We Make It To Madison

Yesterday we took a pleasant road trip to Madison to deliver lots of books for our signing scheduled for January 15. I drove, and T. Lee, Marian and Samantha rode along. Frank, the owner, made a list of every book, how many we had, and what he would pay us when they sell. He is a cheerful and professional bookstore owner and he said he’s really looking forward to having us there. He asked how many might be there because his wife plans to bring refreshments.

It’s an easy 45 minutes from Clarksville, straight over to Highway 62. He’s having his fifth anniversary on March 19 and asked if we’d like to be a part of a bookfair he’s having. The entire time we were in his store, people were coming and going, buying books. He carries mostly used paperbacks and he LOVES books. You can donate your old paperbacks to him if you’d like, or he can trade them for you.

It should be fun. The rain (snow and ice) date is January 22. Does everyone plan to attend?



Better Late Than Never

Our rotten, lazy, no-good slacker webmaster (I am the webmaster) forgot to post this report on this SIW appearance. Here it is, with sincere apologies from the RLNGSW.



On Sunday, Nov. 1, SIW was invited to the Old Bridge Inn bed and breakfast to participate in a fund raiser day of ghost story telling to benefit the Animal Protection Association. Personally, I was more than willing to help the APA out a bit. Back in May, when SIW had a table at the Howard Steamboat Museum’s Chautauqua, I was adopted by a tiny ball of fluff named Taylor who was then residing in an APA display cage. He has since moved in and is now a full fledged member of the feline family.

As glad as we were for the invite, the timing of the event couldn’t have been much worse. Most of SIW’s members were out of town or had prior commitments, so it wound up being just Dirk Griffin and myself. One other member tried to make it, but her GPS kept sending her to a cemetery instead of the B&B. Sorta appropriate for a day of ghost stories if you want to get right down to it. *snicker*

Old Bridge Inn is a beautiful place with high ceilings and inlaid hardwood floors. That day, it was decorated with wonderful vintage Halloween items ranging from tiny jack-o-lanterns on the twin dining tables to the nattily attired papier mache pumpkin-head frozen in the act of tipping his lid to passersby. There were no photos, I’m sorry to say. Airhead that I am, I didn’t think to bring my camera. I’ll have to get my mind wrapped around that idea a bit before it becomes second nature to me. It’s a shame, too. Linda Williams, the inn’s owner, had us set up in a gorgeous glassed-in side porch with a HUGE table. When I saw the layout, I was glad I’d tossed the tin cat lanterns and faience ushabtis to help fill up the space. I was kicking myself that I’d been too lazy to dig out the box with the other iron stands; they fit well with her antique decor and we had ample room for more. Needless to say, Beastly Tales, the book with Boudicca on the cover got a lot of attention from the APA folks.

Dirk read his story the Lover from our ninth anthology, There’s Something Under the Bed-Time Stories, and got a great reception. Afterward, one of the ladies told him his aura was golden and that there was a gentleman in a frock coat standing behind him. One of the Old Bridge Inn’s resident ghosts coming to enjoy the story? Who knows.

Even though it was a small turnout, we sold several books and made some excellent contacts. Book sales AND contacts AND we were able to donate a portion of our sales to the APA. Can’t beat that combo. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and the current plan is to do it again next year, but on Halloween night rather than All Hallows Day. Also, instead of a tour of the B&B, there will be a full walking tour of the street. Linda Williams would like SIW to set up to read and sell again then. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun and SIW is looking forward to it already.



Halloween on the Square

We put up our display in front of Magadalena’s Cafe on the Square, as arranged. Yes, it was chilly, but not too bad. We sold and signed books, passed out our brochures, enjoyed watching people, and schmoozed with anybody who stopped by. We petted a rat. A real one, but a tame one, not a wild one, and a very pretty rat it was, too.

One couple we met were the Alstotts. They’ve recently bought a building on the square in Corydon, with plans to turn it into an independent bookstore within two years. They want to feature local and regional writers, and we were delighted to swap information with them.

During a break in the festivities, we filled in by reading Joy Kirchgessner’s story “Hungry” from GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE…AND ELSEWHERE…. When the story was over, the reader asked a young listener if the story scared him. “No,” he said. Then, apparently consumed with honesty, he said, “…Well, a little.” Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaa!

Our roving photographer took this hideous picture of a clown (what else?) in front of the Tent of Horror. Some people don’t care what they do to innocent children.


Here is a picture of T Lee Harris in her Renaissance costume, reacting to the news that there was a clown in the vicinity. With apologies to King David: Yea, though we walk through the valley of the Tent of Horror, we will fear no blue-haired clowns, for T is with us. Her whacking big stick, it comforts us.


