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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.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Coffee and Critique's Art Interpretation Competition and the Dr. Oz Effect on Book Sales

Charles Rogers, author of Sermon at Dead Man's Bend and Conversations with a Barn Cat, did a great job planning, organizing, conducting, and tallying votes in Coffee and Critique's First Art Interpretation Writing Competition.

Entrants were to look at a piece of artwork selected by Charles then write a story no longer than 100 words. Entries were read aloud by someone other than the writer. No author identification appeared on the entries, which were peer-judged.

Congratulations to the top-two winners and everyone who took up the challenge!

The top-two scoring stories were:

"Alone" by Sarah Angleton (aka The Practical Historian)

"Joplin and the Giant" by Jane Hamilton

In case you missed it: on Wednesday, Jan 28, Dr. Oz mentioned the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel, as part of the segment on "Can Angels Help us Heal?" 

The Touched by An Angel anthology includes the story "A Patchwork of Hope" by Coffee and Critique member Donna Volkenannt, who did a before-and-after analysis of book sales to find out the effect on sales after the book was featured on the Dr. Oz show.

You can find a link to Donna's post about the Dr. Oz dramatic effect on book sales on Donna's Book Pub.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanks to our Coffee and Critique Writers' Group Veterans

Thanks to all our Coffee and Critique writers' group veterans, past and present.Thank you for the sacrifices you have made so the rest of us can enjoy our freedoms.

The following is the roll call of US Veterans who belong to Coffee and Critique writers' group who have honored us with their words, their wit, and their wisdom:


Nick Nixon (USMC, deceased)
Doyle Suit (US Army)
Bill Mueller (US Army)
Jack Zerr (US Navy)
Charles Rogers (USAF)
Les Thompson (US Navy)
Lonnie Whitaker (US Army)

Without your service we wouldn't be able to enjoy the liberties at our critique group, including:

* The right to assemble (every Tuesday for two hours and sometimes for lunch afterwards).

* The right of self-expression during our critiques (as long as they don't exceed two minutes).

* The freedom to write without fear or intimidation, (as long as we don't exceed our five, double-spaced page limit with one inch margins all around in Times New Roman or a similar font). ;-)

* The right to read our works and receive generous feedback from everyone present.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Opinion Shaper Alice Muschany

Coffee and Critique writer Alice Muschany is always on the go, what with her new farm, eight grandchildren, taking care of family members, and other responsibilities, yet she still takes time for writing.

And she always does a wonderful job!

Here is a link to another one of her humorous Opinion Shaper columns: A Care Partner for the One I Care About.

The description of Nurse Brenda and "Hospital Secret Service" quip are
great!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ghostly Tales at Coffee and Critique

Yesterday's Halloween story session was entertaining and lots of fun!

Everyone had a unique take on the topic, and everyone who attended read. One person who couldn't make it e-mailed a story, which I believe will be read next week.
Once again, the guys outnumbered the gals. This time it was 5:3.

Here's a glimpse of what was read;with titles like these, how could we not have a good time?

"Social Guy," a cat fight and a cat with special powers.

"The Crime of my Life," a humorous glimpse about working at a crime lab in Springfield, Illinois.

"Voodoo Barmaid," a guy walks into a bar and strange things happen.

"And the Dead After All are Not Hungry," a touching Halloween story about love and loss.

"Halloween," a mysterious woman, a graveyard, a love potion, and a tombstone.

"Elixir of Life," a magic potion with life-altering properties. Where can I buy some?

"The Ghost of Chateau de Chasse," a family moves in to a Belgian castle, where they're not the only residents.

"Yankee Doodle Dead," the ghost of a Yankee soldier haunts a Missouri family.
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