Sunday, December 11, 2011

Anthology of Christmas Memories

This anthology is a whimsical collection of short stories, memoirs and poems written by 16 seniors, nearly all in their 70s, spanning holidays from 1930-2011. The authors are from southwestern Ohio and meet at the University of Dayton's Lifelong Learning Institute. Stories are about "what it's really like to play Santa," how a child perceives the mysteries of Christmas, and the tortuous adult worries and last minute pressures of holidays. Memories of the Great Depression, World War II and the entanglements of recent years are woven into these tales. You'll read about a Santa who robs a bank, a boy in a monastery, adults having faith restored and the timelessness of love. Some of the stories are meant to be read aloud to children. There's even a great recipe.

Anthology of Christmas Memories

Authored by members of the Wannabe's and University of Dayton Writers Group
Introduction by Nancy Pinard
Cover design & artwork by Tonya Foreman
Edited by Don Hart and Bob Mackenzie
Prepared for publication by Linda Hart

Book is available on Amazon for $ 10.99

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Announcement Announcement Announcement

Our next meeting will be on December 21st at 9 AM at Mary Lou McCarthy's condo in Centerville. Her wonderfully hosted event has been a special time for our group since its inception in 2008. I will published additional details on our menu and directions to her residence in a separate email in the coming weeks. So mark it on your calendar. Rumor has it that Santa may appear.

The Wannabe Journal
November 2011

We had a very nice meeting last week of the Wannabes on November 18th. We welcomed a new member from Martha Moody's fiction writing class from the Fall LLI program. Our membership and reputation continues to grow. It is probably the surroundings at the River Campus at UD.

Members present:

Shulamit H. A
Tom D
Don H
Don P
Don Q
Linda F

Anthology Update:

Don H provided an update on the status of the Anthology of Christmas Memories, the first self published book to be produced by the Wannabe's. Don showed the attendees a mock up of the book and its cleverly designed cover. I personally have seen a proof of the interior and it looks great. The first copies will be here for the holiday. This experience in self publishing has been a rewarding "lab" for Don H and we all should thank him for his organizational skills and determination in this great project. We talked about using the education we derived to publish another anthology of short stories and poems next year.


Tom D:

Discussed a new book that he is presently reading entitled: " Kindle Formatting" by Joshua Tallent. The paperback book provides a: "The Complete Guide To Formatting Books For The Amazon Kindle".
Tom also sent me a email after the meeting with a link to a video shows the features and functionality of a software program that I listed in a previous Journal posting.

This is a great software tool for organizing your text. pictures and scans into a format that can be edited and proofed. There is even a version of the Mac. And the price is right....its free


She is a very busy woman. She is participating in a programs that allows her to display her photographs at public venues in downtown Dayton. Her display is at the Montgomery County Commissioners Office near Sinclair. The display will be in place for six months. They encompass many of the landmarks which can be found in Montgomery County.
She has also finished teaching a class in the Fall session of the LLI on how to use Picasso and other photo editing tools like Photo shop. The class was entitled: " Creative Studio and Photo Processing Class".

She also discussed a very talented artist who she meet at one of the literary classes that are conducted at the Dayton Library. Matt Kish, a talented artists who created a colorful drawing for every page of the classic book "Moby Dick".

Here is a link to an article which describes his works in more detail:
Would love to hear him speak to our group.

Don Q:

Discussed a class the he and Linda F will be teaching in the Spring LLI program. Life in 2050 will try to project what life will be like forty years from now. The class will look at history, readings from philosopher's and authors, and historians to help the audience project their personal view of what life will be like in 2050. The five week class will investigate population trends, cultures, education, health, technology and business trends.

Don also discussed a recent Web presentation: "Seven Secrets of Successful Self Published Authors". Here is a link for the Window's version of the presentation.

The presentation was highlighted by this question: What goes does it do to die with a manuscript in your drawer. How many people would be impacted with your writing before you would say it is worth the investment.

The Seven Secrets.
1. Know your audience.
2. Set a deadline
3. Create a time-line
4. Evaluate your alternatives: Traditional, Do-it-yourself and Supported.
5. Design your cover
6. Social Media--use audience as the key
7. Marketing plan and promotion-celebrate your accomplishment.

Writers Digest, CreateSpace and Digital Book World all offer web seminars all the time on topics that center around your writing passion. Stay tuned for the latest.

Linda F:

Has been busy with her duties with the LLI programs for 2012. After returning from a short trip to Florida she has renewed her efforts to complete her novel on "Life in a Coal Mining Town". The title has not be determined yet.


Participating in the Community Voices program at WYSO in Yellow Springs was a real blast. The course is being taught by Sarah Buckingham, WYSO Community Voices coordinator and Neenah Ellis, WYSO general manager. She recommended that we listen to the program "Writing for Radio" which is sponsored by the station.

Her efforts of working on her memoir is coming along. She also still maintains contact with her writing friends that she met while participating in the Writing class in Paris earlier this year.

