Monthly Archives: June 2014


Excerpts from Erotica Writer’s Group.

What a wonderful night! The Erotic Writers group – which has grown – met yesterday and the evening was filled with fascinating stories, great critiquing, and lots of laughter. Thank you all for sharing thoughts and ideas; you never cease to amaze me! 

The next Erotic Writers Group is on July 15. Let me know if you are coming! Reply or write to for more information.

Pattie Sue LaRue I LOVE this group. I applied the changes that Shane suggested & it flowed much better. Andres Fragoso Jr. forgot to return the copy so I’m not sure if I caught all of his suggestions, but the story is vastly improved! Thanks to all!!!

A portion of my writing for tonight’s Erotic Writers meeting:It was after another night of love that the camp was attacked. Horrible men, rival gypsy opponents, came rushing into the cabin. Amid the noise of the onslaught, they brutally carried us outside, taking the Dark Gypsy to the far side of the camp. They beat him mercilessly and dragged his limp body away. The sweaty men stood around me by a campfire and laughed at my nakedness. I trembled, unable to defend myself and without my lover to protect me. The men touched, grabbing handfuls of my thighs and rear. Several wanted to suck a breast, shoving one another, in reach for the treat. I shook them off as best I could, all the while looking high above the marauder’s heads, trying to see if my Dark Gypsy was still alive. I struggled to be let free but they allowed me no respite.
Waves of light behind me proved that our cabin had been set on fire. All of our gypsies had been driven away but none were hurt nor their property damaged. It became quite clear that the Dark Gypsy and I were the only ones to be taken.
The Brown Woman stood, unafraid, near the Chief of the horrible men. She gasped with laughter while pointing to me. Someone put a cloth over my eyes, tied my hands behind my back and threw me over their shoulder. I was taken away, never to smell the spices or fire of this camp again.
Come to our next meeting on July 15!

Guess Who Wrote This?




Alaska. What a wild, vast country. Like a huge, baby bird, with it’s mouth always open, head back, waiting for one with offerings to come, and then to give itself to it completely, then more, never enough, this hungry country swallows me, and I give myself willingly to its insatiable appetite.

Open, wide-open, empty, and yet so full.

When we made it to Cripple, I felt like I could leap over the grand canyon. I felt like a Superman, and my trusty companions were Super-dogs, every one. Instead I wrote my name in the fresh powder, leaving my mark while my Super-dogs did the same. We were making good time, and as far as I could tell, we weren’t last. I didn’t really care. Even if we made it into Nome days later than the rest, making it all the way would be enough for me.

All the jokes and doubts had been running through my mind every since we left Anchorage, days before, playing over and over again in my head. Then Mojo, my favorite dog, started to limp this morning, bringing more doubts. Mojo, now begrudgingly riding in the sled until I can drop him at the next checkpoint, to have him properly attended to, is clearly insulted to be treated this way, and lets me know. Dogs have an amazing repertoire of sounds to express their feelings. Mojo is huffing, snorting, whining, booping, barking, hissing and the occaional harumph. Even in pain, he longs to pull, run, to lead. He has taught me well what it takes to be a true champion.

I like the power I feel standing on the runners, commanding my fur-faced crew, but I’m colder than I have ever been in my life. I think about squeezing into the small sled with Mojo, where his body, like a big fur glove, would warm me. But I know Mojo would never willingly sit out a race, so neither will I.

No,  I will not give in to the cold, and those thoughts, the ones that have dogged me since Anchorage. They keep coming at me, the jeers and laughter, like a fast forwarded film, and along with the white world flashing past my sled, I reel under the dizzying effect of it all. Most of the time, I just hold on. The dogs are sure, when I am not.

“You’re a Silicon Valley Geek Freak Ben, you wouldn’t make it a day in Alaska on a cruise ship without your laptop and trusty blackberry as companions. Do you really think you can survive two weeks in the Alaskan wilderness with twelve dogs and no communications devices?”

Ok, I admit it, I’d rather go to the Tech Museum than to a ball game, or explore a volcano instead of hang-gliding. Sports were never my thing. I’m just not wired that way. Three years ago, I looked back at my life and saw great achievements, but I saw no real risk. I had never set out to do a physical thing, just because. I had never been “sport” enough to accept the challenge of a sport.

I thought, “In three years I’ll turn fifty, if I’m ever going to go out for a sport, maybe I’d best get to it.”

I decided not to pass the half way mark in my life without having ever once participated in a competitive sport.

For the next six months I checked out the possibilities. I looked up everything about baseball, football, soccer, hockey, hunting, and a half dozen other American past times. Nothing captured my interest. I couldn’t understand, why would anyone follow a little ball around and try to put it in a hole, or put themselves in a position to have a huge guy hit them with brute force, all in the name of moving a football a few feet.

Just when I thought the only contest I might be willing to enter would be a spitting contest, I read an article about the yearly Iditarod race in Alaska. Man against the wilderness with only his dogs as companions. I had found my sport.

I took a two-year leave of absence from my job, and spent the next twenty-three months in Alaska. I found qualified instructors willing to teach me. I worked everyday with the dogs. I almost lived with them.  I made several trial runs and did well. Now, here I am, peeing in Cripple, almost half way to the end.

I signed in at the checkpoint, fed and watered the dogs, and after making the necessary arrangements for Mojo to be sent home, and thanking him most sincerely for the kindness and patience he’d had with this greenhorn city slicker, we set out again.

Leaving the safety of the checkpoint behind, to the yelps and cries of abandonment or encouragement from Mojo, maybe a bit of both, we headed out into the white open country that had captured my heart.

“Mush! Let’s go!” They shot forward like a bullet, eager to see what would be around the next bend. I urged them, “Faster, faster.”  Then, the icy wind tearing at my face, my heart pounding, and my head so clear, I could feel the Earth turning, and I realized I was in no hurry.

I am competing and I have won, simply because, I am here. I knew in that moment of clarity, I will cross under the Burled Arch, the finish line in Nome, I may not even come in last. But until I get there I will be here, fully. I am having the time of my life and we (me and the fur-faces) have a lot of snow to write in along the way. What a day, what a sport.

Self Editing for Fiction Writers

SelfEditingSelf-Editing for Fiction Writers
By Renni Browne & Dave King
(HaperCollins Publishers, 288 pp)

If I had to recommend one book to writers, this might be it. I’ve underlined and dog-eared my copy nearly to death. This isn’t a book about punctuation or line-editing (although there are scattered tips about these things too). Its focus is broader: characterization, POV, dialogue, proportion, repitition. It has one of the clearest discussions of “Show v. Tell” I’ve ever read. The book’s lessons go beyond prescriptive editing advice to touch on craft, style, and sophistication.

The authors highlight their advice with examples and break up the narrative with light-hearted cartoons. At the end of each chapter they use checklists and exercises to reinforce the key points.

Numerous agents have recommended the book at conferences I’ve attended, including Sara Sciuto of Foreword Literary and Carly Watters of P.S. Literary.

A great group of HWG writers came out to discuss the book last Wednesday at Skinny Dugan’s. Join us next month on July 8th at 6:30 to talk about our next book: A Dash of Style by Noah Lukeman.

Article by

Amanda Skenandore

We Write the Stories of Tomorrow

Dear Writer,
Hi there! I have a weird question for you. Who encouraged your writing when you were a kid?
For me, it was a teacher named Judy Barnes. Back in 1991, Mrs. Barnes read a story I wrote in front of the whole class, and I can still feel the glow from that moment today. Her single act of encouragement changed the course of my life.
Maybe you had a similar moment? Or maybe you never got the praise you deserved? Either way, you know how priceless it is to have someone believe in you when you’re young.
Well, I’m here today to put a price on it. That price could be as low as $10.
Yep. At NaNoWriMo, we’re raising money to build a new home for young writers, and we’re funding its creation through hundreds of small donations from people like you. So far, we’ve raised $40,000—80% of our $50,000 goal.
The new Young Writers Program site will be amazing. And because we want to make sure it’s as epic as possible for our 100,000 participating students and educators—and because NaNoWriMo has taught us to never say die—we’re not letting something as measly as an end date stop us from finishing what we started. We’re extending our Stories of Tomorrow campaign until Friday, June 27.
Donating to the Young Writers Program is quick, easy, and deeply satisfying. I loved it so much, I did it twice. Once for me, and once for Judy Barnes, who gave me confidence and pride at a time in my life when both things were in short supply.
If you’ve been touched by writerly encouragement, you know how powerful it is. Please consider giving that gift to the kids and teens who take part in our free creative writing events by donating to the Young Writers Program today.
Big, wordy love,
Chris Baty
NaNoWriMo Founder


Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest

Form a team or write solo in this quirky writing contest to shatter writer’s block! Contest involves completing a scavenger hunt to collect writing prompts (either online from anywhere or in person in Portland, Ore.), writing a story within 36 hours, and competing for prizes collectively worth over $9,000. Judges include writing experts at Indigo Editing and New York Times bestseller Ariel Gore.

Who: Writers of all ages, anywhere

When: July 26–27

Cost: $40 for adults, $10 for ages 11–17, and $5 for ages 10 and under. Preregistration is required. Preregistration is open


Panda Express Fundraising HWG



Monday, July 21, 2014

3318 E. Flamingo Rd. Suite A
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(p) 702-898-0197

11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Participating fundraiser guests are required to present a valid fundraiser flyer (hard copy or smart phone) with each order to receive credit for the fundraiser. Flyers may not be
distributed inside or within vicinity of restaurant including, without limitation to, the restaurant parking lot before or during your fundraiser. Panda Restaurant Group reserves the right to cancel any and all fundraiser events for any reason and/or withhold payment of associated donation funds if the Panda Restaurant Group Fundraiser Guidelines are not

Click here for Coupon Panda

Make sure you save your receipt and bring it in to Alba Arango.




Wild mind: Natalie Goldberg reveals the secrets of true writing.

By Alicia Anstead

The big questions: Deepen plots by adding philosophical dimension.

By Roger S. Gottlieb


Zoo story: David James Poissant goes behind the scenes of short stories.

By Hillary Casavant


Karen Avivi: Self-Publishing: How a YA author took publishing into her own hands

By Megan Kaplon


Moving stories: Put down the pen and pick up the camera for video literature.

By Melissa Hart


Capturing momentum:

Samrat Upadhyay harnesses the voices of Nepal in his short stories and novels.

By Robert Hirschfield





Writing Essentials

Getting clubby: What you can learn from non-writing readers.

By Jack Hamann


Poet to Poet

Touching work: Craft your poems like an artist crafts clay.

By Stuart Kestenbaum


Conference Insider

The same page: Mid-career writers find their place.

By Hillary Casavant


Literary Spotlight

Begin with children: Skipping Stones celebrates diversity and identity in youth.

By Melissa Hart


Lasting Effect

July 1968: A scriptwriter breaks down the structure of a story.

By Hillary Casavant


In Every Issue


From the Editor


Take Note:

Tips on writing classes, products for outdoor writing, character advice, Phil Klay, writer’s favorite bars and more.


Markets: Classified advertising


How I Write:

MK Asante: “When I think of my memoir, I ask, what are the different layers that will help create an experience? I want you to be immersed in my world.”