Archive for May, 2009

Mayhem in the Midlands and more….

May 28, 2009

I mentioned conventions on an earlier post and, (beforehand) talked about one of the Nehrings’ favorites, Mayhem in the Midlands, held last weekend.

Smaller attendance than usual, which seems to be happening at writers’ conventions and conferences all over the map these days.  Economy?  The availability of Internet promotion and communication?  Who knows.   One additional thing that killed our area’s Hardboiled Heroes and Cozy Cats, the annual Mystery Writers of America–Southwest Chapter June conference was the Swine Flu scare.  The Ft. Worth schools closed for a time while we were promoting the event.  In any case, there weren’t enough registered to cover the bills, and deadlines were looming for airline reservations, motel cancellations, et al.  So, sadly, we threw in the towel.

Fortunately that didn’t happen with MAYHEM.  Beautifully organized, well-promoted, many loyal yearly attendees…and, gloriously, it went on.

You know what I remember and value most, though?  Panels were great, but no.  Book sales good, but not that either.  Special mystery banquet, Sisters in Crime buffet?  Sorry, didn’t sign up for those.  (As I recall the banquet was at least $45.00 per, so for John and Radine not going was a significant saving.

None of the above.   In this case, it was meeting author and fan friends I only see once a year.  The Internet has created a new type of friendship…I have very good friends now that I’ve never met face-to-face.  But Mayhem is the best of both types of friendship.  We spend quality time with people we usually only enjoy chatting with on listservs or in individual e-mail.  Mayhem, somehow, makes all this uniquely special, partly because it isn’t so huge you can’t find your friends, and also because it’s held in the middle of the Omaha River Market district where any number of simply fabulous eat places tempt you to journey along the brick sidewalks with friends and enjoy a meal in a new place.  Hap and Marilyn Meredith (from California) and John and I went out Saturday night to enjoy a place that makes root and alcoholic beer on the site.  The huge tanks are right there.  Hap had told us about “Upstream” and the root beer like grandma used to make, and by golly we all lifted mugs to toast him over that suggestion.   Food fabulous.  Can you believe I had pot roast?  Marilyn had soft shell crab, which sounds a lot more exotic than pot roast…but then I have never been accused of being exotic.

Another thing. I made my annual visit to The Lotus…a terrific “alternative  lifestyle” shop in the River Market area.  I now have six hats I’ve purchased there over the years at Mayhem.  (In case you didn’t know, I’m called “The Hat Lady” at many conferences and conventions.  My own individuality statement.)  These hats are crocheted from hemp, a fibre not legal in the United States, even though it isn’t the same as THAT hemp.

We had fun, and gained happy memories.  I can see so many faces as I think of MAYHEM IN THE MIDLANDS and I treasure them all.

And you, dear reader,   Radine


Interested in the writing profession?

May 14, 2009

Then here’s a new book for you…a unique book for sure, because not only is it created by writers for writers, it’s a GREEN book, something unique in today’s publishing world of books printed (often with huge overruns) on chopped trees using inks with toxic ingredients.

A WRITER’S JOURNEY JOURNAL is printed on Mohawk paper made from post-consumer recycled fiber that is chlorine-free.  (Few harmful pulp mill by-products are produced.) The mill’s electricity comes from wind-powered turbines.  The cover is also created on recycled fibre.

The book was printed by Sunrise Printing of Calhoun, Georgia.  Cindy Tucker and her staff there are committed to doing all they can to minimize the impact of their business upon the earth. They offer Earth-friendly low-VOC inks (low in volatile organic compounds) on Mohawk paper.

The book’s publisher, Wolfmont Press (same publisher that creates the Toys for Tots fund-raising short story anthology each fall) presents this book to those who still love the feel and readability of a physical book.

NOW TO THE BOOK ITSELF!  Successful authors were invited to submit essays for A WRITER’S JOURNEY JOURNAL and given these guidelines: “Write about inspiration, information, humor…whatever helped you find your way as a writer and can help others.

And they did!  Thirteen authors (a lucky number) were selected.  Their essays (each a WOW) are included, along with lined blank pages where the book’s owner can insert his or her own ideas, writing snippits, and comments.  Each page is topped with a piquant quote from a well-recognized author, past or present. One of my favorites, and one I have used several times in talks and classes, is from Tom Stoppard:  “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

Isn’t that great?

And all for only $9.95.

Wolfmont Press is at 238 Park Drive NE, Ranger, GA 30734, or

Enjoy!   Radine

I can’t help crowing…will you crow with me?

May 7, 2009

No matter how they are achieved–and I know there has been a bunch of discussion here about that–being nominated or winning awards for writing is a wonderful affirmation of skill and talent in the profession. Awards are sure encouragement for nominees and recipients, and I am always joyous for the winners, whether I have ever heard of them or not. (The fact I may not know their names means nothing. This is a HUGE profession.) And just think, with the possible exception of highest-ups in corner offices at the Conglomerate Biggies (probably people who oversee much more than publishing) we work with folks like us who are interested in READING and in good writing to supply readers. That is one more great thing about our profession.

Well, this leads up to the fact I have an award to announce. Each May a large umbrella writers’ organization called OWFI (with many affiliate chapters in several states) holds a very large conference in the Oklahoma City area. Two days of three-track events, talks, banquets (2) and workshops. Luncheons to honor authors and allow them to spend friendly time with a large selection of agents and editors–who also meet one-on-one with writers and present panels and talks. There are quite a few presenters in the mystery/suspense field, though the event covers all types of writing. Tess Gerritsen and Jordan Dane were two speakers this year. I have connected with one editor and one agent at past OWFI conferences.

OWFI (Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.) draws attendees from all over the south, mid-states, and southwest, with most coming from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Kansas. The OWFI directors now find it difficult to locate a venue large enough to hold the event.

OWFI has contests with cash awards, certificates, trophies. I am told there are between one and two thousand entries overall each year. And, WOW, oh WOW, this year my upcoming (6th) novel in the mystery category, working title A JOURNEY TO DIE FOR, earned first place. Though my work has been nominated for a number of awards and earned others in the past, today, this week, this month, the OWFI first is my affirmation, my wonderful feeling that I can write to please readers. Thank you for smiling with me,

Radine, a member of OWFI affiliate, Arkansas Ridge Writers.