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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trying Something New: Black Cat

While I enjoy the works of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I must confess mystery has never been my most prolific genre. Don't get me wrong, I love a good thriller. I just usually prefer something a little lighter when reading for pleasure (yes, I'm a huge fan of the romance genre. I love Happily Ever Afters).

I have, however, enjoyed more than a few issues of the mystery magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery and Ellery Queen. Oddly enough, I've not once read an issue of Sherlock Holmes mystery magazine. None of the stores in my area carry it, so...

I've often wondered over the reason these mystery magazines are still so successful, yet others have floundered by the wayside. Most genres no longer have print magazines dedicated solely to their market. Not only do these suspense magazines continue, a new contender has just been introduced.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine just launched its inaugural issue this past month. A production of Wildside Press, this magazine is slated to issue quarterly. I just received my copy of issue one, and hope to delve in soon. I've already recognized several author names (if you follow the SleuthSayers blog you will recognize them as well). If you're interested in learning more, you can read an interview with the editor, here.

Have you checked out this new publication yet? Are you a mystery magazine reader? Who is your favorite mystery writer?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday the 13th!

Welcome, foolish mortals... 

It's Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? Does this day mean anything to you?

I love when the 13th falls on a Friday in the month of October - a time already filled with dress-up, horror, fantasy, thrillers, and ghost stories! Whether you believe in them, or not, it can be great fun to gather together to share those spooktacular traditions.

Do you write thrillers? If you're interested, don't forget to check out the submission call for the Insecure Writers Suppot Group Anthology Contest which is due November 1st. For more information, click here:  http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/2017/09/insecure-writers-support-group-and.html

Also available this month, Dancing Lemur Press is running a special - buy one audio book and get one FREE. Buy any of the eleven Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. audio books in October 2017 from either iTunes, Amazon, or Audible, including my five audio books, and get another one of their titles for free. 

What rituals are you partaking in today? Are you submitting to the IWSG Anthology?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Crafting the Villain

It's confession time. I've been guilty of ignoring the bad guy.

A few years ago I realized why I wasn't happy with my fiction. I had been guilty of creating flat villains. They were simply in the story so the hero/heroine had an enemy. However, there wasn't a whole lot to them. They were boring, cardboard creations for my protagonists to react to. That's it.

There's an old saying that actors would much rather play the bad guy than the good. Why? Because they can be just as, if not more, interesting and in depth than the hero. The same can certainly be said of writing stories as well.

I began reading specifically to study villains. I soon realized there were three types of antagonists I found the most interesting.

1) The villain as the complete opposite of the hero - this could be in looks, experiences, preferences, or abilities.
2) A villain who is just like the hero except with one major difference. This shows how easily the protagonist could have become the villain, or how close the antagonist came to being the hero.
3) The hero and villain is one character. "Every villain is a hero of his or her own story" - Christopher Vogler in The Writer's Journey.

I tried to keep all of this in mind when I created my short story "Broken Angel." I was so pleased with the outcome that I've dedicated myself to crafting better villains. I'm revisiting old manuscripts that I felt were weak so that I can flesh out the villains side of the tale.

I have a few ideas for new stories as well, and it's difficult to focus on one at a time. However, I'm too excited about the possibilities now to give up. So, I'm diving into villainy to save my manuscripts.

How about you? Have you been guilty of ignoring your villain? Who are some of your favorite villains?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Personalized Characters

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.

OCTOBER QUESTION: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

My Answer - Yes, there is a little of me in every heroine I create, a little of my husband in every hero, and a little of anyone who aggravates me in my villains ;-)

How about you? Do you ever include personal details in your character creation?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fall Reads

Fall has finally arrived, although temperatures in our area haven't dropped much and usually still feel like summer. Orange decor, and pumpkin everything seems to be surrounding us amidst continued clean-up after Hurricane Harvey. 

If you prefer to stay home cuddled up with a good book instead of heading out to crowds celebrating seasonal festivals, try one of my suggestions from 10 Scary Reads to Terrify Your Inner Child.

Interested in FREE scary books? Try one of these!

Need a last minute costume idea? Try one of these 10-Minute Lliterary Halloween Costumes and dress like your favorite characters.

How are you celebrating this season?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IWSG Updates

The next #IWSGPit  is Thursday, January 18, 2018!
There is already a list of over three hundred agents and publishers and administrators will continue to add to that list through the end of the year.
October 4 is the next IWSG post day and it’s also the Show Your Writer Insecurity contest. Prepare your photos and post them on your blog that day. Cool prizes for the winners!

And the deadline for the next IWSG Anthology Contest is November 1. The genre is mystery/crime/thriller and the theme is Tick Tock. 
This is a great opportunity to see your work in a royalty-paying anthology. 

See the IWSG site for full details.

Will you be participating in any of these events?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hopeful After Harvey

Hello all!

