Monday, July 07, 2008

No Summer Doldrums, Please

As if we needed any extra distractions, summer brings with it reams-full of sizzling reasons to get away from your home office, away from your computer, away from your writing. Try to resist whenever possible. Because summer is also a great time to rework your plan for the rest of the year, find motivation to keep writing, and complete any projects you've been putting off. I actually used an approaching anniversary to write a short story I'd been thinking about for a while and presented it to the dear wife the morning of our anniversary. She seemed to appreciate the effort I'd made, but wondered where the diamond earrings were.
You won't have to dig for long to find value in the FWA area chapter meetings, which continue without a vacation during the summer months. So let's get right to the important dates.
  • River City Writers Chapter brings back the always effervescent Terri Ridgell offering The Perfect Pitch, an interactive workshop on how best to pitch your fiction or non-fiction work to an editor or agent. Terri, by-the-way, is the director of the upcoming Amelia Island Book Festival, October 3 - 5, and the author of a number of suspense romances. Go to Amelia Island Book Festival for more details. The River City Writers, led by Judy Connolly,, meets tonight, Tuesday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library at 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.
  • The Amelia Island Chapter meets on Tuesday, July 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Florida House Inn, 31 S. Fourth Street in Fernandina Beach. Chapter leader Maggie DeVries,, will have G. W. Reynolds as guest speaker this month. Bill is the author of the Jetty Man series, as well as owner of High Pitched Hum Publishing.
  • The Ancient City Writers meet on the third Saturday of each month at St. Augustine's main library at 10:00 a.m.  If you've lost your calendar, that's July 19. Those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out how to handle the many marketing tasks it takes to launch a new book should attend this month's meeting to hear my presentation of Book Promotion 101, which will take you along the meandering marketing path where I'll point out which obstacles to avoid and which roads lead to more consistent sales. Here's a picture of a young author listening to my last presentation. Actually, that's my new granddaughter Alessa reacting to one of her grandfather's jokes. Everyone's a critic.
  • And the final FWA meeting offering this month takes place at the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, July 26 at 10:30 a.m. The Ponte Vedra Chapter offers a timely subject for those of you wondering if you should publish your own book and what's involved. We'll reveal the mysteries of independent publishing with a panel of three independent publishers from the area—Jeannine Auth, author of Emmy's Question, Frances Keiser, author of the Pelican Pete series, and Jewel Kutzer, author of Memories of Mayberry and Mayberry Mamma's Food for the Body and Soul. Each has established themself as a successful publisher of their own books, and will share with you everything necessary to do the same in a presentation they're calling, Look Before You Leap! What You Don't Know Can Hurt You. Come armed with your questions.
Let's see what else is happening in the writing world.
  • Writing contests offer new (and old) authors the opportunity to have their work published in a wide variety of publications. You know about short stories, and short-shorts, and maybe you've tried your hand at Flash Fiction, but here's a chance to stretch yourself with an extreme 7-line contest. That's right, 7 lines. Opium Magazine offers a $1,000 prize and publication in Opium 7 on October 6 for the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry in 7 lines or less. Deadline is July 23rd and there's $10 fee. Click on Opium Contest for more details. 
  • Short story writers have an opportunity to make a little bread while making the reader smile in the new SmileVino Writing Contest by wine maker SmileVino. In 1,500 words, make the judge smile with a story about a woman who makes a difference, and you may be the winner of the $500 top prize. Deadline is August 5. 
  • Crime writer Marshall Frank will speak at the PV Library on Monday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. Marshall is a former Miami-Dade police captain who turned his real-life cases into crime novels, but he'll be discussing his new autobiography, From Violins to Violence, at the library's monthly Book Talk Cafe program. In his fascinating biography, he bares all about transitioning from classical violinist, dancer and stepson of a Miami Beach mobster to becoming one of Miami-Dade County's premier homicide detectives. 
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets on the second Saturday of the month at the Jacksonville West Regional Library. On Saturday, July 12 at 11:00 a.m. the speaker will be Tracy Montoya discussing the differences in the way men and women talk. First Coast Romance Writers. Watch your mouth.
  • The next meeting of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) is Saturday, July 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library.  Three speakers will cover the various age groups— picture book, middle grade and YA. For details, contact Janet Walter at
  • Don't forget the deadline for entering the Royal Palm Literary Competition is August 1. In past years, writers from NE Florida have taken home many top prizes, so let's keep up the tradition.  You'll also want to make your reservations for the 7th Annual FWA Conference, November 14 - 16 in Lake Mary, FL. Do it before July 31 and save $50. Go to Florida Writers Association for conference and competition details.
  • The First Annual Literary Legends Awards is scheduled for Saturday, August 16 at World Golf Village Convention Center. A component of the new Florida Heritage Book Festival, the dinner and ceremony will feature Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning as a speaker and honor Jack Hunter, Stetson Kennedy, and Patrick Smith. Tickets for the event are $50. Call 940-0194 for reservations or information.
  • Jeannine Auth's book, Emmy's Question, Morningtide Press, is a winner in the Childrens/Juvenile Fiction category for the 2008 Indie Next Generation Book Awards. The winners and finalists were announced at the recent Book Expo America in Los Angeles.
  • To Maggie de Vries for publication of her historical romance, Amelia's Secrets, AuthorHouse. 
Send me news of your awards, achievements, new books, etc.

Until next time, I'll see you on the book shelf.