"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Saturday, June 24, 2017

IWSG: Offering Support, Education, and Opportunities

If you're not a member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group I highly recommend you check out the website at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/  Voted as one of this year's best 100 websites for authors, they have a wide variety of offerings for anyone interested in writing.

In addition to regular blog posts to educate, encourage, and inspire you in the craft of writing, this group of writers is super supportive with social media, marketing, and connecting with agents and editors.

They have several such great opportunities this summer such as a goodreads book club where you and interact with other readers, writers, and ask questions of the author of the book the group is reading.

Submissions are open to all current and new members for an anthology on Writing for Profit. You can learn more about that here. Deadline is July 31, 2017.

Want a chance to pitch your manuscript or idea to agents and editors? Check out the Twitter Pitch Party: here. This will take place on July 27.

This is such a friendly and supportive group that I would recommend to anyone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Write Support

It's time once again for the annual southeast Texas The Write Support. You're all invited to attend this day of writers helping writers. ATTENDEES will include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry professionals.


The Write Support
June 24, 2017
10 am – 4 pm
Howells Furniture Conference Room – 2nd Floor
6095 Folsom Dr, Beaumont, TX 77706

COST: FREE to all TGCW members. For all others, the cost is $10 at the door. Table space may be limited and will go to the first to reserve, please RSVP to Sylvia Ney. 

Schedule:
10 am – 1 pm              Bring your latest manuscripts and questions to share for honest feedback, and to encourage needed reviews. This is strictly time for critiques, edits, reviews, and general work on your manuscripts.
LUNCH                      On your own at your discretion. There are many restaurants within a five mile radius of this location.
1 pm – 4 pm                Come sell your books, and check out the work of others, ask questions, make connections, learn current industry news, or seek more critiques. This afternoon is geared more toward the publishing and purchasing aspects of writing, but anyone is welcome to continue to work on their own projects.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Universal Connectivity

Today I'm over at the Parallels blog talking about my 2015 short story "WIN", and how so much of what I foretold may be closer to a reality than even I realized when writing it.

If you have a chance, please stop by and share your own thoughts!

Monday, June 12, 2017

17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots

I’ve enjoyed several trips to New Orleans, but my most recent trek over Memorial Day weekend focused on literary locations I thought I would recommend. You can, of course, pay to take a guided walking tour, but I just chose to do a bit of research beforehand and walked along exploring myself.

Hotel Monteleone – 214 Royal St. http://hotelmonteleone.com/ – Popular among the New Orleans literati, this hotel lobby is filled with several window displays of books written by authors who stayed, dined, or drank while writing here. Among the alumni are Hemingway, Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Anne Rice, and John Grisham. I suggest you peruse the beautiful displays and then take a spin on the slow-spinning Carousel bar.  

Art of Dr. Seuss – 716 Bienville - one of our first stops was quite by happy accident. As we left our hotel, headed toward Jackson Square, we came across this delightful gallery. I highly recommend a stop for any Seuss fan.

Steamboat ride down the Mississippi River – Canal St. in front of Jackson Square -   http://www.steamboatnatchez.com/ - Mark Twain wrote a lot about the Mississippi River. We enjoyed a three hour dinner and tour on the Natchez steamboat.

Preservation Hall – 726 St. Peter St. - New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz. If you’ve ever read Tom Sancton’s Song For My Fathers then you might want to stop by the Preservation Hall jazz club where Sancton learned about the masters of this music which in turn spurred his memoir of a white male’s obsession with jazz in a pre civil rights era.

Faulkner House – 624 Pirates Alley, next to Saint Louis Cathedral – this former home of William Faulkner, Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author is now a bookstore. He lived and wrote here in the 1920’s during the height of French Bohemia. The current owners have lovingly restored this building and turned it into one of the premier independent bookstores in the country.

The Skyscraper Building – 638 and 640 Royal St. - Supposedly the first four story building in the French Quarter, Sir Washington Cable lived and set his 1873 story, “Sieur George” here, propelling his tales of Creole life to success. Ninety years later, next door, John and Lou Webb published works by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti in their pioneering “Outsider” journal, and the first book of a young poet named Charles Bukowski.

Pontalba Apartments – formerly a mid 1920’s salon of Sherwood Anderson’s, Somerset Maugham, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg, William Faulkner, and others congregated here overlooking Jackson Square. It is likely that some of the works which appeared in Double Dealer literary journal were originated here.

Antoine’s Restaurant – 713 St. Louis St.  http://www.antoines.com/ - Author Frances Parkinson Keyes wrote prolifically about Louisiana, but found her biggest success with the murder mystery Dinner at Antoine’s. This beautiful restaurant has been serving patrons since 1840. If you’re not up for the full, and somewhat pricey, meal there bakery can also be visited. We enjoyed a delicious and refreshing break at:

Antoine’s Annex – 513 Royal St. http://www.antoines.com/antoines-annex.html

Tenneessee Williams Homes – After a brief stay at 429 Royal St, the writer is said to have stayed in an attic apartment at 722 Toulouse St, in later years at 632 St. Peter St, before finally settling in a townhouse at 1014 Dumaine St. These locations can all be seen today.

