August 2022

Speaker: Mary Lou Williams
Workshop Topic: The Art and Craft of the Personal Story
August 20, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
In person and Zoom meeting
Mary Lou Williams
Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919
 
Note: Google maps or your GPS may direct you to the back of the building. The entrance to the parking lot is on South Point Blvd. between Quigley Eye Specialists and Buckets Restaurant.
 

Handout for Workshop

Using two tried and true techniques, the Memory Map and the “StoryBox,”
participants will learn a fun, easy way to pull numerous story ideas out of their
own personal life experiences and turn any one of them into a well-rounded tale.
Participants will leave the workshop with one new piece that will contain all the
bones of a good story. Whether a story lover, a family storyteller, a performing
teller, a writer or a public speaker – this workshop will help participants build their
repertoires, enhance any presentation and transform life experiences into spellbinding narratives.

What participants will get from this workshop:

  • The Memory Map technique for finding a personal story
  • The “StoryBox” technique for crafting a personal story
  • A new tale that contains all the bones of a good story

Mary Lou Williams is a retired teacher and a professional storyteller. She holds a masters degree in education from Columbia University.  She has served on the board of the Florida Storytelling Association and has produced local storytelling workshops and concerts featuring national tellers.  She is also a member of Toastmasters and has achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster award.  She has written a book of her stories called Ten Fractured Fairy TalesShe is a member of The Storytellers of the Round Table, a quartet of storytellers that produce and perform storytelling showcases at the Sugden theatre in Naples and the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers and perform regularly at Brambles English Tea Room in Naples. She won first place in the Story Slam contest at the 2018 Florida Storytelling Festival and was a featured teller at the 2018 Stone Soup Festival, the official state storytelling festival of South Carolina.  She won first place in the District 48 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest  on May 13, 2022.

September 2022

Speaker: Lucy Tobias
Topic: Capturing Undiscovered Florida in words and photos
September 17, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
In person and Zoom meeting
Lucy Tobias
Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Note: Google maps or your GPS may direct you to the back of the building. The entrance to the parking lot is on South Point Blvd. between Quigley Eye Specialists and Buckets Restaurant.

Lucy Tobias will give a Powerpoint presentation of undiscovered Florida (translation — drop dead beautiful photos) and talk about ways to combine photos, video, audio to your stories.
A short exercise on writing the hook — the all important first sentence

Lucy Tobias is an award-winning author and blogger who looks at life and finds humor, beauty, and reasons for hope.

Tobias is a former newspaper reporter for the New York Times Regional Group. She writes narrative non-fiction – taking readers on a guided tour to undiscovered parts of Florida and beyond, adventures augmented with photographs and illustrations.

Her book The Zen of Florida Gardening won first place in outdoor books in the excellence in crafts awards, 2021, for the Florida Outdoor Writers Association.

Wednesday Notes is her newest book, published in 2022. A five-star review on Amazon said in part: “Wednesday Notes invites the reader to reflect on the moments of goodness and grace that happen in life. The author’s insights and wonderful sense of humor shine through. Written during the pandemic, there is a tenderness and authenticity that shines through. Lucy Tobias is a faithful, thoughtful, fun-loving friend in the journey of life.”

Tobias is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association, the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and ABC Books Inc.

She lives in Sarasota, Florida, sharing space with one dog, two cats, and an ever-expanding group of goldfish. Her weekly blog Wednesday Notes (free) explores the profoundness of everyday life, and she hosts a podcast called Pivot Points that interviews people about turning points in their lives.

Her website is: www.LucyTobias.com

GCWA 2022 Contest Winners

GCWA

GCWA Contest Winners — 2022

Fiction/Children’s Stories (these categories were combined and judged together according to our guidelines, due to the low number of entries in each.
1st — Leah Miller — Terror in December (Children’s Stories)
2nd — Mary Charles — Counterculture ( Fiction)
3rd — Nancy Leake — Susie Spider Looks for a Friend (Children’s Stories)

Nonfiction:
1st — Deborah Burghardt — Dream Your Ink
2nd — Diane Parnell — A Slip of the Scalpel
3rd — Sally Basmajian — The Field

Poetry:
1st — Megan Dalziel — Maritime Muse
2nd — Debbie Watz — Bayou Sunset
3rd — Paul Anthony — Minimum Wage-Brianna

Youth:
1st — Nishini Fernando — Life is for the Living
2nd — Ryan Lee — A Soldier During the Great War
3rd — Keven Lacayo — Death

summer workshop

Fiction. Essays. Edits. Experts.

Participants receive personalized feedback on a story or essay, detailed suggestions for improvement, and resources for submittingall from an experienced instructor. The asynchronous workshop allows writers to work with instructors remotely and strives to provide a workshop experience that can easily fit into their lives. Enrollment is open until August 31, 2022.

Learn More

Submit here

New England book festivalBOSTON _ The 2022 New England Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program celebrating the best books of the holiday season.

The New England Book Festival will consider non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, memoir, children’s books, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, photography/art, poetry, gay literature, regional literature, spiritual, wild card (anything goes!), business books, unpublished stories and compilations/anthologies. All entries must be in English.

