Friday, March 30, 2012

Changed Meeting Date and a Writing Opportunity

Hello Writers! Don't forget the April BWG meeting has been moved to March 31st due to a conflict with the library schedule. Our speaker will be Brian Harrell, M.D., author of Crimson Stained the Bayou Pines, and he will speak about writing local history.

Also, our group has received an invitation to submit to an inspirational publication: collects inspirational stories from everyday people. If your submission is chosen as a feature, you can reference your blog or web page and include an author's photo.

What type of story should you submit? Any moment, small or large, that you feel inspired you or perhaps you couldn't forget...something that made you thankful or changed your perspective; something that comes from the heart.

Happy Writing!
Sylvia Ney

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blood Bias Now Available

by James R. Tate

First off, I want to thank Sylvia Ney for all of her help and advice, and the opportunity to speak about my novel, BLOOD BIAS. I also have to throw a shout-out to Jessica Ferguson. She’s never failed to respond to my pleas for advice.

BLOOD BIAS is a murder mystery set in a fictional town in Southeast Texas. "Revenge is only a tourniquet for the bleeding soul”.

Chief of Police Reese Glockman just thought he had problems, with his wife lying comatose in the hospital and his estranged daughter nowhere to be found, but things get dramatically worse when two murders dirty the quality of life in his town of Ferguson, Texas, creating doubt about his ability to objectively do his job, and maintain his sanity.

To make matters worse, an old acquaintance with the Houston FBI office wants Reese to step aside and let “the pros” handle the murders. Something about the case has the FBI convinced a serial killer is on the loose, and he’s branding his victims with a symbol of his past.

Reese tries to stay out of the way, but when his daughter suddenly appears out of nowhere to be at her mother’s bedside and becomes the latest pawn in the killer’s deadly game, it becomes personal, and nothing will stand in Reese’s way, not even the killer’s trail of blood, or mysterious band of accomplices.

I love to read good mystery books, and since they are #3 in annual book sales, I decided I would try my hand at writing one. Of course, nobody mentioned that it is also one of the hardest markets to break into. After thirty rejections or so, with no feedback on why it was being rejected, I lost my patience and decided to self publish. I had also started two new projects and wanted to see BLOOD BIAS in print. I read books to get lost in the story, and I think that’s how I write. I hope everyone enjoys the read.

The book is now available at, Amazon and B&N. It will be available in paperback, and for all e-readers including Kindle I-Pad/phone and Nook. I’m offering a free gift at my blog Come visit me there or on Facebook.

You can read an interview with James here. You can also read his free short story "A Silent Cry in the Night" here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

14 Ways to Promote Your Book (Part 1)

by Sylvia Ney    

You’ve published your book. Congratulations. Now, how do you get word out to potential readers/buyers? The author can take 14 steps to help market their creation.

1. Create social media pages for yourself and the book. Ideally you should have a separate website with an address that features the book title. Now you can exchange links and drive traffic to the site with comments, blogs, quotes and extracts. Be sure to show people how they can buy the book. Encourage user feedback, comments and reviews. Also, you can create an author page on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads. Facebook -  Amazon -  Goodreads -  And, if you join some of the writers groups on facebook, other authors are always willing to help each other promote through tweets, reviews, blog posts etc. I belong to two very supportive groups: "Author Central" and "Talking Fiction."

2. Offer media resources. Create a "press room" where members of the media can download files containing scanned images of you as well as the front cover of your book. Scanned images which can be immediately downloaded make your book more attractive to reviewers and other writers. Include a "backgrounder" describing your background as well as your personal side. Include information that emphasizes the timeliness of your book and its importance to your readers. Provide answers to frequently asked questions.

3. Send review copies to all the journals and magazines that review books in your genre. This is something that most publishers do for you but there is no harm in sharing lists and helping out. If you have self-published you will certainly have to focus on this. Don’t forget the many online sites that review books. Eight great reviewers:

4. Get friends, colleagues, clients or anyone who likes your book to place reviews online. Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Goodreads, Smashwords and other sites are highly influential and the reviews matter to readers so encourage anyone who says they enjoyed your book to place a review.

