Monday, July 30, 2012

Sad News About an Inspiring Writer and A Special Friend, Bea Siros

I was shocked and saddened yesterday to hear about the passing of an inspiring woman and special writing friend -- Bea Siros.

E. Bernice Walker (Siros) Sotirocopoulos, known as Bea Siros, was one of the sweetest and most generous people I know. She genuinely cared about people, and her sweet smile could brighten the darkest day.

Bea had recently completed her memoir about growing up in North St. Louis. On Tuesday mornings at Coffee and Critique she read excerpts of her memoir and brought in photos to share. I loved listening to Bea reminisce about her family and friends. Bea had an amazing mind and a quick wit, but most of all she had a kind and generous heart.

At her 75th birthday party last June, she asked celebrants not bring gifts; instead, she made sure everyone there received a gift from her. Rather than dwelling on how much I will miss Bea, I thought I'd share these photos from her birthday celebration last year of Bea and her daughter.

A celebration of Bea's life will be held Tuesday, July 31, 2012 4-9 PM at The BAUE Funeral Home, 620 Jefferson Street, St. Charles, MO. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Humane Society of St. Charles, MO.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

After 125 Years, The Writer Magazine Will "Go On Hiatus"

According to an article in Galley Cat, after 125 years, The Writer Magazine will go into hiatus after the October 2012 issue.

The magazine is looking for a buyer who will continue the mission of the magazine to inspire writers at all skill levels.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 Catholic Writers' Guild Conference in Arlington, Texas

Last Saturday during the meeting of the Catholic Writers of St. Louis, our leader Denise Montgomery gave a brief overview of the Catholic Writers' Guild Conference, which will be held in Arlington, Texas August 29-31.

The focus of this year's conference will be on "writing and the new evangalization."

Some conference features include:
Workshops on marketing and writing
Pitch sessions
Group critiques
Publishers panels

Publishers include: Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, St. Anthony Messenger, Pauline Books and Media, and others.

Presenters will be: Patti Armstrong, Faher Andrew Apostoli, Ann Lewis, Claudia Volkman, and several more. Click here for more information on presenters.

Sadly, my schedule doesn't permit me to attend this year, but I hope to make it next year.

To find out more about the conference, contact Ann Lewis, President of the Catholic Writers' Guild at

Monday, July 23, 2012


Yesterday I received an e-mail from Jennifer Matthews of Cork City, Ireland. Jennifer asked me to share information about a short story contest sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre.

Here is what I found on the center's website:

The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is an annual short story competition open to writers from around the world. It is dedicated to one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists, sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre. If the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, they will be lavished with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (September 2012).

First Prize: €2,000 (*approx $2690.82/ £1685.27), publication in the literary journal Southword,
AND a week-long residency at
Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat.

Second Prize: €500 and publication in Southword.

Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120.

 Note: If the winner is from outside Ireland, the amount paid will be the equivalent of €2,000, subject to market changes as determined by the bank in September 2012.
Submission deadline: 31 July, 2012

Word Limit: 3,000

Entry fee:  €15, US $20 or £15

Good luck if you enter!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Worth a Read: Writing on Walls, An Anthology of Short Stories

Regina Williams, editor and publisher of Mockingbird Lane Press, has just released "Writing on Walls, An Anthology of Short Stories."

I'm pleased and honored to have a short story in the anthology.

Congratulations to my writing and critique group friends who also have stories in the anthology: Louella Turner, Marcia Gaye, and Berta Rosenberg. And I can't forget Dusty Richards and Brenda Brinkley, other writing pals with stories in the collection. The front cover is pretty amazing too!

Monday, July 16, 2012

William Least Heat-Moon Calls for Action in Response to Proposed Closure of MU Press

The proposed closure of the Missoui University Press or reorganization of the press into a new model continues to enrage and sadden writers, educators, alumni, and others passionate about saving the respected press.

In yesterday's Columbia Daily Tribune, William Least Heat-Moon, MU alumni and acclaimed writer and teacher, spoke out against the move and called on others to take action.

At the conclusion of his passionate column, "Fit for Print," he offered a five-figure initial donation to establish an endowment to continue the press in its present form "if the proposal for closure is rescinded." He also called others to join him "with a contribution appropriate to their means."

Least Heat-Moon is best-selling author of "Blue Highways" and "Roads to Quoz." His latest book, "Here, There, Everywhere," is slated for release later this year by Little Brown and Company.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lucky Friday the Thirteenth Links to Author Interviews

Who says Friday the thirteenth is unlucky? Not me.

Today, after I received e-mails directing me to two blogs with author interviews, I felt very lucky--and smart--after reading the authors' answers.

