Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lighthouse Book Awards Competition

The last six weeks have disappeared faster than my receding hairline. Days after last month's 6th annual FWA Conference weekend, I traveled to San Francisco for the Cat Writer's Association conference (yes, Virginia, there is a Cat Writer's Association). Shortly after returning home, I enjoyed a little medical procedure that put me out of commission for a few days.
All of this, along with my natural tendency for procrastination, delayed this new posting. But here it is, and just in time to announce the 2nd Annual Lighthouse Book Awards Competition.

Like last year's successful competition, this one is open to all writers with unpublished manuscripts in the following categories: Mysteries/Suspense/Thrillers, Fiction-General, Young Adult, and Science Fiction/Fantasy.
Once again, the finalists in each category will be judged by acqusition editors from major publishing houses. Please note that the contest deadline is January 25. For the contest rules and the entry form, go to Or email me and I'll send them to you:
One of last year's winners was asked to send his entire novel to the acquiring editor. This could happen to you, but first you must enter. We will be announcing the winners at our regional 1-day conference on May 17, 2008. Look for more information in the future. And many thanks to Judy Connolly for agreeing to be the Contest Coordinator.

Here's a quick look at other items of interest for area authors:
  • Speaking of contests, congratulations again to our NE Florida FWA members who were winners in the Royal Palm Literary Competition—Scott Benyacko, Betsy Lee, Jean Osborn, Nancy Quatrano, Hank & Jan Racer, and Deborah Thompson.
  • And while we're in the contest mode, you should know that the First Coast Writers Festival contest deadlines have been extended. January 7 is the new deadline for each contest except the Literary Spa Memoir Contest, which has been extended to February 3. Go to for details.
  • Hats off to the Ancient City Chapter for a successful inaugural program presented with the Friends of the St. Johns County Main Library. The Writer's Journey: Where Ideas Come From—was the first of three panel discussions with area authors. There were about 45 people in attendance. The next one focuses on romance writing and is scheduled for February. The last one in March will spotlight mystery authors.
  • A free poetry reading with free refreshments is being held Monday, December 17 at 7PM at the Haskell Center in the Plaza Cafe, 111 Riverside Avenue, to mark the release of the First Coast Regional Poetry Anthology. This is a project of North Florida Writers and Hidden Owl Books.
  • Mystery writer June Weltman announces the start of her "Writing Mysteries for Children & Teens" class will start again at Mandarin High School on January 24. The class costs $45 and you can learn more at
  • I've heard from several people that they have not been receiving FWA's quarterly magazine, The Florida Writer. If that's the case with any of you, please contact editor Sammy Smith and let him know. You may write him at Sammy is also looking for feedback for his Reader Response column, as well as submissions for future issues. This is a good way to get published.
  • Shara Smock is updating the listing of member websites on the FWA site. If you're a member and want your website listed, send the URL to Shara at
  • SleuthFest 2008 is scheduled for February 28 - March 2nd at the Deerfield Beach Hilton. A must conference for mystery and crime writers, this year's key speakers are Lee Childs, author of the Jack Reacher thrillers, and Dr. Doug Lyle, forensic expert and author of the award-winning Murder & Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical & Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers. Also in attendance will be bestselling author Heather Graham.
  • Kudos to Robyn Gioia for her promotional coup. Her book, America's Real First Thanksgiving, was spotlighted in a USA Today feature last month.
  • The next Much Ado About Books festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 26. Noted author Carl Hiassen will be the keynote speaker, and I've heard that mega-popular children's author R.L. Stine (Goosebumps series) will also be there.

Upcoming FWA Chapter Meetings

  • Ancient City Chapter – Saturday, December 15 at 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Proving once again that everyone else is too busy to speak in December, I'll be giving my world-famous presentation on writing effective scenes. "Let's Make a Scene," together tomorrow. This will be followed by holiday cheer and an open mic time.
  • Amelia Island Chapter – Tuesday, December 18 at 6PM at the Florida House Inn. Maggie de Vries is looking for input from Nassau County writers as to what kinds of programs/speakers they'd like to see in 2008. So go and make your wishes known or contact Maggie at
  • Ponte Vedra Chapter – There will be no meeting this month, but get ready for a new season of excellent programs in the New Year. We'll start off on January 26 with website designer Cheryl Alldredge talking about — what else? — designing websites for writers.
  • River City Writers Chapter (formerly the Central Jax Chapter) — Tuesday, January 8 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. Lynn Thompson will be discussing memoir writing and co-authoring.

That about does it for this posting. Here's wishing everyone the happiest of holiday seasons for you and yours.


Victor DiGenti, FWA Regional Director