Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Is it cold enough for you?

There are many good reasons why I live in Florida, but 27 degree weather isn't one of them. Still, it's all relative, isn't it? Our winters usually consist of only a handful of hard freezes, while the folks up in Lake Wobegon suffer through seven months of winter. And while some people may relish winter's arctic blasts, like this insane Green Bay Packers fan, give me a warm beach and a cool beverage anytime. But as one wag said, nine-tenths of the people wouldn't be able to start a conversation if the weather didn't change.

What does this all have to do with writing, you ask. Good question. It may be my personal antipathy to leaving my warm home, but I've found I've been more productive the past few days, pounding out pages and ignoring all the usual reasons to go outside. So thin as it may seem, that's my reason for talking about the cold in a writing blog. Maybe you have your own take on weather and writing. Let me hear from you. 

Okay, on with writerly happenings in the NE Florida region:
  • First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church, 6045 Greenland Road. This week's speaker is Florida Times-Union editor Tom Szaroleta. Tom will talk about how to get your feature stories into the paper, among other things. Visit group leader Lorraine Haataia's web site for more details. 
  • River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. Group leader Dar Myers reports that this month's speaker is award-winning Harlequin romance writer Tracy Montoya. Tracy will present, "Writing Romance: Is There a Formula or is There More to These Books Than Bodice Ripping?" Need more info, contact Dar at
  • The Amelia Island Writers has a fascinating topic this month. Group leader Maggie de Vries tells me Jim Morgan, the former leader of this group, will return to talk about the discovery of an old manuscript apparently written by several unknown writers. Jim is the author of The Copper Indian and Faith and Proton Therapy. Visit with Jim and Maggie on Tuesday, February 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Fernandina Beach's Old Florida Inn. Contact Maggie at
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers Chapter has been booted from their meeting room this month by the AARP tax preparers, but have no fear, they'll be back on Saturday, March 21 at 10:15 a.m. at the Main Library with a return visit by the always effervescent Rik Feeney.
  • University Press of Florida Editor-in-Chief John Byrum speaks at the Ponte Vedra Writers Chapter meeting on Saturday, February 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. A faculty member of the Society of American Travel Writers, John is also on the editorial advisory board of The Florida Review. John will tell us "The Top Ten Reasons Why Editors Reject a Non-Fiction Proposal (and How Authors Can Avoid This Fate)." Sounds like something we all should hear.
Other items of note:
  • Mark your calendar for this year's Much Ado About Books, February 27 and 28. They're in a new location with a slightly different format. They're moving to the Jacksonville Main Library for both days. Friday's event includes craft workshops with authors Anne LeClaire and Carla Neggins, a panel on blogging, a Q&A session with David Baldacci, and Steve Berry's "Eight Rules of Writing." There's also a Friday Brunch with Baldacci and Saturday Luncheon with Adriana Trigiani. Both are ticketed events, as well the pricey Ex Libris Gala Friday night. For schedule of events, click on the Much Ado About Books home page.
  • The Do It Write Literary Competition has moved their submission deadline back to February 15 so you still have time to enter. You need to send 3 copies of the first 30 pages along with a 1-page synopsis. Click here for submission guidelines.
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Jacksonville chapter has changed its meeting format to two closed groups—one for picture book writers and the other for those writing novels. If anyone is interested in participating in either of the two groups, please contact Janet Walter at
  • The First Coast Romance Writers meets on the second Saturday of the month at 11:00 the West Regional Library, 1425 Chaffee Road. Former Simon & Schuster editor Marcella Landres presents a two-part workshop on February 14. The first part is "How Editors Think," and the second part is "After the Contract." The Jacksonville RWA also has their annual Southern Lights Mini-Conference coming up on March 14. The theme is "Five Key Elements for a Powerful Story." More details here.
  • Noth Florida Writers also have a Valentine's Day meeting planned—2:00 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Regional Library, 103rd Street near I-295. 
  • And for you fans of thriller novelist James W. Hall, the author is speaking at Flagler College tomorrow evening, Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the Flagler Room, Ponce Hall, 74 King Street.
  • Remember that FWA members can take advantage of their own social marketing network. FWA Network is for members only and includes genre discussion groups, blogs, publishing news and views and much more. Sign up here.
  • And speaking of FWA, when was the last time you checked out the website? There's beau coup new stuff including news of the Royal Palm Literary Awards and he upcoming annual conference, which has been moved  from it's traditional November date to October 23 - 25 at the Lake Mary Marriott Resort. 
Let me know if you have announcements of new publications or awards won so I can pass them along.

Until next time, stay warm and keep writing.