Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 BWG Meetings, Speakers and Officers

A list of the 2013 BWG Officers can be found to the right.

Below is a list of our monthly meeting dates and the speakers scheduled thus far. Please be aware these dates and speakers may change, but we will do our best to keep this site updated.

Jan. 5 - Mike McHugh - writes for Jambalaya News "The Dang Yankee."
Feb. 2 - Dr. Philip Williams - President of McNeese State University
March 2 - Angie Dilmore
April 6
May 4
June 1
July 6
Aug. 3
Sept. 7
Oct. 5
Nov. 2
Nov. 9 - Conference
Dec. 7

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Logo Contest Deadline Extended


The BWG Logo Contest deadline has been extended to February 22. The general membership will vote on the Logo at the March 2 meeting. For more information, please visit: here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Author Interview: Carol V. Weishampel


by Sylvia Ney

Carol V. Weishampel, Ed.D. is a retired public school art and reading teacher, and a retired Christian school administrator. She holds a BFA from the University of Southern Mississippi, MA from Stephen F. Austin State University and Ed. D. from University of Houston.

Weishampel is the mother of twelve grown children (ten adopted) which she reared as a single parent. At age 60, she fulfilled a life-long dream and challenge to drive her motor home to Alaska where she volunteers at Christian youth camps and churches. Summer, 2012, she completed her sixth road trip.

While traveling, she writes. Her non-fiction travel journal, Grandmas’ Ultimate Road Trip, a novel, Venture in Faith, and an illustrated children’s book, Loon’s Necklace, are set in Alaska. She has published three additional non-fiction books, a second novel, and has been published in numerous anthologies and periodicals.

Weishampel speaks at pregnancy centers and high schools on parenting. She also speaks on volunteering, the writing process, and journaling to leave a legacy. She is a member of Bayou Writers and Texas Gulf Coast Writers and IWA. When not traveling Weishampel lives in Beaumont. You can find her at grandmas-on-the-go.blogspot.com and carol-weishampel.blogspot.com

1) How did you develop an interest in writing? I taught Jr. High and High School art for many years then moved to an elementary school where I taught art and reading for at risk students. I was fortunate to take training with the New Jersey Writing Project, a national program, and became a writing trainer. I discovered that writing was as challenging and satisfying as art. Writing became a passion.

2) Please tell us a little about your blogs. My blog address, grandmas-on-the-go.blogspot, or carol-weishampel.blogspot.com were set up for my first volunteer missions trip to Alaska in 2002. I blog while I travel sharing sights and experiences with notes on writing. When not on the road, I blog writing tips.

3) What do you do when you have writer's block? If writing doesn't flow, I dabble. I check my list of other creative activities I'd like to start (or finish!) and get involved with another project. Often while my mind is off writing, I can hear new thoughts. I keep note pads and pens handy.

4) Have you submitted anything? I've had several non-fiction books published and two novels. Some were traditionally published with financial input. One was self published and one published on line. I've had several articles and editorials published.

5) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? I belong to two writers' groups and have been a part of several critique groups.

6) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? I've attended many writer's conferences and retreats and have presented at several. Each conference is unique and worth the expense and time.

7) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? I work from rough out-lines. I create segments of the plot or character descriptions and work detail in later. I print out chapters, organize in a notebook and reread making notes for additions and corrections.

8) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us? Following is the opening hook of Venture in Faith:

"What was that?" I screamed clenching the steering wheel with a white-knuckled grip. "That screetch. Why the car horns?" My heart pounded in my ears.

"You....," the RV salesman sputtered, his hands braced against the dashboard. Sweat popped out on his forehead. His voice strained as if talking to a child, "Ms. Gray. You pulled into the right lane. You forced a Volkswagen onto the shoulder."

"You told me to," I countered and jerked the wheel to the left. Heat crept up my face. My heart still raced.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012 BWG Contest Winners

Members-Only Contest Winners, From Left to right: Chris Baldauf, Marsha Kushner, Sylvia Ney, Angie Dilmore, Marcia Dutton, Beth Savoie, Beverly Martin and Linda Todd.

Fiction Winners:
1st place - Angie Dilmore for Stella Bella & Her Mishmashed Shoes
2nd place - Sylvia Ney for Lights Out
3rd place Tie - Linda Todd for The Concert and Beth Savoie for Not A Dog

Nonfiction Winners:
1st place - Sylvia Ney for Homegrown Love
2nd place Tie - Marcia Dutton for The Unceasing Energy Within and Beverly Martin for Murphy's Law and Me

Poetry Winners:
1st place - Chris Baldauf for Gone South
2nd place tie - Linda Todd for Arlington and Angie Dilmore for Bella Luna
3rd place - Beth Savoie for Twilight Reunion

On the Wall:
Richard Going

Young Writer's Contest:
1st place - Kayla Haugen for Forbidden
2nd place - Kayla Haugen for Challenger

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Conference Update


The Bayou Writers Group conference is tomorrow at UNIVERSITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH on Patrick Street in Lake Charles, LA 70605.

If you have not registered yet, you are still welcome to attend. The registration fee at the door is $50.

NOTICE: There has been a change to our list of scheduled speakers. Deborah LeBlanc has cancelled for medical reasons. However, Jessica Ferguson has agreed to fill LeBlanc's time slot. Ferguson will be speaking on The Power of the Made Up Mind. She is a multipublished author of both fiction and nonfiction. You can learn more about her at her blog: http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com/

For a complete conference schedule, see here.

"On The Wall" contest submission are due as well. For more information, see here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Friday Reading Series CANCELLED

The First Friday Reading Series has been cancelled indefinitely.

The Porch is closing down for good next week. They aren’t able to have a consistent audience for our readings. At this time, they are unable to dedicate man hours and promotional resources to a reading series.

This means that Bayou Writers Group readers for December and January have been cancelled as well.

We'll announce if we decide to move it to another location or re-vamp it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

KPLC Midday Report

Sherry Perkins and Sylvia Ney were on KPLC at 11:30 today to advertise BWG and the Conference. Blogger will not currently allow the video to be uploaded, but here is a link if you would like to watch it. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bayou-Writers-Group/117232148306009?ref=ts&fref=ts#!/photo.php?v=489823071052289





Thursday, November 1, 2012

Brooks Sherman – Literary Agent

Brooks Sherman, a Literary Agent, will take 10 minute pitches at the 2012 BWG conference. Get there early to sign up for a time slot.

He will also lead an interactive session on how to land, keep, and work with an agent.

For more information on him: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/2012-bridge-to-publication.html.

For a conference schedule: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/bwg-conference-schedule-for-november-10.html

For a conference registration form: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/2012-conference-registration-form.html

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Logo Contest Deadline


All logo contest entries are due by November 2, 2012.

Anyone present at the November 3 BWG meeting will have a chance to vote on the logo. Winner wil receive $100.

For more information: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/logo-contest.html

Friday, October 26, 2012

Culture Fest Louisiana

Culture Fest Louisiana will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 11 AM to 4 PM at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Last year there were over 3500 in attendance. This year the Jean LaFitte room on the third floor is dedicated to the culture of Louisiana.
Clare Coleman, Pat Kelty and Debbie Haack worked to showcase Louisiana heritage and would be thrilled to have authors participate and visit.

