Friday, August 24, 2012

It's been awhile since I've been on here, but I've been extremely busy. As many of you know, I have started my own publishing company and that has kept me away from the blog and a lot of other things, but I'm finding I love this new job! That being said, I do have to wonder what's happening in the writing world. Whether writers realize it or not, the publishing business is a small world. I've been talking to several different small press editors the last few weeks--those that have graciously answered my questions and helped me learn how to get this business up and going. And in talking to those editors, I heard the same thing again and again. Writers who were so unhappy about the rejections they recieved that they felt the need to write to the editors and let them know just how dumb and amauterish the editors were for rejecting said manuscript. My questions is--in this new age of small press, do writers feel that because it is a small press, they can take a chance on alienating editors with nasty letters and emails? It's not done if you want to continue forging social networks in the publishing world. I know these editors and I know they were not rude when rejecting the manuscripts. Although to writers, it may feel that way when they get that dreaded form letter saying this isn't for us. But that's no excuse for blatant rudeness in return. As a writer myself, I know how those rejections can hurt and I know I've had some not so pleasant thoughts about those editors that rejected me. But, that's all they were--thoughts. Many times, especially if the editor took the time to hand write a note on my ms, I sent a thank you card that said, "Even though my story wasn't right for you at this time, I do thank you for your consideration." Trust me, this was appreciated by the editor and a lot of times, they would take the next story I sent. Simply because I was curteous and reacted in a professional manner. Not long ago, a writer emailed me to complain about another editor! An editor I knew well. Do you honestly think I did not relay that message? I most certainly did, because that editor had the right to know what was being said. Loose tongues hurt business. I am not ranting about rude writers. I am trying to help writers understand that the publishing business is tough enough these days without the writer sabotaging themselves in the process. Writers don't have to like the rejection--just please--for the sake of publication--don't vent to the editors and tell them how little they know. It will not win the writer friends. For those of you who didn't know I had started my own publishing company, you can check it out at We've released three books at this time: A Kiss In the Rain by Dacia Wilkinson, an inspirational romance, The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins, a young adult and Sunbelt Gothic by Billie Louise Jones, a collection of short stories. Watch our website for new releases coming up. And I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful experience with publishers small, large and in between! Keep writing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cosmic Twins

Is there such a thing as cosmic twins? According to Wikipedia, there is. "It is the name commonly given to a phenomenon in which two people from separate families, sometimes even separate geographic locations, feel upon meeting each other that they have known each other for longer than they actually have. Cosmic twins will usually form a close friendship in a comparatively short amount of time."

There you have it. I have a cosmic twin. It all came about in such an innocent way--who knew what would happen. A few months ago, I got a check in the mail made out to Regina Williams. It was a refund check and I was thrilled to get it. However, upon reading further, I realized it was for a Regina Williams in Alabama.

Since I am also a believer in "what goes around, comes around," I sent the check to its rightful owner. And discovered my cosmic twin. Who happens to have the same name as I do. Which in itself is freaky, but it gets even more so.

My sister and her daughter are both named Rhonda. We're both Irish. We like taking pictures of flowers, we use the same phrases in our speech, and we have the same sense of humor. (Which is a very scary thing all by itself.) When her daugter read one of my letters, she said, "Good grief, Mom, she sounds just like you!"

And like Wikipedia said, we have formed a close friendship in a very short time. Instant friendship is a wonderful thing. You can never have enough friends, cosmic or not.

But I'm thinking I should make a trip to Alabama and talk to my cosmic twin's mother. How can two people, who knew nothing of the other's existence until a few short months ago, be so much alike? Me thinks there's a Williams in the woodpile!!!

I know we've only scratched the surface, that there is so much more we'll discover about one another that will make me say, "Well duh," when she asks if I like or dislike something or she says something that I know I would say.

So hello Regina Williams, it is a great pleasure to get to know you. Who knows, in getting to know each other, we just might come to know ouselves a little better.

And to those of you out there, who have said or thought, "Thank goodness there is only one of you." I say, "nayah, nayah, nayah! The joke's on you!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Southern Weird

      How many of you have ever read Southern Weird? Probably more of you than you realize. There are a lot of books on the shelves right now that deal with Southern Weird, and I'm not talking non-fiction.
     Southern weird is, of course, about the south, and they are filled with strange and slightly off-norm characters. Think Joan Hess for one.
     Seems like all Southern writers know weird. We've been around it since the day we were born. Now I'm not saying weird is a bad thing. Some of the weirdest people I know are some of the nicest. They just look at life a little more differently than most people.
     Here's a couple of Southern weird that I grew up with: The rich lady who would steal rather than pay and was too cheap to buy a good pair of underwear. The entire town got to see the elastic deprived, frayed and yellowed pair when they gave up the ghost and fell around her ankles while she was crossing the street. Without missing a beat, she stepped out of them and kept on going. Southern Weird. Or the man who, when drunk, which was most of the time, would get to feeling down. He'd come to my minister father and say, "Joe, you got to baptise me. I'm gonna die, tonight and I don't want to go to hell." Dad knew the man wouldn't remember being baptised the next morning, so he tried to discourage it. It didn't work. The man went to crying, begging Daddy to baptise him, because he was sure he was going to die. It was late afternoon and the only water around (the creek on the farm was dry) was the stock pond. The man said that was just fine. So, we all trooped down to the pond, through the chiggers, ticks and cow dung, to the pond where Dad did his duty as a minister. The man walked down the road, dripping water, singing, "Just As I Am." Of course, the next day, he was just as drunk. Southern Weird.
     A few years ago, I was surfing the net and came across, "Dead Mule School of Southern Literature." Now, what southerner in their right mind (question mark here) could resist a name like that? I sure couldn't. I checked it out and the guidelines were so weird, I had to give it a shot. You had to write a letter proving you lived in the south or had at some point in time. I wrote something like: "Me and my hound, Blue, sit on the front porch drinking sweet ice tea while my daddy baptised a drunk in the pond. 'Nough said?" The guidelines also stated that if there was a dead mule in the story, you were more likely to get it published.
     My story, "Delilah," was born and since Delilah became a dead mule in the story, and my southern credentials checked out, I made it in. Now you go telling someone that you've been published in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and watch their reactions. It was worth it to be published there just to see the looks on their face!
     Dead Mule, by the way, is still publishing. If you're southern and weird, go take a look. I think you'll like it.
     I'm working on my own Southern Weird novel right now--"The Cat's In the Cradle". It would be a shame to let all those "characters" I grew up with slip away without some acknowledgement. I'm also hard at work lobbying for "Southern Weird," to have its own genre. It's time.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Computer Age

