Friday, December 8, 2017

How Writing Groups Work

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Writing can be like folding a banquet-sized tablecloth; you can do it yourself, but it's a lot easier when you can find somebody to help.

-- Ted Kooser & Steve Cox, in Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing

Lynn here: I'm a big fan of the concept of getting help with your writing--been doing it for years. That's why I put out a call to various writers to ask them to share with us how the writing groups they belong to work. Katie Smith graciously complied with the following information on Bearlodge Writers in Sundance and Prairie Pens in Gillette. In future posts, I'll share more contributions about this crucial tool for Wyoming writers.

Note: some of the information on Bearlodge Writers was previously published in an article by Writer's Digest Online that you can access here. Read it and you'll also learn about how groups in Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, California and Montana operate.

guest post by Kathleen Smith

Writing is a solitary endeavor until you have written an essay, a poem, nonfiction or fiction piece and want to make your craft better. Then you must share your words laid so carefully on the page from your heart. The easiest way to improve your craft is find a source of writers for companionship and critique.

In Wyoming because of the miles between communities some writers utilize on line writing groups. Others like me drive miles to be in the company of good writers with the desire to make the writing better for everyone at the table.

Let me share how Bearlodge Writers work.

THE BEARLODGE WRITERS (BLW) group has been active since 1979. BLW is open to any writer, new or experienced, seeking a welcoming, safe place to present work for praise and for constructive, sensitive critique. The group works with writers from first draft to last revision prior to publication. While BLW’s main mission is to offer assistance and support to one another, it has also sponsored writers’ residencies and scholarships and participated in writers conferences.

WRITING FROM: Sundance, Wyo.

SIZE: Currently, we have 20 members on our active email list. Members have ranged in age from 15 to 82.

FORMAT: BLW’s format is simple and effective. We sit around a large table located in a conference room at a very supportive local library, read the work, and garner both praise and critique from the other writers present at the table.

At one time, we did not bring copies of the work to pass around, but simply read the work while listeners made notes. Now, writers bring copies of the material to pass around the table. The writer reads while listeners write notes on the pages or suggest comments, and marks any corrections.

Sometimes, a writer will ask another writer to read the material. After critique, all copies are signed and returned to the writer. It cannot be stressed enough that we value kindness and respect for each writer’s work above criticism.

MEET UP: BLW gathers at the Sundance Library on the first Tuesday of every month, at 11:00 a.m., and on the third Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.

One member travels more than 150 miles, round trip, for meetings. Others come from neighboring South Dakota, a round-trip drive of about 60 miles. Those arriving first start the coffee and set out snacks—including lots of chocolate.

Before the reading and critique session, BLW spends about 30 minutes discussing any business, sharing information about writing successes and publishing opportunities, and answering general questions.

Those present needn’t have a piece of writing on a given day. Those who have brought work to be critiqued draw from a bag of dominoes that is passed around the table. Work is read in order from the smallest domino number to the largest.

Each writer brings a unique and valued skill set to the table. We have writers who envision the story arc, ferret out the thread of the writer’s intent and give advice on overall structure. Others are “grammar police,” able to determine proper word usage and phrasing. Members often comment about how the piece affects them emotionally and/or intellectually.

SUPPORTING EACH OTHER: Most importantly, it is about respect for the writer and the work. We are earnest about sharing a deep level of trust. What is read or said at BLW stays at the table until such time as the author chooses to share it. We offer consistent and sincere encouragement. As one member recently stated, “Bearlodge Writers is a safe place to be vulnerable.”

LESSONS LEARNED: Our individual successes help perpetuate and encourage the success of everyone in the group. The consistency of the format offers stability, and although members have come and gone—we recently lost one irreplaceable and beloved founding member—the heart and the purpose of the group remains the same: To encourage, respect and nurture writers, honor their processes, and celebrate their victories, whether that victory involves finishing a first draft or achieving publication.

Welcoming new members keeps the group vibrant, while long-time members offer an historical and experienced perspective.

I am the writer referenced in the above article that travels 150 miles. I choose to make that drive because I always know the words I share at the Bearlodge critique table will be improved.

After years of attending this writing group I have come to realize one person’s dedication and sacrifice of time has made group possible for all. Through the years, others have assumed small responsibilities for tasks to assist the group’s goals. There must be someone to arrange the meeting time with the library and maintain a current contact list for the multi-genre group of beginners and advanced writers.

Gaydell Collier was that dedicated person for Bearlodge and was a charter member of Wyoming Writers. She wrote the following in February 2007:
So what makes a good writers’ group? If we had to answer in one word, we would say, respect, and that includes trust
Respect for the writer. The writer comes as a pilgrim, bearing an offering. Whether the writer be prince (experience/published) or pauper (brand new beginner), he is granted the respect of willing attention and receipt of the critique he desires, whether it be “Does this work? Are the characters believable?” or a complete pre-pub edit. This includes respect for the writer’s emotions—a willingness to laugh or cry along with him. 
Respect for the piece. To place the offering on the table requires an act of faith by the writer. This is met by the respect of serious consideration and gentle but honest critique, focusing on the merits of the piece itself, the type of critique desired, and the intent of the writer. It is never the group’s purpose to change the intent, but to clarify, to suggest, and to encourage. 
Respect for the group. Each writer brings to the group his respect for its function and for the other members, making sure each one has time for his work to be discussed, is willing to give his thoughtful critique or expertise, and holds sacred within the group whatever revelations might be shared. Because of the mutal trust within the group, there is no “competition.” Everyone has the same goal—to make each other’s work the best it can be.
In my mind, the most important aspect of a writing group is to make the writing better without changing the voice of the author.

Our trust and respect is built by sharing an annual Christmas party, working together to bring guest speakers to our writers and others in the area, but most of all is developed by sharing lives in essays, poems, bios for submissions, and by being present at the table. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017 Gaydell Collier Memorial Scholarship Awarded

2017 Gaydell Collier Memorial Scholarships Awarded

by Kathleen Smith

Bearlodge Writers of Sundance, Wyoming, have awarded two scholarships for the Wyoming Writers Conference being held June 1-3, 2017, in Gillette, Wyoming. The lucky recipients are Corinna German of Laurel, Montana, and Andrew Call of Farson, Wyoming.

German wrote that attending the Wyoming Writers’ conference would allow her to take her writing a step further, provide opportunity for her to meet other writers, and attend workshops that will make her writing even better. “I would walk away with friendships, mentors, advice, and a confirmed resolve to keep writing.” German is grateful for the opportunity to attend the WW, Inc. conference, and considers it an honor to have been selected by Bearlodge Writers as a recipient of the Gaydell Collier Memorial Scholarship.”

Bearlodge Writers also believed enough in Call to help him return to the Wyoming Writers conference this year. He wrote in his application: Attending as a scholarship recipient would provide me the funds needed to rejoin familiar faces, regale new friends with my failures and ambitions, and connect with fresh inspiration. “It’s motivation in a bottle strong enough for Hemingway and social enough for Fitzgerald, and I hunger for another hit like a sober Hunter S. Thompson. I was fortunate to attend last year because the conference was in my backyard, but this year’s conference mocks my budget while still calling me with an unsubtle siren song. ‘You need this. You want this. Your soul begs for a means to make it happen.’”

The Gaydell Collier Memorial Scholarship was established by the Collier family and

Bearlodge Writers to honor the memory of Gaydell Collier, a founding member of both Bearlodge Writers and Wyoming Writers. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


What is the land doing where you live? The snow has melted, spring is near. My ranch in the northern plains will be awakening soon but the ground temperatures are still cold. The reservoir ice is frozen, surrounded by sharp tufts of the past season’s golden grass. Last year’s leaves are plastered in grass because no fall winds move the leaves as they fell from the cottonwoods. Only an occasional bird appears on bare cottonwood tree branches, but I know the robins and killdeer are on their way.  The Canada geese are winging north. The mole mounds remain frozen, anxious prairie dogs do emerge chattering and chirping when sunshine warms the day.  I watch for the delicate sprigs of green. I wait for the yawns and stretches of baby birds in the nest and baby calves nestled by sagebrush.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Monday, October 29, 2012

Poet Laureate Update

Where to begin after the busy spring? Wyoming Writers hosted a wonderful conference in June. With Tereasa Jordan, Hal Cannon, Johnny D. Boggs, M.L. Liebler , Matthew and Jennifer Mayo, and literary agent Anita Mumm, we enjoyed the varied presentations this faculty offered. 

Early July found me laid up with a broken leg. No hay crop at the ranch this year so if I had to break it, this was the time to do so. With walker in hand, I gave a reading to a Belle Fourche, SD sorority on July 30th. Warm and gracious, these ladies made me feel right at home. 

In August came the announcement of finalists for the High Plains Book Awards. I was so fortunate to be among them for the Best Woman Writer. Much to my amazement came the announcement of the Women Writing the West Will Awards. Married Into It won the poetry category. I called for CPR!

On August 15th I joined fellow writers at the Campbell County Library for a joint program with the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming writers. Fellow Bearlodge Writer Katie Smith, Chris Ellsworth, Darcy Accord, wonderful writer and organizer of the event and many others read from their powerful writings. I believe the experience was beneficial for everyone and I hope to become more involved with the schools in Wyoming.

On Saturday, September 8, 2012, Gaydell Collier and I were guests of the Books-a-Million store in Rapid City for book signings.  Gaydell pleased many readers with her book, Just Beyond Harmony, a book I highly recommend to everyone who loves a wonderful story filled with laughter among difficult times. Many fellow Bearlodge Writers stopped by as did friend Linda Hasselstrom, terrific author of twelve books of stories and poetry. Gaydell, Linda, and Nancy Curtis also edited the Wind Anthologies; Leaning Into the Wind, Woven on the Wind, and Crazy Woman Creek, Women Rewrite the American West.

 October 18, 2012 found Gaydell and I on the road to Albuquerque for the Women Writing the West Conference and acceptance of the Willa Award. This conference had a wonderful lineup of workshops by top writers, among them former neighbor and dear friend Page Lambert who delivered  The Yearning Factor workshop . The unforgettable Susan Tweit presented Writing with Heart and not a dry eye in the audience when she finished.  Writers Ann Hillerman, Laurie Wagner Buyer, Dawn Wink, three outstanding agents and four publishers rounded out the offering.  Met so many lovely people there and look forward to next year. I hope Gaydell joins me again; she is an exceptional traveling companion!

In the meantime . . . same weekend . . . Nancy Curtis of High Plains Press, publisher of Married Into it, generously attended the High Plains Book Awards where I was blessed with winning Best Woman Writer. So many blessings having a fabulous publisher and the beautiful art work of Sarah Rogers on the cover. They share the success of the book.  Another important part of this wonderful dream is the friendships made and meeting others who love poetry. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poet Laureate Journey

April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
As many of you know Nancy is owner and publisher of High Plains Press in Glendo, WY. The three year wait to have Nancy Curtis publish Married Into It, was more than worth it. We were honored on April 21st with the prestigious Wrangler Award for Best Poetry Book of 2011. Upon arriving in Oklahoma City The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, (NCWHM) staff and guests gave Nancy and I a warm welcome.

The Jingle Jangle Mingle the Friday evening before the official ceremony, honored award winners and Hall of Fame inductees. Wonderful hors d’oeuvres greeted guests followed by an autograph session with literary, music, television/film winners, while listening to the wonderful music of Dan Roberts, this year’s winner of the Traditional Western Album.

We then hastened to the home of Linda and Lance Benham and their lovely family. This private reception found us feasting from a sumptuous buffet and enjoying the company of Western Heritage inductees, Wrangler winners, and special guests. Our hosts were the epitome of western hospitality.

The following day Nancy, my friend Toby Sprague King, and I enjoyed several hours of roaming the museum and grounds. A lively Q & A with Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Boxleitner followed. We returned to the Marriott Hotel to change into evening attire and found beautiful flowers and a precious note from my husband who could not be with me. Tears followed by laughter punctuated the “getting gussied up” for one of the biggest nights of my life. 

Following a press conference and second autograph session we joined honorees, family, friends, and guests for the evening’s festivities. Red carpet, crystal chandeliers, beautifully-draped stage, movie-sized screens on either side of the stage took my breath away. To our delight we were seated with Outstand Documentary recipients from Wyoming PBS. I heartily recommend their production Main Street Wyoming: Charles Bleden – Cowboy Photographer. Throughout our meal I practiced my two-minute speech
only to  the “deer in the headlight look” upon receiving the magnificent bronze from two of John Wayne’s grandchildren, Anita LaCava Swift and Brendan Wayne. I have no idea what I said. I do know I am humbly grateful to our award sponsors Harrison-Orr Air Conditioning  Inc., the NCWHM Directors, contributors, judges and staff who are responsible for this memorable weekend.

The drive to and from Oklahoma City was most enjoyable with Nancy but we are glad to be home, back to our normal routines, and in our normal working clothes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stunning art work of Sarah Rogers of Sundance, WY whose painting Caballos Pintados graced the cover of the poems. To our delight Nancy and I found out on the way home that the cover of the book is one of the six winners recognized by the Da Vinci Eye selected from over 1000 entries. The Da Vinci Eye is one of the branches of the Eric Hoffer Awards.
Who can ask for anything more joyful?

April 26
The K-12 school in Kaycee, WY invited me to join their students, teachers, and guests to celebrate Poetry Month. Katie Smith, writer, fellow Wyoming Writer’s board member, and long-time friend and I, were entertained by student vocalists and poetry readings and fellow poets. Tom Spence, another fellow board member, joined us and we shared information about the organization’s forthcoming conference. I was most honored to read from my work, share stories, terrific food and fellowship with this wonderful community. Being Wyoming Poet Laureate has so many blessings; I will never be able to count them all.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Travels With Pat

I want to share my journey as Wyoming Poet Laureate.  

On March 4th and 5th the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud Competition was held in Cheyenne. Judges for this year’s competition were Jim Coppoc, performance poet and musician from Ames, Iowa; poet and educator Diane Panozzo, and me. What a delight to listen to eleven students from across the state of Wyoming recite their chosen poems.

Sara Ellingrod of Arvada-Clearmont High School in Sheridan County was named winner of the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud finals held in Cheyenne on Monday. As champion, Sara receives an expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. where she will represent Wyoming at the Poetry Out Loud finals, May 14-15.

March 7th, I had the honor and privilege to share two poems before the Wyoming Legislature followed by a brief visit with Governor Mead. Rita Basom of the Wyoming Arts Council and Wendy Madsen of the Legislative Service Office guided me through the Capital and introduced me to a number of warm and wonderful people who keeps our Wyoming Capital running smoothly. Milward Simpson, Director of the Wyoming Department of State
Parks and Cultural Resources was also kind enough to join us for the readings.
My gratitude to all.

On April 4th, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I was delighted to present a reading at Fulmer Library in Sheridan. My thanks to Debbie Iverson, Program Director of the library for a well-planned event and Aaron Holst, a fellow poet who suggested my visit.

Old friends and new faces warmly received readings from Delights and Shadows by former National Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser and Margot Liberty, one of the wonderful poets included in Graining the Mare edited by Tereasa Jordan, and selections from my newest book, Married Into It.  I then enjoyed a wonderful stay with Aaron and his lovely wife Donna at their home which faces the magnificent Big Horn Mountains. My appreciation to all who made it a memorable visit to Sheridan.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Patricia Frolander News!!

As you can tell by our lack of blog posts, BLW has been busy. This post will feature the news of Patricia Frolander and the journey she and her latest book, Married Into It, are taking--and what a trip they are having!

On November 7, 2011, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead appointed Pat as Wyoming's fifth Poet Laureate. She joins past poets Peggy Simson Curry, Charles L. Levendosky, Robert Roripaugh, and David Romtvedt in serving in the honorary position. According to Renny MacKay, communications director for the governor's office, Pat's appointment will last through May 31, 2013.

Upcoming events for Pat as Poet Laureate include writing and reading a poem for the 2011 Governor's Arts Awards dinner and awards ceremony February 24, 2012, and serving as a judge for the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud state competition March 5-6, 2012. (Poetry Out Loud is a national program in which ninth through twelfth graders are eligible to compete.)

Then, about a week ago, Pat received a letter from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboy Hall of Fame) which said this: Independent judges have named Married Into It as the "Poetry Book" of 2011.

The letter continues: "Since 1961, the Museum has hosted the Western Heritage Awards, which honors excellence in Western literature, television, film, and music. Each year, the principal creators or winning entries accept the Wrangler sculpture during special ceremonies at the Museum."

Pat will be traveling with Nancy Curtis, her publisher at High Plains Press, to the Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the award activities on April 20-21, including a black-tie gala with master of ceremonies Katharine Ross.

BLW is so very proud of Pat and her accomplishments. She is taking the Wyoming literary scene by storm, and deserves every minute she has in the spotlight.

Congratulations, Pat!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Local Authors to "Guest" at Sundance Book Signing

Enjoy conversation and refreshments with Crook County authors Patricia Frolander, of Sundance, and Renee Carrier, from Hulett, at an afternoon book signing to be hosted by the Bearlodge Writers from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 at the Crook County Public Library in Sundance, Wyoming.

The event will feature Married Into It—Frolander’s latest collection of poetry about the truths of ranch life—and Straight and Level: A True Story of a Young Man’s Quest to Become a Flying Cadet in the U. S. Air Corps—an unfinished memoir by Carrier’s late father S. Paul Latiolais, Colonel, USAF which she recently completed with much insightful editing and a daughter’s love.

The books are priced at $12.95 each and will be available at the signing. Whether you’re making up a gift basket for a friend or planning for birthdays or Christmas, autographed copies will make delightful gifts for the readers on your list.       

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting Back in the Writing Saddle

Summer was a busy, not-so-much writing time for many of our BLW members, as evidenced by the lack of posts on our blog. One member had a young granddaughter visit for several weeks, one member cuts, bales, and stacks hay every summer, one member helped move two children to new homes in different states, a few members own small businesses, several members have school-age kids out for the summer vacation, and for most of us, being outside while we have nice weather is when we make up for all those months of Wyoming winter.

Our fall here in northeastern Wyoming is extending beyond any I've seen in recent years. Even now, on November 5, we've had no snow to speak of, just a skiff one night, and then back to sunny, mostly warm weather. But while the nights are cold, and the wind is growing ever more so, I'm glad winter has been in no hurry to arrive.

Our BLW members got back in the writing saddle this fall, with a motel retreat for a few, some making a renewed commitment to personal blogs, more submissions being made, and all of us back to producing new work and editing through our files, with several new projects started, and one member learning she will be the cover story for a women's magazine next spring. Is that a WOW! or what? Triple WOW!!!, methinks.

November brings the annual Writer's Digest November Poem-a-Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge, and a few BLW members are participating again this year. Poet and blogger Robert Lee Brewer posts a prompt each day, and then participants produce a poem based on the prompt. Or one prompted by the prompt. (Ha.) Individual interpretation of the prompt is encouraged, and sometimes a poet pushes the idea of the prompt way outside the lines, which makes reading the poems very interesting.

Poets can post their daily poems to the blog, or not, as they choose. I recognize many poets’ names from reading the blog last year; it is intriguing to see how the prompts work on the minds of other writers. I have chosen to post my poem drafts as one way to keep me accountable and writing, but also to see which poems prompt (!) someone to respond. Since the poems posted are mostly in the draft stage (though admittedly there are poems posted, by me and others, that read as pretty darn finished), they can still be used in contests and marketed for publication. From what I’ve read, most people in the industry do not consider work posted to a workshop-type blog as having been published. However, each writer must make that determination for him or her self.

During December, poets edit their work and create a 10-20 page chapbook of poems from the PAD challenge, which is then sent to Brewer as an email attachment by the January 5, 2011 deadline. He and his wife, poet Tammy Foster Brewer, will select one chapbook as the winner by February 2, Groundhog Day.

Last year, five BLW members participated in the daily writing, and three of us were able to work together in a couple of editing sessions, helping each other select poems to include in our chapbooks, then crafting and arranging those poems into a cohesive, readable whole. Much to my surprise and delight, my chapbook Wild Grace was selected by the Brewers as one of 21 finalists in the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Nancy Posey won with her collection Let the Lady Speak; Posey is a participant again this year, too.

For those just reading about the chapbook challenge, it is not too late to join in. The link below will take you to the web pages containing all the information you need to begin “poeming” to a daily prompt.

As we move ever closer to winter, may your writing continue to spring forth, unfold, and flourish.

Jeanne Rogers,category,NovemberPADChapbookChallenge2010.aspx

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mapping Me: A Landscape of Women’s Stories

Call for submissions: Mapping Me Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry, Photography and Artwork

20 June 2010

Mapping Me: A Landscape of Women’s Stories is an anthology of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography and artwork. Its objective is to explore the connections – the invisible threads – that exist between women across the globe. Our starting point is to place the most basic question of identity, “Who am I?” within the complexities of culture and ethnicity. How do women respond to motherhood, rage, loss, relationships and loneliness across cultures? Do we share the same concept of grief and sadness, joy and love? We ask the writers and artists to tell stories, which negotiate the demands placed upon everyday women by society. The goal of this project is the sharing of such stories that allow the readers to draw their own conclusions whether or not culture is a divisive state between women.

