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

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Celebrate the sweltering month of July

As a kid (back in the paleozoic era) I looked forward to the 4th of July as being the landmark holiday of summer vacation. Today, the day holds special meaning because it's my wedding anniversary, but it still makes me nostalgic for those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

I know this certifies me as an official member of the Oldtimers Club, so let's move on. Even though the temperatures are inching toward the 100 degree mark, we can still sit in our air conditioned homes and pound away at the keyboard. Let's hope you're making progress on your writing project, whatever it might be. And to help you stay motivated, why not attend one of this month's FWA meetings here in NE Florida?
  • The River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14. Author and editor Howard Denson will tell us how to polish and simonize our final draft until it shines. For more information, contact group leader Gregg Golson.
  • Tim Gilmore returns to the Clay County Writers group meeting on Wednesday, July 15 at the Orange Park Library. Be there at 6:15 p.m to hear Tim present, "Writing as Listening to the Landscape." Tim is a UNF professor and well-known Jacksonville storyteller.
  • Writers by the Sea celebrates the summer by moving from the Amelia Island History Museum to the newly renovated Fernandina Beach Library. The meeting is set for Thursday, July 16 with a social gathering at 6:00 p.m. and the program at 6:30. Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis) is the guest speaker that evening, and I'll present "Great Beginnings: That All Important First Page." Find out why your first sentence, first paragraph, first page can make or break your book.
  • Moving on to St. Johns County on Saturday, July 18, you can attend the Ancient City Writers chapter meeting, which starts at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Author Chris Berman provides insights into "Writing the Action-Adventure Hero." Chris said he will focus on the setting, plot formula, and persona of the action hero.
  • The Ponte Vedra Writers meet at the PV Library on Saturday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m. to hear from two authors who happen to be mother and daughter. Leslie Talley is the author of three mysteries, and her daughter, Terri Talley Venters, has penned five novels with two more on the way. Their presentation is titled, "Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from My Mother," and the duo will talk about their writing journeys and provide writing tips they've learned along the way.
  • FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library. 
And in other news ...

  • Award-winning SF author Sandra MacDonald presents a writing workshop for Florida Sisters in Crime on Saturday, July 11. The meeting starts at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • The Florida Authors & Publishers Association will hold its annual conference August 7 - 8 at the Hilton Orlando in Lake Buena Vista (the same hotel where the 14th annual FWA Conference will be held in October. Visit the FAPA website for details.
  • And while you're at it, go ahead and register for the FWA Conference, October 15 - 18.  Last month I inadvertently provided the link to register for the FAPA conference hotel at a $119 nightly rate instead of the FWA Conference. You'll be glad to know the room rate for the FWA Conference is only $99 per night. 
  • The quarterly meeting of North Florida Writers is Saturday, July 11 at noon in the conference room of Riverside's VyStar Credit Union. The group will hear from Melissa Kosciuszko (aka M.S. Kaye), the author of six books with three different publishers. Melissa is the recipient of three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and is a 4th degree Black Belt and certified Taekwondo instructor. She's also co-leader of the River City Writers.
  • FWA is hosting a book signing event limited to only 50 authors. The event will be held on May 1, 2016 in Altamonte Springs. Tables are $100. If you're interested, click here for more details.

And that will do it for the month of July. Check the FWA NE Florida Facebook page to keep current, and stay safe during the upcoming holiday. I'll leave you with an appropriate Mark Twain quote.

"Many public-school children seem to know only two dates: 1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don't know what happened on either occasion."


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Monday, June 01, 2015

June 2015 FWA Post

Although the first day of summer is still three weeks away, Nat King Cole's 1963 hit, "Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer" comes to mind. For those of you younger folks scratching your heads and wondering who Nat King Cole might be, please ask Mr. Google. But don't get too lazy because June offers many opportunities for writers to get involved. So let's start with scheduled FWA meetings in NE Florida:

