Village Writers' Club

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

HSV Community Memoir-Writing Contest

HSV Residents are invited to enter the HSV Writers’ Club Autumn Memoir-Writing Contest with a 500-word (maximum) entry entitled My Teenage Catastrophe: (insert sub-title). HSV Writers’ Club members are not eligible to enter.

Awards are $15/10/5, and winners will read at the club’s no-host Holiday dinner, December 2.

See submission instructions below. The subject line of the email should read MEMOIR-WRITING CONTEST.

Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on October 31. Winners will be announced by email on November 15.

Submission Instructions

All entries should be attached to an email in Word or PDF and sent to [email protected] and [email protected]

See submission instructions at right. The subject line of the email should read MEMOIR-WRITING CONTEST.

The attachment should not include any identifier, but the email text should list YOUR NAME; TITLE OF ENTRY; PHONE; ADDRESS; and EMAIL ADDRESS.

Writers' Club Wish Madelyn Young Fond Farewell

Several Village Writers' Club members and guests turned out for Madelyn  (Maddie) Young's program on September 25 I've Got a Secret). Maddie and her husband, Robin, are moving to Tennessee after fourteen years in the Village. Maddie has played a pivotal role in moving the Village Writers' Club forward, taking on virtually all officer and committee chair slots during her years in the Club. She has been the guiding force behind the Village Writers' Club Critique Group for years. At the conclusion of the September 26 meeting, the Club toasted Maddie's service to the club with a big "farewell" cake. Below are photos from her final VWC meeting.

Here's Maddie with the "farewell" cake the Village Writers' Club arranged for her. The decoration reads: 

"Maddie, We'll miss you. V.W.C."

No truer words have been said. Maddie has contributed so much to the Village Writers' Club over the years that her absence will leave a hole that's impossible to fill. But, relying on the optimism that she works so hard to instill in all the people she meets, there's no doubt that the Village Writers' Club will continue to flourish as a force to encourage and release creativity, helping release the writer in each of us.

The 2017 Top-Ten Contest for Flash Fiction Writers

Open ONLY to Garland County High School Students

The contest is open to any student attending high school in Garland County. We will honor the authors of the best ten entries as HSV’s 2017 Top-Ten High School Writers.

Each winner will receive $20; a certificate of achievement; newspaper coverage; and publication on the HSV Writers’ Club website.

Garland County high school students should send their 300-500 word flash fiction entitled “Second Look: (student enters subtitle here)” – double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font- as a PDF or Word attachment to these two email addresses: [email protected]; [email protected]

by 11:59 pm on Monday, October 2.

Do not put your name on the attachment.

On the email subject line, write “SECOND LOOK: (insert subtitle).” In the body of the email, write the following:

My name: (e.g. Maria Smith)

My email address: (e.g. [email protected])

Title of my story: (e.g. THE BOAT)

My school: (e.g. Arkansas High)

My grade: (e.g. 10)

My English teacher: (eg. Jan Sandoval)

Winners will be announced by email on October 20, The National Day for Writing. The judges’ decisions are final.

By entering this contest, the winning entrants authorize the Village Writers’ Club to publish their names and entries on its website and to use their names and the title of their entries in press releases.

Village Writers' Club 2017-2018 Schedule Announced

Millie Lancaster and her program team have crafted an extraordinary set of programs for the Village Writers' Club 2017-2018 program year. Put these dates on your calendars so you won't miss out on a single event!

September 25, Monday, 12:30-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 6)- Welcome-Back Brown-Bag Social and Gathering- Bring your lunch and visit with old and new friends. Learn about this years’ new club format and upcoming events.

New Writers will work in a small group with Judy Lacy and Joanne Hines. Veteran members will participate in I’ve Got A Secret writing activity led by Maddie Young.

