Friday, May 02, 2014

What to do and where to go in May 2014

The weather folk tell us the rain will be gone by Sunday, so you can put down your hammers and saws. You won't need to finish work on the ark just yet. But it is a good time to stay indoors and write, and make plans to attend any of this month's FWA meetings. Here's what you can expect in the merry month of May and beyond.

  • Maggie de Vries informs us that the Marina Restaurant will be closed the week following the Shrimp Festival, so the May meeting of the Amelia Island Writers is postponed until June 3rd at 6:15 p.m. Does that make the meeting in July the June meeting? I'm confused.
  • River City Writers leader Gregg Golson is using technology to hook up with his guest speaker, Lee Strauss. Lee is the author of 20 books in various genres including romance, fantasy and YA. Lee will deliver her talk on "Structure and Creating a First Draft" via Skype on Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway.  That's Lee pictured above.
  • The Ancient City Writers have good reason to celebrate this month as they're back at their home base of St. Augustine's Main Library. The library had been closed for nearly three months while undergoing a much needed facelift to its interior and restrooms. Michael Ray King will be there to host the celebration with his talk, "Go Write and You Won't Go Wrong: Writing Your Book in 30 Days." Michael is the author of nine books and a five-time Royal Palm winner. Join him at the new and improved Main Library at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 17.
  • Another Michael Ray will speak to the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, May 21. Michael Ray FitzGerald, Ph.D., will speak on "Journalism, Realism and Writing." Michael is a media historian, journalist and musician who has been chronicling and participating in the Southeast regional music scene for over 30 years. Be there to hear what should be an engrossing talk at the Clay County Library at 6:15 p.m.. Contact group leader Maureen Jung for more information.
  • Do you want to write a children's book and get it published? It's a competitive genre, but many writers and illustrators are doing it successfully. We'll address this topic at the May 24 meeting
    of the Ponte Vedra Writers, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Our special panel discussion, "Writing & Publishing Children's Books," features four authors of children's books who have found success via different paths. The panelists are Jules Coffey-Santella, Frances Keiser, Jennifer Swanson, and Jane Wood. Jules, and like Cher and Madonna, she's known by and writes under her first name, has written stories and articles for children's magazines and authored the middle grade chapter book, Daniel and the Jumbies. Fran and her husband founded Sagaponack Books in 1999 as the home press of their jointly-produced Pelican Pete environmental books. Fran is the author and husband Hugh the illustrator. Jennifer is the author of over 20 nonfiction and fiction books for children. She's received numerous awards, and her books in the "How Things Work" series were named to the 2012 Booklist's Top Ten Books for Youth. And Jane is a well-known writer of juvenile fiction with both local and historical ties. She's active in numerous organizations, including the Florida Authors & Publishers Association, and is a frequent speaker at schools. Each of them will share details of their road to writing and publishing books for younger readers.
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers meet on the first and third Tuesdays at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach. Contact James Weinsier for details.
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the last Thursday of the month at 6:45 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly Smith leads the group. 
  • And, finally, don't forget about FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers. They meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
And That's Not All:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes the co-authors of the mystery novel, Above the Fold. Judy Weber and Marie Vernon write pseudonymously as Amber Adams, and will speak on the art of collaboration. You can hear this team-talk tomorrow, Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers welcome author Abigail Sharpe to its meeting on Saturday, May 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library in Jacksonville. Ms. Sharpe's topic is "Writing Tight," not to be confused with "Writing While Tight." A BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) precedes the workshop at 12:30 p.m.
  • The publishers of Highlights magazine have extended a 10% discount to FWA members to attend any of its workshops for children's book writers and illustrators. Visit them here for more information.
  • It's not too early to register for the Florida Heritage Book Festival's Writers Conference, September 25-26 in St. Augustine. It's been moved to the heart of the Ancient City at Flagler College, and provides two distinctly different experiences for writers of all persuasions. On Thursday the 25th, register to be part of small group critique workshops. Led by working professionals you will critique up to ten pages of each person's WIP, and receive a written evaluation of your work by the group leader. Friday's conference offers a full day of one-hour workshops covering the craft and business of writing, plus a luncheon keynoted by bestselling author Lisa Black. Click here to read all about it and register. And you can be part of the Festival Marketplace on Saturday, September 27 to sell your books to the Festival crowd. More information here.
  • And speaking of conferences, the annual FWA Conference will be here before you know it. Have you registered for "The Stars of Florida Writers?" As they say, it's bigger and better than ever. Have you submitted your work to the Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition? As my good friend and former neighbor Ben Franklin once told me, "You may delay, but time will not."
That's it for now. Keep your head above water, and to quote Mr. Franklin once again, "Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing."

Have a happy May. I'll see you at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director for NE Florida

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