·         Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

· * may 2010

·         Editor: Howard Denson

In This Issue:

Ben Edmonson to Give Tips about Hypnotism Fact and Fiction

UNF Writer's Conference Set Aug. 6-8

When to Use a Pen Name -- Scott Nicholson

Stage Aurora to Host Free Lecture with James Weldon Johnson

Dave Poyer's Ghosting to be Published This November

Crime Scribes to Hear Weapons Expert May 1

Best-Seller Gross to Sign Books at the BookMark

The Wrong Stuff

Others’ Stuff on Words, Writing, and Writers

Quote from a Writer's Quill – James Thurber

Writers Born This Month

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The North Florida Writers will hear counselor-hypnotist Ben Edmonson at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at the Webb Wesconnett Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard).

Edmonson emphasizes that he does not do comedy, but he will discuss how writers can use hypnotism as a plot device and a therapeutic tool.

Besides running a practice in the Riverside area, he has also taught courses in the social sciences at the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. Contact info:<>.

SET AUG. 6-8

The University of North Florida will host a writer's conference Aug. 6-8. The conference includes workshops in general fiction, general non-fiction, YA (young adult), children’s book (picture and chapter books), memoir/oral history, and screenwriting.

The Florida Writers Association partners with UNF to kick off the three-day conference on Friday, Aug. 6, with a full day of writing workshops. On Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8, writers will participate in Critique Workshops in the following categories: General Fiction, General Non-Fiction, YA (Young Adult), Children’s Book (Picture and Chapter Books), Memoir/Oral History or Screenwriting. Sunday afternoon’s schedule includes a “First Page Panel” and a workshop featuring the UNF Writers Conference Book & Film Deal Connection, an opportunity for attendees to submit their work to agents, book editors and film producers after the conference.

The faculty for the conference will include Dante Amodeo, Steve Berry, John Boles, John Byram, Sharon Y. Cobb, Julie Compton, Mary Ann de Stefano, Victor DiGenti, Adrian Fogelin, Sohrab Homi Fracis, Kristin Harmel, Veronica Hart, Darryl House, Sandra McDonald, Carol O'Dell, Michael Wiley, James M. Wilson, Thelma Young.

For more information about the 2010 UNF Writers Conference, please contact Sharon Y. Cobb, UNF Writers conference director, at<> or Margaret Hardy, senior information specialist for the UNF Division of Continuing Education (12000 Alumni Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32224; ph 904-620-4270; e-mail <>

The conference website is



What are the traditional considerations for using pen names?

(A) You were a respected professional in your "day job" and didn't want your fantasy dabbling to detract from your standing;

B) publishers, for their own reasons, wanted you to write only one book a year and let you slowly starve;

C) your sales had tanked and you needed to ditch yourself;

D) you were writing in vastly differently fields and styles and needed a clear distinction so as to not upset fans;

E) there was the real possibility that someone would shoot you if they knew who wrote that book.

The mainstream publishing industry wants you to stick to one type of book and easy-to-shelf brand. The advice you get from editors is solely for their convenience, and it makes good business sense, because a single book is hardly worth building a campaign around, because its useful life is too fleeting.

But if it is only a mild stretch, you should stick to your own name whenever possible, because ultimately you are your brand, and you should always care more about yourself than you care about the industry, or the industry cares about you.

If Stephen King can do IT and MISERY, DARK TOWER and DOLORES CLAIBORNE, and Dean Koontz can tap a number of genres, it's perfectly acceptable for you to just write You Books.

Publishers have legitimate logistic reasons for carefully controlling the flow of product, due to inventory issues, bookstore needs, production considerations, and marketing concerns. But in this new digital/POD era, it's actually smarter to have everything out at the same time--there is very little reason to dole out content in measured paces, unless you have a specific gimmick or campaign that requires timing.

That is true for authors as well as publishers, though authors have the ability to react more quickly and with less to lose. And your books cross-promote each other, building your brand, which more and more is something that can last a lifetime rather than popping up in three-month bursts in the middle shelves of a bookstore.

