Indy Writers Group

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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Founded in 2004 by Kate Chaplin, the Indy Writers’ Group is a supportive community of published and pre-published writers of all genres. IWG offers workshops, signings, and bi-monthly meetings for critique and support. IWG is a diverse group with strengths in various areas, such as self-publishing, e-publishing, small presses, freelance writing, technical writing, editing, etc. Within the network of in person events and online you’ll find a community of writers with various backgrounds and experiences that understand the pitfalls and success that plague writers today. Our group can be found Here on Yahoo Groups

Monday, September 29, 2008

IWG Member Wins Big at the INDY Awards!!!

After losing by one vote at last year’s INDY Awards, filmmaker Kate Chaplin, returned with the powerful human-rights inspired film entitled First They Came for… and found herself on stage accepting the Audience Choice.

Kate Chaplin started the Indy Writers' Group in 2004 and is proud to say that the rough draft of First They Came for went through the critique process and came out better for it.

Chaplin said, "The encouragement of IWG members and their gifts for storytelling are
 invalueable. I love each and everyone of them for helping me become a stronger writer with each project I take on. I couldn't have won this pretty award with out them."

To view Kate Chaplin's film "First They Came for" on You Tube click play:

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Call for Submission - Nerdvana

Call for Submissions – Nerdvana
Edited by Fred Towers
Published by Starbooks Press
Submission Deadline: November 8, 2008
Scheduled: tentatively for Fall 2009
Payment: 1 contributor copy and $ 50 for 4001–7000 words or $ 25 for 2500–4000 words

Calling all gay geeks, nerds, dorks, dweebs, or other teased social misfit!

I want to hear about how the social misfits, brainiacs, and comic book/superhero obsessed geeks get it on. I want fiction that shows brains can be sexy. Do the men hook up at a scifi con? Does a role playing game gain a twist? What happens in the back room of the comic book store? Does the reading club turn into an orgy? Do the computer geeks get hot and bothered in the wiring closet? Are brains sexier than brawn? Show me.


Stories should be between 2500-7000 words in length. Email me if your story is longer or shorter.
Stories should have fully developed characters and plots.
Stories should be gay male erotica. All other genres welcomed.
Name, pseudonym if used, address, phone number, word count, and email should appear on first page.
Each page should double-spaced and include your name, title, and page number.
Include short bio (25-50 words) with story.
“Nerdvana submission” should be in the subject line of the email.

Email me at fredtowers at yahoo dot com with the story or any questions you have.

Fred Towers has published stories in Bearotica, Muscle Worshipers, Flesh to Flesh, and Ultimate Gay Erotica 2008. Forthcoming stories are coming in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2009 and Fairy Tales Do Come True.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Critique Corner - Sandi

IWG Member Sandi needs your help! 

Critique Corner a new addition to the IWG Blog. From time to time we'll post a story in need of critique. Post your feedback here on the blog under "comments." Please do us a service and leave comments that are helpful and proffessional to the writer. 


The Music Box Princess

Once upon a time in a land of golden rolling hills and plains lush with grain, a woman by the name of Evelyn ruled the Kingdom of Cavatina with a gentle hand and a sweet disposition.

Evelyn loved to sing.  In the evenings with her business concluded, happy notes of jubilation would flow from her ruby red lips as she sang her songs.  “The world is a magical place, full of wonder and delight.  Love holds the key to harmony.”  Long hair the color of the morning sunshine flowed about her shoulders as she danced.   Her eyes sparkled like unclouded emeralds as she flitted about her room. 

When the autumn rains began to fall, there was a visitor to Cavatina.  His name was Gavin, and he was king of the neighboring lands as well as a powerful wizard.  “I have heard that your voice is like an angel.  I demand you sing for me!”

“I must refuse.”  Her slim fingers worried the braided cord at her waist.  “I only sing for people I love.”  Gavin lingered at the castle.

 “Sing for me or I will take you prisoner.”  A sneer contorted his black bearded face. 

 “I can not.”

True to his word, Gavin grew angry and spirited Evelyn off to his black castle.  He ignored the cries of the princess and locked her in the tallest tower as punishment. 

