On June 10, 2017 we have a handful of science fiction authors coming that will be at SWFL SpaceCon. Our keynote speakers are Ben Bova & Rick Wilber who will be discussing their picks of the best first contact stories. We have four writers’ workshops and presentations which are mostly tailored for science fiction works. Ticket prices for the convention are only $8/adult and include all the panels/presentations.

1:30-2:30pm Discussion of the Best First Contact Stories –

Rick Wilber, Ben Bova and Heather Preston discuss their picks for the best first contact stories.

2:45-3:45pm Outer Limits, Inner Boundaries: “Building Realistic Relationships in SFR” Learn from top authors Linnea Sinclair, Christina Westcott, Rhonda Mason and Eveyln Lederman how they create intimate relationships between kick-butt characters living in the fantastic yet perilous worlds of science fiction!

4-5pm “Exoplanets: What You Need to Know to Craft a Self-Consistent Planet/System” – targeted for writers and those interested in our existing exoplanet knowledge, this presentation deals with plausible exoplanets. Presented by Heather Preston, Research Astronomer and Director of the Planetarium at Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.

5:15-6:30pm “Make your own Alien” workshop style presentation by Rick Wilber.

Spring 2017 Visiting Writers Forum

Spring 2017 Visiting Writers Forum
Join us for the Spring 2017 Visiting Writers Forum, brought to you by the Ringling College of Art and Design Creative Writing Program. You’ll get email reminders the week before each event that include an author’s bio, samples of their work, and links to more information about them.

The entire Spring lineup is below. Mark your calendars!
Christopher Phelps – March 28th
Vivian Shipley – April 4th
Susan Klaus – April 11th
Virgil Suarez – April 25th

This series is free and open to the public. All events are from 7:00 – 8:15 pm in room 209 of the Larry Thompson Academic Center (2363 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota, FL 34234).

For more details visit visitingwritersforum

Good news to share with you: My poetry manuscript has been accepted for publication by Kelsay Books of Helmet, California. The collection gathers some 50 poems culled from three decades of writing. I’ve been advised by other Kelsay authors that actual publication is “slow,” but when compared to how long it’s taken me to tuck these poems into one bed, ‘slow’ is much quicker than “never.” As “they” used to say before we hurried up, “don’t touch that dial!”

I am excited to announce that I have acquired the Gulf Coast Bookstore on Fowler Street near downtown Fort Myers  from my former business partner, Tim Jacobs. In the coming weeks, I will be rebranding it as P.J. Boox Downtown! I will also be expanding the offer to all Florida authors rather than just local to Fort Myers. If you are interested in space there or at the original PJBoox, you can now go directly to www.pjboox.net and submit your information for consideration.

P.J.Boox website
P.J. Boox author’s site

Horrible Christmas Gifts

By: Geneva Kelly

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the decorations, the lights, the music, and the sales.  I love the giving; and let’s be real, even Santa knows, I love the presents!  My parents taught me to say thank you and appreciate everything I get; but I’ll admit, there were times I was faking.  Was I a spoiled brat?  Could I possibly be ungrateful; or does everyone have the same reaction to gifts that feel meaningless?

I asked at least twenty five people what their worst presents were, and half said they got something they didn’t understand.  A girl at work told me her mother always manages to get her the wrong thing.  She said, “One year it was a fancy pen; I don’t collect pens, and I’m not a writer.  Along with that, my mom got me a soda maker, but the only soda I drink is Sprite.”  “To top it off, the next year she got me an ice-cream maker.  That might sound cool, but I’m lactose intolerant, have been my whole life!”

I asked her how she reacted, and she said, “What could I do?  It’s my mom.”

My mother and I would need to talk after that.  It’s one thing if it’s a distant relative, or a Secret Santa, but when your mom fouls out, no way…

Sadly, grandmothers were next in line for horrible gift giving.  This one had me reminiscing.  Some complained about clothes being two sizes too big, or small.  I laughed.  Then, a handful followed with knitted Christmas sweaters or vests that screamed, “My Grandmother made this!”

“How bout a bright orange sweater, because at seven, you couldn’t possibly care what you look like,” one girl complained.

“What about a yellow knit dress that lets everyone know you hate your life, because your parents actually made you wear it?” her friend chimes in.

My friend in California told me her grandmother got her a Barbie.  Had she not been 16 at the time, it wouldn’t have been so bad.

After hearing several childhood memories, I couldn’t help but think mine still won.  It wasn’t just that I got socks from my grandmother, it was the awkward feeling I had watching my cousins opening pretty dresses from her.   Of course, I gave my thank you kiss, and half grinned; but subconsciously, I was learning what re-gifting meant.  I spent years thinking it was just me.  After all, my brother and sister never complained about their socks, or ceramic toys.  But I, being curious about everything, wanted it to make sense.

Needless to say, when a guy at work told me he got a ceramic mermaid, it was great for me to hear I wasn’t alone.   He showed me a picture he saved in his phone because it was so horrible, he had to laugh.  Did I mention he was gay?  No, because he isn’t.  I couldn’t believe his boss gave it to him.  But as horrible as it was, it made me feel better about my cold, un-huggable, ceramic teddy bear.

