Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Red Book

In about three weeks, I'll have my very first book ready. I have the proof copy and am working on it. It's small, but it's mine. The Red Book is the first in a series and contains short stories and poems. Hope you'll get a chance to check it out. I'll be selling them for $8.00 each. Am very excited and hope you will get a chance to check it out! Visit my Facebook page at

Thank you for looking and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Tribute to Jack White

I'm a big Jack White fan. I love the man's creativity and musical ability. His shows constantly sell out, and when they don't, scalpers buy up the tickets and resell them for hundreds of dollars making it impossible to get one. Nevertheless, I still want to see him live one day. I play Blunderbuss all the time along with the Cold Mountain soundtrack. As a writer, I've written many things: articles, screenplays, flash fiction, and lots and lots of poetry. One poem is even based on Ada and Inman, characters from Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain and I even got permission from Third Man Records to use the music from Wayfaring Stranger to accompany the piece if I ever read it aloud at a poetry reading, which I haven't done YET! Earlier this year, I wrote another poem based on Jack's version of Great High Mountain, another piece from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Like a giddy 14-year-old with a Justin Bieber crush, I mailed it to TMR as a donation. It may have ended up in the trash as far as I know, but what the hell. Here is the poem, hope you like it.

My Great High Mountain
(inspired by the song “Great High Mountain
written by Ralph Stanley and sung by Jack White)
by Sherry Perkins

What is the mountain Jack White sings of in a song called “Great High Mountain,” the one he desperately longs to climb? The same one he falls down on his knees in front of and cries out, “Lord, what must I do?”
In his song, the mountain could be a representation of life. 
(“The higher I got, the harder I climbed.”)
Yes, for some, it could be life in general.
But...what about those of us who think outside the box?
For me, since I’m the only one I can truly speak for, the mountain represents...
 expression, creativity, writing, publishing.
You see, I’ve always been a deep thinker, a hard feeler, and I’ve always known that I’m good at something.  We’re all good at something.
Am I a good writer?  I’d like to think so.
After all, nobody can write exactly like me, nor can I write like others.
I don’t want to.  I’m not them, they’re not me.

Furthermore, who is the “sweet voice” he hears from “the top of the mountain?”
Is it God saying “...put your hand in mine?” 
Whoever is speaking in his story, God, an angel, the voice gives him courage.
Yet, in my story, the voice is always me.  It’s my inner strength when all seems lost and there’s nowhere to go but up.  It’s my grit, my guts, my voice urging me higher and higher up my mountain of expression and creativity.

          So what, if no one gets it. So what, if my words are too plain for plain people. Who cares if my country slang clouds the meanings? I don’t need your permission or validation to express myself, to climb my great high mountain.

Expression, creativity, writing...inspirations come from everywhere, they come from nowhere.  Don’t be afraid to climb your mountain whatever it represents for you. 
Because when you reach the top, and you will, it will all have been worth it.

January 27, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Lesson in...Screenplays

Okay, right off the bat, what is a screenplay? It's a movie in written form. Everything is different when writing a screenplay versus writing a novel: format, description, narration, action, number of pages. Unlike a novel, where words flow down the pages in paragraph form, a screenplay is tight writing with the dialogue down the center of the page posted under the character speaking. Small scene set ups (descriptions) are written to tell the reader where the action is taking place. In my research, I found out that a minute on the screen equals about one page of text. So, for that two-hour movie, the screenwriter had to come up with a 120-page script. You can find all you need to know on the Internet or in books, except of course for the words. You'll have to come up with those. They even sell screenplays on online auction sites if you'd like to see what a professional one looks like.

Now that you've written that next masterpiece, you know the one where you receive the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, what do you do with it? How does it go from the page to the movie screen? Not that I'm a professional, but I can tell you the path I've followed.

First, you have to draft a pitch. This is comparable to a novel pitch, where you have one page to catch the producer's/agent's/manager's attention. In this pitch you have to contain a lot of information in a short space. For example, the title of your story, what it is comparable to in films, and the meat and potatoes (main character, conflict, the goal of the main character, and how he/she will get to the goal, plus who the story would appeal to (the audience). I've pitched to producers many times. Although most have passed on my story, with some giving me great feedback, others have requested the screenplay -which still hasn't gone anywhere but that just makes me work harder. After the pitch hooks the reader, he or she may instead request a treatment. A treatment is more thorough and contains more information than you can put on one page. Again, you can research on the Internet about treatments.

