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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

2018 WOWA anthology now open for submissions

In Books, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Literature, Print Media, Uncategorized on June 4, 2018 at 10:59 am

Dayton, Ohio, June 1, 2018 –The Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) is now accepting short story fiction submissions for their 2018 anthology themed, “Redemption, Reinvention, Revenge” (final title TBA), targeted for publication in Q4 2018.

The Western Ohio Writers Association was founded in 2008 as a resource for writers of all genre in the southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and northwestern Kentucky region. The organization provides monthly critique sessions, networking opportunities, workshops and education, and creative support.

This will be WOWA’s second anthology, having published its first, “Flights of Fiction,” in 2013. This time, however, rather than only member authors, submissions are open to writers outside the group.

“We are looking for innovative short fiction between 2,500 and 7,500 words. Stories should have diverse appeal and must incorporate one or more of the anthology theme’s concepts,” explained WOWA Executive Director, Gery L. Deer.  “All submissions must be original works that have not been previously published. We will choose approximately 15 stories for this anthology.”

Submissions are open to fiction writers 18 and up who are permanent residents of the following Ohio counties: Brown, Butler, Champaign, Clarke, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Warren. Authors do not need to be members of WOWA in order to submit.

Submissions will be accepted between May 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018. Please either upload your manuscript document through our Submission Form page or send it as an email attachment to submissions@westernohiowriters.com. No more than two submissions per author, please. We will reject stories that include explicit sex, brutality, or pervasive profanity. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Full details and submission guidelines are available online at www.westernohiowriters.com, click on “WOWA Publications.”

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Old Haunts Beatnik Cafe celebrates original Halloween stories by local authors

In Books, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Holiday, Local News, Theatre, Uncategorized on September 11, 2015 at 8:37 am
Artwork by Michael Martin, WOWA Editorial Committee

Artwork by Michael Martin, WOWA Editorial Committee

Beavercreek, OH – Beginning at 7pm on Friday, October 16, author members of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will take the microphone at Books & Co. to present the 2015 Halloween addition of their popular, “Beatnik Café” event. Writers from all genres will regale visitors with original works of poetry and prose to the theme, “Old Haunts.” The event is free and open to the public.

The live reading pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Reading aloud from original work, each writer will take the stage for 10 to 12 minutes, dazzling audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what. This is the 6th year for the quarterly event.

Barbara Deer is the co-founder of the organization. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” she says.

Barbara Deer, WOWA co-founder.

Click to watch the video!

“Annual workshops are held all around the country, with two of the most well-known right here in the Miami Valley. But for most writers to thrive that type of support needs to come on a more regular basis,” Deer says. “Our group consists of professional writers and editors, college professors and everyone is ready and willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

 

Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

WOWA Logo 2Now in its seventh year, this talented group of scribes definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own, in May of this year eleven of them were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and published by Handcar Press (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly, free, public presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Communications. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

Improving American language skills: Reading and writing are fundamental

In Books, Children and Family, Education, Literature, Local News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on June 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm

dih-logo-SENext to the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence may be the single most important document ever created in the history of America. It established our country’s formal separation from England and set in motion more than two centuries of global influence and an example of how a free republic can succeed.

But what would have happened if the men who founded our country lacked the basic language skills to create that first, all-important document? How would these men have properly and so effectively communicated the displeasure and intent of an entire people without such a firm grasp on the English language, not merely to speak it but to put it down in a document to be revered for centuries to come? In short, they couldn’t have.

On this 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we need to remember that it’s author had but two years of formal, college education. In those days, a man wishing to become a lawyer apprenticed under other attorneys, reading the law and learning to interpret and apply it for the good of the people for whom it was put in place. Jefferson eventually became a lawyer but not by obtaining any degree we might understand today.

Likewise, Benjamin Franklin went to school briefly but, because of financial issues, he had to stop to help support his family by going to work with his father. He furthered his own education, however, through reading and self-study, a practice that is, sadly, frowned upon today. Both of these men demonstrated the vast important of language and writing, and how the written word can change history. Some people, though, struggle with language skills or never learn to read at all.

One of my favorite books from childhood was called, “The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read,” by Irma Black. The book chronicles the story of a little, old toy maker who, despite his amazing craftsmanship for pleasing children, never learned to read. One day, his wife went to visit a sick friend and left him alone for what must have been the first time. He was forced to do the grocery shopping on his own, which turned out to be a very frustrating endeavor. Upon arriving home, he sadly discovered that what he thought was a spaghetti box turned out to be wax paper and the can of sauce, coffee instead. It was very disheartening. But it motivated him to learn and he did. The book was written many years before the technology age, but imagine what he would have to deal with today if he couldn’t read at all? It would be nearly debilitating in modern American culture.

little_old_manI have always been a writer, even back into childhood, but most of my language skills came from audio books and those children’s books that came with a 33 rpm record. I found later that I had been dealing with a learning disability that hindered my ability to retain what I had read. Over the years, I adjusted and coped, but was not diagnosed until my mid-30s. Today, I have new ways of dealing with the problem and read as much as I can. I learned to defy my disability because I wanted to read.

