Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

* Editor: Howard Denson * February 2012


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In This Issue:


Serge Storms Creator Comes to The Bookmark on Feb. 3; McGovern to Sign Book “What It Means to be a Democrat” Feb. 24

Amelia Island Book Festival Slated for Feb. 17-18

NFW to Critique Manuscripts at Feb. 11 Meeting at Wesconnett Library

Luddite in reader’s soul shuns Kindle and e-books

Prize-winning workshops on river to start Feb. 22

‘Open Mic Jacksonville’ Seeks Submissions For Vol. 2

The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson

Stuff from Hither and Yon

Stuff from a Writer's Quill – William Faulkner

Meetings of NFW and Other Groups

Useful Links

The Write Staff

Membership Form

Writers Born This Month


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Serge Storms Creator Comes To The Bookmark on Feb. 3;

McGovern to Sign Book “What It Means to be a Democrat” Feb. 24


Florida mystery author Tim Dorsey returns to The BookMark at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3 with his latest Serge adventure, "Pineapple Grenade." After a gutless corpse called "Hollow Man" is found on the beach, and giant shark carcasses stuffed with human limbs clog up busy intersections, one-man vigilante Serge Storms decides to investigate. Not surprisingly, things don't go smoothly.


Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999. He is the author of 14 previous novels, including “Electric Barracuda,” “ Gator-A-Go-Go,” “Nuclear Jellyfish,” “Atomic Lobster,” “Hurricane Punch,” “The Big Bamboo,” “Florida Roadkill,” “Hammerhead Ranch Motel,” “Orange Crush,” “Triggerfish Twist,” “The Stingray Shuffle,” “Cadillac Beach,” “Torpedo Juice, and, most recently, “When Elves Attack.” He lives in Tampa with his family.


Former Sen. George McGovern has rescheduled his visit. He will be at The BookMark on Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. to talk about and sign copies of his book "What It Means to Be a Democrat." He originally planned on being here in December but had to cancel his tour for health reasons.


Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon routed McGovern in a presidential election that forever changed American politics and cemented the powerful differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. Today, as the chasm between left and right has widened in Washington, McGovern passionately argues for a return to Democratic core values.


In this new book, the former South Dakota senator laments that the GOP and increasingly centrist Democratic politicians have forgotten their commitment to compassionate policies that meet the needs of the many, not of the few.


The Book Mark is located at 220 First St., Neptune Beach, FL 32266. For more information, call 904.241.9026 or send an e-mail to owner Rona Brinlee at


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Amelia Island Book Festival

Slated for Feb. 17-18

When Fernandina Beach hosts the 11th annual Amelia Island Book Festival Feb. 17-18, many events will be free and some may require modestly priced tickets. General tickets are already on sale at


As a pre-festival event, Tom Kimmel, a singer, songwriter, and poet, will be featured at 8 p.m. Feb. 3 in Burns Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The event is free, but donations of $15 will be suggested.


An entire day of Writers’ Workshops will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at the

Betty Cook Nassau Campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville. These workshops are designed for novice and experienced writers to learn from outstanding writers and writing instructors in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Featured will be David Morrell, creator of Rambo and author of over 35 books, including “Creepers” and “The Successful Novelist.” The workshops will cost $65.


The Festival Gala, "Once upon a Book Island," will take place that evening from 6 to 9:30 at Amelia Island Plantation. The cost is $75 for an individual or $700 for a table of 10.


Attendees will be able to enjoy dinner by Horizons and island sounds of Pili Pili in a beautiful setting with festival authors and lovers of books. Steve Berry is featured along with David Morrell.


An author's luncheon (fee of $40) will be held at noon on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Atlantic Recreation Center, with the keynote speaker being Paula McLain, author of the New York Times bestselling novel, “The Paris Wife.” The book was recently named the best historical fiction book of 2011 by Goodreads.

