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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day and regional writers

cj sez: Today is Flag Day . . . SA – LUTE ! Remember to thank a veteran ... you know, those people who bravely defend this flag and the freedoms it stands for.

The first weekend in June, I joined three Mobile, AL, writers and about 200 others from various parts of the South attending the Southern Christian Writers Conference. The (very) reasonably priced conference was a two-day event packed to the gills with workshops, prolifically published authors, editors, publishers, and great information. The attendees were people who write in almost every genre with an emphasis on Christian principals. I gathered in tidbits from Karen Moore of Hallmark Cards and during another workshop, learned that writing for trade magazines requires familiarity with the upside-down pyramid of AP style (which I know from my journalism years). I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The more I learn about the different aspects of the writing world, the better I am able to portray my characters.

However, I will never be a “regional writer.” Not by choice, but by happenstance. Born in Texas, raised in Michigan, and now living on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, I don’t have the years of experience in any particular region to claim the title of regional writer.

The following excerpt is from regional writer Judy Alter who specializes in her familiarity with Texas.

. . . “setting a book in a particular region (doesn’t) make a writer regional. It’s essential that the author absorb the setting so that rather than obviously telling, such things as geography, culture, food, and manners flow naturally. Otherwise, the background looks like those fake sets in so many grade B westerns.” 

From my Facebook
Now that I live in Mobile, I know a slew of proud-to-be-Old-South-regional writers. I’ll never be that good. Writing things Southern is its own genre. There’s a humor and a dialogue cadence that is peculiar (and I mean that in the nicest way) to the South, just as there is to Texas and Texans. While I can't be called "regional," I am a native Texan and almost every story I've written has included a character from Texas.

I think it's easier to write the truth when we write the characters and places we know best. In my latest and soon-to-be-released romantic suspense, the setting is Dinosaur National Monument and the Yampa River that runs through it. The protagonist is from Texas, and yes, I once did a five-day, Outward Bound, white-water rafting trip on the Yampa. (What was I thinking?)

Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

DEADLY STAR (Publisher: Crimson Romance)   (B&  (
TODAY'S NOTES:  The SCWC happens every year in June . . . watch for it at

Judy Alter’s “Deception in Strange Places” can be found on Amazon at

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