Monday, March 28, 2011

The Wannabe's Journal
March 2011

Since I have started teaching my class for the LLI at the University of Dayton I have discovered a new self actualization exercise by a large number of people who have reach maturity. You will notice that I did not refer to the group as senior citizens. That would be an injustice to all those who are young of heart and those who haven't even reached the ripe age of 50 yet. Most people in my new class have discovered that they have a hidden talent that has been awaken by taking other classes, adjusting to the new life of retirement, renewing an old passion or just looking for a new hobby. They all have something in common: they have discovered their right brain is alive and well.

Technology is also helping in that provides the tools so that the average person can now produce an attractive book for friends, family and the mass market without breaking the bank. This form of publishing also provides the avoidance of rejection emails and letters from agents and publishers. One person in the industry that I highly respect for her perspective in Jane Friedman, former editor of Writers Digest and currently on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati. In her most recent Blog entry:

The Future of Self-Publishing Services

Jane Friedman on Mar 25 2011 |

The Blog site is called Writers Unboxed:

Last Friday, March 25th marked the meeting date of the Wannabe's group. The group welcomed a number of new members who listened, read and shared their stories and background with the rest of the members. As usual, we had a number of members who provided a reading which the participant generously agreed to share with all of us. \

Notes from the members:

Maurice B. Background in the banking industry. Shared with us a short story that he recently wrote entitled: "Memory of the Muskingum River". The story of two young boys paddling their way down the famous river in southeastern Ohio.

Jack S. Has many stories, many of which have been written. His book about the Constitution Convention of 1787 was published in 108 installments in the Dayton Daily News in the 1980's. The author assumes the role of a reporter who attends the convention on a daily basis and provides the reader a summary of the events that transpired during this important historical event. Similar to a Tweet. Net and to the point.
Jack also read a story to our group about a boy, who convinced his parents to allow him to serve in the National Park Service as a fire tower lookout out west when he was 16. Life was rugged especially when it came time to bring supplies to his new home, a fire tower on stilts high above the alpine forest. His trusted friend that long summer turned out to be a four legged creature named Harry. Harry was a pack mule who had an independent personality but by the end of the summer Harry and Jack would have a respected friendship.

Rosie H. talked about her new book entitled: "The Essence of Greece". The book of poems which is meant to be used for meditation. The scenes were taken from the pictures which were part of a cruise where the author conducted an seminar which was conducted on literary art and its interpretation.

Speaking of Seminars: I wrote in the last week's issue of Wannabe's Journal about the gathering of Poets at the Town and Country Arts Center. The "12 by 12" event which is being held on April 3rd from 5 to 7 PM has attracted many artist and poets from the Dayton area. After reviewing the many entries for this planned event, the staff has selected 12 poems that local artists will use to create a new work of art to celebrate the poem.

Trish brought us up to date with her memoir which has to be finalized by June of this year. Yours truly has the privilege of having a copy of the draft manuscript. I cannot wait to begin reading some of the chapters. If size of the printed out manuscript is any indication of the quality of the story and enjoyment then it should be a blockbuster.

Don P. Provide the best line of the day when he introduced himself to the group by stating: "I once wrote material for the federal I am use to fantasy". As usual Don has been busy since our meeting in December. He recently submitted a number of short stories to a number of writing competitions. He also found a new source of information about our industry called The Writers Magazine:

I will take this opportunity to point out that Writers Digest has a competition for authors who are self published. There are a number of categories that you can submit your poem, novel or short story for consideration. The deadline is April 15th or this year. Any work self published between 2006 and 2011 can be submitted. The entry fee is 100 dollars for the first entry and 75 dollars for additional submissions. Here is some additional information:

The group also talked about Flash Fiction. The definition of this new form of writing a short story is contained in this definition: Flash Fiction: a complete story in one thousand or fewer words. With the advent of instant messaging and Twitter, writing a short stories has now taken on a new dimension. Some might refer to this style of writing as a form of "stream of consciousness writing". For all those fans who follow the Tweets of "shitmydadsays on Twitter will recognize what I am talking about. For those who don't, you will just have to Google that expression to see the power that can be had with 140 characters or less. Five years ago no one knew Justin. Now he sold the rights to his twitter posts to a producer and TV.

Here is a web sites for Flash Fiction:

Don provided me with a copy of a short story that could be considered in this category:

The Wedding

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

"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 could 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 here 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.”

Martha W. is always able to provide a great recommendation on new books to read. She especially likes to read authors whose POV has a unique style. This month she recommended a new author by the name of Ms Kaye Gibbons. Her novel detailing the hardships and heartbreaks of a tough, witty, and resolute 11-year-old girl from North Carolina found its way into the hearts of readers all over the country. Ellen Foster was the story of its namesake, who had suffered years of tough luck and cruelty until finding her way into the home of a kind foster mother. That was in 1987. Her other book entitled The Virtuous Woman won her the honor of being selected as Oprah's Book Club winner in 1997.

