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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Have A Merry Writing Month



Writers write and FWA meets (mostly) despite the craziness of the holiday season. So let's get right to it.

  • On Tuesday, December 13, the River City Writers welcomes author Jessie Harrell providing tips on book promotion. Jessie's debut novel, Destined, launched last month and she will discuss her marketing strategies. They meet at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. Contact Gregg Golson for more details.
  • There's a joint meeting going on Saturday, December 17 at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10:15 a.m. This is the time and location for the monthly Ancient City Writers chapter, but they will be joined by the Clay County Writers as group leader Maureen Jung presents, "Communicate with Purpose: How to Optimize Impact." Maureen (pictured at right) tells us about all the other communications necessary once your book is written, how technology has changed the way we communicate, and how we can take advantage of it. Clay County's regular meeting on the 21st has been cancelled, and members are invited to join Maureen in St. Augustine. And since there will be no meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers this month, let's make it a three-way meeting. This is a good time to network with other writers. 
  • And while there's no meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers this month due to the Christmas holiday, look for a special meeting in January—and on a special date. On Saturday, January 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library (early voting at the library has pushed us out of our typical 4th Saturday schedule), we'll present "Writing the Thriller Novel," with a panel of, what else, thriller writers. Should be a good one. Look for more details in the next blog post.
  • The Amelia Island Writers will not be meeting this month due to the Christmas holidays.
  •  The First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the West Regional Library on S. Chaffee Road. Contact Tracey Redman for details.
Other happenings:

  • Noted author Larry Baker, The Flamingo Rising and The Good Man, will speak at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program, Monday, December 12 at 6:30 p.m.
  • June Weltman presents her "Writing Mysteries for Children & Teens" workshop, an 8-week adult education class starting January 19 at Mandarin High School. Information and registration at www.schools.org/mhs, or contact June.
  • Coming in February – John Dufresne leads a workshop on "Write Your Novel in Six Months," Saturday, Feb. 11 at Flagler College. $50 for FWA members ($55 after Jan. 1), $60 for non-members ($65 after Jan. 1). Register online here, or call Kim Bradley at 904-669-1845. More details in the next blog post.
And don't forget to check the new Florida Writers Association—NE Florida Facebook page from time to time. You can brag about your writing accomplishments, interact with other writers, and keep up with details about meetings and other FWA activities. Be sure and "Like" the page while you're there. 

This abbreviated post will return in full in the New Year with more news of interest to NE Florida writers. From my house (and my cats) to yours, here's wishing one and all the happiest of Christmas, Hanukkah or what ever other season you may be celebrating.

Cheers,
Vic


Victor Digenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, November 04, 2011

November Is For Writers


Not only is November National Novel Writing Month, it's a great time to get reconnected with that voice in your head that keeps telling you to sit down and write. Perhaps you thought you were suffering from multiple personality disorder, when it was only your conscience reminding you it had been too many days since you wrote a page.

If you need some motivation, come to one of these six FWA groups meeting this month.

  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, November 8 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. Gregg Golson has details. 
  • Amelia Island Writers meets Tuesday, November 15 at 6:15PM at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Guest speaker is Mary Bright who co-authore Whistle for the Wind with her father, Proctor Bright. Mary also penned It's Your Story, Write It! a guide to help others write their memoirs. Contact Maggie de Vries for more information.
  • Clay County Writers meet Wednesday, November 16 at 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library. The meeting will be devoted to setting writing goals for the new year, and working on building a platform. Maureen Jung has details.
  • Award-winning authors Jeff Swesky and Nancy Quatrano present a program on ghostwriting memoirs at the Ancient City Chapter meeting, Saturday, November 19 at 10:15AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Contact the group at accfwa@gmail.com.
  • A scheduling conflict due to the Thanksgiving holidays provides you with another choice for Saturday, November 19 as the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting will be held that day at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Instead of a speaker this month, you can take the stage as we'll have an Open Mic date coupled with a $1 book sale to raise money for the chapter. If you're interested in reading from your published or WIP, contact me at vicdig@mac.com to be put on the list. You'll have 5 minutes in the spotlight. Also bring any of your gently read books to add to the collection along with a few dollar bills to purchase any books of interest. More details will follow.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday evening at 6:45PM at the West Regional Library on S. Chaffee Road. The guest speaker for the Nov. 10 meeting is author Merrillee Whren. Tracy Redman has more info.
Congratulations to all the winners in the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition announced at the banquet last month. Among the winners from our NE Region were (and let me know if I've omitted you):

Mark Reasoner – First Place, General Book Length Fiction Category, Unpublished
Mary Ann Bator-Gray – First Place, Romance, Unpublished
Richard Hebert – First Place, Novella, Published
Judy Weber – Third Place, Flash Fiction, Unpublished
Hardy Jones – Third Place, Autobiography/Memoir, Published
Diane Mutolo – First Place, Short Story, Unpublished
Heather Nickodem – Third Place, Short Story, Unpublished
Melissa Kosciuszko – Third Place, Women's Fiction

Look What Else Is Happening:
  • Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Bruce Thomason is the author of two police procedurals and the guest speaker at tomorrow's (Saturday, November 5) Sisters in Crime meeting, 10:30AM at the SE Branch Library. 
  • Also Saturday at the Renaissance Center at World Golf Village, USF journalism professor Dr. Rick Wilbur presents a workshop on turning article ideas into novels. Workshop begins at 1PM and it's free for Florida Press Club members, $5 for non-members.
  • First Coast Romance Writers host a "Super Saturday Master Class with Margie Lawson", Saturday, November 29 from 9AM to 5PM at Arlington Congregational Church. Advance registration required. Click here for more info and to register.
  • The deadline for submissions to the Florida Book Awards is December 1. These may be submitted by publishers, authors, agents or members of the general public. Nominations may be made in multiple categories. Visit Florida Book Awards for complete details.
  • The Melrose Library, with the support of the Florida Humanities Council, is sponsoring a free contest for writers and poets. Create a poem or prose around the theme, "Tales of Florida." Max 1,200 words or 21 lines of poetry, deadline is November 15. Submission by flash drive only (to be returned). For details call the Melrose Public Library, Tuesday - Friday, 352-475-3382, or check the website.
  • The Nimrod International Journal has put out a call for submissions for the Spring 2012 issue. The theme is The View from Here, and they're looking for a variety of interpretations of that theme, including poetry, fiction and essays. Themed manuscripts accepted through December. Write them at nimrod@utulsa.edu for more information.
FWA member; —Let me know If you have a new book or an award to share with the world and I'll add it to my next post.
Until next time, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and keep writing.

Best regards,
Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Thursday, October 06, 2011

It's Conference Time


October means more than shopping for Halloween candy or getting ready for the annual Florida-Georgia beat down. It's a time when writers throughout the state gather for one of the best writers conferences of the year, the FWA Writers Conference. And this year marks the 10th anniversary of FWA, so you know the conference will be extra special. It's not too late to join your fellow writers in Lake Mary, October 21 - 23. Visit the web page to check out all the writerly activities, from Steve Berry's daylong workshop to benefit the Florida Writers Foundation on Thursday, October 20, to the RPLA Banquet Saturday night. You won't be disappointed.

You also won't be disappointed in the quality of the FWA meetings scheduled for this month. Check them out.

