September Newsletter

The Writer’s Loft

Middle Tennessee State University

September, 2013

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


Please help welcome back students Cathleen Reid and Casey Stohrer for the fall semester. Also, welcome new students Tina Caldwell, Christy Cates, Margie Hunter, Angela Trumbo and Melanie Wallace. We’ll give them identifying nametags at the conference so that you can meet them personally.

Thanks to everyone who registered and/or spread the word through social media and by word of mouth. There are over 100 people attending. Not only does that show that local writers are hungry for something like this, but it serves as another validation for The Writer’s Loft program.

Not a dime was spent on advertisement for the conference, and if you have been reading the local news, you can see why. Below are links to articles written about the conference—at (reprinted in The Nashville Scene), Murfreesboro Magazine and the Daily News Journal. Three talented journalists put the conference and the program in the spotlight.

Murfreesboro Magazine


Daily News Journal

Lastly, a generous plug in 2nd and Church, the magazine published by Loft creator Roy Burkhead.


The Conference looms.  You’ve got through tomorrow, if you haven’t signed up.

Boulevard Grill is in walking distance, so let’s head there after!

Mentors Bill Brown and Jeff Hardin, along with student Tiana Clark, will read from their poetry, Sept. 27th starting at 7 at the Barnes and Noble off West End, right next to Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The reading is called Lyrical Brew.

Online—Jeff Hardin is putting up writing prompts for poets. The latest is from a poem of Gaylord Brewer, whose wife, Claudia Barnett, is the award-winning playwright who will speak at the conference.



Bill Brown “I’ve gone through one more organizational change to my new poetry manuscript, Elemental, following the advice of my publisher Andrea Watson of 3:A Taos Press in Denver. I hope to send it to her after I’ve let it sit for a week and give it one more look. I’ve got new poems forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, Conclave: a Journal of Character, POEM, and The Texas Poetry Review.”


Linda Busby Parker “I will be chairing the Alabama Writers Conclave writing competition for 2013-2014.  Also, I’m excited about seeing everyone at the MTSU writers’ conference and about making a presentation there.  Can’t wait to be in Murfreesboro in just a couple of weeks!  Am doing loads of editing on my novel Journey to a Fifth Season.”



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

Michael Potts— Michael Potts’ short screenplay, “Business Meeting,” was a semifinalist at the Shriekfest Film Festival.

Casey Stohrer–My short story “Porcelain Blues’ is scheduled to come out in the fall issue of The Hoot and The Hare Review. I shall be continuing on my revisions on my WIP, a short story collection about Nashville songwriters. My favorite writer is William Saroyan… I was introduced to him through various mentions by Charles Bukowski in a number of his poems. The man is a genius at creating characters and dialogue that are just as down-to-earth as they are surreal, and he is one of my main influences. Outside of writing fiction and essays, I continue to write songs and play bass with my band Neo Tundra Cowboy.


Marlene Sanders—“My favorite author currently Marilyn Robinson, author of Gilead and Housekeeping. My task is not difficult at all, Robinson writes some the most beautiful, searing prose that I think I have ever read. If you love literature and the written word, and their power you will love Robinson, especially, Gilead. IT is a transformational story of faith.”

Bill Brown—“I’ve read the equivalent of a book of poems a week for 30 years. Picking a favorite is vertically sacrilegious. My favorite older poet is Yeats, because of his scope and dark power. But I’ll take a current stab and say Mary Oliver. Mary’s work looks on death as a mysterious door…all things that live on earth come to pass…it is our fate…but she celebrates life anyway, even the darkest hours, as a gift. She is a Soul-Teacher.”

Gloria Ballard—Regarding writing: “Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore. It provides plenty of basic information on writing good nonfiction in an engaging and entertaining style. A bonus: while Moore is providing the basics and encouraging practice with plenty of exercise suggestions, he gives insight into his own writing process in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at a work-in-progress.”

Linda Busby Parker—“This particular day I have two favorites—Charles Bukowski and Eudora Welty.  (Those two would make some really odd bedfellows!)  I love Bukowski’s Ham on Rye because he can say more in five words than most writers can say in twenty.  His subject matter is gritty and yet beautiful—the blue collar underclass.  Also, I am currently rereading Eudora Welty’s short stories with a student and am in a state of awe! Reading Welty’s stories is like taking a hot, humid breath.  It may be hot and humid, but it sustains.”

