Monday, October 28, 2013


On a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, I used the excuse to visit a cousin I hadn’t seen in years. It was good to catch up and share old memories. A gracious host, we had the run of her home that was filled with her various collections. Every flat surface contained fun and whimsical collectables from cookie jars to cartoon action toys.

Returning to my home turf, I started thinking about my collections. What have I got sitting on the shelves of my ego? Dusty memories, antique grudges, and hurtful platitudes (still in their original containers) line the shelves of my mind. It’s easy to store wounds, put them away in glass cases where I hash them over periodically from a safe distance. Forgiveness takes work. I don’t want to dust the toys of indignation and self-righteousness I have stored.
Visiting my attic, I see several skeletons. Maybe I’ll take them out for Halloween--give them a good cleaning.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Educated, Encouraged, and Inspired

The Bayou Writers Group of Lake Charles is hosting its 10th Annual Conference, A Bridge to Publication on November 9th, 8AM – 4PM at University United Methodist Church, 3501 Patrick St., Lake Charles, LA.

This is my first rodeo as President, and there are a million details, but things are coming together with the members all doing their share. BWG is a terrific group of individuals who happen to be writers. This year’s conference, like the group’s motto, is sure to Educate, Encourage, and Inspire those who attend.
We have a great line up of presenters. The keynote speaker, DiAnn Mills, author of multiple contemporary fiction novels, historical romances and several non-fiction titles, will have two hands-on workshops. DiAnn is not only an author, but a writing coach, and manuscript editor.  Her workshops titled “Self-Editing for the Professional Writer” and “Creating Powerful Emotion” are sure to inspire.
The screenwriters Glen Pitre and Michelle Benoit are a husband and wife team who will educate listeners with “The ABC’s of Screenwriting: Action, Believable Plots, and Characters.” Founders of the N.O. based production company Cote Blanche Productions, their combined expertise covers the spectrum of movies, documentaries, 4D, and IMAX to TV shorts and series. Entertaining speakers, we look forward to our lessons.
Amanda T. Graves, president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, will encourage us in the art of self-promotion with her session, “Get Yourself Out There! Collaborating with School Librarians.”
The fourth session of A Bridge to Publication will be a panel question and answer session with all the speakers plus New York Agents, Jill Marr, Jessica Kirkland, and N.Y. acquisitions editor, Stella Riley. These last three women will be taking manuscript pitches during the day to help writers walk the bridge to publication.
No matter if you’ve been writing in a closet for years or a teenager with werewolves living in your imagination, you are invited to attend the 10th Annual, Bridge to Publication. I promise you will be Educated, Encouraged, and Inspired to get out there and write.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wizard of BWG

I’ve been stretched the past few months as President of the Bayou Writers Group. A replacement in the middle of the year, I’ve felt a step behind from the beginning. However, I am grateful for this opportunity, because I’ve been stretched and learned much.

With our annual officer elections fast approaching, I’ve been encouraging others to consider serving on the board in some capacity. Down to the wire for a slate of officers, I have been forced to phone and email members and directly ask. I think people are shy or modest and don’t see themselves capable. Most writers are introverts. Put a roomful of gifted talent together you get insecurities by the pail full, overachievers who don’t want to be noticed.
Ironically, most of us want to be published, and in this new area of publishing, writers are no longer allowed the privilege of anonymity. It’s a world of Facebook and salesmanship. A successful author can’t just produce; they are required to write the perfect story and sell it. We have returned to the dog and pony show of the traveling medicine man, but with technology. If you produce the book that “speaks” to an agent’s heart then you must morph into the Wizard of Oz. It’s all about the show, selling the story and the character who wrote it.
As I write this, I’m morphing into Madame President. Now where is my list and that balloon?