  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, October 11 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • Ancient City Writers welcome literary agent Holly McClure to its Saturday, October 15 meeting, 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Holly will talk about what agents really want. So before you sit down to pitch the agents and editors at the FWA Conference, you might want to get some inside information.
  • Amelia Island Writers returns to Books Plus Bookstore in Fernandina Beach on Tuesday, October 18 at 6:00 p.m. to hear from Ben Walker, author of Winds of the South. Ben stumbled upon his great-great-grandfather's journal and turned it into a novel. Contact group leader Maggie deVries for more info.
  • If you've ever wondered how a critique group works and how you'd fit into it, then you should motor to the Clay County Writers group meeting on Wednesday, October 19 at 6:15 p.m. at the Fleming Island Library. Melissa Kosciuszko, Nancy Payne, and Lamar Thames, three longtime members of the Clay County Fiction critique group will explain how they operate to help one another become better writers. Maureen Jung has details. 
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library. Contact Tracy Redman for more information.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers will meet the week following the FWA Conference on Saturday, October 29, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. If you missed the ePublishing Seminar at August's UNF Writers Conference, you missed a fine presentation by Tony Timbol he calls E-Book Primer. Not to fret, Tony is the guest speaker at this month's meeting and he'll present a how-to based on the lessons learned during his forays into the independent publishing of Cybil Raven Beginnings, a novelette serving as the lead-in to a series of Cybil Raven ebooks. Tony will give you the benefit of the hard lessons he learned in case you're thinking of jumping into the digital publishing pool.
Other happenings of interest to NE Florida Writers:
  • First Coast Romance Writers presents two workshops this Saturday, October 8 at the Jacksonville West Regional Library on Chaffee Road. At 10:45 a.m. author Ava Milone presents, "Getting Your Muse to Come When You Call." And at 1:15 p.m. marketing strategist Maria Pinochet provides tips on "How to Brand Your Storytelling Online" and connect with your readers. Click on the link for more info.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers meet on the 4th Saturday of the month at 12:30 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. 
  • For 35 years, Frank Green has hosted The Bard Society, quite a feat, not to mention that more than 50 published novel, many short stories, and a collection of short stories that won the Iowa Prize has emerged from the group. They meet each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at 1358 Tiber Avenue. Frank can be reached at 410-5775.
  • Jacksonville's Community Read program has focused on The Power of Half during September and October. The book by Kevin Salwen is the story of how one family gave away half of what they had to help others. Salwen will make an appearance at Jacksonville's Main Library Hicks Auditorium on Thursday, October 20 at 11:00 a.m. The event is free if you register online.
  • The Florida Literary Coalition Seventh Annual Other Words Conference, November 10 - 12 at Flagler College, pays homage to two Florida Literary Lights, Jeanne Leiby and Stetson Kennedy. The conference includes workshops for writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, panel discussions and readings by a variety of authors. More information can be found here
And writing instructors are fond of telling their students to "show, not tell." But perhaps Chekhov said it first and best.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov

See you in Lake Mary,

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA NE Florida Regional Director

Friday, September 02, 2011

It's A Whole New Ballgame



You've heard it for the last month. The break is over. Time to get back to some football. If you've taken the summer off, put your writing goals on hold while you traveled, visited family, or just enjoyed the sultry weather, look at September as a whole new ballgame. Revisit your goals. Set new ones. Will you complete the first draft by year end? Will you publish by January? That's my goal for my second Quint Mitchell Mystery. What's your's?

It helps to join a community of dedicated writers, a critique group or the monthly FWA meetings. And here's what happening this month at an FWA group near you.
  • Here's a switch. Instead of pulling up the rear, the Ponte Vedra Writers group is first this month, meeting on Saturday, September 10 at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. The date change was necessitated by library conflicts, but we have an excellent program with multi-published Wendy Thornton talking about strategies for publishing your short fiction (and non-fiction) online and with literary magazines. Wendy is president of WAG, the Writer's Alliance of Gainesville, and has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in numerous journals and ezines. She's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, among others, and she'll tell us the best outlets for your works and what editors are looking for.   
  • The River City Writers meets on the second Tuesday of the month, September 13, at 7PM at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • Ancient City Writers meets on Saturday, September 17 at 10:15AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Rita Malie, author of Goodbye America, describes the writing and marketing of memoirs. We all have a story in us, now's the time to learn how to tell it and how to market it. BTW, the Ancient City Writers now has a Facebook page
  • Amelia Island Writers won't meet on its regular third Tuesday of the month meeting date. Instead the Local Authors Market Place on September 24 will take its place. The daylong book event features free workshops and book sales to benefit the Family Resource Center of Nassau County. Maggie deVries has details. 
  • Join the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, September 21 at 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library as Art Yeaman treats the group to a performance followed by a discussion. Art is a professional storyteller and performance artist best known for his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin. Sounds like a fun evening. Clay County Writers also has a Facebook page.
  • FWA affiliate, the First Coast Christian Writers, meets each Thursday at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Library. Contact Tracy Redman for more info.
Other Happenings
  • Two deadlines have passed for early discounted registration of the Writers Workshops at the Florida Heritage Book Festival on Friday, September 23 at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine. Registration is now $80 for advance registration through the 18th, and $90 at the door. 
  • That evening, FHBF honors two of Florida's outstanding authors, Peter Matthiessen and Randy Wayne White. They will each receive the Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Literary Legends Awards Banquet, 6 to 10PM at the Renaissance Center Resort at World Golf Village. It should be a great evening and includes the always popular Authors Reception and silent auction. 
  • Stetson Kennedy, one of the first Literary Legends, passed away last week. Stetson was beloved by all who met him, just as he loved our planet and worked to make it a place of love and peace for all people. In the 1940s, Stetson infiltrated the KKK, writing about it in his book, I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan. The book was later renamed The Klan Unmasked. An ardent environmentalist, folklorist, and the author of 8 books, Stetson Kennedy was 94 years old.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival continues on Saturday, September 24 with a day of free author presentations at Flagler College. The day begins at 9AM with a presentation by honoree Randy Wayne White, followed by talks by noted Florida authors like Les Standiford, James W. Hall, Mary Ann Evans, Robert Olen Butler and many more. Visit the website for Saturday's complete schedule.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets on Saturday, September 10 at 10:30AM at the West Regional Library on Chaffee Road. Romance author Eileen Ann Brennan discusses Goal, Motivation, Conflict. And after lunch, at 1:15PM, CPA Rich Shaifer talks about the business side of being a writer, and how to keep up with your taxes. 
  • The North Florida Writers also meet on the 10th. They gather by the river at the Willowbranch Library, 2875 Park Street in Jax at 2PM. Author and FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti is the featured speaker. Vic probes the essential building block of the novel—the scene, explains what it is and what it isn't, and provides a formula for writing compelling scenes.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers meets on Saturday, September 24 at 12:30 at the SE Branch Library. Author Renee Ryan offers "The Art of Layering: From First Draft to Finished Manuscript." 
  • FWA is extending the discounted registration period to September 30 for Steve Berry's workshop, "Writing Lessons from a Bestseller." This day-long workshop on October 20 at the Lake Mary Marriott precedes the annual conference and benefits the Florida Writers Foundation's literacy projects. A New York Times bestselling author, Berry has 12 million books in print. His workshop covers "The Fours C's of Story Structure,"effective dialogue, point of view, and Steve's "11 Rules of Writing." An added bonus is the Business of Writing session after lunch, presented by Elizabeth Berry, Steve's wife and literary manager. She's also the Executive Director of the International Thriller Writers Association. This will be followed by a Q&A session. 
  • And it's not too late to register for FWA's 10th Annual Conference, October 21 - 23 in Lake Mary. Aside from the many valuable workshops, the RPLA Banquet, the fellowship and networking among fellow authors and publishing pros, you can pitch agents, editor and publishers,  have a manuscript critiqued, or sign up for a special consultation with one of the attending faculty members. All of this plus the Welcome Reception, silent auction, the bookstore, Open Mic Night, and the breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Believe me, you won't go home hungry. If you only attend one conference this year, make it the FWA Conference. 
  • Don't forget the Riverside Arts Market's first Literary Day is set for Saturday, September 17, all day under the Fuller Warren Bridge. Dozens of area authors will be there to talk books, lead writing workshops and, hopefully, sell a few books. Over 5,000 people visit the market each week to enjoy the entertainment, arts & crafts, fresh produce, and will be there on the 17th to sample books by area authors. 
  • Children's Writers Jacksonville, a group affiliated with SCBWI, meets on the third Saturday of the month from 1 - 3PM at the SE Regional Branch Library. Contact Janet Walter.
  • Lynn Harlin's world famous Shantyboat Writers Workshop launches a new series of classes beginning September 21. For more information on all classes, email Lynn at lyharlin@aol.com.
  • Drew Berquist is a senior intelligence consultant for the U. S. government who conducted multiple counterinsurgency operations during his 12 deployments in Afghanistan. He's written The Maverick Experiment, a thriller based on his experiences. Berquist will discuss his book and his experiences at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Jacksonville Public Library and Community Connections present The Community Read, focusing on the book, The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back. The author, Kevin Salwen, will make an appearance at Jacksonville's Main Library Hicks Auditorium on October 20 at 11AM. Visit the Eventbrite page to RSVP.
Until next time, keep writing and I'll leave you with this smile from Terry Pratchett.