Tables will be set up for local authors to showcase, sell, & sign their work.
There will be a food area in the Louisiana Heritage Room as well, along with Louisiana artists and displays of local history.
For more information on Culture Fest Louisiana please see: http://www.culturefestlouisiana.com/

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scholarship Applications Due Today!



All scholarship applications are due today. See here for more information.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Louisiana Bicentennial Documentary and Panel Discussion


Doing a little research for a Louisiana Historial?
The Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library is pleased to host LPB’s documentary of the Bicentennial of Louisiana narrated by New Orleans native Harry Connick, Jr.
This film will take us through the state’s historical past to the present with wonderful points of interest.

There will be a panel from LPB for an informative question and answer session to follow.

Wednesday, October 24th
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Southhwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library
411 Pujo Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601
(337) 721-7110

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Scholarship and Conference Updates

The scholarship application deadline has been extended to October 20, 2012! For more information, please visit here.

For the conference schedule, speakers and registration information, please visit here.

For a chance to volunteer at the conference, please contact Sylvia Ney or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lori's Redemption

Congratulations to Pam Thibodeaux on the publication of her new short story, Lori's Redemption! If you liked Tempered Fire, you will LOVE Lori's Redemption!

Lori Strickland (introduced in Tempered Fire) has always been known as her father's "wild child" with no desire to change until she meets ex-bull-rider-turned-preacher Rafe Judson. Her attempts to change her wanton ways come to naught until she realizes redemption only comes with true repentance.

Lori's Redemption is available on Kindle, Nook and at Smashwords for other reading devices!

Don't have an Ebook reading device? No problem! Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer a FREE app for your computer so you can enjoy the many Kindle and Nook books out there!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reminiscent Writing Contest


Anyone interested in recording personal history can enter the 2012 Reminiscent Writing Contest. There is no entry fee. Any story that does not embarass or harm anyone may be entered.

This year's theme is "Community, Civility and Compassion". Stories must be typed, double-spaced, and have no more than 1000 words or four pages. Use a cover sheet with your name, address, phone number, email address and the name of your story. Do NOT put your name on any pages of your story. You may submit up to two entries. You can turn in your story anytime on or before December 29, 2012.

The winner will be announced at the 2013 Reminiscent Reading Program. The first place winner will receive $25. All participants receive a copy of the book containing all of the stories.

For more information, call the SWLA Geanealogical and Historical Library (337) 721-7110. You can also email them gen@calcasieu.lib.la.us or visit www.calcasieulibrary.org You can also visit the library at 411 Pujo Street, Downtown Lake Charles.

Friday, September 28, 2012

What I Learned at Killer Nashville

by Linda Todd

Killer Nashville is a three day writers conference dedicated to all things mystery. I stayed for three days rubbing elbows with some 500-plus fellow mystery writers.


Registration opened at 8:00 on Friday morning and the opening session started at 8:35. It was entitled "The Rocket's Red Glare: Putting the Pieces Back Together after a Fireworks Factory Explosion." They had a disclaimer that it was not for the faint of heart (or stomach). They were right. I bailed after fifteen minutes. The facilitator was Dr. Bill Bass, Forensic Anthropologist and creator of "The Body Farm."

I went down to the book stores and hung out till time for the round table critiques, which I found interesting but not very helpful for me. It's kind of hard to comment intelligently on two pages out of 394.

My first session was after lunch. The title was "Beyond Dark and Stormy Nights: Creating a Setting with Mood and Atmosphere." The four panelists all had basically the same advice. Reread your description aloud with an eye to making it more vivid. Use setting to visit the history of place. Setting is like seasoning. Use it sparingly. While rereading, look for magic lines to leave in. Describe certain things that trigger memories in readers. If you are writing historical novels setting is very important, and it's important to get it right.

The next session I attended was about e-publishing: "The E-Explosion: The Impact of the E-Revolution on Traditional and Self-Published Authors." There were five authors on this panel, and they all said the internet has changed everything in publishing. There are six big names left in the traditional publishing industry. The panelists recommended The Naked Truth About Book Publishing by Linda Houle. Traditional publishers now want e-rights. Another recommended book: 55 Ways to Promote Your Book by Bob Baker. Other things mentioned: a Facebook author page; Smashwords; Internet Radio Stations; LinkedIn; Create Space.

My last session for Friday was "On Beyond Facebook: Making the Most of Social Media for Book Marketing and Promotion (What Works, What Doesn't)." Whew! That's a mouthful. There were five people on this panel, and they all agreed on one thing: you need an online presence. You should have, at least, a Facebook account, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Start following other authors, agents, and publishers on Facebook and Twitter. Also genre-specific blogs and websites. They also mentioned Book Reporter and Shelf-Awareness.com.

My first session on Saturday was the best one so far, presented by C. Hope Clark, who will be one of our speakers at the conference in November, so I won't spend too much time on it since she'll be doing the same one for us. "Business Workshop: Funding Streams that Enable Your Writing Career: Using Your Strengths to Earn a Living." She gave us an 8-page handout which I'm sure she'll have in November. One book she recommended was The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. Also, Photo Bucket is a good site for images.

From there I went to a session titled “Male Sexuality, Fidelity, Infidelity and Perversity in John Sandford's Lucas Davenport Prey Novels.” I went to that one because I was in the middle of Sandford's latest Davenport novel. It was very interesting.

The remainder of Saturday was spent listening to interviews with the guests of honor, Peter Straub, C.J. Box, Jeffery Deaver, and Heywood Gould. What I learned from that was that Jeffery Deaver usually went through 40 drafts before the manuscript was ready for the publisher. Forty! You could hear a collective gasp all over the room.

The awards banquet was Saturday night. I made it through the meal fine. Had some good conversations with my table mates. Just about the time the after-dinner speeches got started I had a coughing jag and had to leave, so I didn't hear who won any of the contests. Had to read about it next day on the board by the registration table.
My last session, on Sunday morning, was the “Getting Published” Workshop. We had four panelists. Their advice:

This is a business. Treat it as one.
When querying an agent, check on how many clients they have.
The main trouble with self-publishing: errors in the manuscript. Get a book doctor.
Marketing and publicity is up to you, no matter the route you take.
If you're really serious about publishing try to get an agent first.
Go to conferences where you can meet face to face.
Check out the agent's website before making any decision.
Check your query letter before each submission.
It's okay to query multiple agents at the same time, but not to query agents and editors at the same time.
Two websites to check: publishersmarketplace.com and agentquery.com
Here we go again: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN. Get an online presence.

