Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to do--so little time. I hope to be back on track (and organized) after Thanksgiving. Seems I've been on a treadmill ever since the BWG conference. I'll probably literally be on the treadmill after this holiday.

In the meantime, I pray you all enjoy your time with family and friends...that God surrounds you with His hedge of protection as you travel and blesses you with special Thanksgiving memories.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Conference is Over-I can breathe again

First note: A good pair of conference shoes are worth their weight in gold. Yeah, a tacky cliche but so very true.

Our Bayou Writers' Group conference is over. It was great. From my point of view, it went smoothly, we had some wonderful speakers and I connected with some sweet people I used to know and made a lot of new friends. I absolutely love collecting writer friends, encouraging them, and watching them grow and succeed in their careers.

In hindsight, there are a few things we'll definitely be changing for next year. As always, experience is the very best teacher. That applies to writing too. Write, and you will learn how to write.

Here are some pics of our conference.

This is author Randy Denmon. His voice didn't carry and our microphone decided to be contrary, so Randy moved to the center of our group and it worked well. Rumor has it that Randy is our 'most quoted' speaker.

Our Boy's Life editor, Paula Murphey was super. She brought magazines and writers guidelines for everyone. We love personable and easy to talk with editors, and Paula is that and more. Here she is meeting with our friend Ray. Paula is excellent at brain-storming ideas with writers.

My good friend, author Barbara Colley, stepped in for a speaker who had a personal crisis and couldn't make it. Barbara is always professional and well prepared. She should be. She's published over 14 books, is excellent at promotion, and always willing to share information. Barbara even created a hand-out at the last minute. Visit her website here. If you ever need a conference speaker, she has my recommendation. You can also read my interview with Barbara here.

What can I say about David LaBounty, The First Line Literary magazine editor? Actually, I'll try not to go gushy. I have a weakness and an unnatural love for literary magazines. Reading them and submitting to them back in the 70s was my very favorite thing to do. I have billions of rejections. Very little success. David and his family brought back memories of when I traipsed around at writing conferences with my daughter and husband in tow. We always had a good time; we always had interesting family discussions, learned together and shared a lot. The First Line is a great publication and family effort. Check out their website and if one of their first lines grabs you, sit down and whip out that story. There's a lot to be said for spontaneity. Now, because David likes his privacy when it comes to the Internet, I thought I'd treat him to his anonymity but still share with my readers so here he is speaking to our group.Photobucket

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bayou Writers Group Conference is Here!

Yes, conference is here. This weekend. I'm ready. Honestly, I'm ready to look back and say, well done.

What I'm really looking forward to doing is meeting the speakers I've been emailing for several months. I feel especially close to them since I hand-picked them myself. :) I'm sure the closeness is a wonderful figment of my imagination but I consider David, Randy and PJ all mine. Paula from Boy's Life is Angie's editor. I think we have a wonderful line-up. We've worked hard, and I hope everyone will benefit from it.

I'm also very excited about meeting writers who will be driving in from the surrounding area: Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and different parts of Texas.

If I stop to think about the 50, 60, almost 70 people attending this conference, hoping to learn something, make that needed connection, my heart leaps because I want so badly for them to get everything they want and need from our small conference. I feel obligated to them and to our speakers. I guess I put a lot of stress on myself for wanting everyone to walk away completely "writerly-satisfied."

This is the first time I've worked on a conference though I've been to many. I've complained about the lack of organization, lousy, unprepared speakers, even the food.

I'll never complain again. I'll say it louder: I'LL NEVER COMPLAIN AGAIN!

I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who works on a conference committee and tries to guess what other writers want and need. And I have an enormous amount of admiration and respect for anyone who does it more than once. :)

I hope you enjoy our Bayou Writers Group conference. We worked hard--for you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bayou Writers Group Conference Speaker - Editor

I am not a short story writer, but I wanna be. Does that count? I've always dabbled with short stories--and now Flash Fiction--but never been too successful at it. These days it's hard for me to identify good short stories. Seems the rules have changed. Just like they've changed for every thing else. I liked book stores before all the different genres hit. I liked the writing markets before the Internet. I love and miss traditional everything. Yep, I've fallen into that category of old person who says, "Awwwwww, the good old days when a book was a book, a short story was more than slice of life, and a literary magazine was something prestigious." For the first time in my life, I feel like an 'old dog' who can't learn any new tricks. Okay, I'd better tone it down or you might get an inkling of what I really think. :)

I get great joy out of introducing our next Bayou Writers Group Conference speaker: David LaBounty--not to be confused with the poet by the same name.

David LaBounty is editor of the literary magazine The First Line. His plays have appeared on stages across the country. His fiction has been published in various magazines including The Friend Magazine, Zu Zu, Young Salvationist, Hopscotch and Kids’ Highway.
The purpose of The First Line is to jump start the imagination-to help writers break through the block that is the blank page. Each issue contains short stories that stem from a common first line; it also provides a forum for discussing favorite first lines in literature. The First Line is an exercise in creativity for writers and a chance for readers to see how many different directions we can take when we start from the same place.