 A 5 minute, simple, yet profound, message from author Neil Gaiman.


Ashley Loar

Jeff Hardin

Leisa Hammet

Karen Alea Ford

Jennifer Chesak

Michael Potts
Author’s Amazon Page:
Barnes & Noble:

Charlotte Dixon Rains

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Emily Davidson Nemoy

Kory Wells

Candace White


A writing workshop in the Delta: Creative Nonfiction at the Crossroads II, November 8-9, 4 pm Fri. – 4 pm Sat. (2-night stay); Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale MS; Sonja Livingston, University of Memphis, will lead a workshop on writing memoir. Cost—$125. Space is limited. Contact

Local poetry group–A subgroup of the Nashville Writers Meetup, open to all, meets on the third Saturday of every month at 2:00 pm at the City Limits Cafe in Bellevue (361 Clofton Drive).

Difficult Listening radio show— every Sunday from 10 to noon on WRFN, 107.1, Host David Harris reads from a novel in the first hour, then talks about poetry in the second hour. Listen and support.

Poetry–The 2013 Wabash Prize for Poetry is now open! Sycamore Review is accepting previously unpublished poems for consideration in the annual contest. This year’s prizewinning piece will be selected by acclaimed poet C.D. Wright, and will be awarded a $1,000 prize and publication in Sycamore Review.

Submissions are due October 31 and are accepted via the online submission manager only. Entry fee is $15 for up to three poems and $5 for each additional poem. Entrants receive a one-year subscription to Sycamore Review.
All entries are considered for publication.

Poetry– Heron Tree, http://herontree. com, is open to submissions from September 1 through December 1. Any submissions received outside this period will not be read.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome with timely notification of acceptance elsewhere. Work previously published online, electronically, or in print should not be submitted. Heron Tree does not publish translations, fiction, essays, or artwork at this time.

Submit 2 – 5 poems with a cover letter via email to

Include your cover letter in the body of the email and attach poems in a single doc, docx, or rtf file. All submissions will be read blind; please do not include your name on the poems themselves, but provide a list of titles in your cover letter. Please do not use headers or footers in your file.

Accepted work will be published on the Heron Tree website and will be included in a yearly bound edition available as a print-on-demand volume. We are not currently able to provide contributing authors with a gratis copy of the volume, but we plan to make it available to them at minimal cost. Purchase of the print volume is not required for publication.

Check our website for complete guidelines.

Short Fiction collection– The 2014 Moon City Short Fiction Award
* The Moon City Short Fiction Award is for an original collection of short fiction written in English by a single or collaborative author.
* Individual pieces in the collection may be published in periodicals, but not yet collected and published in full-length
manuscript form.
* Entries may include short shorts, short fiction, and/or up to one novella.
* Open to all writers not associated with Moon City Press or its editors, past or present.
* While Moon City Press does publish many Ozark authors and Ozark-inspired works, this competition is for ALL writers. This is an international competition, therefore, we are not seeking work with any particular bias or theme.
* Manuscripts should fall between 35,000 and 65,000 words.
* Manuscripts should be submitted via Submittable,
* A $25 entry fee is due via Submittable at the time of submission; entry fees are nonrefundable.
* Simultaneous submissions are permitted, though manuscripts should be withdrawn immediately if accepted elsewhere.
* Deadline: October 1, 2013. Winners will be notified in early
2014 and the winner will be published in the fall of 2014.
* First prize: $1000, publication by Moon City Press
(including international distribution through the University of
Arkansas Press), and a standard royalty contract. Three
additional finalists will be named and considered for
* For questions, please contact Moon City Editor Michael
Czyzniejewski at
<> .

Short Story– Story Quarterly is currently accepting submissions to our Third Annual Fiction Contest. The winning story will receive $1000, the first runner-up will receive $300, and the second $200, including publication in StoryQuarterly46/ 47. The contest entry fee is $18.
This year’s contest judge is fiction and nonfiction writer Jess Walter. Walter is the author of six novels and, most recently, the short story collection We Live in Water: Stories (2013). Deadline for submissions is October 31st, 2013. Winners will be announced by February 1, 2014 and notified by email.
To submit, visit:

Looking to get away? There are plenty of conferences on writing (but also cooking or golfing or yoga) at Categorize by date or region.

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



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