Learn to follow 'your creative heart'

Melissa Lee will speak at the Writers Alliance of Gainesville; also, a listing of more literary events

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.

Melissa Lee, artist, author, chef, blogger, agent and now publisher, speaks about “following your creative heart in the new year” at the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, 2:30 p.m. today, Millhopper Public Library, 3145 NW 43rd St.

Lee, a resident of St. Simon's Island, Ga., writes the popular blog, The Permanent Tourist, which she said is making money from paid advertising.

The meeting is free and open to anyone interested in the written word. For details, see of


■ Jane Austen Society of North Central Florida:  University of Florida professor, Dr. Judith Page, discusses the topic of estates in Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice” at the group's first meeting of the year, 2 p.m. today, Tower Road Branch Library, 3020 SW 75th St.

Page's article on estates is one of the critical chapters in “The Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), edited by Janet Todd. Bring a finger food to share and your own teacup.

■ “Ooh Lala”: Lala Rukh, a recent finalist in the “MasterChef USA” cookoff, will discuss and sign her recent book “Ooh Lala” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, The Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St.

Rukh, who was born and raised in Pakistan before moving to England and then to the U.S., also will hold a cooking demonstration of traditional Pakistani cooking. Rukh lives in Washington State.

“Ooh Lala” shares the author's life experiences and includes easy-to-master Punjabi recipes. The book will be available at the event, which is co-sponsored by the Citizens' Co-op.

■ “Making Realistic Goals for Your Writing and Sticking to Them”: Mary Ann de Stefano, editor, writing coach and owner of Mad about Words, speaks at the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 9, Millhopper Public Library, 3145 NW 43rd St.

De Stefano develops writing workshops and edits the Florida Writer's Association magazine and newsletter. She has more than 11 years experience in publishing with Harcourt Brace/Academic Press and 20 years as an independent writing consultant.

WAG meetings are free and open to anyone interested in the written word. For details, see or


■ “Dear Oprah: How I Beat Cancer and Learned to Love Daytime TV”: Gainesville freelance writer and editor, Wendy Thornton, has published “Dear Oprah: How I Beat Cancer and Learned to Love Daytime TV” (Createspace), her personal story on surviving an unusual form of cancer.

Thornton's work has been published in several literary journals and books. Most recently, she won second prize in New York's Literal Latte essay contest, and her essay on the rock group Sister Hazel was published in New Plains Review: A Journal of Social Commentary.

She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been an Editor's Pick on multiple times. She is a founding member and former president of the Writers Alliance of Gainesville.

The book, available in e-book or paperback, can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites.

■ “Wrestling God”: Gainesville author Arthur Crummer combines a 1950s Huckleberry Finn with Holden Caulfield in a seemingly carefree hero in his new book, “Wrestling God.” Paul, whose head injury at age 12 compels the boy to obsessively write in his journal, revealing his struggles with truth, sin, lies, church teachings and the unsettling behavior of his preacher-father whom Paul wishes dead — just days before it comes true.

Crummer, president of Writers Alliance of Gainesville (, was published in the first edition of the literary magazine Bacopa and twice selected in the Hippodrome's monologue competitions.

He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, a B.S. in mechanical engineering and is retired from teaching at the University of Florida.

Crummer performs with his band at statewide festivals, has won numerous first-place ribbons in statewide competitions, and has led music workshops since 1995 in Dobro, slide guitar, flat-pick and finger-style guitar, as well as gospel singing.

In 2008, Crummer received the prestigious Edward Flemming Jr. award, which recognizes musicians who exemplify the spirit of old-time music.


■ Talking Service: A reading and discussion program for veterans, their family and friends meets 7-8:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month, Beltram Peace Center, 1236 NW 18th Ave. (376-0044 or

■ The Book Rack Book Club: Meets 3 p.m. the first Thursday of every month. The Book Rack, 4936 NW 39th Ave. (224-3945)

■ Gainesville Poets & Writers: Meets 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Books-A-Million, 2601 NW 13th St.

■ Mystery Reading Group: Bring any mysteries you have, 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, High Springs Branch Library, 135 NW First Ave., High Springs. (454-2515)

■ Weekly Poetry Jam: Gainesville's longest-running open poetry reading, 9 p.m. Thursdays, Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St. (373-0010,

■ Writer's Alliance of Gainesville: Anyone interested in the written word is welcome; see for exact dates, Millhopper Branch Library, 3145 NW 43rd St. Free.

■ Tempting Reads Book Club: Group meets 6 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of every month. Newberry Branch Library, 110 S. Seaboard Drive, Newberry. Open to the public. (472-1135)

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