  • Joyce Williams Davidson is the guest speaker at the meeting of River City Writers on Tuesday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Library. Joyce, a retired teacher, has published three historical novels, short stories and poems. Her topic is ""You Are What You Write," and she asks the question, "What is the legacy you're leaving?"
  • Clay County Writers welcome Howard Denson, author, former humanities professor, and editor, to the Wednesday, June 17 meeting at the Orange Park Library. Howard will speak on "How to Polish Your Draft: Simonize or Turtle Wax?" Howard will tell you how to correct the most common mistakes before you turn it over to someone else to read and turn them off. The meeting begins at 6:15 p.m.
  • Writers by the Sea will gather at the Amelia Island History Museum, 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 18. Cheyenne Knopf, marketing director for presents, "Book Production 101," and will walk us through the various stages of book production, the choices authors need to make about paper, printing and binding options.
  • Award-winning author Elizabeth Sinclair presents, "Dialogue and How it Works" at the Saturday, June 20 meeting of Ancient City Writers. They meet at St. Augustine's Main library at 10:00 a.m.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • Marketing and publishing consultant RaffaelaMarie Fenn takes center stage at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, June 27 at 10:30 a.m. Her topic is "Marketing Matters: Seven Steps to Getting Your Book into Readers Hands." Marie serves as President of Ottima Group and its subsidiary, Giro di Mondo Publishing Services. She's also the new president of the Amelia Island Book Festival. In her workshop, Marie will show you how to write an actionable marketing plan, unearth your own unique brand, and discover audience segments to help your book sales. 

But wait, there's more!

  • New York Times best-selling author Mary Kay Andrews appears at Jacksonville's Main Library downtown at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2nd. If you miss her there, she'll be at The BookMark in Neptune Beach the next evening, June 3rd at 7:00 p.m. along with another bestselling author, Mary Alice Monroe. 
  • On Saturday, June 6, Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Robert Lassiter, Senior Investigator, Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The group meets at 10:15 a.m. at the Southeast Regional Library.
  • The Masters Review is holding a short story contest for emerging writers (no published novels) with a $2,000 grand prize. No theme, up to 6,000 words. Click here for submission info.
  • The annual FWA Conference has found a new hone at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Walt Disney World Resort. The $119 room rate is good for three nights before and three nights after the conference, so you might consider adding an extra day or two and bringing the family. But you must make your reservations by July 16. Here's the link for reservations, and click here for conference details.
  • Ancient City Romance Authors welcome Jennifer Fusco, author of Market or Die: A Down & Dirty Guide to Marketing Your Book, as their speaker at the Saturday, June 27 meeting. There's a BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) gathering at 12:30 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Library, followed by Jennifer's presentation at 1:00 p.m.
  • The BookMark in Neptune Beach has been serving book lovers for nearly twenty-five years under the ownership of Rona Brinlee. Her independent bookstore has developed a national reputation for hosting major authors and recommending books on NPR. Rona will be the guest speaker at the Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program, Monday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. She'll talk about some of the best summer reads, and what's coming up at The BookMark.
  • FWA's final mini-conference of the year is Saturday, June 27 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. Tracks include Effective Writing Tools, How to Make Money Writing, and How to Land an Agent. Visit the FWA website for more details.
And that should get your summer of to a fast start. Enjoy these lazy, hazy, crazy days and keep writing.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FWA May 2015 Post

We're about to enter the fifth month of 2015, with summer approaching full steam (and humidity) ahead. Let's see what's on the radar screen for the merry month of May.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers are double-dipping this month. On Saturday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. visit the Ponte Vedra Library to hear Rik Feeney ask the probing question, "Audiobooks: Have You Heard the Latest?" Rik was set to present this workshop last week, but because of a scheduling snafu it was rescheduled to the first Saturday in May. Rik graciously altered his schedule to accommodate us, so please return the favor and come out to hear the latest on how you can turn your project into an audiobook. Another Ponte Vedra Writers meeting is set for May 23. Look for details at the end of this list.
  • River City Writers gather on Tuesday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Ask Gregg Golson for details. 
  • Florida Sisters in Crime President Susan Kiernan-Lewis is the guest speaker at the Ancient
    City Chapter
    of FWA on Saturday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. Susan's topic is "How to Successfully Market Your Ebook." She'll review what works and what doesn't, and provide tips for driving more sales. Susan is a former advertising copywriter with four book series across three popular genres.
  • Clay County writers meet on Wednesday, May 20, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Contact Maureen Jung for more information. 
  • May is a great time to visit historic Fernandina Beach with a stop at the Amelia Island Museum of History on Thursday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. That's when the Writers by the Sea meet to hear "Build-A-Book: Many Authors, One Book." The presentation will be followed by group discussions.
  • FWA's Youth groups both meet the first and third Thursdays of the month. The Jax Youth Writers at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library, led by Kimberly Smith, and the Nassau County Youth Writers at the Peck Center in Fenandina Beach. Jim Weinsier is the leader of that group.
  • First Coast Christian Writers, an FWA affiliate, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Regional Library.
  • And we're back where we started at the Ponte Vedra Library where the FWA group will meet on Saturday, May 23 at 10:30 a.m. for a special program I'm calling "Thanks for the Memories." We'll hear from a panel of award-winning memoir writers about how they tackled their projects, and hear their suggestions for how best to write your own memoir. The panelists are Debbie Powers, John Tinny, and Kimberly Smith. 

