July Newsletter

The Writers’ Loft

Middle Tennessee State University


July, 2013

Below you will find information related to the program and writing in general. Please send your updates to me at theloftmtsu@gmail.com. –Karen Alea Ford


The Conference! Sept. 28th.  Please sign up soon. (Please?) If we don’t have enough signed up, they’ll throw us in this other building, and we don’t want to be in that building.

Also, if you know of places we can post flyers or events I can speak at (or send a speaker to), please let me know.  Registration is at: http://mtsu.edu/theloft/orientation.php

I am setting up some “So you Want to be a Writer” forums at bookstores and libraries. It will probably last 20-30 minutes. I am looking for a few people willing to do 5 minute segments on topics such as: how to get started, finding inspiration, formatting for publication, the writer’s life, simple resources (“Writers’ Market”, etc.), etc. Even if you don’t like speaking, show up and we’ll have coffee afterwards.



The biggest perk of this new position (except for knowing all you {and getting new office supplies}) is filling some mentoring positions with friends I admire and can vouch for their excellence. Joining us are:

Gloria Ballard (non-fiction, personal essay, journalism)


Bachelor of Arts in English / Journalism

The University of Tennessee

“Gloria Ballard enjoyed a 32-year career at The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville as a copy editor, reporter and columnist covering a variety of features and lifestyle topics; features editor, travel editor and garden columnist. She began a second career as a freelance writer specializing in garden and travel writing, and as an editor, teacher and workshop leader.

 Her fiction has been published in Drafthorse literary journal. She is an alumna of Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She writes a weekly online column, The Garden Bench, and a garden calendar that appears once a month in The Tennessean. Gloria is also an avid gardener, and speaks to classes, clubs and groups on a variety of garden topics. She is a member of Garden Writers Association.”

Related websites:

Gloria’s website: www.gloriaballard.com

The Garden Bench q-and-a column: http://thegardenbench.wordpress.com

Gloria’s blog: Turning Toward the Sun: http://gloriaballard.wordpress.com


And Andrea Seigel (fiction, YA, screenwriting, personal essay)


“Andrea Seigel (B.A. Brown University; M.F.A. Bennington College) is the author of Like The Red Panda, one of Amazon.com‘s Top 10 Debuts of 2004, and To Feel Stuff (Harcourt), as well as the young adult novel The Kid Table, published by Bloomsbury in September 2010.  She has taught both creative writing and screenwriting for UCLA Extension, Loyola Marymount University, Chapman University, the UC Riverside MFA Program, and the L.A. Writers Lab. Her shorter work has been published by Vulture, Crushable, the NY Times Magazine, Etsy editorial, and BlackBook Magazine, among others. She was recently on NPR’s This American Life with Ira Glass.

In 2013 Lynn Shelton directed Seigel’s feature script Laggies, starring Keira Knightley, Chloe Moretz, and Sam Rockwell, to be released in 2014. Seigel and Shelton are also collaborating on the HBO pilot Terrible Infants, currently in development. 

Seigel’s next novel, forthcoming from Viking in 2014, is a YA collaboration with her boyfriend, Brent Bradshaw, entitled Everybody Knows Your Name.  She lives in Pasadena, CA.”

However, I know that her biggest accomplishment was seeing Britney Spears in “People Magazine”, getting off a plane with one of Andrea’s books in her hand.


Other faculty news:

Roy Burkhead (founder of The Writer’s Loft)—His publication “2nd and Church” is growing in scope and depth. Please support this magazine. You can see a list of places you can pick one up in print at http://secondandchurch.typepad.com/2nd-church/welcome-to-2nd-church-where-writers-read.html

Bill Brown—has three poems upcoming in the aptly named journal, POEMS, out of Alabama.

Jeff Hardin– has a couple of sonnets available at the journal Unsplendid. Take a look and pass them along.

Unsplendid | An Online Journal of Poetry in Received and Nonce Forms


Linda Busby Parker—just finished teaching some workshops at the Alabama Conclave Conference and will join the line-up of speakers at our Middle TN Writer’s Conference

Kory Wells–is recently back from three weeks in Europe, where her literary pilgrimages included the home of Victor Hugo and the Anne Frank Museum. Her spoken word and roots music album with Kelsey Wells, DECENT PAN OF CORNBREAD, has become recently become available on Spotify.

