Though she always enjoyed telling stories, Leslie Anne Tarabella never envisioned herself becoming a writer. Her journey from blogger to columnist, to book author was more a case of one thing leading to another. During the February meeting, she shared with Pensters and guests how a friend initially suggested she start a blog. After a little research, she decided to go for it, recruiting her teenage son for tech support and choosing a pseudonym.Read More →

“Grandad, when are you going to write a book for kids?” The question, asked by his five-year-old granddaughter, was difficult for Frye Galliard to ignore. As a journalist, he’d written and published for years, but never with this audience in mind.
During the January Pensters meeting, Galliard related how his book “Go South for Freedom” became a reality. Long before the conversation with his granddaughter, he’d passed many Saturday mornings with his own grandfather’s gardener, “helping” in the manner young boys do, riding in the wheelbarrow and leaping the collard greens. Along the way, Robert the yardman had shared stories passed down through generations. One, in particular, had captivated the author for years.Read More →

Just like know your size makes it easier to shop for a new suit, knowing where your writing fits can make it easier to connect with the right agents, publishers and ultimately readers. In the Pensters’ November meeting, guest speaker Linda Busby Parker helped illuminate the lines between literary and commercial fiction. Having published works in both, Parker points to the presence of a major theme as one of the first differences. Read More →

“If you want to be writers, the question is what are you currently writing?” With a voice that evidenced his thirty years spent as a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Jerry Blacklaw encouraged Pensters and guests to continually practice their craft through writing journals, blogs, short stories or even letters to the editor.
Long before he penned the fictional adventures of 10-year-old Uncle Weldon in Hot Coffee Mississippi, the process of preparing sermons for Sunday service taught him how to address two key questions writers face: ‘does it make any sense’ and ‘are people interested in what I have to say?’ Read More →

Humor is a multifaceted tool in the writer’s arsenal. It first offers a point of connection, allowing readers a glimpse behind the curtain, where they find not a polished, published author, but a human being like themselves. In more difficult topics, such as grief, depression or illness, humor can be the hint of levity, the spoonful of sugar transforming the nearly unbearable to tolerable.Read More →

It’s a new season for Pensters! During the September 9th kickoff meeting, members and guests had the opportunity to catch up after a summer spent apart, before getting down to the business of a new year. President John Woods greeted attendees, recapping the upcoming release of the first edition of the Pensters Anthology while looking forward to all this season has to offer. Read More →

Some people teared-up. Some laughed. We all applauded as our members read their outstanding work at the May 11 meeting’s end of season celebration. Much to the delight of the audience, a couple of members successfully tried out the performance reading/reciting techniques taught by Jerri Hardesty, our April speaker. TheRead More →

Jerri Hardesty, award winning poet, publisher and former President of the Alabama State Poetry Society, was the guest speaker at the April 8th meeting of Pensters. Jerri has received more than 1000 poetry awards and has had more than 350 poems published. During her presentation, she discussed ways to inspireRead More →

Many writers desire to see their name in print, but for those willing to stand just outside the spotlight lies the world of ghostwriting. Today the practice can be found everywhere from memoirs to blog posts. During the March meeting, Pensters member and professional ghostwriter Rosanne Gulisano offered her advice to those interested in breaking into the field. Read More →

The intricacies of law can often be confusing. During the February Pensters meeting, guest speaker Mike Odom offered some tips for writers hoping to gain an understanding of copyright law. Odom opened the presentation by displaying a miniature of the Gutenberg press along with a cell phone, citing the long and evolving history associated with securing an author’s claim on their work. Read More →