The Electronic Write Stuff

Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System (Jan. 2003)




Novelist Bill Reynolds will speak to the North Florida Writers at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, in Room F128B at Kent Campus of FCCJ.  The meeting is open to the public.

Reynolds, a former principal, has had a series of novels popular in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.  Jetty Man is being pushed as a possible Hollywood film, and he will tell the NFWers about the "demo tape" approach that will be used to attract interest and backing.



     The eighth annual Much Ado About Books, set for Feb. 22 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, will bring novelists, poets, and media experts to a day of book discussions amd panels.

     The keynote speaker will be Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor during the Bill Clinton administration.  Another prominent speaker will be long-time CBS news correspondent Bob Schieffer, moderator on Face the Nation.

     Starr will be talking about his book First Among Equals:  The Supreme Court in American Life, while Schieffer will tell attendees about This Just In:  What I Couldn't Tell You on TV.

     Diane Rehm of National Public Radio's The Diane Rehm Show will discuss her book, Toward Commitment:  A Dialogue about Marriage.

     Radio itself will be the topic of Boston College's MIchael C. Keith, author of Sounds in the Dark:  All-Night Radio in American Life.

     Sports will be the subject of several speakers, including NPR's Neal Conan, author of Play by Play:  Baseball, Radio, and Life in the Last Chance League; Peter Golenbock, author of Go Gators!:  An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory; Washington Post sportswriter Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax:  A Lefty's Legacy.

     Novelists who will speak at MAAB include Mario Bencastro (Odyssey to the North), James Carlos Blake (A World of Thieves), mystery writer Stuart Kaminsky (Not Quite Kosher), science-fiction writer Greg Keys (The Briar King), Marcia King-Gamble (Jade).

     Entertainment will be the topic of Bobbie Ann Mason (Elvis Presley), Randy Noles (Orange Blossom Boys:  The Untold Story of Ervin T. Rouse, Chubby Wise and the World's Most Famous Fiddle Tune).

     Other speakers will include:

     --Arts editor and book critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Valerie Boyd (Wrapped in Rainbows:  The Life of Zora Neale Hurston);

     --Jacksonville psychologist Gary Buffone (The Myth of Tomorrow:  Seven Keys to Living the Life You Want Today);

     --Ex-Justice Department attorney Christopher Chambers (A Prayer for Deliverance);

     --Tallahassee bureau chief for The Palm Beach Post S. V. Dane (Black Sunshine);

     --Chris Davey (Turner's Flight: Will Turner's Flight Logs Part Two);

     --SUNY at Stony Brook Professor Emeritus Antonio De Nicolas (Angels and Women Mostly);

     --E. Rose Sabin (A School for Sorcery);

     --CEO of Pilot Pen Corp. Ron Shaw (Pilot Your Life);

     --Pulitzer Prize journalist James B. Stewart (Heart of a Soldier);

     --Children's books illustrator Mark Teague (How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night);

     --Writer for graphic novels and comics Mark Wald, who writes for DC's JLA:  Terra Incognita;

     --Girl's Life columnist Carol Weston (For Teens Only:  Quotes, Notes, and Advice You Can Use).

     Much Ado About Books is one of the three major events for readers and authors in Northeast Florida.  The event, which originated as the Night of Literary Feasts, is sponsored by the Library Guild to benefit the Jacksonville Public Library.

     The region's other major activities for readers and writers include the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival (in mid-May) and Nassau's Book Island Festival (early November).

     For ticket, hotel information, or details about volunteering, call (904) 630-2665, go to the website, or e-mail


     The deadlines for the Writers' Festival's poetry contests and short fiction contest will be Monday, Feb. 3.

     The Festival has two poetry contests:  the Douglas Freels Poetry Prize and the Robert Grimes "Good Earth" Poetry Prize.

     Poetry in the Freels category will focus on the traditional themes of poetry (love, rejection, death, etc.).

     The "Good Earth" category will focus on poetry involving ecology, love of nature, etc.

     Each category has a $5 entry fee per poem, while the short fiction judging fee will be $10 per story.

     In either poetry category, each entry should be no longer than 30 lines and each entry should be printed on one sheet of paper.  One version should have the poet's name, address, phone number, and e?mail address (if available), while no identification should be on the other version.

