Thursday, July 20, 2017

FESTIVAL ON THE SQUARE - MARKETING - AND WAYS TO GET THE WORD OUT

A couple of weeks ago the Clay County Arts andHistorical Council held the annual Festival on the Square. In the center of our little town is a large beautiful brick courthouse built over 100 years ago.

On the grounds of the court house which is no longer used as a courthouse, vendors set up every year, on the weekend following July 4th, and thousands of people pour into town and onto the grounds. Fine crafts and handmade art of all kinds are sold in the small tents on the 10 x 10 spaces allowed. For many years there were no literary arts booths, but a few years ago the NC Writers’ Network West, our mountain program for writers, was allowed to be the only book sellers on the square for the festival.

This year Deanna Klingel, author from Sapphire NC, took the responsibility of putting up the canopy with forty pound weights on each pole so it would not blow away if we had a wind storm. Deanna is a writer of children’s books and she makes many kids happy when she calls them over to look at the books on the table in front of her. I think there is a bit of jealousy from other writers who don’t have her knack for selling books, but I admire a good marketer. After all, if you can’t sell your books in today’s market, you might not be in the writing business. 


Carolyn Frazier and Bob Grove in front with Deanna in pink strip and me with blue around my neck.
Deanna made table covers with skirts that looked professional and gave our booth some extra pizzazz that brought in passersby. She and her husband, Dave, brought tables and chairs for the booth and she brought copies of all her books. 

I sat in the booth to give out info on NCWN West and Writers Circle on Sunday afternoon. It was hotter than I can remember and I have to accept that I can’t do that anymore. I was no help in taking down the booth because simply taking my own things and my chair back to my car did me in. I was in terrible pain by the time I arrived home, and I suffered for three days afterward with my back.

This might have been our last booth at the festival on the square. We don’t have enough interest from members to make it worth the labor involved. None of us are young and energetic and the heat saps our energy. This would be a great experience for younger people, maybe a few men who don’t mind setting up and taking down the tent and loading everything in the cars. Outgoing writers who engage with the public could sell books and find new readers, but shy or introverted writers find this experience unpleasant.

My purpose for the booth at the festival is to make the public aware of our writing community in this region. We always find interested people who give us their contact information so I can put them on our email list. We send out newsletters and event announcements and those on the email list receive them. In time, many of them join us.

Perhaps because I lived with a salesman for 45 years and had a brother who was the best salesman ever, I have a good understanding of marketing. I understand that no one just comes to your door and asks for your books. If the public doesn’t know what you have that they want, how can they order your book online? Your family and friends will probably buy your book, but then the sales stop.

One of the authors in the booth was Bob Brooks fromBrevard. He said that any chance to connect with the public, even if a book is not sold at the time, helps the author down the road. Sometimes the success of marketing is not seen at the time, but comes later when a reader who has taken your card at the festival orders your book online.

Deanna says she always sees a rise in online sales a few days after her appearance at a public event.  Too bad most writers close their eyes to the need for successful marketing.

Some writers don’t want to market their books and don’t care if they sell a single copy. That is fine. But their publishers usually want them to sell books. After all, the publisher needs to make money in order to stay in business.
Marketing is the part of the writing business that most authors dislike, but if they plan to stay in the writing business, they should learn how to market their work.

Tara Lynne Groth will teach a class at Writers Circle on August 5, 1 - 4 p.m. on using a newsletter to reach your readers, your audience. This way writers can sit at home and promote their books. Readers don't buy books because they want to do something nice for an author they don't know. They buy books because the author has something to offer them. They buy books because they see the book or the author or hear from the author who wants to share something with them -- her book. 



Friday, June 30, 2017

Eagle Eye - new book release

Congratulations, Darcy Flynn

My cousin, the romance writer, has a new book released today!

Eagle Eye by Darcy Flynn - Check it out on Amazon.com 



I had the opportunity to read it before it was published and I recommend it to those of you who enjoy a romantic love story. It is a great beach read, so order it in paper back and stash it in your beach bag. Darcy's books are clean stories with real life characters


This is a tease:

"Undercover journalist, Cameron Phillips, is known for his forthright exposé articles uncovering scandals of New York City’s rich and famous. Using the pseudonym Eagle Eye to hide his identity, he is free to wield his finger pointing, no-holds-barred articles at leisure.

