Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10th, 2011 - the printers revolt.

Today seemed a day of printer problems.  We don't know if they somehow communicated with each other and unanimously decided to go on strike, but some of us were woefully unprepared for the sharing portion of the meeting.

As for my printer, it decided to meditate rather than do its job, frustrating me to no end since I actually had something to share this time around.

For those of you who are unaware, November is the National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) challenge.  For those insane enough, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Plotting and outlining beforehand is permitted, but ideally one would start writing on November 1st.

Is there a large cash prize?  No.  But the exercise in futili - er..... rough drafting is invaluable.  So when Mr. Printer decided not to churn out 6 copies of my excerpt, I was bummed.  Oh well, life goes on.

Benevolent dictator Marsha Ward asked each of us what we'd learned about writing in the past year.  After several enlightening responses, we then shared what we hope to learn in the upcoming year.Here are some of them:

  • Our beloved man of mystery, Ted, entertained us with a string of government conspiracy theories on technology, dreams, and flourescent lighting (all related to the field of writing, of course), but we managed keep on track.  Ted is a wealth of information.  But like Regan said:  Trust, but verify.  (Love ya, Ted!)
  • Writing makes one more conscious of details.  Being able to observe a scene, whether a peaceful nature setting or a city riot, and write about it in any sort of sense later is invaluable.  It takes practice, to be sure!  But like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
  • We also learned about e-publishing, how to address your subconscious to dig up an idea, and various ways to tap into the muse. 

All of us are at different skill levels on this writing journey, and learning new things each day.  Poor Sue was in a tizzy about bringing in an excerpt from a novella she's had on the back burner for 15 years, but this is what the meetings are for:  Bouncing your stories and ideas off of friends and getting good feedback.  The cool thing is, you don't have to accept any suggestions if you don't want to.  The choice to switch one word for another is ultimately up to the author.  So bring in that work for a look-see.  You'll be glad you did.

For our next meeting on December 8th, 2011, please bring in samples of good writing from a favorite author, or some of your own work to share.  (Up to three pages, double spaced, and enough copies for about 7 people.)  Also, be prepared to volunteer to teach something you already know about or something you want to learn in the next year.  (Writing related, of course.  No lessons in motocycle maintenance, please.)

The back room of Scoops in Payson is where we'll be at noon on December 8th.  See you there!

Success seems to be largely a matter
of hanging on after
others have let go.
-William Feather

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stretching Ourselves

Because our Intrepid Reporter, Betty, was unable to attend today's meeting, I knew I had to take good notes in order to come anywhere near her witty write-ups. Those who were able to come were Jaimie, Ce Ce, John, Ted, Chaya, and me, Marsha Ward.

Good news included Chaya's report that she uploaded several of her works to Barnes and Noble through the PubIt program. Hurray! She also has a website in the works, and will be interviewing writers and authors shortly.

Jaimie told us about two Arizona Press Women (APW) workshops coming up: one in Payson, and the second in Phoenix. The first deals with writing life stories and making altered books. The second is a talk about online marketing strategies that work.

I brought in a ton of materials, including a handout with tips for preparing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is a writing challenge that takes place each November. Participants endeavor to finish a new 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Stuart Watkins of Tucson has issued a call for 100 Arizona poets to submit a few of their poems about Arizona to participate in a book he is publishing to celebrate the Centennial of Arizona's Statehood next year. He will choose the best of those submitted. Each poet whose work is included in the book will receive a copy.

We had a lesson about poetry in general and specifically about poetry rhyme schemes, after which we each chose a rhyme scheme from the handout to emulate in a poem. Doing so was out of many of our comfort zones, but stretching ourselves is good for our writing muscles. Once we were finished with the exercise, we read our poems. Jaimie wrote three!

Here's my practice poem, using a short, four-stanza version of Terza Rima:


The season soon will come of snow.
I hope I won't be cloistered in
and snow-bound where I cannot go

to town, or on a trip within
my car. While I'm a hermit, true,
I need to move. It'd be a sin

if I could not get out, see Su
to give her birthday greetings on
her special day. I'd really rue

lost chance to give the book upon
the nurse's life I bought for her.
Snow can be a real yawn.

Copyright 2011 Marsha Ward

Three people brought work to share or for critiques. John read two of his poems, Ted read part of his memoirs, and Chaya read the end to her short story about two older women on vacation. Betty, you missed it!