"There's no such thing as writer's block. It was invented by people in California who couldn't write."

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA NE Regional Director




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Monday, August 08, 2011

More News for NE Florida Writers


Summer will be gone before we know it, but August still offers a heat wave of opportunities for writers. Let's starts with this month's meetings of FWA groups in our area:

  • River City Writers meets tomorrow, Tuesday, August 9 at 7PM at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Nancy Murray will talk about how to create your own book trailer. Nancy recently won the International Book Awards in Young Adult Fiction for her book, The Night the Elephants Cried–A Story of the Tsunami
  • The Amelia Island Writers will meet on Tuesday, August 16 at 6PM at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Contact Maggie de Vries for more information.
  • Clay County Writers will host a panel discussion on what promises to be a very appealing topic to many of us old-timers. "Writing As A Second Career." The panel will include novelists Gary Showalter and Lydia Filzen along with biographer Susan Brandenburg. The group meets on Wednesday, August 17 at 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library, 1895 Town Center. Contact Maureen Jung for other details. 
  • Ancient City Writers tackles "The Power of Your Online Presence for Authors & Writers" at this month's meeting with Carol O'Dell.  Carol is the author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous & Heartbreaking Memoir. She’s also an inspirational speaker and writing teacher. She tells us it's not enough just to have a website, and will teach you how to tap into the powerful online community and which tools to use to best access it. The Ancient City Writers meet on Saturday, August 20 at 10"15AM at St. Augustine's Main Library.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate FWA chapter, meets each Thursday evening at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library. Contact Tracy Redman for details.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers wrap up the month of FWA meetings on Saturday, August 27 at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Author and writing instructor Sarah Clarke Stuart will discuss her journey to publication in a talk titled, "The Fast Track: From Query to Publication in 12 Months." In her talk, Sarah will discuss how write a proposal for your non-fiction book, how to begin a work of non-fiction, and how to promote yourself with a strong online presence.
Other Happenings of Interest to NE Florida Writers:
  • Congratulations to all who have been notified they are a finalist in the RPLA competition. The Awards banquet is Saturday, October 22 and we usually have a large contingent from NE Florida. Plan now to be part of the excitement by registering for the 10th Annual FWA Conference, October 21-23 at the Lake Mary Marriott. ALong with the RPLA Banquet, you can pitch to agents and editors, participate in valuable craft workshops, and network with your fellow writers.
  • Also sign up for the special Foundation Day event with New York Times Bestselling author Steve Berry on Thursday before the start of the conference. In a daylong seminar, Berry will share much of what he's learned about how to be the best author you can be in his workshop, "Writing Lessons from a Bestseller."  The morning session covers "The Four C's of Story Structure," effective dialogue and POV, and Steve's Top Ten Rules of Writing. Following lunch he'll talk about the business of writing and answer questions.
  • Children's Writers Jacksonville meet on the third Saturday of the month, August 20, at 1PM at the SE Branch Library. Janet Walter has the answer to your questions.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival is fast approaching. Starting on Friday, September 23 with the Writers Conference at the Casa Monica Hotel, continuing with presentation of the Festival's Lifetime Achievement Awards to Peter Matthiessen and Randy Wayne White at that evening's  Literary Legends Awards at the World Golf Village Renaissance Center, and ending on Saturday at Flagler College with a day of talks and panel discussions by noted authors. All the details are on the website.
  • The Ponte Vedra Friends of the Library is hosting a Book Fair featuring 11 area authors on Monday, August 29 at 6PM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Attending authors include Sigrun Buckley, Sharon Cobb, Ken Gorman, Karen Harvey, Richard Hebert, Bill Kerr, Mary Kohnke, Will Merrill, George Prom, Marie Vernon, and Ronald White. A portion of their sales will benefit the FOL. Come down and support your fellow authors.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcomes author Nancy Haddock as their speaker, Saturday, August 27, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Nancy, author of La Vida Vampire and Last Vampire Standing, will do a workshop on characterization. 
  • The Riverside Arts Market haas announced its first annual Literary Day for Saturday, September 17. RAM is that cool venue under the Fuller Warren Bridge attracting about 5,000 shoppers each Saturday.They'll be renting booth space to authors to sell their books on a first come-first served basis for $37.45 per space. And they'll allow up to 4 authors to share the 10' x 10' space. Books may be traditionally or self-published. Applications are now being accepted. Contact the RAM Director, Teri Coutu, at director@riversideartsmarket.com for an application, or contact me.
  • Books Plus proprietor Maggie de Vries recently announced the first annual Local Authors Market Place to be held on Saturday, September 24 at the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach from 9AM to 5PM. Tables and chairs will be provided, but Bring Your Own Books. It's a traditional 60-40 split with Books Plus on sales, but the event benefits the Family Resource Center of Nassau County. Other sponsors include High Pitched Hum Publishing and The Book Loft. There will be workshops, a children's book area, and other activities. Please let Maggie know if you want to participate and plan to arrive early to set-up.
  • One Book One Putnam, along with the GFWC Woman's Club of Palatka present An Evening with the Authors, Tuesday, August 16 from 5:30 - 7:30PM at the Woman's Club of Palatka, 605 S. 13th Street. Bob Lee can send you the details. 
Always something going on in the writer's neighborhood. Look for more in the mid-month update. Until then, keep writing.

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Beat the July Heat


One sure way to beat the heat is to stay indoors and write. Speaking for myself, it's easy to let life get in the way of writing. Errands have to be run, the lawn needs to be mowed, the plumber called for a leak in the ceiling (yep, just did that), and somehow the day gets away from us. If you attended last month's Ponte Vedra Writers group meeting you heard Sandra McDonald's 7-7-7 workshop in which she said to make a list of all the activities you consider to be essential in your life. Then decide what you're going to give up, because if you make a serious commitment to write on a daily basis you won't have time for everything else. Writing is either essential or it's not.

