Subject: 7 Cruise and murder in desert, figurative language, and more (Write Stuff 1013)
From: Howard Denson <>
Date: 10/01/2013 01:57 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:;







Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System * Editor: Howard Denson * Oct. 2013



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In This Issue:


D.B. Barton builds an imaginary cruise ship in the desert and will tell NFW how to float its boat

Catherine Kean anchors workshop on figurative language and radio call-in parody on Oct. 12

Want to read an ebook but don’t have a Kindle or Nook ereader?

 ‘Faulkner meets Honey Boo-Boo’ in Maloy’s novel of the South

Levine takes ‘book trailers’ on the road with Oct. 16 talk for Clay Writers in Orange Park

BookMark greets writers who focus on working memory, tales of Turner and today

FWA news about meetings, contests, and workshops

Elvisology project still accepting submissions

Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — Mark Twain

The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson

Stuff from Hither and Yon

Writers Born This Month

NFW suspends dues indefinitely

Meetings of NFW and Other Groups

Useful Links

Need someone to critique a manuscript?

The Write Staff



D.B. Barton builds an imaginary

cruise ship in the desert and

will tell NFW how to float its boat


Mystery writer Diane B. Barton will speak to the North Florida Writers at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Webb Wesconnett Library (6887 103rd St., Jax 32210; 904.778.7305; corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard, to the east of I-295). The public is welcome to attend.


Ms. Barton says, “I fell in love with Las Vegas the first time I visited the city and decided that my hero also had to experience Sin City while working for Flagship Cruise Line. I then created a hotel that resembled an ocean-going vessel. They say, if you build it, they will come!”


The concept is not so far fetched. For example, tourists will find such a hotel in Indonesia ( ) and in South Korea ( ).


Barton’s newly married sleuths, Alec DunBarton and Paige Anderson, interrupt their romance to narrow down their field of suspects to six motley chefs competing on The Ship for a grand prize of $250,000.


Ms. Barton is originally from New York City but is now a resident of Jacksonville. She has a master’s degree in education (Social Studies) and loves to travel when not working on her next project.

The Singing Sleuth Mysteries from Usher Press can be purchased at local bookstores and online in print and in all e-book formats. The series includes “The Singing Sleuth Takes a Bow” (2015), “The Singing Sleuth Does Vegas” (2013), “The Singing Sleuth Crosses the Pond” (2011), “The Singing Sleuth Goes Home” (2009), “The Singing Sleuth Returns” (2007), and “The Singing Sleuth” (2005, 2012).


For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 10 double-spaced TYPED pages of prose, and reasonable amounts of poetry or lyrics). Authors may not defend their work, but they may attach questions they would like answered (e.g., “Is the scene on the beach convincing?”). Authors should listen to the words and rhythms of their creations.


Future meeting dates and locales:


Nov. 9 – noon until 3 p.m., VyStar Credit Union (Riverside) – Speaker: Tim Gilmore, “Capturing Ottis Toole on Paper”

Dec. 14 – 2 p.m., Webb Wesconnett – Speaker: Joyce Davidson, “Gestures in Life and Narratives”

Jan. 11 – 2 p.m., Webb Wesconnett – Speaker: Dorothy Fletcher, “Local History: Lost Restaurants of Jacksonville



Catherine Kean anchors workshop

on figurative language

and radio call-in parody on Oct. 12


The First Coast Romance Writers will hear an award-winning author at their meeting on Oct. 12 at the West Regional Library (1425 Chaffee Rd. S., halfway between I-10 and Normandy Boulevard).
Catherine Kean will conduct a workshop on figurative language beginning at 10:30 a.m. and then participate in a parody of a radio call-in show for writers.


Catherine Kean has always loved tales of heroic knights and stubborn damsels.  She penned her first novella at age twelve and her first full-length manuscript at sixteen.

After completing a B.A., double major (first class), in English and History from the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada, she was accepted into the post-graduate Works of Art Course run by Sotheby's auctioneers in London, England, where she studied centuries of history, antiques, and fine art.  She worked in Canada for several years as an antique and fine art appraiser.


Her debut medieval historical romance, Dance of Desire, was the launch title of Medallion Press' Sapphire Jewel Imprint.  Dance of Desire won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Best Medieval in industry review magazine Affaire de Coeur’s 2006 Reader-Writers’ Poll, and finaled in four contests for published romance novelists.


Her other medieval romances have also garnered accolades.  Among them, My Lady's Treasure, won the historical category of the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest and finaled in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  A Knight’s Reward was a 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards finalist.

Ms. Kean also writes contemporary romances as
Cate Lord.  Her romantic comedy Lucky Girl was released in trade paperback and eBook by Entangled Publishing in September 2011.

Busy working on her next novel, she lives in Central Florida with her husband, daughter, and two very spoiled rescue cats. 


