Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System
Editor: Howard Denson
October 2016


Be careful what you read; some writers and works will give you entirely the wrong idea.

--F. Armstrong Green


In this issue:


Stuff (and links) from hither and yon

1.      Mastering the “Down the Well” Approach to Writing

2.      How to interview a writer (and how to be interviewed)

3.      Infographic: How long did famous novels take to write?

4.      Lionel Shriver’s Address on Cultural Appropriation Roils a Writers Festival


The N.F.W. to Hear novelist Fracis in November

Northeast Florida’s writing community mourns death of Kathy Clower

A new literary award for A.B.I.F. authors announced; deadline Oct. 31

Northampton House Press seeks good romance novel manuscript

2nd annual Amelia Island Book Festival Murder Mystery Charity Dinner features a “killer cake”

BookMark welcomes Jennifer Fosberry and Randy Wayne White

FWA blog for Northeast Florida

‘Heart and Hook of Story’ will have Clay Writers creating effective loglines

Poyer tackles war with China; Graves sends shivers down spines at Devil’s Key


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.


Mastering the “Down the Well”

Approach to Writing


Dale Short’s writing teacher was Jesse Hill Ford, who told his students how to survive the inevitable number of rejections they would be facing. Read the article, take an aspirin, and call the doctor in the morning if the tips don’t work.


How to interview a writer

(and how to be interviewed)


The co-creators of the podcast Unladylike have interviewed many writers and come up with some tips regardless of whether you are interviewing or being interviewed. Two tips: First, like good Boy Scouts, be prepared. Second, avoid questions that have “yes” or “no” responses. Keep things open-ended.


Infographic: How long

did famous novels

take to write?


If you’ve ever wondered how long it took to craft some of history’s most famous books, you’ll want to check out this infographic from the kind folks at Printerinks. Tolkien takes top slowpoke honors for taking 16 years to write the Lord of the Rings while the quickest author on the list is John Boyne, who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in only 2.5 days.


Lionel Shriver’s Address

on Cultural Appropriation

Roils a Writers Festival


Rod Nordland discusses what happened when the American novelist Lionel Shriver unloaded about “cultural appropriation” when giving a keynote address to an Australian writers’ festival. The story said: “After her Brisbane speech, Ms. Shriver was accosted by a festival participant in the hallway of the State Library of Queensland, who shouted, ‘How dare you come to my country and offend our minorities?’ The author said that the woman had clearly not actually heard her speech, which made no mention of Australian minorities.”






The November speaker for the North Florida Writers will be Sohrab Homi Fracis, whose upcoming book is “Go Home,” a novel about pressures on immigrants during the Iranian hostage crisis. The group will not meet in October.

 Members have voted on two measures important to the organization:

 First, they reinstated dues, but at a reduced rate of $20 a year (for all previous categories). The dues will begin with the 2017 calendar year.

 Second, the NFW decided to go from quarterly meetings to six meetings a year beginning in 2017: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

 For 2016, the last meeting will be Saturday, Nov. 12, 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 or 2 p.m. (to be confirmed later), depending on how late the realty office is open.

 The meeting will also feature critiquing.






The writing community of Northeast Florida was shocked recently at the unexpected death of Kathy Puckett Clower, a retiree from Florida State College at Jacksonville, but also a key supporter of the area’s writers, poets, editors, and playwrights.

 ·         Ms. Clower was a former EVE award winner.

·         She produced an exceptional video/DVD about Jacksonville and its history.

·         She was based Downtown and then at the Open Campus, where she managed the distance learning courses, especially those requiring audio-visual presentations.

·         She was the long-time coordinator for the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival (for about ten years, from the sixth or so WF year to later).

·         At the Festival, she organized and produced a couple of dozen "Writer to Writer" programs, including interviews with such writers as David Poyer, Lenore Hart, Connie May Fowler, and many others.

·         She moved the Writers’ Festival from the campus to the Seaturtle at the Beaches (much to the delight of authors and speakers from cold-weather states). When the Seaturtle was no longer available due to renovations, she moved the Festival to the downtown area (local hotel banqueting and break-out rooms, plus the public library).