Authors and writing professionals attending include novelists Steve Berry (, David Morrell (, Tatjana Soli (, young adult/adult novelists Jan Godown Annino (, David-Matthew Barnes (, mystery writer D. B. Barton (, naturalist Bill Belleville (, Motivational writer and speaker John Blackwelder (, editor Sonny Brewer (, novelist Kathryn Casey (, film critic Jackie Cooper (, children’s lit expert Carol Crane (, children’s writer Cynthia Enuton (, author-photographer Derek Ferebee (, writer-journalist Marisa Finotti (, fiction writer-teacher Marita Golden (, artist Tine Graham (, history film makers Rob and Kim Hicks (, journalist-editor-cookbook writer Belinda Hulin (, historical writer Jessica James (, yoga therapist Liz Kawecki (, historical romance writer Vanessa Kelly (, non-fiction writer Dr. Anna Lillios (, baseball author Kevin Markey (, novelist Margaret “Maggie” McKinney (, travel artist Mary Ann Miller (, lit writer Virginia Lynn Moylan (, Georgia Author of the Year Pamela Bauer Mueller (, young adult writer Nancy Murray (, 2010 and 2011 National Indie Excellence award winner Annette Myers (, sign language interpreter  Todah Reed (, former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher and broadcaster Jim Rooker (, author-illustrator-musician-speaker Chris Rumble (, children’s author Barbara Spurlin (, 2011 Indie Book finalist Tony Stubits (, memoirist Janie Wilkins (, Florida Book Award Medalist and 2000 Center for the Book Arts Prize winner Terri Witek (


The festival will also offer such free events as Authors in Schools, The Kidz Zone, and The Readers Festival.

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NFW to Critique Manuscripts

at Feb. 11 Meeting

at Wesconnett Library


The North Florida Writers meeting will feature critiques of manuscripts at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Feb. 11 meeting. Don’t set your brain on auto-pilot and head straight to the regular site because the group will switch back to the Webb Wesconnett Library due to a scheduling conflict at the Willowbranch library.


Meetings at Willowbranch will resume in March. The public is welcome to attend all meetings.


The critique process has someone other than the author of respective works read aloud the submissions (up to 10 double-spaced 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. 


The Webb Wesconnett Library is located at the corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard and is easily accessed via nearby I-295 or Blanding Boulevard/US 17.


For the March meeting, Willowbranch is located in Riverside at 2875 Park St., Jax 32205, but, if you are unfamiliar with area, go to and use MapQuest to find the easiest route there. The WB phone is 904.381.8490.


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Luddite in reader’s soul

Shuns Kindle and e-books




The Luddite in my soul makes me shout “Hear hear!” whenever I read complaints about e-books and e-readers. I hate this Kindle craze. I want to turn a page, not waft a finger or whatever alien thing it is you do to get to the next page. I remember decades ago the first time when I used a microfiche at the New York City Library, my hand kept reaching out to turn the damn page. It did not want to reach to the side to twiddle a knob and "scroll" to the next "frame."


The only advantage to e-books, it seems to me, would be on holiday. Rather than weighing yourself down with a load of actual books, you can just have them all in your Kindle, which somehow magically grabs novels out of the stratosphere ... or so I'm told.


When I read, I flip back and forth to doublecheck characters’ names, facts, or even figures of speech. But I bet it's not easy to figure out on page 362 who some character is you've forgotten about when he first appeared on page 22. Perhaps terrorists in the tale have captured him and carried him off to the jungle, and maybe you set the book down to tend to life’s busyness. When you pick up the book a day or week later, you want to check him out again. With a book, you just flip the pages, but what do you do with a Kindle?


I'm a consummate library borrower, not a book buyer, so there's the added disadvantage to actual books of ending up overdue.  Then again, I wonder, does a Kindle book have a due-date like a library book anyway? I shall never find out!