In her workshop on figurative language, she will emphasize that a strong, unique writing voice is crucial to selling and staying sold in today’s publishing world. Ms. Kean will help define voice and show authors how to use figurative language to enrich one’s characters and stories, using examples and a short written exercise.


In the afternoon, Ms. Kean will join T. Elliott Brown and Caro Carson on WPUB: The Radio Show for Writers Who Want to Know. Using a talk show radio format with commercial parodies and phone-in callers, four critique partners who have experience as authors and editors in traditional (Big Six), digital/small press, and indie (self) publishing answer the hard questions for writers interested in exploring all their publishing options.  Current income numbers and production costs will be provided to help authors judge what one can expect to spend and realistically earn in all formats.


The author’s website is The phone number for the library is 904.693.1448.


Want to read an ebook

but don’t have

a Kindle or Nook ereader?


Most readers are still relying on old-fashioned books (which don’t need batteries), but they may still feel unsettled when an ebook arrives. They don’t have a Kindle, Nook, or a generic readers. What are they to do?

Rick Maloy has a recommendation: “For those who prefer electronic books, but don't have a stand-alone e-reader, you can turn your PC, Mac, tablet, phone, whatever, into an e-reader by downloading an app.” The Kindle app from Amazon is available by clicking the following link:


For the Barnes&Noble Nook, this link should do the trick:


Maloy says that other e-readers (like Sony) will have instructions on their websites on how to get the app onto your preferred machine. (Scroll down in this newsletter to see a book by Maloy that [hint, hint] you might be interested in.)




‘Faulkner meets Honey Boo-Boo’

In Maloy’s novel of the South


Rick Maloy’s novel, “Replacement Children,” is close to being available on Amazon. A pre-publication edition was sent out to reviewers and has garnered positive feedback. To purchase, go to


Parker Francis, author of the Quint Mitchell Mystery series, has said, “Faulkner meets Honey Boo-Boo in the Southern-fried reality show that is Rick Maloy’s ‘Replacement Children.’ Much like the morbid attraction of a roadside wreck, the clash of culture and class in Maloy’s debut novel shines a spotlight on the human condition with a cast of characters readers will remember long after the last page is turned.”


Russell Rowland, author ofHigh and Inside,” “In Open Spaces,” and “The Watershed Years,” said that the novel “brilliantly explores how the pull of money can affect people no matter where they started, whether it’s the wealthy, entitled Granville family or the sad but ambitious Desiree Woods. Maloy’s characters squander their emotional and mental energy trying to find the next angle, with no regard to those they’re manipulating. But he does a masterful job of showing where every machination eventually leads, and the tragic consequences of greed come through in frightening ways with every twist in this fascinating plot. With ‘Replacement Children,’ Maloy has produced a fabulous debut novel.


Maloy asks readers to buy through the books through Amazon since half of what he nets on this will go to the Wounded Warriors Project. “Moreover,” he says, “if Amazon sees a fast start for the book, they'll promote it in-house. That's how sales gain real traction.”


Maloy attended Villanova and Fairleigh Dickinson Universities, graduating with a B.S. in Business Management. He committed to full-time writing after selling his NYC financial services business in 2004. His stories have won (2007) and placed (2008) in the Florida First Coast Writers’ short fiction contests. Other stories have appeared in numerous e-zines until 2010 when he turned his focus to writing novels. “Replacement Children” is his first release.


Rick and his “first-and-only wife,” Ann Marie, live in Ponte Vedra Beach. He can be reached at:



Levine takes ‘book trailers’

on the road with Oct. 16 talk

for Clay Writers in Orange Park


Richard Levine is taking his “book trailer” talk on the road on Wednesday, Oct. 16, when he demonstrates to FWA Clay County Writers “The Art of Book Trailers.”  The group meets 6:15 to 8 p.m. at Orange Park Library, 2054 Plainfield Avenue, off Kingsley Ave., just behind the Dairy Queen.


 Levine discusses the what, why and how of book trailers. “Video and print can be friends,” he says. “You can use video to promote your writing career.” This session will explore the following:


1. What a book trailer is.

2.  How to use a book trailer to market your book.

3.  The basics of making a book trailer.


Richard Levine’s writing won him a Charlie Award for Best Feature Article from the Florida Magazine Association. The short films that he has written have won a Silver Medal for Excellence at the Park City Music Film Festival and six Crystal Reel Awards. One screenplay was a semi-finalist in the Tulsa Film Festival and a finalist in the Dixie and Beverly Hills Film Festivals. His co-authored books include “Smoke and Mirrors: Making the Transformation to Nonsmoker a Path of Spiritual and Personal Growth” and “Wise Practice: Affective Education in the Inner City.”


He is a President Emeritus of North Florida Writers and a former board member of the Jacksonville First Coast chapter of the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association. He also owns Hidden Owl LLC, which provides media services to independent writers. For more information, go to his website at or email him at RichieL@clearwire. net



BookMark greets writers

who focus on working memory,

tales of Turner and today


Owner Rona Brinlee says The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach) will host authors who focus on working memory and a narrative focusing on the British painter Turner and a modern protagonist.


University of North Florida Psychology Professor Tracy Alloway and CEO of Memosyne, Ltd. Ross Alloway will be at The BookMark at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, to discuss and sign copies of their new book “The Working Memory: Train Your Brain to Function Stronger, Smarter, Faster.” What if you could find a way to better handle a crazy schedule? What if you could gain an advantage in climbing the career ladder or in sports? What if there were a way to improve your outlook on life, to face each day with more optimism and confidence?


Tracy and Ross Alloway are leading experts in working memory. They show how it is the key to all that and more. Not only do they present important recent breakthroughs, but they include tests to find out how good your memory is and exercises to improve it.


Tracy Alloway formerly was the director of the Center for Memory and Learning in Lifespan at the University of Stirling. An expert on working memory and education, she developed the internationally recognized Alloway Working Memory Assessment.


Ross Alloway brings working memory training to educators and parents. He developed Jungle Memory, used by thousands of students in more than twenty countries.


The Alloways have been featured on the BBC, ABC News, The Huffington Post, Salon, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.


Thomas Van Essen, the author of “The Center of the World” (Other Press), will meet readers at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. The storyline alternates between nineteenth-century England and present-day New York, as it tells the story of renowned British painter J. M. W. Turner and his circle of patrons and lovers. It is also the story of Henry Leiden, a middle-aged family man with a troubled marriage and a dead-end job, who finds his life transformed by his discovery of Turner's “The Center of the World,” a mesmerizing and unsettling painting of Helen of Troy that was thought to be lost forever.


Although Henry stumbles upon the painting in a secret compartment at his summer home in the Adirondacks, he can’t bear the thought of parting with the immensely valuable work. Henry is transfixed by its revelation of a whole other world, one of transcendent light, joy, and possibility. This debut novel has been praised as "an utterly absorbing journey of the spell cast by a secret painting on those few who have seen it over a hundred and fifty years."


For more information, call Ms. Brinlee or staff at 904.241.9026, or email any questions to Website:




FWA news about meetings,

contests, and workshops


Victor DiGenti, the regional director of the Florida Writers Assn., gives readers the FWA Blog post about meetings, contests and workshops for NE Florida writers. Click here to access the blog.


Elvisology project still

accepting submissions


Finishing touches are being placed on a paperback collection entitled “Alas, Poor Elvis, I Knew Him, Bubba,” and the chief Elvisologist still needs items that will establish to what extent Elvis’ influence is still to be seen in the 21st Century. These submissions may be poems, short stories, articles, or even pop culture-style papers.


For more information, check out the website at


If you wish your submissions about the 21st Century to be considered for “Alas, Poor Elvis, I Knew Him, Bubba,” then email them to in a retrievable format (Word, RTF, plain text).





Stuff – Forensic Grammar




Follow the link below to find where often sane and sensible writers (and editors) have stumbled in their writing:


http://howarddenson. webs. com/theforensicgrammarian. htm


A paperback collection, “The Wrong Stuff: Findings of a Forensic Grammarian,” is available online at and Barnes & Nobel’s website. Go to




from Hither

and Yon


Click on each link to go directly to the story.





Louis Menand basically was wondering what the big deal was about Lynne Truss’ popular “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.” He is picky about Truss’ choice of punctuation.


13 Rules For Using Commas

Without Looking Like An Idiot


Christina Sterbenz, a reporter for Business Insider, wants to help you to avoid looking like an idiot when you punctuate. She correctly notes that you don’t just insert a comma wherever you pause. (Someone with emphysema, for example, might perish of an overdose of commas.) She comes out in favor of the Oxford comma, the final comma in a series of three or more items.


Jokes for

grammar nerds


Here is one of the jokes in the BuzzFeed article that grammar nerds might like. “What do you say to comfort a grammar Nazi?” Give up? “There, their, they’re.”


Authors who reprise

the greats need

a bold touch


When reworking characters and writers such as Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, authors should turn the stories into something new, according to Robert Colvile, who says: “This month, William Boyd’s new James Bond book is released; in November, we will be treated to Sebastian Faulks’s take on Jeeves and Wooster; and Anthony Horowitz is beavering away on his second Sherlock Holmes adventure.”


James Walton also notes that Sophie Hannah has been given the green light by the Agatha Christie estate to produce a tale about Poirot. Walton says that all she “has to do to fulfil her mission is bring us a book in which the plot is brilliant to the point of genius; in which the main character is someone from whom most of us would run a mile in real life, but love in fiction; and in which there’s quite a lot of undistinguished writing, lazy characterisation and dodgy dialogue — none of which matter.”


14 authors

behaving badly


Our synopsis won’t try to list all 14 authors who have been jerks, but three of them are Gore Vidal, Ernest Hemingway, and what’s her name who writes about wizards and spells. (The columnist seems to say that authors who protect their copyrights are behaving badly.)


Seamus Heaney, the Nelson Mandela

of Irish poetry, just wasn't that good. Sorry


Novelist and journalist Sean Thomas interrupts all the praise for the recently deceased Seamus Heaney and takes a contrary view. He says, “Why, then, did Heaney become more famous than the infinitely superior Larkin? For a start, unlike grumpy Philip Larkin, Heaney was, by all accounts, a charismatic, sociable, and generous man. But the younger Heaney was also Irish, republican, Left-wing and hairy when all this was à la mode. And once the literary world decided Heaney was the Mandela of Irish Poetry, he became irreproachable.”


People often lie about reading

classic novels, survey finds


Hector Tobar uses George Costanza of “Seinfeld” as an example of what can go wrong when someone pretends to have read a book.  He discusses a survey in the U.K. that identifies several titles as ones most likely to be fibbed about, including Orwell’s “1984,” Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” and Dickens’ “Great Expectation” in the top three.,0,6404955.story


Striking Patterns: Skill for Forming

Tools and Words Evolved Together


Michael Balter asks, “When did humans start talking? There are nearly as many answers to this perplexing question as there are researchers studying it. A new brain imaging study claims to support the hypothesis that language emerged long before Homo sapiens and coevolved with the invention of the first finely made stone tools nearly 2 million years ago.”


Eleven Untranslatable Words

From Other Cultures


When we read translations of works from other languages, we are bound to wonder if the translator got everything right. Would our own work be well treated by a translator or would certain words confound the translator? .Ella Frances Sanders in Maptia has found eleven words that are difficult to translate. They underline what Nietzsche said: “Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.” Have you heard of Waldeinsamkeit or Culaccino?


Why I Stopped Being a Grammar Snob

(And why you probably should, too)


Mary Rolf tells how she was converted from being a grammar snob (or Nazi) to someone more forgiving. In a college class, she learned there wasn’t a single standard for Standard English. Instead, there is english (with a small “e”) of Asia, China, etc. She doesn’t mention that there are more Chinese using English than Americans. Her piece doesn’t address the matter of the Power Dialect. For that, you will have to turn to other books, such as the newsletter editor’s own “The Wrong Stuff: Findings of a Forensic Grammarian.” (Blast it all! A shameless plug.)


Frog’s Knickers

and a history of swearing


Colin Burrow reviews Melissa Mohr’s “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing.” He discusses a translation of Rabelais’ passage, “Roll up, roll up all you ‘mangie rascals, shiteabed scoundrels, drunken roysters, slie knaves, drowsie loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubbardly lowts … fondling fops, base lowns, saucie coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing Braggards, noddie meacocks, blockish grutnols, doddi-poljolt-heads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish loggerheads, slutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninnie-hammer flycatchers, noddiepeak simpletons, turdie gut, shitten shepherds, and other suchlike defamatory epithets.” The book seems to emphasize that there are times when “Goodness Gracious” and “Gravy Davey!” just won’t do the job.






Stuff from

a Writer's Quill


Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.


-- Mark Twain






Writers Born

in October


To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:

 http://howarddenson. webs. com/birthdaysofwriters. htm


The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.


Looking for your favorite writer? Hit “find” at the website and type in your favorite’s name. Keep scrolling to find writers born in other months.


With misgivings, the list generally omits lyricists (to avoid the plethora of garage-band guitarists who knock out a lyric in two minutes to go with a tune). Often lyricists are accomplished in other writing areas and may cause their inclusion (e.g., Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter).


Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and will only say they were born in 1972 or whenever. Typically that means they don’t get included on a “born this day” list. Recommendation: Writers may wish to create a “pen birthday”; that way, their names stay on the public’s radar.


If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).




NFW suspends

dues indefinitely


The North Florida Writers has suspended its membership dues for an indefinite period. The treasury has stabilized at a comfortable level, and the NFW does not have any appreciable expenses. Members suspected we could go without dues for a couple of years and perhaps more. During this period, anyone may attend and participate in the monthly meetings. (Even with dues, writers were free to attend a few meetings to see if the NFW would suit their needs.)



of NFW and

other groups


For a listing of meetings of the NFW and other groups in Northeast Florida, click here






Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at


Need someone

to critique

a manuscript?


If you have a finished manuscript that you wished critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at






President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)

Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)

Treasurer: Richard Levine (RichieL@clearwire. net); 5527 Edenfield Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32277


Presidents Emeritus: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls, Stewart Neal.