AGT Monthly Meeting for February 2024
The Authors Guild of Tennessee held their monthly meeting on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut. Social time started at 10:30 and the business meeting at 11:00.
The following members were present:
Bill Barbour, Sam Bledsoe, Jeff Carlson, Randy Carpenter, Bobbi Chapman, David Curran, Gayle Curtin, Danita Dodson, Sonja DuBois, Russ Fine, Linda Fitzpatrick, Kaye George, Leoma Gilley, Jim Hartsell, Wes Hibbert, Carrie Doyle Jones, Ernie Lancaster, Jerry Morton, Kathy Parr, Cheryl Peyton, Nancy Pressley, Ron Pressley, Brenda Sellers, Art Stewart, Jeri Weems, Victoria Winifred, and Curt Young.
Guests: Sherry Fine, Delonda Anderson, and Melanie Lewis
Welcome – Cheryl.
January Minutes: Minutes of the January meeting have been approved without correction.
Treasurer’s report: – Russ
Beginning Balance $3635.12
Ending Balance $3406.03
Member Dues $80.00
Book Sales $0.00
Faith Lutheran Church $100.00
Author Payments $100.79
Author Payments $32.18
Expense Reimbursement $40.92
Kay George had a short story published yesterday.
Reports by Committee Chairs:
Festival Facts – Bobbi. Bobbi is hoping to have book signings at the Café in Loudon during lunch hour, but so far, the Café has not been open often.
The next fair at the STAR location, in their huge horse arena. Many of the attendees have disabled children who are helped by the staff at STAR. Authors will be spread out, two to a table. We’ll give out tickets Jeff bought and have a raffle of a book at the end of the day. guests. If they find all 13 authors, they’ll be in the drawing. There won’t be AGT banners, so we just have our own promotional materials. The event is set for March 23.
Marketing and Publicity – Cheryl reported that Curt Young is seeking a grant for $30-40,000 to sell books to libraries. We will need members to make a one-hour presentation at the library on how to write a book. Art is researching this and writing the grant. It will take a while.
Membership – Kathy Parr introduced a new member, Carrie Jones. She has written one children’s book and an inspirational book for all ages.
Program – Danita announced the programs for the coming months: Gayle Curtin will talk about blog writing at our March meeting. In April, Terry Shaw of Howland Hills Press will discuss the publishing industry. He has offered anyone in AGT to contribute to two anthologies coming out this year. One is a collection of ghost stories or legends set in Appalachia. The deadline is March 15. The other is a collection of stories about holiday traditions. That deadline is May 15. Bobbi will speak about Marketing in May.
Training –Sam and Victoria Winifred. Last month we had a great program about our website. The Committee asked for feedback or questions. Let Bill know about your new books and if you want to be on the speaker’s list. Use the logo and website on emails. The membership directory will soon be set up with columns for more efficient printing at home. Use heavier paper so it holds up well. Since we lost advertising money for the directory, it was decided not to print booklets anymore.
Writing Contest – Art and Jerry met with Angela Crabtree who is very committed to this project. The topic for next year is Flash Fiction in which the author must tell a story in a set number of words (250). This is great writing practice. Ernie has been exploring other areas for expanding this outreach. He contacted the principal and 4 assistant principals of Heritage High, but has not yet had a reply.
Contest winners from this year are getting their parents’ permission so we can publish their poems on our website.
Manager of IGA in Townsend is positive about putting bookshelves in his store. It’s very busy during the summer.
Sam Bledsoe was one of the founders of AGT. We want new members to know the other members. He was raised by a single mother in Harlin County, KY. She married a sailor and moved to east Tennessee. In 2011 he and Cheryl were introduced by a mutual friend. They decided to form a writing support group, sharing struggles and victories. Cheryl had just published a book, and so had Sam. They began sharing what they knew and met in the library in Lenoir City. This beginning has now become The Authors Guild.
Cheryl is from Chicago, but retired to Tellico Village. Her mother was an editor for a publishing house. Cheryl met a courier from Oak Ridge who challenged her to write about his job. She took up the challenge and it became Six Minutes to Midnight.
Our special speaker was Delonda Anderson, who spoke about her work as author of Appalachia Bare, an online journal that features creative representations of Appalachia through fiction and nonfiction, art, photography, music, architecture, videos, and reviews.
Delonda is a native of Campbell County, Tennessee, where her family’s roots go back centuries. She is a writer, poet, freelance editor, blogger, and writing consultant.
Writer’s write to live and live to write. Delonda presented her view of Planting a Writer in Appalachia. First you plant the seed: the place. The Root: family. They are influences on a writer. The Sapling: Growth. The stories told by great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. Her father was a Vietnam vet and her mom lived in a coal camp on the TN-KY border. There’s a stigma about poverty in Appalachia. Feeling that stigma, Delonda left for four years and then returned to connect with her roots. Continuing with her metaphor, the Tree: Adulthood and Challenges. She became an Editor, buyer for Barnes & Noble. Maturity: loves the history, good and bad. She wants to highlight a true Appalachian.
This vision began at a James Agee Literary Conference because many hated Appalachia. People from the region don’t know their own history. There is an oral history and if not recorded, it is gone forever. You don’t have to have been born here to be an Appalachian. Appalachian Bare promote contests, articles, music, and literature of all types.
They receive 20-30 submissions a month on a range of topics. Publicity is word of mouth. High school students may submit. There are guidelines for submission are on the website. There is a monetary award for competitions $100, $50, and $25 as well as two honorable mentions. Congratulatory letter and certificates are given out as well. She works with the author on editing, and she’s gentle with high school entries. Contemporary and historical writing is welcome along with music and ballads. She would like more scientific papers. Chapters from a book are acceptable, but keep in mind they prefer 2500 or fewer words. Only books are advertised on the site.
Meeting adjourned at 12:05 p.m. The next meeting will be held March 7, 2024 at the Faith Lutheran Church, beginning at 10:30 a.m. for book exchange.
Leoma Gilley, Secretary