Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You ~ from member Skye Taylor

A year ago my heart and life were torn apart by disbelief and anguish when my little grandson, Philip was killed in a freak playground accident. I had already lost one grandson to SIDS and I couldn’t believe this was happening again to my family. 

For the second time, I had to look into the devastated eyes of my own child and know there was nothing on earth I could do to take away their pain. Two beautiful little boys taken from us far too soon. Two little boys who barely got a chance to live and love and laugh and play and who would never grow up to be men. 

It has been a difficult year. All those firsts without Philip – Thanksgiving, Christmas, his birthday, Mother’s Day, and family vacations. And as September approached and the anniversary of his passing arrived, we were all reminded anew of the outpouring of love and support we received from so many. 

The members of Ancient City Romance Authors were there for me and it meant more than words can say, even for someone who puts things into words every day. And now our annual conference approaches and I am reminded of last year’s event when I arrived, still reeling with shock and just beginning to grieve. And of the gentle, acceptance from all of you as you wrapped me in your arms and said, “I’m sorry.” 

Thank you for your patience with me then and in the weeks and months that followed. Thank you for Philip’s star and for the little silver charm to wear in his memory. And thank you most of all for being the wonderful caring community you are. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Q&A with JSO Detective Tommy Herrington ~ September 28, 2013

Detective Tommy Herrington was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and is a graduate of Andrew Jackson High School. In 1991 Detective Herrington joined the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as a Correctional Officer working at the Duval County Jail. In 1993 Detective Herrington joined the department's police force as a street patrolman.

After working five years on the street, Detective Herrington joined the Detective Division as a Sex Crimes Detective. Throughout his career Detective Herrington has been a detective in the following divisions: Homicide, Undercover Narcotics, Undercover Vice, Major Crime Narcotics (Wire-Tap Investigations), Integrity Unit (Investigating crimes committed by police officers), and was a media spokesman for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.  Detective Herrington has currently been employed with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for 22 years. He is married to his wife Tina and has six children.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. PLEASE NOTE: the meeting time for this month ONLY is 11 am - 3:30 pm..Bring your lunch and socialize from 11 - 11:30 am, followed by the workshop.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Editing the Way an Editor Sees It ~OR~ Don't Shoot the Messenger!

On August 24, Kat McMahon will share her insights on editing that got her first Young Adult paranormal novel named as a finalist in the GA Romance Writers 2013 Unpublished Maggie Awards.

Kat is a longtime member of Ancient City Romance Authors, a member of Romance Writers of America, Young Adult Romance Writers of America, and Savvy Authors. Kat has taken online courses through both these organizations, which have been integral to her success.

We're eager to have her share some of the valuable knowledge she's learned about editing from her studies in the last two years.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30 - 1pm, followed by a workshop.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Major Tracy Provenzano - Air National Guard 125th Fighter Wing Medical Group

Major Tracy Provenzano
in her HazMat gear.
Photo by Sharon Drane.
Thanks to Major Tracy Provenzano of the Air National Guard 125th Fighter Wing Medical Group for a great workshop on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Major Provenzano brought pictures of the disaster drills in which her group has participated.

Also she discussed a multi-service humanitarian mission in which she participated. She discussed the conditions in which the military nurses live and work.

She tried on her complete hazmat gear and her alternate gear. She explained each piece of equipment and its function. She also answered questions about her military work and her civilian job.

What a great resource for writers! We appreciate Major Provenzano coming to speak to us, and we hope to have her back again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Medical Q&A Workshop, July 27: Critical Care, Pediatric Intensive/Neonatal, Trauma, Hazmat

Join us this Saturday as Tracy Provenzano answers your medical/trauma/pediatric writing questions!

Tracy has worked as a nurse for 25 years.  During that time, she has worked in the following units: Pediatric Critical Care Team, Pediatric Emergency Center, Pediatric Intensive Unit/Trauma Unit, General Pediatric Unit, Hospital-based Gynecological/Infertility Practice, Neonatal Critical Care Unit, and Postpartum Unit. 

She holds the rank of Major in the Florida Air National Guard Unit, 125th Fighter Wing Medical Group.  In the Guard, she serves as a Critical Care Nurse in the group responsible for pre-deployment and routine care of our nation’s airmen: The unit’s CERF-P (CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package) Team is responsible for all state and federal disaster/hazmat response.

Major Provenzano is the director of the BLS program for over 600 personnel. As a CERF-P Team member, she is Hazmat certified and Hot Zone Triage trained.  She has completed the entire rescue training course and is qualified to provide nursing care for all triaged levels of Emergent Disaster Care.

She lives with her husband, Paul in Ponte Vedra.  Their son, Paul attends University of Central Florida.  Their youngest son, Christopher, recently enlisted in the US Navy.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30 - 1pm, followed by a workshop.

