Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer of '14 — Passing Quickly

I can certainly see the truth in the old cliche about time passing more swiftly as you age. Seems like summer began only days ago, and here we are with August on the doorstep,  and kids preparing to reenter the classrooms. I guess that makes me officially old.

Not to worry, we can attend the following FWA writers groups to take our minds off the swift passage of time. Enjoy!

  • If you hear a high-pitched hum emanating from Fernandina Beach's Marina Seafood Restaurant around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, then you'll know the Amelia Island Writers group is in session and listening to Bill Reynolds. Bill owns High Pitched Hum Publishing, and will talk about his publishing business and answer any question. Contact Maggie deVries,, for details.
  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, August 12 at 7:00 p.m. inside the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Gregg Golson and Melissa Koscluszko lead the group. Contact Gregg for more information:
  • Rik Feeney makes a return visit to the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, August 16 to talk about audio books and how to add them to your product line. The meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Rik is a book coach, speaker and author of more than 60 books, reports and CDs.
  • Orange Park-based writer Dan Briggs joins his fellow writers at the Clay County Writers group on Wednesday, August 20, to present a talk titled, "Confessions of a Writer: Comparing Notes with Colleagues." Because of early voting, the meeting venue has been moved to Vino Java Brew House, 636 Kingsley Avenue, at 6:15 p.m. Maureen Jung has more details. Contact her at
  • You'll want to hear how a nice girl like Linda Foley became entangled in a life of crime. Or
    should we say Dr. Linda Foley. Linda is a forensic psychologist who used her years of on-the-job experiences to write her first mystery, A Taste of Vengeance, featuring, what else?—a forensic psychologist. She will explain how forensic psychology can assist in investigations. Linda is the guest speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, August 23 at the Ponte Vedra Library. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. And because of early voting, the meeting room will shift to the smaller PGA TOUR Conference Room, so come early to get a good seat. 
And thanks to Kimberly Smith for filling in for group leader DiGenti, who will be attending the Killer Nashville Conference.

  • Kimberly will be busy as her Jax Youth Writers group returns to the SE Branch Library. They'll meet from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on August 21st. She's also added an extra meeting date per month. Beginning next month they will meet the first and third Thursdays, with the first Thursday devoted to group projects and critique sessions. The third Thursday meeting will feature a speaker and writing exercise. Thanks to Amy Maughan for stepping forward to assist Kimberly. For more information, contact Kimberly at
  • Jim Weinsier's Nassau Youth Writers group continues to move forward with special projects and an abundance of enthusiasm. They meet on the first and third Tuesdays at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach. Contact Jim at, for time and details.
  • And finally, visit the First Coast Christian Writers each Thursday at their meeting place at the Webb-Wesconett Library at 6:45 p.m. They are an affiliate of FWA.
In other news:

  • Florida Sisters in Crime is celebrating a "Decade of Crime" with two special workshops and luncheon at the UNF Adam W. Herbert University Center on Saturday, August 2nd. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons is the guest of honor, and presents a workshop titled, "Kills, Chills & Thrills," from 10:00 a.m. to noon. After lunch there will be a workshop on marketing and selling your books. Reservations are no long being accepted, but find out more about Florida Sisters in Crime here.
  • Here's the good news: you still have time to take advantage of the early bird discount for the September 25-26 Florida Heritage Book Festival Writers Conference. The bad news? The discount flies away at midnight tonight. The conference includes Thursday's critique sessions led by Elizabeth Sims and Laura Lee Smith, and Friday's workshops by outstanding pros like John Dufresne, Sims, and Anne Dalton. Friday's conference includes the keynote luncheon with bestselling author Lisa Black. Also check out the Literary Legends Banquet on Friday night where Robin Cook will be honored, along with crime writer John D. MacDonald. If you're independently published, you might be interested in the Festival Marketplace, but hurry, only a few tables remain. Except for the banquet, it all takes place at Flagler College in the heart of St. Augustine.
  • The Stars of Florida Writers converge at the FWA Annual Conference, October 23 - 26 at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. Register today to take advantage of the early bird pricing, and attend Thursday evening workshops free of charge. There are agents and publishers galore. Great workshops. Critique opportunities, and the Royal Palm Literary Legends Awards dinner. More info and registration here.
Time's a fleeting, so it's time to get back to work. Enjoy one final word about time. 

