Sunday, November 30, 2014

Next Meeting: Tuesday, December 9!

The Mountain Empire Creative Art Council's Writers' Workshop will be meeting on the second Tuesday of this month, December 9, in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library at 7:00 PM.  

Everyone interested in writing is welcome to attend. We usually bring a page or two of our writing (bring 6-8 copies) to share and receive feedback. We're a gentle and encouraging group, so there's no need to be shy. :)

We had a nice turnout and a lovely time at the National Novel Writing Month's Write-In on November 22. We drank tea and coffee, chatted, and even did some writing! We'll try to schedule another Write-In for February. 

And we hope to reschedule the journaling workshop with Dean Nelson for mid-April. We'll let you know once we have a firm date. 

So snuggle up in a quilt before the fire, coffee or tea within ready reach, and write!! 

Wishing you joyous holy days!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dean Nelson Event for November Has Been Canceled

We regret to inform you that the MECAC Writers Workshop scheduled for Saturday, November 15 has been canceled and will be rescheduled for late winter/early spring.

A more urgent event, a memorial service for a dear friend of Pine Valley and MECAC has priority at this time. We know that you will agree with our decision.

Susanne will return via "snail mail" all checks received for this event; they will be sent as soon as the Post Office reopens after Veteran's Day.

If you were a "maybe" on our list, this rescheduling will allow you to think ahead also.

This workshop with Dean Nelson will focus on an exciting, fulfilling concept and mode of writing, led by a very gifted professional writer. We look forward to seeing you in a few months!

All our best,
Judith and Susanne  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Writing Workshop with Dean Nelson!

Come join us for an amazing event coming up on November 15 with Dr. Dean Nelson, founder of the Journalism Department at Point Loma Nazarene University!!

Dean is a longtime friend of the MECAC Writers Workshop; this is our third writing event with Dean at the beautiful Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. Join us from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM for a delightful day of writing wisdom and practice!

Cost: $35 (includes lunch); $30 if before November 1st! Get that $5 discount by registering early!

Contact Susanne Barrett at for information and registration--with only 20 spaces, reservations will go quickly.  

Come join the writerly fun!

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 14!!

The Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council (MECAC) Writers Workshop will be meeting this Tuesday, October 14 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library. 

Bring 6-8 copies of a couple of pages of your writing to share with the group, and we'll offer helpful feedback and suggestions for improvement. We're a friendly, supportive group, and we love welcoming new people!

So please join us--we love to talk writing...and do some, too!! 

Plus, we have two events coming up in November:

Saturday, November 15: Journaling Event with Dr. Dean Nelson, founder of the Journalism Department at Point Loma Nazarene University: 9:00-4:00 at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. Cost (including lunch): $35 ($30 if registered before Nov.1) E-mail Susanne at for information and registration.

Saturday, November 22: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Write-In from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library. Join us for coffee, tea, and light snacks as we write together--bring your laptops, pens, pencils, and notebooks!! Contact Susanne at for more information--or just show up!!  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 9!!

We will be meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, September 9, at 7:00 in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.
Bring something to share (5-8 copies if possible) and perhaps a friend interested in writing!
And for those of you interested in self-publishing, The Writer's Digest and BookBaby have collaborated to bring us a unique one-stop shop for our varied self-publishing needs: Blue Ash Publishing. Check it out! 

And a closing quotation on writing to encourage us in our writing endeavors:

"Writing is reaching into your deep soul, and being brave enough to put those words on paper. No one else can say it like you can. No one. So stop waiting for Sean Connery to show up at your door and tell you that you're a writer. Open your computer, pick up your pen or pencil, and begin."

~John Sowers, Storyline Blog

We hope to see you at the library! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Looking for an Agent?

It's so hard to tell whether an agent is reputable or not. We are thrilled to be offered representation, but is this person the right agent for us? 

Here's a link to a terrific article at Writer's Digest on the five questions we writers should ask a potential agent.

Writer's Digest article: 5 Things Writers Should Ask Potential Agents.

Keep on writing, friends!! We'll have a Saturday Write-In scheduled in July--details to follow.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Writer's Symposium by the Sea 2015

"The Greek" Amphitheater at Point Loma Nazarene University, home of The Writers' Symposium by the Sea.

