Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wisdom. Is it wasted on the young?

The U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday that the late Maya Angelou will be honored on a “forever” postage stamp. The design and release date is yet to be announced. Angelou passed away last year at age eighty-six. (Los Angeles Times)   

I liked Maya Angelou for her sage wisdom which Oprah was fond of sharing with her audience. I appreciate learning from older people the important aspects of life that many refuse to hear and have to experience for themselves. I like all of the sayings that are now known as Maya's quotes and we find them online.The first one in the list below is my favorite.

 "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."- Interview for Beautifully Said Magazine (2012)

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."- Excerpted from Letter to My Daughter, a book of essays (2009)

 "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."- Letter to My Daughter, a book of essays (2009)

 "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."- Interview with Oprah for Angelou's 70th birthday (2000)

 "We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.- The Art of Fiction No. 119, the Paris Review

 "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

In a world where many of our youth or young people think they know all there is to know, it would be good for them to read some of Maya's truths about what she has learned in her life. Experience is a wonderful thing to share -- but it is often hard to find anyone who will listen.

Read more here. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to be a Successful Author

What makes a successful author?                 

Why do some writers become successful authors and some do not? What is the secret? How do we learn it?
  1. Successful authors set themselves a personal mission. They feel a deep need to share their thoughts, their story, with the world.
  2. Successful authors develop an attitude of persistence.  They do not let setbacks or rejection stop them. Persistence is absolutely necessary for one to be successful as a writer.  
  3. Successful authors recognize that education about their craft and the publishing industry is key to their success. They subscribe to writing magazines and e-zines. They attend writers' conferences and workshops, and take writing classes or join writers' critique groups.
  4. Successful authors invest in programs where they get professional feedback on their work. They understand that critique is helpful and they keep themselves open to the feedback they receive.
  5. Successful authors have an upbeat attitude. They don't offer a laundry list of excuses to explain why they are not successful. They don’t give up but learn to figure out a way around the obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

The writers I know who publish and continue to write manuscript after manuscript, sit in their chair day after day, pound on the keys over and over until the end, are the ones who turn out the work no matter what twists and turns life throws in their path. They approach writing like anyone with a job who goes to work each day.

Anyone can develop the characteristics of a successful author. It's up to the writer to do the work. One can choose to put his efforts into other endeavors and enjoy writing simply for the pleasure of it. That is perfectly acceptable. But, if a writer is driven to see his name in print or on a book cover, then he should start now to develop the traits of a successful author.

Two Top-Rated Writers' Conferences in Netwest Region in 2015

April 10-11 -- Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia, at the Blue Ridge Arts Center, 420 West Main Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 – (706)632-2144 

For 18 years the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference, founded by Carol Crawford, has brought to the north Georgia mountains some outstanding poets, writers, agents and publishers. This year author Patricia Sprinkle and essayist Amy Blackmarr will be there. I am a big fan of Blackmarr. The cost of this conference is well within the budget of most of us and within driving distance.

Blue Ridge, Georgia, a charming town with excellent restaurants and shopping is a perfect getaway to enjoy networking and meeting important people in the literary world while exploring the small mountain town. When we gather with like-minded people, talk to them and listen to them, we learn more than we ever thought we would.

I met Robert Brewer, editor and popular blogger for Writers’ Digest, at the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference a few years ago. I attended his sessions and liked what I heard. Later that year I sent him an essay that he posted on his blog. Later I sent him another essay about why I like to interview authors instead of writing reviews. He published that. You can imagine how many readers he has for his blogs. Robert came to Writers Circle and taught a class in the studio. Conferences are important to the career of any writer.

Visit the website and download the registration form. Send in your fee before the end of March to ensure your discount.

North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference, Double Tree Hotel in Asheville, NC. – November 20-22, 2015

Every few years NCWN holds its Fall Writers’ Conference in Asheville, the most accessible city for those of us who live in the far western part of North Carolina.

These conferences are important for those who are serious writers, who want to publish their work and for those who want to learn the craft. NCWN plans the program carefully with something for beginning and more experienced writers.

From Hayesville, where I live, I can drive to Asheville in two hours. I like to stay over at least one night and I find a more reasonable hotel that I can afford. Those who live closer drive over each day and have little cost for this fine conference.

I suggest you put these dates on your calendar now. Visit

Monday, February 9, 2015

Getting Back to Basics with Paula Canup

 Paula Canup
writer, journalist and former English teacher, will present a workshop on
 Saturday, March 7, 2015, 10 - 12:00.
Fee: $25.00

This  class is for all writers of prose, beginners and more experienced, who want to submit polished work for consideration by agents, editors and publishers. We all make errors in grammar, punctuation and word usage, but especially in writing dialogue. Where do we place quotation marks? When should we use quotation marks, ellipses, dashes, and how often should we use exclamation points? So many questions I hear from students and errors I see in the work of many writers will be addressed in this class.

Paula Canup is a former middle school English teacher who has also worked as a tutor in English grammar. Later, as a high school history teacher, she assigned many papers, and her students knew they would be graded on spelling and grammar as well as content.
After retiring from teaching, Paula wrote articles for a regional magazine, Southern Distinction. She later wrote regular columns for two local newspapers, The Leader in Oconee County, GA, and, locally, The Sentinel.  She worked for a year as a staff writer for the Clay County Progress.

Paula still enjoys writing non-fiction and memoirs, though she currently focuses on painting as her means of artistic expression.  She and her husband moved to Hayesville, NC from Athens, GA, in 2008, and now live on the side of a mountain where they enjoy the natural beauty of “God’s Country.”