Here's what's happening at our FWA local chapters this month:
  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday July 12 at 7PM at the SE Regional Library at Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park Blvd. Mystery writer June Weltman is the guest speaker and will address the topic of "Gripping Suspense." One of a writer's greatest challenges, June says, is to create a growing sense of suspense that ensnares the reader. June is the author of the award-winning novel, The Mystery of the Missing Candlestick, which features a teenage detective. She's also a writing instructor, and will teach a course on writing mysteries for children and teens at UNF in September.
  • Mystery and romance author Maggie Toussaint talks about pacing at this month's meeting of Ancient City Writers, Saturday, July 16 at 10:15AM at the SJC Main Library. In her workshop, "Pacing: Why Do You Need It, How Do You Do It?" Maggie will discuss how to determine the correct pace for your book and how to build it into your manuscript. Maggie writes for three different presses. Her newest book, On the Nickel. was released in March.
  • The Amelia IslandWriters chapter of FWA meets on Tuesday, July 19 at 6PM at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Group Leader (and store proprietor) Maggie deVries, can be reached at maggie1948@yahoo.com.
  • How do you plan a virtual book tour? Find out at the Wednesday, July 20 meeting of Clay County Writers, 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library. Paige L. Cummins, personal and professional coach and trainer talks about her experiences planning and hosting a virtual book launch party for the book, Transformation: Reinventing the Woman Within, which she co-authored. "The Ultimate 72-Hour Virtual Book Launch Party" will demonstrate how she did it.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers invites you to hear from a real live private detective at the Saturday, July 30 meeting at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Steven K. Brown began his career as an FBI agent, but for the last 25 years he's managed his own private investigative firm. He's also the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Private Investigating and the author of two unpublished mystery novels. Steven will give you his take on some of the most flagrant mistakes he sees fictional detectives make. If you're the author of any fiction involving private detectives or the police, then you'll need to hear and avoid these common mistakes. I know I'm looking forward to finding out what I got wrong in my PI mystery.
  • FWA affiliate, First Coast Christian Writers, meets each Thursday evening at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library. Contact Tracy Redman, tls172@yahoo.com.
Other Happenings of Interest To NE Florida Writers:
  • North Florida Writers meets the second Saturday of each month at 2PM at the Willowbranch Library, 2875 Park Street. This month's meeting on July 9th will be a critique session.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime didn't have a meeting this month due to the July 4 holiday, but make note of next month's special workshop with mystery/romance author Nancy J. Cohen. Nancy, author of the Bad Hair Day Mystery Series, will cover the topic, "Writing Fiction for Fun & Profit" on Saturday, August 6 from 10:30AM to 2:30PM at the SE Regional Library. The workshop is free, but registrations are required. RSVP to FloridaSistersinCrime@gmail.com.
  • Children's Writer Jacksonville, an affiliate of SCBWI, meets on Saturday, July 16 from 1 to 3PM at the SE Regional Library (still the winner for the most popular branch library) for a Meet Greet & Critique session. Contact Janet Walter for details, jgwalter@comcast.net.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers meets on Saturday, July 23 at 12:30PM at the SE Regional Library.
  • Only two days left to register for the full UNF Writers Conference, August 5 - 7. The deadline is Friday, July 8 if you want to be among those attending the entire conference, which includes Friday's workshops (3 tracks), Wine & Cheese Reception, Critique Workshops and the ePublishing Seminar. Critique Workshops cover a multitude of genres including General Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children's and YA, Romance, Poetry and Science-Fiction. You may register for the Friday Workshops or the ePublishing Seminar separately.
  • It's never too early to get excited about the FWA Annual Conference. Especially this year since we'll be celebrating out 10th Anniversary. Officially, SOAR! Ten Years of Reaching New Heights kicks off on Friday, October 21 at the Lake Mary Marriott, but you might want to consider going one day earlier and signing up for New York Times Bestselling author Steve Berry's day-long workshop, "Writing Lessons from A Bestselling Author." The workshop is a benefit for the Florida Writers Foundation, a charitable organization in support of literacy projects in the state. Early bird registration runs through August 31.
  • And speaking of early bird registrations, register for the FWA Conference before July 31 to avoid a late fee. The conference offers numerous pitch opportunities for agents and publishers, along with top flight workshops and the RPLA Banquet. Always a good time and valuable networking opportunities. Save money by registering now. Download the Conference brochure.
  • Closer to home is the upcoming Florida Heritage Book Festival, September 23-24 in St. Augustine. The Friday Writer's Conference has a full day of workshops plus lunch with keynote speakers Les Standiford and James W. Hall at the Casa Monica Hotel. That evening the festival honors Peter Matthiessen and Randy Wayne White with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Literary Legends Banquet at the World Golf Village Renaissance Center.
  • A call for submissions has gone out for the 2011 Nonfiction Award from Jane's Stories Press Foundation. The award is for the best original and previously unpublished nonfiction work by a woman. Deadline is September 11. Entries should speak to the Foundation's special interest in work by and about women and the 2011 theme, "Bridges and Borders." Visit the contest website for more details.
FWA Members On The Move
  • Clay County Writers leader Maureen Jung is presenting a 3-part workshop series entitled "Write Your Story, Find Your Voice." The workshop "incorporates breathing, guided meditation, vocalization, and writing tools to tap into your body's unique wisdom and develop your authentic inner voice." Click here for details on cost, times, and location.
  • Mystery author Parker Francis signs copies of his first Quint Mitchell Mystery, Matanzas Bay, this Saturday, July 9 at the Barnes & Noble at St. Johns Town Center. Parker will be there from 1:30 to 4:30PM. He'll also be at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach on Saturday, July 30 at 1PM. As an unpublished manuscript, the book was named Book of the Year in the 2009 RPLA competition.
  • FWA member George Prom is the featured speaker at the 5 O'Clock Whistle Talk, Friday, July 15 at the Beaches Museum & History Center, 380 Pablo Avenue, Jacksonville Beach. George will be talking about his latest book, The Thrift Store.
  • Marie Vernon invites you to the book release party for Graceland Express, Saturday, July 16 at 5PM at the Harbor View Room at Kingfish Grill. Enjoy the music of Randy "Elvis" Walker and refreshments. RSVP by this Friday, July 8, to hrfeist@comcast.net.
  • Author, writing instructor and general all-around good guy Vic DiGenti announces the follow-up to his popular Novel In A Day workshop. Creative Writing: From Manuscript to Publication takes writers through the various stages necessary to become published, from writing query letters and the synopsis, to building a platform, crafting a marketing plan, and includes an expanded section on ePublishing. The daylong workshop is set for Saturday, July 23 at the University of North Florida. Click here for details and registration information.
  • Congratulations to Rita Malie, author of Goodbye America. She was invited to be a guest of the American Embassy in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic. Rita will be doing a reading and presentation of her book, which takes place from 1919-1924 with a backdrop of the flu pandemic of 1918. Rita and her daughter are touring the country this month.
Until next time, keep your quill sharp and your ink well filled,

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director







Wednesday, June 01, 2011

What's Happening in NE Florida?

Thinking about heading to the mountains to cool off? Before you do, check out all the meetings and happenings for NE Florida writers.