Point Loma Nazarene University will host its 20th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea in late February. The amazing writers who have attended and shared their thoughts on the craft of writing over the last two decades have been phenomenal: Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, Donald Miller, Philip Yancey, Kathleen Norris, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Eugene Peterson, Calvin Miller, and other journalists, novelists, poets, bloggers, and non-fiction writers, both Christian and secular. A good number of videos of past featured writers at the Symposium are available via UCSD-TV's Writer's Symposium page. 

The news was just released that to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Writer's Symposium by the Sea, Dean Nelson (my former creative writing professor and kindly office mate when I taught there) will be having a conversation with Joyce Carol Oates. The announcement with details may be seen here if you scroll down a bit (and ignore the "19th Annual" heading): Joyce Carol Oates at Writer's Symposium.

Dean has outdone himself in obtaining such a major figure in American literature to celebrate the Symposium's 20th anniversary. I am so thrilled that Joyce Carol Oates will be coming on February 26

Tickets will go on sale in November, and I'll be one of the first in the virtual queue. Meanwhile, I have a copy of a small book I snatched from the library shelves last week to read (once I finish teaching Romeo & Juliet at Brave Writer this Friday!): First Love. It's a small, illustrated Gothic novelette, and I'm very much looking forward to perusing it as my first book on my Summer Reading List. 

We also are hoping to have another of our popular Write-Ins next month to coincide with July's Camp NaNoWriMo  so that we can enjoy coffee, tea, treats, and a few bursts of creative conversation while we tap away on our keyboards or scratch away in our notebooks for a few hours, usually from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. As soon as we have a date cleared with the Pine Valley Library for the use of their Community Room, I'll post the date here. 

We hope to see you at our upcoming Writers' Workshop meetings this summer, the second Tuesday of each month: June 10, July 8, August 12, and September 9. Mark your calendars and join us! 

Happy Writing, Everyone! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Next Writers' Workshop Meeting: June 10th!

Our next Writers' Workshop meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 10 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring 6-8 copies of a poem or a few pages of prose to share with the group and to receive written as well as oral feedback. 

As always, feel free to bring along any friends interested in learning more about the art and craft of writing. 

See you in June!!

Writing with you,

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."
~Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Next Writers' Workshop Meeting: May 13!!

The next meeting of the Mountain Empire Creative Art Council's Writers' Workshop is Tuesday, May 13 in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library at 7:00 PM. 

Please bring 6-8 copies of your work to share--a poem, a few pages of fiction or nonfiction, song lyrics, etc. We'll read our work aloud while the group makes notes, and then we'll discuss what we think is effective and where improvements may be considered. 

We're an encouraging group, with several of our number published, including Maureen Brown's The Exile of Cain, Judith Dupree's living with what remains, and Teresa Travis's Fourteen Flamingos and Smedley

New writers or just people interested in learning more about the art and craft of writing are welcome to attend; we would love to get to know you!! 

NOTE: Writer's Digest magazine has listed three writing contests with June deadlines. Click here for more information: WD Writing Contests. 

So we hope to see you on the second Tuesday in May when we meet again to share our writings and encourage one another in pursuing the art of written word. 

"Writers ought to write and I take up my pen in the hope that it may loosen my spirit."  ~E.M. Forster


Monday, April 7, 2014

Next Writers' Workshop Meeting: April 8!

The Writers' Workshop branch of the Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council (MECAC) will be meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library.

Bring 6-8 copies of a couple of pages of your work to be read and discussed by the group, and friends interested in the art and craft of writing are always invited to attend.

Don't forget the East County Magazine Writing Contest which closes April 30! Here's the link for more information: East County Magazine 1st Annual Writing Contest.

We hope to see you on Tuesday evening!!

"The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that's on a good day." 
~Robert DeNiro, introducing the screenwriting nominations at the 2014 Academy Awards

Monday, February 24, 2014

Next Writers' Workshop Meeting: March 11!

The next meeting of the Writers' Workshop, part of the Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council, will be Tuesday, March 11 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library. 

Anyone remotely interested in writing or in learning more about writing is encouraged to attend. Writers may bring around six copies of two to three pages of their work to share. Work will be read aloud by the author, and then attendees will offer suggestions for improvement and encouragement. Those who would like to listen and comment without bringing anything to read are more than welcome to do so. 

