Thursday, October 24, 2013

Almost time for PiBoIdMo!

Looking forward to harvesting a new crop of ideas and sharing with other excited writers!

Learn more at

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another wonderful contest hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill

  For this contest, writers must create a 100-word story using the words black cat, spooky and cackle.  Here's my entry:


One Lonely Halloween  (100 words)

By Deborah Holt Williams

     A lonely black cat wandered through the spooky woods.   A small voice said, “Ouch! You’re stepping on me!”   “I’m sorry!” said the cat.  “Is anything broken?”  “One leg,” said the spider.  “Help me!”  The cat lowered her tail. “Climb aboard,” she said. They rested at a house where a pumpkin glowed on the porch.  Then they heard a cackle.

    “I was lonely tonight,” said a friendly witch.  “But now I have visitors.  Come in!”  She put a tiny piece of black tape around the spider’s broken leg.  Three new friends told stories by a cozy fire.  Halloween wasn’t lonely anymore.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A group of serious poets

I love this group shot from the poetry workshop, and so glad that Kathleen Hayes, High Five and Hello editor, had joined us for lunch that day!  She's in the front row, grey pants, in front of me.  One of my favorite people ever!

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Retreat at the Highlights Barn--Nourishing and Inspiring!

   This will be a loooong post because my time at the Highlights Barn was so wonderful!  I attended David L. Harrison's Poetry for the Delight of It workshop, and got to see my dear friend Kathy Doherty again.  We met at Chautauqua in 2011 and have kept in contact like sisters ever since.  (She even shares my sister's name, Kathleen!)
Here we are in front of my cozy little cabin.  Here's a look at the cabins with the trees behind--the woods got more colorful every day we were there.
   Backing up a bit, I flew from Grand Junction to Denver and there at DIA I met the other Coloradan on the roster--Linda Baie,  What a lovely person!  She brought a poem for each of the conferees. (Mine was called "Ristras" because she knew I love New Mexico!)  So thoughtful. Here she is at one of our campfires, with Tom Ohl.

    I arrived Sunday evening, Sept. 29th.  Pam, the driver who picked me up at the Newark airport, had been visiting her son in Jamestown CO when the floods hit, and she and her husband had to be helicoptered out!  We had a great visit--she married her high school sweetheart and they had kids and now they're both retired travel all over the country but Honesdale will always be home.  Nice to meet a person who is totally happy with life.
    Monday, Kathy arrived!  She was one of several women from the Chicago area, and was good friends with Heidi Bee Roemer.  We all took the tour of the Highlights office in Honesdale, in this beautiful old home.

        Here's a picture of the Chicago Five--Heidi Bee Roemer, Pat Fowler, Linda Dryfhout, Julie Stiegemeyer, and Kathy Doherty.
Then we moved on up to Kathleen Hayes' office--she's the editor of High Five and Hello.  She had just received the box of the latest issue of Hello, and she showed it to us.  There were three of us that had poems in that issue!  Here we are feeling like rock stars with Kathleen.
Next we moved on to the Highlights editor's spotless desk.  Joelle Dujardin showed us the current issue which featured Kathy's rebus, and she pulled out last month's issue which featured mine!  Kathy did the queen wave as we left the room.  What an amazing day!

   Back at the Barn, we had dinner and then toasted marshmallows dipped in different flavored liqueurs.  Great idea, Matt! Here he is soaking marshmallows in Grand Marnier for Pat and Michelle.

Tuesday I went to 6:30 am yoga, and took a walk to the building that was once the Boyds Mills country store and Post Office.  Tucker, the resident dog, just seemed to know I needed a dog snuggle.  He sat on my feet, so I sat down and we had such a good petting and tummy rubbing time.  Look at his smile!
One of the cool things about the former store was their copy of the original,  first issue of Highlights from 1946!  Very different, included Bible verses, quotes from the Declaration of Independence, etc.  all in black and white.

I guess I should mention that we really did discuss poetry!  I saw this more as a retreat than a class, but it was very beneficial to have David review the poems we'd sent in.  I'd added one that had been rejected by Boyds Mills last year, but it turned out to be his favorite!  He wrote "Bingo!  If this isn't published, it soon will be.  Lots to work with here. An artist will go wild with this."  He gave me a suggestion to add to it a little bit, so I revised while sitting outside on the patio with the woods all around--so lovely.   Here's David getting ready for his big solo!  He looks a little nervous here, but most of the time he was smiling and laughing.  Delightful, talented man, and he gave us all copies of his book, Pirates!

  The Skype visit from Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis was very good.  Boy, do I have a lot to learn about poetic forms!  Fortunately, David gave us a great handout.  Took a relaxing, yet energizing walk in the woods.

The evenings were so much fun--appetizers and wine on the patio, dinner, and then poems performed around the fire.  At night, my wonderful neighbor Karen Eastland and I took a flashlight walk down past the former store to a farm where she'd heard a rooster that morning.  So fun to be out walking in the dark! This is Karen chatting with Chef Joseph.  She was on meds that made her light-sensitive, so she wore dark glasses and a hat during the day.
   Wednesday I checked my e-mail to find a contract from Highlights!  They are purchasing my little rhyme "Glue" for High Five.  One of the reasons I justified coming to this workshop was that I was celebrating ten sales to Highlights, and here comes number eleven!  Kathleen Hayes joined us for lunch.  What a difficult health journey she's been on, getting shingles.  (Note to self--get the shot!)  Glad she was there for the group photo. 
     Kathy and I took a walk, and at night, sweet Cory Corrado joined Karen and me for another nighttime flashlight adventure!  Here's Cory with Kathy.

    The Skype visit with Renee LaTulippe was super.  What a delightful woman she is!  On Thursday, Marileta Robinson came to visit.  She was the editor at Highlights when I first started submitting, and she rejected everything I sent, but often added an encouraging note.  Those notes kept me going!  It was fun to meet her, and thank her, and share my happy news about another sale.  Heidi calls us the "Three Amigos" and we had our picture snapped with her.

   Rebecca Davis of WordSong, the poetry arm of Boyds Mills Press, came to talk to us about submitting poetry.  I talked to her about my poem that David liked, and she said to send it in to her attention. Connections like these are why I think Highlights conferences are such a great investment.
    So hard to say goodbye to everyone!  I keep going through my photos and remembering all the terrific and talented people I met there.  And it was so wonderful to reconnect with my dear writing buddy, Kathy Doherty.

Good friends, good poetry, good food, good weather--I will remember it always!