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

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