Thursday, August 30, 2012

Accepting Writing Ideas


by Candyce Carden-Deal



Writers make connections between unrelated things all the time. If we stay at it long enough, writing weaves its way into everything we do. It becomes a natural process. And if we stay open to these connections they can often affect our writing life.  Here’s an example. During yoga class last week, my brain leaped to writing although I was doing a decent job of focusing on deep-breathing.
We were in Easy Pose. In Easy Pose the legs are crossed with hands resting on the knees, palms turned upward. The open palms symbolize a posture of acceptance, or openness to accepting whatever comes our way. It's a great way to begin or end a yoga practice.

As I sat in Easy Pose ignoring the pain in my groin, I thought about the many writing and marketing ideas that flit through my brain on any given day. And how many I reject because they don’t come at convenient times. I usually continue to the next errand or the next email and hope that I’ll recall the idea when needed. And if I don’t, well, it probably wasn’t such a hot idea anyway. But what if, I asked myself, my half-formed unaccepted idea became someone else’s article sale because they acted on it? I peered at my open hands and wondered if I could apply this same symbolism of acceptance to the harvesting of writing ideas.

I could hardly wait to get off the floor. Once at home, and using Easy Pose as a springboard, I placed an opened blank journal on my kitchen counter with colored pens nearby. It’s in a location I pass many times during the day when I'm home. After just a little while, that opened blank page started calling to me like a magnet, saying, “Fill me.” And so I do. No matter how small or hare-brained the thought seems, I capture it in my waiting journal. What’s more, as I've grown in the habit of jotting down those ideas, I'm finding that harvesting ideas begets even more ideas.

I like my journal with its unlined pages. A sketchpad might be my next option. Both seem to scream for colored markers – another plus for this artist-wanna-be. But a legal pad would work just as well. So would a composition book. If you keep it small enough so it’s easily portable, you can always have it with you. And have it open.

I begin each workday by reading through my idea journal and transferring anything that I intend to work on to my daily plan sheet. My open book is a combination of both writing and marketing ideas. Some of the ideas don’t fit into plans right away, of course.  In this case, I tear the page out and throw it in a bin or file folder so it’s there ready for harvesting, sooner or later. It may never come to full fruition, but I feel good that I at least accepted it and gave it due diligence. 
__________________________________


A former educator and administrator, Candyce Carden-Deal is now pursuing the writing life full-time, which she blogs about at http://return2writing.com.
 

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

eBook Sales Surpass Print Books!


by Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief


Global Post is an online US news company that focuses on international news. Their stated goal is "to redefine international news for the digital age."

Recently their headlines stated “Kindle eBook Sales Surpass Those of Print Books."
Amazon.co.uk, the UK's biggest bookseller, claimed the eBook sales herald a reading "renaissance" in the region.
The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper founded 1821 and said, “It seems the old leather bound's days are numbered. One hundred and 14 e-books are downloaded for every 100 hardback and paperback books sold by Amazon UK. That’s not including free e-books.
“These digital readers appear to be voracious: the average Kindler buys as many as four times the number of books than before buying the gadget,” said the BBC
“The company sold two million electronic editions of the crazy-popular novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" in only four months.
“However," the BBC continues, "these tech-savvy readers are not limiting themselves to mere reading. They're also publishing up the wazooAmazon UK cited a whopping 400 percent increase Kindle Direct Publishing in the last year.".
And they're reading one another's self-published works. Three out of the top 10 most popular Kindle authors of the year came by way of Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, this is according to the BBC.
According to GoodEReader, “Publishing companies are seeing a massive influx in digital revenue in 2012."
While some of us still want to hold the book we are reading in our hands, others are happy to be part of the eBook frenzy. Authors now are having to make decisions on whether to go the eBook route or the printed book route. I firmly believe it is time to do both. This way you will have two avenues of sales.When you talk with your publisher, be sure this subject is brought up. If they aren’t going to do an eBook, then I suggest you opt to do it yourself.
Have you published an eBook? What was your experience?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

That's What Friends Are For


by Gary Fearon, Creative Director


Ever since the dawn of the sitcom, writers have recognized the value of  a second banana. (Actually, it goes all the way back to Greek comedies, but I don't have photos of Lysistrata and Calonise, so let's go with Ed Norton.)

Audiences love a good friendship, and writers love them even more because it paves a ready path for:

1) Exposition
2) Plot Progression
3) Conflict
4) Mentoring

In a comedy, it's especially important to have a partner in crime, a foil even, to share the hero's dilemma, or even make it worse. A hero with no one to talk to doesn't reveal much.

