Monday, April 30, 2012

BWG May 5 Meeting

Jerry Craven will be speaking with us. He is the Press Director for Lamar University Press, the Press Director for Ink Brush Press, has served as Editor-in-Chief of Amarillo Bay, is a member of the writing faculty at Lamar University in Beaumont, is an active member of The Texas Institute of Letters and has written more than 20 books. To learn more about him, please visit:

He will also be bringing his wife Sherry who is a published poet. You can find more about her here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Creating an Author Website

by Jan Rider Newman

Do you need a website? If you have a print or e-book to tell the world about, yes, you do. Even if you're not yet in print but have a book you're trying to publish, a website is a good idea. It's a place to refer agents, editors, and other authors. Though a website may not get the book published, it will show an agent or editor that you're a professional who's aware of the need to draw online attention in this world of iPads, iPods, iPhones, iBooks, Kindles, Nooks, etc.

How does one even go about getting a website? You need two basic things: a domain name and a host. There are a variety of ways to get these, but I'll tell you the way I've done it. The domain is the address of your website, the URL. "" is a domain name. So is "" What you see at the top of the page in any online address bar after the "http://www." is the domain name. It has to be unique. No one else can set herself up as "" now that I've bought that name.

Yes, the domain name must be bought, for as little as one month or as many as thirty-six. The first step is to search for the availability of your chosen domain name (let's call it "" for now) at a site such as On that website you can do a search for the name you want to use and make sure no one else has bought it. If it's available, you can purchase the name there using a credit or debit card or PayPal. Note: other places sell domain names, such as Do a web search for something like "places to buy domain names." Just make sure the seller is accredited by ICANN. For more information on this see this:

In addition to your domain name, you'll need a hosting plan. The host is the engine that builds and runs your domain, including storing and presenting all the files (information) and photographs you upload to the website. Many people choose WordPress. There are many others, like Joomla A simple Internet search, such as "web hosting" will pull up any number of companies whose websites will explain what they offer in the way of hosting. Check the hosting programs listed on the site where you buy your domain name.

After these necessary preliminary steps comes the meat of your website, actually setting it up. You've got your domain and your web host. There now exists a site you can go to called "" Up to now everything's been pretty straightforward and objective. You've had to do some research and make some decisions about naming, pricing, etc. Once that part's settled, you run up against subtler, more complicated issues.

What do you want your website to look like? Remember—your website reflects you. Your website tells the world what you like, what you believe in or not, how professional you are—or are not. It may, if you choose, tell the world where you are and what you look like . . . Are you biting your lip yet? Yes, deciding what to put on your website and what to leave off is hard. It requires thought and discernment and wisdom. The first thing I'd recommend you do is relax. Take time to think about what you want and realize you're not saving or destroying the universe. You can fix mistakes even on your world wide web page.

Look at other writers' websites. See what you like and dislike about them. When you type in a website address, you're taken to a home page, which is the first thing you see, your first impression of the website as a whole. What impression do you get when you go to or, or

Think about that, and we'll pick up this conversation down the road. For now, happy writing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Wordsmith Journal...The Premier Magazine for Lovers of the Written Word

by Pamela S. Thibodeaux - BWG Co-Founder

Established in Oct. 2011, The Wordsmith Journal was founded with the intention of introducing readers to new Christian authors and old favorites in hopes those connections would turn into friendships over great books.

I first approached the magazine as an author longing to get the word out about my book, The Visionary which was scheduled to release in November.

Soon after, I was asked to join the TWJ staff as an Ad Sales Director and Accounts Manager and offered partnership in the magazine.

In January (2012) the other partners of the magazine had opportunities arise and obligations to fulfill, so I acquired full ownership. As with any new business, transition can be challenging but we’ve managed to hang on and now The Wordsmith Journal is thriving and quickly becoming known as the premier magazine for lovers of the written word.