 As the red and brown leaves fell from the trees, Princess Evelyn befriended a royal servant.  She looked forward to his brief visits, if only to see a smiling face among so many cheerless soldiers.  “Thank you for the persimmon trifle.  It’s one of my favorite desserts.”  Her full lips parted with her grin when the tips of the servant’s pointy ears turned pink.

 “It was no trouble, princess.  I merely described the color of your lips to the cook, and he made the sweet.”  He bowed then departed the tower on silent feet.

 Another day, Evelyn exclaimed in delight at the tender vegetables nestled on her plate.  “Thank you for this welcome break from beef.”  She accepted the dish from a slit in the bottom of the door that was only big enough for a meal to pass through.

The servant’s lips lifted in a tiny smile.  “I gathered them from my own garden.”

Each day the servant brought something new and different to the imprisoned princess.  When the final leaf fell from the last black and naked tree, King Gavin paid the princess a visit.

 “I am not a cold-hearted man.  I will set you free if you sing for me in the Great Hall.”

Evelyn averted her eyes from his portly frame.  “Truly, I must refuse.  I would rather be a prisoner than sing in such a loveless place.”

 “As you wish, princess.”  King Gavin stormed from the tower, his black velvet robes trailing behind him on the cold flagstones.

When next the servant visited, Evelyn was ready.  “Please, I know you to have a kind heart.  Will you open this tower door?”

 “I can but try, princess.”  When he placed his fingers on the iron lock of her door, sparks showered through the air and he pulled his hands back in shock.  “It is enchanted, milady.  It will not open.”  His shoulders slumped with defeat as he left her alone.

The next day Evelyn tried again.  “We mustn’t give up.  Will you please try to open the door?” 

The servant’s sigh seemed to come from the tips of his brown boots.  “As you wish.”  When he approached the lock the second time, it glowed red with heat.  “Alas, princess, it is too hot for me to touch.”

 “You tried, and that’s all I can ask of you.”  As she bowed her head, the long curtain of golden hairs hid her face.  “Since we cannot open the door, could you plead with the king to release me?”  Her lily-white fingers clenched the bars on the door and her chin trembled with emotion.

  The servant bowed and swept a green hat from his chestnut curls.  “Since you have been good to me, I will do as you ask.”

  A smile of hope touched her lips.  “What is your name?”

  “I am called Alex.”  His heart beat frantically in his chest as he waited for her to speak.

 “If you are successful in your mission, I will reward you with anything you desire.”

  “The only thing I desire is your happiness, my lady.”  Alex’s heart was sad as her green eyes sparkled with tears.  “I will do my best to please you.”

Evelyn nodded.  “Be swift in your task.”

 Alex brought a reply the next morning, hidden under her porridge bowl.  “King Gavin will only release you if you sing for him every night as he takes his dinner.”

 “Then I will remain a prisoner.  My voice shall not be heard by one so foul.”  She paced about the tower room, her russet robes whispering along the stones.

  His fingers pleated the brim of his hat.  “Shall I give the King your answer?” 


 Alex stomach churned with hopelessness as he scurried from the tower.

   The next morning, with an entourage of knights and flag bearers, King Gavin climbed the ninety-nine steps to the princess’s tower.  “After all of your refusals, I have changed my mind. I will let you go.”  A leer slithered over his beefy face as he exchanged glances with his knights.

 “That is wonderful news!”  Evelyn clapped her hands with joy.

King Gavin held up a hand for silence.  “I will release you if you promise to marry me.  Once you are my wife, you cannot refuse to sing for me.”

 Evelyn’s gasp echoed in the sudden quiet of the tower.  “I would rather die alone than marry such an evil person.”

 “Then it shall be as you wish.  Winter is coming and you will keep a cold sentence.”

 Hiding in the shadows, Alex’s thoughts swirled in his head as he kept a quiet vigil in the hall.  There must be a way to solve this problem!

 Winter’s first snows covered the land as the days passed.  Evelyn gazed at the sparkling white vistas from her window and cried.  How could she possibly break the spell of the enchanted door?  She needed a miracle.

 Alex watched the Princess with a heavy heart.  “Princess?  I have brought you a gift to take your mind off your suffering.”  When she approached the door, Alex frowned to see her swollen eyes and the red blotches that marred the ivory perfection of her face.

