Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Celebrate Success

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was a wise man back in the day, but it still holds true. If you want to achieve success you have to go out and pursue it. I saw a lot of successful writers at last month's FWA Conference, many of them from NE Florida. If you know these people, be sure to congratulate them for winning a Royal Palm Literary Award.

Unproduced Screenplay — Marie Vernon and C.J. Godwin, 1st place for Graceland Express, based on Marie's novel. The duo also picked up the Dahris Clair Memorial Award for Best Screenplay/Stage Play/Teleplay.
Nadine Vaughan-Williams took home 2nd place in the Unproduced Screenplay category.
Unpublished Mainstream/Literary — C.J. Godwin, 1st Place for Lie Very Still. 
Dan Dundon received 3rd place in the same category for Diamond Ridge.
Published Thriller/Suspense — Keith Gockenbach, 3rd place for Deadly Loop
Published Middle-Grade Fiction — Heather Hamel, 1st place for Within Emerald Forests
Unpublished Middle-Grade Fiction — Heather Hamel, 3rd place for Under Sapphire Skies
Published Children's — Stephen Kindland, who recently moved to NC from Clay County, 1st place for I Beg Your Pardon, But This Is My Garden
General Catch-All Fiction/Published — Parker Francis, 1st place for "The Strange Case of Lord Byron's Lover."

Congratulations to all the winners. Let me know if I left anyone out from the NE Florida area. In the recently published news category, kudos to Carolyn Greeley who published her first mystery novel, Emerald Obsession, volume one in the Found Mystery Series. It's available on

It's not too early to think about your entry into next year's RPLAs. Also, the theme for the next FWA Collection will be Hide and Seek. Thriller writer John Gilstrap is the Person of Renown, and will select his top ten entries for the collection.

And now let's see what's happening at our area FWA group meetings this month:
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Query group leader Gregg Golson for details about the meeting.
  • The Clay County Writers will gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, November 18 at 6:15 p.m. Group leader Maureen Jung will facilitate a mini-workshop on "Goal Setting for Writers." 
  • On Thursday, November 19 you can attend the Writers by the Sea meeting at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Raffaela Marie Rizzo Fenn, Marketing Communications Consultant, will present "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps for Getting Your Book into Readers Hands." The gathering begins at 6:00 p.m. to be followed by the presentation at 6:30.
  • Public Relations pro Ron Whittington is the featured speaker at the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, November 21. Be at St. Augustine's Main Library 10:00 a.m. if you want to hear Ron talk about web development and how best to use social media.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers chapter will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, so there will be no November 28 meeting. However, we'll have a meeting the next Saturday, on December 5. This will be a special holiday gathering with an open mic program and book swap. Details to come soon. 
In other news:
  • There was a very successful FWAYouth Conference as part of the FWA Conference. They announced the contest winners and participated in the Youth Collection. For the past few years NE Florida had two very active FWAYouth groups, one in Jacksonville and the other in Fernandina Beach. Unfortunately, the group leaders had to move on and we're looking for one or two good people willing to work with young writers. Contact me if you're interested.
  • It's that time of year again when those wacky writers attempt to write a novel in a month. The National Novel Writing initiative known as NaNoWriMo is off and running. Sign up and track your progress here.
  • Did you know FWA is producing a series of webinars covering topics of importance to writers? The next one is set for November 14 on "Maximizing Your Production." Click here for details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets this Saturday, November 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. The subject is human trafficking. The speakers from the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m. at the West Regional Branch Library. Romantic suspense author Lena Diaz (Avon and Harlequin Books) will present a workshop on writing an effective query letter. BTW, Lena will be the guest author at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m.

That's it for the celebratory month of November. Have a great month and an outstanding holiday.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director