Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April in NE Florida

It looks like spring has finally sprung here in NE Florida. Time to jump into another month of FWA meetings and other announcements for writers.
  • River City Writers meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. You may contact group leader Gregg Golson for details of the April 12 meeting.
  • There's a double header of FWA meetings on Saturday, April 16. Due to meeting room conflicts at the Ponte Vedra Library, the regular fourth Saturday meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers has been moved to April 16, dueling with the Ancient City Writers in St. Augustine. Sorry about the conflict, but you have two very different programs to choose from. Keep reading to learn the details.
  • The Ancient City Writers meets at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library to hear from Rik Feeney who will present, "Offline Marketing for Online Success." Rik will show you how to develop a marketing plan to create word of mouth campaigns,  and how to use your book as a business card.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers also meet on April 16, but at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. The guest speaker is Howard Denson, writer, editor, blogger and former professor of English-Humanities at Florida State College. Howard's talk is titled, "The Evolving Defaults of the Novel." He explains, "Just as computer programs have certain settings or defaults (i.e., rules that enable programs to work in a certain way) the writer has to discover what settings work for a novel, especially in the areas of Point of View, Voice, and the requirements of the narrative ethos." We'll be in the smaller PGA Tour meeting room this month, so come early to get a seat.
  • The Clay County Writers gather at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 at the Orange Park Library. Group leader Maureen Jung will have more information.
  • Writers by the Sea meets at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach on Thursday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. The guest speaker is author and historian Berta Arias, who will discuss the exhaustive research she did for her novel Mango Rain. The book is set in Cuba and starts with the Cuban revolution when twin sisters are separated as infants, but find each other many years later as adults. This is a timely topic considering recent events.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Branch Library.
And in other news:
  • Florida Sisters in Crime will hear from FBI Jacksonville Division Special Agent in Charge Michelle Klimt this Saturday, April 2 at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Brach Library. SAC Klimt leads the Jacksonville Division, which encompasses all investigative efforts in a 40-county area. She'll talk about the FBI's work to protect American citizens here and abroad.
  • FWA's Writer's Nest Mini-Conference is scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, the same hotel where the annual conference was held last fall. The conference offers a mix of full day and half day workshops for writers of every level of professionalism. An added bonus for you poets out there is Peter Meinke, Florida's Poet Laureate, will hold a workshop. Click here for registration and more information.
  • The day after the mini-conference, FWA hosts the 1st Annual Multi-Genre Book Signing at the Hilton Orlando hotel. Fifty authors will be on hand to talk about and sign their books. A VIP Brunch with authors and readers will be offered from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and the Book Fair runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Join me and 49 other authors on May 1. Details can be found here.
  • Riverside Arts Market will host its 4th Annual Local Authors Expo on Saturday, April 16. They're looking for local authors to join them for the day. The cost is $25 for a booth space. Contact Jennifer Paulk at to request a vendor application.
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers meets Saturday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library to hear from romantic suspense author Lorelei Confer who will discuss self editing. A Bring-Your-Own-Lunch gathering precedes the meeting at 12:00 noon.   
Author visits:
  • New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry returns to the Ponte Vedra Library on Wednesday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about his latest Cotton Malone thriller, The 14th Colony.
  • David Sibley, author/illustrator of the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America will be at The BookMark in Neptune Beach on Saturday, April 2 at 3:00 p.m.
And that's all the news for now. I hope to see you at one of our FWA meetings.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Into March

Happy Leap Day! We've been given an extra day this year, and I'll use it to get the word out to NE Florida writers about all the happenings in March and beyond. So let's get started.

  • River City Writers will meet Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Raffaela Marie Fenn, author of Thank You for the Shoes and a marketing communications consultant, will present "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves."
  • The Clay County Writers gather at the Orange Park Library on Wednesday, March 16. The time is 6:15 p.m. Subject: "So You Want to Write an Anthology: What Happens Behind the Scenes."  Author and life coach J Dianne Tribble shares lessons she learned creating an anthology and promoting her book projects.
  • Writers by the Sea meets on Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Professional Op Ed writer Bob Langert presents, "Writing the Op Ed," (think New York Times)
  • The Ancient City Writers chapter returns to St. Augustine's Main Library on Saturday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. The guest speaker is someone you may be familiar with, as he's none other than me. I have a new workshop I titled, "Changes in Latitude: Embrace Change to Cure Common Writing Problems." While this workshop won't cure your fear of snakes or the dark, it will go a long way to curing what's afflicting your ailing manuscript. Everyone welcome. No doctor's note necessary.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers are off this month due to early voting and other conflicts with the meeting rooms. Attend the March 19 Ancient City Writers instead. We'll return on Saturday, April 16 with Howard Denson talking about "The Evolving Defaults of the Novel."
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Branch Library.
And in other news ...
  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Paul Schlamm, formally of the National Transportation and Safety Board, to its March 5th meeting. The meeting starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Bartram Trail Branch Library on Davis Pond Blvd. in St. Johns.
  • If you missed Saturday's FWA mini-conference at the Flagler College student center, you missed a good one. But not to worry, there are other mini-conferences on the horizon, including the Writer's Nest Mini-Conference on Saturday, April 30 at the Hilton Orland/Altamonte Springs Hotel. This one covers writing for children, poetry, writing the short story and more. If you go, stick around for FWA's first Multi-Genre Book Signing the next day at the hotel. Fifty authors are participating, and the signing runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., but there's even more you can check out here.
  • FWA is accepting submissions for both the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition and the annual FWA Collection. This year's collection theme is Hide and Seek. Visit the FWA website for all the details. BTW, RPLA early bird fee ends today, with another increase due the end of April, so get your entry in early to save money. They've already received 114 entries, and if anyone is interested in being a judge for the competition, contact Chris Coward, RPLA Chairperson.
  • Nick Boothman, author of Write a $aleable Book hosts a weekend workshop this Friday through Sunday, March 4 - 6, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The price is $299 for the weekend with a 20% discount for FWA members. Call Lisa Broderick at 212-750-6493 for details or visit Nick's website.
  • Florida Authors & Publishers Association holds its annual FAPA Publishing University on Saturday, March 12 at Nova Southeastern University in Orlando. FAPA is also accepting submissions for the 2016 President's Awards.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcome Heather Ashby to their March 26 meeting, 1:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. Heather will speak on "Sh**ty First Drafts."
  • April is Poetry Month, and Hope at Hand, a non-profit providing art and poetry therapy to at-risk youth in Jacksonville, is hosting a poetry festival on Wednesday, April 6 in conjunction with Art Walk in downtown Jax. The festival will take place at Hemming Plaza Cafe. They're looking poetry people to run poetry workshops from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and anyone interested in performing during the festival,  from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. If interested, contact Steffani Fletcher.
  • And speaking of Poetry Month, two local poets, Bonny Sanders and Sharon Scholl, celebrate the release of their new books with readings and refreshments at the Jacksonville Beach Library, Saturday, April 2. Contact Bonny Sanders for more details.
Author's Visits:
  • Randy Wayne White returns to The BookMark on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. with his  latest Doc Ford thriller, Deep Blue
  • Harrison Scott Key's talks about growing up with a Bunyanesque father, and his uproarious and heartwarming memoir, The World's Largest Man at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program, Monday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. 
Take a leap into the next month or simply march forth, but have a good time doing it.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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