Page 1

Welcome to Sea Oats Writers! Sea Oats Writers is created for you—the writer.— novice, student, educator, published author or poet, artist, photographer or just an interested person. We are reaching out and focusing on writers who live and work from Key West to Brownsville—on the Gulf Coast where the wild Sea Oats grow– so go sow your wild oats. What wild oats have you sown today in your writing? Share your journey with us. How may we serve you? Each issue is genre-specific, with this issue featuring CHICK LIT. Regular features include: Feature Author—published book author

The Craft—history of genre KnoWeb—web resources The Grammar Hammer— grammar tips for writers

Sharpen Your Tools—what is happening—conferences, education, events

The Write Business—tips, techniques, strategies to help writers build a successful business.

Link to our Facebook page and let us know your opinion. See Page 4 for info. - CeCe Redmond & Sher Graham


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Sea Oats Writers ©

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Louisiana bayou setting for Jana DeLeon’s humorous storytelling By Cece Redmond An Interview What is chick-lit to you? Describe how your writing fits into that idea. For me, chick-lit is a young woman’s journey through an important part of her life, often a turning point. My heroines are often in their 20s and although some have graduated college and have careers, they are still discovering themselves. The heroine of a chick-lit novel should experience recognizable emotional growth over the course of the novel. When did you start writing and was there a chick-lit writer that inspired you? Although they are not necessarily classified as chick-lit authors, Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Bond and Jennifer Crusie are among the many authors that inspired me when I first started writing. What inspired your humor? Have you always Jana and her Sheltie Bogey enjoying a written with a sense of humor? good story in their Dallas home. My humor is part of my personal makeup. I honestly don’t think someone is capable of writing good humor unless they are really the kind of person who has that bent sort of view of life. When humor is forced, it’s never funny. It has to be an organic part of the novel development. In order for that to happen, it has to be an organic part of the writer’s thought process. What other genre do you enjoy reading? Who is your favorite author and why? Lately, I’ve been reading mysteries, suspense, young adult, horror, and thrillers, but my taste shifts from time to time depending on my mood or a phase I go through. My favorite author is Agatha Christie. She was a genius. I have never read another author who provided everything I needed to solve a mystery in such a seemingly simplistic way but who still manages to fool me every time. What words of wisdom do you have to share with new or struggling writers? Learn your craft. I understand that the recent rise of indie publishing has prompted a lot of authors to go that route, but it is NOT a shortcut to becoming a good writer. Producing a publishable quality book takes time and practice – YEARS of time and practice. If you publish books before you are ready, you will not have the result you’d like from readers or the respect you’d like from your fellow authors. (Continued, page 3)

Vol. 2, 2Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013 Page

Page 2

What is Chick-Lit? By Sher Graham How does one define Chick-Lit? It depends upon what source you use, and who’s definition you accept. There is much controversy about the word between sources and with female authors. Even female authors in the UK debate over what its definition:( It is typically defined as fiction that addresses issues of modern, womanhood in a lighthearted and humorous manner. First appearing in the 1990s, the genre meant simply “literature for a young woman.” While its use has been linked to the feminist movement, that included sexual and violent themes, it wasn't until Bridget Jones and Sex and the City were written that established “Chicklit” as a publishing trend. By 2008, the definition changed to “smart fun fiction that had grown up (Publishers Weekly). Stories revolved around romance, children, “city life,” friendship—written from a first person perspective. Chicklit also has a list of sub-genres including glamour, multi-cultural, “mother,” mystery, fantasy, single city and working girl, relationships and wedding, dating. Authors write about their own experiences, with main characters from their early 20s to late 60s. The writing is similar to a best friend sharing with you about her life. Some critics believe it is the humor that separates Chicklit from women’s fiction. Even the New York Times Best Seller 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James is considered Chick Lit. But then there are those who say it is not…… Are you reading Chick Lit today?