We’ve partnered with another Christian site to cross promote, and brought in a new sponsor, a social media expert, a review coordinator, and professional review staff. In February, the monthly magazine became available on Kindle and Nook for $0.99 (only because we can’t list it for free!). TWJ is available as a free read through and as a downloadable pdf on our website

Once all current and past issues are up in these venues, the next goal will be The Wordsmith Journal Reviews - a pdf containing the cover/blurb/reviews only - that will be offered as a free pdf to libraries and retailers on our contact lists as well as a free download on the site.

What Readers will Find in The Wordsmith Journal Magazine….
• Interviews with today’s top Christian authors
• Reviews of some of the best Christian books
• Featured Authors and Publishers
• Contests

For Authors and Publishers….
• Great advertising rates
• Avg. 500+ hits daily
• With the combined efforts of TWJ, our sponsors, and partners, our newsletter goes out to 1200+ contacts monthly!

Link to site:

My bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address:
Bayou Writers Group:
Face Book: http// 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grants are Our Friends

by Sherry Perkins

Grants. While this may scare people into running in the opposite direction I rather enjoy putting together a grant proposal. It’s a perfect collaboration for accounting, planning, and writing, three areas which interest and challenge me. I’ve composed four grants for our group, with one left to go.

The sole reason BWG applies for grants if to help fund our annual writing conference. Think about it. It takes lots of money, and lots of planning, to sponsor such an event. Some expenses include: rent for the venue, lunch for everyone, speakers’ honoraria, speakers’ travel expenses including hotel if needed, advertising in newspapers, magazines, and/or on tv and radio, and breakfast foods/snacks. Once these expenses begin to add up, the figure explodes into thousands of dollars. On the flip side, the only incomes we have are our membership dues and any financial donations others give. Just like your household budget, when your expenses exceed your income, you can’t make it until payday. This is the reason we apply for grants, to help us get to our next payday - the conference.

So, what is a grant? A grant is basically free money. Yes, free money! However, to qualify for funds you must explain to the sponsoring agency, in the form of an application packet, several supporting reasons why your organization 1) needs the funds, 2) how you plan to use the funds, and 3) if you receive funding how you actually spent the funds versus how you thought you would spend the funds. That sounds easy doesn’t it? It is (sort of). While each grant has its own deadline, some require the packet to be three-hole punched with several copies. Also, each grant has a deadline for follow-up documentation to be submitted after the event has ended. Additionally, you must read every word in the application and do your best to answer what each application asks. Below are some issues/questions you may find on a grant application.

1) Who are the speakers (also called providers of service)? Name, address, phone number, area of expertise, a short bio, and topic of presentation. Obviously, in January the speakers are not confirmed, but the supporting agency needs to see you’re contacting people and getting the ball rolling.

2) Who is the Board of Directors of the group (officers)? Name, addresses, phone numbers, professional affiliations. Which area(s) is/are each officer responsible for?

3) Explain your function/event. (You may only have three pages to answer specific questions given to you in the application.) Be sure to proofread!

4) Produce a budget (incoming funds versus outgoing expenses). A form is included with places for cash on hand, amount you are requesting, how cash funds will be used, and how grant funds will be used.

5) Any supporting documents from past events, such as brochures, photos (not many, you’re not submitting a scrapbook), and/or feedback or critiques from the audience.

Documents you will need to not only produce this accurately, but also to apply include: actual income and expenses from the previous year (bank statements and/or an audit), the most recent Secretary of State form showing your business is in good standing with Louisiana, and an IRS form 990N. While grants are very time consuming, and overwhelming at first, like anything else with enough practice the scariness melts away.

2012 BWG Grant Submission History

1. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Grant - applied for $5,000.00 - awarded $3,000.00 (60%)

2. Powell Group Fund Baton Rouge - applied for $2,000.00  - TBD

3. Lake Charles Partnership Grant - applied for $3,000.00 - awarded $1,225.94 (40%)

4. Lake Charles Tourism & Marketing Grant - applied for $2,000.00 - TBD

5. Decentralized Arts Funding Grant - Not open for applications yet.

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Young Writers’ Contest

Do you have WRITER’S FEVER? Do you have a “way” with words? Does your teacher comment on your writing? Do you love to write? If your answer is YES to those questions, we want to read your work!

