Thursday, June 4, 2015


Hi Folks,

It’s time to report on my two weeks in Texas! I’m a bit late on doing this as when I returned home a bunch of things happened. First, I had to decompress! Still doing that, but almost fully recovered.

And, then, my son-in-law, Ray Robinson notified me that he’s interested a financial group in Louisville to hopefully finance a short version of my novel, THE BITCH, which he hopes to enter at Cannes and Sundance in an effort to interest investors in the full-length version. He’s writing the screenplay now.

I’m also about to begin strategizing the promotion of my screenplay of THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING with Voyage Media and producer John Crye. I’m very excited about the possibilities.

And, I needed to get back up to speed with my brilliant writing class—it’s a true labor of love to be able to work with such a group of extremely talented writers, each of whom are going to end up with publishable novels.

But… Texas was wonderful! And, I get to do it again next year.

First, I flew in to San Antonio a couple of days early, to stay with my good friend, novelist Marjorie Brody. She’d arranged an appearance in her home with her San Antonio Writer’s Group. We had about twenty-five writers appear and I had a fantastic time. Hopefully, we’ll get to do it again next year.

(Photo of Marjorie and me at WRW--taken by Gail Provost)

Then, Marjorie and I went on to the Oblate Renewal Center for the Writer’s Retreat Workshop  with Jason Sitzes and Gail Provost, where Marjorie was a participant and hosted the Early Morning Sessions and I was on the staff.

Marjorie leading a Morning Session.

What a gorgeous place!

Above, the back row at a class and below, presenter Carol Dougherty.

There, I met up again with fellow staffers and old friend Don Maass, and a guy I met in Oklahoma a couple of weeks before and recommended to Jason that he ask him to present at WRW—Richard Thomas, editor for Dark House Press and writer extraordinaire. I was anxious also to meet one of the members of our private online class who was attending—Connie Fulmer. Connie turned out to be as wonderful a person in real life as she is in cyberspace in our class, and I’m so darned proud of her—fellow staffer Carol Dougherty showed a movie and asked everyone to point out the inciting incident and Connie was the only one to nail it. Yes! Connie also had a major breakthrough in her writing while there and is already enrolled in next year’s WRW. It’s a life-altering experience for a great many of those who attend.

Don Maass teaching a class.

Richard was a huge hit with everyone and the more I get to hang with him, the more I know it’s gonna be good times whenever he’s in the vicinity. Just a great literary mind and a terrific person—the kind of guy you want to have beers with.
I also got to meet a young lady I’d met in the class I co-taught via Skype with Jenny Milchman for the New York Writer’s Workshop a couple of years ago, who came up and introduced herself with the name I’d given her in class—Apple. Her real name was Jacqui Wolf and she turned out to be one of my new best friends. Got to hang out with a bunch of new friends and old ones as well. Terrific people and writers such as Alexandra Marbach, Barbara Clarke, Camile Di Maio, Carol Dougherty, Diane LaCombe, Connie Fulmer, Ellan Otero, Joni Hahn, Katrina Stonoff, Larry Brill, Linda Moore, Linda Zimmerman, Lisa Pirc, Macaire Hill, Marilyn Tucker, Marjorie Brody, Mary Bowers, Matt Brock, Michalea Moore, Patty Mayeaux, Rick Bylina, Suanne Shafter and Wondra Chang.

Got to meet and hang out with Matt Brock, one of the presenters and an old friend of Jason’s. Matt teaches at the University of Tennessee and went to school at Ole Miss, where he took classes from and hung out with the likes of Barry Hannah! Man! Doesn’t get any better than that! And, he’s a fantastic writer and was the only other one besides me that smoked so we logged a lot of “bench time.” In fact, Wondra told me she had a visual image of me sitting on the bench outside the rooms, smoking, and that would appear in her novel… Can’t wait… maybe…

Matt Brock giving talks at WRW

Several of us got to go down to the Riverwalk and that’s always a fun time!

Katrina “Hurricane” Stonoff (I gave her the nickname and she was… a hurricane), did what no man or woman has ever done before—embarrassed me by singing to me in the cafeteria… I played it off, but she really did embarrass me. Now she knows… J I have wonderful memories of each and every person!

During the retreat, I rented a car and traveled to Austin for a day on May 16 to deliver my Thelma&Louise presentation to the Writer’s League of Texas  and there were about twenty-five people in attendance—a terrific group! I got to hang out with Rodney Sprott and when we were done, he took me to the oldest bar in the U.S. where they were filming a documentary and we had an adult beverage and really connected.
Giving my Thelma and Louise presentation

After the week at WRW, I got to go home with Jason and his beautiful fiancé, Lisa, to their home in Austin where I got to hang out with them and Lisa’s three terrific kids, 
 (Working with Jack on his batting stance and throwing mechanics)

and then, on Saturday, spent all day with Scott Montgomery at the BookPeople Bookstore as a guest of his and Gale Albright, Vice-President of the Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas chapter, sitting on a panel with fantastic writers Reavis Wortham and George Weir, and then doing a signing. I was totally surprised when one of the participants at WRW, Camille Di Maio, showed up with her husband. Camille has one of the most interesting stories of the century! She’d written a novel based on the Paul McCartney song, Eleanor Rigby, and during a concert she’d attended in San Antonio, McCartney brought her up on stage and read a page from her novel! Just a wonderful person and wonderful writer. Look for her book—it’s gonna be a mega seller when it comes out next year.

George Weir, Reavis Wortham, Scott Montgomery and moi...

After the signing, I got to go out with Scott and George Weir and his wife, Jason and Lisa, and a few other of the attendees for a bite to eat and some adult beverages and they all bit the bullet for me, sitting out in a misty rain so I could do my bit in keeping the tobacco industry flourishing… All I can say is I appreciate it but if anyone develops pneumonia it wasn’t my fault… I have an alibi…

Jason and Lisa took me to some really cool places and I got to eat some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had… since the last time I was in Texas. The weather wasn’t typical. During the two weeks I spent there, I saw the sun a total of about two hours… But, that was a good thing. Last year, it was hot, hot, hot and allergy season was in full bloom and I lost 25 pounds and came home half-dead. This year, I gained weight! (An ounce and a half, at least…)

It was just a wonderful couple of weeks and the best thing is I get to repeat it all next year. Plus, I’d suggested to Jason that he consider asking my hero Joe Lansdale to appear as a presenter and unless something changes, Joe will be there next year! I frickin’ can’t wait!

So much more happened that I just don’t have room to report on. Just an absolutely mind-blowing two weeks. If you can swing it, I’d recommend attending WRW. It’ll change your live. And, if you’re considering it, I wouldn’t wait long—they’re already filling up all the spots for next year.

Hope to see some of y’all there!

Blue skies,

 Jason Sitzes and Camille Di Maio during a class.
The grotto at Oblate Renewal Center
Part of the audience at my T ^ Louise presentation.
More folks in class.


Unknown said...

Hey Les. Well done. Good luck w/ the screen play. It's a winner. Don't forget the corrections. :-)


Les Edgerton said...

I sure won't, D.B. Thank you so much for the "catches!"