Thursday, August 30, 2018

September 2018 FWA Blog

We're inching closer and closer to the annual Florida Writers Conference, October 18 - 21. All of you who are members of the Procrastinator's Association need to make your move to the conference website and register now to participate in this outstanding conference experience. Don't miss out on three days of illuminating workshops and panels, pitch sessions with editors, publishers, and agents, and the opportunity to meet New York Times bestselling authors Linda Fairstein and Heather Graham. Not to mention the day-long Celebrity Workshp with Chuck Sambuchino, and the Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet.

And after you complete your registration, read on to see what we have in store for NE Florida writers in September.

  • The River City Writers return to the SE Branch Library on Tuesday, September 11 at 7PM. Group leader Gregg Golson has more information.
  • The Ancient City Chapter of the Florida Writers Association will meet on Saturday, September 15 at 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Michael Ray King will explore two areas of concern for writers: First, how to create a powerful first draft; and secondly, boosting your marketing skills by becoming a better public speaker. King is an award-winning author, book coach, publisher, and founder of the Inspired Mic. Note that access to the Main Library has changed to U. S. 1 only.
  • Fresh from summer vacation, the Clay County Writers gather once more at the Clay County Public Library to hear Elaine Smith discuss "Life Upon the Wicked Stage: What Playwriters Need to Know." Elaine is the founder and artistic director of the Clamour Theatre Company, as well as a playwrite, actor, and director. The meeting begins at 6:15PM.
  • G. W. "Bill" Reynolds is the guest speaker at the Thursday, September 20 meeting of Writers by the Sea, assembling at 6PM at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Bill is a familiar face on the First Coast, a prolific author, cooperative publisher, and former owner of Books Plus. Bill will show how he pulls readers into his story with his presentation, "Enthuse Your Readers with Your Story."
  • Del Kiernan-Lewis returns to the Ponte Vedra Library to motivate the Ponte Vedra Writers into becoming better marketers of their books. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 22 at 10:30AM, and will cover many of the basics of book marketing, as well as use of social media. Del is the publisher and editor of San Marco Press and works with authors as an editor, social media marketing advisor, and consultant to independent publishing.
In other news ...
  • Cheryl Roman is stepping down after six years as leader of the Serivilous Panerians critique group. Rod Sullivan is taking over as the group leader and they are seeking new members. They meet at the Regency Panera on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 5:00 to 7:00PM. If you're interested, please contact Rod at Cheri has recently joined the FWA Board and launched two new books, all of which will keep her busy.
  • The NE Florida chapter of Sisters in Crime will meet on the second Saturday, instead of its usual first Saturday of the month meeting. On September 8 at 10AM, the group will hear from JSO Detective Bart Smith discussing Hazardous Devices. They meet at the SE Regional Library on Deerwood Park Blvd. 
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival has added an extra day to their September event, starting on Thursday, September 13 with Janice Hardy's full day workshop, "How to Turn Your Idea into a Novel." The next day is the writer conference, featuring workshops and talks by Laura Lee Smith, Jeff Klinkenberg, James O'Born, Robert McComber, and others. That evening's Legends Reception will honor Tim Dorsey. Each of those events will take place at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort. Saturday, September 15 is the Festival marketplace and free book festival at the Flagler College Student Center. For information on all of this and more, please click here.
I'll leave you with a quote by an obscure writer I recently discovered:

"I’ve always thought of reading and writing as addictive behavior. Once they’ve hooked you, they’ll never let you go." ~ Parker Francis


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FWA August 2018 Post

Not that I have a one-track mind, but everyone seems to have had something to say about the heat, be that real or metaphorical heat. Ronald Reagan said, "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat." Dante Alighieri, of Dante's Inferno fame, is quoted as saying, "Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal." And, of course, President Harry Truman famously said, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Yogi Berra's take was, "It's not the heat, it's the humilty."

