Monday, January 07, 2008

Don't Delay, Enter Today

As I write this there are less than three weeks left before the January 25 deadline for this year's Lighhouse Book Awards Competition. Have you started putting your entry together yet? If not, what's keeping you? Awards competitions are one of the best ways to evaluate how far you've progressed with your writing skills. Each entry will receive feedback from two preliminary judges.

Another advantage is the opportunity to get your work before an acquiring editor. This is sometimes an insurmountable obstacle for many writers, but finalists in the Lighthouse Book Awards will have their entries judged by legitimate acquiring editors for each of the categories. Wondering who these editors are? Well, wonder no more:

Barbara Moore is the acquiring editor for Midnight Ink, an imprint featuring mysteries that she helped launch for Llewellyn Publications. Midnight Ink publishes suspenseful tales of almost all types.
Fiction – General
Julie Doughty is an acquiring editor for Dutton, an imprint of the Penguin Group of publishers. She specializes in fiction, particularly commercial women's fiction, historical fiction, and literary fiction.
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Claire Eddy is a Senior Editor at Tor Books, the largest publisher of science fiction in the world, and has been with the company for over twenty years.
Young Adult
Vicky Holifield is a senior editor with Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta. For the past eleven years she has acquired and edited fiction and nonfiction titles for preschool, elementary, middle-grade, and YA audiences.

You can read more about these editors at From there you can click on the Contest Rules and Entry Form. Be sure to read the guidelines carefully, and whatever you do, don't put your name on anything except the entry form. But don't wait until the last minute. Competition Coordinator Judy Connolly doesn't like to be kept in suspense.

  • My cat often helps me write, but even cats need to take a break from their writing once in a while. Now, let's see what's happening in the NE Florida area and elsewhere that's of interest to writers.

Writer's Group Meetings

  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, January 8 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. Lynn Thompson will be discussing memoir writing and co-authoring. Contact Judy Connolly for more information –
  • Amelia Island Writers Group meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month (January 15) at 6PM at the Florida House Inn in Fernandina Beach. Maggie de Vries has a good line-up of programs planned for 2008 starting with this month's look at Queries and Proposals presented by Carol D. O'Dell, pictured to the right, author of the acclaimed memoir, Mothering Mother. Contact Maggie for more details at
  • The next meeting of the Ancient City Chapter is on Saturday, January 19 at 10AM at the Main Library in downtown St. Augustine. The ubiquitous Carol D. O'Dell will present a program entitled Learn How to Write Book Proposals that Sell.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writer's Group returns after a two-month hiatus on Saturday, January 26 at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. The topic should be of interest to all published authors and those about to be published–Cheryl Alldredge will provide insights into owning, developing, and promoting your website.
Other Happenings
  • Congratulations to Darlene Myers, the new president of the Jacksonville chapter of Sisters in Crime. The group meets on the first Saturday of the month at 10:30AM at the SE Branch Library.
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is meeting on Saturday, January 19 from 1-3PM, at the Southeast Regional Library. Local picture book author, Nancy Murray, will discuss marketing. For more information, contact Janet Walter at
  • There's a new group of Christian writers meeting weekly on Thursday evenings from 6:45-8:45 PM at Christ’s Church starting on January 24, 2008. Lorraine Haataia is spearheading the effort. Contact her at
  • January 8 -10 is the registration period for the Adult Education Workshop on Writing Children's Mysteries by local author June Weltman. She will teach an eight-week workshop on Writing Mysteries for Children and Teens through Mandarin High School's Adult Community Education starting Thursday, Jan. 24. Registration will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 8, 9 and 10 at Mandarin high school, 4831 Greenland Road. For more information visit: Telephone: 260-3911, ext. 207.
  • You may also register for three creative writing classes at Englewood and Terry Parker High with instructor John Boles. Check with the individual schools for details.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets at the West Regional Library: 1425 Chaffee Road. 11:00-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. Sandra Madden presents a program on Do You Know Your Point of View?
  • The North Florida Writers Group monthly meeting is also on the 12th, 2:00 p.m. at the Webb Westconnett Library, 6887 103rd St. See news about the First Coast Regional Poetry Anthology Word Trips:
  • Poets and Writers Submissions Calendar for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry competitions by publications and organizations.
  • The deadline for the Literary Spa Memoir contest (part of the Florida First Coast Writers competitions) has been extended to February 3. For more information and submission guidelines:
  • The Pasco/New Port Richey Chapter of FWA will hold their 2nd Annual One-Day Conference on Sunday, April 6 at the Main Library in New Port Richey. Early-bird registration through February 28 is $39. They have a good line-up of speakers and agents. For complete details, go to
  • Acclaimed mystery author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone–coming soon to the big screen) will give a reading at Flagler College Auditorium at 7PM on Friday, February 8. This is part of Flagler's Writers-in-Residence program. Lehane will be followed on February 11 by poet Mark Jarman. For more on the program, go to
  • Mystery writers might be interested in It's a forum for asking and answering crime scene investigation, applied forensics, and police procedure questions for fiction or non-fiction writers, administered by a retired crime scene analyst. Go to Yahoo Groups to register.
  • The Hippodrome State Theatre presents the 2008 Florida Senior Playwright Festival open to all Florida residents over the age of 50. These must be original works and cannot exceed 30 minutes or have more than five characters. No musicals. Deadline is February 11. Go to for complete guidelines and registration form.

That's it for now. I'll leave you with this bit of bumper sticker philosophy —

Get Involved – the world is run by those who show up.

I'll see you on the book shelves,

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director