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IWG Literary Lunch—The Business of Writing

Date/Time: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Location: Smoky Mountain Pizza, 415 East Parkcenter Boulevard, Boise

Program: What You Need to Know in the New Age of Publishing

Whether or not you plan to self-publish your next book (fiction or non-fiction), you should know about the changes in the publishing world, and how to decide the most prudent direction for your writing. Joanne Pence, a USA Today bestselling mystery writer, has also written historical fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and dark contemporary fantasy.

Joanne has just returned from a week’s intensive master class on current trends in publishing and will be sharing some of the information she learned. Are you confused by Mobi vs. E-pub? CreateSpace vs. Lulu? “KDP Select” vs. everyone else? Hiring others vs. do-it-yourself book or e-book publishing? And if you want to hire others, what questions do you need to ask before you contract with them? Come to this month’s Literary Lunch and bring your questions as Joanne attempts to demystify the new world of publishing.

The Idaho Writers Guild meets the third Tuesday of every month. Network with writers and others in the literary community and get rejuvenated! The Literary Lunches are open to the public. The Idaho Writers Guild means writers working for writers.

For more information about the IWG Literary Lunch, contact Merilee Marsh, 208-921-5328, or email mm@merileemarsh.com.


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Let’s face it, writing can sometimes feel like a chore, and as much as we may love the final results, the initial start can all but stall the best of us.   As writers we all know that writing requires daily devotion. Like a child, it needs lots of care and attention. Even if it is just a few paragraphs or a couple of sentences that are recklessly erased or inked out later, a writer should devote a block of time each day for this purpose.  If you are looking for inspiration, check out http://www.creativewritingprompts.com/ Each day this website lists a different prompt and will help encourage that healthy writing habit.

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Got rejection fatigue?

Brighten up!  Rejection is a necessary evil in the writing industry, a rite of passage of sorts, and those who persist not only gain to improve their craft but may find out something even greater than an acceptance letter.  They may discover insights into their own soul.  Joy Harjo, the Native American poet, says:

‘You can use rejection to put you in a funk and stop you from writing, or you can crumple it up and use it to build your fire in the evening when you write.’

Enjoy the warmth!

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Going beyond their boundaries, the old men rule without warrant at the veteran organization’s bar. They sit in the back room playing solitaire on the computer, one trolls the web for porn. And they watch, keep the place in line. They are volunteers, nothing in it for them.

One of them lines up cheetos by size on the bar when he comes out for a drink. He always eats them in order. And he strongly believes in going by the organization’s rulebook. Just ask him. He’ll look at you over his reading lenses and quote you chapter and verse. Then he’ll eat a cheeto.

The other plays solitaire on the computer in the back room, the one with the lock on the door, next to the women’s restroom. He has a key. Once in a while, he ventures out into the smoky bar, has a gin and tonic, and makes jokes about his wife. She is dying of cancer. He was an Air Force pilot in Viet Nam. That explains his good eyesight, still good in his sixties. I mean being a pilot, not his wife dying of cancer.

Today he eyes the cheetos lined up on the bar.

The back door opens by the bar. It’s “Ole Harold.” He asks, “You servin’ me today?” The bartender says, “No.” Harold retreats, slamming the door after him. The bartender shakes his head. Every time they change management in the place, Harold gets wind of it and tries to get a drink. He is on disability for war injuries, but his main disability is drink.

This causes only a minor disruption to the talk around the bar. But, just before the ex-pilot leaves for home, he quickly moves some of the cheetos around, messes them up.  The cheeto man is busy telling the bartender what he should be charging for beer. The ex-pilot leaves, and the bar goes quiet waiting for the cheeto man to notice.

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Intellectual Property and Internet Law Attorney, Brad Frazer joins BackTalk! for an afternoon of information to help wade through the murky world of protecting your work, agents, contracts and other literary mysteries.  Join us at the Sun Ray Cafe, 1602 N. 13th Boise, Idaho from 11:30 – 1:30.  See you there!

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 “You’re such a liar!” Nick yelled. 

“Go, ahead, then.” Avery answered, his voice muffled through his mask.  “I dare you.  Go in there and wave from the bedroom window.”

 The two boys stared at the abandoned home.  They were supposed to be trick-or-treating.  Not breaking and entering.  Nick chewed his lip with his vampire teeth.  This is so stupid, he thought.

 “Too scared?” Avery asked.  

 Avery looked at Nick through the hollowed eyes of his skeleton costume.  He knew Nick would have trouble resisting a dare.  Nick, the all-around athlete, high-scoring point guard, baseball MVP.  Maybe he wasn’t so tough after all.