What I took away: Keep at it. Write. Submit. Write. Submit. The competition is terrific. The sheer number of people walking around with bags and satchels tells you what you send out has to be your best work if you are to be noticed. Oh. And get an online presence. So get busy, everyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Update to Editor-Agent Pitch Details


We have received updated pitch information from Linda Yezak. She will be taking pitches at the November conference. Her updated information may be found in red here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

McNeese State University Fall 2012 for Writers


Where I'm From: A Workshop Approach to Writing From Life - Mine your memories and life experiences to produce pieces in forms of your own choosing to share with family and friends. Respond to a series of prompts, explore craft and revision ideas, and give and receive feedback in an informal workshop setting.
Instructor: Connie McDonald
Location: Library, McNeese Room
Date: Tuesdays, Oct. 9, 16, 23, & 30
Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $49/$59 after Sept. 25


Flash Fiction Workshop - This course will explore the craft of writing flash fiction - micro stories that are usually no more than three pages in length. Flash fiction often has the same elements of a classic short story but - because it is so brief - requires the reader to make inferences of his own. In this course participants will have the opportunity to explore and workshop their own flash fiction pieces with the group. Since this is an intermediate level course, participants should have previously taken a leisure learning flash fiction course or submit a sample writing piece to the instructor for approval.
Instructor: Rachel Rinehart
Location: Library, McNeese Room
Date: Wednesdays, Oct. 17, 24, 31, & Nov. 7
Time: 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Cost: $49/$59 after Oct. 3

http://www2.mcneese.edu/conted/view.php?cat=63

Friday, September 14, 2012

Create Your Own Website and/or Blog

Upcoming Workshop:

Create Your Own Website and/or Blog


Need a website but unwilling to pay the sometimes exorbitant rates web designers charge? Want a blog but clueless? Now you can create your own!

Let Pamela S Thibodeaux teach you how.

When: Thursday, September 27th
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: Arts and Humanities Council of SW Louisiana – Central School
809 Kirby St; Room 106
Lake Charles, LA

Cost: $25 in advance; $30 at the door (space is limited so PLEASE reserve your spot today!)

RSVP with a Check or Money Order made payable to: Pamela S Thibodeaux Enterprises, LLC; PO Box 324, Iowa, LA 70647; phone: 337-842-5674

Pamela S Thibodeaux, is an Award-winning Author, Editor, Promotions Expert and CEO of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine http://thewordsmithjournalmagazine.com Pam is also the Co-Founder of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles. To see samples of Pam’s work, visit her website http://pamelathibodeaux.com under the Promotional Services tab.


*Bring your laptop!

*10% of all proceeds will be donated to the Arts and Humanities Council of SW LA for the generous use of their facility.

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Gator Bites Publication

Thank you to all who contributed pieces for the 2012 Gator Bites. Each piece has been plugged in and, with 16 selections, we have three brochures. I will bring the rough-drafts to the October 6th meeting. Although I want to encourage all members to attend, those listed here have something in Gator Bites and you will need to proof and approve your piece at the next meeting before they go to the printer: Fiction & Poetry By -

 
Debra McDonald Bailey

Chris Baldauf

Lowell Bergeron

Angie Dilmore

Randy Dupre’

Marcia Dutton

Beverly Martin

Mike McHugh
Jan Rider Newman
Sylvia Ney
Sherry Perkins
Beth Savoie
Cliff Sieber
Rebecca A. Stelly
LF Todd
Merrilyn Williams


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Logo Contest

The Bayou Writer's Group Logo Contest is now open. From now until November 2, 2012 you may email your entry(ies) to bayouwritersgroup@gmail.com .

There is no entry fee and a maximum of two color entries per artist may be considered. All entries will be voted on by Bayou Writers’ Group members at the November 3, 2012 meeting.

The winning logo will be displayed at our conference on November 10th, 2012 and incorporated by our group indefinitely starting January 2013. The artist of the new logo will be awarded $100.

The current logo (shown above) will also be one of the choices in the vote. If it wins and remains the BWG logo, the prize money will go toward a scholarship or some other worthy cause to be voted upon by BWG members and/or its board members.

For more information, tips and guidelines, please visit the FULL contest announcement here.

GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Green Eyed Temptation

Congratulations to Lori Leger on the release of her new book Green Eyed Temptation. This is book one of her Halos & Horns series (Spin off of La Fleur de Love) and is now available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Below is the front and back cover with a blurb. To learn more about Lori you can read her interview here.



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Writing Opportunity

Do you have or want to write a "'Back to School' story? Maybe something that was inspirational or heart warming? Perhaps a kind teacher that made you feel welcome on the very first day of school? agreatplace.ca  is publishing those types of stories now for the month of September. If chosen as a feature, an author's pic and any web link will be published with the story.

Friday, August 31, 2012

September 1, 2012 Meeting


The September 1, 2012 BWG meeting is STILL ON. We will continue with our planned meeting time and location. Our prayers are with all those displaced by the hurricane. Take care and we look forward to hearing from you all!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Don't Forget!


Gator Bites must be emailed by Friday or turned in at the meeting on Saturday. For more information, please review: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/gator-bites-2012.html

Monday, August 27, 2012

Author Interview: Mike McHugh

by Sylvia Ney

1) How did you develop an interest in writing? I’m not interested in writing. I just do it in the hopes that someday I’ll run into somebody in a bar who likes my stuff and offers to buy me beer on his tab. No, seriously, a few years ago some good friends of mine launchedThe Jambalaya News here in town. I pitched the idea about a doing column about life in Louisiana from a Yankee’s perspective, and the rest was history. Little did my friend know at the time the monster she was about to create. Nor did I, for that matter.


2) Please tell us a little about your blog. It’s called thedangyankee.com I started it just this past spring after attending the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference. While there, I made it a point to ask every speaker for advice on how to succeed as a writer. After the sixth one in a row asked me, “Do you have a website?” I got the message. I can take a hint if it is presented in the form of a sledgehammer.

3) What other styles do you write? I write humor, plain and simple. Nonfiction. Why struggle to create fictional characters when I know so many outlandish ones for real? Besides, I seem to take well to the newspaper column format, short reflections on my own experience of life. It also helps to be married to someone who’s Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett rolled up in one. I’m never at a loss for material.

4) Is this a hobby or do you plan to make a career from writing? Shhhh….my boss might see this.

5) What authors do you admire? Dave Barry, hands down. I worship the keyboard he types on. I’m planning to attend a conference next year where he will be speaking, and I plan to do some big time sucking up.

6) What do you do when you have writer's block? I type out something that has to do with road kill. I don’t care what anybody says; road kill is always funny.

7) Where do you live? I’ve lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana for the past nine years, but I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland. The folks here call me a Yankee, but my friends and family back home call me a Coon Ass. I am truly a Man Without A Subculture.

8) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us? Being a columnist, I firmly believe that you’ve got to hook the reader in the first paragraph, if not sooner, to have any hope of him staying with you. This is because many readers tend to have the attention span of a decapitated chicken. That’s why I like to put a lot of thought into coming up with attention-getting titles for my articles. A recent example was an article I wrote about the horrendous traffic in Yankee Land. After playing around with several ideas, I finally came up with, “Make Me Groan, Yankee Roads.”

9) What are you reading now? This questionnaire. Duh.

10) Classic you’ve been meaning to read? My editor was an English major and she told me once about how she had read William Faulkner as part of her studies. I, on the other hand,struggled to get C’s in English and considered myself lucky to have not been assigned to read any of his works. The Faulkner thing has become somewhat of a joke between us, and now she’s got me curious. Besides, now I won’t have to write a term paper about him.