Keep in mind that information regarding the Writer's Symposium by the Sea (February 20-28) and the East County Magazine Writing Contest (deadline April 30) are posted below this entry. 

We hope to see you on March 11!!

"Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."

~David McCullough

Writer's Symposium by the Sea: February 20-28

Greek Amphitheater, Point Loma Nazarene University

The last week of February marks the 19th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). This year's symposium is entitled Writing That's Raw.

Among the evening speakers at this year's symposium are author, professor, and New York Times columnist Samuel Freedman (February 20), author of three memoirs Jeannette Wall (February 26), the delightfully witty Anne Lamott (February 27), author of Bird by Bird, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, plus the 2nd Annual Storyline Conference featuring Donald Miller (February 27-March 1). More information for all of these events, including cost and ticket purchasing, may be found on the Writer's Symposium by the Sea webpage.

If you have to choose only one writer to see, I have to highly recomment Anne Lamott. I've seen her at a previous Writer's Symposium in 1997 (link to the one-hour YouTube video of her talk here: Anne Lamott 2007), and she's simply magical. 

I would LOVE to be able to attend the Donald Miller Storyline Conferencebut it's sold out. Perhaps next year. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

East County Writing Contest!

Win prizes for your prose--including admission to a writers conference and a literary festival!

February 13, 2014 (San Diego's East County)-- Love to write?  East County Magazine invites you to enter our 1st annual East County Writing Contest.  Description: Crank up your creative juices and send us your best short story, or first chapter of a novel, set in our inland region, East County (mountains, deserts, cities or towns east of I-15 in San Diego County).  Your story can be historical or contemporary, in any genre or style you choose – dramatic, romantic, mystery, humor, time travel…The only limit is your imagination!

Prizes: Our top winner will receive a free admission to next year’s San Diego Writers Conference.  Top three winners will be featured at East County Magazine’s Arts & Literary Festival later this year, plus publication online in the “Bookshelf” section at the award-winning East County Magazine, which averages 150,000 readers a month. Excerpts of winners’ works and/or interviews with winning authors will also be broadcast on the East County Magazine Show’s Bookshelf segment on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio. Our judges include award-winning authors and editors. Additional prizes will be announced shortly. (Readers, if you would like to be a sponsor of our contest or arts/literary festival, or have additional prizes to donate in exchange for promotional opportunities, contact

Entry rules: Short stories should be 3,000 words or less. Alternatively, you can enter up to 3,000 words from the first chapter of a novel. All entries must be set in East County (see definition above) and suitable for a general audience in compliance with FCC public broadcasting rules.

How to enter:   Mail a $15 check for each entry to East County Magazine, 4438 Hideaway Place, La Mesa, CA 91941 (or make a $15 donation online Include 3 printed copies of each entry, double-spaced in 12 point font with 1 inch margins. Include a cover sheet with your name, address, phone, and e-mail, title of entry and contact info.  Please also send an electronic copy of your entry with subject line: Literary Contest.       

Deadline to receive entries is April 30, 2014 at midnight.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Next Meeting: February 11!!

Yes, writerly people of the Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council (MECAC), our next meeting of the MECAC Writers Workshop is this Tuesday evening, February 11 at 7:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library. 

Bring a short sample of your recent work to share and we'll offer our thoughts and ideas as we work together to improve our writing and support one another on our writerly journeys!!

And good news!! Our own MECAC Writers Workshop member Maureen Brown's new book The Exile of Cain is now available on Amazon here: The Exile of Cain. You may also find more information on her site: The Exile of Cain. (This link is also in the sidebar of this site.) 

So let's celebrate Maureen's publication success and work together to get our writing published as well!

See you all on Tuesday!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


In November our Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council held a Write-In as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and we had a lovely time writing and chatting and drinking warm, bracing coffees and teas. 

In fact, the Saturday meeting was so successful that we thought we'd try it every couple of months.

So we'll be meeting on Saturday, January 18 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the Community Room of the Pine Valley Library. 

Bring your laptops, notebooks, pens, and whatever writing utensils you use, and we'll have a wonderful writing session together!! 

See you there!!

PS The Writer's Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University is coming up in late February. Thanks to a dear friend, I'm attending the session with Anne Lamott, author of the incredible book on writing Bird by Bird. Check the link for dates, times, and prices.