Feb 212017
 

February 19, 2017: Welcome to Waterline Writers! We host curated readings on 3rd Sundays at 7 PM. (Upcoming: March 19 & May 21; no event on Easter, Apr 16). Our 5-minute-limit Open Mic starts at 8:30. This is our 5th anniversary and our 50th event! We’ve featured over 175 different writers so far!  See submissions info below. Tonight’s readers include:

D.C. Brod is the author of the “Getting Even” caper series: Getting Sassy, Getting Lucky and the just released Getting Taken. She is also the author of the Quint McCauley detective series, and Heartstone, a contemporary Arthurian thriller, and is an award-winning short story writer. A collection of three previously-published short stories featuring the Chicago Cubs is available as an ebook: A Chicago Cubs Triple Play. Town House Books is hosting an author dinner for her March 23rd. Tickets go on sale Feb. 20. Deb has books for sale tonight at a special Waterline price of $10!

Donald J. Bingle is the author or co-author of five books and about fifty published short stories in the thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, steampunk, romance, comedy and memoir genres, including Forced Conversion, GREENSWORD, Net Impact, Frame Shop, and (with Jean Rabe) The Love-Haight Case Files. More on Don’s writing can be found at: donaldjbingle.com.  Don has 4 titles for sale tonight. Buy the first for $15 and additional books for $10 each!

Barbara Barrows is a poet, actor & artist living in Batavia with her kid and various pets. By day, she is a media researcher working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is an integral part of both Waterline Writers and Teen Writers and Artists Project and heartily encourages you to support T-WAAP, an amazing resource for young writers and artists.

Dawn Williams began her writing career as a journalist in 1981, and has written for fun and profit ever since. She worked in public relations, corporate communications, video production, freelance writing and non-profit public promotion before joining Senior News 50 and Better in 2006, where she now serves as Associate Publisher and staff writer. She also provides social media management services for small businesses, and will soon be a certified Life Transition and Business Coach. Find more of her inspirational writing at selfpoweredchange.com or on Facebook/Self-Powered Change.

Frank Rutledge is a Fox Valley author of poetry and short fiction and the popular host of 3 Open Mics: Modest Mic (3rd Wednesdays, Sugar Grove Library), Harmonious Howl (Graham’s 318, 4th Thursdays, summer), and Waterline’s (3rd Sundays). He’s a founding member of Open Sky Poets and Early Risers Writers, a Saturday morning author’s salon. He’s a pillar of Waterline Writers, and a submission reader at fewerthan500.com, a flash fiction e-zine. He’s been published in Arts Beat, Downtown Auroran and Foxtales Anthologies.  His two chapbooks, Clothed in August Skin and Eat the Punchline–This Joke Is Over are available on Kindle, or here tonight, signed by the author for $7 each or both for $12!

If YOU want to be featured at a Waterline event, read our Submission FAQs at waterlinewriters.org, and then send your best fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, memoir, or essay to waterlinewriters@gmail.com! Unpublished, self-published and traditionally-published writers welcome!

At 8:30 PM: Ray Ziemer hosts our 5-minute-limit Open Mic! Sign-up at the counter. No racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise hateful content. Note that Open Mic material has not been screened.

Interviews with tonight’s authors are posted in the gallery. Subscribe to waterlinewriters.org  or Like Waterline Writers on Facebook to find event info, videos of past readings, Chuck Bennorth’s portraits of our writers, and more!

Are YOU writing?

  • Check out WaterlineWriters.org to learn about 20 area writers’ groups and find the perfect format, day and time for you.
  • Paul LaTour’s Lit By The Bridge Open Mic for writers is 3rd Thursdays, with sign-up at 6:30; start time is 7 PM. There is also a featured reader each month. Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.
  • Frank Rutledge hosts Modest Mic for writers and musicians at The Sugar Grove Library, 125 S. Municipal Dr. on 3rd Wednesdays from 6:30-8 PM.
  • Teens can attend Wordplay poetry workshops in the western suburbs. Please help support Teen Writers and Artists Project (T-WAAP) at twaap.org or by designating them to receive a percentage of your purchases at Smile.Amazon.

