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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

January 2018 Blog Post


Happy New Year! A new year brings all kinds of new possibilities for writers. FWA continues to lead the way with new programs, Focus Days, and book sale opportunities. Below is a list of area goups meetings in Northeast Florida, along with more news you can use.

  • River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Visit with them on January 9 at 7:00 p.m., and email Gregg Golson for details.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers meet next Saturday, January 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Special guest speaker is Darlyn Finch Kuhn, author, poet, and producer of video book trailers. If you've thought about turning your memoir or life experiences into a novel, this is the workshop for you as Darlyn tells us to "Change the Names and Make Stuff Up." She will show us how to convert family and friends into characters even they won't recognize, and how to ramp up the drama to make the story even more compelling.
  • The Clay County Writers will meet on Wednesday, January 17 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Howard Denso asks this important question: "Is Your Verb Tense Slipping Into Darkness?" Howard will discuss the pitfalls of shifting verb tenses along with chracterization and research. You may contact group leader Maureen Jung for more specfics.
  • Writers by the Sea meet on Thursday, January 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island History Museum. Group leader Dr. Nadine Vaughan D'Ardenne will present "Binge-Worthy Story Telling: A Revolution in Writing," disecting the story telling in binge-worthy TV series like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things and how writers can learn from them.
  • Head to St. Augustine's Main Library for the Saturday, January 20 meeting of the Ancient City Writers. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and author and editor Belea T. Keeney will address the five major mistakes writters need to avoid.
And in other news ...
  • Two Jacksonville critique groups are working together: Serivilous Panerians and the Townie Critics have formed a critique group alliance, providing greater scope and flexibility for both groups. They will facilitate three meetings per month — two in person and a third via Skype. They are accepting new members. The SPs will host in person meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 5 pm at the Town Center Panera in Jacksonville. The TCs will host the Skype meeting on the third Sunday of each month at 1pm. Writers are welcome to attend one or all meetings, as best suits their needs. Contact Cheri Roman or Krys Fenner for additional information.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meet this Saturday, January 6 at 10:00a.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library to hear from former NCIS agent Jeff Walton. Jeff is the author of the novel Final Destination: Death, and will provide an inside look at the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the world of counterintelligence.
  • FWA will present two Focus Day conferences this year. The first, Focus on Craft, is set for Saturday, April 28 in Altamonte Springs. And Focus on DIY Marketing on Saturday, June 23, also in Altamonte Springs.
  • And speaking of conferences, the 2018 Florida Writers Conference, October 18 -21, is coming together nicely. If you haven't heard, bestselling author Linda Fairstein is the National Guest of Honor, and Heather Graham, another bestselling author, the Florida Writer of the Year. Also in attendance as one of the faculty members will be Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke. More details will be posted shortly on the FWA website.
  • FWA's 3rd annual I (Heart) Books event is set for Saturday, May 19 at the Schultz Center here in Jacksonville. This multi-genre book signing event brings together both readers and writers. The event is free for readers, and limited to only 75 writers. Click here for more information.
  • The Florida Writer is FWA's official magazine, and starting with the February 2018 issue it will be available in a grayscale print version as well as digitally. There is a charge for the print version. More information can be found here.
  • Lee Child, the author of the hugely popular Jack Reacher action novels, will headline next month's Amelia Island Book Festival. Child will be part of a gala author dinner at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on February 16. Click here for details.

Not to discourage you from writing books, but I'll end with this quote from that great philosopher, Homer Simpson:

"Books are useless! I've only read one book, To Kill A Mockingbird, and it gave me absoluteely no insights into how to kill mockingbirds."

Vic DiGenti
FWA Esecutive Vic residet



Sunday, December 03, 2017

Tis the season

It's happened again. The twelfth month of the year crept through the back door while I wasn't looking. With the holidays rushing in, let's get right to it and unwrap the December meeting packages. Take notes, please, because there may be a test at the end of the class period.

