Celebrating forty-one years of helping writers where they are
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by Bokerah Brumley
At the beginning of the New Year, I announced a tongue-in-cheek goal of 250,000 words in 2016. I write daily, usually two or three thousand words, and submit often. Right now, I’m waiting for my sixth and seventh rejections from the remainder of my January submissions.
It’s safe to say that I am familiar with literary rejection.
A few months ago, I was invited to join a panel of judges for an ongoing, worldwide flash fiction competition. At first, I thought it was a joke. I am rejected monthly, often multiple times in a month. The invitation was unexpected, but I love flash fiction, so I agreed.
I spent this morning reading flash fiction submissions, agonizing over the writer on the other side of the work. I want to provide feedback that is both encouraging and insightful. I want to give the writer a direction to go, but wave obnoxiously huge cheerleader pom-poms so they don’t take my evaluation as the final word.
I have been that anxious writer, waiting for a yes or no. I am that writer much of the time.
Here are three true things I’ve learned from my time on the judges’ panel.
1) Your creativity is apparent, but the story did not resonate with me. Your work didn’t speak to me. It may be the greatest thing ever, but it’s my job to judge the work in this situation or market. Keep trying!
2) It’s hard to be an objective judge. I do my best, but sometimes, subjectivity seeps through. I am the sum of my thought processes and life. Subjectivity happens. You will bump into this again and again. Be stubborn. Find new outlets for your work. Keep submitting!
3) On the oh-so-close-but-not-quite-there pieces, I did not enjoy rejecting your work. I wanted to send you, awesome writer, an email filled with all the wonderful things. But the rules are the rules.
Don’t give up because I said ‘no.’ Please! I love your words. They just didn’t make it this time. Keep improving!
It’s been an eye-opening experience, but a good one. It’s also taken much of the sting out of my own rejections. It’s given me more appreciation for those that are saddled with the task of judging. It’s not always easier on the other side of the fence.
Visit the Cisco Writers Club at CiscoWritersClub.org or on Facebook as Cisco Writers Club.
Join the CWC at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the Mobley / Conrad Hilton Center, 309 Conrad Hilton Blvd, Cisco. Call (254) 434-3530 for more information.
by Amber Draeger
This month’s meeting, held on February 4, 2016, was a sequence of surprising events. Our scheduled guest speakers from Y&R PR, Cheryl Letsch and JoAnna Grace, arrived midafternoon only to be forced to return home due to a family emergency.
We were extremely distressed to hear their news and were thankful to learn that they made it home safely. All of us at the CWC wish them and their loved ones many blessings and speedy recoveries. We hope to have them back with us soon.
Before our guests departed, they graciously left handouts on their topic, “Social Media for Your Writing.” It was our intention to put those handouts to use the same night, but another surprise arrived in the form of Dr. Duane Hale’s surprise guest, Chip Drumwright. We shifted quickly into discussion regarding differing schools of thought on learning the craft of writing.
We hope to save the handouts for next meeting or perhaps utilize them when our esteemed speakers are able to return.
In attendance was Anna Albergucci, Gloria Kojakanian, Amber Draeger, Kathy Spencer, Speedy Gomez, Chip Drumwright, Duane Hale, Marsha Vermillion, Ruth Stewart, and Ruth York.
Review by Bokerah Brumley of Where She Belongs, a novel by Johnnie Alexander
Shelby Kincaid is trying to put her life back together, trying to recapture the carefree days of her childhood. Her two daughters need freedom from the heaviness that has been haunting Shelby since her teenaged years.
After her husband’s passing, Shelby leaves Chicago to return to Misty Willow – not far from Columbus, Ohio – with plans to restore the family farm, stolen by the conniving Sullivans years before. If only AJ Sullivan and his grandmother, Joyanna, weren’t so agreeable, so ready to return the place Shelby loves… If only AJ Sullivan wasn’t a kind high-school teacher that most-often resembles a hometown knight in shining armor.
Slapped with a lawsuit that challenges her right to live at Misty Willow, Shelby discovers that someone she trusts has been hiding a terrible secret about her beloved grandfather. But history comes to the rescue as AJ defies his family and Shelby’s long-held misconceptions about the Sullivan clan.
Johnnie Alexander deftly weaves an abiding love for past and legacy into the telling of AJ and Shelby’s tale. Early chapters introduce the reader to the laid-back Misty Willow world, but tension and intrigue increase throughout. Her story telling skills are apparent within the smooth, descriptive style that draws readers in.
Where She Belongs boasts realistic dialogue, believable scenarios, and a satisfying happily ever after that leaves the reader eagerly anticipating book two in the Misty Willow series. With light humor and a sprinkling of classic movie lines, this inspirational, Christian romance is a highly recommended read.
Where She Belongs: A Novel
Misty Willow series
978-0800726409, paper, 368 pages, $13.32 (ebook also available)