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Monday, June 30, 2014

July Blasts Fourth

Here we go again. Instead of summer doldrums, we're cranking out pages, doing book signings and preparing for upcoming writers conferences. There goes my summer. How about you?

Let's move on, and see what the torrid month of July has in store for us.

  • Hop aboard the Amelia Island Writers train as they depart tomorrow evening, Tuesday, July 1, 6:15 p.m. at the Marina Seafood Restaurant in Fernandina Beach. Author Nadine Vaughan Williams talks about her new series of children's books focusing on America's trains. As usual, group leader Maggie deVries suggests you RSVP so the restaurant can be prepared with the proper set-up. Contact Maggie at 904-321-6180.
  • Moving on to Tuesday, July 8, the River City Writers meet at 7:00 p.m. at Jacksonville's SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Co-leader Melissa Kosciuszko (who writes under the pen name M. S. Kaye) presents "Tips on How to Use Word and Pages to Display Your Writing Like a Pro." Contact Gregg Golson for more information. 
  • The Clay County Writers meet Wednesday, July 16 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library to hear award-winning romance writer Heather Ashby's take on "First Drafts are Supposed to be Sh**ty." Her workshop will offer inspiration to writers mired down by perfectionism in their early drafts, and also to those afraid to even begin for fear of failure. Navy veteran Heather is the author of the military romance series, "Love in the Fleet," (Henery Press). Group leader Maureen Jung has more details about the meeting.
  • Carol O'Dell addresses the topic of today's growing social media in the Saturday, July 19 meeting of Ancient City Writers, 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library.  In her workshop, "Taking the Confusion Out of Social Media Marketing," Carol reviews the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other online connections. You'll learn how to use social media to build a loyal readership and increase sales.
  • If you're struggling with point of view—as many writers do—then mark your calendar for Saturday, July 26 when the Ponte Vedra Writers welcome Vicki Taylor. Vicki, a past president and founding member of FWA, is a 12-time novelist, writing coach and speaker from Tampa. In her talk, "Point of View–Who's Going to Tell Your Story," she'll discuss the differences in POV, and how to select the best POV character for your story. The Ponte Vedra Writers meet from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Ponte Vedra Library, 101 Library Blvd.
  • The First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Library.
And in other news:
  • If you haven't registered for the FWA Annual Conference, October 23-26 in Lake Mary, now is the time to commit. You can and should be part of the "Stars of Florida Writers" this year as the conference offers more agents, acquiring editors, and publishers, more workshops, including Thursday night workshops, and a whole new slant on how to be a more successful writer. The Thursday night workshops are only for those who register before the July 31 early bird deadline. Find all the details from the workshop schedule and bios to registration information by clicking here
  • And speaking of early bird registration, the Florida Heritage Book Festival Writers Conference also has a July 31 deadline for the two-day conference, September 25-26 at St. Augustine's Flagler College. The first day offers critique workshops in small group settings where you may have your WIP evaluated. Friday's conference offers a full day of one-hour workshops on the craft and business of writing. Among the faculty are bestselling authors John Dufresne and Elizabeth Sims. Another bestseller, Lisa Black, is the keynote luncheon speaker. Visit the website for complete details and registration information, including about the Literary Legends Banquet which honors Robin Cook and John D. MacDonald. You may register for each day individually or take the complete package, which includes the Literary Legends Banquet, the most cost-effective way to enjoy the writers conference.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime has moved its first Saturday meeting to July 12 due to the July 4 holiday. They'll gather at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library for a planning session targeting the Christmas holiday party and the August 2nd workshop with bestselling author CJ Lyons.
  • The North Florida Writers meet on the second Saturday of the month at noon at the VyStar Credit Union, 760 Riverside Avenue. Guests are welcome.
  • If you're looking for a reason to head south in August, look no further than the Florida Authors & Publishers Association's Fall Conference, August 8 - 9 in Pompano Beach. There are three workshop tracks on Friday the 8th, including Children's Books  with Mark Wayne Adams, Jane Wood, and Jennifer Swanson; Fiction Writing with Vic DiGenti's Novel in a Day workshop, and another track covering Marketing. Today, June 30, is the deadline for early bird registration. Check it out.
That's it for now. If you haven't signed up to Follow this page, do it now, And you might also Like our Facebook page. I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors.