The Bayou Writers’ Group of Lake Charles is proud to sponsor the 2012 Young Writers’ Contest. There is no cost to submit! The top three winners will receive cash, prizes, and recognition at our annual Writers’ Conference in Lake Charles on November 10th, 2012.

Cash and prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place finishers!


• There is no theme. You may submit fiction or nonfiction, no poetry accepted at this time.

• Submissions must be received (postmarked) by June 2, 2012. Late entries will not be read.

• You may submit up to two entries. All entries will be returned to the author.

• Word count cannot exceed 2,000 words.

• BWG reserves the right to cancel the contest if fewer than six entries are received.

• Open to all high-school students*: private, public, home-schooled who reside in the following parishes: Allen, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Beauregard, and Cameron.

*May 2012 graduates ARE eligible. 8th-graders must be promoted to 9th-grade at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. No junior-high entries will be judged.

• Submissions must be DS (double spaced) with a 12-pt font and be typed in Times New Roman. No hand-written entries accepted. Use one-inch margins on all pages beginning on page 1.

• Please include a separate cover sheet with the following information for each entry:
- by author’s name
-parents’ contact # and/or email

• Only previously unpublished material is accepted. However, the writer may have other material(s) published.

• Number all pages (excluding cover sheet, including page one). Writer’s name shall appear no where on the submission except for the cover sheet.

• Make three copies of your entry, and staple each one separately in the upper left-hand corner for independent judging. Attach a cover sheet to the front of all copies with a paperclip for easy removal. The judges must not know whom they are reading. Give your story a title!

• Mail your entry(ies), remember, three copies (one for each judge) of each story with one title page for each to:
Bayou Writers’ Group
Attn: Young Writers’ Contest
P.O. Box 1402
Lake Charles, La 70602

• Winners will be notified by phone/email/letter by August 4th, 2012.

• Judges may write comments on your entry.

Student grade disclaimer: Winners’ grades may be verified from supporting documents/or other verifications, such as: official report card from parent, or parent(s) verbal agreement. If proper assurances cannot be received, other winner(s) will be chosen.

IMPORTANT: Points will be deducted by judges for each guideline infraction. Please follow ALL guidelines to ensure you receive maximum points for format! Good luck to each of you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing...In My Opinion

by Patti Corbello Archer

I am a writer! How that excites me. My plan, my goal, my heart in it all is to touch YOU with words! I don’t write to write. I write to show or reveal to you something or someone. Therefore, to me, I am a creator. And my inspiration is our Heavenly Creator. So, there you have it. I classify myself as a Christian writer because I want you to see Him in unlimited ways…over and over.

Life is what we live. Life is what we believe and experience. And once upon a time, I thought that was all life was. Then Jesus leaned down late one afternoon and whispered in my ear to follow Him on His journey. To let Him show me what life was really about. I remember how fast my heart beat as I heard His voice and that my knees literally gave way as His love took over the room. I can still remember the epiphany…the revelation of that moment…and forever my life changed. I changed.

I was amazed that just a touch or whisper from Him could change what I believe. Did you know that you could change what you believe? I smile as I write this because YES…it sooo can happen! For me, moment by moment He erased the definitions in my life dictionary so that I began to be the definitions in His life dictionary…His Word. That’s right, the Living Word used His truth to rewrite my beliefs and experiences. He is magnifique!! How can He not be my inspiration? (Smiles.) He IS the one.

As I sit here and finish this thought I know that if I could do anything else along with writing it would be to paint images with the words that He gives me. Maybe one day I will see Him bring my writing (and yours) to another level!

After all, we are all His masterpieces.

You can learn more about Patti by reading this interview or you can visit her blog: Inspired by Love.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Tribute to Harvey Honsinger by Jessica Ferguson

January 14, 1934 - March 29, 2012.  

