Tag Archives: Houston Writer’s Guild

Pop Shop Houston Adventure

IMAG0359The Houston Writer’s Guild went to Pop Shop Houston. It is held every year around this time in a big warehouse on Edwards Street (off Sawyer) called Silver Street studios. We invite all our authors to participate in these events we attend.

All the events we get involved with are excellent not only for showcasing our wonderful authors but also for promoting who the Houston Writer’s Guild is and what we do. We are an organization that promotes writing and writers. We offer classes, and workshops and conferences to our members throughout the year.

At Pop Shop Houston we did something a bit different. We laid out pads of paper and wrote a sentence at the top of each page. A different sentence for each, as a story starter. We asked every person who passed to write a sentence with their initials at the beginning of each. The results were hilarious.

The others are published on the Houston Writer’s Guild Facebook page. Go there to read the others.

Here is an example from today:

She knew the time had come to start the

()journey for something true and real. (si) To find who took her left arm, and to demand answers. (cs) The woman yodeled her way out of the questioning, (mw) but they persisted to hold her in captivity ()for her crimes in Brighton, England. (cr) But crimes are all in the eye of the beholder, stealing candy was never a crime! The girl flung her remaining arm up and escaped the menacing pair. Down she went, cobble stone clapping against her shoes. Where could she flee? Willie’s, of course!

November 2015: News You Can Use

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.
The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!
This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!


Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me
Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.


Writers You Need to Meet

This blog hop introduces you to some writers you may not know, and gives a glimpse of their work and style. I was tagged HERE for this Blog Hop by writer Pamela Fagan Hutchins – here’s her introduction, and following Pamela I’ll introduce you to three other writers you need to know, after I answer a few questions.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes award-winning and bestselling romantic mysteries and hilarious nonfiction, and moonlights as a workplace investigator and employment attorney. She is passionate about great writing, smart authorpreneurship, and her two household hunks, husband Eric and one-eyed Boston terrier Petey. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.


Saving Grace, the lead book in the Katie & Annalise series (#7 Nook/#34 Kindle/#47 iBooks bestseller) is now free, FOREVER! You can get it free everywhere! The Jumbie House, a short story expanded outtake from Leaving Annalise, #2 in the Katie & Annalise series, is also free in ebooksaving harmoney form. Pamela’s NEWEST BESTSELLER is the second book in the  Katie & Annalise series, Leaving Annalise.  Leaving-Annalise-The third book in the award-winning and Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes best-selling Katie & Annalise series, Finding Harmony, is now an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist (Winner TBA 7-21-14) and bestseller itself!

Pamela has written numerous non-fiction books including “What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes? and how can I be one, too?

This is Rebecca again and now I will answer a few questions, which may have been answered in a previous blog. That’s okay, sometimes the content is constantly updating.

What am I working on?

Besides trying to keep up a steady marketing agenda for my two published novels, I am currently writing a lot of reviews, working on a Y/A (I’m typing up the outline), and a new short story: a prequel to The Dry. It’s so short that it should be called a prologue. I decided you needed to see how the key was stolen.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

 The Dry is a historical fantasy set in West Virginia. There aren’t a lot of those around. Deadly Thyme is a psychological suspense set in Cornwall, England. There are a few of those around, but I venture to say that you’ll still get a fantastic jolt reading this one. My Y/A is a fact-based fiction set in 1970 Houston. Is it about me? Not really. You would quickly be dulled to death if it were.

Why do I write what I write?

I have a compulsion to tell stories. I’ve done it all my life. When I was a child they were called lies. Okay, I’m kidding, I only lied when it was completely necessary, and the rest of the time I made up stories to entertain my friends or the cats – whoever would listen. Now I make up stories to entertain my friends: YOU!

How does my writing process work?

I have some time each morning to set up my work station. After running through my social media obligations (Okay, I read the funny stuff on Facebook), I set up my daily goal for writing. Sometimes my writing equals a blog post. That’s okay. It’s still writing. I write a synopsis first. A synopsis is like the story condensed to one page – or even one sentence. Writing the synopsis first is much easier than saving it until the end because there are always subplots that feel too important to leave out and subplots make for a long synopsis. Can a writer skip the synopsis? Absolutely not! It is probably the most important part of the process next to writing the first page and the last page.

Now to introduce you to some fantastic authors!

You really need to click on their links. They are amazing!!

Chris Rogers

A visual and literary creative, Chris Rogers began her journey as a graphic designer. Corporate and commercial promotions occupied most of her creative energy during those early years, but Roger’s adventurous spirit led her into diverse avenues where she designed personalized glassware, ceramic tile, and the launch issue of a national magazine.

With the advent of computerized graphics and an economic downturn, she was faced with a difficult choice: either learn this new electronic design tool or choose a new career. She began looking at what that new career might be – writing and illustrating children’s books? Travel writing and photography? She tried her hand at each, and sold her photo-illustrated articles to regional and national publications, but before she was fully committed in any direction, a fire gutted her studio.

After salvaging a single drawing table from the ruins, she continued creating marketing materials for clients while seeking a new path in the literary world. Many rejections later, her stories began to win awards. A major publisher produced her suspense novels in print, electronic, and audio formats. Lauded by fans and critics, the books were translated into three languages, and the series was optioned for film.

While continuing to explore the literary venue, Chris inevitably embraced the creative form of paint on canvas, which allows her narrative flair and graphic origins to unfold in unison. While creating new canvases, she also participates in the design of her book covers. Her paintings can be found in private and corporate collections.

