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Ada Writers

See you January 2015!

Ada Writers hosts program on unconscious bias in writing

ADA—Ada Writers will host a special presentation of “Hidden Ideas: Unconscious Bias in Writing” by Professor Rhonda Ragsdale at their last regular meeting of the year at noon, Saturday, November 22, upstairs in the Ada Public Library.

"Growing up, most of us were taught language rules that were designed by people who weren't thinking about inclusion," Ragsdale said. "Many of us don't realize the rules have changed."

“We’re excited to have Rhonda speak to us on this important topic,” said Ada Writers President Stephen B. Bagley. “It promises to be a lively, fascinating program. Her presentation will begin at noon after the Ada Writers regular meeting at 11 a.m.”

Ragsdale said that unconscious bias can be found in the work of many authors. "Every day, language all around us reveals old habits of speaking with bias; these are often biases we aren't even aware we are perpetuating. While some people want to diminish the effects of sexist, racist, or otherwise negative language, there are words that push readers away, create distance between people, and shape the way children and others think about the world."

Ragsdale is an Associate Professor of History at Lone Star College - North Harris, and a PhD candidate at Rice University concentrating on the fields of Southern History, African American History, and Sociology. The working title of her dissertation is "Black Towns of the United States: 1700s-1900s."

She completed her undergraduate work at Texas Woman's University, where she graduated with honors. She continued her academic career at the University of North Texas where she received a Master of Science degree, culminating with her thesis "A Place to Call Home: A Study of the Self-Segregated Community of Tatums, Oklahoma: 1894-1970."

After receiving a full fellowship award from Rice University, Ragsdale completed coursework, received a Master of Arts degree, and passed comprehensive examinations in the summer of 2007. Her ongoing studies include a certificate from the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexualities, which will be presented upon completion of her PhD.

Ada Writers is dedicated to the joy of writing and to aiding writers in any facet and level of their ongoing pursuit of writing well. It meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. upstairs at the Ada Public Library. Occasionally meeting times are changed to accommodate holidays and special events.

Oct. 25 meeting cancelled

Ada Writers,

Due the extraordinary number of members who can't attend tomorrow's meeting (12 and counting), we have decided to cancel the meeting and will see you at the next meeting on Saturday, Nov. 8. Please notify any of your fellow writers you are in contact with. We will be putting a sign on the door in case we miss anyone and a notice on the website and Facebook page.

Please email us if you need to hand in a printed copy of your submission to Creations. Otherwise, email it to this email address. Tomorrow is the deadline as we have enough items to fill the book.

Also, Stephen, Gail, Wendy and Jean have a book signing Thursday, Oct. 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m. for Blackbirds First Flight at the Ada Library. Come out for that. It may be your only chance to meet Wendy and Jean, our out-of-state members. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.


Ken Lewis
Ada Writers

Fall Book & Author Festival slated

ADA – Ada Writers Second Annual Fall Book and Author Festival will be Thursday, Sept. 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m. hosted by Karen’s Art and Farming, 108 East Main. The festival will feature books by local authors and “Creations 2014,” the latest anthology by Ada Writers.

“This is our chance to show our appreciation for the support we’ve received from Ada and the surrounding area,” said Stephen B. Bagley, Ada Writers president. “We will have a limited number of signed copies of ‘Creations 2014’ available.”

The anthology features short stories, poems, memoirs, and more by members of Ada Writers, including Kelley Benson, Eric Collier, Stacey Foster, Gail Henderson, Mel Hutt, Sterling Jacobs, Ken Lewis, Rick Litchfield, Don Perry, Martha Rhynes, James Sanders, Anna Tynsky, Joanne Verbridge, Tim Wilson, Tom Yarbrough, and Loretta Yin. Unsigned copies are available for purchase on Lulu, Amazon, and other online retailers.

“We will also be featuring books from our members,” Bagley said. Among the books offered will be “Floozy & Other Stories,” “Tales from Bethlehem,” “Murder by Dewey Decimal,” and “Murder by the Acre” by Stephen B. Bagley; “On Target: Devotions for Modern Life” by Kelley Benson; “Montana Sunshine” by Arlee Fairbanks; “Red Bird Woman” by Gail Henderson; “Devoted to Creating” by Jen Nipps; “The War Bride,” “Secret of the Pack Rat’s Nest,” “Jack London,” and “How to Write Scary Stories” by Martha Rhynes; and “Tree Stand Scribbles” and “Treasures of the Kingdom” by Tom Yarbrough. “The books range from mysteries to romance to biography to inspirational and more,” said Bagley.

