Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System


www.northfloridawriters.org * Editor: Howard Denson * Dec. 2013


In This Issue:


NFW to hear novelist Joyce Davidson speak about “Gestures in Life and Narratives”; venue switched to Riverside’s VyStar

Northside Storytellers League invites yarn-spinners to share Yule memories, poems, stories

Writers focus on anthology ‘Embedded in Clay’ at Dec. 18 meeting

Workshops to show how words can help you recover, grow, and thrive

Stuff from a Writer’s Quill Virginia Woolf

Stuff from Hither and Yon

FWA news about meetings, contests, and workshops

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


NFW to hear novelist Joyce Davidson

speak about “Gestures in Life and Narratives”;

venue switched to Riverside’s VyStar


The North Florida Writers will hear novelist and playwright Joyce Davidson speak about “Gestures in Life and Narratives” at the Dec. 14 meeting. The meeting will be at the recently opened VyStar Credit Union at 760 Riverside Avenue, next to the Fuller Warren Bridge and Saturday’s Riverside Arts Market. The meeting will begin at noon and end near 3 p.m.

Davidson’s first published novel was “Olivia’s Favorites,” which tells how the 1898 graduates of Moss Grove, Penn., Olivia's favorites, make unexpected life-choices. Justin fights in the Spanish American War, while Ardith, a sultry beauty, heads to bustling New York City. The rascal of the class, Beebee, goes gold mining in Alaska with Andy, and intelligent Elizabeth studies medicine. In a sequel, “Moss Grove,” the group lives through the Titanic disaster and World War I, and learsn about heartbreak and love for home.

Ms. Davidson has been president of the NFW and is now the vice president. She graduated from Ohio’s Muskingum University and Florida’s Jacksonville University. A 40-year resident of Florida, Davidson lives in Fleming Island with her husband and family. She has been writing award-winning poetry, stories, and plays since age 14 in Sebring, Ohio.

For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 10 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:

Jan. 11 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Dorothy Fletcher, “Local History: Lost Restaurants of Jacksonville”

Feb.  8 -- noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Michael Ray Fitzgerald, “Native Americans on TV

  Mar.  8 –  noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Walter Schenk, “Getting a Cosmos of Creativity on Paper


Northside Storytellers League
invites yarn-spinners to share

Yule memories, poems, stories

It's story time, again for the Northside Storytellers League, according to Wendy Clarissa Geiger, corresponding secretary for NSL All are welcome to attend once, occasionally, or all meetings.  Usually, meetings occur the third Saturday of the month from September to May.

This December's meeting will be changed to the FIRST Saturday of the month, Dec. 7, at Inman Memorial United
Methodist Church, 5334 OLD Kings Road NORTH, Jacksonville, with the meeting starting promptly at 10:30 a.m. (until about 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to share a Christmas memory, poem, or story.  Ms. Geiger says, “Please, if so inspired, bring a snack: cookies, deviled eggs, a vegie tray or some kind of refreshment to share.  Please, if so inspired, bring one or more Nativity sets/scenes for displaying during the December meeting (please, come early to set it/them up on the table).  The Nativities displayed last year were lovely!”

Around 10-25 persons show up for the meetings.  There’s no pressure on individuals to tell a story; you can just listen.  Practice telling; practice listening; read a poem - yours or another's.  Practice telling a true story - or a truer story - in front of a supportive group of kind folk.  Ms. Geiger says, “There are Black folk and White folk: a bunch of nice folk.  You can be from anywhere - not just the Northside of Jacksonville.  Bring a friend.  Bring an enemy.  All are welcome.” 
You may get up and leave whenever you want to - if you have other business or even if you simply get tired of
having such fun. 
DIRECTIONS: If you're arriving by way of I-295 (western loop around Jax), exit at Pritchard Road (on the Northside of Jax), go east to the second or third traffic light which will be OLD Kings Road N. and head south until you come upon the UMC light blue church sign on the west side of the street, turn in and park on the grass.  The meetings are held in the wooden church building, sometimes in the sanctuary, sometimes farther in, in the kitchen.  For better directions and more information, contact Mary
Webster at 786-1949 (home) or 338-2940 (cell). 

