Monday, April 25, 2016


By Glenn Walker

This is both a personal message, and a revelation about the South Jersey Writers' Group as a whole, so I couldn't think of a better place to post these thoughts.

For those of you who don't know, I had been having some health issues, and a serious bout of illness landed me in the hospital for several weeks. No exaggeration here, folks, I nearly bought the farm, and I'm not talking about real estate. I don't think I would have made it if not for family and friends, and the South Jersey Writers' Group.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone - thank you for all the cards, the gifts, the gift basket, the gift card, books, phone calls, and visits.

Thank you to everyone who reached out basically, sent thoughts and prayers, either in person or digitally - especially Marie, Dawn, Robin, Jim, Amy, Loretta, Michael, Jennifer, Doot, Gail, Patti, Kahlil, Mark, Jord, Krista, Rich, Victoria, and Jessica, among others - everyone, in other words.

Apologies if I haven't gotten back to you. My vision was very bad for quite some time, making use of the laptop and phone very difficult. It took a while but my vision adjusted somewhat finally. I also suffered some memory loss during my time in the hospital. I am still discovering texts and Facebook messages I don't remember.

I got home the day before Christmas Eve, and the recovery was, and remains, slow and difficult, but I'll make it, I'm still pretty much invincible, but nowhere near as cocky as I once was.

When I returned to the group and its functions slowly, everyone greeted me with smiles, hugs, and kisses. I had no idea so many folks cared, but you did. I don't know how I survived so many hugs. Seriously, and this is the part where I tear up, this group is so important to me, and I was struck by how everyone pulled together as a community to help me, care for me, and just wish me well.

The South Jersey Writers' Group is not just writers trying to help each other with writing goals, and learning from each other, it's a support group, a circle of friends, friends who may very well have saved my life. Sure, maybe it started as people putting words to paper, but now it is a strong loyal community… my friends. I love you folks.

Thank you so much again. I am so blessed with wonderful friends, especially in the South Jersey Writers' Group.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The South Jersey Writers' Group at the 2016 Camden Comic Con

By Glenn Walker

April 9th was the third annual Camden Comic Con, and for the third year in a row, my podcast partner Ray Cornwall and I have recorded The GAR! Podcast live during the convention held at Rutgers University in Camden. As in the years before, we conducted many interviews with creators in the comics industry, and even some members of the South Jersey Writers' Group. This year, we interviewed so many members, that we dedicated an entire episode to the group.

Episode 134 of The GAR! Podcast features discussion with Marie Gilbert about "The Walking Dead," female protagonists, her upcoming novel Beware the Harvesters, and ghosts; fiction and non-fiction with Dawn Byrne; addiction with Kahlil Weston; Randy Ribay tells us about his novel An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes; and then Steampunk Granny Marie returns with filmmaker Chris Eilenstine to round out the show - she may have even scored a movie deal on air! Listen and learn.

Marie also reported on the 2016 Camden Comic Con here on her blog Gilbert Curiosities. The first installment of GAR's coverage of the 2016 Camden Comic Con can be found here, with more to come, including an episode featuring SJWG members Amy Holiday and Robert Repici, keep your eyes on our website. For our coverage of the last two years at the Camden Comic Con, click here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ashes in the Sky by Jennifer M. Eaton

The highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer M. Eaton's Fire in the Woods has been released. This young adult contemporary science fiction (because you can’t get enough contemporary or science in your fiction) novel continues the adventures of a young girl whose friendship with an alien helps to save the planet from an invasion from space. After the Fire in the Woods come the Ashes in the Sky.

After inadvertently saving the world, 18-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

But when she's offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien spaceship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she would be crazy to turn something like that down, right? Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off.

But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David's efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David's advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

Ashes in the Sky from Month9Books is available for purchase at Books-A-Million, !ndigo, IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and Book Depository.

Author Jennifer M. Eaton can be found at her own website, on Facebook, Twitter, and various other social media.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Warrior Heart by Laura J. Kaighn

What if?

What if you’re driving along an isolated, forested road and discovered a body?

What if that victim was injured, still alive? What if the man wasn’t even human?

Thus begins storyteller Laura J. Kaighn's epic science fiction series centered about an unlikely pair of characters: one a human woman from 1999, the other a Vesar warrior from 2105 AD. This is their journey - through time and space, across alien worlds and despite the prejudices their many differences pose...

The G.A.V. Pompeii, a jack-of-all-trades spaceship, serves the Galactic Alliance –a community of three races: humans, Tloni and Vesar. In this first installment to the Vesar Warrior Legacy, the Pompeii’s crew must stop the Orthops from changing history, even if it means single-handedly traveling to the alien race’s homeworld. Their mission: to prevent the giant insects from constructing and using another time machine.