Don’t forget to attend Water Street Studios gallery 2nd Friday opening reception Mar. 10, 6-9 PM. Meet Resident Artists, expand your art collection or sign up for School of Art classes for adults, teens and children! If you Waterline, become a member of WSS today! Memberships start at only $25! All work in the main gallery, the upstairs gallery and around the 26 resident artists’ studios is for sale!

Our neighbors at Kiss The Sky host lots of live music and offer new and vintage vinyl, audio equipment, eclectic gifts and resale items! Check out this one-of-a-kind local gem and Like them on Facebook!

This event is being filmed for future broadcast on BATV, however…YOU can catch up on missed Waterline readings or re-experience your favorites at any time. Or visit our Video Library, a treasury of over 250 10-minute readings! 

Wooden Writers will be back in March with hand-tooled pens in various colors and types of wood.    $15-$75, cash or check only, and can be ordered to your specifications! Facebook/Wooden Writers

Thanks to Water Street Studios; to Solemn Oath and Bright Angel for wine & beer ($5), and to The Market at Gaetano’s for artisanal cheeses, meats and breads!

Thanks to volunteers Frank Rutledge, Erin Bell, Chuck Bennorth, Ginny Klespitz, Barbara Barrows, Rick Veague, Ray Ziemer, Paula Garrett, and to our wonderful audience.

Your hosts are Anne Veague & Kevin Moriarity at waterlinewriters@gmail.com

www.waterlinewriters.orgFacebook/Waterline Writers and Twitter@waterlinewriter

Please Like us on Facebook and share our contact information with other writers!

Feb 172017
 

“People would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’d answer, ‘I am a writer,’ as if it were as patently true at the age of 5 as it would be in adulthood when people would pay me to do it.” (Dawn Williams)

How did you discover that you were a writer?

The way my mother tells the story, it was never a decision to be made or a truth to discover; it was simply a part of me from the time I cracked the alphabet code. People would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’d answer, “I am a writer,” as if it were as patently true at the age of 5 as it would be in adulthood when people would pay me to do it.

Obviously, my mother encouraged and inspired me to be this person I was born to be. But I also have to acknowledge a woman named Ruth, who worked as the receptionist at my hometown newspaper. The summer before my freshman year in high school, I walked into the newspaper office, a manila folder full of my writing in hand, and asked for a job application. “I want to be a reporter,” I told her, not even questioning the impediments my age and lack of education, not to mention labor laws, might present. I remember with the deepest gratitude the way Ruth treated me with the utmost respect that day. She took my folder and actually read every single piece I’d written. Then she looked up at me and said, in all sincerity, “This is very good work. You have some real potential. So here’s what we’ll need you to do. Finish school. Keep writing, every chance you get, and learn as much as you can along the way. I want you to come back here when you’ve done that, because that’s what we look for in a reporter, and I think you have a very good shot at landing that job.” And I did!

I think, no matter what influences I’d had in early life, I would have written. Nothing can prevent us from being who we are in the long run. But having someone believe in your dreams and your potential often makes the difference between being a hobbyist or dabbler, and committing to a career path and lifelong passion.

Describe your writing process.

Those who know me well would laugh out loud at the word “process” being used to describe my work habits! It’s true that I’m at my best when I’m free to explore and let the disparate threads of insight show me how they want to be woven together. Still, I do engage certain approaches to different types of writing. Informational and how-to articles usually begin with writing a premise statement and a loose, bullet-point outline of what I want to cover, followed by as much research as the project requires. Pieces that explore the nature of the human condition, including material on personal growth, motivation, emotional intelligence and related topics, are more creative in nature, in that I’m often developing theories on why we stumble and how we overcome. Those works begin largely as stream-of-consciousness writing, full of anecdotes, slice-of-life examples, and lessons learned. Later, I tackle the more linear work of editing, organizing, researching, and supporting the ideas that emerged with references to peer-reviewed studies, accepted theories and tenets from the social sciences, and applicable steps we can take to create the change about which I’m writing. I’ve also dabbled in fiction, just for fun, and although my main characters are often as real to me as many of the actual humans I know, they tend to be free-spirited, eager to embrace life, and always going in a dozen directions at once, much like their creator. Needless to say, the genre amuses and stretches me, and I trust some day one of those characters will finally decide where she wants to go so I can finish her story!