Monday, June 10, 2013

PTSD & Service Dogs ~ June 22

Sheri & Lola.
Join us on June 22 for a heartfelt discussion with Marine Veteran and Army Combat Veteran Sheri Martinez of Jacksonville. She'll be talking about her life pre- and post-PTSD and how her Service Dog, Lola, and K9s for Warriors changed her life for the better.

Sheri served in the Marines from 1984 to 1986 and the Army from 2006 to 2009. During her 20-year break in service, she raised a family of three children and received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric from Trinity College. Sheri is now medically retired from the Army and spends several hours per week volunteering at K9s for Warriors to give thanks for all that they have done for her.

Originally from Hartford, Connecticut, Sheri lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her best canine friend, Lola, and companion, Oscar Rodriguez. When she’s not volunteering, she keeps busy reading, playing online bingo, or watching NCIS.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30 - 1pm, followed by a workshop.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards

ACRA's Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards contest is ON!

See that lovely trophy in the photo to the left? That could be on YOUR BOOKSHELF! But you can't win if you don't enter.

ACRA Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards

Get your entries in now, as the deadline is June 15 and WILL NOT be extended.

New this year:
Self-published entries accepted. 
Digital entries accepted.
Print entries always accepted!

Contest is open to RWA members having an original copyright date of 2012, or First US printing date of 2012 from January 1 through December 13, 2012.

Find out more, and enter here:

ACRA Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards

Get those entries in now. June 15 will be here before you know it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Write The Perfect Query

"Some people spend more time on their synopsis than they do the query letter they send to an agent or publisher. Yet if your query doesn't get their attention, the synopsis won't be requested. I'll be presenting a workshop on "Getting the Most from Your Query." My query letter has been complimented by an agent at The Knight Agency for being very professional and told by another agent that it was exactly what they were looking for in a query letter." Kathyn J. Bain.

Yes, we know you'd rather suffer a migraine while dropping an anvil on your foot instead of writing a query, but you know it has to be done. Join us on May 25 as Kathy Bain guides us through painlessly writing the perfect query. You'll enjoy a great workshop, plus you'll have a lot of fun!

Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than twelve years ago. Her fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, will be available September 29, 2012.

She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors.

To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.

She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen. Her first grandchild, Hope, arrived on May 10, 2013. Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30 - 1pm, followed by a workshop.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Valerie Bowman Joins Us for the April 27 Meeting

Join us on April 27 for a fun workshop with author Valerie Bowman of Jacksonville. She'll be encouraging aspiring authors and sharing her experiences with the publication of her Secret Brides Regency series.

Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in History from Smith College and has been writing and editing professionally for over 15 years. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and a member of The Beau Monde, Regency special interest chapter.

Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her rascally dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or watching Hoarders.

Valerie is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30 - 1pm, followed by a workshop.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Tour Spices Up and Sweetens Jacksonville

Join us on Saturday, March 23, as local award-winning novelist Shannon Greenland and visiting NYT-bestselling author Simone Elkeles team up for a library discussion and book signing.

Award-winning young adult novelist Shannon Greenland and New York Times-bestselling author Simone Elkeles are bringing a little sugar and spice to town as the featured speakers at the Ancient City Romance Authors meeting from 1-3 p.m. March 23 at the Jacksonville Public Library’s Southeast Regional Branch, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.

Greenland, who lives outside Jacksonville, is the author of the five-book spy series “The Specialists” and her latest YA release “The Summer My Life Began,” which made the Barnes & Noble suggested reading list. The “sweet” writer has received such honors for her books as National Booksellers Best, Daphne du Maurier and Romantic Times recognition, National Readers Choice, CAPA Nominee, Aspen Golden Readers Choice Award, Holt Medallion and the Popular Paperback award from the American Library Association.

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Elkeles makes up the “spicy” half of this tour, best known for her “Perfect Chemistry” three-book series. The Chicago native has won the Romance Writers of America RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, been named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English, and had books chosen for the YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List.

The ACRA meeting is open to anyone ages 18 or older. All ages are welcome to the book signing afterward at the library.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from 12:30--1 pm, followed by a workshop.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Brenda Jackson ~ Workshop Speaker February 23, 2013

Join us this Saturday for an exciting chat with author Brenda Jackson!

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author was born in Jacksonville, Florida.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University and worked in management for State Farm Insurance where retired after thirty-seven years.  She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, forty-one years ago and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-five and thirty-three, respectively.  

Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever.  Since then she has written over 95 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment.  She has received numerous national and literary awards and has made many trail-blazing accomplishments, which includes being the first African-American author to make the New York Times Bestseller’s List and the USA Today's Bestseller's List in the romance genre. 

She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread, and was recently named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

She has been featured in several magazines including Essence, Sister-2-Sister, Today’s Black Woman, Ebony, Romantic Times, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Cosmopolitan.