     Stories should not be longer than 6,000 words.

     Entries in the poetry and short fiction contests will NOT be returned, so entrants should not submit their only copies.

     Checks or money orders should be made out to FCCJ FOUNDATION and  all entries should be mailed to this address:

     Contests, FCCJ North Campus, Box 21, 4501 Capper Rd.,  Jacksonville, FL 32218.

     In poetry, identical amounts will be given to the winners of the Douglas Freels and Robert Grimes prizes:

     * first prize, $110

     * second, $75

     * third, $60

     In short fiction, first prize will be $200; second, $100; third, $100;

     All entries should be original and unpublished.

     For more information, consult the Festival's homepage at

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     The Washington Post's Style invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some recent winners:

     Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

     Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

     Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

     Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

     Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

     Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

     Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

     Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

     Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

     Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

     Decaflon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

     Glibido: All talk and no action.

     Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

     Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

     Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.

     Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

    Ignoranus (n.):  The condition of being both ignorant and an asshole.

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     1--Francis Bacon (1561), Edmund Burke (1729), Arthur Hugh Clough (1819), E. M. Forster (1879), J. D. Salinger (1919), and Joe Orton (1933); 2--Abdülhak Hamid (1852), Isaac Asimov (1920) and Leonard Michaels (1933); 3--J. R. R. Tolkien (1892);

     5--Khristo Botev (1848) and W. D. Snodgrass (1926); 6--Carl Sandburg (1878), Alan Watts (1915), E. L. Doctorow (1931); 7--Zora Neale Hurston (1903?) and Robert Duncan (1919); 8--Wilkie Collins (1824), Peter Taylor (1917), Charles Thomlinson (1927), Elvis Presley (1935), and Leon Forrest (1937); 9--Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1873), Simone de Beauvoir (1908), Herbert Huncke (1915), William Meredith (1919), and Judith Krantz (1928);

     10--Robinson Jeffers (1887) and Philip Levine (1928); 11--Alan Patton (1903); 12--Jack London (1876) and Haruki Murakami (1949); 13--Horatio Alger (1834) and Edmund White (1940); 14--John Dos Passos (1896), Tillie Olson (1913), Dudley Randall (1914), and Yukio Mishima (1925);

     15--Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929), and Ernest Gaines (1933); 16--Conte Vittorio Alfieri (1749), Robert W. Service (1876), Laura Riding (1901), Anthony Hecht (1923), William Kennedy (1928), and Susan Sontag (1933); 17--Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600), Benjamin Franklin (1706), Charles Brockden Brown (1771), Anne Brontë (1820), and Nevil Shute (1899); 18--A. A. Milne (1882) and Jon Stallworthy (1935); 19--Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737), Michel Bibaud (1782), Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom (1790), Edgar Allan Poe (1809), J. D. Salinger (1929), Patricia Highsmith (1921), George Macbeth (1932), and Julian Barnes (1946);

     20--Henry Bernstein (1876) and George Burns (1896); 21--Isaac Hawkins Browne (1705) and Joaquín Álvarez Quintero (1873); 22--Lord Byron (1788), August Strindberg (1849), Maurice Henry Hewlett (1861), and Joseph Wambaugh (1937); 23--Derek Walcott (1930); 24--William Congreve (1670), Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732), Charles Egbert Craddock (Mary Noailles Murfree) (1850), and Edith Wharton (1862);

     25--Robert Burns (1759), W. Somerset Maugham (1874), Virginia Woolf (1882), and Gloria Naylor (1950); 26--Florent Chrestien (1541), Achim Arnim (1781), Samuel Hopkins Adams (1871), Jules Feiffer (1929); 27--Lewis Carroll (1832), Mordecai Richler (1931), and D. M. Thomas (1935); 28--António Feliciano de Castilho (1800); 29--Anton Chekhov (1860) and Colette (1873);

     30--Walter Savage Landor (1775), Adelbert von Chamisso (1781), and Richard Brautigan (1933); 31--Zane Grey (1875), John O'Hara (1905), Thomas Merton (1915), Norman Mailer (1923), and Kenzaburo Oe (1935).

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"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers."

