Critiques, brainstorming sessions, and writing sprints for SOLA members at the July meeting!
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Our July 15th Program:
Hands-On Workshop!

SOLA will sponsor a
critique/brainstorming session.

SOLA members are asked to bring the first page of their WIP, a story idea, or both. We will break into groups for a critique and/or brainstorming session. Word sprint exercises will also be an option. Every member will benefit from the feedback from peers and the chance to help fellow writers. Plus, coffee and pastries will be served!

This Month's Stories

  • Speaker Bio

  • President's Message

  • Meeting Dates

  • Member News

  • Program Report 

  • Market News

  • About Me

  • See links at the bottom to check out our social media pages.
  • Have news for the newsletter? Email the editor at
  • You can contact any of our board members by clicking on their name in the list below.

President's Message

By Vicky McHenry

July is the month of RWA’s Annual Conference, and once again I won’t be there. I’m disappointed to miss this event and determined to make next year’s conference in Denver, Colorado. This year Susan Wiggs will be giving the keynote address; Sherrilyn Kenyon and Aly Carter will host the Golden Heart and RITA awards ceremonies. President-Elect Pamela Kopfler will represent SOLA at the conference, including attendance at the Chapter Leadership Breakfast and will report back to us with all the juicy details.
Two Saturdays ago, SOLA co-sponsored the Third Annual Mystery Writers Conference with the newly formed SinC: New Orleans. SOLA had a fine turnout. Chris Smith put together a slate of five local authors and experts, each one better than the next. And I’m always amazed at how everyone in New Orleans is connected one way or another.
Our own Erica Spindler opened the conference and inspired us all. Nobody does it better than Erica. If and when SOLA puts together its own Hall of Fame, Erica will be the first one on it.
Former U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone beguiled us with the depth of his extraordinary knowledge of local history. I could’ve listened to him all day. Sal used to be a former member of SOLA, and I wish he’d come back.
Former policeman Jeff Blue gave us a blow-by-blow lesson on the rules of High Speed Chases with some hair-raising stories along the way. Jeff now has his own law practice, and I’m sure does very well.
My personal favorite, Jon McCarty, author of “Hard Rolls,” shared his eye-popping experiences as a paramedic on the streets of the Big Easy. He spoke enthusiastically of his partner, Sean Cerny, a man he described as broad as he is long. The next day I bumped into Sean at a nearby PJ’s (I recognized him from the book). I think I made his day.
Finally. Bill Loehfelm, creator of the Maureen Coughlin crime series, delivered a Master Class for Authors that focused on pacing, including specific, pragmatic tips on how to keep your prose from dragging down your story. The next day, I encountered Bill at a yoga class at Wild Lotus. Turns out his wife is A.C. Lambeth, one of my favorite yoga teachers.
I love New Orleans!
Write on, my friends!

Board Members

We're all volunteers, and there is always room for more help. Consider joining the Programs Committee or helping out with Fundraising. 


Other Important Positions

Click on a name to email that member.
2017 Programs

July 15 – Hands-On Workshop

August 19 – Angela Quarles- Deep POV

September 16 – Kishan Paul- Character Development

October 21 – Sheryl Hames Torres- Putting on Your Big Girl Panties and Writing Even Through Adversity
SOLA Anthology Contest
Last Call for Entries!
SOLA’s mission is to support its members’ pursuit of their passion for writing by offering programs on the craft, publishing and marketing, and by providing opportunities to write and share their work.  This year SOLA is sponsoring a contest that will give writers the opportunity to submit a short story for inclusion in a Mardi Gras-themed Anthology. We will select the best-qualified stories and compile them into an anthology, which we will publish, and market to the public.
Eligibility:  Open to all writers, published and unpublished; not limited to members of the Romance Writers of America or SOLA.  Only original and unpublished work will be accepted.
Fee:  $20.00  payable via the SOLA PayPal button on its website or by check to the SOLA treasurer, Ann Cantrell, 9012 Camille Ct., River Ridge, LA 70123.  Entry fees and proceeds for the sale of the Anthology will be dedicated towards contest expenses and the continued funding of high quality programming for SOLA members.
Open Date for Submissions: May 1, 2017.
Deadline for Submission:  July 31, 2017.
Theme:  All genres are accepted, but all stories must have a Mardi Gras in New Orleans theme and also must have a romantic element in the story.  Submissions without the required theme or romantic element will not be considered and will be returned.
Editing:  Entrants are strongly encouraged to have their entries edited. SOLA will not edit stories selected for inclusion in the Anthology.
Judging:  A panel of SOLA members and other writers with extensive writing experience will select submissions to be included in the Anthology based upon subjective criteria including quality, category, overall fit with other stories selected, and consistency with the theme. No feedback will be provided, except that judges may encourage particular entrants to submit the story for another volume of a future Anthology.
Winners: Winning entries will be announced no later than July 31, 2017on SOLA’s website:
Agreement:   Writers whose submissions are accepted for publications in the Anthology will be required to agree to certain terms and conditions. Authors will retain copyright of their work. SOLA reserves the exclusive right to publish the story first in the anthology, in both E-Book and print, world wide in English. Winners will also be required to agree that any and all proceeds, including the submission fees and all fees derived from sales of the Anthology shall go exclusively to SOLA. Winners shall further be required to submit a short bio and photo to be included in the Anthology, and that their name and likeness may be used for promotional purposes for SOLA and this Anthology. Submission of a short story in the contest will be deemed acceptance by the author of these terms and conditions. Winners may also be required to sign a written contract embodying these terms and conditions.
Format for Short Story Submission:
  • Don’t include any personal information on your manuscript, either in a header or on the first page or within the body of the short story text. Your name, address, phone number and email address should appear in a separate cover sheet along with the manuscript.
  • The first page of your manuscript should include the title of your story (centered). 
  • Include the word count in top right hand corner of first page.  
  • Include a top header in top right corner of each page (except the first) with abbreviated title (no more than three or four words), category, and page number.
  • Use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman font.  
  • Indent new paragraphs and each new section of dialogue.
  • Double space with no extra space between paragraphs.
  • Use one inch margins all around.
  • Indent your paragraphs (like a book). Do not use line breaks (like a blog).
  • Indicate scene breaks by inserting a new line and using the hashtag sign (“#”) centered in the middle of that line
To submit, visit our website.

