Friday, January 25, 2013

Florida Writer's Association: Sebring Scribblers and Scribes

                  The Florida Writers Assoc. group, Sebring Scribblers and Scribes.

    I  lead a writing group in my community of Sebring, Florida. I was surprised to find so many published writers and many "wannabes" here when I started the group more than 8 years ago. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at Beef O' Brady's Sport's Bar in Sebring.
    We have hosted Tom Corcoran who writes mystery stories about the Florida Keys, among other things; and Jack Everett from the UK who writes great stories with help from a cohort, David Coles that reek with ancient history, if you like that sort of thing. Check out their website Our meetings cover many subjects and most of our emphasis is on publishing, both self and traditional. Some time ago, we also hosted Ron Reikki who wrote U.P.(Upper Peninsula of MI) and supposedly, it's being made into a movie...or not. Last we heard, Sean Penn was interested.Our meetings are chock full of interesting publishing information, book signings on occasion and workshops on aspects of writing.
     Right now, I am trying to get my first novel published. It is here on my website as a summary and is complete and written in three books. It is a long saga, but fantastic story.  My "readers" have said it is a real page-turner and they were disappointed that it finally ended after over 500 K words.  
     I am attempting to get the first book of the trilogy published which is 12 chapters and about 140,000 words.
     Having the experience of being published by Prentice-Hall, University Press and Writer's Club Press, Mirror Publishing, WritingRaw online magazine and The Florida Writer, FWA's magazine, I have the opportunity to share knowledge with my members, many of them having joined FWA after a few meetings with me. Our group averages from 8 to 38 members at a given meeting with my contact list at 78.
     ALERT: I'm always looking for speakers/presenters who may have a book to showcase...or not. If you have something to share with writers in the way of philosophy, technique, publishing, internet book set-up, etc. and are local enough to Sebring (Lake Wales, Lakeland, Okeechobee, FL) please contact me and we can plan for you to introduce your work with a write-up in local papers prior to the meeting. We don't collect dues so can't pay a stipend...but I can buy you dinner!

Summary of "The Sensuous Disciple"

                                                                 Book 1

I should have screamed…I should have run away. I wish I’d never been born! These are the thoughts of Kit Swenson, a young girl—violated. Feelings of guilt overtake her as the act creates, instead, a liaison…one that develops into a love so deep that it transcends ten years of interference, neglect…and only occasional meetings. But, oh, what meetings!
The following is a synopsis of all three Books of The Sensuous Disciple.  I have decided to break it into the three sections: Bartow, FL, Ft. Lauderdale and New Orleans. I hope to entice a publisher with the first book and the promise of two more, already completed.

Growing up in a small town, Kathryn Ann Swenson pals around with a few boy she grew up with. They enjoy summer activities together, one of them being swimming in a local closed pit in the phosphate-rich area of Bartow. Her father works as a superintendent at Wingate Phosphate Products. Her mother is strict and doesn't allow her to date, even though she's almost sixteen. She is raped when she is selling candy for her cousin's football team and eventually develops a bond with the man, secretly.
Kit is a willing and able student, absorbing all of the information, culture and philosophy that Douglas Wingate offers her, along with his constant tutelage in the ways of love.
                            This is the part of the trilogy I am trying to get published.
                            I've decided to break it into 3 separate books because of the
                            length. This one is about 140 K words. 
                                                               Book 2
She makes her way on her own in Ft. Lauderdale, fending off would-be lovers (and even attempted murder and rape) while she develops a variety of business skills. As a topless men’s club receptionist and accountant, a paralegal in a lawyer’s office and a loan officer in a bank, she gains confidence and experience along with relationships that fill the void after Doug moves to Atlanta to start his own business. Her experiences here are exciting, strange, scary and romantic. Doug is still in the background as Kit attempts to romance/love with another man she met in Book 1. Things get complicated as Kit expresses her independence but also her dependence on Doug's guidance.

Her adoration for Doug and his continual guidance in her career are the threads that weave through this action-packed saga. It is filled with sensual love, friendships, family joy and humor.
                                                                  Book 3                     
Kit’s character develops as an intelligent and talented young girl into an extraordinary and powerful young woman when she accepts a position in the New Orleans oil exploration industrym breaking the mythical "glass ceiling" in the early 1980s. And then, romance becomes even more complicated!