Ginger read from two pieces that she has been working on lately. a book of small prayer and a new book of poems.

Musings about WRITERS

William Shakespeare was a fast writer. He penned poetry and plays.

Louisa May Alcott locked herself in her room and wrote to support her family.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife was his reader and nurse. He died in Samoa.

Stephen King has a tool box he uses to write description, narrative, and dialogue.

Poe was a disciplined writer who had great sorrow at the death of his mother.

Mark Twain was a humorist who toured the country in his white suit.

Charles Dickens also toured and talked but in his red velvet waist coat.

Emily Dickinson wrote from the soul and liked poetry and flowers.

Walt Whitman worked on poems and Leaves of Grass.

Mary Pat Kelly, a writer on our high school newspaper, recently published her latest novel , GALWAY BAY.

And my favorite and less famous poet and writer is me!

She also recommended a book that a former classmate of hers from NYC has recently wrote: GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly which is her latest book. It is about the struggle in Ireland during the famine of the early 1800's and then finally when the family moves to Chicago. For any of us that have a little Irish blood or wish they did, it is a great read!

"Laughter and tears and pure magic." Frank McCourt

"Combines two Irish gifts- the gift of hypnotic storytelling and the gift of the rich poetic language..enables us to see the Irish and Irish-American experience in a way we would never have imagined." Mary Gordon

This sounds like a perfect book for me to choose as a followup to An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor.

Don H. Had previously published a story entitled: "How to command "F" Troop". After his career in the military he spent his second career in real estate from which he recently retired to pursue his secret passion: Writing Non-Fiction. Currently reading Mark Twain's short stories to see what he missed in high school. He talked about Ron Carlson who spoke last year at the Sinclair Writer Conference about how to "write in the dark"

Don Q: has been busy. Teaching this spring at the University School of Business as well as a class in Self Publishing for the Osher Institute(LLI). I recently published a book entitled "Travels with Patti". The book details my summers in Europe and our country's southwest from 2005 through 2008 through pictures and text. Thanks to fellow Wannabe writer Bob MacC who introduced me to the power of Blurb.

I am currently putting the finishing touches on "Santa's Magic" which will be self-published this fall.


I had promised to provide the following information:

Web site for securing a ISBN code from Bowkers:

Web Address for the Wannabe's Blog Site:

Please visit our site and post your email address so that you will be notified when a posting is made.


This is a repeat of a previous posting. Remember that Joyce Dyer, noted author and professor from Hiriam College in northeast Ohio is just one of the headline authors and respected lecturers that will be returning to Antioch this summer. Here is the rest of the schedule:

Welcome Mad Anthony Writers!

When: April 8-9, 2011

Where: Historic Hamilton, Ohio

“The City of Sculpture”,
10 minutes west of OH I-75 on SR 129 between Cincinnati and Dayton

Featuring: Editors, Publishers, & Agents

Keynote Speaker: Hallie Ephron

Enroll at:

Antioch Writers Workshop:

Dear writers,

The recent pleasant weather here in Yellow Springs, Ohio gives us hope that the long winter is finally over. It also serves as a reminder that summer is almost here, which means it's time to sign up for the AWW Full Week Workshop (July 9-15), one of the great "A La Carte" options for that week, and/or for our July 9 Saturday Seminar. And while April showers bring May flowers, AWW scholarships could bring tuition assistance for selected applicants who get their entries in by the deadline, April 15. In this issue, you can read more about the scholarships and other exciting AWW news:

  • Tips on Writing from AWW 2011 faculty
  • The Focus on Form Afternoon Session
  • Alumni and Faculty News

Open spots at the AWW Full Week and A La Carte workshops are filling up, so please remember to complete your registrations soon! As you know, our website is loaded with information about Antioch Writers' Workshop and all of the ways to attend. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact

Sharon Short, Director
Antioch Writers' Workshop
Email: info@
Web: www.
Blog: www. antiochwritersworkshop.

26 years of Writing Craft and Professional Connections

Save the date: July 9 thru 15th. Enroll for the entire week or choose an A La Carte Classes approach.

Great list of speakers, guest agents, Editors and faculty this year.

Enroll early:

Sinclair Writers Workshop

Sinclair Community College’s 37th Annual

Writers’ Workshop

April 9, 2011

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sinclair's Main Campus, downtown Dayton, Building 12

Click Here to register online.

Featuring Walter Bennett, Jr.

Writer, Screenwriter, and Producer

Sinclair Community College’s English Department and Theatre Department are proud to welcome Walter Allen Bennett, Jr. as the keynote speaker at the 2011 Writers’ Workshop. Bennett has written or produced more than 200 episodes of television, including The Cosby Show. He was a finalist in the Sundance Writers Workshop, as well as a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Competition. Bennett holds an MFA in playwriting from Yale University’s School of Drama and an MFA in Acting from UCLA.

