Saturday, August 08, 2009

Getting excited yet?

Yesterday we launched the 1st annual UNF Writers Conference with a day of workshops keynoted by bestselling author Steve Berry. Nearly 100 writers were in attendance for this 3-day conference jointly sponsored by FWA and UNF.
If you missed it, consider the upcoming Florida Heritage Writers Workshop, Friday, September 11 at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine. Among the offerings, south Florida Edgar Award-winning suspense author T. J. MacGregor will show you how to storyboard a novel, Florida Book Award Gold Medalist Shawn Bean provides tips on researching historical events, and literary agent Lucienne Diver talks about "Getting an Agent's Attention – the Right Way."

The cost is only $50 if you act fast because after August 14 it jumps to $65. And if you procrastinate, the price at the door is $85. Seating is limited to the first 100, so visit and click on the Events page to register.

Here's what happening this month at the FWA Chapter meetings:
  • First Coast Christian Writers, now affiliated with FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Each meeting provides a guest speaker as well as a critique session.
  • River City Writers meet Tuesday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. This month's speaker is freelance journalist and FWA member Anna Rabhan speaking on the topic, ""Freelancing: Is it for You?"
  • Ancient City Writers meet Saturday, August 15 at the Main Library in downtown St. Augustine at 10:15 a.m. The chapter is offering a double-barreled program this month with Rita Malie discussing writing memoirs and Rik Feeney reporting on his trip to Book Expo America earlier this summer.
  • Our neighbor to the north, Amelia Island Writers, meets on Tuesday, August 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Florida House Inn in Fernandina Beach. Chapter leader Maggie deVries will be giving a mini-writing seminar covering dialogue and common writing mistakes. For more information, contact her at
  • As usual, the Ponte Vedra Writers close out the month with a meeting on the fourth Saturday, August 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Entertainment attorney Carolyn Herman will tell you "What You Need to Know Before You Become Rich & Famous." She'll discuss those shadowy contractual issues you definitely need to know about before you sign a contract.
More News for Writers:
  • The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is meeting on
    Saturday, August 15 from 1-3, at the Southeast Regional Library. Special
    guest speaker, Dr. Katie Monnin from the University of North Florida, will
    talk about developing a Graphic Novel. For more information, contact Janet Walter at
  • Anyone interested in joining a new critique group being formed by Jennifer Swanson may contact her at or pennyandrio@yahoo,com. Jennifer said the group will meet twice a month at either the Pablo Creek or SE Regional Libraries.
  • Time to register for the 8th Annual Florida Writers Conference, Lighting the Way, if you haven't already. Dates are October 23 - 25 and will be held at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. Six agents, nine publishers and a host of professionals will present workshops on everything from craft techniques like point of view, to how to build buzz for your book. There are a lot of reasons to attend, Open Mic Night, the keynote speech by suspense/thriller author James O. Born, and of course, the Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet. For all the details, download the conference brochure from the FWA conference page.
  • Here's another reminder about the upcoming Literary Legends Awards dinner, part of the Florida Heritage Book Festival. The event honors outstanding Florida authors Michael Connelly, Harry Crews and Michael Gannon, and will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach on Thursday, August 27. Connelly, pictured at right, has been on the New York Times bestseller list with his Harry Bosch crime series as well as his stand-alone novels like Blood Work, which was made into a film starring Clint Eastwood. His latest release is The Scarecrow. Crews, an iconic novelist and former writing instructor at the University of Florida, was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame earlier this year. And Dr. Michael Gannon is known as the "dean of Florida studies," because of his acclaimed histories of Florida. Purchase your tickets online at the Florida Heritage Book Festival website.
  • The Scribbler's Retreat Writers Conference is held four times a year at the Sea Palms Resort on St. Simon's Island, GA. The next one is this weekend where the theme is Science-Fiction & Fantasy. I'll be in attendance Saturday and give a workshop on scene & sequel, entitled "Let's Make a Scene."
That's it for now. I'll leave you with a statement made by Steve Berry when he keynoted yesterday's UNF Writers Conference. He said that he wrote for 12 years, receiving 85 rejections for five different novels before he sold The Amber Room. "If I can do it, then so can you."