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!

Member Monday: Midnight at the Sit ‘n Eat by Aaron Steinmetz

Welcome back to Member Monday. Aaron Steinmetz will be providing today’s entertainment. An article about Aaron was recently published in The Record Searchlight. Aaron will be signing copies of both of his books at Lisa’s Book Nook on January 26th from 11:30am-1:00pm.

Midnight at the Sit ‘n Eat

by Aaron Steinmetz

She walked by me as I sat nursing my cup of coffee alone at my table at the Sit ‘n Eat. Her black hair was swaying down her back, her glorious eyes large and enticing, her smile wide as she spoke delicately, “Could I borrow this chair?” And I guess I said yes because she thanked me and slid the chair over to her table where another man was seated.

That other man must be her brother. He must be consoling her over a messy break-up. That’s why this beautiful woman is here. She’s surely single, and interested in a mildly over-weight man sitting alone in a restaurant in the middle of the night on his 30th birthday. That has to be why she asked me for my chair. She is probably telling her brother that a cute guy sits behind her, how hopeful she is that he might be single too, and interested in her, this lonely, beautiful woman that radiates such loveliness in my world.

I’ll walk up to her and introduce myself, and she’ll tell me her name is, oh, Marian, and she’ll ask me to sit down, and then laugh embarrassed because there are no other chairs in the restaurant, and then I’ll laugh and say it’s all right, that standing in her presence is better than sitting alone. She’ll smile, her eyes moist, and her brother, sensing the connection, would stand, offer me his chair and welcome me in. He’ll leave smiling, knowing his sister is in good hands. Marian and I will then share a wonderful evening talking, talking, really communicating on a deeper level, I getting to know her, she me, and the two of us will leave the restaurant arm in arm gazing into each other’s eyes. She’ll step into my Pinto and I’ll drive her to her place, and she’ll invite me in using the old “Care for a nightcap?” line, and I’ll take her hand, and I’ll follow her in. She’ll pour the wine, I’ll take a sip, we’ll share a kiss.

And then we would hear the bedroom window smash, and we’d recoil in alarm, and, ducking behind the counter, I would hold her back with my arm saying, “Stay back, Marian! I’ll handle this!” And deftly crawling across the floor on my knees and elbows, I would peek through the bedroom door to see the two masked criminals with guns ransacking her room. I would rise up, find a baseball bat and, kicking the door open, I would rush the first criminal. With a death-thud, the first would be on the floor. The second, seeing his partner on the ground would feel the mortal danger. He would see the vengeance in my blood-thirsty eyes, so he would fire off a round at me as I’d slowly, menacingly approach. There would be no stopping me, despite the bullet in my shoulder, so his desperation would reach its peak and he’d back into a corner. I’d reach down to grasp the first criminal’s revolver and then I’d check it and curse finding the gun not loaded. Glancing back at the criminal, I would half-smile and reach into the gaping wound of my left shoulder and painlessly pull the bullet from the wound. I would insert the bloody bullet into the gun, cock it, and point it directly at the criminal’s face. In a menacing growl I’d say, “Drop your gun.” The criminal would faint before my feet.

And as I stumble back into the living room, I’ll hear the sound of sirens in the distance before collapsing at Marian’s feet. She’ll appear above me, tears streaming down her face as she sees my end is so near, and I place one hand on her cheek. And as I slip from this world she’ll know, she will truly know that I loved her, and there will be someone on this planet who’s life has been changed because of me, because I was there, because my presence on this planet has been taking up space for thirty years, and she’ll never be the same from then on out. She’ll carry my memory in her bosom and tell my story to her children and their children, and they’ll ask about me for years to come. I’ll live on in their memories, and she’ll thank her lucky stars she had the fortune of meeting me.

Whoever she is.

aaron-steinmetz1Aaron Steinmetz is the ‘word-renowned’ author of Sleepy P.I. and Highland High, two quirky comedies about a private investigator who doesn’t sleep until he closes his case.

He is currently working on a third book in the Sleepy P.I. series and putting the finishing touches on a collection of short stories called Anomalous Confessions, due out in February.

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!