Where would Andy have been without Barney?  Lucy without Ethel?  Those two examples epitomize two very classic chemistries: 1) The sensible protagonist with the wacky friend, and 2) The wacky protagonist with the sensible friend (although Ethel usually could be roped into any hare-brained scheme).

Quite often the supporting cast is also a rich field for mining memorable and very useful characters. The quirky neighbor is a particularly popular archetype. Bewitched and Three's Company were richly enhanced by the nosey Gladys Kravitz and the befuddled Mr Roper. Anyone who watched Newhart eagerly anticipated the appearance of bumpkins Larry, Darryl and Darryl, a contrast to Bob's button-down personality.  Indeed, contrast is a major component in the supporting casts of everything from The Beverly Hillbillies to Big Bang Theory.

Looking again at the Mertzes and the Nortons, neighbors have always been a staple of story. In more recent memory, Seinfeld's Kramer opened the door to at least momentary mayhem whenever he came bursting in, just as Lenny and Squiggy did on Laverne & Shirley.

Not that all neighbors are nuts. Sometimesas on Home Improvementthe guy next door is the voice of reason, even when the fence obscures his wise face.

Whether they are a harbinger of hassles for the hero, or just someone to reveal plot points to, a second banana or a supporting character with pizzazz has the potential to become a breakout personality  the audience comes to enjoy on a par with the hero himself.
 
We put a great deal of thought into our protagonist, making sure they have charisma and wit, are interesting and worth caring about.  Don't they deserve a good friend to hang out with?

Who are some of your favorite supporting characters?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's in a Name?


by Amy Metz


I have almost as much trouble naming the characters in my novels as I did naming my children. But writing Southern novels makes it a little easier since there are so many colorful names from which to choose. And colorful equals memorable. It’s a pretty safe bet if someone has a unique name, they’re going to be…well, a character.

Some characters name themselves. They tell the author what they want to be named and there’s no arguing with them. Other times, the name can describe a character, like Beedy Eyes Hickman or Slewfoot Taylor. Some names are ironic, like Tiny Walker, who is six foot four and weighs three hundred pounds. Other times, there’s no rhyme or reason why someone came to be known as Spoodle, or Little Bun, Murble, or Boojay. But they certainly are memorable.

If you want a really authentic southern name, go for the double names. They came about as a way to both honor and appease family members. If a child was named for the mother’s sister, she had to be given the name of the father’s sister too. They didn’t want anybody to feel left out. The Closer has two great examples in Brenda Lee and Willie Mae. I love Eula Lee, Dora Sue, and Edna Maye from my family. Women aren’t the only ones with double names. If you live in the South, you know at least one man named Joe Bob, Jimmy Lee, or Billy Ray. It should be an unwritten rule that Southern novels have to have at least one character with a double name.

And nicknames? Child, nobody loves a nickname like a Southerner does. Whether you give a character a perfectly good name, like Araminta and shorten it to Mint, or you give someone a whole new moniker altogether, nicknames abound in the South, and the more unusual the better. When it comes to a name, which would a reader remember more—Tom, Dick, or Harry, or Brick, Skeeter, or Booger? Those kinds of names add richness to a character and a story.

Men’s nicknames seem to be more colorful than women’s, for some reason. Who knows how someone came to be called Stumpy, Moo, Big Curly, Cotton, Cactus, Howdy, or Tuffy, but you can bet the character and the story behind it is not boring. Women tend to get the tamer, but still memorable, names such as Teenie, Liddy, Precious, Princess, Bitsie, or Bunny. But my favorite nickname is Blister. Everyone knows if your nickname is Blister it tells the world you’re a lazy, good for nothing so-and-so who never shows up until the work is done. You’ve defined your character in one word.

Maybe I’m biased, but Southern characters are my favorite. History, culture, dialect, and expressions vibrantly come alive in books about the South and its charismatic characters with distinctive names. I mean, where else but in the south would you find a person, not a restaurant, named Taco Belle? And tell me that’s not memorable.
____________________________

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. Her debut novel, Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, is now available (Iconic Publishing). She’s also under contract with Iconic to publish a photography coffee table book on the national historic landmark, Locust Grove. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her imaginary friends, Mary Tess, Jackson, Louetta, Martha Maye, Pickle, Caledonia, John Ed, Willy, Billy Don, Buck, Henry Clay, and Butterbean.