I hate that I haven't been around to visit much lately, but I know anyone keeping up with us will understand. My parents lost pretty much everything due to Hurricane Harvey. Dozens of friends and family members are in the same situation. The recovery process will be long and painful for many.

Insurance and construction companies are saying it may be as much as four or five years before some are back in a home. Meanwhile, many have lost their homes, vehicles, and jobs. Some are simply moving as far away from the coast as possible to start over. Others have chosen a more gruesome approach. The suicide rate is up - some of them in a very public way.

Many are struggling. Many are depressed and angry. Many are still offering as much help and hope as possible.

While my writing has taken another dive lately, I'm still reading some excellent books. I wanted to share three helpful and hopeful reads with you.

Carey Scott, author, speaker, and certified Biblical Life Coach, invites you to journey alongside her as she introduces you to women from the Word who chose to live uncommon lives even in the toughest circumstances. From stepping into scandalous situations to breaking cultural norms to risking the departure of a comfortable life, you will discover hope and motivation to live God’s way in a world that screams, “Tuck your faith away! Just be normal like everyone else!”

Now more than ever, it's time to step into something new. . .something life-changing and life-giving. God is asking you to shine Him into a world that needs to know there is a better way to live. And when you say yes to becoming uncommon, it's a radical act of obedience to the One who created you to be extraordinary.  Uncommon offers personal stories, insights, life lessons, questions for further reflection, and biblical support written especially for women.

With authenticity, vulnerability, humor, refreshing boldness and anchored in the Beatitudes, Uncommon will empower you to rise up. . .to reject the common. . .to embrace your calling. . . and to live in a way that points others to God. Buckle up, friend. It's time to be uncommon.

I absolutely LOVED this book and have revisited several sections already. A definite must read for anyone struggling with ANY situation!

Journey now to Ruby City, Idaho of 1866 where...
A Marriage Mishap Creates an Awkward Love Triangle in this Silver Mining Town
Looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach, mail-order bride Rebecca Rice is pleased to marry her shopkeeper intended, Mr. Fordham, until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore—proceeded by the title Deputy.

Is it possible to marry the wrong man?

When the newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names, an annulment seems in order—and fast, since Rebecca’s true intended is impatient to claim her as his own, not to mention Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . .

This quick and simple read may be slightly predictable, but it's still highly enjoyable. 

Life is a journey of joyful moments and painful moments, including twists and turns that threaten to undo us. But if we allow God to work through the joy and the pain, that journey can lead to the life-sustaining richness of His Grace and an intimate relationship with Him. That truth is the core of international speaker and teacher Darlene Sala’s new women’s devotional, Journey into Grace. With Darlene’s heartfelt voice alongside two coauthors, including her daughter, Bonnie, the 150 readings explore themes such as fear, forgiveness, learning, loving, prayer, and relationships.

This book offers women quiet moments with God as they bring their real life challenges to His feet.

While I have not yet read all of these devotions, what I have read so far has held nuggets of truth and true meaning. I look forward to reading more.

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

What reads would you recommend to down trodden souls seeking hope and/or a great book to disappear into?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Top Writing Blogs

A special "thank-you" to Tiana at 10greatest.com for mentioning my blog in her list of top ten blogs worth visiting. 

She mentioned me, and featured Writing in Wonderland in her list of top business bloggers in her article which can be found here: http://www.10greatest.com/top-writing-blogs/

She also shared links to some other great writers, and created this special badge to share.

It's always great to connect and share common interests with new readers, and other writers. Thanks so much Tiana!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

IWSG Anthology Contest

It's time for another Insecure Writers Support Group Anthology Contest! A special thank-you to the IWSG administrators, organizers, aids, judges, and Dancing Lemur Press for continuing to create these opportunities for our members. Below is the information for this years contest.

Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free. 

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence. 

Story deadline: November 1st 2017

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group. 

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Elizabeth S. Craig writes cozy mystery series for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine Writers Knowledge Base.

Anne Hawkins is a partner in John Hawkins & Associates, Inc., New York. Founded in 1893 by Paul R. Reynolds, it is the oldest literary agency in the country. She works with mainstream literary and commercial fiction, including mystery, suspense, and thrillers and a wide variety of serious non-fiction, particularly history, politics, biography, science, and natural history. A number of her books have gained distinction through award nominations, book-to-film contracts, significant foreign rights sales, major book club selections, or placement on the New York Times bestseller list. Anne Hawkins is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.

Candace Havens is the Editorial Director of Covet has written multiple novels for Berkley, Entangled and Harlequin. Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. She is one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists, runs a free online writing workshop, and teaches comprehensive writing class.

