Member Monday: Mr. W. by Tim Hemeon

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s my pleasure to feature an essay by member Tim Hemeon.  Tim is a writer, musician and teacher.  His first novel, Soul Storm can be purchased online and at several local bookstores including All About Books.  You can pick up your autographed copy just in time for Christmas at the Writers Forum Authors Fair in November.

Mr. W.

by Tim Hemeon

Here came the question.

“And who are you today?”  Such a strange question, really.  And one he used to ask innocently enough back when he’d been part of the regular staff at his school on the other side of the county.  Three and a half decades of those same words had crossed his own lips, so now he tried to be patient.  Tried.

“Blythe – I’m Mr. Blythe today.”  He stopped any other words from entering reality.  Had to work to stop them.  He had anecdotes and jokes, one-liners and rhyming songs.  Even odd trivia.  But secretaries hoard their time like Dwarves hoard jewels, and she would not take kindly to a non-staffer exceeding his social requirements.

“Let’s see.  Joseph Blythe.  9th grade science.  Room 227.  Adjacent to the library.  Do you need a map?”

Really, he thought.  A map?  He’d been subbing here on and off again for three years and she offered him a map as if it was his first time on campus.  Yes, you over efficient automaton, – give me a damn GPS why don’t you?  But no – that would not do.  Not at all.

“No thank-you.”  More smiles from him.  Academy Award stuff, really.  “I know my way around.”

“Fine, then.  Here’s your key.  Have a nice day.”  And like that she was back at her computer again, his response neither required nor desired.

He headed across the campus toward the 200 Building.  Glancing down, he examined his briefcase.  Old, cracked leather.  Functional.  Comfortable, but long out of style.  Ancient model – like him, he supposed.  Rita’d given it to him his first week of teaching, forty-five years ago.  A boy, really – in his mid-twenties – full of testosterone and pluck, possessing myriad dreams of changing the world.  And he supposed he had changed the world a bit.  One student at a time, inspiring and leading, parenting and correcting, but mostly, when it came down to it,   loving.  Sometimes when he’d almost forgotten all of it, he’d go through the old box once more.  Pictures and letter from students.  People he’d inspired to believe in themselves; who, with his mentorship, learned to unlock the wondrous beauty and talent they didn’t yet realize existed in their own hearts and minds.

Inside now, where today he would call them to muster and direct them to work.  Maybe even learn something.  That in spite of sarcasm, rolling eyes, and raging hormones set off by short skirts and blouses worn slut-style.

He read THE LESSON PLAN.  After giving it a quick once-over, he glanced up at the clock, greeted by a pair of malevolent, blinking red eyes, a colon separating digital hours from digital minutes.  The tempo was fixed and all he could think of was the rhythm of IT from Madeline de Ingle’s book, “A Wrinkle in Time.”

He missed a simpler time.  That of the sweep hand – which was also red – but moved gracefully around the clock face once per minute.  A time when he’d come home with chalk-stained fingers and more often or not one or two sticks of the stuff in his trousers pocket.

A video.  He had a masters in physics and he was getting paid $100 today to press a play button six times.  He looked up again at the evil, pulsating LED eyes.  Two minutes left.

Motion drew his gaze to the window in the exterior door.  He saw them and heard them simultaneously – delirious and ravenous adolescents.  Their chanting drifted through the metal door: “A sub!  We got a sub!  WE got a SUB!  WE GOT A SUB!!”  They were piranhas ready to devour a helpless cow that had entered their Amazonian ecosystem.

He unlocked the door and the freshmen sauntered in, taking their seats with giddy anticipation.  He nodded at them, knowing that he’d have a good fifteen minutes of class time left after the movie.  He’d use that small window of time to captivate and inspire them.  And perhaps they’d learn more in that short quarter hour than they would for the rest of their day.

As he took roll, one by one the students noticed the board.  In big letters, it said:






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 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!


Writers Forum Members Wanted for NaNoWriMo

Hi, guys, it’s Alicia, your friendly Writers Forum webmaster and I’m thrilled to tell you that November is almost here.  You already knew that, but what you may not know is that we’re standing tiptoe on the verge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

National Novel Writing MonthWhat is NaNoWriMo?  It’s a national (free) event to give you the kick in the pants you need to write that novel you’ve always dreamed of.  Maybe you’re a poet/memoir writer like me and you’ve never dreamed of writing a novel, trust me, this is still a month of fast and furious writing fun that you don’t want to miss out on.

When you sign up to be a part of NaNoWriMo, you’ll

  • write a 50,000 word novel in a month (that’s 1,666 words a day for those of you keeping track)
  • track your progress online and be able to see the progress of your NaNoWriMo friends as well (so you can rub it in their faces when your word count towers above their word count encourage them when their word counts dwindle)
  • get pep talks and support from a slew of amazing authors
  • meet fellow writers online and in person

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past few years and will be stomping away at my keyboard trying to best my fellow Writers Forum members who are just crazy enough to write with me every year.  You should join us.  It’s a terrible amount of fun.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Sign up here.  Then shoot me an email at or leave a comment so that we can be NaNoWriMo writing buddies.

Happy noveling!

Success Story Saturday: Laura Hernandez

Welcome back to Success Story Saturday.  As often as possible, we’re featuring Writers Forum members who have been published, won writing contests, or have otherwise found recent success as writers.  Writers Forum members, we want to celebrate with you so please send your success stories to  

Today we’re celebrating with Writers Forum board member Laura Hernandez.  Congratulations, Laura!

