Saturday, January 03, 2009

Looking Ahead

The holidays are over and we're tip-toeing into 2009 with the best of intentions, 
looking for positive change rather than more of the same. While I'm not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions, there are a few things I hope to accomplish over the next 12 months. How about you? I wish your New Year is filled with everything good and nothing bad. Didn't we have enough of the bad stuff in 2008? It left many of us reeling and more than a bit stressed out, nervous about the coming year. Hopefully,
 you don't feel like this guy? 
If you're committed to getting your writing career on track, complete a project or just get started, then there are more opportunities than ever before. FWA continues to offer monthly meetings in five different locations here in the NE Florida area. Additionally, there are other writing groups, classes, and opportunities to learn and grow as a writer. So let's get started. Here's what's going on in this first month of 2009.
  • First Coast Christian Writers is the newest addition to FWA chapters in our area. They meet each Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Julie A. Fast is the guest speaker on January 8. Julie is the author of several books, including Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. For more information, visit their blog site.
  • River City Writers get their groove back with the Tuesday, January 13 meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library at 10599 Deerwood Park. Blvd. This is a good one for you mystery writers as the speaker is Detective Karen Smith from the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office. For six years she's been a detective with the Crime Scene Unit, and also teaches Crime Scene Investigations at the police academy. 
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter meets on the third Saturday of the month at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. This month, January 17, the guest speaker is Marshall Frank. Frank who was a presenter at last May's 1-day conference in Ponte Vedra, is an entertaining speaker. A former Miami-Dade police captain and the author of nine books, Marshall will talk about turning facts into dynamic fiction and non-fiction. Contact Jeff Swesky for information:
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers chapter offers a do-over this month with the return of Nancy Haddock. You may recall a messy lady named Hurricane Fay washed away our August meeting, so we've invited Nancy, the author of La Vida Vampire, back to talk to us about writing for the paranormal market. Barring a surprise January storm, join us on Saturday, January 24 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
Here are some other opportunities of note:
  • Writing instructor John Boles, who is a spring speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers, announces his next round of creative writing and screenwriting classes through the Duval County School System. Three Creative Writing classes at Terry Parker and Englewood High Schools on Mondays and Tuesday (8-week terms), and a Screenwriting class on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Registration for the winter term is January 6 through 8 with classes beginning the following week. Call for registration or information: Terry Parker - 720-1650, ext. 142 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Englewood - 739-5212, ext. 128 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. There are fees for each class.
  • June Weltman will teach "Writing Mysteries for Children & Teens I" through Mandarin High School's adult community education program. The 8-week term begins January 22 and classes will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the school. June will teach the follow-up course, "Writing Mysteries for Children & Teens II,"through UNF's adult education program starting January 21. Registration for the Mandarin High class will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., January 6 - 8 at the school's office. Call 620-4200 to register for the UNF class.
  • Lynn Harlin's next round of Shanty Boat Writers Workshop classes begin this month. The workshop is designed for both beginning and seasoned writers and cover various elements of writing fiction. The evening class runs Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for six weeks and there is a $100 fee. Day sessions and an evening poetry workshop will also be announced. Call Lynn at 778-8000 or email her at
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets at 10:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month at the SE Regional Library. Click here for more information.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meet at the West Regional Library at 1425 Chaffee Road at 11:00 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Go to the FCRW site for more details.
  • Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) normally meets on the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library, but will next meet in February. Click here for more information.
  • Writer's Digest is accepting entries or their 78th annual Writing Competition with a deadline of May 15. Enter in 10 different categories to be eligible for more then $30,000 in cash and prizes.  WD Competition.
  • Looking for a list of contests, try this one.
And here's the winning entry in the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest ("It was a dark and stormy night...") Visit their site for all the winning entries.

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by Delaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.

Until next time,