supports the state’s established and emerging writers. Membership is open to the public.

The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is a service of the Florida Writers Association established to recognize excellence in its members’ published and unpublished works while providing objective and constructive written assessments for all entrants.



This was a very well-written and fun book to read.

I was impressed with the tightly woven plot where every detail was meticulously placed and then threaded together with ease. For a mystery/crime story to remain suspenseful throughout is a challenge, and the author managed to build one mystery upon another without losing sight of the bigger picture and yet making each revelation a gem in its own right. 

The characters were very well drawn and defined, and easy to keep straight. The POV was sustained throughout and the inner dialogue and actual dialogue were perfectly aligned and, again, highly amusing. The use of language was also exceptional with descriptions vividly painted, action scenes came to life, and each sentence was fresh, crisp, clean, full of meaning, and original. 

The mystery about a dead diver who may have encountered a mermaid is a story fans of Tim Dorsey would like. The descriptions are deftly feathered into the narrative with just enough detail to give the reader a sense of place without slowing the pace of the story.

The dialogue is crisp, funny and the characters’ speech is distinctive.

Overall, a fast-paced and funny Florida mystery.

This mystery reeks with creativity that inspires an interesting plot. The descriptions are flowing and detailed. They make it easy for the reader to visualize the rich Florida settings.

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