Don P:

Despite his recent structural problems with his home, he continues to be a creative writer with wonderful stories that he generously shares with us. He recommended Writers Digest for many of the competitions that they conduct for flash fiction and other genre's. We also discussed Smashwords as a good site for those who want to create ebooks for the various platform(Ipod, Kindle, and PC).

Linda M:

Our newest member who joined our group as a result of taking Martha Moody's class this fall in fictional writing. She has been published in the past in the Journal for Adventurous Thought and is recently submitted a new article to The Sun for their consideration. This literary journal has been reommended before by other members of our group.

"The Power of You and The Bond with All" by Lynne McTaggart is another author that Linda recommended. She is also interested in teaching a class in the LLI program entitled: "Cosmic Connections".


Don P read the following short story.

Checkers Anyone

John had really looked forward to his visit with his younger brother Harry. This would be John’s first time in the town where his brother now lived. He had planned for a while to visit him and had finally managed to work things out for a week’s stay. They had not seen each other for five years. During the week that he was there his brother was giving him the grand tour. They had visited the courthouse, the new library, the downtown square, the new sewage plant, and two of the three parks in town. As they left the second of the two parks Harry asked him if he wanted to see the giant checkerboard that the city had built and where people took the place of the checkers.

“Yes, I really would enjoy seeing that,” said John.

“It is in this next park, the third one we had planned to visit,” Harry answered. “It’s right on the shore of the lake.

He explained that the squares were two and a half feet on the sides and the people actually stood on them and then moved positions as the two players told them where to step. It was fun and extremely popular on a nice weekend day.

He further explained that the only problem they’d had with the game was the number of terns that like to rest on the board after feeding in the lake. The lake attracted them to the area because it was well stocked with small fish. The townspeople had spent a lot of time in the park with the birds and actually found that they could train them to stay on the black squares. They did this by leaving them alone when they landed on a black square, but when they were on a red square one of the townspeople would pop him with a very low power BB gun that would just scare them without hurting them. The terns quickly learned, it turned out, to just stay on the black squares. This way the people didn’t have to clean the bird droppings off of the squares as often since they only used the red squares for their checker games.

After a short drive John and Harry arrived at the park and walked over to the giant checker board. John quickly noted that all the terns were staying only on the black squares. He asked Harry how, really, had they accomplished this. Harry replied that they had just enforced the one basic rule: No tern on red.


We hope you enjoyed catching up with our groups activities. Please plan to attend the December meeting. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Wannabe Journal for October 2011

The Wannabe’s Journal


October 2011

We held our October Meeting last Friday, the 21st at UD’s River Campus cafeteria which has turned out to be a wonderful setting for our famed group of artists. We continue to grow in numbers at our monthly meetings in part due to the inspirational surroundings of the glassed in room which is sheltered from the outside world by the wooded area behind the big building.

We caught up with the activities of our many members:

Ginger E.

She is working on a book for her sister that portrays the Life of Mary. She has also created a Children’s Book entitled:” The Bear Cave” She created the book as a gift to her grandchildren.


She has been deeply involved in PEO (Philanthropic Education Organization) and many of her church’s volunteer activities.

Don P:

He shared his experiences of participating in another writers group that meets regularly at The Greens. Each member of the group can write a story, up to 20 pages in length and each member of the group(all 12 of them) must read the story and offer feedback at their meeting which is held once a month. Don indicates that he has learned a great deal about his individual style as a result of participating in this group. Sounds like it is similar to taking a creative writing class as Sinclair where you write a number of short stories and receive feedback from your classmates. Great exercise.

Bob O’:

Has been reading “A Death in the Family” by James Agee. He also participated in the Family Rosary Event that was recently held at UD’s Arena.

Don H:

Taking a class through the LLI program from the famous Dayton novelist, Martha Moody, who is teaching a class: Writing a Fictional Novel? Martha has also been a member of the staff at the Antioch Writers Workshop. Martha has written three novels: Her newest novel is Sometimes Mine. Her second novel is The Office of Desire and her first novel is Best Friends. After pursuing a career in medicine as an internist and had a private practice for a number of years before she took up her writing passion full time.

Don voiced encouragement for those individuals who have not submitted a poem or short story to him for inclusion in the anthology of Christmas Stories that the group is assembling …we are currently assembling and formatting the collection of 12 different stories and poems for the publication, we have recently received a new story since our meeting. I know there are more people who could contribute a story or poem for this project. We are planning on submitting the book…title unknown yet, to Createspace so we can sell the book to interested parties this holiday season.

Where did the expression “The greatest thing since sliced bread” originates from?

How many people keep a personal journal? I know that I do. I keep one as something that I will pass on to one of my grandchildren as a part of our family history. As Don explained to us…Write it down and let it sit. He sounds like a great cook.


She has been bitten by the writing bug. Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I think she is trying to get a head start on her novel of life in a small mining town in southeastern Ohio. She has conducted a lot of research over the last few years, even entering a mine. She found out a great deal by visiting the small towns in the area where her parents were raised. The use of nicknames was common place.

