Thursday, July 26, 2018

I survuived English 352: Modern World Literature

I am so excited to say that I survived taking English 352: Modern World Literature. It was a super tough class, but I earned an A, and I am one class closer to graduating. I'm excited.

This summer's class consisted of us reading from three different anthology: one from Latin America, one from the Caribbean, and one from India. The first two books were translated into English. The book from India, some were translated stories, and others were written in English originally.

The least interesting book was the one from India, and that is the one I was most interested in reading before the class started. But I made it through the class, and I earned my A. Yippee skippee dippee...

Three weeks before fall starts and I can't wait. Class is with my favorite teacher - Dr. Richard Louth.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

2018 Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference

Hello! I attended the 2018 Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference put on by the Creative Minds Writer's Group of Ponchatoula. Ponchatoula is in Louisiana and southeast of Hammond, LA - the home of Southeastern Louisiana University. This was the 9th annual writer's conference they have put on and the first one I've attended.

CMWG had two categories: one in poetry and the other was a page-turner. I don't do poetry, so I entered the page-turner. I won 2nd place. You can read my entry below, and I hope you enjoy it. 

                     Dahlia’s Challenge
Dahlia used her key to call the elevator in D. Vickers Hall. The young English professor’s summer vacation had been ruined by Professor Jones when he broke both legs skiing. Her time should be spent in Aruba with her cousin Geoffrey or in the deserts of Colorado digging for dinosaur bones. Instead, her summer was on hold. Nothing exciting is going to happen this summer, and if it does, it will be somewhere far away from me.
The elevator ride was short but long. Her ride jerked to a stop, the door opened as quickly as frozen molasses running uphill, and Dahlia stepped out into the glare of florescent lighting. It was the week before summer classes started and the hallway was empty. There was an uneasy quietness about the place, it felt like a long forgotten tomb.
As she made her way to the tiny office she had occupied for the last four years, it took her less than ten steps. A rush of cold air escaped the small space when she opened the creaky door, (why is it cold) along with a foul odor. As her eyes adjusted to the dimness of the room, she noticed someone had placed a piece of thick, black fabric over her window. She shielded her eyes before she flipped on the light. When she stepped further into her office, she released a loud, ear piercing scream.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Richard Paul Evans and The Calliope Writers' conference

Angie Fenimore's (she can be reached on Facebook), The Calliope Writers' Conference is today, tomorrow, and Sunday. I am participating by internet, because I couldn't make it to Utah.

Today's special guest was Richard Paul Evans (RPE). He talked about his writing process, writing in general, and about several of his books. Then he took questions. And even though I was watching the conference via internet, I was still able to ask him a question about my Historical Romance. His response was he loved the genre of Historical Romance. yeah...

During his talk he said something that I found very interesting. He said, "Imagination is more important than circumstances." I find this to be very true. If you don't have an imagination, how do you expect to write fiction?

There was a 13 year old in attendance of the conference, and RPE told him it was good to get started early. He was very good at encouraging the young budding writer.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Creative Minds Writer's Group of Ponchatoula

Greetings on this fine Sunday morning.

June third will be the 9th annual writing conference, 2018 Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference, presented by the Creative Minds Writer's Group of Ponchatoula. It will be held Saturday, June 23rd. This is an all day conference, with a writing contest (if you sign up for the conference before June 1st), a nice catered lunch, and a chance to learn more about writing.

If you are interested in the conference, please click on the link above, explore their website, and then join into the fun. I will be in attendance this year. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Southeastern Louisiana University just finished its spring semester. I took English 395: American Literature I. One day in class our teacher gave us the title of an Emily Dickinson poem, it was Because I Could Not Stop for Death. None of us had heard/read the poem before, so she decided we would each use the title/first line of the poem and write our own. We were to write what came to mind.

