Tag Archives: Orlando

University of Central Florida Book Festival 2015


April 18, 2015 / 10:00am – 3:30pm


Featuring the James O. Born Workshop

James O. Born

Welcome to the 6th annual UCF Book Festival!

The UCF Book Festival is an annual literary event held in the spring at the University of Central Florida. The purpose of the UCF Book Festival is to bring a literary cultural experience to the Central Florida community from infants to seniors by:

  • Fueling interest and engagement in reading and literature
  • Showcasing accomplished and emerging authors

Each year the UCF Book Festival draws thousands of readers of all ages. The Festival features internationally recognized authors and illustrators, book signings and sales, exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, book appraisals, and literary activities for all ages. The Festival is hosted by UCF’s College of Education and Human Performance, in association with UCF’s Morgridge International Reading Center.

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 For Immediate Use

Contact: Sharon Potts,  sharon@sharonpotts.com or 786-423-9294

SleuthFest Celebrates 20 Years

Starting Friday, February 28 through Sunday, March 2, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America will celebrate twenty years of SleuthFest, a conference designed for authors at all stages of their careers. This year’s conference will be held at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, Bonnet Creek, in Orlando, Florida. Three days of powerful information will kick off with a presentation by Guest of Honor Hank Phillippi Ryan. Attendees can start their learning process on Thursday, Feb. 27, withThird Degree Thursday (extra fee), which is devoted to intensive skill-building, taking writers from concept to publication. The conference proper starts on Friday, Feb. 28, with agent and editor appointments (must be signed up in advance!) and roundtables designed to enhance presentations on the state of the industry and career planning. Throughout the event, attendees will hear from and mingle with Special Guests Ace Atkins and Laura Lippman. Registration includes some meals, a cocktail party, and a complimentary buffet and party at House of Blues featuring Heather Graham’s band, The Slushpile. While walk-ins are welcome as space permits, registration is encouraged. Special conference rate for rooms is available. Go to http://www.mwaflorida.org/sleuthfest.htm 

Our line up…

Laura Lippman-Since the publication of her first novel in 1997, Laura Lippman has won virtually every major award given to U.S. crime writings, including the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Agatha Award, Nero Wolfe Award, Shamus Award, and the Quill Award. She is a New York Times bestseller and the author of twenty books, including her most recent release After I’m Gone.  http://lauralippman.net/

Ace Atkins-Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the forthcoming The Broken Places and Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland both out from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in May 2013. A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. Last year, he was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser. http://www.aceatkins.com/

Hank Phillippi Ryan-For her work as an investigative reporter, Hank Phillippi Ryan has won 30 Emmys and twelve Edward R. Murrow awards. A best-selling author of six mystery novels, Ryan has won two Agatha, the Anthony and the Macavity awards for her crime fiction. Her newest thriller, The Wrong Girl, was published by Forge in September 2013. http://www.hankphillippiryan.com/


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FWA’s Florida Writers Conference 2012

Florida Writers Association / 2012 Annual Conference
The Magic of the Pen

October 19-21, 2012

Find your agent, meet your publisher, and get the scoop on the industry at FWA’s 11th annual conference, the most comprehensive conference in Florida for writers of all genres. Register early and get a free gift from FWA.

 Click here to register online.  Click here to download a registration form.

NOTE: FWA’s Annual Conference is a member benefit. If you are not an FWA member and would like to attend, we welcome you, but there will be an additional $45 charge. You may elect to pay this charge and not become a member, or, you may join FWA for an annual fee of $45.

Want more information?  Please click here to go to the 2012 FWA Annual Conference page.

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Book Event


From: Julie Compton


Date: December 30, 2011


Contact: Julie Compton / Email:  email@mwaflorida.org


Best-selling authors Charlaine Harris, Jeffery Deaver, Chris Grabenstein headline SleuthFest 2012 in Orlando


Hundreds of mystery writers will gather for the annual conference March 1-4.
Both experienced and aspiring writers and mystery fans are invited to register.


Charlaine Harris, best-selling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that inspired the hit HBO series “True Blood,” will speak March 3 in Orlando at SleuthFest, the annual conference of the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America.


Both aspiring and well-established mystery writers from all over the country gather each year in Florida for the four-day SleuthFest, where they glean expert advice on everything from the nuts and bolts of writing a novel to finding an agent—and have a lot of fun doing it.