11) Favorite book from childhood? Jokes and Riddles. My grandmother gave it to me for my First Communion, and I still have it. There was one particular joke in it that I must have told a thousand times before I reached the fifth grade: “What did the bald man say when he got a comb for his birthday?” I’ll leave it to you to figure out the punch line.

12) Book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone? Weird Louisiana. And I kept the Sam’s Club price tag on it to even further impress people.

13) Best thing you’ve read online recently? It’s a tie. Someone I met at the Bombeck conference, a guy named Joe Donatelli, wrote a really nice primer on how to use Twitter and managed to work some real good humor into it. Speaking of which, it was a tweet that led me to the other gem—a blog called Dumb Ass Questions. It had some stuff on it by Raymond the Amish Comic, a defected Amish guy who does stand-up and whom I’d once seen up in Yankee land. The guy’s a real hoot.

14) Most anticipated upcoming release? A gal that I met at the Bombeck conference has a book coming out soon. Her name is Michelle Wojokow… uh, she just goes by Wojo for short, thank the Lord. She’s from my hometown of Baltimore and it turns out we have a close mutual friend. So I’m looking forward to reading her upcoming book.

To learn more about Mike, please visit his site "The Dang Yankee" at www.thedangyankee.com

Friday, August 24, 2012

What is a Story?

by Stanley Klemetson

A writer’s workshop can open up new ways to think about how you write and how you live your own life. At the Utah Valley Writer’s Workshop E.J. Patten (The Hunter Chronicles) taught us that a story is a series of questions that we may ask about our characters. The four questions are: 1) Who are they?; 2) What do they want?; 3) How are they going to get it; and 4) What is stopping them from getting what they want?

A personal analysis might go as follows: 1) I am a writer who wants to be published. 2) I want to be published. 3) I will do this by learning the craft and writing on a regular basis. 4) Other commitments will consume my time and prevent me from achieving this goal, but often those commitments are activities I chose over writing. If I want to achieve my goal I need to determine how I will spend my time. In our writing our characters will face similar conflicts so we need to answer those questions for them before we begin to write.

In a character-driven plot there may be many different roles, such as protagonist, antagonist, fear provider, tempter, comic relief, romantic interest, information giver and more. If I write an outline of the story I may have a good start and good end, but a horrible middle because there are no subplots. The relationships between the characters can provide those subplots needed to flesh out a story and keep it interesting.

Lisa Mangum (Hourglass Door Trilogy) used an exercise with Mr. Potato Head to create all of the characters. Each participant was given a brief description of a character and they selected Mr. Potato Head features to reflect that characteristics of that character. As a caricature the important feature stood out. You can start to visualize what the eyes might see, what the ears might hear, and etc.

Karen E. Hoover (The Wolfchild Saga) provided a different approach to character development. She keeps a photo album of people faces. A simple place to get some of these is modeling sites. She even gives them names, but not their real names. Then she prepares a Character Sheet for each one with the personal information plus abilities, physical anomalies, clothing, habits, quirks, and personality. She will not use all of this information in her story, but provides a solid base for character actions. Then when they are faced with a conflict we know how they are motivated and what their goals might be.

Tristi Pinkston (numerous books on Amazon) talked about the expectations of our audience. Each genre has specific requirements as to the characters, settings, and conflicts. The characters we have in our stable may not be suitable for all types of stories, but the four questions are relevant to all characters, and to ourselves.

You can learn more about Stanley Klemetson here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Author Interview: Lori Leger

by Sylvia Ney

Lori Leger, born in the tiny town of Gueydan, Louisiana, is the sixth of eight children. Her mother, a retired teacher's aide, still resides there. She knew she had a knack for writing her senior year of high school when she breezed through Miss Lucille Saltzman’s Advanced Composition class. However, she didn't write her first book until she was forty-nine. By then, she was well into the fourteenth year of her career as a road design drafter with the state, and thirteen years into her second marriage. Her husband Michael and she have five wonderful children between the two of them, all grown. Though they love having the house to ourselves, they also adore getting frequent visits from their children and ten grandchildren. To learn more, please visit her website: http://www.lorilegerauthor.com/ 
1) Please tell us about your current MS. - It's called Green Eyed Lady and it's a Mainstream Fictional novel with elements of romance and suspense. It was supposed to be Book 5 of my La Fleur de Love series, but I’ve recently decided to start a new spin-off series, so this will be Book 1 of…whatever I decide to call it…I’m open to suggestions on names. I’ve been struggling to finish and get it published by the beginning of September. The main female protagonist is Angelique Baptiste, an interesting young woman of Cajun and Creole bloodlines, who was introduced in Brown Eyed Girl as the jealous ex-girlfriend of Red McAllister. I’d written her as so unlikeable that I thought it was my duty to give her a book of her own and show her good qualities. After all, she wasn’t a bad person, just a little determined to use any means necessary to get her man. In this story, she’s caught between two leading men, Detective Mike Harper, also introduced in Brown Eyed Girl, and Liam Nash, a bodyguard you meet in Heaven in Your Eyes. Both men are struggling to win her over, no easy feat, since Angelique is determined to remain celibate for a year as per her therapist’s instructions to stop using sex as a factor in relationships. It forces all of them to raise their moral standards at least a notch or two.This novel includes a heartbreaking subplot involving a young mother of twin baby girls whose efforts to escape her abusive husband are hindered by an unfortunate car accident. It’s mildly sensual without being explicit, tackles serious matters of domestic abuse and personal loss, while adding enough humor and snappy dialogue to keep it from being too dark.

2) Is this a hobby or do you plan to make a career from writing? After nearly five years of what my husband called ‘an increasingly expensive hobby’ (due to the cost of laptops, online classes, contest fees and conferences) and after starting to receive a better quality of encouraging rejection letters, I took the self-publishing plunge in August of 2011. I’d published two full length novels by December of that year in both e-book and paperback format, and a short story in e-book only. I found that the publishing and self-promoting end of the business was time consuming enough to force me to make a choice. By the middle of February, my sales were good enough to consider leaving my job of 18 years to write full time. Though I’m not rolling in money, I’m making enough to pay my bills while I pay my dues as a writer…and every day is Saturday!

3) What music, places, people inspire you? I love country music, so much so that I used the title of a James Otto song, Last First Kiss, as an inspiration for my second book. It’s all about finding that new relationship, hopefully the last relationship you’ll ever have. You can only have one first kiss with a person, and if you’re lucky, it will be the last first kiss you’ll ever have. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to meet James Otto in person after a concert, and he signed my unpublished manuscript for me. He said his wife loved to read romance novels and I should send him one when I got it published. So…I did. I contacted his PR person and told her about it. I sent the autographed books to James and Amy, his wife, whom I discovered co-wrote the song with him, and they were so thrilled, they did a web story on it. It was featured on TheBoot.com (read it here) and also on James Otto’s web page. My husband and I got to see him a couple more times this past June for CMA music fest in Nashville.

I also love Cajun music—my brother, Mark Hebert, is a renowned Cajun fiddler. I love the history of the Acadian people—Belizaire, The Cajun is based off of my great grandfather (maybe one more great in there?) One day, I’d love to write stories set in that time period…tackling the hardships women faced after they were forced out of Acadia (Nova Scotia) on ships, separated from their menfolk. It was a tragedy most Americans know little about and I’d love to bring those stories to life as a series of books.

