Destination: MURDER! !! !

Two of our members are heading to Magna–
Magna cum Murder, a mystery con.
You going, too? Look ’em up and say howdy.
Maybe sit in on some panels they’re on.
Mystery, mayhem, the hard-boiled, the cozy,
All kinds of crime, everywhere that you look!
Murder is fun, if it’s only in fiction,
Focused on bringing the bad guys to book.

To book. Get it? Mystery book? It’s a pun, see? Oh, you do see, you just don’t think it was worth reading bad poetry for. Okay, fair enough.

Well, we’ll see you in Muncie or else we’ll see you here when we get back.

T. Lee Harris
Marian Allen (“poetry” perpetrator)

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Habana Blues Fun

As one united group of writers, eleven of us celebrated our individual and group success at recent publishing efforts at Habana Blues, a Tapas restaurant in New Albany, Indiana on Thursday evening, October 13, 2011. Cuban tapas are little bites, appetizer-size, and the table was full of all sorts of goodies that night. Tapas are served on salad-sized plates, so most of us ordered two or three, and there were plenty of goodies to go around. I’d never experienced smoked honey, but when the sweet-potato fries came loaded on a plate with the dipping sauce as an accompaniment, we all dug in and ooh’d and ah’d with satisfaction. Our server was probably the most splendid, patient lady we’ve ever seen. If you’ve not tried Habana Blues in New Albany, we’d encourage you to give them a try. The restaurant is located on the southwest corner of Market and Bank Streets and they’re open seven days a week, lunch during weekdays. You won’t be disappointed!

As a group, Southern Indiana Writers have been meeting for nearly twenty years. Our members with recent individual publishing credits are Ginny Fleming, T. Lee Harris, Marian Allen and Joanna Foreman. We posed famously for photographs with our new books, and all of the other members held up for display Southern Indiana Anthologies in which their stories were published.

Besides the four already mentioned, the other writers and members in attendance were Carl Page, Glenda Mills, Samantha Lopez, Jeannine Baumgartle, Dale Yocum, Dirk Griffin and Ardis Moonlight.

As a group we presented T. Lee Harris with A Concise Dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphic Symbols, one of her favorite subjects when it comes to historical fiction writing. T. Lee Harris is the Creative Artistic Director for our group, working long hours compiling our individual submissions into presentable books each year with extraordinary illustrations to match each story, along with attention-grabbing cover designs.

I had been out of town for nearly two months and hadn’t attended our weekly meetings locally. Carl Page asked me if I showed up only at SIW functions where food was involved. I chewed and swallowed a beef empanada, took a nice-sized draw from the straw in my 10-Cane Rum Mojito, and threw him a grin across the table. “I’ll try to do better,” I said in apology. I’m decadently thinking ahead to our Christmas Party!

~ Joanna Foreman

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Context24 2011

T. Lee Harris, Marian Allen and Samantha Lopez represented SIW at Context24 this past weekend. Nick Winks, one of the mainstays of the con, was unable to do his usual magic, but Susan Kehner picked up the fallen wand and made the magic happen anyway.

We rode up with the fabulous Dave Creek, who’s a bookstore-cruising son-of-a-gun. We hit three this year, on the way to the con. Bought some, too. Crazy, old-fashioned things, made of ink printed on paper and bound together into pages. You turn the paper pages just the way you turn the pages on your iPad. Amazing! Okay, enough sarcasm.

We did our two standby panels, Blogging for Writers and Pod, Kindle, Smashwords and Other Dirty Words.

Samantha was on a panel called How I Write, in which she gave props to SIW for encouragement (read: nagging). Samantha writes intriguing stories both literary and speculative, with deeply personal elements that spice her work with edginess.

Marian Allen was on a panel about NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month. The consensus was that it’s a great tool, however you choose to use it. It may be “supposed” to be a writing community challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days on a particular project, but it’s more useful as a personal challenge and as a virtual retreat. Tell yourself and everyone around you, “I can’t do all the things I usually do this month–it’s NaNo, and I’m writing.” Then concentrate on writing, whether it’s a set of short stories, a novel, outlining, polishing, spitballing, or whatever writing you’ve been putting on the back burner for whatever good reason or feeble excuse.

Marian and T were on a panel called Having Fun – Who Needs Work? or What Keeps You Motivated To Write. All agreed that we write because we write. We get crabby if we’re kept from it too long.

T and Samantha were on a panel called Why I Write, which seemed a bit redundant. The room was frigid and there was only one attendee other than Marian, so we dissolved the panel and went home.

We’re already making plans for Context25 in 2012. 🙂


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FandomFest 2011

Member T. Lee Harris made it onto some panels at FandomFest. Member Marian Allen was too pokey and missed the deadline, but attended anyway.

Actual photo from dealers' room on Saturday.