  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday, June 14 at the SE Branch Library, Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park Blvd., at 7PM. Contact group leader Gregg Golson, gtgolson@comcast.net, for details.
  • Publishing coach Rik Feeney talks about "How to Get Published in 60 Days," and other approaches to completing your book project at this month's Clay County Writers' meeting, Wednesday, June 15 at 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library. Group leader Maureen Jung, mjung@wordspringconsulting.com, has all the latest info,.
  • Ancient City Writers of St. Augustine have a special guest speaker you will want to meet and hear. Longtime entertainment journalist Leslie Halpern has interviewed hundreds of celebrities as a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Just for Laughs, and dozens of other print and online publications. She will discuss how authors can overcome their fear of interviewing important people, and their own fears of being interviewed. The group meets at 10:15AM at St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, June 18.
  • Amelia Island Writers meet on Tuesday, June 21 at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Gather round the book stacks at 6PM for a discussion of writing and publishing. Contact Maggie deVries for more information, maggie1948@yahoo.com.
  • FWA Affiliate, First Coast Christian Writers, meet each Thursday at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library. Contact Tracy Redman, tlsl72@yahoo.com, for details.
  • The final FWA meeting of the month falls on Saturday, June 25 as the Ponte Vedra Writers gather at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library to hear writing instructor and SF author, Sandra McDonald. Sandra is the award-winning author of three SF novels (Tor Books) and a collection of short stories. She was also a winner in the 2010 Lambda Literary Awards. If you missed last year's UNF Writers Conference, you'll have a chance to hear Sandra's reprise of her packed workshop, "7-7-7 – 7 Skills, 7 Exercises, 7 Minutes," in which she'll share seven essential ingredients for improving your writing in her own masterful way.
Other Writer Meetings:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, June 4 at 10:30AM at the SE Regional Library. Special guest is Betsy Moore of the Jacksonville Medical Examiner's Office.
  • Writers for children, YA and middle grade readers take note that the Jacksonville chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCWBI) meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month at the SE Regional Library from 1 to 3PM.
  • You're one day late to take advantage of the early bird registration fee for the UNF Writers Conference, August 5 - 7. Beginning today through July 8, the cost increases to $349 for the 3-day conference, which includes a full day of workshops, intense critique workshops in a variety of genres, lunches, an author reception, and a Sunday afternoon epublishing workshop. Check it out here.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival recognizes Florida authors Randy Wayne White and Peter Matthiessen with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The duo will be honored at the September 23 Literary Legends Awards banquet at the World Golf Village Renaissance Center, kicking off the 2-day festival. Among the line-up of outstanding authors appearing this year are Robert Olen Butler, James W. Hall. Mary Anna Evans, Les Standiford, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, James O'Neal and many others.
  • FWA's 10th annual conference promises to be bigger and better than ever. SOAR! 10 Years of Reaching New Heights will celebrate the achievements and amazing growth of FWA from a germ of an idea birthed here in NE Florida by Glenda Ivey, to a multi-state organization with more than 1,100 members. Although the conference is set for October 21 - 23, you might want to take advantage of the Florida Writers Foundation special workshop on Thursday, October 20. The FWA Foundation, which supports literacy projects in the state, presents New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry's popular workshop, "Writing Lessons from A Bestseller." Berry's day-long workshop focuses on the craft of writing and covers "The Four C's of Story Structure," effective dialogue, POV, Steve's "10 Rules of Writing," and more. Keep checking the FWA Network and FWA website for details on how to register.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers meet on the 4th Saturday of the month at the SE Regional Library at 12:30PM. Contact Kathy Bain for details, kathynbain@comcast.net.
Kudos to FWA Members:
  • Congratulations to Nancy Murray, winner in the 2011 International Book Awards for YA Fiction for her book, The Night the Elephants Cried – A Story of the Tsunami. The novel is based on a BBC news report of elephants trumpeting three hours before the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit.
  • Tony Tymbol announces the first in the Cybil Raven Chronicles series, Cybil Raven: Miracle at St. Rita, will be available as an ebook in early August. Tony and his co-author, Crystal Craven, are offering the short introduction to the series as a free pdf at the website. BTW, Tony is one of the epublishing instructors at the UNF Writers Conference epublishing seminar on Sunday, August 7.
In case you missed my last Novel In A Day workshop at UNF, another is planned for Saturday, June 18. The day-long workshop provides you with all the basics needed for your novel, from plot and structure to character development and dialogue. It's part of the UNF Continuing Education's Learn Jacksonville program. Look for registration information here.

Until next time, keep writing and enjoy life.

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director








Friday, May 06, 2011

May You Write A Bestseller


My amaryllis bloomed briefly and passed on, but the daylilies are now pointing their bright yellow faces sunwards each morning. All this floral activity (not to mention the weeds in my lawn) convince me that summer is rapidly approaching. May brings with it a blossoming of activity for writers. And it starts with these FWA meetings:
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, May 10 at 7PM at the SE Regional Library, Gate Parkway and Deerwood Park Blvd. Dr. Lorraine Haataia will address the topic of setting goals. Lorraine, the founder and former president of First Coast Christian Writers, has helped countlessstudents as a Professor of English. She'll talk about the importance of writing everyday, and share her strategies for setting goals. For more information, click on the group's blog or contact group leader, Gregg Golson at gtgolson@comcast.net.

  • Amelia Island Writers meets at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach on Tuesday, May 17 ay 6PM. This month's speaker is Gerry Clare, author of Don't Forget the Toilet Paper. Contact group leader Maggie deVries for more information, maggie1948@yahoo,com.
  • Clay County Writers meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Fleming Island Library. This month's meeting, May 18 at 6:15PM, features a workshop on how to get books started with "Great Beginnings." Regional Director Vic DiGenti provides tips and exercises designed to find just the right opening to keep the reader turning pages. Group leader Maureen Jung also reports that there will be a brief discussion about log lines and why they're needed. Clay County Writers also sponsors a fiction critique groupthat meets twice a month at Panera's on 220. For more information, write Maureen at mjung@wordspringconsulting.com.
  • There will be a gathering of the Ancient City Writers on Saturday, May 21 at St.Augustine's Main Library at 10:15AM. Writing instructor John Boles discusses "Voice, POV & Style."
  • Ponte Vedra Writers returns to its customary 4th Saturday meeting time on May 28 at 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Library. Sharon Y. Cobb, director of the UNF Writers Conference, reprises her standing-room-only workshop from last year's conference entitled "Characters On the Couch." Sharon shares a number of unique exercises designed to view your characters through a totally new prism to deepen and broaden them. When you place them on a couch and psychoanalyze them, amazing things can happen. More than likely, we can expect Sharon to also give us news of the August 5 -7 writers conference.
  • First Coast Christian Writers (an affiliate of FWA) meets each Thursday at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Library at 103rd Street and Blanding Blvd. Contact chapter president Tracy Redman, tlsl72@yahoo.com, for more details.
Meetings & Conferences:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime chapter meets Saturday, May 7 at 10:30AM at the SE Regional Library to hear from local author Ken Gorman about his new novel of political intrigue, Compelled. And check out the guidelines to their contest while you're on the website.
  • The Jacksonville chapter of SCBWI meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 1PM to 3PM at the SE Regional Branch Library (isn't that an amazingly busy library?). They will have a Meet & Critique session on May 21st. Bring no more than 10 pages.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival toasts legendary author Ernest Hemingway at a gala celebration on Saturday, May 21 at 5PM on the grounds of the Markland House, 102 King Street, St. Augustine. "A Hemingway Night" will feature complimentary mojito tasting and voting for the best cocktail, as well as a Hemingway look-alike contest. Looking for Papa will highlight the evening with the grand prize a fishing adventure for four from Comachee Cove Yacht Harbor. For tickets and information, contact Kathy Dvornick at 904-940-0194.
  • Scribbler's Retreat Writers Conference features New York Times bestselling thriller author Phillip Margolin as the featured keynote author. The conference combines the beauty of St. Simon's Island, GA King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort with craft workshops by authors June Hal McCash, Writing Historical Fiction, Vic DiGenti, How to Rev Up Your Narrative Drive, Dr. Anya Silver, Writing Poetry: The Enchanted Craft, Denise Tompkins, Effective Query Letter Writing, and more.
  • You may still submit your work for the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition, but the fee has increased to $40 per entry as of May 1. Hurry and enter before it goes up again to $50 on July 1.
  • And while you're on the FWA website, check out all the exciting workshops and programs in this year's annual conference, SOAR! 10 Years of Reaching New Heights. All the details are there from the workshop schedule to the faculty list. This should be a great conference as we celebrate our 10th anniversary.
  • The UNF Writers Conference is also open for registration for the 3-day conference, August 5 - 7. The early bird conference fee of $299 increases to $349 on May 31. Remember the fee includes the day of craft workshops, the critiques workshops, the opportunity to participate in the Pitch Book, and the ePublishing seminar. All good stuff, and FWA is a partner in the conference.
  • Chiczofrenic.com and Five Seas Ink announce a new writing contest with the winner receiving a publishing contract from Five Seas Ink. Visit the website for details.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers meet on the 4th Saturday of the month at the SE Branch Library from 12:30 to 4PM. Elizabeth Sinclair presents "The Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Series." Contact Kathy Bain for more details, kathynbain@comcast.net.
Kudos to FWA Members
  • Congratulations to June Weltman for her First Place Award in the National Association of Pen Women's 2011 At-Large contest for two mystery reviews June wrote for The Florida Times-Union. June is a former newspaper reporter and author of The Mystery of the Missing Candlestick.
  • Dorothy Fletcher has been honored by the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission for the 2011 Historic Preservation Award for her book, Remembering Jacksonville: By the Wayside, and for her column, By the Wayside.
  • Peppertree Press has published Carolyn Evans' book, Faith, A Disciple's Journey. It's the story of Carolyn's grandfather and his life as a missionary in China.
  • Parker Francis (aka Victor DiGenti) has published his award-winning mystery, Matanzas Bay (Windrusher Hall Press). It's available as an ebook for both the Kindle and Nook platforms, as well as a trade paperback.
That's all for now. Keep writing and I'll see you at the library,

