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:

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:

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 (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      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 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


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!