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

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: and
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

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 Pam is also the Co-Founder of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles. To see samples of Pam’s work, visit her website 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 .

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.


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?  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.