NightScripts April 2014 Jim Laughter, Editor
The Commander in Ink
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
“Quality-time.” That’s what time is called when you spend none at all staring off into space with someone special. It’s supposed to make up in quality what it lacks in quantity. What a hoax! What if our whole life was like that? None of us would make it past toddler! Would three terrific baby years be a viable alternative to adulthood even with its load of problems? Of course not.
My husband Hap and I spend evenings sitting on the couch staring into space (or TV) or reading books. We even hold hands. It is delightfully comforting and pleasant to know we aren’t jumping up and running to a meeting or grading papers or otherwise engrossed. We babble to each other about funny or strange events. We TIVO “quality” television, that is, no commercials and only the shows we admire, like “Doc Martin” and “Real Time with Bill Maher.” I skim the Sapulpa paper and read him the highlight. I think it is sad never to give yourself staring-off-into-space time with loved ones.
Hap and I spend most summer evenings dawdling on the porch swing. Neither one of us wants to be the first to go inside. (Does that sound like a song?) Ironically, there is much to be said for companionable quiet.
I have always been a busy person, working full-time, creating in several venues, and keeping up with family and friends, but now my time is balanced with guilt-free down-time. It is a healthier way to go through life. In the hurly-burly of today’s world, I remind myself to cherish every quiet moment, every delay, every traffic snarl, and every mistake that forces me to slow down to enjoy my minutes.
Thoreau asked, “How can you waste time without injuring eternity?” He was chiding womenfolk who fooled around doing needlework, but didn’t he spend an inordinate amount of time walking around in the woods, “experimenting”? Now, that trivial piece of needlework is worth $40,000 and part of Thoreau’s precious woods is a parking lot.
“Now” is not time. It is not attached to a clock or schedule. “Now” is right this moment. This. Moment. It is DEAR! Don’t cram it full of busy-ness, duty, stress, and obligation. Embrace down-time, relaxation, delay, even the almighty “writer’s block,” as it is the stuff of which new dreams, strong relationships, kept promises, and surprising artistry are made.
NOW! Waste it your way.
The Tulsa NightWriters are happy to introduce Author Karen Marie Graham as our new Vice-President. Karen is happily married, blessed to be a mother of four and step-mother of two. When not writing, she spends most of her time enjoying her family. Besides a lifetime love of writing, she is a photo enthusiast, organic gardener, reading junkie, and music addict.
Karen has a Bachelors of Technology degree from Rogers State University in Claremore and continues to enrich her education in writing and publishing, attending seminars and by taking classes like Illustration, graphic design, typesetting, and more at the University of Tulsa in their Continuing Education Program.
The Promises You Keep is the first novel by Karen Graham, published in 2012. The novel is her second literary work, but is her first globally published book. Past writings include an essay awarded 2nd place in the MGM Studio's and Lifetime Learning Systems National Essay Contest in 2002. It is a book about loss, redemption, and hope, and is available in over 25 countries and in at least a dozen outlets. The cover is an example of her love of photography, too!
Thank You, God, For Everything: A Nursery Rhyme Picture Book is her second book, published in 2013 and available on Amazon. This book is the illustrated version of a nursery rhyme Karen wrote for her infant son with autism during their countless hours swinging on the back porch. The illustrations teach children to identify many of the things God has made, and are her own. The book even includes the sheet music.
Both books are published through Karen's company, Books-A-Daisy® Publishing in Claremore, Oklahoma. Books-A-Daisy supports both self-published and traditionally published authors with personalized professional assistance in editing, illustration, typesetting, graphic design, and internet promotion and marketing for print and e-book publications. Welcome, Karen.
Seeds We Have Sewn
As the New Year gets underway, and before the first true days of spring arrive, the ritual starts anew. The seed flats are unpacked from the storage shed and brought inside. Organic soil, rich and pungent, is spread into each little pocket, making a soft bed for the seeds soon to come.