Enough with the heat quotes. Let's get on with the FWA show.
  • Are you wondering what's happening at the River City Writers in August? Ask Gregg Golson what he has planned for the Tuesday, August 14 meeting at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting will commence at 7:00PM.
  • There will be no meeting of the Clay County Writers this month. Look for them to reconvene in September.
  • Swim on over to the Writers by the Sea meeting on Thursday, August 16. This month's meeting location has been changed to the island Art Association's Education Classroom at 18 N. 2nd Street in Fernandina Beach at 6:30PM. Award-winning author and editor Emily Carmain is on hand to present, "Editing Your Prospects of Success." Emily will point out many of the common flaws found in too many manuscripts sent to publishers and agents.
  • The doors opens at 10AM at the St. Augustine Main Library, and members of the Ancient City Writers flood in on Saturday, August 18 to hear author and former NCIS Special Agent Jeff Walton. Jeff is the author of Final Departure: Death is Never on Time, and spent nearly 30 years fighting crime, including catching spies and terrorists around the world.
  • While we may all want to write a bestselling novel, there are myriad other ways to make money as a writer. On Saturday, August 25, 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library, the Ponte Vedra Writers welcome Brad Kuhn and his workshop, "So You Want to Be a Freelancer." Brad will show us how to make a good living writing things that other people don't want to write, and teaches you how to fish where the fish are.
But that's not all ...

  • Today, Tuesday, July 31 is the deadline for early conference registration. Tomorrow the conference fee increases and you will have to pay extra for the Thursday evening "Boot Camp" workshops, which cover creative nonfiction, Facebook advertising, poetry, and the opening pages of your novel. So don't delay. Register now!
  • And while you're registering you should consider attending Chuck Sambuchino's full-day workshop, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages." Registration for this Celebrity Workshop includes lunch and benefits the Florida Writers Foundation.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival has announced that Tim Dorsey is its 2018 Literary Legend. There will be a reception to honor Tim on Saturday, September 14, preceding the free Book Festival at Flagler College on September 15. The day-long writers conference is also on the 14th, and features seven presenters, including Laura Lee Smith, James O. Born, and Jeff Klinkenburg. Visit the FHBF website for more information.
I'll add one more heat quotation to end this month's NE Florida FWA blog post. This one is by Steven Wright, who asks, "If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director
2018 Conference Faculty Chair

Monday, July 02, 2018

July 2018 Post

Glenn Frey had it right when he sang "The Heat Is On!" And not just on the streets, but throughout the nation with record highs. A good time to enjoy an air conditioned writing room. Am I right?

Despite the heat many of you will be visiting one of the FWA writers groups here in NE Florida, so read on to find out specifics.

  • Gregg Golson leads the River City Writers. They meet the second Tuesday of the month at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 10 at 7PM. Send Gregg a query email for details.
  • The Clay County Writers are still enjoying a summer break. Meetings will resume in August.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30PM at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Truth in advertising requires me to say that this is not really "by the Sea," but close enough. Nadine is putting the July 19 program together and will send you information when you contact her at
  • You can visit the nation's oldest city on Saturday, July 21 and take in a meeting of the Ancient City Writers. They meet at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10AM. I'm guessing Nancy Quatrano will have information about this month's meeting. 
  • Science fiction/fantasy author Tim Robinson discusses how to use real world knowledge to create your fictional worlds and characters. Tim is the featured speaker at this month's Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, July 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. 
In other news ...
  • Cheri Roman will lead a critique group at the Florida Writers Conference in October. This small group of ten people will have their ten pages critiqued, as well as critique one another's work. The class will fill up quickly, so you might want to register for the conference now, if you haven't already, and register for Cheri's workshop.
  • The early bird conference discount is in place through the end of this month, and it includes Thursday night's Boot Camp Workshop.
  • Are you ready to pitch your book to an agent, editor or publisher? Then you have another good reason to attend this year's Florida Writers Conference. You can make an appointment to sit down with agents from Writers House, Fuse LiteraryAgency or Folio Literary Managerment. Or speak with acquiring editors from University Press of Florida and St. Martin's Press, as well as publishers from Twisted Road Publications and Sunbury Press Books.
  • We've told you before about the outstanding faculty at this year's conference, including National Guest of Honor Linda Fairstein, Florida Writer of the Year Heather Graham, and Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke. But good news bares repeating, doesn't it? And don't forget Chuck Sambuchino's Celebrity Workshop, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages."
  • Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime chapter meets Saturday, July 7 at 10AM at the SE Branch Regional Library to hear from author Robbie Cox on cross promoting your book.
I intended to end this edition with a couple of lame joke a la Johhny Carson's "How hot is it?" routine. For example, It's so hot that cows are giving evaporated milk. Or chickens are laying boiled eggs. Why don't you send me your favorites and I'll share them in August's post, when I'm sure it will still be so hot.

