Saturday, July 02, 2016

July 2016 FWA Post

No jokes about starting the month off with a bang because, like Alice's White Rabbit, I'm in a hurry. So here's what you need to know about our July meetings.

  • Join the River City Writers on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. to hear about author Robyn Gioia's latest long journey to publication for her middle grade novel, The Siege, which is set in St. Augustine. The group meets at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway.
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Chapter of FWA meets Saturday, July 16 at the downtown Main Library. The guest speaker is writer Jeanne Moon Farmer who will speak on "How To Do What You Love and Love What You Do." The meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.
  • On Wednesday, July 20, the Clay County Writers will gather at the Orange Park Library to review Lynn Skapyak Harlin's Shantyboat guidelines, "To Give and to Receive: Guidelines and Practice in Reading and Reaction." The group meets from 6:15 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Writers by the Sea meets Thursday, July 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Author, surfer, and environmentalist Paul Hayden will present "Having Fun in Different Genres: How to Write Adventure/Intrigue." Contact group leader Nadine Vaughan-Williams for more information.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers group leader Vic DiGenti takes the stage for the Saturday, July 23 meeting, presenting a memoir writing workshop. In his workshop, "Life is Like a River," he'll talk about the best ways to start and finish a memoir, as well as using elements from the world of fiction to hook the reader. The meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
  • The First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, has changed its meeting place. They now meet at the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship at 6195-7 Lake Gray Blvd., Jacksonville 32244. The meeting schedule remains weekly, each Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Rick Skinner, Duty Officer for the Florida Highway Patrol to its July 9 meeting. The group meets at 10:00 a.m. at the Bartram Trail Library in St. Johns County, 60 Davis Pond Road.
  • And speaking of the Florida Sisters in Crime chapter, the group holds its annual Crime Writers Workshop next month on Saturday, August 20 at the UNF Adam Herbert University Center. The guest speaker is bestselling author and investigative reporter, Hank Phillippi Ryan. Click here for registration information.
  • The Ancient City Romance Authors have a new location and time for its Saturday, July 23rd meeting. The group will meet at 1:00 p.m. (no lunch time planned) to hear from Pablo Creek Librarians Sara Roberts and Jackie Spirtas about "How to Get Your Book in the Library." The meeting will be held at the Pablo Creek Library, 13295 Beach Blvd. 
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival, September 15 - 17, has updated its Writers Conference and Book Festival schedules. Check them out here.
  • Bestselling author Tosca Lee has been selected to present this years Celebrity Workshop prior to the FWA Conference on Thursday, October 20 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. Tosca is the New York Times bestselling author of The Progeny, now under development by Radar Pictures, as well as Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, and The Book of Mortals series with Ted Dekker. The full-day workshop is titled, "10 Secrets of a New York Times Bestseller." Visit the Celebrity Workshop webpage for details and registration.
And that's all folks. Enjoy your July 4th holiday, and keep writing.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June FWA Post

If the heat and humidity are getting to you, find a cool spot to hunker down and write—or read. Successful writers tell us that reading is a major part of a writer's toolbox. Even Stephen King, an author who never seems to stop writing, has said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."

