1 Schenck on the creative cosmos; authors’ visits, workshops (Write Stuff 0314)




Writing News for the Sunshine State

& the Solar System


Editor: Howard Denson * March 2014

In This Issue:

Walter Schenck will discuss “Getting a Cosmos of Creativity on Paper” Mar. 8 at NFW Meeting at Riverside VyStar

BookMark to host Annette Simon, Jan-Phillipe Sendker in March

FWA blog: March will either come in like a line from Spillane or go out like Helen Steiner Rice…or vice versa

Prize-winning workshop to start new series of classes beginning Mar. 26

Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — Gertrude Stein

Stuff from Hither and Yon

FWA news about meetings, contests, and workshops

Prize-winning workshop to start new series of classes beginning Mar. 26

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

Walter Schenck will discuss “Getting a Cosmos

of Creativity on Paper” Mar. 8

at NFW Meeting at Riverside VyStar

.The North Florida Writers will hear Walter Schenck at the Mar. 8 meeting speak about “Getting a Cosmos of Creativity on Paper.” 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 before 3 p.m.


Schenck has had five books simultaneously in Amazon’s top 100 e-book Best Sellers List. All his books have hit the top 2% of e-book sales at Kobo. His latest book, “Priests and Warriors,” hit # 30 on Amazon e-book Best Seller list while his other book, “A Comprehensive Analysis to the Synoptic Gospels” consistently reached the top 100 (#28, 39, 50, etc.) Now, he wants to write an action-packed sequel to “The Birdcatcher,” a suspense thriller.

The writer finds a connection between the outdoors and writing. He says that, when he is planting trees, setting pavers, running sprinkler systems, landscaping, working with marble and travertine, or constructing a Koi pond, he realizes his place within the world and the things he wants to accomplish in his writings.


Not only does he engage in rigorous physical activity, he also works with computers. He earned his Cisco CCNA, Microsoft MCSE, A+, and Advanced Certifications from Florida State University and Florida State College. As a senior he took three advance master’s literary courses. He carried this hard-work ethic, becoming quite the salesman. While working at one of the country’s largest banks, he became one of the highest paid producers in the mortgage world. “Brawn is great, but thinking is where it’s at,” he says.

Schenck was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam, where he was a rifleman and armored personnel vehicle driver

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:


Apr. 12 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Nancy Beeler,

May 10 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Andy Rojas

June 14 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA

BookMark to host Annette Simon,

Jan-Phillipe Sendker in March


Owner Rona Brinlee says The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach) will host visits from friends of Robot Zombie Frankenstein and the author of a sequel to “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.”

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, heart-broken 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 bkmark@bellsouth.net. Website: http://www.bookmarkbeach.com.

March will either come in like a line from Spillane

or go out like Helen Steiner Rice…or vice versa


When you turn your calendar page tomorrow, we'll be only weeks away from the first day of spring. Has the groundhog seen its shadow? I'm not sure, but I'm ready for spring weather to stick around for a while. I'm also ready to tell you the FWA blog for NE Florida writers has been updated with the March post listing area meetings and events. 

No matter if it comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, or the other way around, March will be here whether we like it or not. Read the blog post and enjoy your weekend.

Prize-winning workshop
to start new series of classes

beginning Mar. 26

A writing workshop on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River will begin a new series of classes on Wednesday, March 26, 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 to 9, and the cost of the workshop (limited to 8 writers) will be $150 for six weeks.

Before attending a workshop all new workshop writers 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 lyharlin@aol.com


from Hither

and Yon


Click on each link to go directly to the story.

Stories That Kill.