The seed box is fetched from high on a shelf in the shed, its perch designed to keep the mice away from the treasures inside. It’s time to decide what to plant this year. Tomatoes, of course. There has to be a dozen varieties, at least. Roma’s, slicers, cherries, and paste tomatoes, just to name a few. Peppers, watermelon, butternut squash, and pumpkin will be sown, too. Corn will come later. And Okra! Oh, how we love that. Someday, I say to myself, it’d be amazing to have a farm. I’m pretty sure my mamaw, if heaven has ears, laughs at the irony, every time.
My mamaw and papaw were farmers. Every summer we spent weeks there—way more than a teenage city girl appreciated. Everyone helped with the chores, whether you liked it or not, and sooner or later you learned to hull peas, snap beans, and shuck corn. If you were lucky, you didn’t have to hang the wash on the line that always seemed filled with blackened work pants and house dresses. It was here, half an hour away from anything that remotely resembled civilization, we spent our summers in a tiny town with no McDonalds and a house with no cable and only one bathroom. This was not the cool place to spend summer.
My grandparents still lived in the same home my mom was raised in; an old brick house that started out in life with four rooms, 2 of which were bedrooms, and no bathroom. It seemed unthinkable to an admittedly spoiled teen that three sisters spent their childhood sharing a single room and a single bed. Second only to the sharing a room with her sisters, was the horror that my mom grew up using an outhouse!
Every few years mamaw and papaw would save up enough funds to add on another room, I was told, eventually giving the house quite the quirky character. Twice the back porch was closed in and made into another room. Faux brick, faux wood paneling, and true exterior brick adorned the inside walls, as each addition added something entirely new to the architecture. Finally, the bathroom was attached and papered in what had to be the brightest vinyl floral wall-paper I think they could find. It was hot pink and mint green and nearly glowed in the dark. It was hideous.
[our april meeting will be dedicat to writing dialogue. If you’re a story-teller, chances are someone in your story talks. If so, you’ll want to attend this meeting so we can learn together how to make our characters say it the right way.
The furnishings were just as varied as the architecture. Except for the dining room table and chairs, I can’t recall a single other matching piece of furniture. Even the pots and pans were mismatched. But you learned you didn’t waste things on the farm. Things were utilitarian and used until they were ready for the burn pile. Scraps were fed to the chickens. Clothing scraps were sewn into quilts. Garden excess was canned for the future. How awful, thought my teenage self, to have to live like this. But it’s funny what you learn while you’re not paying attention.
As I grew older, I began to see the farm in a new light. I once thought it a shame they were so poor, but later realized they were wealthy beyond measure. In sharing a small home and daily chores they nurtured a deep love and devotion to each other and their children. Our on-the-go, digitally distracting modern lives don’t encourage us to connect like they did back then.
And their circumstances taught them more than their meager 6th and 4rd grade educations did. They were the epitome of self-sufficiency, discipline, resourcefulness, grit, determination, and a perfect example of people who had deep appreciation and gratitude for what they were blessed with. More importantly they cultivated a steadfast reliance on God’s provision. We don’t see that as easily instilled in folks today. They knew what I did not. That it’s not a fine house, matching furniture or a fancy car that makes a home or defines success. That it’s not fancy clothes or luxuries that earn respect and admiration of others. It is the life lived well.
The homestead itself is gone now. The house gutted in a fire, thankfully years past my grandparents residing there. I don’t know what’s left. The memories, and the lessons learned there, however, remain.
As a woman grown, I’m thankful for what they taught me and have even learned the joys of cultivating my own garden. Mamaw would love it, and laugh, at how country her little city granddaughter has become. If I ever won the lottery, I find myself saying often, I’d have my own farm one day. Until then, I keep up the ritual and am grateful for the small plot of land I have been blessed with. Every year, as I putter amongst my plants and harvest the crops, my mind wanders back and revisits my grandparent’s home. Reliving the moments when they planted the seeds of who I have become. And as I remember, I also wonder what seeds I’ve planted. What parts of myself will my family embrace and make their own that aren’t apparent to me today? How will I live on in them? I wonder down the road, what seeds will they sew?