Sharpen Your Tools

Educational Courses


City of Mobile Community Activities Program Writing and Proposal Writing Courses

These websites and links have information and stories to help you—go explore and learn!

Writing Organizations

Chick-lit— romantic, humorous, lighthearted, smart, fun, fiction

Alabama Writers Forum Baldwin Writers Group Mobile Writers Guild —————————————To list your organization or meeting, email

www/—a website devoted to the chick lit genre—a site especially for anyone wanting to know everything about chick lit books., with more than 800 authors—a book review blog devoted to reviewing young adult fiction with the aim of helping teens find engaging new novels to read.—a special-interest online chapter of Romance Writers of America

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Page 3

Page 1, continued

Do you plan on setting all of your books in Louisiana? At this point, yes. Louisiana is unlike any other state and the bayou culture is different from any other. The swamps are steeped with voodoo lore and legend and filled with creatures that can kill you. Yet, growing up there, it was simply home. I lived in a tiny town called Carlyss that you probably won’t find on a map. It was in the southeast corner of the state about thirty miles from the Gulf Coast. My parents had a camp on a bayou in Cameron that you could only get to by boat. We spent so many weekends and summers at the camp, fishing, crabbing and running shrimping barges. Alligator and nutria sightings were a part of normal living, and I could drive a boat and shoot a rifle before I could drive a car. In addition to the incredible setting that the bayou offers, small towns are the best place to write humor because they’re compact, with residents having a certain degree of familiarity that’s lost in big cities. That familiarity allows everyone to know each other’s psychosis which, in turn, makes for humorous storytelling. Author Bio Jana DeLeon was raised in southwest Louisiana among the bayous and gators. Her hometown is Carlyss, but you probably won't find it on a map. Her family owned a camp located on a bayou just off the Gulf of Mexico that you could only get there by boat. The most important feature was the rope hammock hanging in the shade on a huge deck that stretched out over the water where Jana spent many hours reading books. Jana and her brother spent thousands of hours combing the bayous in a flat-bottom aluminum boat, studying the natural habitat of many birds, nutria and alligators. She would like you to know that no animals were injured during these "studies," but they kept makers of peroxide in business. Jana has never stumbled across a mystery or a ghost like her heroines, but she's still hopeful. She now resides in Dallas, Texas, with the most spoiled Sheltie in the world. Single Title Booklist Rumble on the Bayou, Unlucky, Trouble in Mudbug, Mischief in Mudbug. Showdown in Mudbug, Louisiana Longshot Harlequin Intrigue Booklist The Secret of Cypriere Bayou, Bayou Bodyguard, The Lost Girls of Johnson’s Bayou, The Reckoning, The Vanishing, The Awakening For more information about DeLeon, visit: Killer Fiction Blog Website

Reading Spotlight: Tampa Writers Alliance Founded in 1986, the Tampa Writers Alliance is an organization dedicated to writers of many genres and levels of experience, as well as any in the Tampa Bay area who have an interest in the literary world. General meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month - except in December and on major holidays. from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in the back right corner inside the Barnes & Noble-Carrollwood, 11802 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa, FL 33618 (813) 962-6446