We packed up and left before the parade. As usual, a fine time was had by all.

Only one more appearance scheduled for the group this year, as listed on our calendar.



Hawksview Gig

Hawksview JoannaThe Southern Indiana Writers invaded Kentucky this past weekend. We set up headquarters at the Hawksview Gallery and Cafe, a fabulous showcase for local artists, an art glass factory and aHawksview restaurant featuring above-the-ordinary but reasonably priced food. They are not paying us to say that.

Some of the SIW couldn’t make it, some preferred not to wear costumes and some–okay, ONE, and you know who you are–threatened to hurt your humble webmaster if she saw her picture up here with kitty ears on it. Naming no names, but look back through these postings for the picture of the one with the name badge stuck to her forehead.

Anyway, we were at the Hawksview on Friday for the dinner crowd and on Saturday for the lunchers. We read stories from our various anthologies, talked about the group and mingled with the patrons.

Hawksview TJoanna dressed as a fortune teller, Ginny is our own little Nanny Ogg, T wore a Renaissance gown she made herselfHawksview Ginny and carried a cedar staff she fashioned out of a limb that fell from a tree in her back yard, Jeannine wore a beautiful Colonial-style dress, and Marian says she was dressed as October. Smart money says she was just too lazy to assemble or make a real costume.

We met a woman who writes poetry but had no one with whom to share her love of writing, and we were able to give her the contact information for a couple of groups near her. We met a woman who doesn’t like to read but who discovered, through our presentation, that she loves being read to–she’s going to look into getting books on tape. She also asked if we have any of our stories recorded. We don’t, but we have a new project…. We met another woman who doesn’t write, but is a creative decorator, who wants to catch us at another gig sometime. We hope she does; she was a lovely and fascinating person.

Our next gig is, in fact, this coming Saturday, Hawksview JeannineOctober 24th. We’ll be sellingHawksview Marian books at Halloween on the Square in Corydon, Indiana, in front of Magdalena’s Restaurant and Cafe on the Square. We may also be reading at the First State Capitol Building–that part of the plan is still under construction. We’ll be in front of Magdalena’s at the very least from 5-9, but may be there earlier. Whether or not we read at the First State Capitol Building, we can probably be persuaded to do requests. Oh, and we’ll be GIVING AWAY FREE COUPONS for Magdalena’s with every purchase. You know the routine–the more you spend, the more you save. Makes a great gift, too.

Hope to see you in Corydon at Halloween on the Square on the 24th!


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Happenings–Then and Now

On the evenings of October 2 and 3, members of SIW participated in Corydon’s Unsavory Past, a recreation of hair-raising happenings unearthed and compiled by C.M. Keasling of the Hoosierunsavorypast100209 Elm Chapter of the DAR. We used her compilations as inspiration for our stories in GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE… AND ELSEWHERE…. Ms. Keasling and her cohort Sharon Uhl were there, too, selling copies of the DAR books.

Here is a picture of some of us. Nevertheless, we sold some books and so did the DAR, so we were all pleased with the event and hope to participate again next year.

Coming up is a marathon reading at the Hawksview Gallery and Cafe in southern Louisville. We’ll be there on Friday the 16th for the dinner crowds–5-9–and again on Saturday 17th for lunch–11:30-3–and again for the dinner hours. Reservations are recommended. We’ll be reading from and signing/selling whatever books we have currently in print, including GHOSTS, NOVEL INGREDIENTS (stories followed by relevant recipes) and MOST WANTED (stories of crimes and desires).

Y’all come!


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We Are All About Field Trips!

siw 9-3-9

In belated honor of the publication of member Joanna Foreman’s book, GHOSTS OF INTERSTATE 65, we met at a restaurant and chowed down. We actually got some conversation and business taken care of, although the noise level and multiple large-screen tvs showing different shows while an unrelated soundtrack played…. Well, as one member put it, “This is not a good place for someone with ADHD.”

dalemobile Fellow Southern Indiana Writers Group members T. Lee Harris and Marian Allen and friend Dale met at T’s house. Friend Dale had loaded books in the back of the Dalemobile. We three piled in on top of them and Dale drove us to the Indianapolis library, where we met fellow member Joanna Foreman, who brought copies of her book GHOSTS OF INTERSTATE 65. The Indy library was having an authors’ awards celebration, including a book fair featuring Indiana authors. We had one and a half tables between the three of us.

