Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

Editor: Howard Denson

May 2017




Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.


—Mark Twain


In this issue:


Stuff (and links) from hither and yon:


·         Ambulance drivers Hemingway and Dos Passos rerouted the course of American literature

·         The future is in interactive storytelling


This Saturday, Rodney Hurst will speak to North Florida Writers at 1 p.m.

 Book Mark welcomes Frank Green and friends, Daniel Waller, Ann Kidd Taylor, and Admiral Stavridis

Shanty Boat slates women-only writing workshops from May 20 to June 24

Paula Hilton to tell Clay Writers about ‘The Resilient Writer’ on May 17

Panel to explore writing for children, young adults, and new adults

FWA blog for Northeast Florida


REGULAR POSTINGS: Writers Born This Month . . . Keep up with the NFW on our Facebook page . . . Meetings of NFW and Other Groups . . . Useful Links . . . Need someone to critique a manuscript? . . . The Write Staff






Click on the links below to read each article.



Ambulance drivers Hemingway

and Dos Passos rerouted

the course of American literature


Images of the warrior troubadour flashed through the romantic minds of aspiring writers when the Great War came along. In 1915, the English poet Rupert Brooke died, not in combat, for of sepsis from a mosquito bite (a type of detail Hemingway would use in his “Snows of Kilimanjaro”). In America, poet Joyce Kilmer would die from a sniper’s bullet in 1918. Before America’s entry into the war, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos volunteered as ambulance drivers, and their experiences changed American fiction.


The future is

in interactive



Do you like the term, “computational media”? If so, you may want to explore how “to create new forms of interactive storytelling, strongly shaped by the choices of the audience. People want to explore, through play, themes like those in Marvel’s stories, about creating family, valuing diversity and living responsibly.






The North Florida Writers will hear Rodney L. Hurst on Saturday, May 13. Hurst is the author of IT WAS NEVER ABOUT A HOTDOG AND A COKE and UNLESS WE TELL IT…IT NEVER GETS TOLD. The talk will be in the meeting room of the Riverside-Avondale Watson Realty branch (on the corner of Herschel and San Juan). The meeting will start at 1 p.m.


Hurst is a civil rights activist, a Black historian, and the author of two award-winning books. His first book was a personal account of the 1960 sit-in demonstrations and Ax Handle Saturday in Jacksonville. His book recounts with clarity the segregated civic, the segregated political, and the segregated educational climate of Jacksonville in the 1950’s and the 1960’s.


The Jacksonville native was sixteen years old when he was president of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP and one of the leaders of the 1960 Jacksonville sit-in demonstrations.

 His first book tells the real history of the bloody events of August 27, 1960, when 200 whites with ax handles and baseball bats attacked members of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP who were demonstrating peaceably at White lunch counters in downtown Jacksonville; and also attacked anyone Black in downtown Jacksonville. The book won more than a dozen awards, including the USA Book News Book First Place Gold Medal Award for Multi-Cultural Nonfiction, the Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal in Nonfiction, and the First Annual Stetson Kennedy Award from the Florida Historical Society.

 Hurst’s second book, published in January 2016, relates stories of notable Blacks of Jacksonville who impacted this city and the country, relates stories of America’s Black History, and of the historical fight against Racism. It was recently honored as one of five finalists for the 2016 Multicultural Non-Fiction Award by the National Best Books Awards national book competition, and is the recipient of the 2017 City of Jacksonville Historical Preservation Award.

 Hurst speaks extensively on Civil Rights, Black History, and Racism, and is the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards. He was the keynote speaker for the Baptist Ministers’ 2016 Martin Luther King Breakfast in Jacksonville…the keynote speaker for the 2010 City of Jacksonville Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast… the keynote speaker for the 2014 Nassau County Branch of the NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast…and the keynote speaker for the 2013 Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

 In addition to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, Hurst served two four-year terms on the Jacksonville City Council, and is responsible for a number of “firsts” in the Jacksonville Community: He is one of the original thirteen national recipients of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Television Fellowships, the first Black to co-host a television talk show in Jacksonville on PBS Channel WJCT, the first Black to serve as the Executive Director of the State of Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board, and the first Black male hired at Prudential’s South Central Home Office.

