Friday, June 01, 2018

June Blog Post

I'm not sure whether June is busting out all over just yet, but we do know it's heating up. Here are some places to cool off while networking with your fellow FWA members and other writers.

  • River City Writers converge on the SE Regional Branch Library on Tuesday, June 12 at 7PM. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for details.
  • The Clay County Writers are taking a summer break from their monthly meetings to focus on completing the long-awaited Clay Couunty anthology. Meetings will resume in August.
  • Writers by the Sea is schedled to meet on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30PM at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Nadine Vaughan can supply more information.
  • St. Augustine's Main Library is the site of the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, June 16 at 10AM. Nancy Quatrano will speak on the subject of "Backstory," how to use it and how much to use in your story.
  • On Saturday, June 16, award-winning journalist Tricia Booker invites you to "Get Naked," figuratively speaking, of course. Tricia will discuss her rules for penning a memoir and why writers shouldn't be afraid to put family lore into words. Come to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library at 10:30AM on Saturday, June 16, prepared to bare your all.
And in other news
  • NE Florida Sisters in Crime meet tomorrow, Saturday, June 2nd at 10AM at the SE Regional Library to hear from Roy Glenn, author of the Mike Black series. Roy will speak on "Development of Gangsters in Fiction," and how he develops his villainous characters.
  • We're moving ever closer to the July 31 early deadline to register for the 2018 Florida Writers Conference. You'll not only save money by registering early, but enjoy the Thursday night Boot Camp workshops on October 18 at no extra charge. Check out all the speakers, workshops, and panels by clicking here.
  • Marketing is key to any writers success, expecially for indie authors. The next Focus Day conference on Saturday, June 23 focuses on DIY Marketing, with a line-up of specialists covering everything from branding to social media. More info and registration can be found here.
  • Congratulations to St. Augustine author Caren Umbarger. Her second novel, The Passion of Marta has been recognized with a 2017 Nautilus Book Award.
I'll end with a quote by John Updike, who unlike many writers, claimed to like middles.
"I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, whereambiguity restlessly rules."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

May Days for Writers

May days are upon us, offering another month of writing opportunities here in NE Florida. Here are this month's FWA meetings.

  • Visit the River City Writers on Tuesday, May 8, 7PM at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. Gregg Golson has more information.
  • Maureen Jung leads the Clay County Writers meeting on Wednesday, May 16. The group gathers at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library. Contact Maureen for details.
  • Nassau County writers will make their way to the Amelia Island Museum of History at 6:30PM on Thursday, May 17 for the Writers by the Sea meeting. Group leader Nadine Vaughan will share meeting details with you.
  • Writer, lecturer, and performer Randy Ross discloses the lessons he learned trying to get his comedic novel published after rejections from 110 agents and 15 small presses. Randy will appear at the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, May 19, 10AM at St. Augustine's Main Library. During his presentation, "A Debut Novelist's Rocky Road to Publication," Randy will discuss lessons learned the hard way, and perform scenes from his one-man show.
  • Crafting strong beginnings and endings to your novel is the subject of Vic DiGenti's talk at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, May 26 at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Vic will tell you ten reasons why the opening is so important, and let you write your own opening. He'll also show you how to bring the story home with a great ending. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. on the 26th.
And in other news:
  • The 3rd Annual I "Heart" Books event is scheduled for Satuday, May 19 at the Schultz Center, 4019 Boulevard Center Drive in Jacksonville. All the author spaces for this multi-genre book signing event have been filled, but there's no charge to attend and support your fellow authors, and pick up some good books. The signing runs from noon to 4PM.
  • Did you know FWA offers monthly Webinars designed to help improve your writing and marketing skills. The cost for the live Webinars is only $10 for FWA members and $15 for non-members. And a number of the past webinars are available absolutely free. Click here to learn more.
  • Submissions have closed for both the annual Royal Palm Literary Awards competition and the FWA Collection, but you may still register for the 17th Annual Florida Writers Conference, October 19 - 21 in Altamonte Springs. In fact, you'll save money and add the Thursday evening Boot Camp workshops at no extra cost if you register before July 31, which is not that far away. Visit the conference pages for all the exciting details of this year's conference.
  • And while you're on the conference website, consider registering for Chuck Sambuchino's Celebrity Workshop, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and Frst Pages" on Thursday, October 18, the day before the annual conference. Chuck is the go-to guy when it comes to finding an agent and writing query letters. Bring a first page  and/or your query letter and Chuck will critique it for you during the workshop.
  • The military arts nonprofit, MilSpeak Foundation, supported by a grant from Wounded Warrior Project®, will host a FREE weekend "On Point Women Warriors Writing Workshop" for women military veterans and women military family members May 18-20 at The University of Tampa. Interested in attending? Visit the MilSpeak website.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival presents author and book coach Janice Hardy in a full-day workshop, "How to Turn Your Idea into a Novel," on Saturday, May 12 at the Ponte Vedra Library. Registration and info at
  • And on Thursday, May 17, Dr. Melinda Jay Stephenson guides you through a class demonstrating how to turn your family stories into fiction. Her workshop is titled "Telling a Story that Matters." Also presented by the Florida Heritage Book Festival, and  held at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Visit www.fhbookfest for details.
That's all folks. I'll leave you with these sage words of wisdom from Jack London.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice Preisdent