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Workshops on river

to start Feb. 22


A writing workshop on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River is beginning a new series of classes Feb. 22 to March 28, 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 craft techniques 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 10 students) is $125 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. Harlin at 904.778.8000 or e-mail her at


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‘Open Mic Jacksonville’

Seeks Submissions

For Vol. 2


Do you have a story that can rival “The Pit and the Pendulum”? A poem that may challenge “The Road Not Taken”? Or even a chapter that might hold its own against “To Kill a Mockingbird”? (Or even just works that you think are good, if not immortal yet?)


If so, you need to know that CDS Publicity is collecting short stories, poetry, and novel chapters from all age area authors, writers, poets for inclusion in “Open Mic Jacksonville, Volume II/Short Stories/Poetry.


Proceeds from this book will be donated to the Optimist Literary Group, which helps tutor children and adults in Duval County. “Open Mic Jacksonville Volume I” was published and became a best-selling poetry book of area poets, won several national awards, and is archived in the Cummer Museum of Jacksonville as part of Jacksonville’s history.


Caryn Day-Suarez, director of the first project, will be selecting the entries for Volume II of Open Mic Jacksonville. All entries need to be typed, preferably e-mailed to All entrants must include their name, address and phone number. A short bio should also be included. Those selected will be notified before publication. The book will also be available online as an e-book for purchase to be released in time for the holidays 2012. For more information, check out the website at or call 904.428.4681.


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Huma Kahn, “The Note: Is South Carolina the Last Gasp for Tea Party in GOP Nomination?”:


Many in the grassroots movement vehemently oppose the former Massachusetts governor, who they deem to be no different than President Obama, politically and ideologically.




“Worst-case scenario, we find a candidate whose a third-party candidate. That means Obama would get a second term. We realize that but Romney is little better than Obama,” [Tea Party founder Judson] Phillips said.


W.S. SAYS:  In the first excerpt, it’s “differ from” or “different from” instead of “than.” Cecil Adams in his “Straight Dope” column has reviewed suggestions in books by Theodore Bernstein and Bergen Evans about such problems and concludes, “When different is followed by a prepositional phrase, the preposition should be from. When it's followed by a dependent clause introduced by a conjunction (even if much of the clause is elliptical), the conjunction should be than.


The National Memo, an online political newsletter, put this head on an Associated Press story: “Florida: It's Different Than The Other GOP Primary States.” Again, it’s “from,” not “than.”

The sentence also offers an interesting problem with “governor, who they deem” for those who worry about the correct usage of “who” and “whom.” If the sentence had read “governor, who they say is no different,” then “who” would be required; the “they say” is parenthetical and can be omitted. However, “they deem” is not parenthetical since the infinitive “to be” continues the action or condition of the verb; therefore, “whom” is the object of the verb in the clause. Nonetheless, only a grammarian will spot the problem, so the writer can get away with the informal “who.” 


In the second excerpt, it’s “who is” or “who’s” instead of “whose.”



Joseph Fitsanakis, “Mossad spy network allegedly busted in Mauritania” (


A Jordanian citizen of Palestinian extraction, [Feras] al-Banna was arrested for larceny, which eventually lead to a warrant issued for searching his premises.


W.S. SAYS: You can lead a horse to water, you can make a sinker out of lead, but you use “led” for the past tense of “lead.”




C. Lazarus, “Savings Experiment: Diapers” (AOL Daily Finance):


If you decide to go with a designer label, she also suggests Luvs. Luvs are owned by Proctor & Gamble (PG), the parent company of Pampers, but are about five cents cheaper than Pampers or Huggies.


W.S. SAYS: Spell-checkers often won’t help with the names of companies and corporations. You often have to rely on the phone book or an e-search to locate a company’s name: Procter & Gamble. Oh, and it’s J.C. Penney, not Penny. What’s the status on the hyphens in K-Mart and Wal-Mart? Check the phone book or company websites on the internet.




Amber Ramanauskas and Bill Quigley, “Haiti: Seven Places Where the Earthquake Money Did and Did Not Go” (


Over half a million people remain homeless in hundreds of informal camps, most of the tons of debris from destroyed buildings still lays where it fell, and cholera, a preventable disease, was introduced into the country and is now an epidemic killing thousands and sickening hundreds of thousands more.


