Monday, April 24, 2017


I love to keep busy - and I do. I think it's a part of my creative brain. I want to live every minute, sometimes forgetting to live in the moment. So much to do, no promise of time.

Last week, I took a 'live in the moment' opportunity to spend a couple of days in Springfield with my sister, Kitty (Dona acutally, but she's always been kitty, kitty, kitty to me) Her moments are going to come more frequently and she requested a sister outing.  We try to meet up in the city a couple of times a year - just the two of us. She lives about an our West and I live two hours East.

After 18 years at Sam's Club home office, she became officially retired - not by her own choosing. Too many job cuts and only a tenth of positions listed on the job force board. I spent our two days reminding her that now she can do all of the things she was always too tired to do - and at her own pace.

I took her to dinner at Hemmingway's Cafe in Bass Pro. They offer all you can eat snow crab legs on Thursday nights. We can eat our weight in crab legs LOL. Then we came back to the hotel and chilled. I spent part of the time building my potential entry list for the 2017 Ozark Creative Writers conference I told you about last week. For the price of conference registration, you can enter as many of the 30+ contests categories. Did I mention they all come with cash prizes? Check the list out HERE. Incidentally, if you're considering going, make your hotel reservation ASAP. The block of rooms fill up quick. Best Western Inn of the Ozarks 

I use the categories to write out of my comfort zone, try new ideas and if I make a little prize money, that's a bonus.😀 Well, I came up with 26 potential entries. Will I enter them all? Probably not. Especially since although the entry deadline is August 25th, I need to have mine turned in before the grandkids get here in June for 8 weeks. So I only have about 8 weeks to write like the wind. I will have time to polish after they leave but I'd rather get them turned in and out of the way.

With that deadline in mind, I also have four articles due for Saddlebag Dispatches magazine.

While my ideal would be to work on fiction right now, I have to focus on work and items that need done before the girls arrive. I've not seen them in almost four years. I don't want to miss a second of the time they are here.

Bob and I  also have things to get done in the yard before the girls arrive, like their chalk sidewalk and the new sandbox. And I'm finally going to have the gazebo I've wanted for three years. We'll have a shady spot outside to curl up with snacks and story time.

Speaking of story time, what are you reading? I just finished a classic by Leanne Banks - His Majesty, MD. Great, quick read.

Monday, April 17, 2017

CONFERENCE & CONTESTS - Ozark CreativeWriters

"Your Lucky Day in The Ozarks"

51st Annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference
October 12-14, 2017

Best Western Inn of the Ozarks

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I LOVE this conference. I've missed one in 27 years. Why?

Great Speakers
Awesome People to network with
Contests with prize money!
Publishers Row 
Pitching Opportunities
Beautiful setting in the Ozarks
Historical Eureka Springs
Most Hospitable Hotel in Eureka Springs

Okay, I might be a bit biased on that last one. Best Western Inn of the Ozarks and Conference Center has been our host hotel for 98% of our 51 years. The staff is amazing, the food mouthwatering (both at the event and in the hotel restaurant - Myrtie May's)

Check out THIS LINK and see what contest you can enter, who you want to meet with and how you will spend a glorious weekend in Eureka Springs!

Friday, January 27, 2017

CONFERENCES & CONTESTS - Storytellers of America!


scheduled Special Guests include




Alice Cai

We need a headcount!
To Register for the Free Conference
Send an Email to:


2017 Storyteller Awards - 

for Excellence in the Art of Storytelling

Contest Rules and Guidelines

One $10 Entry Fee allows you to enter as many categories as you wish BUT only 1 entry per category.  
Contest Rules:
Winners must be present to accept award
Only one entry per category
Only those registered to attend the conference may enter
Entries must be formatted properly for the category entered, double spaced, 12 point font.
Please do not put your name on your entry.
Include a cover sheet with:
     category number and name
     your name, address, phone number and email address.
    Send one copy of entry with cover sheet, unless otherwise requested in the category to:
Venessa McDaniel Cerasale
1706 SE P Street
Bentonville AR  72712

You may send your ONE TIME $10 entry fee with your contest entries or pay through Paypal:

Deadline to Enter - February 22, 2017
Entries will not be returned unless otherwise noted. Entry will be destroyed if all rules are not followed.
1 – Best Book of the Year – Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop
$100 – Must have been published between Jan 2015 and July 2016, no restrictions on genre or length. Send one copy of the published book (no ms please) Judges will be drawn from the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop.
2 – Best Book Manuscript – Cassville Writers – $50 Winner. Send the first chapter and a five page synopsis of your book in any genre. Double spaced, properly formatted. No erotica.
3 – Flash Fiction – Linda Sartin – $50 to winner – 99 words, any genre. Double spaced. No erotica.
4. Fiction – Author’s Anonymous –- $50 First Place winner only. Short Story, any genre. 1500-3000 word count, Times New Roman 12pt, double spaced.
5 – Play Writing – Actor’s Casting Agency- Grand prize is publication with Shamrock Press. Whole manuscript of a play or screenplay, doesn’t matter how many acts. Full scripts. No limit on length.
6 – Poetry – Ozark Poets & Writers Collective, Fayetteville, AR.
1st Place $70 + a large pile of poetry books. 2nd Place $30 + a small pile of poetry books. 1 Honorable Mention + a small pile of poetry books: Open to any form of poetry, with a theme of entropy and/or ectropy, which means things that are breaking down or spiraling out of control and its complement which is increasing order of the building up of things. A good example would be how the ocean or other body of water can either rob the ground of sand/soil to build up a shore, or how it can tear away at a shore and cause collapse as that soil returns to the ground underwater. You may look at it scientifically or metaphorically in any way that you interpret those life forces. Length: maximum 42 lines. Winner will be chosen by a committee of judges.
7 – Song Writing – Crow Johnson Evans
$30 First Place; $20 Second Place – Each entry must include double-spaced typed lyric
and a digital form of the song (CD or audio cassette).
Lyrics and music must be created by the applicant and not yet published.
All copyrights will remain with the authors/composers. Each songwriter will receive written constructive criticism.
Criteria for judging will be: Match of music style and lyrics; Hook, arresting idea, memorable message and title; Strength or grab of the first verse; Sing-ability of the chorus; Does it make the listener want to hear it again?
What will not be considered: Quality of performance; Any introductory comments; Musicianship; Profanity.
8. Water Color Art – The John Lisle Award – First Place $300, Second Place $200, Third Place $100. Water Color Size 15 x 22 or 22 x 30. Entries are to be taken to the Storyteller conference Saturday a.m. and delivered to the registration table where judge(s) will pick up. Work may be picked up by artist following the awards banquet Sat. night.


Happy New Year, dear readers!

I know I've been promising this remodel for almost a year. Between job changes for my husband and for myself in 2016, some things just had to take a backseat. Sadly, decisions about my writing were buckled safely in the back for the ride through this crazy time in our life. 

I began seeing road signs more clear in October when I attended the Ozark Creative Writers conference. I formally met Casey Cowan of Oghma Creative Media. While a book I pitched to Casey ultimately did not make the cut, we found another common ground we could work together on.  By late November I became Marketing Director for Oghma Creative Media AND Saddlebag Disptaches magazine. I also became a regular feature columnist for Saddlebag Dispatches. My first article on the Arizona Cowboy - Rex Allen, appeared in the Winter 2016 issue (pg 120). You can read the magazine free on-line or subscribe to the quarterly print copy. I'm turning in my first cover story and another history non-fiction piece this weekend.

I also began selling Stampin' Up! scrapbooking/ cardmaking/ paper crafting products back in May 2016. I've been a customer for almost twenty years and decided the time had come to have the discount and early preview of new products. 

With the fireworks of 2017 came new decisions for me. Some things probably won't make my publisher happy but I've come to the awakening of what is going to work for me. What is going to make me happy? What is going to propel my publication dream closer to a full-fledged reality? 

Over the coming weeks, I hope to share some of the plans to make those dreams come true. In the mean time, help yourself to chocolates and wine. 

Thank you for stopping in.