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Page 4

GRAMMAR HAMMER By Cathie Myers In this, our first Grammar Hammar column, we are going to talk about one of the most difficult parts of speech to spell, yet one of the simplest to define: onomatopoeia. If you are polysyllabically challenged, this one is a winner. Perhaps unwrapping the pronunciation will cure your onomatopoeia phobia! It goes like this: on-oh-mah-toe-pee-ya. Now, say it three times fast and call me in the morning. Rooted in both Latin and Greek, the word means ‘to name and to make’. In modern parlance Webster’s Dictionary describes it as “the naming of a thing by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.” Additionally, it can mean “the use of words whose sound suggests the sense of the thing that makes the noise.” Examples are Bang! , Boom!, Buzz!, Hiss!, Hiccup!, Ding This excerpt from The Help by Kathryn Stockett will help illustrate the use of onomatopoeia: “Lordy, you… you got him… “I say, but in the back of my head there’s this voice this voice asking me, real calm, like we’re, just having tea out here, Is this really happening? Is a white woman really beating up a white man to save me? Or did he shake my brain pan loose and I’m over there dead on the ground...I try to focus my eyes, Miss Celia, she’s got a snarl on her lips. She raises her rod and ka-wham! She hits him across his shoulders, making a ugh sound every time.” As these are almost pictorial examples, it would follow they are invaluable when used in poetry where a line of verse can express by using onomatopoeia, a characteristic of the thing portrayed. Poem-makers are wizards of verse and imagination and great expressive ability. Words that imitate natural sounds flow easily into verse: Shel Silverstein, in his book of verse, Every Thing on It, includes a poem “The Ball Game.” In the last verse, his use of onomatopoeia is particularly colorful: The trout, he struck out, but the yak took a whack And hit one out into the lake A homer… it’s gone.. No, the pelican yawned And swallowed the ball by mistake. Onomatopoeia can be used as both adjectives and adverbs. Modern Language Association (MLA), Harvard Style, and The Chicago Manual of Style are all in agreement with these usages. So my friends, go forth and Bark!, Howl!, Screech! And Cock-a-doodle-do! Your way into more sonorous and picturesque writing. We here at Grammar Hammer will continue to Pound!, Pound!, Pound! out the Grammar!

“I have fallen in love with you, and there is no future for us. That you burst into my life suddenly only a short time ago. That it's too fast, too soon, and you will leave the same way you came into my life. I'll turn around one day and you'll be gone.” ― Rachel Gibson, Lola Carlyle Reveals All (Taken from A Chick Lit quote

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Page 5

The Write Business By Sher Graham Welcome to The Write Business! This column is devoted to providing you, the writer, information to make your writing business successful. We will discuss topics related to business planning, as well as offer tips for cost-effective, hands-on tasks and activities that you can implement into your marketing plan and your writing platform. TWB will also provide websites and links that will further enhance your knowledge base as a business owner and entrepreneur. If you are a business expert and would like to write a guest column, also let us know. Email your bio and writing sample to Today’s topic: The Business of Writing Today, technology allows us to be heard through blogs, websites and writing articles to a larger global world. Years ago, we relied on the printed word as a major form of promotions. Once printed, we then told others who continued the word-of-mouth activity, and in time, the entire world knew who we were. Now, it is only a matter of seconds before the global community becomes aware of who we are and what we are doing, or writing. With the advancement of technology (forego the Blackwood typewriter and mimeograph!, it is more important than ever to increase one’s knowledge about the business of writing. How you create your business model (written description of your business management and productivity style) and implement a business plan that shows your vision, goals and marketing strategies, as well as helps you determine how much revenue you want to achieve and what you need to invest to produce it, is up to you. If your dream is to create a revenue stream, whether part-time or full-time, the written document that you use to become a successful writer, regardless of whether you are writing free-lance or want to become a world-renown published author, is critical. Your level of success or sustainability is determined by having a plan and following it. If it is so essential to success, why aren’t all writers doing it? Why should I have a plan, you ask? “I just want to write. I want to freelance. “(We use this word the same way we use “FaceBook” as a verb.) Writing is a creative form of expression, and that is all I want to do, you tell me. Then, you add those wonderful words, “ If only I could get paid to do what I love to do—write.” Remember:  Your dream can become a reality.  Knowledge is the key.  You have the mechanics to write. You need the mechanics to build your business, to build your platform. “If you don’t know what path you are taking, then you will end up somewhere, or just stand still.” “If you don’t know what path, road, highway, lane or pasture you are taking, then you will certainly still be looking for it in the morning!” NEXT ISSUE: 5 tips on building your business model and building your platform. Keep on writing!