Mary Webster, Northside Storytellers League president, is a mainstay operating Inman Church's food bank.  Members and guests are urged to consider bringing some non-perishable food for the food bank (or, kitchen and bathroom supplies).  Suggestions for what is always needed: bags of dry beans, rice, dry milk, cereal, and granulated sugar.  Big bags of rice are welcome (they can be divided by food bank staff). 

Since NSL uses the building free of charge, donating to the Inman Church food bank is a way to give back.


The upcoming schedule of meetings on the third Saturdays: Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15, April 19, May 17, 2014. March 6-9, will be when the Florida Story Fest 2014 is held in Mt. Dora. Check www.flstoryfest.com for details. The September and December meetings occur on the first Saturdays, and there aren’t any meetings during the summer.



Writers focus on anthology

‘Embedded in Clay’

at Dec. 18 meeting


The Clay County Writers will focus on their anthology book project Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 6:15 to 8 p.m. The Florida Writers Association chapter welcomes potential contributors, the curious, or readers who simply like to discuss the craft of writing.

The CCW will be in the Meeting Room of the  Orange Park Public Library (2054 Plainfield Ave., off Kingsley Ave. just behind the Dairy Queen).

“Embedded in Clay" emerged at the November meeting as the working title for the anthology. In December, each writer will have 3 minutes to summarize his or her anthology project and get feedback. The group will then focus on plans and resources for moving the projects along. This hands-on session will include discussions about planning, researching, and preparing a story, as well as what contributors need to do to write their own bios and story summaries. Bring along your to-do list, your draft, your questions, and your ideas--whatever you've got that you're ready to talk about.


Workshops to show how

words can help you

recover, grow, and thrive


How important are words? The Book of John in the New Testament opens with “In the beginning was the word.” Words are important in faith, obviously, but also in philosophy and science as we “define our terms.” If we rely on trash thoughts and words, the habit can weaken us and prevent us from healing.


During December, Dr. Maureen A. Jung will facilitate "Writing to Heal: Engaging the Power of Words to Recover, Grow, and Thrive." Free public workshops on stress reduction, healing, and self-care will be held Dec. 9, 16, and 30, from 5 till 7 p.m., at the Orange Park Library. Register early since seating is limited to 25 people for each session. The session is repeated, but individuals should register for only one session. Sign up at Orange Park Library or call (904) 278-4750 to reserve your place.


Dr. Jung’s communication workshops have reached thousands of individuals across the country, including businesspeople, consultants, and professional writers. Since 1984, she has been a Fellow of the South Coast Writing Project, University of California, Santa Barbara. She has written nearly a hundred articles for business, popular, and peer-reviewed publications.


A writer/editor of two White House presentations, Dr. Jung was lead writer on a successful $15 million federal grant for a healthcare nonprofit. In 2012, she wrote “A Place to Grow: Nutritious Food, Better Health, Stronger Communities,” a study of nutrition education and obesity prevention projects for the California Dept. of Public Health and the Network for a Healthy California. She has edited more than 20 nonfiction books, including Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s acclaimed grammar and punctuation classics, “The New Well-Tempered Sentence” and “The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Grammar Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed.”



from Hither

and Yon


Click on each link to go directly to the story.


We become more literate

but writing declines


Chuck Raasch uses the Civil War diary of a Vermont soldier to demonstrate the “before” and “after” of writing in America. He especially complains about the “war” or “boxing” metaphors used in today’s political writing. We end up thinking we are making a point, but not really saying anything pertinent. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/11/09/the_death_of_writing_and_its_impact_on_our_politics__120606.html

GIFs, memes and liveblogs:

The controversial new

language of book reviewing


Laura Miller asks if animation, memes and pictures of Emma Stone have a place in literary criticism. She thinks they do.  http://www.salon.com/2013/11/07/gifs_memes_and_liveblogs_the_controversial_new_language_of_book_reviewing/  

FWA news about meetings,

contests, and workshops


Victor DiGenti, the regional director of the Florida Writers Assn., gives readers the FWA Blog post about meetings, contests and workshops for NE Florida writers. Click here to access the blog.




Stuff – Forensic Grammar




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


A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.


-- Virginia Woolf






Writers Born

in December


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.