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
  • 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."


Victor DiGenti
FWA NE Regional Director