Author, Public Speaker, and Executive Producer, Lynn Tincher was born just outside of Louisville, Kentucky in the beautiful city of La Grange. She has written four books, with the fifth one currently in the making. Her first book, Afterthoughts was optioned for movie production by Kilted Pictures and Dancing Forward Productions in Los Angeles. It is currently in pre-production with plans to shoot in Louisville, Kentucky very soon.

Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications.

Patricia (Pat) Stoltey is the author of four crime fiction novels published by Five Star/Cengage including a historical mystery called Wishing Caswell Dead (https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Caswell-Dead-Patricia-Stoltey/dp/1432834401/) (December 2017). She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Sassy Dog, and Katie Cat. To learn more about Patricia and her books, visit her website/blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Mason Canyon had a love of books since childhood encouraged by a mother who loved to read. A 30+year career in journalism fueled her desire to know what a story is all about. Blogging at Thoughts in Progress since 2009 and operating MC Book Tours for over a year. Loves to read and share great stories with others. MC Book Tours

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. 

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word! 

I might have to submit to this one. How about you?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Surprised Writing

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.

SEPTEMBER QUESTION: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?)

My Answer - Yes, two of my favorite published pieces "WIN" (a new genre for me which was published in the IWSG PARALLELS anthology) and "Family of Rejects" (published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot) are both pieces I am particularly proud of producing. I won't talk about unpublished pieces yet.

I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised with some of your own writing!

If you're keeping up with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, you can read my post yesterday, or follow my facebook feed.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Life in Pieces

Hello all -

I'm writing briefly today with a heavy, but hopeful heart. My house sustained only minor external damages. We are back in it with additional family who was not so lucky.

My parents had more than four feet of water in their home and had to be rescued by the Cajun Navy. We were finally able to get back to their house today to start clean up. They've lost nearly everything. They were still some of the lucky ones.

I'm sure by now, you have seen news coverage showing homes with only rooftops sticking out of water. The New York Times listed my town of Bridge City as one of the six most highly effected areas in Texas. Houston isn't even on that list. I've shared the article on my facebook page. This disaster has shown some of the best AND the worst of people.

THE BEST - Even people who have lost most of their own possessions are sharing what little they have with their community. Local people who had no damage have opened their homes, hearts, and wallets to those around them. Local chain restaurants and churches have pulled together to get any food and supplies possible to people who are in need. The perfect examples of southern pride and Christian hospitality are giving thousands someone to lean on.

THE WORST - Federally funded relief organizations are barely helping. They make a big show coming in for the cameras, but then turning away help to many in need. I've seen people with pets, children, or seniors turned away. I've seen restaurant owners and churches with food and supplies turned away from being allowed to help because those federal organizations won't get their federal dollars if they can't prove they are using a set amount of money. I've seen them only allow their evacuees to have 2 bottles of water and an MRE a day while people flying in hot meals are being dragged away from the buildings because they are not federally approved supplies. I have seen people leave the shelter to get supplies from those offering them in the parking lots or down the streets, and then being told they are not allowed back in the shelter because the chose leave it for a hot meal. You can search articles and facebook posts on this. I'm not the only one witnessing it.

PLEASE, if you feel moved to donate - find a local charity or church. Lake Charles, Louisiana has many that are supporting Texas. My own church: http://www.tbclc.org/  is one. If you know certified remediation or construction crews, many in this area will soon need help.

Continued prayers and support will be needed and greatly appreciated for a long time. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Shelter In Brotherly Love

In case you haven't heard, we've taken a pretty bad hit in south Texas this weekend. Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 40 inches of rain in some places, and isn't letting up. While it's no longer at hurricane status, it is still a massive storm stalled over the south and will continue to slam down rain for the rest of the week. This picture shows how they believe it will ride the coast before heading north in a few more days.

My family has been very lucky so far, (we live in the southeast along I10 just before you enter Louisiana) but things are not over yet. My house still has power, and my street is flood free... for the moment. However, one block away is flooded, and there is nothing open in most of the surrounding towns. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no doctors offices, nothing. Schools have already announced they are closed for at least another week.

Our local Wal-Mart opened for a short time this morning to sell what was left on their shelves, but it was sparse. I have to say, while there are always idiots aplenty in this world, for the most part I have been pleasantly surprised at the depth of compassion and support in our area. While I expected to find people in a "Black Friday" sort of frenzy over the last groceries in our area, instead they were nice, asking after each other, and helping people load what they could.

No one cared what your political views were, how you felt about education, historical statues, or art. People are coming together, as they should, to help. My faith in humanity has been somewhat restored.

Continued prayers are appreciated for us as this disaster continues. So many have already lost their homes, and the flooding will continue to rise for at least the next few days.

May you all find and share the compassion and brotherly love we deserve. God Bless!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fiction Fallout and New Goals

Between taking a huge decrease in summer time work, and a larger increase in nonfiction projects previous to that, my fiction writing has been minimal so far this year. Aside from a few small pieces and a "flash fiction challenge" that I gave myself in May, my fiction output this year has taken a nose dive.