  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes JSO Cold Case Investigators, Detectives Dennis Sullivan and Glen Warkentien to their Saturday, May 2nd meeting, which kicks off at 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library.
  • Two important FWA deadlines are approaching: The FWA Youth Collection is accepting submissions through April 30. The theme is "Do-Overs." And the Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition will close the doors on 2015 submissions on May 15. Read all about it here if you want to be included in the collection or win one of those cool trophies. 
  • FWA presents the Daytona Beach Mini-Conference covering historical fiction and Sci-Fi/Fantasy on Saturday, May 16 at the Grace Episcopal Church in Port Orange. Registration details here.
  • Deadline for the Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA) President's Book Awards is this Friday, May 1. Visit the FAPA website for details.
  • If you're in the Altamonte Springs area this Saturday, think about attending FWA's Writer's Nest Mini-Conference at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. Faculty will cover YA fiction, screenwriting, inspirational writing, and the craft of writing.
  • It's not too late to register for my Novel in a Day Workshop presented by the Florida Heritage Book Festival on Saturday, May 9 at Flagler College's Ringhaver Student Center in St. Augustine. The $95 registration fee includes morning coffee, a box lunch, and a 30-page workbook. Procrastinators who register at the door pay $115. Click here for all the details.
  • The Ponte Vedra Library's Book Talk Cafe program presents a mini book fair on Monday, May 18 featuring four area authors. Come by the library at 6:30 p.m. on the 18th to hear from and support authors Kathy Bain, Mark Reasoner, Ken Overman, and Mary Atwood. Each will discuss their writing journey and later sign books. A portion of all sales benefits the Friends of the Ponte Vedra Library.
And I'll leave you with these sage words from John Irving: "And I think what I've always recognized about writing is that I don't put much value in so-called inspiration. The value is in how many times you can redo something."

That's all, folks,

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Writers Are People Who Write

For years I had a sign over my desk that read WRITERS ARE PEOPLE WHO WRITE. It wasn't that I was linguistically challenged and required help defining the word "Writers." No, I admit to being a world class procrastinator, and the sign was a not so subtle reminder that unless I was actually writing I wasn't a writer, just a person with a wannabe writer. Sure, I could talk a good game about what I was planning to write, or convince myself I was in the research phase of my next book while I was reading or watching the squirrels frolic beneath the bird feeder. But unless I was writing, I was only a person who wanted to write.

Mystery novelist Elizabeth George may have said it best when she ascribed her success to "bum glue," the ability to keep your bum in the chair and write. Now that my bum is in the chair, I think I'd like to get on with writing this post.

