Our annual Holiday Dinner was held at the beautiful Woman’s Club of Nashville on Hillsboro Road on December 7. Approximately 24 of our members enjoyed a delicious dinner of chicken, green beans, and sweet potatoes, followed by a scrumptious piece of fudge pie with peppermint ice cream. Most importantly, we had time to fellowship and get to know each other better. At one table, there were members originally from Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, and one native Nashvillian. Two ladies from western Kentucky discovered that they were from small towns just a few miles apart in the same small county!
Our speaker was Melissa Spradlin, Executive Director of Book‘em, who spoke to us about childhood literacy and what the organization is doing in Nashville to promote reading in schools and other organizations across the Metro area. There are many volunteer opportunities to help with this important mission. For information on the organization and how to donate or volunteer, you can click here.
Many thanks to Erin Cox and Barbie Chadwick for organizing a lovely evening. And thanks to Libby Simons for the time she took to wrap a gift of a book for each one of us. What a nice surprise!
Do you have any special holiday memories that you would like to share? Kathleen, our president, suggested that we might have a Holiday Memories column on our website. So, if you want to write about some of yours, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publish them! Not the same as HarperCollins, but...
January event at Parnassus Books
While we will not be having a regular meeting in January, we do want to support an author event at Parnassus Books on January 3, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. Aime Alley Card, a former Nashvillian and a member of WNBA Boston Chapter, will be here to promote her new book, The Tigerbelles: Olympic Legends from Tennessee State, in discussion with award-winning journalist Dwight Lewis. The event is free, but registration is required because space is limited. You can register here. Let's give Aime a big Nashville welcome home and support her and her new book.
Notes from our President
GREETINGS TO ALL!
The fall is such a busy time with the kickoff to Southern Festival at Parnassus, booth participation at Southern Festival and the holiday dinner. It is a dizzying time but a joyful one as well.
I am very pleased to announce that Jennifer Sellers has accepted the role as Coffee With Authors chair for 2024, Libby Simons will take over in 2024 for booth management at Southern Festival of Books and Lynda Jamison will assume responsibility for programs beginning in January 2024. We are fortunate to have three talented individuals to volunteer for these positions. I am thrilled and know they will do an excellent job.
My sincere thanks to Genetta Adair (chair for Coffee With Authors), Allison Stewart (Southern Festival booth) and Erin Cox (Program Chair). Their generosity of time and their willingness to make the venues a success is much appreciated.
Allison Stewart worked with us to showcase six of our members who are authors at the Southern Festival of Books. This was a first for WNBA to allocate booth space to authors. My thanks to participating authors Susan Paisley, Mary Bess Dunn, Ren Snider, Hope Cummiskey, Bonnie Blaylock and Elizabeth Katie. Our authors/members generated a lot of interest in the WNBA booth at Southern Festival.
I was thrilled that many of our new members were able to join us on November 2 at Dalts. We gained 14 new members from Southern Festival of Books. It was also good to see the new members together with long time members like Kay Tyler, Martha and Roger Bishop, Etta Wilson and Joanne Slaughter at the meeting. It brings me such joy. Thank you.
Programs in 2024 will be interesting and I hope you will be able to join us.
All the best,
WNBA Nashville member Melissa Collings is a newly published author who has written the following essay in order to share her experience with us. Congratulations, Melissa!
Getting a book published is a roller-coaster journey, a wild ride with ups and downs that has the writer questioning why they willingly strapped themselves in. When I decided I wanted to publish a book, I was oblivious to the amount of work it would take. Regardless of whether an author seeks self-publishing, traditional, or somewhere in between, there are many steps they must take, before their precious word-baby is in the hands of readers.
I decided to pursue traditional publishing, which meant I needed an agent, a literary professional who could approach traditional publishing houses on my behalf. So, I began “querying,” reaching out to agents with my book’s premise and my own credentials in hopes they’d want to take me on as a client. However, there’s a correct way to do this, and in the beginning, I hadn’t properly educated myself on the process. So, I experienced a lot of rejection.
However, even when an author perfects their process, as I went on to do, a journey to publication still comes with rejection for many reasons. No one wants to be told “no.” It’s painful, and each rejection seemed to elevate my doubt, and I began questioning my own abilities and talent.
But writing had become a part of me. New ideas and thoughts shot up from inside and bloomed like flowers that couldn’t be ignored. So instead of letting the rejections control me, I reframed them, and started seeing each one as an opportunity for growth, something I could apply to my career to make me better. That attitude helped, but I still had my lows.
