Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Getting the Most From the WWW Writers' Conference

    by Carmen Peone

    Have you ever wanted to write? Fiction? Non-fiction? Short Stories? Memoir? About women and girls in the west…west of the Mississippi? I recently came back from our WWW conference in Redmond, OR. What a trip! I mean both journey and event.

    I met agents and editors, I was the committee chair for this year’s conference, and just got to know those scary people, finding out they are not scary at all, but actually people who want to see writers and authors succeed. Succeed. Isn’t that what we all want? To succeed at our gifts and talents?

    The first and basically only workshop I was able to attend was Reader’s Brain, Writer’s Brain: The Science to Connect, by Stephany West Allen. We learned about the 7 synapse supporters to deepen synapses so reader will remember what they read and how the writer can hone in their craft and pull in readers from their emotions. How the brain works to connect with words on the page. Ms. Allen talked about the “Big 6” to get the reader’s attention which include: intensity, novelty, scary, interactive, diverting, and emotion. She discussed how we as writers need to trigger the reader’s body for them to mirror the character’s emotions. In essence, to feel what the characters feel. That’s the hook.
    2016 Board

    Then on Friday morning we toured the High Desert Museum. It was like coming home to the Colville reservation. It felt like home. When I saw names of relations to my husband in the Native American Section of the museum that spotlight the Palouse tribes, I knew it was from home. I felt peace and comfort as I studied each Native artifact, taking in the descriptive tags that went with each basket, tipi, regalia, and beaded bag. 

    On Saturday Jane Kirkpatrick and I presented our workshop entitled: Weaving Life on the Reservation into Fiction. We talked about our experiences with Native Americans: Jane mostly with the Warm Spring Natives of Oregon, and myself with my time on the Colville reservation studying with elders, one in particular, Marguerite Ensminger.

    I shared pictures of tule-mat tipis, cattails, and my coveted language notebook I used with Tima Mugs. 

    Jane shared stories of working with children and families on the Warm Spring Reservation and how she wove what she’d learning into her stories. She used four threads: landscape, relationships, spirituality, and work. We both talked about the ceremonies and ties to land and food, about legends, and family.

    Dinners were shared with winners from the LAURA Short Story contest and the WILLA finalists and winners. Authors read short excerpts of their winning stories and delighted the audience. What an honor to hear what was written from the heart. 

    Most of all we were able to fellowship, writer to writer. We know that writing is a lonely craft, but worth it when we able all get together and uplift, encourage, applaud. We are members of Women Writing the West. We’re one big family. Wouldn’t you like to join?

    Carmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Reservation since 1988.  She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural traditions and legends. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and wanted to create a legacy for her sons who are tribal members.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    November Member News

    So many talented writers in WWW! Congratulations on all your new releases and awards!

    Vella Munn Midnight Sun. When Brand Lockwood barely survives a building collapse, memories of trying to rescue other survivors haunt him. He vows never again to be a victim of another man’s negligence and greed—and to actively pursue the builder he feels was responsible for the collapse.
    Kara Richardson isn’t going to sit by and let her father be slandered as an incompetent contractor. She goes right to the man who has brought her father so much misery and ruined his life—Brand Lockwood—and applies for a job with his firm. 

    Vella Munn’s essay “Innocence” has been published in the anthology, Memories From Maple Street. Growing up is a miraculous time. The journey from the freedom of childhood to the workaday life of becoming an adult is filled with both poignancy and wonder. Fond memories of pedaling bikes through honeysuckle-scented streets with a pack of neighborhood friends and playing “kick the can” and stickball on warm summer evenings alight with fireflies are accompanied by the inevitable loss of people and places dear to the heart.

    Pamela Nowak, Escaping Yesterday. 1905 Elitch Gardens… an amusement park on the verge of expansion… two troubled people escaping traumatic pasts… one very present danger… and a love neither expected.  Lottie will risk everything to save her daughter. Caleb believes she is a manipulative huckster intent on conning his friends and ruining the park’s tranquility. But when Lottie’s past catches up to her, they unite, standing together against a treacherous villain and facing the complicated memories haunting them both.

    Janet Squires, Desperate Straits. Arizona Territory 1887 -- An immigrant Irish girl and a veteran lawman battle for their lives when they stand between one man's obsession and the Lost Adams gold. 

    Paty Jager, A Husband for Christmas (Windtree Press) Final Novella in the Halsey Homecoming and Halsey Brothers Series. Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing and reckless fiancé. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down and forces him to decide if he should leave town or face the consequences. 

    Nanette Day, (writing as C. Jai Ferry), Skeleton Dance is the emotionally dark, twisted short story of one young girl surviving the eccentricities of her grandmother. An unedited version of this story won the Vermillion Literary Project's 2014 Short Story Contest. 

    Shanna Hatfield, Capturing Christmas (Rodeo Romance Book 3) Life is hectic on a good day for rodeo stock contractor Kash Kressley. Between dodging flying hooves and babying cranky bulls, he barely has time to sleep. The last thing Kash needs is the entanglement of a sweet romance, especially with a woman as full of fire and sass as the redheaded photographer he rescues at a rodeo.

    Shanna Hatfield, The Christmas Vow (Hardman Holidays Book 4)
    Sailor Adam Guthry returns home to bury his best friend and his past, only to fall once more for the girl who broke his heart.

    Shanna Hatfield Dacey: Bride of North Carolina (American Mail-Order Brides Book 12) On the run from her past, Dacey Butler has nothing to lose when she agrees to travel to North Carolina to marry a stranger. Unaware his conniving mother arranged for a mail-order bride, Braxton Douglas has no idea what to do with the intriguing woman who arrives on his doorstep ready to wed. 

    Nancy Godbout Jurka, Bright Star of PalmerLake, portrays the holiday season with beauty, joy and peacefulness in a small Colorado town nestled against the Rocky Mountains.  Artist Kay LaBella’s breathtaking watercolors create the look of nostalgia and whimsy in each painting.. Together, the words and illustrations portray a visual tour of discovery for anyone who cherishes this beloved bright star on the mountainside. This limited edition keepsake for all ages celebrates the Palmer Lake Star in its 80th year of shining along the Front Range.


    K.S. Jones, Shadowof the Hawk. It is May 1932 and life in the timbered rise and fall of Western Arkansas has just gotten harder for sixteen-year-old Sooze Williams. With debt mounting and both friends and family fleeing, Sooze is determined to "do the right thing." She promises her heart to a well-to-do man believing true love is just another loss along the way. But when her uncle is murdered and family is accused of the crime, Sooze faces a different kind of battle. Jones’ debut novel has also been awarded the Gold Medal in the 2015 Literary Classics Book Awards in the Historical Fiction category.  

    Julie Weston, Moodshadows, won Best Cover award in the Idaho Author Awards contest. Her husband, Gerry Morrison is the cover photographer.
    Nellie Burns, photographer, leaves Chicago in the early 1920s to find adventure and a career in the West.  She lands in Ketchum, Idaho, armed with her large format camera.  After photographing moonshadows on snow, she stumbles onto a not quite deserted house and a black dog she names Moonshine.  She also discovers and photographs a dead body.  When the body disappears and her negatives are stolen, she joins the chase to solve the mystery and find her negatives.

    Paty Jager, Double Duplicity, book one in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series is a finalist in the short list for the Mystery and Mayhem Award from Chanticleer International Novel WritingCompetitions.
    Dreams…Visions…Murder On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.