Reading gives us knowledge and inspiration. We'll learn to recognize good writing and absorb the rules of grammar while building our vocabulary. So read widely and read often. Read on for this month's FWA NE Florida June blog post.
  • If you want to know more about blogging, then you should attend the River City Writers meeting on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. Author Janet Walter has just completed her 100th blog post (over 50,000 words), and will speak on "Why I Blog." Hint: Her blog has provided her with a solid platform.
  • The Clay County Writers group meets on Wednesday, June 15 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Group leader Maureen Jung has the details. Click here to contact her.
  • Writers by the Sea meets Thursday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Award-winning children's author Jane Wood will discuss the art and craft of "Children's Story Writing."
  • Kathryn Bain wants to play "The What If Game" with us. The award-winning author of Christian mystery and suspense novels is featured at the Saturday, June 18 meeting of the Ancient City Chapter of FWA. She says this is a surefire way to avoid writer's block. The interactive workshop will help generate story ideas, seal plot holes and prop up sagging middles. The ACC meets at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10:00 a.m.
  • We're all interested in finding ways to be more creative, aren't we? Del Kiernan-Lewis addresses this topic in his workshop, "How to Boost Your Creativity," on Saturday, June 25 at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting. Del will present twelve different ways to boost creativity by simply changing a few habits. He'll show us what such creative types as Twyla Tharp, Ray Bradbury, Beethoven and Agatha Christie had to say about creativity, and highlight the latest scientific research. Del has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, and is now publisher and editor at San Marco Press. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
And in other news ...
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcome Deputy Chief United States Attorney Mac Heavener, III to the Saturday, June 4 meeting, which starts at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. Mr. Heavener will discuss the recent trial of the individual who attempted to kill a Federal judge.
  • FWA's last mini-conference of 2016 will take place on Saturday, June 25 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. The "Non-fiction and More" conference includes extended sessions on marketing, editing, business and humor writing. Click here for all the details and to register.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers also meet on June 25, starting at noon at the South Mandarin Branch Library. The guest speaker is Sarina Rose.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival presents a full day workshop with master storyteller Connie Regan-Blake this Saturday, June 4 at the Ringhaver Student Center of Flagler College. Visit the website for details.
  • Heartfelt condolences go out to Judy Habeck Weber on the passing of her husband Michael last week. Judy has been an important part of the committee planning and coordinating the Ancient City Chapter for many years.
  • The Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program presents a local author's book fair on Monday, June 20 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Four area authors will talk about and sign their books. The authors are Thomas Bragg (Nankipooh Ranger), Sheila Weinstein (Moving to the Center of the Bed: The Artful Creation of a Life Alone), Martin Olsen (We Were Amateur Soldiers), and Bill Yancey (Quantum Timeline). The book fair is free and open to the public.

Kudos to the following authors for recent publications and upcoming book launches and signings. Send in announcements of newly published books, signings or awards.
  • Civil rights activist and author Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. will participate in "A Learning Exchange" followed by a book signing of his new book, Unless We Tell It ... It Never Gets Told as part of UNF's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Adam W. Herbert University Center.
  • Former forensic psychologist Linda Foley will sign her latest novel, Vigilante Justice, at Green Erth Bistro, Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Congratulations to Florence Karsner, who has published Highland Circle of Stones as a Kindle ebook.
  • Kudos to Biblical scholar and author Walter Schenk on the publication of his first books of poetry.
Until next time, remember to ...

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.” 
~ William Faulkner

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Write fast or slow, but write!

"The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them." ~ Raymond Chandler

Each of us has our own individual writing process and tempo. We know what works best for us, or do we? Don't be afraid of changing your writing habits. If you're a pantser, try using a broad outline to add some structure to you writing. If you outline religiously, give yourself permission to improvise from time to time. Force yourself to write faster if you're a deliberate writer, and tap the brake once in a while if you're an overly speedy writer.  Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and it may help you become a better writer.

Another way to improve your craft is by attending any of the workshops offered this month by our NE Florida FWA groups. Check them out.