But when you really want something, you have to go after it with dogged persistence. And it takes work. I was willing to put in the work, and I’d had enough encouragement that I felt like it was a worthy endeavor. And I loved writing!
I kept at it, and eventually, I found an agent in New York who loved my book and wanted to represent me. I felt rejuvenated, like I was finally getting somewhere. Having an agent was a game-changer. It was no longer me pushing my book, but us, and at that point, it was mostly her as she approached editors at publishing houses, and I waited with bated breath. This was another long process that I hadn’t expected. Everyone in the publishing industry has a stack of materials to get through and mine went into those large piles.
As time marched on, doubt started to creep in again. However, this time, I had a champion. My agent believed in my book and me and stayed persistent.
I firmly believe it’s all in the right timing, which wasn’t my timing at all. Because after months of waiting, we found an editor/publisher who loved my book so much she had me sign a deal that pulled it away from all others who were reading and considering it. With that kind of love for my book, my agent and I knew we’d found the right home and champion.
I was ecstatic, absolutely and completely, throwing up prayers of thanks and filled with gratitude. This win hadn’t come easily and had completely humbled me. I wish it had been easier, but looking back over the whole process, I learned so much. It shaped me as a person, a mentor, and an author. As odd as it sounds, I appreciate the struggles because the victory is that much sweeter.
Now, my romantic women’s fiction novel will be available to readers in the summer of 2024, all because I kept taking steps forward.
To readers and writers, if there’s something you want in your heart—no matter the category—don’t ignore it. Most people won’t stay the course because it’s incredibly difficult and challenging. But success comes with perseverance, and the journey’s made easier when you surround yourself with people who will encourage you when you want to give up. That’s where a tribe of ladies like the WNBA is beneficial, a support system I am now so thankful to be a part of. I look forward to what’s ahead.
Our November program was held on Thursday, November 2, at Dalts American Grill. Over 30 members enjoyed a delicious dinner and some fun fellowship, followed by a program featuring historical fiction writers Alana White, Joy Jordan-Lake, and Bonnie Blaylock with moderator Lynette Ingram. The three authors answered Lynette's probing questions about character development, research, and other aspects of writing fiction set in the past.
Bonnie is the author of Light to the Hills, a novel about a packhorse librarian in Kentucky in the 1930's. Joy has written several historical fiction books, including Under a Gilded Moon and A Bend of Light. Alana is the author of the Guid'Antonio Vespucci Mystery series, set in Italy in the 15th century.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them and see captions.
Don't forget to check out our Member News page regularly. Our members are doing great things and have great tips for you! If you have anything you would like to add, complete our contact form. Member news can be about anything that you want to share, your retirement, a promotion at work, your latest publication, your appearances, or a work in progress. News of current members only will be published. Our members are awesome!
January 20, 2024
For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus.
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
All book discussions are currently being held on Zoom.
Join us for some conversation!
Would you like to have a chance to socialize with your fellow members of WNBA without leaving home or having to fight Nashville traffic? At 7:00 pm on the third Thursday of February, April, June, August, October, and December, you can do just that! That is when we have our Literary Society meetings where we share books that we've been reading. But we also talk about life and get to know each other a little bit better. Join us for some online fellowship! You should receive an email with the Zoom link early in the week, but if you don't, let us know through the contact form on this site and we will send it to you.
Our next Literary Society meeting is December 21 at 7:00 p.m.
"I look forward to hearing everyone talk enthusiastically about the books they're reading, and what they most enjoyed. It's always a nice variety. My "books to read" list has grown every time we chat over Zoom." -- Tori Ross
Great Group Reads
Every year a committee of WNBA members from around the country work together to select WNBA Great Group Reads. Here is the list for 2023. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Did you know that...
WNBA Nashville published a cookbook in 1982 entitled The Literary Allusions Cookbook. In addition to recipes, the cookbook includes 8 essays. The essays are titled:
Cookbooks As Literature: Notes from a Collector
Delicious Delights in Food and Murder
The Food of Love….And Horror
Food and Cooking in Feminist Literature
British Tea: More Than Just Something to Drink
Tidbits From Children’s Literature
Thin is Beautiful: Food in Adolescent Literature
Thanks to longtime member Etta Wilson for passing this book along to our president Kathleen Dietz who wanted to share this with you!
WNBA Loves Books!
We write them, we publish them, we sell them, we teach children and adults to read and appreciate them, we loan them, we borrow them, we give them, we read them, we listen to them, and we share them with friends.
All events, with the exception of the annual Christmas dinner and the Garden Party, are free and open to the public. For more information, or to request a Zoom code, contact email@example.com
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