Thursday, March 30, 2017

April 2017 FWA Blog Post

April brings us a shower of of outstanding programs and events for writers, so let's get started.

  • Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a new FWA critique group. The Jacksonville Writing Meetup holds its first meeting this Saturday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m. in room 101 of Kaiser University. The group is being formed by attorney Gertrude Kehne and Brian Hobbs, a professor at the university. Contact Gertrude for more information.
  • On Tuesday, April 11, the River City Writers continues its journey through the Great Courses "Writing Great Fiction." They will view Professor James Hynes as he teaches on "Building Fictional Worlds Through Evocation and Fictional Characters, Imagined and Observed." Then, the group will discuss how the lessons apply to our own works-in-progress and have group critiques. The group meets at Jacksonville's SE Branch Library starting at 7:00 p.m. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for more information.
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers chapter meets on Saturday, April 15, 10:00 a.m. at Anastasia Island Branch Library. Guest speaker is Rik Feeney who will talk on the topic of "Advanced Book Marketing for the Savvy Author."
  • We travel to the Orange Park Library next for the Wednesday, April 19 meeting of the Clay County Writers. The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. and the writers will hear from Richard Preston, author of the memoir Serenity Granted speaking on the topic "So You Want to Write a Book: 5 Things You Need to Know to be Successful." Among the things Richard will address, are how to plan your book and get started, whether to self publish, and book marketing.
  • Writers by the Sea will meet on Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Attorney and artist Deborah Reid will discuss the "Uses and Abuses of Copyright and Trademark Law." Contact Nadine Vaughan-Williams for more information.
  • Ever wonder how accurate those CSI type programs are? You'll get inside information from forensics firearms scientist Kristin Durfee as she tells us "How to Commit the Perfect Murder
    (On Paper)" and shares real news about firearms, crime labs and answers your questions. Kristin will be at the Saturday, April 29 meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Kristin writes for both adults and young adults, and has published two novels and several short stories. She lives in Central Florida.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Oakleaf Christin Fellowship on Lake Grey Blvd.
But wait, there's more!
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets this Saturday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. to hear from JSO Lt. Kevin Geoff. In his 22-year career with JSO, Lt. Geoff has commanded units in multiple departments. He's currently in charge of the Integrity and Special Investigations Unit, which investigates human trafficking in NE Florida. They meet at the SE Branch Library.
  • First Coast Romance Writers will be welcoming Lisa Kessler speaking on “Black Moments: Make Them Earn Their Happily Ever After” to their April 15, 2017 meeting from 10am to 2:30 pm, at the West Regional Library located at 1425 Chaffee Road S, Jacksonville, Fl, 32221. Visit for more information.
  • Don't forget the first of FWA's Focus Days is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. The focus is on character-driven stories. Click here for more information.
  • At the same time and at the same hotel as the April 29 Focus Day (go figure), I'm presenting my "world famous" Novel in a Day workshop as a benefit for the Florida Writers Foundation. It's a full day workshop (lunch and 30-page workbook included) covering the essential elements of writing a novel in a quick-paced, interactive — and entertaining — session. Registration and more details here.
  • Christina Benjamin is collecting latest release info from St. Augustine writers for an article in St. Augustine Social. She needs the title, genre, release date, and a link to the Amazon product page. Email her with the information.
That's all folks. As usual, I'll leave you with a choice quote:

“The most annoying and full-of-crap thing a writer says is, ‘I write only for myself, I don’t care if anyone reads it.’ A writer without a reader doesn’t exist.” ~Harlan Coben


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
NE Florida Regional Director

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March 2017 FWA Blog Post

Moving into the third month of the year brings us closer to spring and the first FWA Focus Day on Saturday, April 29. This mini-conference in Altamonte Springs focuses on Character-Driven Stories with faculty members Arthur Doweyko, Tawdra Kandle and Darlyn Finch Kuhn. More information may be found here.

On the same day in the same Hilton/Orlando hotel, FWA's Executive Vice President delivers his Novel In A Day workshop as a benefit for the Florida Writers Foundation. This popular workshop covers many of the essential elements necessary to write a compelling novel, including plot and structure, characterization, dialogue, beginnings, middles and endings, and much more. The day-long workshop includes individual and group exercises, all of it delivered in a fast-paced, interactive and entertaining a workshop. Here are what two of the past attendees said:

“Vic DiGenti is a great speaker and covered all the material you could want. Group work and matching handout were very helpful.” – Shannon B.
“Vic’s workshop is fantastic! He gives information to help writers break down novel writing into chunks. I loved his use of humor and examples. It was a great day full of valuable information.” 
Kitty W.