Why am I telling you this? Because I've written four screenplays (with two in progress), haven't bought the fancy script-writing software that is available since I can type it all out in Word, and have pitched to producers on my own. It all started years ago by watching stupid, boring, lame, (and any other derogatory adjective you want to use) movies. I told my husband, "I can write a better story than that," after watching something so stupid we eventually turned it off and I don't even remember the name of it. Yet, Hollywood continues to roll out lame blockbusters which makes you question the entire process. (Is it really who you know?) Perhaps I'm trying too hard, at least that's what my husband says. But, I believe in my heart one day my story will end up on the screen, probably jumbled into the same category I just ranted about above. Yet, if other idiot writers can do it - so can I because I'm NOT an idiot writer. (Yes, I'm jealous can't you tell.)

To help you better visualize a pitch, I'm including an actual pitch below. This was sent to a Paramount Producer about a month or so ago. For confidentiality, I will not list his name. It's not perfect, but at least I had to courage to send it. Who knows what lights the fire under these people, but you never know until you try. If you were a movie producer, what would you think about this? The format may be lost in copying and pasting, but I think you'll get the idea. Oh, and I'm not worried about someone stealing my idea. We all have ideas. When we convert our ideas to a tangible written form is when it's protected. All of my screenplays have been registered. Research copyright and registration on the Library of Congress website.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

You're Invited

In less than 90 days, the group I belong to - Bayou Writers' Group - will host its annual writing conference. If you've never attended a writing conference, I'd like to invite you to 'A Bridge to Publication' on Sat, Nov 10th, 2012 in Lake Charles. Topics to be discussed include poetry, folk telling, fiction, and presentations by a literary agent and editor. Please visit our website at for registration details.

Everyone is working hard to bring you a wonderful experience. Even if you've never had anything published, you will learn how at our conference. You'll network and meet people. You'll have a chance to buy books, and we even serve lunch on site. It's scheduled from 8:00 am to around 5:00 pm. We even have a free one-page writing contest throughout the day. Check out the website for details about the On The Wall/Best First Page Contest!

So, get ready to have a blast! Don't wait to the last minute, since you can save money by registering early. See one of our ads in every Thursday's Lake Charles American Press Scene Section. More ads will be appearing soon in other publications, but stay updated by visiting our website.

I hope to see you there. The above picture was taken at the Gay Pride Parade of 2011 in New York City. Mama and I were there that day and got caught up in the festivities, but hey that's another story. Just as you never know what you will see in NYC, you never what you can learn at a writing conference. On the same trip, we attended Tony Kushner's play "The Illusion" where we met husband and wife David Margulies and Lois Smith who were cast members. Very sweet people, and Lois Smith appeared with James Dean in East of Eden!

You never know what you'll experience either in New York City or at a writing conference!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

From Santa Claus to the Civil War

It's so fulfilling to be in a writing group. The one I belong to is Bayou Writers' Group in Lake Charles. We meet monthly at Carnegie Library on Pujo Street on the first Saturday of the month from 10:00 am until noon. Normally we have speakers presenting on different aspects of writing and publishing, but not yesterday. Yesterday, the meeting was devoted to the membership in a different way. Those who wanted, brought something and we took turns reading aloud. We call those meetings "Saturday Morning on the Bayou." There were about 24 in attendance, and of those, 15 pieces were read. I love reading aloud, don't get me wrong. But I really enjoy hearing what my peers are doing, or have done. We heard short stories, flash fiction, and poetry from Santa Claus to the Civil War. With six visitors, I hope they had as good a time as I did. If you're a writer and haven't found a writing home, check out our website at where we'd love to have you. It's one thing to write, it's a whole other monster having the courage to present your poetry or prose to others beside your family and close friends. If you're looking for encouragement, enlightenment, or ways to submit your articles or stories, check us out. Visitors are allowed two free meetings. Hope to see you soon...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Bookshelf

You can learn a lot from a person’s bookshelf. I just took an inventory of my books and found my interests are widespread. I love nonfiction, fiction, romance, memoirs, poetry, informational, history, and even the classics. Here is my inventory in random order (I’m not so geeky that I categorize my books yet – but I’m afraid that day is coming.)

