Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Request Rights Reversion

Fellow Village Writers' Club member Linda Black posted some information on her blog this morning that I thought other members of VWC would find of interest and value.  It is an article from another blog, Writer Beware, about how to request rights reversion from your publisher.  While this may be immediately relevant only to published authors, many of us hope and expect to be published one day, so it's a resource we might want to read and keep handy.  Here's a link to the original piece: How to Request Rights Reversion from Your Publisher.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Old Men Who Turn to Writing

The following is an edited version of a post I wrote on my own blog some time ago. It is the best response I can give to the challenge on this blog to write a piece themed after my own passion for writing. Though written in reference to men, I suspect it applies in some fashion, as well, to women who have a passion for writing.

Old Men Who Turn to Writing

Writing is like a drug; it can be a cure or an addiction.
Younger men write to prove themselves, to make their marks on the world. Older men write to find themselves.  They write to learn what mistakes they must undo to justify the time they have spent on this earth and to warrant the time they have left. I realize, of course, the danger in making broad inferences from specific circumstances, especially one’s own circumstances, but experience and observation tell me my perspective is more often true than not.
I have been writing, privately for the most part, almost my entire life. Early on, when I decided I wanted to write ‘seriously,’ I was not intent on writing for publication, but I wanted what I wrote to ultimately matter. I remember times as a young man, probably in my early twenties, fantasizing that after my death my writing would be ‘discovered’ and my mark on the world, therefore, would be made.  I wanted what I had to say to be important, to matter.
Over time, my interest in making my mark diminished.  My perspectives on a series of minor executive positions that I thought mattered, when I occupied them, changed. I began to see them for what they were: irrelevant positions that became temporarily and artificially important for me, the incumbent, and for the people whose own value was measured by their access to the incumbent in those positions. I came to realize that the positions and the person who held them could suddenly disappear—vaporize in an instant—and the world would not change enough to cause a flea to catch a cold.  So, I wondered, if these positions did not define my value, what did? How could I make my mark?  More importantly, is making a mark a legitimate objective or desire?  I concluded that, for some people, yes it is; those peoplewho possess skills and talents and intellects that could through their application genuinely change the worldcould and should make “changing the world” a priority. For the rest of us, our fundamental value rests somewhere else, somewhere not tethered to a position of employment or even related to work.
These changes in my perspectives on work mirrored a transformation in my perspectives on writing. As I grew older—starting in my early fifties, I think—I started to reflect on who I have been all my life.  So much of my life involved work and the value I attached to it. So much of my life revolved around the value others attached to my work. And, frighteningly, so much of my life seemed to have been molded around thinking and acting and behaving as I thought others wanted me to think and act and behave.  Questions arose in me: What am I like, really like? How can I find who I am under the veneer, absent the automatic behaviors intended to respond to and please people who, ultimately, are no more important to me than I am to them?

And so I began writing more earnestly, using words to explore ideas that might expose the man I might be, the man beneath the thatch of a lifetime of work, the man hiding under the public persona. For years now, that endeavor has claimed my early mornings, my solitary time when I write earnestly, though often not seriously.
Some of the few men who belong to the writers’ club I joined shortly after moving to Hot Springs Village are doing the same thing, I think. None of them have expressed their thoughts on the matter to me, directly, and perhaps most of them do not even realize what they are doing with their writing. But I think I can see signs of their searches. They may not have to dig as deeply as I to find something that matters, but they, too, are digging.

This much, I think, is certain: old men who turn to writing want to find a part of themselves that’s buried under the mulch of a lifetime of experience. They spend time routing around those parts of their minds unexposed to the elements, looking for something worthy for the world to see. They are looking for ways to know who they are so others—who read what they leave behind—might understand them.  And they are looking for ways to apologize for mistakes they’ve made, for the people they once were. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Old Dogs & Blue Leopards