New Mystery Writer Wins the 2013 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship

New York, NY – May 9, 2013 – Mystery Writers of America announces the recipients of the 2013 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing: Laura Hernandez of Redding, CA, and Lee Summerall of St. Petersburg, FL. Each will use her $500 scholarship award to offset tuition for advanced classes to further develop her writing skills.

The talent demonstrated by Ms. Hernandez received one of the highest scores from this year’s panel of judges.  Laura Hernandez worked on a team to defend accused murderers during law school and has written several stories based on her experiences. In her stories, the people in jail accused of murder are not always who you would expect them to be. She found the key to their defense, and the real mystery of each murder trial, was not about who had committed the crime, but why it had been done at all.

The purpose of this annual scholarship competition is to nurture talent in mystery writing. Each candidate qualifies by submitting a mystery-writing sample in the form of the first three chapters of a novel or nonfiction, or three short stories or a script. Candidates also provide details about the educational programs they will attend, 2 letters of recommendation, and an essay explaining their interest in mystery writing. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. No fee is required; neither is membership in Mystery Writers of America.

Applicants are judged by a committee of MWA members, each a published author in the field of crime. This year’s judges are: Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author of 6 White House Chef Mysteries and 3 Manor House Mysteries, most recently Fonduing Fathers and Grace Among Thieves; Randy Rawls, author of 8 mysteries in 3 series, with Hot Rocks as his latest from Midnight Ink featuring South Florida P.I. Beth Bowman; Aileen G. Baron, archaeologist and author of The Gold of Thrace, an international hunt for antiquities thieves, and The Scorpion’s Bite, 3rd in the Lily Sampson archaeological mystery series; and editor Chris Roerden, author of the Agatha Award-winning Don’t Murder Your Mystery and its all-genre edition, Don’t Sabotage Your Submission. The scholarship program chair is Meredith Cole, award-winning author of Posed for Murder and Dead in the Water, and writing instructor at the University of Virginia.

Details and official application form for the 2014 scholarships are posted by July 4, 2013, on the website of Mystery Writers of America, For frequently asked questions and tips for applying, email Entries must be postmarked by February 28, 2014.

Bouchercon 2014

Today Writers Forum board member Laura Hernandez is bringing us information about Bouchercon 2014.

What the Heck is Bouchercon 2014?

by Laura Hernandez


What the heck is Bouchercon 2014?  It’s a fabulous convention for Mystery writers and readers!  It’s also the only time for the next few years it’s held in California, or the west at all!
You can attend panels for short instruction and tips on your writing given by professional (PUBLISHED) authors, there are tables for fans to get autographs from author/presenters, a room of nuthin’ but books to buy, a banquet (optional) to get dressed up for, and this year’s Master of Ceremonies is Simon Wood (so you know how excited I am!!)
This year’s recipient of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award is Jeffery Deaver.

Jeffery Deaver

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeffery Deaver is the international bestselling author of 29 novels, two collections of short stories, and a non-fiction law book. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He has written a number of series and standalone novels throughout his career, and is currently alternating between books featuring special agent Kathryn Dance and quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhymes. In addition, he was selected by Ian Fleming Publications to write the James Bond novel Carte Blanche.
Deaver has received awards for Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association as well as Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger awards and the Nero Wolfe Award. Among other honors, he has been nominated for an Anthony Award, a Gumshoe Award, and six Edgar Awards. He was born in Chicago and holds degrees from University of Missouri and Fordham University. Before embarking on his successful career in fiction, he worked as a journalist, folksinger and attorney.
The website begins like this, so click on the link and think seriously about coming to this!  Give your writing a kick in the pants!


We’re looking forward to hosting you in beautiful downtown Long Beach, California, for Bouchercon 2014, Murder at the Beach!
Hurry and register now, because the bargain price of $150 only lasts until October 31. Starting November 1, you’ll pay $175 for the privilege of adding your name to the list of confirmed attendees.
Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on all the fun we’re planning—from ghostly tours of the Queen Mary, to an awards extravaganza worthy of Hollywood, to the chance to rub shoulders with our fascinating, varied, and talented of guests of honor. Keep your eye on our Bouchercon 2014 blog and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates….
We want to make this the best Bouchercon you’ve ever been to—or your first one! We welcome suggestions and volunteers who will help us show Bouchercon that Long Beach knows how to throw a party.
For more information on Bouchercon 2014, go to their website or contact our very own Laura Hernandez at

Member Monday: Weeds by Dale Angel

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece by Writers Forum member Dale Angel.


by Dale Angel

I appreciate weeds for their perseverance and persistence. They travel through all seasons sometimes on their knees.  When there’s no rain they lie close to the earth and don’t whimper for their thirst, defiantly waiting with aggressive personalities that many consider unfriendly.  As soon as rain falls they crawl to the roses and wraps their arms around them shamelessly carrying on a one sided love affair.  The garden has been commandeered before it even knows there’s war!  You won’t either until your foot becomes tangled as you walk along the path.  You wonder, where did they come from?  They crept in quietly while you were watching the sunset.  No matter if you’re kings or peasants they visit all without prejudice. They live with few admirers or support system doing their job wandering across the landscape clothing the naked earth weaving mountains and valleys in their fingers holding our world together like a knitted garment.

I admire their inner strength and quiet underappreciated value…although, I’m a little intimidated by their fearless tenacity to do their job.   Where their footprints are left, the earth has been enriched…

They come with various tendencies and strengths and weaknesses…There’s a place for us all here…I like weeds.

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 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!