Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wow! Writers4Higher One-year Anniversary post.

Welcome to Writers4Higher!

     Here I am, starting year two as the host for the Writers4Higher blog. (I do look a bit like Piggy the muse cat at this point.) Thank you to all of the authors that have taken time from their busy lives to share a bit about themselves. And to all of you readers that make the blog a success.
    I never imagined when I started this blog, how many delightful, talented people I’d have to opportunity to know a tad better.
    Writers don’t feel comfortable crowing about themselves. While we can dole out drama and pathos, murder and mayhem, and sweet sultry love, the marketing part of this business often defies us. But how will others know us if we don’t squawk a bit? As my funny Southern mother often said, “It’s okay to toot your own horn, just don’t crank up the whole band.”
    So many folks toil behind the scenes, giving back through their writing, charitable contributions, and just plain everyday goodness. This crosses political, social, and religious boundaries, to a place of common humanity.
Writers answer “a calling.” Most live other lives, yet still manage to cull precious time to hunker down and create. Hours poring over dialog, characters, plot lines, pacing and syntax, not to mention the constant editing and revisions. All, to make sense of life, touch others, and communicate.
    This writing life should not focus solely on competition. No! The perception of lack creates more of the same. What if, instead of scrabbling for a foothold by stepping over fallen comrades, we help each other? Applaud success, high-five the book contract, or be the first to bring the Ben and Jerry’s with two huge spoons when that rejection letter or email arrives.
    Plenty to go around. No need for a constant literary dogfight. These days, opportunity shines from myriad sources.
    This is the spirit behind Writers4Higher. As a fellow author, I understand those dark places where defeat and self-doubt lurk. I also grasp the joy of that perfect moment when it all comes together.
   As for me, I continue to learn. Will I crow here? Nope. This place is my means to help others sharing the same path. Visit my website—it is the place where I had to crow.
    My best to all of you!

    Rhett DeVane

I recently heard back from several of the W4H family. What are those crazy kids up to now? Here are a few:

Donna Meredith: Her thriller pitting hydrologist Summer Cassidy against a corrupt CEO, “Between a Rock and a Wet Place”, is ready for submission. She’s working on the second in the series, “Fraccidental Death.” 

Malcolm Campbell: He’s been busy as ever. Here are some of his projects: Short story: “How the Snake Bird Learned to Dry It’s Feathers” – appeared in Quail Bell Magazine – inspired by the Anhingas perched around Wakulla Springs 2013.  Emily’s Stories: Fantasy e-book collection of three short stories – “Map Maker” (Tallahassee setting), “Sweetbay Magnolia” (St. Marks setting), “High Country Painter” (Glacier Park setting) 2013.  Moonlight and Ghosts: Paranormal e-book short story set in Tallahassee 2012.  Cora’s Crossing: Paranormal e-book short story set at Marianna’s Bellamy Bridge 2012. The Seeker: Magical realism/fantasy novel coming out this spring 2013.

Doug Alderson: Since my interview on Writer4Higher, I have a new book out, The Great Florida Seminole Trail, published by Pineapple Press. The book is a guide from north Florida to south Florida of Seminole Indian historic and cultural sites that reads a bit like a travelogue. The book evolved from my friendship with Seminole families over the years, having helped organize the Tallahassee Museum's Native American Festival for several years and by my 30-year involvement with a Muscogee Creek ceremonial grounds in which Seminole families sometimes visited. People say to write what you know, but I try to write what I want to know, so the book was an excuse to dive more deeply into Seminole history and culture. I'm also working on finishing a novelette I started fifteen years ago and I hope to wrap that together with some short stories for a collection. I always have a project going to help keep my mind and imagination active.

Pat MacEnulty: I am working on a screenplay based on my memoir. The working title of the screenplay is "Hindemith's Darling." I'm also one of the workshop leaders at the Sun Magazine Writers Retreat at Wildacres in April.

Julie Cantrell: I’m excited to tell you I am wrapping up final edits for the sequel to Into the Free. The second book, When Mountains Move, will be released September, 2013 and will continue the story of Millie Reynolds as she navigates the next phase of her life. I enjoyed seeing where her journey takes her, and I hope readers will join her as she heads to the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Olivia deBelle Byrd: I am still actively selling Miss Hildreth Wore Brown-Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. Because of your recommendation, it is at My Favorite Books in Tallahassee.

Marina Brown: Well, the novel, Land Without Mirrors, continues to do well. I am speaking before book clubs and doing signings and have only five-star ratings from Amazon, even receiving notes from readers in Germany and South America! This year I will bring out a collection of stories, Walking Alone Together, from my years as a hospice nurse, inspired by amazing people who, in their last weeks and even hours, experienced growth, joy, and sometimes the only true epiphanies of their lives. I am working on two new novels. One, set in Italy... near the town of Pitigliano. It is a place where la malocchia, the evil eye, still impacts people's lives.The other novel is set in Rhett's southern soil: Houston, Mississippi, in this case. The story of a 50-something divorcee, still a sexy babe, who's accomplished a lot in becoming a bank manager, and who has decided to go back and rebuild the little place in the woods where she and her mother once lived. Other than that, I continue to write for several nationally distributed design magazines and freelance for newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat. I'm still playing cello with the Big Bend Community Orchestra and dancing flamenco with Fuego Flamenco and tango with the Tallahassee Tango Society.

Ginny Stibolt: My second book "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida" has been released and I'm in the middle of a whirlwind three-month book tour with 32 events, both speaking engagements and garden fests.

Susan Malone:  Hey Girlfriend, Amazing it's been a year!!! And yes--new book out for me!  “What's Wrong with My Family?  And How to Live Your Best Life Anyway,” by me and my bro. We've been having a ball promoting it.  What fun!