"People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy ... and I keep it in a jar on my desk." ~ Stephen King

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Make it a summer to remember–write something

I still remember looking forward to those carefree summer months, a vacation from school and homework. Although there's no school or mandatory homework these days, summer still is a favorite time of year. While sun and fun are in the plans, June marks the halfway point in another year, a time to assess the progress on my latest writing project. This June is also a good time to visit one or more of our FWA meetings. Here's what you have to look forward to this month.

  • The Amelia Island Writers are back at Fernandina Beach's Marina Seafood Restaurant on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:15 p.m. Group Leader Maggie deVries will discuss her new historical novel, Amelia Island's Golden Years, Silver Tears. Please RSVP to Maggie at or call her at 904-321-6180.
  • River City Writers meet Tuesday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Group Leader Gregg Golson has details.
  • Visit the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, June18 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Contact Group Leader Maureen Jung for more information.
  • The Ancient City Writers group is back at St. Augustine's Main Library again, meeting on Saturday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m. Author Elizabeth Sinclair will speak on "Goal, Motivation, Conflict or How to Sustain a Book-Length Work of Fiction."
  • If you're looking for pointers on historical research, join the Ponte Vedra Writers on Saturday, June 28, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Novelist Arliss Ryan, author of Sanctuary and Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, presents "How to Turn Factual Research into Astounding Fiction No Reader Can Resist."
  • Kimberly Smith's Jax Youth Writers are taking June and July off. They'll return with a program at the SE Branch Library in August.
  • As always, FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
But wait, there's more!
  • If you're looking for ways to inject more suspense into your stories, join Parker Francis, aka Vic DiGenti, at this month's meeting of Florida Sisters in Crime, Saturday, June 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library. Parker has titled his workshop, "The Suspense is Killing Me," and he'll share some of the secrets bestselling authors use to hook the reader with suspense and keep them in a constant state of anticipation. 
  • Attorney Carolyn Herman has formed the Entertainment & Arts Collaborative of Northeast Florida in hopes of bringing low cost or free legal and business services to creatives along with networking opportunities. They're planning their first information and planning meeting this Monday, June 2nd at Royal Palms Wine and Tapas in Atlantic Beach from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. All interested parties are invited to attend. If you're interested in learning more, email Carolyn Herman
  • The Bartram Trail Branch Library hosts three romance writers in a special program titled "The Art of Falling in Love,"on Saturday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m. Authors participating in the program are Valerie Bowman, Alyssa Day, and Lena Diaz. They'll discuss their books and answer any questions you might have.
  • And speaking of visiting authors, Larry Baker returns to NE Florida with his latest St. Augustine based novel, The Education of Nancy Adams. Although Larry now lives and works in Iowa City, and is honored on the Iowa Literary Walk of Fame, he keeps coming back to St. Augustine as the setting for his novels. Larry will be at the Ponte Vedra Library on Monday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the library's Book Talk Cafe program series. He's probably best known for his first book, The Flamingo Rising, which was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie.
  • FWA's Non-Fiction Mini-Conference is set for Saturday, June 28 at the Hilton/Orlando/Altamonte Springs. Click here for the complete conference schedule.
  • Kaen Hudgins talks about Settings at this month's meeting of the Ancient City Romance Writers. They will gather at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 at the very popular SE Branch Library. Visit the website to learn more.
  • And to keep abreast of all the happenings at this year's Florida Heritage Book Festival & Writers Conference, visit the website and sign up for the enewsletter. FHBF has just announced
    a multi-media special author event taking place on Thursday, June 26 at St. Augustine's Southeast Branch Library, 6670 US1 South, at 6:00 p.m. Daniel Wallace is the author of five novels, and his first, Big Fish, was made into a movie by Tim Burton. After a showing of the movie, Wallace will meet the audience and answer questions in a live Skyped interview. A $5 donation would be appreciated.
  • In each of the FHBF enewsletters, you're introduced to one of the Featured Authors or Writers Conference faculty members through a post they've provided for the event's blog. Bill DeYoung is the latest guest blogger. Bill is the author of Skyway: The True Story of  Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down. Read his post here.
  • One last reminder that the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition deadline is fast approaching. The competition closes on June 15, so hurry to get your entries in.