After Vesarius is accidently thrust back in time to Earth of 1999, the Vesar warrior meets a school teacher who rescues Vesarius and helps him return to his universe of 2105. But when Dorinda is subsequently trapped in that future, the pair’s adventures together truly begin. Join Vesarius and Dorinda as they travel into galactic turmoil!

Laura J. Kaighn, of Lady Hawke Storytelling, has been writing and sharing her stories since childhood. Her favorites deal with nature, both human and wild! Combining her loves of science, animals, astronomy and her own American Indian heritage, Laura naturally found herself writing her first science fiction novel back in 1991. Little did she realize, at the time, those efforts would lead to a complete series of ten volumes!

The Vesar Warrior Legacy is the result of Laura’s dedication to story, character and conflict. May Vesarius’ and Dorinda’s journey, dreams and desires make a positive impact in our world today...

On April 16th, check out the official book launch party at the Book Asylum Bookstore and CafĂ© in Blackwood NJ, from 1-3pm. Along with an open reading and book sale, there will be prizes for science fiction fans. Laura will test your knowledge in a fun quiz. On April 23rd, there’s the 2016 West Deptford Township Book Festival at the Riverwinds Community Center in West Deptford NJ, from 10am- 4pm. For Laura's summer storytelling program, check out here website here.

Warrior Heart: Book One of the Vesar Warrior Legacy is now available through Amazon and B&! Keep an eye out for Warrior Spirit, Warrior Trial, and Warrior Fury, books two through four of the Vesar Warrior Legacy, coming soon!

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Inspires Me to Write?

By Cassandra Ulrich

It never ceases to amaze me how a song can lead to a story idea. But, it’s not every song, just the ones that resonate with me in some emotional way. Sometimes, this has led to idea overload when I’m forced to avoid listening to these sources of inspiration until my imagination slows down.

My first novel, A Beautiful Girl, was inspired by The Story of Beauty by Destiny’s Child. Every time I listened to that song, I thought that someone ought to write a story based on its words. I didn’t realize I’d be the one writing that story many years later and finish the first draft in two months. This book of hope has touched the lives of the many people who have read it so far and continues to do so.

The birth of Love’s Intensity was a bit different. Soon after my father’s death, I began listening to Latino music. The story didn’t form until I saw yet another version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (Can there be too many? I don’t think that’s possible, but it better be well done.) Is it any wonder there’s salsa, family drama, and sword fighting in this story? Oh, and don’t forget about forbidden love.

By the time the idea for Billiard Buddies came along, I’d discovered Colbie Caillat and couldn’t get enough of her Coco album. Combine that with an appreciation for Billiards and strong female characters, out came a delightful story worthy of a cup of your favorite hot beverage and a comfy sofa.

If It Kills Me, a story currently in contract, barely preceded Billiard Buddies with the discovery of Lucky, sung by Colbie Caillat as a guest on Jason Mraz’s We Sing album. When I heard Jason’s song If It Kills Me, I was hooked after only the first listen and the plot fell into place.

Another bonus is that I find it easier to edit a story if I replay the song that inspired its birth. Scenes fly onto the page on the wings of sound. I’m merely writing what’s dictated to me by the characters acting out their lives in my mind. Music not only inspires me to write, it’s the lifeblood of the stories I share with the world.

What song will inspire my next story?

About today's guest-blogger:

Cassandra Ulrich was born on the beautiful island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, located east of Puerto Rico. Living in the tropics fueled her imagination and daydreams. For years, she wrote poetry and entered competitions. However, only many years later did she discover joy in writing stories longer than a few pages.

She published her first young adult novel,
A Beautiful Girl, in April 2011. The inspirational novel has already touched many hearts ranging from teens to adults. Her second novel, Love’s Intensity, is a teen paranormal romance and was released on July 11, 2013. Her third, Billiard Buddies, a New Adult romance novella, was released on May 24, 2014. In June and August 2014, she also released two poetry books, “Real Purpose: You Are Special” and “Life Experienced,” written while in high school and college.

Cassandra can be found on Facebook, Twitter, her Blog, and her Website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

South Jersey Writers’ Group Hosts Open House, Thursday, April 21

The South Jersey Writers' Group will be holding a free open house Thursday, April 21st at 7 PM, at the Barrington, NJ VFW Hall, 109 Shreve Avenue. Light refreshments will be served.

"This is a great opportunity for writers, and those interested in writing from beginners to advanced levels, to meet and chat with our members," said SJWG President Krista Magrowski. "Additionally, several of our members who are published authors will discuss their journeys from idea to publication and what belonging to the writers’ group means to them. If you’ve ever written anything, or thought about writing anything, this group can help you hone your craft. We look forward to meeting interested wordsmiths from the South Jersey area."

Founded in 2006, the South Jersey Writers' Group has grown to more than one hundred members. A supportive community of local writers in all genres, members come from a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience. The group offers monthly meetings with professional speakers, critique groups, open-mic events, write-ins, blogfests, workshops, retreats, and more.

For more information, visit our website at