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Sister Counties Score High in FWA’s 2014 Collection Winners!

July 28, 2014

– by Su Gerheim

Kudos to east central sister counties Seminole and Volusia! Seminole County scored the highest number of winning authors in FWA’s Collection #6 – The First Step. Of the sixty winners, nine of them live in Seminole county! Woohoo! And one of those nine made it to the top ten! Mark McWaters (WGL) ranked second in Mary Burton’s Top Ten Picks! Congratulations, Mark. The other eight Seminole winners are Dawn Bell, Fern Goodman, John Hope (WGL), Beda Kantarjian (WGL), Joan Levy (WGL), Olive Pollak, Kate Maier (writing as Katherine Starbird), and Tom Swartz (WGL). And look – there are five, count them, five Writers Group Leaders in that winning list as well.

Cake for FWA Blog Post

They celebrated with cake on their Tuesday night meeting. Way to go WINNING AUTHORS! Their sister county, Volusia, gathered the second highest number of winning authors, with eight! Kudos, Volusia County! And they, too, had a winning author hit Mary Burton’s Top Ten Picks. Congratulations to ninth-ranked Charles Harris! The other seven winning authors are Laura Andrews, William Dempsey, Barry Dimick, Walter Doherty, Bob Hart, Veronica Helen Hart (WGL), and Christine Holmes.

Some pretty focused writing must be going on in those two counties. Great work and CONGRATULATIONS to all the winning authors in this exciting Collection Contest year!

Shameless Commerce: Discounted Collection Books, Clothing FREE Sneak Peek, FREE workshop

July 27, 2014

FWA06_TheFirstStepCollection #6 coming soon!

Our newest FWA Collection book, The First Step: Florida Writers Association Collection, Volume 6, makes its debut at the FWA Annual Conference in October. Pre-orders are now being taken for this volume of sixty winning FWA member stories and also featuring an original short story by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary Burton. The price of each book is $12.00 (tax included). Pre-order your copy for pickup at the conference, or choose to have yours shipped after the conference.

Bulk order Collection discounts

Bulk orders are now available for all FWA Collection books. The discounted price for 16-25 copies is $9.00 each. Purchase 26 or more and the price per book drops to $7.70.

Summer T-shirt blowout sale

Do we have a cool summer deal for you! Add to your conference wardrobe with our Florida Writers Association Member’s Pride T-shirts while they are still on sale. Sizes S-XL, regularly $19.00 , are now only $9.00. XXL, regularly $21.00, are now $10.00.  XXXL, regularly $21.00, are now $12.00. All sale prices include shipping and handling.

Order your Collections and T-shirts at

FREE Sneak Peek

We have a Collection video! Get a sneak peek at what we’ll play at the annual conference. Thank you, Su Gerheim, Collections Coordinator.


The Conference

Stars of Florida Writers:

Discover the Limelight at the Florida Writers Annual Conference

October 23-26, 2014

Orlando Marriott Lake Mary

Find out more |  Register now

Another freebie, but not for long: Register before July 31 and get free registration for one of the bonus workshops Thursday night. Check the FWA website for details. (After July 31, these supplemental workshops will cost $35.)

With a Sigh of Relief….

July 25, 2014


I came across this post in my WordPress feed and wanted to share. While we can’t totally let the marketing aspect slide, it is so easy to get caught up in it to the detriment of our writing.

I’ve been trying to come up with a working routine that I hope will help keep me in a flow while also taking care of other considerations (like downtime, exercise, etc.) and think I am slowly getting there. This brings up a question….

What is your working routine like? Do you jump right into the social media thing when you get up, or do you write first? Do you allow yourself time to relax and get a little exercise in? I’d love to hear about it.

Originally posted on Creativity From Chaos:

I put words on the screen.

Today, is the second in a row, that I have written before getting to my social media circus. I have only written a little – over 500 each day -but it is writing. It is a return to the ritual, and relaxation. It is a release of stress, and an grounding of my soul. I’m sliding back into what I do and who I am.

The fifth novel is slowly being brought back to life, not only on the screen but in my mind. I have stopped searching for review blogs. I have stopped being totally obsessed with number of reviews, and comments on Goodreads or Amazon, and I am stepping out from under that umbrella of marketing.

I still check, I still hope, I still want people to notice ,and hopefully, get my novel. I’m still promoting, and thinking of ways to get…

View original 202 more words

Exercise Wednesday: You made a huge mistake

July 23, 2014

This week’s exercise is brought to you by spam. Not the miracle meat in a can; the kind that clogs up your email, allowing you the mirage of productivity as you find a few you can at least delete without reading.

In my inbox this morning, I received an email with the subject line You made a huge mistake. Of course, it was spam, but it got me thinking… What if your character got that email and it wasn’t spam? What if she received a phone call that consisted only of the words you made a huge mistake? What if he got a plain envelope in the mail and opened it to see only those words, cut from headlines in several magazines?

Two scenarios spring to mind. First, the recipient of the message has no idea what the mistake was, and therefore no idea what to do, if anything to fix it. Second, and maybe worse, they know exactly what the mistake was, and now someone else knows, too.

Either way, it’s a substantial challenge for your character.

Time limit: 20 minutes

When you favorite author is less of a person than you’d like

July 21, 2014

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer Bradley was born in Albany, NY. There aren’t many famous people from around where I grew up, so when someone from there makes it, you take some pride, even if you aren’t fans of their work.

Ms. Bradley had many fans, for a number of reasons. She was a pagan, and helped pushed the boundaries for those traditions before converting to Christianity. Her Darkover series creating a fictional world used by her and other authors. Until she encountered legal problems about the similarities between one of her stories and another author’s fan fiction, she encouraged other authors, in particular unpublished authors, to use her world and send her their work. She also helped other authors build their platforms with her anthology series.

