Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A fast and furious February

The month of February, metaphorically speaking, is the starter's block into a fast and furious season for writers. Writers conferences and book festivals crop up like fairy ring mushrooms. Close to home we have the Amelia Island Book Festival and the FWA Mini-Conference in St. Augustine. Further south is MWA's SleuthFest, and to the north the SavannahBook Festival. And that doesn't include all the writers meetings and author appearances.

We'd better get started since our plates are overflowing.

  • River City Writers gather on Tuesday, February 9 at the SE Branch Library. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and group leader Gregg Golson has the details.
  • In a switcheroo for the Ponte Vedra Writers group, they'll meet on the second Saturday this month. Saturday, February 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library, to be exact. Due to conflicts with official library events and the upcoming elections there will be other changes, so be sure to check this space for the latest information. The fourth Saturday also conflicts with the FWA Mini-Conference this month, but on the 13th we welcome writing instructor and author Daniel Powell. Dan will address a topic many writers struggle with—the best way to begin the novel—in his workshop, "Building the Killer Hook: How to Get—and Keep—Your Audience's Attention."
  • On Wednesday, February 17, the Clay County Writers will meet to hear author and public relations expert Ron Whittington tell us "How to Improve Book Sales Using Social Media." The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Group leader Nadine Vaughan has more information.
  • You'll find the Ancient City Writers chapter on hiatus this month due to those pesky meeting room conflicts. But they'll be back at St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 with a new workshop by yours truly titled, "Changes in Latitude."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.

  • Register now for the February 27 FWA Mini-Conference, The Write Stuff. The conference offers a full day of valuable workshops—two of them all-day sessions, and four half-day sessions. All-day sessions: "The Publishing Process – The Business of Writing," Cheyenne Knopf; "Bulk Up Your Story with Meaty Characters, Larry Leech. Morning sessions: "Romance: Not All That It Seems," Shannon Bell; and "Magazine Articles," Sharon Ward Keeble. Afternoon sessions: "The Intuitive Writer," Vic DiGenti; and "Writing Fiction for Young Adults," Serena Schreiber. The conference will be held at the Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College. Registration is $89 for members and $109 for nonmembers. Members may bring a nonmember guest for only $54.50. Registration fees include a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Click here for more details and registration.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival has beefed up its schedule this year with appearances by Steve Berry, Andrew Gross, Greg Iles, and Janice Gable Bashman. All four will face off at a gala dinner at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on February 19. There are a host of other events, including a four-hour workshop by Steve and Elizabeth Berry, with the closing Author Expo/Readers Extravaganza on Saturday, February 20 at Fernandina Middle School. Includes author presentations and a huge book fair with over 120 authors. Details can be found here.
  • SleuthFest 2016, hosted by the Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter, is coming to Deerfield Beach, Florida February 26-28. Billed as an annual conference for mystery, suspense and thriller writers, SleuthFest offers three days of workshops, agent and editor showcases, and more. Visit the website for details.
  • The Savannah Book Festival kicks off February 11 with four days of author events. More information on their website.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime embarks on a road trip for its February 6 meeting to Jacksonville Task Force 5 Urban Search & Rescue, Firehouse #4, located at 630 W. Duval Street in downtown Jacksonville.
  • St. Johns Reads has selected an oldie but a goodie as this year's county-wide selection. To Kill a Mockingbird, will be celebrated in all of the St. Johns County library branches with special activites ranging from book discussions to cooking demonstrations. The month-long celebration of Harper Lee's famous novel culminates at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Saturday, February 27 with an appearance by Academy Award-nominated Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in the film. She'll discuss her role and on-set experiences starting at 6:00 p.m. This will be followed at 7:00 by a showing of the film. February 27 is the same date as the FWA Mini-Conference, but the conference ends at 4:00 p.m. and you'll already be in St. Augustine. Grab some dinner downtown then head to the amphitheater with your camp chair or blanket.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers will meet on Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. and present a self-publishing panel with Susan Kiernan-Lewis, Timonique Stephens and Debra Jones. They meet this month at the May Management offices in Ponte Vedra Beach–240 Canal Blvd. #2. 
  • Other author appearances include Florida Book Award-winner Patrick Kendrick, author of Acoustic Shadows and The Savant. Patrick is the featured author at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. Bestselling Florida author Tim Dorsey returns to the BookMark bookstore in Neptune Beach on Friday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m., and the next day at the Bartram Trail Branch Library, at 12:30 p.m. 
  • Congratulations to Jacksonville's own Cheyenne Knopf of, recently elected as FWA's new president.
And the final word goes to Stephen King, who said, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

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Vic DIGenti
FWA Regional Director

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