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

The fifth anniversary of Waterline Writers gave me reason to think deeply about the creative process, whether we’re creating a space for artists to gather and share their work as Anne and Kevin do, or writing a book or article or poem, or engaging in any of the arts or activities that require us to produce something new where a void once existed. My piece explores the creative process, from why we’re compelled to create, what the process demands of us, and how it changes us as creators as well as human beings. My training for certification as a life coach and business trainer, and previous work toward a psychology degree, gives me a deep longing to understand the human condition — specifically, to explore our potential and our strengths — and it felt appropriate to write this piece on the mandate to create, specifically for Waterline’s anniversary.

What are you working on now?

In addition to my work for Senior News 50 and Better, I’m working on my newly launched blog, SelfPoweredChange.com, which features articles about mindful living, using unexpected changes as an opportunity to find greater meaning, and recreating your life so it aligns with your values and purpose. My goal is to give readers tools to think beyond the familiar, to overcome obstacles we all face, and to put their energy into creating a life that makes their soul sing. I’m also working on a book titled “Asleep at the Wheel: Why we’re blind-sided by change and how to wake up and take control.” Anticipated release via Amazon is early June.

Feb 162017
 

D.C. Brod says, “Since I plot as write, I have no idea if that Brazilian wandering spider I used in Chapter One is going to make it to the end.” Note: Town House Books is hosting an author dinner for D.C. Brod on  3/23. Tickets go on sale 2/20!

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I was always making up my own stories, sometimes borrowing characters from my favorite books. (Early attempts at fan fiction, I guess.) I wrote my first mystery in seventh grade. It was some kind of district contest. We were given a list of character names to use in a mystery involving the theft of, I think, a gem, and with names like “Johnny and Jenny Goodfellow” and “Dirk Snively,” it seemed obvious what was expected of these characters. But I wrote the story I wanted to write, making Dirk a hard-boiled private detective and Johnny and Jenny the hapless victims. (At the time, I was a big fan of the Mike Hammer TV show starring Darren McGavin as Hammer, probably in reruns at the time.)  I knew I wouldn’t win, but I loved writing that story. And I was right. I didn’t win. But I remember my teacher took me aside and told me how much she’d enjoyed it and encouraging me to keep writing.

Describe your writing process.

I do best when I write every day. I use mornings writing new material and afternoons for revising. I’ve always had trouble focusing, and find that meditation can help. I work either in my home office or at a coffee shop—Limestone and the new Starbucks in St. Charles are my favorite places. They’ve both got a nice buzz. I like to work at a clutter-free desk, which is a challenge for me. (And probably why I crave an empty table at a coffee shop.) I’ll sometimes read poetry before I start writing—that kind of language precision is something I strive for.

I don’t outline. Tried. Can’t. The story grows out of my characters. The first time I read E. L. Doctorow’s quote: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” I felt liberated.

I do a lot of my research after the first draft is finished. Since I plot as write, I have no idea if that Brazilian wandering spider I used in Chapter One is going to make it to the end. The internet is great for research, but it can suck you in like a black hole. I’ve gone on line to research poisons and wound up ordering a pair of shoes from Zappos. Now I use “Freedom,” which locks me off the internet. Yes, I have that little self control.