·         As part of the college’s 50th anniversary in 2015, she put together a mini-Writers’ Festival at South Campus for its contribution to the celebration.

 A voracious reader, she thrived when networking with speakers for the Writers’ Festival or the Writer to Writer programs.





 The Amelia Island Book Festival (AIBF) has created a prestigious new literary award that will be presented for the first time at the 2017 Festival. Only authors who are registered to exhibit at the Author Expo, Feb. 18, are eligible.

 The deadline to enter is Oct. 31, 2016. The award will be presented at the Author Face-Off Gala evening on Feb. 16. 

 For complete details, including entry criteria, FAQs and application, please visit The website will also provide continual updates to events, breakout sessions, author expo sign-ups, tickets, and sponsorship and donor opportunities

 ABIF has hosted more than a thousand notable authors over the years since the first festival in 2001, and readers attending have enjoyed the opportunity to meet and hear the writers of books in their favorite genres.

 Coming from all over the country, some of the authors already had achieved bestseller fame, while others were new names just making their mark in the literary world. In the spirit of that tradition, AIBF

 The Book Island Literary Award will recognize an author for an outstanding and well-crafted book, exemplifying a distinctive voice, writing style, or ability to tackle a story or subject in a compelling way. Authors registered to exhibit at the Author Expo—whether first-book authors or those with many published works—are invited to enter this award competition, and entries will be accepted through Oct. 31.

 Both fiction and nonfiction, full-length published books may be entered, and the winner may be a book in either category. Children’s and young adult books will not be included this year, although a future award may be designed for that genre.

 The 16th Annual Amelia Island Book Festival is set for Feb. 16-18, with a “dream team” of literary superstars, including Steve Berry, R.L. Stine, David Baldacci, Mary Kay Andrews, Joseph Finder, Lara Adrian, and many others. All the events on Saturday are free and open to the public. The ticketed events on Thursday and Friday benefit the Festival’s acclaimed Authors in Schools Literacy Program. The program brings noted authors to every public school in the county all day on Festival Friday to give students an opportunity to hear and meet these authors. The Festival also buys the author’s book for each student at that school.






Northampton House Press is conducting a contest to seek a “romance” novel (in the old-school definition, not just a contemporary boy-meets-girl story). The deadline for the contest is

Oct. 31, 2016

 Northampton Press publishes diverse, exciting, award-winning books – and Northampton Press is genre friendly. Northampton Press publishes award-winning fiction. It seeks an adult or YA novel-length manuscript in the subgenres of mystery, historical, and magic (fantasy or supernatural) romance, from published or aspiring authors. Northampton Press is not looking for general contemporary romance at this time, nor is Northampton Press looking for any literature that eroticizes or romanticizes rape or abuse.

 Romance literature, like many other genres, has been highly categorized over the last couple decades. “We are looking specifically for romance novel manuscripts in the romantic subcategories of Mystery, Fantasy or Supernatural (i.e., Magic), and Historical Romance. A writer working in any of these romance categories should understand what this means,” say the editors.

 At this point there is a long list of subcategories in the overall romance genre: Vampire Romance, Erotic Romance, Western Romance, Bondage Romance, Christian Romance, Zombie Romance . . . the list goes on and on. But we are only looking for those mentioned in the Contest title and description: Historical Romance, Mystery Romance, or Romance which involves a magical plot: Fantasy or Supernatural Romance.

 Submissions should feature believable characters with human flaws, male and female characters who avoid the annoying trope of all their faults and problems disappearing simply because they have discovered true love. Settings may be this-worldly or other-worldly, depending upon genre, but must be well-developed places with specific details. The plot should be well-developed, with a clear arc, and have some universal appeal, no matter where it takes place. We are hoping NOT to see stories which offer only tired clichés and stereotypical characters and situations. Our fiction editor will work with the author on minor revisions prior to publication, but the winning novel will already be revised, polished, proofed, and in the best shape the writer can make it before submitting. We welcome manuscripts with LGBTQ couples.

 Novels must not be already published, either by another press, or self-published with a service like CreateSpace.


Winner: Will receive publication in ebook and trade paperback editions, and also a choice of either 100 paperback copies of the winning submission, or a $500 cash prize.