I hope I didn't leave anything of great moment out of my report. Thankfully, Betty will be back in fine form next month.

Our next meeting will be on November 10, but during November and December, we will only have meetings on the second Thursdays, that is, once a month. We'll resume our twice-a-month schedule in January, 2012.

If you wrote a poem at our meeting and you'd like to share it, please use the Comments to do so. Thanks!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

furiously flung information! (and chocolate smudges)

Today I, your humble narrator, made a fool of herself with a hot fudge brownie sundae during the meeting.  Both my hips and my notebook paid for it, as I am working around a chocolate smudge forever on the page, and chocolate forever on my hips.  So be it.

Chaya, Leon and Sue, myself (Betty), and Jaimie were present, guided by Marsha Ward.  Lots of great information was tossed around today!  It's a shame you couldn't be there with us, but luckily for you, we're giving people.

To win an e-publishing package, detailing the how-to's and what-nots of publishing your work on Amazon Kindle and other e-readers, please visit Jaimie's blog at:  You'll find the link to the information, and if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win the package.  Nice!

Ladies' Home Journal magazine is running an essay contest.  You could win $3,000 for sumbitting an essay on "personal growth - a term you can interpret as broadly as you like.  Whether you choose to write about a life lesson you learned the hard way or a challenge you managed (or perhaps failed) to meet, no topic is off-limits.... Essays will be judged chiefly on their emotional power, their originality, and the quality of their prose." -Ladies' Home Journal.
Please keep it between 1500 - 2500 words, typed, double spaced, and pages numbered.  Also include your name, address, and phone number on each page and send to:
Personal Essay Contest
Ladies' Home Journal
805 Third Avenue, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10017
The postmark can be no later than 13 December 2011.  For complete details, visit

Book covers:
  • The U.S Parks Service provides some public domain photos that aspiring writers can use for cover art.  Marsha herself has successfully used one of a beautiful mossy stream for the cover of her samplers.
  • also is a good source for book covers.
  • At one can find artists for hire who will gladly design the book cover of your dreams.  Remember that cover art is basically more important than content (no matter how much that statement hurts).  If people aren't pulled in by the cover, they won't even stop to read the back.  Hook 'em, fisherman!

Marsha presented us with a fun writing assignment, penning thoughts about our favorite season.  Autumn seems to be the most popular, and we enjoyed hearing our unique writing styles, each of us nodding in agreement to imagery of colorful leaves, wood smoke, and crisp air.

Leon and Sue treated us to more of their surprising poetry, and even shared their favorites from William Blake and Emily Dickinson!

Without fail, we walk away from these meetings re-inspired to the craft, and ready to write.  Curious about the craft?  Published author?  We welcome all newcomers and encourage you to join us.  Our next meeting is 27 October 2011 at Scoops Ice Cream in Payson, AZ.  We'll be in the back room at 12 noon for an hour or so, if you want to drop by.  No fees!

"There are people who will always come up 
with reasons why you can't do what you want to do.  
Ignore them"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

22 September 2011 - Some new faces!

Though we miss some of our old regulars who've been avoiding us in favor of undoubtedly unwholesome pursuits, we were pleasantly surprised to have three new faces at today's meet!

Husband and wife team, Leon and Sue Chamberlain, and Mr. John Herrera all brought an infusion of fresh ideas and talents.  Their love of poetry is bringing a new angle to our meetings, and we were treated to 4 or 5 poetry readings.

Ted, aspiring memoirist (is that a word?) was present, and so was the indomitable Chaya Schonberger.  As for Elizabeth Marsh (me), aspiring writer of sci-fi, short stories, various non-fiction, and blogger extraordinaire... I was present mostly in theory.  Our illustrious benevolent dictator, Marsha Ward, led us through introductions and readings with her usual unshakable grace.  (And we do try to shake her, at least twice in a meeting.)