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director for NE Florida






Monday, April 04, 2011

All new for April


An April shower or two won't stop the outstanding line-up of FWA meetings scheduled for this month. Or the other events for area writers. Check these out:
  • First Coast Christian Writers (an affiliate of FWA) meets each Thursday at 6:45PM at the Webb-Wesconnett Library at 103rd Street and Blanding Blvd.. This Thursday, April 7, Lucille Ponte, Professor of Law at Florida Coastal School of Law, discusses the basics of copyright law. Under her pen name, Bridges DelPonte, she has written the mystery novel, Deadly Sacrifices.
  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday, April 12 at 7PM at the SE Regional Branch Library. Group leader Gregg Golson, gtgolson@comcast.net, will talk on "How to Create A Logline for Your Novel."
  • Author and photographer Jim Kern, The Wildlife Art & Adventures of Jim Kern, Photographer, speaks at the Saturday, April 16 meeting of the Ancient City Writers. They meet at 10:15AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. Kern will present "The How-To's of a Publishing Project, covering everything from formatting and proofreading to negotiating with printers.
  • The Amelia Island Writers welcome FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti on Tuesday, April 19 at 6:15PM. They meet at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach, located on Centre Street. Vic will present "Great Beginnings–The Importance of the First Page." Learn what it takes to have a great beginning. Vic will also sign books earlier that day at Books Plus.
  • Author and playwright Mary Jane Hayes shows how to create three-dimensional characters at the Wednesday, April 20 meeting of the Clay County Writers, 6:15PM at the Fleming Island Library. In her presentation, "The Character Arc: Charting Character Development to Move Your Plot," MJ reviews three key components of story writing: character, plot and conflict resolution. Contact group leader Maureen Jung, ,jung@wordspringconsulting.com, for more info.
  • This month's meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers falls on Saturday, April 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Seven Realms publisher, Kent Holloway, will discuss the state of today's publishing market, new trends, old myths and what's new at Seven Realms. With the way the industry is turning from a "tree-based" platform to a digital one, there is much to learn about. Aside from his publishing duties, Kent is the author of several action/adventure novels, Primal Thirst and Siren's Song. In his spare time, he's a forensic death investigator for St. Johns County.

More writing highlights:
  • This year's UNF Writers Conference, August 5 - 7, will end with a 4-1/2 hour seminar covering the basics of ePublishing, with help from experts on formatting, cover art, marketing, and more. The eSeminar is part of the registration fee, or can be scheduled separately, as can the Friday workshops. Once again, FWA partners with UNF to produce this high quality writers conference which also offers intensive critique workshops in general fiction, YA, romance, science-fiction, and children's fiction. Also non-fiction workshops, screenwriting and new this year, poetry. Check the website for complete details.
  • Clay County Writers leader Maureen Jung, Ph.D. announces a three-part workshop, "Write Your Story, Find Your Voice," that uses writing tools and exercises to "open a dialog with your inner voice." The intensive workshop incorporates breathing, guided meditation, vocalization, and writing tools to tap into your body's unique wisdom and develop your inner voice. Maureen has been a yoga practitioner and writing consultant for over 30 years. Click here to learn more about Maureen, and contact her at 904-298-5714 to register.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers meet on Saturday, April 23 at the SE Regional Library at 12:30 p.m. Guest speaker Vic DiGenti presents "Effective Middles and Satisfying Endings," an interactive workshop on how to tighten your sagging middles and lift those dead ends.
  • Lynn Harlin launches another Shanty Boat Workshop of writing classes on Wednesday, April 20. Workshops are designed for beginning writers who want to learn new techniques, or seasoned writers who need to refresh their skills. Fiction and non-fiction writers are welcome. Contact her at lyharlin@aol.com for details.
  • Registration is open for the Rosemary Beach Writer's Conference, May 11 - 14 in Rosemary Beach, FL (on the Gulf in the Florida Panhandle). The conference includes general sessions, writing exercises, craft classes, and receptions. Featured authors are Lynne Barrett, Cindy Chinelly, William Cobb, John Dufresne, Frank Giampietro, Michael Lister, and Laura Lee Smith.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime chapter here in Jacksonville is having a writer's contest consisting of the prologue or first scene of your story. Submissions should be no more than 750 words. Entry fee is $5 until May 31, and $7.50 up to June 30. Click on the above link for details.
  • New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to Amelia Island to launch her new book, The Butterfly's Daughter, with a special talk and breakfast, Tuesday, May 10 at St. Peters Episcopal Church. There will also be a butterfly gardening demonstration. Tickets are $50 per person and include a signed copy of Monroe's new book. Proceeds benefit Wild Amelia Nature Festival. Contact Dickie Anderson for ticket information, dickie.anderson@gmail.com.
  • Deadline for the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is May 1.
  • May 1 is also the date fees increase for FWA's Royal Palm Literary Awards competition. Click for submission guidelines.
  • And May 15 is the last day to submit entries for FWA's Collection #3, Let's Talk.
  • Flagler College's Writers-in-Residence Program continues with Connie May Fowler appearing at the Flagler Auditorium, this Thursday, April 7 at 7PM. Her latest book is How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly. Les Standiford is the featured author on Wednesday, April 13. He'll discuss his book, Bringing Adam Home.
FWA Member News
  • Ronnie Hart is the FWA Regional Director for Volusia and Flagler Counties. Her YA novel, Escape From Iran, made it into the Quarter Finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. There are 250 entries in the quarter finals, down from 5,000, and it will be cut to 100 on April 26. The competition awards two grand prizes, one in General Fiction, the other in YA, for a publishing contract with Penguin with a $15,000 advance. To vote for Escape from Iran, you must first have an Amazon account (it's easy to sign up), click on the above link, then find the YA Fiction link on the left side. Click on that then go to the 4th page to find her book under the name, Veronica Helen Hart. You can download the excerpt for free if you have a Kindle, or download the app for your PC. After reading the excerpt, return to the book's Amazon page, click Like and write a favorable customer review. Perhaps we'll next hear that Ronnie has made it into the finals.
  • Parker Francis, aka Victor DiGenti, has published his award-winning mystery, Matanzas Bay. As an unpublished manuscript, MB won the 2007 Josiah W. Bancroft Sr. Award, and was named a Book of the Year in the 2009 RPLA Awards. Matanzas Bay is currently available as an eBook for both Kindle and Nook platforms, with trade paperbacks coming soon. Read about it on the Florida Book News.
  • I'm sorry to report the passing of former FWA member Gertie Poole. Gertie's daughter Tiffiny reported that Gertie had passed away after a valiant battle with brain cancer. Gertie turned to writing science fiction later in life and was one of the winners of the 2007 Lighthouse Book Awards. Read more about her here, and sign the guest book.
FWA members may send me news of their accomplishments for future posts.

