Monday, April 01, 2019

April 2019 FWA Blog

April showers us with a plentitude of educational activities from which to choose. FWA presents the two-day mini-conference, "Marketing 101," on April 27-28 in Altamonte Springs. Join marketing pros Rick Bettencourt, Mary Ann de Stefano, Erik Deckers, and Mandie Stevens for workshops covering everything from Facebook advertising to website building. Read all the details here.

Here in NE Florida, you may select from the following area group meetings:

  • Tonight at 7PM, the River City Writers gather at the Pablo Creek Library to hear from editor Kimberly Smith-Ashley, who will share her thoughts on working with a professional editor and what to expect from the process.
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library. Former police officer Sherrie Clark presents, "Communicating through Storytelling." Sherrie is an author, editor, book coach, and publisher of over 80 books.
  • On Saturday, April 20, the Ancient City Writers welcome award-winning writer Skye Taylor. Skye will address the question of how to hook your reader and keep them turning pages. The group meets at 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library.
  • Amelia Island Writers celebrates National Poetry Month. Lola Haskins, Honorary Chancellor of the Florida Poets Association., will present "Plein Air, Florida—Woods and Waters," on Thursday, April 23, 4-6 PM at the Island Art Association Educational Building, 18 North 2nd St., Fernandina Beach. Lola will have a selection of her books available for purchase.
  • Thinking of writing a stage play? Then you'll want to know the ins and outs of formatting a play and join Walter Schenk at the Ponte Vedra Writers group meeting on Saturday, April 27 at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Walter will present a show-and-tell discussion designed to answer all your questions, starting at 10:30AM.
And in other news:
  • The 18th Annual Florida Writers Conference is now accepting registrations. Nationally prominent featured authors include National Guest of Honor Sherrilyn Kenyon, Florida Author of the Year Delilah Dawson, and National Guest of Honor and Celebrity Workshop presenter Jonathan Maberry. Click here for details.
  • If you've been waiting to submit your work for consideration for a Royal Palm Literary Award, be advised that the submission deadline is April 30. The same deadline applies for the FWA Collection.
  • The 4th Annual I Love Books book fair will be held at the Alachua County Library District Main Branch in downtown Gainesville on Saturday, May 11.
Until next time, keep writing and I'll see you at the library.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Thursday, February 28, 2019

March 2019 FWA Blog

We're marching toward another busy spring season. On March 16, FWA presents a marketing webinar with Dr. Juduth Briles, who was one of the hits of last year's Florida Writers Conference. And for an even more intensive marketing session, you should check out the April 27-28 mini-conference in Altamonte Springs. Let's not forget the 4th annual I Love Books book signing event is scheduled for May 11 and is located in Gainesville this year. Check it out here.

Now for the local news:

  • River City Writers meets on Monday, March 4 at 7PM at the Pablo Creek Library on Beach Boulevard. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for information.
  • The Ancient City Writers are back on schedule with this month's meeting, taking place Saturday, March 16 at 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. This month's speaker is author Belea Keeney, and her topic is "Memoirs: So Many Memories, So Little Time."
  • Self-described spiritual activist and student of consciousness teZa Lord will speak to the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:15PM. Her topic: "No Matter What, Never Give Up."
  • The Ponte Vedra Beach Library is open once again, and the Ponte Vedra Writers will return to their old stomping grounds this month. The library is accepting applications for meeting rooms next week, and I hope to keep our regular schedule on the fourth Saturday of the month. Our speaker is travel writer Kathleen Walls, who will address, "A Travel Writer in Today's World." Look for a follow-up announcement to confirm the date after the 7th. 
  • The Amelia Island Writers group concludes its memoir focus study and makes plans for April National Poetry Month. They meet on Tuesday, March 26, 4PM at the Story and Song Bookstore Bistro in Fernandina Beach.
And in other news:
  • If you write police procedurals or crime novels, mark your calendar to attend this Saturday's meeting of Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime. Paul D. Schad, retired detective, actor, and Police Technical Advisor, will speak on "Emotional Reactions and Ramifications for Law Enforcement Officers." The meeting is set for 10AM, Saturday, March 2 at the SE Regional Library.
  • Aside from all the FWA events mentioned at the top of the page, submissions are now open for the annual Collections anthology, the Royal Palm Literary Award Competition, and the Florida Writer Magazine. Details may be found here.

