Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Post Conference Post

The writers of NE Florida showed why we lead the state in so many ways at the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet last month. We came home with a total of 21 awards, including the Book of the Year/Unpublished. If you missed the FWA Conference, you missed a good one. A total of 420 writers from several states registered for the workshops, at least 100 more than last year, and/or the banquet during the long weekend of craft workshops, agent and publisher pitch sessions, and numerous networking opportunities.

Jacksonville author Heather Nickodem took first place in the Romance Novel/Unpublished category with her manuscript, Red Sky At Night. She then went on to grab Book of the Year honors after accumulating the most points from the judges. This is the second year in a row that a NE Florida writer has captured this honor.

Pictured above are some of the NE Florida winners on hand at the banquet to pick-up their awards. From left to right: Susan Brandenburg, Vic DiGenti, David Lafayette, Hank Racer and Michael King. In front are Karen Harvey and Nancy Quatrano.

Congratulations to all the winners from NE Florida:

Humor / Satire [Fiction] (Unpublished)


Vampire ... Control ... White House by David P. Lafayette – St. Augustine

Inspirational Romance (Unpublished)


Breathless by Kathryn J. Bain – Jacksonville

Elementary / Middle-Grade Fiction (Published)


The River Rats—Riddle Me a Mystery by Hank Racer – Orange Park

Short Story (Published)


The Day Hemingway Died by Victor DiGenti – Ponte Vedra Beach

Short Story (Unpublished)


Blind Faith by Marie Vernon – St. Augustine

Humor / Satire (Published)


Motherhood Is Easy ... As Long as You Have Nothing Else to do for the Next 50 Years by Rebekah Hunter Scott – St. Augustine

Essay (Published)


The Silver Lining by Mary W. Bridgman – Jacksonville

Mystery (Unpublished)


Murder in Black and White by N.L. Quatrano – St. Augustine

Romance (Unpublished)


Red Sky at Night by Heather Nickodem – Jacksonville

Flash Fiction (Unpublished)


To Go by June Lands – Ponte Vedra Beach

Biography (Published)


Sharecropper’s Son—the Story of Doc Garland Granger by Susan D. Brandenburg & Doc Garland Granger Ponte Vedra Beach

Educational / Informational (Unpublished)


Loose Change, Simple Ideas That Can Support Your Family by Michael Lee, PhD ­­Jacksonville

History (Published)


St. Augustine Enters the Twenty-First Century by Karen G. Harvey & contributors – St. Augustine

Essay (Unpublished)


Unprincipled Antipathy by Muriel McKinlay – St. Augustine

Children’s Picture Books (Unpublished)


PARIS ABCs: A Photographic Sampler by Margo L. Hill Atlantic Beach


Abigail and the Vanishing Clothes by Margo L. Hill Atlantic Beach

Short Story (Unpublished)


Fast Time, Slow Time by Luke Francis GeorgettePonte Vedra Beach

Creative Nonfiction (Unpublished)


I Used to Believe by Olivia BissellPonte Vedra Beach

Women’s Fiction (Unpublished)


Once by Melissa KosciuszkoFleming Island

Young Adult (Published)


Bad Lattitude—A Jack Rackham Adventure by David EbrightSt. Augustine


Red Sky at Night by Heather Nickodem (Romance)

Additionally, Michael Ray King, who recently moved from St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers chapter to help form the new Palm Coast writer's group, won First Place in the Short Story/Unpublished, plus a First and Second Place in the Poetry category.

All in all, a great way to cap off an excellent conference.

Here's what's happening at November's FWA chapter meetings:
  • The First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Contact Tracy Redman at for details.
  • River City Writers will meet on Tuesday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway on Deerwood Park Blvd. Group leader Gregg Golson reports that cookbook writer Belinda Hulin is this month's speaker. Belinda is the former food editor for The Florida Times-Union and knows her business. if you want to learn how to make a living writing about food, want to publish a cookbook, or just like to eat, then don't miss this meeting. Gregg can be reached at
  • The Amelia Island Writers meet on the third Tuesday of the month, November 16, at 6:00 p.m. at Books Plus on Centre Street. Maggie deVries is store proprietor and group leader. Contact her at 321-6180.
  • The Clay County Writers return to their home base at the Fleming Island Library for the Wednesday, November 17 meeting, which starts at 6:15 p.m. FWA member and author Jack Owen will speak on the future of "dead tree" books and the implications of the digital age on publishing. Email group leader Maureen Jung at with any questions.
  • Due to the Thanksgiving holidays, there will be no meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers this month, but you can double down as the Ponte Vedra and Ancient City Writers chapters combine for a special meeting on Saturday, November 20 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. The program is a panel discussion on "Publishing in 2010." If you're curious about the various publishing options available today—and there are many—you'll hear from publishers and authors about the changes in the publishing industry. Appearing on the panel are publishers Mike King and Bill Reynolds, fantasy author Tim Robinson, who published through Xlibris, Brad West of Barnes & Noble's new publishing technology to discuss ebook formats, and author Jack Owen will compare the print version of his book, Palm Beach Scandals to today's electronic versions. Vic DiGenti moderates and will talk about small independent presses like Ocean Publishing, which published his Windrusher series.

In other news
  • The 6th Annual Other Words: A Conference of Literary Magazines, Independent Publishers, and Writers will be held at Flagler College this weekend, November 4 - 6. Click here for more information.
  • The Florida Sisters in Crime chapter will hear from the Emergency 9-1-1 coordinator at their meeting on Saturday, November 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. Contact Kathy Bain,, for more information.
  • Poet Annie Finch will appear at Jacksonville Main Library, 303 N. Laura Street, on Tuesday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m. Finch is the author of 15 books of poetry, translation and criticism, and the winner of the 2009 Robert Fitzgerald Award.
  • North Florida Writers will meet at the Historic Grounds Bookstore, 420 Walnut Street in Green Cove Springs on Saturday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m. for a critique session.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meet Saturday, November 13 at the West Regional Library on Chaffee Road. Award-winnning author Linnea Sinclair will present a pair of workshops, "Writing the Deep Third Person POV" at 10:30 a.m., and "Pissing Off Editors: Or How Not to Get Published," at 1:00 p.m.
  • The Scribblers Retreat Writers' Conference, November 11-13, features Diana Gabaldon, Adam Davies, Karen White and more. Visit the website for details.
  • If you missed my Novel in a Day full day workshop at the FWA Conference, you can register for the next one on Saturday, December 4 at the University of North Florida. There are also a number of other classes in creative writing and screenwriting. Visit the UNF Continuing Education Learn Jacksonville site for class schedules and registration details.
  • Click here to view hundreds of photos from the FWA Conference taken by FWA's "Official Photographer" Karen Lieb.
  • And speaking of FWA, did you know you could purchase ads on the FWA Network at very reasonable prices—only $40 for FWA members for six month and $60 for non-members. And if you're not signed on as a member of the FWA Network you should be. Scroll down and click on the Ad Rate bar along the right side for more details. This is a good way to get out information about your new book or event.
That's it until next month. Keep your hopes up for good things to happen and they will.


Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director