  “What is it?”  Her green eyes lit with excitement as she slid the fabric bundle between the cold iron bars.  “How wonderful.”  When the rough fabric fell away, a music box was revealed.  Made of carved oak and polished to a fine shine, it fastened with a silver latch that caught the faint light.  “Thank you.”

 Alex bowed, pleased at the admiration in her voice.  “It is my pleasure.  I fashioned the box myself and chose the tune.  The delicate song reminds me of your voice.” 

 “You must accept this token.  I have nothing else.”  She snipped a lock of her hair with her sewing scissors and passed the offering through the bars on the door.  “I am truly in your debt.”

 “It is I that carries the balance, milady.”  Nonetheless, Alex was pleased as he slipped through the chilly halls.

  Every morning the sweet, elfin notes from the music box tinkled down from her window and could be heard by the people of the kingdom as they went about their work. 

 Winter continued its harsh and relentless conquest of the land, but the people could take no more of the sad melody.  The music seemed to say, “Please, send someone to set me free.”  They petitioned the king with tears and offerings and asked him to let their princess go. 

   Again and again he refused.  The princess belonged to him and nothing could change that.

 Finally, the last of the snows melted.  When tender young grasses and colorful budding flowers cropped up in the kingdom, the wizard king appeared in public again.

  As the royal crier declared King Gavin’s twenty-fifth birthday, the people of the kingdom assembled outside the castle walls.  “I grow weary of being alone.  Today I will marry Princess Evelyn!”  He flexed his hands around the hilt of his sword and turned to his favorite knight.  “And tomorrow, I’ll kill the servant.”   Gavin observed the servant and decided there was something extremely troubling about him.  “Prepare the chapel for the ceremony this instant!”

 The people gasped, Alex sighed with dejection, and the princess cried, “I don’t love you!”

  King Gavin laughed wickedly.  “And I don’t love you, but who needs love?  I’m the king, and you’ll do as I say!”

 The people yelled and brandished pitchforks and torches.  “She belongs to the people!” they cried.  “Let her be free.”

  “However, a new thought has occurred to me.”  The smile that curled about Gavin’s lips had nothing to do with mirth.  “Instead of wedding your fair princess, I will challenge Evelyn with three tasks.  Each day will have its own job.  She must complete each task by the stroke of midnight of the fading day.  If she fails, I will sentence her to live in her precious music box, and she can dance to her haunting melody forever!”

  Darkness gripped the hearts of the people.  Whatever could they do? 

  The next morning, King Gavin announced the first of the three tasks.  “I have had all of the blueberries in the kingdom gathered and placed in the tower.  If Princess Evelyn cannot turn the berries into sapphires by midnight, she will become the music box princess.”

    Alex presented the task to Princess Evelyn with her breakfast.  “I’m very sorry, Princess.”

  “Oh, Alex, how shall I ever complete this impossible job?”

  Indecision gripped Alex.  On the one hand, if he opened the door to help the princess, King Gavin would kill him instantly.  On the other hand, how could the princess finish the task without the support of his magic?  Excitement made his blue eyes glow as he thought of the perfect solution.  “I will visit you after nightfall, when the guard changes.  Do nothing until then.”

Princess Evelyn watched the servant quickly disappear down the corridor.  What if Gavin captured Alex?  Would the music box be her home tonight?  Afraid and alone, Princess Evelyn sat among the many crates of blueberries and waited.

When the light of the moon came through the tower window, Princess Evelyn heard a quiet scratching in the hall.  When she appeared at the door, she put her hand through the cold iron bars.  “Alex, is it you?” she whispered.

“Yes.”  He shoved his hand through the window on the door and dropped a tiny golden key into her palm.  “You must be swift.  There are only four hours to midnight.”

Evelyn peeked through the dim light to look upon Alex’s face.  “What should I do?”

 “You must put the fruit in the music box.  Turn the key twice then look inside.”

 The princess complied. 

  “I can only fit three berries in at once time.”  Her wail was pitiful in the cold tower.

 “Fear not, princess.  Persistence will pay off.”

