Tag Archives: Les Edgerton

Writing Zone: Craft from the Ground Up OWFI 2015

Many of you followed last year as I prepped for the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation conference in May. As president this year, I wanted to recruit great presenters who will bring amazing content. Check us out! The conference is May 1-2, 2015 at the Embassy Suites in OKC. This is just some of the fun coming your way if you attend.

LesEdgertonLes Edgerton is a full-time writer with fifteen books in print. He teaches creative writing on the university level, through private coaching of writers, and on various on-line venues. He writes in a variety of forms: novels, short stories, nonfiction books, screenplays and the subjects he chooses to write about are just as varied, including sports, literary fiction, thrillers, black comedy and the craft of writing.

His work has been nominated for or won: the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Derringer Award, Spinetingler Magazine Thriller of the Year (Legends category), Jesse Jones Book Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award (short story category), Violet Crown Book Award, and others. His screenplays have placed as a semifinalist in the Nicholl’s Foundation Script-writing Award, and as a finalist in the Best of Austin and Writer’s Guild’s screenwriting awards. His 18th book, a black comedy crime caper, titled The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping came out in October from Down & Out Books.

Social media: www.lesedgertononwriting.blogspot.com
Twitter: @HookedOnNoir
Email: butchedgerton@comcast.net


Richard ThomasRichard Thomas is the author of six books—Disintegration and The Breaker (Random House Alibi), Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots, Staring Into the Abyss and The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of three anthologies: The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time, he writes for LitReactor and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press.

Website: www.whatdoesnotkillme.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/richardgthomas3
Twitter: @wickerkat
Website: http://www.whatdoesnotkillme.com

DARK HOUSE PRESS (where Thomas is Editor-in-Chief)

Website: http://www.darkhousepress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dark-House-Press/567172509981629
Twitter: @DarkHousePress


Brenda Drake AuthorBrenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). She’s represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary. Look for her upcoming novels from Entangled Teen Touching Fate and Library Jumpers, releasing 2015.

Website: www.brenda-drake.com
Twitter: @brendadrake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaLeeDrake
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012713.Brenda_Drake


Sara HenningSarah Henning is a crime writer, recovering newshound, and word nerd of the highest order (aka a freelance copy editor). She has degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Kansas, and has worked for several news organizations, including The Associated Press, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The Palm Beach Post. When she’s not hunched over her computer or curled up with a good book, Sarah is probably running ultramarathons, playing with her cherub-cheeked kids, or nagging her husband to eat more kale. She is repped by Rachel Ekstrom of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Website: www.sarahhenning.me
Twitter: @shhenning
Tumblr: sarahhenningwriter.tumblr.com


Leon Husock AgentPrior to joining the L. Perkins Agency, Leon Husock was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He has a BA in Literature from Bard College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Leon is actively building his client list. He has a particular interest in science fiction & fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels filled with strong characters and original premises, but keeps an open mind for anything that catches his eye. He is also looking for historical fiction set in the 20th century, particularly the 1980s or earlier.

Website: http://lperkinsagency.com
Email: leon@lperkinsagency.com


Michelle Johnson AgentMichelle L. Johnson is a literary agent and the founder of Inklings Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the urban fantasy, Divinity, released September 2014.

After spending a decade in bookselling, she opened and ran a writers’ center in Virginia where she helped aspiring writers find their voices. Michelle has been an editor for two indie presses, and began her career as an agent with the Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York.

In adult, NA, and YA, Michelle is looking for breakout stories in contemporary romance and also the adrenaline genres – Thriller, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, suspense, horror.

Website: www.inklingsliterary.com


Q LansanaQuraysh Ali Lansana is author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, a children’s book, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University. A former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Walmart Republic w/ Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014) and reluctant minivan (Living Arts Press, May 2014).

TrishaHeadshotTrisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for over five years now and has published six YA novels and eight adult titles (as USAToday bestselling author Lyla Payne).

Trisha is the author of The Last Year series and the Cavy Files books. Look for The Historians, the first in a new YA science fiction series, coming from Bloomsbury Spark in 2015!