7 Tips for Writing Crime

In The Creative Penn website of Joanna Penn, the aspiring writer gets some tips for writing crime fiction. Her first tip is all important: “Don’t be boring.” For other tips, check her out at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/01/17/writing-crime/

When fictional characters

continue to cast a spell

For readers who loved Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter stories, it is melancholy to learn that their creator reckons she got it wrong, says Jane Shilling. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/10614829/When-fictional-characters-continue-to-cast-a-spell.html

Parsing the Unintelligible

Stefan Pryor

Colin McEnroe’s “To Wit” column in The Courant tries to cut a path through the brambles of educational babbling. He is as exasperated as George Orwell was with “Politics and the English Language” and Malcolm Cowley with “Sociological Habit Patterns in Linguistic Transmogrifications.” http://touch.courant.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79199774/

The Ghostwriting Business

Did you know that the ghostwriter for Lee Iacocca’s autobiography had the first version rejected? It was too finely written and had to be done over to sound like the gruff auto exec. Ghostwriters may be hidden from the public or may be identified on the title page and cover with “written with” or “as told to.” The big giant in ghostwriting, of course, was the creator of the assembly-line approach for books for teens about the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and the Rover Boys. http://priceonomics.com/the-ghostwriting-business/

Self-publishing: is it killing the mainstream?

Damien G. Walter notes in The Guardian that going it alone in genre fiction is beginning to look like a much more dependable route to success. Says he: “[T]he reality is that advances for mid-list writers are often no more than $5,000. [Brenna] Aubrey's deal of $120,000 was significant, but would have been split across three novels, divided with her agent and paid in instalments. When she cranked the figures Aubrey realised that – even as a debut author – self-publishing offered far more potential reward.”


Content dictates form

David Byrne, a founding member of Talking Head, writes in his blog about song-writing, new hybrid forms for prose and music, and the relationship between lyrics and narration and dialogue. Quoting Stephen Sondheim, he says a writer must “first ask: (1) what it is that the song tries to say; (2) what sort of character sings the song; and (3) what other contingencies might the song need to address in the context of a specific show. These factors should dictate what you write, not some urge to be clever or to sound like what is currently popular.” http://davidbyrne.com/content-dictates-form

How Physical Health  Supercharges Creativity

Herbert Lui explains that a healthy lifestyle will improve creative endeavors. For writers, couch potatoes seldom make it to the keyboard or the legal pads to work on the Great American Novel/Short Fiction Collection/Poetry Chapbook. Alas, they lie there as Fate mashes them and pours gravy on them. https://medium.com/busy-building-things/18f8b50c4139

Who Killed Bambi?”

A Screenplay

The late Roger Ebert’s website is still up (and maintained by his widow Chaz). It archives a script he wrote for a film project entitled “Who Killed Bambi?” The film was to be directed by Russ Meyer and to revolve around the Sex Pistols. Ebert says:

All I intend to do here is reprint it. Comments are open, but I can't discuss what I wrote, why I wrote it, or what I should or shouldn't have written. Frankly, I have no idea.” http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/who-killed-bambi-a-screenplay

The Worst Blunders People Make

in Inventing Fictional Alien Worlds

Until recently, science fiction creators had to imagine alien planets, without knowing that much about real-life exoplanets. But in the past 20 years, we've discovered over 1,000 confirmed exoplanets, and learned a lot more in the process.” With this in mind,

Charlie Jane Anders asked six experts to identify the biggest mistakes they see in fictional habitable worlds.


Crime author reaps whirlwind

after urging J.K. Rowling to stop writing

According to Alison Flood in The Guardian, Lynn Shepherd, author of such historical crime novels as “Murder at Mansfield Park,” “Tom-All-Alone's” (U.S. title “The Solitary House”) and” A Treacherous Likeness” (published in the U.S. as “A Fatal Likeness”), set off a storm of protest in a Huffington Post column by suggesting that the Harry Potter author has “had her turn” and is harming others' prospects. If nothing else, the hullabaloo does suggest these insights: It’s none of one author’s business what another author writes…Not every notion is worthy of an opinion piece…Don’t criticize another author if you have never read anything by that author. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/27/crime-author-urges-jk-rowling-stop-writing


Wrong Stuff:

This Month’s

Findings of a




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 Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel’s website. Go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3PF180.


Stuff from

a Writer's Quill

Literature — creative literature — unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable.

-- Gertrude Stein







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).


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




Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at http://howarddenson.webs.com/usefullinksforwriters.htm.

Need someone

to critique

a manuscript?

If you have a finished manuscript that you wished critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm





President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)

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

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)

Treasurer: Richard Levine (richiea.levine@gmail.com); 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.