Here's what's happening this month at our NE Florida FWA meetings:
  • Journalist and children's book author Stephen Kindland is the guest speaker at the April 14 meeting of the River City Writers. They'll gather at the SE Branch Library at 7:00 p.m. to hear Stephen share his experiences as a self-published author, providing specifics about the costs and pitfalls of hiring a publishing company versus the benefits of using a free self-publishing service. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • If you've ever been asked "Where do you get your story ideas?" then you'll want to hear what Michael Ray FitzGerald has to say on the subject. FitzGerald will speak at the April 15 meeting of Clay County Writers, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library, on the topic, "Spotting Good Story Ideas: They're Probably Right in Front of You." FitzGerald has written hundreds of articles for business journals and other publications on the topics of music, film and culture. Group leader Maureen Jung has more details. 
  • Writers by the Sea meet Thursday, April 16 at the Amelia Island Museum of History on 3rd Street in downtown Fernandina Beach. A social time starts at 6:00 with the meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Area thriller writer Chuck Barrett will speak on the topic of "Publishing Alternatives: What is Print-On-Demand?" A number of small support/critique groups will meet following the presentation.
  • In what may be a first, having four FWA meetings in one week, the Ancient City Writers chapter meets on Saturday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library (corner of US 1 and San Carlos). Rik Feeney talks titles in this presentation he calls "Great Book Titles: Make Them Marketable and Memorable." Rik will tell us why your title is so important, and how to test its Internet impact.
  • POSTPONED TO SATURDAY, MAY 2ND   As though to prove you can't get enough of a good thing, Rik Feeney makes a return visit to the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting on Saturday, MAY 2. Come to the Ponte Vedra Library for the 10:30 a.m. meeting to hear Rik ask the burning question, "Audio Books — Have You Heard the Latest?" Rik will share the benefits of adding audiobooks to your product line, and how to do it yourself or even have a pro do it for nothing. Contact Vic DiGenti for more information about this meeting.
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly Smith has the details. 
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers also meet the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach at 4:45 p.m. Contact Jim Weinsier for more information. 
And now for the rest of the story:

  • FWA's 4th Annual Writer's Nest Mini-Conference is set for Saturday, April 25 at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. Workshops will cover screenwriting, writing the YA novel, POV, and taking your writing to the next level, among others. Click here for all the details.
  • April 30 is the deadline for both the FWA Collection and FWA Youth Collection. The 2015 Adult Collection, Volume 7, comes with the theme "Revisions, Stories of Starting Over" and will include 60 short pieces written by FWA members. Your submission may take the form of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. This year's Person of Renown, Marie Bostwick, will select her top ten favorites. The word limit is 1,200 words. Visit the webpage for all the entry guidelines.
  • The FWA Youth Collection, Volume 2, has a similar theme of "Starting Over." Click here for entry guidelines.
  • Submissions for the RPLA competitions close on May 15. Everything you ever wanted to know about this year's competition can be found right here.
  • Calling all mystery writers! There's a new mystery writers group in St. Augustine called Murder Ink, and they're searching for new members. They meet on the first Thursday of each month, 5:30 p. m. at the St. Johns County's SE Branch  Library on US 1 and SR 206. That's Thursday, April 2 this month. Contact Kurt McGill for more info.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, April 4 at 10:15 a.m. at the Jax SE Branch Library to hear Deputy Director Penelope Knox from the local branch of the U. S. Marshall's Service. Ms. Knox will explain the difference between reality and fiction as it pertains to the duties of the U. S. Marshall's Service.
  • Lynn Harlin kicks off another in her series of Shanty Boat Writers Workshops that will meet each Saturday afternoon from April 11 to May 16. The workshops are for both beginning and more seasoned writers, and run from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Contact Lynn for more info.
  • Nancy Quatrano, editor, author, writing coach, has put out double call for short story entries. The first is for Christmas stories to be included in Snowbird Christmas, Volume 3. Word count from 1,000 to 3,000 words, and stories may be either fiction or non-fiction, but must be heart warming and G rated. Deadline is April 18. The second call is for mysteries set on the East Coast, any state that touches the Atlantic Ocean. Word count from 1,500 to 3,500, and submission between June 10 and July 10. There is no entry fee. Contact Nancy at for more details.
  • Congratulations to Holly Bebernitz on the publication of Road to Briarwood, part two of the Magnolia Arms Chronicles. Holly will have a book launch party at Heavenly Chocolate Creations, 4251 Lenox Avenue, on Saturday, April 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Sounds tasty. 

And that's all the news for the month of April, 2015. Remember, Writers are people who write.

Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Monday, March 02, 2015

March forth or lose ground

"An artist is always out of step with his time. He has to be."
~ Orson Welles

It struck me that every time a book makes waves, thousands of writers try to ride the same wave, hoping to cash in on the flavor of the month. It happened with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and most recently with Fifty Shades of Grey. But as Orson Welles reminds us, we need to create our own waves and not march in lockstep. Find your own voice and maybe others will be emulating your success.

