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

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