November Newsletter

The Writer’s Loft at MTSU is a non-degree, low-residency creative writing program that matches professionals with writers. It is for beginning writers as well as MFA graduates. More information is at

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


For those who couldn’t make it to the Southern Festival of Books this year in Nashville, please make plans for next year. We will see about having a booth.


Mentor and poet Jeff Hardin signing copies of his book.

The Writer’s Loft conducted a module on publishing  November 2nd. All 22 spaces filled. This is a great way to meet others and gain a little knowledge. We will offer more in the coming year. Most of them will remain free to Loft alumni and students. They will be open to the public at a reasonable fee.


Bill Brown–“I have new poems forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, Poem, Conclave: a Journal of Character, Number One and The Cumberland River Review.   I have a new book, Elemental, coming out from 3: A Taos Press in 2014.”

Bill’s poem “When the Dust Settles” was selected by to run for Veteran’s Day.“when-dust-settles”

Gloria Ballard–The Winter Garden Calendar, Stay Green This Winter (along with a list of garden tips and tasks) was published in the Nov. 2, 2013 edition of The Tennessean. Also find it at


Jennifer Chesak married Jereme Taylor on October 26th. Congrats to the newlyweds!

Andrea Siegel–Andrea will be speaking at UC Riverside (CA) in December about the making of the movie Laggies which she wrote. It comes out in 2014 and will be shown at Sundance Film Festival in January. The film stars Keira Knightly, Chloe Moretz and Sam Rockwell. Andrea and her boyfriend, actor Brent Bradshaw, are frantically finishing up their fiction book (each takes a chapter) “Everybody Knows Your Name,” to be published by Viking, Jan 2015.

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor–“I have just presented on “The Craft, Practice, and Possibility of Poetry in Educational Research” at a conference on Ethnography in Oaxaca, Mexico on November 4-5 and on November 10 I will present on in progress work on Americans learning Spanish at the annual MEX-TESOL conference in Querétaro, Mexico.  I have seven poems which were just published in North Dakota Quarterly.  I am working on several creative research articles for journals in the fields of TESOL, children’s literature, and critical pedagogy and always working on poems but lately in Spanish! I am teaching a poetry class at UABJO, the state university in Oaxaca during my Fulbright sabbatical year.  And as always, taking copious notes!”

Kory Wells–” I am glad to have a poem in the recently published anthology The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press). Loft poetry mentors Bill Brown and Jeff Hardin and Loft alumni Michael Potts also have work in this volume, along with another 116 other poets with connections to the state. In a moment of geeky excitement that I may come to regret, I am trying to share a quote from each author in the anthology as I read it – about a quote a day, more or less. I am occasionally posting quotes from other reading, including another recently published anthology, Journey to Crone. I also have a poem in this book, which was published by Chuffed Buff Books in the UK – my first international publication. Check out the quotes on Pinterest at I’m also tweeting them (@korywells).”

Miscellaneous news about conference speaker Kevin Wilson–Although everyone is waiting for him to send us a copy of his amazing essay he read to us, he says he wants to “clean it up.” There’s perfectionism for you. The movie for “The Family Fang” was just in the news as Jason Bateman has signed on to direct and star.


Tiana Clark–“I just found out that my poem, “The Ayes Have It” was accepted in Raven’s Chronicles, Vol. 19, Race: Under Our Skin issue. The issue will be published in Winter, 2013-14. Whoo hoo! I’m so excited. Bill Brown told me about the submission, so I am super thankful to him! ”

Leisa A. Hammett–“Hello! I attended my fifth blogging conference late September, in fact, the same weekend as The Loft. This year, I chose to attend Type-A Parent in Atlanta. (Not all bloggers were parents.) I won’t go into details about the conference other than I am very glad I went and found additional online markets for my books via additional (and new-to-me) blog sites and online magazines and Facebook groups. My main point in sharing is just how. Important. Social Media is for us authors. I heard that agents and publishers are now evaluating potential authors on how savvy we are at social media. One of my favorite semi-local authors, Susan Gregg Gilmore, once told me that she worked it as hard as she did (and she’s savvy) because she wanted publishers to know that for her future books, she was ready to pitch in and roll up her sleeves to make her book a success. Susan has done this via all types of clever ways, but on the social media front through vlogging, blogging, etc. In the words of Finnish social media guru Katja Presnal (whom I heard speak at a blog conference and became friends via the hot social medium of Instagram):’Social media is an ocean. Learn to swim.'”