Nonfiction about:
Larry Bird
Gene Simmons of KISS
Princess Diana (4 books)
James Dean (3 books)
The Indonesian Tsunami by Curt Iles

Fiction by:
Billy Bob Thornton
Curt Iles
DiAnn Mills
Sue Monk Kidd
Susan Hinton
Anne Rice
James Lee Burke
Stephen King

Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Anderson Prison by Gene Hackman & Daniel Lenihan
The History of Oberlin by Pat Marcantel
A book about Harriett Tubman
A book about growing up on a Louisiana plantation where the female author disguised her name by spelling it backwards.
A book about Louisiana Capitols

Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris

Memoirs by:
Colleen Arthur
Rodney Hennigan
Frank McCourt

Rachel Windham

Short Stories and Poetry by:
Sam Shepard
Viggo Mortensen

Classics by:
John Steinbeck
Margaret Mitchell
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Louisa May Alcott

Finally, there are two books I wouldn’t part with for a million dollars, literally. But if someone were to offer, I might just think about it. Nah, because both of them are over 100 years old. I’m such an antiquarian. Believe it or not I found these at garage sales:

a 1904 edition (the original printing was 1891) of Literary Masterpieces, and
an 1899 copy of The Rover Boys on the Ocean by Arthur Winfield

I’m so lucky to be a reader. What does your bookshelf look like?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Charlie Brown - Not the Cartoon

Yesterday was the day one of my brothers died. Although his official date of death is tomorrow, May 28th, it was the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend in 2006. He was only 30 years old. His name was Charlie and most people called him Charlie Brown, among other nicknames he acquired during his life. In remembering my brother, I knew I had written something about him for the funeral. Although I didn't read it aloud because my throat closed and I couldn't speak, I knew I had something to share with those who came to the funeral. I found it and want to post this very personal piece on my blog in the hopes it may help others. Yes it's sad, yes it's profound, and yes it touches on drug use. Just as I helped carry my dad's casket to the grave, I helped carry my brother's too. I know, women aren't supposed to do that, but he was my brother and I felt it was only right! Read it if you want... P.S. Charlie is the one in the overalls!

My Brother Charlie

            Thank you all for coming.  Each of us deals with grief in our own way.  For some, they hold it in and don’t talk about it.  Others prefer to be alone with their thoughts, while others feel better by talking and being around people who have the same feelings.  For me, it’s a mixture. Sometimes I keep stuff bottled up, sometimes I want to talk, and other times I just want to be around people.  Today is very hard on all of us.  Hard in different ways.  So, thank you for listening, thank you for talking, and thank you for just being around us today.

            Charlie was known by many people and was called many things:  daddy, son, friend, uncle, cousin, nephew, and grandson, but to me he was a brother.  Even though he was the meanest brother, he was still my brother.  For those who have brothers, you know at times, they can be a royal pain in the butt.  But, siblings have a special bond that is hard to explain.  This is why I feel compelled to say something on the day we bury our brother.

            We do not know what happened to Charlie.  We won’t know for a few months.  We can speculate it was drugs, or we can hope it was a medical condition.  I won’t stand here and say my brother was a saint, because he wasn’t.  He was however, baptized as a child and knew Jesus, so I have no doubt that I will see Charlie again.  With Charlie, he was either your best friend or your worst enemy.  He had a temper like dynamite and a heart like a marshmallow.  If you didn’t know Charlie, he looked very intimidating.  Some of you here know many things and can share many stories about Charlie.  Stories that are probably not very good because he had a reputation for getting into mischief, even as a child.  Of all of us, he got the most whippings. 
            Yet as we come together today to support one another, we hope that Charlie did not die in vain.  We have always been taught that everything happens for a reason, and if the cause of his death is not a medical condition, if the cause of his death is drugs or is drug related, then some in this room need to pay attention because you are on the same path.
            If Charlie’s death is drug related please don’t put your friends and family through this.  Drugs not only destroy families, but they destroy your former self by taking your personality away and replacing it with a stranger’s personality.  Drug addicts lie, cheat, and steal straight to your face.  They place blame on others, they come up with the most off-the-wall excuses and stories.  Drugs turn people from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, right under our nose and we, the family and friends, say nothing.  We “feel sorry for them,” we “hope they straighten up,” we “wish they could just do right,” we justify it by saying, “that kid sure has had a hard life.”  We are afraid to say anything.  Prescription or non prescription, it doesn’t matter, a drug addict is a drug addict.  Children suffer, spouses suffer, parents suffer, friends suffer, and siblings suffer. 

            I hope that Charlie had a medical condition, but if he did not, I hope his death serves as a wake up call for some.  I loved my brother, I always will and I will miss him.  Thank you for listening.