Dr. Christine Mitchell was our teacher, and I thought hers was very funny, so I am posting it here today. She has given me permission to post the poem. I have written it exactly how she had done it in class. So read below and enjoy.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death
By Dr. Christine Mitchell

Because I could not stop for death
I went along my way,
Picking daisies, wearing hats,
And loving every day.
I strove to spend at least a year
With loved ones near & far,
When Death peeked out his ugly head
I hit him w/my car.
I spent my time in foreign lands
I ate chocolate till I burst
I paid no heed to Death’s commands –
I’ll have my living 1st.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The League of Utah Writers' Annual Writing Contest

Hello Everyone,

I just submitted my creative non-fiction short story for the League of Utah Writers' Annual Writing Contest. I'm so excited.

Last year I entered in the New Writer division, and I won second place. This year I hope I do as well, if not better. It would be so exciting to win two years in a row.

For any information on the League of  Utah Writers, go here: LEAGUE of UTAH WRITERS. The league has been around since 1935. Stop by and take a gander.

The annual convention is in August this year, with the awards banquet afterwards. I hope to be in attendance this year.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Great News Abounds

Hello Everyone

I have some really great news to share with everyone.

1  -  Several weeks ago I was accepted into Sigma Tau Delta, which is the international English Honor Society. It is for English Majors only.

2  -  Last night I was awarded second place at the League of Utah Writers' annual convention banquet for my creative nonfiction piece called, What an Adventure We Had. It is in the non-paid category. By that I mean, I haven't been paid for any of my writing before.

Now I am looking for a publisher.

I'm really excited and can't wait to see what is up ahead for my writing.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Front and Center

In Fall 2015 I took English 372 Creative Writing: Fiction at Southeastern Louisiana University with Dr. Richard Louth. It was my first class taken after I decided to get a BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. It shares top billing in the classes I've taken so far, with the other one also taught by Dr. Louth.

For the final that semester we could bring our laptops because there would be a writing portion. I brought mine. I had found out during class that I don't write as quickly as I thought I did nor as quickly as I used to. So bringing the laptop helped me greatly. We are only allowed two (2) hours for the final.

The writing portion of the final consisted of a picture with a few pieces of information given by Dr. Louth. It was a head shot of a blonde woman and a brunette man. The information given was they were both attorneys, they were at a wedding reception, and her name was Sharon and his name was Mark. We concentrated on dialog for a large portion of the class and this was a dialog test. We had to give each person three (3) pieces of dialog.

Because I had my laptop I was able to write quickly, and therefore more than what I would have done with just a piece of paper and pencil. I wrote a piece of flash fiction.

Then, in Fall 2016, I decided to edit it and submit it to the Manchac Review. The Manchac Review is the literary magazine for Southeastern Louisiana University. It was accepted, and the magazine has finally been printed. I get to pick up my copies on Monday. Yippee...

Now that it has been published, all of the rights revert back to me and I am free to publish it on my blog. Here it is below. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave me a comment on what you think of the story.

Thank you...

