February, 2013 Monthly Meeting: Writing a Romance Novel with Pamela Britton

Pamela BrittonAt our February meeting award-winning romance writer Pamela Britton will discuss aspects of writing the romance novel.

With over a million books in print, Pamela Britton likes to call herself the best known author nobody’s ever heard of. Of course, that’s begun to change thanks to a certain licensing agreement with that little racing organization known as NASCAR

Nowadays it’s not unusual to hear her books being discussed by the likes of Jay Leno, Keith Olbermann, or Stephen Colbert. Flip open a magazine and you might read about her, too, in Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, or Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine. Channel surf and you might see her on CNN, ESPN, ABC or NBC.

But before the glitz and glamour of NASCAR, Pamela wrote books that were frequently voted the best of the best by The Detroit Free Press, Barnes & Noble (two years in a row) and RT BOOKclub Magazine. She’s won numerous writing awards, including the National Reader’s Choice Award, and a nomination for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion.

When not following the race circuit, Pamela writes full-time from her ranch in Northern California where she lives with her husband, daughter and, at last count, twenty-one four-legged friends.

Monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month from 10:30 am-12:30 pm in at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Memorial Hall. Doors open at 10:00am and the meeting begins promptly at 10:30am. All Saints Episcopal Church is located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA.

If you’ve not yet paid your annual membership fee of $20, please pay our Membership Director, Jennifer H., at the door when you arrive. Thank you!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Member Monday: This Amazing Body by Beth Maxey

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature member Beth Maxey.  She writes about appreciating her amazing body.  Beth is busy healing from a recent foot surgery, so please join me in reading her lovely piece and wishing her a speedy recovery.

This Amazing Body

by Beth Maxey

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my body, and contemplating each part, especially this morning as I lay on the massage table.

Like most women, and many men, too, I suppose, I’m not a huge fan of what’s there. It’s long and lumpy and somewhat squishy. There is dimpled or wrinkly skin where it was once smooth. An assortment of scars and marks decorate limbs, torso, even face.

A couple of toes are bent and a little stiff; my thumb joints are thick and frozen. My gait can be a little stiff, depending on achy hip joints or lower back; my left elbow doesn’t flex all the way out; my shoulders creak and my neck can grind.

But it works.

My legs take me where I need to go, and my balance is pretty good as long as I do regular yoga. My feet need extra cushioning in my shoes these days but they are straight and still nice looking. I can stand up straight and tall: my back is no more curved than it’s ever been, and I consciously ‘telescope’ my spine and pull my shoulders back when I stand. I can bend over to pull weeds or plant seedlings or pick something up off the floor and get back up again without help.

My arms and shoulders let me carry shopping bags or groceries or pots or piles of fresh laundry or kitties or babies, and I can hoist a sling full of firewood into the house if I need to. My hands slice and chop and shred food for our meals, and I can still easily type with all 10 fingers, and knit or sew or thread a needle.. They may be a little lumpy in places, but they don’t hurt.

My eyes see well, actually better now that I’ve had cataract surgery than I saw all of my adult life, and they let me read and watch movies and ocean waves and plays and see my honey’s big brown eyes right before I turn out the light at night. My ears bring me music and the chirrups of the birds that flock to our feeders and the soft mew of our kitties and the footfalls of the deer outside our window at night. They may not pick up every word sometimes, but that’s usually no great loss.

My mouth may have gold and silver and porcelain in abundance, but my teeth can chew anything I want to eat, and my throat easily swallows the big vitamin supplements that we take every morning. My voice still carries to the back of most rooms and my words are clear.

My hair is bright and thick and healthy, silvery gray though it may be. My mind works well enough for me to understand the books and magazines I read, the conversations I have, and even to memorize lines. It may work a bit overtime in remembering trivia from many years ago and replaying scenes from my past, but I can usually corral those wanderings and come back to what is here and now.  I see things from a perspective that generally cuts through to the heart of the situation or to the essence of a person, and I am not afraid to say what I see and think, although I am careful to choose my words.