Jillian Jeffrey, teen fashion industry’s latest darling, has a heart for the less fortunate. Her goal is to raise enough money for fashion icon Anna Delany’s, Like No Other charity foundation. The donation will not only keep the charity afloat, but will place Jill in the running for a coveted position on LNO’s board of directors."


Now what will be the conflict between these two? And how will the conflict be resolved? 

Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 26, 2017

ENTERTAIN AND ENLIGHTEN YOUR READERS WITH YOUR LIFE STORIES

I was supposed to meet at Young Harris College for a preview of classes coming up soon. But I could not be there Saturday morning.

I am excited to be teaching on Wednesday afternoons, beginning July 12, 3:15 - 5:15 p.m. through July 26 at YHC for the Institute of Continuing Learning. This is an organization formed to give opportunities for furthering education in many subjects to adults in our area.

Over the years I have taken beneficial classes at ICL. One of the best was with Kay Lake who taught several courses in computers. Kay taught without making one feel ignorant or dumb. She carefully explained everything and made books for us to bring home.

Some years ago, I taught memoir writing there to a large class of adults. I will be teaching the same subject again. With three classes of two hours each, we will only be able to hit the most important subjects: what to write, where to begin, what to leave out, and how to organize.

We can write about our lives in short true pieces. We can tell the important stories that entertain our readers. We are not writing an autobiography. We can write about a certain time in our lives and not try to include the entire span.

We can tell our readers about what was important to us and what we want them to know about us. If we are writing for our families and not for the public in general, we don't have to be a professional writer. But we do want to entertain and enlighten our readers. We don't want to spend hours and hours of time writing a book that no one reads. We want our writing to be the best it can be so we share our work in class and get feedback from classmates.

My students tell me they enjoy my classes, and I see how much they learn. You can visit ICL by going here to see the bulletin and list of classes and instructors.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time to Register for Writers Circle Classes. Don't wait until a class is cancelled to send your registration.

Each of these classes must have a minimum of seven people in order for the class to make. If you wait until the last minute, the class might be cancelled for lack of interest. Be considerate of the instructor and of moi and get your registration fees in early, please.

For more details on each class, visit www.glendacouncilbeall.com and check out the Studio Schedule.

Now taking registrations for Karen Holmes' three hour poetry class on July 15, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
Have a Little Fun and Learn Something, Too: The Poetry of Thomas Lux
$40 fee.
 Send a check or pay with PayPal. Class size is limited so don't wait to register.

You don't want to miss Tara Lynne Groth when she comes to Writes Circle on August 5, 1 PM - 4 PM for a workshop, Email Marketing for Authors.  She is an expert on using the Internet to build a brand or platform. Her classes are always filled to the brim, so register now.
Fee $45

He will teach on Saturday, 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM,  September 9.
Fee: $45

Send your check along with the completed application form found at the top of the home page of www.glendacouncilbeall.com   Copy form and print.

Glenda C. Beall
581 Chatuge Lane
Hayesville, NC 28904

Friday, June 16, 2017

Take two characters and create a conflict.

In the creative writing class I am teaching at this time, we are talking about characterization. I favor character-driven stories and books, so I pay great attention to how I form my characters.

I think it is a mistake to spend a paragraph or two describing a person in your story. We want to learn about this person as we read the story, just as we learn about someone in real life. 

We can describe a person's looks as soon as we see him. And we can describe the person's voice as soon as we hear him speak. But it takes a while to understand the motives and actions of a person.

A recent assignment I gave my students was to help them give the reader a good image of a  person without overtly telling the reader what he looks like, sounds like, thinks and does.

Put two people in a setting together. Let them have a conflict. Have the two  people work out the conflict and resolve it. In doing so, help us to see the two people and understand why  they feel as they do and why they act in a certain way. 

As author, Terry Kay, said at our recent conference, A Day for Writers, there are three major players involved in your story. One is the author, second is the characters, and the third is the reader. What we leave out is as important as what we put in. We can show by the character's actions and his words that he is angry, loud, a bully and more without telling the reader, "he is angry, loud and a bully."

