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

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

New Year—New Start

As I write this first post of the New Year, I'm remembering 2015 like it was last week. The meetings, conferences, the writing and getting published—were all part of the FWA experience. And we have more to look forward to in 2016, with exceptional speakers at our area meetings, a mini-conference in St. Augustine, and much more.

Here's how we start the year in January:

  • The River City Writers, under the management of group leader Gregg Golson, will meet on Tuesday, January 12 at the SE Regional Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. Contact Gregg for details.
  • Saturday, January 16 is the date for the Ancient City Writers to meet at the Main Library, US 1 and San Carlos in St. Augustine. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. for a program on book promotion for indie writers. Mandie Stevens and Tawdra Kandle will talk about the best ways to promote your books using social media, branding, and book events.
  • Dr. Maureen Jung, leader of the Clay County Writers, invites everyone to the 6th anniversary celebration of their groups existence. The writers will meet on Wednesday, January 20, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library for an update on their on-going anthology project, "Embedded in Clay: An Anthology in the Making." Maureen will also lead a focusing exercise designed to turn ideas into smart goals.
  • Writers by the Sea gathers at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach on Thursday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. The featured speaker is poet Jean Vincennes, presenting "A Poetry Primer: Expressing the Lyricist Within." This will be followed by breakout groups.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • Divergent. The Fault in Our Stars. The Hunger Games. Harry Potter. All  of these hugely
    popular films began as bestselling Young Adult books, which is why so many writers are penning YA novels. Among them are S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) and Lynne Matson, two successful writers who have successfully mined the YA vein. They'll present the workshop "So ... Why YA?" at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, January 23, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Shannon and Lynne will answer many questions about the YA market and writing for teens, including Do I have to love teens to write for them? What are the boundaries with sex and language? and Can I use "big" words in a teen novel? Should be a good one. 
In other news:
  • The first FWA Mini-Coference of 2016 takes place in our backyard, Saturday, February 27 at the Flagler College Ringhaver Student Center. The conference features full day workshops on Chracter Development and the Publishing Process, with half-day sessions covering Magazine Writing, Romance Writing, YA and Advanced Writing. The latter workshop is one I'm doing titled "The Intuitive Writer." Visit the website for registration details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, January 9 at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Library to  hear from a crime scene analyst from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • Ancient City Romance Authors welcomes award-winning writer Kathryn J. Bain to their January 23rd meeting. Kathryn presents her interactive workshop, "Catch Them from the Start," on opening lines. The meeting begins at 12:30 with BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) and networking, with the workshop starting at 1:00.
  • Write It Now: Books & Short Stories is a free writers conference set for Tuesday, January 26 at the Anastasia Island Branch Library in St. Augustine. Four local writers will offer their insights on writing stories of any length. The authors are Amy Atwell, Katelin Maloney, Nancy Quatrano and Lauren Tomlinson. Nancy Haddock will moderate the program, which begins at 1:00 p.m.
  • If you're in South Florida late next month, consider attending SleuthFest 2016 in Deerfield Beach, February 26 - 28. Presented by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, this year's SleuthFest features keynote speaker CJ Box, and guests of honor P. J. Parrish and Valerie Plame Wilson.
  • Florida Authors and Publishers Association, in conjunction with OnLine, present a Jacksonville conference, "Marketing Yourself and Your Book," Saturday, January 30 at FSCJs South Campus. The conference provides insights into marketing, graphic design, web design and more. Click here for details.
Here's wishing everyone a most successful New Year.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Open hearts — open mic

Tis the season when a strange cardiological phenomenon occurs—our hearts feel like they've expanded a size or two. Not everyone feels this way, of course, but many (even the most self absorbed writer) begins to think more about others than themselves. How else to explain giving to complete strangers who are ringing bells in front of Publix? Or, and this may be the most perplexing, some drivers even stop to allow another car to ease into the lane without honking their horn.

