Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bestselling author tells of life on the road at Dec. 5 workshop

Don’t miss “Road Hazards: The Life of a Touring Writer,” presented by bestselling author M.R. Sellars at the St. Louis Writers Guild’s Dec. 5 workshop, held 10 a.m. to noon at Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwood, Mo. Free to members; $5 for nonmembers.
Sellars’ stories will range from being left behind during a hurricane to being inundated at a bookstore by fans cosplaying the antagonist from one of his novels, and everything in between.

A member of the ITW (International Thriller Writers), M.R. Sellars is a relatively unassuming homebody who, in his own words, “tells pretty lies for a living.” Although his penchant for creating fiction began at an early age, it wasn’t until 2000 that his first full-length novel, HARM NONE: A ROWAN GANT INVESTIGATION, hit bookstore shelves, officially launching the acclaimed paranormal thriller series and its associated spinoff.

All the novels in Sellars’ continuing Rowan Gant Investigations saga have spent several consecutive weeks on numerous bookstore bestseller lists, as well as a consistent showing on the Horror/Occult top 100. In 2010 a short e-novella featuring a supporting character from the RGI cast spawned a new series, The Special Agent Constance Mandalay Novels, the first full-length book being IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, which hit the streets November 2011. The second, INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE, is slated for release in 2015.

Sellars currently resides in the Midwest with his wife, daughter, and a houseful of rescued animals – a population that currently stands at one canine (Vicki the Wonder Dog) and three felines (Asphalt, Nachos el Tigre, and Mac the Klaw). He often describes the fluctuating menagerie as “the competition.” At home, when not writing or taking care of the household, he indulges his passions for cooking and home brewing.

M.R. Sellars can be located on the web wherever there is a virtual bar serving virtual single malt Scotch, single barrel bourbon, good Irish whisky, and decent beer. In other words, look for him on the major social networking sites.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

See you at the Local Author open house Nov. 19!

Local Author Open House for Over 100 Authors!

We eat local, we shop local, so let’s read local!

Don’t miss the St. Charles City-County Library District’s Local Author Open House. At this one-of-a-kind event more than 100 local authors will be gathered in one place to sell and autograph their books, and to talk to visitors about how they got their start. The 2015 Local Author Open House, now in its 7th year, is being held at a new location allowing it to double in size.

The event will take place on Thursday, November 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Spencer Road Branch, 427 Spencer Road, St. Peters, MO 63376.

“This gathering of so many local authors in one place, is an event that you will not find anywhere else in the area,” said St. Charles City-County Library District Adult Services Manager Sara Nielsen. “We are excited to be able to help people discover the many authors that live right here in our own community.”

The St. Charles City-County Library District offers a special collection that features the work of local authors. This collection is housed at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch, or you can browse and reserve a title online.

To access the collection online, go to and select “Local Author Collection.” Refreshments will be provided, and attendance prizes will be given out.

Register online at or call the Spencer Road Branch at 636-441-0522.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Star Between the Rivers release party Nov. 7 at 6 North Cafe-Wentzville

Click image to enlarge.

 ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO - Not your average history book, The Star Between the Rivers: A History of the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department, 1805-2015 chronicles the journey of the department, from the appointment of the first sheriff following the Louisiana Purchase to the creation of a separate county police department after voters approved a charter change, in a coffee-table format with pictures on nearly every page.

“In 210 years the department grew with the community, handling legal and political issues and pressures while successfully managing rapid growth in law enforcement technology and criminal sophistication. Sheriffs, deputies, and department staff experienced triumphs and tragedies – with an unwavering commitment to keep the people of St. Charles County safe.”
- Excerpt from The Star Between The Rivers: A History Of The St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department, 1805-2015 back cover

The book was a committee effort suggested in 2014 by St. Charles County Police Officer Dave Fournell after he saw a similar book published by a sheriff’s department in another state. St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, retired St. Charles County Journal photographer Roy Sykes, retired St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer, St. Charles County Police Chief David Todd, St. Charles County Police Captains David Kaiser and Jim Hudson, retired St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department detective Marsha Corley, St. Charles County Director of Administration Joann Leykam, and St. Charles County Public Affairs Coordinator Colene McEntee served on the committee to bring the book to life.
“Whether you are a law enforcement professional, a history buff, or simply a proud current or past resident of St. Charles County, you will enjoy the stories and the multitude of pictures in this book,” said Tom Neer, who wrote the foreword. “It is exciting to finally have this history documented and in a format to share with the community served by our county sheriff and police departments.”
The community is invited to a celebration of the book at a public release party on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. until noon at Six North Café, 10 Cliff View Drive, Wentzville, MO 63385. Attendees will be able to meet members of the committee and purchase the book for $20. Only cash or checks (payable to St. Charles County) will be accepted at the event.
Starting Monday, Nov. 9, citizens can purchase books for $20 at the following locations. Cash, check (payable to St. Charles County) and credit card will be accepted (please note: There is an additional $1.25 processing fee added per book for credit card transactions):

 _St. Charles County Finance Department 201 N. 2nd St., Suite 541 St. Charles, MO 63301 Available to purchase Monday-Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., excluding holidays.

 _St. Charles County Police Department – Records Division Window 101 Sheriff Dierker Court O'Fallon, MO 63366 Available to purchase Monday-Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., excluding holidays.
 _St. Charles County Heritage Museum, 1630 Heritage Landing, St. Peters, MO 63303 Available to purchase Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. until 5 p.m., excluding holidays.
For questions, please call the St. Charles County Office of Public Information at 636-949-1864 or email

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 95th Anniversary to St. Louis Writers Guild!