October 2, Monday, 1-3 - Poetry and Pie in the Afternoon- CANCELLED

October 16, 3rd Monday, 12:30-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 6) Brown-Bag Social and Gathering - Craft Development: Creating Strong Characters - After lunch, John Swinburn will lead an exercise to help us develop strong characters. Then we will break into Personal Interest Collectives (PICS) to discuss our interests: New Writers (Judy Lacy and Joanne Hines); Poetry (Myra Rustin); Fiction (TBD); Nonfiction and Memoir (TBD); Publishing (TBD).

November 13, Monday, 10-4- HSV Writers Retreat at the magnificent Williams House Inn (420 Quapaw) in Hot Springs. $25 includes lunch. A maximum of twelve writers can be accommodated. First come, first served by in-person delivery to Millie Lancaster of a $25 check payable to Williams House Inn. Registration will open October 1. Please hand-deliver to Millie Lancaster, who will be happy to come to your house to pick it up (contact her by email at [email protected] or send a text to 501-209-2155) . We will need to carpool due to limited parking. See website for details.

November 20, 3rd Monday, 12:30-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 6) Brown-Bag Social and Gathering- Craft Development: Creating Strong Characters 2- After lunch, Millie Lancaster will lead us in a thirty-minute exercise designed to add depth and complexity to our characters. Then we will meet in our PICs.

November 27, Monday, 1-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 6)- Christmas Newsletter Mini-Workshop for the HSV Community- Suzanne Bratcher will present her popular workshop filled with innovative ways to make our Christmas newsletters more entertaining. See website for details.

December 2, SATURDAY, 6:00 pm (Desoto Club Banquet Room)- Holiday Party- After dinner, winners of our community writing contest and our fall club contest will read their winning entries. Reservations required. See website for details.

January 22, Monday, 12:30-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 6) Brown-Bag Social and Gathering- Craft Development: Secrets of Writing Powerful Dialogue. After lunch, John Swinburn will lead us in a thirty-minute exercise designed to improve our skills at writing dialogue. Then we will meet in our PICS.

February 5, Monday, 1-3 (Carole Ohlsen’s house) Marriage of the Muses- Carole Ohlsen hosts an afternoon at her home where a limited number of participants can view original artwork and write a piece inspired by one of the works. Reservations required by emailing Carole at [email protected] or by calling 501-922-1587. (Address provided to participants.)

March 12, Monday, 1-3 (Marlene Kloack’s house)- Poetry and Pie in the Afternoon, Too- Marlene Kloack will host a second poetry reading/writing event in her home for the first eight members who email or call her ([email protected] or 501-915-0494) to sign up. (Address provided to participants.)

March 24, SATURDAY, 9-3 (Coronado Center Auditorium,150 Ponderosa Way,) HSV Writers’ Club and Village Genealogy Society Present Writing Your Memoir Community Workshop with Marilyn Collins. This event is open to everyone. Event Chair: Linda Black. $30 preregistration or $35 at the door. See website for details.

April 9, Monday, 1-3 (Carole Ohlsen’s house) Marriage of the Muses, Too- Carole Ohlsen hosts an afternoon at her home where a limited number of participants can view original artwork and write a piece inspired by one of the works. Reservations required by emailing Carole at [email protected] or by calling 501-922-1587. Address will be provided to guests.

April 23, Monday, 12:30-3 (Coronado Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Room 106) Participants in L’Audible Arts will rehearse. Hard copy of brief bio (maximum 50 words) and of five-minute L-Audible Art presentation must be submitted to Event Chair, Marlene Kloack, at 1:00 before rehearsal.

May 14, 2nd Monday, 1-2 (Coronado Ballroom, 150 Ponderosa Way,)- L’Audible Arts

June 25, Monday, 12:30-3 Brown Bag Social and Gathering– After socializing, club members will review activities of the year and discuss what they would like to see retained, omitted, or changed for next year.

Cy Holliday Book Signing at Home Plate Café

Cy Holliday’s new book, George Bailey’s Got Nothing On Me, is a narrative history about the Holliday family and Cy’s growing up in the carnival life.