Connect with Amy online at Facebook, Twitter or her website!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Spirit of a Writer


by Lori Beard-Daily


Do you have the right spirit to be a writer? As a writer, you have to have the spirit of commitment. It’s that spirit of staying power that allows you to earn the entitlement of being called a writer. It’s that same spirit that keeps you up at night with new ideas on how you’re going to recreate, rejuvenate, and recommit to making your next writing project an even better one than your last. 

Do you have the right spirit when it comes to dealing with disappointments? Being a writer can definitely be a rewarding experience when things are going well. But, a writer also needs the right spirit in dealing with the ups and downs that comes with the title. It’s not just about the writing. That can be the easy part. The not-so-easy part comes in when you also have to promote and market your work, develop your fan base, and continuously create awareness.

In some ways, being a writer is like being a parent. Your writing is your baby. You want to protect it and are not always open to criticism, right? And even though there may be times when you would like to, you know that you can’t abandon it when things are not going the way you would like for them to go. You have to see things through and arm yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills that you need in order to hone your craft. 

As a writer, you have to have the spirit of confidence. Believe in yourself when others do not. There will be plenty of naysayers out there as you go down the path to be a successful writer. But, in order to do this, you must remain steadfast and have faith in in your talent, your work, and yourself. Connect with other like-minded writers. Seek out relationships and organizations that focus on helping writers. It’s always good to be around others who have your same vision and provide support. You can share ideas and gain new insight when you step out of your comfort zone and open your circle to include other writers. 

As a writer, you also need the spirit of passion. Do you enjoy your writing whether or not you are getting paid to do it? When you have passion, you have a positive energy that comes from bringing more of you into what you do. It’s doing what comes naturally for you. Your passion can also draw people to you. It can also attract more readers to your work. When your readers feel your passion, it gives them a feeling of connection and a desire to know more about your writing.

Writers should read different types of genres, embrace other author’s works, and not compare their work to others’. As a writer, you should go at your own pace. Be your own person and don’t let others determine the value of what you or writing is worth. When you have the right spirit, there is no stopping you! Go and enjoy your passion. Keep your spirits high and continue to be the writer you’ve always wanted to be!
______________________

Lori Beard-Daily is the author of Destination D and was nominated for the 48th Georgia Author of the Year Awards, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the nation and the oldest in the southeastern United States. She will be signing her debut novel at the Decatur Book Festival on September 1. Fans can meet Lori and purchase a signed copy of Destination D at BQB Publishing’s booth 425 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Click here to learn more about Lori and purchase her debut novel in paperback or eBook through BQB's online store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or your favorite bookstore.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Inside or Outside


by Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief


Where would you rather be when you are writing? Inside your house sitting at your desk, typing away on your computer, or would you rather be outside? There you will see the sky, feel the breeze, see the leaves sway and hear the birds chirping. Tough decision? Maybe.

When I am inside, I seem to get a lot done in writing, as long as I stay in my chair at my desk. However, when I am outside, it seems my imagination kicks into overdrive. It takes wings and off it goes. All of a sudden, instead of one story in my head, now I have several. They become like the serials we use to see at the movies on Saturday mornings. You know, the Buck Rogers, etc.

It didn’t take long for me to determine a hand held tape recorder was a must if I went outside. Now I can let my imagination take off in all directions. Then when I go inside, I can sit at my desk and type what I have recorded. After they are typed, I normally put them aside for a couple of days and let them breathe unless words are just pouring out. Then I will look them over and determine which one I feel calling me.

Rereading what I have written usually gets me started on the right track with the story, and by the time I have written five pages I have determined whether it is to be a short story or has the makings of a novel. For the most part the majority turn out to be short stories. Occasionally, you hit on one that has the beginnings of a novel. The excitement builds as you sit down at your computer and begin.

What do you like best, writing inside the house or writing outside? When you are outside do stories begin taking flight in your imagination?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ideas, Ideas—They’re Everywhere


by Robin Caroll


I’m often asked how I get ideas for my books. I always want to answer, “Where don’t I get ideas?”

I get character ideas by people watching. Now, my friends and family know I detest shopping. If I never had to walk into another mall in my life, I’d be happy. But with three daughters, that’s not gonna happen. Sigh. So when forced to brave the elements of humanity (although, I seriously question this—have you ever seen women at a 75% off sale act really human?) and venture into stores or malls, I watch people. I study them. Yes, even been known to snap a picture of one with my cell phone because of a certain hairstyle, or quirk, or expression. All of this information filters down and finds its way into a character.

