Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Make Your Writing Blossom

From my office window I see trumpeting blooms of coral and gold amaryllis. Although the flowers only last about a week, I'm always heartened to see them pop up in my flower beds, a sure sign we've put winter behind us. I see the colorful blooms as a metaphor for my writing, which cycles from budding ideas to fertile growth but sometimes enters  a period of dormancy. But like the amaryllis, creativity can come to life again in the proper conditions.

I know I'm stretching the metaphor, but FWA offers fertilizer for the writer's muse through our meetings, conferences and associated activities. Check out these FWA meetings and other events for writers. Remember that all are welcome at FWA meetings.

  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday, April 9, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear from Linda Schilling Mitchell on "Getting the Gig." Linda is the author of Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter, and will talk about how to get interviews, signings and speaking engagements.  Contact group leader Gregg Golson with questions.
  • The first meeting of the Nassau County Youth Writers Program, under the leadership of James Weinsier, will meet on Tuesday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. James has the cooperation of the Nassau County Public Library Youth Program and has worked with area schools to get the word out about the new venture. He's asked me to be the first speaker to tell them about FWA and encourage them to pursue their writing interests. If you have any questions about the youth program, you may contact James directly through his email address.
  • Maggie deVries leads the Amelia Island Writers group which meets at her bookstore, Books Plus at 6:15 p.m. on April 16 following the Nassau County Youth Writers Program meeting. She's asked me to be the speaker at her meeting as well, and I'll talk about my latest Quint Mitchell Mystery, BRING DOWN THE FURIES, and the process of writing mysteries.
  • The Clay County Writers group meets on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Maureen Jung has details of the meeting. Contact her at
  • St. Augustine's Main Library is the site for the April 20 meeting of Ancient City Writers at 10:00 a.m. Author and website designer Sharon Buck presents "The Big Bang Theory: 14 Secrets to Selling More Books." The workshop will explore ways that authors can multiply their book sales using 14 often overlooked and underused techniques.
  • Jax Youth Writers meet Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Library. All youth under the age of 18 welcome. Contact Kimberly Smith for details.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets to critique their work each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • We're closing out the month of FWA meetings with the Ponte Vedra Writers, meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 27 at the Ponte Vedra Library. If you're an independent publisher or about to publish a book, you should know your cover is one of the best selling tools you have. Fran Keiser will be on hand to tell us what works and what doesn't work when it comes to cover designs. 
But wait, there's more!
  • It's not too late to register for the FWA Mini-Conference on Saturday, April 20 in Altamonte Springs. They've added agents and pitch sessions to the conference schedule, and you may select from the day of workshops or the daylong workshop, "How to Write Killer Fiction." Here's the link to the conference schedule and faculty line-up.
  • Have you sent in your Royal Palm Literary Awards entry yet? Each year, FWA honors members with RPLA awards in recognition of superior writing in multiple categories. We've had many winners from here in NE Florida, and you might be the next one. Find out more by clicking this link.
  • May 15 is the deadline to submit your entries to FWA's Collection #5, It's A Crime. There is no entry fee, but you must be an FWA member. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and crime writer Edna Buchanan will select the Top Ten from the sixty winning entries. There's a 1,200 word limit and you may submit up to two entries. Read the guidelines for all the details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets this Saturday, April 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library to hear from Richard Orsini, Forensic Document Examiner and Handwriting Specialist. Check out their new website here.
  • First Coast Romance Writers will present a half-day workshop featuring Kiernan Kramer beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 13 at the West Regional Library, 1425 Chaffee Road. Kiernan, who writes historical romances for St. Martin's Press, has titled the workshop, "Why Buy Your Books: The Top Ten Reasons."
  • St. Augustine author Laura Lee Smith's debut novel, Heart of Palm, (Grove Press) is set in the NE Florida town of Utina, modeled after Palm Valley. Laurawill be at the Bookmark in Neptune Beach on Monday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Ancient City Romance Authors welcomes romance author Valerie Bowman to their April 27 meeting at the SE Library, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Valerie's workshop is titled, "How to Sell to Any Publisher (Plus Contests & Agents)."Visit the website for more information.
  • The Friends of the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program feature Florida Book Award winner, Elizabeth Stuckey-French discussing her award-winning novel, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady on Monday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Friends of the Library of St. Johns County present their second Friends Book Fair featuring area authors on Monday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Main Library. Come by and support your fellow authors including Caren Umbarger, Will Merrill, Andre Frattino, Parker Francis and Ron Whittington. Light Refreshments will be served.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival welcomes both readers and writers to its 2013 event, April 26 and 27 in Nassau County. On the 26th the Festival presents writing workshops and Saturday features author talks and panels. Featured authors are Debbie Macomber, Elizabeth Kostova and Michael Morris. Visit the website for all the details.
  • Black Horse Winery on Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park has another Meet the Authors event scheduled for Wednesday, April 25 beginning at 6:30 pm. The event is coordinated by the Clay County Writers group. Contact Maureen Jung if you wish to participate in future Meet the Authors events.
  • The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers of Jacksonville meet on Tuesday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the SE Regional Library. Contact Tim Robinson with questions.
  • The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is now accepting submissions for it's 33rd annual contest. There's a $1,500 first place award along with publication of the story in Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. Visit the website for submission guidelines.
  • In case you missed it last month, Folio Weekly will have a special section devoted area authors in an upcoming issue. You may add your personal information to their database on this page.
  • And finally, last week announced it had reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads, the popular site for readers to share book recommendations. While many have worried about Amazon's latest acquisition, both sides have stated that Goodreads will remain independent. On the website, Paid Content, Laura Hazard Owen interviewed the Goodreads CEO and Amazon's VP of Kindle Content to gather more facts about what Goodreads users might expect.
That's all for now. I'll see you in the garden.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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