Next Meeting

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Aug 10th- The Writer's Block Myth: Get Past Stuck with the Evidence Journal (speaker Heloise Jones)
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Sept 14th- topic pending (speaker John Rehg)
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Oct 12th- Navigating the World of Writers Conferences (speaker Diana Lund)
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Nov 9th- Live Critique (moderator Bria Burton)
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Dec 14- Potluck-Style Christmas Party (Miami Ave Wine Bar, Indian Rocks Beach)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

True Story! Bill Eleazer Reveals the stuff Stranger than Fiction

Professor emeritus Bill Eleazer (Stetson), spoke about the lessons he learned while writing his first novel, including naming at least 3 of his characters with names beginning with the letter J. In addition to sharing his experiences, he also included tips and websites that helped him and are great resources for writers. (Email me to get a copy - I'm scanning it in and will send out when I'm done. - fwastpete )
Bill was entertaining and talked about a scene in his first novel that was entirely true, but that a reader remarked was too far out to be believable! He had some great ideas for those not willing to accept rejections from the big publishing houses, and I can vouch for many of his tips as I have found them to be accurate in my own work.
I apologize for those who missed it due to the change in scenery - we had to move to the diner due to a lack of planning in securing the room at the library. I'll be more diligent in the coming year! (Anyone interested in helping please contact me!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Memoir memories

Sheila and Jan went back and forth like the seasoned team they are, covering many aspects of writing a memoir, including their own personal experience. I kept waiting for them to break out into a Saturday Night Live skit with Alec Baldwin, but we couldn't get him to appear. [ Note: We didn't even try! ]

The crowd of over 20 people remained spellbound and attentive as Jan shared from some letters she found that her father had written to her during the war. They discussed several writing techniques to help one get started in putting their thoughts down, and added excitement to writing memoirs - something that isn't easy to achieve.

They run a story circle up in Safety Harbor that you can find from a link on the right side of this page. Overall a well-received and enjoyable evening.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Facebook and Twitter and stuff

Elenora Sabin, aka E. Rose Sabin, YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction author talked about social networking, e-books and small press publishing to 25 attendees at the meeting on Thursday Sep 8. It was a lively discussion where others contributed their experiences as well. Ms. Sabin was pushed, kicking and screaming, to establish her web presence and has come to see the value in it as she builds a following. Her new book, Shadow of a Demon, has just been released and is available from Double-Dragon Publishing in both e-book and soft cover format.
She also showed her video trailer (created herself) and pointed out how to make your own and what sites could help if you choose to do that yourself. After the meeting the held a drawing for several of her books and other surprises.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Star Wars Force was with us!

Matthew Stover, Star Wars author and science fiction author, talked about franchise fiction ( as opposed to fan fiction - which I had thought were one and the same ), about writing, and about his newest project: a graphic comic book series. It was very informative and interesting to hear about his work with the Star Wars label. We had someone from Sarasota come to hear him, as well as some others who were familiar with his work and with the Star Wars franchise.
Mr. Stover talked about how writing the Star Wars books also gave him insight into his own writing and strengthened his own novels while providing him with something we all hope to make from our writing (or some of us, anyway): money. With that comes the freedom to write, and it was clear he enjoyed doing that very much.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July's Meeting was Personal - Blood Personal

Our July 14 meeting featured local thriller writer Frank C. Strunk, author of Blood Personal (his latest) as well as several earlier works. Frank covered a lot of ground over the course of the meeting, including sharing how he used his own background as setting for his stories. (Location, location, location!)

I think when you know the place you are writing about, it imparts a stronger sense of environment to the reader. (Though there are plenty of great stories set in places the author never visited. Especially true in Sci-Fi!)

Mr. Strunk talked about the craft, about writing good dialogue and getting into and out of scenes as quickly as possible. He discussed the publishing world and mentioned John Locke, the ebook million-selling author, and how that is changing the landscape of the business. In one discussion someone mentioned maintaining control over a POD project and deciding afterward that it wasn't worth the extra effort and time, and that the next time they would just use the POD publisher's services.

Frank was very easy to listen to and approach with questions, and shared additional time afterward at the diner with several of us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Passing of a Legend and Friend - July 16, 2011

I was notified this morning that our generous friend Diane Marcou passed away last night in her sleep, creating a void in the local writing community that will take some time to close.

At the first meeting of the FWA that I facilitated, back in September of 2008, I mentioned that I had received an ad for an upcoming workshop led by a Donald Maass, but couldn’t vouch for whether it might be worthwhile or not.

Diane was in attendance (she attended most of our meetings and presented at several), and said it was an excellent opportunity if one could afford it. It was the first of many of her recommendations of which I benefitted.

At Necronomicon later that same year, I had the good fortune to spend time with Diane talking about writing and life and getting to know her and become a friend of hers. I count that as a great blessing.