Sermon over. Time to march on with the calendar of outstanding events this month ... and more.
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Kimberly Smith has more information.
  • And in Fernandina Beach, the Nassau County Youth Writers also meet on the first and third Thursdays at the Peck Center at 4:45 p.m. Contact Jim Weinsier for details.
  • River City Writers meet on Tuesday, March 10 at the SE Branch Library off Gate Parkway. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. and the guest speaker is screenwriter Kelly Fogwell. Her topic is "How to Use Screenwriting Techniques to Strengthen Fiction Writing." Kelly has taught screenwriting at the college level, and has some great tips for writers of fiction. Contact Gregg Golson for more information.
  • Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, March 18, 6:15 p.m. at the Orange Park Library, 2054 Plainfield Avenue. Group leader Maureen Jung has the details. 
  • Writers by the Sea will gather on Thursday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. Barbara Bond will present "The Writing Guide for the 21st Century: Do You Need It?"
  • Novelist Arliss Ryan takes the spotlight for the Ancient City Writers meeting on Saturday, March 21, 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library. Arliss will share her secrets for turning historical research into astounding fiction no reader can resist.
  • A visit to the Ponte Vedra Library on Saturday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. will bring you to the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting. We welcome editor, writer, and writing coach Mary Ann de Stefano speaking on "From First to Final Draft: Opening the Door." Mary Ann, who edits FWA's official magazine, The Florida Writer, will talk about the various stages of manuscript development, when to go it alone, and when to share your work in progress. 

And in other news:
  • FWA's next mini-conference is on Saturday, March 21 in Plantation, FL in S. Florida. The dual theme of the conference is building suspense and writing female characters. Here's the link for more information. I'm presenting a new workshop on writing thrillers in the morning, and will join Jade Kerrion and Kim Campbell in the afternoon to answer a few questions about how I approach writing my female characters (very carefully). This should be a good one if you'd like to make a weekend of it in sunny S. Florida.
  • The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is open for submissions through May 15. The deadline for early bird fees was last Saturday, so you (and I) will now pay $40 per entry rather than $30. Still, that's better than $60 per entry fee which kicks in on May 1st.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets on Saturday, March 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Branch Library, to hear from an arson investigator from the Florida Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigators.
  • NY Times bestselling author Steve Berry will debut his new thriller, The Patriot Game at a fundraiser for the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library on Thursday, March 26. A reception will precede Steve's presentation and Q & A session, followed by a booksigning. The event takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $100 per person, which includes a copy of the book. Contact Bob Nawrocki at 904-825-2333 for more information.
  • Ancient City Romance Writers welcome Salt Run Publishing's Kellie Sharpe as their speaker to their Saturday, March 28 meeting. She will present, "Marketing & Promotion for Authors Who Break Out in a Cold Sweat." The meeting is at 1:00 p.m. at the South Mandarin Branch Library. 
  • Laura Hampton of The St. Augustine Record is looking for a few good freelancers. She's particularly interested in articles on food, health and wellness, gardening and outdoor living, local residents and local charitable organizations and/or religion. If interested, contact Laura at
  • From time to time I'm asked when I'm going to present my Novel in a Day workshop again in our area. It's been more than a year since my last one in Jacksonville, but now I've teamed up with the Florida Heritage Book Festival & Writers Conference to present one as a benefit for the organization. The date is Saturday, May 9 at the Gamache-Koger Student Center at Flagler College. Registration is $89 through April 20, $95 from April 21 to May 1, and $115 at the door. The fee includes a box lunch and a 30-page workbook. Click here for information and registration.
And that's all the news that fits. Don't forget to march to the beat of your own drummer.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Short Month-Full Schedule

In celebration of yesterday's Groundhog Day, I'm repeating my call to attend one of the following FWA meetings this month.

