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

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