  • River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Gregg Golson is the keeper of the details.
  • On Saturday, December 16 the Ancient City Writers will host their annual holiday party with a panel of local members discussing issues of interest to writers. This will be followed by a raffle and holiday refreshments. All are encouraged to bring business cards and other promo materials to share. The party starts at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library.
  • Due to some scheduling mishap involving the fact the library is closed on our reguar meeting date, the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting will also be held on Saturday, December 16, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. We will repeat the popular Open Mic program and offer holiday refreshments. If you have a page or two from one of your writing projects, complete or not, you are welcome to take the stage and share it with the crew. We promise no rude remarks will be heard, only lots of enthusiastic support, but I'd appreciate advance warning if you wish to participate or bring a goodie to share. Email me now. 
  • We're assuming the Clay County Writers will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 20 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Maureen Jung will know for sure.
  • Writers by the Sea is in the holiday spirit with a coffee house type meeting on Thursday, December 21 at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Any writer who wishes to read one of their works can sign up at the door. And group leader Nadine Vaughan says if you feel adventurous, you may dress up as your character. The fun starts at 6:00 p.m., especially if your character is a dragon.
And in other legitimate news:
  • Because of a demand for print issues of FWA's official magazine, The Florida Writer, members will now be able to subscribe to a print edition. A full-color PDF version will still be emailed to all members free of charge, but starting with the February 2018 issue, a grayscale print version will be availble for a charge. The annual subscription for all six issues costs $44, plus tax and shipping. A single issue will cost you $7.00 plus tax and shipping. Check the most recent issue for details or click here
  • The Florida Authors and Publishers Association has opened submissions for its 2018 FAPA President's Book Awards. The awards cover 43 categories and the early bird deadline is February 28, 2018. Click here for details.
  • The Florida Book Awards are open for submissions through January 13. The website has all the details.
Here's wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday of your choosing. 
Vic

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President






Sunday, November 05, 2017

FWA November Blog Post

As we approach the end of another year, it seems that everything is speeding up. So let's get moving.

  • River City Writers meet the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for details.
  • Clay County Writers will meet on Wednesday, November 15 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Contact Maureen Jung for more information.
  • The Writers by the Sea group gathers at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, November 16 at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Contact Nadine at nvaughanwilliams@gmail.com for details.
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers will hear from author Chris Berman presenting "Keeping It Real," a discussion of how the proper research can enhance your novel. The group meets Saturday, November 18 at 10:00 a.m. at the Main Library.
  • There will be no meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers this month due to the Thanksgiving holidays. I suggest you attend the Ancient City Writers meeting instead. The group will meet again on Saturday, December 16 for a holiday Open Mic session. You're invited to read the first page of a work in progress or a completed project you're proud to share. More details next month.
That's it for now. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and we'll see you next time.

Vic

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive VP
FWA Regional Director






Sunday, October 01, 2017

If It's October, It's Time for the Florida Writers Conference


After nearly a year of planning the 16th Annual Florida Writers Conference is almost upon us.  The conference kicks off on Thursday, October 19 with David Morrell's Celebrity Workshop, followed that evening by four Boot Camp sessions. During the next two-and-a-half days hundreds of writers will have their choice of over 70 workshops and panels, pitch interviews to literary agents and acquiring editors, and much more.

Additionally, dozens of finalists will anticipate the winning announcements at Saturday evening's Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet. Will you be among them? It's not too late to be part of this outstanding event. Click here for more information.

