Sunday, November 26, 2006

Welcome to the new FWA Ponte Vedra Blog

Welcome to the Ponte Vedra Writers Group. We're a diverse group of writers, both published and unpublished, working to improve our craft, help one another stay motivated, and become better writers. Our group normally meets on the 4th Saturday of the month at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Library, 100 Library Boulevard in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL—located between Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

Having said that, we're taking a holiday break in December. Time to renew your family connections, recharge the writing batteries, and return with new goals in January. We'll see you on Saturday, January 27 with an exciting new speaker—Sharon Cobb on "How to Adapt Your Book into a Movie."

We welcome all aspiring writers to our meetings, both FWA members and non-members alike. Of course, if you return a second and third time and find it to be a valuable resource, as I'm sure you will, we expect you to send in your application and join with the nearly 800 other members across the state as Writers Helping Writers.

Check this blog site regularly for the latest information on our Writers Group. I'll also post information about contests, book signings, conferences, and other activities of interest to writers. Sort of a one-stop shopping site.

If you're new to FWA and have questions about what goes on at the meetings, and what you should know, i.e., do we have a secret handshake; wear special headgear; bring the group leader brownies? The answer is no. Except for the brownies, maybe. Our group typically has a guest speaker. I try to bring in an accompliashed author or expert in a certain area to educate and motivate us.

Here's a partial list of the speakers and their topics over the past year:
  • Dr. Darien Andreu on "How to Jumpstart a Short Story."
  • Entertainment attorney Carolyn Herman on “What Every Author Should Know Before Signing a Publishing Contract.”
  • Camille Cline offered to answer "Everything We Always Wanted to Know About Editing but were Afraid to Ask."
  • Freelancer and poet Kay Day told us "How to Support Yourself as a Freelancer."
  • Author Pat Behnke shared her "Secrets of Book Proposal Writing."
  • Sohrab Homi Fracis discussed "The Art of Short Fiction."
  • "How to Structure Your Story for Success," was Sandra McDonald's topic.
  • Goal-setting was the subject of Terri Ridgell's talk, entitled, “If You can Drive Yourself to Success, Why am I Still Walking?”
  • "The Five Secrets of Writing & Selling You Memoir" with Caorl O'Dell.

So you see we've been fortunate to tap into some of the fine writing talent in the Northeast Florida region, and that's just the PV Writers Group. I'm the Regional Director and I won't bore you with my resume, but if you're interested, you can visit my website at We're lucky to have three other committed writers leading groups in St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, and Downtown Jacksonville. They meet at different times. Look for details on their individual blogs, but here's a brief summary of where to find them:

  1. The Ancient City WG (St. Augustine) meets on the 3rd Saturday (this Saturday) at 10AM at the downtown library. Randy Cribbs is group leader and for more information contact Randy at
  2. The Central Jax WG holds two meetings: the first with a guest speaker on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6PM at the Balis Community Center behind the San Marco Library on Hendricks Avenue. On the 4th Thursday at 5PM, they have a monthly Critique Group session. Contact Judy Connolly,, for more information.
  3. Jim Morgan leads the Amelia Island Writers Group on the 1st Saturday of the month at 10AM at the Lime Street Police Building Community Room in Fernandina Beach. For more on next month’s meeting, contact Jim at

What else is happening?

  • If you missed the FWA Annual Conference, you missed one of the best ever. Conference Chair Lori Strongin and her hard-working committee did a super job and deserve a big pat on the back. Saturday night’s Royal Palm Awards Banquet was a real treat since a number of our NE Florida members won. Special congratulations to Margee Bugbee who not only took 1st Place in the YA category, but her book also won Book of the Year honors. Other winners from our area were Donald O’Dell, Randy Cribbs, and Peter Guinta. Congratulations to all.
  • The FWA web site is undergoing a massive change—and it’s all for the better. It’s still under construction, but the Web Oversight Committee, chaired by Board member Bob Gelinas with the able assistance of Lynn Coleman, is doing a fantastic job. Each Writer’s Group has their very own blog. and each WG Leader will be posting their own meeting information and much more. So keep checking for updated information on the WG of your choice.
  • I’ve worked out a neat little program with the Starbucks in Jacksonville Beach. We’re calling it “Books & Brew,” and it features a pair of authors each Friday evening from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. It’s a laid-back opportunity for Starbucks’ customers to mingle with regional authors, and, hopefully, sell some books. This Friday evening’s authors are Dorothy Fletcher & Ken Gorman. If you’re in the area, go by, grab a cup of coffee, and say hello. Let me know if you have a book published and would like to participate in the Books & Brew program. We’ll probably be continuing it into 2007 if there’s enough interest.
  • The 7th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition is accepting entries! They're looking for fiction that's bold, brilliant ... but brief. Send your best in 1,500 words or less. But don't be too long about it--the deadline is December 1, 2006. The Grand-Prize winner will receive $3,000 (that's $2-- or more--per word). For guidelines, prizes and to enter online, visit:
  • The Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival, December 2 & 3, added a Book Fair component last year. This is a major arts festival, and attracts upwards of 30,000 people. If you're in the Tampa area, come by and visit us at the Book Fair. I'll be sharing a table with T. A. Ridgell, and I'm sure there will be other FWA authors on hand.
  • And finally, one more cheer for our Royal Palm Award winners. Be sure to congratulate Margee, Don, Randy and Peter when you see them.

Remember you can post your own comments to this blog. I'd love to hear from you.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block, who said, "If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass. If it persists, you probably ought to write a novel."

Good writing, and have a wonderful holiday season,

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director
P.O. Box 1587
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004

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