Front and Center
by Brenda Birch Gallaher

Sharon’s smile was fake and she knew it. She was so sick of attending wedding after wedding after wedding, and it was never her turn. Here she was, forty years old, and never married. In her twenties and earlier thirties she was always in the bridal party. Now she was just an invited guest, but it was her own fault. As an attorney she worked seventy hours a week and had just been made a partner in her law firm. She was quite sure the job just wasn’t worth it anymore.
“Okay,” Leslie, the bride, said. “Everyone get together in front of the water fountain. I want one big shot of everyone.” People slowly gathered in front of the water fountain; mostly in couples.
Really, when will it be my turn? Although it was a beautiful July afternoon with soft willowy white clouds passing overhead with a light breeze, Sharon groaned in her head. She kept the fake smile plastered on her face.
At six foot tall, Sharon always stood in the back of any group photo. For once, she would love to stand in the front. In every group photo she had ever had been in, showed only her face or face and shoulders. She moved to the back of the group. A man taller than she was joined her.
He extended his hand. “Hi, I’m Mark. I’m the groom’s cousin.”
Sharon’s hand fit nicely into Mark’s. This was unusual because she had large hands. “I’m Sharon. The bride is my first cousin, once removed.”
Not only was Sharon tall, but to Mark she looked like a Greek goddess, with her light blonde hair and pale blue eyes. Sharon was the opposite of Mark.  He had dark brown hair, deep blue eyes and a dimple in his right cheek.
“I’m glad to know there is someone to stand with at the back of the group,” Mark said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being the tallest person and having to be in the back all the time. For once, I’d like to stand in the front, or even sit on the ground in the front.”
Sharon’s mouth gaped open. Did I just hear him correctly? Was there another person who hated standing in the back, like a forgotten broken toy? She gulped. “I know exactly what you mean. Ever since seventh grade I’ve had to stand in the back. It’s like I’m being punished for my genetics.”
Mark’s laugh was so loud, everyone at the wedding turned to look at him. He and Sharon ignored the others. “That’s exactly what I said to my father. His response was to tell me to grow up.”
“Did you tell him that that’s what the problem was? You had already grown up above everyone else’s height.”
“Yes. -- He grounded me for a week for being smart.”
A laugh escaped Sharon. She liked this man. “I guess I should tell you what I do for a living before we go too far. A lot of people are turned off by it.”
“You’re a pole dancer at the local strip club?” He bounced on his heels and smiled with only the left side of his mouth. He dug his hands deep into his pants’ pockets.
Sharon’s smile dropped and her eyebrows tried to reach each other. Then his smile broadened, and it made her think of an elf about to cause mischief. She gasped anyway. “Uh, no. I’m an attorney. I work 60-80 hours a week, and I just made partner.”
Mark threw his head back this time when he let out his loud roaring laugh. It made Sharon’s smile return. “I’m an attorney, too. I run my own one-man firm helping the less fortunate.”
“So you rarely do anything spontaneously?” Sharon sighed.
“On the contrary. One time, I suddenly had four days off, and I hopped the next open seat to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the best trip ever.”
“I haven’t done anything that spontaneous. The best I could do was skipping school to go shopping.”
Before she could say anything, Mark grabbed her hand, pulled her around the group of people gathering for the picture and pulled her down on the grass in front of everyone. Her frilly dress flew up as she went down, but she didn’t bother to straighten it. “Here we will sit and be front and center,” he said as the impish smile returned.
Leslie gasped. She bent over and patted her cousin on the head. Sharon looked up. “What are you two doing? You need to be at the back of the group.” Leslie’s eyes were wide.
Sharon sat up a little straighter, “We’re tired of being relegated to the back of pictures because of how tall we are. For a change, we will be in the front of the group picture.”
“Everyone look at me please!” The photographer made his final adjustments on his camera.
“Never mind,” Robin, the groom said. He took his bride by her hand. “Let them sit there.” He pulled his new wife to his side and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“I’m going to count to three, so everyone get ready,” the photographer said.
Sharon and Mark looked at each other, put their heads close to one another, and smiled big for the camera.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Spring Semester is over

Relaxation time. Spring semester is over. I took one class this semester and I earned an A.

My class was English 370 which is life writing and autobiography. We wrote two pieces of flash fiction and one short story in class. All stories had to be real - they actually had to take place. Some of them were really boring, so if they really did happen, that is sad. Really really sad.

With that said, I loved the class. It was very informative and interesting. The best part of the class was the behavior of the other students. It has given me so many snippets of behavior that I can use in my fiction. Especially the poor behavior of some of the girls. The rudeness, the "I'm better than everyone else" attitude, and I'm smarter than the teacher attitude. I won't use any names, but one girl, was all of the above. She alone has given me plenty of awful behavior for my fiction writing.

Then there are the ones there who really wanted to learn something, to better their writing, and was willing to admit they didn't know everything.

One guy was so full of himself. He was so pretentious. He used 10-20 letter words to let people know how smart he was. Just rude.

But the semester was well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I am now finished with my creative writing concentration classes. I had 8 to choose from, and I had to do 4 of them. Now it is the classes that everyone is required to take. It will be a nice summer break from taking English classes.