This is one of the mysteries of the season, and to celebrate, we're giving you the opportunity to share
your good feelings with others—along with your first pages—at an open mic holiday party at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting this Saturday morning. That's right, because of the Christmas holidays, the PV Writers will meet Saturday, December 5, and not on the fourth Saturday of the month as usual. Read the schedule of area meetings to learn the details.

  • Ponte Vedra Writers meet Saturday, December 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. As mentioned above, this will be a special meeting with our first open mic opportunity. Readings are open to anyone working on a project, either fiction or nonfiction, a work in progress or even a completed work of your choice—published or unpublished. The reading is limited to the first two pages only. We're limited in time, so the first 10 people to email me that they want to participate will be guaranteed a spot in the program. We’ll also have a book exchange of new or gently used books so bring one or two you’d like to pass along. Any left over books will be donated to the FOL’s bookstore in the library. And I won't turn down any goodies anyone wants to share with the group. Come  on down to the beach and share your holidays reading with us.
  • The River City Writers meet Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. to hear from Susan Kiernan-Lewis on "The Importance of Research." Susan recently returned from a trip to Paris (doing research, I'm sure) and will report on her travels. More info from group leader Gregg Golson.
  • Clay County Writers assemble on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Ad man Rick Jones explains the importance of scene building in his session titled, "Don't Be Shy—Let's Make a Scene."
  • Writers by the Sea typically meets on the third Thursday of the month, which would be December 17. They may meet at the Museum of History on Amelia Island at 6:00 p.m. Contact Nadine Vaughan for more concrete details.
  • Looking for some new toys ... make that tools ... to help with the editing and writing process? Then you should attend the meeting of the Ancient City Writers on Saturday, December 19, 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Patricia Charpentier will explain how a variety of free or inexpensive electronic tools can be used to root out typos, overused words and phrases, redundant sentence structures and more. The library is located at 1960 US 1.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
And in other news ...
  • EAT POEMS#10 has just been released. This audio chapbook features poems from Francis Driscoll's new collection, Seaglass Picnic. Listen to it free at the EAT website
  • Florida Sisters in Crime will be welcoming Edgar, Agatha, Anthony & Macavity-Award Winner Margaret Maron, who will speak on the writing journey to their December 5, 2015 meeting from 10:15 - 12:00 in the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida. Visit for more information.
  • Seersucker Live, a literary arts nonprofit in Savannah, Georgia is hosting its first-ever writers workshop February 3-7, 2016. Described as an extended weekend of writing and revelry, you can find details of the Seersucker Live Writers Workshop by clicking here.
  • Patti Brassard Jefferson of Florida Authors & Publishers Association has opened a new bookstore in Fort Myers for independently published authors. If interested in getting on the shelf of P.J. Boox, visit the website.
Here's wishing you and yours an open heart and the best of holidays. And with a tip of the hat to the upcoming Star Wars film, here's the last word for the year 2015.

All the best,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Celebrate Success

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was a wise man back in the day, but it still holds true. If you want to achieve success you have to go out and pursue it. I saw a lot of successful writers at last month's FWA Conference, many of them from NE Florida. If you know these people, be sure to congratulate them for winning a Royal Palm Literary Award.

Unproduced Screenplay — Marie Vernon and C.J. Godwin, 1st place for Graceland Express, based on Marie's novel. The duo also picked up the Dahris Clair Memorial Award for Best Screenplay/Stage Play/Teleplay.
Nadine Vaughan-Williams took home 2nd place in the Unproduced Screenplay category.
Unpublished Mainstream/Literary — C.J. Godwin, 1st Place for Lie Very Still. 
Dan Dundon received 3rd place in the same category for Diamond Ridge.
Published Thriller/Suspense — Keith Gockenbach, 3rd place for Deadly Loop
Published Middle-Grade Fiction — Heather Hamel, 1st place for Within Emerald Forests
Unpublished Middle-Grade Fiction — Heather Hamel, 3rd place for Under Sapphire Skies
Published Children's — Stephen Kindland, who recently moved to NC from Clay County, 1st place for I Beg Your Pardon, But This Is My Garden
General Catch-All Fiction/Published — Parker Francis, 1st place for "The Strange Case of Lord Byron's Lover."