Workshop Sessions

Story Building – Rebecca Morean
Unlocking Your Poetry – Mary Jo White
Screenwriting – Stephen Skiles
Editing and Publishing – Jason Sizemore
Writting Marathon - Furaha Henry-Jones

Workshop Director – Kristina Onder

Well I think I have exhaused my keyboard skills today. Have a good week and keep writing it is good for the soul.

The next meeting of the Wannabe's will be May 20th at Panera on Brown Street.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Self Publishing is opening a lot of doors...

I have recently read a number of articles about the “science” of self publishing. It is no longer an art form. With the advent of the Kindle, Nook and Apple iPad the book publishing industry has changing dramatically. Even though the industry is changing at warp speed, some things remain constant.

The book publishing industry is taking notice of the fact that a young girl who sells 100,000 copies of her eBook on Amazon each month for $3.50 a piece. Pretty soon you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out its real money. POD and Self Publishing is not the total answer for everyone. There will still be publishers and agents. You will still have the authors like Grisham and Patterson who will produce a best seller ever couple of months and get the best bang for the buck by placing the new release through the distribution network. But not all of us are like them.

There has been a certain amount of smugness by published authors who have characterized self publishing as “vanity press”. I got news for them. The business has changed and will continue to change. There are tons of individuals who want to publish something, whether it is a book of photo’s or a short story that are not interested in having all the notoriety of being on the NYT Best Sellers list each week. They are doing for themselves and their own self actualization.

This growing desire to publish your own works is being generated by technology. For instance you have to look outside the hallowed halls of the publishing industry to see that technology is changing. In the last twenty years we have had the advent of the internet, laptops, IPhone and Wi-Fi. I read an article a few years ago that quoted Sam Palmisano as saying that the PC as we know it is dead. Next year we will ship more tablet pc than laptops and desktops combined. The advent of the Apple iPad has given rise to the rush of digital magazines like Zite and Flipbook. Amazon reported that eBooks outsold the traditional hardbound books for the first time last year. Some of the eBooks were self published. Publishers are reporting that 20% of the sales of new releases in the first week are eBooks. This number is expected to grow to something close to 50 percent. Non-fiction is now catching up with Fiction style books in that percentage. This is because technology has awakened the older generation of writers and artists who want to share their works of craft.

Today I read a blog posting on FeedBlitz which covered a story about a NYT bestseller author by the name of Barry Eisler. He turned down a lucrative offer (a high six figure) to publish his next novel. Instead he will self publish the book.

What does this mean to me…the average writer, stay at home mom, retired bank exec who has never published or attracted the attention of a literary agent. The answer to that question is that your world just got a whole lot bigger. You can now publish that book of poems, create a family memoir with pictures and charts, a coffee table book of your photo’s from Europe or a fictional novel about the ghost of Manchester Beach.

I am in the process of teaching a class in Self Publishing at the University of Dayton. There are 20 students that make up the heart of the class. It is a mix of backgrounds and experiences but they all have something in common: a desire to publish something. The remarkable thing is that many of them are very talented in their own space: webmasters, artists, poets and retired military.

After spending time with them I realized that there are some fundamental questions that need to be answered before to self publish. Those questions start with:

1. Who is your intended audience?

2. What type of product: novel, audio novel, non-fiction (memoir) or a book of photo’s and text?

3. How much time to want to invest?

4. What are your skills with regard to using technology and software?

5. Where do you stand now…do you have a manuscript

6. Do you have access to a pc…mind you I said access. As long as you can enter your story into Microsoft Word then you can create your story line. Besides they tell you to write your original manuscripts in a journal.

7. Develop a time line for your project

Most people ask where do you start if you want to self publish an idea or project? Here are some of the fundamentals that I recommend you consider:

1. Pen, paper, journal/notebook

2. Outline of the project-could be on index cards

3. Pc or at least the use of one.

4. Software: Microsoft Word and Photoshop(or similar)

5. Enroll in some education on Creative Writing or Novel Writing or both. For those who are skilled in writing Poetry you can easily find similar classes.

6. Access to the Internet

7. Format Templates(from the Web sites)

8. Editing and Format Proofing

9. Think about creating a Web site, Blog site and enroll in Twitter.

10. Editors—fellow writers and friends(even your bride)

11. Attend some Writers Workshops

12. Purchase your own ISBN code

This should give you something to think about as you enter this new world. Many of these steps are the same as what you would carry out if you were creating a novel which you planned to pitch at the next Writers Workshop.

In the meantime keep the right side of your brain active…keep writing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wannabe's Journal Update--Writers Contests Wannabe's Journal I have seen a number of postings and emails announcing contests for writers.