Be yourself whenever possible, and when you are not, make sure you have a good reason.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Scott Nicholson is the author of 10 novels, including Drummer Boy, The Skull Ring, The Red Church, and They Hunger. He has also written three story collections and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he edits what he calls "the freebie download 'Write Good or Die.'" His website is<>.

AT 7 P.M. MAY 6

When LeRoy Mitchell Jr. participates in the Florida Humanities Council's Chatauqua, he does not just talk about James Weldon Johnson. He becomes him. Stage Aurora will give the area a chance to "meet" Johnson at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the Stage Aurora Performance Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

When Mitchell plays the part of "Florida's Renaissance Man," he enters a room ready to read bits of his poetry. He also discusses his careers as a lawyer, a diplomat, a high-school principal and a poet and songwriter of the early-20th-century Harlem Renaissance.

Johnson was born 1879 in Jacksonville (which has a school named after him). He became the first black lawyer in Florida, admitted by an oral examination; he was the first black man to serve as secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and he served as the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Nicaragua and the Azores. He died in 1938.

This presentation centers on his poetry, the continuous thread throughout his life.


For his next novel, David Poyer has written something new for him: a nautical thriller that sails into the realm of the supernatural past Stephen King Sea and into Dean Koontz Bay.

The novel Ghosting will feature a murder, a storm, a guilty secret ... murderous smugglers, and a family in danger at sea. Jack, Arlen, Ric, and Haley Scales have problems as a family. Jack hopes a family cruise to Bermuda in their new sailboat will set things right. But the voyage aboard Slow Dance will test them all, with storms, lightning strikes, and finally, a violent hijacking at sea that ends in rape and murder. Some of them will die, but not before realizing they loved each other more than they thought.

Pre-order Dave Poyer's latest through one of the private local bookstores: BookMark at<>, Chamblin Book Mine at<>, and Green Cove Springs' Historic Grounds at<>. The book will be published this November by St. Martin's Press.


Florida Sisters in Crime will welcome weapons expert Teresa Meares of Team DGG, as the speaker to their May 1 meeting from 10:30 a.m. till noon at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd., Jacksonville. For more information, visit<>.


New York Times best-selling author Andrew Gross will be at the BookMark at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, with his new Ty Hauck thriller, Reckless. Steve Berry will also be here to introduce him. The bookstore is located at 299 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach.

In Reckless, private security investigator Ty Hauck, with Naomi Blum, a tenacious agent from the U.S. Department of Treasury, unravels the evidence that joins seemingly unrelated events that reveal a reckless scheme that stretches from New York to Central Europe. A tragedy opened a door to Hauck's past but ends with a frantic race to avert a disaster that could shake the security of the world.
Gross is the New York Times and international best-selling author of The Blue Zone, The Dark Tide, and Don't Look Twice. The Dark Tide was nominated for Best Thriller of the Year by the International Thriller Writers. His books have been published in twenty-five countries.

Gross is also the co-author of five number one bestselling novels with James Patterson, including Second Chance, Third Degree, Judge & Jury, Lifeguard, and The Jester. He and his wife Lynn live in Westchester County, N.Y.


Alas and alackaday, many writers love to get into the minds of characters who are psychopaths (and they often end up fudging and turn them into quirky good guys a la Dexter or Hannibal). The internet circulates the item below to see if you can make yourself think like a psycho.

SITUATION: A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met an amazing guy whom she did not know. She believed him to be her dream guy so much that she fell in love with him right there, but never asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed her sister. Question: What is her motive for killing her sister?

The website says that, unless they have already come across the riddle on the internet, few people have come up with the correct motivation. This is not a trick question, it claims.

Answer: She was hoping the guy would appear at the funeral again.

If you answered this correctly, the website says you think like a psychopath and claims that a famous American psychologist used this test to determine if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers supposedly took part in the test and answered the question correctly.

Snopes.Com says the whole thing is a hoax as you can see at Psychopaths often aren't stupid enough to do something so obvious, and even healthy individual may occasionally answer in a "suspicious" way.


Simon Tisdall column in The Guardian (Apr. 9):

But if Moscow were found to have had a hand in this latest upheaval, it would hardly come as a shock. Machiavellian Russian machinations in Kyrgyzstan, as in the other former Soviet republics of central Asia, has become the norm in the Putin era.