Click here for registration information.

March also brings NE Florida all of these fine FWAA group programs:

  • On Tuesday, March 14, the River City Writers begin a series of programs based on The Great Courses series - on Novel Writing. They will watch a lecture from Writing Great Fiction and discuss how the session applies to current works on progress. The group will meet at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for more information.
  • Clay County Writers group leader Maureen Jung reports there is good news for writers looking to upgrade their professional bio. The group meets Wednesday, March 15, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library for a hands-on session on "How to Polish Your Bio." Maureen says, "Your bio statement acts as your introduction when you’re not around. It helps establish your credibility and build trust. It can express your personality and entice readers to buy your book or read your article." Bring three copies of your current writing bio.
  • Writers by the Sea will tickle your funny bone with the Thursday, March 16 program, "The Funny Thing About Writing Humor." Humor writer and educator Michelle Boyette begins by asking, “What is going on in the brain when we laugh?” and posits that knowing something of how and why humor works helps create the humorous piece or the comic story. The group meets at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History
  • The Ancient City Writers FWA chapter is on the move for the Saturday, March 18 meeting. Due to construction at the Main Library, the group will meet at the SE Branch Library, 6670 US 1, south of St. Augustine. The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m., and Vic DiGenti pays a visit to present his "Life is Like a River" memoir writing workshop. If you've been thinking of writing a memoir or biography, this workshop session will get you off to a fast start.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers welcome multiple award-winning writer John Hope who will tell us how deep editing short stories can take them from good to great. John, who won five 2016 RPLA's for his stories, will show us how to dissect and view our stories the way readers and publishers view them. The group meets Saturday, March 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m at the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship on Lake Grey Blvd.
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. at SE Branch Library to hear from Dr. Sabine O'Laughlin, Anatomic Pathologist.
  • The International Woman's Writing Guild presents Florida Fling 2017 on Saturday, March 25 at the Del Webb clubhouse in Nocatee. Judy Huge and Kelly DuMar will present workshops. Click here for more information. 
  • If you're looking for venues to sell your books and willing to travel, then check out FWA's 2nd Annual I (Heart) Books event on May 21 in Boca Raton, FL. This is a multi-genre book signing event limited to the first 50 authors. Here's the link for more information.
  • The May 10-11 Florida Library Association Annual Conference will have opportunities for authors to see their books. Information may be found here.
Until next time, keep these words of wisdom in mind:

"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write."
 ~ Stephen King


FWA Executive Vice President 
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Blog Post

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Honest Abe knows what he's talking about, and if he was still around he'd be happy to know so many people are writing books these days. And FWA is still here helping to smooth the way for writers.

Two of our FWA writers groups will not have meetings this month. River City Writers is taking Valentines Day off—awww—and those pesky income tax people are taking over the Ancient City Writers' meeting room. Both will return in March, although the Ancient City Writers will shift to other St. Johns County Libraries for a few months due to renovations at the Main Library.

Here's what the other groups have to offer this month:

  • Clay County writers meet on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Guest speaker is journalist and travel writer Kathleen Walls. Her topic, "It's Not All Glitz and Glamour, But it is Rewarding." Find out how to keep all the balls in the air: writing, travel, blogging and more.
  • Writers by the Sea gathers at the Amelia Island Museum of History on Thursday, February 16 at 6:00 p.m. Attendees will be invited to wade into the memoir-writing waters with FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti and learn why he says, "Life is Like a River."
  • Wondering why some writers sell more books than others? It's usually a game of numbers, and when you attend the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, February 18 you'll hear Susan Kiernan-Lewis explain why, "The Key to Increased Book Sales is Writing Faster." The meeting will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship on Lake Grey Boulevard.
There are two FWA critique groups in our region. They are:
  • Serivilous Panerians (yes, that's their name) meets at Panera Bread at St. Johns Town Center on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 6:30 p.m. Cheri Roman is the group leader, but when last we checked they were at their maximum.
  • Townie Critics is a fairly new critique group, also meeting at Panera Bread in the Town Center every other Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Krys Fenner is the group leader and she says they're still accepting writers of any genre. 
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 4 at the SE Branch Library.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, February 11 at 10:15 a.m. at the West Regional Library on Chaffee  Road. They will be hosting a panel of bestselling authors on "Choices, Choices, Choices – Traditional, Indie & Hybrid Authors Tell All." 
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival kicks off on Friday, February 17 with an 8:30 a.m. workshop by Steve Berry, "Lessons from a Bestseller." That evening the Author Face-Off Gala Dinner brings together David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Lara Adrian, Mary Kay Andrews, Joseph Finder and R. L. Stine. There's much more including Saturday's Author Expo. Visit the website for all the details.
  • Don't forget the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is now open for submissions, and the Collections, "What a Character," will open tomorrow, February 1.
  • And "What a Character!" is also the theme of the 2017 Florida Writers Conference, October 19 - 22. You'll be hearing much more about the conference soon as we unveil our National Guest of Honor, the Florida Writer of the Year and the Celebrity Workshop presenter. This will be one writers conference you don't want to miss. Stay tuned.
  • Poets, you're invited to attend a Gathering of Poets critique group meeting on the first and third Thursday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library.
  • And on a sad note, we're sorry to hear of the passing of one of our First Coast writers. Linda Foley, a retired forensic psychologist who used her professional background to write a pair of mysteries, passed away yesterday.
  • Tony Timbol has started a writing group that will meet once a month at 7:00 p.m. at Jason's Deli, 4375 Southside Blvd. The first meeting is on Tuesday, February 21. Here's a link to their Facebook page, and you may contact Tony for more information.
Since we began with a quotation about books, it's only fitting that we end with one as well.

"Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room, talking to you, which is why I don't like to read good books."  -~ Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
FWA Regional Director
Faculty Chair, 2017 Florida Writers Conference

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Here's to New Beginnings

With 2016 behind us — for better or for worse — we can all look forward to another opportunity to improve our lives and the world around us. In this week's Mad About Words Monday Muse, Mary Ann de Stefano posted this appropriate quote by author Neil Gaiman,

"Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

"Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them."

You can make things happen this month by attending one or more of these FWA meetings:
  • River City Writers, Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for details.
  • Clay County Writers, Wednesday, January 18 at 6:00 p.m. at a site to be announced soon. Group leader Maureen Jung tells us this will be a "Salute to Local Writers," and a look ahead to future projects. All writers are welcome.
  • Writers by the Sea gathers on Thursday, January 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. This month's program is "Keeping it Relevant: Writing and Selling an Op Ed Piece." Nadine Vaughan has the details.
  • St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers chapter meets on Saturday, January 21 at the Main Library to hear from the writing team of Judy Weber and Marie Vernon (aka Amber Adams) on "Writing the Series Character."
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers group returns to the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m. Horror fiction writer Will Ludwigsen presents "Getting Personal With Horror," and will share his secrets for developing characters uniquely attuned to the reader's fears.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Oakleaf Christian Fellowship on Lake Grey Boulevard.
And here are more opportunities to meet people and learn something new:
  • FWA presents four Focus Days during 2017 (aka mini-conferences), the first one being Focus on Character-Driven Stories on April 29. More information and registration here.
  • The world famous (or nearly so) Royal Palm Literary Awards competition opens for submissions on January 15. Get an early start and save money by entering sooner than later.
  • The 2017 Collections, "What A Character," will begin accepting submissions on February 1.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime starts off the year this Saturday, January 7 with details from a retired NYPD police officer about what the TV programs get wrong. Paul Schad walks us through the technical things that don't work in real life crime fighting. They meet at 10:00 a.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library.
  • The Jacksonville Public Library will hold its first Jax Book Fest on Saturday, March 25. They're looking for authors to exhibit during the event to market and sell their books. The early bird booth rate is $30 through January 6, increasing to $50 after that. Click here for more information.
  • The deadline for the 2016 Florida Book Awards is fast approaching. January 13 is the last day to enter this prestigious award. Visit the website for all the details.
  • The Ancient City Poets will host a community open mic poetry reading on Sunday January 29, 2017 from 3:00 to 4:30 at Corazon Cinema and Cafe, across from the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine. There will be a "New Year / Brave New World" theme to kick off the year, although attendees do not have to stick to this theme to share their work. The gatherings are held "renga style" with no emcee or sign-up sheet and end when everyone has had an opportunity to share.
Best wishes for a meaningful 2017,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director
2017 FWA Conference Chair