Evelyn turned the key with shaking fingers.  When she opened the lid, she gasped and retrieved three twinkling, dark blue jewels.  “Look, Alex!  It’s wonderful!”  She held them up, so he could see them through the door. 

His heart lifted to see the dark gems nestled on her white palm.  “Hope springs eternal.”

 Confusion clouded her eyes.  “However can I repay you for your kindness?”

“Your gratitude is more than enough, my lady.  Be quick.  Midnight approaches.”  Alex frowned then vanished down the corridor.

At the stroke of midnight, King Gavin swept into the tower room.  Expecting to find crates of blueberries, he was shocked to behold the stone floor littered with thousands of gems.  “How can this be?” he exclaimed.  His eyes searched the room, but nothing was amiss.  In a rage he stormed down the stairs and noticed Alex standing in the shadows.  “Be gone, or I’ll lock you up as well.”  He narrowed his eyes as Alex slipped away.  Could the servant have helped?

 The next morning, King Gavin addressed the gathering of people.  “Princess Evelyn has completed the first task.  However, I sincerely doubt she will be able to accomplish the next.  Tomorrow morning we shall see her in the music box!”  His laugh was a dreadful, rasping sound and the tip of his black beard quivered.  “The second task is this:  Princess Evelyn must collect the webs of ten gold-spinning spiders.  We shall see how your precious princess fares now!”

As the moon rose on the second night, King Gavin hid himself behind one of the twists of the staircase.  Seconds later, Alex knocked quietly on Evelyn’s door.  “My lady, do you wish my help tonight?” he asked.  He pressed his cheek to the cold bars and saw the princess sitting in a pool of moonlight.

 “Alex, oh yes!  How can I collect golden spider webs when there are only ordinary cobwebs in this room?”  Frantically, she paced about the room, waiting for Alex to speak.

“Look around you, my lady.  Collect all the spiders you can find and place them in the music box.  Turn the key two times.”  Alex watched in the flickering candlelight as Princess Evelyn gathered the small, eight-legged beasts.  Into the box each one went.  He held his breath as the princess turned the key. 

“Oh Alex, look!” Evelyn’s smile beamed through the dim light.  Out of the music box, she pulled a shimmering web made out of thin golden thread.  “There are ten exactly!  I’m almost free!”  Rushing to the door, Princess Evelyn grasped the bars of the window.  “How is this possible?”

  Alex shrugged thin shoulders.  “Your music box is enchanted.  I made it of elfin wood.”

Evelyn touched his fingers as they rested on the bars.  “What would I do without you, Alex?  How can I thank you?”

Alex grinned.  “You must promise not to forget your poor humble servant when you leave this wretched place.  That will be thanks enough.”

“It will be a bittersweet day indeed.  I will be free, but I will leave you behind.”  Evelyn wiped a tear from her cheek.  “I will not think of it now.”

 “Fear not, Evelyn.  Life will find a way.”  Alex scurried away.

 From the shadows, King Gavin cursed the servant.  How dare he interfere in royal business!  A foul plan danced across the king’s brain.  There was one sure way Princess Evelyn would not complete the last of the tasks.

In the morning, the king returned to the tower room to find the ten dainty golden webs spread across the floor, shimmering in the sunlight.  Gavin stomped over the lacy threads and snapped up the music box.  “I have witnessed the magic this box possesses.  You and your servant shall not persevere this time.  At midnight tonight, you will become my music box princess.  You will have no choice but to dance for me for all eternity!”  King Gavin spirited the box away.

 Evelyn’s last hope for freedom curled up and died.

Feeling smug, Gavin addressed the people for the last time.  “This will be the hardest task of all.”  He glanced about him, barely able to contain his glee.  “Princess Evelyn has to find three winged horses and hitch them to a coach made of moonbeams.”  Gavin swaggered about the castle with his chest puffed with pride.  By midnight he would have the troublesome princess confined inside her music box and as an extra reward, he would personally kill the meddlesome servant.

When the moon rose that night, Princess Evelyn was in the midst of a great panic.  “Alex, what shall I do?  Gavin has taken away the music box.” Alex contemplated her room, tapping a finger against his chin in thought.  There was absolutely nothing there he could use.  Just when Evelyn thought her chance for escape had eluded her, Alex swept off his hat.  “Take this.”

