Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System * Editor: Howard Denson * Jan. 2014
In This Issue:
NFW to hear poet-novelist-freelancer Dorothy Fletcher at Riverside’s VyStar
BookMark greets HarperCollins editors, novelists ranging from Drew Perry to Tim Dorsey
Prize-winning workshop to start new series of classes on Feb. 5
Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — James Joyce
Stuff from Hither and Yon
FWA news about meetings, contests, and workshops
The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson
Writers Born This Month
Meetings of NFW and Other Groups
Useful Links
Need someone to critique a manuscript?
The Write Staff
NFW to hear Dorothy Fletcher
at Riverside’s VyStar
The North Florida Writers will hear Dorothy Fletcher, “Local History: Lost Restaurants of Jacksonville” at the Jan. 11 meeting. The meeting will be at the VyStar Credit Union at 760 Riverside Ave., next to the Fuller Warren Bridge and Saturday’s Riverside Arts Market. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will begin at noon and end near 3 p.m.
Ms. Fletcher taught English for thirty-five years in the public schools of Jacksonville before she retired in 2007. Along with teaching, writing has been her passion in life. Her poetry has appeared in over 80 literary magazines including Kalliope and Key West Review. More than 20 of her articles have appeared in The Florida Times-Union, and she has also had essays and articles published in Coastal Traveling Magazine, Small Press Review, Florida English Journal, Folio Weekly, and Jacksonville Magazine. Several articles by Ms. Fletcher can be found in the archives of The Florida Times-Union website
In 1984, she published a children's book entitled “The Week of Dream Horses” (Green Tiger Press). In October of 2002, she published her first novel, a book about a first year teacher's trials and tribulations in an inner city school based upon her own experiences in the classroom. “The Cruelest Months” seems to have touched a chord with educators, but anyone who cares about kids may also enjoy it.
June of 2005 saw the publication of her book “Zen Fishing and Other Southern Pleasures” (Ocean Publishing). Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, author of “A New Mother's Prayers,” says, "[Her] words reflect a gentle world—one of sunrises and summer berries, shade trees and sweet-scented women, good hearts, good faith, and patient affection. Her images, humor, and insights are painted with a warm patina that softens the heart, soothes the soul and summons a smile. Zen Fishing is itself a southern pleasure."
Ms. Fletcher also won first place in the 2006 Robert Frost Poetry Contest sponsored by the Heritage House in Key West and was invited to speak at the Library of Congress that same year as part of their Poetry at Noon Series.
In the spring of 2008, Ms. Fletcher began a column for The Community Sun section of The Florida Times-Union which dealt with the people, places, and pastimes of Jacksonville in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The History Press collected these column pieces and the emails that they generated and published “Remembering Jacksonville” in March of 2010.
Since then, Ms. Fletcher has written two more books with History Press—“Growing Up Jacksonville” and “Lost Restaurants of Jacksonville.” She has also had many traveling adventures with Hardy, her husband of 42 years. They have been to Hawaii, San Francisco, Ireland, England, Scotland, Key West, and the Grand Canyon.  Their grandchildren still live nearby and they see each other every day.
For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 20 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:
Feb.  8 -- noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Michael Ray Fitzgerald, “Native Americans on TV”
Mar.  8 –  noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Walter Schenk, “Getting a Cosmos of Creativity on Paper”
BookMark greets HarperCollins editors,
novelists ranging from
Drew Perry to Tim Dorsey
Owner Rona Brinlee says The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach) will host novelists with tales set in Florida and Asia. The independent bookstore will also present Book Club Night with HarperCollins editors.
Drew Perry, “Kids These Days” (Algonquin)
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m.
Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off.  Since Walter has been unexpectedly laid off as a successful loan officer, they relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free in Alice's deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice's brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn't know about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid's shady dealings, about what he's really supposed to be doing far outweighs what he does know. And soon enough, things escalate so out of control that Walter is riding shotgun with Mid in a bright yellow Camaro chased by the police. Rona says Drew Perry paints a landscape of weird and beautiful Florida and its inhabitants all wholly original and hilarious, and utterly believable. 
Tim Dorsey, “Tiger Shrimp Tango” (William Morrow & Co)
Friday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m. 
Tim Dorsey has a big fan club because of his anti-hero, the Sunshine State's favorite serial killer and encyclopedia of Florida lore Serge Storms. He is determined to save a damsel in distress and dances a tango of death and mayhem in this funny and dementedly entertaining crime caper.  Thanks to the Internet, America has become a playground for ruthless scam artists out to make an easy buck. And where do these models of entrepreneurship hail from? Why, the Sunshine State of course!  No one loves Florida more, or can keep it safe from invasive criminal species better than self-appointed Sunshine Sheriff Serge Storms. Rona says, when a particular scam leads to the death of a few innocents and a young woman's disappearance, Serge and his perpetually self-bent sidekick Coleman--aided by his new pal, latter-day noir private eye Mahoney--load up the car for a riotous road trip to do right.    
