Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Don Wannabe's and Two Beautiful Women

What did they all have in common? Laughter, Good Friends, Common Interests, Reading Flash fiction and Same place in Time. Sounds like a movie title to me or even a best seller. Are you still guessing?

They all attended yesterday's meeting of the Wannabe's at Panera. I am sorry that I notified everyone so late in the week. My teaching schedule and work at Cox has my dance card pretty full...just like many of us retirees. For those of you who were not able to attend here is your copy of the

The Wannabe Journal

On March 26th our group discussed the following topics:

Don Q is finishing the final edits on his Santa Stories book. He will soon begin his search for an agent and publisher. He is currently using his Kindle which he received at Christmas to read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. Ironically the style and use of southern, ethnic dialogue in this book is similar to the other book he is reading entitled: "An Irish Country Christmas" by Patrick Taylor which is written with a very strong Irish "Ulster" dialect. So strong that the author felt compelled to included a Glossary of words and expressions in the final pages of the book. Don believes that his sudden concentration on dialect is a hidden lesson that he missed during one of Nancy's classes. Someone once said:" When you are ready to learn, your teacher will appear".

Ginger was welcomed back to the group and discussed her current project of writing a short memoir of her dad's life during the last century. She has a treasure load of material on his life in the form of old letters and journals. We discussed the different Web sites where you can gain information on your family history and software programs that can help you store that detail. One program that was recommended was My Family Tree which will help create and store digitally family trees and help organize family history like photo's and stories. This software also has the capability of linking to which is the main data base that the Mormon Church maintains in Utah for historical genealogy info. It seems ironic that Don P has created a similar project recently so we spent some time helping Ginger finalize how she would get this project off the ground.

Martha discussed the importance of diaries and how they aid our passion for writing. What do you use to journal with? How often do you enter information and who are you creating it for?

Don P: We found out that Don P is a very talented guy who has not slowed down since he retired. And here I thought that the only thing I had in common with Don was our first name and retirement. He composes a monthly newsletter for his model sailboat club and he is extremely interested in Flash Fiction. Writing short stories which are somewhere between 400 and 1000 words. We discussed various software tools such as Microsoft Publisher and Adobe "PDF" Formatting software that you would use to create files in case you pursued self-publishing your projects. Another one of our members: Peter, has published his works on a Flash Fiction web site called East of the Web.

Here is its web address:

Here is a copy of Don's short Story entitled:

The Wedding

"Mind if I ask you something" John said. "Do you mind if I don't go to the wedding with you."

With a startled look on her face Joan replied, "But you're the groom. You have to be there. What are you thinking?"

"Well I told you I would rather elope than go through all of this. I still think it’s foolish to spend all of that money when we could use it for other things. We just slip across the Nevada state line, go to Vegas, and have a nice wedding there."

"But all of the invitations have been sent out. What do we do about those? It would make us look ridiculous."

“Maybe, maybe not. Think what we could do with all of that money. I can think of a hundred things. I was talking to Mary, your maid of honor, about it yesterday. She had all kinds of things to suggest. She’s a very smart girl. She is also very pretty. I found her very interesting to talk to.”

“What are you talking about. You just met her three days ago.”

“I know, but we talked like we had known each other for years. She is very easy to talk to. Why don’t we call this whole thing off and make other plans.”

“When you say ‘Call the whole thing off’ what exactly do you mean?”

“I don’t know. I think I need to talk to Mary about it.”

Wow...I just wonder what happened next.....

Don H. who is one our many participants who are instructors at LLI is working a novel on memory. Sorry I can't remember the title....just kidding. As a matter of fact we discussed a number alternative titles for such a book that focused on this interesting topic and suggested: The Senior Fix or Remember Me? Don is going to share the outline of his proposed book at next months meeting in April.

April Seminar's

Mad Anthony's Writers Conference will be held in Hamilton, Ohio on April 16th and 17th. The fee is $125. but that includes lunch and the availability to have someone evaluate your manuscript or ptich your novel proposal to a publisher. Jane Freeman is a main speaker that day and she is excellent. Our own Nancy P us a contributing instructor for this workshop.