I won’t list all of her accomplishments, those are not important to me. Her greatest gift was her generosity of time and talent, and her genuine interest in helping those just learning the craft. She was a great person.

I was blessed to share dinner with her Thursday night after our monthly FWA meeting with some others of our group. I thought she never looked better. I guess she was getting ready to meet someone very important.

I will send out a notice of her memorial when it is received.

Thank you,

John Rehg
FWA St. Petersburg Writers Group leader

In addition, Billie Noakes, FWA member and longtime friend of Diane's has written a tribute and posted it on her blog here: http://billienoakes.com/2011/07/17/diane-curtis-marcou-a-tribute/

At our June meeting, Diane graciously stepped in when our scheduled speaker couldn't make it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

FWA Collection - Let's Talk

The FWA Collection - Let's Talk, its 3rd anthology of short stories written by members, will be going to press in time for the conference in October. Writers who have submitted have been notified, from what I hear, as to whether they made the cut or not.

At our July meeting we'll announce those selected from our group. I don't think we'll know who the top 10 are, as those stories are selected by the author of reknown, for this collection it's W. Bruce Cameron, author of "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

So, stop in to find out who will be included, and to listen to thriller writer Frank C. Strunk. Meeting is Jul 14 at 6pm at the St. Pete Main library.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New site feature!

I probably shouldn't have thrown all these posts out at once, so I'm dealing this one until Sunday. We've now added a page listing on the right column, and our first page will include author links and bios and other tidbits of information on upcoming speakers - so you don't have to search for them!

I hope you enjoy this and if you have any other page ideas, please let us know (in the comments below would be great, or via email to fwastpete).

Keep on writing!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Social Media and Webrings by Billie Noakes

Billie Noakes, storyteller and writer, shared with the group on how to use social media and what take advantage of in your quest for creating an online presence. Billie focused on Facebook, the number 1 social media site, and touched on other topics as well.

Her mention of networking meetings and Chamber of Commerce get-togethers reminded me of an FWA writer up in Pasco who sold her books at a farmer's market. What an interesting idea. (Now if only I wrote about gardening! But her's was not that kind of book - I think it was fiction.)

There are a lot of ideas out there that show that there's no one way to do things, and Billie's look into getting a following was both informative and enlightening. She showed several things via her laptop to those who stayed after.

Thank you, Billie! I've got to get back to my fan page and update it!

From Intention to Bookshelf - Janet Connor shares her soul

Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul, spoke on the realities of hard work required to get you from an idea for a book to having it published, on March 10. An engaging speaker, Ms. Conner shared how her own journey worked and was insightful and funny as well as touching on hardships.

One thing that struck a chord with me was how you can touch into an energy that can help you in your life. I know this may sound preachy, so I'm not going to go into it, other than to say you can check out her website for more information on her workshops.

I think the main thing is, keep a positive attitude and love what you are doing. You will hit bumps on the road and get gifts of help from unexpected sources. It reminds me of a saying I read in someone's office: If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life.

How true!
Thanks and my apologies for getting these speaker reviews up so late. I will stay up to date now, I think!

Poetry and Lark

Lark Underwood, former president of the Tampa Writers Alliance, spoke on April 14th, the night prior to the traditional tax deadline (but not this year), about all things poetic; read some of her poetry, and invited others to share theirs.

The evening was fun-filled and enjoyable, and was marked by the first use of a small amplifier with microphone. This was so well-received that we decided to use it going forward.

Lark captured the excitement and emotion that good poetry emits and shared her expertise with the attendees in an engaging way.

Thank you, Lark!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bookstores and Valiant Mystery Writers - Jan/Feb

I'm condensing the previous 2 meetings into a single post so that I can catch up and not do a disservice to the presenters (by posting one and then another quickly - this way they share the same time at the top).

**************************************** January 2011

In January Nancy Alloy, owner of Books at Park Place in Disston Plaza (49th St and 38th Ave, St. Pete) and previous representative for Ingram's, gave an honest talk on the state of the book store and the industry and answered questions from the attentive crowd. (The link above goes to a story about her store from a June 2010 issue of Creative Loafing.)

Ebooks were a big topic, as they have been lately with all the press they are receiving, and talk also focused on distribution and marketing. The January 13th meeting provided a nice kickoff for our new year, and I think everyone is excited about the new things happening in the world of the written word.

Bria Burton read from one of her works-in-progress to practice speaking in front of a group.

**************************************** February 2011

Mystery author Diane Sawyer braved the stomach ailments long enough to talk quickly about characterization, and give away door prizes of her books. She showed off her latest book, The Treasures of Montauk Cove, her 5th Avalon mystery. (The link is to the book from another website - not one I earn anything from!) After several valiant attempts to continue, Diane had to bid adieu to tend to her illness. We thank her for making the effort, and finished the evening of February 10th with some readings by attendees.

April Brown read from one of her works this evening.


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It's been a great start to the year and we look forward to more interesting meetings. Please stop by any time and see what's coming up.


John