sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Posts tagged ‘Savvy Authors’

Meet Melanie Hamilton, Our Muse Conference Moderator

Every October, we engage in a week-plus of utter madness and frenetic activity with the Muse Online Writers Conference —  a free, international event filled with close to forty hours of real-time live online chat-format workshops, plus dozens and dozens of forum workshops on various aspects of writing, editing, web presence, and much more.

Those who attend are involved for about ten days of action. Behind the scenes, however, a group of about thirty members of the ModSquad handle ALL the bits that make the event possible. These are the chat moderators and forum facilitators; coordinators of schedule, presentations, handouts; handlers of registration problems and lost people. They help the presenters figure out how to use the system, do all the foot-work to see that everyone who is supposed to pitch to one of the publishers or agents makes it to the right place at the right time.

The ModSquad is like the 7/8ths of the iceberg you don’t see — the part that supports the gorgeous crags that leave you breathless.

The Poetic Muselings taught a weeklong forum workshop, plus three hours of live chat-workshops, during the Oct. 2012 Muse Conference. We had a blast, met some amazing poets, and helped connect a few to form their own critique group. During the month of February, we are honored to introduce some of these poets, and present work they did during that week, as we explored poetic forms and followed inspiration.

We lead off our series with Melanie Hamilton, who handled Moderator and Facilitator duties for the Poetic Muselings, as well as for several other presenters. Melanie kept us calm, organized, taught most of the group how to do what was needed to function, which made my job as Head Moderator much easier, since I could concentrate on the major fires, and didn’t have to worry about our workshop.

Melanie, we thank you for your courage to share, wild sense of humor, and all that you did for us. We are delighted you agreed to join us here on the Poetic Muselings blog. Congratulations on rediscovering your other creative talents, like the photo, below.


Highlighting Pleasure

A single finger
sweeps across my skin
friction releasing me
mote by mote

A focused thumb
presses me down
while fingers stroke
highlighting “pleasure”



Girls’ Love

You found out I kissed her
Pressed my lips against hers
Felt her teeth, hard and sharp

You found out I laid on her
My body long and thin
Felt her ribs, hard and round

You found out I wanted her
and placed me
behind the garden wall still


About Me

I am round soft
I love deep warm
I laugh bright loud
I dance easy liquid
I sing dark low
I touch strong light
I see true clear
I speak straight craftm-hamilton-2

I dream wide new

do not think me
gentle for all that

I am strong
I love fierce
I laugh wicked
I dance raw
I sing blue
I touch hard
I see truth
I speak Yes!
I dream the world right


My name is Melanie Hamilton and I can usually be found as MMV Hamilton. I do have other personas on the net. Meham and Meela are the usual alter egos. I’ve been writing all my life. I remember writing something about a bunny in third grade, and writing stories and poems when asked. I started writing poems more seriously as a teen but circumstances intervened and I stopped. Stopped writing except in journals.

Decades passed while I tried to figure out what kind of writing I wanted to settle on, until I finally gave in and started playing Dungeons and Dragons. I was forty-something. That is when it all came together and I was introduced to Nanowrimo. In the meantime, I stumbled across a local class Writing as a Form of Healing. The class is based on the work of Pat Schneider. She created the Amherst Writers and Artists group which supports the voices of everyone. Their premise is that we tell stories so we are all writers. While I was about four novel drafts into Nanowrimo, this class had the effect of freeing my poet’s voice again.

Two years taking workshops with Savvy Authors has yielded a portfolio of short stories and lots of confidence in my prose writing. From Savvy Authors I followed a few of the workshop teachers over to the Muse Online Conference and fell in love! Almost at once I wanted to be part of something larger than just writing. I found my opportunity becoming a novice moderator.

What an amazing experience. The intensity of coralling, I mean gathering teachers and students into a learning environment that is both fun and informative feeds the part of writing that I don’t get to experience often. Helping.

By day, I work as a home-care LVN working in a family with a special needs child and her sister. OK let’s call it what it is—specialized babysitting! Some days it’s just one long play date. Others it’s rescuing a family from stresses they were not expecting waiting for their first child.