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Page 6

Key West writer Joanna Brady says be receptive to ideas By Sher Graham

Joanna Brady is living the life most writers aspire to do – live and write in Key West, Florida. Although she loves living in Key West, she finds it difficult to write, as distractions of telephone and television and being busy make it difficult for her to concentrate and write. Her family vacationed in Key West in 1970s. Joanna has been living in Key West since 1995, and has been writing for the Key West Citizen since 2000. She currently writes a weekly food column for the Sunday supplement, Solares Hill. Joanna recalls that as a child her teachers would compliment her for her composition. “I could write, but didn’t know how to write.” Her own self-doubt led her to stop writing for almost a year. It took her another 6-7 years to write the book. In 2010, Joanna Brady published her first novel, The Woman at the Light, about a female Key West Lighthouse keeper. “Parts of the book are racy, ie. growing pot, and I wondered how my kids would react,” said Brady. “I would have been more embarrassed if my parents were alive.” She didn’t think that anyone but someone living in Key West would be interested in reading her book. Her readers were so enthusiastic about the book that she sent 5-6 query letters to agents. In July 2012, it was published by St. Martin’s Press. The book had won the Key West Writers Guild award from the Florida Keys Council of the Arts in 2009, and was recipient of an Ann McKee Artists Fund grant in 2008. She won first place in the short story contest in 2006 for ”A Lady in Waiting “, which was later chosen as a selection for the Guild’s anthology, Voices of Key West. Joanna says that her husband and her son were her support system through this journey, helping to edit and manage the business side of writing. A Toronto native, she has dual citizenship in Canada and United States. Joanna holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto. “I thought I would become a French teacher. After living in Italy for two years, I came back and there were no jobs,” she said. Her writing career started with a copywriting job. She prefers to read a hard copy book, but does use her Kindle. (She was reading City of Women on her Kindle at the time of the interview.) “I prefer something in my hands; I like books and want to turn the page with my hand,” said Brady. Joanna and her husband bought a home in France 11 years ago, and now spend summers in the Dordogne region of Southwest France. “When I go to France, it is different. We do not have television, we listen to jazz and classical music on the radio. I get up when the church bells ring at 7 a.m. and work 2-3 hours to get a draft completed.” Initially, Joanna would have to go to the local internet café to connect to the world. “Now, the internet connection is better now than when we first moved to France,” said Brady. (Continued, page 8)

Vol. 2, Issue 1 Jan-Feb 2013

Page 7

Writers conference scheduled for April 5-7 in Mobile The 3rd annual Daddy's Girl Weekend, so named for a character in Carolyn Haines' Mississippi Delta Mystery series, is April 5-7 at the Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile, Alabama. Hosted by Carolyn Haines (who also writes as R.B. Chesterton in the "dark" novel terrain) the conference is a blend of writers/readers and just plain fun. "We started the conference three years ago as a celebration of Tinkie Bellcase Richmond, a partner in the Delaney Detective Agency. Tinkie is a Daddy's Girl, through and through. She was raised from the cradle to 'have her way.' Men are putty in her hands. Sarah Booth is more the tom-boy type, so the two make a perfect match," said Carolyn Haines. DG Weekend honors the bond of friendship. "The Bones books characters understand that the friendships we create are the most important thing in our lives. And this weekend, while celebrating authors, books, beloved characters, and writing/reading, is also focused on making new friends who share our love of all things fiction,” Haines added. This year's special guests include Chris Grabenstein, Young Adult and mystery author whose latest YA novel, I, Funny, written with James Patterson, has held the #1 spot on the New York Times list this spring, and Dean James (writing as Miranda James) whose delightful "cat in the stacks" mysteries have been climbing the New York Times list for the past three years. Out of Circulation debuted at #11 this year. Publisher at F&W Media Ben Leroy, Mallory Cass, editor at Scholastic Books, and Debbie Carter with Muse Literary Agency, are the special publishing industry guests. The conference focuses on helpful writing classes taught by professionals, but also fosters great conversations between writers and readers. DG Weekend is built around the concept that good friends are the most important thing in life. "We're a friendly conference. Small enough so that we become like family but big enough to offer both the beginner and advanced writer good information,” said Haines. The cost is $250 for the full weekend, which includes workshops and parties in the evening. Workshops fee breakdown - Friday afternoon, $65; Saturday morning, $50; Saturday afternoon,$65, Sunday morning panel, $30; and Friday and Saturday evening parties, $30 each. For those who check-in Thursday, there will be a special Thursday night presentation by DeWitt Lobrano, one of the Big Daddy candidates. Lobrano is a writer and energy worker who will talk about connecting with the other side and the tools of communication with the departed. For more information check out or contact