Mary Kane: I just completed my final draft of a screenplay based on “Southern Justice.”  What an interesting new challenge it was to convey a story through dialogue and limited action description.  Without narrative and my opportunities for smart-mouth commentary, it sure was a challenge.  Now I'm working on my next book.  It involves the same groovy set of characters.  This time the case is an environmental class action.

Adrian Fogelin: What's new with me? Last year's title, "Summer on the Moon," has been getting some good traction. It won the silver medal in the Florida Book Awards and has been selected as an honor book for the Society of School Librarians International Book Awards. I just completed the next book in the "Neighborhood Series." The title is "Seven," and it involves a kid with a magic hat, an abandoned garage in the woods, and a mysterious missing uncle. My next book will be a late life romance suggested by my agent as a good topic. I don't think he bargained for how old my characters are going to be. Let's just say they're in a nursing home. No words have hit paper yet, but they're filling my brain and are about to spill. In addition to my own work, I continue to edit novels as part of my "book coach" service. I'm having a great time visiting and dinking with the fictional worlds created by other authors.

Bob McKnight pens a popular political blog and is an ABC TV commentator on political happenings in Florida. Senator McKnight's Blog

Tricia Booker continues to spread laughter and joy with her blog about motherhood, life, and lunacy in the Sunshine State.

Gale Massey works hard at her craft. Every time I see her on Facebook, that woman is attending a workshop or retreat. She’s also had success with her newspaper articles.

Tim Dorsey’s latest novel “Riptide Ultraglide” has been released. As usual, Tim has all kinds of craziness going on—a Serge Storms Cruise set for March of 2014, and now Serge’s Glades Jamboree has been slated as an annual event, end of October.

Shelagh Watkins continues her success with Mandinam Press, in the UK.

Anne Petty released her new novel “The Cornerstone” recently. We hold Anne in our thoughts and prayers as she faces her latest challenges. Love to you, Anne!

M.R. Street has a new book, “The Werewolf’s Daughter”. She’s busy with signings and promotion.

Chuck Sambuchino continues to speak and teach and also pens a wonderful blog for writers. This man is a whirlwind!

Barbara Kiger is preparing for the release of her next novel.

The others? They're in a mad whirl--doing the work of writing.
My best to all of you, my Writers4Higher family!
Rhett DeVane

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Writers4Higher features Debora Coty

Welcome to Writers4Higher

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

This issue, Writers4Higher features

Debora Coty

Hi, Debora. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


  1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I’m a late bloomer as far as writing goes. At the age of 45, when my youngest chick was about to fly the coop, I was sitting in a dentist office one day praying about what Papa God had in store for me. Even after 25 years as an orthopedic occupational therapist and 20 years teaching piano, I knew there was something else I was supposed to be doing, but I had no idea what. I reached down, picked up a magazine, and randomly flipped it open to an ad for a writing contest. A lightbulb flashed on inside my head. I heard that beloved still, small voice whisper that it was time to follow my childhood dream of writing for His glory.
Since that time almost ten years ago, I’ve been blessed with over 120 articles published in international magazines, newspapers, and trade journals, and book number twelve just released in February.
I consider myself the poster child for “It’s never too late to follow the dreams the Lord places in your heart.”  If He wills it, He fulfills it, regardless of the obstacles.
Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate is the newest release in my “Take On Life” series. Like the award-winning Too Blessed to Be Stressed, and More Beauty, Less Beast released previously in the series, F3 (as I affectionately nickname it) has been described as truth gift-wrapped in humor. All three deal with issues with which many women struggle on a daily basis: stress, self-control, and fear.
My writing style is conversational and witty. I enter into a woman’s heart through the back door where we sit at the kitchen table, kick off our shoes, sip our lattes, and get real with one another. Walls come down, excuses melt, and lives are changed as we join hands and tackle this faith-life together.  
My goal with Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate is to help women find comfort, healing, power, and peace through our struggles with the often paralyzing and debilitating fears that prevent us from fulfilling Papa God’s purpose for our lives.
Within the pages, I share lots of scripture application and real-life stories, along with practical tools for confronting and disabling our personal fear monsters. Because tolerating our fear monsters only makes them growl louder. At the end of each chapter, I’ve included a discussion question section called, “More Pluck, Less Chicken,” which enables the book to be used in Bible Study groups as well as on an individual basis.

  1. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Well, I never saw it taking me here, so that’s a tough one to answer. I plan to keep walking through the doors Papa God opens, crawl through the windows, and will excitedly look forward to each new twist in the road He has forged for me.

  1. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I have been enjoying an unforeseen speaking ministry for the past five years (I've spoken to more than 150 groups), and keep in touch with many women I’ve met personally or online who need a friend in faith for encouragement and spiritual growth.
Having promised Papa God that I’d always be open to helping others like me who were called to a writing ministry but hadn’t a clue where to begin, I mentor aspiring writers and hold free writing workshops. I also teach at writing conferences and retreats, and co-founded the annual Florida Inspirational Writers Retreat.
A dedicated children’s ministry worker for the past 35 years, I’m currently “The Bible Story Lady” to nearly one hundred preschoolers at my church. I love it because I get to wear a crazy flower-covered hat, sing goofy songs, and dance every Sunday – the perfect job for a closet boogieholic!
I also enjoy developing relationships with new friends through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blogs (one personal and one for aspiring writers) which can all be accessed through my website, There are also reviews, book excerpts, and some wonderfully fun 2-Minute Stress Buster videos there that will brighten up your day. 

Would you like to find Debora?

Check out the links to this talented author:


Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist

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