We Didn’t Win, But We’re Still Celebrating!

We Didn’t Win, But We’re Still Celebrating!

Happy Mother’s Day

A gentle drenching rain falls on this damp, green Mother’s Day morning. Last night’s angry flashes of lightning and foundation-rattling thunder were enough to send me scurrying far away from the windows. But now, the rain is softly percussive against the drooping leaves, plinking droplets sounding musical notes as they splash into muddy puddles. A steady thump, thump, thump of water against the metal chimney keeps the beat, drumming its insistent, incessant, rhythm. My pequin pepper bush stretches its branches wide as the heavens quench its thirst. It bursts out in spicy little nubbins of joy.

What creature doesn’t celebrate the seasons? What creature doesn’t mourn – just a little – the passing from one to another, even while welcoming the next? Without winter to clear the way, there would be no spring. Without spring, summer would make a desert of us all. Fall reminds us that winter is just around the corner, but sings the other seasons out in a joyous riot of color and the momentary refreshment of a crisp, cool breeze wafting a hint of apple cider.

Celebrating!

Pen & Keyboard Writers‘ anthology, Celebrating the Seasons: An Anthology in Poetry and Prose, didn’t win the Oklahoma Book Award. It didn’t win Best Adult Book in the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc (OWFI) Contest. But, ever-hopeful, our writing group enjoyed the OWFI Conference and our pre-con lunch at San Marcos Mexican Restaurant, nonetheless. In fact, seeing each other face-to-face was the real reward for a job well done.

Pen and Keyboard Writers at San Marcos Mexican Restaurant in Oklahoma City Jacque Graham, Holly Jahangiri, and Vivian Zabel at OWFI Conference 2023 Autumn Harting, Eva Mahoney, Carla Guthrie, Darlinda Hagens, Biruta Harris, Donna Richardson, Don Richardson Jim Martin, E. H. McEachern Pen and Keyboard Writers at the OWFI Awards Banquet, May 2023

The Reviews are IN!

Cover of Celebrating the Seasons“A lovely collection of poems and short stories from different age perspectives in a celebration of life’s transitions. The seasonal comparative analogy is nothing new but the diversity of the stories is refreshing.”

“This is an easy read and maintains interest. There is a natural progression through the poems and stories to reflect the spirituality of each season in turn.”

“Consistent and professional.”

“This is a charming collection that balances well. Each author’s piece(s) blend and support the other selections for each season. Cohesive and fluid. The introductory poems in each season set the stage for the life lessons represented in each season. Very nice balance.”

Those were from the judge who didn’t choose our book as the winner! See customer reviews so far at Amazon.com: Customer reviews: Celebrating the Seasons

To get your own copy in print or eBook, choose your favorite online retailer here: Celebrating the Seasons

Follow our group on Amazon: Amazon.com: Pen & Keyboard Writers: books, biography, latest update – we had so much fun on the first anthology, we already have another in the works!

 

Benefits of a Writers’ Group

Benefits of a Writers’ Group

What Are the Benefits of Joining a Writers’ Group?

I’m not much of a “joiner.” So why would I join not just one writers’ group, but three? Pens, people, and publication. One benefit of membership in a writing group like Pen & Keyboard Writers is the opportunity to write, contribute to, edit, and develop an anthology. Our 2023 anthology, Celebrating the Seasons, is also our first, but we had so much fun with the project that it definitely won’t be our last. The most important benefit, though, is the chance to work with some our fellow writers who complement our strength and weaknesses, and to learn from one another.

Pens

Writers write. Many of us have a ridiculous collection of pens, notebooks, blank books, blogs. We write. I told someone last week that I “think and talk through my fingers.” Communication of what’s in our imaginations into our readers’ imaginations is the goal; publication is icing on the cake. Publishing an anthology is one way to ice the cake.

Key to a successful anthology project is that the members work well together and roll up their shirtsleeves, setting egos aside, to do whatever is needed. Pen & Keyboard Writers worked effectively together as a team from deciding on a theme to editing, revising, and editing again.

We chose “seasons” as our theme. It was broad enough to encompass stories about climate, weather, seasonal change – but also seasons as a metaphor for the stages of life. Our group is based in Oklahoma; the group is an affiliate member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc (OWFI). As Oklahoma’s famous native son, Will Rogers, supposedly said, “If you don’t like our Oklahoma weather, just wait a couple of hours and we’ll have it changed. We’ve got every kind of weather there is.” Next, we began to write.

I contributed two poems: “Longing for Four” and “verbum sap sapienti est,” that serve as “bookends” to all the stories and poems in the book. Each poem deals with the transition of one season into the next, as well as the capricious human whims and changing moods reflected in Nature, itself.

People

Some groups are for novice writers and some are geared towards those with more experience. Others, like Pen & Keyboard Writers, have a healthy mix of writers who span decades of life experience and writing expertise. And we help each other because we want to, not because it’s an “assignment” to do so.