Until then, stay cool and keep on writing.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, June 01, 2018

June Blog Post

I'm not sure whether June is busting out all over just yet, but we do know it's heating up. Here are some places to cool off while networking with your fellow FWA members and other writers.

  • River City Writers converge on the SE Regional Branch Library on Tuesday, June 12 at 7PM. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for details.
  • The Clay County Writers are taking a summer break from their monthly meetings to focus on completing the long-awaited Clay Couunty anthology. Meetings will resume in August.
  • Writers by the Sea is schedled to meet on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30PM at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Nadine Vaughan can supply more information.
  • St. Augustine's Main Library is the site of the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, June 16 at 10AM. Nancy Quatrano will speak on the subject of "Backstory," how to use it and how much to use in your story.
  • On Saturday, June 16, award-winning journalist Tricia Booker invites you to "Get Naked," figuratively speaking, of course. Tricia will discuss her rules for penning a memoir and why writers shouldn't be afraid to put family lore into words. Come to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library at 10:30AM on Saturday, June 16, prepared to bare your all.
And in other news
  • NE Florida Sisters in Crime meet tomorrow, Saturday, June 2nd at 10AM at the SE Regional Library to hear from Roy Glenn, author of the Mike Black series. Roy will speak on "Development of Gangsters in Fiction," and how he develops his villainous characters.
  • We're moving ever closer to the July 31 early deadline to register for the 2018 Florida Writers Conference. You'll not only save money by registering early, but enjoy the Thursday night Boot Camp workshops on October 18 at no extra charge. Check out all the speakers, workshops, and panels by clicking here.
  • Marketing is key to any writers success, expecially for indie authors. The next Focus Day conference on Saturday, June 23 focuses on DIY Marketing, with a line-up of specialists covering everything from branding to social media. More info and registration can be found here.
  • Congratulations to St. Augustine author Caren Umbarger. Her second novel, The Passion of Marta has been recognized with a 2017 Nautilus Book Award.
I'll end with a quote by John Updike, who unlike many writers, claimed to like middles.
"I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, whereambiguity restlessly rules."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

May Days for Writers

May days are upon us, offering another month of writing opportunities here in NE Florida. Here are this month's FWA meetings.

  • Visit the River City Writers on Tuesday, May 8, 7PM at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. Gregg Golson has more information.
  • Maureen Jung leads the Clay County Writers meeting on Wednesday, May 16. The group gathers at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library. Contact Maureen for details.
  • Nassau County writers will make their way to the Amelia Island Museum of History at 6:30PM on Thursday, May 17 for the Writers by the Sea meeting. Group leader Nadine Vaughan will share meeting details with you.
  • Writer, lecturer, and performer Randy Ross discloses the lessons he learned trying to get his comedic novel published after rejections from 110 agents and 15 small presses. Randy will appear at the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, May 19, 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. During his presentation, "A Debut Novelist's Rocky Road to Publication," Randy will discuss lessons learned the hard way, and perform scenes from his one-man show.
  • Crafting strong beginnings and endings to your novel is the subject of Vic DiGenti's talk at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, May 26 at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Vic will tell you ten reasons why the opening is so important, and let you write your own opening. He'll also show you how to bring the story home with a great ending. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. on the 26th.
And in other news:
  • The 3rd Annual I "Heart" Books event is scheduled for Satuday, May 19 at the Schultz Center, 4019 Boulevard Center Drive in Jacksonville. All the author spaces for this multi-genre book signing event have been filled, but there's no charge to attend and support your fellow authors, and pick up some good books. The signing runs from noon to 4PM.
  • Did you know FWA offers monthly Webinars designed to help improve your writing and marketing skills. The cost for the live Webinars is only $10 for FWA members and $15 for non-members. And a number of the past webinars are available absolutely free. Click here to learn more.
  • Submissions have closed for both the annual Royal Palm Literary Awards competition and the FWA Collection, but you may still register for the 17th Annual Florida Writers Conference, October 19 - 21 in Altamonte Springs. In fact, you'll save money and add the Thursday evening Boot Camp workshops at no extra cost if you register before July 31, which is not that far away. Visit the conference pages for all the exciting details of this year's conference.
  • And while you're on the conference website, consider registering for Chuck Sambuchino's Celebrity Workshop, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and Frst Pages" on Thursday, October 18, the day before the annual conference. Chuck is the go-to guy when it comes to finding an agent and writing query letters. Bring a first page  and/or your query letter and Chuck will critique it for you during the workshop.
  • The military arts nonprofit, MilSpeak Foundation, supported by a grant from Wounded Warrior Project®, will host a FREE weekend "On Point Women Warriors Writing Workshop" for women military veterans and women military family members May 18-20 at The University of Tampa. Interested in attending? Visit the MilSpeak website.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival presents author and book coach Janice Hardy in a full-day workshop, "How to Turn Your Idea into a Novel," on Saturday, May 12 at the Ponte Vedra Library. Registration and info at
  • And on Thursday, May 17, Dr. Melinda Jay Stephenson guides you through a class demonstrating how to turn your family stories into fiction. Her workshop is titled "Telling a Story that Matters." Also presented by the Florida Heritage Book Festival, and  held at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Visit www.fhbookfest for details.
That's all folks. I'll leave you with these sage words of wisdom from Jack London.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice Preisdent