Some Questions To Think About

So what does this mean for you? Well really, it is up to you. Some questions we have we been asking artists and writers to think about are:

1. Who are you? Are you a ‘Culture’ first or a ‘Woman’ first? What is your voice?

2. How do you negotiate the cultural and/or societal authorities that tell you to be thin, pretty, get married, have children, worship, obey/disobey, have a career, stay at home etc.

3. Do you have a burning story about an event, a lost love, heartbreak, arranged marriages, unarranged marriages, infertility, fertility, or even a bathroom cluttered with make up.

4. Do you want to express conflict? Family dynamics? Frustrations over rivalries, children, demands of home and work, silences, arguments, tension with extended
families. Do you have a story of revenge? Manipulation? Women are complex creatures and we are capable of great loving as well as great evil too. We are, of course, human.

5. Who do you see in the mirror each morning? How does your culture affect your body image? Does it? Do you fight against it? Do you buy into any stereotypes? Do you have a funny story to share. We are looking for humour too. This is not a grim book.


Please select a category and create a story, poem, creative non-fiction or artwork.

· Category 1. Stories of movement and motivation, restriction and escape.
· Category 2. Stories about food and nurturing.
· Category 3. Stories about, touch, love, sexuality or virginity.
· Category 4. Stories about self-image, judgments, perceptions and observation.
· Category 5. Stories about motherhood, family, marriage, fertility, birth.
· Category 6. Stories of laughter, fun, malice, viciousness.

Additional Guidelines

Please make sure your work conforms to the following guidelines:

· For round two, contributors’ literary works must be original and unpublished.
· You may submit as many works as you wish.

· Writer’s Word Count Guidelines
1. Short stories: no more than 1000 words
2. Creative non-fiction: no more than 1000 words
3. Poetry: 4 to 6 pieces.
4. Flash fiction – anything less than 500 words.
· Your work must be submitted as either an attachment in a rich text format (RTF) or a word document (doc). No PDF files or docx files, please! We simply cannot work with these file formats. Alternatively, you may paste your work in the body of the email. If your writing has a specific format, attach it as a file to the email.

Works can be submitted in your mother tongue. Please provide an English translation with your submission.
Please do not send us web links of your writing or artwork. We will not see them.

· Artwork Guidelines
· You may submit as many paintings, photographs or a mix of art and prose as possible. We accept JPG files (no JPF).
· Submit your work to the editors at
· Please provide a cover letter and include a short biography (no more than 50 words).
· Let us know under what categories you are submitting your works.
· Deadline is the 1st of September 2010.
· Our reading period is 1 to 3 months.


We regret that we are unable to provide payment to contributors. Our goal is to provide a copy of the book to contributors but this is subject to the publisher’s approval.

Any questions please contact us at or visit us at

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mad Hatters' Review Contest


Mad Hatters’ Review will consider submissions in FICTION or POETRY commencing on MARCH 1ST, 2010 (12 a.m. USA EST) and ending on June 30th (11:59 p.m.).

First prize winners in both genres will receive $250 (each) plus publication of their entries in Issue 12. The winning works of 5 runners-up in each genre will also be published in Issue 12.

All winning entries will be published in a print anthology called “Knock Our Hats Off: A Little Book of Curious Delights.” Each winner will receive a copy of this deluxe collector’s item.

The terms “fiction” and “poetry”
may be interpreted broadly. Take a walk on the wild side through our pages. Take liberties. Governments are taking them away from us, so we’re giving them away free.

Our honorable judges:

Cris Mazza, Fiction

Sheila E. Murphy, Poetry

Our entry fee and modus operandi:
$12 per entry via PayPal to
Poetry: 3 poems max per entry.
Fiction: 3000 words max per entry.
By all means, enter as many times as you wish.

All submissions must be sent to with the following information in the subject line:

  • Your Name
  • Genre (Fiction or Poetry)
  • Title/s of submission
  • Word Count
Submitted works should be copied and pasted into the exquisite corpus of your email AND attached as an RTF Doc. If you’re submitting visual poetry or visual fiction, attach your entries as jpeg/s or gif/s. If you absolutely MUST, submit these offerings in PDF format.

Pages of texts should be titled, but your name should only appear on the subject line of your email, as submissions will be read blind. We’ll ask for your bio and optional pic if you’re a first place winner or runner-up.

Simultaneous submissions are expected. Just tell us immediately if some other lucky editor has grabbed your gem/s. But please realize that we won’t refund entry fees.