7 Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Make time to write and stick to it. Be easy on yourself. Write. Leave the criticism for editors. Think of your writing as a job. Sit down and write the words. Take time when you finish a project. Celebrate what you have done. Set deadlines; keep them. Find an accountability partner. Try to understand what obstacles you have. What fears or obstacles do you have? Write them down.

7. Work on multiple projects. Switching from one project to another will help prevent writer’s block.

Sea Oats Writers©

(Brady, continued, page 6)

Publishers Sher Graham 1.251.404.3924 Cece Redmond 1.251.751.2519 Cathie Myers, Editor 1.(251) 243-3333

Writing is in the Schmida genes, as her son, Terry, is a true crime story writer. Joanna shared some of her thoughts on becoming a better writer:

Sea Oats Writers© Copyright 2013 Sea Oats Writers


Your mind must be receptive to the messages you get. Ideas float in the air, and you may or may not be aware you are getting ideas if your mind is not receptive and open. Not everyone will like your book. Expect bad book reviews. You have to put yourself out there. Ask others to help edit, critique your work. You can’t teach writing. Writing has to come from within you. You need to feel like it’s an organic part of you, giving input, editing, etc. Don’t wait for an idea. Write. You can always change a character, build ideas, add to the plot. If you think you can write, just do it. Write every day. A page a day is a book that you can publish. Visit her website at Her email is

Digital Delivery: Second Friday of each bi-monthly period Newsletter Subscriptions: $19 per year. Checks payable to OSBI/Sea Oats Writers, POB 40134, Mobile, AL 36640. Paid subscribers will receive a subscriber discount on The Write Business workshops. Advertising: Rate sheets and specifications are available at Creative Corner Poetry: Maximum 200 words Email in Word document Photographs: 600 dpi Format: .gif, .pdf, .jpg Information: Name, telephone, email, website, residence city, state and zip code. Any submission is subject to editorial calendar relevance and the approval of the editorial team at for submission guidelines. No personal information will be shared with subscribers nor advertisers.

PROFESSIONAL EDITING Catherine L. Myers, BA, M.Div. (251) 243-3333 Concise  Professional Hear Your Voice Reasonable Rates Sea Oats Writers is the newsletter created to feature Gulf Coast authors/writers —from the coast to 60 miles north to the salt line – and discusses the business, genres, mechanics and web of writing.

Editorial Calendar 2013 January-February Chick Lit March-April Young Adult May-June Songwriting July-August Coastal September-October Poetry November-December Autobiography Visit us on the Web!

American Society of Journalists & Authors Fire Up Your Writing Career 42nd Annual Writers Conference April 25-27, 2013 Roosevelt Hotel, New York City Join America’s top writers and NYT-Bestselling Authors including D. T. Max, Deborah Blum, Ted Conover, Amy Hill Hearth, Kathleen Flinn, and Gwen Cooper. This event is unique among writers' conferences, laser-focused on independent writing. Our single mission: to help you thrive in a freelance writing career. For information, visit

Sea Oats Writers Newsletter  
Sea Oats Writers Newsletter  

A newsletter for writers who live along the Gulf Coast region - from Key West to Brownsville TX that discusses the business of writing.