Friday, April 06, 2018

April FWA Blog Post

It's time for another month of FWA-related meetings,, workshops, and announcements of upcoming events of interest to writers. We'll start with this month's area group meetings.

  • River City Writers meet Tuesday, April 10 at 7PM at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for details.
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, April 18 at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library and ask the question, "To Outline or Not to Outline?" Vic DiGenti is the speaker and will review the ongoing debate between pantsers and plotters. He'll cover the pros and cons of both sides, and says, "You'll leave this workshop with newfound apprciation for the writing process, whether you write with your pants on or not—metaphorically speaking, of course."
  • Writers by the Sea gather at the Amelia Island Museum of History on Thursday, April 19 at 6PM. Query group leader Nadine Vaughan for more information.
  • St. Augustine's Main Library is the venue for this month's Ancient City Writers meeting, Saturday, April 21 at 10AM. Elizabeth Sinclair (aka Marge Smith) will talk about Point of View. Contact Judy Weber for details.
  • Ready to get inspired? Attend the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, April 28, 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library to hear Kathryn J. Bain, an author of award-winning Christian, mystery, and suspense novels. Kathy will talk on the subject of "Reaching, Not Preaching: Writing Christian Fiction Without Alienating Readers."
And in other news:
  • April 28 is the date for the first of FWA's two Focus Days this year. The focus is on Craft with workshops covering Pacing, Arcs, Tropes, and World Building/Setting. The HiltonOrlando/Altamonte Springs plays host once again. Click here for details and registration information.
  • It's not too early to sign up for Chuck Sambuchino's FWF Celebrity Workshop on Thursday, October 19. The former Writer's Digest editor will cover a broad range of topics in his presentation, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries and First Pages." Chuck, (pictureed here) who wrote and edited several writer's guides to finding agents, has taught this course at conferences across the country, helping many writers get established. An additional benefit of attending this course is that you may bring your query letters and first pages for Chuck to critique live during the workshop. More information can be found here.
  • Elizabeth Sinclair is the guest speaker at the Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime meeting tomorrow, Saturday, April 7 at the SE Branch Library. The meeting starts at 10AM, and Elizabeth will speak on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival has scheduled two excellent day-long workshops next month, both of them at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. On Saturday, May 12, novelist and writing coach Janice Hardy presents "How to Turn Your Idea into a Novel." Janice was one of the featured faculty at last year's Florida Writers Conference, and received glowing evaluations.  She writes series for both teens and adults, and runs the popular writing site, Fiction University. More information and registration can be found on the website.
  • FHBF has also scheduled a memoir workshop, "Telling a Story That Matters," on Thursday, May 17, also at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. FSU Panama City Creative Writingt Professor, Dr. Melinda Jay Stephenson, guides you through the process of turning family stories into fiction. She is the author of Annie Laura's Triumph, a fictionalized account of her great-grandmother. As above, details can be found on the website.
  • If you're into real-life mysteries, particularly what really happened to Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan, you might want to attend author Mike Campbell's presentation based on his book Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Mike will provide visual and oral details revealing what he calls, "the long suppressed truth about the Amelia Earhart mystery." He appears on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library.
  • Jeff Klinkenberg, the former award-winning columnist for the Tampa Times, will discuss his newest book, Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life, at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library, on Monday, April 16 at 6:30PM.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival is bringing New York Times bestselling environmental author Mary Alice Monroe to Fernandina Beach on Wednesday, May 23 for a conversation at Art on Centre Street. Tickets and details are available at the festival website.
  • Steve Berry discusses his newest Cotton Malone novel, The Bishop's Pawn, tonight at the BookMark in Neptune Beach. The book follows Berry's pattern of weaving historical fact with speculative, but believable, fiction, this time about the assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He'll be at the BookMark tonight at 7PM.
And that's all folks.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
NE Florida Regional Director