Winning entries will be announced by September 15th. Please address queries to (subject line: QUERY).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Writer's Digest November PAD Chapbook Challenge results

An essay about the chapbook challenge mentioned in the previous blog post just went up on the home page of our BLW web site. Four of the five BLW members participating in the challenge submitted a chapbook by the January deadline. A few weeks later, Robert Lee Brewer (writer of the Writer's Digest Poetic Asides blog at selected 21 finalists out of over 150 entries. It was a very sweet surprise to find my name on the list for my submission Wild Grace.

Nancy Posey was declared winner of the chapbook challenge on February 2, and Robert selected three of Nancy's poems to include in his blog entry of the announcement. He also had four names on an "honorable mention" sort of list--alas, I didn't make that cut.

Taking on this challenge and seeing it through to the end was a rewarding endeavor, giving each of us thirty new poems to edit and craft into finished works. The process of daily writing and posting, sifting and editing for a chapbook, and making a submission deadline, all during a busy time of the year, was a wonderful affirmation of our "writerly" selves.

Aspiration, acknowledgement, affirmation--quite enough for a good start to the new year.

Friday, November 6, 2009

BLW members participating in the Writer's Digest November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Bearlodge Writers members Pat Frolander, Maureen Blake, Amanda Fall, and I are participating in the Writer's Digest November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge. Each day in November, Robert Lee Brewer, poet blogger for Writer's Digest, is giving a prompt, and those of us taking the challenge then write a poem tied to the prompt.

Participants can post their work, or not; all four of us have been posting our daily poems. The poems are to be written after receiving the prompt, not previously written work.

The chapbook challenge comes into play after the November prompts have concluded. All participants will have the month of December to revise and organize their November poems into manuscripts of 10-20 pages, emailing the manuscript to Brewer by midnight January 5, 2010. He and his wife, poet Tammy Foster Brewer, will announce a winner on Groundhog Day.

Check out our poems, and those of many other poets, at
(after linking through to the comments page, use your browser's "find on this page" function to locate our names easier; most days have had well over 100 poems posted in the comments)

We are enjoying the process, though it is a bit scary to post poems that have had little (if any) editing. And very interesting to see how the prompt materializes in the poem from each writer.

For me, this is a personal challenge, too, writing on demand to a particular idea--trying to craft a poem on the fly, and create something worthwhile.

Wish us luck! Jeanne Rogers

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Open House\Book Signing for Pat Frolander

All are invited to an open house and book signing honoring award-winning Sundance poet Patricia Frolander on Monday, October 26 at the Community Room of the Crook County Library in Sundance, Wyoming. The event, which will run from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., is hosted by Bearlodge Writers and friends of the poet, and will debut Frolander's new chapbook, Grassland Genealogy (Finishing Line Press, July, 2009).

Frolander, who promises to entertain those attending the event with poetry about raising children, weathering ranch life, and life in general, is celebrating more than a new book. She was recently notified that her poem, "Father, when You call," was named the 2009 winner of the 17th Annual National Senior Poets Laureate Competition. Sponsored by Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation, the competition draws entries from all over the United States. Picked as best from more than 700 entries for this year, "Father, when You call" brings its author both prestigious recognition and a cash award.

Frolander has also recently been notified that U. S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser (2004-2006) selected her poem, "Denial," for use in his weekly column, American Life in Poetry. Kooser's column is supported by the Poetry Foundation and Frolander's piece will be used in the June, 2010 publication.

This poet, who admits to digging deep when she pens her lines, is definitely on a roll. Determined to keep the momentum going, she's submitting more—-already has a new manuscript making the rounds—-and is also on the schedule for a reading and workshop (with fellow Sundance poet Jeanne Rogers) at the Campbell County Library in Gillette, and other upcoming events. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies, newspapers, and magazines, and she often speaks to the joys and problems of Wyoming ranch life when she shares her lines at gatherings throughout the region. One recent event was an old-fashioned parlor reading in Glendo, Wyoming, with fellow poets Katie Smith and Jeanne Rogers.

Grassland Genealogy will be available for purchase at the signing. You may also pick up a copy from the author or from your favorite local bookstore, or order it from Backpocket Books, 364 Farrall Road, Sundance, WY 82729 (307-283-2665) for $14 plus shipping and handling. It is also available from the publisher, Finishing Line Press, at

Please join us October 26, 2009, at the Crook County Library meeting room from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to celebrate poet Patricia Frolander and her new chapbook, Grassland Genealogy. (We'll be serving some fabulous refreshments, too!)