Newspapers, television, and yes, even those true-crime shows all provide fodder for my plots. No, I don’t see something or read about it and then just change minor events for my story. I play a game called what-if. For example, I’ll hear a story about a woman who shot her husband for having an affair. My mind starts the game: What if the woman had hired a private detective to get the “goods” on her husband? What if the private detective had a grudge against the husband for some wrong years ago? What if the man wasn’t having an affair, but the private detective made it look like he was, just so his wife would kill him? Oh, what if the woman didn’t even suspect her husband was having an affair, but this guy who had a grudge against the husband pretended to be a private detective and sent incriminating evidence to the wife? . . . and so my mind goes.

I also get ideas from my own life. For instance, the germ of an idea for my most recent series, the Justice Seekers, came about due to a legal investigation my husband went through. I followed my research through court cases, trials, appeals, and sentencing, all the while observing how people acted and reacted. Then I started playing What If again…what if an FBI agent lied on the stand and an innocent person was convicted? What if a person witnessed a murder, but had no choice but to run? And thus the first book of the series was born.

Ideas are everywhere, you just have to look for them. Now, back to The Game. What if a writer was on tight deadline? What if she kept playing on email and the internet instead of making her word count? What if... 


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a Southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 14 published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else? She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. Visit Robin at www.robincaroll.com.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To Tell the Truth


by Bob Strother



“… and to know a truth, I also had to recognize a lie.”
                                 Eudora Welty

“He lies for a living.”
                                —Doonesbury cartoon character, speaking of another character, a novelist.

I was sitting in a Denny’s on the return leg of a trip to Flagstaff, Arizona, when a song from the fifties came over the restaurant’s speaker system, evoking some memory from my youth. As I recounted the story for my wife, she looked at me with her big baby blues and said, “You really ought to write some of that stuff down. You sound like you grew up in a Neil Simon play.” And, thus, began my career in writing.

I had plenty of material to work with. The product of a broken home, I had four half-brothers, one half-sister, two step-sisters, and one kid who was my father’s second wife’s son from her first marriage. Figure that one out. I also had, and spent a great deal of time with, two sets of wonderful grandparents (one of which revered Franklin Delano Roosevelt, God, Elvis Presley, and rock and roll, in that order), an irascible great grandmother (good German stock), a mean-as-a-snake great grandfather (also German, but from a different gene pool), an aging maiden aunt, and a hypochondriac great uncle. What aspiring writer couldn’t take that bowl of mixed nuts and come up with a great manuscript?

Naturally, my first attempts at creative writing involved capturing the captivating nuances of my childhood for later generations. I had always said that the only thing missing from my life was background music, so I titled my Great American Memoir Southern Soundtrack and began writing in earnest. Fortunately, I also joined the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop about the same time and started attending a critique group regularly while I set about learning the craft.

There I began to realize that my stories, while entertaining and amusing for my family members, might not have quite the same appeal to a mass audience. After listening to a particular recollection from my youth, one critique partner suggested a changing the outcome. My remark at the time (and one I’ve heard numerous times since then from other newbie writers) was, “But that’s not the way it happened.” She gave me a knowing half-smile and left me with a simple pronouncement I’ve never forgotten: “You could always try fiction. That way, you don’t always have to tell the truth.”

In the six or seven years since, I’ve employed that principle religiously, penning over eighty short stories and four novels. Doing so has provided me the license to right past wrongs, deliver clever comebacks I would never have conjured up on the spur of the moment, and, in some cases, exact sweet revenge. Today, while I am often inspired by events in my past, I am no longer restrained by the reality of them. That old memoir is still around somewhere, snugged into an old file cabinet. It’s the truth, and it’s warm and fuzzy, but not as exciting as fiction. The truth may set you free, but a good imagination (and the ability to conjure up nicely packaged and plausible lies) can give you wings.
 ______________________________
 


Pushcart Prize nominee Bob Strother was featured in the November-December issue of Southern Writers Magazine, and was recently awarded  the Hub City Writers/Emrys Foundation 2012 Fiction Prize. His short story collection, Scattered, Smothered, and Covered was released in February, 2011 through Main Street Rag Publishing Company. www.bobstrother.net

Monday, August 13, 2012

Working the Network


by Cheri Thacker



As writers, we all need to network. I tried several different writing groups in my area but found that they lacked one or more of the key components to adequately fulfill the networking definition.   