I know that our physical appearance can make a lasting first impression, especially upon those who are younger. But I am aware also that outward appearance does not necessarily reflect who we are and what we can do, and as I age, I have begun to look more deeply before I venture an opinion about someone.

I have an amazing body. I am so grateful for all that it does, for all it allows me to be and do. And now, more than ever before in my life, I  am consciously, intentionally working  to keep it healthy and strong for as long as I can, and to say ‘thank you’ every day for all that I do have. If yours works, if it does what you need it to do, you should, too.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links.  The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter.  Thank you!

Member Monday: An Excerpt from Badges, Bears and Eagles by Steve Callan

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Today it’s a pleasure to feature recent Writers Forum member Steve Callan.  Steve’s book, Badges, Bears and Eagles, releases on March 1, but can be preordered now on Amazon.com.  His book describes what it’s like to be a California Fish and Game warden during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century-working routine details from one end of the state to the other and conducting some of the most successful wildlife-related investigations in California history.  Congratulations, Steve!

An Excerpt from Badges, Bears and Eagles

by Steve Callan

One September morning in 1975, California Fish and Game Warden Dave

Szody and I were working dove hunters down along the Colorado River.

A few miles south of Blythe, I spotted two men sitting in the shade of an old

Cottonwood tree. “Pull over there,” I suggested, pointing to a wide spot on the

opposite side of the road. “Let’s see what those guys are up to.” As Szody turned

his patrol car to the left, two citation books and a stack of mail slid to the right

and across his dash. “When are you gonna stop using your dashboard for a

book shelf?” I said. Without responding, Szody picked up a filthy, tobacco-stained

coffee cup and deposited a wad of freshly chewed spittle.

“How does your wife like that disgusting habit?” I said, as I directed my

binoculars toward our suspected dove hunters.

“She hates it,” answered Szody, laughing. “What do you see?”

“Looks like a couple old timers. They must be finished hunting for the

day; their shotguns are leaning up against the tree.”

“Let’s go see how they did,” said Szody, opening the driver’s side door and

preparing for a 200-yard hike across the field.

“You might want to wipe that stuff off your chin first,” I said.

At a distance, the elderly dove hunters might have mistaken Dave Szody

and me for brothers. We were only a year apart in age and recently out of the

academy. Both of us stood six feet tall or a little more and weighed about 180

pounds. Unlike most game wardens, who preferred the traditional “cop-like”

appearance, my working partner and I went a little longer between haircuts.

As Szody and I approached, one of the hunters stood up from his lawn

chair and greeted us. Tall and slim, this elderly gentleman wore a wide-brimmed

hat, a tucked in long-sleeved shirt and neatly pressed Khaki pants.

What I noticed most was the curious grin on his face that told me he knew

something I didn’t.

I asked to see the man’s hunting license, while my partner contacted his

companion. The name scrawled across the top of the license looked familiar,

but at the moment I was more interested in how many doves these guys had

killed. “Looks like you had some luck,” I said, staring down at a heavily laden

game bag that was hanging from the back of his chair. The man smiled and,

without my asking, handed me the bag. I counted exactly ten doves—the legal

limit. About the time I had pulled the last bird out of his bag, it dawned on

me who this man was.

“You’re George Werden,” I blurted, a look of surprise on my face. “Why

didn’t you say something?”

Werden laughed. “I was just letting you do your job.”

In his eighties, Werden had retired many years earlier as a patrol captain.

He will always be remembered as Warden Werden, one of the pioneers of

California wildlife law enforcement. Szody and I enjoyed a brief conversation

with this Fish and Game icon and were about to leave when Werden called

us back. “Do you boys mind if I give you some advice?” We had only been on

the job about a year, so questions raced through our minds: What did we do

wrong? Did we miss something? Werden seemed to enjoy making us squirm

a little. With great anticipation, we waited for his words of wisdom. The old

gentleman looked us both in the eyes and said, “You boys are just starting out

on the best job in the world. Don’t take yourselves too seriously and above all,

always think of it as a game.”

