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"