I gave up on my physical networking attempts and resorted to online networking on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. My crumb snatchers laughed at me when I asked them how to “tweet” and my husband had to demonstrate how to use LinkedIn. In spite of their ever-changing format, I was able to handle Facebook on my own.

My networking goal was to promote my blog, find other like-minded individuals trying to develop a free-lance writing career, and to build a contact system that would include publishers and agents that might be interested in my novel once completed.  

I decided to search for the editor of a publication to which I had recently subscribed. We connected and I learned that she had an affiliation with a writers group in my area. An invitation was extended, but I felt my time was better served researching, studying, and writing from online prompts.  

In my newspaper column and blog, I write about real life situations that involve our blended family of six people, three dogs, and a feline. Comment after comment mentioned that my blog was humorous, and since I didn’t see a Shakespearean Tragedy Writers Group, I joined the Humor Writers Group on LinkedIn.

A few months after connecting with my editor acquaintance, I received an email from another blogger who saw a post of mine in the humor group. She lived near me, wrote a blog of the same type, and had written several articles for a local newspaper. She also attended the same writing group that had been mentioned.  

I decided this might be a sign that I should attend the writers group. I was surprised to learn that it filled my networking criteria. Now I have a writing group home. You don’t necessarily have to be a member of a writing group, but I would be so bold to say that networking in some form is essential.

Here are a few suggestions:

     1)  Join online groups.  The internet is smaller than you think and you can make local connections.
     2)  Try local writing groups in your area until you find one that is your cup of tea.  If you can’t find one, start one.
     3)  Have business cards printed with your blog or website information. Keep them on you at all times and hand them out when people ask what you do.
     4)  Search the web for opportunities to guest post.
     5)  Contact the editor of your local paper and ask if there are any opportunities to write for the publication as a special contributor.

Whether your career goals are fiction writing, newspaper article writing, or simply building a platform for all your endeavors, networking is easier than you think.  And it works.

Cheri Thacker resides in Bartlett, TN and writes a weekly humor column for her local newspaper.  She has also written several feature pieces for the publication.  She maintains a humor blog that can be found at www.crumbsnatchertales.com.  She is currently working on a mystery novel and a humor book that expands upon her column and blog.  She can be reached at mamabreadbaker@comcast.net.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Memoirs Made from Scratch



by Kim L. Abernethy


As a young missionary in the mid-1980‘s living thousands of miles from home, I had to find a way to communicate with family. Other than monthly conversations via ham radio, I wrote letters and kept extensive journals. In the evenings when there was generated power, I tapped away on my Selectric II typewriter (or wrote long-handed when there was no electricity). At twenty-eight years old, I had a two-year old daughter and was pregnant with my second while living in a remote town in Liberia, West Africa.

After living nearly twenty years in West Africa, the journals, some emotive and raw, were complete. Back in America as campus ministers, my parents gave me the gift of a lifetime: the folder of my journals and personal letters I had written to them. Their mandate was that I write our unique story for others to read. My heart was both touched with their belief in my ability to write out the adventures and fearful of how to start.

Over the following three years, I dabbled in the art of procrastination with the writing project. Some days I read through journals and letters for hours, making notes. In a gradual evolving of clarity, the plan of how to put the stories in written form came to me.

Below is a summary of my strategy:

Initially I made outlines of events in strict chronological order, but eventually a mixture of thematic tidiness blended in. Example: Stories pertaining to our three Christmases spent in Liberia, I included in one chapter.

At first, almost everything was incorporated into my draft except for the very ordinary entries or those where strong emotion was expressed. As a young missionary, my journals had been a safe place for me to vent about situations or people I was dealing with. Gradually, I deleted stories that were too bland or others that would do more harm than good if recited publicly.

There was a plethora of treasured stories about my daughters. Gleaning through dozens of kid stories, I cut many of them, though I did keep a few I thought would help explain cultural collisions while raising children on the mission field or show how a young mother might deal with life outside her comfort zone. The comments about my mothering stories (successes, failures, fears and struggles) and those few clips about my children have been a hit with my readers.  I’m inclined to believe if I would have included all of them, they may have become a nuisance.

I had to balance the mundane with the extraordinary. If I would have deleted every mundane event and only included those that were unusual, the book may have lost its credibility with some readers. Life has its mundane moments no matter where you live. Sharing the ordinary with as much of my own voice helped paint the picture.

As I started writing and doing my read throughs (during the editing phase), more stories were cut or moved to different places. That part was tedious but helped the book to flow smoothly.