Congratulations to all the winners. Let me know if I left anyone out from the NE Florida area. In the recently published news category, kudos to Carolyn Greeley who published her first mystery novel, Emerald Obsession, volume one in the Found Mystery Series. It's available on

It's not too early to think about your entry into next year's RPLAs. Also, the theme for the next FWA Collection will be Hide and Seek. Thriller writer John Gilstrap is the Person of Renown, and will select his top ten entries for the collection.

And now let's see what's happening at our area FWA group meetings this month:
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Query group leader Gregg Golson for details about the meeting.
  • The Clay County Writers will gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, November 18 at 6:15 p.m. Group leader Maureen Jung will facilitate a mini-workshop on "Goal Setting for Writers." 
  • On Thursday, November 19 you can attend the Writers by the Sea meeting at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Raffaela Marie Rizzo Fenn, Marketing Communications Consultant, will present "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps for Getting Your Book into Readers Hands." The gathering begins at 6:00 p.m. to be followed by the presentation at 6:30.
  • Public Relations pro Ron Whittington is the featured speaker at the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, November 21. Be at St. Augustine's Main Library 10:00 a.m. if you want to hear Ron talk about web development and how best to use social media.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers chapter will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, so there will be no November 28 meeting. However, we'll have a meeting the next Saturday, on December 5. This will be a special holiday gathering with an open mic program and book swap. Details to come soon. 
In other news:
  • There was a very successful FWAYouth Conference as part of the FWA Conference. They announced the contest winners and participated in the Youth Collection. For the past few years NE Florida had two very active FWAYouth groups, one in Jacksonville and the other in Fernandina Beach. Unfortunately, the group leaders had to move on and we're looking for one or two good people willing to work with young writers. Contact me if you're interested.
  • It's that time of year again when those wacky writers attempt to write a novel in a month. The National Novel Writing initiative known as NaNoWriMo is off and running. Sign up and track your progress here.
  • Did you know FWA is producing a series of webinars covering topics of importance to writers? The next one is set for November 14 on "Maximizing Your Production." Click here for details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets this Saturday, November 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. The subject is human trafficking. The speakers from the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m. at the West Regional Branch Library. Romantic suspense author Lena Diaz (Avon and Harlequin Books) will present a workshop on writing an effective query letter. BTW, Lena will be the guest author at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program on Monday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m.

That's it for the celebratory month of November. Have a great month and an outstanding holiday.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The hunt for the real October

Somehow, the month of September was swiped from right under us. I've vowed to keep a close watch on October to insure it won't happen again. That shouldn't be difficult since we have many memorable happenings in October including FWA's 14th Annual Writers Conference, October 15-18, the Florida-Georgia game, and the start of the World Series later in the month. 

On the negative side, the weather gods promise more drought, floods, hurricanes and wildfires in the next thirty days, and there's a chance our government might shut down this month. 

But all is not doom and gloom since October brings us many reasons to celebrate, including National Sausage Pizza Day on October 11, and National Chocolate Cupcake Day on October 18. I'm definitely marking my calendar for both of those days.

These area writers also have reason to celebrate as they've recently published books:

  • Nancy Quatrano, writing as N. L. Quatrano, has released the first in her Point and Shoot Mystery Series, Murder in Black & White
  • Kathryn J. Bain has published her short suspense story, Small Town Terror, on
  • Judith and Allen White have published a joint memoir, Autumns of Our Joy, A Memoir of Romance, Stem Cells, and Rebirth
  • Raffaela Marie Rizzo has published her first novel, Thank You for the Shoes
  • Mark Johnson has published, Encountering God, a chronicle of his parents courtship letters
  • Joan North has published Fragments of Grace
Congratulations to all of the newly published authors. Keep them coming.