  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, May 10, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Group leader Gregg Golson will present "Rewriting the Rules of Dialogue." Real life conversation is nothing like story dialogue, or it shouldn't be. Much of it is fragmented and boring, while story dialogue must move the story along and help define the characters.
  • Maureen Jung's Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, May 18 at 6:16 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Christa Pitchford is the guest speaker, and she'll talk on "Strategies for Starting, Developing and Ending a Nonfiction Narrative." Crista is a 5th grade language arts teacher in the Clay County School District. Her first book, Letter from Dad, is a YA novel.
  • Writers by the Sea will meet on Thursday, May 19 at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. Actor and beginning playwright Doug McDowell will present, "Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard, Writing is Harder: Lessons from a Beginning Playwright." Doug will share what he's learned about writing for the stage, and provide tips about how to approach a playwriting project.
  • Award-winning writer Sandra McDonald visits the Ancient City Writers on Saturday, May 21 to talk about book covers. The ACC group meets at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10:00 a.m. Sandra says a valuable gift deserves a memorable wrapping, and a book is a gift of the imagination. The cover must snag the reader's attention, slot the book into a genre category, and set the tone for the reading experience.
  • Author and public relations guru Ron Whittington talks about how to get more book sales using social media at the May 28 meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. From Facebook to Instagram, Ron will show you how to put your best social face forward with tips on best practices for social media, how to identify audiences using various social media platforms, and more.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
But wait, there's more!
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Tim Stull to its meeting this Saturday, May 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Library. SAC Stull will discuss the many roles of the Secret Service.
  • On the same date as the Florida Sisters in Crime meeting, but on a distant shore, FWA presents its Day at the Bay Mini-Conference at Tampa's Clarion Inn. The full-day conference has a number of outstanding workshops that make the drive worthwhile. They include "The Ingredients of Bestselling Thrillers and Suspense Novels" by award-winning author Dave Edmonds, D.L. Havlin talks about Historical Fiction, while other workshops cover memoir and screenplay writing. Afternoon workshops include "What Will Become of Us? An Exploration of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction" by Michelle Parker Randall, and "The Intuitive Writer" with Vic DiGenti. If you missed my presentation at the St. Augustine mini-conference, this is a good time to catch it.
  • Submissions are being accepted for the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition through May 15. Time is running out, so get your entry in soon. All the details can be found here.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival is still seeking applicants for the Executive Director position starting with the 2017 event. The successful candidate will shadow Jim Wilson, the current executive director, through this year's event in September, and take over immediately after the conclusion of the event. If interested, please contact me for more complete details of the position.
  • Speaking of the FHBF, they're conducting a storytelling workshop on Saturday, June 4 with Connie Regan-Blake, one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Connie has entertained audiences in 47 states and 16 countries, and her workshops are always at full capacity. The June 4 workshop, "Finding the Storyteller in You," runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Koger-Gamache Theatre at Flagler College's Ringhaver Student Center. The cost is $75 through May 25, and $85 thereafter. The fee includes a boxed lunch. More details and registration here, or contact Debra Rhodes Gibson for more information.
That's it for the merry month of May.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April in NE Florida

It looks like spring has finally sprung here in NE Florida. Time to jump into another month of FWA meetings and other announcements for writers.
  • River City Writers meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. You may contact group leader Gregg Golson for details of the April 12 meeting.
  • There's a double header of FWA meetings on Saturday, April 16. Due to meeting room conflicts at the Ponte Vedra Library, the regular fourth Saturday meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers has been moved to April 16, dueling with the Ancient City Writers in St. Augustine. Sorry about the conflict, but you have two very different programs to choose from. Keep reading to learn the details.
  • The Ancient City Writers meets at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library to hear from Rik Feeney who will present, "Offline Marketing for Online Success." Rik will show you how to develop a marketing plan to create word of mouth campaigns,  and how to use your book as a business card.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers also meet on April 16, but at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. The guest speaker is Howard Denson, writer, editor, blogger and former professor of English-Humanities at Florida State College. Howard's talk is titled, "The Evolving Defaults of the Novel." He explains, "Just as computer programs have certain settings or defaults (i.e., rules that enable programs to work in a certain way) the writer has to discover what settings work for a novel, especially in the areas of Point of View, Voice, and the requirements of the narrative ethos." We'll be in the smaller PGA Tour meeting room this month, so come early to get a seat.
  • The Clay County Writers gather at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 at the Orange Park Library. Group leader Maureen Jung will have more information.
  • Writers by the Sea meets at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach on Thursday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. The guest speaker is author and historian Berta Arias, who will discuss the exhaustive research she did for her novel Mango Rain. The book is set in Cuba and starts with the Cuban revolution when twin sisters are separated as infants, but find each other many years later as adults. This is a timely topic considering recent events.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Branch Library.
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime will hear from FBI Jacksonville Division Special Agent in Charge Michelle Klimt this Saturday, April 2 at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Brach Library. SAC Klimt leads the Jacksonville Division, which encompasses all investigative efforts in a 40-county area. She'll talk about the FBI's work to protect American citizens here and abroad.
  • FWA's Writer's Nest Mini-Conference is scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, the same hotel where the annual conference was held last fall. The conference offers a mix of full day and half day workshops for writers of every level of professionalism. An added bonus for you poets out there is Peter Meinke, Florida's Poet Laureate, will hold a workshop. Click here for registration and more information.
  • The day after the mini-conference, FWA hosts the 1st Annual Multi-Genre Book Signing at the Hilton Orlando hotel. Fifty authors will be on hand to talk about and sign their books. A VIP Brunch with authors and readers will be offered from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and the Book Fair runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Join me and 49 other authors on May 1. Details can be found here.
  • Riverside Arts Market will host its 4th Annual Local Authors Expo on Saturday, April 16. They're looking for local authors to join them for the day. The cost is $25 for a booth space. Contact Jennifer Paulk at to request a vendor application.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers meets Saturday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library to hear from romantic suspense author Lorelei Confer who will discuss self editing. A Bring-Your-Own-Lunch gathering precedes the meeting at 12:00 noon.   
Author visits:
  • New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry returns to the Ponte Vedra Library on Wednesday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about his latest Cotton Malone thriller, The 14th Colony.
  • David Sibley, author/illustrator of the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America will be at The BookMark in Neptune Beach on Saturday, April 2 at 3:00 p.m.
And that's all the news for now. I hope to see you at one of our FWA meetings.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Into March