I love revising. The fresh writing can be a bit scary. Blank pages and screens can be intimidating. I get something down as fast as I can. Once it’s there, I’ve got something to work with.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

The Robyn/Lizzie books were inspired by my mother who spent a number of years in assisted living before she passed away. Lizzie is, mostly, my mother. (I think she’d approve.) Getting Taken was inspired by a painting by my favorite artist—Franz Marc—that has been missing since the end of World War II. The scene I’m reading introduces the subplot, which coils its way into the main plot at the end.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a short story to appear in a collection of stories for a Camelot anthology, and I’m using the character I’ve created for that story in the sequel to Heartstone, which is in its beginning stages. And then there’s that book on my back burner that I’ve been wrestling with for several years. Neither the book or I are sure what it wants to be. Some day, we’ll both know.

Next month, Town House Books is hosting an author dinner for me and Getting Taken on  Thursday, March 23rd. (Tickets go on sale this Monday—February 20th.)

Feb 152017
 

“One night, I convinced myself to forget about the future and just concentrate on what was right in front of me, which happened to be laundry steam from a dryer…” Read on:

Photo courtesy of Carly Kemper Bos

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I was a reader before I was a writer. As a kid, I could spend all day reading books. Our house was filled with them and my parents were big readers as well.

My switch to writing poetry came on very suddenly after a personal crisis. The stress dealing with the crisis was overwhelming. One night, I convinced myself to forget about the future and just concentrate on what was right in front of me, which happened to be laundry steam from a dryer on a misty evening. Some thoughts came to me, I wrote them down and then I had a poem. I wrote a few more and realized the best way through the fear was contemplating various metaphors and crafting them into something tangible. The crisis receded but I still continued writing.

Something I only recently realized was how my years as an actor honed my ear for dialogue and rhythm. I had an acting teacher that used classical poetry to teach voice and diction. So it wasn’t just reading the words but speaking them over and over in such a way that it really felt as though you were eating them.

Describe your writing process.

I’m trying to get on a writing schedule but find that difficult. I journal constantly and will sometimes get poems out of that. Being in nature is also a wonderful source for material but the most consistent way I create poems is through WordPlay – the writing workshop hosted by Teen Writers and Artists Project. They have been too kind to reject me for not being a teen. I usually get a poem started there and then refine it at home. I write long hand in journals and then edit when I enter the poems in the computer. I stockpile so many blank journals, my kid has forbidden me from buying more. I ignore her.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I’m reading a few poems that I have created through TWAAP’s WordPlay. I’m on their board now and really want to advocate for them but am a fairly lousy salesperson. The best thing I can do is show why they are such a vital organization. The political rhetoric in the news and social media has ramped a bit and there is a certain amount of fear in the atmosphere. Teens are living with an additional amount anxiety since Nov 9 on top of the anxiety that comes with just being a teen. Actually, the increased anxiety isn’t limited to teens these days. Fear contracts your world, creativity expands it. I have found the act of creating to help convert fear into hope. TWAAP creates a space for teens to tell their stories, be validated for those stories, and connect with others through the power of language. How marvelous is that?

What are you working on now?

My house, my job, my daughter’s homework. Everything it seems but my writing. A condition that no one in this room has ever experienced.

Feb 142017
 

“In college I turned in fake papers in the name of the Playmate of the Month every time we got an essay assignment … I’d tell you what Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” did, but it would never get past BATV’s censors. It did, however, garner a B+ for an un-enrolled winsome lass.” Read on …

Photo courtesy of Chuck Bennorth

How did you discover that you were a writer?

Mrs. Pate, in the 1st Grade, was quite insistent about it. Right after I learned to read my first word, “look,” with an eyeball drawn in in the middle of each “o,” Mrs. Pate made us write it down. Then came “see,” with eyeballs drawn in each “e.” (Mrs. Pate was either surreptitiously letting us know that Big Brother was watching or was secretly part of the Illuminati, indoctrinating us with her rendition of the “all-seeing eye.”) Soon thereafter, I was looking and seeing Spot run from Dick and Jane for reasons never clearly explained.

