Friday, October 19, 2007

The Future is now!

The future is now may be a bit cliche, but nevertheless it still rings true. Being a champion procrastinator for most of my life, I know about putting things off and falling behind. Take this blog, for example. I had been updating it around the first of each month. But life got in the way, as it usually does, and here it is October 19 and I'm just getting around to a new posting.
Maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much. Recently I greeted an elderly gentleman in the locker room at the YMCA with a, "How's it going?" He told me life was good anytime you wake up on the green side of the grass. Something to keep in mind.
Still there are many opportunities to become better writers, and we shouldn't let them pass us by. For instance, if you haven't made plans to attend the FWA Annual Conference next month, don't put it off any longer. This will be a first-rate, legitimate writer's conference with exceptional speakers, editors and agents. Go to for all the details. And when you attend, you may be able to smooze with bigtime authors like Richard Paul Evans or William Nolan like I did with Claire Cook (Life's A Beach, Must Love Dogs) several weeks ago at the Amelia Island Book Festival. Here we are mugging for the camera and indulging in a bit of self-promotion at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Except for Mother Nature's liquid contributions, the AIBF was a good experience, and I'd recommend it to you for next year. But don't procrastinate any longer with the FWA Conference. Sign up today.
Your other opportunities are closer to home. We have four FWA chapters meeting regularly here in NE Florida. Each one offers you the chance to learn, to network, and to pick up ideas and tips that will serve you well as a writer. See below for highlights for October-November and for other items of interest to area writers.

News from NE Florida Writers Groups
Each meeting is open to the public and you don't have to be an FWA member to attend. If you find the meetings valuable, please think about joining forces with Florida's largest membership organization for writers. The annual dues are only $45. Again, go to for information.

Ancient City WG – Saturday, October 20 at 10AM at the Main Library in St. Augustine. Dr. Carl Horner is a Professor at Flagler College where he directs creative writing and teaches American poetry, drama and fiction. In addition to being published in academic and professional journals, Dr. Horner has recently published a work of fiction titled: A Hole In the Wind. He will be speaking about creating, constructing, and animating people in fiction books. Contact Jeff Swesky for more information:

Ponte Vedra WG – Saturday, October 27 at 10AM at the PV Library. "You're Putting Words in My Mouth" – And Chuck Day is paid to do it. Ghost writing and openly collaborating on book projects is part of the repertoire of our October speaker. Day has made his living from writing for more than 38 years. A one-time sports writer and editor of four magazines, Chuck has spent almost a decade in Ponte Vedra Beach writing, editing, reporting and speaking. His credits include The Making of the Super Bowl and Jacksonville Football History, plus scores of articles in the Ponte Vedra Recorder. In the past year he also helped former U.S. Labor Secretary and ace mediator W.J. Usery write his memoirs. Chuck will use his own words this month to tell us all about crafting words for others.
Central Jax WG – Meets Tuesday, November 13 at 6PM at the SE Branch Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. Jacksonville children's author June Weltman will discuss "Clues to Writing Mysteries for Children and Young Adults." Weltman is the author of Mystery of the Missing Candlestick, a young adult mystery that features Miranda Manning, a 17-year-old detective who tracks thieves in St. Augustine. Contact Group Leader Judy Connolly, , for more details.
Amelia Island WG – Recently moved its meeting to Fernandina Beaches Florida House Inn on the third Tuesday of the month at 6PM. Maggie de Vries is acting as Group Leader for the next few months. You may contact her at
  • October 20 – The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Jacksonville will hold a discussion on publishing contracts, Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. For more information:
  • October 31 – UNF Poetry Fix. Five years ago, a group of UNF students created a journal they called Fiction Fix. This year Fiction Fix becomes Poetry Fix. Anyone with a poem is invited to submit it. Editor Tim Gilmore is looking for poems from students and non-students, professors and people from all walks of life. Submissions should be sent as Word attachments to Thelma Young at
  • November 1 – Poetry and Short Fiction Contests Deadline. KALLIOPE, a journal of women's literature and art. This year marks Kalliope's twenty-ninth anniversary, which makes it one of the oldest women's literary journals in the U.S. For more information about this FCCJ sponsored publication and contest rules:
  • November 3 – Sisters in Crime,10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. Brothers and Sisters in crime will gather to learn about the ten dumbest things parolees have said or done.
  • Flagler College has announced their line-up for Writers in Residence for the remainder of 2007 and 2008. They include Meredith Walters, author of All You Have to do is Ask, winner of the 2006 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. She'll do a reading on Wednesday, November 7 at 7PM. New Jersey Poet Laureate Gerald Stern presents a craft lecture at 5PM on November 13 and a reading at 7PM on the 14th. All will be in the Gamache-Koger Room of the Ringhaver Student Center. Next year look for appearances by Dennis Lehane, Mark Jarmon, and Rick Campbell. Go to for details.
  • Jax Reads continues with several upcoming events focusing on Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. “Jacksonville’s Connection to the Harlem Renaissance”, a lecture by Hope McMath, Director of Education at the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens:
    o Tuesday, October 23rd, 6:30 p.m., Mandarin Branch Library, 3330 Kori Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257, (904) 262-5201.
    o Tuesday, October 30th, 7:00 p.m., Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32204, (904) 356-6857.
    2. “Celebrate Zora!”, Jax Reads the Big Read 2007’s grand finale celebration, featuring music from Elite Band and Ritz Voices, a Hattitude Hat Gallery, literary discussions, and the return of acclaimed actor and Hurston authority Phyllis McEwen in Zora Live. Southern cuisine and dancing under the stars. For adults 21 years of age and over. Attendance is by RSVP -- call (904) 630-1420 to make reservations.
  • November 6 – Meet the Poets – The Southeast Branch of the Jacksonville Public
    Library will be hosting an evening of poetry reading and discussion from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This program is in conjunction with Jacksonville Library’s systems’ poetry initiative funded by Poets House to promote and honor poetry and Poets in the Jacksonville community.
  • November 16 – Deadline for The Times-Union Holiday Short Story Contest. Open to adults and students, typed text, 1,000 words or less. This year they provide the start of the story; it’s up to you to finish it. For more information:

And when we start taking ourselves too seriously, remember the words of noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell,

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

That's it for now. I'll see you on the book shelves.


Victor DiGenti

FWA Regional Director