W.S. SAYS: "Machinations" is the subject in the second sentence, so the verb should be "have become."

Locke MacKenzie's "The Awful Elements of English" in

I thought I was safe teaching English to non-native speakers. Little did I realize how naive such thinking could be.

Take grammar as an example. A solid grammar regiment is essential to beginner courses.

W.S. SAYS (thanks to the eagle eye of Haggisgal a/k/a Margaret Gloag): A regiment is generally a military grouping of soldiers or a large group of people in other contexts. The writer wanted to use "regimen," which means "a regulated procedure." Both words are related to "regime," which goes back to the Latin "regere," to rule.

Scrabble Players Unite!
Beyoncé is Beyond the Pale

Jack Malvern argues in The Times Online that civilization is going to Hades in a handcart because the owners of the Scrabble game are allowing proper nouns into the great competition. It is a step too far, he says at

Oh Romeo, My Heart is All A-Twitter
About Bard's Mobile Text

This could be filed under "End of Civilization as We Know It" or "Messes and Miscellanies." Arts correspondent Ben Hoyle writes about "Such Tweet Sorrow," an attempt to microblog Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." To join in, go to @Such_Tweet. To read Hoyle's article, check out

William Shakespeare:

A King of Infinite Space

On the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and death, Anthony Seldon asks why Britons are allowing the world's foremost playwright and England's cultural figurehead to disappear from the classroom. It's in The Daily Telegraph at

Dead Poets' Society

Relationships among poets are about much more than anxiety

Jon Krause for The Chronicle Review

, writes Jay Parini in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He reviews Christopher Ricks' True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound (Yale University Press).

Doctor Who Fans' Feedback
Shows Why, Just Sometimes,
The BBC Should Ignore Viewers

The Telegraph's TV features editor Michael Deacon notes that fans respond more with their id than with sense when writing to the BBC. He remembers that Tom Baker (Doctor No. 4) was criticized as being too stupid for words, while the Patrick Troughton (No. 2) was called a clown.

Philip Pullman Bravely
Re-Imagines The Gospel

His Dark Materials enraged the Roman Catholic Church which called it blasphemous. Now the author is risking even greater ire, writes Erica Wagner in The Times Online at

In "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman," also in the Times, Jeanette Winterson says Pullman’s retelling of the life of Jesus is a poor substitute for the King James Bible.

Commuter Who Wrote Fantasy Novel on His Phone
On Verge of Multi-Million Dollar Movie Deal

A commuter who typed out his first novel on his mobile phone on the New York subway has signed a lucrative deal to make a multi-million dollar film trilogy that producers say will be the "next Lord of the Rings," according to Nick Allen in The Telegraph at

The Only 12½ Writing Rules
You Will Ever Need

Here's a poster you may find useful for your classroom or home office:

For Obama and Past Presidents,
The Books They Read Shape
Policies and Perceptions

In the 1950s, the joke on President Eisenhower's intellectual acumen was "If Zane Grey didn't write it, Ike doesn't know it." Tevi Troy's article in The Washington Post doesn't cover Ike and many other presidents, but it's entertaining to read about Adams, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, and others at

A Peculiarly British
Form of Entertainment

Simon Heffer writes that the English find murder to be an engrossing form of entertainment, and "we do seem to do our murder stories so much better than anyone else." He discusses one of the more famous real-death cases in The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath in his review at

Macbeth: Will the Curse
Of the Scottish Play Strike Again?

As Lucy Bailey’s production opens at Shakespeare’s Globe, Lucy Powell examines some of the superstitions around the work in the Times Online at

The Master of Historical Fiction

Writing in Standpoint magazine, Allan Massie asks, "Why do novelists turn away from the present day to the past, and sometimes, . . . to the now far distant past?" He discusses the reasons for the popularity of the historical novels at

What Are Libraries For?

Martha Nichols writes that angry voters in Boston are complaining about efforts to close some branch libraries. She explores the mystique of libraries at


The devoted writer of humor must continue to try to come as close to the truth as he can, even if he gets burned in the process, but I don't think he will get too badly burned. His faith in the good will, the soundness, and the sense of humor of his countrymen will always serve as his asbestos curtain.

