A Farewell to Colonel Tony Skur, Jr.
Tony Skur, a longtime member of the DFW Writer’s Workshop and author of Christmas Help, More to Come, and One More Time, passed away on September 21. He was a true gentleman and patriot who will be sorely missed.
Tony was born in Ohio in 1931 and joined the US Marine Corps Reserve at the young age of seventeen. Three years later, he enlisted in the US Air Force and was accepted into the aviation cadet program in 1952. His first assignment was flying the F-86D Sabre Dog, an early all-weather swept wing jet interceptor.
Volunteering to serve in Vietnam, Tony flew in the Special Operations Wing, piloting one of the most bad-assed piston-powered aircraft ever built. The A-1 Skyraider, originally designed for the Navy in World War II, was the first airplane capable of carrying more than its own weight in ordnance. And carry ordnance he did. Where most planes of the era streaked across the sky at high altitudes, Skyraider pilots flew in the weeds, eyeball to eyeball with the enemy, providing close air support for our ground forces and performing rescue operations for downed airmen. He retired from the Air Force in 1978 with the rank of full colonel.
Tony wrote about flying and he wrote about war, but he also wrote about love, for it was love that filled his heart. While based at Perrin Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, he met the beautiful Kathleen Mayberry and proposed nine days later. Together they raised three sons and a daughter, living in wedded bliss for 59 years. During Kathleen’s later years, Tony lovingly cared for her as Alzheimer’s slowly took her. She passed away in September 2013.
A life of service is a life well lived. Not only did Tony serve his nation in war, he spent much of his time in service to others. While stationed in Tokyo, he helped keep an orphanage supplied with food, clothing, and school supplies. In Alaska, he was asked to prepare 30 children for their first communion, earning him the nickname ‘Pope Tony.’ Until his last days, he volunteered with Meals On Wheels, delivering food to senior citizens in his Keller community.
A month ago, Tony was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Even though he had a rough start with chemo therapy, he fought hard and kept his spirits high. Unfortunately, he passed away in his sleep Sunday evening, September 21, 2014.
Always a gentleman and a true gentle man, he will be sorely missed by his family and friends, but we can take solace in knowing he is forever reunited with his beloved Kathleen. Colonel Anthony Skur, my dear friend Tony, rest in peace.
-- George Goldthwaite, DFWWW Member since 2009
So You're Making a Talk
Your book is finally in print. The next step: your platform. Social media, blogs, book signings, public talks.
Whoa. Public talks? Stand up before a crowd and speak? No way.
OK. Take a deep breath. You wrote the book, sweated over every page. No, over every word. And it came together. Seeing that cover art for the first time, you breathed that deep sigh of relief. That smug sigh of self-satisfaction. If you can put down coherent thoughts on paper, you can make a talk. But first, do your homework.
Know your crowd. Seniors, teens, school kids, professionals. Each will have different interests, different ideas on how a speaker should dress or talk. But here’s the good news: if they’re not interested in your book’s genre, they probably won’t come to hear you speak. So come up with something to say that reflects what you’ve written and they’ll love it.
Write down an outline. Have a catchy beginning, just like your book. You need a middle and an end, too. Keep them wanting more.
Talk about yourself, but don’t overdo it. How you started writing, what qualifies you to write your book, especially if it’s nonfiction. Oh, you write about zombies and haven’t offed any lately? Maybe why zombies interest you and why the reader should care, too. Also, it’s not a good idea to read directly from the book. Paraphrase and speak from the heart.
Practice your speech ahead of time. Do it in front of a mirror, or even better, a friend or family member who’ll give honest feedback. If all you hear are good comments, find someone else. This is not unlike a writing critique group.
Dress appropriately. Sure, everyone at the local library may show up wearing jeans and tees, but business casual is never too dressy when addressing a crowd. Speaking before business leaders? Coat and tie for men or appropriate business attire for women. Not sure? Always dress better than your expected audience rather than more casually.
And now, the day has arrived, the speech is at hand. Those butterflies are fluttering, your heart is pounding. The emcee announces your name and you head for the podium. When you get there, stop.
Arrange your notes, take a deep breath, and make eye contact with the audience. Now smile, because they’ll hear it in your voice. Only then do you speak, and when you do, talk to the people in the back row. If they can hear, so can everyone else.
Make a mistake? No prob. Laugh at yourself. Public speaking is an acquired skill and everyone in the audience knows it. They’ll understand.
Bring some books. It’s a great place to sell them.
And here’s the most important thing: have fun and make it show. Everyone else will, too.
-- George Goldthwaite, DFWWW Member since 2009, The Voice of the DFWCon Gong Show since 2011
photo credit: WilliamMarlow via photopin cc
The Workshop on Top
We’d like to congratulate workshop members George Goldthwaite and Melissa Lenhardt for representing us so well at the Frisco Library. They both brought home the prize for Henery Press’s First Chapter Contest. The kicker: Only one person should have won, but the judges couldn’t narrow it down. Apparently when deciding between a DFWWW member and a DFWWW member, the choice is clear.
The good news for these two doesn’t stop there.