Assistant, 12-year-old Sofia Ford—is recovering well from a bone graft surgery to correct a birth defect. She will be eating and walking normally in a week or two and thanks people for the warm wishes. She went through all The Loft files procured from the depths of MTSU and that is why many of you are on this email list!


Please send in your recent publications, what you are working on, and life news!

Michael Potts— “I’ll be back in TN once I return from the Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville–and will have another book signing for three books: my novel, End of Summer; my poetry chapbook that won the 2006 Mary Belle Campbell Award of the NC Writers’ Network, From Field to Thicket, and my horror poetry full length book, Hiding from the Reaper. It is on Saturday, August 3, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Hastings Books and Music on Memorial Boulevard in Murfreesboro.”


Cathleen Reid—“I am working with Linda Busby Parker (in the Writers Loft) now on my new project, “How To Get A Divorce in 25 years or less” – the story of a former Army Officer’s wife.  I am also continuing work on a breast cancer book, “Flowers for my Sisters” (both of these are just working titles).  I am also currently writing some yoga workshops and ebooks. “ 

My yoga website is www.catfityoga.com, I also have regular posts on CatFit Yoga Facebook and CatFit Yoga Twitter.  I just started a tumblr blog called Body Poetry at cathleenreid.tumblr.com.


Book Recommendations: On writing or just, plain, good writing.


Leisa Hammett—“I’m finally reading Katherine Center, whom I’ve known via the blogosphere and via mutual friend acquaintances such as Brené Brown. This chick can write! Oy! I’m reading her first of four novels: ‘The Bright Side of Disaster’ and I will definitely read more.”

Kory Wells—“IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND by Steve Kowit. It’s focused on helping you write poetry – from idea through revision – but also has some great prompts for anyone who wants to mine their own experiences for any genre.”

Cathleen Reid—“Since I am writing memoir, Linda has encouraged me to read several books ‘Glass Castle’ by Jeanette Walls and ‘Truth and Beauty’ by Ann Patchett are incredible reads.  I am also in love with the way Nicole Krauss writes and her book, ‘The History of Love.’”

Patty Outlaw—“’The Right to Write’ by Julia Cameron. It’s about getting people to the page.”

Karen Alea Ford—“’On Writing’ by Stephen King. Until this book, although I have never read any of his books, I assumed he was a hack. Once, again, I was wrong.  Also, ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers’ by Browne and King–moves your writing out of the amateur stage into the professional.”



Ashley Loar


Leisa Hammet


Karen Alea Ford


Jennifer Chesak



Charlotte Dixon Rains


Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor


River Jordan               


Kory Wells




Candace White



Writers’ groups—I was blown away visiting two writing groups recently. Both are open to new members.

Murfreesboro Writer’s Grouphttp://murfreesborowritersgroup.blogspot.com/

This group meets the 2nd and 4th Wed. at 6pm at Books A Million at The Stones River Mall. They have an eclectic group with members writing fiction, sci-fi, poetry, articles, etc. Please go to their website for more information or write me. They are very welcoming, and I look forward to supporting their efforts.

Living Writers’ Collectivehttp://livingwriterscollective.blogspot.com/

This group meets every other Thursday night at 7 at Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill. It is organized into nights for critique, writing and educational talks. They have anywhere from 12-30 writers attend. It was a fun group that has a life of its own. Just look at the website to see why they should be running the country.

Author’s Circle—Middle Tennessee– https://www.facebook.com/groups/442829115766771/

If you haven’t been invited to join this group on facebook, just send me an email. They keep it closed to prevent spam, but all are welcome. There are 185 members, and it is mostly an online resource for local writers. However, they also put on monthly gatherings and have a presence at Southern Festival of Books. I highly recommend you connect, even just to become familiar with the names of some of our local writers.

I will be speaking about The Loft and who knows what else at the July 25th (this Thursday) meeting. Feel free to come to The Coffee House at Second and Bridge in Franklin at 6 to meet some people.

Sewanee Writer’s Conference—Although the actual conference is an application process (want to apply for 2014? Let me know), they open the readings to the public. Just a short drive down to a picturesque town, the readings are from July 23 through Saturday, August 3 and can be found at http://sewaneewriters.org/conference/schedule

You’ll notice some pretty decent writers on there from 2 former United States Poet Laureates to Tim O’Brien and Richard Bausch.

Looking for an agent—two handy websites are http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx



I have access to many contests and grants, including teaching English overseas, etc. If you would like more information, please contact me. theloftmtsu@gmail.com –Karen



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