Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Busy Season

The last two months of the year are usually associated with holidays, family gatherings, and travel. For the published author, it's also a good time to be selling your books since everyone knows books make wonderful holiday gifts. Personally, I call these two months the busy season because there's so much devouring our time we might not have time for ourselves.

Because of "the busy season," the FWA Ponte Vedra Writers Group will be on hiatus in November. I'll be at the FWA Conference this weekend, and traveling much of the rest of the month. Because of my travels and the holidays, our regular 4th Saturday meeting is cancelled. I encourage you to attend one of the other FWA meetings in the area and take advantage of some of the other many happenings listed below. Let's get right to it:
  • FWA Annual Conference, November 8-11 at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort. This year's conference is jam-packed with outstanding workshops and speakers. Usually, NE Florida FWA members take home more than their share of honors from the Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition. I'll report on the conference in my next blog posting.
  • The St. George Writers Retreat has put out a last call to register for the week-long writers retreat, November 12-16, with YA author Adrian Fogelin. The in-residence event is for women only and held in a large home on St. George Island. Call Perky Granger, 352-463-3089 for details or go to
  • The Central Jax Writers Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month, November 13, at 7PM at the Southeast Branch Public Library is located at 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, on the southwest corner of J. T. Butler and Gate Parkway. This month, 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. Contact Judy Connolly for details –
  • The Ancient City Writers Group meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month, November 17, at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10AM. This month's speaker is Karen Harvey, who has been writing about St. Augustine for a quarter century. Karen's latest book is Daring Daughters: St. Augustine's Feisty Females, and she'll be speaking on “Fashioning Fact into Fiction.” Critique groups follow the speaker. Contact Jeff Swesky–
  • The Amelia Island Writers Group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6PM at the Florida House Inn. They won't be having a speaker this month, but interim group leader Maggie de Vries reports she will present a list of potential speakers and topics to the group. So if you live in Nassau County, this is the time to make your interests known. Maggies' email is
  • Ponte Vedra Writers Group - As I reported at the top of this post, this month's meeting is cancelled due to the FWA Conference, the Thanksgiving holiday, and my own travels. I'll be in San Francisco on the 4th weekend as one of the presenters at the annual Cat Writers Association Conference. I urge you to attend either the Anicent City meeting or one of the others. For information on all the Writers Groups, you can always go to the FWA website and click on the Regions link then scroll to North Eastern FL.
  • I have the large room at the PV Library reserved for December 22, our usual meeting date, but haven't booked a speaker due to the holiday season. I'm considering hosting a social for area FWA members and others who attend our meetings if there's enough interest. I thought also we might hold a mini-book sale. Stealing an idea from the Ancient City chapter, I thought if everyone brought a couple of gently-used or new books from their libraries, we could sell them for $1 each giving us lots of bargains and last-minute gifts. The proceeds would go into our chapter treasury to be used for monthly expenses. Before I do too much work on this, please let me know if you'd like to be part of a December 22 social event. The other option is to cancel the December meeting as well.
  • Acclaimed Florida author Mary Anna Evans will discuss her latest archaeological mystery, Effigies, as part of the Ponte Vedra Friends of the Library program, Book Talk Cafe, on Tuesday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m. It's free and open to the public.
  • The Pasco County New Port Richey Writers Group, led by Dahris Clair, has a nifty online E-Zine that's open for submissions from any of the the state's writers. You can check out The Infinite Writer at BTW, Dahris is so organized she already has the April 6 one-day conference schedule completed. More on that later.
  • Put this date in your calendar - Saturday, May 17, 2008. That's the date of the 2nd Annual NE Florida One-Day Conference. This year's will be held at the PGA Tour Senior Community Center in Palm Valley. It's a larger facility than the library which will allow more people to attend. You may recall that last year we had to cut off the enrollment at 75 people.
  • In conjunction with the conference, we will again be conducting the Lighthouse Book Awards for unpublished manuscripts. We're starting earlier than last year and will announce the winners at the May 17 conference. Central Jax Group Leader Judy Connolly has agreed to helm the contest. The deadline is January 18, but look for details in the near future.
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is meeting on Saturday, November 17 from 1-3, at the Southeast Regional Library. FWA members Hank and Jan Racer, will discuss their first year with a published book, a picture book called Marky The Barking Bullfrog. For more information, contact Janet Walter at
  • Speaking of deadlines, two of them are rapidly approaching. First, The Florida Times-Union Holiday Short Story Contest deadline is November 16 and it's open to both adults and young writers. This year they provide the start of the story and it’s up to you to finish it. For more information: . The St. Augustine Record has their own holiday short story contest called Twelve Stories of Christmas. Entries should be about the holidays, directed to children and uplifting in the spirit of the season. This is a short-short story since it's limited to 500 words. Entries must be postmarked by November 24 and mailed to Anne Heymen, The St. Augustine Record, POB 1630, St. Augustine, FL 32085 or emailed to Good luck.
  • Author Lydia Filzin who write historical novels as Lydia Hawke reports that a movie has been made from her book, Firetrail, and it will be screened at the Orange Park Community Theatre on Friday, November 30 at 7PM, as well as December 1 at 7PM and December 2 at 3PM. Admission is $5.
  • The Ancient City Chapter and the Friends of the Library-St. Johns County Main Library are hosting the first in a series of programs on Saturday, December 1 from 1PM to 3PM. I will moderate a panel discussion titled A Writer’s Journey—Where Ideas Come From. Former WG Leader Randy Cribbs will introduce the five panelists–Dr. Allen Bohl, Back Porch Swing, Karen Harvey, Daring Daughters: St. Augustine's Feisty Females, Jay Humphreys, Uncle Sam's, Nancy Quatrano, Crime Scene: New Jersey, and Jim Mast, Bloody Sunset in St. Augustine. The authors will sell and autograph their books after the discussion with the library receiving part of the proceeds.

I hope to see some of you at the FWA Conference this weekend. If not, enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. That's it for now. I'll see you on the book shelves.


Victor DiGenti, FWA Regional Director