Happy Leap Day! We've been given an extra day this year, and I'll use it to get the word out to NE Florida writers about all the happenings in March and beyond. So let's get started.

  • River City Writers will meet Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Raffaela Marie Fenn, author of Thank You for the Shoes and a marketing communications consultant, will present "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves."
  • The Clay County Writers gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, March 16. The time is 6:15 p.m. Subject: "So You Want to Write an Anthology: What Happens Behind the Scenes."  Author and life coach J Dianne Tribble shares lessons she learned creating an anthology and promoting her book projects.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Professional Op Ed writer Bob Langert presents, "Writing the Op Ed," (think New York Times)
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter returns to St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. The guest speaker is someone you may be familiar with, as he's none other than me. I have a new workshop I titled, "Changes in Latitude: Embrace Change to Cure Common Writing Problems." While this workshop won't cure your fear of snakes or the dark, it will go a long way to curing what's afflicting your ailing manuscript. Everyone welcome. No doctor's note necessary.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers are off this month due to early voting and other conflicts with the meeting rooms. Attend the March 19 Ancient City Writers instead. We'll return on Saturday, April 16 with Howard Denson talking about "The Evolving Defaults of the Novel."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library.
And in other news ...
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Paul Schlamm, formally of the National Transportation and Safety Board, to its March 5th meeting. The meeting starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Bartram Trail Branch Library on Davis Pond Blvd. in St. Johns.
  • If you missed Saturday's FWA mini-conference at the Flagler College student center, you missed a good one. But not to worry, there are other mini-conferences on the horizon, including the Writer's Nest Mini-Conference on Saturday, April 30 at the Hilton Orland/Altamonte Springs Hotel. This one covers writing for children, poetry, writing the short story and more. If you go, stick around for FWA's first Multi-Genre Book Signing the next day at the hotel. Fifty authors are participating, and the signing runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., but there's even more you can check out here.
  • FWA is accepting submissions for both the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition and the annual FWA Collection. This year's collection theme is Hide and Seek. Visit the FWA website for all the details. BTW, RPLA early bird fee ends today, with another increase due the end of April, so get your entry in early to save money. They've already received 114 entries, and if anyone is interested in being a judge for the competition, contact Chris Coward, RPLA Chairperson.
  • Nick Boothman, author of Write a $aleable Book hosts a weekend workshop this Friday through Sunday, March 4 - 6, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The price is $299 for the weekend with a 20% discount for FWA members. Call Lisa Broderick at 212-750-6493 for details or visit Nick's website.
  • Florida Authors & Publishers Association holds its annual FAPA Publishing University on Saturday, March 12 at Nova Southeastern University in Orlando. FAPA is also accepting submissions for the 2016 President's Awards.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcome Heather Ashby to their March 26 meeting, 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. Heather will speak on "Sh**ty First Drafts."
  • April is Poetry Month, and Hope at Hand, a non-profit providing art and poetry therapy to at-risk youth in Jacksonville, is hosting a poetry festival on Wednesday, April 6 in conjunction with Art Walk in downtown Jax. The festival will take place at Hemming Plaza Cafe. They're looking poetry people to run poetry workshops from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and anyone interested in performing during the festival,  from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. If interested, contact Steffani Fletcher.
  • And speaking of Poetry Month, two local poets, Bonny Sanders and Sharon Scholl, celebrate the release of their new books with readings and refreshments at the Jacksonville Beach Library, Saturday, April 2. Contact Bonny Sanders for more details.
Author's Visits:
  • Randy Wayne White returns to The BookMark on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. with his  latest Doc Ford thriller, Deep Blue
  • Harrison Scott Key's talks about growing up with a Bunyanesque father, and his uproarious and heartwarming memoir, The World's Largest Man at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program, Monday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. 
Take a leap into the next month or simply march forth, but have a good time doing it.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A fast and furious February