As a matter of fact I noticed that Ms. Moody recommends on her website that writers should compose two paragraphs a day. The NaNoWriMo has as an objective for those who participate to write a novel in one month. Thus if you take a 50, 000 word novel and divide it by the number of days in November that means you will write about 1700 words a day. If you use Word and format about 250 words a page then you will create 7 pages of text a day.


Here are the two remaining sessions in the writing series that are held at the Dayton Public Library (downtown). You can find additional information on the library site or by calling the library.


October 24th Main Library

Trudy Krishner

Writing Children's and Young Adult Books


November 7th Main Library


National Novel Writing Month


Writing Party

Here is a link on Inner Journals from one of Jude’s friends: Jackee Holder's free e book.

She also shared with us that she is signing up to participate in a Writer Seminar in Prague. It is a wonderful city in Eastern Europe where Communism ruled less than 40 years ago. Visiting the Castle on the hill, walking across the St. Charles Bridge and watching the clock tower are just some of the many attractions she will see.

She also discussed Kathy Reich who is a native of Chicago and works as a forensic anthropologist, an academic, and bestselling writer of mystery novels. She appeared in a number of TV episodes of the popular series “Bones” which her career inspired.

We all agreed that the Saturday radio program “This American Life” which Jude has been asked to participate in next year is quite an honor for one of our group….Congrats, Congrats.

I would also recommend listening to the Cincinnati NPR station at 1 PM for the program The Story.

There was a great article in the DDN recently about a new book by Katrina Kittle. The book is entitled: “Reasons to be Happy”. The book is about young adults trying to cope with the pressures of self-esteem. The article was published in the DDN’s on October 12th in the Friends and Family section of the paper. The title of the article was: “Novel for young girls tackles topic of self esteem”.


Is taking a class in “In Design CS-5” which includes formatting, photo enhancing and creating PDF documents for publishing. The class is an undergraduate course for the semester and very demanding. For those who might not want to leave the couch but still learn how to use Adobe in Design and Photoshop should consider using an on line service at Here is the link:

The best part your first month is free and you can cancel out at any time.

She filled us all in on Poetry Corner which is an activity which is sponsored at the Art Gallery at Town and Country Shopping Plaza.

Do you know how to create a HaiKu poem? Maybe we can see a sample of one for the next meeting.

Painting the Essence of France is scheduled for April 20-26th of 2012 will be held at the breathtaking Domain Du Haut Chateau which is located in southern France. This small town in the heart of Champagne country of France is close to Midi-Pyrénées region where many of the Tour de France races are staged. The small town settings would inspire any type of artist. I visited the area in the summer of 2006 and fell in love with the French countryside charm. You are only 2-3 hours by high speed train from Paris.

There is a Booking Presentation at the Town and Country Fine Arts Center on November 16th from 6 to 8 PM.

Don Q:

Again talked about the article that appears in Jane Freidman’s newsletter that was referenced in the Wannabe Meeting invitation earlier this month. The article discussed the fact that Blog material and electronic articles can be copyright protected. She referenced a company which our Blog post is using to protect the intellectual property that is posted in our monthly Journal. Here is a link to her article again: The full article is available at

More recently she published an article outlining some software products that can be productive tools for new writers:

1. Caliber (free)
Caliber is free and open source software that converts e-book files from one format into another. It has multiple uses, but it's a popular tool with avid e-book readers and e-book authors/publishers. Caliber can convert to and from a huge number of formats, and it supports all the major e-book formats. Its conversion engine can rescale font sizes and help ensure the output file is readable. It can automatically detect/create book structure, and insert the book metadata at the start of the book.

2. Sigil (free)
Sigil is a "what you see is what you get" free EPUB format editor. Simply put: Sigil makes creating e-books easy for anyone who knows how to use word-processing software. Sigil runs on both Mac and Windows. Tip: You can use Sigil to create your e-book in the most standard format in the publishing industry—EPUB—then use Caliber to convert from EPUB to MOBI (the format that Kindle uses).

3. Scrivener ($45)
this software will cost you, but its well worth the investment if you're a serious and productive writer. For $45, you get a piece of software that: (1) offers advanced organizational and outlining tools (2) gives you complete control over document formatting (3) includes tools for writing nonfiction (APA, MLA, Latex supported) and (4) includes tools for writing scripts. Also, you can print or export your documents in many different formats, including Microsoft Word, Final Draft, EPUB, and Kindle. It's award-winning software, and if you're not sure it's for you, and then goes for the 30-day free trial, no obligation. Right now, it's only for Mac users, though they do have a Windows beta version.

Readings This Month

There were a number of readings on Friday but no one supplied me with a copy of their story so I am unable to share them with you … the audience.

Don P read a new short story entitled: I Dare You.

Don H read a story entitled “The Five Toy Dogs”

Bob O’Connor read a couple an articles which were very humorous. Letters about a Soldier and letter to the Advice Columnists’ seeks an answer to a broken car.