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
  • 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,
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
  • 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,
  • 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
  • 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,


Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director