Monday, September 03, 2007

Don't Fall Back

Today marks the unofficial passing of summer, a transition into fall. To be more precise, we now have only four months to complete our 2007 goals. I'm not quite there yet, but closing in on most of my goals. How about you? Do you have written goals? Are you completing a manuscript? Looking for freelance jobs? Sending out query letters? Creating a marketing plan? Whatever's on your plate, keep in mind the saleman's motto to Plan your work and work your plan. Don't despair if you've fallen behind because you still have four months until 2008 so make them count. And don't do like some cats I know and snooze away the day.
Fall is an exceptional time for writers with more conferences and writing opportunities. Those opportunities begin with our own monthly FWA Writers Group meetings and the upcoming annual conference in November. Look below for highlights of this month's WG meetings and other items of interest.

Remember you don't have to be a member to attend any of our meetings, but if you find them of interest and helpful, the speakers valuable, and most of all, if you keep coming back, then we expect you to join the other 150 FWA members in NE Florida. Membership is easy, only $45 per year with loads of benefits. Go to for details.
Central Jax WG - Meeting on Tuesday, September 11 at 6PM at the SE Regional Library, WG Leader Judy Connolly welcomes poet and author Bonny Barry Sanders. Bonny will provide insights into both of her writing worlds, discussing the process of submitting poetry to journals and magazines, as well as finding a publisher. She'll also talk about her recently published historical novel, Kiss Me Goodbye. Bonny is also the author of the Royal Palm Award-winning poetry collection, Touching Shadows. Contact Judy at for details.
Ancient City Writers Group - This large and active chapter meets at the Main Library in downtown St. Augustine on the 3rd Saturday of the month. Their next meeting is Saturday, September 15 at 10AM and will feature author Jay Humphreys. Since 1999, he has served as Communications Director for the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. Jay is also the author of Seasons of the Sea, a non-fiction book which became a hardcover bestseller, and Uncle Sam's, a WW II novel set in St. Augustine which received the 2005 best Adult Fiction Award from the Florida Publishers Association. He will address the problems writers encounter when moving from non-fiction to fiction. Contact Mike BonDurant,, for more information.
Amelia Island WG - Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6PM at the Florida House Inn in Fernandina Beach. Jim Morgan leads this group and you may address questions to him at
Ponte Vedra WG - Our next meeting is Saturday, September 22 at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Non-fiction writres will find this meeting to be of particular interest since our speaker was formerly a Senior Editor with John Wiley & Sons, one of the leading business publishers in the world. He has edited exclusively in the non-fiction area. His national best sellers include Multiple Streams of Income by Robert Allen and both The Resume Kit and The Perfect Cover Letter by Richard Beatty. Mike will present an overview of all the steps involved in preparing your first book proposal and in turn submitting it to a publisher for consideration. Topics to be covered include types of book proposals, preparation, submission, contract negotiation and advances.

  • One more time: Don't forget to register for the 6th Annual FWA Conference, Nov. 9 - 11 at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort. NE Florida is the home for the largest number of FWA members so let's represent our region well. Go to for the conference schedule and to register.
  • September seems to be a good time for writer's conferences. Here are two happening simultaneously — It's a bitter little world, baby-at least it is at the Second Annual Florida Noir Festival. The festival, which celebrates the noir film and literature of the Sunshine State, will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007 in Panama City, Florida at Gulf Coast Community College. The Festival will include noir script and novel competitions, panels, presentations, readings, and film screenings.
  • The Gulf Coast Writers & Storytellers Conference is the same day and place and will feature workshops, lectures and panel discussions. Go to for details.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival, October 4 - 7, has added bestselling author Stuart Woods to its list of presenters. Woods will be the closing speaker on Sunday afternoon, joining Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs), and Tim Dorsey (Hurricane Punch) as featured authors. Saturday and Sunday sessions are free, except for lunch, and Just Write It, Friday's day-long series of writing workshops require a ticket. Friday afternoon's Books by the Beach Party at Sliders Restaurant is free and features many area authors. Go to for the complete schedule.
  • For more than 20 years, the First Coast Writers Festival was a fixture on the First Coast. But that may be a thing of the past. Produced by Florida Community College Jacksonville, festival organizers recently announced that due to statewide budget cuts the festival's budget has been eliminated. We share their disappointment and hope it returns in the future. In the meantime, Dr. Dana Thomas says they will continue to host the writing competitions. The contests cover most genres of writing– novels, short fiction, poetry, playwriting, and this year they've added memoirs. Check out the wedsite for deadlines and submission requirements,
  • The St. George Island Writers’ Retreat on St. George Island, Florida, is set for November 12-16. Adrian Fogelin, author of award-winning novels for young adults (she is also featured at the Amelia Island Book Festival), once again serves as author-in-residence at the Fiction Among Friends Writers’ Retreat, offering daily workshops on various aspects of writing, as well as private consultations with the writers who attend. Complete details about the retreat, rates and terms are available at, or by phoning Perky Granger at 518-623-9305.
  • The Jacksonville Public Library will kick off the 5th Jax Reads on Wednesday, September 5th, at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Main Library with a dramatic performance by noted actress, Phyllis McEwen, in Zora Live!. This year's Jax Reads book, is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston. The September 5 presentation is the first of a month-long series of lectures, book discussions and other activities in all Jacksonville branch libraries.
  • If you're attending the Riverside Arts Festival this coming weekend, September 8 & 9, look for The Writer's Tent featuring many area writers who will be talking about and signing their books. I'll be there on Saturday along with Randy Cribbs, Rita Malie, Terri Ridgell, John Robinson and Jane Wood. Sunday's authors include Andrew Bachman, Allen Bohl, Mary Kohnke, Rita Malie, Jim Morgan, Nancy Murray, and John Robinson.

Some writers hate to edit their perfect prose, which is why editors were invented. Here's what Ernest Hemingway had to say about editing, "The best books are those that leave out the most."

That's it for now. Keep writing, and I'll see you on the book shelves.


Victor DiGenti

FWA Regional Director