Note of Hope: Writers group releases first anthology

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

oyal Writer director Grace Booth reads from one an anthology., which features one of her stories.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

oyal Writer director Grace Booth reads from one an anthology., which features one of her stories.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

About eight years ago, former English instructor Grace Booth decided she wanted to be part of a group that shared encouraging and inspirational stories.
Through Resurrection Life Church in Picayune, Booth discovered life groups.
“It’s a way to share your passions in life with others and get to know your fellow parishioners,” she said.
For the past 20 years, writing has been Booth’s passion and inspired her to start the Royal Writers.
The group includes about 18 local writers who will be debuting their first anthology, “Maps of the Heart” next week in Picayune.
Members of Royal Writers meet every Monday at Resurrection Life where Booth teaches lessons about grammar, speech, literary devices and “how to add sparkle to your writings,” she said.
Many of the members share inspirational stories, although they are not obliged to. Booth said many in the group write romance, science fiction and poetry.
“In today’s world, we need to hear or read something that lifts you up,” Booth said. “Hearing someone else’s story that clicks with yours and gives you the idea that something can turn around. There’s always possibilities beyond the now. Now is not the eternal. I like to tell myself, ‘all of life is temporary.’’’
Since she began pursuing writing 20 years ago, Booth traveled to conferences and shared lessons with members.
Booth said she shares publisher’s bestsellers lists to give the local writers clues as to what the public enjoys reading.
“I encourage them to spend a day looking around at a bookstore to see who has done what on what topic,” Booth said.
Each week, Booth composes a list of topics and members can choose one to write about or something else that inspired them. The next week, members read their material to the group.
“It becomes like a family, we celebrate one another,” she said. “We have members from all kinds of backgrounds and ages. The youngest member is 24 and the oldest is 81. Some have even been published.”
Their first anthology, “Maps of the Heart,” is a compilation of stories by each member of Royal Writers, including the late Sylvia Bernard. Her story, “Mystery at the Crossroads,” is located right in the middle of the book, Booth said.
“Every article is special in many ways,” she said. “I named it ‘Maps of the Heart’ because that’s what it is, a guide to someone’s inner life, their heart. Whether humorous or sad, it’s who they are.”
There are also two award-winning stories included in the anthology; both stories, written by Sandy Lemoine and Alicia Stevens, won first place at The Southern Christian Writers Contest in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
After eight years, Booth said it was time Royal Writers produced a showcase of their work.
“Their work has advanced over the years,” she said. “This anthology represents enormous growth in their development and understanding of language, use of words and structure.”
On August 15, there will be a book sale and signing in Holland Hall at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library, located at 900 Goodyear Boulevard in Picayune from noon to 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend and copies of the anthology will be on sale for $5.35.
For more information about Royal Writers, contact Booth at 601-799-3248 or attend one of their Monday meetings at 6 p.m. at Resurrection Life’s Holy Java Café, located at 795 Memorial Boulevard in Picayune.
There are no annual dues and membership is open to everyone.

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