She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Website: trishaleigh.com

LeeLoflandWith a career in law enforcement that spanned nearly two decades, Lee Lofland is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedures and crime scene investigations. He consults for many best-selling authors, and is a regular speaker at writers conferences, including the Left Coast Crime Conference, Pennwriters Conference, Deadly Ink, and Willamette Writers Conference. He is also the host and director of the Writers’ Police Academy, an event where writers learn realism by attending an actual police academy.

Website: www.leelofland.com

Jennifer McMurrainHaving a great deal of wanderlust, Jennifer McMurrain traveled the countryside working odd jobs before giving into her muse and becoming a writer. She’s been everything from a “Potty Princess” in Yellowstone National Park to a Bear Researcher in the mountains of New Mexico. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and novels, including hitting #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list with her debut novel Quail Crossings. She lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma with her husband and daughter. She has just released her third novel, Return To Quail Crossing.

Website: www.jennifermcmurrain.com

Melissa Nasson headshotMelissa Nasson has spent her life in and around Boston, attending Boston University and Boston University School of Law (Go Terriers!). After interning at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, East-West Literary, and Perseus Books Group, she began working as Contracts Director at Beacon Press. Now, Melissa continues her work at Beacon while actively building her list as an associate agent at Rubin Pfeffer Content. She is open to MG, YA, NA, and adult fiction in any genre, though she particularly enjoys fantasy and sci-fi. Melissa loves dogs, craft beer, making pickles, tending to her tiny vegetable garden, and her pet tortoise, Norton.

Website: http://www.rpcontent.com
Twitter: ‪@melissabnasson‪‬‬

AmyShojai-ComAmy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and author of 30 nonfiction and fiction pet-centric books, including Lost And Found and Hide And Seek, thrillers that include dog viewpoint. She’s also a composer, playwright and performer and has collaborated with Frank Steele to co-write, direct and produce three musical theater productions. Most recently, she combined her love of pets, music and theater when she and Frank co-wrote, directed and produced, Strays, The Musical to enthusiastic audiences in Sherman, Texas. Amy also is a past OWFI president and is delighted to share sessions about collaboration, playwriting techniques and pet-centric tips.

Blog: AmyShojai.com

Jerry SimmonsJerry D. Simmons is an Oklahoma native and former New York publishing executive for the Time Warner Book Group. Over the years he directed an international marketing group and has worked on hundreds of New York Times bestselling titles and with numerous bestselling authors. Today he writes the INSIGHTS™ blog and publishes the TIPS for WRITERS™ newsletter.


FrankSteeleFilmFrank Steele has had a passion for writing since he wrote neighborhood plays as a kid in Vernon, Texas. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to write and create original work. He is member of the Screen Actors Guild and plays/screenplays are his main focus these days. His topics for OWFI will focus on writing with a partner…the challenges and the successes. His most recent outing is Strays, The Musical written with OWFI member, Amy Shojai, which has been recently produced to enthusiastic crowds in Sherman, Texas. Can ‘partner writing’ be a success? Very much so! He’s looking forward to explaining how in the sessions he and Amy will present.



Prior to joining TriadaUS Literary Agency, Inc. Brent Taylor held numerous entry-level positions in publishing, most recently at The Bent Agency. He is based out of Louisville, KY and represent books for a wide range of readers, with a focus on middle grade, young adult, and select upmarket commercial fiction.

Twitter: @NaughtyBrent
Website: www.triadaus.com
Publishers Marketplace: www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/brenttaylor


Brandy Walker

Brandy Walker is the owner and lead designer at Sister Sparrow Graphic Design. Brandy is an international award winning artist with over ten years of graphic design experience. After founding Sister Sparrow Graphic Design in 2012, she fell in love with book cover design and has been happily designing book covers ever since. Brandy’s covers have been featured on blogs like The Book Cover Designer and Library at the End of the Universe. Brandy lives in a small town in the Texas Panhandle with her military husband and their three rambunctious dogs.