The Erma Bombeck Seminar is at UD in April and enrollment is full. Hopefully someone will provide some feedback on that workshop at our next meeting.

Our meeting will be on April 23rd.

Hope everyone has a beautiful Easter holiday with friends and family. For all those snow birds in the audience it is time to start packing and checking Mapquest for directions back to the mother-ship here in Dayton.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Wannabe Journal

The Wannabe Journal
February 26, 2010

"Omit Needless Words"........That was the recommendation of one of our attendee at today's meeting of the Wannabe's. That advice even if it only is three words is one of the basic tenants to writing a good novel no matter what genre it is. These three little words set the tone for an excellent meeting. See what a little snow and cold weather can do for a group of people with over active right brains.

We also welcomed a new member this morning: Ms. Tricia C. who read from her latest manuscript. She is also a local artist in the Dayton area who will have a showing of her glass artworks at a local gallery in the next few weeks. More about that later in a separate email.

Today's meeting format was very informal with each person taking a turn discussing their current projects. The following is a brief summary of what we discussed:

Don H: Discussed the guess speakers at the Mad Antony Writers workshop that he and his friends attended in Hamilton on Feb 13th. The two authors that he highlighted were:
1. Marilyn Walton's self published book entitled "Rhapsody in Junk, A Daughter's Return to Germany". Don discussed her session on editing and researching the history involved with this B-17 crew who were shot down over Germany during WW II.
2. "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built" by Alexander McCall Smith. A discussion of Motholeli's memoir written by a young African girl.

I will bring copies of the handouts from the workshop to next months meeting.

Dan V: 1) Rainey by Clyde Edgerton - humorous novel written by a man but with a Southern woman's point of view - excellent read, funny, and bet you can read it in three nights max. Like the folks said that I gave the book to read - "I know these people!"

2) All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg - memoir of an Alabama poor white trash boy who does good and helps his mother after all she did for him and his brothers (a true love story between mother and son), and definitely some tips to writers about the power of observation and narration. Rick Bragg won a Pulitzer for feature writing for the New York Times.

3) Glad River by Will Campbel - a somewhat dark novel of three Southern boys of varied backgrounds drafted into WW II and fighting in Guadacanal and then their life after the war. As I mentioned one boy was from Mississippi who refuses his mother's wish to be baptized; one is a coonass from the LA swamplands who has trouble speaking English, and one is a Redbone Catholic (mixed race of Native American, African American, and European). The novel does explore the human condition, especially in regard to the meaning of community.

Then the last book I mentioned was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This populist has written three best sellers, and all his books are available on audio, and are nice companions on long drives. The chapter I referred to in Outliers was the one on the Code of Honor Ethics of the South, and it should give you great insight if you ever have to tell a story with Southern characters in it. Malcolm Gladwell is an entertaining and intelligent writer.

Don P: Here is what he is working on.

1. "The Life and Times of Donald Jerry Peacock". This one is my life journal.

2. "The Legacy of Charles Leroy Peacock and Florence Irene Bowman". This one is the story of my parents.

Linda: She is working on a novel/memoir about her families history in the coal mining region of Western Pa and West Virgina. Part of her research involved reading a story by Gin Phillips: The Well and the Mine". The Well and the Mine is the story of one Depression-era family in an Alabama coal-mining town, a great mystery novel. For those of us struggling with POV issues this is a good study for technique.

Paul: His project was timely in that he described his secret passion and the focus of his current literary interests: Writing a cookbook for his children of his wife's receipts which her parents brought from Greece. He took plenty of notes of suggestions from the Wannabe's from "include Pictures of the family members" to "writing dialogue to support the story" and "where the receipt originated". Very interesting for style that someone said was similar to Paula Dean the famous Food Network personality.