 Hurst and his late wife Ann (June 24, 1945-September 5, 2016) would have celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary on December 10, 2016. Hurst has two sons, Rodney (Vandlyn) and Todd, and two granddaughters, Marquiette, and Jasmine. He worships at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church and Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

 The meeting will also feature critiquing.







Owner Rona Brinlee says that in the upcoming weeks the BookMark will host Frank Green and friends, Daniel Waller, Ann Kidd Taylor, and Admiral Stavridis. The BookMark is located at 220 1st St., Neptune Beach 32266.

 Frank Green, Steve Berry and more, WEDNESDAYS WITH FRANK: A PANEGYRIC (Cypress Publications), Friday, May 12, 7 p.m.

 F. Armstrong Green has a love affair with the Word. His pursuit of well-crafted writing has led him through the slush piles of The Sewanee Review to the home of Katherine Anne Porter to the mentorship of The Bard Society, a writers' workshop that has lasted for five decades. 

 In WEDNESDAYS WITH FRANK, Bard Society members share their memories of a man who was instrumental in their maturation as writers. Week-after-week, year-after-year, writers who have made a commitment to the written word and have brought their stories to the workshop in an uncompromising effort to learn the craft of fiction have found their commitment and effort paid off by becoming not only published, as many have become, but also have found themselves recognized for literary accomplishments and on national and international bestseller lists.


The reader of these reminiscences by authors, including Steve Berry, Lenore Hart, Sohrab Homi Fracis and more, will not only come away with valuable tips on writing, but also will discover the depths of a man--a mentor, a leader, and an abiding friend.


Story Time with Miss Pat, Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m.

 This monthly tradition keeps getting more and more popular, and for good reasons. Miss Pat has a way of capturing the attention and imagination of her young listeners (and their adult friends).  Don't's the second Saturday of each month.


Daniel Wallace, EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES (St. Martin's Press), Friday, June 2, 7 p.m.

 The bestselling author of BIG FISH and MR. SEBASTIAN AND THE NEGRO MAGICIAN offers a  new treat.  Edsel Bronfman works as a junior executive shipping clerk for an importer of Korean flatware. He lives in a seedy neighborhood and spends his free time with his spirited mother. Things happen to other people, and Bronfman knows it. Until, that is, he gets a call from operator 61217 telling him that he's won a free weekend at a beachfront condo in Destin, Florida. But there's a catch: the offer is intended for a couple, and Bronfman has only seventy-nine days to find someone to take with him.  The phone call jolts Bronfman into motion, initiating a series of truly extraordinary adventures as he sets out to find a companion for his weekend getaway. Open at last to the possibilities of life, Bronfman now believes that anything can happen. And it does.


Ann Kidd Taylor, THE SHARK CLUB (Viking), Monday, June 12, 7 p.m.

 This debut novel about love, loss, and sharks is by New York Times bestselling co-author of TRAVELING WITH POMEGRANATES (written with her mother, Sue Monk Kidd). Attacked by a Black Tip shark when she was 12 (on the same memorable day of her first kiss), Maeve Donnelly is now a famed marine biologist. But she's not so adept socially, which her rotten brother is about to reveal in a novel based on her stumbling love life.


Admiral James Stavridis, SEA POWER: THE HISTORY AND GEOPOLITICS OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS (Penguin Press), Thursday, June 15, 7 p.m.

  From one of the most admired admirals of his generation -- and the only admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO -- comes a remarkable voyage through all of the world's most important bodies of water, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path. From the time of the Greeks and the Persians clashing in the Mediterranean, sea power has determined world power. To an extent that is often underappreciated, it still does.  When most of us look at a globe, we focus on the shape of the seven continents. Admiral Stavridis sees the shapes of the seven seas.