Inspired by her love of romance and dedication to her numerous readers, Brenda formed her own publishing company, the Madaris Publishing Company.  She is proud of her national book club – the Brenda Jackson Book Club – that has a membership of over 2,500 readers.  Brenda also joins her readers every two years for a Madaris/Westmoreland family reunion cruise to various destinations.

One of Brenda’s entities, Madaris Entertainment, has joined forces with her son Gerald’s production company, Five Alive Films, to bring viewers the best in romantic movies based on Brenda’s award winning books.  Brenda has started work on another movie based on her book, A Silken Thread.  Production will begin later this year.

She added a director’s hat to her list of accomplishment with her first movie titled, Truly Everlasting.  It was a huge success and has been picked up by Warner Brothers and was released to stores nationwide on May 15, 2012.  For more information visit, Truly Everlasting

She has received awards for her community service from the AKA Sorority, the Delta Sorority, the Zeta Sorority and the Clara White Mission.

A staunch supporter of higher education, she established the Josiephine Threatt Scholarship Foundation at Florida Memorial University in Miami, in honor of her grandmother.  She has given over a $150,000.00 to this scholarship foundation at FMU to grant college educations to students who might not be able to afford one.

A listing of her books can be found on her website – Brenda Jackson

 Visit her FaceBook Fan Page, and on Twitter.

ACRA meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Phone (904)-996-0325. Bring your lunch and socialize from noon-12:30, followed by a workshop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


"The best little conference in North Florida"

This year St Augustine will soon be 450 years old, and the Ancient City Romance Authors are helping to celebrate by offering our conference attendees a pirate’s bounty to fill their creative writing coffers.  On October 25th and 26th, 2013, the “doubloons” will be plentiful and valuable. It’s our hope that when you leave our conference your writer’s treasure chest will be overflowing with goodies.


Our pirate ship will dock at Hampton Inn St. Augustine Beach, St Augustine, FL, on
Friday, October 25th, 2013 and will remain through Saturday, October 26th, 2013.

On board to help pass out those precious “doubloons” will be:

SHARON SALA – Bestselling Author
Sharon is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 85 plus books in print, written as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. First published in 1991, she’s a seven-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, National Reader’s Choice Award, and Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence winners five times each and has received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and Waldenbooks’ mass market best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

Sharon’s Saturday workshops will be:
10 Things I wish I'd known Sooner About the Business of Publishing - motivational
Show Me The Money - a hands-on workshop about imagery and 'showing' not 'telling'
Learning the Ropes on Self-publishing - Info based


AMIE FLANAGAN – Agent, Sullivan-Maxx Literary Agency
Amie will be taking agent appointments and doing the keynote luncheon speech –
The Story and the Agent - She will lead our attendees through the process of getting an agent, while writing a salable story.

ElizabethSinclairBest-selling romance author and the best-selling The Dreaded Synopsis – Writing a Selling Synopsis
Kathryn Bain and Dolores J WilsonBest-selling humor authors – How to Write Funny
Nancy Quatrano – On-Target Words: Coaching, Editing, Media Kits and Press Releases that work!—Editing Your Book for the Big Sale

We also have some special things planned, the kind that makes our conference the best little conference in North Florida!

Friday afternoon: The director of The St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is planning a special “Pirate Adventure” just for us. Ahoy, matey!
Friday evening: Our resident unparalleled chef, Dolores Wilson, is cooking up a delicious reception for us, complete with lots of food that we promise you’ll be talking about for days to come.  Yum, yum!
Also, Friday evening: We’ll be ending the day with a Treasure Hunt with amazing prizes for the winning “bounty hunters.”

In addition to all the above (not including the Pirate Adventure which is $10.00 extra), registration includes lunch on Saturday, critique raffles by published authors, agents and editors, our famous theme baskets and a treasure chest filled with some fabulous goodies.

Special door prize: 
A complete CD set of
2012 RWA Conference Workshop Recordings.

Visit the Fiction Writers' Conference on the Beach page on our website.

Questions?  Contact Elizabeth Sinclair or Kathy Bain

Monday, January 7, 2013

Maria Geraci ~ A Heroine to Root For

Welcome to Ancient City Romance Authors in 2013! We hope you are as excited about a new writing year as we are, and we invite you to visit us, attend a workshop, get to know us, and hopefully join us. Here is our first workshop for the year, on January 26 at 1pm:

A Heroine to Root For (or how not to be a Scarlet)

Scarlet O'Hara might be one of literature's most famous characters, but she's not exactly the kind of heroine romance readers will root for. Learn how to create a heroine worthy of your plot (and your hero!).

Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic, Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote). She writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, was released last August by Berkley, Penguin, USA. You can connect with Maria by visiting her website,