Life goes on here in NE Florida with more FWA group meetings, so let's take a look at them.
  • The River Cty Writers were unable to meet in September due to Hurricane Irma, but they're ready to go now. The group will meet on Tuesday, October 10 for a second attempt at "Are You Ready for Some Plot?" The meeting will cover turning story into plot, and plotting with the Freytag Pyramid. Think about attending this meeting if you have trouble with your plots.
  • The Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, October 18 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library to discuss maximizing book sales. Check with group leader Maureen Jung for more details.
  • The Ancient City Chapter of FWA will not meet this month due to the Florida Writers Conference occuring on the same weekend as its meeting date. They encourage their writers to attend the conference or one of the other meetings instead.
  • The Conference caused Writers by the Sea to move its usual third Thursday of the month meeting to the fourth Thursday. Catch up with them on Thursday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Award-winning poet Nola Perez will present "Poetry and Illustration."
  • Mystery writers have a chance to hear from a group of award-winning mystery authors and a real life private detective at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, October 28, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. "Whodunnit? A Mystery Writers Panel" features Nancy Quatrano, Steven Brown, John Marling March, and Bruce Thomason answering questions about how to plot the perfect crime novel. 
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime members and guests will hear librarian Sandra Ostroski discuss how authors can get their books into the library and keep them on the shelves. The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 7 at the Southeast Regional Library.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcome C. L. Wilson speaking on "Tips to Improve Your Writing" to their Saturday, October 14 meeting. The group meets at the West Regional Library from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. More information can be found here.
  • The 2017 Florida Book Awards is now open for submissions in 11 categories. The deadline is January 13. Visit the website for more information.
  • Dr. Thomas Graham will speak at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program about his new book, Silent Films in St. Augustine. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 16.
  • Congratulations to St. Augustine author Dr. Ardain Isma on the publication of his new novel, Midnight at Noon. Dr. Isma will hold a book event at the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, October 14, startng at noon. 
That's it for this month. I hope to see you at the Florida Writers Conference in a few weeks.

Cheers,
Vic

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
2017 Conference Faculty Chair





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

September FWA Blog Post

Moving ahead with another look at the meetings and events taking place in September and beyond:

  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, September 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Branch Library. Group leader Gregg Golson asks, "Are you ready for some plot?" The meeting will cover turning story into plot, and plotting with the Freytag Pyramid. Think about attending this meeting if you have trouble with your plots.
  • Back on their home territory, the Ancient City Chapter meets Saturday, September 16 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Guest speaker Belea T. Keeney, author of The Tiger Whisperer, presents "Five Editing Mistakes You Should Know About."
  • The Clay County Writers gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, September 20 at 6:15 p.m. Contact group leader Maureen Jung for more information.
  • Writers by the Sea meets Thursday, September 21 at the Amelia Island History Museum, 233 S. 3rd St., Fernandina Beach. Join them at 6:00 p.m. for social time and announcements,. The program starts at 6:30. The topic is: "Crime Fiction: CSI Lies!" presented by Catherine J. Mausolf, retired Special Agent in Charge, GA Bureau of Investigation.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival takes place on the same day as the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, and because two of our potential speakers will be at the book festival, we're going to take a break and encourage people to attend the festival. We'll be back October 28 with a special mystery writers panel discussion, "Who Dunnit? Writing the Mystery," with four award-winning mystery writers. 

And in other news:

  • Speaking of the Florida Heritage Book Festival, Steve Berry will be honored as the festival's 2017 Literary Legend on Friday, September 22, 6:00 p.m. at the Marriott Courtyard in St. Augustine Beach. Click here to register. Steve, as you probably know, will also be celebrated at this year's Florida Writers Conference as the Florida Writer of the Year. He will deliver the Friday evening keynote address and present a two-hour craft of writing workshop. Steve and National Guest of Honor David Morrell are also donating the use of a character's name to be used in a future novel or short story. Those will be auctioned off at Friday's and Saturday's luncheons. Click here for conference information and to register.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Detective David Young and his wonder dog Fresca of the Florida State Fire Marshall's Office on Saturday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. They meet at the Southeast Regional Branch Library.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcome Connie Mann speaking on “Making Time to Write,” and “Navigating the Stormy Seas of Publishing” to its September 9, 2017 meeting, from 10am to 2:30 p.m. at the West Regional Library located at 1425 Chaffee Road S. Visit http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com for more information.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival announces their 3rd Annual Murder Mystery Dinner in support of Authors in Schools. Mark your calendar for Fri., Oct. 20, 2017, at The Golf Club of Amelia Island for a delicious, delightful and dangerous evening with a performance of “Any Body for Tea?” For tickets and more information, please visit www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org.
  • James O. Born, mystery writer; Allan Marcil, a creator of screenplays; and Andre Frattino, illustrator of graphic novels and children’s literature, will give workshops at the St. Johns County Convention Center at the World Golf Village, on September 22, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as part of the Florida Heritage Book Festival's writers conference. Visit the website for more information.

