Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Anyone who remembers the heyday of folk music is telling the world they're definitely not of the Justin Beiber generation. But with Pete Seeger's recent passing, it brought to mind how many of my favorite folk songs were written and performed by Seeger. I remember listening to these songs in my dorm room at the University of Florida—Turn, Turn, Turn, If I Had a Hammer, and particularly, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, which was covered by the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, among many others.

The song is also relevant this very day as we endure another arctic blast and I look out on a yard with frost-bitten hibiscus bushes. Thanks for the music, Pete, and rest in peace. I'll plant more flowers in the spring, and think about you as I bang away on my latest project. The more immediate project is completing this FWA post and getting it out to the many writers in NE Florida. So, without any more nostalgic flashbacks, here's what's happening in what I hope will be a warmer month of February.

  • Amelia Island Writers group leader Maggie de Vries reports she had 22 people for last month's meeting at their new time and location. A very good turnout, so they'll do it again on Tuesday, February 4 at 6:15 p.m. at the Marina Seafood Restaurant in Fernandina Beach. The group will meet for a critique session. Again, the restaurant needs to know how many to prepare seating for in advance so RSVP to Maggie at, or call 904-321-6180.
  • Jim Weinsier's Nassau County Youth Writers group has been amazingly busy. They recently had an article published in the Fernandina Beach News-Leader, and are working on a children's book for their local library. They've been so busy and successful that the group is adding a second meeting date. Starting this month the Youth Writers will meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:45 p.m. And they're moving to the Peck Center, 516 S. 10th Street in Fernandina Beach. Contact Jim at for details.
  • Melissa Kosciuszko joins Gregg Golson as the co-leader of the River City Writers, who will meet on Tuesday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Please welcome Melissa, a traditionally published author of romantic suspense novels (writing as M. S. Kaye) as well as other genres. Thanks for stepping up to help out, Melissa. At the February meeting, the group will hear from Kerry O'Malley Cerra who will speak about her journey to traditional publication of her upcoming middle grade novel, Just a Drop of Water.
  • There will be no meeting of St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers chapter due to the closure of the Main Library for renovation. Look for them in March at the Anastasia Island Branch when Marketing Manager Cheyenne Knopf will be the speaker. Cheyenne will talk about "The Financials of Book Selling: A Sales and Income Tax Workshop."
  • If you can attend the meeting of the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, February 19 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library you'll hear from novelist Arliss Ryan. Arliss is a masterful storyteller, and the author of Sanctuary and The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, so she knows how to write historical fiction. Her topic is "How to Turn Factual Research into Astounding Fiction No Reader Can Resist."  For more information contact group leader Maureen Jung.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers FWA group meets on Saturday, February 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. The special guest speaker is none other than noted editor, writer and poet, Lynn Skapyak Harlin. After years working as a teacher, reporter, corporate and government trainer, Lynn now conducts writing classes aboard her shanty boat as well as working one-on-one with writers.  Lynn's topic is "How Setting, Tone, Mood and Pace Enhance Your Story and Move Your Plot." Come and learn from a real writing pro.
  • The Jax Youth Writers continue to meet on the fourth Thursday of the month, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • And FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
Looking for even more meetings and events?
  • Florida Sisters in Crime members gather this Saturday, February 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear from writers Kathy Bain and Delores Wilson, teaming up to talk about "How to Write Funny."
  • SF & Fantasy-Jax meets twice this month: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 5 at Rain Dog Cafe in Five Points, and again on February 19 at the Beaches Library in Jacksonville Beach. T. S. Robinson has more information.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcome bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann and her husband, screenwriter Ed Gaffney, to their Saturday, February 8 meeting at Jacksonville's West Regional Branch Library. In the morning workshop, Suzanne talks about the differences between objective and subjective point of view. After a lunch break the workshops continue at 1:15 with both Suzanne and Ed talking about control freak-friendly collaboration, sharing lessons learned from their co-writing adventures.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers move to 15610 Tison Road in Jacksonville for the Saturday, February 22 meeting due to a scheduling conflict at the SE Branch Library. Starting at 11:30 a.m.  the group will lunch and then have fun with "The Nuts and Bolts of Writing."
  • Writing, publishing and editing pros Rik Feeney, Michael Ray King and Nancy Quatrano lead the day-long Kindle Publishing Seminar on Saturday, February 15 at the Fair Trade Cafe, 4883 Palm Coast Pkwy NW in Palm Coast. The seminar covers both the technical details, as well as the creative process—content and editing, titles, covers, marketing of your ebook, and more. Special guest speaker is Professor Leonard Birdsong, who published five Kindle books in the last six months. For information and registration contact Rik at or call him at 407-529-8539. 
  • FWA presents the Lady Lake Memoir Mini-Conference on Saturday, February 22 at the Hampton Inn & Suites at The Villages. Patricia Charpentier, author of Eating an Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time, headlines the conference with her workshop on how to write your life stories. Marketing Manager Cheyenne Knopf will be there to talk about how to turn the completed memoir into a book. Click here for the complete program.
  • Here's another reminder about the Amelia Island Book Festival, February 21-22. Headlined by NYT bestselling author David Baldacci, the festival includes writers workshops, a Readers Luncheon and a Kids Fun Zone.
  • Over the past seven years, hundreds of people have helped flatten the writing learning curve by attending Vic DiGenti's Novel in a Day workshop. For the first time in a year, he'll lead the popular workshop in Jacksonville at the Summer Key Clubhouse off A.C. Skinner Parkway. The full-day session includes a continental breakfast and a boxed lunch. For registration and details, click here, or email me at
  • Rhonda Riley, author of The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, speaks at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.
Still waiting for the flowers to return. Until next time, keep writing,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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