Martha: Yes the famous author of the hole in the floor Christmas story came to our meeting this month. It was wonderful to have her back. She recommended a number of novels that she is currently reading or has recently finished:

1. First-time author Kathryn Stockett's recent book, The Help is a novel about maids and servents who worked in the south and the informal culture that developed around them.

2. Any of the series of books by Sue Grafton, a note author of detective mysteries.

3. "A Woman's Place" by Lynn Austin is a book set just after Pearl Harbor with four woman who become the character study of how life changed for them when they had to go to work in the local ship yard.

Mary Lou: Our snowbird sent her contribution even though she was sitting by the pool in Florida at the time.

The Candy Castle stories help parents and grandparents stretch their little ones’ creative thinking skills. Ten stories (3,000 words) are targeted to children 4-8 years old. In the stories, children name themselves, their parents and siblings, their friends and relatives, even their dog and pony.

This is excerpt from her children's interactive book which she is developing and hopes to publish soon.

Don Q: These are the novels that I have finished or started reading:

1. John Grisham's book entitled "Ford County". Great short stories about rural Mississippi.

2. Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol".

3. An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. This fictional novel was written by an doctor from Northern Ireland. This novel takes a concerted effort to read because of his use of the dialect of Northern Ireland.

4. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. is an inspirational, quick read about a college professor who pursues his dreams. You can also watch his video but it is also good to read the book. I provide this book to the top students in my MIS class at UD as prize for doing the best job in a team presentation at the end of the class.

Tricia: She mesmerized the group by reading from the memoir that she is currently working on. She also made a few recommendations of books that she indicated had made an impact on her life.

1. James Frey "MIllion and one Rules"

2. "The Broken Horse" or "The Glass Castle" which were written by Jeannette Walls.

Other News:

Writers Digest International Self Publishing Book Award Here is the link:

Education: Sinclair Community College has a number of writing classes in their spring term which begins March 29th to June 13th. Many of the classes are offered with the option of auditing the lectures and class material. Others are offered through their LLI program which is similar to the classes at UD.

Speaking of UD an interesting class that is listed in their Spring lineup is entitled: Best American Short Stories of the 20th Century. And for those who are writing memoirs the title "Unsentimental Journey: Completing your Past seems like it might help with all those genealogy questions.

Seminars and Workshops:

1. Only a handfull of openings exist. The cost is $ 375 but includes breakfast, lunches and some diners.
2010 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop (Event Details)
Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Saturday, April 17, 2010

2. The 2010 Mad Anthony Writer's Conference is an opportunity to learn from experts, network with writers, have your manuscripts reviewed, and to give your dreams of being a published writer a chance to come true. The reduced price for early registration of $90 has been extended to March 15th.

When: April 16-17, 2010

Where: Various locations throughout Hamilton, OH

Featuring: 3 Editors, 2 Publishers, 1 Multi-Genre Agent

Keynote Speaker: Jane Friedman, Publisher/Editor of the Writer's Digest

Friday, April 16

* Murder & Mayhem: Spend the morning & afternoon honing your mystery & crime writing skills by "investigating" a crime scene, attending a mock trial,& more. * Mad About Books (5-7 pm): Featuring Gary Burbank, book signings, & family fun, this event is FREE & open to the public. * Mad Anthony Mixer (7-8 pm): Mingle with your fellow writers & workshop presenters a convenient distance from the hotel. * Panel Discussion (8-9 pm): Panel discussion of issues & trends in the Publishing Industry.

Saturday, April 17

* Attend our Fiction, Non-Fiction, & Career Workshops. This year, we will even have a special genre salute to Christian Writing. * Appointments & Manuscripts Critiques: Meet one-on-one for professional guidance in a specially arranged appointment.

3. Antioch Writers Workshop July 10 to the 16th. This years format has changed and so has the pricing with more flexibility for the participant. Here is the web site for this years week long seminar:

4. Books on the Banks Seminar in October of 2010 will be provided at a later date.

Next Months Meeting......................March 26th at 9 AM at Panera on Brown Street