 “Fine.”  Nick set down his pillowcase with a crinkled heave.  “I’m only doing this to prove you’re a total idiot.”

 “I’ll be here, waving.” Avery held his hand up, mimicking the Queen of England’s signature wave.  Nick could almost see Avery’s smile through the plastic mask.

 “So stupid!” Nick muttered out loud this time and headed towards the back of the house. 

 Avery told him that there was a window open wide enough to crawl through.  He also told Nick about some man who jumped out at him in the upstairs bedroom and chased him all the way out of the house.  But Nick knew no one lived here.  The house was empty and he would prove it.

 Nick walked towards the back of the house using his flashlight to guide the way.   He slithered through the window frame, finding firm floors with his sneakers.  This is so stupid!, he thought again.  But once he proved Avery wrong, it would all be worth it.

 It was dark, of course.  No electricity here.  Nick followed the weak beam of the flashlight as it struck the floor and peeling walls.  It smelled, too.  He put his hand over his nose and breathed shallowly through the plastic teeth.  He carefully climbed the stairs to the second story landing.  Avery is such an idiot! Nick repeated in his mind.  At the top, he turned to the left, the very room Avery swore he saw the man in.

 Nick turned the door handle and pushed it open.  It was as dark as the rest of the house, but his flashlight beam illuminated the room so he could make his way to the curtains.  Too easy!

 Nick pulled the curtain back and lit up his face so that Avery could see him.  Sure enough, Nick saw Avery down below, instead of a wave, Nick gave him the middle finger.  Nick could see Avery pull his skeleton mask off with a quizzical look and then throw it on the ground.

 “Oh my God!  Behind you!  Look behind you!” Avery screamed.

 Nick folded his arms.  “Yeah, right!”

 Avery watched as Nick reluctantly turned and the window suddenly flashed and then darkened.  Avery dropped his candy and ran in the dark.  He had heard them, Nick’s screams.  Even now, as he ran.  The sound of it hurt his ears.  I’m so sorry, Nick! God, I’m so sorry!

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My grandmother never told me about my grandfather.  Just to say, “the only good thing from that marriage was your mother.”

“And me?”  By extension me, right?

My grandmother had twinkly, defiant eyes.  Like she didn’t give a “flip” what people thought of her.  She told me how she’d hated high school.  All the kids who “thought they were something.”  Getting sent to the principle’s office for back talking to an insufferable teacher.

The principle though, he forgave her.  He sat her on his lap and told her she had to be a good girl.

“He sat you on his lap?”  That sounded weird.

“Yep,” her lips smacked together; her twinkly eyes dared me to defy her.

Sometimes my grandmother told me about her first husband.  Her true love.  Going on dates.  Driving in his car.  After they were married, her parents bought him a small plane that he loved to fly over their house in the country.

He died in that plane.  And when they found him, my grandmother said, they only found the bottom half of his body.  From the waist down.

“Where was the rest?”  I asked.  Horrified but curious.  Trying to picture a body without a chest, arms, neck, head.  I couldn’t see the blood.  Only a clean, trim lower half.  Khaki pants, neat and a little dusty.  Heavy brown shoes.  In the cockpit of half-wrecked plane.

“Gone,” she answered, clipping the word short.

“Gone?”  I didn’t understand how a man could be all one piece.  Ordinary.  And then suddenly only half a man.

“Just gone.”

“Like all blown away?”  I asked, unhelpfully.  Thinking all blown up.  Blown to smithereens.  No trace left of the upper half.

My grandmother’s quick short nod.  We wouldn’t talk about that anymore.

Then a minute or so later, “He came back to me one time.” 

I stared at her.

She repeated, “He came back one time.  After he died.”

“Came back?”

“I saw him.  Sitting at the end of my bed.”

She wasn’t too giving on details, but I waited.  My arms prickled.  My pulse felt loud at my neck.

“I was in my bedroom crying after he died, and I saw him.  Sitting at the foot of the bed.”

She said the sentences matter-of-factly, like it was natural for a dead man, a half-blown up man to reappear.

“What did he look like?”  I asked.  Nervous.

“Like he always had.”  Her bold eye challenged mine.  “I told him, I can’t go on without you.  But, he said, ‘Effie, you can.  You have to.’ ”

“Then he was gone.”

“Did you see him again?”  I asked, cautious and hopeful.  Maybe he still haunted the country house.  The new owners might find him pacing quietly up the front stairs.  Standing at an open doorway.  Glaring into my grandmother’s bedroom.  Looking for her.

She shook her head.  “Nope.”

“He didn’t come back?”

“Nope,” her lips smacked together quietly that time.  Her eyes were dark.  “Nope, he never did.”

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