Emily Davidson Nemoy–Recently, I’ve been published in Click magazine (  I am continuing to work on my first novel, One Simple Hour.  The book is a layered depiction of a complex family fighting to stay unified while struggling with their own self-understanding. I hope to have a first draft submitted to my editor by the end of the year.

Michael Potts–“My poem, “Butterscotch,” appeared in volume 6, Tennessee, of the Southern Poetry Anthology, edited by Jesse Graves, Paul Ruffin, and William Wright, and published by Texas Review Press in 2013.”

Recent Conference and Author Readings

For this of us in Middle Tennessee, there has been a boom in literary events. Between the Nashville Library, Humanities Tennessee and Parnassus bookstore, there is something nearly every week. Below is a clickable list of upcoming events. Also, read some comments from alumni who have joined in the opportunities.

Parnassus Book store–

Salon 615–

Jennifer Chesak–Jennifer attended a reading and lecture by author Wally Lamb at Nashville Public Library’s Salon 615 on November 5. Lamb read from his new novel, We Are Water, but he also answered questions about some of his early hits like She’s Come Undone. “What really stuck out at this event,” says Jennifer, “is that Lamb told the audience that it took nine years for him to write and complete that first novel and six years for another. This is such an important statement because so many new writers today think that it should only take a month! Time for each author and each book will vary, but please remember that the writing, revising, editing, polishing and proofing can be long process. Hang in there. Drive and perseverance are key.”

Emily Davidson Nemoy–I’ve also been attending author events through the Salon@615 series including a speaking engagement by Wally Lamb. I enjoyed learning that Wally’s book titles are all inspired by song—his most recent by a Patty Griffin tune.

 Patty Outlaw–Back in the Spring, I went to Parnassus Books, Hillsboro Rd, Nashville to hear Julia Reed read from her most recent book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in her Sangria: Adventures in Eating,Drinking and Making Merry”. I had been a fan of hers before I knew much about her as she writes about food, THE SOUTH and best of all, Nashville! She is also a regular contributor to “Garden & Gun” but I was reading her articles on food in Nashville long before Nashville was known for such. She was very humorous and her presentation was comfortable. it was on a Sunday afternoon. I didn’t buy the book in hard cover as I’m trying to cut down on the number of books I have but I did buy it on my e-reader. She was just herself is what made it so comfortable. Her Mother was in the audience which made it warmer and even more fun!

Anonymous–On September 11, I went back to Parnassus to what was “billed” as an evening of laughter. I love comedy and good comedic writing. This evening of fun featured 3 women who I had never heard of but one had some funny book titles that I had seen in passing. The 3 were Notaro, Lancaster and Cummings. It was packed but soon people began leaving. I wanted to leave,too, but decided to give it a fair chance. I didn’t think any of the readings were especially funny nor did the varied audience. One reader would have been pretty good except me and the other listeners were ready for it to end 3 times before it did end. Instead of an evening of hilarity, etc.  it was short and sad to me. Sad that they are published and I’m not!

(Sometimes, going to hear something that falls flat is just as informative as going to a great reading.;) –Karen)


Gloria Ballard

Ashley Loar

Jeff Hardin

Leisa Hammett

Jennifer Chesak

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

Charlotte Dixon Rains

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Emily Davidson Nemoy

Kory Wells

Candace White


*The Union County Writers’ Club (Monroe, NC) is
again sponsoring its annual literary contest. We are seeking entries
for our 2013 contest in the areas of fiction, creative non-fiction and
poetry. Contest guidelines are available on our website at This is our 18th contest. In addition to a monetary
prize, winners will also receive a certificate of accomplishment with
an invite to attend our Spring Literary Event and read their work.