The month of February, metaphorically speaking, is the starter's block into a fast and furious season for writers. Writers conferences and book festivals crop up like fairy ring mushrooms. Close to home we have the Amelia Island Book Festival and the FWA Mini-Conference in St. Augustine. Further south is MWA's SleuthFest, and to the north the SavannahBook Festival. And that doesn't include all the writers meetings and author appearances.

We'd better get started since our plates are overflowing.

  • River City Writers gather on Tuesday, February 9 at the SE Branch Library. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and group leader Gregg Golson has the details.
  • In a switcheroo for the Ponte Vedra Writers group, they'll meet on the second Saturday this month. Saturday, February 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library, to be exact. Due to conflicts with official library events and the upcoming elections there will be other changes, so be sure to check this space for the latest information. The fourth Saturday also conflicts with the FWA Mini-Conference this month, but on the 13th we welcome writing instructor and author Daniel Powell. Dan will address a topic many writers struggle with—the best way to begin the novel—in his workshop, "Building the Killer Hook: How to Get—and Keep—Your Audience's Attention."
  • On Wednesday, February 17, the Clay County Writers will meet to hear author and public relations expert Ron Whittington tell us "How to Improve Book Sales Using Social Media." The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Group leader Nadine Vaughan has more information.
  • You'll find the Ancient City Writers chapter on hiatus this month due to those pesky meeting room conflicts. But they'll be back at St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 with a new workshop by yours truly titled, "Changes in Latitude."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.

  • Register now for the February 27 FWA Mini-Conference, The Write Stuff. The conference offers a full day of valuable workshops—two of them all-day sessions, and four half-day sessions. All-day sessions: "The Publishing Process – The Business of Writing," Cheyenne Knopf; "Bulk Up Your Story with Meaty Characters, Larry Leech. Morning sessions: "Romance: Not All That It Seems," Shannon Bell; and "Magazine Articles," Sharon Ward Keeble. Afternoon sessions: "The Intuitive Writer," Vic DiGenti; and "Writing Fiction for Young Adults," Serena Schreiber. The conference will be held at the Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College. Registration is $89 for members and $109 for nonmembers. Members may bring a nonmember guest for only $54.50. Registration fees include a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Click here for more details and registration.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival has beefed up its schedule this year with appearances by Steve Berry, Andrew Gross, Greg Iles, and Janice Gable Bashman. All four will face off at a gala dinner at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on February 19. There are a host of other events, including a four-hour workshop by Steve and Elizabeth Berry, with the closing Author Expo/Readers Extravaganza on Saturday, February 20 at Fernandina Middle School. Includes author presentations and a huge book fair with over 120 authors. Details can be found here.
  • SleuthFest 2016, hosted by the Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter, is coming to Deerfield Beach, Florida February 26-28. Billed as an annual conference for mystery, suspense and thriller writers, SleuthFest offers three days of workshops, agent and editor showcases, and more. Visit the website for details.
  • The Savannah Book Festival kicks off February 11 with four days of author events. More information on their website.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime embarks on a road trip for its February 6 meeting to Jacksonville Task Force 5 Urban Search & Rescue, Firehouse #4, located at 630 W. Duval Street in downtown Jacksonville.
  • St. Johns Reads has selected an oldie but a goodie as this year's county-wide selection. To Kill a Mockingbird, will be celebrated in all of the St. Johns County library branches with special activites ranging from book discussions to cooking demonstrations. The month-long celebration of Harper Lee's famous novel culminates at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Saturday, February 27 with an appearance by Academy Award-nominated Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in the film. She'll discuss her role and on-set experiences starting at 6:00 p.m. This will be followed at 7:00 by a showing of the film. February 27 is the same date as the FWA Mini-Conference, but the conference ends at 4:00 p.m. and you'll already be in St. Augustine. Grab some dinner downtown then head to the amphitheater with your camp chair or blanket.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers will meet on Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. and present a self-publishing panel with Susan Kiernan-Lewis, Timonique Stephens and Debra Jones. They meet this month at the May Management offices in Ponte Vedra Beach–240 Canal Blvd. #2. 
  • Other author appearances include Florida Book Award-winner Patrick Kendrick, author of Acoustic Shadows and The Savant. Patrick is the featured author at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. Bestselling Florida author Tim Dorsey returns to the BookMark bookstore in Neptune Beach on Friday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m., and the next day at the Bartram Trail Branch Library, at 12:30 p.m. 
  • Congratulations to Jacksonville's own Cheyenne Knopf of, recently elected as FWA's new president.
And the final word goes to Stephen King, who said, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Feel free to pass this post along to your writer friends, and please join our FWA NE Florida Writers Blog


