Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Happenings

Many of my photos from our Christmas party on December 8th were too blurry to use. Seems I still need practice with my camera.

Walter and Janell again hosted out little get-together. He read for us, and we were lucky enough to hear his wit put to good use when they received a sales call that evening. I'm betting they won't be dialing his phone number again. :-)

Members John Pierce, Taylor Reese and Jack Pyle listen on. John's hard at work on his first novel and Taylor & Jack are veteran authors who always have great advice for the rest of us. (

Our Christmas party was also a "Bon Voyage" gathering for group member Alessa Leming who is in the process of moving to Virginia. She did make our regular meeting on December 29, but we knew more members would be able to make the Christmas party. I put together some photos of her and had them put on a cake. Turned out pretty well for the most part. (The photo in the lower right ended up kind of washed out, ghostlike. Alessa as Casper?)

On December 29th we had our usual monthly meeting and had a pretty good turn-out considering the holiday time of year. Seven members shared poetry, prose, advice and coffee. It was a good meeting.

But then, they usually are.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Birthday of the Year

I do hate photos of myself, but since I've done this to other members of the group, it's only fair I post mine here as well. I'm 39 today, and like Jack Benny, I may just stay 39 for the rest of my life. :-)

For the record, besides "running" our little group, I write poetry, essays, short stories and (hopefully) a novel. I also knit, read like crazy and recently started my own pet sitting business.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miscellaneous Prompts

Here are some random photo prompts I found on the internet. Have a look and run with it....

(Is this the kitchen after Thanksgiving dinner maybe?)

(No matter how small the home, you can still show your Christmas spirit.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The Mayland Writers' Group would like to wish everyone, everywhere a very happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with love, laughter and peace.


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway,
Thanksgiving comes again!

~Old Rhyme

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weather Stuff

This was my yard on the morning of Friday, November 21. I think we got about 3 inches of snow that day, and how beautiful it was.

I think a weather related writing prompt is called for today. How about a story, poem, essay or whatever about...well...snow. (Give me a break. What do you want at 4am?) :0)

Really, you can do a lot with snow. Not that it hasn't been written about incessantly already, but there's always more to write.

As much as I love snow, I think my neighbor's cat Tango is ready for it to be gone. Too bad they're calling for more tomorrow into Wednesday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Birthday Wishes VI

Today we wish a very happy birthday to group member Gera Girard.

Gera, an artist and writer, spent her birthday in a most wonderful way...with her new great-granddaughter Isabela. She was born on Tuesday night, just missing sharing a birthday with her great-grandmother.

Four generations come together for this photo: Gera, Isabela, granddaughter Ashley and daughter Danielle. Definitely a great birthday.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Writing Prompts

Tomorrow is Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. (Well, is it really a holiday? HMM.) Any way, this is a good time to harness our inner scaredy cat. Today's prompts are all in the spirit (pun not intended, I swear) of Halloween.

First, a picture prompt...or two.

That second photo has been one of my favorites since I first saw it when I was a kid. I've always wanted to have a poster of it made and hung up in my writing room. (When I get a writing room set up that is.)

OK, time for some non-photo prompts.

*Pretend that you are a jack-o-lantern. Describe Halloween from a jack-o-lantern's point of view.

*Write a Halloween acrostic using one of these words: ghost, monster, mummy, skeleton, vampire, witch. (For those new to this {I had to look it up myself.} , write a poem where each line begins with a letter in the chosen word.)

Well, that should be plenty to get you started. Happy Writing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Birthday Wishes V

Today is group member Kate Groff's birthday. I tried to get a more recent photo of her for the blog, but wasn't able to. So, I just grabbed some that were already "out there." (So there Kate.) :-) She has a great looking family, doesn't she.

Kate is one of those multi-talented individuals. She is not only a writer but an artist as well, working in several mediums. Some of her work, as well as purchase information, can be found at

Kate also works with the Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) helping promote the artwork of many local/regional artists. I love her sense of humor and straight-forwardness, and I'm glad she is a member of our little group.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Purple Rain in Zanzibar

The Gazzybow Goose
With bowlegged wings
Was singing the way
The Gazzybow sings.