Website: www.sistersparrowgraphicdesign.com





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Crazy Times

I’ve been away from the blog, but it’s not out of procrastination. I have been busy nailing down as many things on the to do list as possible before I begin teaching again on Monday. Putting a conference together and–horror of horrors for the English major here–a budget does not come easy. There have been tears and gnashing teeth and fit throwing and well, you get the drift. Slowly, things are coming together. In fact, you can check out the blog to see the line up so far for OWFI 2015, Writing Zone: Craft from the Ground Up.

I hope all of you can join us, but the realistic side of me knows that isn’t possible. However, I’d love it, and I do believe you would, too. See you soon, I hope. Did I mention I start teaching again soon???


Chocolate come to mama.


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First off, I’d like to thank Dawn for the opportunity to talk to you today about something near and dear to my heart…WRiTE CLUB. My modest writing contest has proven so popular that the DFW Writers Conference is now considering incorporating it into their agenda for 2015. 

For the newbies out there, let me explain what WRiTE CLUB is? It’s a modest writing competition whose inspiration was derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB. There are numerous versions of this concept around the internet, but nothing like we do it. Its essence embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 

Over the course of eight weeks I hold twice-weekly bouts in which the winners advance to the play-offs, which will ultimately lead to a single champion. Bouts between who…or what…you ask? Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by anyone who wishes to take part, that’s who. The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, without having to suffer the agony of exposure. 

And the winners are determined by WRiTE CLUB readers!

To find out how to become part of the fun just head on over to DLHammons.com and click on the WRiTE CLUB tab.
Submissions are open until May 31st. After that date a panel of a dozen judges will read all of the entries we received and pre-select 32 of the best writing samples to climb into the ring. Those 32 participants will then be randomly matched to compete over the next eight weeks, each of them hoping to make it into the play-off rounds and moving towards the ultimate goal – WRiTE CLUB Champion. No one (other than my wife)…not even the judges being used to pre-select the 32 contestants, will see the true identity of any sample. Unless you win, of course.

Again this year, the most exciting part is the winner of the final round will be chosen by a panel of publishing industry professionals! Judges include New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author Jonathan Maberry, Agents Katie Grim of Don Congdon Associates, Margaret Bail of the Andrea Hurst Agency, Sarah Negovetich of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. Also included is Candace Havens, Editorial Director of Entangled Publishing Covet line, Authors Les Edgerton and Lydia Kang, and previous WRiTE CLUB winners Tiana Smith (2011), Mark Hough (2012) and Tex Thompson (2013).

Are you willing to WRiTE for what you want? Then crack those knuckles and get ready to flex that imagination. And whatever you do, tell your friends!

WRiTE CLUB – The contest where the audience gets clobbered!


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Wrap Up, Buckle Down, & Rev Up to Go Again

OWFIbadge  OWFI 2014 is over. With a huge sigh of relief that things went so incredibly well, and we all had an   amazing time. We wrapped up an outstanding three days on Saturday night, and everyone fought that “eager to get started writing” feeling with the “sad at leaving behind new and old friends” one.

As the new President, I didn’t really have time for a break. I held meetings with new board members before and during the conference and returned to become an Email Queen. I fear people will begin “blocking” my address. LOL. However, my time is limited as I’m also wrapping up the semester, and it was a rough one. Grades are due Tuesday, and I’m a Grading Fiend until everything is ready, and I hit done.

Once that happens? I rev up the engine and seriously begin work on OWFI 2015. Stay tuned here for announcements throughout the year. You can start by checking out our keynote speaker, Les Edgerton.

Recommended Reading:

Edgerton On Writing

Les Edgerton



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Basket Wars, Chocolate, and Looking Ahead!

OWFIbadgeThe months flew past as they tend to do, and all the plans and preparations are done. It’s a lot of hard work, but the pay off will be an amazing three days. Things will happen that we didn’t account for (we’re sadly human after all) and other things will go even better than we hoped.