She quickly took the green felt cap from him.  “What good is this ordinary cap?” 

 “I am an elf from the Enchanted Forest of Legato.  It is my magic that has been helping you.”  He ran an agitated hand through his nut-brown hair.   “Look on the window ledge.  See if there are three dove’s feathers.”

 The princess ran to the window, feeling along its stony ledge until she collected the three feathers.  “I have them!”

  “Put them in the hat.”  Alex was at a loss.  He had the wings, that was true, but what to do about the coach?  “I’ve got it!”  He rummaged around in a pocket of his coat and drew out the lock of hair the princess had given him long ago.  “Put this with the feathers.”  He hated to part with the memento, but what else could he do.

 Princess Evelyn carefully took his offering.  “You saved my hair?” she asked quietly, gazing at her companion of so many days and nights.  “Why?”

 “It doesn’t matter.”  Alex shrugged.  “Please, place it with the other things.  You haven’t much time.”

 Evelyn paused, her hand hovering over the hat.  “I’ll never see you again once I’m free, will I?” she asked.  She struggled to hold back her tears as her heart shattered.

  “I assume not, my lady,” Alex answered softly.  “You will go back to your kingdom, and I will remain here.”  His heart was heavy, and he started to turn away.

  “Wait!” the princess cried.  “What can I give you to equal the help you have given to me?”

 “When you marry the prince of your heart, promise to name your first-born son after me.”  He hesitated at the door and looked at her for the last time.  His chest tightening with sorrow, he quickly descended the steps of the tower.

Wiping away her tears, Princess Evelyn placed the lock of hair in the hat.  Immediately, there was a commotion in the courtyard below her window.  Rushing to see what caused such a clamor, the princess was astounded to see three beautiful white-winged horses munching on the grass.  Silver bridles connected each animal to the most wondrous carriage she had ever seen.  It seemed to shimmer with the very light of the moon.  The fibers that made the vehicle were so fine.

 The next morning, King Gavin was puzzled to come across the strange equipage.  Hadn’t he taken away the source of the servant’s powers?  He couldn’t understand what happened.

  Crowds of people gathered just below the tower. 

Today there was much rejoicing for Princess Evelyn would be back among them.  As the people of the kingdom began their festivities, King Gavin arrived inside the tower room with a smirk of menace on his lips.  “Since you have completed the tasks I set before you, I will let you go.  On one condition.”  He paused, beckoning to one of his guards.  “In order for me to part with you, I will have to kill your beloved servant.”  Two armored knights of the realm entered the room, each holding one of Alex’s arms.

Princess Evelyn was shocked into silence.  Another trick!  She watched, horrified, as King Gavin drew his sword and held the sharp point to Alex’s throat.  “Wait!” she cried, just when the king would have finished the job.

 Alex stared down his captors with his lips set into a thin line. “Please, my lady, do not worry about me.  Save yourself.”

 The king removed his sword and its cold steel blade winked in the candlelight.  “Have you an objection?” King Gavin looked at the princess with villainous glee shining in his dark eyes.

 One hand fluttered to her throat.  “I won’t let you kill Alex.”  As she stood gazing at her precious friend, she swallowed around the lump of fear in her throat.  “I have found a way to repay you, Alex.”  She turned to the king.  “If you give your solemn promise to spare his life, I will marry you.”

 “No!”  Alex’s cry echoed through the chamber to echo through the crowd waiting below.

The king appeared to think about the new scheme.  “Well now, I don’t know.  I’m the king, so I will marry you and kill your servant.”  He once again brandished his sword, resting the point on Alex’s chest.  “What do you say, Alex?  Maybe I should just send your princess to the dark regions of the music box anyway.”  King Gavin’s wicked laugh was cut short as Princess Evelyn threw herself against his legs.

  “Take my life instead, I beg you!”  The princess sank to her knees in front of King Gavin and clutched at his dusty black robes.  “Please.”

  Confusion shadowed the king’s face.  “Why would anyone want to die in place of a mere servant?”  Even his knights wore puzzled looks.

