Monday, April 13, 2009

Since these blog postings are sent out to people interested in writing, it's safe to say most of us consider ourselves writers. Or do we? When do we step over that invisible line dividing wannabe writers from honest-to-goodness writers? Is it when we decide we're writers, or when we become published? Maybe it's when someone actually pays us for our work. 
That's probably a question we all have to answer for ourselves, but if you're still waiting for your first publishing credit, you're in luck. FWA is publishing the first in a series of anthologies for FWA members. The first collection is titled From Our Family to Yours, and as the title suggests, it's all about families. These will be short stories (fiction or non-fiction), 1,500 words or less, with a family hook—good families, funny families, strange and dysfunctional families.
 Sixty of the best submissions will be selected for this first collection so get yours in right away as the deadline is May 31st. The book will be printed this fall and made available for purchase.

Some things to keep in mind: 
1. You must be an FWA member to submit and current through the fall publication of the book 
2. Submission is done electronically to
3. Authors whose stories are selected will be required to sign a release for one-time North American printing rights assigned to FWA
4. Go to this FWA website page for the complete details

Good luck with your submission. Now, let's see what our regional FWA Chapters have in store for you this month.
  • You're invited to meet Almon Gunter at the First Coast Christian Writers (FCCW) meeting this Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Gunter is a life coach, motivational speaker, and a two-time Olympic Track Qualifier. He's also the author of Focus on the Final Seconds and Win the Game. FCCW, now part of FWA, meets each Thursday and is open to anyone looking to improve their writing skills. Visit FCCW online for more information.
  • River City Writers leader Darlene Myers reports that tomorrow night's meeting, Tuesday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library located at 10599 Deerwood Park Boulevard, will cover a number of topics, including "How to Create an Instant Bestseller," and "40-Plus Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event!" Contact Dar at for more information.
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter calls upon veteran thriller writer William Kerr to discuss elements of the series character at its meeting on Saturday, April 18 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Bill's latest Matt Berkeley action/suspense novel, Mark of the Devil, was recently released and takes the reader from Florida's northeast coast to Germany in a desperate race that could change the face of history. Bill, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, will talk about how to keep a series character fresh while deepening and developing the character through a series of books. 
  • The omnipresent speaker/author Rik Feeney returns to the First Coast to headline the Amelia Island Writers meeting on Tuesday, April 21st at 6:00 p.m. This time, Rik will be talking about how to use your book as a primary marketing tool. The group, led by Maggie Carter-de Vries, author of Amelia's Secrets, meets at the Florida House Inn, 22 3rd Street S. in Fernandina Beach. Contact Maggie for more info at
  • As Professor of English and Children's Literature at the University of Florida, John Cech directs the Center for Children's Literature & Culture. He's also an author of books for children and adults and the guest speaker at this month's Ponte Vedra Writer Chapter meeting, Saturday, April 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Cech's topic: "Children's Books: Trends, Markets, Mysteries, and What's Always True." This is your chance to learn more about children's books from one of the nation's preeminent experts in the field.  
And here are a few other items of interest to area writers:
  • The North Florida Writers meets on the second Saturday of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library. 
  • The Mandarin Writers Workshop meets the second and fourth Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the S. Mandarin Library. This is a critique group and new members are welcome. Contact group leader Larry Barnes at
  • Don't forget the Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition is now accepting submissions in 23 different categories. You must be an FWA member to submit, and you can save some bucks as entry fees increase $10 after this month. Go to the website for complete guidelines.
  • The University of North Florida is launching the UNF Summer Writers Workshop, August 4 - 7, an intensive workshop modeled after the acclaimed Iowa Writers Festival. The final day, Friday, August 7, will feature a day-long series of workshops on everything from screenwriting to Internet marketing, from self-editing to character development and dialogue. With 3 tracks covering Craftsmanship, Publishing and Marketing, the mini-conference will benefit FWA and includes lunch. Look for more information to follow shortly.
  • The Florida Heritage Writers Workshop, Friday, September 11, kicks-off the 2-day Florida Heritage Book Festival in downtown St. Augustine. The workshop is held at the Casa Monica Hotel and features sessions with mystery writer Tom Cavanagh,literary agent and author Lucienne Diver, thriller writer T. J. MacGregor, award-winning journalist Shawn Bean, and many others. Early bird registration is only $50 (includes lunch), and the registration form will go up on the FHBF website soon. Speaking of the FHBF, in last year's inaugural event, they launched a new awards program called The Literary legends Awards by honoring Florida authors Stetson Kennedy, Patrick Smith and Jack Hunter. Word is out that this year's gala event will honor Harry Crews, Dr. Michael Gannon and bestselling mystery author Michael Connelly. The awards banquet is set for Thursday, August 27 at the Sawgrass Marriott Hotel in PVB. This will be a hot ticket, so check the website as ticket information will be loaded soon.
  • And finally, for those of you looking for a good book title, sorry to tell you The Art of French Kissing is already taken. But you can meet Kristin Harmel, the author of this and other "chick lit" titles on Monday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. A longtime reporter for People Magazine, Kristin has been called the real-life combo of Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, the Sex and the City author. She's also the book reviewer known as "The Lit Chick" on the nationally-syndicated TV show, The Daily Buzz. Among her other titles are How to Sleep with a Movie Star, The Blonde Theory, and the YA novel, When You Wish. It's free and coffee and goodies will be served.

The Pasco/New Port Richey 1-Day Writers Conference is this Sunday. Maybe a long way to go, but they also picked up on our regional book competition and work has leaked out that one of our own NE Florida members has taken the top prize in the Mystery category. Congratulations will go out as soon as it's official on Sunday, so stay tuned to see who the mystery author may be.

That's all for this blog. Let me hear from you and keep banging away.


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