The Force Behind Writing Groups by Bruce Kirkpatrick

A few tips from Bruce Kirkpatrick on being a member of a writer’s group.

I’m a member of four groups and each works differently. Here’s what I’ve learned about writer’s groups and if you are a writer, why you may want be a part of one.

Both new and seasoned writers are often members of writer’s groups. No hard and fast rules exist about how they work, but a few tips to get the most out of them might help.

Groups can meet in person or online. They can require that members trade “chapters” or work beforehand—or not. They can read aloud or simply offer critique in the written form. They can be full of published authors or those just getting started.

 

  1. If you attend a meeting, it forces you to write. No better way to get to work than to have somebody ready to read it.  One of the groups I’m involved with has over 270 members, but only 10 to 15 come to meetings regularly and read. Those are the more serious writers.
  2. It forces you to edit. Nobody wants to read work that is weak. By the time I read something in front of the group, I’ve edited it at least several times. That makes for better writing.
  3. It forces you, in many cases, to read your work out loud. That’s a key to better structure, phrasing, and dialogue. If your group doesn’t read aloud, you can always incorporate that into your editing practice.
  4. Groups force you to toughen up. Most groups offer sound criticism, delivered in a positive manner. One of my groups start the critique with what we liked, then move to how the writing could be better. It can always be better. You need to hear that, continually.
  5. They force you to meet and work with other writers. Writing can be a lonely passion but there is enlightenment in numbers. You’ll pick up great tips, habits, and skills working with like individuals. You may even use the group to connect you to others in the profession that can push your career forward. It’s a great place to network.
  6. Writing groups will force you to be a better writer. If you stay connected, and keep writing, your work will improve. You may not be the next Hemingway, but it’s a start.

 

That said, in my experience, writing groups have little knowledge about getting published. They are all about the writing. My groups don’t include many published authors, so the how-to-write-for-publication is a glaring hole. Most writers will do better reading the books about writing—Stein, Gorkin, Browne & King, George—than trusting inexperienced writers.

But you have to start someplace and a writing group will force you to write, edit, and receive feedback. If you’re a beginning writer or want to write for your own pleasure, it’s a good place to start.

 

Bruce Kirkpatrick is the author of Hard Left and Lumberjack Jesus. He is currently working on several different writing projects. To learn more about Bruce and his books, you can visit: http://www.bkirkpatrick.com/about/

 

At Written Dreams, we believe writers who take part of writer’s groups can be very successful. We will often suggest joining the local chapters to new writers because we believe in the benefits. Here in Green Bay, WI, we’re lucky to have a few groups that meet locally. If you’re looking for a writer’s group in your area, here’s a few associations you can start your search with, depending on the genre you write in: RWA-Romance Writers of America, HWA-Horror Writers of America, SFWA-Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America, CWG-The Children’s Writer’s Guild, NAMW-National Association of Memoir Writers, and many more!

Rick Roberts’ Books: Song Stories and Lame Brain

At Written Dreams Publishing, we’ve had the pleasure to work with multiplatinum artist, Rick Roberts, and put two of his books into large print hardcover format for his fans.

During the 1970s, Rick Roberts’ songs topped the music charts when he was the lead singer of the band, Firefall. Now, Rick Roberts has put together a beautiful collection of his memorable stories and the lyrics he’s written over the years in Song Stories and Other Left-Handed Recollections. Included are some of Rick Roberts’ best-loved songs: “You Are the Woman”, “Colorado”, “Strange Way”, and “Just Remember I Love You”. Read along as Rick Roberts takes you back to the days with these nostalgic songs when he performed them with his band Firefall and other artists, and learn about what is yet to come for him.

 

 

 

 

A multiplatinum rock star’s life meets an unexpected detour when a bump on the head reveals itself to be a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Told with honesty and humor, Lame Brain: My Journey Back to Real Life is Rick Roberts’ story of his entangled afflictions of TBI and Alcoholism.

Approximately 1.7 million people experience a TBI in the United States every year, with accidental falls being the leading cause. TBI can strike anyone at any time, swiftly changing the course of life. For Rick, this meant losing his ability to walk (with doctors giving only a 50/50 chance that he would ever walk again), losing many of his innate guitar skills, and facing difficult decisions that he wasn’t quite ready to make.