Member News

Pamela Kopfler will present a program titled "Gold to Sold" at the RWA National Conference alongside three other Golden Heart finalists and her agent.

Also, book two of Pamela's B&B Spirits & Mysteries series will launch in summer of 2018.

The title is Downright Dead, and it will be published by Kensington Books. 
Jan Lugenbuhl contributes as a community news writer for the
St. Tammany section of the Times-Picayune.

She's been writing regularly for the paper since late March and is enjoying attending the various events, conducting interviews, taking photos, and then seeing it all reach fruition.

Dawn Chartier engages with the community at two separate events, a conference and book signing, on July 15th.
She will first appear as a guest speaker at the Berries, Bridges, and Books Writers Conference in Ponchatoula at 10:00 am. See more details on the conference in Market News section.
She will then participate in the Bourbon Book Bash book signing in the afternoon.

Market News


The Creative Minds Writers of Ponchatoula will be hosting the Berries, Bridges, and Book Writers Conference on Saturday, July 15 from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Click here for more information.

Check out the article from CBS titled "Bookstores Holding Their Own Against Digital Onslaught."

About Me:
Charlotte Parker

1. Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was raised on an onion farm in upstate New York, thirteen miles outside of Woodstock. I left home at sixteen and ran off for the big city and bright lights. But that's another story in itself.

2. Do you have a day job or other responsibilities that compete for your writing time? If so, how do you carve out time for writing?
I've been retired since 1996. The only thing that keeps me from writing is my own insecurities, a hubby who expects dinner every night, and the Internet. 

3. What sub-genre is your current Work in Progress? How far along are you?
My currant WIP is a contemporary end of the world series with romantic elements. I think I'm about three chapters away from ending the first draft of the first book, Fatal Visions. But I have the plot boards completed for the next six books. 

4. How many books have you (1) written (2) published?
I've written nine books and published three novels: Fugue Macabre Ghost Dance, Fugue Macabre Bone Dance, Misty Dreams. I'm included in a anthology, Southern Comfort, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

5. Name your 3 favorite books or authors.
That's a hard one. Authors: My favorites would be Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, and Erica Spindler. Others would be newcomers Sheryl Hames Tores and Ava Vixion. And SOLA'S Farrah Rochon and Cheryl Rogers would be on my keepers shelf. 
Favorite romance: A Knight in Shinning Armour.

6. What would be your dream come true? 
My dream has become a broken record, I'm afraid. I want to move back north. I miss four seasons, the changing colors of the leaves, and the smell just before a snow.

7. What is your favorite thing to do (aside from reading and writing!)
I love painting, crocheting, and needlework.

8. What do you like best about SOLA?
The people. The willingness of each member to help the other and to cheer each other on. It feels a bit like having a second family.

9. What specific programs or speakers would you like to see SOLA sponsor?
I think SOLA does a great job at signing speakers to come enlighten and entertain us. I can't come up with thoughts on new programs at the moment, but I'm sure you know, you'll know when I do.

Want to be featured? Answer these questions and send them to me at
  1. Where were you born and where do you live now?
  2. Do you have a day job or other responsibilities that compete for your writing time? If so, how do you carve out time for writing?
  3. What sub-genre is your current Work in Progress? How far along are you?
  4. How many books have you (1) written (2) published?
  5. Name your 3 favorite books or authors.
  6. What would be your dream come true?
  7. What is your favorite thing to do (aside from reading and writing!)
  8. What do you like best about SOLA?
  9.  What specific programs or speakers would you like to see SOLA sponsor?
2017 Meeting Dates

Jan 21 - Chris Smith: The Library – A Writer's Natural Ally

Feb 18 - Cherie Claire - A New Frontier: Electronic Publishing for the Digital Age

Mar 18 - Erica Spindler - 25 Years, 35 Books, A Writer's Tale

Apr 15 - Liah Penn- Win-Win: How Entering Contests Can Improve Your Writing and Increase Your Marketability

May 20 - Deborah Burst- Using Photography to Drive Inspiration, Character and Sense of Place

June 24 - Third Annual Mystery Writers Conference (sponsored by SOLA and SinC)


July 15 - Hands on workshop

Aug 19 - Angela Quarles- Deep POV

Sept 16 - Kishan Paul- Character Development
Oct 21 - Sheryl Hames Torres- Putting on Your Big Girl Panties and Writing Even Through Adversity

Nov 18 - 
Dec: no meeting

Join SOLA Writer Yahoo Group For Up-To-Date News


“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” —George Singleton
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