Sunday, August 27, 2006

Southern Illinois Writers Conference Saturday, September 9, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Although I tend to be an obsessive rule observer, I have always clung to the belief that rules are made to be broken. One of my personal rules has been to write different posts on my blogs. However, because I think our upcoming fall writers' conference is so important, I am breaking my rule and reproducing here the blog I also write on the Amazon plog. If you read it there, you can skip it here!

Excitement is building for our third Southern Illinois Writers Conference at the Ray Hancock Conference Center at John A. Logan College on Route 13 at Carterville, Illinois.

Two Illinois publishers are scheduled to be there and share with us. What a wonderful opportunity for you to discover what publishers want! And what a bargain! No pre-registration is necessary since lunch is off campus. So come on out and register between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

To compensate for the higher gas prices this year, Southern Illinois Writers Guild is offering this terrific day with information, inspiration, and fellowship with like-minded writers and aspiring writers for only a $l0 registration fee. The morning will feature five break-out sessions with something for everyone to choose from. Keynote presentations by the publishers will be in the afternoon.

Doris Wenzel started her publishing company Mayhaven at Mahomet in 1990 and publishes books for children and adults, fiction and nonfiction. Already a successful writer herself, she has now helped many other writers create books to be proud of. She is the co-author of Ten Sisters and the children’s version of the true story called Ten Little Sisters. A PBS documentary is planned to be aired later this year about these separated siblings. In addition to her writing for newspapers and magazines, Wenzel taught at the University of Illinois, worked as a communication consultant for a financial institution, and won The Richter Fellowship and the Lincoln Academy Award for researching and writing the play Without Discretion about the life of Mary Todd Lincoln. Check her out at

Ray Elliott, former Marine, oilfield roughneck, farmer, high school English and journalism teacher, started his publishing company Tales Press in Urbana in 1998. After a l0-year cultural journalism project in southeastern Illinois about the general store era of the early 20th century, Elliott started Tales Press with the desire to continue preserving history and culture of the Midwest. He publishes both fiction and non-fiction, and he also continues writing his newspaper column, which has been published in central Illinois for over 25 years. The website for Elliott is

In addition to a two-hour workshop by Joanne Blakely, founder and president of the Union County Writers Guild, there will be four other 50-minute sessions to choose from which should guarantee that every would-be writer can find what they are looking for.

Fresh back from the summer in New Mexico, Blakely has written two books, and the second edition of Catfish Are in the Elkhorn (a Whiteside County history) is planned for release next summer. Her workshop will offer hands-on creative expression to help break writer’s block and to enhance writing experience for people of all ability levels and backgrounds.

Michael Meyerhofer, lecturer at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will be sharing with those interested in writing poetry. Meyerhofer, whose poetry has appeared in countless publications and online, won the Liam Rector First Book Award from Briery Creek Press for Leaving Iowa. Since then he has published two chapbooks. He won the Copperhead Poetry Contest from Southeast Missouri University Press, which published Cardboard Urn: Poems in 2005. His second chapbook The Right Madness of Beggars won the Ucceli Press Chapbook Competition. Meyerhofer was nominated for the Pushcart award in 2003.

One of the area’s best known nonfiction writers, Jon Musgrave, will present on self-publishing your book. He will also discuss print-on-demand publishing. Musgrave is the author of recently published Slaves, Salt, Sex, and Mr. Crenshaw and the forthcoming The Bloody Vendetta of Southern Illinois as well as four previous books. A former newspaper reporter, Musgrave is the current editor of SAGA, the quarterly publication of the Genealogical Society of Southern Illinois. His much viewed website is located at

Dixie Terry, another of one of the region’s most published writers not only in local publications but also in many regional and national publications, will present on writing for newspapers and magazines. Her cookbook From My Kitchen Window based on l0 years of food columns for Springhouse is widely used and she is a regional editor for Taste of Home and a columnist for several publications. She writes widely not only on food but on people, community events, antiques, sports, and travel, and she often throws in a bit of humor as she shares remarks about her favorite husband and her active family of children and grandchildren. She also wrote a shrimp cookbook, a book with the history of Goreville and is planning another book of her food columns.

Ruby Jung will be presenting on building your own website on a shoestring. Both a poet and an essayist, Jung’s writings and beautiful photographs appear on her website called Ruby’s Tuesdays. She writes for and has photographs in the annual regional almanac The Waterman and Hill-Traveller’s Companion published by her husband, Jim Jung and on his website. In addition to poems and other writings in numerous publications, she has served as an editor of the Southern Illinois Writers Guild anthology for three years.

The Southern Illinois Writers Conference will end the day with an open mic coffee house.

You may use any parking lot to enter the building and go down to the caferteria turning north going up the hallway past the Terrace Dining Room Annex where the SIWG usually meets. Continue until you come to the conference registration. However, the shortest way to the Ray Hancock Conference Center is to use Parking Lot D on the north side of the building and enter there.

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