Rick openly shares the story of how he confronted these challenges while simultaneously fighting alcoholism. True to his talent for writing award winning lyrics and melodies, Rick now gives the world a story of healing told in his own compelling voice. He details the routines he created to reclaim his mobility, coordination, and sobriety. Refusing to accept his circumstances as a game ender, he instead considers them to be merely setbacks. Within the pages of Lame Brain, readers will find inspiration to achieve their own miracles and increased awareness of TBI and alcoholism.

 

About the Author:

Rick Roberts is a 40-year veteran of the rock’n’roll wars. He began his recording career in 1970 with the Flying Burrito Brothers and was a major contributor to their last two albums. He went on to do two solo albums and then form the well-known band Firefall in 1974, with whom he played for seven years during their heyday. He has also been a member of Stephen Stills’ band and Linda Ronstadt’s band during his career, and has been awarded two platinum and four gold albums for his efforts.

He has had over 60 of his compositions recorded and performed by such artists as The Burritos, Firefall, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow, The Dirt Band, and numerous others. He is the composer of the hit songs “Just Remember I Love You”, “You Are the Woman”, “Strange Way”, “Colorado”, and several more that graced the Top 40 at one time or another.

After suffering a debilitating brain injury in 2006 which left him in jeopardy of never walking again, it took him nearly four years of intense physical therapy to walk again without crutches or other aids. Rick currently lives and works in Longmont, Colorado with his wife, Mary, and their two dogs and two cats.

 

Death by G-String:  Book 1 of the Coyote Canyon Ukulele Club Mystery Series by C.C. Harrison

 Book 1 of the Coyote Canyon Ukulele Club Mystery Series

 

Can Viva Winter find the truth before it’s too late?

The Coyote Canyon Ladies Ukulele Club is gearing up for a ukulele competition when their flamboyant star player, Kiki Jacquenette, is found strangled to death with a G-string. Not only is a first place win in jeopardy, the entire folk music festival is put on the verge of collapse. A murderer on the loose is sure to keep tourists away.

Chronicle editor Viva Winter had hoped to make Coyote Canyon the folk music capitol of the Colorado mountains, and was also trying to raise money to help repay the townspeople bilked by her father’s phony investment scheme. With much to gain by Kiki’s death, Viva soon comes under suspicion, so she must uncover the truth before her whole life turns into one sour note, and a tourist trade boom falls flat.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

C.C. Harrison lives in Anthem, Arizona. She is the author of hundreds of articles and short stories. When she’s not writing, reading, or working out at the gym, she can be found in the mountains of Colorado or in some far-flung corner of the Southwest. She has won national recognition with her suspense novels.

Resurfaced: A Sci-Fi Dystopian Novel by Lexi Jordan

A Sci-Fi Dystopian Novel

Before a large asteroid hit Earth and wiped out most of all humanity, survivors gathered in The Burrow, an underground community, with the hope of survival being the one thing on their minds. Realizing their fate, the Burrow dwellers developed a new society.

Over one hundred years later, a grave decision is made by the United Assembly, a group of representatives who make up the new government. They’ve decided to send every prisoner incarcerated to a land not touched in over a century.

Max is a teenage girl who has survived the end of humanity. She’s also a prisoner.

Sentenced to a life above ground, prisoners are put on a hovercraft with one destination. On her journey, the hovercraft Max is on crashes, leaving eighty-two young souls to fend for themselves in a new world. Their new world. It’s a new start for them, a liberation from a past they left back in the Burrow.

But there’s something bizarre about the way the hovercraft crashed, or how the radio stopped working when there were no signs of damage. Suspicions grow about the United Assembly’s real intentions of sending them away. Was it really an accident?

The crash is the least of Max’s problems when the group makes a shocking discovery. It contradicts everything the Burrow leaders told them about the surface. After all, the unknown kills.

 

About the Author: 

Lexi Jordan is a sixteen year old high school student attending Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, WI. She is currently working on her third book. Resurfaced is her first novel. Learn more about Lexi’s series at www.writtendreams.com or follow her on social media.

 

The Visitor by Barbara Raffin, A Supernatural Romance

 

“Intriguing, surprising, amazing. Well worth the read.” —S. C. Mitchell, Author of The Blarmling Dilemma

 

 

Copyright (c) 2017 by Written Dreams Publishing

Nine months after he’s been cremated, Rebecca Tierney’s husband shows up in her living room…naked.