Sunday, February 8, 2015

All We Need to Know about Publishing and Marketing from Tara Lynne

Today is February 4,  2015. 
I am in Asheville, NC in a comfortable motel that did  not spray Febreeze or any air freshener in my room. Thank you, Comfort Inn  Biltmore West Asheville.

This  afternoon, Carol Crawford, poet, writer, editor and director of the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference, joined me for a trip here to attend a workshop for writers on publishing and marketing by Tara Lynne Groth. Tara Lynne was scheduled to teach at Writers' Circle on Saturday, but we had to cancel for  lack of interest. I am so sorry you all missed this opportunity.

This young woman gave us three hours chock full of valuable information for anyone who wants to publish  -- traditionally or by  going the  self-publishing route. As we all know, writing a book, publishing a book, is only the beginning of being successful as a writer. Writers must educate themselves on how to get the word out to the public that a book is for sale and why the public should purchase it and read it. 
Tara Lynne Groth teaches about publishing and marketing in Asheville
 Tara Lynne knows her stuff. Although she told us she would send us the text on the slides, I found myself taking tons of  notes as she revealed more and more simple and necessary methods for publicizing writing.

Whether we write poetry or prose, the knowledge we need to successfully market ourselves and  our books was discussed in this workshop. I like that she explained ways to keep from spending too much time online, yet use our time efficiently when we are there. 
I enjoyed, so much, having time with my friend, Carol, to talk writing and catch up on what is new in our lives. I hope to do more things such as this with my friends this year. Want to join me on a writer trip?

Blue Ridge Writers' Conference, April 10-11, 2015

Paula Canup, writer, journalist and former English teacher, will present a workshop on Grammar at Writers Circle,  Saturday, March 7, 2015, 10 - 12:00.
Fee: $25.00 - Schedule page

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Prompt for this week

I'm getting over a nasty virus and trying to think of food that appeals to me. Any time I am sick, I find that I become quite picky about what I want to eat.

Don't we all have certain foods that are comfort foods? Mine go back to childhood when Mother made me hot grits and butter, a very bland cereal we ate every day for breakfast with our eggs and biscuits. Most folks in the south ate grits years ago. I don't know about our modern busy world today.
But when I had an upset tummy, the  only thing I wanted was a small bowl of grits, salted and peppered, with a pat of Mother's real home made butter. 

Today, why not think about your favorite comfort food? My friend Mary Mike loves plain mashed potatoes when she feels blah. Once when I was in need of comfort, she brought a bowl of mashed potatoes to my house and I lapped them down as if they were manna from heaven. 

Today, my sister who is the best care giver for the sick, brought me macaroni and cheese. That was all I wanted -- a serving of macaroni and cheese. It perked me up and calmed me down at the same time. 

This is our prompt for this week - comfort food
Write a poem, memoir, story or essay about comfort food if this prompt strikes a chord.
I'd love to read what you write.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Marketing and Publishing class cancelled

The publishing and marketing workshop to be held at Writers Circle on Saturday, February 7, has been cancelled. We hope to have Tara Lynne Groth with us this summer.

I hope to see her and her fans in Asheville on Wednesday evening, February 4. I'll post about that workshop next week.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Modern Publishing and Marketing Workshop -CANCELLED

Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Writers Circle around the Table - Hayesville, NC
Fee: $35.00
Download Tara Lynne Groth 2013.jpg (75.0 KB)

Tara Lynne Groth - instructor

You may have finished your book or you may be a few chapters in, eventually you will need to market your book and yourself. How do you want to publish? In this course we review how traditional publishing has changed, popular self-publishing options, and how you as an author need to prepare your book and yourself for publication no matter how you choose to publish. We will also review new digital tools that help authors retain greater profits from book sales. You will leave with a custom marketing analysis specifically tailored to your existing/future books so that you can start implementing marketing strategies as soon as you like.

Tara Lynne Groth is the founder of Asheville Writers and is a full-time freelance writer. She recently finished instructing a 10-week course on Book Marketing for Duke University's OLLI continuing education program. Before starting her writing business she worked as a marketing manager and director of public relations. She speaks at events around the country on publicity and digital marketing. She is the force behind the popular blog Write Naked. (

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Words Are All We Have - Dana Wildsmith

Dana Wildsmith will be teaching Words are all we Have at Writers Circle around the Table on Saturday, April  25. Mark that date on your calendar now.

To see some of her work and see the way she thinks as a writer, visit her blog site:

River - what does it bring to mind?

In my classes I often give my students prompts or something in the way of a word or phrase to jog their minds so they think of a subject to  write about.  Over the years, I have found prompts to be excellent starters for poems or stories. 

I am going to be giving prompts on Writers Circle once or twice a week. If you like, take the prompt and see where it takes your thoughts, what images come to mind. Write a poem or prose piece. If you’d like, you can send it to me, and I will read it. I might share it on this blog.

Today’s prompt is the word: river
River immediately sends me back to the days when I rode a big yellow school bus. To get to my fourth grade school, I had to cross the big, muddy Flint River. I can still feel my fear and excitement when I looked way down from the bridge and saw the swirling water moving under the bridge. My fear of bridges over rivers haunts me to this day.

When I think of river, I also remember the time my husband and I joined a  group of friends who took boats down the Flint River and across Lake Seminole, through the  locks and ended our trip at Applachicola Bay. The warm sun on our backs and the musty smells of the dank grasses and bushes along the banks created a perfect environment for total relaxation. 

A river of tears ran down her cheeks. There were song lyrics, “I cried a river over you.” The boxes on the conveyer belt moved like a fast flowing river, never stopping.
What do you see in your mind when you say or read the word – river?