Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Into March

Happy Leap Day! We've been given an extra day this year, and I'll use it to get the word out to NE Florida writers about all the happenings in March and beyond. So let's get started.

  • River City Writers will meet Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Raffaela Marie Fenn, author of Thank You for the Shoes and a marketing communications consultant, will present "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves."
  • The Clay County Writers gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, March 16. The time is 6:15 p.m. Subject: "So You Want to Write an Anthology: What Happens Behind the Scenes."  Author and life coach J Dianne Tribble shares lessons she learned creating an anthology and promoting her book projects.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Professional Op Ed writer Bob Langert presents, "Writing the Op Ed," (think New York Times)
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter returns to St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. The guest speaker is someone you may be familiar with, as he's none other than me. I have a new workshop I titled, "Changes in Latitude: Embrace Change to Cure Common Writing Problems." While this workshop won't cure your fear of snakes or the dark, it will go a long way to curing what's afflicting your ailing manuscript. Everyone welcome. No doctor's note necessary.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers are off this month due to early voting and other conflicts with the meeting rooms. Attend the March 19 Ancient City Writers instead. We'll return on Saturday, April 16 with Howard Denson talking about "The Evolving Defaults of the Novel."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library.
And in other news ...
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Paul Schlamm, formally of the National Transportation and Safety Board, to its March 5th meeting. The meeting starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Bartram Trail Branch Library on Davis Pond Blvd. in St. Johns.
  • If you missed Saturday's FWA mini-conference at the Flagler College student center, you missed a good one. But not to worry, there are other mini-conferences on the horizon, including the Writer's Nest Mini-Conference on Saturday, April 30 at the Hilton Orland/Altamonte Springs Hotel. This one covers writing for children, poetry, writing the short story and more. If you go, stick around for FWA's first Multi-Genre Book Signing the next day at the hotel. Fifty authors are participating, and the signing runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., but there's even more you can check out here.
  • FWA is accepting submissions for both the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition and the annual FWA Collection. This year's collection theme is Hide and Seek. Visit the FWA website for all the details. BTW, RPLA early bird fee ends today, with another increase due the end of April, so get your entry in early to save money. They've already received 114 entries, and if anyone is interested in being a judge for the competition, contact Chris Coward, RPLA Chairperson.
  • Nick Boothman, author of Write a $aleable Book hosts a weekend workshop this Friday through Sunday, March 4 - 6, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The price is $299 for the weekend with a 20% discount for FWA members. Call Lisa Broderick at 212-750-6493 for details or visit Nick's website.
  • Florida Authors & Publishers Association holds its annual FAPA Publishing University on Saturday, March 12 at Nova Southeastern University in Orlando. FAPA is also accepting submissions for the 2016 President's Awards.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcome Heather Ashby to their March 26 meeting, 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. Heather will speak on "Sh**ty First Drafts."
  • April is Poetry Month, and Hope at Hand, a non-profit providing art and poetry therapy to at-risk youth in Jacksonville, is hosting a poetry festival on Wednesday, April 6 in conjunction with Art Walk in downtown Jax. The festival will take place at Hemming Plaza Cafe. They're looking poetry people to run poetry workshops from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and anyone interested in performing during the festival,  from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. If interested, contact Steffani Fletcher.
  • And speaking of Poetry Month, two local poets, Bonny Sanders and Sharon Scholl, celebrate the release of their new books with readings and refreshments at the Jacksonville Beach Library, Saturday, April 2. Contact Bonny Sanders for more details.
Author's Visits:
  • Randy Wayne White returns to The BookMark on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. with his  latest Doc Ford thriller, Deep Blue
  • Harrison Scott Key's talks about growing up with a Bunyanesque father, and his uproarious and heartwarming memoir, The World's Largest Man at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program, Monday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. 
Take a leap into the next month or simply march forth, but have a good time doing it.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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."

Feel free to pass this post along to your writer friends, and please join our FWA NE Florida Writers Blog


Vic DIGenti
FWA Regional Director