4) What do you do when you have writer's block? I never have writer’s block…what I have is A.D.D. when it comes to writing and internet usage. I’ll connect to the internet for the purpose of researching the healing period of a stress fracture, and the next thing I know, two hours have passed and I’ve updated my website, ordered books, downloaded music or pictures, checked my email, my Facebook, left a review on Goodreads, and tweeted half a dozen people….but I still know nothing about the healing time of a stress fracture. I really am like the dog in the movie UP…squirrel…and I’m off in two different directions. I’d say there’s hope that I’ll grow out of it, but I’ll be fifty-four in October, and I think it’s more likely I’ll die this way.

5) How long did it take you to write your current MS? I started this one two years ago, I think. I worked on it for a couple of months, then took an online writing workshop and realized I needed to rewrite my previously written books…ALL of them. So I stopped in my tracks and started from Book 1 of the series. As I rewrote it, edited, re-edited, and edited again, I self-published it, and started on the next. I’ve been on this one about a month and have another three weeks of work, at least. So, all in all, four months, give or take a week or two. I’m kind of anxious to see if it’ll take less time the next time around…since I’ll be starting fresh and not having to re-write.

6) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? A few and I LOVE them! I wish I could afford to attend all of them. My first was a big one…RWA (Romance Writers of America) National conference in Orlando. I’ve attended the Jubilee Jambalaya conference in Houma two years in a row, and will be attending the Moonlight & Magnolia conference in Atlanta, Georgia in October. I was supposed to be attending the Killer Nashville conference this year, but had to cancel, due to the time conflict with my book release the beginning of September. But, my registration is paid for next year already and I plan on attending then. RWA National will be in Atlanta next year, and in San Antonio the year after. Those also may be doable.

7) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? I never use an outline or a storyboard or anything like that. I have a calendar nearby so I can keep track of days during the story. Before I start, I have a basic idea in my head of what I want the characters to achieve throughout a period of time and then I just write. I’m not a plotter…I’m definitely a pantser!

8) What is your writing process like? I don’t have a set schedule. When I was working, I’d get up early and try to get writing in before I left, which didn’t work out too well for me. More often than not, that made me late for work since I hated to stop what I was doing to get ready. Now that I can sleep as late as I want to, I stay up late and sleep late. I hardly ever get to bed before 2 a.m., and when I do, I generally toss and turn for an hour, anyway. Between my husband and I, we have five children and ten grandchildren. They all live nearby, so I get plenty of interruptions…and I don’t mind one bit.

9) Do you have an editor or agent? Neither. I go over my completed manuscript at least three times, and then I send it to a friend of mine, an ex-co-worker who’s wonderful at catching typos. My previous career of drafting road design plans with the state of Louisiana has taught me quite a lot about editing my own work. But it’s mostly taught me that fresh eyes are better.

10) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?

He removed his black Stetson, and pulled his faded jeans at the knees to kneel in front of the single, granite headstone. Passing a hand over the two names etched into the slab, his green eyes scanned the inscription beneath Kimberly’s name.  My Wife, My Loves, My Life


Her author pages may be viewed at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. You may visit her blog cajunflair.wordpress.com  find her on twitter @lleger641 and facebook www.facebook.com/lorilegerauthor or her fan page http://www.facebook.com/lorilegerauthor?ref=hl . You can connect: Lleger641@yahoo.com and cajunflair@lorilegerauthor.com.

Her La Fleur de Love series consists of: Book 1: Some Day Somebody, Book 2: Last First Kiss (Consistently on Amazon Ranked Best Seller list since February of 2012), Book 2.5: Hart’s Desire (Previously e-book novella only, recently printed in paperback), Book 3: Brown Eyed Girl and Book 4: Heaven in Your Eyes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Self Publishing Tutorial

by Jan Rider Newman

I've never liked the word can’t. I prefer try. So I tried to publish on Amazon Kindle and found another word: succeed. I succeeded in publishing my short story collection. If you define success by number of sales, well, that remains to be seen. (See more about her publication here.)

How did I do it? How can you do it too? Start with the following:

Decide to publish.
Decide what to publish.
Proofread your manuscript.
Proof it again.

Research how to format your material, i.e., read the steps necessary to get your manuscript ready. See the end of the post for recommended reading.

Join Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. You don't have to publish anything just by signing up, and there are a lot of articles under the "Help" sections once you join. If you decide to give it a shot, read the terms of use and make sure you understand them. Don’t agree to anything you don’t like or understand. If you want to publish on Kindle and CreateSpace, you do have to agree to the terms; if you don’t agree, move on or drop the whole idea. For what it's worth, I agreed.

Pick up a hard copy book that's been published by a print publisher. Look at the title page, copyright page, epigraph (if there is one), dedication page, and table of contents (if there is one). They're called front matter. You need these pages in your book in order to make it look professional.

Consider what font/fonts you want to use. I used Verdana 12-point for the body of the book because it’s clear and easy to read, something important to me and, I thought, my readers. I used something else for the title page itself, to make the print bigger, bolder, and attractive. There are a lot of choices. Experiment with different fonts until you're happy.

Select a cover for your book. Do you want a photo or some other kind of cover? Walk into a bookstore and look at covers, especially those on books of your genre to get ideas of what's possible and what looks good.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you plan to use a photo or work of art or graphic image for your cover, use something you own all the rights to—your own photo, drawing, painting, etc. Never just go to a website, find something you like, and decide to use it. Doing so leads to big, big copyright legal trouble.

If you don't own the right image for your cover, go to websites where you can download images that are in the public domain. Public domain is good. You can use those. See Recommended Reading.

You can also find things that aren't public domain, but that can be used by listing the owner of the photo and maybe linking to his/her website. Some photos can be purchased for a reasonable price. But make sure you understand what you have to do to use any photo on the cover of your published book, and then do it to the letter. Ask someone else to read the terms if you have any doubts. Don't use anything unless you understand how and whether you are allowed to do so.

There's more to it all than I wrote above, but you can find a lot of information yourself. And you should. If you're really interested in self-publishing—well, it's a do-it-yourself thing, after all. Search online at Google or Yahoo or Ask.com, etc. Research, look, think, understand the rules. It's a little like Asian cooking: there are a lot of preparatory steps, but they're not hard.

Have fun, and let us know how your venture into self-publication turns out for you. Good luck!


Recommended Reading:

Formatting the Manuscript

"Building Your Book for Kindle," (if you work on a PC) Kindle Publishing Direct, Amazon Kindle store, $0

* "Building Your Book for Kindle for Mac," Kindle Publishing Direct, Amazon Kindle store, $0*

NOTE: The two ebooks above say you need to save your file in HTML format, but the KDP site says .doc and some other formats are okay too. I uploaded mine in .doc.