To sum things up, and so you don’t end up on the list for the worst gift givers, you may want to take notes.  Dollar store gifts, (unless you are making a package out of them) are never a good thing.  Jewelry that is supposed to be real, but then turns your skin colors; unfortunate.  Hand towels if you’re not old enough to have your own place, not okay.  And though I never heard of “The Ding King,” until now, apparently that is a bad present too.

A lucky few said they never got a bad present.  But it begs the question, “Is it worse to get nothing, or to get something with no thought at all, and then re-gift?”  What do you think?

Doug has a new children’s book out in time for the holidays. Entitled, ‘Morgan McKinney’s Bigger-Than-Life Bedtime Story’, it stars Morgan McKinney, a big lovable kid who is rambunctious and full of energy. No one can jump like Morgan and no one has a feather pillow like Morgan. You know, the feather pillow with the DO NOT REMOVE tag on it. It isn’t until his mother tells him a bedtime story on Christmas Eve that he discovers just what happens when the tag is pulled OFF.  Follow Morgan and all the large animals at the zoo on their amazing airborne adventure above Florida. Meet Henry, the Humongous Hippo; Ralph, the Rugged Rhino; Eloise, the Purple-Spotted Elephant Seal; Garth, the Goliath Grouper; and Martha, the Monstrous Manatee.   Watch for a guest appearance by the Big Guy himself, Santa Claus. And don’t miss the super cool surprise ending!

http://dougcreates.com/dougcreates/Morgan_McKinney.html

Kerryn Reid’s novella, “Butterfly in a Hurricane,” has been named a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. The story involves a fragile young woman with Asperger’s syndrome who falls for the Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy who spares her a speeding ticket. He sees in Lydia the beauty of a butterfly, with all its vulnerability. She’s odd, awkward, and irresistible… but if he’s Type A, she must be Type Z. Can they possibly find happiness somewhere in the middle of the alphabet? “Butterfly” is part of an anthology of short stories by Southwest Florida Romance Writers out August 2016 in ebook and print.

In my career, I have written numerous processes. Some were in the form of video scripts, some were instructions for people on an assembly line and others were tips for improving one’s writing. I also tend to read through processes to see how well the writer has or has not explained the steps. So it is delightful when I come across the following recipe (Yes, it’s a process!) and notice a glaring error. Can you find it? 

Recipe for Jamaican Baked Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except chicken in large bowl. Rub seasoning over chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 6 hours or longer.
  3. Evenly space chicken on nonstick or lightly greased baking pan.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an added 30–40 minutes or until the meat can be easily pulled away from the bone with a fork.

My suggestion? Switch steps one and two.

Another suggestion, whether your are writing a description, narration, a novel  a play, or anything with publication potential, do yourself a favor and proofread it. If you are submitting a work for publication, you are well advised to have it professionally edited. Yes, that costs money, but it’s worth the piece of mind. I’ve seen NYT best sellers with typos! So you are best served by having a Beta reader, a proofreader and an editor who will check your content and your copy.

Think about this. A person wrote a four step process for cooking chicken and couldn’t get it correct. What are the chances there is at least one error in your latest work?

LONG LAKE by John Todd (1845) published by Purple Mountain Press, 1997.

John Todd 1800-1873.

Reading about where you are by Gary McLouth

The Adirondack mountains of New York State were measured in comparison in size to Massachusetts by early explorers, and more recently, to the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island, or over 6 million acres, or just one big ancient mountain range replete with lakes and forests called the largest State Park east of the Mississippi, and designated in the New York State Constitution as “Forever Wild.”

Having found home in the central Adirondacks for most of my life, I can attest to the abiding sense of awe I feel just by being here. The vistas of mountains from lake shores strike me speechless while reminding me of the indubitable dominance of nature. As I look out over the water at the forested mountain ridges, I feel big and small at once. I  imagine my presence here as something grand and significant through communing with nature’s overwhelming presence, and the belief that I am an integral and organic element of the world.

A passage from what is considered by Adirondack historians as “the first book to deal with an Adirondack topic” says it from the perspective of a man who penetrated this wilderness some 170 years ago. What he has written doesn’t seem much out of date to me.

When you are thus in the midst of a great forest, knowing that you must go fifty or sixty miles ere you reach a human being – knowing that here man has not left the prints of his puny foot, — that God himself reigns here in solitude, you have a subdued feeling of dependence and insignificance that is new and peculiar. You feel that you might fall like one of the leaves that is falling around you, and the forest would stand, the mountains cast their deep shadows and the lake mirror back the bright heavens, and the world move on just as if you had never been.

A writer, to whom I have already made allusion, thinks the wilderness is, of all others, the best pace in which to renew health of body and vigor of mind. Before any one lays his plans to penetrate it far, let him make up his mind to endure fatigue beyond what he ever before endured, to sleep where-ever night finds him, and to come as near starving as need be. It will do well enough to talk about living on venison or moose, but it is always better to hunt the bear before you sell his oil. It is obviously the best place in the world to recruit the body – for you must work as hard as possible, and change all you habits of diet, & c. Then you are completely shut out from the world, and know nothing of what is passing without. So you may cease to give yourself any trouble about it, and you thus leave the world behind, and the mind is wholly unbent – an advantage which it can obtain nowhere else. All habits of mind and body are changed, and all are recruited…

                                                                                end