Cat Writers’ Association Certificate of Excellence Winners and How to Win a Free Ticket to the 2018 Conference!

The CWA conference will be June 7 -9 this year and will be held at the Hyatt Regency North Houston.

I sound like a broken record lately – between the issue with my eye and other things, it’s been one physical ailment after another, most recently a nasty flu bug that had me bed-ridden for a couple days. But it’s not all bad, in-between the blurriness, a fever, coughing, sniffling, and a massive headache; I got the wonderful news that I was the recipient of six Certificates of Excellence from the Cat Writers’ Association.

Considering I don’t have the time to write like I used to, it was an uplifting breath of fresh air. Cats are my passion, they always have been, and it was touching to be recognized for my efforts. But I think what was even nicer, was seeing the other winners (please see the full list here). When I joined the CWA in 2011 I barely knew what I was doing. I attended my first conference in White Plains, NY, completely in awe of the talent around me, a timid and shy little kitten who was completely out of her element.

One of many star-struck moments at my first CWA conference – meeting then editor of Cat Fancy Magazine, Susan Logan.

Since then, not only has my world significantly changed, so has the world of writing. Traditional publishing has become redefined, self-publishing has become more sophisticated, and blogging and social media is anything but a passing trend, it is the voice of our world. I’m part of that world and there was a time, not so long ago when we weren’t always taken seriously for our efforts by some of our peers, or the industry.

So, for me, it’s a personal victory for all of us. Not only have I become a better writer (winning the Writer of the Year as presented by Friskies Purina in 2013 and going on to win the President’s Award last year for my Makin’ Biscuits book), but so have many of my peers. Melissa LaPierre of Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries & Meows, Paula Gregg of Sweet Purrfections, Dawn White of Lola the Rescued Cat, Marjorie Dawson of Dash Kitten, and Yasaar Nakchbendi of Chirpy Cats to name a just a few. These are all newly emerging talents who also won certificates this year and I’m so proud of how far they’ve come.

And then there are those like Janiss Garza of Sparkle Cat featuring Summer, JaneA Kelley of Paws and Effect, Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101, and Bernadette Kazmarski of the Creative Cat who consistently win certificates every year, not only for their blogging and authoring talents, but for publishing, photography, and column and magazine writing.

I learned a lot in 2011 – first and foremost, it’s not easy to write and publish a book, and that it’s important to have a support system to help. This was me with Janiss Garza, someone who is always a wonderful mentor.

The CWA is an amazing organization in that regard. It’s really not about winning or losing, but the personal challenge of striving to achieve whatever goals you might have – whether it be to start a blog, or write your first book, or learn how to take better pictures, or anything else.

The CWA has nearly 250 members and we are a mentoring organization filled with every talent you can possibly think of to better inform or educate on all things cat, from authors, editors, and publishers, to videographers, bloggers, freelancers, artists, photographers, and more. 

We’re an organization of nearly 250 and growing…If you’re thinking of joining, what are you waiting for?

We hold a conference every year and this year it will be June 7 -9 at the Hyatt Regency North Houston. Whether you’re a member of the organization or not, I encourage you to attend. There will be educational seminars, Dr. Marty Becker will be the keynote speaker, there will be a book signing opportunity, the Cat Fanciers’ Association  will be holding their Gulf Shore Regional Cat Show, and to top it all off, there will be an awards banquet on Saturday night where we honor those certificate winners who will go on to win coveted Muse and Special Awards.

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” will be our keynote speaker. He’s always a wealth of information and is also a good sport, seen here wearing a pair of my cat ears!

It’s an opportunity for established writers, bloggers, artists, photographers and more to get together to network and reconnect, or meet for the first time. For those that are thinking about writing, it’s a great way to get your feet wet and learn from the pros. It’s also a nice event for those that prefer a lighter crowd. Sometimes conventions and expos can be overwhelming, but the CWA conferences are cozy and intimate, allowing for lots of quality time in a smaller venue.

I hope you’ll consider going – we’re currently offering the opportunity for one lucky winner to win a free registration valued at $159.00 – click here to enter and if you want further information on the conference or would like to take advantage of early-bird pricing, please visit the CWA at here for details.