We never saw George Werden again, but his simple advice remained

with us for the rest of our careers. Anyone lucky enough to become a wildlife

protection officer should think of his occupation not as a job, but as a career-long

adventure. We were getting paid to roam the fields, forests and waters of

California, searching for anyone breaking the law or harming our precious

natural resources.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links.  The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter.  Thank you!

January, 2013 Monthly Meeting: Short Story Panel featuring Linda Boyden, Jim Dowling, Robb Lightfoot & Charlie Price

Thanks so much to panelists Linda Boyden, Jim Dowling, Robb Lightfoot and Charlie Price for sharing their insights on crafting short stories.

Pictured: Writers Forum Program Chair Sharon Owen, author Linda Boyden, author Jim Dowling and author Robb Lightfoot

Pictured: Writers Forum Program Chair Sharon Owen, author Linda Boyden, author Jim Dowling and author Robb Lightfoot.

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Author Charlie Price

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Author Robb Lightfoot

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Author Jim Dowling

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Author Linda Boyden

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We were delighted to have over 60 members and guests in attendance.

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Author Linda Boyden

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Author Robb Lightfoot

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Author Charlie Price

We look forward to seeing you at the Writers Forum buyout of Leading Ladies at Riverfront Playhouse on February 7th.  Tickets are $15 at the door and all proceeds go toward our Writers Forum Scholarship Fund.

If you’re unable to join us for a night of theater, we hope to see you at our February meeting!

Member Monday: Morning by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday. It’s a pleasure to feature author, storyteller, illustrator and poet Linda Boyden. Linda was a short story panelist at our January meeting and she’s sharing a poem with us today. An excerpt of this poem along with another one of Linda’s poems are being featured in the As Us Literary Journal this month. Congratulations, Linda!

Morning
By Linda Boyden

Morning when it comes
seeps in like the cookies
you left baking,
the batch you almost forgot
distracted by your work:
the music of the day,
its key, its melody.
When a whiff of vanilla
catches you, you rush to
the oven’s tiny window
and see them, golden circles
plumping in the heat,
like the sun in the morning sky.
You slide them out to cool,
and relax before your real work begins.

When Sun nudges away Night,
tired of its cold embrace,
you hear the message on the wind
and step out to face East,
the dew weeping between your toes.
You offer pinches of tobacco,
a smudge of sage and sing Sun home,
an honor song with words like
precious, tremble, cherish.
Words known only to you
and your mother
and your mother’s mother,
a thread of ordinary women
with the extraordinary gift
to lure Sun, coax Him to return,
and replenish the world.

Only you know the tune.
Only He hears the
power within your words.
Linda Boyden has spent most of her adult life leading children to literacy. From 1970-1997, she taught in primary grades, receiving her master’s in Gifted and Talented Education in 1992 from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. In 1997, Linda decided to change careers and abandoned full-time teaching for full-time writing. Her first picture book, “The Blue Roses,” debuted in 2002. It was the recipient of Lee and Low Books’ first New Voices Award, the 2003 Paterson Prize, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers’ Book of the Year, Children’s Literature, 2002-2003, and was included on the prestigious CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center) 2003 Choices list of recommended titles. In 2007 she wrote and illustrated her second picture book, “Powwow’s Coming” which was published by the University of New Mexico Press. She has also written and illustrated “Giveaways, an ABC of Loanwords from the Americas” published also by the University of New Mexico Press in 2010. In 2011, Giveaways was the recipient of three Finalist Awards from the International Book Awards, Finalist in the 2012 New Mexico Book of the Year Award and was included in the California Reading’s Association’s 2012 California Collections list of recommended titles. In her writing for adults, she has had poems included in a number of anthologies. In 2006, she won the Adult First Place and Third Place awards at the Pleasanton Poetry Festival. Linda is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers. She enjoys doing author visits and storytelling at schools and libraries as well as presenting workshops at writing conferences around the country. Visit www.lindaboyden.com.
A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!