*Short Story Competition   
Story Feedback

SYNOPSIS: holds a competition for stories of
up to 5,000 words in any genre.

Deadline(s):      12/31/2013

Address: Short Story Competition
7 Offley Street
Worcester,    WR3 8BH
Web Site:
Program URL:

The entry fee is $4 per story if you do not require a tick-sheet
critique, $8 if you require a tick-sheet critique, $16 if you require
a tick-sheet critique and a proof edit.

OBJECTIVES:  Each entry must be no longer than 5,000 words. Each
entry must be the original, unpublished work of the stated author.

The winner will receive $100, the runner-up $50 and third-placed
$25, plus electronic publication.

Gulf Coast Writers Association 2014 Writing Contest
July 1 through December 31, 2013

http://www.gulfwrit wContest. html

Once again, the Gulf Coast Writers Association takes great pleasure in encouraging writers from Southwest Florida to enter the Gulf Writers Association Writing Contest. Original works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will be awarded prizes of 100, 50 and 25 dollars for first, second and third place in each category. The contest is open to members and non-members.
Fiction and nonfiction works must be no more than 1500 words. Poetry is limited to 40 lines or less.
The contest will be open for submissions on July 1, 2013 and deadline for submissions is December 31, 2013. Winners must be present to receive their awards at the March 22, 2014 meeting.
The contest will help GCWA fulfill its goal of assisting Southwest Florida writers to stimulate and improve their skills. GCWA expects a high level of contest participation.

Guidelines: http://www.gulfwrit ContestGuideline s2014.pdf

Entry form:
http://www.gulfwrit EntryFormGCWAcon test2014. pdf

*Subject: Willow Books Literature Awards–Deadline Extended to December 1, 2013

Willow Books Literature Awards–Deadline Extended to December 1, 2013

https://aquariuspre ss.submittable. com/submit

Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by Willow Books will be given annually for a poetry collection and a book of fiction or creative nonfiction. The winners will also be invited to give a reading at the University of New Haven. Patrick Rosal will judge in poetry, and Judith Ortiz Cofer will judge in prose. Submit a poetry manuscript of 45 to 75 pages with a $25 entry fee or a short story collection, a novella, a novel, an essay collection, or a memoir of up to 280 pages with a $30 entry fee by Dec 1st.
Call, e-mail, or visit the website for complete guidelines.
Willow Books, Literature Awards, P.O. Box 23096, Detroit, MI 48223. (877) 979-3639. H. Buchanan, Publisher.

*Heron Tree’s submission period closes December 1.
Submit 2 – 5 poems with a cover letter via email to submitDOTherontreeA TgmailDOTcom
submit.herontree@ and include your cover letter in the body of the email. 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.
Simultaneous submissions are welcome with notification of acceptance elsewhere. Work previously published online, electronically, or in print should not be submitted.

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.
Check our website for complete guidelines. http://herontree. com

*Subject: Compose Journal—Call for Submissions

Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing is now accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction and artwork for their Spring 2014 issue.

You can read their Fall 2013 issue at fall-2013/

Submission guidelines:

Contributors have included William Logan, Ada Limon, Randall Mann, Rebecca Hazelton, Rebecca Rosenblum, Katrina Kenison, Amorak Huey, Hannah Stephenson, and Marion Roach Smith.

*The Vermillion Literary Project (VLP) at the University of South Dakota is
currently seeking submissions of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction
for its April 2014 issue of the VLP magazine, the University&# 39;s only
student-produced literary journal. For submission guidelines, visit


This year’s
submission reading deadline is December 15.

*Bird’s Thumb is a new online literary journal devoted to new and emerging writers. Our inaugural issue will be live on February 1, 2014; our submission deadline is December 1st. Bird’s Thumb is listed on Duotrope. We will be exhibiting at AWP 2014 in Seattle and at the 2014 Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. We were recently featured on Chicago Literati.

Submission instructions at



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