And as I watched another birthday fly by recently, I remembered this quote from Mickey Spillane—and hoped he was right.


“If you’re a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older he gets, the better he writes.”

Thanks, Mickey. Let's keep on writing,
Vic

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



Friday, July 28, 2017

But it's a dry heat ...


Having recently returned from visiting family east of Los Angeles, and being advised it was going to be hot, in the mid-90s, I reminded them that we were from Florida. "At least you won't have the terrible humidity we have in Florida." We've always heard that it's the humidity and not the heat that makes us uncomfortable, but unfortunately we found California to be just as humd as Florida, at least where we were encamped.

That's all apropros of nothing other than saying "there's no place like home," and here I am back at the keyboard working on multiple writing projects—with the air conditioning blasting and the ceiling fan spinning. And still finding time to update you on our FWA writers groups, and other writing activities in the area.

  • The River City Writers will no doubt continue working its way through the Great Courses "Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques," a 24-part lecture series by James Hynes, novelist and writing instructor. The group meets on Tuesday, August 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southeast Branch Library off Gate Parkway.
  • The Clay County Writers will meet on Wednesday, August 16 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Author Rick Maloy will discuss how to engage your readers and keep them turning pages in his talk, "What if ..." Rick says "Experiences are the foundation of storytelling, but not the walls."
  • Writers by the Sea presents a panel on blogging at its Thursday, August 17 meeting, which begins with a social at 6:00 p.m, followed by the pogram at 6:30. The panel discussion, "Blogging for Authors: Why and How?" is facilitated by Dr. Donna Jennings, and features a panel of local authors. The group meets at the Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. Third Street in Fernandina Beach.
  • The nomadic Ancient City Writers chapter is finally back home at St. Augustine's Main Library. They meet on Saturday, August 19, 10:00 a.m. to hear from book reviewer Anne Payne.
  • Former CIA operative Terrence Williams will slip unobtrusively into the Ponte Vedra Library to speak at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, August 26. Williams now writes spy thrillers that are seemingly "ripped from the headlines." His latest, Zero Day, deals with cyber warfare with China. His talk is titled, "So You Want to Write Spy Thrillers. How's Your Tradecraft?" Be there on time for the 10:30 a.m. meeting because people are watching.
More not so fake news:
  • You missed the early bird registration deadline, but the Florida Writers Confeence is still one of the best buys of the year. More than 70 workshops and panels, the opportunity to have your work critiqued, and pitch acquiring editors from St. Martin's Press, Harlequin Romance, Tor Books, as well as top literary agents. And once you're registered you can have your books sold in the conference bookstore, now under the skillful hands of Joanne Sinchuk, proprietor of Murder on the Beach Books, voted a Top Ten Florida Bookstore. Click here for conference details.
  • Speaking of the conference, both David Morrell, National Guest of Honor, pictured above, and Florida Writer of the Year Steve Berry, have generously allowed us to auction off a character's name to be used in one of their short stories or novels. You might have your name immoirtalized if you have the high bid. But, of course, you have to be present to bid.
  • Morrell is presenting the Celebrity Workshop on Thursday, October 19, a full day craft of writing session he's titled, "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing." The Celebrity Workshop benefits the Florida Writers Foundation and requires a separate registration, but this is a rare opportunity to learn from a master of the craft. Visit the website for details.
  • First Coast Romance Writers will be welcoming New York Times and USA Today best seller Brenda Jackson speaking on “And the Beat Goes On” to their August 12, 2017 meeting from 10am to 2:30 pm, at the West Regional Library located at 1425 Chaffee Road S, Jacksonville,Fl, 32221. Visit http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com for more information.
  •  A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. New poets are welcome.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival has just announced a blockbuster lineup for the February 15 - 18 event that includes appearances by Lee Child, Adriana Trigiani, Karen Slaughter and more. 
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival kicks off September 22 with a writers conference, followed that evening with a reception honoring the 2017 Literary Legend, Steve Berry. The free book festival on September 23 at Flagler College includes appearances by Ann Kidd Taylor, James O. Born, Tim Dorsey, and many more.
Stay cool, and enjoy the rest of the hot, rainy summer.
Vic