Making memoirs from scratch was a challenge. But, as I hold the books in my hand, I am content. My favorite comment from readers is this: Kim, when I was reading your book, I felt as if you were sitting across from me telling me the stories.

Priceless.

_______________________________
 
Kim L. Abernethy is author of In This Place and In Every Placemissionary memoirs written from candid and detailed journals of her family's years outside the United States. She and her husband Jeff have been missionaries since 1985 in Liberia and Ivory Coast, West Africa, with a short stint in Jamaica. In 2003, after a second African evacuation of home and ministry, the Abernethys became campus missionaries at UNC-Charlotte with Campus Bible Fellowship International. She is the proud grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters, Layna and Elyse. Kim is a Bible teacher, speaker, blogger, and semi-professional photographer. Follow her blog at http://ineveryplace.blogspot.com and visit her author's website at www.kimlabernethy.com.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wisdom from William Faulkner


by Susan Reichert


The University of Mississippi once invited William Faulkner to the English department to address one class per day for a week. Faulkner devoted the entire time  to answering the students' questions.
 
When asked what is the best training one should have for writing he said, “Read, read, read. Read everything – classics, good or bad, trash; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it. Write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
 
Good advice. Writers are always seeking out ways to learn how to write.  Reading is one of the easiest ways to learn how to write. You learn by observing. By reading, you are observing.
Faulkner was asked another question. The students wanted to know if it was good to copy a style. His answer was somewhat profound. “If you have something to say, use your own style: it will choose its own type of telling, its own style.”
 
Of course, these are only two of the pieces of advice he doled out to the students, but I think by far they were the most useful for a budding writer. Don’t you? “Use your own style" and "read, read, read.”
 
What would your answers have been to the students? 
 
 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beginner's Luck? I don't think so


by Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor



Elizabeth B. Elliott, Cheryl Hilderbrand and Sherry Perkins grace the cover of our SouthernWriters Short Stories from the South, Special Edition. Elizabeth was our First Place Winner with Cheryl Second Place and Sherry Third place. They, along with the Top Ten Finalists, had some amazing stories of humor, drama, mystery and romance. Their stories touched the heart and filled the soul with emotion. Reading them has been enjoyable and a study in imagination, creativity and storytelling. All are fantastic and their stories are something I will share with others.

I am told when Elizabeth was contacted to inform her she had won; she was very excited and exclaimed this was her first time to submit a story. Considering the brilliance of her writing and the emotion of the story, that was amazing to hear. Some may call it beginner's luck but after you read her story you will know that cannot be. Apparently Elizabeth’s talent has been there all along but Elizabeth is just now sharing it with the world. I feel we are fortunate that she did and even more fortunate that she chose Southern Writers Short Stories from the South to debut her talent.

This special issue of Short Stories from the South epitomizes the mission of Southern Writers. We exist to nurture and encourage writers, promote and market their books and build a network of authors. I think all would agree this anthology of short stories touches on all we endeavor to achieve. After reading this special issue I hope you will be encouraged and will encourage others to take that next step like Elizabeth B. Elliott did. Southern Writers is intent on making opportunities available. We hope you are as intent on sharing your talent with the world. If you are, we are here for you.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blogging with the Stars


by Gary Fearon, Creative Director


If you're a regular visitor to Suite T, you already know that we frequently feature guest bloggers, who represent the cream of the Southern writing crop.  But today we want to introduce you to some other outstanding writers you'll want to meet.

Great writers create great blogs, and great blogs deserve great readers.  That's why we've added a new feature to Suite T this week, our Blog List.  You can get to the list anytime via the link above, just under the Suite T header.

Some names will be familiar to you.  You'll see a mix of bestselling authors, writers groups, instructional blogs, and a variety of other worthy wordsmiths.  What they all have in common is a love for writing and the desire to exchange thoughts with other writers.  And each has proudly declared themself a Southern Writer.

Visit their blogs, follow all those that interest you, and participate in them by leaving comments on their daily posts.  When you do, not only do you support and encourage your favorite blogs, you also increase your own internet ranking.  Everyone wins.

If you're an author, or have a blog for writers, and would like to be added to the Suite T Blog List, do this. Add the fashionable "I'm a Southern Writer" button to your site's HTML using the code shown in the right-hand column on this page. That will help us find you. Better still, once you've added the button, drop up a line at staff@southernwritersmag.com for a quicker response and a thank you.  If you need technical help you can write to us there too.

Check out the new list now, and join the party yourself.  We love Southern writers, and we're here to promote you!