3 Reasons Writers Should Love WBHM

Sponsor Spotlight: Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM

My love for Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM is no secret. This year on Valentines’ Day I posted an open love letter to Birmingham’s NPR station right here on this blog. 

And when WBHM volunteered to be a July sponsor for See Jane Write Birmingham and See Jane Write Magazine, I began to appreciate the station’s dedication to support its community even more. 

But there are reasons that you, women writers of Birmingham, should love our local NPR station too. 

1. At Thursday’s See Jane Write Magazine launch party WBHM is giving away two 15-oz. glasses that feature a custom, public radio-inspired “Listen & Be Transported” painting by local artist Bethanne Hill. 

2. NPR features so many author interviews there’s a whole page dedicated to them on the NPR website. WBHM marketing manager Audrey Atkins, who is also a writer and blogger, said, “Personally, I learn a lot from hearing about other authors’ creative processes, what drives them, what inspires them, why they wrote what they wrote, how they wrote what they wrote, how long it took them, their frustrations, their victories.”

3. With its Crime in the City series NPR focused on one piece of the writing process — location — and created an entire series based on it.  Crime in the City focuses on different cities that were used as the setting for a detective novel. This summertime series is sure to get you mystery writers inspired.

Why do you love public radio?

Five Steps to Saving the World

Sponsor Spotlight: Kuumba Community Art

Deidre Clark, founder of Kuumba Community Art

One of the things I love most about organizing See Jane Write programs and events is working with such wonderful women. Many, if not most, of the women who participate in See Jane Write activities are also busy working on doing something to improve Birmingham. Case in point — Deidre Clark is not only a writer but also a photographer and visual artist who is using her artistic talents to better Birmingham’s Ensley neighborhood. 

Deidre is the founder of Kuumba Community Arta program based in the Ensley neighborhood that seeks to increase art awareness and appreciation by teaching children how to express themselves through photography and art.

Below Deidre offers advice for those of you considering starting a community program of your own. 

1. Count the cost. “Be sure you’ve considered the assets and liabilities before beginning,” Deidre says. “Try to get as much of your idea out of your head and on paper so you can see exactly what you’re in for.”

2. Get help. “Consider partnering with a community recreation center, a local nursing home/assisted living facility or school,” Deidre recommends. “You may also consider researching if there is already a group of people with your talent that have the same heart. If so, link up with them. If not, blaze the trail!” Deidre also recommends recruiting a team to help you with your project. “It’ll make things easier for you and your chances for burnout will decrease.”
3. Get the word out. “Connect with your neighborhood association and tell as many people as will listen about what you want to do. Intrinsic to this is knowing what you want to do, what problem or issue you wish to address and what you hope to accomplish. Create a mission and vision statement. It will guide your efforts and keep you from getting off track.”

4. Be willing to take risks. “You may have to make some cold calls, request meetings with people you’ve never met, but if you are blazing a trail this is important,” Deidre says. 

5. Be committed.  “If you’re not sure you can be consistent don’t do it,” Deidre says, frankly. “Consider supporting an organization that may be doing what you want to do or something close to it. You’ll begin some great relationships as you seek to begin your work and a lack of commitment can undermine those relationships.”

Liza Elliott of Red Camel Press

Sponsor Spotlight: Red Camel Press

Liza Elliott 1
Liza Elliott of Red Camel Press
You could say that author Liza Elliott thinks like a rock star.
“Just like a musician can set up their own production company to write, produce, and sell their music, I thought, why not authors,” Elliott says. And two years ago she started Red Camel Press, a small publishing house based in Birmingham, Ala.
“Movie stars set up their own production companies to write, direct, and star in, too,” Elliot says. “Since the technology has developed where writers can use print-on-demand printing and/or  electronic book formats, it seemed worth a try.”
Elliott says she had already had a positive experience being published by an independent press, HOPE Publishing House, and this further encouraged her to start Red Camel Press.
“Working with a small press means there are less layers of bureaucracy,” Elliott says.  “The writer works with one or two persons at most and all contracts and details are done via email and is very straightforward.”
The first book published by Red Camel Press was Elliott’s mystery novel, 30-A Supper Club.  “This was the book Red Camel Press used to learn the trade,” she says.
The second was a coffee table book by John Lonergan, an artist from Pell City, Ala.  John Lonergan Painter is biographical and features images of Lonergan’s paintings. This fall Red Camel Press will publish a cookbook that coincides with 30-A Supper Club.
Red Camel Press has plans to publish a number of other titles in the future including works of fiction, non-fiction, and more picture books.
Red Camel Press is not a vanity press.  Authors must send queries and Elliott makes it clear that only works with excellent writing, good character development, and interesting plots are considered.
“Because it is so small, very few books are selected because there has to be a ready market for the story,” Elliott explains.  “For a writer whose work is chosen, in addition to publication, they will get a press packet in electronic format they can use for marketing and an initial press release to relevant media.”
Writers working with Red Camel Press will be responsible for doing the bulk of their own marketing, but Elliott says that’s the case with nearly any publishing company.
“Large publishing companies do very little marketing of books of new authors. They concentrate on their big, best selling authors, or celebrity authors,” she says.  “Small presses simply don’t have the budget to do marketing. So authors must engage in this. The only way to sell books is to do marketing.”