And here's what October offers for NE Florida FWA meetings:
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear group leader Gregg Golson discuss "How to Hook Your Readers on the First Page."
  • There will be no meeting of the Ancient City Writers on October 17 since the date is in conflict with the FWA Conference. They'll return on November 21 with novelist and public relations guru Ron Whittington discussing social media.
  • The Clay County Writers assemble on Wednesday, October 21 at 6::15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Group leader Maureen Jung has all the latest info.
  • Nassau County's Writers by the Sea returns to the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach for their October 22nd meeting, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Contact Nadine Vaughan for more details.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • Freelance editor and writer Kimberly Smith is the featured speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, October 24, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. Kimberly calls her workshop, "Confessions of a Freelance Editor: Lessons I've Learned that Can Save You Time and Money." 
In other news:
  • It's not too late to register for this month's FWA Writer's Conference. You may register for the entire conference, including the Celebrity Workshop with thriller writer John Gilstrap and the RPLA Banquet, or pick and choose your days. Visit this page for all the details.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets this Saturday, October 3, at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Branch Library on Deerwood Park Blvd. to hear from DEA members fighting the flow of drugs into this country.
  • UNF's OLLI program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) continues its series for writers and readers next Monday, October 5 with novelist Laura Lee Smith. Her topic is "Story, Story, Story: How to Create Compelling Narrative Structure." On Monday, October 12, Nancy Quatrano talks next about "Writing Outside the Lines: Genre Short Stories and Collaborative Writing." St. Augustine poet Mary Deno-Yeck is next on Monday, October 19, and her topic is "The Art of Science in Poetry: Biology, Chemistry, Physics." Finally, all three writers, along with Vic DiGenti, who kicked off the series on Monday, will appear together in a panel discussion on October 26. All of the presentations begin at 11:30 a.m. at UNF's University Center. Visit the OLLI website for more information.
  • First Coast Romance Writers welcomes RITA Award-winning romance writer Karen Rose for two workshops on Saturday, October 10, starting at 11:00 a.m. at the West Regional Branch Library on Chaffee Road. Karen will first present, "Sidekickin' It Up," a look at the secondary characters, and then "Creating Chillin' Villains."
  • In partnership with the Fernandina Little Theatre, the Amelia Island Book Festival presents an interactive Murder Mystery Dinner on October 24 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island. Click here for reservations and details.
  • The Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program presents Rosamond Parrish discussing her book, Lincolnville, A Sketchbook Journal of St. Augustine's Historic Neighborhood, on Monday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Maria Geraci was last week's speaker at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting talking about "Writing Faster & Writing Better." Her personal goal is to write three to four books a year, but it brought to mind something Raymond Chandler once said, 

"The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them."

And Stephen King seems to agree since one of his 20 rules of writing states "The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season."

Until next time, write fast and enjoy the month of October,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director for NE Florida

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Make it a September to remember

I've heard from several people recently who have either launched a new book—Janie Wilkins (Let's Roll: Granma Janie Rocks), or are in the process of launching—Mike Walsh (Ocean Beach) and Perry Smith (If God Isn't Merciful We're All Screwed). I'm sure there are others I haven't heard from, and if you'll let me know I'll give you props in the next blog post. The point is now is the best time to join Janie, Mike and Perry as published authors—or at least set a deadline goal for publication.

To help you get motivated, consider attending one or more of NE Florida's FWA chapter meetings.

  • The River City Writers will gather on Tuesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Contact Gregg Golson for meeting details.
  • If you dig researching your books, you'll love what Environmental Crimes Detective Robert Dews has to say about "Finding Magnolia Lake State Park," Wednesday, September 15 at the Clay County Writers meeting. Working with the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Mr. Dews became interested in researching the history of this little-known county park, one of several statewide segregated for African-Americans. He says "I enjoy discovering and learning about the past," and you'll enjoy this meeting at the Orange Park Library starting at 6:15 p.m. on the 15th.
  • Join Nassau County's Writers by the Sea, Thursday, September 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Fernandina Beach Library. Nadine Vaughan-Williams has more information.
  • Get to know your Kindle at the Saturday, September 19 meeting of Ancient City Writers, 10:15 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Pat Gaydos, a Kindle workshop teacher, will show us how to use the many Kindle apps to help us write, edit and research better. Pat will do an extensive show-and-tell in her program titled, "The Kindle and the Writer."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • Maria Geraci writes contemporary romance and women's fiction—and she writes fast. Having more product on the bookshelves is a definite advantage, and she'll share her secrets to "Writing Faster, Writing Better" at this month's meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers, Saturday, September 26, 10:30 a.m. at thePonte Vedra Library.