And that does it for our June post. Visit the FWA NE Florida Facebook page (and Like Us) for future updates and news.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, May 02, 2014

What to do and where to go in May 2014

The weather folk tell us the rain will be gone by Sunday, so you can put down your hammers and saws. You won't need to finish work on the ark just yet. But it is a good time to stay indoors and write, and make plans to attend any of this month's FWA meetings. Here's what you can expect in the merry month of May and beyond.

  • Maggie de Vries informs us that the Marina Restaurant will be closed the week following the Shrimp Festival, so the May meeting of the Amelia Island Writers is postponed until June 3rd at 6:15 p.m. Does that make the meeting in July the June meeting? I'm confused.
  • River City Writers leader Gregg Golson is using technology to hook up with his guest speaker, Lee Strauss. Lee is the author of 20 books in various genres including romance, fantasy and YA. Lee will deliver her talk on "Structure and Creating a First Draft" via Skype on Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway.  That's Lee pictured above.
  • The Ancient City Writers have good reason to celebrate this month as they're back at their home base of St. Augustine's Main Library. The library had been closed for nearly three months while undergoing a much needed facelift to its interior and restrooms. Michael Ray King will be there to host the celebration with his talk, "Go Write and You Won't Go Wrong: Writing Your Book in 30 Days." Michael is the author of nine books and a five-time Royal Palm winner. Join him at the new and improved Main Library at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 17.
  • Another Michael Ray will speak to the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, May 21. Michael Ray FitzGerald, Ph.D., will speak on "Journalism, Realism and Writing." Michael is a media historian, journalist and musician who has been chronicling and participating in the Southeast regional music scene for over 30 years. Be there to hear what should be an engrossing talk at the Clay County Library at 6:15 p.m.. Contact group leader Maureen Jung for more information.
  • Do you want to write a children's book and get it published? It's a competitive genre, but many writers and illustrators are doing it successfully. We'll address this topic at the May 24 meeting
    of the Ponte Vedra Writers, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Our special panel discussion, "Writing & Publishing Children's Books," features four authors of children's books who have found success via different paths. The panelists are Jules Coffey-Santella, Frances Keiser, Jennifer Swanson, and Jane Wood. Jules, and like Cher and Madonna, she's known by and writes under her first name, has written stories and articles for children's magazines and authored the middle grade chapter book, Daniel and the Jumbies. Fran and her husband founded Sagaponack Books in 1999 as the home press of their jointly-produced Pelican Pete environmental books. Fran is the author and husband Hugh the illustrator. Jennifer is the author of over 20 nonfiction and fiction books for children. She's received numerous awards, and her books in the "How Things Work" series were named to the 2012 Booklist's Top Ten Books for Youth. And Jane is a well-known writer of juvenile fiction with both local and historical ties. She's active in numerous organizations, including the Florida Authors & Publishers Association, and is a frequent speaker at schools. Each of them will share details of their road to writing and publishing books for younger readers.
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers meet on the first and third Tuesdays at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach. Contact James Weinsier for details.
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the last Thursday of the month at 6:45 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly Smith leads the group. 
  • And, finally, don't forget about FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers. They meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
And That's Not All:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes the co-authors of the mystery novel, Above the Fold. Judy Weber and Marie Vernon write pseudonymously as Amber Adams, and will speak on the art of collaboration. You can hear this team-talk tomorrow, Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers welcome author Abigail Sharpe to its meeting on Saturday, May 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Library in Jacksonville. Ms. Sharpe's topic is "Writing Tight," not to be confused with "Writing While Tight." A BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) precedes the workshop at 12:30 p.m.
  • The publishers of Highlights magazine have extended a 10% discount to FWA members to attend any of its workshops for children's book writers and illustrators. Visit them here for more information.
  • It's not too early to register for the Florida Heritage Book Festival's Writers Conference, September 25-26 in St. Augustine. It's been moved to the heart of the Ancient City at Flagler College, and provides two distinctly different experiences for writers of all persuasions. On Thursday the 25th, register to be part of small group critique workshops. Led by working professionals you will critique up to ten pages of each person's WIP, and receive a written evaluation of your work by the group leader. Friday's conference offers a full day of one-hour workshops covering the craft and business of writing, plus a luncheon keynoted by bestselling author Lisa Black. Click here to read all about it and register. And you can be part of the Festival Marketplace on Saturday, September 27 to sell your books to the Festival crowd. More information here.
  • And speaking of conferences, the annual FWA Conference will be here before you know it. Have you registered for "The Stars of Florida Writers?" As they say, it's bigger and better than ever. Have you submitted your work to the Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition? As my good friend and former neighbor Ben Franklin once told me, "You may delay, but time will not."
That's it for now. Keep your head above water, and to quote Mr. Franklin once again, "Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing."