You've heard the saying that old dogs can't learn new tricks. I'm here to tell you, not only can old dogs learn new tricks but leopards can change their spots. You don’t believe me? I tell you it is true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. For I am that old dog leaping backwards over an inflamed barrel. I’m also the blue leopard with big orange polka dots.
I describe myself as having been born backward—one foot first, and left-handed—and seem to have done most things backward ever since. At seventeen, and still a high school junior, I married a preacher and soon became known as the preacher’s wife. Today, it is difficult to imagine a girl, barely 17, take on that responsibility—a kid playing grown up. But I sailed along just fine, any answer I needed given to me by my husband. He even gave answers to many questions I never asked.
I started college as a forty-year-old freshman and in a few short years gained a degree in sociology, a master’s in educational psychology, and then a divorce! Five years later, I got engaged, bought a house, took a honeymoon in Hawaii, and married in Las Vegas on the way home.
You still with me so far on this backwards thing?
After many years working in the human services field, I retired and took on a whole new career—I wrote a mystery book that soon turned into a series of four in the Sidra Smart Mystery Series along with a cookbook to match. Then I wrote a historical novel set in Texas during WWII.
I rebranded myself as writing strong women. Why? I’ve realized that writing is my passion, but writing strong women is REALLY my passion. So, I might write mystery, historical fiction, or something else, but whatever I write, it will feature a strong woman. Of course she likely won’t start out that way, but by the time I’m through with her, I guarantee you she will be. My latest, Original Cyn, takes on a controversial subject relevant to societal discussions today. It is my first attempt to write on a topic that I know many will object to, and that’s just the way it goes. Standing in my power. Speaking truth to power.
Think that’s a reflection of my life? You bet your bottom patootie it is!
One thing I’ve learned is it makes no difference whether you live your life backwards or forwards, the important thing is that you LIVE IT! And never say never. Never not do something because you think you’re too old, too dumb, too smart, too whatever.
If you want to write and/or publish a short story, a book or a screenplay, go for it, and don't stop until you accomplish that goal. (And when you do, let me know. I'll celebrate with you.)
Oh, and the next part of that equation is to help your fellow writer accomplish their goals, too! Be there for them. Share what you've learned, put in a good word to other people about their writing, and buy their books.

Who Am I Really?

This is the first post in response to the challenge to members to write a post themed after their passions for writing.

Mary Lou Moran

One of the first things I tried when I moved to the Village was writing. I started writing back in Nebraska after a particularly tragic death in my family. Three months before my son was to be married, his fiancé was killed in a car accident.

Not only did I grieve for a lost daughter, but I had to watch my son's heart break. My husband and I stood with our son at our daughter-in-law's grave on what would have been their wedding day.

How does anyone get over something like that? I chose to write about it. And the more I wrote, the more I healed. I started with a journal, wrote poetry and essays, but never shared these with anyone, until I moved to the Village.

Writing opened up a whole new world for me. I joined the Writers’ Club, participated in a critique group and started entering contests. It was scary at first, because I was afraid the feedback would be that I shouldn’t be writing. That would have devastated me, because I love it so much.

I made a conscious decision to put tragedy behind me and started writing humor. Erma Bombeck had always been one of my favs. She became my inspiration as I started writing about everyday events and trying the see the humor in them. I found I had a knack for it and I was off and running.

I joined a readers’ theater group to help get over the fear of speaking to groups. But theater turned out to have other benefits. Acting is not possible without getting into character and, as it turns out, neither is writing. So, acting helped me break out of my shell and also develop better characters and dialogue. To date, I have written many skits and plays for senior theater, took a stab at writing a book of short plays, and couple of dinner theater plays. Anything is possible now, and I am having the time of my life.

            Who am I really? Among other things, I'm a writer and I love it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

White Country 2015 Creative Writers' Conference Details Coming Soon

The date for the White County 2015 Creative Writers' Conference is set (September 5, 2015). The organization's website says the schedule, speaker information, and contest details will be available on June 1. Mark your calendars!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Do You Have Writing Talent?

You'll have to use your cursor to move around this one, but it's worth your effort! If you want to open the source website, click here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Passion is Not Too Strong a Word


This first post to the Village Writers' Club blog is the result of passion, a passion for writing and for sharing the thoughts and emotions that spill forth when we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. My hope, as the anonymous writer of this first post, is that the Village Writers' Club blog, called "Passion for Writing," will serve as a working companion to the Club's website, a place members can go for inspiration and information.

Toward that end, I'm issuing a challenge that I  hope will inspire each of you who visits this blog to write a short piece—a poem, a short story, a personal recollection—themed after your passion for writing.

Village Writers' Club members who have already accepted the invitation to be a contributor can post directly to the blog (just go to and sign in, then follow the prompts to write a post).  If you have not yet become a contributor, send your piece, via email (use the subject "BLOG SUBMISSION" for your email), to and we'll post them to our blog.

By the way, be sure to tell us whether you want your name included when we publish your submission to the blog (some of us are a little shy).