Happy 95th Anniversary to St. Louis Writers Guild!
By Brad R. Cook

St. Louis in 1920 was city of brick. A city on the rise. The brick wars, yes it was a war had reshaped the gateway to the west. The landscape was smaller than we know today. The city wasn’t as connected. Webster Groves was an orchard outside of town. None of the highways had been built – the main thoroughfares were Grand, Kingshighway, Lindell, Locust, and Natural Bridge. Clayton Road was listed on a map of the day as the road to Jefferson City. Imagine how long that would take.

St. Louis Writers Guild first meeting was held on Thursday evening, October 28th, 1920 in the living room of Shirley Seifert’s home on De Giverville Ave. About thirty people meet to discuss novel writing. A group of six local writers from various fields created an organization that would gather more often than the biannual meetings of Missouri Writers Guild. The topic for the first meeting was novel writing. They had high ideals for what it meant to be writer, and were drawn to surround themselves with only the best in the literary world.

Sam Hellman, the first SLWG president and a paragon of the silver screen, had a razor wit and his finger on the pulse of his times. A longtime newspaperman, Hellman was the managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but would turn his attention to Hollywood. He penned approximately 40 movies, many of which are considered classics of the golden age. He loved playing bridge and talking endlessly about writing. Elinor Maxwell McCord was quoted as saying, “Mr. Hellman is a riot in conversation. It was better listening to him than reading one of his stories. He keeps a running chatter of conversation, couched in the most marvelous slang imaginable, and some unimaginable.”
Hellman was an established writer for 20th Century Fox beginning in the 1920’s, and later switched to Warner Bros in the 1940’s. He wrote for Will Rogers (The County Chairman, 1935), Spencer Tracy (It’s a Small World, 1935), and the Ritz Brothers (The Three Musketeers, 1939), and worked with other major Hollywood names including John Carradine, Jane Darwell, Guy Kibbee, and Donald Meek. He wrote numerous Shirley Temple hits including (Poor Little Rich Girl, 1936) and (Captain January, 1936).
A few of his other masterpieces include, (Flying Fists, 1924) (writer), (The Lottery Lover, 1935) (writer), (Stanley and Livingstone, 1939) (historical research and story outline), (The Doughgirls, 1944) (writer), (My Darling Clementine, 1946) (story), and his final film (Powder River, 1953) (writer).

Shirley Seifert, the second president of St. Louis Writers Guild, was born in St. Peters, Missouri. Seifert attended Washington University in St. Louis where she majored in classical and modern languages. Her journalism professors encouraged her writing, and this led her to sell an article to Population Science Monthly. In 1919 Seifert wrote “The Girl Who Was Too Good Looking” and earned $100 from American magazine. Seifert’s regularly published in Redbook, McCall's, Ladies Home Journal, and New York Herald-Tribune Magazine.
Seifert’s literary career centered on historical fiction and many of her novels were set in the American Midwest, featuring ordinary people living in extraordinary times. She maintained a positive outlook regarding the Great Depression saying, “I am no defeatist. When I am doing research for a novel, I see how America will work out of its present crisis.” She wrote fifteen novels, and earned a noteworthy place in American literature when The Wayfarer was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Ralph Mooney, wouldn’t be president until 1941, but was instrumental in the early years of St. Louis Writers Guild. Mooney published short stories in popular magazines like the Saturday Evening Post, Argosy All-Story Weekly, The Popular Magazine, Munsey's, American Magazine, and People's Favorite Magazine. His most well-known stories include “Look like a Million” in American Magazine, 1921, and “Polysynthetic Football” published in The Saturday Evening Post, 1922.
He is most famous for his novel David Rudd, published in 1927, sometimes called a memoir; it has been explained as a romance of the Mississippi River. His next novel was a work of fiction titled Mr. Pelly’s Little Home and was published in 1936.
Mooney also ventured into the theater with friend C. Eugene Smith. In 1914, a three-act operetta, The Love Star was produced by W. Gus Haenschen, the words and lyrics were written by Mooney and Smith. This instrumental ensemble for chorus and piano was produced in St. Louis, Missouri by the Quadrangle Club of Washington University.

Jay Gelzer was born in England and she published many short stories in popular magazines including Goodhousekeeping, Collier’s, Woman’s World, and Cosmopolitan. She wrote two books: a collection of stories published under the title, The Street of a Thousand Delights, and Compromise: A Novel. In 1924, she copyrighted a dramatic comedy screenplay called Lonely Woman, and the 1929 film, Broadway Babies, was based on one of her stories.

William Brennan was a newspaperman who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, he later became a screenplay writer.

Lenora McPheeters wrote short stories.

Unfortunately we are still working to find verifiable information on William Brennan and Lenora McPheeters, both were integral to the formation of St. Louis Writers Guild, but have not left as large a footprint on history as the other founders. Research continues in hopes that within some dusty corner more records can be discovered.

Thank you to Founders, the Charter Members, and the writers who attended those early meetings. Thank you to 95 years of writers who have continued their honored traditions and kept this organization alive and thriving. Without all of you we'd just be a footnote in history instead of one of the oldest and largest literary organizations in the Midwest.

Here's too many more years of gathering together to discuss what else – writing!

Thank you to the today's board, President David Lucas, Jennifer Stolzer, T.W. Fendley, Jamie Krakover, Peter Green, Lauren Miller, and Brad R. Cook.

I should also mention – Today is the 50th Anniversary for the Arch. I’m certain they chose this date to honor St. Louis Writers Guild’s 45th Anniversary.

Visit for more information about St. Louis Writers Guild. 

Brad R. Cook, author of the YA steampunk series, The Iron Chronicles. Iron Zulu, Book II is coming in November 2015. He currently serves as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild after three and half years as its President. Learn more at, on Twitter @bradrcook, or on his blog Thoughts from Midnight on tumblr