Several members of Ada Writers will read from the various Creations anthologies, and original music will be provided by member Anna Tynsky. “We will have refreshments, of course, and plenty of good conversations about books and writing, and a few surprises,” Bagley said.

Ada Writers has been helping local authors with their writing goals for more than 25 years. The group meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month in the upstairs meeting room at the Ada Public Library at 11 a.m. Meeting times may be changed to accommodate holidays and bad weather. The meetings feature writing programs and tips aimed at beginners, professionals, and all those in between. For more information about Ada Writers, visit their website at

Book blurb!

Here's the book blurb for Blackbirds First Flight:

An unhappy wife can’t decide what to do about her boorish husband until an uneaten meal gives her a dark idea...
Something is raising zombies in Tulsa, and Justina Grave is the only one who can stop it...
When a fat farm promises to make Edyth thin again, her dream comes true. She will never be fat again—or safe...
Hopping a freight train can be a cheap way to travel. Unless you pick the wrong boxcar...
One kiss gives Francois immortality, but at a cost he doesn't see coming...
A woman warrior must choose her fate as the Romans ravage her land...
Stalked by terrible creatures seeking vengeance, a band of robbers runs for their lives in medieval France...

This anthology will lead you into dark, twisted places filled with mystery and delight. Enjoy thrilling stories and chilling poems by authors Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Tamara Siler Jones, and Jean Schara.

It goes on sale October 1st! Watch for it!

Jen Nipps speaks at Ada Writers

Author Jen Nipps spoke on creativity at the August 9th meeting. Her program, "Creativity 101," was well received.

Doug Matlock performs at Ada Writers

Musician and songwriter Doug Matlock performed for Ada Writers in May and gave an excellent program on song writing. Thanks, Doug!

Visit Doug at A Doug's Life.


ADA – Ada Public Library will host a book signing for “Creations 2014,” the newest anthology from Ada Writers, Thursday, June 19, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The book will be available to purchase at the signing for $12 and is available now at,, and other online retailers. Later this month, it will be on sale at Karen’s Art & Framing, Inc., in downtown Ada.

“We’ll have most of our authors at the signing,” Ada Writers president Stephen B. Bagley said. “It will be a great time to get your anthology signed by the writers and to meet them and talk about writing.”

A limited amount of the previous anthologies will also be available at the signing, and there will be a table featuring books by group members, including three new books. “Don Perry will be there with his new young adult book ‘Little Texas on the Pecos,’” Bagley said. “Tom Yarbrough will be bringing his new inspirational book ‘Treasures of the Kingdom.’ And Gail Henderson will present her new poetry and photography book ‘Bare.’” Other authors featured will be Bagley, Kelley Benson, and Martha Rhynes.

This is the third year that Ada Writers has produced an anthology. “Each year we’ve gained new authors,” Bagley said. “This year, we feature poems, essays, short stories, memoirs, and book excerpts from 17 local and area writers. Five of the authors have never been published in our anthology before.”

Authors will read from their works at the signing, Bagley said. “And we will have cookies. We can’t have a reading without cookies. It’s one of our traditions now.”

The local and area anthology authors include: Stephen B. Bagley, Kelley Benson, Eric Collier, Stacey Foster, Gail Henderson, Mel Hutt, Sterling Jacobs, Ken Lewis, Rick Litchfield, Don Perry, Martha Rhynes, James Sanders, Anna Tynsky, Joanne Verbridge, Tim Wilson, Tom Yarbrough, and Loretta Yin.

Ada Writers meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. in an upstairs meeting room at the Ada Public Library, 124 South Rennie. New writers are always welcome.

Songwriter slated for Ada Writers meeting

Latest CD
This Saturday, May 24, Christian recording artist Doug Matlock will be speaking on "Song Writing" and will PERFORM some of his music at the Ada Writers meeting at 11 a.m. in the upstairs meeting room of the Ada Public Library! Everyone is invited! 

