Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Kicking Off 2016: Strange Things Brewing at Coffee and Critique

 
Nick's last visit to C&C
The new year kicked off on a strange note yesterday at Coffee and Critique. As those present took turns going around the table at the beginning of our first session for 2016 --during which we shared our writing, publishing and other news--first up was Pat, who showed us a photo of her new puppy and mentioned she got an e-mail informing her she made it through the first hurdle for Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less.

That prompted a comment from Jack, who was sitting at the far other end of the table, to say, "Did you say 'the joy of lust?'"

After we all stopped laughing out loud, we discussed how CS wouldn't publish an anthology focused on the joy of lust, although it would be an interesting read. Jack's comment was one for the books!


The readings by Doyle and Jack, "the boys," went well, as did critiques from the rest of us. With only six writers present, we wrapped up our critiques and discussions early and three of "the girls" stayed for lunch.


Bea in one of her many chapeaus
While Marcia, Jane, and I were eating, I began to discuss how much I missed Bea Siros and Nick Nixon, two of our members who had passed away a few years ago within one year (almost to the day) of each other.


Just then about a dozen glasses and cups fell off the drink counter near the cash register. No one was anywhere near the counter. One server was waiting on a table on the other side of the restaurant, and the other server was in the kitchen. The closest customer was at a table over six feet away.


Bea at her birthday party
Our awesome servers, Chrissie and Kim, quickly swept up the shattered glass, and the owners came in from their office to make sure everyone was okay.  C&K explained they didn't know how the glasses fell because no one was anywhere near the counter at the time. It was indeed a strange happening.

When Chrissie stopped by our table to top off our drinks, she said. "I swear there's a ghost in here."
Her comment gave me chills because right before the glasses shattered, we were talking about the deceased members of our group. Could their spirits be lingering at the restaurant?

It could've been a coincidence, but if you ask my opinion, it looks like our critique group will be in for a strange and an interesting year.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Coffee and Critique Writers Are Busy Elves on the Book Shelves


Santa's elves aren't the only ones who've been busy this Christmas season.

The writers in Coffee and Critique also have spread their holiday cheer with author events, book signings, radio interviews, contest wins, novel reviews, and publications.

Jack Zerr's latest novel, The Junior Officer Bunkroom, received a brilliant review in Kirkus. In The Junior Office Bunkroom, Zerr, a naval combat pilot himself, chronicles the day-to-day activities of naval pilots coping with life on an aircraft carrier in 1970 in the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam Conflict.



Sarah Angleton's moving flash fiction piece "The Greatest of Ease" won big in the WOW! Women on Writing Spring 2015 contest, judged by Literary Agent Eve Porinchak.

With Sarah's graceful writing and impressive win, she has reason to smile.


Pat Wahler, Marcia Gaye, and Donna Volkenannt, (shown at left) and Doyle Suit (below) participated in the local author event at the Spencer Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library.

More than 100 authors chatted with readers and sold books during the successful event.

Last week Pat Wahler was one of the featured authors on HuffPost Live's Deep Dive: Four-Legged Miracles.

During Pat's interview, she talked about a story of hers that was in included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope and Miracles. Pat's remarkable story tells about how a stray dog helped her avoid a car accident. Click on the link above to watch Pat's interview.

The December issue of SASEE magazine (cover below) includes Donna Volkenannt's essay "Sweet Memories," about how the power of the sense of smell to restore joy to life.

Finally, during our last meeting for the year (attended by Les Thompson, Alice Muschany, Sarah Steffen, Jack Zerr, Pat Wahler, Jane Hamilton, Sarah Angleton, and Donna Volkenannt), writers showed their creativity by sharing their wonderful Christmas-themed stories.

Whew! How's that for staying busy during the holiday season?

Look out 2016 because the writers of Coffee and Critique are on the move!






Thursday, November 5, 2015

Coffee and Critique Member Marcia Gaye's Work on Display in St. Peters

Marcia Gaye's Display at
St. Peters Cultural Arts Center
Award-winning writer Marcia Gaye, shown at left, is a prolific member of Coffee and Critique.

Her poetry, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of literary and commercial publications.

Marcia recently had the opportunity to display more than a dozen books containing her work at the City of St. Peters Community and Cultural Arts Center.