This weekend I'll be attempting to jump start my fiction goals by revisiting some old first drafts that have been collecting dust in my drawer, or on my hard drive. I'll be reassessing my goals for the rest of this year, something I do every few months. I hope you do the same. I want to complete several of the unfinished stand alone pieces, continue a series I let grow cold, and try a new genre.

I also want to get back in the habit of visiting with you, my readers and fellow bloggers. I must admit, I took a large break from visiting on social media this year - too much negativity zaps my creativity. However, I think I can safely return to you dear friends. If you'd like a visit, and promise there will be no rants, please leave a comment and link below.

By the way, if you are looking for submission possibilities check out https://writingcareer.com/

How are your WIP's coming along? Are you setting any new goals lately?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vestiges of Summer

As I mentioned previously, we returned from our summer travels two weeks ago - just in time for me to teach a week of writing workshops for our local Girl Scout troop.

Since I don't believe in giving assignments that I myself am not willing to do... I began writing poetry again.

We tried a few timed writing exercises. It's been a while since I've written any poetry, so I thought I would share one with you. If you'd like to check out a first draft, and wouldn't mind offering some feedback, PM me and I'll trade critiques with you.

I produced each one in a 10 minute activity period. Thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Pictures here are of a few stops along this years travels from southeast Texas to southwest California and back again. You can see more photos on my facebook and instagram pages.

I'd love to read your thoughts on my poems. I'd also like to see some of yours. Do you enjoy reading and writing poetry?

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Pet Peeves

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.

JULY QUESTION: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

MY ANSWER - There are several things that bother me as a reader/writer/editor: 
1) When writers put two spaces after a period.
2) When another author/editor/agent doesn't get back to me in the time frame which they set or we have agreed upon.
3) When writers use the same words or phrases over and over and over and over again.
4) Cliches
5) When I catch myself doing the very things that drive ME crazy ;-)
What pet peeves do you have?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wrapping Up Summer

Last week I taught a series of writing workshops to a group of third through twelfth graders. Some of them truly amazed me with their grasp and love for storytelling. They also inspired me to write several new pieces. I'm excited to see where those current inspirations lead me.

The kids were really excited to see each other again after missing their friends for most of the summer. Classes at the local school officially resume on August 16th, but many of them are already returning to the campus for summer football, band, and other various activities.

I'll be enjoying the last two weeks of summer with my girls. We still have school shopping, annual check-ups, and a few other necessities to attend to in the next two weeks. I'm sure we'll also be enjoying several more summer reads - I introduced them to the Harry Potter series for the first time in June which turned out to be appropriate timing as it's the 20th anniversary.

While I'm not ready to send my girls back to school yet (is that normal?), I am ready to resume a schedule for my writing. I'll talk to you all again on Wednesday for the annual IWSG post!

How about you? How are you spending the last few weeks of summer?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Swing of Things

I'm back from vacation and attempting to get back into the swing of things.

The end of a vacation is always bittersweet. I hate that I'm leaving a relaxing environment of no worries. I hate that I'm leaving behind family I get to see so infrequently. I hate that I had to leave behind the beautiful southern California weather.

However, I'm happy to be back sleeping in my own bed again. I'm happy trying to return to a routine. I'm excited about getting back to writing!

This week I'm teaching the local Girl Scout troop a series of classes on writing. Today, we covered writing poetry, short stories, autobiographies, articles, and essays. I enjoyed sharing some of my published works with them. In turn, their enthusiasm and own beautiful creations inspired me to begin writing some new pieces today.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this week when we will be working on novels, screenplays, memoirs, and cookbooks. In all, I'd say this is a wonderful way to get back to reality.

How is your work coming along? Creating anything new lately? Have you taught any writing classes?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I'm Alive!

Thank you to everyone who has been commenting or emailing me. I'm doing well, and enjoying some much needed vacation time with family.

I have to be honest though: I haven't been writing much in the last few weeks. I'm reading some good books which I'll share with you later, but for now I'm just enjoying time and experiences (you can see more photos on my facebook and instagram pages). I hope you are all able to do the same. I'll post again when I land back in reality. Happy Summer!

Are you enjoying any great summer reads, or new experiences that might influence your writing?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: Valuable Lessons

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: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

MY ANSWER - learn all you can, keep writing, but always write for yourself first, and never throw ANYTHING you write away. Rules, market fluctuations, fan opinions, submission calls, and people in charge are constantly changing. If you write for yourself first, and don't give up, you will always be satisfied. Also, don't let rejections get to you. Sometimes it can take years to get a piece published - my record is 20 years later :-)

What valuable lessons have you learned?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

I will be spending time with friends and family this weekend. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to squeeze in some reading and writing time as well. How will you be celebrating?

Reading any good books right now? Recommendations?

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. 

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?