So begins the new book by Walter Rein, The Purple Rain in Zanzibar. This book is a wonderful read...along the lines of Dr. Seuss. Walter wrote this story back in 1968, and after 40 years, it still sounds fresh, new and fun.

After some prodding by his wife Janell and various friends, Walter finally decided to try and get this fairytale published. He got together with friend and neighbor Jack Ferrell, an award-winning artist, and the book finally came together. Grateful Steps Publishing in Asheville, NC saw the potential and immediately snatched up the book and began the long process that is publishing.

Walter's book is finally out there, and would make a great Christmas gift for anyone with children. (Check your local bookstore, or the publisher's site.)
We are very proud of Walter and this book. It is bound to become a classic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Photo Prompt

I saw this photo while doing research for a PowerPoint presentation I am putting together for a class and thought it would be a great photo prompt for the group.

Pick up those pens and let's see where this goes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Writing Exercise

Time for some writing exercises. I surfed the net and found this site: and this exercise.

Who left the broom? Who left the door open? What is happening in the dim interior? What will happen outside in the light?

Pick up that pen, pencil or computer and get writing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Birthday Wishes IV

One more August birthday. Today it's group member Janell Rein. (That's her with her husband, author Walter Rein.) Janell isn't a writer, but I'm betting she could be. She comes to our little group with her husband and has become a very integral member. She is always ready to give wonderful critiques and is very supportive of all our writers, not to mention that she is one of the strongest women I have ever met.

Personally, I have to say that Janell is one of my favorite people. She is so nice and has often been there to give me support and reassurances as "leader" of this group. And I know she is very supportive of Walter, as he is with her. They have been married 51 years now, and they are so perfect, so RIGHT together. If my husband and I have half the love they obviously have for each other, we are off to a great start.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just Stuff

Today, I decided to post some "stuff" that I found interesting or funny. Enjoy.

Check out this story about a 93-year-old woman who just had her first novel published:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthday Wishes III

Well, here we go again. I think our group is really covering August when it comes to birthdays. Today it is author Chrissy K. McVay. (She's going to kill me for using these pictures, but since she has them posted elsewhere on the net, they're fair game. That's Chrissy and her husband Tony above.)

Chrissy is the author of the novel Souls of the North Wind as well as numerous essays and short stories. You can check out her work and latest info at and


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Birthday Wishes II

Group members John Pierce and Alessa Leming share a birthday today. John is hard at work on his first novel, and Alessa is a wonderful poet and essayist. They are both names to keep an eye out for in the writing world.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Picture Prompt

I love this photo. I wish I could take credit for it, but I found it on the web. Let it inspire you to write a poem, essay, short story...whatever. If you'd like, post some comments about the picture; give us an idea of the thoughts it provokes. You might help some other writers along, or get some ideas from their replies.

If you have some prompt ideas you'd like to share, let me know. You can post it in the comments, or go to our profile page and send an email.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Today is group member Jack R. Pyle's birthday.
Wish him a happy birthday by checking out some of his books on his website:


Monday, July 14, 2008

Group Member Loses Faithful Friend/Family Member

(Chrissy McVay's author photo)

About a year ago, group member Chrissy McVay was told her dog Angel Michelle (in photo above) had bone cancer and wasn't expected to make it past Christmas. With the help of their vet, and the hard work of the McVays, Angel beat the odds. They cooked special food for her, giving her the people food she probably spent most of her life begging for anyway. And for nearly a year, Angel practically thrived. (You can read an essay Chrissy wrote here:

(Angel and her sister as puppies)
I received an email from Chrissy this afternoon saying they'd finally had to let Angel go. The decision was basically taken out of their hands. It seems she was running down the hall (she never stopped running) and broke her shoulder. The vet says her bones had just gotten too weak and couldn't hold her any longer.

(Angel hamming for the camera)

Chrissy and her family have many years of wonderful memories to fall back on. With that, and the help of their other dog Sasha, they'll keep a warm space in their hearts especially for their Angel Michelle.

(My favorite picture of the puppy that was Angel)

Angel has gone on to the Rainbow Bridge, but her essence remains here in the hearts of her family.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

... Author unknown...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Inspiration Everywhere

(View from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fuller in Little Switzerland)

Looking for some writing inspiration? Look around you. Whether you live in the mountains, the city, doesn't matter. There is inspiration everywhere. You can write a poem about apartment living, and the noisy neighbors. Or maybe an essay about the horses who reside in the field next to your house. How about a short story about the lovable town drunk who spends every Friday night in the local jail? The world around you is a colorful tapestry. Open up your imagination and let the ideas flow.

(Flowers and butterflies on the Little Switzerland homestead of Chrissy and Tony McVay)

Looking around where you are and where you've the best way to jump-start your imagination.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Today I'm going to highlight some websites that may be of interest to writers out there.

* "Writing.Com is the online community for writers and readers of all interests and skill levels. Whether you're an enthusiastic, creative writer looking for the perfect place to store and display your writing online or a casual reader searching for a good story, Writing.Com is the website for you!
With 633,131 members and 1,348,206 literary items created since inception,this community is bursting with activities, inspiration and creativity."

* " offers how-to articles for writers (and especially for new writers). The goal is to help you break into the writing business and avoid being victimized by scam artists."

* (This is one of my very favorites.) "Writing can be a lonely business—unless, of course, you're in a writers' group.The 6' Ferret Writers' Group has developed this web site to provide tips for those of you interested in setting up your own groups, as well as ideas for exercises and events for existing groups."

Check out all these sites, and let me know if you have others we should check out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jack Pyle and Taylor Reese

Jack Pyle and Taylor Reese are two of our most prolific authors. Together, they have written books on the use of the almanac in gardening and every day life.

These books come in handy, especially if you have tried to use an almanac of any kind, and just can't seem to understand it. They take those almanac lessons and put them in plain English.

Jack Pyle's solo works run the gambit from a young-adult mystery to love stories to short story collections.

Taylor Reese has published books of poetry, humor and even his memoirs.

Jack and Taylor's books can be found on as well as on their website at

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Writing Prompt #1

OK, today I am posting a writing prompt. For those of you who are new to this kind of thing, a writing prompt is a tool to get you started, basically. It doesn't matter what you write either; poetry, essays, short stories, etc. The prompt works for any of it. Also, a prompt can be a word, a phrase, a photo...most anything. For our first blog prompt, I am going to use a couple photos I found on the net.

Here are the first two photo prompts. Take a look and see what kind of ideas start to form. Use either picture, or both if you'd like. Maybe they bring to mind a story from your childhood. Run with it. Maybe they form the basis for one or two poems. Go for it.

One rule: Have fun with it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Book Recommendation

Group member Chrissy McVay has a big hit with her first book Souls of the North Wind. It has been described as "reminiscent of Jack London’s Call of the Wild" and is hailed as not only entertaining but educational as well. It is the adventure of two young inuit boys crossing the dangerous tundra, a mythical beast in hot pursuit. You've got to read this book.

Chrissy is working on a sequel to Souls of the North Wind. More information on her writing can be found at

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Starting Over Again

Hi. I'm Susan and I run the Mayland Writers' Group.

I started this blog months back, and then gave it up when it didn't seem there was much interest from the group. But, here I am again. I will try to keep it going this time with updates from the group, hightlights of members' published works, writing prompts/ideas, etc.

This time around, I want to showcase member Walter Rein's first book Wonderful Wawa's Words of Wisdom. This book is both funny and thought provoking. You know you are in for an interesting read when at the beginning you see a warning: WARNING: The Believer General has determined that reading this book could be harmful to your faith. You can read a summary and/or purchase the book at and other online bookstores. It's a great read and I look forward to more from Walter's so very creative mind.


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