Here is a picture of the SIW table, being manned by adjunct member Cal A. Vera, a seasonal writer. We met some terrific people and heard great stories. Gave away a lot of information on self-publishing, forming and maintaining a critique group and on our 15 titles.

Next stop: Corydon.



ConText 2009 part 2

Saturday, the actual convention actually began for us, although there had been programming on Friday which we pretty well missed, what with one thing and another.

The hotel had a dynamite breakfast buffet but guess what? We only got two tickets per day. Five people, two days, four tickets. Our friend Dave Creek, who had his own room, also had two tickets per day. One person, two days, four tickets. Since he’s a stand-up guy, he gave us his extra tickets. Since SOME of us slept in, we had enough to cover us. I’m sure the literary world is happy to hear that.

Saturday, we participated in a panel called “Yeah, I’m A Geek, and Your Point Is?” There were lit geeks and tech geeks, computer geeks, history geeks– The upshot seemed to be that anyone who is passionate about anything, so passionate that he/she wants to share that passion with everyone, whether everyone wants to share or not, is a geek. There are just some forms of geekiness that society accepts and applauds (mostly sports and celebrity obsessions) and some not so much. To raise a happy child into a happy adult, be open to his/her particular geekiness, and don’t try to impose your own.

From noon to 2pm, we participated in a mass autograph session. Most of the attending authors were there, ready to sign their work. Not all of them, because there were panels, readings, workshops and gaming going on concurrently, not to mention lunch, and not all authors were there, and relatively few fans. At a small, friendly con like this one, where everyone mingles all weekend, there’s really no pressure to hit the autograph session in order to get your favorite author’s signature.

Two members went to the session on using fortune telling cards to brainstorm stories, something some of us have used for years. The session was informative, nevertheless, which is why it’s a good idea to take advantage of presentations telling you about things you “already know”–a fresh take on a familiar subject can open doors and windows in your mind and make everything you already know new and invigorated. Later that night, we found a couple of free online tarot reading sites and had a character ask, “Why am I not as cool as the villain in my book?” One of us thought the answer was, “Because your author won’t let you be,” but the character’s author thought the answer was, “Because you aren’t.” Or something. It was late.

Back to the conference: Some of us were on a panel called “Why Write About Freedom?” One panelist said it for all of us when he said, “Lest we forget.” We write about freedom because freedom is a basic human drive, and we need to keep being reminded that it isn’t free and it isn’t easily held. The balance between liberty and security is one, the panel and audience agreed, that has to be constantly monitored both socially and in our individual lives. The panel had a wide range of participants, from a Libertarian to a Labor Union proponent. Lively.

Attended a panel called “Can You Love Your Characters?” Consensus was that you must love them–even the unlovable ones–or you’ll write flat characters; you mustn’t love them TOO much…or you’ll write flat characters. The “wicked” ones have to have important virtues and the “good” ones have to have important flaws. A personal note: It seems to be easier as a writer to give villains endearing characteristics than it is to give “the good guy” serious flaws.

Back in the room, we were out of towels (five women, two nights, four towels), so one of our number went to the desk and requested more. She had no sooner returned than Housekeeping brought a stack of towels that seemed to say, “Take some showers. Please.” The phone rang. The desk wanted to be sure the towels had arrived. We were like, “Are they having trouble with Housekeeping embezzling towels, or what?” “Yes, the towels arrived.” “Was there anything you need?” “…Um, two blankets.” “Certainly, right away. Will two be enough?” “…Yes, two will be enough.” Then we were like, “Did they run out and buy more? Did somebody check out? Are these infected with chicken pox or diphtheria?” But we slept well and we slept warm. Turn off the light. Click

We had back-to-back panels on “Writers Groups and Workshops” and “How To Publish Your Group’s Anthology”. Neither was well-attended, since check-out was at 11, but the people who were there REALLY wanted to know about the subjects. Writers Groups: If you can’t find one, start one. Starting one is good, because you can make up the rules you want and tell any members you attract, “These are the rules.” A critique group should work to make each member’s work do what that member wants his/her work to do. If all the stories from that group sound alike, the group isn’t working correctly. A workshop should know what it’s purpose is, state its purpose to people who might want to attend, then do its best to deliver. The publishing panel brought out the importance of shopping around for publisher and publishing packages. It also underlined the frustration of trying to find the right price point for selling a self-published anthology: Price it too high, and no one will buy it; price it too low, and bookstores that require a 40%-50% commission for selling the books eat all the profits and bite into the production cost.

And so ended the conference. Lovely time. Looking forward to next year.

Our next stop: Indianapolis Author’s Fair on September 26.


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