Friday, April 06, 2018

April FWA Blog Post

It's time for another month of FWA-related meetings,, workshops, and announcements of upcoming events of interest to writers. We'll start with this month's area group meetings.

  • River City Writers meet Tuesday, April 10 at 7PM at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for details.
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, April 18 at 6:15PM at the Orange Park Library and ask the question, "To Outline or Not to Outline?" Vic DiGenti is the speaker and will review the ongoing debate between pantsers and plotters. He'll cover the pros and cons of both sides, and says, "You'll leave this workshop with newfound apprciation for the writing process, whether you write with your pants on or not—metaphorically speaking, of course."
  • Writers by the Sea gather at the Amelia Island Museum of History on Thursday, April 19 at 6PM. Query group leader Nadine Vaughan for more information.
  • St. Augustine's Main Library is the venue for this month's Ancient City Writers meeting, Saturday, April 21 at 10AM. Elizabeth Sinclair (aka Marge Smith) will talk about Point of View. Contact Judy Weber for details.
  • Ready to get inspired? Attend the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, April 28, 10:30AM at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library to hear Kathryn J. Bain, an author of award-winning Christian, mystery, and suspense novels. Kathy will talk on the subject of "Reaching, Not Preaching: Writing Christian Fiction Without Alienating Readers."
And in other news:
  • April 28 is the date for the first of FWA's two Focus Days this year. The focus is on Craft with workshops covering Pacing, Arcs, Tropes, and World Building/Setting. The HiltonOrlando/Altamonte Springs plays host once again. Click here for details and registration information.
  • It's not too early to sign up for Chuck Sambuchino's FWF Celebrity Workshop on Thursday, October 19. The former Writer's Digest editor will cover a broad range of topics in his presentation, "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries and First Pages." Chuck, (pictureed here) who wrote and edited several writer's guides to finding agents, has taught this course at conferences across the country, helping many writers get established. An additional benefit of attending this course is that you may bring your query letters and first pages for Chuck to critique live during the workshop. More information can be found here.
  • Elizabeth Sinclair is the guest speaker at the Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime meeting tomorrow, Saturday, April 7 at the SE Branch Library. The meeting starts at 10AM, and Elizabeth will speak on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival has scheduled two excellent day-long workshops next month, both of them at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. On Saturday, May 12, novelist and writing coach Janice Hardy presents "How to Turn Your Idea into a Novel." Janice was one of the featured faculty at last year's Florida Writers Conference, and received glowing evaluations.  She writes series for both teens and adults, and runs the popular writing site, Fiction University. More information and registration can be found on the website.
  • FHBF has also scheduled a memoir workshop, "Telling a Story That Matters," on Thursday, May 17, also at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. FSU Panama City Creative Writingt Professor, Dr. Melinda Jay Stephenson, guides you through the process of turning family stories into fiction. She is the author of Annie Laura's Triumph, a fictionalized account of her great-grandmother. As above, details can be found on the website.
  • If you're into real-life mysteries, particularly what really happened to Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan, you might want to attend author Mike Campbell's presentation based on his book Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Mike will provide visual and oral details revealing what he calls, "the long suppressed truth about the Amelia Earhart mystery." He appears on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library.
  • Jeff Klinkenberg, the former award-winning columnist for the Tampa Times, will discuss his newest book, Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life, at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library, on Monday, April 16 at 6:30PM.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival is bringing New York Times bestselling environmental author Mary Alice Monroe to Fernandina Beach on Wednesday, May 23 for a conversation at Art on Centre Street. Tickets and details are available at the festival website.
  • Steve Berry discusses his newest Cotton Malone novel, The Bishop's Pawn, tonight at the BookMark in Neptune Beach. The book follows Berry's pattern of weaving historical fact with speculative, but believable, fiction, this time about the assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He'll be at the BookMark tonight at 7PM.
And that's all folks.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
NE Florida Regional Director

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

March FWA Post

As we plow through another year, month by month, here's the latest writerly news for March 2018.