Describe what the character looks and sounds like when he is angry, loud and his actions when he is a bully. The reader will fill in what you leave out but you give the clues.

In a short story I wrote, Big Al grabbed his ex-wife's wrist and squeezed it, hard. 
He yelled at the waitress complaining about his food. 
He demanded his ex-wife come home to him, and later threatened her.
He ran his  hand over his ruddy face. 
He laid his  cowboy hat on the seat beside him. He opened the two top buttons on his cowboy shirt. 

The reader creates in her mind just what Big Al looks like from the actions taken and the  type of person he is. 

My students wrote some excellent short stories with their two characters and their conflicts. Maybe you can do the same. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Final Schedule for Writers Circle this Year - A great line up!

Our summer and fall schedule for Writers Circle around the Table is complete. Today I listed Richard Krawiec as our instructor in September.

Poets will love this class. Richard will teach us how to organize a poetry book. 

Even if you don't think you are ready to publish that book now, you will learn what you need to do when the time comes. 

Visit our Studio Schedule page to see all the classes that will be held this summer and fall.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Kathryn Stripling Byer, poet, a friend to many, an activist and advocate

In honor of Kathryn Stripling Byer, first woman Poet Laureate of North Carolina, 2005 - 2009, who passed away today from cancer

I met Kathryn in 1998 at the John C. Campbell Folk School and bought her poetry book, In the Midst of the Harvest, one of my very favorites.

We had a connection even before we met. She and I grew up about 30 miles from each other in SW Georgia. Her memories of the farm where she lived often find their way into her early poems. They take me right back to  my childhood.

I was fortunate enough to take a few classes with Kathryn, who became a friend, and she was generous to help me with my poetry. She wrote a nice blurb for my chapbook, Now Might as Well be Then. She featured me on her blog where she posted several of my poems.

In 2014 she and I worked on a writing conference held in Sylva, NC at the Jackson County Library. She would never take any payment for what she did for NCWN-West which she was instrumental in bringing to fruition. 
On May 6, 2017, she taught a two hour workshop for our one day conference, A Day for Writers. She  was frail from the chemo treatments, but she insisted she could do it and she did. Her evaluations were outstanding with most just wishing it had been longer.

She said she was glad she did it and even talked about the  next time she taught this class. I was concerned about her health, but she seemed to  feel she was going to be fine. Doctors often hide the hard truths, I think.

I admired her for her forthrightness and down to earth personality. She never let ego interfere with her relationships with writers and was quick to compliment others. She offered a helping hand to any poet who was serious about their work. Although family was of utmost importance to her, she attended writing events all over the country and in other countries as well. 

Her poems have been put to music in a number of ways. You can see them on YouTube. 

She was not afraid to speak out about injustice and had definite opinions about government and those in power. She was an advocate for our environment, civil rights for all, and for peace. She was an influencer who was respected by writers and non-writers. She wrote letters to those in congress and made her voice heard on issues about which she was passionate. She did her research and I, like many who followed her, knew we could count on her when she spoke or posted online.

I am in awe when I realize I was friends with such an important and good person,  one who has  touched so many lives in one way or another, and I just took it for granted. If I sent her an email, she would answer promptly. I knew Kay was one who would do all she could for our writers and even for a stranger who was in need. 

We will never know what all she did for NCWN-West as she helped members and the organization stay afloat in the early days. If she had a friend who needed help getting a book published, and a book that Kay felt was worthy, she would not rest until that book was accepted by a publisher. 

I believe the poetry of Kathryn Stripling Byer will be lasting, and she will be known by generations to come. Hers was a voice stilled too soon. I am sad for myself and for her family and I am sad for those who will never have the opportunity to know her. 