And there's more:

  • Reduced pricing for the FWA Conference ends on September 13, so now is a good time to register for what promises to be an excellent conference, October 15 - 18 at the Hilton Orlando in Altamonte Springs. Information and registration info can be found here. And don't forget the the Florida Writers Foundation Celebrity Workshop on Thursday, October 15 with award-winning thriller writer John Gilstrap. John's topic is "Adrenaline Rush: How to Write Suspense Fiction."
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival Writers Conference kicks off on Thursday, September 24 with critique workshops led by Elizabeth Sims and Sohrab Homi Fracis. Friday's workshop schedule includes a wide range of workshops by professionals, including literary agents Jeff and Deborah Herman, a keynote luncheon with Robert Macomber, and a post conference reception. Click here for more information and registration.
  • There still may be time to become a vendor in the FH Book Fest's Saturday Marketplace. Check it out here.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Del Kiernan-Lewis. Saturday, September 5, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library. Del will talk about how to "Boost Your Creativity."
  • Novelist, short story writer and creative writing professor John Dufresne returns to the First Coast on Saturday, October 3 for a full day seminar on "Writing the Novel" at Flagler College. Early bird pricing has been extended to September 15. More details and registration here.
  • Frances Keiser and Jane Wood present "How to Start a Self-Publishing Company," Tuesday, October 13, 6:00 p.m. at UNF as part of the colleges Continuing Education program. More info here.
  • Steve Berry has been named the Honorary Chair of the 2016 Amelia Island Book Festival, February 18 - 20. They'll host a murder mystery gourmet dinner on Saturday, October 24. Check it out.
  • Fans of bestselling novelist Charles Martin can hear him talk about his latest bestseller, Water from My Heart, Monday, September 21, 6:30 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program. It's free and open to the public.
  • Jennifer Ashley is a prolific romance writer with 83 novels and novellas in print. She'll be the featured guest author at the First Coast Romance Writers meeting, Saturday, October 12, at the Jacksonville West Regional Library on Chaffee Road. Jennifer will present two workshops, the first at 11:00 a.m., "Being a Hybrid Writer in Today's Marketplace," the second at noon is on "Building a Series."
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers hold its annual conference, "Dream Up a Story," September 25-26 at the Hampton Inn, St. Augustine Beach. Click here for details.
  • On a personal note, I want to thank Dianne Ell, the longtime Ancient City Writers chapter co-leader for her many years of service to FWA and writers in our community. Dianne and her family have moved to SW Florida where she plans to devote more time to her writing. The group is in good hands with Judy Weber, Nancy Quatrano and others in charge, but I know you join me in wishing Dianne well in her new home.
Since I began this post by touting new book launches, I'll indulge in a little BSP (Blatant Self Promotion). The Prometheus Saga was a project by 12 award-winning authors, including my alter ego, Parker Francis. Four of us are in the running as RPLA finalists, including one for my short story, "The Strange Case of Lord Byron's Lover." Each of us wrote stories based on a single SF premise, and published them digitally as individual short stories. On September 20 the print edition of the anthology containing all the stories in one collection will become available. And shortly after that we'll launch the anthology as an ebook. Look for The Prometheus Saga coming soon.

As it turns out, September is a month overflowing with writerly events. Let's see how the rest of the fall turns out.

Enjoy the writing life,


Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis)
FWA Regional Director

Saturday, August 01, 2015

"Do you know where you're going?"