When was the last time you laughed out loud? We did, at the March 18th TNW meeting. “An Evening of Exploration” orchestrated by Lottie Wilds, TNW President, writer and poet, was a rollicking good time.
First, we elected (by unanimous show of hands by members who were present) our wonderful new Vice- President, Karen Graham. Soft-spoken and poised, Karen is a fund-raising, community-organizing fireball. She is a great addition to our team. Welcome, Karen!
Then, Lottie read Roethke’s “The Geranium” and invited the audience to write down how that and each following poem made them feel – one word – not an essay.
Next, TNW member and award–winning poet, Carol Lavelle Snow, read her lovely poem, ”Vertigo.”
TNW member and fledgling writer, Charles Betzler, produced the YouTube presentation of Train’s popular love song, “Drive By.”
Lottie read another poem, this time from Charles Bukowski, called “A Smile to Remember.”
A guest poet, Mary Margaret Hittinger, read her rhymed piece, “Snow.”
In between, retired engineer and mad haiku poet, Wayne Simpson, regaled us with his funny haikus. We attempted to count the syllables, 5/7/5, but were laughing too much.
Near the end of the presentation, Lottie invited the audience members to try their hands at haikus. She recited poems while creation (poetry) took place. We shared our creations. You had to be there…!
The following is a poem by our newest member Mary Margaret Freeman
I bury this hurt, this nightmare, in a hole, thrust it down, cover it
with forgetfulness, like earth heaped over a grave, patted & smoothed
down--as if bad memories were immune to resurrection. It slips free,
a wily ghost, but this time I tie it to an imaginary cord--like a dog on a leash.
The effort is -- fantastical: like trying to lasso a black scary thing
with cowboy tricks, to brand it with a logo that guarantees
happiness. Or impossible, like using Jacob’s moves on the night angel
to wrestle & pin it down in defeat, but unlike him to walk away from its grasp
without a limp. Or fanciful, like the tamer of a lion with no bite
that prances down the street, docile to my flicking whip. Impossible to do, you say.
Let it go. Take the risk. We peer down a corridor of smashed out lights,
the scene of crimes, its anonymous air stained with violence.
At the end, a door opens to a place where sadness as conqueror is just pretend.
Or so you say, and so you vouch, as a traveler returned from that country.
I consider the what else of if I let go: Won’t this thing slip the hangman’s
noose I’ve knotted for it, to turn on me, again the beast that wounds deeper still?
Won’t it rise up and this time put me down with my wilted dreams? Or if I . . .
Could it . . . transmute, calmly snuffle down the hall, lead me through
this one last dark space, where a door opens to a place of light I disbelieve. There
the wild & green meadows shine with a love whose wounds heal. An unknown
voice invites me to choose destiny. From the threshold, I watch & see
dreams like lambs frolic forth to people a new world.
Mary Margaret Freeman
Our April Meeting – April 15, 2014 -- 7pm
If you are writing a book, short story, screenplay, or just anything where your characters speak, you’ll want to attend our April meeting where we’ll discuss writing dialogue.
Presenting our program will be long-time Tulsa NightWriter and editor of our newsletter, Jim Laughter.
Since joining Tulsa NightWriters in 2007, Jim has written five best-selling novels (pictured above) along with a children’s book and two other novels. His fifth Galactic Axia Adventure, The Wounded Warrior, will release in April 2014. Later this year, Jim hopes to release his second psychological thriller (a still untitled follow-up to The Apostle Murders). With this many books under his belt, Jim is no stranger to dialogue.
You may click here to visit Jim’s author page at AWOC.COM or see all of his books on Amazon. Jim’s website is under reconstruction.