Wannabe's Journal

I have seen a number of postings and emails announcing contests for writers. Instead of waiting till out next meeting I thought I would send you the info so you could check out(unless you already know..then just delete).

Red Hen Press announced submissions for the The Los Angeles Review. Here is the information and the link to their web cite.

Reading Period Status: We are currently open to submissions for Issue 10, dedicated to Ishmael Reed. Submissions for Issue 10 will remain open from March 1, 2011 to the end of business hours on June 1, 2011.

Submit Here: Submit to The Los Angeles Review

In addition to sending work via Submishmash at the link above, you may also send work via email (please direct email to the appropriate editor.) Please note that Submishmash is our preferred method of submission, and work sent via email may be subject to longer response times. Postal submissions will be considered only by prior arrangement with the editors.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted if noted in the cover letter. Please do not send multiple submissions unless an editor has invited you to do so. Response time is two to three months.

Compensation: Writers published in The Los Angeles Review will receive one contributor copy in exchange for first North American rights.

Ordering information: We encourage our submitters to read a copy of our journal. You can find ordering information here. Contact the Managing Editor for information about classroom subscriptions, course adoption, and bulk discounts.

Submission Guidelines

Nonfiction: We seek essay, memoir, and commentary told as compelling, focused, sustained narrative in a distinctive voice, rich with detail. Send 1,000-4,000 words or delight us with flash nonfiction that cat-burgles our expectations.

Fiction: We’re looking for to hard-to-put-down shorties under 500 words and lengthier shorts up to 4,000 words–lively, vivid, excellent literary fiction.

Poetry: Please submit 3-5 poems that will surprise us, wow us, and make us wish we’d written them ourselves. We are open to form, free verse, prose poems, and experimental styles. Our only criterion is quality.

Book Reviews: We welcome queries to review new and recent books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, particularly those that have not received the critical attention they deserve. We are especially interested in authors and works that are connected in some way to the Los Angeles or Southern California regions. Please familiarize yourself with the kind of creative work we publish, as we are unlikely to print reviews of material that is vastly different from that which we feature in the magazine

Translations: Please submit 3-5 translated pieces that open the writer’s original vision to an English-speaking audience; the writing may include poetry, novel excerpts, short stories, essays or interviews. We do not consider work that has been previously published in English translation in the U.S. Please provide a biographical summary of the author and enclose a copy of the original text. Translators must obtain copyright permission for work to be published.

Writers Digest "Self Published" Book Awards

The Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards

The 19th Annual Self-Published Book Awards is now open. Click here for details.

Time is running out!
Register today for the
April 8-9, 2011
Mad Anthony Writers Conference

Glimmer Train welcomes the work of established and upcoming writers.

We especially appreciate stories that are both well written and emotionally engaging. Please let us read yours! If it is chosen for publication in Glimmer Train Stories, you will be paid upon acceptance. Your story will be prepared with care, and presented in a handsome, highly regarded literary journal to readers all over the world. If you've seen Glimmer Train Stories, you know that we go to some lengths to honor our contributors and their writing.

Every category will be open for one full calendar month, from the first day through midnight of the last day. (Exception: The December Fiction Open closes on January 2nd each year.)
Click on category link for complete guidelines:

Please note: There are no minimum word counts for any category besides the Fiction Open.

As always:
Submissions must be original, unpublished fiction. (Online publication does not disqualify a piece.)
• Please, no novels, poetry, or stories written for children.
• Submissions should be made via our site, but in a pinch you can make paper submissions.
Please doublespace, use 12 point font, to save our eyes. Name, contact info, and page count are all optional.
• When we accept a story for publication, we are purchasing first-publication rights. (Once we've published your story, you are free to, for instance, include it in your own collection.)
Competition submissions are also automatically considered for standard publication.
It's fine to submit a previously submitted story (revised or not) to any category for which it qualifies.
• We're happy to consider stories whether they're submitted as competition entries or standard submissions, for which there are no reading fees.

Standard or competition? How to decide • Simultaneous submissions are fine; we ask that you email us immediately please should a submitted piece be accepted elsewhere. • Response times for all competitions have been shortened so your stories won't be tied up for more than two months after the close of any category. Competition winners are posted here and are announced in our monthly bulletins. • Please put and on your safe-senders list so we can reach you, and keep us advised of email address changes by clicking on Contact Preferences once you're logged in at the site. (We never share your contact info.)

Here is Glimmer Train's web site:

Have a great weekend and keep your right brain active...remember life is like drinking a cup of coffee. It really does not matter what the coffee is served in that matters. If given the choice we would pick the fancy one, the best looking one or even the largest. We usually avoid the broken cup or the one the is chipped or stained. Funny the coffee would taste the same. Have a great weekend.