Doug grew up in Ada and graduated from Byng High School and East Central University. He became a Christian at age 8 and grew up attending Trinity Baptist. It was there that he grew to love and play music and begin writing songs. He married his wife Courtney in 2003, and in the same year he began as a youth pastor at First Baptist in Allen, Oklahoma. A few years later he served at First Baptist in Ada as a College and Media Pastor, and now he is an Education and Outreach Pastor at First Baptist in Chickasha, Oklahoma. In 2007, he released his first album, “Letter to the World.” This February he released his second album, “Singing Seems to Help a Troubled Soul.” His musical influences range from U2 to Coldplay to Johnny Cash. He
Doug in concert
is currently working on his Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and will one day pursue his doctorate. Doug plays music in many venues, including churches and coffee shops. One of his greatest passions is leading worship in church services. Doug will also have his two CDs for purchase at the meeting. They are $5 each. 

Join us for this special meeting!

Just released!

Creations 2014 
the latest anthology from Ada Writers 
is now on sale! 

Enjoy poems, essays, short stories,
memoirs, and novel excerpts
 from Ada Writers, featuring:
Stephen B. Bagley, Kelley Benson, Eric Collier, Stacey Foster, Gail Henderson, Mel Hutt, Sterling Jacobs, Ken Lewis, Rick Litchfield, Don Perry, Martha Rhynes, James Sanders, Anna Tynsky, Joanne Verbridge, Tim Wilson, Tom Yarbrough, and Loretta Yin.

New book!

Ada Writers member Tom Yarbrough has a new book out! It's Treasures of the Kingdom: A Conversational Confessional

From the back cover: "This study offers a fresh look at the revealed secrets embedded in Matthew 5:3–12, the time-tested Beatitudes, from the perspective of one trained as a behavioral scientist. Throughout his more than forty years in the counseling field, Dr. Tom Yarbrough's motivation stayed fixed upon biblical guidelines. In Treasures of the Kingdom, he suggests nine smaller kingdoms Christ introduced on the Mount for a contemporary journey toward maturity.

"Yarbrough explores the Beatitudes in the Bible, showing how each one reveals a way of living that all Christians can and should adopt. He compares them to stages, or kingdoms, in which one instruction may need to be understood and experienced before one can understand and experience the next one.

"Providing a host of scriptural references, Yarbrough shows how through the Beatitudes, Jesus left us a road map on how to live our lives, follow in his footsteps, and become mature Christians."

Here's the link on Amazon where you can get the paperback and Kindle: PURCHASE HERE

Happy New Year!

By Martha Rhynes
My first date on New Year’s Eve was an important event in my life. In retrospect, I am surprised that my parents allowed me, a fourteen year old girl, to accept a date to a movie with a boy they did not know. During World War II, our family had moved to Houston from a small town in North Texas so Dad could supervise construction of a pipeline to the Sinclair refinery on the ship channel. I attended Mirabeau B. Lamar High School with 2,000 other students. Perhaps Mom and Dad thought a little social activity would cheer me up and help me adjust to city life. They were not movie fans, but they assumed that the largest movie theater in Houston would be a good place for their daughter’s first date.

The boy who invited me arranged a double date. The plan was for the four of us to ride the city bus downtown, attend the movie, and ride the bus home. All went well until we arrived at the Majestic Theater and discovered that the movie was sold out. The boys decided to buy tickets to the late show, even though it meant we’d see a different film and get home later.

January weather in Houston is always damp and chilly, so while we waited, the four of us window-shopped and admired the glittering ornaments on display in downtown stores. Believe me. Strolling arm-in-arm down Main Street with a cute, popular, athletic youth was a thrilling experience for this fourteen year old girl.

When we returned to the theater, we stood at the front of the line and got good seats. The elaborate oriental d├ęcor of the Majestic Theater was awesome. The movie, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, starring Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken, was funny at first, and we laughed a lot. But the four of us became silent and uncomfortable after the plot took an embarrassing turn. Betty Hutton discovered she was pregnant. Her quintuplets (the miracle) were possibly fathered by soldiers she had met during a drunken party. Eddie Bracken, her 4-F boyfriend, saved the day by marrying her. The movie was not funny. Instead, the reality of sex had a sobering effect.