Will Kit become the wife of a minister…or fall in love with an oil magnate? Doug has been her past and occasionally, her present. But will he be her future? From Central Florida to Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta to New Orleans, the story will have you loving— and hating—the people you’ll meet in The Sensuous Disciple.

The Sensuous Disciple and other writings

   I have a few short stories in progress, have completed 2 more children's stories and am working on a second novel with an eye to a sequel for the three books already written of The Sensuous Disciple, in the back of my mind. I am married to a retired Civil Engineer who was a true partner in the writing of The Sensuous Disciple. He was my ‘outline guru’ and the source for details on the oil drilling process, off shore drilling rigs and the skyscraper building sections of the novel as well as the development of Doug’s and BJ’s professions and character details.
   In this section I will post bits and pieces of The Sensuous Disciple so you may get a feel for my style and the characters that I bring to life in the novel. You may see a poem, now and then, too.

Information about me

   I have four grown children, the youngest being an artist, Kurt, who has already designed the book cover for The Sensuous Disciple. He lives in Albuquerque and is as close to me as my laptop and the camera and "team view" that connects us. He is my computer guru who set up this website for me. He and his wife who is a microbiologist in cancer research, travel the world. Kurt is a graphic designer with many large companies as clients. He is also a photographer and artist. His work is displayed in several galleries around the country.

  My older son, Erich, has recently sold Alpha Loss Control in Jupiter, FL. He has trained field people to survey businesses prior to insurance companies granting them insurance. He lives in the wilder part of Florida, Jupiter Farms, and enjoys the wildlife that is attracted to his property by the PalMar Preserve that is adjacent to his property. Not to be satisfied with just that, he also has developed a "lodge" out on the Kissimmee Prairie where he can camp overnight in more wilderness with a little finesse. He has an enclave there where he can get away, do work on his computer, or just enjoy the wildlife and ride his ATV with my grandson, Gunnar. He is the main character in my children's book, Dippy Duck's Adventures from Mirror Publishing Company. I did my own illustrations and there is more about this in another post titled Dippy Duck's Adventures, above.

  One daughter, Juliette, lives in the Melbourne area and has also gotten into Photography, big time. She is already selling her photographs. Her son, Jake (my first grandson) is also in that area along with his family.. wife, Dawna and my great grand daughter, Alannah.

   Another daughter, Jennifer, still lives in NJ with her husband , Charles (where I am originally from, almost). 

   I live in Sebring, Florida with my husband where we keep a wary eye out for hurricanes (from either coast) while I continue to write: short stories, poems, children's stories...and an occasional Letter to the Editor. We were displaced from North Hutchison Island (Ft. Pierce, FL) when "Jeanne and Frances" battered our condo in '04. Two years later, we settled in Sebring.  I started a writing group...Sebring Scribblers and Scribes...(another post) after joining the Florida Writer's Association. I'm busy writing through the month before my meetings which are every 1st Wed. of the month at Beef 'O Brady's, a sports bar  in Sebring, FL.

   My husband is a retired civil engineer who, among other large projects, was part of the design and construct crew on the Walt Whitman Bridge that spans the Delaware River at Philadelphia and connects it to Gloucester. I wrote a poem about that bridge and his involvement...An Engineer Remembers. It was published in the online magazine, WritingRaw in  October  2011.We recently made a visit to Philadelphia where I finally was able to see the bridge from the ground and not just from an airplane window!We had flown over it on our way to the Finger Lakes a few years ago.

   A serious search is in progress for an agent or a publishing house for Book 1 of my Trilogy, The Sensuous Disciple...see above. My children's story, A Christmas Moon, was published by Mirror Publishing in 2012...see above. The second one, Dippy Duck's Adventures was also published Mirror in 2013...see above. My other publications from earlier years are on another post. I've been writing since the early 80s.
   Short stories pile up on my laptop and I've been published a few times with short stories by Florida Writers Association in their magazine, Florida Writer. Once in a while, I yearn to do something with my artistic talent. I have been so wrapped up in writing, I've almost forgotten that I was an artist at one time, teaching it for 40 years. I thought retirement would give me time for all of it...but that's proven to be a fallacy. 
    I was able to spend some quality time illustrating Dippy Duck with  pastel drawings which came out great. The farm atmosphere of the story really shows in the pictures which are mostly full page. See above how you can get a copy for a 4th to 7th grade reader...and it's a cute story to read all ages.
   I'm doing one other thing well...I can go like a whiz on this keyboard!  (except for the occasional typo!) Keep posted with my posts!

