Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Ancient City Newsletter - January's Edition

Happy New Year Ancient City Writers,

Put down the cookies and eggnog and pickup the pens and keyboards, it is time to make your New Year’s writing resolutions!

Be sure to check out some of our upcoming FWA-sponsored events, such as the 2nd Annual Lighthouse Book Awards (deadline of January 25th) detailed below under “Writing Contests” and Writing a Book of the Heart under the “Calendar of Writing Events” section.

Our next meeting: Saturday, January 19th

Location: The Main Library in downtown St. Augustine (1960 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd.)

* Please try to arrive by 9:45 so that everyone will have time to get a cup of coffee or tea, socialize briefly, and get seated in time for us to begin at 10:00.

Meeting / Speaker: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM


Speaker Carol O’Dell, author of the critically acclaimed MOTHERING MOTHER, is a professional writer, speaker and educator. In this session, Ms. O’Dell will be teaching the group the components of a successful book proposal for the fiction and non-fiction writer. The program will cover the research and presentation that goes into the making of a dynamic book proposal that will sell that book. She will also offer valuable insights for promoting and marketing the book after the sale.

Carol O’Dell’s passion is to teach through her story telling. Her non-fiction book, MOTHERING MOTHER gets to the heart of the issues faced by children caring for their ailing parents. Her southern humor and candor make her a much sought after speaker around the country. A graduate of Jacksonville University, she is currently the health editor for Hot Psychology Magazine.

Critique Sessions: 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

If you’re not already part of a critique group and wish to join one, please contact the proper critique group coordinator to be added to their mailing list (each name contains a hyperlink to their email address):

Mike BonDurant - Fiction Critique Group Coordinator
(Position Open) - Non-fiction Critique Group Coordinator
Dana Gregory - Poetry Critique Group Coordinator

February’s speaker

Location: The Main Library in downtown St. Augustine (1960 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd.)

Elizabeth Sinclair will be our speaker in February. Elizabeth Sinclair has been a member of RWA since 1988 as well as The Author’s Guild. Since the thing Elizabeth loves most, next to writing, is teaching, she has given seminars and workshops locally (including Flagler College) and nationally on the craft of writing, for over twelve years.

The program, entitled FIRST CHAPTERS is based on her non-fiction teaching guides for writers. She will be giving all attendees a copy of her FIRST CHAPTERS book. Feel free to visit her website at

Calender of writing events:

February 9th


“A Writer’s Journey: Writing a Book of the Heart,” the second in a series of programs hosted by the Friends of the Library and the Florida Writers Association, Ancient City Chapter, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 9, 2008 at the Main Library, 1960 Ponce deLeon Blvd. This event will be free to the public and refreshments will be served.

Five multi-published authors will be participating in a panel discussion and book signing that will benefit the Friends of the Library. Award winning short-story author Nancy Quatrano will introduce and moderate the panelists who are also award winners. The panelists are Elizabeth Sinclair, award-winning author of eleven romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels published in seven different languages. Her most recent release is TOUCHED BY FIRE, October 2007 and her March release INTO THE MIST promises to be another blockbuster book of her heart. Dolores J. Wilson, an Author’s Choice Award winner, is the author of the Bertie Series by Medallion Press and the moving novel LITTLE BIG HEART. Heather Waters is the much acclaimed author of THE DEVIL’S POSESSION and DESTINY’S WARRIOR. Shannon Greenland who also writes an award winning young adult series, is the author of romantic suspense titles LAURA’S SECRET, DESCENT INTO DANGER and DISCOVERING VERONICA. Tracy Montoya, author of seven spine-tingling, four-star review romantic suspense novels for the Harlequin Intrigue line, will round out this panel of talented authors who feel that writing the book of your heart is the only book worth writing.

After discussing the challenges and rewards of writing in the genre of romance and woman’s fiction, there will be a question and answer session, followed by the book signing. The public is invited to attend and meet these award-winning authors. Call 827-6940.

February 28th – March 1st, 2008

The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America presents Sleuthfest 2008 located at the Deerfield Beach Hilton starting Thursday, February 28th through Sunday, March 1st, 2008.
For more information:

Writing Contests:

The Florida Book Awards

* Deadline: Must be received (not postmarked) by 5:00 Eastern time on Jan. 7th, 2008!