  • There's still room for more authors at FWA's I Heart Books Festival here in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 19 at the Schultz Center. Click here for all the details.
  • Once a book is published, every author begins looking for an agent or publisher. Chuck Sambuchino, the man who literally wrote the book on how and where to find an agent, will present a full day workshop on Thursday, October 17—the day before the start of the 2018 Florida Writers Conference—titled "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages." This Celebrity Workshop requires a separate registration fee from the conference, and benefits the Florida Writers Foundation.
  • The first Focus Day of 2018 is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. The focus is on craft featuring the following workshops: Dan Alatorre on Pacing, Jade Kerrion on Arcs, Tracie Roberts, Tropes, and Jennifer Siddoway on World Building/Setting. Register here.
And now for the rest of the story:
  • The River City Writers group meets on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter returns to St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 17 to hear Rik Feeney talk about "Media Gratification: What Works Best for You?" The library doors open at 10:00 a.m., and that's when you can enter the meeting room to hear Rik discuss the many marketing opportunites available to writers.
  • Wednesday, March 21 is the day the Clay County Writers will gather at the Orange Park Library to hear from journalist and travel writer Kathleen Walls. Kathleen will speak on "How to Turn Your Article into a Book." Kathleen is the editor and publisher of American Roads and Global Highways blog. The time for the meeting is 6:15 p.m.
  • "The Author's Digital Footprint" is the subject of a talk by Mark Ezra Stokes and Dr. J. at the meeting of the Writers by the Sea FWA group. The presentation will teach writers how to drive readers to their work and your website using social media. The meeting kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach.
  • Rik Feeney tumbles from St. Augustine to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library on Saturday, March 24 as the guest speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and Rik will cover the many aspects of Kindle Publishhing, from writing your book to the cover, pricing, and the Kindle set-up.
But wait, there's more:

The Florida Heritage Book Festival presents two fundraising events worth noting and attending. 
  • Author Patrick Smith's son, Rick, presents a one-man show about his father and the experiences that led him to write his award-winning novels, with special emphsis on A Land Remembered. The show combines Rick's quirky brand of humor with stories, videos, photos, and music. "Patrick Smith's Florida is A Land Remembered" is scheduled for Friday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. The cost is only $10 for individuals, or $20 for families. Tickets are available at the door, or online soon at
  • And on Saturday, April 14, Janice Hardy will present a full day workshop titled "How to Turn Your Idea Into a Novel." If you attended last year's Florida Writers Conference you may have attended one of Janice Hardy's workshops. She came away with one of the highest evaluation scores from those attending her sessions. The hands-on interactive workshop runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and costs $85, which includes lunch. Details as to the St. Johns County location will be released soon.
  • A Gathering of Poets meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. They will present a reading at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 at the Neptune Beach Library in honor of Poetry Month.
And that's all there is for now. Here's to your writing success,


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
FWA Regional Director for Northeast Florida

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

February Blog Post

There's no time like the present to make your future plans. If you're a published author I know your number one interest is selling books. FWA provides you with an excellent opportunity for book sales right here in Jacksonville. On Saturday, May 19, the annual I (Heart) Books event will be held at the Schultz Center from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is limited to only 75 authors and includes a brunch. There are still a limited number of openings available. Click here for details.

October is still months away, but the 17th Annual Florida Writers Conference is shaping up to be
another outstanding event for writers of all persuasions. We've landed Linda Fairstein as our National Guest of Honor and Heather Graham as the Florida Writer of the Year. And Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke will join us, as well.
We're excited to announce that the Celebrity Workshop will be presented by Chuck Sambuchino. For years, Chuck was the face of Writers Digest's guides to agents, editors and publishers. He's still the go-to expert on getting an agent, and on Thursday, October 18 he will present "Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Submissions, Queries, and First Pages." Remember this requires a separate registration fee as it's a benefit for the Florida Writers Foundation. Information and registration may be found here.

And now for the February FWA meetings:

