Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's been a whirlwind month since my last posting taking me from Palm Valley where we held our second regional conference, to the urban landscape of Los Angeles for Book Expo America. Returning late last night, I'm not fully awake or unpacked, but I knew it was time to update this blog to let you know what was happening in the weeks ahead for NE Florida writers. 
Before we look ahead, let's look back at the very successful regional conference. Almost 100 people attended the day-long
event at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center on May 17.  It started with Philip F. Deaver's (right) keynote address in the 
morning, and ended with a "superstar" critique panel of Steve Glassman, Jack McDevitt and Deaver providing valuable insights to first pages submitted by conference attendees. 
Eight outstanding workshops were presented throughout the day by McDevitt, Deaver, Glassman, Marshall Frank, Shannon Greenland, Amy Gorelick, Linn Random, and Pam and Mike Mueller. 
Additionally, Judy Connolly announced the winners of this year's Lighthouse Book Awards.
Congratulations again to the following winners:
First Place General Fiction — However Long the Night by David Pereda
Second Place — The Reckoning by Kristi Treadway
Third Place — Shadow Hunter by Kara Wills

First Place Young Adult — Reservation by Helen Cooney (right)
Second Place — Birdwatcher by Jean Osborn
Third Place — A Dear What? by Suzanne Rimmer

First Place Science Fiction — The Crystal Feather by Howard Johnson
Second Place — Clericals, Courtesans, and Superconductors by John Boyle
Third Place — The Book of the Dead by Annabelle Lentle

First Place Mystery/Suspense/Thriller — Make Old Bones by Leslie Talley (left)
Second Place — Unmarked Graves by John Miglis
Third Place — Bad Vibrations by Dan Anderson

Contests provide important feedback for writers as well as helping to launch your new books on a high note. If you're looking for another contest to enter, look no further than the upcoming FWA Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition. The awards banquet is always a big
 part of the annual FWA Conference. This year's, Chart Your Course, is scheduled for November 14 - 16 at the Lake Mary Marriott Resort just outside Orlando. If you're an FWA member you've already received a brochure outlining the schedule and including registration forms for the conference, competition and the bookstore. If you didn't receive one, I'll have some available at the Ponte Vedra Chapter meeting on June 28. Or go to for details.

And speaking of the chapter meetings, let's look ahead at what's planned at the various meetings this month.
  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Library off Gate Parkway. Group leader Judy Connolly has asked me to speak about the Hero's Journey. If you write fantasy or just curious about the mystical connection found in so many of our books and films—from fairy tales to Lord of the Rings, from Star Wars to Harry Potter—then you might want to be there. Contact Judy at for more information.
  • Amelia Island Writers Group meets at 6:00 p.m. at the Florida House Inn Conference Center in Fernandina Beach. Contact Maggie de Vries at for more information.
  • Ancient City Writers meets on Saturday, June 21 at 10:00 A.M. at the Main Library in St. Augustine. Beth Mansbridge, freelance copy editor and proof reader, will address the most common editing problems facing writers of fiction and non-fiction. She'll also tell you how to make an excellent first impression with your query letters. Contact Jeff Swesky at for details.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers meets on Saturday, June 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. This month, Paul May (right), author of young adult and middle grade novels and short fiction, will discuss Writing for Children. Paul will address a number of topics, including breaking into the field by building your reputation with articles and short stories, finding a unique voice, and point of view.  
In other happenings:
  • Ever feel like giving up? Margie Sauls will tell you to Never Give Up! at tomorrow's Sisters in Crime meeting, Saturday, June 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. Margie will share her experience with a NY agent. Contact Darlene Myers at
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is meeting on Saturday, June 21 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library. Children's Librarian Keith Hayes will talk about what kids read today, what books librarians buy, and marketing to librarians. Contact Janet Walter at
  • The First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. in room 204 at Christ's Church at 6045 Greenland Road. Contact Lorraine Haataia at 
  • 12th Annual Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Writing the Region Workshop in Gainesville and Cross Creek. Go to 
  • Author (and Mayo gastroenterologist) Timothy Woodward will discuss his debut novel, Cadillac Orpheus, at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.  
  • Have a short story about cats? Fireside Publications has a short story contest with a June 30 deadline. There's a 3,000 word limit. Go to for submission guidelines. 
And finally, congratulations to friends and area authors:
  • Pamela Bauer Mueller (one of the presenters at our recent conference and SE Georgia children's writer) has won several awards for her newest book, An Angry Drum Echoed, and is a finalist for Georgia Writer of the Year.
  • Jim Morgan is participating in the Memphis Film Festival this weekend. The festival will spotlight two American heroes, The Lone Ranger and Superman. Jim's new book, The Copper Indian, features a Native American NYC cop who models himself after the masked man.
  • St. Augustine-based author Al Bohl is the keynote speaker at the American Legion Boys State Conference in Tallahassee on June 27. 
  • Florida literary legends Jack Hunter, Patrick Smith and Stetson Kennedy will be the first recipients of the Literary Legend Awards presented by the Florida Heritage Book Festival at an awards dinner on Saturday, August 16 at the  World Golf Village Conference Center as part of the upcoming book festival, September 12-13 in St. Augustine. Go to for more information.
Until next time, keep writing and I'll see you on the book shelves.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director