Visit RedCamelPress.com to learn more.

Win a Designed By Didi statement necklace at our upcoming magazine launch party

Sponsor Spotlight: Designed by Didi

Darlene Robinson Millender has been such a great supporter of See Jane Write Birmingham and she’s showing her love for See Jane Write Magazine too.

Darlene is a writer and a crafty lady. You may know her for her blog The Birmingham Buff or perhaps seen her byline in local publications as she is a freelance journalist. But Darlene is also a jewelry designer.

Darlene’s jewelry line Designed by Didiis one of our July sponsors and Darlene will be giving away one of her statement necklaces to one lucky winner at our magazine launch party. Bring your business card to enter. Click here to RSVP for the party.

When I asked Darlene about her crafts she said:

For me, crafting jewelry is therapeutic, quite calming. Writing, on the other hand, is a more fiery pursuit.  I am passionate about both. As Maya Angelou says, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” I’m thankful that I am a creator.

See Jane Move at Inspire Fitness

Sponsor Spotlight: Inspire Fitness

Gabe Rios will make you love Spinning!

On Friday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. we’ll be having our next See Jane Move event. We’re taking a group Spinning class at Inspire Fitness, one of our sponsors for July.

If you’ve caught cycling fever watching the Tour de France, then this class will be perfect for you.

But maybe you’ve never attended a Spinning class because you’ve found them intimidating. Or maybe you prefer dance-based aerobics classes and you think spin will be boring. Well, I’m here to let you know that neither will be the case, especially with spin instructor Gabe Rios at the helm.

Gabe Rios is one of the co-owners of Inspire Fitness and is the scheduled instructor for next Friday’s class. Sure, most spin instructors play music during their classes but Gabe kicks this up a notch with music videos. Also, for Gabe the music videos aren’t just background noise. Whether we’re simulating jumps or climbing a hill, you can bet we’ll be moving to the beat.

So here’s what you can expect if you join us for class on July 19.

You’ll walk into the studio and Gabe will greet you warmly like you’ve come by his house for coffee. But you’ll look around and start to feel a bit uneasy because the other students have fancy cycling shoes. Don’t worry. The Nike, New Balance, or Saucony sneaks you’re wearing are just fine.

Then you’ll see people adjusting the seat and handle bars of the bike, which you have no idea how to do. Don’t freak out. Gabe or someone else on the Inspire Fitness team will help you get set up. Just be sure to arrive early. Also, remember to bring a towel and water.

Class begins.

The beauty of Spinning is that it’s a workout you can really make your own. You can make it as easy or as hard as you want with a simple twist of a knob. Turn it right to increase the resistance (which is the equivalent of making the imaginary hill you’re climbing steeper) or turn to the left if you need to make your ride less challenging. You can also change the intensity of your workout with your speed. And during some parts of the ride we’ll be in a standing position on the pedals and sometimes we’ll be seated (or “in the saddle” as the Spinning nerds call it).

Depending on the type of ride Gabe has planned for the evening, you may do sprints (during which you pedal as fast as you can) and hill climbs (during which you add as much resistance as you can). Gabe also loves jumps — that’s when you move from a seated to a standing position on your bike over and over. I won’t lie to you, this move is tough. But I have to say it’s my favorite. With Gabe’s music pumping I feel like I’m dancing with my bike and so I don’t care about my breathlessness or the sweat dripping from my nose.

Gabe is open to song requests, so if you have any leave them in the comments section of the post. But honestly, Gabe has a way of making you love any song he plays because he gets so into the music. Yes, he will sing along and don’t be surprised if at some point he takes his hands off his handlebars and starts dancing. (Don’t you try this. Remember, ladies, he’s a professional.)

Also don’t be surprised if Gabe plays your favorite 90s grunge song or your favorite hip-hop track from college or that he actually knows the words to that “Bad Boys” song.

From Mark Anthony to Macklemore, Pitbull to Prince, and Janet Jackson to Justin Timberlake, Gabe’s playlist is extensive. Beyonce or Shakira may make an appearance on the screen also to give you some extra motivation as you covet their toned physiques.

When the class is over you will have burned hundreds of calories and your clothes will be drenched, but you’ll feel like you just left a party.

Join us Friday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. for Spinning with Gabe Rios at Inspire Fitness.  Arrive around 5:15 p.m. so you can set up your bike and be sure to bring water and a towel. You do need to pre-register for the class and spaces fill up fast. To sign up, visit InspireFitnessBirmingham.com and scroll through the schedule to find the special #SeeJaneWrite class. Drop-in classes are normally $15 but Gabe is offering us $5 discount. Just use the code seejanemove when you register.