Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System * May 2008

Editors: Howard Denson and Janet Vincent


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In This Issue:

Hip Poet Hettie Jones to Speak about Beat Generation

The 2008 Douglas Freels Poetry Prize Goes to Colorado Writer

JPL Adopts Fan's Suggestion to Name Features of Mars after Deceased Sci-Fi Authors -- Patricia Rogers

Prize-Winning Shanty Boat Workshos Sets Day and Night Series of Classes

Quote from a Writer's Quill -- James Jeffrey Roche

Writers Born This Month - Joseph Addison, Lorraine Hansberry, James Barrie, L. Frank Baum, and many others

North Florida Writers Meetings and Calendar of Events for May 2008 -- Janet Vincent

Membership Application for the North Florida Writers



Beat poet and prose writer Hettie Jones will speak about the Beat Poets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Shelby's Café (in the front lobby of the Main Library). A member of the Greenwich Village bohemian scene in the late 1950s, Jones interacted with beat writers Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and with John O'Hara.

The speaker is the author of How I Became Hettie Jones, Doing 70, Drive: Poems by Hettie Jones, and other books.

"The Beat Generation" refers to the inner circle of writers who spearheaded an American literary movement out of San Francisco and New York in the 1950s and 1960s. The Beats were non-conformists. They questioned traditional values and felt a "beaten-down" malaise in button-down '50s society. They were also spiritual seekers who experimented with higher consciousness and pursued "beatitude" through Eastern religion, traveling and "offbeat" lifestyles.

O'Hara belonged more to the Hemingway-Fitzgerald tradition.

The Main Library is located on Hemming Plaza at 303 N. Laura St., Jacksonville, FL 32202. For more information, call (904) 630-2665.


The Florida First Coast Writers' Festival says that "Field School" by Cheryl Loetscher has won first prize in the Douglas Freels Poetry Contest.

According to Freels contest coordinator Nancy Richard-Lany, Ms. Loetscher is a Colorado resident whose poems have appeared widely throughout the United States. Several have won prizes and distinctions in literary contests.

Her first collection, Unclaimed Baggage, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2007. Ms. Richard-Lany says "Field School" reflects "control and a true love of language and the craft of poetry."

The judges decided not to award second or third prizes in this category.


[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following address was given to a panel of science fiction writers and 80 guests at the 32nd annual Jack Williamson Lectureship recently at Eastern New Mexico University. The event marked what would have been the 100th birthday for Williamson.]


I am honored and pleased to be with you today the to bring you the world premiere of some exciting news.

Please let me start by telling you about the journey that brought me here.

Soon after [science fiction writer] Jack Willamson passed in November of 2006, I attended a lecture about the Mars Rovers presented by Dr. Larry Crumpler at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Dr. Crumpler is Vulcanologist on the staff of the Museum and also part of [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory]'s team for the Mars Rovers. He is also one of the folks who get to name features on Mars, especially at the Spirit site. During his talk that evening he mentioned a feature named Clovis, then said the Spirit Rover's next move was to head south.

I sat there and thought, "Hummm - what is south of Clovis? [New Mexico]. Portales. And who lived in Portales? Jack Williamson. It sure would be cool if a feature on Mars was named after Jack."

I did not hear another word of Dr. Crumpler's talk. All that my brain could focus on was how I could pitch my idea to Dr. Crumpler and not come off like just the overly enthusiastic SF fan that I am. After the room cleared, I approached Dr. Crumpler and said, "I don't know what your naming protocols are, but if you have a minute I would like to suggest a candidate." He was the perfect gentleman and allowed me to continue.

I told him all about Jack - as a pioneer coming to New Mexico on a covered wagon to coining the word Terra-forming; as a writer, teacher, scientist; as one of the true backbones of Science Fiction; and as a truly good human. I expected to see Dr. Crumpler's eyes glaze over at any time with that look of "I will just have to be nice to this person for a few more moments and then she will go away." But to my grateful joy he did not do that. He really listened to every word.

When I finished my monologue, he looked into my eyes and said, "That's a good idea. We could start a whole naming protocol using SF author names."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I said I would be happy to send him some suggestions and he gave me his contact info.

A few days later after some research, I emailed him a list of author names with the titles of their most famous Mars works. I also hard-copied the list and dropped it off at the museum with a copy of "Wonder's Child," Jack's autobiography.

I really did not expect to hear any more. But a few days later Dr. Crumpler emailed me that he had passed my list to the naming gurus at JPL, especially Jim Rice, and they liked the idea and wanted to go ahead with the naming protocol. Again, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Like an eager child, I checked the JPL website every day. But, of course, time moves very slowly when you are an eager child. I did not tell more than a handful of people about this because the last thing I wanted to do was somehow mess it up.

Dr. Crumpler would email me every now and then and say it was still on the charts.

Then last August I attended a Space Conference in Phoenix that was chock-full of astronauts and scientists. During the banquet I was seated at the table with Jim Rice, the "naming guru" from JPL. I introduced myself and he instantly knew who I was and said my email had gone out to all of JPL and that they had even brought it up at a staff meeting. WOW. He said they liked the idea and were still working on it. OK, I was pumped up again.

A few weeks later there was a press release on the JPL site that said their next naming protocol at the Spirit site was going to be "Things Found in Bowls." Alrighty then! How could SF authors compete with soup, salad, menudo, and red beans and rice? I just stayed quiet, riding that fine line between enthusiasm and not wanting to make a pest of myself.

Then on January 4 of this year, I got another email from Dr. Crumpler, saying they were soon going to start using the names and that he personally was going to make sure Jack's name was on the approved list.

For the last few months I have just held my breath.