"eBook Formatting & Publishing Guide for the Broke and Stressed," Kindle Edition, Michael Lamendola, $2.99

"Simplified Formatting Guide," an online article which you'll find under "Help" once you've signed on to Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon.com



Covers

"How Self-Published Authors Get Their Covers Right," Andrew Pantoja, Publishing Perspectives, http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/09/self-published-authors-get-covers-right/



Images

"Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued for Using Pics on Your Blog," Roni Loren, http://www.roniloren.com/blog/2012/7/20/bloggers-beware-you-can-get-sued-for-using-pics-on-your-blog.html

Public domain images: http://www.public-domain-image.com/

"Where Can I Find Free Public Domain Images and Pictures?" http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000845.htm


* If you succeed in making a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word for Mac with headers, hyperlinks, and/or bookmarks, please tell me how you did it. I had to go back to my old PC laptop. Otherwise, all the other instructions in this booklet were great. NOTE TO DAVID BROWN: I know we aren't supposed to criticize the Mac. It isn't a Mac problem; it's a Microsoft Word for Mac problem.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Author Arlene Hebert

by Pat Fox

Wednesday, August 1st, 1:30 pm at Our Lady Quees of Heaven Family Life Center, Rm. 3. Join us and be blessed through the testimony of Arlene Hebert. This is a FREE gathering.

Author Arlene Hebert was a nurse when God told her to write a series of children's book about guardian Angels. AND she was told to donate (forever) all the profits from the first book to St. Jude Hospital. The current total is over $44,000.

The books reveal a loving and smiling God, a God with a sense of humor, and a God that teaches the young guardian angels about consequences to their actions. The books encourage children (and grandchildren) to search the Scripture for stories or morals used throughout the books. She calls it a "treasure hunt" activity.

Arlene and her husband live in Lafayette. http://www.angeltaleadventures.com/

Looking forward to visiting with you there!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Long Night’s Sing & other stories

by Jan Rider Newman

For years I turned up my nose at the idea of self-publishing before condescending to consider it as I watched self-publishing lose its vanity press stigma. It isn't only for people who want to leave a memento for their family and friends. It doesn't necessarily mean you can't get a reputable publishing house for your novel or memoir or poems. Writers now turn by choice to eBooks and books printed on demand. Turns out most readers don't care how your book is published. Ask the average reader who isn't also a writer.


So I decided I’d do it one day when I had something worth publishing. Then I realized I did have something worth publishing, several short stories that had appeared in nationally distributed journals and anthologies. A Long Night's Sing & other stories was born.

As you know, whether you’ve self-published or not, the difference between decision and deed can be an abyss. When you’ve never done something, there’s a tendency to think you can’t. There were times during this process when I felt the sides of the abyss closing in, the ground receding further and further under my feet. I had to believe if x-million other writers had done it before me, by jiminy, I could too.

Check back soon for her tutorial on self-publishing.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dates to Remember



Members-Only Contest - Due August 4th. Details here.

Gator Bites - For members only. Due August 31st. Details here.

Scholarship Application - Due October 6th. Details here.

Early Bird Conference Registration - Pay by October 12th and the cost is only $30.

Volunteers - Sign up by November 1 to help at the conference. A list of positions and duties can be found here.

Conference Registration - Pay between October 13th and November 9th and the cost is $40.

On the Wall Contest - Due by November 10. Details here.

Bridge to Publication Conference - Pay at the door will cost $50.

* For more information about the BWG annual conference click here and check back frequently for updates. We have new and exciting news coming soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Volunteer Positions for the BWG 2012 Writing Conference

We are now accepting volunteers for the 2012 BWG "A Bridge to Publication" Writing Conference. Positions available are as follows:

1. Decorate - We need six individuals willing to help fix entries to the wall for the "On the Wall" contest, set up the door prize table and meet the speakers for supper. This will take place on Friday, November 9th.

2. Refreshments - We need five or six members to help here. These individuals will coordinate to buy supplies for the conference. All purchases will be reimbursed. We need ice, tea (both sweet and unsweet), breakfasttrays (fruit, muffins etc.), plastic/paper cups, plastic plates, napkins, utensils, snacks (fruit, chips, etc.), juice, coffee/supplies, water, soda, serving utensils such as tongs or large spoons.

3. Goody Bags - We need volunteers to help stuff the goody bags for the conference. Local merchants will provide brochures, coupons, freebies of their own, and we will provide notebook paper, pens, pencils, highlighters, stickies etc. All of these items need to be put into bags to hand out at the registration tables.

4. Bookstore - We need about ten individuals willing to sign up for two to three hour rotations in the bookstore. The first group will be set up by 7:30 am and the last group will leave about 5:30 pm.  One side of the bookroom will be set up and run by Barnes & Nobles and the other side will be run by us. We are open to selling books for members, paid attendeees and the speakers.

5. Registration Tables - We need at least four people to help with these two tables. Two members will sit at one table and check off preregistered attendants as they arrive. Two other members will work the registration table for attendants paying at the door.

6. Kitchen - We need five to ten people willing to sign up for two to three hour shifts in the kitchen. You can still listen to and see the conference while working here. These volunteers will keep warm coffee brewed and make sure there are plenty of napkins, plates, drinks etc. set out for attendees.

7. Room Monitor - Stand in the back of the room and hold up a time sign to let the speaker know how much time they have left. There will be a 5 min. sign, a 1 min. sign, and a Time Up sign. This need to be done for about six speakers.

8. Clean Up - We need five or six individuals who can stay after the conference to be sure all trash is thrown away and tables are clear.

If you would like to volunteer for any of these positions, or if you have questions, please leave a comment below. You may also email Sylvia Ney at writinginwonderland@gmail.com . Be sure to put "BWG Volunteer" in the subject heading.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Editor Pitch With Linda Yezak

Linda Yezak, Content Editor for Port Yonder Press, will be taking submissions at the BWG conference. She is now serving as an acquisitions editor for PYP and you may sign up for a 15 minute pitch session.

You need to bring a submission packet that includes:

1) A query letter that states the name and genre of the book as well as the word count.
2) A short 1-2 line blurb
3) A short back-cover style blurb
4) Something about the author - a short bio.
5) A one to two page synopsis (that includes how the book ends)
6) The first three chapters
7) Be sure to include all of your contact information as well.

PYP (the publishing company) wants family friendly manuscripts in every genre except romance. Family friendly isn't as strict as it might sound. Think PG-13. Some mild language is allowed, mysteries can involve murder (but gore is not welcome), non-sexual romantic scenes are allowed in genres that aren't focused on romance. PYP IS NOT looking for Christian content right now, but they aren't disregarding it. By the time of the conference they may need more. However, Linda is also representing Hartline Literary AGENT TERRY BURNS, and those wishing to pitch Christian fiction material for agent representation are welcome.

Creative nonfiction is welcome, exceptional memoirs are possible, but she is not not looking for devotionals or poetry. Poets can query directly to the PYP site: http://portyonderpress.com/

Monday, June 18, 2012

Author Interview: D.B. Grady

by Sylvia Ney

D.B. Grady is the pseudonym of author David Brown. He is coauthor of The Command: Deep Inside the President’s Secret Army. His debut novel, Red Planet Noir, won the 2010 Indie Book Award for Science Fiction. He is a correspondent for The Atlantic, a columnist for The Week, a contributor to Mental Floss, and is presently coauthoring a book on the secrecy apparatus of the United States. (John Wiley & Sons, 2013). He was recently awarded a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Other publications include short stories and essays.