Her Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the point of view of the female characters. It turned into a miniseries starring Angelica Huston and Julianna Margulies that drew more than 30 million viewers in 2001 on TNT.

If that were all the story, she would be a literary hero, and a hometown hero for me. But it’s not.

Bradley’s husband Walter Breen was arrested and convicted of child molestation in the early 1990s. A member of NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), he was first arrested for molestation in 1954. He went to prison for what amounted to the rest of his life when he was convicted of felony child molestation in 1991. He died of liver cancer in prison in 1993.

So when Bradley’s daughter, harpist, singer, and opera director Moira Greyland, accused Bradley of sexual abuse last month, the allegations had the ring of authenticity. She accused Bradley, who died in 1999, of sexual assaulting her from the age of 3 until she walked away at the age of 12. She accused Bradley of also abusing other children of both sexes.

Moira Greyland

To be fair, Ms. Bradley isn’t here to defend herself. However, the accusations have the ring of authenticity to other writers. Janni Lee Simner has said she will donate all of her earnings from any Darkover-related work to an anti-abuse charity. When John Salzi posted about it on Twitter, responses included a woman saying that she knows “from first-hand accounts/experience that this is not untrue.”

And given her relationship with Breen, it seems more likely than not-unlikely.

For people who grew up on Bradley’s work, all this is a bitter pill. The telling of the Arthurian tale from a woman’s point of view resonated with a lot of women who considered Bradley a feminist icon. Many just loved her work?

So what do you do when your idol’s flaws are that big? What if Marion Zimmer Bradley stoked your muse and got you to think seriously about writing? What if you love Ender’s Game but not Orson Scott Card’s stance on homosexuality? Would you go see a Woody Allen movie? Where’s the line?

Promote Your Book at the Annual Conference!

July 20, 2014

Have a book that you want to promote? Whether you have traditionally published or went the indie route, there are plenty of options for you to explore within the FWA and at the conference.

Let’s talk about all of the member benefits. You pay the annual fee, so you might as well get your money’s worth!

  • FWA Website: Use the Contact Us portion of the FWA website for a link to your website to be posted.
  • FWA Network: This is the private social network at Signing up is free!
  • The Florida Writer: Career milestones can be added to the Celebrations section of the quarterly magazine.
  • Social media: We’re on Facebook! Join the group and then brag about your book.

The conference bookstore will be set up at the annual conference, where virtually all of the members visit. Visit the website for more details or email for more information.

When you’re at the annual conference, you will have the opportunity to publicize yourself and your book to some 500-600 writers and industry leaders with such things as:

  • Attending the conference and promoting yourself
  • Being a sponsor
  • Sponsoring an event or item (be a hero…)
  • Exhibiting at the conference
  • Donating a door prize
  • Donating an item for the goodie bags of attendees

Conference Program

Details for all of these can be found at the FWA website.

If you have a few extra bucks to spend with marketing, there are also advertising opportunities with:

Each of these can put your information in front of hundreds of people, so it is money well spent. Writers are some of the best readers, so it’s a great way to promote a book that you have.

What are you waiting for? When you want to promote your book, we have countless free and affordable ways for you to do so. As soon as you attend the annual conference, you will learn about even more ways to promote.

The Conference

Stars of Florida Writers:

Discover the Limelight at the Florida Writers Annual Conference

October 23-26, 2014

Orlando Marriott Lake Mary


Find out more | Register now


REMINDER: Register before July 31 and get free registration for one of the bonus workshops Thursday night. Check the FWA website for details. (After July 31, these supplemental workshops will cost $35.)


Whose Voice is it, Anyway?

July 18, 2014

By Anne Hawkinson

Anne Hawkinson - PhotoCountless workshops, articles, and conversations on the topic of writing inevitably touch on the voice of one or more characters in a story.

Big or small, loud or soft, the list is practically endless.  Bottom line is, every character has to have one or you have no way to tell them apart from the other characters in your story or they end up being a non-entity – some wisp of grey matter that slips away on the breeze.

Aside from my giving my characters a voice, I have to filter through the advice and opinions of fellow writers, members of my critique group, and my editor.  They all have an opinion on how my characters should sound (and act, as a result).  At the present, my main character (Maggie) is “under fire.”  They think she’s too sophisticated for an eleven-year-old.  “Her voice is too grown up.”  “Would an eleven-year-old really say that?”  “Her voice doesn’t sound like an eleven year-old’s.”  I listen to it all, remain open-minded, and then I ask Maggie what she thinks.

“I am who I am,” she tells me.  “You’ve got it right.  Just keep going.”  I know Maggie really well, and she’s not your typical eleven-year-old.  She’s bright, creative, imaginative, and had the good fortune to have really dedicated parents who read to her, showed her the bits of the world that they could, and cultured/challenged her mind and intellect.

She’s also had to grow up sooner than most kids her age.  Her dad died a few months before her eleventh birthday.  Shot and killed in the line of duty.  Maggie was an only child, and certainly “Daddy’s girl.”  Part of her innocence, her child-like persona died that day with him.  Actions and situations that she would normally partake in or get excited about seem trivial and “baby-ish” to her now.  Friends fell away because they didn’t know what to do or say because Maggie’s priorities were not the same as theirs anymore.  She’d be isolated and alone if it weren’t for her best friend, Laura.  Laura’s been there for Maggie all along, even when Maggie wasn’t a very good friend to Laura.

So, Maggie’s voice is a complicated one – even for an eleven-year-old.  I know Maggie really well, and I feel confident that I have her voice just right.  She told me so.


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