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

March FWA Post

As we plow through another year, month by month, here's the latest writerly news for March 2018.

  • There's still room for more authors at FWA's I Heart Books Festival here in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 19 at the Schultz Center. Click here for all the details.
  • Once a book is published, every author begins looking for an agent or publisher. Chuck Sambuchino, the man who literally wrote the book on how and where to find an agent, will present a full day workshop on Thursday, October 17—the day before the start of the 2018 Florida Writers Conference—titled "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages." This Celebrity Workshop requires a separate registration fee from the conference, and benefits the Florida Writers Foundation.
  • The first Focus Day of 2018 is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. The focus is on craft featuring the following workshops: Dan Alatorre on Pacing, Jade Kerrion on Arcs, Tracie Roberts, Tropes, and Jennifer Siddoway on World Building/Setting. Register here.
And now for the rest of the story:
  • The River City Writers group meets on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter returns to St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 17 to hear Rik Feeney talk about "Media Gratification: What Works Best for You?" The library doors open at 10:00 a.m., and that's when you can enter the meeting room to hear Rik discuss the many marketing opportunites available to writers.
  • Wednesday, March 21 is the day the Clay County Writers will gather at the Orange Park Library to hear from journalist and travel writer Kathleen Walls. Kathleen will speak on "How to Turn Your Article into a Book." Kathleen is the editor and publisher of American Roads and Global Highways blog. The time for the meeting is 6:15 p.m.
  • "The Author's Digital Footprint" is the subject of a talk by Mark Ezra Stokes and Dr. J. at the meeting of the Writers by the Sea FWA group. The presentation will teach writers how to drive readers to their work and your website using social media. The meeting kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach.
  • Rik Feeney tumbles from St. Augustine to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library on Saturday, March 24 as the guest speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and Rik will cover the many aspects of Kindle Publishhing, from writing your book to the cover, pricing, and the Kindle set-up.
But wait, there's more:

The Florida Heritage Book Festival presents two fundraising events worth noting and attending. 
  • Author Patrick Smith's son, Rick, presents a one-man show about his father and the experiences that led him to write his award-winning novels, with special emphsis on A Land Remembered. The show combines Rick's quirky brand of humor with stories, videos, photos, and music. "Patrick Smith's Florida is A Land Remembered" is scheduled for Friday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. The cost is only $10 for individuals, or $20 for families. Tickets are available at the door, or online soon at
  • And on Saturday, April 14, Janice Hardy will present a full day workshop titled "How to Turn Your Idea Into a Novel." If you attended last year's Florida Writers Conference you may have attended one of Janice Hardy's workshops. She came away with one of the highest evaluation scores from those attending her sessions. The hands-on interactive workshop runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and costs $85, which includes lunch. Details as to the St. Johns County location will be released soon.
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. They will present a reading at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 at the Neptune Beach Library in honor of Poetry Month.
And that's all there is for now. Here's to your writing success,


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
FWA Regional Director for Northeast Florida