Silently, we walked to the bus stop to return home, only to discover that city busses had quit running at eleven. The boys tried to hail cabs, but no drivers would stop. Then my date decided to call his mother, so we went into the lobby of a hotel and waited while he telephoned her from a phone booth. No answer. The other boy got the same result. Their parents were at New Year’s Eve parties. The girl called her mother, who did not have access to a car. I knew that I should call my parents, but I did not have any money in my purse, and I was too embarrassed to ask my date for a dime to use the pay phone.

We walked around the block several times, but it had turned cold and started to drizzle, so we returned to the hotel. The night clerk frowned and asked us to leave, but after my date explained our problem, the man allowed us to remain in the lobby. My date continued to telephone his mother every fifteen minutes. The other boy and girl dozed off on the leather-covered furniture. Finally my date’s mother answered her phone and drove the four of us home.

The porch light was on at my house. I dreaded facing my parents, but my date and his mother came inside with me to explain. Mother and Dad had been frantic with worry but refrained from calling the police because “something” told them I was all right. They had been impressed by my date’s appearance and behavior when he called for me earlier in the evening. My unforgettable New Year’s Eve date was the beginning of a lifelong relationship. I eventually married the boy who invited me.

By Loretta Yin
The house was being cleaned from top to bottom. New clothes were ready for the family and the servants -- particularly new shoes, since the ground was sacred because of the New Year. Dirt was not permitted to touch the sacred ground.

The kitchen was bustling with activities. All of us were pitching in to help Cook, even me, the eight year old 'missy.' Normally, Papa told us not to get into the kitchen so that our clothes would not get dirty by cooking grease, etc. But this was an exceptional time of the year.

My job was to make little Chinese fold-over omelets with fillings. The cook and Mama had set up a small burner for me in one comer of the large kitchen. I was to make a batch of small egg pancakes, filling them with meats, and fold them over to resemble ancient gold Ingots. Cook would, then, use them to prepare one of the many, many dishes. Every dish signifies 'good luck, or 'good fortune', or 'happiness', or 'long life', etc. -- all things good.

During the first three days of the New Year, fire was not to be built, nor knives to be used. This was to avoid violence and disaster -- one of the many traditions we observed. There were to be many, many dishes prepared, enough to feed the family, the helpers, and the relatives and friends who happen to drop by.

On the fourth day, after we welcomed back our "Kitchen God," the kitchen will then resume its normal activities.

Happy New Year!

By Mel Hut
A holiday that can be disastrous or joy full. Most of our New Years Eves were spent with another couple. We were either at their house or our house all night. We played cards and had festive games along with our offspring.

He and I figured that New Years Eve was amateur night and kept off the highways.

I miss the ability to stay up so late any night, even New Years Eve. My birthday follows not long after that. Now that I am 'over eighty five and still alive.' The celebrations are milder and more sober. Our holiday enjoyment now is observing the fun our offspring and their children have during the holidays.

Happy New Year everyone!

By Stephen B. Bagley
I always make New Year's resolutions. Year after year after year. Not because I expect to keep them because I never do, but because I think the desire to do better, to keep improving and growing, needs expression and effort; otherwise, it withers and dies.

Every December, I start a long list, usually around 25 items. Some items always show up: be more focused on my writing, expand my writing horizons, publish a book or two, and approach writing more professionally. Naturally, I throw in few about being more attentive to my loved ones and being more active in my faith. And of course, lose weight and exercise more.

You would think that I would be discouraged that I never keep my resolutions for the whole year. I do accomplish some of the smaller ones and a couple of the larger ones, but overall, I don't have an impressive success rate.

However, for a couple of months -- sometimes all the way through March -- I do keep them. For those months, I write more, eat less, exercise more, telephone my family more, mail letters to distant friends, do chores cheerfully (or as close to that as I can manage), and generally enjoy the productivity. It's not such a bad thing to fail in the effort. It's better to do that than to never try. We don't attempt improvement, we can be sure that we will never achieve it.

So the last resolution that I always add to my list is this: to forgive myself if I don't keep my resolutions and to try again next year. I've always kept that one.