Four Finalists: Will each receive thorough and detailed, professional feedback on manuscripts.

   Submission Guidelines:

Email only the first 50 pages (maximum of 12,000 words) of your novel to Submissions must be in standard, 12-point font like Times New Roman or Courier and double spaced. Entries must be RTF format. Submissions must be paginated and include a header with the author’s name and book title. The complete manuscript should be between 60,000 and 90,000 words in length.

 Please include a front page that includes the manuscript title and contact information.


The entry fee is $20. (The link for submitting is at the bottom left corner of the page.)

  Northampton House Press is sponsoring a search of a good Romance novel. The first place prize is ebook and trade paperback publication, plus $500 or 100 author copies, winner's choice. The four finalists will get detailed critiques. The deadline is Oct. 31. Here is the contest site link:






Readers and writers who pride themselves on solving mysteries and figuring out “who dunnit it” want to put a reminder on their calendars. A "killer cake" will prove deadly for “The Judge” in the Amelia Island Book Festival’s (AIBF) second annual Murder Mystery Dinner. The purpose of the dinner is to bring a villain to justice . . . and to support the Festival’s long-standing Authors in Schools Literacy Program.

The dinner is set for Friday, Oct. 28, at 6:15 p.m. at the Golf Club of Amelia Island, 4700 Amelia Island Pkwy, Amelia Island, FL 32034. The audience interactive play “Just Desserts” is directed by Kate Hart. The victim will be Judge Reginald P. Cogsworth, a curmudgeon who hates sweets, but grudgingly judging a charity bakeoff, where countless entries have been whittled down to three. 

Sponsors say, “A delicious, delightful and dangerous evening of fun is in store for the audience when the judge's tastings prove that desserts can be deadly. Attendees will help find clues as well as be treated to a mystery drink, a gourmet sit-down dinner with a ‘deadly dessert,’ prizes and surprises galore.”

“This was an oversold event last year, so get your tickets early," says Elsa Mitschele, AIBF Board Director and this year's Murder Mystery Dinner chairperson. Tickets are $100, including the three-course gourmet dinner, show, mystery drink and prizes. A portion of the ticket is tax deductible and proceeds support the Authors in Schools Literacy Program. Visit to buy tickets and get more details. For questions, email or call 904.624.1665. 






Owner Rona Brinlee says The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach 32266) will host Jennifer Fosberry and Randy Wayne White.


Jennifer Fosberry, “Isabella: Girl in Charge” (Sourcebooks), Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.

 A big event has Isabella ready to leave home at the crack of dawn. But that’s a motion her parents are not likely to pass.  If her house is going to work like a democracy, Isabella knows what she has to do; call an assembly and campaign her way out the door! Inspired by women who trail-blazed their way onto the political map of America, Isabella celebrates the women who were first to hold their offices.


Randy Wayne White, “Seduced” (A Hannah Smith novel) (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) Sunday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m.

 Five hundred years ago, Spanish conquistadors planted the first orange seeds in Florida, but now the whole industry is in trouble.  The only solution might be somehow, somewhere, to find samples of the original root stock. No one is better equipped to traverse the swamps and murky back country of Florida than Hannah Smith, a tall, strong Florida woman whose family roots go back generations. Once word leaks out of her quest, trouble begins. There are people who will kill to find a direct descendant of those first seeds.


For other information, go to the bookstore’s website at or email the store at; 904.241.9026.






October brings temporal competitions for writers, what with college and NFL football, so the writer needs to force time into the calendar to make sure the keyboard isn’t being neglected. If you want to confer inside with fellow writers, then 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






The Clay County Writers will explore “The Heart and Hook of the Story: Using a Logline to Sell Your Writing” when the group meets at 6:15 p.m. in the meeting room of the Orange Park Library (2054 Plainfield Ave., Orange Park, behind the Dairy Queen on Kingsley).

 At the meeting, writers will pitch their stories to the group in loglines of 50 words or less.