 The princess bowed her head and the yellow curtain of her hair hid her face.  “Because I love him.”

The king was thunderstruck.  You love him?” he asked.  “Impossible!”

 Princess Evelyn threw her body in front of Alex to ward off the fatal blow she knew King Gavin was about to deliver.  She turned her shining face to her champion.  “At least you will be able to leave this world with this thought.  You are the prince of my heart, and I value you above all things.”

 At that moment, the floor began to shake, and the stones of the wall seemed to shimmer before their very eyes.  The knights cowered together in fear while King Gavin looked about him in amazement.  Alex took Princess Evelyn’s hand and placed a kiss upon her fingers.  “I have been waiting for months to hear you say those words.”  As Alex helped the princess to her feet, the wizard king’s castle crumbled into dirt.


Princess Evelyn awoke from her daze to find herself surrounded by kindly townspeople.  Looking about, the first thing she noticed was the wizard king’s castle was gone, and in its place was a field filled with flowers of pink, yellow, and purple.  Evelyn scrambled to a standing position near Alex.  He wore a tunic and leggings of royal blue and a cloak of black velvet caught the breeze.  “How is this possible?” she asked, hoping it wasn’t some kind of cruel trick King Gavin was playing.

 Alex grinned as the crowds began to dance around them.  “You have killed the wizard king, my dear.”

Princess Evelyn regarded her companion as if he were crazy.  “How?”  She wore a new gown of twinkling silver lace and beads that sparkled in the spring sun.

 Alex took her hands in his.  “When you confessed your love for me, you defeated King Gavin.  The power of love is far greater than anything else in this world.  It can tear down walls, rescue the fallen, and defeat dark forces.”  A laugh of genuine mirth escaped his throat as he gazed into her eyes.  “While the people are busy, will you answer a question?”  He grinned again when a blush of pink stained her ivory cheeks. “I hope you will forgive me for not telling you back at the castle that I return your love.  The place was falling, and I was busy trying to keep you in one piece.”  Regarding her steadily, he said simply, “Marry me?”

   “Of course,” she responded and smiled when her beloved Alex kissed her. 

There was much rejoicing in the kingdom that day. 

 When Nature painted the sky with the oranges and vivid lavenders of twilight, Evelyn and her prince stepped into their magical carriage of moonbeams.

  “Where shall we start our life’s journey?” Alex asked as he drew the window curtain closed.

  Evelyn’s ruby red lips parted in a smile.  “Let’s start at the beginning and work our way to the end.”

 And so they did. 

Sandi Sookoo Update

IWG Member, Sandi Sookoo, placed third in the 2008 Celtic Hearts Golden Claddaugh contest!!

Congratulations to Sandi!!

Fred Towers Update

Revenge Visits Vegas by IWG Member, Fred Towers was accepted for Ultimate Gay Erotica 2009
 published by Alyson Publications.

Betrothed Fairy's Tail by Fred Towers was also accepted by barebackmag. com's anthology Fairy Tales Do Come True.

Jamie Carie updates

IWG member, Jamie Carie will be at Author Fest in Evansville, IN at the Washington Square Mall this Saturday, the 27th from 9am-4pm.  Barnes and Noble is sponsoring it there is slated to be 60+ authors there. 

On October 4th Jamie will be back at The Carpenter’s Son bookstore in Lafayette, IN.  Her event is from 1-3pm and includes a “So You Wanna Be Published” Q&A with the panel of authors.  Neta Jackson and Colleen Coble are just two of some very well known CBA authors who will be there.  Together they have tons of experience.  So come on out if you can!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Favorite Word is...

IWG members finish the sentence My Favorite Word is...

My favorite word is chillaxin'? That's what I'm doing right now.
Sandi Sookoo Third Place - 2008 Celtic Hearts Golden Claddaugh - All I want forChristmas... is to keep my job.

My favorite word is Drunkin', as in drunkin' theater.
Author and Filmmaker

My favorite word is Pepsi.
Author of the House of Pendragon Series

My favorite word is solstice for today and sometimes solus and most of the time discombobulate.
Jerri Yagar
My favorite word is "defenestrate, " but unfortunately, findingappropriate circumstances to use it can be a bit hard.
Wendy Conner