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