Aside from loosening everyone up with my tales of fish-killing, Marsha once again got us re-motivated by sharing proof of her success.
I love it when she does this.  This is why I come to these meetings.  Every two weeks I get re-inspired to keep plugging away at the craft because Marsha shows us the numbers.  She has successfully written at least 3 novels and several short stories, and has them e-published via Smashwords and Amazon.  Gazing over her printouts of units sold and monthly income earned makes me want to run home and jump on that keyboard.  And what's more, she insists putting one's work on Amazon is much easier than patting your head and rubbing your belly.  (Which is good because I have zero coordination and can barely walk to the door without tripping.)
All of us writers have that innate desire to create something at least one person will read and enjoy.  That's what keeps us going.  Marsha's success is our success.  We are living vicariously through her until our own works are published and recognized.
Instead of treating us to a section of her work-in-progress today, Marsha brought in an article by Dean Wesley Smith entitled "Killing Sacred Cows In Publishing:  Speed".  It was great information and further rounded out my general knowledge in the writing field.  Now I won't feel so bad if I crank out some work quickly.
Thanks again, Marsha!  I would have given up long ago if it weren't for these meetings with like-minded people!

Newbie John Herrera read the highly amusing poems "Running Money" and an ode to his brother with perfect rhyming techniques.  Leon read a poem lamenting the unbearable Arizona heat, and Sue shared two poignant untitled poems.

Chaya brought the first three pages of her newest WIP, a short story promising tension and hilarity between two women friends on vacation.

The wide range of interests and talents keeps us all engaged at the Rim Country Writer's meetings.  Westerns, sci-fi, romance... the genre doesn't matter.  People and enthusiasm do.
Never gone to a writer's group meeting before?  Give it a try!  We'd love to have you.  next meeting is 13 October 2011 in the backroom at Scoops, high noon.  If for no other reason, a meeting here is the perfect excuse to have an ice cream treat.

Just Write!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 11 Meeting

We had four attendees at our meeting, Betty, Lucy, Marsha, and Jamie (with kidlet). Marsha suggested three blogs/websites that address self- or indie-publishing issues. We found out what everyone is working on, and Betty and Marsha shared some of their work.

We missed several of our regulars, including Ted, Jaimie, George, Sandy, Chaya, and Carol. We hope to see more of them in future meetings.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 28th Meeting

Because of several things, I'm behind a bit with updates. Major surgery recovery is one of my excuses.

Our last meeting took place at Scoops, our new meeting place. We gathered at noon, and those present were Ted, Marsha, Sandy, Betty, and Jamie. It was good to have a chance to share our news, resources we have found, and other gems.

We did a writing exercise using prompts, and wrote for fifteen minutes. After we shared what we had written, Ted and Jamie shared their work. Good going!

We hope to see everyone on August 11 at noon in the Sawmill Crossing at Scoops. We meet in the back room.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today's Meeting

We had a lovely meeting today. Six people attended, plus sweet little Jessica, Jamie's daughter. Bettie was the only one who worked on the assignment, which she shared with us. Her honest style of writing is intriguing.

We discussed each person's current writing project, and four of us read work. Andy read a class assignment dealing with dialog, Chaya read parts of her FINISHED NOVEL (HURRAH!), Marsha read a scene she wrote last night, and Jamie read a blog post.

Our next meeting is on April 28 at 12:30 p.m. at East-West Exchange, 100 N. Tonto St. Bring six copies of up to three pages of your latest work to receive editing suggestions. Please join us.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Welcome to Rim Country Writers

by Marsha Ward

Since I became the leader/mentor/general factotum of Rim Country Writers a few months ago, I've been working to increase attendance and find a meeting time that would fit most schedules. Although it's not perfect for everyone, those who attended our last two meetings agreed that Thursday afternoons at 12:30 were workable. Then they asked if we could meet twice a month, as we used to do. Okay. The site could accommodate us for that.

The upshot of this is that our meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at East West Exchange, a bookstore, coffee shop, and gift shop at 100 N. Tonto (just off Longhorn), which also sponsors a variety of classes and events.

Next Thursday, we are to bring an assignment to read. Write about the time when you knew you were a writer. If I'm not mistaken, this can be up to 1000 words long, but if you write poetry, don't feel obliged to do an epic work. ;-)

But what IS Rim Country Writers, you ask. Will I fit in? Are there dues? Do I need an MFA to attend? Am I welcome to drop in and check you out?

The answer are: Probably, No, No, and Most Assuredly. If you like to write (in any form or genre), need encouragement and helpful critiques, and want to hang out with some really great folks, Rim Country Writers is probably the right place for you. We don't have dues. We don't have a charter or heavily structured organization, and we aren't snooty. Well, maybe I am, but I disguise it well. Just kidding! We like people and we like to write in all sorts of forms and genres, including poetry, essays, journalism, travel writing, novels, and how-to books.

We hope to see you on the 14th.