You can check out Marcia's eye-catching display at the City of St. Peters Community and Cultural Arts Center. 1 St. Peters Centre Blvd.(at City Hall), St. Peters, MO 63376. Phone: 636-397-6903.Her work will be on display until the end of 2015.

The hours of operation are: 

Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday, Closed

Congratulations, Marcia. Way to represent!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gotcha Covered: The Inside Scoop from High Hill Press on Creating Book Covers

Over on the High Hill Press blog, there's a post, "Peeking Under the Covers of High Hill Press."

In the informative August 31 post, publisher Louella Turner explains the importance of creating eye-catching book covers to entice readers and enhance book sales.

Lou discusses how High Hill Press creates these covers, taking into account  factors such as: the genre of the book, setting, time period, title, and other details.

The blog post features several book covers, three of which have a connection to members of  Coffee and Critique.

One of the highlighted covers is Baker Mountain, a YA novel written by Doyle Suit. Lou literally moved a mountain to create the image for Doyle's novel.

Two other books, Cactus Country III and Echoes of the Ozarks IX, have stories from several Coffee and Critique writers, including Marcia Gaye, Pat Wahler, Donna Volkenannt, Bill Mueller, Lou Turner, and others.

For an in-depth look at how these and other covers were created, visit the High Hill Press blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Just Released: J.J.Zerr's Historical Novel: THE HAPPY LIFE OF PRESTON KATT

Coffee and Critique long-time member Jack Zerr has released his latest novel: The Happy Life of Preston Katt.

Not only is Zerr a talented writer, he also is very generous. He recently presented members of Coffee and Critique autographed copies of his novel. Once I began reading my copy, I had a hard time putting it aside.

Zerr's historical tale opens on the Island of Oahu on December 7, 1941, "a day that will live in infamy."

After a night of reckless abandon, Seaman First Class Preston Katt sneaks back aboard the USS Callahan scant hours before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

Preston Katt's naval service began right after high school graduation. He joined the Navy to escape his alcoholic and neglectful mother and to leave behind painful memories of growing up in the fictional town of Saint Ambrose, Missouri, where the only kindness he was shown was by his beloved teacher, Sister Ralph, and the charitable and warm-hearted shopkeeper, Frau Grossman.

In the Navy, Katt has found a new home as a sailor serving on lookout duty during the heat and chaos of the war in the Pacific. Katt has a unique talent. Using his favorite pair of Navy-issued binoculars, Katt's eagle-eye vision is responsible for spotting enemy warships and planes far away, saving several US vessels from being destroyed.

As the story unfolds, we learn about the daily grind of Navy life, as well as Katt's struggle with guilt and insecurities and his strong and sustaining faith.

As a Navy combat aviator, Zerr writes with authority and compassion. His  vivid writing, strong characterization, and attention to detail make The Happy Life of Preston Katt a compelling read.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

An Announcement and a Call for Submissions for Veterans and their Families

It's official, Coffee and Critique writers' group is the newest chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild. Watch for details in a future post.

Here's a call for submissions with a short deadline.

With so many veterans and family members of veterans in Coffee and Critique, I thought this call for submissions would be of interest to them and any other veterans or families of veterans.

But act fast, the deadline is June 1.

For all military personnel, Veterans, and their families:
Call for Submissions for Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors volume 4
Deadline: June 1, 2015
No fee
Prize: $250
Categories: Short fiction, Poetry, Interview with a Warrior, Essay, Photography
Writing must be by veterans, military-service personnel or their families.  Include the connection in your short bio.
Theme:  Created by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press, this series of anthologies preserves and shares the military service perspectives of our soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and of their families. It is not only an outlet for artistic expression but also a document of the unique aspects of wartime in our nation’s history.

For more details, click on this link.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blog Post on how to "Enliven your Writing with an Understanding of Clinical and Spiritual Psychology."

I recently attended a fascinating writing workshop presented by Dr. Richard P. Johnson on how writers can enliven their writing to create vivid, believable characters through an understanding of clinical and spiritual psychology.

In his workshop, Dr. Johnson presented his paradigm of personality based on human spiritual strengths.

I posted my notes on Dr. Johnson's workshop on Donna's Book Pub.