A writing workshop for women only, on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River is beginning a new series of classes on Saturday afternoon, May 20, through June 24, 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 day session meets every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., and the cost of the workshop (limited to 8 writers) will be $200 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 904.778.8000 or e-mail her at






The Clay County Writers will hear Paula R. Hilton speak on “The Resilient Writer” at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, in the meeting room of the Orange Park Public Library (2054 Plainfield Ave., Orange Park, behind the Dairy Queen on Kingsley Ave.). This meeting is free and open to all.

 The sensitivity of writers informs us and spurs us to write, but it can also lead us to give up too quickly. A rejection note. A “meh” review. A tough workshop. They happen. They hurt. How do you rise above them, learn from them, and keep on producing creative work?

 Because the first key to resiliency is self-awareness, participants will identify when their interest in writing was sparked, why they choose to write, and what themes they write about.

Next, the group will discuss accountability and inspiration that emerge in peer groups like Clay County Writers and Lynn Skapyak Harlin’s Shantyboat Writing Workshop.

 Finally, we’ll explore what happens when you write daily and experiment with new techniques, and close the evening with a few creative writing exercises.

 As a writer, Ms. Hilton explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She attended University of Pittsburgh and earned an MFA from University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, NPR’s This I Believe, Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Her novel, LITTLE MISS CHAOS, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit; it was short-listed in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Her essay, “Shaping Clay: Augusta Savage” appears in the Clay County Writers anthology, Embedded in Clay. She’s hard at work on her second young adult fiction novel, DAPHNE AND THE DELIRIOUS. For more information: visit

 Clay County Writers is sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Get the details at Monthly meetings focus on the art, craft, and business of writing. Some meetings offer presentations by author-speakers. Others introduce practical exercises to help writers sharpen their skills, give and receive feedback, and leave with concrete ideas to improve their work. To seek more information, call (904) 298-5714 or use this email address,

You may also keep up with Clay Writers on Facebook at .






Writers by the Sea (WBTS) will offer a panel on writing for children, young adults, and new adults at their May 18 meeting at the Amelia Island Museum of History (233 S. 3rd St., Fernandina Beach). The meeting will have introductions from 6 until 6:30 p.m.

 The  Author Panel Presentation will be facilitated by Betsy Melvin. And the panelists will include Jim Weinsier, Jane Wood, Diane Harper, and Fran Keiser.

 Today “one size fits all” no longer applies. Learn the difference between writing for children, writing for young adults, and writing for new adults. The difference may lead aspiring writers to increased sales (or storage) of books. Panelists are writers from all three genres. They, along with other published authors of children’s literature in the group, may help attendees discover the perfect audience for their books.

ABOUT THE PANELISTS: Fran Keiser’s smile is reflected in her children’s stories. Jim Weinsier, is super active in local events, including the Amelia Island Book Festival; Petanque, and our own Writers by the Sea. He explores with children, “What happens after we die?” Diane Harper’s imagination encourages us to journey into the minds of young adults; while Jane Wood is an accomplished writer and speaker who has travelled to Russia, China, and France.

There is no charge for local writers (and those who love them). Writers by the Sea - Amelia Island, is a Chapter of Florida Writers Association. It is directed by Nadine Vaughan D’Ardenne. See us on Facebook!






You may go to the FWA blog and check out meetings of the River City Writers, the Clay County Writers, Writers by the Sea, the Ancient City Writers, and the Ponte Vedra Writers.


For more information, contact Vic DiGenti, FWA Regional Director, at or





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.


There is an easier way to scan a calendar and keep up with who was born on particular days. Purchase a copy of HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUTHORS: FINDING YOUR PLACE AMONG WRITERS from Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites:


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).






Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at





You may join us at any time on Facebook. Webmeister Richard Levine has changed our privacy setting from Closed to Public. That way, you can check out our group at your leisure.

To begin, click on:





If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at


Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs. Individuals establish their own rates. Neither the NFW nor its officers receive any compensation for referrals.


They include the following:


·         Robert Blade Writing & Editing (;

·         Frank Green of The Bard Society (;

·         JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (;

·         Brad Hall (;

·         Lynn Skapyak Harlin (;

·         Joseph Kaval (;

·         Richard Levine (,

·         Walter Schenck (





President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)

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

Treasurer: Richard Levine (


Presidents Emeriti: 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