I’m honored to have received the following Certificates of Excellence:

Jazmine’s Story… By Mr. Jazz as featured in the Rescued Volume 2 series

With Cats and the Holidays, It’s Not About Who’s Naughty or Nice, It’s About Cat Behavior

Is your Cat Feeling Stir Crazy? 10 Tips to Relieve Boredom in an Everyday Environment

Cat that Doesn’t Like to be Hugged? He or She Might be More Affectionate than you Think

How I Overcame my Fear of the Veterinarian for National Take your Cat to the Vet Day

10 Tips to Help Children with the Death of a Pet Cat


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  1. WOW! CONGRATS on all! We have been out of the loop and didn’t know you’d won all those awards. (or about your eye!) As you know, we love your work. Thank you for listing all the articles, both of yours and the other winners. We will be reading them all. Wow it is wonderful CWA has so many categories, gives lots of people a chance to be honored.

    We hope you’ll visit our blog especially today, as it’s our 3rd BLOGOVERSARY (special post) and we’ve included many favorite pictures. Toward the beginning we linked to your book, Makin’ Biscuits.

    Hugs, Peaches & Paprika

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Peaches and Paprika. We stopped by your blog today and it’s so exciting that you’re celebrating your 3rd blogging anniversary. Your photo collection was such a fun trip down memory lane and we are very honored that Makin’ Biscuits is a part of it!

  2. I have to say congratulations too, to yourself and the fellow winners. The standards are very high, and well they should be to engender excellence in others. I hope to learn from the CWA and wish I could have come to the conference. I do hope that some of the lectures and recorded for those that cant make it. It is great to be somewhere with so many resources and folks that share a common passion, or two.
    Toodle pips and congratulatory purrs

    • Deb says:

      Thank you, Erin – I wish you could come to the conference as well. As far as recording the lectures, I will have to look into that. It certainly is a great idea!

  3. Congratulations on your certificates ! You deserve all of them, we love your writing skills. Congrats to the other winners too ! Purrs

  4. jmuhj says:

    ConCATulations are in order indeed! Isn’t it wonderful how, when we are at our lowest, something generally happens to change that? 😉

  5. Ellen Pilch says:

    Congratulations on your certificates of excellence, you are an excellent writer.

  6. meowmeowmans says:

    Congratulations on being recognized for your excellent work, Deb. It’s truly well-deserved, and we are so happy for you!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you so much meowmeowmans. I’d love to see you enter some stuff one of these years – your photographs are especially amazing!

  7. Roby Sweet says:

    Congratulations! I hope you continue to feel better too. 🙂

  8. Congratulations on your Certificates! That’s pawsome! And we purr you are feeling better soon.

  9. I am impressed to say the least, but not surprised! Congratulations!

  10. Huge concatulations on your well-deserved Certificates! I can’t even tell you the honor it is for me to be included in your post as a newly emerging talent! I was stunned to see my name on the Certificate list multiple times when it arrived the other night. I still feel like I’m winging it, just writing from the heart (which is filled with cats!)

    • Deb says:

      Your recognition is well-deserved, Melissa. Writing from the heart works for you and I’m so happy for all of your good news! Thank you for the congratulations as well.

  11. Chirpy Cats says:

    Congratulations on your much-deserved certificates! I always looked up to your blog and when I started out I thought to myself, “when my blog grows up I want to be like that!” mol

    When I received the finalist list, I scrolled and scrolled and then saw my name in a few categories. I blinked twice, as I couldn’t believe it. A huge honor for me to be listed amongst such talent. Thank you for the mention in your post, it means so much to me!

    I really hope you feel better and your eye is on the mend!

    • Deb says:

      Oh my goodness Chripy Cats – I know just what you mean – I felt that way about so many people I first met years ago in the organization. Thank you so much for the compliment. But I can assure you, you are a super-cat star in the rising. Your work is incredible and I see you going far in the cat world.

  12. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    conga rats to you Deb on all of your achievements !! this is way cool and very
    much deserved 🙂 happy for you and hope things turn around for the BETTER
    on the health side ♥♥

  13. We are honoured your your mention Miss Deb. Your achievements are stupendous and have is cheering lie crazy! Well done that lady!

    To win a Certificate from the CWA is amazing to win a paw full of them is fantastic.

    Bravo to a fine writer.