The Durant Public Library has asked George to be their feature author speaker for the Spring Brown Bag Luncheon. If you live up north, catch him on Thursday, April 24 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center and Library. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. You can hear him speak at The DFW Writers’ Conference as the Gong Show's incredible baritone emcee.
And as for Melissa, she recently published a short story with The Western Online entitled Bal Masqué. It’s fantastic piece, but we especially love Melissa’s initial impetus for writing it. Her late father loved John Wayne westerns and Lonesome Dove, and this one is for him. We’re awfully grateful that we get to enjoy it too.
End story: Our cup runneth over. Come (metaphorically) drink with us any Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at The Simmons Center in Euless. Because we think there may be something in the water…
Del Cain is speaking at the Saginaw Public Library on Nov 3rd at 6:30 pm.
Candace Havens has two books coming out:
Model Marine comes out Nov 1st
Her story in the Spirited Anthology is coming out soon. Proceeds go to a literacy charity
George Goldthwaite heard from Books in Motion. Recording has begun on his newest audio book.
Susan Clark has volunteered to Chair the Building Search Committee. If you hear of any vacancies in the HEB area, email info to [email protected]
Halloween Read is October 26th – bring a dish; come in costume!
Reminder: Dues for 2012 are due by Oct 31st. $100 a year and it’s very simple to renew and pay online.
Rosemary Clement-Moore's next book signing for Texas Gothic is August 6th at the Hurst Barnes & Noble from 2pm to 4pm.
Del Cain has a poem featured in The Enigmatist Poetry Journal. He brought in his contributor’s copy.
Pam Skjolsvik is being honored this Saturday at The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The conference is being held at the Hilton DFW Lakes Conference Center in Grapevine. She won a writing competition in the Ten Spurs Literary Journal.
George Goldthwaite requests workshop members to review his book, From Youth To Vengeance available on www.Amazon.com.
The carpooling board is up and running. Check it out if interested.
What do Texas, Blood & Guns have in Common? They are all Part of the Rich History of DFWWW
Historian Stephen Manning summarized this momentous achievement by providing some interesting trivia.
- Of the 300-plus novels displayed in the Trophy Room, what is the most commonly used word in a book's title? Texas (no one was surprised).
- The second most commonly used word in a title? Blood (now that surprised everyone a
- The third most commonly used word in a title? Gun (notice a trend?).
- There have been an average of 11.6 titles published per year by DFWWW members since 1985.
- The best year was 1996 when 22 titles were published (all comprised of only two genres: Westerns and horror).
- The second best year was 2005 when 20 titles were published (notable because of the large number of first-time novelists).
- From 1985 until 2000, the Workshop produced mainly Westerns, mysteries and horror novels.
- After 2000, there was an explosion of all genres, with nonfiction works becoming more prominent.
In the news, Kenneth Ingle displayed the audio version of his novel, Saragosa Prime, released by Books in Motion. Carolyn Williamson announced the additional of two new reference books for the Workshop's library.
In official news, President Russell Connor reminded members that next Wednesday nominations open for the 2011 Board of Directors. Secretary Kyle White, who will serve as the election coordinator, advised members on the requirements to run for the Board. Basically, members must have paid their 2010-2011 dues and have attended at least three of the five monthly business meetings prior to the election.
Trophy Room Receives 294th Traditionally Published Book by a Workshop Member
In other news, the annual Christmas party will be held December 16. Members are encouraged to bring a potluck dish. Stephen Manning will teach classes on social media as part of TCU's continuing education courses next year. The 2010 DFW Writers' Conference committee extended an offer to pay a $50 finder's fee to any Workshop member who secures an exhibitor for next year's event.
Member George Goldthwaite Releases His First Audio Book
In other news, George Goldthwaite announced the release of his Western novel From Youth to Vengeance by Books in Motion. The work is available on CD's, cassettes, and as a download to various media. Rosemary Clement Moore, along with seven other writers, will speak at the Mansfield Library on November 6 from 7 - 9 p.m. Carmen Goldthwaite stated her essay "Burgers n' Butterflies" was accepted by Chicken Soup for the Soul Thank You Mom to be released next year.
Would you like to make some extra money? Then sign up to be an affiliate of the DFW Writers' Conference and make $10 for each person you refer who registers. This program is open to anyone, not just Workshop members. For the guidelines, visit the affiliate program page.
Workshop Members Announce Book Contracts, Signings & Reviews
Exciting things are happens to members of the DFW Writers' Workshop as evidenced by these announcements during the July 8th meeting:
George Goldthwaite was offered a contract by Books In Motion, an audio book publisher, for his western novel, From Youth to Vengeance. It is tentatively scheduled for a December release. New member, Jenny Martin, received a request for the full manuscript of her novel, Holy, Texas, by literary agent Nadia Cornier with Firebrand. Del Cain had a poem published in the Texas Poetry Calendar 2010. A. Lee Martinez received a great review in Locus: The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy for his recently released novel, Monster. Candace Havens newest work, Dragons Prefer Blondes, was released this week. She will sign copies at the Barnes & Noble in Hurst this Saturday, July 11 from 2 p.m - 4 p.m. She is also hosting a blog tour, with more information at CandaceHavens.com.
All proof that DFW Writers' Workshop members continue to publish a wide variety of works, despite the economic downturn.