Vic Digenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, February 01, 2019

February: Holidays and More

February only has 28 days, but the month is packed with two Presidential holidays, Valentine's Day, the Chinese New Year, and let's not forget that all-important Groundhog Day... and let's not forget that all-important Groundhog Day. Did I already mention Groundhog Day?

February also brings the Amelia Island Book Festival and the Jax Book Fest, not to mention a full slate of FWA group meetings. And here they are:

  • Gregg Golson has announced that the River City Writers have a new time and place for their meetings. Beginning this month the group will meet on the first Monday of the month (February 4) at 7PM at the Pablo Creek Library on Beach Boulevard. This month's guest speaker is author Tracy Tripp.
  • There will be no February meeting for the Ancient City Writers. The group returns to St. Augustine's Main Library in March for a program on memoir writing.
  • Some authors write one book and consider it a career. Dr. Edward Mickolus has published 35 books and considers it a promising start. Ed is the guest speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, February 16 at Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Drive, classroom 113. In his entertaining presentation, "How To Be(come) a Prolific Writer: Tips and Tricks on Writing and Publishing More Often Than You Think You Can," Ed will offer techniques to help increase your productivity. The meeting starts at 10:30AM.
  • The Amelia Island Writers meet on Wednesday, February 20 at 4PM at the Story and Song Bookstore. Author Kathryn Taylor will discuss her new memoir, Two Minus One.
  • Also meeting on the 20th is the Clay County Writers group, 6:15 PM at the Orange Park Library. The group welcomes Sherri Henderson, an author who works in the area of community support and advocacy services for families and individuals with developmental disabilities. She wrote Picture Memories: Understanding Dementia to help her son, who has Down Syndrome, understand his disease.
In other news ...
  • The Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime group meets this Saturday, February 2 at 10AM at the SE Regional Library to hear retired attorney Judith Erwin speaking on "Love Can Kill."
  • The 18th Annual Amelia Island Book Festival, February 14 - 16, offers multiple activities for writers and readers, including conversations by bestselling authors. Visit the website for details.
  • The Jacksonville Public Library presents Jax Book Fest 2019 on Saturday, February 23 at the downtown Main Library. The free event runs from 10AM to 3PM and features presentations and signings by dozens of authors.
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursday of the month at 2PM at Chabad at the Beaches, 521 A1A North, while the Ponte Vedra Library undergoes repairs.
  • Both the FWA Collections and Royal Palm Literary Awards competitions are open for submissions as of February 1. And don't forget you may also submit to The Florida Writer magazine and the FWA Blog. Visit the FWA website for details.
Our last word goes to Harlan Coben, who said, "A novel, for example, can be cleaned up, altered, trimmed, improved. Life, on the other hand, is one big messy rough draft.”

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

It's a new year and a time for new beginnings. If you resolved to finish your writing project, we have plenty of inspiration for you. Keep reading for information on the NE Florida writing group meetings, and be sure to show up for at least one of them. As Woody Allen said, 80 percent of success is just showing up.

  • The River City Writers group is taking the month off to reorganize and move to a new location. Beginning Monday, February 4, the group will meet at 7PM at the Pablo Branch Library's front conference room. Their first meeting features local author Tracy Tripp. Gregg Golson has more details.
  • The Clay County Writers group is off and running in the new year with a motivational program to help you sell books. Meeting on Wednesday, January 16 at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library, the group welcomes Armand Rosamilla, a hybrid author who addresses the subject, "Building Readership: Reaching Your First thousand Readers." Armand will talk about podcasts, mailing lists, and social media.
  • Children's book authors will want to head to St. Augustine on Saturday, January 19 for the Ancient City Writers group meeting. Your destination is St. Augustine's Main Library at 10AM. That's when Frances Keiser will expound on "The ABCs of Publishing a Children's Book."
  • The critique group known as the Bold City Writers meets on the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 5PM at the Panera at 9301 Atlantic Blvd. Newcomers are welcome. Contact group leader Rod Sullivan for details.
  • The newly relaunched Amelia Island Writers group meets on Tuesday, January 22 at 4PM at the Story and Song Bookstore in Fernandina Beach. Their mission: to study and write short memoir. Your contact is Marla McDaniel.
  • A freshly revived Ponte Vedra Writers group returns from sabbatical this month reinvigorated and relocated to a temporary new home at Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Drive in Ponte Vedra Beach. The meeting begins at 10:30AM on Saturday, January 26. Our speaker is author T. M. Jacobs who will teach us how to develop our writing into a business. During his talk, appropriately titled "Writing is Your Business," Jacobs will share some outside the box marketing methods, how to set goals, and how to learn from best sellers. The group will meet in the choir room on the ground floor, and parking is available in the lot or in their parking garage. See the map below and follow the arrows to the choir room. Hymnals will be provided for those wishing to sing.
 And in other news ...