My first experience with non-traditional writing was when my Speech teacher insisted upon an essay on some form of communication, which I found irksome, as the main reason I took Speech was to avoid having to write an essay paper. So I wrote a fairly mundane paper on codes and ciphers, then encrypted it with a key-word cipher and super-encrypted the coded version by trans-positioning the letters in each word backwards. It was, frankly, quite irksome to then type up. From there, it was to college where I joined my buddies in the dorm in turning in fake papers in the name of the Playmate of the Month every time we got an essay assignment or take-home test. I’d tell you what Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” did, but it would never get past BATV’s censors. It did, however, garner a B+ for an un-enrolled winsome lass.

I suppose this is a smart-alecky response to the question, but if you know my writing, you know that it is often smart-alecky (though sometimes it can just be smart, and other times just alecky).

Describe your writing process.

I am a lazy writer–I don’t write anywhere close to every single day–but I am reasonably efficient when I am writing and can be fairly prolific when I am under deadline (whether self-imposed or external threat). I generally have less than a page of notes before I start a book and only a few jotted lines before I start a story, but I pretty much always know where I am starting, where I am finishing, and at least one thing I want to do along the way. Tone is important to establish up front, but once I am going I just think cinematically about what should happen next to move the plot along and keep the reader interested, then write it up. Please understand, this is different from listening to what the “characters” want to do. I’m a control freak and the characters do what I tell them to; after all, they don’t really exist.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I actually never intended to write Forced Conversion or any book. I wrote short stories (one novella length) and screenplays and was planning to attend World Horror Con with my writing friend, Jean. Jean pointed out there were going to be publishers there doing pitch sessions and I should sign up for a pitch. I replied that the program made it clear they didn’t want short story pitches and, since these were New York publishers and not Hollywood agents, no one wanted to hear about my screenplays–a statement which remains true to this very day. Jean insisted I should pitch something anyway because it would be good practice. So, I pulled out a short story idea I’d made some notes about, which was set in the near future and had a fair bit of world-building backstory, and put together a single page pitch sheet which started with an action sequence, moved through a road-trip that provided an opportunity to learn about the backstory, and included the gist of the short story sequence I’d envisioned as a scene about three-quarters of the way along. Went to the con and did my pitch. When I finished, the editor said “Is this book finished?” I said “No, I just wrote up the pitch last night, but I write fast and here’s a copy of my novella so you can see I can write.” Then he said, “I’ll read your novella on the plane home. If I asked you for three chapters to this book, would you send them to me?” Of course, I said “yes,” but once I walked out, I panicked, thinking he was going to read the novella on the Sunday flight home and ask me for three chapters of the book on Monday or Tuesday. So I started writing, eventually finished the book a few months later, sent it to him, then twiddled my thumbs for almost two years before he got back to me with comments and a rejection. So I sold it elsewhere, via a short story editing contact.

What are you working on now?

I’m more than halfway through the first draft of Wet Work, a sequel to my spy novel, Net Impact. So, when you grab your copy of Forced Conversion during Waterline’s break, you can also get Net Impact just to be ready for the sequel when it comes out, hopefully later this year. And, if you’ve already read both of those, please post reviews on Amazon or your favorite blog as soon as possible. Heck, you can do it on your phone during the break. Because reviews are important, especially to the Amazon algorithm. Math teachers never tell you how important algorithms are in real life. Maybe they’re part of the Illuminati conspiracy, too. You’d have to ask Mrs. Pate.

Feb 132017
 

Before each Waterline Writers event we conduct a short interview with each of our featured writers. This month Frank Rutledge shares information with us about his background, method and inspiration.

How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

From first grade on I was in love with the alphabet. Interesting fact: I was able to recite the alphabet backwards. Reading vicariously came next. Magazines, books and cereal boxes were the sources but if you stood still long enough I would read your mind. To this very day I love reading. Writers are first readers. Also, from a young age I easily grew bored. Nothing seemed to interest me. Until Sophomore year HS and I discovered The Illustrated Man and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. The world exploded with wonder and awe for me, all was alive and connected. Even now, curiosity and wonder, delight and awe are my best attributes. I had an English teacher in HS that forced his students to purchase his little book of poems. Challenging him, I said I could do better. He said do it and I did. There is little I am more passionate about in life than poetry. Its reading and writing is my life blood. At my life’s end, park me at a window with a view of a willow tree and river in the Rest Home of Metaphor & Simile and off I’ll go into the great beyond of imagery.  (Poets love sex and deathI got that death thing covered.)