Our friend and BWG member Harvey Honsinger lived an interesting life. He directed live TV for 22 years, ran the lives of a criminal caseload as well as a probation and parole district covering three parishes. That included 3,000 convicted felons, a work-release center with an average 100 inmates, and an office of 50 persons, some of whom drove a fleet of over 20 state cars, all of which were Harvey’s responsibility.

 Harvey had a wealth of experience at his fingertips--many books and stories still to write.

For the longest time, Harvey and I weren't friends, just acquaintances that stared at each other curiously across the tables at the BWG meetings. I was in awe of him, his knowledge and the fact that he had so many completed books that he wasn't mailing out for publication. It was only when I became president of BWG and asked him for input that we began talking with each other, emailing now and then. I wanted to know why he wasn't striving for publication when he had all those completed books and short stories, and I made it my own personal goal to encourage him.

When I became president, our relationship changed. I depended on Harvey for feedback and he was quick to give it. Blunt and to the point. I learned that no one loved BWG more than Harvey did. But when I asked him to hold an office with our group, to get involved in a leadership position, his response brought tears to my eyes. He wrote:

“I love the associations and relationships I have with the members of our group, I enjoy the conferences, both local and the ones some of us attend elsewhere, but at 75 years of age, I have decided to decline your invitation, in spite of the honor of trust and respect you have shown me. Please have the kindness to accept my refusal without any degree of rancor. You have no idea how difficult it was for me to give you the kindest "no" in my heart. HH”

As some of you know, I became Harvey’s agent. I believed in his work, but in my mind, I was practicing on him, trying to learn ‘the business’ of representing authors; he knew that and gleefully handed over six novels to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what I was doing. What mattered was that I was trying on his behalf, and he gave me his ultimate respect. He wrote:

“The Man From Salt Hill is the one I really would like to see in print. However, I'll take what I can get. Once again, I thank you more than I can express for your help, and appreciate your confidence in doing business with me on just a "handshake" basis. It means a lot to me. It was how I was raised. HH”

When the editor from Kensington came to our conference, Harvey and I teamed up to waylay the guy and talk westerns. I sent Harvey this picture and he wrote to me:

“If I ever show up at something important in a white shirt again, send me home to change.

 We thought our plan worked when editor Gary Goldstein requested the complete manuscript. We both walked on air for awhile, but months passed and nothing happened. I suggested Harvey consider POD/epublishing; he was agreeable. You don't know how much I regret that I didn't suggest it years earlier so he could have had more joy in seeing his books in print.

When I think of Harvey, I remember the conversations and emails we shared. The encouragement and respect he gave me. I remember his friendship. When I think of Harvey Honsinger, I can’t help but think of some of the heroes of yesterday, because in my mind, that’s how I see Harvey. A real hero-type, one of the greats. He was a big guy with easy laughter and lots of stories, sage advice and wisdom. He was a big guy in a thousand wonderful ways.

Fire Hair by Harvey Honsinger: When Rebecca's mother dies in 1870 rural Tennessee, the 18 year old red-headed free spirit finds herself with no land, little money, no husband, and no prospects. In answer to an advertisement for a “mail order” bride, she sets out for the frontier--Verde Valley, Arizona. Traveling west with a cavalry wagon train, Rebecca encounters Indian raids, fends off dishonorable advances, makes unexpected friends, and begins to learn to survive in a new, harsher environment. When she arrives in Arizona, her adventures intensify, as she strives to make a life in the wilderness and comes face to face with her new husband's deadly secret.

Fire Hair is an exciting, heart-felt, and realistic human adventure set in the vastness of the American West. Life-long Western scholar Harvey Honsinger captures the details of daily life in the 1870's: what people ate and wore and used and shot, as well as how they talked and what they felt. He brings to life the men and women of that age: the brave and the cowardly, the honorable and the dishonorable, the good and the evil. With enough horse-sweat and gunsmoke to satisfy readers of traditional Westerns, Fire Hair also has the authenticity of a well-researched historical novel, and the grandeur of an epic.