Thursday, August 29, 2013

Registration Time Is Here

As writers we should take advantage of the excellent workshops and conferences around us. FWA's annual conference is coming up in October, and we need to support that. There's another conference coming next month in St. Augustine, and it also offers first rate speakers and the opportunity to learn and network with your fellow writers.

Here's a look at the Florida Heritage Book Festival Writers Conference, September 26-27 at the St. Johns County Convention Center at Renaissance World Golf Village. It kicks off Thursday afternoon with two "Super-Sized" 3-hour workshops. "Stories from Your Life" is presented by award-winning short fiction author Philip Deaver, pictured, who will show us how to adapt real-life situations and characters into fiction. The other workshop, "Quieting Your Inner Critic," with writing and yoga instructor Lezlie Laws, covers specific ways to turn your life around if you're feeling frustrated and find it hard to write.

Conference registration includes the reception that evening and keynote talk by New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross. Gross wrote six #1 thrillers (Judge & Jury and Lifeguard, among them) with James Patterson before going on to write his own bestselling thrillers including Eyes Wide Open and 15 Seconds. He's titled his keynote talk "Why Thrillers Matter." The reception and keynote may be purchased separately by the general public, but are included with the conference registration.

Friday's workshops include two tracks: the craft of writing and the business of writing. Writing workshops include writing short stories, memoirs, travel writing, and humor writing. On the business side are workshops on
establishing your own independent publishing business, and several marketing sessions. One of the key features is the luncheon with keynoter Tim Dorsey. Dorsey, pictured at left, is the bestselling author of the Serge Storms thrillers, and his talk is titled, "Florida: A Target Rich Environment for Writers.".

Registration covers lunches for both days, Friday's continental breakfast and the Thursday evening reception and keynote by Andrew Gross. The Early Bird discount price of $125 covers both days and is available through September 10 only before increasing to $150. So it's best to register now.

Or you might consider the Complete Package registration which includes Friday night's reception and Literary Legends Banquet honoring internationally known author John Jakes. Jakes is the author of more than 50 novels and 200 short stories, including the acclaimed series, The Kent Family Chronicles and North and South, both of which were made into television miniseries. The Early Bird registration fee for the conference and banquet is $195, and increases to $215 after September 10. Visit this page to complete your registration.

And here's what's happening at September's FWA meetings:
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the S. E. Branch Library. Group leader Gregg Golson has more details.
  • Nassau County Youth Writers meets Tuesday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m. at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Open to all young writers. See below for some of the exciting activities Jim Weinsier's group is undertaking.
  • Amelia Island Writers assemble for their monthly meeting immediately after the Youth Writers on Tuesday, September 17, 6:15 p.m. at Books Plus. Contact group leader Maggie deVries at 904-321-6180 with questions.
  • Be part of the Clay County Writers meeting on Wednesday, September 18 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library when author and former FSCJ writing instructor Howard Denson presents, "The Wrong Stuff: Findings of a Forensic Grammarian."
  • Because the FWA Conference falls on the weekend of the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting and
    your fearless leader will be in Lake Mary, there will be a combined meeting of the PV Writers and the Ancient City Writers on Saturday, September 21, 10:00 a.m. at the St. Augustine Main Library. Our special speaker is Mark Ari (call him Ari), a very creative man who wears many  hats. Ari is leading a Flash Fiction workshop he calls "The Wink of Immediacy." Flash covers a wide range of possibilities in fiction and creative nonfiction, and Ari will lead us through some of them. Be sure to bring paper and pen with you. Ari publishes fiction, poetry and nonfiction. His work has appeared in many literary journals and he edits and produces a series of digital audio chapbooks, along with teaching creative writing at the University of North Florida.
  • Jax Youth Writers will gather on Thursday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the S. E. Branch Library. Kimberly Smith has more information.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers is still meeting each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
More happenings:
  • As mentioned above, the Nassau County Youth Writers group is staying busy this summer. Group leader Jim Weinsier reports the young writers will be writing a regular column for the Fernandina Beach News-Leader, as well as working on a pre-K book to be distributed by the library and Family Support Services. Contact Jim if you know a young person who would like to be involved.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime members meet Saturday, September 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the S. E. Branch Library to hear from Jimmy A. Holderfield, Director of Dept. of Corrections, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Visit their website for more information.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, September 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chaffee Road Library. Romance author Amy Atwell will present two workshops beginning with "Staging the Multiple Character Scene," and ending with "All About Amazon."
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcomes JSO Detective Tommy Herrington for a Q&A session on Saturday, September 28 at 11:00 a.m. at the S. E. Branch Library.
  • Did I mention FWA is staging its annual conference October 18 - 20 in Lake Mary. It offers all the bells and whistles you've come to expect, including agents, editors and publishers, plus the Royal Palm Literary Awards dinner and much more. On Thursday, the day before the
    conference officially cranks up, bestselling romantic/suspense novelist Mary Burton, pictured, leads the pre-conference workshop. Also, for the first time ever, FWA is holding a conference for Youth Writers to be held on Saturday, October 19 at the Orlando Marriott in Lake Mary. One more item of interest: Jacksonville's own Michael Wiley, award-winning author of the Joe Kozmarski Mysteries, is this year's Person of Interest for FWA Collection #5, It's A Crime. He's selected his Top Ten and will be a keynoter at the conference as well as presenting a crime writing workshop on Friday morning. Check out the schedule and be sure to register for "The Greatest Writers Conference on Earth."
  • Clay County Writers and Black Horse Winery present another Meet the Authors evening on Tuesday, September 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the winery, 420 Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park. Featured authors are Howard Denson, Timothy Gilmore and J. Dianne Tribble.
  • Janet Walter, the former leader of the local chapter of  SCBWI, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, is looking for a critique partner to exchange manuscripts and offer critical feedback. If you're interested, contact Janet at
  • Editor Beth Mansbridge facilitates the Professional Writers Group on the first Thursday of each month (except December) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Johns County SE Branch Library, 6670 U.S. 1 South in St. Augustine. To learn more, contact Beth at
  • Congratulations to FWA members Terry Williams and Vic DiGenti (writing as Parker Francis) whose books are finalists for the 2013 President's Award from the Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA). Terry was recognized for his military thriller Cooper's Revenge. Parker's second Quint Mitchell Mystery, Bring Down the Furies, was chosen in the Adult Fiction — Mystery category. The winners will be named at the President Awards Banquet on September 21 at the annual FAPA conference in Daytona Beach.
Until next time, keep reading and keep writing. Hope to see you at one of the upcoming meetings or conferences.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vic, I meant to post this under your conference article.
If anyone wants to take the complete set of John Jakes' series "North and South" to the conference, I have the set of novels for sell.
Anne Fletcher in St. Augustine