1) Please tell us about the manuscript you are working to complete. Presently, I'm finishing edits on a nonfiction book coauthored with Marc Ambinder. It is an examination of the secrecy apparatus of the United States—the deep state, as some call it, from spies and commandos to weapons contractors and government functionaries. We investigate how secrecy has shifted from a way to protect policy, to a policy unto itself, and how that policy is proving unsustainable. The book goes on to reveal details of some of the programs both corrupted and benefitted by secrecy. The title will be whatever our editor tells us it is.

2) How long did it take you to write your current MS? Eighteen months and counting, from the start of research through (presently) the final round of edits. It's been an exhausting project. I really admire authors who can work on the same manuscript for ten years or longer -- I can't even comprehend that.

3) What do you do when you have writer's block? I write anyway. The only way I can pay the bills is if I write something on the order of a thousand words a day, so it's probably not self-discipline so much as a survival instinct. On bad days, I set little milestones and reward myself for every 250 words, or whatever -- a snack, or a bit of television. But I'm really, really good at not writing.

4) Do you have an editor or agent? My agent is Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary Management. My book editor is Eric Nelson of John Wiley & Sons. They're both frighteningly smart, and always right. As someone who is frequently wrong, that takes a lot of the stress off, and lets me focus on other stressful things.

5) Best thing you’ve read online recently? A friend recently sent me a link to a piece by Ian Frazier from the February 1997 issue of The Atlantic. Without question it's the funniest thing I have ever read, ever. I won't even bother giving it a set-up. Just click and read: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/02/laws-concerning-food-and-drink-household-principles-lamentations-of-the-father/5013/

6) What are you reading now? Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner. It is one of the most honest, most beautifully written histories I've ever read, and I wouldn't be surprised if he won another Pulitzer for it.

7) Please tell us a little about your blog. I'm a terrible, undisciplined blogger, and mostly use my site as a kind of portfolio for my most recent columns. It's at http://www.dbgrady.com. (D.B. Grady is my pseudonym. My real name is David Brown, which is why I have a pseudonym.) My Twitter account is @dbgrady .

8) What authors do you admire? Herman Melville, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, Christopher Hitchens, Margaret Atwood, Richard Russo. I'll stop there, but there are dozens more.

9) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? I'm a member of the Bayou Writers Group, which is probably the only group that's ever helped my career. All of the members are just wonderful and talented and supportive. Jessica Ferguson really started my career, and I'll never be able to thank her enough. (I'm also in the Authors Guild and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. They send me magazines that usually pile up on my nightstand unread, but I do support their work on behalf of authors and literature.)

10) What other styles do you write? My first, true love is fiction. I'm hopeful that my next book will be a novel, but my trajectory seems to be nonfiction. So we'll see.

Friday, June 15, 2012

McNeese State Leisure Learning for Writers

Flash Fiction: Writing the Short, Short Story - Have you always wanted to write short stories but struggled to develop strong characters and sustain a compelling plot? This course will explore the craft of writing flash fiction—micro stories that are usually no more than three pages in length. Flash fiction often has the same elements of a classic short story but, because it is so brief, requires the reader to make inferences of his own. Participants in this course will read and discuss published flash fiction, learn about craft techniques, do writing exercises, and then write their own flash fiction stories. Students will also have the opportunity to workshop their writing with the group. Flash fiction is a great stepping stone for writers interested in writing short stories and also a great way to capture brief but meaningful flashes of life.
Instructor: Rachel Rinehart
Date: Thursdays 6:30 - 8 p.m. - June 14, 21, 28 and July 5
Cost: $59
If you are still interested, call: 337-475-5616



The Funny Thing About Reading and Writing Poetry - The class will explore the place of contemporary poetry in our lives with a special focus on humorous poems. During class we will also discuss the subject matter, dominant theme, and emotional resonance of the poems. The class will include a creative writing component contingent upon the students’ interest. Hopefully, students will gain an appreciation for the relevance and utility of poetry in today’s world.
Instructor: Connie McDonald
Date: Tuesdays 7 – 8:30 p.m. - June 12, 19, 26 and July 3
Cost: $59
If you are still interested, call: 337-475-5616

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Contact Senators Now to Restore Arts Funding

by Erica McCreedy

Below is an e-mail sent from Louisiana Citizens for the Arts which is our statewide nonprofit organization responsible for advocating for arts funding for the entire state. The budget for Decentralized Arts Funding – the annual grant that provides essential seed money to over sixty arts organizations in the region – has currently cut $500,000 from last year’s budget. This number represents one third of DAF funding for Louisiana, which means that all of our organizations that apply for a DAF grant will received one third less than last year. Take a look at the e-mail below, and contact your senators through LCA’s website. Make your voice heard!

The Senate Finance Committee sent the budget to the Senate floor yesterday WITHOUT the restoration of the $500,000 for the Decentralized Arts Funding Program to bring the program's funding back up to last year's appropriation which means we're down to $1 Million for DAF it the budget passes as is. This will have a negative impact on every parish in the state with organizations that provide cultural programming, summer library programs and arts in education in the schools. This is our last chance to have the $500,000 restored on the floor, so don't hesitate. Contact your Senator NOW!

Please take 3 minutes to contact the Senators NOW.  It's as easy as 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . just go to http://louisianacitizensforthearts.org/      Under the Take Action box, “Click Here to Write Your Legislators” and you will be taken to the ALERT page.  Under Louisiana, click Take Action.  You'll see the action alert at the top of the page and as you scroll down, you will see the MESSAGE to the Senators.  Scroll down to the Sender Information. If you have never sent a CapWiz message, you will need to complete the information requested.  Once this is done, just hit "send message" and you're done!  Don't forget to forward this message on to all your friends and other arts advocates.  Remember, with your help we were able to have the arts funding reinstated last year.  We NEED everyone's help again this year to do it again!  

Send a message NOW asking the Senators to support our request for restoration of the $500,000 in Decentralized Arts Funding.  Go to http://louisianacitizensforthearts.org/ and TAKE ACTION NOW! Thanks in advance for your help!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Author Interview: Willis Abshire

by Sylvia Ney

A retired Residential and Commercial Painting Contractor and former pastor, Willis Abshire enjoys writing and time with his family and his best friend and wife Vickie who has been the inspiring motivation to continue when the roads of life became bumpy. They reside in Ragley, a small community about seventeen miles north of Lake Charles, La.


1) How did you develop an interest in writing? When I was younger, in school, there were two things that I never cared to do. One was to get up in front of people and give a speech and the other was to write. When I became a Christian what’s ironical is that both fears had to be faced. I was ordained and therefore had to get in front of people and speak. I still get a little fidgety because what I speak of I am held accountable for. Then I began having this insatiable thirst for Bible knowledge and to get it I had to read. It wasn’t long before I felt that if I didn’t write about some things that I was experiencing either in relationships or my inner emotions that I would explode. It was then that I felt the urge to write what I was feeling. Going back over some of those diary entries I have found that much of my inner struggles were resolved by just waiting and allowing myself to be more patient when it came to disagreements with other people, especially those that I love deeply.