For many years a South Florida event, SleuthFest moves to Orlando for the first time this year. Attendees include editors, publishers, and agents, as well as famous authors such as Harris, whose “Dead Reckoning” topped the New York Times hardcover-fiction list in 2011, and international suspense superstar Jeffrey Deaver, author of the Lincoln Rhyme thrillers and the latest James Bond title, “Carte Blanche.” He’ll speak at SleuthFest on March 2.


SleuthFest’s Thursday Spotlight Speaker, Chris Grabenstein, has drawn critical acclaim and legions of fans for his Haunted Mystery Series of ghostly tales for middle-grades readers, as well as his adult mysteries. He’ll kick off SleuthFest with a talk at the popular Third Degree Thursday program, at which attendees hone their craft through workshops with masters of mystery. This year, a new two-part Thursday workshop session will focus on a timely topic: ebook publishing.


SleuthFest’s four days feature presentations by a variety of accomplished authors, including Jeff Ashton, author of “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony.” Murder on the Beach bookstore in Delray Beach will offer books for sale throughout the conference, which includes many opportunities to obtain authors’ signatures.


Attendees can also sign up for special programs, including a trip to a gun range and a Mystery Dinner Theater performance, as well as a private Saturday night party at the House of Blues, hosted by best-selling romance and suspense author Heather Graham.


Orlando author Julie Compton and author Linda Hengerer of Vero Beach serve as volunteer SleuthFest co-chairmen for the conference, which takes place this year at the Royal Plaza in Lake Buena Vista, an official Walt Disney World Resort Hotel.


Attendees may register for the whole March 1-4 program (with reduced rates available through January 15). They may also tailor their registration to sign up for only one day of programs, or as little as one luncheon, organizers say. For details and to register, go to  http://mwaflorida.org/sleuthfest.htm

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A life of despair redeemed through the power of art

“I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl: a Memoir,” by Kelle Groom. Free Press. 256 pages. $23.00.

Like a lot of must-read books, “I Wore the Ocean” is a difficult book to read. Its passages of darkness and despair are almost overwhelming. Its descriptions of alcoholism, drug addiction, and emptiness are harrowing. But there is no turning away. Ms. Groom’s lyrical prose is addictive. Brilliantly lucid, richly suggestive, and ruthlessly honest, this memoir is a triumph of art and life. 

Young Kelle Groom was a person without a center. Up to a certain point in her life, she had a very loose grasp on her own reality. She could not really feel rooted, substantial. She found no way to assert herself into the world: she could barely speak. She lived in psychic pain, she faked confidence and, while yet in her early teens, lost herself to alcohol and drugs. She became easy prey to exploitative boyfriends and sexual predators. She was damaged goods, perhaps permanently lost.

Somewhere, there was a resilient core that showed itself from time to time. Her unplanned pregnancy, at nineteen, was a mixed blessing. It was a gift and a loss. Motherhood gave Kelle Groom a more powerful sense of herself. She was more anchored in the world. However, believing that she was not fit to raise a child, she allowed Tommy to be adopted by her aunt and uncle. She lived on the fringes of the life she gave. When Tommy died at fourteen months from leukemia, Ms. Groom’s despair and sense of guilt almost toppled her.

Her life as a young adult was one of marginal jobs, bad choices in men, and a running battle with alcoholism. The possibility of suicide was never far away. Over time, writing became more and more her salvation. It was her way of coming to terms with herself, of dealing with demons, of building a solid identify, of finding a productive addiction, and of gaining perspective and understanding.

Kelle Groom photo by Marion Ettinger

Kelle Groom’s process of self-making through art resulted in three collections of poetry and now this glorious memoir, based largely on journal entries written over many, many years.

A major thread in the book is Ms. Groom’s psychological and spiritual search for Tommy. Her own quest for wholeness required that she explore the possible reasons for her son’s death and the contours and texture of his brief life. With her, we examine the potential for cancer-causing environmental factors in and around Brockton, Massachusetts where Tommy lived. We witness her react to photographs of Tommy and his adoptive parents that enlarge her emotional understanding. Finally, her aunt and uncle give her some almost thirty-year old home movies that Kelle Groom has processed onto a video compact disc. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the June 29, 2011 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the June 30 issue of the Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Kelle Groom or here: Kelle Groom pdf – 1 and here: Kelle Groom pdf – 2

Note: Since this review first appeared, Groom’s memoir has made it to Oprah’s Summer Reading List.

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