5. Offer sample chapters/scenes as free downloads. Take a couple of your best chapters and turn them into pdf files (Adobe Acrobat is the most accessible to all). Let people download them for free. Think of this as the equivalent of letting people browse through your book at a bookstore. You can do this by offering the free download directly from your site and set up a separate download through book retailers. Some authors even post short scenes from their books on their personal blogs. Even famous authors such as James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Rick Riordan offer free previews.

6. Give away copies. Use the book as your calling card. Give copies to potential and existing clients. Encourage them to read it and pass it on. You can also offer books as prizes. Local radio shows, magazines or societies will often be interested in running competitions and will give you valuable publicity if you give them a few books to give away as prizes. Try running your own contest through your website and blog.

7. Offer yourself for interview on radio stations. Most radio stations are looking for interesting interviews and the author of a newly published book has a good chance of getting on air. You need a publicity letter which says something interesting or controversial about the book; you want to stand out and be memorable. If you have the budget you can use a professional PR company to target radio and TV programs.

You can find Part II here.

You can visit Sylvia's blog Writing in Wonderland here. You can also click the members tab at the top of this page to learn more about her.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Author Interview: Linda Todd

by Sylvia Ney

A resident of West Lake, Linda Todd likes writing short stories, especially flash fiction. She has completed a book and plans to start queryingsoon. Her next project is going to be a chapbook of flash fiction.

1) How did you develop an interest in writing? I started scribbling back in high school. I had always been a reader, graduating from the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew to Zane Grey and Edgar Allan Poe. I started writing my own silly teenage fluff. Stock characters. No setting. Worst of all: NO CONFLICT. My writing kind of sat on a back burner until 1985 when my husband died. I went back to school and got a Masters Degree in English. I took every creative writing course that came down the pike and read every book I could get my hands on about the writing process. If anyone, back in the fifties, would have told me I'd actually complete a book I would have laughed them out of the room.

2) Please tell us a little about your blog. The name of my blog is LF Todd's Incurable Itch and can be found at .I'm fairly new at this. Jess Ferguson got me started and keeps me motivated. (Thanks, Jess). So far everything on it is writing related and I think I'll keep it that way. I'm signed up for an online class on how to blog and hope I can get more proficient at it.

3) I see you are working on a MS - please tell us a little about it. The title is Wild Justice and it's a crime story with a vengeance theme. I got the idea from a newspaper article about a double murder in a quiet little Louisiana town near the southeast Texas border. I set it in Westlake (write about what you know, right?) but changed the name to West Dulac.

4) What other styles do you write? I like writing short stories, especially flash fiction. My next project is going to be a chapbook of flash fiction. I also like writing poetry, and I'm starting a memoir class at McNeese. Not for publication - just for my kids.

5) What authors do you admire? James Lee Burke is my favorite, especially his Robichaux series. He tells a great story and plunks you right down in the middle of Cajun country. Thomas Perry, John Sandford, Sue Grafton, Ken Follett, Nelson DeMille, Lee Child, to name a few. You'll notice I'm into mayhem and murder, but at my age I'm entitled.

6) Have you submitted anything yet? I sent a query letter and the first twenty-five pages of my novel to a publisher, but got a rejection. I've finished my synopsis (finally) and am set to start querying agents. I've sent several short stories to magazines, but received rejections on those also. However, I'm not giving up.

7) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? I'm a member of the Bayou Writers Group that meets once a month at Carnegie Library in Lake Charles. Several members meet on Thursday mornings at Stellar Beans coffee shop for critiques. I also belong to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Guppies, a sub-group of SinC. Guppies stands for the "Great Unpublished": a very supportive and informative group with a newsletter to die for.

8) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? Yes. The Bayou Writers Group hosts an excellent conference every year in November. The second Saturday. A good general conference is held every year in the spring in Houma, Louisiana, at the Terrebonne Parish Library. I've been there every year except the first one. Cost is $30.00, which is a great price for a one day conference. I've also attended Killer Nashville twice. This one caters to mystery writers.

9) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? I am not a pantser except for flash fiction. My novel started out as a short story. I knew the beginning and the end, so I just had to fill in the middle. Not an easy task. I borrowed a hint from screenwriters and got a couple of packs of index cards. I started jotting down what I wanted to happen on the cards and put them in order. Then I got it done, scene by scene.