Rebecca Tierney, now a widow, returns to the family home situated on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula bluffs nine months after her husband’s death to scatter his ashes on the largest, coldest, and most unforgiving of the Great Lakes—Lake Superior, one that never gives up its dead. Unable to handle the grief of missing her husband and the romance they shared, Rebecca becomes a recluse.

She soon finds out that there’s more than just memories in the old Victorian house than of a love ended too soon. A Visitor from afar has appeared and searches the house for the key that will stop his alien race from dying on his home planet. Rebecca can either help the clone reach his goal of finding a shipwreck, or let him die. When a young girl goes missing and someone from the clone’s past surfaces, hard choices must be made.

Only the long-forgotten secrets of the old house can free Rebecca from her grief and teach a man of logic that love is worth more than eternal life. Will she open her mind, and he, his heart to the unlimited possibilities?

 

 

 

Award-winning author Barbara Raffin lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When Barbara’s not writing, reading, or daydreaming, she hangs out with her Keeshonden dogs, Katie and Slippers.

 

 

 

 

News from Lake Boobbegone: A Breast Cancer Memoir from the Heart by Carolyn Redman

Self-Help/Women’s Memoir

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Question: Does the world really need another breast cancer memoir?

Answer: Probably not.

But writing is the only way Carolyn Redman knew how to process a heartbreaking breast cancer diagnosis and the year-long treatments that ensued.  These honest, heartfelt, and sometimes humorous e-mails and essays, written solely to keep family and friends informed of her medical condition morphed into the definitive exercise in self-compassion and healing. In the end, no one was more surprised or more grateful than she was to find purpose and meaning masquerading as cancer.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:  

Carolyn Redman has been writing poetry and short stories since junior high school, where she was erroneously labeled by her guidance counselor as having the wrong kind of imagination. She persevered, earning a BA (cum laude) from Mount Mary University in English / Professional Writing, while working full time as an editorial assistant at an academic medical institution. She is a Wisconsin state licensed massage therapist who believes strongly in integrative medicine and the mind body connection. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she lives with her artist husband Tom and their cat, Sophie. This is her first published work.

Parts Unknown: An Alaskan Mystery by Toni Niesen

Mystery

Toni Niesen makes her debut into the mystery field with Parts Unknown.

 

Somewhere over the Alaskan wilderness a plane has disappeared.

As winter approaches Anchorage, flight instructor Beri Quinn races to find a student who took off in one of her planes, and hasn’t been seen since. She’s convinced he’s still alive despite the Civil Air Patrol calling off their search. She strives to locate the missing pilot, save her reputation as a flight instructor and keep her business. But both in the air and on land, she must overcome gathering forces conspiring against her.

A single mother, Quinn fears losing custody of her son. She draws on her knowledge of aviation and musters the emotional strength necessary to overcome unseen adversaries and protect her family. With missing gold, sabotaged aircraft and unsolved murder, the stakes are high for Quinn and for her enemies.

To resolve her dilemma, Beri must answer one underlying question: did her student misjudge the weather and make a fatal mistake, or was he the victim of an elaborate murder plot? In her quest for an answer, she discovers unexpected betrayal and a massive criminal conspiracy. Told with suspense, humor, and a fighting spirit, this is a mystery for anyone who has ever dreamed of adventure in Alaska.

 

About the Author:

Toni Niesen lived in Alaska for twenty-four years. She worked in public health in Anchorage, and lived the life of a pilot vicariously through the exploits of her husband and friends. She is the author of short stories, three of which were published in Desert Sleuth anthologies. Parts Unknown is her debut novel. She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, grandson, and Boston Terrier, Sushi. To learn more about Toni Niesen and her books, visit writtendreams.com.

 

Poetry and Ponderings: A Journey of Abuse and Healing Through Poetry by Diamante Lavendar

 From Award-winning author of Breaking the Silence, Diamante Lavendar!

A raw collection of religious poetry and prose based on one Christian woman’s experiences of being abused, and how she healed herself with God’s love in order to move past the assaults.