The Still Here and Now
For Ruth
Wesleyan College, 11/6/04

This fragrance I’ve never been able to name,
floating past on the skin of an eighteen year old,
still invites me to stand on the loggia again,
afternoon ticking down into dark,
asking What am I doing here?
lost among strangers with hair more
bouffant than mine, clothing more stylish.
Soon I’d learn the words for what I couldn’t find
in my closet: Bass weejuns, madras, and Villager.
As for the name of that scent mingling
now with aroma of barbecue served on the porch,
it would have to be French, I imagined,
Ma Griffe, L’air du Temps, Insouciance,
not my mother’s stale Emeraude clinging to me
from our goodbye embraces. Now dusk would be
shrouding my father’s farm, doves mourning
out in the empty fields. I knew my way back
to all that. Don’t think for a moment I didn’t
wish I had the courage to set out for home.
But just then the sun set. The lamps bloomed
like story book tulips. The campus unfolded
around me its labyrinth that like a medieval pilgrim
I’d walk until I reached the center where I’d find
no Rose Window as I saw later at Chartres
sifting light down upon us, but tall classroom windows
that shook when the Rivoli train passed. I still walk
those pathways at night, dreaming arias spiraling
forth from the practice rooms, each dorm a beehive
of desk lamps and phones ringing endlessly.
Time, say some physicists, does not exist.
Sheer Illusion. Each moment a still frame,
as though in a movie reel unspooling out to the edge
of the universe. Each now forever.
So let my first afternoon darken to first night.
Inside a small room overlooking a golf course
and woodland, a small bed waits,
heaped with my unpacked belongings.
I slowly walk toward it, my nostrils still seeking
a fragrance I now name Siempre because
the next day I sit down to learn Spanish,
not French. In my best cursive
I write my name on each blank sheet I’m given.
The ginkgo trees flutter their luminous handkerchiefs:
Buenos Dias, Bonjour, Wilkommen.

Again and again I come back
to the start of this journey. I stand looking down
at the fountain, as if to say Here I am.
There you are, water sings to our gathering voices.
The loggia is filling with girls wanting supper,
and now she whose fragrance awakened my senses
so many years back brushes by and the wake
of her passage still trembles around me.









Thursday, June 1, 2017

Have a Little Fun and Learn Something, too. The poetry of Thomas Lux

If you are a  poet you don't want to miss Karen Holmes' class on Saturday, July 15, 1 - 4 p.m. at Writers Circle around the Table in Hayesville, NC.


Karen is an excellent poet whose book, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014, is highly praised. Karen lives in Atlanta where she has had the  opportunity to meet and study with some of the best poets in the country.

We are fortunate that she will be teaching in Hayesville, NC , our rural area in the Smoky Mountains, where local writers and poets can have the opportunity to learn from Karen about poet, Thomas Lux, who recently passed away. 

The New York Times called Lux a “poet who wrote of life’s absurdities,” and the Atlantic wrote that his “quirky, wily, incorrigibly uncanny poems left their mark far and wide.” Indeed, poets all over the world praised his poetry and his devotion to teaching in articles and social media posts upon his death on February 5 this year. His poems, while wildly original, often also have a warm undercurrent of joy. (Read more about him at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/thomas-lux )

"What makes Tom’s work special, and what can you learn from him and his methods/beliefs about how to craft a good poem? 
In this workshop, we’ll look in depth at some of his poems, and we’ll apply his principles to our own work through writing prompts. You’ll leave with the start of a brand new, fabulous poem (or two) that sound like you, but maybe with a little pinch of Tom thrown in for good measure." Karen says about this class. 

Have a Little Fun and Learn Something, Too: The Poetry of Thomas Lux
Fee $40.00  - Class limited to ten students
To register for this class click on the Studio Schedule at the top of this page.
Instructor: Karen Paul Holmes


Karen Paul Holmes is the author of the poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014), which tells a story of loss and healing “with grace, humor, self-awareness and without a dollop of self-pity,” according to Poet Thomas Lux.  She was chosen for Best Emerging Poets 2015 (Stay Thirsty Media), and her poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Cortland Review, Poet Lore, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia(Texas Review Press)). She has studied with Lux as well as other well-known poets, such as Dorianne Laux and Denise Duhamel.

Karen splits her time between Atlanta and Hiawassee, GA.  For the NC Writers’ Network, she originated and hosts a monthly Writers’ Night Out in Blairsville, GA.  Karen is also a freelance business writer and has taught writing at the John C. Campbell Folk School and elsewhere.  www.facebook.com/karenholmespoetry