Deadline November 25, 2022

More information

See Lori’s blog.

Imposter in the Woods
by Lori Goshert

The call of a cardinal echoes through the trees. A brown anole skitters up a palm trunk, pausing to listen and bob her head.

With one finger jammed between the pages of my book to mark the place, I crane my neck to peer under the lounge chair, seeking the fat brown ant that disappeared underneath. I examine the back rails to make sure the insect is not making her way toward me, and I shake out my discarded shoes. I regard the jumping spider on the arm of the chair with suspicion—I do not fear spiders, but the unpredictability of jumping insects and arachnids unnerves me. I like knowing where things are and where they are going. Especially if they’re creepy.

I consider myself a lover of nature, even presuming to write about birds and environmental issues. But I keep nature at arm’s length—a long-distance romance.

I devour documentaries of faraway rainforests, reveling in the flight of scarlet and green parrots and the majestic decisiveness of jaguars. I will never visit them, but to ensure their survival, I place my pen, my time, and sometimes my wallet at their service. The oxygen those trees exhale makes my life possible, and their destruction is my own.

The only reason I’d leave the convenience of an urban apartment for a house would be to plant fruit trees and let my lawn burst with food for people and pollinators rather than grass. But I know myself—I would rather suffer jury duty or fold laundry than dig in the dirt, where I’d encounter wriggling earthworms. And the very thought of bugs on my skin makes every hair stand up.

There is much in the city to feed my love of nature: The moss hanging from the southern live oaks. The barred owl behind our building periodically calling “Who cooks for you?” I long to answer him, but he stubbornly refuses to show himself for a real conversation.

The wonders of our national parks call to me, and I long to visit and marvel in the august presence of ancient trees, mirror-still mountain lakes, and multi-pigmented rock formations. But when the sun goes to bed, let me bask in the glory of indoor plumbing, snake- and insect-proof doors and windows, and the promise of morning elixir from the venerable coffeepot. (Though a  voice in the back of my mind scolds me, saying I should know how to “rough it.” For the future, when we’re all living in Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower.)

Am I an imposter, then, when writing about nature issues? I ask myself that each time I lift my pen to extol the delicate beauty of a green heron, the still vigilance of a lizard, or the mossy fairy-tale shape of a live oak. Yet I continue to look for that owl—through my apartment window—and to write about him and his bird friends.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award was launched in 2007 and is one of the main Awards in the UK for new writing talent. It is an outlet for expression and a platform for poets and authors across the globe to showcase their work through publication, prize money and exposure.

The submission deadline is 31 August, 2022.
About the Award:
  • Our alumni includes winners and shortlistees for the Cost Book Award, National Poetry Competition, TS Eliot Prize and Foward Prize. We receive submissions from across the globe, from both established and emerging writers, including editors and board members of Magma, Poetry London, Verve Poetry Press and more.
  • The Aesthetica Creative Award is supported by some of the biggest names in the literary world, including The Poetry Society, Granta, VINTAGE, and Redhammer Management.
  • Prizes include: £2,500 awarded to both the Poetry and Short Fiction winners, and publication within the inspiring Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, which is awarded to 60 writers, shortlisted by a prestigious judging panel.

Entry Fee: Poetry £12 | Short Fiction £18

The St. Lawrence Book Award

St. Lawrence book award

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished first collection of poetry or prose. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length manuscript in any genre. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

DEADLINE: AUGUST 31

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Kesha Dreher

Kesha Dreher
Dr. Kesha Dreher self-identifies as the Coolest Nerd Super She-ro on Planet Earth.  She believes if you can dream it and speak it, you can achieve it.  As a south side Chicago native and Iraq war veteran, she experienced her fair share of devastation.  However, Dr. Dreher chose to convert her devastation into her superpower; she encourages others to do as well.  Prior to retiring in Florida, over 25 years were toiled in editing legal and classified materials as a Senior Editor for Shepard’s McGraw-Hill, LexisNexis, and L3/Harris Technologies.  Dr. Dreher also loved sharing her pedagogical gifts and talents with students enrolled in local under-served Colorado community colleges as an English Professor.  To nourish her super she-ro inner-nerdy side, she earned a BS and MBA in IT, a Ph.D. in MGMT/HETL, and established Tri-Lakes Computer Services (TCS).  TCS offered her the benefit of enjoying her passions of “hands-on” computer engineering and tutoring underprivileged youth and young adults with “self-invented” game-based learning materials before it became a thing.  Besides her debut poem chapbook, Sifting Through The Dross, Dr. Dreher has also authored New Beginnings: A 25-Day Devotional, War Room Wednesdays: A 52-Week Devotional, and Exploring Strategies Leadership Need To Integrate Game-based Learning Into Higher Education: Ph.D. Dissertation (ProQuest).  Happily married 28 years to her husband, William; they lovingly share one daughter and a pup.  Her spare time is spent reading, writing, family time, watching sports, boating, and traveling around the U.S., Hawaiian Islands, and abroad (Germany, Iraq, Berlin, Mexico, and more).