Until next time, keep writing,

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director








Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Publishing Models

The world of publishing is changing swiftly from a tree-based, ink platform to a digital one. More and more eReaders are joining the world of Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, with more and more authors becoming independent publishers. While formats and platforms evolve, one constant is the quality of the writing. In order to succeed, the author still needs to tell a good story with compelling characters. One way to stay on top of the shifting sands of publishing while honing your craft is to attend one or more of the monthly FWA chapter meetings, and possibly registering for a writers' conference. Take your pick from the following:
  • River City Writers, meeting Tuesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library, welcomes Dr. Gigi Morales David. Dr. David is a professor in UNF's Department of Childhood Education and the author of several children's books. Her topic is "Writing for Children: A Call to Create." For more information, contact chapter leader, Gregg Golson at gtgolson@comcast.net.
  • Local author Charles Womack will discuss his new book, Things My Teacher Did Tell Me, at the Amelia Island Writers meeting on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:15 p.m. at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Chapter leader Maggie de Vries, maggie1948@yahoo.com, has the details.
  • Come back to the mainland for the next night's meeting of the Clay County Writers, Wednesday, March 16 at 6:15 p.m. at the Fleming Island Library. Author and UNF writing professor Sarah Clarke Stuart will share her experiences with publishers, journalists, social networking, and TV producers during her presentation, "The Fast Track from Query to Publication in 12 Months." She'll talk about how she wrote, published and promoted her non-fiction book, Literary Lost, Viewing the World of Literature through the Lens of Television. Contact chapter leader Maureen Jung with your query, mjung@wordspringconsulting.com.
  • The Ancient City Writers gather at St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 at 10:15 a.m. to hear from FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti. Vic will address one of the constants in writing — revision. In his workshop, "Battle Plans for Attacking the Revision Process," Vic lays out strategies and tactics designed to help both the novice and veteran writer revise with confidence. Visit the website for details.
  • Romantic suspense and mystery author Maggie Toussaint pays a visit to the Ponte Vedra Writers chapter on Saturday, March 26 at the Ponte Vedra Library at 10:30 a.m. Juggling both mysteries and romances, Maggie knows how important it is to polish your manuscript, and she'll provide seven clues for making your manuscript sparkle.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library at 103rd and Chaffee Road. On Thursday, March 31, they will host RPLA award-winning authors, Rebekah Hunter Scott and Michael Ray King, who will talk about query letters from the author's and publisher's point of view.
Lots going on for writers:
  • Sleuthfest 2011 starts tomorrow in Deerfield Beach. Presented by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, it features talks by major authors like Dennis Lehane, Meg Gardiner and SJ Rozan, plus panel discussions, a forensics track, and much more.
  • Also this weekend is the Steve Berry Craft of Writing 5-hour workshop at World Golf Village. Visit the Florida Heritage Book Festival website for details.
  • Playwright David Zellnik hosts a free writers' workshop on developing character and voice this Saturday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theatre Cinema in Gainesville. Zellnik, whose play, Serendib, is currently on stage at the Hippodrome, says the "Finding A Voice" workshop contains both lecture and writing components. His play, Yank, opens on Broadway in the fall. More information here.
  • Saturday, March 5 is a busy day for writers. The Florida Sisters in Crime chapter meets that day to hear from Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford. They meet at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library.
  • Registration is now open for the UNF Writers Conference, August 7 - 9. Along with a day of workshops, the conference offers intensive critique workshops in many fiction genres plus non-fiction and poetry. For the first time, the conference offers a 3-hour seminar on the basics of ePublishing, plus a panel on "How I Got My Agent.". Visit the website for details.
  • March 18 - 20, the Tallahassee Book Festival & Writers Conference features Cassandra King, James Scott Bell, Lee Gutkind and more. Details here.
  • Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) meets Saturday, March 19 at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library in Deerwood. The topic is eBooks. Contact Janet Walter with questions, jgwalter@comcast.net.
  • In May you can check out several conferences. The Scribblers' Retreat Writers' Conference, May 12 - 14 at the King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simon's Island, features bestselling authors Phillip Margolin and Diana Gaboldon, among others.
  • Also in May, Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne presents its Creative Writing Institute, May 22 - 26. Keynoters and lecturers include Susan Hubbard, John Dufresne, and Leonard Nash.
  • A reminder that FWA's "Let's Talk" Collection is open for submissions. The dialogue-only story should prove to be both challenging and fun. Visit the FWA website for guidelines and an example.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime is sponsoring a short-short story contest for members and non-members alike. 75- words max, $5 submission fee, check the website for details.
  • The University of Tulsa's Nimrod International Journal announces its 33rd annual Nimrod Literary Awards. The Awards offer hefty cash prizes for fiction and poetry winners. Click here for details.
FWA Members At Work:
  • Tim Robinson has been invited to be a guest author at the MegaCon SF convention in Orlando, March 25-27. Tim is the author of three fantasy novels.
  • Ken Gorman has published his fourth novel, Compelled.
  • Janie Wilkins has published, Janie's Unbelievable Journey.
  • Sharon Y. Cobb presents the 1-day class, "Blogging for Business & Pleasure," on March 12 as part of the UNF Learn Jacksonville program.
  • Mary Bridgman presents "Market Your Work as a Freelance Writer," at the UNF Learning Center in April.
  • And on April 16, Vic DiGenti presents his next "Novel in a Day" workshop at UNF. Course schedule and details here.
FWA members can send me their announcements of new publications and other accomplishments to share with the cyber world.

That's it until next time.

