Monday, March 02, 2015

March forth or lose ground

"An artist is always out of step with his time. He has to be."
~ Orson Welles

It struck me that every time a book makes waves, thousands of writers try to ride the same wave, hoping to cash in on the flavor of the month. It happened with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and most recently with Fifty Shades of Grey. But as Orson Welles reminds us, we need to create our own waves and not march in lockstep. Find your own voice and maybe others will be emulating your success.

Sermon over. Time to march on with the calendar of outstanding events this month ... and more.
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly Smith has more information.
  • And in Fernandina Beach, the Nassau County Youth Writers also meet on the first and third Thursdays at the Peck Center at 4:45 p.m. Contact Jim Weinsier for details.
  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, March 10 at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. and the guest speaker is screenwriter Kelly Fogwell. Her topic is "How to Use Screenwriting Techniques to Strengthen Fiction Writing." Kelly has taught screenwriting at the college level, and has some great tips for writers of fiction. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, March 18, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library, 2054 Plainfield Avenue. Group leader Maureen Jung has the details. 
  • Writers by the Sea will gather on Thursday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Barbara Bond will present "The Writing Guide for the 21st Century: Do You Need It?"
  • Novelist Arliss Ryan takes the spotlight for the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, March 21, 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Arliss will share her secrets for turning historical research into astounding fiction no reader can resist.
  • A visit to the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. will bring you to the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting. We welcome editor, writer, and writing coach Mary Ann de Stefano speaking on "From First to Final Draft: Opening the Door." Mary Ann, who edits FWA's official magazine, The Florida Writer, will talk about the various stages of manuscript development, when to go it alone, and when to share your work in progress. 

And in other news:
  • FWA's next mini-conference is on Saturday, March 21 in Plantation, FL in S. Florida. The dual theme of the conference is building suspense and writing female characters. Here's the link for more information. I'm presenting a new workshop on writing thrillers in the morning, and will join Jade Kerrion and Kim Campbell in the afternoon to answer a few questions about how I approach writing my female characters (very carefully). This should be a good one if you'd like to make a weekend of it in sunny S. Florida.
  • The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is open for submissions through May 15. The deadline for early bird fees was last Saturday, so you (and I) will now pay $40 per entry rather than $30. Still, that's better than $60 per entry fee which kicks in on May 1st.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets on Saturday, March 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library, to hear from an arson investigator from the Florida Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigators.
  • NY Times bestselling author Steve Berry will debut his new thriller, The Patriot Game at a fundraiser for the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library on Thursday, March 26. A reception will precede Steve's presentation and Q & A session, followed by a booksigning. The event takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $100 per person, which includes a copy of the book. Contact Bob Nawrocki at 904-825-2333 for more information.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcome Salt Run Publishing's Kellie Sharpe as their speaker to their Saturday, March 28 meeting. She will present, "Marketing & Promotion for Authors Who Break Out in a Cold Sweat." The meeting is at 1:00 p.m. at the South Mandarin Branch Library. 
  • Laura Hampton of The St. Augustine Record is looking for a few good freelancers. She's particularly interested in articles on food, health and wellness, gardening and outdoor living, local residents and local charitable organizations and/or religion. If interested, contact Laura at
  • From time to time I'm asked when I'm going to present my Novel in a Day workshop again in our area. It's been more than a year since my last one in Jacksonville, but now I've teamed up with the Florida Heritage Book Festival & Writers Conference to present one as a benefit for the organization. The date is Saturday, May 9 at the Gamache-Koger Student Center at Flagler College. Registration is $89 through April 20, $95 from April 21 to May 1, and $115 at the door. The fee includes a box lunch and a 30-page workbook. Click here for information and registration.
And that's all the news that fits. Don't forget to march to the beat of your own drummer.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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