We were in the dealers’ room, which sounds like a lot more fun than it is, although it was a lot of fun in spite of hotel snafus, NOT the fault of the festival organizers. If the hotel didn’t want us there, they could have just said so, instead of trying to render us down to lard. Maybe they were experimenting to see if paper really does burst into flame at 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

T. Lee was on these panels:

Everything You Wanted to Know About eBooks:  A comprehensive overview of the world of eBooks, from the formats, to the readers, to the markets.  This panel will help you understand the digital publishing realm a little better, and give you some leads to follow if you are interested in seeing your work in eBook formats.

Techniques for Good Short Fiction:  Short stories are not the same thing as novels.  With much smaller word counts (and often very strict ones for anthologies), you have to keep certain things in mind as you craft a short story.  This panel explores the techniques and approaches for writing compelling and effective short fiction.

SIW shared a table with Hydra Publications, a relatively new small press with an impressive collection of titles.

FandomFest will be held in a different hotel in 2012. We plan to be there.


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In Context

Southern Indiana Writers members T. Lee Harris, Samantha Lopez and Marian Allen are at Context science fiction convention this weekend. We have panels today and tomorrow, and a kaffeeklatch tomorrow.

Kaffeeklatch is German for coffee and conversation, which is what we do anyway.

If you’re at Context this year, look for us. 🙂


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Marcon With SIW

Members T. Lee Harris, Samantha Lopez and Marian Allen attended Marcon Alternative Realities Convention in Columbus, Ohio over Memorial Day weekend. We had proposed several panels, and two were accepted. To our surprise, we were the only panelists for both of them. The surprise was far from unpleasant: panels have a way of drifting away from the subject if they get too large.

The first panel was Blogging 4 Writers. T. Lee and Marian have blogs (Marian’s is the same as her web site). Samantha Lopez didn’t, but set one up through her iPhone right in front of the audience, showing how easily it can be done. It remains to be seen whether or not she’ll make use of it, but she does have one, and she set up the basic reality of it in a minute or so.

Our next panel was the following day: Kindle, Smashwords, POD and Other Dirty Words. Again, there were just the three of us, although we were fortunate enough to have Steven Saus in the audience, and we drafted him as a Floor Panelist. T. Lee is the Artistic Director and Production Supervisor of the vast Southern Indiana Writers Group publishing empire, which makes Citizen Kane’s look like a garage start-up.

Okay, that last bit was patently untrue, but T. Lee is the AD & PS for SIW, and has produced and published her own work electronically and in print in addition to her professional sales and has helped other members of SIW into electronics and print. Marian Allen has electronically self-published collections of her own short stories, some of which previously appeared in print or in on-line magazines, some of which were original to those collections. Samantha is on the verge, and served as an interviewer for the panel.

The takeaway was that it isn’t difficult to self-publish, but it isn’t a snap, either. Three things are crucial: produce content you love or think is important, have it rigorously edited for clarity and technical correctness (spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalization), and follow the formatting directions for whatever format or location you use to distribute the work. Kindle and Smashwords each have style guides, and Marian handed out a paper including her own experience with digital publishing and a demystification of the style guides.

And here is a link to Steven Saus’ blog, where he tells you all about creating your own digital document. Steven favors distributing your own work as well as publishing it, because more of the money flows to you that way.

We did a reading, of course, and signings. We met many wonderful people (including a steampunk baby) and had many delightful conversations.

Next stop: FandomFest in Louisville, Kentucky in July!


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Marcon, Brace Yourself!

We’re heading to Marcon Alternative Realities Convention today. Members T. Lee Harris, Samantha Lopez and Marian Allen will be on panels about, among other things, blogging for writers and self-publishing.

We were incommunicado last year, because wi-fi access wasn’t free and we’re all about money flowing TO the writer, not FROM the writer. This year, we’ll be at a different hotel, so we’ll only be silent running when we’re actually doing interesting things. Okay, you got me–some of the most interesting things at cons happen when one ISN’T on con business, but never mind that.

Post-con, we’ll have a con report and, possibly, pictures.


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Chautauqua Is Not A Vegetable

We’re at the Victorian Chautauqua at the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, Indiana today. Stop by and see us on Author’s Row! We’ll have copies of all our anthologies that are still in print, and books by individual members. All of our anthologies will be marked down to special Chautauqua prices, so this is a good chance to stock up.


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Madison! We Are Here!

Here we are in sunny Madison, Indiana, selling and signing books at That Book Place. If you aren’t here, you’re an equilateral four-sided thing!

That Book Place is having its 5th Anniversary Party with multiple authors and a sale of used books. They put in an order of sunshine, but there was a two-for-one sale on breezes, so it’s almost gale force out here. We’re lashing ourselves to the tables to keep from blowing away. Oh, dear, there went a child.

Meeting a lot of great folks. This is the place to be. 🙂 We may come back for the Madison Chautauqua in September. See you then?


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Which One Will The Fountain Bless?

We’re working on our next anthology, but we aren’t entirely certain what it will be. We have four possibilities on the table: Fantasy, Young Adult, Holidays and… the other one. Supernatural, I think.

The PLAN is to do Holidays because we have more material for that than for the others, so far. It just depends on who writes what by the deadline.

Tick. Tick. Tick.


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