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The Write Staff:

JoAnn Harter Murray, President


Carrol Wolverton, Vice President


Nate Tolar, Secretary

Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (

Jean Mayo, Membership chair.(

Joyce Davidson, Public Relations (

Doris Cass, Hospitality

Presidents Emeritus:

Frank Green, Dan Murphy (, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag (, Richard Levine (, Bob Alexander

NEWSLETTER ADDRESS:  THE WRITE STUFF, FCCJ Kent, Box 109, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.


     Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing.  If possible, please submit mss. on IBM diskette in either WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or RFT format.  We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying.  We pay $5 for pieces of 500?599 words; $6, 600+; $7, 700+ words. For cartoons or art (in our print-version), we pay $5 each.  Writers and graphic artists retain all property rights in their work(s).

ISSN No. 1084?6875

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     Meetings of NFW are held on the second Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. on the Kent Campus of Florida Community College of Jacksonville. We generally meet in F128B (auditorium conference room).

     Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom Lashley; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel, Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick; columnists Vic Smith, Tom Ivines, and Robert Blade; editors Buford Brinlee and Nan Ramey; agent Debbie Fine; plus many others.

     You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address. Be sure to allow time for the manuscript to reach Kent.

     You may also simply bring your ms. to any of these meetings:

     Some dates to remember:

     Sat., Jan. 11, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Bill Reynolds, novelist, Jetty Man

     Sat, Jan. 11, 4-6 p.m., Mandarin Barnes & Noble:  Booksigning with Nate Tolar, novelist, The Keeping of Ellie

     Fri., Jan. 31-Sat., Feb. 1, Ag Center, 3125 Agriculture Dr., St. Augustine:  Earth Kinship Conference. Info:;

     Sat., Feb. 8, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Jay Wright of Jacksonville University, Poems of Silence

     Sat., Mar. 8, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Caryn Suarez, Florida Writers

     Sat., Apr. 12, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Christine Lindblom, Florida Writers

     Sat., May 10, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  John Boles of Jacksonville University, screenwriting

     Sat., June 14, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Robert Kline of St. Augustine

     Sat., July 12, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Bill Kerr of Jacksonville, novelist

     Sat., Aug. 9, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker: Dan Murr

     Sat., Sept. 13, 2 p.m., F128B: NFW Speaker:  Charles Feldstein of FCCJ South, poet


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     If you are writing a story or poem, you will need some expert feedback--the sort that you will receive at a meeting of the North Florida Writers.

     You won't profit from automatic praise that a close friend or relative might give or jealous criticism from others who may feel threatened by your writing.

     The NFW specializes in CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that will enable your manuscript to stand on its own two feet and demand that it be accepted by an editor or agent.  Hence, you need the NFW.

     The North Florida Writers is a writer's best friend because we help members to rid manuscripts of defects and to identify when a work is exciting and captivating.

     Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family.  (Make out checks to WRITERS.)

     Won't you join today?

     The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS, Box 109, FCCJ Kent, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.




St. address_______________________________________


Apt. No. ________________________________________


City ________________State _____ Zip ______________


E-mail address: __________________________________

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     When you attend a meeting of the North Florida Writers, you eventually discover that NO ONE has ever died while his or her manuscript was being read and critiqued.  You may be ready to face the ordeal yourself. . .or, reading this, you may wonder what exactly takes place during a critiquing.

     First, you pitch your manuscript into a stack with others' works-in-progress.  Then one of the NFW members hands out each piece to volunteer readers, taking care NOT to give you back your own manuscript to read.

     Second, as the reading begins, each author is instructed NOT to identify himself or herself and especially NOT to explain or defend the work.  The writer may never have heard the piece read aloud by another's voice, so the writer needs to focus on the sound of his or her sentences.

     Third, at the finish of each selection, the NFW members try to offer constructive advice about how to make the story better.  If a section was confusing or boring, that information may be helpful to the author.

     The NFW will listen to 10 pages (double-spaced) of prose (usually a short story or a chapter).

     UNHELPFUL FEEDBACK:  As you listen to a manuscript, you may be tempted to say, "That's the stupidest piece I've ever heard."  Alas, you aren't being CONSTRUCTIVE.  If you simply do NOT like any, say, science-fiction, then you may not have anything helpful to say.  That is all right.  On the other hand, if you think that a piece was going along okay and then fell apart, you can help the author by saying, "I accepted the opening page, but, when the singing buffalo was introduced somewhere on page 2, the piece lost it for me."

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