  • Tuesday, February 10 is the date for the next meeting of the River City Writers group. They'll assemble at the SE Branch Library at 7:00 p.m. to hear from group co-leader Melissa Kosciuszko who will speak on her journey to traditional publication. There will be group critiques after Melissa's talk. Questions? Direct them to Gregg Golson at
  • The Clay County Writers meet Wednesday, February 18, 6:5 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Contact group leader Maureen Jung for details.
  • Writers By the Sea (formerly the Amelia Island Writers) will meet an hour earlier this month due to the kickoff of the Amelia Island Book Festival. They'll gather at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 19 at the Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. Third Street in Fernandina Beach, to hear group chairperson, Nadine Vaughan Williams present, "Writers in the Storm: Novel Approaches for Turbulent Times."
  • There will be no meeting of the Ancient City Writers group this month since their meeting room has been requisitioned for tax preparation sessions. They will return on Saturday, March 21 with a program on historical research by author Arliss Ryan.
  • Ponte Vedra Writers group leader Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis) presents "The Suspense is
    Killing Me," at the Saturday, February 28 meeting. The group meets at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. If you're looking for ways to build more suspense into your stories, this workshop will share some of the secrets bestselling authors—and the late "Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock—use to keep the reader in a constant state of anticipation. 
  • The Jax Youth Writers meet on the first and third Thursday of each month  at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library. Contact Kimberly Smith for more information.
  •  Nassau County Youth Writers also meet on the first and third Thursdays, though they meet at 4:45 p.m. at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach. Jim Weinsier has details.
  • And finally, FWA affiliate, First Coast Christian Writers gather at Webb-Wesconnett Library each Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
But wait, there's more:

  • Florida Sisters in Crime welcome Donald Knight CIV NCIS to help separate fact from fiction. They meet at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library
  • The next FWA mini-conference is set for Saturday, February 14 at the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore. The Annual Day at the Bay Conference has two tracks: romance and writing about fighting. Visit the FWA website for more information about this and the other 2015 mini-conferences,
  • Speaking of FWA, the RPLA competition is now open for submissions through May 15. It's time to get your best writing out there for judging by your peers. You can't win if you don't enter. Be aware that FWA has instituted a tiered entry fee this year ranging from $30 per entry through February 28, increasing to $40 through the end of April, and jumping to $60 per entry May 1 to May 15. The early bird gets more than a worm, it saves money. Click here for competition guidelines and details.
  • The Friends of St. Augustine's Main Library present "Murder at the Library," a fundraiser, on Sunday, February 22 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and all are invited. For more information, contact Branch Manager Valerie Mull at 904-827-6940, or FOL President Toni Siriani.
  • The Amelia Island Book Festival, February 19 - 21, kicks off Thursday night with a concert by musician/author Zara Phillips, and continues with writing workshops, a Teen Fest, and the VyStar Reader's Luncheon featuring keynoter Carolyn Curry.
  • Sleuthfest 2015, February 26-March 1, has an all star cast this year, including James Patterson, Dave Barry, and James W. Hall.
  • Write On! The 2015 Writers Conference and Book Fair at South Florida State College, Friday, September 27 in Avon Park. A full day of workshops and a book fair for authors. Contact me for more information.
  • For you history lovers out there, particularly history of Florida, the St. Johns County Public Library System has selected Les Standiford's book, Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean (in the running for the worlds longest book title) as this year's St. Johns One Community, One Book Program. Standiford will be here to discuss his book on Saturday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. at the St. Johns County Auditorium in the County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian Way, St. Augustine. As part of the month-long celebration, all  of the branch libraries will have special programs. The Ponte Vedra Library welcomes Dr. Thomas Graham on Monday, February 23, 6:30 p.m., to discuss his book, Henry Flagler's St.   Augustine
  • The Ancient City Romance Writers meet Saturday, February 28 (a popular date for meetings and events, it seems) to hear Elizabeth Sinclair discuss "The Dreaded Synopsis." They meet at 1:00 p.m. at Generation Next Christian Teen Center, 12650 Gillespie Avenue in Jacksonville. 
  • And this just in: Harper Lee's second book will be published this July. Go Set a Watchman is the title of the book she completed in the 1950s and never published. Of course, we all know Ms. Lee as the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, her only published novel to date.

It's a short month, but it's crammed with meetings, conferences and special events. Be sure to put aside time to keep writing. And if you haven't already, please Follow this page.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director