Friday, April 17, 2009

Tim Zaun: Focusing on the Future

Tim Zaun's interests run wide: politics, business, entrepreneurship, the environment, technology. At one time it was dentistry— that's what brought him to Cleveland in '84. But over the years he began thinking about his life differently. With the new millennium and new operational rules came a new way of looking at the world. Speaking about his major concerns encountering 21st-century America became his passion.

This new world with its new rules and new games is scary— but it's exciting too, he says. It's one where a person has to be more self-reliant. "There's a paradox to that. You have to rely on yourself, but you can't do it all by yourself. You need the help of others. It takes initiative. You have to put yourself out there." Tim further discounts a person's age as at all relevant to succeeding in this new century. "Whatever your age, you're not too old. It just takes creativity and initiative."

small portrait of Tim Zaun

In a world where a lot of people would call themselves independent thinkers, Tim Zaun is one who is both both genuine and existentially authentic. Barring necessity, he prefers to work for himself. "Take back the power that's yours," he recommends, "and make your own life." He's an avid reader of current thinkers on the art of business, then also leads discussions on such books at Lakewood Library. He gathers the best ideas available to him, cooks away all but the necessary, and delivers the distillation of those to us.

Readers of will find his name familiar from his frequent contributions there. Tim's also been published at in California; Cleveland Business Connects, Presentations of Minnesota, Ohio magazine, Inside Business, and other magazines focusing on communications and technology. To have a look at his wide range of interests and what from them he sees worthy of promotion, consult his lengthy and ever current blog,

Tim will be speaking on the morning of Saturday, the 18th at West Side Writers. His topic will be Profitable Freelance Writing: A 21st Century Perspective. Come have a look at the future.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Malcolm Wood: The Outline

Speaking at this month's meeting is Malcolm Wood. Malcolm is a most familiar figure at West Side Writers. For the past three years he's assisted his wife, Mary, in management and organizational activities at West Side Writers and for the past eight years he's presided over its fiction critiquing group. Malcolm's very much personally involved as well, counseling attendees and members, often advising fresh faces to "remember the first rule of writing— write!"

Not one to ignore his own advice, Malcolm has penned a series of economic analyses, several short stories, and seven suspense novels. Selected chapters from the latter, along with advice to writers, and other of his writings can be found at his website, Malcolm's eighth novel, MTA and Rapid Transit, is currently under review by members of the fiction critiquing group and is expected to be completed shortly.

The subject of Malcolm's talk this Saturday will be Outlining Your Novel. This presentation, he explains, will cover the "process of organizing and structuring a novel so that you tie up all the loose ends and write efficiently." Included will be techniques for controlling point of view, setting, chronology and sequence of events. Malcolm notes that the use of an outline can be beneficial to all genres of writing, even to some forms of non-fiction writing. For attendee's perusal, Malcolm will bring outlines he employed recently in his own writing.

As is customary, critiquing groups will meet at 9:15 a.m. and at 10:45 the general meeting with Malcolm's presentation will begin.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Michael Heaton: Where Be Dragons

In days of yore, when a territory to be mapped lacked reports of adventurers returned, the mapmaker would label it "Thar be dragons." In our modern times, where cartographers and satellites have scrubbed such portents from the maps of our globe, explorers of our day set sail on adventures into the wide seas of the human mind.

Michael Heaton, one such explorer, is an award-winning columnist and reporter. He's had a regular byline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer since 1987. Before that he was a critic and columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. Before that he reportered for a little mag called People. A graduate of Kent State University, he also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Motherhood and Hollywood with his sister, double Emmy-winning actress Patty Heaton. In 1992 a selection from his series of Plain Dealer columns was bound and titled The Best of the Minister of Culture, his PD nom de plume.

small portrait of Michael Heaton

Heaton's latest, Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit, pulls together forty stories, stirring together what sings, what stings, and what stinks in Cleveland and a few other peculiar locales. Included in the brew are chefs and gypsies and priests, undercover Federals and mob informants, and boxers with serious gloves on his face. Explorers shouldn't expect to return home unscathed.

At our February 21 meeting, Michael will give a talk he calls "My 9/11", the story of the happenstance which brought him to be the first reporter at Ground Zero on 9/11. Besides hearing how he scooped the rest of the world's papers that devastating day, attendees will receive a free copy of his Best of the Minister of Culture. Michael will field questions following his presentation.

Michael Heaton blogs at and conceives his next explorations in and around Cleveland.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Linda Rader Overman: Publish or Perish and Live to Tell About It

Our presentation this month focuses on how to overcome some specific hurdles involved in getting a book published. As our presenter, Linda Rader Overman, says, "The fact is, in fighting your way to get published there are many, many steps." In response comes the question: "Do these always have to be done in order?" Other questions she will address include, "When you receive that umpteenth rejection, what do you do next?" and "How do you make your project stand out among the hundreds that come 'through the transom'?" This presentation, which she's titled "Publish or Perish and Live to Tell About It," will begin with a very short excerpt from her novel and conclude with a bit of time for questions from the audience.

portrait of writer Linda Rader Overman

After her presentation for us, Linda is book-signing at Barnes & Noble in Crocker Park. On Sunday, January 18th, at 1:00 PM she'll be at the Visible Voice bookstore in Cleveland's Tremont district.

Linda Rader Overman's list of publications spans fiction and nonfiction, poetry, letters, diaries and essays. These include photographs, narrative portraits, and personal and social history. Born in Hollywood, she holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, resides in Encino, California, and teaches English at California State University, Northridge. Her latest novel, Letters Between Us, is a murder mystery post-mortem, but also a tale of a precious life lost as told by the letters from a lifelong friend. This title has been honored as "Finalist" in "Fiction & Lit: Chick Lit/Women's Lit" category of National Best Books 2008 Awards sponsored by USA Book News.

Though she likes to write the old fashioned way with a fountain pen, Linda keeps a website at and blogs at nearby

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