Have a happy May. I'll see you at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director for NE Florida

Saturday, March 29, 2014

April Showers Bring April Taxes

April showers have apparently started early. As I write this the rain has been steady for over two hours. Maybe Mother Nature is celebrating the opening weekend of the new "Noah" movie. Since I'm confined to quarters, it's a good time to update the FWA blog with a new list of area meetings and events.

  • The Amelia Island Writers return to their first Tuesday meeting date, April 1. I'm sure it's a coincidence that is April Fool's Day, as group leader Maggie deVries is sure to have another fine program lined up. They will meet at 6:15 p.m. at the Marina Seafood Restaurant in Fernandina Beach. Please contact Maggie to RSVP at
  • River City Writers meet Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. They'll hear from Jennifer Shannon, author of Awakenings, about how she used social media to get an agent and get published. She'll also provide a brief tutorial on using Twitter. Contact group leader Gregg Golson for more details at
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, April 16, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Retired journalist Lamar Thames will speak on "Just the Facts, Ma'am." He'll share some of his secrets for getting the best interviews from your subjects. Contact Maureen Jung for more details.
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers, under the direction of hard-working James Weinsier, meet on the first and third Tuesdays at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach at 4:45 p.m.
  • Ancient City Writers continue to meet at the Anastasia Island Branch Library due to ongoing renovations at the Main Library. They'll meet at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, April 26, to hear from Nancy Quatrano speaking on "Editing for the Sale."
  • And due to conflicts in all meeting spaces at the Ponte Vedra Library, the Ponte Vedra Writers will not meet this month. We'll return on Saturday, May 24 with a special panel discussion on children's books—writing and publishing.
  • Kimberly Smith leads the Jax Youth Writers on the last Thursday of the month at the SE Branch Library beginning at 6:45 p.m. Please contact Kimberly if you're willing to help coordinate the meetings.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
But wait, there's more:
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival and Writers Conference last week announced this year's schedule of workshops and author presentations, September 25 - 27. Headlined by Literary Legend honoree Robin Cook, the Festival will also honor posthumously master crime writer John D. MacDonald. The Writers Conference will include critiques workshops on Thursday, September 25 and a full day of one-hour sessions on Friday. Featured Authors appearing on Saturday include Lisa Black, Jon Jefferson, Scott Eyman, John Dufresne, Connie Mae Fowler, and many more. Visit the Festival website for details.
  • Mystery author Michael Wiley, one of the Featured Authors at the Florida Heritage Book Festival, is the speaker at the Florida Sisters in Crime meeting, Saturday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. Brothers and sisters are welcome. Visit the website for more information.
  • Editor/author Nancy Quatrano (On-Target Words) announces she is doing a fundraiser for Sisters in Crime. She will content edit ten pages of manuscript, either fiction or nonfiction, for $20, half of her regular fee, and donate it all to the local Sisters in Crime organization in celebration of the 10th anniversary this August. If interested, contact Nancy at 
  • April 26 seems to be a popular date. FWA is holding its Writer's Nest Mini-Conference on that date at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. It features multi-million seller Davis Bunn as keynoter. Check it out at
  • Closer to home on April 26, Jane R. Wood and Frances Keiser present a workshop on how to publish a children's book. "Oh, the Places You'll Go" will take place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Event Hall at the Fair Trade Cafe, 4882 Palm Coast Parkway NW, Palm Coast. The fee is $59. Register at, or call Jane at 904-268-9572 for more information.
  • And even closer, Ancient City Romance Writers welcome author Diane Burke to their April 26 meeting to discuss "Gems from the Treasure Chest—Words of Wisdom from Successfully Published Authors." The meeting is from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. More info here.
  • If you're looking for a Beaches critique group, Mary Kohnke says they're looking for a few more writers for the Ponte Vedra group meeting twice a month at the PV Library. If interested, contact Mary via email or by phone: or 904-285-3452.
The rain has stopped for now, but even more dire things await: April 15 is income tax deadline. So I'll leave you with this bit of wisdom from Terry Pratchett, who said of death and taxes that taxes are worse, "because at least death didn't happen to you every year."


Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Friday, February 28, 2014

Forward March

With thanks to Howard Denson, I'll begin this month's FWA blog post with his quotation: "March will either come in like a line from Spillane or go out like Helen Steiner Rice…or vice versa." 

Looking at tomorrow's weather forecast it seems Helen has the edge as it should be a sunny day with temps in the low 70s. But enough about the weather, there's writing business to attend to. Here's my forecast for March.

  • Gregg Golson and Melissa Koscluszko lead the River City Writers group on Tuesday, March 11. They meet at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear from Nancy Payne-Olewiler who will speak on "Grammar and Punctuation Pointers to Let Your Work Shine." Sounds like a topic many of us would benefit from.
  • The Amelia Island Writers are changing dates once again, but only for this month. They'll meet on Wednesday, March 12, still at 6:15 p.m. at the Marina Seafood Restaurant in downtown Fernandina Beach. The reason for the move is to accommodate the publishers of Heartland Books of Canada, who will present a program on the ins and outs of getting published. Contact Maggie de Vries for reservations and information at, or call 904-321-6180.
  • The Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, March 19 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library, 2054 Plainfield Avenue off Kingsley Avenue. Contact Maureen Jung for details.
  • Memoir guru Patricia Charpentier takes the Ponte Vedra Library stage to address the Ponte Vedra Writers chapter on Saturday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m. Patricia will tell us how to "Write Your Life Stories" in new and innovative ways. If you've ever thought about writing a memoir, then this is the meeting for you.
  • Renovations are under way at St. Augustine's Main Library, and the Ancient City Writers have moved to the Anastasia Island Branch Library, 124 Sea Grove Main Street. They've also moved their meeting date to Saturday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. and will hear from Cheyenne Knopf, Marketing Manager of Cheyenne will address the business side of writing with her talk, "Financials of Book Selling: A Sales & Income Tax Workshop." Perfect timing as we approach April 15.
  • Kimberly Smith leads the Jax Youth Writers on the last Thursday of the month, 6:45 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly is reaching out to find someone to help her lead this group of young writers. Contact her at
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:445 p.m. at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach. Contact Jim Weinsier for details.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Library.
And in other news:

  • The Douglas Anderson Writers' Festival presents "An Evening with Richard Ford," the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Independence Day and Canada. The event is on Saturday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the UNF Andrew Robinson Theater. Tickets are $20. Click here for more information on the writers' festival.
  • There will be featured workshops for the writing community as part of Florida State College's 25th Annual International Conference on College Teaching and Learning. April Eberhardt, who bills herself as a Literary Change Agent, will conduct three workshops on March 24 and 25 at the FSCJ Deerwood Campus. The sessions are "The New Era of Publishing–How to Make It Work for You," "ePublishing: Who, What, Where, When, How–and Why," and "Writing Effective Short Stories." There's also a session on screenwriting, plus two keynote presentations, including one by theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku, PhD. You've seen him on morning television and he'll be at the Sawgrass Marriott on Thursday, March 27 to talk about "The Future." Details and registration at, or contact Jack Chambers at
  • Local author, screenwriter and generally all-around ebullient person, Sharon Y. Cobb, presents two March writing workshops as part of the UNF Learn Jacksonville program. On March 1, "How to Publish You E-book," and "Marketing Your Books" on March 8. Visit the Learn Jacksonville website for registration details.
  • The Florida Sisters in Crime chapter meets tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library. Brothers, as well as sisters are welcome. Their Book Club meets on the second Friday of the month, 2:00 p.m. at the Panera's at Atlantic and Southside Blvd. They will eat and discuss this month's book club selection, A Time to Live, A Time to Die, by Edith Maxwell. Visitors are welcome.
  • Lynn Shapyak Harlin announces registration is now open for the next Shanty Boat Workshop classes commencing March 26. Contact Lynn for details at 904-778-8000 or email her at
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers welcome author Cheryl Norman as their speaker on Saturday, March 22at 1:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. She'll discuss "Active Voice vs Passive Voice (AKA Show Don't tell).
  • The Florida Authors & Publishers Association holds its Spring Conference on Saturday, March 8 from noon to 5:00 p.m. at Nova Southeastern University in Orlando. The theme of the conference is, "Book Marketing Sizzle! Igniting Your Writing and Publishing Sales. Click here for more information.
And since we opened with a quote alluding to the March weather, I'll end with another climate quote, this one from none other than Mark Twain.

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

Enjoy the first day of spring and Daylight Savings Time. More light to write by.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Anyone who remembers the heyday of folk music is telling the world they're definitely not of the Justin Beiber generation. But with Pete Seeger's recent passing, it brought to mind how many of my favorite folk songs were written and performed by Seeger. I remember listening to these songs in my dorm room at the University of Florida—Turn, Turn, Turn, If I Had a Hammer, and particularly, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, which was covered by the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, among many others.

The song is also relevant this very day as we endure another arctic blast and I look out on a yard with frost-bitten hibiscus bushes. Thanks for the music, Pete, and rest in peace. I'll plant more flowers in the spring, and think about you as I bang away on my latest project. The more immediate project is completing this FWA post and getting it out to the many writers in NE Florida. So, without any more nostalgic flashbacks, here's what's happening in what I hope will be a warmer month of February.