2) I see you are working on a MS - please tell us a little about it. The title of my novel is ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross.’ I would imagine that it would be classified as Christian Fiction. Originally I had the idea a book about the gift of salvation that is sometimes wasted. I was going to call it, ‘The Wasted Gift.’ It began with a young man who was very sure of himself and only interested in his own pleasures at the expense of others. I began the novel in today’s era and found myself in need of having to go backwards in time to give credence to the reason for Jordan Burns’ personality traits and inner turmoil. Before I knew it I was in Brunstoke, Germany in the 1880s. To get to today there will need to be developed at least three or four novels in this series. I am endeavoring to show that even the normal life of people that there are spiritual battles that goes on.

3) What other styles or genres do you write? I am doing research for a fiction novel concerning the holocaust. I also write poetry. I have written commentary articles and would love to do more articles. It is still a learning process for me so I look into every aspect of writing that I can where I feel that I might have a little experience.

4) What authors do you admire? Ernest Hemingway has always been one of my favorites. In the Christian field men like Frank Perretti, Ted Decker, Douglas Hirt come to mind.

5) What do you do when you have writer's block? I have heard comments that there is no such thing as a writer’s block. Though I won’t argue the fact I must admit that many times I have run dead head on at about one hundred miles an hour into a brick wall. So what I have done in the past is a compilation of many things. There were times that I would stop and work in my garden. Strange, but many scenes have been hashed over in my mind while doing physical work especially in my garden. It becomes therapy for me. Other times I have stopped writing on that one particular piece and then work on another piece. In doing research for the holocaust story called, ‘Going Home’ I have viewed many DVD documentaries and movies. Watching movies and reading material related sometimes helps me refocus. Then there are those times out of frustration I tell my wife I just quit. She will then look at me and say, you know you’re not going to quit, so belt up, boy. You just want sympathy. So then I fuss and we laugh a little, drink a cup of coffee and just relax. One thing I’ve learned about me is that I never know how I’m gonna react to writer’s block or any other thing. My wife says that I should have been on Ritalin. LOL

6) Have you submitted anything yet? I had an article accepted by Churchmouse Publications but the company is no longer in publication. I have a poem entitled ‘Abba’ in this year’s devotional of ‘Penned from the Heart.’

7) How long did it take you to write your current MS? Although my novel, ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross’, has been accepted by Westbow a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing I am still in the final editing process. I began the novel approximately two years ago. I had actually put the novel down for almost four months while writing other material. That was my major writer’s block on the novel.

8) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? I belong to Bayou Writer’s Group meeting at the main library in Lake Charles, La. Meeting every first Saturday of each month.

9) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? In 2010 I attended the writer’s conference sponsored Bayou Writer’s Group of which I belong. It was a tremendous learning experience and I would encourage anyone desiring to sharpen their writing skills to attend one.

10) Most anticipated upcoming release? Sometime this year Book 1 of, ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross’ will be coming out. I recently received my first edit from the editors and they were helpful. I have also learned that even editors sometimes do not understand where you are going with a story and therefore you have to weigh all the opinions given and go with what you think you should do. After all POV is just that ‘point of view’.

11) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?

The Curse, the Diary and the Cross

Chapter1

Early March, 1872

The chilly evening wind wrapped itself around the young woman as she looked out into the swift current of the Weser River. Her thoughts went back to yesterday afternoon when she had stood at the graves of her parents, Greta and Achim Heidsheim.

Within a matter of two months both were gone. The brutal death of her father and the witnessing of her mother succumb to pneumonia, (with no will to live, and a broken heart) left Donya Heidsheim confused and enraged.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Books by BWG Members

by Sylvia Ney

Our new pages are now up and will be updated as possible. Check out the new tabs at the top of the page, including the Books by BWG Members. Please don't hesitate to email me with any questions or suggestions for this blog. This is for all BWG members. Happy Writing!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Author Interview: Si Tucker

by Sylvia Ney

Si Tucker is a graduate of Northwestern State University with a degree in journalism. Along with writing, he is also interested in economics, art and history. He lives in Lake Charles. You can contact him at si.a.tucker@gmail.com


1. How did you develop an interest in writing? The answer to that is a combination of 1) reading so much and enjoying most of it, 2) a premature obsession with art, film and literature that has, somewhat to my chagrin, continued into my twenties, and 3) a fascination with characters, themes and stories. Plus I was terrible at sports.

2. What authors do you admire? My favorite writers are Don DeLillo, Richard Ford and David Foster Wallace. I probably would never have wanted to be a writer without reading their work, along with some of F. Scott Fitzgerald, most of Hemingway, Joyce, Dostoevsky, Bukowski and pretty much all of the Nabokov I can get my hands on. I don’t think I could do without Salinger or Raymond Carver either. That said, I think I’m in some way influenced by every writer or book that I read, including the ones I don’t particularly enjoy.

3. What music, places, people inspire you? I think everything is a safe answer. Late nights in strange towns, late nights in familiar towns, and walking around anywhere. Tall buildings, city lights from across water, cabins and mountains. Aside from authors I’m inspired by a few filmmakers; a good part of me wants to be one. Controversial people, events that draw large crowds. One particular experience: I pulled something close to an all-nighter writing a lab report. I think it was about enzymes or something. The window in front of my laptop was open, it had just rained and you could hear cars making that shushing sound they make when they drive over wet roads, and I had some Tom Waits playing. And I thought: this is the best writing experience I’ve ever had, it’s all I’ve thought and wanted the writing experience to be. It just so happened the report I was writing was completely uninteresting.

4. When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? I wrote two paragraphs, just some thoughts. Since it wasn’t related to anything else—any other project I was working on at the time—I put it on the backburner and just about forgot about it. Then I got some direction someplace and wrote an outline. So far those first two paragraphs haven’t made it word for word into the manuscript but part of what this particular project is about was touched on in those two paragraphs and the general feeling I want to have for the book is there.

5. What are you reading now? A biography of Vincent van Gogh called Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. It’s really good.

6. Classic you’ve been meaning to read? There are so many. I haven’t read much “classic” German literature and always wondered why it’s so rarely brought up in school. So, out of the many old bricks I’ve wanted to tackle, The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann are two.

7. Book you borrowed and never returned? A collection of just about all of Raymond Carver’s stuff. I mean, would you have returned it?

8. Favorite book from childhood? William Joyce’s A Day with Wilbur Robinson, plus basically everything by Shel Silverstein and Chris van Allsburg (especially The Giving Tree and Just a Dream, respectively).

9. Strangest dream involving a book, writer, or literary character? I had a dream that I was laughing at something with Charles Bukowski. I don’t remember what we were laughing at. All I remember from the dream is that one of us had just said something very funny (probably Bukowski), or we were laughing at something happening off-screen. I think Bukowski commented on it, still laughing, sort of rubbing the joke in, and we were both very happy that each of us had gotten the joke and no one else seemed to get it (although no one else seemed to be around). It’s one of my favorite dreams. I don’t think there is a lot of footage of Charles Bukowski in a happy mood, let alone laughing, but I have that image. I’ve seen Charles Bukowski laughing.

10. Most anticipated upcoming release? An essay collection by David Foster Wallace called Both Flesh and Not. There’s also a biography of him coming out in a few months that I’d like to read.