The Florida Book Awards, sponsored in part by the Florida chapter of MWA, is now open for entries for its second annual contest. The Book Awards is an annual program established in 2006 that recognizes, honors, and celebrates the best Florida literature published the previous year. After a very successful inaugural set of competitions in 2006, Florida Book Awards opens competition for 2007.

Authors who have residency in Florida may submit works of fiction or poetry that have a publication date between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007. Non-fiction works on a Florida topic published in 2007 may be submitted by any author. All submissions must be received by the judges no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, January 7, 2008.

Submissions are accepted in the following seven categories: General Fiction, Florida Nonfiction, Spanish Language Book, Poetry, Young Adult Literature, Children's Literature, and Popular Fiction.

For more information:

The First Coast Writer’s Festival Writing Contests

* Deadline: Postmarked by Jan. 7th, 2008 for most categories! Postmarked by February 3rd, 2008 for the memoir contest!

Although the First Coast Writers’ Festival was cancelled this year due to cutbacks at FCCJ, the writing contest that it hosts lives on. It has even been expanded this year to include a memoir category thanks to Camille Cline’s Literary Spa.

FCCJ now sponsors six contests: Novel, Short Story, Poetry (two), Playwriting, and Memoir. Go to for deadlines and details.

2008 Lighthouse Book Awards Competition

* Deadline: Postmarked by Jan. 25th, 2008!

The Northeast region of the Florida Writers Association announces its Second Annual Lighthouse Book Awards Competition for unpublished novels. The competition has been expanded this year to the following four categories of fiction: Mysteries/Suspense/Thrillers, Fiction-General, Young Adult, and Science Fiction/Fantasy.

The top three finalists in each category will be sent to acquisition editors at major publishing companies who will rank the finalists as to first, second and third place award-winners. “Last year, we were overwhelmed with the number of entries we received,” FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti said in announcing the competition. “We received nearly 100 submissions demonstrating the growing strength of our writing community.”

Aside from the opportunity to have their work read by one of the acquiring editors, each submission will receive feedback from the preliminary judges. Finalists will be announced at a regional writers’ conference on Saturday, May 17 at the Players Senior Community Center.

The contest is open to all writers whose entry has not been contracted with or published by any publisher, including self-publishing. The entry fee is $35 per entry and multiple entries are allowed. Contest rules call for three copies of the first twenty-five (25) pages of the manuscript to be mailed along with three copies of a one-page synopsis. The deadline for entry is Friday, January 25.

For complete contest rules and submission guidelines, go to or contact Judy Connolly, Competition Coordinator, at or Vic DiGenti at

Gulf Coast Writer’s Association short fiction anthology

* Deadline: Must be received (not postmarked) by 5:00 Pacific time on Jan. 31th, 2008! Can be electronically submitted.

The Gulf Coast Writer's Association is announcing a Call for Submissions to their first GCWA anthology. There is no entry fee. GCWA will pay contributors whose work is selected for one-time publication rights -- all rights revert to authors upon publication. They will consider previously published work as well.

Interested writers will find all the information they need to submit at

They are eager to include voices from other states in this collection!

The Florida Senior Playwright Festival

* Deadline: Postmarked by Feb. 11th, 2008!

Be a part of Florida’s statewide playwrighting festival exclusively for residents ages 50+. This free, grant-based project is run through the Hippodrome Theatre in Gainesville, Florida. Plays will be read and adjudicated by representatives from the Hippodrome Theatre, the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance, and Santa Fe Community College. Three winning plays will be presented in staged readings at the Hippodrome during the Florida Senior Playwright festival weekend May 9-11, 2008.

Deadline for submission is February 11, 2008. Complete guidelines and additional information is at

Questions? Call 352.373.5968 and ask for Kate McConnell.

The Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest

Eligibility: The Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest is open to all.
Write 200 to 500 words of readable, well-written, even beautiful writing. Send your entries to Along with your submission, you must include your name, address, and email address.

Contest Dates: Entries for the Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest are accepted year-round. Each contest ends on May 30. The next contest begins the following day.

Selection: We accept nonfiction submissions only. Entries are judged on readability, beauty, and creativity -- in that order. Submissions not meeting the word count requirements are disqualified.

For more information, go to:

See you all at the next meeting and keep writing,

Jeff Swesky

Ancient City Chapter Website:
Ancient City Chapter Blog:

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