July Speaker: Gregory Alexander

Front Cover finalPlease join SOLA for the July meeting on the 18th beginning at 10AM at the east bank branch of the Jefferson Parish Library in Metairie. Our featured speaker is Gregory Alexander, author of The Holy Mark. Hear him discuss “The Holy Mark: The Writing of a New Orleans Catholic Novel.”

A Sinfully Southern Page Turner

“Disturbingly memorable,” is how Publishers Weekly describes Gregory Alexander’s unique debut novel, The Holy Mark. In the book, a disgraced and exiled Catholic priest from a powerful New Orleans family ponders his future and reflects on his twenty-five years in the priesthood.

Father Tony probably should have never been a priest. But there were none in the family, much to the shame of his immigrant Italian grandmother. So at his birth, when the old woman beheld a peculiar mark on his head and declared it to be a sign from God—a “holy mark”—his destiny was set.

Those marked by God, though, are often marked by men as well: Father Tony’s jealous uncle will never forgive him for finding favor with the family matriarch. And with his ties to the city’s Catholic hierarchy, he’ll destroy his nephew if it takes the rest of his life. Meanwhile Father Tony is determined to outwit his uncle and the Church, even if he has to conceal his identity and prowl the streets of New Orleans by night to do it.

Alexander, a lifelong Louisiana resident, has degrees from UNO in Psychology and American Literature, both of which disciplines are prominently displayed in his book. The Holy Mark should appeal to anyone with an interest in Southern fiction, the clergy abuse scandals, Italian-American family dynamics, or just a good old-fashioned revenge story.

The book challenges us to consider how people we dismiss as evil see themselves. By considering one such person’s childhood and development, the overpowering influence of his extended Italian-American family, and the culture of Catholic New Orleans at mid-century, the book presents a psychologically compelling glimpse into the aberrant mind, showing readers that even those we condemn as unworthy of a voice may sometimes have a story worth telling.

The book is available on line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and can be ordered at any bookstore. To learn more about Alexander and the novel, visit Theholymark.com.

May Meeting Reminder Featuring Ursula Whistler

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Join SOLA on Saturday, May 16th at 10AM for our monthly meeting featuring Ursula Whistler.

A few years ago, Ursula Whistler got annoyed at a misunderstanding that happened with a group blog. That anger spurred her to write an erotic romance, which she published. Through some more writing and plenty of support from her colleagues of the Southern Louisiana Romance Writers and RWA, she kept writing contemporary erotic romances mostly set in New Orleans.

Now that she’s moved to Florida, she’s writing and publishing with The Wild Rose Press as she adjusts to beach life and caring for her ailing mother. You won’t hear much about her mother unless you follow her on Facebook or Twitter, but at her website she writes the stories behind the stories and other snapshots of her life.

You can interact with her on her website where she blogs about writing, inspiration for writing, and her oversized Bichon Frise. Ursula will always say that she isn’t bad, she just writes that way.

Creating a Vibrant Newsletter

Social media can take over an author’s life and writing time. To gain an audience in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, you have to interact, but you must also get that butt in the chair with your fingers on the keyboard. I haven’t even mentioned keeping up a website! 

One way to reach readers directly to their inboxes is a newsletter featuring your favorite bits from your writing life, a book you read, etc. But, how to do that! Learn about the multiple platforms available for free and how to fill your newsletter with what readers like to read.

Prospective members may attend two meetings of SOLA before deciding to join. Our meetings are held from 10 am-noon on the third Saturday of every month, except December, at the Jefferson Parish Library Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Avenue in Metairie, LA. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early*.

*Capacity for the Napoleon Room at the library is 45 in the tables-with-chairs seating arrangement. In order to comply with fire safety regulations, members and guests will be turned away when capacity is reached.

April Meeting Reminder Featuring Pat Haggerty

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Please join SOLA on Saturday, April 18th at 10AM for our monthly meeting featuring Pat Haggerty.

After four years in the USMC, Pat Haggerty studied Actuarial Science and Computers at Georgia State University. He has spent the past 17+ years developing and delivering technical training courses for Learning Tree International and also runs a successful consulting practice doing application development for clients ranging from the United State Marines to Delta Airlines.

Eight years ago, while stuck reading a mediocre book in yet another hotel, Pat decided to try his hand at fiction. He may not be published, but these days you are much more likely to find him spending his evenings writing romance than code. Patrick is an active member of RWA, RWAustralia, RWNew Zealand, and is President of GCRWA, and OIRWA.
Workshop:
Writers tend to have a solid working knowledge of word processing. Word, Pages, Word Perfect, whatever the tool, we’ve all spent time hunched over a keyboard trying to get our thoughts down in a usable format for our teachers, editors, friends, or work partners. Word processors are effective at general document creation and formatting, but they tend to fall short when needs turn towards structured long or short form story telling.

Scrivener is the premier application for the creation of novels, novellas, and like works. This workshop will demonstrate ways that Scrivener helps writers in doing everything from planning scenes, to capturing research, to writing scenes, to generating output for critique groups, e-readers, or publishers.

Prospective members may attend two meetings of SOLA before deciding to join. Our meetings are held from 10 am-noon on the third Saturday of every month, except December, at the Jefferson Parish Library Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Avenue in Metairie, LA. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early*.

*Capacity for the Napoleon Room at the library is 45 in the tables-with-chairs seating arrangement. In order to comply with fire safety regulations, members and guests will be turned away when capacity is reached.