Vic DIGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

New Year—New Start

As I write this first post of the New Year, I'm remembering 2015 like it was last week. The meetings, conferences, the writing and getting published—were all part of the FWA experience. And we have more to look forward to in 2016, with exceptional speakers at our area meetings, a mini-conference in St. Augustine, and much more.

Here's how we start the year in January:

  • The River City Writers, under the management of group leader Gregg Golson, will meet on Tuesday, January 12 at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. Contact Gregg for details.
  • Saturday, January 16 is the date for the Ancient City Writers to meet at the Main Library, US 1 and San Carlos in St. Augustine. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. for a program on book promotion for indie writers. Mandie Stevens and Tawdra Kandle will talk about the best ways to promote your books using social media, branding, and book events.
  • Dr. Maureen Jung, leader of the Clay County Writers, invites everyone to the 6th anniversary celebration of their groups existence. The writers will meet on Wednesday, January 20, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library for an update on their on-going anthology project, "Embedded in Clay: An Anthology in the Making." Maureen will also lead a focusing exercise designed to turn ideas into smart goals.
  • Writers by the Sea gathers at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach on Thursday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. The featured speaker is poet Jean Vincennes, presenting "A Poetry Primer: Expressing the Lyricist Within." This will be followed by breakout groups.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • Divergent. The Fault in Our Stars. The Hunger Games. Harry Potter. All  of these hugely
    popular films began as bestselling Young Adult books, which is why so many writers are penning YA novels. Among them are S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) and Lynne Matson, two successful writers who have successfully mined the YA vein. They'll present the workshop "So ... Why YA?" at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, January 23, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Shannon and Lynne will answer many questions about the YA market and writing for teens, including Do I have to love teens to write for them? What are the boundaries with sex and language? and Can I use "big" words in a teen novel? Should be a good one. 
In other news:
  • The first FWA Mini-Coference of 2016 takes place in our backyard, Saturday, February 27 at the Flagler College Ringhaver Student Center. The conference features full day workshops on Chracter Development and the Publishing Process, with half-day sessions covering Magazine Writing, Romance Writing, YA and Advanced Writing. The latter workshop is one I'm doing titled "The Intuitive Writer." Visit the website for registration details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, January 9 at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Library to  hear from a crime scene analyst from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • Ancient City Romance Authors welcomes award-winning writer Kathryn J. Bain to their January 23rd meeting. Kathryn presents her interactive workshop, "Catch Them from the Start," on opening lines. The meeting begins at 12:30 with BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) and networking, with the workshop starting at 1:00.
  • Write It Now: Books & Short Stories is a free writers conference set for Tuesday, January 26 at the Anastasia Island Branch Library in St. Augustine. Four local writers will offer their insights on writing stories of any length. The authors are Amy Atwell, Katelin Maloney, Nancy Quatrano and Lauren Tomlinson. Nancy Haddock will moderate the program, which begins at 1:00 p.m.
  • If you're in South Florida late next month, consider attending SleuthFest 2016 in Deerfield Beach, February 26 - 28. Presented by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, this year's SleuthFest features keynote speaker CJ Box, and guests of honor P. J. Parrish and Valerie Plame Wilson.
  • Florida Authors and Publishers Association, in conjunction with OnLine, present a Jacksonville conference, "Marketing Yourself and Your Book," Saturday, January 30 at FSCJs South Campus. The conference provides insights into marketing, graphic design, web design and more. Click here for details.
Here's wishing everyone a most successful New Year.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director