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In this rare collection of nonfiction Christian poetry and prose based on real life experiences, Diamante Lavendar, a victim of abuse, shows the reader the raw emotions of pain, hate, and denial that occur before a victim of abuse can find a way to heal from the pains of assault. Knowing herself the very difficult journey of being a victim, Diamante was abused as a child, and turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. Many years later, she started to heal under God’s watchful eyes and was able to find love in her life again. She shares these truly inspiring, religious poems in the hopes that it may help other victims heal their hurts, as she did while writing the poetry collection.

About the Author: Diamante Lavendar has been in love with reading since she was a child. Diamante believes that everyone should try to leave their own positive mark on the world, and to make it a better place for all. Writing is her way of leaving her mark—one story at a time. She began writing in college and has published poetry in anthologies over the years. Most of her writing is very personal and stems from her own experiences, and those of her family and friends. She writes to encourage hope and possibility to those who read her stories. To learn more about Diamante Lavendar and her books, please visit her website at: www.diamantelavendar.com.

 

Freewheel: #HonoluluLaw, #FamousTriathlete, & a #Charity by Katharine M. Nohr

Legal Mystery

Book 2 in the Tri-Angles Triathlete Mystery Series

Freewheel takes readers for a spin in the real world of personal injury litigation, where the drama takes place outside the courtroom.

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Olympic gold medalist, Ryan Peterson can’t seem to get a break. He was ousted from professional cycling for doping. After he switched sports to triathlon, he was blasted by the tabloid press for allegedly causing an accident that wiped out his competitors. In an effort to redeem himself, Ryan starts the Freewheel Movement to help homeless and isolated people financially and emotionally. Although Freewheel is an instant success and Ryan becomes a television talk show regular, his bad luck continues. He’s sued for allegedly causing the death of a competitor in a Hawaii triathlon, and no matter what he does, he can’t convince the beautiful claims adjuster, Alexia Moore, to go out with him.

Young and ambitious new attorney Zana West is hired to represent Ryan and provide him a defense in the lawsuit, but by doing so, her relationship with Jerry Hirano, T.V. star of “Fighting in Paradise,” is threatened. Will Zana be able to help Ryan get his life back, and keep her relationship together?

 

 

 

Katharine M. Nohr Photo Copyright by Katharine M. Nohr.
Katharine M. Nohr
Photo Copyright by Katharine M. Nohr.

Katharine M. Nohr is the author of Managing Risk in Sport and Recreation: The Essential Guide for Loss Prevention (Human Kinetics, 2009) and Land Sharks (Written Dreams Publishing, 2016), and is a frequent international speaker on Olympic Games, professional athlete and triathlon risk management. She is a principal in Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC, which offers career longevity/reputation risk management coaching for professional athletes. A former District Court (per diem) Judge, she continues her work as an insurance defense attorney, practicing law in Hawaii. During her free time, Katharine swims, travels and writes. Freewheel is her second novel in the Tri-Angles series. To learn more about Katharine or her books, visit her website at katharinenohr.com, or find her on Facebook at KatharineMNohr, on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

 

 

Death Nosh: A Noshes Up North Culinary Mystery by Mary Grace Murphy

Cozy Culinary Mystery

Someone is sneaking into houses, committing murders, and escaping without a trace. How can Nell convince the police chief to take her theory seriously?

 

People are dying in the pleasant community of Bayshore, Wisconsin. The police think it’s the normal passing of senior citizens. But Nell Bailey, food blogger and restaurant reviewer, has a different opinion.

Surrounded by mouthwatering meals, Nell struggles with her weight as she visits restaurants, and blogs about their delectable dishes. She strives to conquer her stress-eating as the death count rises.

To further complicate her life, Sam, her gentleman friend, isn’t acting very gentlemanly. His plans for the two of them don’t include Nell investigating any more murders. Can she hold her own against two men, Sam Ryan and Chief Vance, who are so accustomed to doing things their way?

 

 

Mary Grace Murphy mystery author

Author Bio: Mary Grace Murphy’s penchant for reading has been a delight, both personally and professionally. She not only devoured books on her own, but encouraged her students to find their own joy of reading during her thirty-four years as a middle school teacher. Another thread running through Mary Grace’s life has been her quest for intriguing eating establishments and interesting recipes. Solving mysteries and discovering scrumptious food set Mary Grace on the path to create her culinary mystery series, Noshes Up North.

Mary Grace resides in Oconto, Wisconsin, a community not unlike her fictional town of Bayshore, where she appreciates the varied food and events which symbolize Northeast Wisconsin.