So come on out to the April meeting. Bring your notepad and pencil and let’s make our characters say something that makes sense.
It’s that time of year again. It’s time for the annual OWFI conference, a gathering of writers from around the state, country, and the world. OWFI is two days jam packed with presentations by authors, editors, and publishers. On top of that we also like to squeeze in as many extras as possible. If you’ve never been, you don’t want to miss it. If you’ve been, you know what a wonderful experience it is. Click HERE for all information.
Tulsa NightWriters always sponsors a table or two so we can all sit together at the awards banquet and celebrate with each other when the writing contest chairperson calls our names and passes out our prizes. Yep, you heard me, I said when the chairperson calls out our names.
Keynote Speaker: New York Times Best Selling Author: Eloisa James
By the way, the May edition of NightScripts will be delayed until after OWFI so we can announce the writing contests winners that belong to Tulsa NightWriters.
A couple of months ago we made a change to an old tradition. As you know, we’ve always had our book bonanza, which means we offer everyone the opportunity to donate a dollar at the sign-in table to help support our club. For this dollar, you’ve always been able to select a free book from a collection of books on a table or on the stage, just wherever we had room to set it up. But over the past year, our donations have dwindled to two or three dollars a meeting, not making it worth the effort to lug that giant bag of books back and forth every month.
Even though we still welcome donations, here’s what we did. Lottie took those books to Gardner’s Used Bookstore and sold them for $40, which equals about a year’s worth of donations. That money went into the club treasury to help cover the cost of our door prizes, etc. Now instead of our old traditional book bonanza, we’re inviting our published authors to create your own book bonanza. Here’s how it works.
If you’d like to make your books available to the club, please bring them to the meeting. We have plenty of room to set up a table to display and sell your books before and after the meeting (not during). You’ll need to arrive early enough (around 6:30) to get set up. You’ll be responsible for providing your own change, and taking down your table. There are plenty of tables available in the closet at the back of the room unless you want to provide your own. All we ask for the benefit of the club is a 15% consignment paid to the club from your book sales. If you don’t already have it, may I suggest you get the PayPal swipe device for your smartphone? Writers always carry credit cards. Cash seems to elude us.
One more thing. If you don’t want to set up a table and go through the hassle of setting up and taking it down, just bring a few of your books with you in a bag and make them available. If nothing else, they will be an inspiration to our unpublished members who are dreaming of ink, or eBook in our modern publishing world.
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain
A REVIEW FOR YOU
A number of our authors have received 5-Star reviews of their books. Here are a few. If you receive a review that you’d like to share in the next newsletter, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Victim To Hero, March 3, 2014
Pam Wetterman - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Victim to Hero: The Untold Story of Steven Stayner (Kindle Edition)
This non-fiction story of a 7 year old boy is wonderfully told. The author clearly researched all aspects of this highly public kidnapping. He captures a level of detail that puts you into the investigation and never lets you go.
His ability to draw you in, and yet protect the reader and victim from explicit abuse helps the reader understand and deal with the truth behind the story.
I highly recommend this book. It is the true story of a young man who was abused by his kidnapper for seven years and when a new boy was taken he knew he had to take action.
The Return: A Novel of Vietnam, April 2, 2014
Kathy K (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Return: A Novel of Vietnam (Kindle Edition)
An amazing story on the horrors that were Vietnam. While I grew up at the end of the war, we never really studied it in school. This book really helps allow you to understand what happened and how hard it had to have been for our soldiers to get over this time. Excellent book.
Big Glamor, Big Grit, February 16, 2014
Diane Villines (BROKEN ARROW, OK, US) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Busted - The Odyssey of Holly Bunn (Kindle Edition)
While I believe this book's cover is a perfect expression of the cheeky and gorgeous Holly Bunn and her engaging but abrupt personality, I listened to the book's audio version, and really enjoyed doing so. Seeing the cover, here, online, sets the tone. The cover-girl blonde with the flirtatious hair stays true throughout. I could see Holly through Lara Wells' voice. She did an admirable job with language and accent from a far away world.