“A lover of art and storytelling since grade school, I opened one of my favorite books one day and wondered if I could ever write half as well as Dean Koontz or Minette Walters or Steven King. How did they create such intricate plots? I started with children’s books – after all – I was a mother … I should understand kids, right?

Well, not so much. So I wrote a romance novel – I’d been married, so I should know a little about romance.

cover-BitchFactor-177x300A little was about it. A very nice rejection letter told me there was more mystery in my story than romance. So I owned up to my true calling and, when my suspense thriller Bitch Factor was published, Romantic Times magazine gave it four-and-a-half stars. Rage Factor and Chill Factor also earned high marks for the romantic thread.

The truth is, mystery and suspense novels have always intrigued me, but I also enjoy romance, science-fiction, horror and fantasy, as well as the occasional mainstream novel by such wonderful authors as E. Annie Proulx.

My literary niche, it turns out, is dark and gritty with an occasional humorous twist. If you like that sort of story, you’ll find my books and short stories thoroughly engaging.”

Megan LaFollet

Megan La Follett was born in Florence and went to college in Rome, but she’s never been to Italy; she’s looking forward to the day that isn’t true! She has loved books from before she could repeat the alphabet and has fond memories of devouring every story in the children’s and folklore sections in her hometown library.

She cut her teeth writing as both a Game Master and a player on the play-by-post forums of the publisher of the world’s most popular tabletop RPG, where she was happily surprised to find that her games were popular enough to draw spectators. Writing for game threads is like drafting a book you can’t revise, with characters you can’t control. In other words, a wild ride!

With three children ranging from a kindergartener down to a toddler (with a spitfire in between), and a freelance editing and book design business, she’s pretty sure she’s insane for getting serious about this whole writing thing. But if that’s insanity, she’s in good company and couldn’t be happier!

“I have been, at different stages of life and for varying lengths of time: a horse trainer, a gas station attendant (in Oregon and New Jersey, pumping gas is too hazardous for amateurs), a math tutor, an underpaid lab assistant, a sandwich artist (and a manager of teenage sandwich artists), and a scientist. Somehow or another, that all led to who I am now: mother, wife, freelance editor, writer. Which only makes sense when you understand that what I’ve always been, no matter what the job description said, is a book lover. Story, in all myriad forms, captivates me.”

Denise Saterfield

If you wish to be a writer; write!” – Epictetus the Greek philosopher

Promo Photo

I couldn’t agree more with Epictetus so in June 2011, after 25 + years at the same job, I decided to take a leap of faith, quit the safety of a “regular” job, and pursue a full-time career in writing.  You see, writing was a passion that I rediscovered after enrolling into college many, many, many years after graduating from highschool.  I’ve always heard, it’s never too late.  Well, it’s not!  So, after 10 years of studying, I reaped the rewards of hard work and determination and received a degree in Professional Writing.  Today, graduation day remains on my Top 10 List of Happiest Days of My Life.

When I think about writing, I get happy.  My brain kicks into overdrive and the ideas flow freely like Niagara Falls!  That’s what brings me here!

My main writing focus is Children’s Books – all categories of Children’s Books – Picture Books, Early Reader Chapter Books, and Middle Grade Books.  You can see what I’m working on by clicking the WORKS IN PROGRESS tab above.  I intend to publish for children under the name Denise Ditto so be on the look out for my new Children’s webpage and Facebook page coming soon.

I also write short stories, essays, and I blog.  I have a Writer’s Blog which you can click here or the above link to visit.  I p0st a variety of articles about things that interest me on this blog site.

In addition, I have several other blogs.  A movie blog called The Ditto Review, Play it Again Sam, and I recently launched The Ditto Book Review , a book review blog.

Houston Writer’s Guild 2012 Conference Goes Without a Hitch

Today’s writing conference with the Houston Writer’s Guild was very well organized (Thank you, Roger Paulding) and well attended. The guest speakers were excellent.

Chitra Divakaruni, author of many books including Mistress of Spices, told us that not one word we ever write is truly wasted. Even if we toss it away, that word led us to another word or another way to phrase something so it is a stepping stone to being better. So keep writing.

Nikki Loftin was hilarious, positive, and thought provoking. She used parts of fairy tales as analogies. For instance, there are witches in our lives who want to keep us from writing. Sometimes the biggest witch is our inner voice telling us to “quit writing and get on with your life!” (that one’s my own personal witch just now popping out of the dungeon) Or she talked about keeping our bread crumbs so we can find our way out of the woods (a scary dark place where we can forget why we keep writing). A bread crumb might be remembering that first time I realized a sentence that I created was wonderful. Or the feeling of finally completing a novel. Yes. I’m keeping my bread crumbs, Nikki. I’m going to put a big poster on the wall with all my bread crumbs on it.

Ken Atchity talked about the changing book marketplace, the film industry, and then he left us with an encouraging poem about being on the first step of a writing career. In other words if we could make it past all the discouragement and rejections into a place where we have completed a writing project is huge step. His story merchant companies http://www.aeionline.com and http://www.thewriterslifeline.com provide a one-stop full-service development and management machine for commercial and literary writers who wish to launch their storytelling in all media.

The break-out sessions with the editors and agents went smoothly this year. I say that because I heard no grumbling or complaining. And some compliments. So … well done you people!

I thought the Panera Bread sandwiches at lunch were great – we could grab one and eat and talk to people and mingle. So that was so much nicer than a sit down lunch.

And here is a little something that has nothing to do with the conference.