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
2017 Faculty Conference Chair







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July 2017 Blog Post

It's a steamy day, with rain in the forecast. So what else is new? Take advantage of the summer heat and humidity by staying indoors and writing, but save time to attend one of these FWA meetings here in NE Florida.

  • The River City Writers continues its pursuit of concluding the Writing Great Fiction tutorials. On Tuesday, July 11, the group takes on "The Mechanics of Writing Dialogue," and "Integrating Dialogue into a Narrative." They will meet at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • There will be no meeting of St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers this month due to a lack of a meeting facility. The group hopes to be back in their home base of the Main Library next month. Stay tuned.
  • Clay County Writers can double their writing pleasure this month as the group meets twice at its new venue of Panera Bread, 661 Blanding Boulevard. Group leader Maureen Jung reports that the topic for the two meetings is "Book Marketing and Fund-Raising," with discussions of how to launch and market their Clay anthology. The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, July 12 and July 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Please RSVP to Maureen, 904) 298-5714, if you are attending.
  • Amelia Island Writers will not meet in July. Watch for news of its August meeting in next month's blog post.
  • Robyn Gioia is the author of the nonfiction book, America's First Real Thanksgiving, and several works of fiction, including the upcoming historical fiction YA novel Under Siege. She's just returned from South Korea, where she's been teaching and will present a workshop on writing historical fiction to the Ponte Vedra Writers group. Her talk is titled, "Teleporting Readers into the Past; A Guide to Writing Historical Fiction." Join the Ponte Vedra Writers to hear Robyn's talk on Saturday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m.
And in other news:

    Be aware that the early bird registration ends at the end of the month, and it will cost more to register for October's Florida Writers Conference. Early registration not only saves you money, but it includes the four Thursday evening Boot Camp sessions, a $39 value. Click here to check out the conference schedule and register.
  • Not many of us have the opportunity to learn from a true master of the craft. David Morrell is the bestselling author of 34 novels, including his debut novel, First Blood, which became the 1982 blockbuster film Rambo starring Sylvester Stallone. His influential espionage novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, became the only TV miniseries to be broadcast after a Super Bowl. Morrell is the National Guest of Honor at this year's conference and will present "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing," the Celebrity Workshop on Thursday, October 19.  This requires a separate registration and benefits the Florida Writers Foundation. More information here.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime will meet Saturday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear Leonard Birdsong present "A Courtroom & Trial Primer for Authors." Professor Birdsong teaches Criminal Law and White Collar Law at Barry University in Orlando. He's worked as a private attorney and as a federal prosecutor. This is a good opportunity to learn how to write accurately about courtroom proceedings. BTW, Professor Birdsong is also an RPLA winner.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcome Nancy Quatrano speaking on “Rising to the Point and Backstory: How, Who and How Much” to their July 8, 2017, meeting from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the West Regional Library located at 1425 Chaffee Road S, Jacksonville, Fl, 32221. Visit http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com for more information.
  • Susan Boyd is the hard-working Chairperson of the Florida Writers Conference Silent Auction, which benefits the Florida Writers Foundation. She's issued a call for auction items and can use your help. If you have an item(s) you wish to donate to this worthy cause, please contact Susan for more information.
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Ponte Vedra Library at 2 p.m. and new poets are very welcome.
That's it for now. I'll leave you with a smile (hopefully), with the wish no writer ever receives such a bad review.

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.” Ohio State University writing professor

Cheers,
Vic

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
FWA Regional Director
2017 FWA Conference Chair