This is not the usual high-priced hooker story. Holly Bunn calls her own shots and has since she was barely a teen. She is not a reluctant call girl. Holly chooses her clients with discretion, and has a plan for her future, a plan that is not dependent upon a man.
The story is seamlessly woven of the people who make her life work, the unexpected people she is willing to sacrifice all for, and the gritty truth of just another day at work that turns in a direction that will shock you, and then shock you again when you discover the choices she makes to deal with her new reality. This is a wild and wooly story of glamor, power and harsh reality but in the end, it is believable, even probable, that there are real-life Holly Bunns out there, busted, but not broken.
Sweet Dreams, January 1, 2014
Kim Tuten - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sweet Dreams: A Novel (Paperback)
Carla Stewart is an excellent writer! All of her characters come to life and are so real! I loved Sweet Dreams, I was transported to the 1960's while reading. I love all of Carla's books and highly recommend them!
The Tulsa NightWriters have always sponsored book baskets at OWFI. It’s pretty simple. If you’re a published author, we ask you to donate an autographed copy of your book to the club. Pam Wetterman will include it in a beautiful book basket which will be auctioned off at the OWFI banquet. The monies raised goes toward helping fund scholarships and other worthwhile ventures of OWFI. It’s also a good way to get your work and name out there. Besides, it’s a boatload of fun…. So bring a copy of your book to the April meeting. It will be the best one in the basket – Promise….
Our Members have Brags….
Carol Lavelle Snow
At Poetry Society of Oklahoma’s spring banquet, these poems by Carol Lavelle Snow won awards in various categories: 1st Place “Just North of Abilene”; 2nd Place “The Walk to my Car”; 3rd Place “Castaway”; 3rd Place “Empty Spaces”; and Citation “When Redbuds Bloom”
Carla Stewart’s Sweet Dreams is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award in Fiction. The awards banquet will be April 12 at the Jim Thorpe Center in OKC.
She will also be the featured speaker at the Women’s Spring Luncheon at Tulsa First Baptist Church at noon on April 24. It will be in the fellowship hall and the public is invited. Carla will sign books with part of the proceeds going to benefit The Caring Center of Tulsa.
Carol Johnson’s short story, “The Trouble with Starlings,” has been accepted by the Red Earth Review and will appear in the journal’s summer issue.
Karen Graham has been asked to speak at the University of Arkansas on their Morrilton Campus to the students about being an author and an entrepreneur/opening Books-A-Daisy, LLC. April 4th.
"Excellence is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution: it represents the wise choice of many alternatives."
Chuck Sasser has a new book releasing in April:
Hardcover military history: TWO FRONTS, ONE WAR, (Frontline Books, London) "Dramatic eyewitness accounts of major events in the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations on Land, Sea and Air in WWII.
Your 2014 TNW Officers
Lottie Wilds, President
Karen Graham, V-Pres.
Bill Wetterman, Treasurer
Pan Wetterman, Hospitality
Jim Laughter, Editor
Schedule of 2014 Meetings
April 15 – Jim Laughter: Writing dialogue
May 20 – OWFI contest winner recognition
June 17- John Taylor: Jazz Blogger & Promo
July 15 – Pending
August 19 – Jackie King & The Foxy Hens
September 16 –Pending
October 21 – Margaret Daley
Christian Romantic Suspense Author
November 18 – Pending (officer elections
December 16 – Christmas Party
TNW Officers for 2014
President Lottie Wilds
Vice President Karen Marie Graham
Treasurer Bill Wetterman
Greeter Pam Wetterman
NightScripts Editor Jim Laughter
Do you have an idea to strengthen the Tulsa NightWriters? Send any ideas, suggestions, speaker recommendation, etc. by email to the officer of your choice.
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