Book Club Night with HarperCollins,  
Monday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m. 
 HarperCollins sales representative Eric Svenson will present some of his favorite choices for book clubs.  This is a wonderful chance to find out about books that would inspire great discussions and books to add to your reading list.  The evening includes light refreshments, good conversation, and prizes.
Annette Simon, “Robot Burp Head Smartypants!” (Candlewick), 
Sunday,  March 2, 2 p.m. 
 The mechanical friends from Robot Zombie Frankenstein! are back with a new game - and the thirst to win it. Burp to ten? Easy! Burp by tens while blindfolded, juggling, and skateboarding? Simple! Now add the alphabet? REBOOT! Kirkus calls it an "effervescent return." This is a particularly special event for us since Annette is part of The BookMark family.
Jan-Phillipe Sendker, “A Well-Tempered Heart” (Other Press),
 Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m.
Sendker's follow-up to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats picks up the story a decade after Julia Win traveled to Burma, seeking her missing father. Now a high-powered attorney mourning the end of her engagement, Julia has started hearing the voice of a bereft, heartbroken woman in her head. This voice propels Julia back to Burma, where she is reunited with her half brother, U Ba, who believes the voice belongs to Nu Nu, a woman who recently dropped dead while out for a walk with her sister. U Ba and Julia seek out Nu Nu's sister, who tells them the sad tale of Nu Nu's life.   
For more information, call Ms. Brinlee or staff at 904.241.9026, or email any questions to Website:
Prize-winning workshop
to start new series
of classes on Feb. 5
A writing workshop on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River is beginning a new series of classes on Feb. 5, according to freelance writer and editor of Closet Books, Lynn Skapyak Harlin, leader of the workshop.

Shanty boat Writers Workshop is designed for beginning writers who would like to learn new techniques, or seasoned writers who would like to refresh these skills to improve their writing. Fiction and nonfiction writers are welcome. Topics include: Creating believable characters, Tips for Improving Dialogue, Elements of Plot, How 'Show rather than Tell' works toward clarity in all forms of writing and many other writing and submission tips.
Members of recent classes have won awards in the contests of the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival and other national awards.
The evening session meets every Wednesday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and the cost of the workshop (limited to 8 students) will be $150 for six weeks.
Before attending a workshop all new workshoppers must write and submit an introductory essay according to workshop guidelines.
For more information on all sessions forming or to reserve a space, call Ms. Skapyak Harlin at 778-8000 or e-mail her at
from Hither
and Yon
Click on each link to go directly to the story.
The case of the
multiple Lolitas
Originally in the New Yorker, an article by Gayla Diment reports that three weeks before Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” was published, there was Dorothy Parker’s. Was it a coincidence? Diment discusses Mrs. Parker and the butterfly effect.
Banning the negative
Book review
Bob Garfield fusses in an opinion column about Buzz Feed outlawing negative book reviews. The trend even seems to discourage serious criticism (in the spirit of, say, Edmund Wilson, Henry James, et al.), but the new policy may be more directed as the bibliopath who gets his or her jollies ripping through the shower curtains of newly published authors.
30 great opening
lines in literature
One of the standing features of London’s Telegraph lists the opening lines for novels by Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and others. How do you write a great novel? Have a first line that is a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10. Then a second line that’s at least an 8, and then one that’s a 9, and so on until the end of the book.
Dickens could have written
‘Breaking Bad’ if alive today
Griff Rhys Jones is a comic, an actor, a writer, and the surviving partner of “Alas, Smith and Jones,” Mel Smith having died recently. Now in his sixties, Jones is trying to bring Charles Dickens alive via staged readings, documentaries, and the like.
In the shadow
of war
Novelist Beverly Gologorsky finds social class as the reason for war and the military not featuring so much in current novels. Says she: “…no matter what I … write about, I can’t seem to avoid that shadow. My first novel was about Vietnam vets coming home and my second is permeated with a shadowy sense of what the Iraq and Afghan wars have done to us. And yet I’ve never been to, or near, a war, and nothing about it attracts me.  So why is it always lurking there?”
A novel look at how stories
may change the brain
Carol Clark follows experiments in which individuals in a study read Robert Harris’ “Pompeii” and then underwent brain scanning. The conclusion? We can get into a story’s narrative, but apparently the narratives of important works can get into us, too.
Stuff – Forensic Grammar
Follow the link below to find where often sane and sensible writers (and editors) have stumbled in their writing:
A paperback collection, “The Wrong Stuff: Findings of a Forensic Grammarian,” is available online at and Barnes & Nobel’s website. Go to
Stuff from
a Writer's Quill
I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.
-- James Joyce
Writers Born
in January
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
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).
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.)
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 (;
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.