I’m getting close to retirement and I know that some of what I receive from half a lifetime of helping must go with me. I am hoping that writing and my writing communities will give me that. Meanwhile, I write, with fellow Savvy members, on our blog The Speculative Salon ( and am getting my shorts portfolio ready for submissions. I’ve had micro success being published so far. Micro Horror took my Zombie Walk story and Apollo’s Lyre received my shorter short, a six-word story both thanks to the tuteledge of Jim Harrington.

Flash fiction is close to poetry, the link between poetry and the longer forms of story and novel. I like the shorter pieces because they are satisfying to complete and give me the opportunity to investigate aspects of the novel worlds I build that don’t fit into the larger work. They let me world build through characters. A little like playing Dungeons and Dragons again.



Devon Ellington and the Muse Online Writers Conference

assumption-of-right-coverI first met Devon during one of the early Muse Online Writers Conferences. Her workshop was thought-provoking, hard work, and immensely satisfying to get through. Since then, I’ve taken several more from her at Savvy Authors (another terrific site), as well as the Muse Conference.

Her depth of knowledge, focus, humor, and structure, all forced me to stretch and go further than I expected I could. I’m so delighted that Devon is back at the Muse Conference this year. Below is a post she wrote, and is included here with her permission.

The Poetic Muselings are presenting a workshop at the Muse Conference, too, “Poetry — Not Just for Writing Verse”. What I learned with Devon over the years influenced the way I look at writing in all genres. I’ve merged the poetic approach in novels, non-fiction, script writing, and even blog posts.

Join us at the Muse Online Writers Conference — but hurry — registation ends on Sept 30!

Later this week, we’ll tell you about our Poetic Museling workshop. But now, here’s Devon.


The Muse and I

by Devon Ellington

The actual Muse and I have an on-again/off-again relationship that doesn’t change the fact that I need to get my butt into the chair every damn day and work, whether I  feel like it or not.  In fact, it’s MORE imperative to get butt in chair on the days you don’t feel like it, and often, your best work comes out of the toughest days.

You only want to write when you feel like it?  Nice to have that luxury.  Some of us have to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.  With our pens and our keyboards.  If you only want to write “when the Muse strikes” (and sometimes she uses a frying pan or a brick), good for you.  Skip my classes, though, because I’m not the right teacher for you.

hexbreakeralt1Sometimes my Muse is male, and sometimes female.  The energy takes on whatever attributes necessary to get the job done.  Sometimes I have the Nick and Nora Charles pair of Muses lounging behind my chair, swilling martinis and making sarcastic comments as I slave away over my words.

That’s okay, as long as it gets done.

As far as the Muse Online Conference, let’s see, how many years have I been here?  I know I did six consecutive years, and then I had to skip one — I think it was last year.  I may have had to skip another one at some point because of chaos going on in life, and when chaos happens, it’s not the writing that gets put aside, but everything else.

There are many great things about the Muse Online Writers Conference.  The sheer volume of participants and the joy they bring to the process is wonderful. It’s a great way to dip one’s toe into a lot of different ways to work, and find techniques to add to your toolbox.  It’s a great place to develop new ideas — I’ve developed several novels during the Muse Conference.  If you do Nano, it’s a great place to prep for Nano. As a teacher, it’s a great place to try out new class ideas.  A lot of places want the same kind of classes — at Muse, teachers can stretch and try new ideas.  And those unique-type classes are often the ones that are the most needed by the writers.  It’s a place to find your peers.  The group of people you start with will be the group you rise with as you progress in your writing life — your support system, your Trusted Readers, the shoulders to cry on after a tough day or a disappointment.  What better place to find them than in an intoxicating environment of writing pleasure?

But you can’t find that if you don’t attend.  I hope to see you there, whether you choose to spend time in my three day Supporting Characters Workshop, where you learn how to create a good ensemble around your protagonist and antagonist without letting them run away with the book — or if we’re both students together in one of the other workshops.  A huge part of good writing is good listening — and some of the best listening opportunities happen at conferences!

–Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, publishing under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction.  Her paranormal romantic suspense novel, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is available in print and online from Champagne Books.  Solstice Publishing has the Jain Lazarus Adventures, with HEX BREAKER out now, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK coming out later this week, and CRAVE THE HUNT sent to the publisher just before this conference.  Her story “Sea Diamond” featuring the take-no-prisoners Fiona Steele appears in the upcoming DEATH SPARKLES anthology, and her plays are produced in New York, Cape Cod, London, Edinburgh, and Australia. and




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