* If are the superstitious type, or if you like paranormal suspense novels, check out author Sandra Carrington-Smith's interview over on Sheree Nielsen's Warm Fuzzies blog. Sheree asks Carrington-Smith five questions, including her thoughts on what it takes to be a good writer.

* If you're feeling really lucky, you could win a copy of a middle-grade historical fiction novel. Over on From the Mixed Up Files you will find an interview with historical fiction writer Clara Gillow Clark. If you leave a comment, you have a chance to win an autographed copy one of Clara's books. I've read Secrets of Greymoor and thoroughly enjoyed it! Reading Clara's interview can also make you feel smart. Today I learned that if you're writing about your childhood, if it occurred before 1970, it's considered historical fiction. That means my entire childhood and teen years are historical fiction. Who knew?

So, take a chance; learn from some successful writers--and you might win an entertaining book!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Walt: Love Never Fails

Today is my wedding anniversary.

It's hard to believe Walt and I have been married for 44 years.

It was a freezing night in January when we met. I was 19 and he was 20. He was an airman stationed at Scott Air Force Base across the river in Illinois. I was working as a civilian clerk-stenographer for the Army in St. Louis. Kathy and Judy, two of my friends from work, convinced me to go with them to a Friday-night dance on the base.

Six months later, one week after he turned 21, we were married on a steamy Friday evening at St. Mary's Church in Bridgeton. We left for our honeymoon in Cape Cod later that night.

Today we are going to eat lunch at a restaurant he heard about on talk radio. He has been wanting to check it out for some time. They have great seafood and blues music. Two of his favorites.

Yesterday we ordered new living room furniture as anniversary presents to ourselves. When you've been married for more than four decades, a comfy couch and matching loveseat are quite the romantic gifts.

With this being a blog about books and writing, I have to make a comparison between writing and marriage.

When I read a book or a story, one mark of what separates the good from the great is: Would I read it again?

Like a great piece of writing, the question about our marriage is: Would I do it again?

Without a doubt, the answer is: Yes!

So, happy anniversary, honey. Here's to many more.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."  1 Corinthians 13.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Angry Momma Birds Protect their Nests in the Sizzling Heat

With record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures lately, it's not easy to stay cool. Yesterday I was out shopping for a few more birthday gifts for my husband, who is celebrating a big birthday today. (Happy birthday, Honey!)

Running from store-to-store in my air-conditioned car zapped my strength. I was happy to get home and have a large glass of iced tea.

Outside, the lawn is turning brown and my flowers are wilting. The birdbath, which has been moved under a tree for more shade, is a popular place for not only birds, but also wasps and bees. Too bad it's not bigger or I might be tempted . . .

Amid all this heat and humidity, I've found two maternal heroes - a momma robin and a momma mourning dove. While watering plants and flowers, I'm trying to avoid disrupting them from minding their nests.   

Momma Mourning Dove has taken residence in a hanging planter on my front porch. Momma Robin is caring for her eggs in the lilac bush beside the porch.

Today when I tried to get some photos of their nests, I got a tad too close and they let me know about it.  Momma Robin screeched and dive-bomed until I backed up while Momma Mourning Dove hopped on the roof and called for help. So, I retreated to the porch and took some shots from a safe distance. Momma grizzlies got nothing on angry momma birds.

So, while the heat is taking a toll on humans, at least we have our air conditioned retreats. Heroic momma birds seek out cool, shady spots while they vigilantly await the birth of their chicks. I'm awaiting the birth of the hatchlings too, but I'm keeping a safe distance.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Call for Submissions: Bad Hair Days, Travel and On Being a Stupid Kid

If you're looking for something to do during the sizzling days of summer, here are some submission call outs with red hot deadlines in July and August:

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Linda Fisher, publisher of Mozark Press, reminding me about the deadline for the Shaker of Margaritas: Bad Hair Day anthology. I'm not sure I can get something together by then, but maybe some of my visitors can. Here are the details:

The deadline is July 15. Linda is looking for humorous fiction stories about a bad hair day, "one of those days when things don’t go according to plan; in fact, it is as horrible as a bad perm or hair that turns green—unintentionally. Things go wrong, but with humor, stubbornness, and attitude—the female protagonist can survive any kind of bad hair day."

Approximately 20-25 stories will be selected for the anthology and will be paid $20 upon publication. For submissions guidelines visit the "Bad Hair Day" page on or

Last week in the comment section on my post about the Chicken Soup for the Soul dispute settlement, Dahlynn McKowen, editor of Publishing Syndicate, issued this invitation to my visitors:

". . . I have created a competing anthology -- "Not Your Mother's Book...[subtitle]." It's a new anthology for a new century and I invite you and your fans to submit stories! Thanks!"

The August 1 deadlines are for: On Travel and On Being a Stupid Kid. Here's a link to the submission guidelines  where you can also read details about compensation options.

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...