  • Amelia Island Writers group leader Maggie de Vries reports she had 22 people for last month's meeting at their new time and location. A very good turnout, so they'll do it again on Tuesday, February 4 at 6:15 p.m. at the Marina Seafood Restaurant in Fernandina Beach. The group will meet for a critique session. Again, the restaurant needs to know how many to prepare seating for in advance so RSVP to Maggie at, or call 904-321-6180.
  • Jim Weinsier's Nassau County Youth Writers group has been amazingly busy. They recently had an article published in the Fernandina Beach News-Leader, and are working on a children's book for their local library. They've been so busy and successful that the group is adding a second meeting date. Starting this month the Youth Writers will meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:45 p.m. And they're moving to the Peck Center, 516 S. 10th Street in Fernandina Beach. Contact Jim at for details.
  • Melissa Kosciuszko joins Gregg Golson as the co-leader of the River City Writers, who will meet on Tuesday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Please welcome Melissa, a traditionally published author of romantic suspense novels (writing as M. S. Kaye) as well as other genres. Thanks for stepping up to help out, Melissa. At the February meeting, the group will hear from Kerry O'Malley Cerra who will speak about her journey to traditional publication of her upcoming middle grade novel, Just a Drop of Water.
  • There will be no meeting of St. Augustine's Ancient City Writers chapter due to the closure of the Main Library for renovation. Look for them in March at the Anastasia Island Branch when Marketing Manager Cheyenne Knopf will be the speaker. Cheyenne will talk about "The Financials of Book Selling: A Sales and Income Tax Workshop."
  • If you can attend the meeting of the Clay County Writers on Wednesday, February 19 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library you'll hear from novelist Arliss Ryan. Arliss is a masterful storyteller, and the author of Sanctuary and The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, so she knows how to write historical fiction. Her topic is "How to Turn Factual Research into Astounding Fiction No Reader Can Resist."  For more information contact group leader Maureen Jung.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers FWA group meets on Saturday, February 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. The special guest speaker is none other than noted editor, writer and poet, Lynn Skapyak Harlin. After years working as a teacher, reporter, corporate and government trainer, Lynn now conducts writing classes aboard her shanty boat as well as working one-on-one with writers.  Lynn's topic is "How Setting, Tone, Mood and Pace Enhance Your Story and Move Your Plot." Come and learn from a real writing pro.
  • The Jax Youth Writers continue to meet on the fourth Thursday of the month, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • And FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
Looking for even more meetings and events?
  • Florida Sisters in Crime members gather this Saturday, February 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear from writers Kathy Bain and Delores Wilson, teaming up to talk about "How to Write Funny."
  • SF & Fantasy-Jax meets twice this month: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 5 at Rain Dog Cafe in Five Points, and again on February 19 at the Beaches Library in Jacksonville Beach. T. S. Robinson has more information.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcome bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann and her husband, screenwriter Ed Gaffney, to their Saturday, February 8 meeting at Jacksonville's West Regional Branch Library. In the morning workshop, Suzanne talks about the differences between objective and subjective point of view. After a lunch break the workshops continue at 1:15 with both Suzanne and Ed talking about control freak-friendly collaboration, sharing lessons learned from their co-writing adventures.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers move to 15610 Tison Road in Jacksonville for the Saturday, February 22 meeting due to a scheduling conflict at the SE Branch Library. Starting at 11:30 a.m.  the group will lunch and then have fun with "The Nuts and Bolts of Writing."
  • Writing, publishing and editing pros Rik Feeney, Michael Ray King and Nancy Quatrano lead the day-long Kindle Publishing Seminar on Saturday, February 15 at the Fair Trade Cafe, 4883 Palm Coast Pkwy NW in Palm Coast. The seminar covers both the technical details, as well as the creative process—content and editing, titles, covers, marketing of your ebook, and more. Special guest speaker is Professor Leonard Birdsong, who published five Kindle books in the last six months. For information and registration contact Rik at or call him at 407-529-8539. 
  • FWA presents the Lady Lake Memoir Mini-Conference on Saturday, February 22 at the Hampton Inn & Suites at The Villages. Patricia Charpentier, author of Eating an Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time, headlines the conference with her workshop on how to write your life stories. Marketing Manager Cheyenne Knopf will be there to talk about how to turn the completed memoir into a book. Click here for the complete program.
  • Here's another reminder about the Amelia Island Book Festival, February 21-22. Headlined by NYT bestselling author David Baldacci, the festival includes writers workshops, a Readers Luncheon and a Kids Fun Zone.
  • Over the past seven years, hundreds of people have helped flatten the writing learning curve by attending Vic DiGenti's Novel in a Day workshop. For the first time in a year, he'll lead the popular workshop in Jacksonville at the Summer Key Clubhouse off A.C. Skinner Parkway. The full-day session includes a continental breakfast and a boxed lunch. For registration and details, click here, or email me at
  • Rhonda Riley, author of The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, speaks at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.
Still waiting for the flowers to return. Until next time, keep writing,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director