Monday, March 5, 2012


At the March 31, 2012 meeting, we will be voting on the amendments to our group by-laws. I have added them to this blog: here. Please review them at your convenience and be ready to vote at the next meeting. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to email me or Sherry Perkins.

Happy Writing!
Sylvia Ney

Friday, March 2, 2012

Author Interview: Angie Kay Dilmore

by Sylvia Ney

1) Please tell us a little about your blog. Around four years ago, my good friend and fellow writer Jessica Ferguson implored me (and any other writer who would listen) to start a blog. She insisted a blog is necessary for anyone serious about writing. I fussed and procrastinated and felt intimidated by the process for a good six months or more. My biggest hurdle was that I felt my blog needed a theme. And I couldn’t think of one. Finally, one day, as I lamented to my husband about a lack of a theme, he suggested I write about moving to Louisiana. Well, yeah, I thought. I could write about the adventure of moving from Pittsburgh to Louisiana. And thus, my blog became The Trials and Triumphs of a Transplant It’s been almost five years, and I still feel like the new kid on the block. I’m still learning and experiencing new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. It’s like being on a perpetual vacation. Always something new and different to discover.

2) What music, places, people inspire you? I have fallen in love with the Bayou State and it’s a never-ending wellspring of inspiration for my writing. For my blog, I love to visit a new town and play the tourist, then use my blog as a travelogue. I’m fascinated by the many festivals around the state. I might explore a museum or seek out a hidden state park somewhere. I love the art and music culture of this area. I’ve barely scratched the surface on all there is to do and see in this beautiful state.

3) I see you are working on a manuscript. Please tell us a little about it. I primarily write non-fiction articles for the children’s magazine market. After I sold a piece on the Civilian Conservation Corps to Highlights For Children, I decided to write a middle grade historical fiction about a 15-year-old boy who lies about his age and joins the CCC. I love the idea of this story and have the basic plot all in my head. I have the first several chapters written, but basically, I’ve been sitting on this story for the past four years. I need to finish it!

4) What other styles do you write? I also write short stories, poetry, and meditations/devotionals.

5) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? Yes, absolutely. I always say I couldn’t be a writer without my critique partners. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I belonged to two different critique groups: an SCBWI group and a general writing group. When I moved to Louisiana, finding a writers’ group was one of my top priorities. I now belong to Bayou Writers, the newly formed SWLA Children’s Writers and Illustrators Guild, and of course, SCBWI. I also belong to an online critique group. I don’t have an English background, and I’ve learned so much from my critique partners.

6) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? Yes, more than I can count without thinking real hard. I highly recommend conferences. The networking is as important as the learning.

7) What are you reading now? I review books for the literary website, so I’m always reading something. One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott. I recently read her upcoming memoir Some Assembly Required. Excellent! Scheduled for release in March 2012. I’m currently reading The Gilder, by Kathyrn Kay. Only halfway, but so far so good.

8) What are your plans for the future? I swear, I’m going to finish that novel.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First Friday Reading Series Presents Reading by D.B. Grady

by Erica McCreedy, Special Projects Coordinator - Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA

The Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana will present a free fiction reading by Louisiana author D.B. Grady on Friday, March 2nd, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the Porch Coffee House & Café in Lake Charles. The reading is part of the "First Friday Reading Series" which is co-sponsored by the Council and the Porch, and it offers another reading platform for area writers and poets, both published and unpublished.

D.B. Grady, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and a veteran of Afghanistan, is a freelance writer and novelist. His debut novel, Red Planet Noir, won the 2010 Indie Book Award for Science Fiction, and his newest book The Command: Deep Inside the President’s Secret Army (co-authored by Marc Ambinder), which is now available on eBook and will be released in print in October, examines the role of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in foreign policy and the war on terror. Grady is a correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for American Thinker, National Journal, and Real Clear World, among other periodicals and journals.

The Porch is located at 4710 Common Street in Lake Charles, and the reading will be followed by live music. For more information on D.B. Grady, visit his website at, and for details on the "First Friday Reading Series," call the Arts Council at 439-2787 or visit