The First Line is the longest running, fully independent journal of 100 pages or less published in North Texas every three months.
Go to The First Line and take a look. Here is proof that we can all take the same sentence--even the same idea--and write hundreds of different stories. What fun! And The First Line is a great little literary magazine.
Guess what: The 2009 sentences have been posted. Check them out here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bayou Writers Group Conference Speaker - Publicist

I can hardly wait to meet PJ Nunn of BreathThrough Promotions. Publicity--at least, publicity for other people--is one of my very favorite things to do. I love brainstorming ideas on how to get my writer-friends out there. When I was a realtor, I enjoyed this aspect more than the selling and listing. You'd be surprised how similar selling houses is to selling yourself and your manuscripts. Maybe I should hit PJ up for an 'internship' and really learn the ropes. Don't think I haven't thought about it. I hope you'll visit her website and look at her impressive list of clients. Check out her blog too. Promoting ourselves in this business is a must. Get your questions ready.

PJ Nunn's career started out as something else entirely.
With a Masters degree in psychology, she left a job teaching at multiple campuses of the Dallas County Community College District in the mid-1990's to become a freelance writer, but found that a few favors she was doing for friends—writing press releases and setting up book signings—was better suited to her talents and her drives.

In 1998, she founded BreakThrough Promotions, now a national public relations firm helping authors, mostly of mystery novels, publicize themselves and their work.

Even in such a short period of time, BreakThrough Promotions has become a respected firm, representing many distinguished authors, like Chris Grabenstein, Elaine Viets, Karna Small Bodman, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Denise Hamilton. The client list sometimes reaches 80 at a time, and BTP's staff has been as large as 15 associates.

Nunn says she is most proud of the fact that BTP has grown each year it has been in business, and her fondness for authors means her client list has become something more than that—in a way, PJ Nunn is still helping her friends.

PJ Nunn is the founder and president of BreakThrough Promotions. She lives with her husband and some of their five children near Dallas, TX.

PJ Nunn
BreakThrough Promotions

Check out her blogs:

There's a Dead Guy blog

Criminal Pursuits (put on hold until further notice)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bayou Writers Group Conference Speaker - Editor

I've always had an interest in writing for kids. I collect ideas and tuck them away just like I do pretty candles, coasters and my depression glass. I'll use them someday, I think. I guess it's time to dig out those ideas and 'use them' too. I'm excited that we have Paula Murphey coming to our Bayou Writers Group conference. This will be an excellent opportunity for all of us.

Paula Murphey is senior editor for Boys’ Life magazine, the national publication for the Boy Scouts of America. After graduating with an M.A. in English from the University of Texas at Tyler, Paula first tried her hand at teaching and then writing/editing in the advertising industry before landing in the journalism world.

Boys' Life magazine is a general-interest magazine published monthly in three demographic editions for boys from first grade through high school. Many stories and articles in Boys' Life reflect the program themes of Cub Scouting and program features of Boy Scouting.

The mission of Boys' Life magazine is to entertain and educate America's youth and to open their eyes to the joyous world of reading. This is accomplished through a proven mix of news, nature, sports, history, fiction, science, comics, and Scouting. Check out their website HERE.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bayou Writers Group Conference Speaker - Novelist

Writer/engineer Randy Denmon is a lifelong resident of Monroe, Louisiana. Prior to publication, his first book, The Lawless Frontier, was a finalist of the National Writers Association’s annual novel contest. After being picked up by Kensington, the title was eventually shortlisted for the 2007 Spur for Best Original Paperback Novel. Award winning author Elmer Kelton called The Lawless Frontier an "impressive debut" and National Book Award laureate Tim O'Brien hailed it as "well-written and engrossing."

Randy is a US Army veteran of the Gulf War. He has written two more novels that are presently awaiting publication. One of them tells the story of two Texas Rangers during the Mexican-American War while his third novel deals with a Marine in Central America during the interwar years.

What I find realy interesting is that The Lawless Frontier started out as a collection of short stories that he eventually turned into a novel. I'm excited to meet Randy Denmon and hear his words of wisdom. I think we'll all come away from his presentation feeling encouraged and inspired.

The Bayou Writers' Group one day conference is on November 15TH. Our theme is: Bridge to Publication and we do believe we can be your bridge to publication. For a registration form email me or go to http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspiot.com/

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Words and Pages = NaNoWriMo

And the race is on! NaNoWriMo, 2008!
I wanted to stay up until midnight last night and start my book. I felt anxious, knowing today would be a busy one, and somewhat stressful. I hated getting a late start with the writing but all went well. My detailed outline paid off. I sat down at six o'clock, and turned out 3,041 words by 9:30. They came so easily I had to wonder why I don't force myself to do this on a daily basis. After all, that's what professional writers do--they write.
Professional writer?
I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a professional writer. One book, numerous articles, even a few poems published, even an agent! and I still don't feel like the professional. What's it gonna take?

Maybe I need to go to the dictionary and read what professional really means.