Describe your writing process.

I am staunchly a morning person. I will never be accused of wasting a sunrise. I want to write when my head is still steeped in that soup of dreamy mists from the night before. Revision is a night activity for me. After a long day of my mind’s heavy lifting my creativity craves rest. Nighttime is for lovemaking and movie watching and damn I’ve seen a lot of movies.  I can write anywhere, quiet or a room filled with the chatter of undecipherable nonsense of everyday details. A coffeehouses is my Avalon of choice. Shout out to Limestone Coffee and Tea in Batavia. I prefer to write on a laptop but the slow crawl of handwriting will do if need be. I usually start with a title or a line. That first line of any writing is your introduction and calling card for the piece and for the author. I don’t plan out a poem like say a novelist. I desire the hunt and treasure the surprise destination of the journey. If as a poet, I’m not surprised, then why would you the reader be? I don’t write daily but would like to (this is where my dream of a patron comes in). Writer’s block is for beginners and the lazy. Your life has ideas swirling around its orbit. Not only your life but this ever renewing world of fascination is rich in material. Trick is: all you have to do is show up and pay close attention. There is a miraculous path under each of your footsteps. Tread gentle, delight lives here.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

Fairy dust and Muse spittle. In this group of poems I will share my way of discovering the meanings in my life events. Understanding through questions and awareness. Some of my poems question reality. The poems wonder out loud about the fiction we tell ourselves, the story in our heads that shape our identities. Our fantasies and desires tell us so much about our inner life. Just like dreams when you’re asleep, poems can be deeply revealing. Poems can speak the unsayable that lives within us all. And then that leaves us poets with humor, sex and death. It’s all starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

What are you working on now?

Like the expanding universe I want my orbits and gravity, skills and experience to continue to enlarge. I want growth in my being and art. Life is about growth, Stagnation is death. (Says the poet.) I am a project person. I think in poetry collections. Creating books is my joy. Reissuing a couple of chapbooks. The hope is to have a brand new collection out soon. I will constantly be writing and sending out my work for publication. Spend more time learning from my extremely talented poet friends in Open Sky Poets. Looking forward to hosting Harmonious Howl at Graham’s 318 this summer season. Meet more of you attendees and authors at Waterline Writers, where I volunteer. Anticipating all the fresh voices submitting to Fewerthan500.com. (Flash Fiction, yo!!!)  I will be absolutely enjoying Jen May’s “Armchair Locomotion” and “Battle Cry” debut collections of poetry. I may even do a few Poetry Workshops/Idea Harvesting this summer and autumn. So stay tuned, yo!!! (Sorry, my inner Nelly again.)

Feb 052017
 

Waterline Writers is celebrating its 5th anniversary by hosting its 50th literary event on Sunday, Feb. 19th at 7 pm, with 5 featured writers. Barbara Barrows still cites Mary Oliver as an influence, but these days her M.O. is also informed by Andrea Gibson and Adam Gottlieb. The title of Donald J. Bingle’s novel is Forced Conversion, but there is nothing forced about his tight prose and his characters’ dire situation. In D.C. Brod’s Getting Taken, heroine Robyn Guthrie is in a fix when she finds a fat bag of pot stashed away in her new flat. Frank “Francois” Rutledge’s poems tackle life’s tough stuff, but also catch those slippery moments of everyday bliss. And, as happens every morning, Dawn Williams rises to face the new day and find whatever humor it has in store for her — right after some serious coffee, of course! Other writers can join the 5-minute-limit Open Mic at 8:30. Admission is $5/$3 students. Join us in the art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia, and enjoy the evening with wine and beer from Solemn Oath Brewery and Bright Angel ($5), non-alcoholic Windmill Ginger Brew, and artisanal meats and cheeses from The Market at Gaetano’s!