Home Plate Café is hosting a book signing for Holliday on Saturday, September 9 from 9 noon.

George Bailey’s Got Nothing on Me covers seven generations of the Holliday family and the unique, far from perfect and certainly not “politically correct” surroundings of carnival life. The family memoir is interesting and poignant.

Sales for the book are moving along even better than anticipated, perhaps due in part to Holliday’s speaking engagement with the Next Chapter Book Club.

Holliday said, “I thought it went well. I talked about writing a memoir and the different ways to get a book published. I hope everyone will come out to Home Plate Café to see me and perhaps get a book signed.”

George Bailey’s Got Nothing On Me can be purchased from Holliday for $10 and is available on Kindle, Amazon, Nook and at Barnes and Noble.

The article above was adapted from an article written by Suzanne Sweeten that appeared in the September 5, 2017 issue of the Hot Springs Village Voice.

Special Genealogy Writing Workshop!

The Village Writers' Club and Village Genealogy Club have collaborated to organize a one-day workshop on researching and writing family histories. Mark your calendar for March 24, 2018! Plan to attend this riveting program, delivered by well-known author and genealogy researcher Marilyn Collins.

Mark Your Calendar for September 25

After a summer hiatus, we'll be back with our first Village Writers' Club meeting of the new Club Year. Make your plans to join us from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, September 25 at Coronado Community Center, 150 Ponderosa Way, Hot Springs Village, AR  as we kick off the new year with some very exciting developments!

Southern Story Award contest Sponsored by Madelyn Young

The 2017 WCCW Conference in Searcy, Arkansas will be held on Saturday, Sept. 2, and this is the first time that VWC member Madelyn Young will sponsor a contest of her own, the Southern Story Award. To support and encourage Arkansas writers, she will be offering a full critique to anyone who submits an entry to her contest and contacts her by email following the conference.

However, Madelyn requests that VWC members NOT enter her contest. Although an author's name cannot appear anywhere on his story, Madelyn might be familiar with a club member's style of writing, and she wants to judge all her entries fairly, without bias.

Madelyn will be happy to give her fellow club members feedback on their potential entries to other contests, though. You may contact her at [email protected]

To learn more about the conference and other contests available, please visit the WCCW website

For Questions or more Information contact Madelyn Young at [email protected]

Triple Scoop Fiction and Poetry Contest

Del Garrett with Raven's Inn Press is sponsoring fiction / poetry writing contest.  There are three chances to win in each category.  Prizes are 1st Place, $50;  2nd Place, $35; and 3rd Place, $15.

Contest Rules: You may enter up to three submissions in each separate contest. Each submission will be considered for all prizes. Entry fees are $5 for the first entry, $3 for each additional entry. 

  • Poetry—one page only, single or double spaced, limit three entries. 
  • Fiction—limit three entries, maximum three pages each entry.
    • Use standard format: 12-point size font, double spaced, on 8 ½ X 11-inch white bond paper. 
  • Do Not list your identification on the typed pages.
  • Include a cover sheet with your name, address, e-mail, title of your entry and first line of story or poem. Place this cover letter and your entry fee in a sealed envelope stapled to your submission.
  • Staple all fiction submissions separately (do not staple poetry pages).
  • Restrictions: No erotica and no political or racial comments.
  • Do not mix prose and poetry—keep each contest separate.
  • No e-mail, paper submissions only.
  • Violations may result in disqualification. No refunds. 
  • Mail all submissions to: Del Garrett, 806 Rhoden Rd, Judsonia, AR 72081.
  • Make checks or money orders payable to: B. Odell Garrett. Do Not Send Cash.
  • All submissions will be shredded 30 days after the deadline.
  • All rights are automatically returned to the author effective January 1st, 2018. We do not publish your work.
  • Contest Deadline is December 31st, 2017.
  • Winners will be announced and prizes mailed on March 1st, 2018.
  • For more information about me, please visit my website: or go to and enter my name in the search window.

