Friday, June 04, 2010

Lawn Cuttings & Procrastination

The deal I made with my wife is that I'll mow the lawn each week after I've written at least twenty pages. My goal is five pages a day, so I should be able to cut it every four days, but if I wait much longer, the neighbors will hold a candlelight vigil thinking I've passed away.
Some weeks are like that. Old Mr. Procrastination struts in and pulls me away to check my email or read the blogs of all the Lost fans wondering why they wasted six years following those goofballs around that island. Before I know it, the day is gone and the lawn has grown another inch.
What about you? Hopefully, you don't fall into the same trap and you're at home pounding out the pages on your first draft or revising and rewriting. If that's the case, you deserve a break, so read this month's post and see what's happening at the various FWA meetings and up-coming events for writers.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday night at 6:45 p.m. in room 513 of Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Contact Tracy Redman for more information,
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. in Jacksonville. Yours truly is the speaker this month and I have a new presentation that should be of interest to many writers. I call it, "The Revisionist Warrior: Battle Plans for Attacking the Revision Process." In my talk, I'll present two strategies to help make the revision process more efficient and productive. Gregg Golson is the chapter leader and can be reached at
  • Amelia Island Writers meets on the third Tuesday of the month, June 15, at 6:00 p.m. at Books Plus on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach. Guest speaker this month is James Weinsier, 2nd place winner in the 2009 RPLA children's division for his book, Where Do we Go? Contact Maggie deVries for details at
  • Clay County Writers meets Wednesday, June 16 at 6:15 p.m. at the Fleming Island Library. Contact Maureen Jung for more information,
  • Ancient City Writers chapter will meet on Saturday, June 19 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library, 1960 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Kent Holloway, managing editor of the recently founded Seven Realms Publishing, will talk about the new publishing venture, and answer questions about submission guidelines, genres, etc. Following the meeting, Kent and his partner, Kelly Boulos, will meet with anyone who wants to pitch their book one-on-one. Have a synopsis and first chapter with you. But you must register in advance by emailing Dianne Ell at
  • We round out the month, as always, with the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting at the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. You'll have an opportunity to meet Bobbi de Cordova-Hanks and her husband Jerry Hanks, two longtime Jacksonville journalists who turned a near-tragedy into an opportunity to tour the country as speakers and authors. They'll share the various paths they took to help them promote Tears of Joy, their book about cancer survivorship and caregiving. Sometimes we may ask ourselves, "So, I've written a book, what now?" Bobbi and Jerry will provide some unique answers for you.
Other Happenings
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) meets Saturday, June 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library. They'll here from children's author, Annette Simon. Contact Janet Walter for more information,
  • Don't forget to register for FWA's 9th annual conference, "Go for the Gold," October 22-24. They've increased the number of agents and publishers attending, and offer 30 workshops covering topics ranging from "You're Never Too Old to Become a Writer," to "Why Did You Reject Me?" The Saturday evening banquet will reveal winners of this year's RPLA competition along with keynote speaker, Carlos D'Este, award-winning biographer of Gen. George Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill. Review the schedule and register online before the registration fees increase on July 31.
  • Looking for exposure for your books? Here are two opportunities: The Historic Grounds Books & Gifts in Green Cove Springs is hosting local authors the second Saturday of the month. Manager Heather Harley-Davidson asks the author to provide wine and cheese, and offers to split the proceeds 50/50. Interested, contact Heather at Meade Coplan is coordinating "Lagniappe" for the City of Atlantic Beach. Held in conjunction with the monthly Art Walk on the third Thursday of the month, Lagniappe combines a variety show with a show and tell at the Adele Grage Cultural Center. The program will give 6 presenters 10 minutes to perform or talk about the subject of their choice. Meade is looking for authors to come and talk about their books and sell them as well. This month's schedule on June 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., includes authors Rudell Kopp and Vic DiGenti. Come out and enjoy the show and cheer us on. If you're interested, contact Meade at 242-0952.
  • The early bird deadline for the UNF Writers Conference has been extended to June 15. Hurry and save $50 when you register before the deadline. The conference is launched with a dynamic day of writers' workshops on Friday, August 6, starting with a general session by Steve Berry on "What Every Writer Should Know." Others presenters include Carol O'Dell, Sharon Cobb, Adrian Fogelin, Darrell House, Sandra McDonald and John Byram. The conference continues on Saturday and Sunday with intensive critique workshops covering general fiction, YA, children's books, non-fiction, memoir/oral history, and screenwriting. The faculty includes, James M. Wilson, Sohrab Homi Fracis, and Victor DiGenti for Fiction; Kristin Harmel, YA; Frances Keiser, Children's' Books; Thelma Young for Memoir/Oral History; and John Boles, Screenwriting. Register for the entire conference or Friday only.
  • The 3rd annual Florida Heritage Book Festival is scheduled for September 24 & 25, kicking off with writer's workshops on Friday at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine. The festival moves to the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village that evening for the Literary Legends Banquet honoring Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen is also the keynote speaker Saturday morning at Flagler College. Other authors appearing on Saturday include, Larry Baker, Robert Macomber, Heather Graham, Marianne Berkes, Dr. William Slaughter, Arliss Ryan, and Diane Roberts.
  • Speaking of Flagler College, they've set the date for this year's Other Words Conference — Nov. 4 - 6. The conference begins with readings by William Slaughter and Laura Lee Smith. Panel discussions, readings and creative writing workshops continue through the 6th. Read the linked blog for more details.
  • S. Florida FWA Group Leader Robert Mykle has again made arrangements for an FWA Tent at this year's Miami Book Fair International, Nov 19 - 21. If you've never been to the MBFI, it's a huge event with thousands of people attending, Robert reports he still has room for more authors if you'd like to participate and share in the costs of the tent. FWA members pay $70, non-members $80. Contact Robert at or call, 561-966-8488.
I'll leave you with a quote from SF author Ben Nova:

"The writer's job is to be a troublemaker! Stir up as many levels of conflict and problems for your protagonist as you can. Let one set of problems grow out of another. And never, never, never solve a problem until you've raised at least two more. It is the unsolved problems that form the chain of promises that keeps the reader interested."

Have a great writing day,


Victor DiGenti

FWA Regional Director