Attendees will hear from contributors to Embedded in Clay: Stories of a Northeast Florida County. In this anthology, over a dozen local writers explore characters, communities, and events in Clay County, a little-known place on the west bank of the St. Johns River. Writers include members and colleagues of Clay County Writers, sponsored by the Florida Writers Association. Edited by Lynn Skapyak Harlin.

Maureen Jung, group leader, will lead a discussion on “How to Write a Summary” and give a sneak preview of anthology stories.

 Writers may wonder how to write summaries of their essays, stories, poems, and projects. She says, “Naturally, no single approach works for all writers. The methods may be as diverse as the number of writers you ask.”

Clay County Writers is sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Get the details on this statewide group: Monthly meetings focus on the art, craft, and business of writing. Some meetings offer presentations by author-speakers. Other meetings introduce practical exercises to help writers sharpen their skills, give and receive feedback, and leave with practical suggestions to improve their work.


For more information, contact Ms. Jung or go to the Facebook page at .






Northeast Florida likes to keep up with two of its writing alumni: David Poyer, a bestselling author who lived in Riverside, and Lenore Hart, a community relations official for the public library, who turned novelist herself. The two have been married for decades and now live in Virginia.

David Poyer is continuing a miniseries about how a war with China might develop.  The first, TIPPING POINT, came out last December in hardcover and will be out in mass market paper this Dec 6. ONSLAUGHT will be out in hardcover this December. Both books are from St. Martin’s Press.

 In ONSLAUGHT, the United States has been pulled back into a Middle East flare-up and China has attacked India in support of Pakistan. Nations around the world, although not directly involved, are reacting. The Aegis cruiser USS Savo Island, with its upgraded combat system, is smack in the center of things.

Digital attacks on American computer, satellite and financial networks severely handicap U.S. naval forces, as China launches an assault on Taiwan.

 Savo Island, under Captain Daniel V. Lenson, stands between the Chinese air, sea, and land forces threatening not only Taiwan, but waters and atolls claimed by U.S. allies in the South China Sea.

 At the same time, tensions aboard Savo Island are heightened by an NCIS agent, who is investigating sexual assaults by a mysterious attacker, and considers Lenson, among others, a person of interest. Meanwhile, a Navy SEAL team encounters stiff resistance when it slips ashore on a strategic Chinese island.

 On the home front, Blair Titus – Lenson’s wife – is caught up in political intrigue in Washington as members of Congress ponder whether to remain neutral in the Pacific or support Taiwan militarily.

 Aboard Savo Island, there is the immediate threat of Chinese naval units – above and under the sea – as well as attack aircraft. Radar screens are lit with blips representing missile launches. In Lenson’s eyes, a third world war, with the Pacific, and possibly much more, in danger, is no longer a hypothetical exercise.

 Poyer’s page-turning Lenson series features all-too-real scenarios relating to current world affairs.

 Meanwhile, back at the family keyboards, Lenore Hart has dusted off her “Elisabeth Graves” penname to published DEVIL’S KEY. Northampton Press says: “Lucy Fowler plans to spend winter break on an island off the coast of Florida, to finish writing her thesis.  She needs one last interview with an elderly midwife. Lucy almost cancels the trip after she's brutally assaulted on campus.  But in the end she goes, hoping work will be therapeutic.

 “On remote, isolated Ibo Key, Lucy learns midwife Esther Day is now confined to a psychiatric ward.  She also learns that there was once a thriving black community, Revelation, on the island. Its residents all vanished one night long ago.  Lucy decides to write about the ghost town, but no one will talk about what happened. Eventually, she uncovers the terrible story behind the town's destruction. Esther's rival, Soulange, once owned a mysterious book . . . a centuries old grimoire revealing the arcana of Obeah. An odd little man tells Lucy the island is cursed. That every man, woman, and child on it will soon die.  And she begins to see glimpses of the past.

“But by then she's stranded, trapped by a killer hurricane. To escape she must face her own connection to both the victims and perpetrators of a long-ago massacre . . . a crime so monstrous it invites the arrival of an evil old as time.

DEVIL'S KEY was originally published by Egmont Boker, Oslo, in 1999 as SVART FRIKT. This Northampton House Press trade paperback edition is the first in the English language.




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.

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.

 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 (




President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)

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

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. 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