-- James Thurber



1--Joseph Addison (1672), Joseph Heller (1923), Terry Southern (1924), and Bobbie Ann Masons (1940); 3--Niccolb Machiavelli (1469) and William Inge (1913); 4--Lincoln Kirstein (1907), Heloise (1919), and Graham Swift (1949);

5--Karl Marx (1828), Robert Browning (1812), Thomas Edward Brown (1830), Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) (1867), and Richard Eberhart (1904); 6--Sigmund Freud (1856), Orson Welles (1915); 7--Dániel Berzsenyi (1776), José Valentim Fialho de Almeida (1857), Archibald MacLeish (1892), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927), Angela Carter (1940), and Peter Carey (1943); 8--Henry Baker (1698), Thomas B. Costain (1885), Gary Snyder (1930), and Thomas Pynchon (1937); 9--James M. Barrie (1860) and Austin Clarke (1896);

10--Ivan Cankar (1876); 11--Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855), Irving Berlin (1888), and Stanley Elkin (1930); 12--Andrei Voznesensky (1933); 13--Daphne DuMaurier (1907), Bruce Chatwin (1940), Armistead Maupin (1944); 14--Sir Hall Caine (1853) and George Lucas (1944);

15--Melchiorre Cesarotti (1730), L. Frank Baum (1856), Edwin Muir (1887), Katherine Anne Porter (1890), and Max Frisch (1911); 16--Randall Jarrell (1914) and Adrienne Rich (1929); 17--Henri Barbusse (1873); 19--Lorraine Hansberry (1930);

20--Honoré de Balzac (1799), Sigrid Undset (1882), Margery Allingham (1904); 21--Alexander Pope (1688) and Robert Creeley (1926); 22--Arthur Conan Doyle (1859) and Peter Mathiessen (1927); 23--John Bartram (1699) and Theodore Roethke (1907); 24--William Trevor (1928) and Bob Dylan (1941);

25--John Stuart Mill (1713), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803), Jocob Christoph Burckhardt (1818), Jean Richard Bloch (1884), Robert Ludlum (1927), John Gregory Dunne (1932), and Raymond Carver (1938); 27--Arnold Bennett (1867), Max Brod (1884), Dashiell Hammett (1894), John Cheever (1912), Herman Wouk (1915), Tony Hillerman (1925), John Barth (1930), Harlan Ellison (1934); 28--Ian Fleming (1908), Patrick White (1912), and Walker Percy (1916); 29--Patrick Henry (1736), G. K. Chesterton (1874), Max Brand (1892), and André Brink (1935);

30--Alfred Austin (1835), Cornelia Otis Skinner (1901), and Countee Cullen (1903); 31--Georg Herwegh (1817), Walt Whitman (1819) and Norman Vincent Peale (1898).



BARD SOCIETY: Every Wednesday: 7 p.m.; Frank Green 234-8383; Email<>

FIRST COAST CHRISTIAN WRITERS GROUP: Every Thursday, 6:45 p.m. at Christ's Church, 6045 Greenland Rd., Room 204, near I-95 & 9A; Email:<>

FIRST COAST ROMANCE WRITERS: Second Saturday of each month; start time varies based on program; see website Chaffee Road Library; 1425 Chaffee Road South, Jacksonville. Info:<><>

MANDARIN WRITERS WORKSHOP: Second and fourth Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at S. Mandarin Library (corner of San Jose and Orange Picker Rd.). Larry Barnes at<>.

NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS: Second Saturday: 2 p.m. at Webb Wesconnett Library;<>

THE NORTHEAST FLORIDA CHAPTER OF FLORIDA WRITERS ASSN.: fourth Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library (between Jacksonville and St. Augustine). Vic DiGenti, FWA regional director. For more information, check<> or<>.

SISTERS IN CRIME: First Saturday of each month: 10:30 a.m. at Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256; Sherry Czerniejewski, president Email<>


President: Margie Sauls (<>)

Vice President: Richard Levine (<>)

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (<>)

Treasurer: Howard Denson (<>)



Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.) Mail your check to WRITERS, c/o Howard Denson, 1511 Pershing Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.

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