Ignatius Reilly Statue – 819 Canal St. at the entrance to the former D.H. Holmes Department Store (where the book begins) - Ignatius J. Reilly is the main protagonist in John Kennedy Toole’s comedic masterwork A Confederacy of Dunces. In the novel Reilly bumbles around a slightly fictional New Orleans, running into a menagerie of local color. With the strong narrative ties to the city, it is no wonder that the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel would be honored on its streets. If you look and find him missing, don’t worry, he is sometimes moved indoors for Carnival, or other highly tourist packed times. http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/05/d-h-holmes-co-ltd.html

Bourbon Orleans Hotel – 717 Orleans St. – Quadroon balls are believed to have been held here in the early 19th century. In a system known as “placage,” wealthy Frenchmen were introduced to potential mistresses who were one-quarter African-American (Quadroons). Arrangements for financial support, education, and housing were reached here, and these socially accepted relationships often lasted for the lifetime. Accounts of this appear in many books, including Anne Rice’s Feast of All Saint, Isabel Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea, and Old Creole Days by George Washington Cable.

Anne Rice – if you’re a fan of Anne Rice or her Witch or vampire books, then you might consider taking the Anne Rice tour. http://annericetours.com/

Café Du Monde – 800 Decatur St. – Since 1862 many tourists and writers alike have enjoyed coffee and beignets at this famous café that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Café Beignet – 334 Royal St. – while the above is probably more famous, it stays busy and loud. Some writers prefer this cafe which offers a larger menu selection, and smaller crowds.

Jean Lafitte Museum – 419 Decatur St. – one pirate who has inspired many stories is the notorious Jean Lafitte. While there are several national parks and museums dedicated to this privateer, one such locations resides in the French Quarter. https://www.nps.gov/jela/french-quarter-site.htm


Laura Plantation - This last location isn’t technically a part of New Orleans, but it’s not far from the city. Inside one of the slave cabins here, built in 1840, is where the ancient west-African tales of Compair Lapin, better known in English as "Br'er Rabbit," were recorded.  This is also one of the few remaining plantations that is not painted in the traditional “white” we think of, but is instead painted in vibrant hues often used by true Creole families.

Ever been to any of these? What are some of your favorite haunts in New Orleans?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: I QUIT!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.


JUNE QUESTION: 
Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

My Answer: There have been a few times I have thought about quitting. An overwhelming numbers of rejections at one time, a really MEAN rejection letter from a highly acclaimed publication editor, and a terrifying health diagnosis have all instigated periods where I quit writing at different times in my life. Yet, just like so many of you, I couldn't really quit. Writing is an addiction, a catharsis, and a passion. I'm sure I will continue writing until I die, or lose my mind... whichever comes first ;-)


Have you ever quit writing? Are you back on the wagon, or done for good?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Falling Short

In the middle of May I mentioned a new goal: Taking a spin off of Ray Bradbury's famous advice, I wanted to write 20 flash fiction pieces by June. I fell short of my goal. 

While it's easy to make excuses: end of school year madness, other unexpected deadlines moving up, unexpected health issues - the truth is, that's life. It would be easy to blame myself for FAILURE, and fall into a funk of depression which further induces writer's block, but you can't play the blame game with yourself. JUST DON"T! Evaluate what you've achieved so far, set new goals, and keep moving. 

If you're interested in how much of the goal I met:

- 5 COMPLETED flash fiction pieces which I submitted.
- 4 completed drafts ready for final edits.
- 7 extremely rough drafts needing a LOT of work.

That's 16 total, but I'm not sure if some of the first drafts will make it. I'm just not feeling them. I intend to keep plugging away, producing more, and submitting more. I usually produce less in the summer since the kids are home with me, and I tend to spend time traveling and playing with them as much as possible.

How are your goals and WIP's coming along? What victories are you celebrating? Are you setting new goals?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Weaver's Needle

I just finished a truly enjoyable tale...

Weaver’s Needle is an enjoyable Christian Mystery book that begins in New Orleans, Louisiana and continues in the Superstitious Mountains of Arizona. I’ve visited both locations and enjoyed the author’s depiction of setting, her use of characterization, and the overall plot worked well. If you’ve ever enjoyed a good treasure hunt, then this is the book for you.

Landry Parker, former army MP, is a recovery specialist. Retired NOLA police officer Nickolai Baptiste is now a recovery specialist as well. These competitors are hired to track down a stolen map. Stakes are increased along the way as danger becomes increasingly real for both of them. The development of the story was believable and enjoyable with a very satisfying ending.

This is the first Robin Caroll book I’ve read and now I’m anxious to check out her others.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.