Public School Education in the United States: Do we need to change our methods?

               Save Our Schools,
     I am retired from education for a few years now, but still go crazy whenever I see things in the newspaper or on television about how our system of education in this country is so far behind everyone else in the world...and it is!   Years ago, I became involved with a retired teacher/administrator from Maine who had a reform plan that really had a "zing" to it. He asked me to become an editor for him when he found me presenting lectures on my previously published book, Every Child an Artist. I agreed and before long, I was adding my own thoughts to his very sound ideas and became a co-author. The plan was at first called Success-Oriented Schools (SOS). We wanted to use the SOS theme in the title to exemplify the necessity of change, which at that time, was in the Nineties. We reissued the plan as Save Our Schools  in 2000 and the SOS theme was  more important than ever as our school systems continued on a downward spiral.
    Unfortunately, the plan was never picked up by the various Education Czars whom we contacted through the years; but it is a worthwhile look-see for any school or school district looking for an upward change in performance of their students.
     The plan is simple at it's core: identifying  students at the third grade level and putting them into four different groups with teachers trained (on the job) to teach to their particular group's learning needs. It costs the facility nothing to make these changes; no one loses a job and no extra people are needed to put the plan into effect. The book deals with every aspect of setting up a "success-oriented" school; and with a few workshops planned by the administrators who have read the plan, cover to cover, dramatic results will be seen by the end of the first year.
      Finding this book may present a problem;  search for it on Amazon. It's been there on and off and was there a few weeks ago.  Probably, with persistence, it can be found if you research both of the author names, alone and together: Save Our Schools: Change Education to Educating by Ralph E. Robinson and Barbara Ann Beswick, Writer's Club Press. 
   To contact me about education, please go to I'll be glad to talk to anyone who is interested in making a change by contacting their school board members or teachers, anyone who will listen.
   If anyone has a contact in higher up positions in state education, any state, let me know! It would be worth looking at by anyone who realizes our education system needs a prod. Thanx.

Every Child an Artist: New Methods and Materials for Elementary Art

   My book, Every Child An Artist can be found on the internet, used. It is being purged every year from various libraries around the country. Back in the 80s, Prentice-Hall actually sent one of my books out to every library and some ordered a second after reviewing it. Now, of course, they are old although the ideas are timeless. Many books have been stolen from the professional shelves of libraries by art teachers, and not art teachers!  You can contact me if you'd like a signed copy...I have a few in my possession.
   Contact me if you're having trouble. See below about the Every Child's premise. 
  Every Child was designed for teachers who had to teach their own art in the classroom when art teachers were being coaxed into other positions at their schools, or dismissed entirely, along with music teachers, because of economic problems back in the 70s and 80s. Everything that goes around comes around and now, again, many of the art programs  have been eliminated from schools where they existed; and many schools never got them back after the first go round...a terrible loss to children
   Every Child was used extensively by many art teachers in Broward County, FL when it was first published in 1983. I used it myself, to teach ninth graders when I moved to Florida although it was designed for younger children in New Jersey. It can be used by any student, any teacher, and even parents. The ideas are universal and useful for projects that need to be done for school science projects, art projects or just for fun and the new knowledge gained.
   My philosophy of teaching art, evolved through years of working with students, teachers, and parents, is that children's capabilities can exceed the expectations we often hold for them. I assume that all children are capable of doing more complicated tasks and comprehending more detailed information than we think they can---and I insist on it!  The lessons developed for my students are based on techniques and ideas that are a little more mature and advanced than expected for the particular age suggested. But the built-in flexibility of each lesson assures one hundred percent success  for every student in a given class.
    Although the final outcome should not be emphasized as the most important part of an art endeavor, the results that students get from their involvement should provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in their performance along with the appreciation and knowledge gained in the process.  Kids like to show their art work...remember your own stuff hung on the refrigerator when you were a kid?
   Some of the lessons cover perspective drawing in one- and two-point; drawing trees that look like trees; cutting out letters for posters; making puppets and marionettes; simple clay work; drawing people in action....and on and on. 
   This is a fun book for all ages, even for adults who would like to be able to draw better. You can't thumb through the book without stopping over and over at an interesting drawing or photo that entices you to read the lesson and find out...what's up with this? 
   A newly trained art teacher would flip to have this book for those lesson plans handed in or emailed in weekly. Universal ideas in the book can be used to cover every concept of any state or district requirements. Check it out for probably under a dollar...more like a few shipping!