Years ago I was a volunteer go-fer at an ATP exhibition match where the guest of honor was none
other than Arthur Ashe. I had the honor to drive the tennis star to the airport afterwards, having been warned that Mr. Ashe wasn't much of a conversationalist.  Ashe kept busy in the back seat reading through a stack of papers he retrieved from his briefcase, looking up on occasion to see where were —which was running late for his flight. At one point I took a wrong turn and had to double back. After not saying a word for thirty minutes, Ashe finally spoke up, asking me, "Do you know where you're going?"

This is a question I often ask myself these days as I do periodic assessments of my progress as a writer and member of the human race. I'm not sure I'm ever happy with the answer, but it's still a good question to ask ourselves from time to time. If you don't like where you're going, there's always time to change directions.

Which we'll do now as we review what's in store for our FWA meetings this month.

  • The River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month, August 11, at 7:00 p.m. in Room D of the SE Branch Library. Group Leader Gregg Golson will speak on the important topic of revision, "How I Polish My Manuscript."
  • Backstory is on the menu at the Ancient City Writers chapter, Saturday, August 15. They meet at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library, US1 and San Carlos, to hear from Nancy Quatrano discuss "The Scoop on Backstory: 10 Tips to Develop and Use it More Effectively." Nancy is a content editor and writer who will tell us how the correct use of backstory can boost your characters from average to riveting.
  • The Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, August 19 at the Orange Park Library at 6:15 p.m. Contact Maureen Jung for more details.
  • Writers by the Sea of Fernandina Beach return to their summer meeting venue of the newly refurbished Fernandina Beach Library on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Members of the Playwrite Group will give a presentation called "Conversations with a Script." Group leader Nadine Vaughan-Williams has more information.
  • Central Florida author Jeanne Moon Farmer has constructed a life with many accomplishments, including 35 years as a teacher, grant writer, and editor—not to mention her three novels and one nonfiction book. Jeanne steps on the stage at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, August 22 to talk about what she's learned in "This Writing Life." The theme of her talk is "How to do what you love and love what you do." My thanks to Kimberly Smith for filling in for me at last month's meeting, but I'll be there to greet you on the 22nd at the Ponte Vedra Library at 10:30 a.m. The coffee will be hot and waiting to be poured.
  • FWA affiliate, the First Coast Christian Writers, meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Library.
But wait, there's more:
  • The Florida Authors & Publishers Association Conference is this coming weekend, August 7 - 8 at the Hilton Orlando in Lake Buena Vista.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival kicks off on Thursday, September 24 with the Writers Conference starting with a day of critique workshops. Friday presenters include Elizabeth Sims, Mark Powell, Darlyn Finch Kuhn, Jane Wood, Harrison Scott Key, literary agents Jeff and Deborah Herman and a luncheon keynote by Robert Macomber. Read more and register  by clicking here
  • One of the benefits of joining FWA is adding to your publishing credits by submitting an article for FWA's magazine, The Florida Writer. If you're already a member, you should have received  the August issue. It's crammed with outstanding articles and features, including a summary of the results of the mini-conference survey. One of the popular location choices for 2016 was St. Augustine, so on Saturday, February 27, FWA will present a one-day mini-conference in the Ancient City. It will be held at the Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College. Watch for more details as they develop.
  • In the meantime, if you haven't registered for the annual FWA Conference, now is as good a time as any. The conference, October 15 - 18, has moved to the Hilton Orlando-Altamonte Springs. The conference offers a wealth of workshops and more sessions than ever. Agents, acquisition editors and film producers will be on hand to hear your latest project. Check it out here.
  • The Women's Industry Network has extended an invitation to local authors to participate in an Author's Showcase on Friday, August 7 at Suite at St. Johns Town Center. There is no fee to participate, and authors will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their books. Tables and chairs are provided. If interested, contact Myesha Jones at for a registration form.
Time to sign off, but I wish I'd remembered J.R.R. Tolkien's wise words from The Fellowship of the Ring when Arthur Ashe asked me if I knew where I was going. The master of the Ring said, "Not all who wander are lost." That makes me feel much better.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director