by Dan Burns
Visions of grandeur tug me along a strict bearing
to a place I need to visit, to explore, to conquer.
Endless days and nights overwhelmed with only one option,
one line of thought and action, one goal, one promise.
At the crossroads I forge ahead to grasp the prize,
and I hope it’s what I expected, and I wish, and I wonder.
Sitting streamside with recollection of a history blurred by distraction, I can only sense
the rushing water, the waving wheat, the flight of a bird.
A pause confronts me with the sights and sounds and scents of the world,
and they calm my restless heart, and mind, and soul.
And I realize I’m already there.
Dan Burns is the author of the story collection, No Turning Back, and the novel, Recalled to Life. In addition to writing novels, short stories, and poetry, he also writes screenplays for the big screen. His forthcoming novel, A Fine Line, is a mystery set in his hometown of Chicago.
by Caryl Barnes
In May the Writers as Readers group discussed Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is a work of literary fiction 530 pages long and comprised of 167 short chapters. While most of us liked the book and all of us found much to admire, we agreed, as we do about most books we read for group, that it could have been shorter. We disagreed, however, about what could have been cut without damaging the complex and wonderful plot.
The book tells the painful stories of a competent blind French girl and a brilliant German boy before, during, and after World War II. They are complex and deep characters, and a lot of our conversation was about their natures, experiences, and fates. There is a third main character about whom reviewers and our group disagree. He’s a bad man, a stereotypical Nazi, who pursues a valuable diamond surrounded in myth. Some think this plot element detracts from the profound and fascinating stories of Marie Lore and Werner; others see it as integral to the themes of the book.
by Kathleen Weber
He looked down and smelled his peas.
Eat them! They’re good for your prostate. Eat them! They’re full of protein. Eat them! They’ll make you stronger. Over and over the nurse’s aide had lectured him about these damn peas. He wasn’t even hungry, least of all for peas.
He bent over to smell them again, hoping they would smell like something else.
As he inhaled, his lungs filled with Evening in Paris. A smile parted his lips. Rose Marie always wore that perfume for me, he thought. Slumping back, eyes closed, they glided across the ballroom floor with her small hand in his, while Tommy Dorsey played on, and on, and on.
Kathleen is a diverse freelance and creative writer. She has written everything from advertising, business technical, and fund raising copy; to travel and human-interest stories for newspapers and magazines. She enjoys writing thought-provoking poetry and fictional stories, and satirical humor.
Elizabeth Wheeler, Lolita Ditzler
Congratulations to In Print member Lolita Ditzler! Her interview with author Elizabeth Wheeler for In Print Radio won first place in the 2015 Mate E. Palmer Communication Contest sponsored by the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.
This is the second year Lolita has won first place with an interview on In Print Radio. Her interview with poet Jan Bosman won the 2014 contest and went on to garner honorable mention in the National Federation of Press Women’s Professional Communications Contest.
Lolita will be awarded at the 74th Annual award luncheon in Chicago on Saturday, May 16.
Click here to listen to a podcast of Episode 31 of In Print Radio featuring Lolita Ditzler’s interview with YA author Elizabeth Wheeler.
There are a number of writers’ conferences around the area, at all times of the year. At the end of March, a record number of In Print members attended the 2015 Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, and presented on a number of topics from an introduction to self-publishing to writing better cliffhangers.
For our May meeting, In Print will present the highlights of the conference experience, giving members a taste of what it’s like to attend. The conference will be broken up by subject, allowing members to work on specific aspects of their writing with a small group of fellow writers.
The meeting will be at the East State Branch of the Rockford Public Library on Saturday, May 9, from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Everyone is invited to attend.
While the first rule of writers is to write, the second rule of writers is to read, read as much as possible. The BookBub website is the May resource of the month.
When you sign up, you can select eBook deals by subject category (romance, science fiction, mystery, etc.), by author or by store. BookBub will send you notifications via e-Mail with links to bargain priced eBooks and free eBooks on a regular basis.
More resource links are available on In Print’s Facebook page.
After only four members at the March meeting, the April meeting with eight was a party! It was nice to see some faces we hadn’t seen in awhile. The reincarnation stories were interesting as always, and rather insightful as well. The creativity in the group is outstanding. The way their minds work to interpret the same exact assignment is always surprising!
For more information about the Prompt Club, check out our page on Facebook for meeting reminders, submission opportunities and general encouragement. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, May 19, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Cherry Valley District Library. The selected prompt is: Busted! Your cover is blown, your secret revealed. Write a story where something is found out. This ought to be a good one – members, feel free to go autobiographical – we won’t judge! Or use the prompt to get to get to know a character is your novel a little better. What will be revealed that even you (the author) didn’t know about them?
McIver Publishing will be sponsoring an Author Fair on Saturday, April 25 from 1:00 -4:00 pm in Rooms A and B at the Freeport Public Library. During the fair, Commissioning Editor of McIver Publishing and In Print member Kim McIver will be giving a presentation on marketing. Topics to be covered include choosing your target markets, creating a marketing plan, and giving authors some ideas on where to sell books other than book stores. She hopes to help people think creatively when they are planning their marketing strategy.
Kim will be giving the mini seminar at 2:30 pm. A hybrid author, she opened her company last year to help others navigate the self-publishing path. Since starting the company, she’s helped many authors self-publish their work, some of whom will be joining her at the author fair.
“Author fairs are a great place for writers and readers to gather together and get to know each other,” said Kim. “Readers get to talk to their favorite local authors and discover some new ones. Writers can flesh out what readers are looking to read and what the latest trends are. Also, readers get to go home with a signed copy of their next favorite book. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
by Mary Lamphere
Orphan Train is a fine read for a reader. This book is quick and familiar and stylistically paced with alternating voices and timelines. Although the story is weighted with teen angst and historical misfortune, it’s an easy read.
Orphan Train is a challenging read for a writer. Bringing a writer’s critical eye to the novel, the Writers as Readers group was able to discuss at length what worked, what didn’t, and why.
We opened our WaR meeting with a brief overview of Tropes. A trope is a tool of storytelling. And there’re a million of them. It’s when a trope becomes too familiar, overused and/or abused that it becomes a problem—a cliché. This book is chock full of cliché. The characters, the plotline, even the title are overly familiar. The author did nothing to step up her characters, dig deeper in to their story, or make her novel unique.