Arkansas Writers' Conference 2017 Winners

Mary Lou Moran and Janis Kearney. 

Mary Lou took first place in the WOW! Press Award contest at the Arkansas Writers’ Conference on June 3, 2017 for her entry titled The Transformation. Janis was chair of the contest. The subject was Life Changes, a Personal Reflection – My How Things Have Changed.

John Swinburn won 3rd place in the WOW! Press Award contest for Love Without Words and 1st Honorable Mention in the Moral Dilemma Award contest for his entry titled Bogata.

Madelyn Young won 3rd Honorable Mention in the Erdel Family Memorial Award contest for her entry titled A Sad and Crazy Place. She also 3rd Honorable Mention in the Moral Dilemma contest for her entry titled Heroes.

Mary Lou Moran won 1st place in the Carl J. Iannacone Memorial Award contest for her entry titled Family DNA. She won 1st place in the WOW! Press Award contest for her entry titled The Transformation and 2nd place in the Del Garrett’s Gimme the Creeps contest for her entry titled Highway to Nowhere. She also won a 1st honorable mention in the Lucille Longstreth Memorial Award contest for her entry titled The Eternal Mystery.

Village Writers’ Club of Hot Springs Village Award-Winners

Article by Madelyn Young

The Village Writers’ Club sponsored a contest at Arkansas Writers’ Conference, and it’s always fun to see who our winners are.  We judge “blind” entries without the authors’ names attached, so we only learn their names when their awards are announced at the conference.  This year our contest called for a short story, fiction, A Holiday Story, 1500 words max.  We had eleven entries, and a group of our club members met to select our winners.  Here are the winners’ names and the titles of their stories:


1st place, $50, to Carol Hodges from Little Rock, AR:  Keep Your Stinkin’ Reindeer Games

2nd place, $30, to Anne  Winchester from St. Francis, AR:  Do You Believe?

3rd place, $20, to Sandra Boutwell-Falcone from Austin, AR: The Christmas Tree Mystery

1st HM, to Syble Dycus Ussery from Sherwood, AR: The Year Santa Claus Fell Down the Chimney

2nd HM, to Tom Howard from Little Rock, AR: Happy First Day

Tom Howard and Sandra Boutwell-Falcone two winning writers of the VWC writing contest.

We were sorry that none of our other winners attended the conference.

  Newly Published Works by VWC Members
Make for Great Summer Reading

Suzanne Bratcher's mystery novel The Copper Box

The mystery novel The Copper Box by VWC's Suzanne Bratcher will be released June 6, 

Book and eBook Kindle edition will be available at

More info about the book

Cy Holliday's book George Bailey's Got Nothing on Me -- A Narrative History of the Holliday Family Published

Paperback and Kindle eBook editions available at Contact Cy for an autographed edition.

More info about the book 

Elmer Beard's documentary The Challengers: Untold Stories of African Americans Who Changed the System in One Small Southern Municipality

Available at

More info about the book

Webmaster's Note: The "One Small Southern Municipality" that Mr. Beard's title refers to is Hot Springs, Arkansas!

Barrie Gauthier's light-hearted The Black Cat Guide to Grammar Through Light Verse

Available in hardbound or paperback at

More info about the book


  Chap Harper's latest action novel Under Cuba

Available at Barnes & Nobel and

More info about the book

Check out these new releases as well as those of other VWC members on OUR PUBLISHED WORK page

VWC Members at Arkansas Writers Conference

John Swinburn and Marlene Kloack

Linda Black and Carole Ohlsen

    Jerry Davis and Mary Lou Moran

Chap Harper & Sara Gipson

   Myra Rustin & Madelyn Young

 Millie Lancaster, Carole Ohlsen, & Shanita     

    Mary Lou Moran & Dick Cecil 

Whether you are a beginning or seasoned writer, your work will move faster

with questions answered, experienced editing, and marketing advice for the final product.