There’s no question that Jefferson and Franklin were above-average men, but we all have the ability to move past our limitations, just as Franklin taught himself what he needed to know and just as I worked past my reading issues. For those who want to improve their language skills across the board, here are a few tips and they work for pretty much all ages.

First, try to write as much by hand as possible. Using paper and pen will slow you down a bit and force you to think before you write. People were better writers in the old days because it took time to get thought to page. Today, technology has us whizzing through sentences without a thought to grammar and word usage.

Next, although it’s fallen out of favor with the public school set, use cursive writing as much as you can. As with the first point, handwriting something makes you think and use the right language. It even gives you the chance to look up a word before you use it.

Try to learn a new word every day. Vocabulary is the key to better language skills. Take the time to look up words you hear throughout your normal day. But if you don’t hear any that grab your attention, pick up a hard-bound dictionary, open it up, close your eyes, and point to a word on the page.  That’s your word for the day. One of those “word of the day” desk calendars is a great resource too. Of course, you need to put the word into use whenever possible to make it stick.

Read, read, read, read. And, did I mention, read? Newspapers, well-written blogs, congressional briefs, comic books, it doesn’t matter what you read, just make sure you read a lot. If you’re trying to improve your language skills, however, the more advanced the reading the better. It’s ok if it takes time, look up words you don’t know and charge ahead.

Finally, don’t write like you text. In fact, don’t text how you text, either. The wave of “texting shorthand” is maddening to those of us with good grammar and language skills. Use full words and sentences – even in texts. It’ll make a big difference in how you communicate in email and in other written documents as well. Take your time and say it right.

So this Fourth of July weekend, go out and enjoy the picnics and fireworks.  But remember, when you hear the words to the national anthem or the preamble to the constitution, think about the meaning of each word and be grateful that those guys were diligent enough to get every one of them right. Our very freedom depended on it.

If Illiteracy Is the Disease, Then Literacy Is the Cure

In Economy, Education, Health, Media, Opinion, Politics on March 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Michael Martin and Gery L. Deer give a public reading of their writing during a Western Ohio Writers Association event, promoting literacy through creative prose.

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines 

Most Americans probably take for granted the ability to read and understand the words on this page. As a writer, I depend on the ability of the media-consuming public for my livelihood. But according to the National Adult Literacy Survey more than 42 million of my fellow Americans will never be able to enjoy (or detest) what I write because they can’t read.

Back in college, I took a job with the school newspaper as a staff writer where I learned a great deal about journalism and the power of the written word. One of the best lessons came from our staff advisor who once said, “No matter what your career or life path, your communications skills, reading and writing, will be your most valuable asset.” She couldn’t have been more correct.

I spent several years in the engineering fields for which I earned my degree, but ultimately I found my place as a full-time business writer, editor and columnist. Unfortunately, I found my calling far later in life than I’d have liked to due to an undiagnosed learning disability that seriously impacted my reading speed and comprehension.

Thousands of Ohio school children with learning disorders that affect their reading and writing skills continue to slip through the proverbial cracks every year, for a multitude of reasons I’ll reserve comment on for another time.

Suffice to say, it’s our own fault, and by “our” I mean the taxpaying public that does far more to insist on a fancier football stadium than to demand instructional accountability and better support for these kids.

Yes, there are laws in place and special education professionals to help identify and establish individualized educational plans for them, but, somehow, that never seems enough. Far too many still grow up unable to interpret the instructions on a can of soup.

Growing up, a person with illiteracy will adopt various coping skills needed to get by, but are never able to fully realize their potential. Illiterate adults have more difficulty finding jobs, developing business relationships or even doing household chores like paying bills.

Many politicians believe that illiteracy is one of those liberal issues, best left to bleeding hearts. In fact, such a staggeringly high number of illiterate citizens can be phenomenally detrimental to productive nation with a stable economy.

As the economy crawls to recovery, illiteracy will continue to keep some people on the unemployment lines, thus, adding one more contributing factor to suffocating fiscal growth. Adults struggling with illiteracy earn, on average, less than $250 per week, work less than 20 weeks per year and are at least ten times more likely to live below the poverty line.

How do we solve the problem? That’s a good question, with no easy solution. It often boils down to manpower and, dare I say it, money. If we think of illiteracy as the disease, then, surely, literacy should be the cure. So the best first step is to seek out help. Whether a child or an adult with a reading problem, there is help available, but sometimes you may have to get things started.

If you believe your child is struggling, meet with his or her teacher as soon as you believe there might be a problem. With tighter budgets, class sizes are increasing and sometimes being pro-active is the best way to get individualized help from an overwhelmed, underpaid faculty. You can also find tutors at local colleges and civic centers.

The same goes for adults as well. Community and career centers, local libraries and even senior citizen organizations are now offering adult literacy classes, either free or at a minimal cost.

And schools can help too by reinforcing the importance in the curriculum of the Three R’s –Reading, Writing and Arithmetic – with sharp emphasis on the first R, which will make the other two far easier to learn.

And, while technological education is important, particularly in today’s world, it might be time to cut back on the advanced computing classes and focus more thoroughly on reading skills. After all, knowing how to click a mouse is pointless if you can’t read what’s on the computer screen.

 

Independent columnist Gery L. Deer is the founder and director of the Western Ohio Writers Association. More at http://www.westernohiowriters.org.