Last year I was surprised when we received over 90 submissions for our first Lighthouse Book Awards Competition. This year I'm flabbergasted. We ended up with 120 entries stuffing coordinator Judy Connolly's mail box (thankfully, not all at once). Judy reports that we received entries from all over the map. All of them are now residing with our preliminary judges—a huge THANK YOU to all who "volunteered" to be a judge this year—and the finalists will be sent on to the acquistion editors sometime next month. Of course, the big announcement of the winners will be made during the May 17 conference at the Players Senior Community Center in Ponte Vedra Beach. It's actually in Palm Valley, but PVB has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
- River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month, February 12 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. This month's speaker is acclaimed poet Teri Youmans Grimm. A recipient of a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship, Teri received her MFA from Vermont College and was a former instructor in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Teri mined her family memories and southern ancestry to create a highly-acclaimed collection of poems entitled Dirt Eaters, which has been called "a mystical journey back through her ancestry." Contact Judy Connolly for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ancient City Writers meet on Saturday, February 16 at 10AM at the St. Augustine Main Library. Join Elizabeth Sinclair as she discusses a story's Inciting Incident, the proper hook and the story question that will keep editors, agents and readers turning your pages. Elizabeth sold her first romance to Silhouette Intimate Moments in 1993. Since then her books have sold in 17 countries and been translated into 7 languages. For more details contact Jeff Swesky at email@example.com.
- Amelia Island Writers meet on the third Tuesday of the month, February 19 at 6PM at the Florida House Inn in Fernandina Beach. Novelist Terri Ridgell will discuss one of the key rules of fiction writing — "Show don't tell." Terri is also the executive director of the Amelia Island Book Festival, coming October 3 - 5. There are more changes in the works for this growing festival. See the announcements below for a more on AIBF. Contact Maggie de Vries for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ponte Vedra Writers meet the fourth Saturday of the month, February 23, at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. This month, Merrillee Whren, the award-winning author of six inspirational romance novels, will address the challenges of writing for the inspirational market. Inspirational romance is a growing market, according to Merrillee, and is seeking new authors in almost every sub-genre. She will discuss different inspirational markets and publishers and take questions about writing in general. You can contact me for more information, email@example.com.
And now, for the rest of the story...
- The Ancient City Chapter of FWA and the Friends of the St. Johns County Main Library present the second in their series of panel discussions titled The Writer's Journey. A Book from the Heart is a discussion of romance and women's fiction in celebration of Valentine's Day and is set for Saturday, February 9 at 1PM at the Main Library in downtown St. Augustine. Panelists include Shannon Greenland, Tracy Montoya, Elizabeth Sinclair, Heather Waters, and Delores J. Wilson. Nancy Quatrano will moderate.
- The Amelia Island Book Festival, October 3-5, is seeking authors for the 2008 festival. For an author to be considered, the festival must receive a copy of a book, author bio and suggestions or proposals for a talk or workshop. Submissions must be in by March 1, 2008. Please mail books and materials to: Amelia Island Book Festival, P.O. Box 824, Amelia Island, FL 32035. For more information, visit www.bookisland.org, e-mail the Festival planners at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the information line at (904) 491-8176.
- Much Ado About Books is scheduled for April 25-26 with Saturday's activites at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Key authors scheduled include Carl Hiaasen, R. L. Stine, William Dietrich, Steve Berry, Tim Dorsey, and many more. Congratulations to local author Rita Malie who has been added to the line-up with her book, Goodbye America. For more information on MAAB, go to http://www.muchadoaboutbooks.com/.
- The North Florida Writers monthly meeting, 2:00 p.m. February 9 at the Webb Westconnett Library, 6887 103rd St. See news about the First Coast Regional Poetry Anthology Word Trips: http://northfloridawriters.org/
- Also on February 9, First Coast Romance Writers at the West Regional Library: 1425 Chaffee Road. 11:00-12:30 p.m. Writing Erotic Romance with Eileen Goldman and Marianne LaCroix; 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Business Meeting. For more information: http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/workshops.htm
- Speaking of the First Coast Romance Writers, they will hold their 15the Annual Southern Lights Writers Conference, March 28 - 30, at the Jacksonville Marriott. New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann will be the keynoter. They have a huge line-up of presenters. Check them out at http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/conference.htm
- The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is meeting on Saturday, February 16 from 1-3PM, at the Southeast Regional Library. They will cover highlights of Miami and NYC Regional Conferences earlier this year, as well as a discussion of agents. For more information, contact Janet Walter at email@example.com.
- Investigative journalist Susan Thomas has written a compelling book examining how marketers exploit infants and toddlers and the broad, often shocking, impact of that exploitation on our society at large. Formerly a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and a co-host of public television’s Digital Duo, Thomas and will be at the Ponte Vedra Library on February 19 and 20 to discuss the findings in her hard-hitting book, Buy, Buy Baby. Presented by the Friends of the Library, she will speak first on Tuesday, February 19 at 6:30 p.m. in a presentation aimed at adults. The next morning, Wednesday, February 20 at 10:30 a.m., she will speak to parents and their children. In her book, Thomas explores the notion that infants and toddlers can be made smarter with exposure to the right products and TV programs. Toy and media corporations manipulate the insecurities of parents to sell their products. In Buy, Buy Baby (Houghton Mifflin) Thomas reveals that there is no evidence that any of these products provides any educational benefit at all. The programs are free and open to the public.
- The Friends of the Ponte Vedra Library resume their monthly Book Talk Cafe programs this month with the opportunity to meet and hear Bob Morris, author of three Caribbean-based mysteries, including BERMUDA SCHWARTZ, Monday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the FOL Community Room. Future meetings will present talks by Charles Martin, Michael Wiley, Pat Duggins, and Solon Timothy Woodward.
- There's a new book festival in the works in the nation's oldest city. The Florida Heritage Book Festival will celebrate Florida authors and those who write about Florida. It's scheduled for September 13 & 13 of this year and will be held at the Casa Monica Hotel and Flagler College. More next time.
That's it for now. I'll leave you with this tidbit from E. L. Doctorow,
"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."