W.S. SAYS:  The sentence wants present tense, so “most lies” is correct, not the chickenly “most lays”; if it had been past tense, the verb would have been “most lay.”




Russell Davis, “Ronald Searle, the cartoonist who could never leave school” (London’s Daily Telegraph):


His feelings for the Molesworth series were much sunnier, and in his notes he would happily lapse into Geoffrey Willans’s schoolboy-speak. Enjoying the text as he did, ect ect, he didn’t attempt to compete with it, so the much-loved illustrations are among his simplest and most anecdotal.


W.S. SAYS: The writer is possibly being whimsical by using “schoolboy-speak” (or writing) when he says “ect ect.” Surely a schoolboy didn’t mean to refer to electroconvulsive therapy, but got confused on the use of the abbreviation for “et cetera”: etc. etc.




Carl M. Cannon, “What Each Candidate Needs to Do in N.H. Debates” (Real Clear Politics):


The other candidates are likely to avoid clashing with Perry, but there is enough friction between he and Romney (and he and Paul) that they may tangle.


W.S. SAYS:  “Between” is a preposition, so the sentence requires the personal pronoun to be in the objective case: “between him and Romney (and him and Paul).” Since that is conjuring up an awkward sentence, revise it so that “he and Romney,” etc. can be used in the nominative case: “… but he may tangle with Romney (or Paul) before the night’s debate is over.”  




Paul Gillespie, “Ireland faces crucial choice in its UK policy” (Irish Times):


Ireland’s decisions to join the European Monetary System in 1979 without Britain; to support the opening of negotiations on the single European market in 1984 despite British opposition; and above all to join the euro by accepting the Maastricht treaty on economic and monetary union in 1992, notwithstanding British non-participation, confirmed the long-term political strategy of reducing this overdependence.


W.S. SAYS: This sentence is so 17th or 18th century. First, it goes on for 59 words. It gives us the subject (“decisions”) and gases on for 48 words (count them!) before it gets to the verb (“confirmed”). Revise it by putting the parts together that belong together . . . and stick the complicated stuff at the end of the sentence.




John Man, “Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World” (Wiley):


Why, for instance, did sh, a sound that the Phoenicians had but Greeks didn’t, became ks?




In the first century BC, the emperor Claudius, whose first wife was part-Etruscan, wrote a twenty-volume history of her people, but it vanished by mischance or suppression.


W.S. SAYS:  In the first instance, we can blame, say, the ringing of a telephone after Man had written “but the Greeks didn’t.” Then he resumed writing, but in the past tense, forgetting the “did” helper requires a present tense in the verb. In the second problem, the first Roman emperor was Caesar Augustus, who died in 14 A.D. He was succeeded by Tiberius, then the nut-job Caligula, who was succeeded by Derek Jacobi (“I Claudius”). He and Plautia Urgulanilla were married easily in the AD period. (In case you haven’t noticed, “Common Era” or “CE” has replaced “A.D.,” with “BCE” being reserved for “before” the common era.)



Headline for an Associated Press story (Florida Times-Union):


Paterno could be last of ilk


W.S. SAYS: This Scottish variation on the word “alike” originally helped to denote the home-town of individuals, as in “The government appointed Angus Aberdeen of that ilk” instead of saying “Angus Aberdeen of Aberdeen.” As time went on, that geographical emphasis dropped out of use. Now the expression has a negative usage as it equates an individual to some unsavory group. Dems and GOPers err when they refer to “Romney and his ilk” or “Biden and his ilk”; their remarks often don’t identify anything negative other than someone’s membership in an opposing party. On the other hand, if you are referring to “John Wayne Gacy and his ilk” or “Bernie Madoff and his ilk,” the reader expects you will justify the “ilk” with pertinent examples.


Headline on Craig Shirley column in Politico:


Gingrich: The rise of the hoi polloi


W.S. SAYS: In Greek, “hoi” means “the,” so the head is saying “the rise of the the people.” You also don’t refer to “Mount Fugiyama,” since “yama” means “mountain.”