  • The ubiquitous—and appreciated—Nancy Quatrano kicks off the year for the Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime clan talking about how to strengthen a manuscript, especially a mystery, by dissecting "The 13 Problems." The sisters (and brothers) meet Saturday, January 5 at 10AM at the SE Branch Library. All genders are welcome.
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursday at 2PM. They gather at Chabad at the Beaches, 521 A1A North, until the Ponte Vedra Library opens for business in a few months.
  • Marine journalist Robert Beringer brought the following $2,000 scholarship announcement to our attention if you know of any college students following this career path:
    Have you ever read a boating article in a magazine or online blog and thought to yourself, I could do that! Well here’s your chance. The BWI Scholarship Fund was created to honor undergraduate college students—from any major—who demonstrate a passion for the field of boating media and have a clear career goal to pursue this field. Applications may be downloaded at and will be accepted through January 15, 2019.
And that's all for now, folks, except to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

December 2018 Blog Post

December is here, and we're now officially in "the happiest time of the year." For some, that means a never-ending chorus of "The Little Drummer Boy" in every store in the land. To others, it's a time for reaching out to family and friends and sharing the love of the season.  But to writers, it's a time to evaluate the past year and prepare for the future as we move forward on our writing journey.

This final FWA blog post of 2018 is sent your way with the hope that you and yours enjoy the finest of holidays seasons. So, let's get on with our calendar of events

  • The River City Writers group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting starts at 7PM.
  • Join the Ancient City Writers chapter for its annual holiday meeting and pitch session, Saturday, December 15 at 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Seven area writers will have seven minutes to pitch their book. Time for networking, so bring your marketing materials to share, and enjoy holiday treats.
  • The new Amelia Island Writers will gather at Story and Song Bookstore in Amelia Park on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 4PM. Enjoy the social time to chat over a book or two or three that had special meaning to you this year. Contact: Marla McDaniel, group leader,
  • There will be no meeting of the Clay County Writers this month.
  • The Bold City Writers meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 5PM at Panera Bread, 9301 Atlantic Boulevard. This is a critique group, and they're actively seeking new members. Contact group leader Rod Sullivan for details.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers continue their holiday while planning for the upcoming year. With the library closed through February or March, the group will relocate to Christ Episcopal Church starting with the January 26 meeting. Author T. M. Jacobs will present, "Writing is Your Business." We will meet in the choir room of the church, and next month I'll send out a map to help orient you.
And in other news ...
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursdays at 2PM. While the Ponte Vedra Library is undergoing major repairs, the group is meeting at Chabad at the Beaches, across A1A from the library at 521 A1A North.
  • The application deadline has passed for the Jacksonville Public Library's Jax Book Fest event on Saturday, February 23, but that doesn't mean you can't attend and support your fellow writers. Another reason to attend is to hear featured authors R.L. Stine and Mike Thaler.
  • You may have missed out on Jax Book Fest, but there's still plenty of time to register for FWA's 4th Annual I (Heart) Books signing event. This years event will be bigger than ever with a new venue in a new city, and more authors than ever. The event takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at Alachua County's Main Library in downtown Gainesville. Click here for registration and details.
  • FWA's "Writers@Work" Mini-Conference is set for April 27-28 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. The topic is Marketing 101, with an intensive study of website design, Facebook ads, and social media. More details can be found here.
  • Did you see the article on award-winning author Walter Joseph Schenk, Jr. in a recent FWA newsletter? The write-up details his writing journey and provides a peek into some of his award-winning books. Here's the link in case you missed it. By the way, Walter is the March speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting.
  • Congratulations to FWA member Donnalee Overly on the publication of her second book in the Knot Series, The Zeppelin Bend: Unraveling the Knot of Deception.
  • Beth Davis will discuss her novel, A Glimmer of Hope, at the Webb Wesconnett regional library on Thursday, December 6 at 7PM.
  • Windrusher Hall Press recently published the biography, Music is My Ticket: The Musical Journey of Bill Prince, co-authored by Victor DiGenti.
  • Micah Ward of Fernandina Beach, FL received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. His story, “The Guilt of the Living,” was one of 31 Honorable Mentions out of 704 entries received from over 20 countries.
That's it for 2018. We'll see you in the New Year. Happy holidays to all!


Vic Digenti
FWA Regional Director

Thursday, November 01, 2018

November 2018 Post

From Halloween we move into the Thanksgiving month of November. 2018 is flashing by, so let's move on with our monthly announcements.

  • Find out what group leader Gregg Golson and the River City Writers are up to when they meet on Tuesday, November 13 at Jacksonville's SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway at 7PM.
  • The Clay County Writers group has worked on an anthology of Clay County stories for well
    over a year. Now their labors have born fruit, and group leader Maureen Jung announced they will hold a book launch party on Wednesday, November 14, from 6:00 to 8:00PM at the Orange Park Library. The book, Embedded in Clay: A County in Northeast Florida, was written by 14 local writers who focus on the rich history of Clay County. The book introduces readers to the memorable characters and events that formed the heart of the region. Come and meet the authors, and purchase a book. There will be refreshments and door prizes for the taking.
  • The Amelia Island-based group, Writers by the Sea, has disbanded, with long-time group leader Nadine Vaughan Williams stepping down. Fear not Nassau County Writers, Marla McDaniel has stepped up and with her fellow writers is forming a new FWA group to be called Amelia Island Writers. As of now it looks like the group will focus on critiques and interactive learning, and will meet at Story and Song Bookstore Bistro on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Look for a new website and more information in the new year. Our thanks to Nadine and her helpers for their years of service to FWA.
  • Mystery writer M. W. Gordon visits the Ancient City Writers group on Saturday, November 17, 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. In his presentation, "Ask Not for Whom the Pen Writes, It Writes for Me," Gordon will discuss his writing/publishing journey and offer insights into some of the essential tools to help writers write faster and more powerfully.
  • As announced last month, the First Coast Christian Writers group, an FWA affiliate, has moved its meeting place to the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship's new facility at 7550 Collins Road in Jacksonville. They still meet every Thursday at 7PM.
  • Change has come to the Ponte Vedra Writers group meeting as well. With this week's closing of the Ponte Vedra Library for major repairs, the PV Writers group takes a two-month vacation. They will return in January 2019 at Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, only a few blocks from the library. The library isn't scheduled to reopen until March, and the group will meet at the church until then. More information will follow in the next two months.
And in other news ...
  • The NE Florida Sisters in Crime chapter will not meet this month, but invite you to join them on December 1 for a holiday social, 10AM at the SE Regional Branch Library.
  • The 17th Annual Florida Writers Conference was an outstanding success, setting a new attendance record with well over 500 people registered over the course of the conference. Both National Guest of Honor Linda Fairstein and Heather Graham, the Florida Writer of the Year, lived up to their honorifics, contributing in many ways on panels, with workshops and discussions, and by donating the use of a character name in a future book. Auctioning off those opportunities raised $1,700 for the Florida Writers Foundation. And what did bestselling author Linda Fairstein think about her experience? In writing to thank us for inviting her to the conference, she said, "The FWA Conference is far and away the best writers conference I have ever attended. I loved the people - all smart and sincere and working their hearts out; I have so much respect for the faculty members I met. And I really enjoyed the camaraderie and interest in writers being their best." And thank you Linda for being such a great Guest of Honor.
  • Congratulations to the many RPLA winners from NE Florida. If you attended the banquet you saw a number of familiar faces marching up to the winners' table to pick up their awards. Among them were Walter Schenck, Jr., who took home three RPLAs, plus the Dahris Clair Memorial Award for Best Play. Other local prize winners were Joan North, Brad Kuhn, Laura Holian, Margarita McCarthy, and Will Merrill. Let me know if I left anyone out from our region. Be sure to enter the 2019 competition and maybe you'll see your name added to the list of winners.
  • As the curtain came down on the conference, it was announced that Sherrilyn Kenyon will be the 2019 National Guest of Honor, and Delilah Dawson the Florida Writer of the Year. Also, bestselling suspense/horror writer Jonathan Maberry has been tapped to present the Celebrity Workshop. The 18th Annual Florida Writers Conference is already shaping up to be another destination event. 
  • Have you heard that FWA's annual book signing event, I (Heart) Books, is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Main Public Library in downtown Gainesville. This promises to be HUGE. as some car dealers like to say, and many authors are already signing up. Visit the web page for details and registration information.
  • The closing of the Ponte Vedra Beach BranchLibrary has also affected other organizations meeting there. One of them is Sharon Scholl's A Gathering of Poets, which met there on the first and third Thursday of the month at 2PM. They have found a temporary home at Chabad at the Beaches, across from the library at 421 A1A North. It's the mustard colored building with a menorah out front. The meeting days and time remain the same. All poets welcome.
That's all for this month. Enjoy these balmy fall days, and keep writing.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, October 05, 2018

October 2018 Blog Post

It's not too late to register for this month's Florida Writers Conference and take advantage of the many cool offerings. There are still seats available for Chuck Sambuchino's full-day workshop, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages." Register now because the price for walk-ups is even higher. Aside from the nearly 70 workshops and panels, and the lineup of agents, editors, and publishers, did you know you can get a professional headshot and have a "Meet the Author" video made while you're at the conference?

Don't forget you may sell your book in the conference bookstore, and attend the Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet. There's so much more, so check out the conference site and join your writer friends at the 17th Annual Florida Writers Conference. But hurry, online registration closes on the 8th.

And now for the rest of the news:
  • Contact Gregg Golson to learn what the River City Writers are up to on Tuesday, October 9 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library.
  • Elaine Smith returns for another act at this month's meeting of the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, October 17 at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library. Smith, founder and director of the Clamour Theatre Compny, will present, "Let's Make a Scene: In Plays or Fiction."
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter assembles on Saturday, October 20 at St. Augustine's Main Library. Fran Kaiser is the featured speaker, and she'll discuss, "The ABCs of Publishing a Children's Book." Kaiser is the owner of Sagaponack Books & Design, and has authored two children's book series.
  • Writers by the Sea has changed its October meeting date to the fourth Thursday of the month instead of the third to allow its writers to attend the Florida Writers Conference, October 18 - 21. They will meet on Thursday, October 25 at the usual time at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. This is a Halloween-themed event, so come dressed as your favorite fictional character. And all are invited to share a two to five minute piece of your favorite short story.
  • Popular speaker, writer, and developmental editor Nancy Quatrano returns to the October 27 Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Branch Library. Nancy's topic is "Backstory: When, How, and How Much." She will tell us how to present backstory in a way that propels the story forward, deepens the characters, and helps build connections between the story and the reader.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, is continuing meeting at the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship, but they've moved to a new facility at 7550 Collins Road in Jacksonville. They will continue to meet every Thursday from 7:00 to 8:45PM. Contact group leader Lynn Rix for more information.
And in other news:
  • NE Florida Sisters in Crime meets tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 10AM at the SE Branch Library. The tentative topic is "Premeditation." Be advised that the November meeting has been canceled.
  • Speaking of cancellations, the Ponte Vedra Library will be closed for up to four months for a major overhaul of the overhead piping system. They will close on November 2, and not reopen until sometime in March. The Ponte Vedra Writers will take both November and December off to recharge batteries and enjoy the holidays, and return in January at a new location for the next three months. They will meet at Christ Episcopal Church at the interection of Solano Road and San Juan Drive in Ponte Vedra, just a few blocks from the library. The first meeting at the church will be on January 26. Look for more details later.
  • The Jacksonville Public Library has announced the date of the 2019 Jax Book Fest will be Saturday, February 23. There's a $35 non-refundable application fee, and the deadline is November 30. Visit the website for details.
And now back to work. At least I'm further along than Steven Writght, who proudly boasted, "I'm writing a book. I have the page numbers done."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive VP
NE Florida Regional Director