May be an image of 9 people

Publication

Early in the process of developing an anthology for publication, we traded our stories to ensure that each submission had at least two fresh pairs of eyes reviewing them and providing initial feedback from “scrap it and start over” to “almost perfect.” It’s essential to realize that every editor will have different corrections and suggestions, and it’s important to consider all of them objectively – not necessarily to incorporate every suggestion, but to consider the advice. Each edit represents a reader’s opinion, a writer’s edits, and feedback from a fellow group member who wants to see us succeed both individually and as a group. And we all want to be proud of the final product – our book.

Once each contributor made their initial revisions, I formatted the book and sent a first draft to the group for review. This time, everyone reviewed every page, providing not only edits to the stories and poems contained within the book, but also their opinions on the typeface and layout. There were several more rounds of edits, since with each pass, there’s a chance of introducing fresh errors or spotting little ones we’d previously missed – be that in typing or formatting of headers and footers, or pagination.

It’s critical that everyone set aside their egos and their inner crises of confidence. There is nothing but the work and our respect for, our trust in, each other. That means giving honest feedback to ensure that no one’s “slip” is showing. Honest feedback, and the ability to receive it, is vitally important prior to publication. After publication, it’s too late for changes – the book is in the hands of readers.

Perfection?

Few published books, including textbooks, are perfect. But that’s always the end goal, and I think we polished our anthology till it shines! We all hope readers will agree.

Flier – Feel Free to Share!

Flier – Benefits of Joining Pen and Keyboard Writers

In the Hands of Happy Readers!

In the Hands of Happy Readers!

We LOVE Readers!

Celebrating the Seasons, our first anthology, is now found “in the wild”! We love seeing it in the hands of happy readers like Mitchell, Jill, and Bob, who graciously sent us photos of our book in hand and allowed us to feature them on the blog.

Our book in the hands of happy readers!

We also received our first review on Amazon: 5 STARS!! I don’t care if it’s your first book or your ten thousandth, those reviews matter and an unsolicited 5-star review is the best surprise to wake up to!

First Amazon review for Pen and Keyboard's first anthology, Celebrating the Seasons.

Why Join Pen & Keyboard?

My personal feeling is that reviews left on retail sites like Amazon are for book buyers. They’re not meant to be just praise or critique for the authors. I’d encourage all readers to review the books they read as if giving honest advice to a good friend who loves to read. The positive, 5-star reviews delight us, of course, and let us know that we’ve succeeded!

Every writer started out, first and foremost, as a reader. None of us want to disappoint our fellow readers! Anything less than five-star reviews sting. One reason for joining a writing club like Pen & Keyboard Writers is to get honest reviews and suggestions from our fellow writers before we send work to editors, agents, and publishers. Before we inflict ourselves on readers. We know that readers deserve to be entertained, informed, delighted, provoked and intrigued. If we can do all of the above, then we’ve done a good job!

If you are interested in joining Pen & Keyboard Writers, please contact us.

Where to Buy Our Anthology

To get your very own copy of Celebrating the Seasons, visit https://books2read.com/celebrating-seasons and choose your favorite version (it’s available in print or eBook!) and retailer. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as this reviewer.

If you are in the Oklahoma City / Edmond, Oklahoma area, watch this blog for announcements of upcoming events like book signings and panel discussions. Come meet some of the authors, if you can! Darlinda Hagens, Carla Guthrie, Joe Scavetti, E.H. McEachern, and Donna Castle Richardson recently participated in a panel discussion and book signing at Deer Clan Books:

Authors Responding to Questions from crowd

Will there be a “round two”? the reviewer asks. There just might be, with encouragement like this!

 

 

Announcing: Celebrating the Seasons, an Anthology in Poetry & Prose

Announcing: Celebrating the Seasons, an Anthology in Poetry & Prose

Celebrating the Seasons of US!

Pen & Keyboard Writers is pleased to announce the release of its first anthology, Celebrating the Seasons: An Anthology in Poetry and Prose.

Celebrating the Seasons is a collection of poems and short stories by authors B.S. Adamsons, Dorothy Cady, Carla Guthrie, Darlinda Hagens, Holly Jahangiri, Eva Mahoney, E.H. McEachern, Donna Castle Richardson, and Joe Scavetti that celebrate the seasons – both the four seasons of nature and the parallel “seasons” of a human lifetime. The Pen & Keyboard Writers hope that you enjoy reading their work. Regardless of the number of candles on your birthday cake, their wish is that you may have in your life all the gifts to be presented by each season.

Pen & Keyboard Writers is a writing club affiliated with the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI). Members of Pen & Keyboard Writers are authors of published and unpublished novels, short stories, children’s books, poetry, and non-fiction. They have a wide variety of interests and experiences, but what they share is curiosity, enthusiasm and support for their fellow writers, and a love of writing.

Our anthology is on sale now at your favorite retailers – with more coming soon!

https://books2read.com/celebrating-seasons

Pen & Keyboard Writers in a Fine Pickle!

Pen & Keyboard Writers in a Fine Pickle!

A cheerful return to occasional, in-person get-togethers with lunch on Saturday at Pickles American Restaurant. While Pen & Keyboard Writers includes members who live far from Oklahoma City, it’s fun for the locals to get together, face-to-face. It’s been a long time coming.

From left-front, around the table, to the right-front:

Biruta Harris
Philip Mahoney
Don Richardson
Carla Guthrie
Eva Mahoney
Evelyn Martin