On Tuesday of this week, Dr. Crumpler was scheduled to do a talk at the Museum to update folks on what was going on with the Rovers. I took a long lunch and headed over to the museum. After the talk I went up to chat with Dr. Crumpler and to hand him a "Thank Yo" note for all he had done.

I introduced myself and he said, "Oh good, let me show you what we have named so far for SF authors and the feature we are naming after Jack Williamson." He pulled up the Spirit site on his computer and there was Jack's name on the screen, along with the names of Roger Zelazny, C. S. Lewis, and Fredric Brown. They have a spot picked out for Arthur C. Clarke too. I refrained from squealing in his ear and going into the Walter Huston happy dance from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but it was hard.

Right now they are using names of authors who have passed away. He also said they want to use character names and place names from SF stories that are Mars-related, and that I was welcome to send ideas. Y'all please help me with that.

I asked him if I could share this information with you good folks here today, and he happily said I could.

The features named for Jack and Roger are on Mitchelltree Ridge near the Columbia Hills. Dr. Crumpler has sent me photos of the site which I would be happy to forward on to anyone who would like to see them.

What I have learned from all this is this: Never be afraid to speak up if you have an idea - someone may listen.

I can't thank Dr. Crumpler and Jim Rice enough for working on this. And if any authors out there are looking for character names, please consider Dr. Larry Crumpler. It is a cool name and we owe him one - for helping to give Jack one of the best birthday presents I can think of.

Thank you.


The Shanty Boat Writing Workshops is having separate classes in the day and night, according to Lynn Skapyak Harlin, workshop leader. Ms. Harlin's classes take place on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River.

The day classes will meet from noon to 3 p.m. starting in June. The day of the week and the starting date will be announced later.

The Harlin workshops will begin a new series of night classes every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., from May 7 till June 11.

Ms. Harlin is a freelance writer and editor of Closet Books

The Shanty boat Writers Workshops are 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 cost of the day or night workshop (limited to 10 students) will be $100 for six weeks.

All new workshop writers before attending a workshop must write and submit an introductory essay according to workshop guidelines.

For more information on sessions forming or to reserve a space, call Ms. Skapyak Harlin at 778-8000 or e-mail her at <> .


Some men borrow books; some men steal books; and others beg presentation copies from the author. -- James Jeffrey Roche


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).



Every Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.; Bard Society; Frank Green 234-8383; Email

Every Thursday, 6:45 p.m.; First Coast Christian Writers Group; Christ's Church, 6045 Greenland Rd, Rm 204, near I-95 & 9A; Email:

May 1, 2 p.m.; Gathering of Poets, Ponte Vedra Beach Library; discussions, speakers, Email:

May 1, 7 p.m.; POW St. Augustine; Starbucks, Palencia; Speaker: Marv Conn, Webmaster answers your questions; <>

May 3, 11 a.m.; POW Monthly Meeting; NO MAY MEETING; Borders Books, Southside Blvd.; <>

May 3, 10:30 a.m.; Sisters In Crime; Southeast Library; E-mail:

May 5, 7 p.m.; Orange Park Writers; Orange Park Library; Email:

May 10, 2 p.m.; North Florida Writers; Wesconnett Library; <>

May 10, 3 p.m.; First Coast Romance Writers; Jacksonville West Region Library; Speaker: Elizabeth Sinclair (aka Marge Smith) National Readers Choice Award 2006; <>

May 13, 7 p.m.; FWA River City Writers; NO MAY MEETING; Southeast Library; Email:

May 15, 2 p.m.; Gathering of Poets; Ponte Vedra Beach Library; Email:

May 16, 7 p.m.; POW Open Mic; Borders Books, Southside Blvd; to read, call Caryn 268-6229; <>

May 17, 8 a.m.; FWA NE Florida Regional Conference; Players Senior Community Center, Ponte Vedra; <> (See more details below)

May 17, 10 a.m.; FWA Ancient City Writers; St. Augustine Library Downtown; Email Jeff Swesky

May 17, 1 p.m.; Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; Southeast Library;

May 19, 6:30 p.m.; Book Talk Cafe, Ponte Vedra Library, FOL Room; Speaker: Lucy Beebe Tobias, (50 Great Walks in Florida); <>

May 20, 6 p.m.; FWA Amelia Island Writers; Florida House; Email

May 24, 10 a.m.; FWA Ponte Vedra Writers; NO MAY MEETING: Ponte Vedra Library; <>

May 27, 6:30 p.m.; POW Poetry/Short Story Crits; Borders Books, Southside Blvd.; <>


May 17 FWA ONE-DAY CONFERENCE, 8 a.m.; Players Community Senior Center, Ponte Vedra Beach; Authors, Publishers, Workshops, Open Reading and Crits, Lunch, Networking; Lighthouse Book Awards; http: <> //

June 6 - 7 MYSTERY FLORIDA, Lido Beach Resort, Sarasota. Hear Michael Connolly and rub elbows with Tim Dorsey, James O. Born, Blaize Clement, Bob Morris, Jonathon King, James Swain, David Hagberg, and others. <>

July 18 - 19 Harriette Austin Writers Conference, Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center & Hotel; UGA Campus, Athens, GA; Fri: 8 a.m-10p.m. Intensive workshops, Lunch, Dinner, Speakers, MS Evaluations with editors or agents; Two- $500 prizes for eligible MS submitted. MS deadline 6/1/08. Details: costs, agenda, presenters, accommodations @:;
Register:; Email:; MS Evals details:;

Sept. 12 - 13; FLORIDA HERITAGE BOOK FESTIVAL; Casa Monica Hotel and Flagler College, St Augustine; panel discussions, author presentations, poetry read/workshop, childrens events; Deadline for book submission: April 15; full information at <> Interesting site!


Note: If you have any special events or items to be added to the calendar or mentioned in future newsletters, please send details to me:


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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