Leading Ladies at Riverfront Playhouse

Writers Forum is hosting our annual buyout night at Riverfront Playhouse.  The featured play is Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies, directed by our very own Jennifer Levens.  The play is February 7th at 7:30pm-just in time to take your sweetheart out for Valentine’s Day or to treat your own heart to some hilarious theater!  Tickets are $15.00 each.

Last April we had an absolute blast at Lend Me A Tenor, also written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Jennifer Levens.  I can’t remember ever laughing so hard at a play!  I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.  While I take a moment to compose myself, here’s a little more about the Leading Ladies:

“Leading Ladies is a comedy about two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long-lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister. Meg knows that there’s a wide world out there, but it’s not until she meets “Maxine and Stephanie” that she finally gets a taste of it.” ~kenludwig.com

Then gather your friends for a great night of local theater.  Here’s what reviewers said about author Ken Ludwig’s Broadway production of Leading Ladies:

“Ludwig’s newest comedy is so funny, it will make sophisticated and reasonable men and women of the 21st century cackle till their faces hurt.”
The Houston Press

“Leading Ladies is consistently funny – indeed, increasingly hilarious as it progresses.”
The Houston Chronicle

“Leading Ladies is a highly combustible and continuously hilarious new comedy by Ken Ludwig, Broadway’s reigning comic writer.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

In case you’re still not convinced to join us, here’s a short clip from the actors at the Greenville Little Theater:

All ticket sale proceeds go to the Writers Forum Scholarship fund.  We hope to award at least one $500 scholarship to a local senior who excels in writing and is continuing their education at a college or university.  It’s only because of ticket sales that we’re able to make this scholarship possible.  So thank you for supporting young writers and local theater.

Tickets can be purchased at our January Writers Forum meeting.  If you’re unable to attend the January meeting and would like to purchase tickets, please leave a comment here or contact the Writers Forum at (530) 515-4828.  Checks can be made out to Writers Forum and mailed to:

Writers Forum

P.O. Box 492282

Redding, CA 96049-2282

See you at the theater!

A Message from the President: January, 2013

As I watch the snow drift down, I am ‘trying’ to compose my January Message from the President. I really want to keep it simple and light. Ah, thought I; Seasonal Parodies. Why not?

So, staying under the plagiarism radar (though I think it could be labeled outright stealing), here are some.

For the social media peeps:

On the 12th day of Christmas my Facebook gave to me:
12 dopes I’m blocking
11 friends just watching
10 corny topics
9 busted barbies
8 friends complaining
7 stalkers stalking
6 party invites
5 drama queens
4 game requests
3 photo tags
2 friends-a-pokin’
& a creep who won’t stop in-boxing me.

For Star Trek Groupies (Chestnuts Roasting, yadda yadda):

Klingons roasting on an open fire,
Scotty’s beaming up some gifts.
Yuletide carols being sung by Uhura,
The Enterprise, it slowly drifts.
Everybody knows that Chekov really likes eggnog,
Spock prefers some Vulcan Tea.
Sulu takes a break from the helm to
Put milk & cookies by the tree.

You know that McCoy’s a doctor,
He’s not Santa Claus or even a redshirt.
And every single crewman will make their case
To prove if Santa really can breathe in space.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To Captain Kirk and all his crew,
Although it’s been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas to you!

And it would not be complete without Pogo’s Deck the Halls version (thanks to Walt Kelly):

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,

Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo!

Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,

Swaller dollar cauliflower Alleygaroo!

Don’t we know archaic barrel,

Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou.

Trolley Molly don’t love Harold,

Boola Boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!

And finally for those that don’t like winter, yet complain during the summer, there is (Let it Snow):

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
and I hope it cools by nightfall
how I hate this warm weather so
summer blows
summer blows
summer blows

The mercury just ain’t stoppin’
but I wish that it was droppin’
how I hate the sun’s fiery glow
summer blows
summer blows
summer blows

Then it finally turns to night
when its late, things are not quite as warm
but then when the sky grows light
it will get hot, true to form

Perspirin’ but not dryin’
as I sweat, I think I’m dyin’
and I wish that the temps were low
summer blows
summer blows
summer blows

Whew! Done! See ya January 12th for another fabulous meeting as Charlie, Linda, Robb and Jim return as short story panelists.

Larry Watters,

Writers Forum President