  • River City Writers meets on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Contact Gregg Golson for details.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, February 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Author Darryl Bollinger will speak on an unusual and mysteruus topic he calls, "When You Say Nothing at All."
  • Ancient City Writers will not meet at St. Augustine's Main Library in February due to AARP hijacking their meeting room to offer tax assistance to the public.
  • Clay County Writers assemble on Wednesday, February 21 at the Orange Park Library. The time of the meeting is 6:15 p.m. and group leader Maureen Jung has details.
  • Are you ready for a laugh? Do you want to write humor? Then come to the Saturday, February 24 Ponte Vedra Writers meeting at the Ponte Vedra Library. Longtime humor writer and professional blogger Erik Deckers presents "10 Professional Humor Writing Secrets." The chuckles begin at 10:30 a.m.
And in other news:
  • Arson investigator Detective David Young presents an inside look at the world of arson investigations at this Saturday's Florida Sisters in Crime meeting. The group gathers at the SE Branch Library at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 3. Arrive early to claim your own hot seat.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival has "something for everyone" that begins with the Gala Face-Off Dinner on February 15. Four bestselling authors, including Lee Child and Karin Slaughter, meet in an "engaging and scintillating face-off exchange." Steve Berry serves as the Face-Off moderator. Visit the website for more details.
  • FWA's first webinar of the year should be of interest to all published authors. The subject is "How to Make Money with Your Books." Jonathon (JK) Miller is the webinar host. The price is only $10 for FWA members and $15 for nonmembers. You'll need a computer with internet access and speakers to hear the audio. Visit the web page for details.
  • John Capouya leads the University of Tampa's Creative Writing MFA program. He's also the author of Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band.  He will be at the Ponte Vedra Library on Monday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about hs book. BTW, John will also present one of the Thursday evening Boot Camp sessions at this year's Florida Writers Conference.
Until we meet again, here's a quote that most writers can identify with:
“My mind is a raging torrent flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.”
~Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles


Vic DiGenti
FWA Executive Vice President
NE Florida Regional Director

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

January 2018 Blog Post

Happy New Year! A new year brings all kinds of new possibilities for writers. FWA continues to lead the way with new programs, Focus Days, and book sale opportunities. Below is a list of area goups meetings in Northeast Florida, along with more news you can use.

  • River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Visit with them on January 9 at 7:00 p.m., and email Gregg Golson for details.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers meet next Saturday, January 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Special guest speaker is Darlyn Finch Kuhn, author, poet, and producer of video book trailers. If you've thought about turning your memoir or life experiences into a novel, this is the workshop for you as Darlyn tells us to "Change the Names and Make Stuff Up." She will show us how to convert family and friends into characters even they won't recognize, and how to ramp up the drama to make the story even more compelling.
  • The Clay County Writers will meet on Wednesday, January 17 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Howard Denso asks this important question: "Is Your Verb Tense Slipping Into Darkness?" Howard will discuss the pitfalls of shifting verb tenses along with chracterization and research. You may contact group leader Maureen Jung for more specfics.
  • Writers by the Sea meet on Thursday, January 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island History Museum. Group leader Dr. Nadine Vaughan D'Ardenne will present "Binge-Worthy Story Telling: A Revolution in Writing," disecting the story telling in binge-worthy TV series like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things and how writers can learn from them.
  • Head to St. Augustine's Main Library for the Saturday, January 20 meeting of the Ancient City Writers. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and author and editor Belea T. Keeney will address the five major mistakes writters need to avoid.
And in other news ...
  • Two Jacksonville critique groups are working together: Serivilous Panerians and the Townie Critics have formed a critique group alliance, providing greater scope and flexibility for both groups. They will facilitate three meetings per month — two in person and a third via Skype. They are accepting new members. The SPs will host in person meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 5 pm at the Town Center Panera in Jacksonville. The TCs will host the Skype meeting on the third Sunday of each month at 1pm. Writers are welcome to attend one or all meetings, as best suits their needs. Contact Cheri Roman or Krys Fenner for additional information.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meet this Saturday, January 6 at 10:00a.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library to hear from former NCIS agent Jeff Walton. Jeff is the author of the novel Final Destination: Death, and will provide an inside look at the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the world of counterintelligence.
  • FWA will present two Focus Day conferences this year. The first, Focus on Craft, is set for Saturday, April 28 in Altamonte Springs. And Focus on DIY Marketing on Saturday, June 23, also in Altamonte Springs.
  • And speaking of conferences, the 2018 Florida Writers Conference, October 18 -21, is coming together nicely. If you haven't heard, bestselling author Linda Fairstein is the National Guest of Honor, and Heather Graham, another bestselling author, the Florida Writer of the Year. Also in attendance as one of the faculty members will be Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke. More details will be posted shortly on the FWA website.
  • FWA's 3rd annual I (Heart) Books event is set for Saturday, May 19 at the Schultz Center here in Jacksonville. This multi-genre book signing event brings together both readers and writers. The event is free for readers, and limited to only 75 writers. Click here for more information.
  • The Florida Writer is FWA's official magazine, and starting with the February 2018 issue it will be available in a grayscale print version as well as digitally. There is a charge for the print version. More information can be found here.
  • Lee Child, the author of the hugely popular Jack Reacher action novels, will headline next month's Amelia Island Book Festival. Child will be part of a gala author dinner at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on February 16. Click here for details.

Not to discourage you from writing books, but I'll end with this quote from that great philosopher, Homer Simpson:

"Books are useless! I've only read one book, To Kill A Mockingbird, and it gave me absoluteely no insights into how to kill mockingbirds."

Vic DiGenti
FWA Esecutive Vic residet