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director



Thursday, February 03, 2011

Writers Write

As a world champion procrastinator, I had to keep reminding myself that writers are people who write, not people who like to think of themselves as writers. When I first began writing, I actually made myself a sign reading, Writers Are People Who Write, and taped it above my desk to remind me to keep writing. Attending writer's meetings is a good way to stay engaged and motivated, which is why FWA brings you another month of outstanding programs.
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Regional Library. Contact Gregg Golson, gtgolson@comcast.net, for more information.
  • Amelia Island Writers meets at Books Plus on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach. Group Leader and store proprietor Maggie de Vries welcomes author Deborah Cottle, Success Simplified, on Tuesday, February 15 at 6:15 p.m.
  • Clay County Writers convene at the Fleming Island Library on Wednesday, February 16 at 6:15 p.m. to hear from Jan and Hank Racer. The husband and wife author/illustrator team of Marky the Barking Bullfrog, will provide the steps necessary to getting published. They'll discuss how to take your book from manuscript to publication and decide between the various publishing options. Hank is also the author of the YA novels, The River Rats (which took 1st place in the RPLA's) and The River Rats: Riddle Me a Mystery. Contact Maureen Jung, mjung@wordspringconsulting.com, for meeting details.
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers will not meet this month as their venue will be co-opted by the tax preparers. Their next meeting is set for Saturday, March 19 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Guest speaker, Vic DiGenti, presents a workshop titled, "Battle Plans for Attacking the Revision Process."
  • Elizabeth Sinclair is an outstanding and multi-published romance author. She's also an excellent speaker, and at this month's Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, February 26 at 10:30 a.m., she'll talk about some of the key building blocks of a novel's structure, "GMC — Goal, Motivation, Conflict." GMC will give strong, believable support to your plot and characters while sustaining your narrative through multiple plot twists. Her first romance reached #2 on the Walden Bestseller List, and Elizabeth has gone on to write 17 more with a variety of publishers including Harlequin, Kensington and Medallion Press.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, has moved its meeting space to the Webb-Wesconnett Regional Library on Chaffee Road, but still meeting each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. Contact Tracy Redman, tls172@yahoo.com, for more information.
Also of Interest for NE Florida Writers:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meet Saturday, February 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library. Nancy Quatrano, one of the leaders of the Ancient City Writers FWA chapter, has been published in short fiction since 1999. Several of her short stories have won awards, including placing in the 75th Annual Writers Digest Competition. Contact Pam Wells, wellspmw@aol.com, with any questions.
  • The official submission guidelines are up for FWA Collection #3 – Let's Talk. All kinds of stories are eligible, as long as it's all dialogue. Kinda tricky, but should be fun. Entries will be accepted through May 15, and, of course, you must be a member to submit.
  • You may still be able to get a spot in the Next Level Craft Intensive workshop presented by award-winning author Joyce Sweeney and Woodstream Writers director, Jamie Morris. Over three days, February 4 - 6, The Next Level: Scene & Structure, will cover POV, writing scenes, strategies for backstory, and creating suspense. Contact Jamie at jamie@woodstreamwriters.com, 407-644-5163, or Joyce at grackle@bellsouth.com.
  • Amelia Island Book Festival presents a day of writers workshops on Friday, February 18 at the Betty Cook Nassau County Campus of Florida State College/Jacksonville. Cost of the workshop is $85 and includes lunch with keynoter, New York Times bestselling author Susan Vreeland. Saturday's sessions at St. Peter's Episcopal Church campus are free. Click on the link for details.
  • For those of you not attending the Book Festival on Saturday, you have the option of attending the monthly meeting of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Regional Library. Janet Walter has details, jgwalter@comcast.net.
  • Another February 19 option is the Novel In A Day workshop presented by award-winning author Vic DiGenti. The full-day workshop covers all the essential elements of the novel, including plot, characterization, scene and sequel, POV, setting and dialogue. Information and registration details may be found on the University of North Florida's Learn Jacksonville website.
  • Steve Berry's Craft of Writing Workshop is beginning to fill up. Planned for Saturday, March 5 at the World Golf Village's Renaissance Center Resort, the workshop benefits the Florida Heritage Book Festival. Berry will cover the Four C's of Story Structure, effective dialogue, point of view, and more. Cost for the workshop is $100. More information may be found here.
  • The First Coast Romance Writers meet on Saturday, February 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the West Regional Library, 1425 Chaffee Road, to hear from Lani Diane Rich and Lucy March on "Structure in Storytelling." And their Annual Southern Lights Writers Conference is set for March 12 at the Jacksonville Marriott. Details on the meeting and conference are on the website.
  • Lonely crime writers don't have to spend Valentine's Day alone. Come to the Ponte Vedra Library at 6:30 on February 14 to hear Florida Book Award winner Michael Lister. Lister, a former prison chaplain who wrote a series of acclaimed mysteries featuring a cop turned prison chaplain, will talk about his love of writing and his love for the wilds of Florida's panhandle region where he lives.
That's more than enough to keep you motivated this month. I'll leave you with a word of wisdom from the pen of Jack London, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

Vic

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2011 Resolutions


What are your writing New Year's Resolutions? To finish your book? To write more, procrastinate less? To get better at your craft? Whatever they are, staying involved with other writers and attending more FWA meetings can help you stay on course to achieve your goals. FWA brings together writers seeking common goals and motivates them with monthly chapter meetings offering speakers who will help you move from novice writer to published author.

Here's what's scheduled for January:
  • River City Writers next meets on Tuesday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Gregg Golson has the details, gtgolson@comcast.net.
  • Barnes & Noble offers opportunities for authors to be published using their digital book system. Learn about it at the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, January 15 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Brad West, an assistant manager for the St. Augustine B&N store, will fill us in on all things electronic.
  • Maggie deVries leads the Amelia Island Writers chapter, meeting on Tuesday, January 18 at 6:00 p.m. at Maggie's book store, Books Plus on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach. Call Maggie at 321-6180 for more information.
  • Clay County Writers get you ready to write your memoir at their January 19 meeting at 6:15 p.m. at the Fleming Island Library. Lillian Kiernan Brown, author of Banned in Boston: Memoirs of A Stripper, presents "Creating Memoirs from Your Memories," and shows you how to get started recording your own personal history. Brown's memoir chronicled her days as a burlesque dancer, a brief career she started when she was only fourteen years old. Contact Maureen Jung at mjung@wordspringconsulting.com for details.
  • After a holiday hiatus, I'm reconvening the Ponte Vedra Writers chapter for a Saturday, January 22nd meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Flagler College Creative Writing Professor Jim Wilson promises an entertaining and interactive morning with his presentation, "Hanging About Under Trees in Thunderstorms." He explains the title with a quote from playwright Tom Stoppard. "I know there are writers who are not going to live long enough to do justice to all the ideas they have, but to me it's like being struck by lightning—and I feel just as powerless to make it happen—even, as it were, by hanging about under trees in a thunderstorm." Dr. Wilson will discuss techniques for fiction writing that will help alleviate the frustration of not having ideas, or of having too many ideas. Bring along pen and paper.
  • The First Coast Christian Writers chapter, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church on Greenland Road. Contact Tracy Redman for more information, tls172@yahoo.com.
And in other news:
  • New York Times best selling author Steve Berry will teach a day-long seminar on the craft of writing as a benefit for the Florida Heritage Book Festival. The workshop, which includes lunch, is scheduled for Saturday, March 5 at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village. Morning sessions include the Fours C's of Story Structure, effective dialogue, point of view, and Steve's 10 Rules of Writing. Following the luncheon, where Steve will entertain with stories of his 85 rejections before being published, he'll talk about the business of writing and answer questions. Early Bird registration through January 31 is $80, $100 through March 1, and $110 at the door. If you'd like to sit at Steve's table during lunch, you have to ante up $125. Visit the website to register.
  • And if you can't wait until March to see and hear Steve Berry, he will appear at the Ponte Vedra Library this Monday, January 10 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Friends of the Library program, Book Talk Cafe. Steve will discuss, sign and sell his newest international thriller, The Emperor's Tomb. The program is free and open to the public with light refreshments offered.
  • FWA is offering a timely and comprehensive 4-hour E-Book Seminar with bestselling author James Swain. Swain is the author of 14 bestselling mysteries, and recently released four original novels as e-books on Amazon.com. The books are all listed as Kindle's Bestsellers, and Swain has used this experience to craft a workshop detailing the nuts and bolts of e-book publishing. He'll explain this rapidly growing market and talk about the basics like formatting, cover images, pricing and marketing. And if that's not enough, you'll receive Blueprint for Success, a 48-page notebook giving step-by-step instructions on how to be part of this publishing revolution. The workshop is set for Saturday, January 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 11802 N. Dale Mabry in Tampa. Click here to see more information on Swain's workshop as well as to register.
  • This year's Flagler College Writers-in-Residence series gets off to a roaring start this month with a visit from master storyteller, Pat Conroy. Aside from working with the English and creative writing students, Conroy will speak at 7:00 p.m. at the Flagler College Auditorium on January 11. Other authors in the series include John Dufresne, Stetson Kennedy, Masha Hamilton, and Connie May Fowler. Each of the public talks is free, but tickets are available on a first-come basis. Visit the website for more information.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, January 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. Glynn Marsh Alam, author of the Luanne Fogarty mystery series is the featured speaker. Contact Pam Wells, wellspmw@aol.com, with any questions.
  • Howard Denson reports that the North Florida Writers has a new home. They will meet at the Willowbranch Library in Riverside starting Saturday, January 8 at 2:00 p.m. and will hear from Steve Piscitelli, a Florida State College professor and author of 8 books. Write Howard at hdenson@fscj.edu.
  • Author Marianne LaCroix gives a workshop on "Creating Your Online Presence," at the January 22nd meeting of Ancient City Romance Writers. They meet at 12:30 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library.
  • Maybe it's a romance thing, but the First Coast Romance Writers, meeting Saturday, January 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the West Regional Library on Chafee Road, addresses a similar topic, "Building Your Online Platform with Websites, Blogs and Social Media."
And don't forget:
That's more than enough to digest as we plunge into 2011.

All the best in the New Year,
Vic

Vic DiGenti
Regional Director
Florida Writers Association