A Lifetime of Achievement

Last month I attended my fifth New England Crime Bake Mystery Conference in Woburn, Massachusetts. One of this year’s highlights was watching Kate Flora receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the Crime Bake and the mystery community. An even bigger thrill was being asked to speak on her behalf before the award presentation.

Kate with award

For those of you who don’t know, Kate, who I lovingly refer to as doc, was my writing mentor. I believe most published authors can point to that one person who helped them achieve their dream and Kate was mine. Were it not for Kate, I truly wonder whether anything that has transpired would have ever happened. You see Kate believed in me and my writing even when I began to doubt myself. She was steadfast in her belief that I would one day be traditionally published and would frequently caution me to be careful what I wished for. She was my editor, my copyeditor, my psychotherapist, and my cheerleader. Never once did her support for my writing waiver. She constantly pushed me to work harder and dig deeper.

I have been a part of this writing journey long enough now to have met numerous other authors who have benefited from Kate’s support and guidance. Some of these authors even hail from my prior law enforcement profession. Instrumental in the creation of the New England Crime Bake, Level Best Books, and numerous other mystery writing endeavors, it is no coincidence then that Kate was duly recognized by her peers.


As for what I’ve learned from Kate? Well, getting published was my original goal, and now four short story anthologies and three novels later I’m still chugging along. But beyond individual achievement is her lesson of paying it forward. Kate taught me the value of offering a hand up to the next dreamer in line. Hopefully, I‘ll even have something of value to offer. And don’t worry Doc, I’ll be sure and warn them to be careful what they wish for.

About Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce is a retired detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine's largest city. Bruce also spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, where he earned the Director's Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive. He is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mystery Series from HarperCollins. His short stories appear in a number of anthologies including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. Bruce lives and writes in Maine.
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6 Responses to A Lifetime of Achievement

  1. A well deserved honor.

  2. bethc2015 says:

    A nice tribute. Demonstrates the power of collaboration.Wish I had been there to hear your introduction and see Kate receive her award.

  3. Kate is the best! I was lucky enough to have her as the critiquer for the first book in my mystery series. Her comments and suggestions were excellent.

  4. Congrats to the wonderful Kate Flora who has given such a great amount to the mystery amount.

  5. Jenica Dietz says:

    Congrats to you. Nice your kate book.

  6. lisamartin213 says:

    Kate is the best. Legal Founders was fortunate to have her read the first book in my legal thriller series before it was published. It was a pleasure to hear her thoughts and ideas.

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