Coming into the electronic age at this stage of my life is a daunting proposition. Facebook fan pages, Twitter, blogs, You-Tube, all there to use for advertising, getting things off your chest, or to help someone learn a craft, to giving suggestions and encouragement for weightier problems. And you can even get your book or short stories on Kindle, Nook and a dozen other sites for purchase by the general public. A wonderful tool. Except I’m not even sure what Twitter is and what it does!
            So, how do we, as the behind-the-times generation figure all this out? If you have younger friends, talk to them. You can always go to your local high school or college and find a computer whiz—every high school or college has at least one—and pay them a nominal fee to help you set it all up. There are professionals who will do the same thing, but at a higher price, of course. You can order books from Amazon or go to your library for step-by-step instructions on Twitter, Facebook fan pages, Kindle, or any other medium you want to learn. It’s out there, we just have to find it—and understand it. Sometimes the instructions are harder to figure out than the actual set up.
            We don’t have to remain in the dark ages, but we do have to educate ourselves. And while not always easy, especially if you’re not at all familiar with computers, it can be done. There is no reason for any of us to remain in the uncomputerized past.
            And I keep telling myself that over and over and over…
            So if you were to pass my house one night and the air resonates with not so nice words and phrases, please don’t investigate, (unless you’re a computer whiz, then please feel free to break down the door) it’s only me—trying to enter this brave new world—kicking and screaming all the way (literally).

Friday, May 13, 2011

     How many times, as a writer, you've thought to youself, I don't know what to write. We've all been there. I've heard writers say, "I never have to look for stories. They are all around me." Others have agonized for weeks or longer due to lack of inspiration.
     So why is it that some writers can write a riveting story about the earthworm they encountered on their walk, while others make majestic mountains and deep, lush valleys sound mundane? I wish I knew. I want to be one of those writers who can make the earthworm a work of wonder for my readers.
     During my writing journey, I've written everything from humorous to the dark exploration of the human psyche, with a few stories that are undefinable on the side. With fiction, all I have to worry about is telling a good tale, fleshing it out with a sense of place and "showing" my readers what's happening at any given time. I have to get and keep the readers attention and give them a sense of satisfaction when they're finished. To me, this is fairly easy. I can make up anything.
     With non-fiction, I have a little more trouble. Ideas flow like a babbling brook chasing rainbows downstream. I'm filled to overflowing with ideas. But--can I paint a picture filled with verdant green hills echoing with mockingbird songs that will satisfy my reader and make them want to visit that place? Can I describe the day I drove down a country road and saw a man sitting on his front porch, fiddle under his chin? Is it possible for me to explain the deep abiding peace I felt as I pulled to the side of the road to listen to the hauntingly beautiful strains of music that flowed over the valleys and touched the treetops with an elegance not found in Carnegie Hall?
     These are my sometimes writing blocks--the fear of being unable to show how much that fiddle player on a back road in Arkansas affected me. Can I loosen up enough to put my innermost thoughts down for all to see--how tears flowed down my face as I listened to that untrained fiddle player make the sweetest music I've ever heard? Can I convey to my reader the mirable and wonder of that lowly earthworm?
     As a writer, I must try. There are days I fail miserably, but other days, the words flow freely and I know, as surely as a butterfly emerges from a coccon, that my words will surely touch someone, somewhere.
     And, as a writer, this is all I can strive for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I just returned from Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc., 2011 conference. It was a pleasure to speak to the attendees and meet and greet new people and visit with old friends. A wonderful conference, smooth as glass--at least to our eyes. The powers that were in charge may have had heart-stopping moments, but the rest of us never knew and that's what makes great leaders. They suffer in silence or quietly on the sidelines. Thanks to everyone for having me and for the special treatment.

If you've never attended a conference, you should really think about doing so. This is the place where you meet, not only other writers like yourself, but agents and editors. And just so you know, conferences do make a difference; I contracted my first writing assignment at a conferenc, and my book, "Washed in the Blood," is now with a New York agent that I met at a one. After attending one, you'll be anxious to get back home and write all the stories you thought of while listening to speakers, or from conversations you heard in passing. So plan to attend one if at all possible. Besides, they are a lot of fun.

Keep an eye on this blog for my upcoming blurb for my book, "Washed in the Blood," a suspense novel.

Never stop writing.