I spent my last day before I leave for OKC finishing last-minute things – a conference feedback form, last-minute emails, and last minute tweaks to the schedule. The world is starting to spin a bit too fast, and I need to take a minute to sit back and breathe. Except, the basket isn’t finished. We have Basket Wars which raise money for scholarships for attendees who need financial assistance. Our group basket is all about the keynote speaker in 2015, Les Edgerton. That’s right! I am beyond excited to say that Les will be at OWFI in May 2015. Start planning your trip now! Les Edgerton

Les was kind enough to autograph and send us copies of some of his books for the basket. I set a beach theme and added Starbucks, Post It notes, chocolate(of course), and a couple of freebies to surprise. Midwest Pen and Ink/Novel Clique is excited to offer this. I wonder if there’s a ruled against trying to win your own basket…

My post usually goes up on Thursday, but I will be busy setting up for us to welcome writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals to our great state. If you aren’t able to make it this year, start planning now. Les and I WANT to see you in 2015!



Related Links:

Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, INC 2014

Les Edgerton on Writing





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Thankful Thursday

This month I have determined to write every day regardless of what else comes up and so far it’s worked. I’ve had to accept that some days I write a lot and some days I don’t. It’s okay. As writers we’re terribly hard on ourselves. I know that I tend to see what going wrong before I see what’s going right. This month of allowing myself this grace has been nice. I realized that it’s time to stop being so hard on myself as a writer. This also made me think about my fellow writers. We’re all in this together and we struggle along our own paths, which sometimes intersect. Usually we’re all so busy we can’t take time to say to another writer, “How are things with you?” or “Thanks for that post on scene endings. I needed that.”

It’s not that we don’t think those things. It’s that writers are always struggling to find time in their days just for the essentials, writing, social media, querying, etc. And most writers work in order to put food on the table. We have families who love us and who we love and we devote hours of our day to them. While I have taken this time in October to write each day, I decided that I’d open my Thursdays between now and  Thanksgiving for writers to thank people for any of the wonderful things done for them. From something as simple as a kind word when you got a rejection to a piece of advice that led to a breakthrough, anything you’re grateful for.

I’ll start:

Thanks to my CP’s Natasha Hanova and Leatrice McKinney for the consistent and often enlightening input that keeps my characters and my stories progressing forward.

Thanks to Les Edgerton for being a great mentor to writers like me. Your advice and your knowledge make such a difference in our work.

Thanks to Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglish for their Emotion Thesaurus, a phenomenal tool in the writer’s toolkit, and for the Amazing Race which is a pay it forward for writers by writers.

It’s easy. Thank someone in the comments so we can pass it on throughout the next month and a half. Have a great weekend.


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Hook “Em Over and Over Again


When writers gather, the talk always centers on our shared issues. We don’t sit around and talk about the joys of being in the zone or the love of a request from agents or even a personal rejection…well, okay, we do that, too.  However, we home in on what is kicking our butts in our current WIP. What I keep noticing is a common thread: forward momentum or the lack of it. Several blogs I’ve read in the last week have discussed difficulties with a WIP not so much stagnating as moving without really moving forward.

I recommend Hooked by Les Edgerton. I know I talk about this book a lot but honestly, it has taught me a lot. For one thing, I’m well versed in the inciting incident of a story. I teach it to my students, can identify it in a story I’m reading, etc. I knew that it is what hooks your reader pulling them in . What I didn’t think about until I read the book was that each scene has an inciting incident of its own. An incident that will propel the scene and the plot forward, illuminating things for both your protagonist and your reader.

After so many years of reading and writing, it was so simple and I couldn’t believe I’d missed it. Now, when I’m working on a new scene or rewriting a scene that isn’t working, the first thing I ask myself, “What is the inciting event here? What propels this part of the story and my character forward?” In my big picture plotting, this small scene event planning got  completely overlooked.

Exercise: Instead of a traditional outline of your novel, make an outline of the scenes in your book by inciting event. If you’ve done your job well, you should see an acceleration of events building to that perfectly planned denouement. Let me know how it goes. I’m off to try it with my adult mystery. 🙂


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