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What Could Have Entered

Public Domain on Jan. 1, 2012?


Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain notes that, under old copyright laws, several books and movies would have been available for others to use or reprint, including The End of Eternity, The Body Snatchers, Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What You Can Do About It, Rebel Without a Cause, Lady and the Tramp, To Catch A Thief, Picasso’s Don Quixote, Tutti Frutti, and more.


You Can’t Always

Get What You Want:

On Stephen King


Charles Taylor, a writer living in Brooklyn, discusses Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and explores what would have happened if a time traveler had managed to kill Lee Harvey Oswald BEFORE he killed JFK.,1


J.R.R. Tolkien's Nobel prize

chances dashed by 'poor prose'


Alison Flood explored the newly opened archives of the Nobel library and noticed why J.R.R. Tolkien never received the honor. The “Lord of the Rings” author had been nominated by C.S. Lewis, but the 1961 jury rejected him because of his “poor prose.”


Edith Wharton was the 'lonely hearted'

heiress with the fearless eye


Born to great wealth, Edith Wharton was in essence that awkward creature, a born writer, says Anita Brookner in The Daily Telegraph. Her novels may prove a challenge to readers of works by Jane Austen because she doesn’t try to resolve the conflicts with happy endings. A good friend of Henry James, she admired his work but gave her own creations a cosmopolitan directness.


Faulkner Talks

To Students at

U of Virginia


On the This Recording website, you can find students at the University of Virginia asking questions of William Faulkner, including the venerable “how do you find time to write?” Faulkner said, “You can always find time to write. Anybody who says he can't is living under false pretenses. To that extent depend on inspiration. Don't wait. When you have an inspiration put it down. Don't wait until later and when you have more time and then try to recapture the mood and add flourishes. You can never recapture the mood with the vividness of its first impression.”


Another writer who made millions

By self-publishing online


A month or so ago, we mentioned a writer who had struck it rich online. Now there’s another anecdote: Amanda Hocking, a paranormal fiction writer, was striking out left and right, but she wanted to make just $300 to go to Chicago to see an exhibit about the Muppets’ Jim Henson. So she offered one of her rejected novels online at Amazon.Com. She got her travel money . . . and a million dollars more.


25 Things Writers Should

Know about Agents


At his website, “Terrible Minds,” Chuck Wendig (novelist, screenwriter, etc.) has a long discussion involving the do’s and don’ts of dealing with agents. Step #1, he says, is to do some research and don’t send, say, a romance novel to a guy who only handles textbooks.

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A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.


– William Faulkner



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BARD SOCIETY: Every Wednesday: 7 p.m.; Frank Green 410.5775; Email


THE CDS PUBLICITY FREE WRITERS CRITIQUE GROUP: Meets twice monthly. The first Tuesday of each month at the Mandarin Library on Kori Road from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and the third Saturday of the month at the Webb-Wesconnett Library at 103rd and Harlow from 2 until 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome. For more information see our website at or call 904.343.4188.


FIRST COAST CHRISTIAN WRITERS GROUP: Every Thursday, 6:45 p.m. at Charles Webb-Wesconnett Library at the intersection of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard. Email: or,


FIRST COAST ROMANCE WRITERS: Second Saturday of each month; start time varies based on program; see website Chaffee Road Library; 1425 Chaffee Rd. S., 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 Willowbranch Library; 2875 Park Street 32205;


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


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                THE ATAVIST (original nonfiction storytelling):




                BOOK COUNTRY (sponsored by Penguin Books):






                DAILY WRITING TIPS:


                DAYS OF YORE (writers and artists’ struggles to succeed):


                EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY:




                HOW LANGUAGE WORKS (the cognitive science of linguistics from Indiana University):


"MURDER YOUR DARLINGS" (Quiller-Couch on Style):










                THE RED ROOM – Where the authors are: