The Great Muse Meet


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Great Muse Meet

In one week there will be an epic meeting taking place. The Muse Meet, otherwise known as Frontiers in Writing. Let me tell you about it.

New York Times bestselling authors, editors, writers, bookstore managers, English teachers, and every other type of word-loving person you can think of will be gathering under one roof. There will be learning, sharing, hugging, buying, selling, meeting, talking, yarn spinning, poetry, music, food, and handshakes galore. All genres possible—horror, romance, non-fiction, poetry, western, childrens, and just general main stream—will meet face to face. This will be the show the world has been waiting for.

When this many wordy people and imaginative people and happy people get together, only one thing can happen:  UTTER BLISS!

Don’t miss it! Your muse will pelt you with a shillelagh if you don’t bring her to this bash. And you’ll sit home with a knot on your head while the rest of the writing world has a giant party.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

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DISCOVER THE PROMISE


DISCOVER THE PROMISE

by Sharon Stevens

I don’t know what I feel each time I watch the viral video of Karen Klein being bullied on the school bus. There are no words. None! Of course there is disgust and there is anger, and there is dismay, and there is outrage, and there are tears, so many, many tears.

It was so hard to distance myself from the words of horror I had witnessed so I approached it from a different angle. I decided to Google Greece Town New York, the city where the incident occurred. It seemed like such a pleasant place filled with a cross section of humanity. Who knew the town with the motto of “discover the promise” would harbor families that raised such ugliness. Sort of like our own Tulia Texas who faced a tragedy of its own a few years ago.

Still there were no words.

I can only imagine the pain Karen went through listening as they taunted her. What gave her the grace to not lash out at the kids? How many times did she face this in the past? What words did she carry in her heart and soul that brought her peace with each mile she rode?

No one knows, no one can fathom…ever, forever!

And then there is Sandusky!

Everyone needs inspiration! We face unspeakable horrors, pain, and tragedies, but also tremendous joys and celebrations. No matter the media we still need to discover the words that keep us whole and sane and center our soul.

Those of us who love to write try to find words in everything that crosses our path. When I put pen to paper or fingers to computer I want to set down all thoughts and every feeling. It is important for me to make sure each and every person understands what I am trying to say whether they want to or not. I know I need to focus, and tighten. There is no question I have a problem, but I need this. I live for this. I cherish this. In all the terrible destruction in the world with writing I can find a solace in my soul.

And I think this is why attending writing conferences like Frontiers in Writing matter so much to me. As I sit in a room with others I soak up inspiration from not only the speaker, but each person in the room. The questions they ask and even the way they frame their queries gives me a glimmer of hope. At the very least I find a quote phrased in-between the ideas. I can study the characters around me at the same time. Names, plots, settings, emotions, all find their way into my psyche and my notes.

But you don’t always need to share just with written words. Take for example Delbert Trew’s column in the Amarillo Globe News about his family’s mercantile store. When I read the article I knew the words would be perfect for Biffle and Cross Mercantile for the opening of the new Pioneer Town at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. I made copies and carried them over and placed them in the store. On the way back to the Buffalo Bookstore I just had to stop under the shadow of the American and Texas Flag at the entrance to the museum and take pictures of the flowers planted there. Sunflowers are always special as they bring up memories of my daughter. Her words are that you always have to smile whenever you see sunflowers. There are no bad memories associated when you share the beauty of these bright, yellow treasures.

This weekend hosts many different events in our area. The Frontiers in Writing Conference will be held at Amarillo College and sponsored by Panhandle Professional Writers hosted with PPW president Matt Sherley, and chaired by Natalie Bright with guest speakers of Candace Havens, Jodi Thomas, John Erickson, Jeff Campbell, Hilary Sares, Craig and Nancy Keel, Chris Stewart, Mary Lou Cheatham, Joe Trent, and so many others. Jim Gleason at Barnes and Nobles also will give a presentation about publishing.

And the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum will be hosting the grand opening of Pioneer Town-a long awaited celebration. WTAMU will be sharing along with the English Department, The Legacy with selected readings and open mic at the Palace Coffee House on the courthouse square in Canyon Texas.  The musical drama TEXAS continues in Palo Duro Canyon, and Canyon is gearing up for July 4th.

How can anyone choose?

I urge everyone to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities in our community. We have so much facing us in the future and need to take these moments to heart. Don’t miss a single moment to celebrate the rich legacy and heritage that surrounds us. As a writer, Frontiers in Writing meets every need for those who love to write and share.

Just as in the case of Karen Klein, it will help us to find the write words.

Sharon Stevens

Stuck


Outtakes 48

Stuck

There are times when I reach an impasse when writing my novel.  My brain will not engage and allow me to move from one scene to another. I’m stuck now. I know where the story needs to go, but where do I start? Should I continue with the heroine’s crisis, or is it time to toss the antagonist into the mix? Unfortunately, I have no idea. I may be stuck, but I still need to write something today. Therefore, I will pull out my handy Journal Jar and grab an assignment.

Describe a perfect autumn day. What kind of activities would you do on that day?

A perfect autumn day would be a day one I spend in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’m staying at a bed-and-breakfast developed from an old sea captain’s home. The three-story clapboard house was built during the whaling days. The owners have invested considerable time and effort in renovating and modernizing the structure while maintaining the charm of beauty of the whaling days. Brass lanterns decorate the book shelf in my room. A sea green dust ruffle kisses the pine floors. The matching hand-quilted sea-green patterned quilt covers the bed. White eyelet curtains shade the room from the bright morning sun.

The crisp air greets me as I sit on the balcony enjoying a cup of fresh-ground Columbian coffee and a wild blueberry muffin.  The inn overlooks the rocky Atlantic coastline. Sand beaches are not common in Maine. Instead, the beaches are composed of large boulders weathered smooth by centuries of ocean tides and storms. I finish my coffee and head indoors to dress for a day of exploring.

I climb over the boulders as I approach the Thunder Hole. The rushing tides crash into the rocks and crevice in the cliff wall and are forced back out, creating a thundering noise. The spray wets my face. I glance up and allow the sun to dry the salt spray from my cheeks.  I back away from Thunder Hole, and find a flat surface for my tripod.  Focusing on Thunder Hole, I set the timer on my camera in hopes of catching the perfect shot of the waves against the rocks.  (Yes, I still prefer 35mm photography to digital.) I shoot a roll of film before retracing my steps down the beach toward the sea anemone cave. The tide is too high to explore the cave, so I decide to go for a drive.

I cross the bridge linking the island to the mainland. The orchards are heavy with ripe McIntosh and red Delicious apples. A sign advertises the opportunity to pick your own apples. I pull into the lot and pay my fee.  Climbing the step ladder is a challenge as I try to balance the peck-size basket and not fall. A young man steadies the ladder as I fill my basket. I move from the McIntosh section to the Delicious trees. Once again, I climb up the ladder and search for the best looking fruit.

I stow the baskets in my car and return to the island. I have just enough time to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset. Poised on a pink granite outcropping, I snap another roll of film as the day darkens to night. When the sun is gone, I return to the town. Stopping at a seaside restaurant, I order lobster bisque and fresh-baked bread for dinner. The evening breeze chills me. I wrap my thick sweatshirt tighter around my body. It’s time to go home. I need my sleep as tomorrow I drive to Camden to board a windjammer for a three-day cruise. Nothing beats autumn in Maine.

This is my day. Why not take a few minutes and describe your perfect autumn day. One more thing; my heroine needs to confront the ghosts from her past. I wonder what she will find in her grandmother’s journal.

Cait Collins

PEN TO WIN!


PEN TO WIN!

With the precision of a surgeon’s hand, the written word can touch the human heart. The arched and looped letters of the alphabet skillfully arranged can fill the mind or thrill the soul.

Like a machine that transcends the barriers of time and space, the passages of a story are able carry the reader through the ages, both past and future. The words on every page turned reveals to the reader grand and exotic far-away places or the dark areas that are hidden within themselves.

The writing of the wise often compels the strong to see their own weaknesses and flaws, while the weak can learn to be strong with the same words. Yes, the pen is truly mighty.

In the early 1800’s, a young child by the name of Edward wore the label of a neurotic child. Pawned from one boarding school to another after his father’s death, he discovered the craft of writing. Encouraged to publish a small work of poetry at the age of fifteen, he went on to publish many famous works. The name of this young boy was Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

In 1839, this English politician, poet, playwright, and novelist coined the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword,” in his play Richelieu.

So where do you begin? You start with From Pen to Win!”

This is a special orientation session for first-time Frontiers in Writing Conference attendees to explain what to expect and answer all of your concerns. It will be held  Thursday, June 28 at Barnes and Noble, starting a 7:30 P.M., located at 2415 Soncy Road in Amarillo, TX.

You’ll walk into the FiW conference on Friday feeling confident and prepared to begin your writing journey.

Rory C. Keel

Frontiers in Writing 2012


By Natalie Bright

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will be held at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this years faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORTAMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd andHelium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to www.panhandleprowriters.org

Hope to see you all in June!

Natalie Bright


The Great Muse Meet


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Great Muse Meet

In one week there will be an epic meeting taking place. The Muse Meet, otherwise known as Frontiers in Writing. Let me tell you about it.

New York Times bestselling authors, editors, writers, bookstore managers, English teachers, and every other type of word-loving person you can think of will be gathering under one roof. There will be learning, sharing, hugging, buying, selling, meeting, talking, yarn spinning, poetry, music, food, and handshakes galore. All genres possible—horror, romance, non-fiction, poetry, western, childrens, and just general main stream—will meet face to face. This will be the show the world has been waiting for.

When this many wordy people and imaginative people and happy people get together, only one thing can happen:  UTTER BLISS!

Don’t miss it! Your muse will pelt you with a shillelagh if you don’t bring her to this bash. And you’ll sit home with a knot on your head while the rest of the writing world has a giant party.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

CHRISTMAS


CHRISTMAS
by Sharon Stevens
My husband was outside mowing as I was finishing up this week’s blog on the first day of summer. With the recent rains he was already behind in keeping the weeds at bay. In the house I had just cut up a cantaloupe to put in the refrigerator, really wishing for homemade ice cream instead that signified a return to summer memories. Within the last couple of years our area had faced deadly drought, reminders of the dust bowl days that once had sucked the life out of every living thing, wildflowers included.
May 29th celebrated the 70th anniversary during World War II of Bing Crosby’s recording of “White Christmas”. Jeff Messer, the chaplain of Bivin’s Foundation had posted in the Amarillo Globe News about the story, and described what a morale booster this was for those in service and those on the home front.
When I think of Christmas like everyone else I picture glittering snow, shiny tinsel, curling ribbon, rolls of wrapping paper, evergreen and holly wreaths, and of course Santa Claus. You wouldn’t think that summer months are the perfect time to remember the holidays, but in all actuality this is a great time to set down family memories.
The Otwell Twins describe dressing in holiday costumes when it was still sweltering in California. The Lawrence Welk specials were taped in late summer, and they told me it was hard for everyone to get into the Christmas spirit weighed down with heavy velvet under the hot stage lights.
Jack Sorenson tells me that when he gets ready to paint his Christmas Santa his wife turns up the air conditioner and decorates his studio in twinkling lights encircled around the tree. The only thing missing is the yule log crackling in the fireplace, and gingerbread cookies along with a glass of milk waiting on the hearth for ole Saint Nick.
For years publishing houses and magazines called for submissions six months ahead which meant that June is the time for holiday stories. With the Internet and Facebook you would think that you could wait until at least the fall to send in polished work, but they are already deciding what will go into those issues. Chicken Soup for the Soul is one example that needs those tales shared.
Even if you are not interested in sending in a story of Christmas or Hanukah celebrations or disasters, now would be a great time to stretch your writing skills. As you are watching the grass grow or melting in summer heat pull out your writing utensils and try to capture the shiver of building snowmen, the warmth of hand stitched quilts, the smell of pecan pie and so on and so on. Take every little bit of the experience and shape it into a story. Write a poem and weave the threads together. Pen a song that helps you to remember just why you celebrate with your families and friends this special time of year.
You may be surprised to find you have a classic on your hands that sends a timeless message to be read year after year around the family hearth.
And now I think I will go get a piece of cantaloupe out of the fridge and imagine its snow ice cream, all the while dreaming of a “White Christmas”.
Sharon Stevens

Clean Out the Clutter


Outtakes 47

Clean Out the Clutter

Looking around my apartment right now is pretty depressing. I’ve not had a free weekend since mid-May. My living room is cluttered with Vacation Bible School material; the left-over decorations and party memorabilia from my sister’s 50th birthday party occupy my dining room; and conference paperwork, promotional announcements found a home in my office. West Texas dust litters every flat surface and I’m two weeks behind on the laundry. Thank heavens I have a free Saturday to play catch-up.

There are times when my writing life feels as cluttered as my apartment. Deadlines approach, but I stare at the computer screen begging for inspiration. It’s difficult to keep the priorities straight when the characters in my novel keep pounding on the door of my brain demanding attention. I need a break and a reality check. I’ll get that at Frontiers in Writing.

Writers’ conferences allow the writer to associate with like minded individuals; folks who understand the distractions and loneliness of the writing life. It’s a chance to renew friendships and learn new trends and techniques. I always come away from a conference with new energy and new ideas. It’s worth my time to attend.

Amarillo, Texas may be too far from your home, but I feel certain you can find a writers’ conference in your area. A Google search takes only minutes, and you will be surprised what you will find. And for those of you in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado, there’s always room for one more at FiW.  We look forward to meeting our fellow writers no matter where you are on your writer’s journey. Come join us June 29-30, 2012, at Amarillo College in Amarillo. Conference information is available on our website, panhandlleprowriters.org.

Cait Collins

PEN TO WIN!


PEN TO WIN!

With the precision of a surgeon’s hand, the written word can touch the human heart. The arched and looped letters of the alphabet skillfully arranged can fill the mind or thrill the soul.

Like a machine that transcends the barriers of time and space, the passages of a story are able carry the reader through the ages, both past and future. The words on every page turned reveals to the reader grand and exotic far-away places or the dark areas that are hidden within themselves.

The writing of the wise often compels the strong to see their own weaknesses and flaws, while the weak can learn to be strong with the same words. Yes, the pen is truly mighty.

In the early 1800’s, a young child by the name of Edward wore the label of a neurotic child. Pawned from one boarding school to another after his father’s death, he discovered the craft of writing. Encouraged to publish a small work of poetry at the age of fifteen, he went on to publish many famous works. The name of this young boy was Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

In 1839, this English politician, poet, playwright, and novelist coined the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword,” in his play Richelieu.

So where do you begin? You start with From Pen to Win!”

This is a special orientation session for first-time Frontiers in Writing Conference attendees to explain what to expect and answer all of your concerns. It will be held  Thursday, June 28 at Barnes and Noble, starting a 7:30 P.M., located at 2415 Soncy Road in Amarillo, TX.

You’ll walk into the FiW conference on Friday feeling confident and prepared to begin your writing journey.

Rory C. Keel

Frontiers in Writing 2012


By Natalie Bright

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will be held at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this years faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORTAMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd andHelium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to www.panhandleprowriters.org

Hope to see you all in June!

Natalie Bright