Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

Masthead header

Safe Travels, My Friend

I don’t exactly remember when I decided to become a writer.

I do remember, however, when I attended my first ever writer’s group meeting. It was the same day that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows debuted. The book was released on a Saturday. I took my kids to a Friday night release party at a bookstore. Copies were disbursed beginning at midnight. Got home at 2:30. Took my wife and kids to the airport three hours later, so they could catch a flight to see my wife’s parents. Went home. Slept a couple more hours. Then, I went to the meeting. Don’t know what I would have done that day without caffeine.

Haywood SmithOne of the people I met that day was a writer named Haywood Smith. Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Haywood. She has been a friend. She has also been a mentor, offering numerous critiques, help, suggestions, anything a hopeful writer could dream of in the way of improving his or her craft. And this was not just to me. Haywood has been generous with her time to many writers in the group and I know many are thankful for the guidance she has given.

At the most recent meeting in May, I learned that Haywood was moving to Colorado. Faced with a granddaughter that deals with a rare form of epilepsy (Doose syndrome) and hopeful that a medical marijuana treatment, available in Colorado, could offer relief, Haywood decided to move there with her son’s family. She says she’s not gone forever. If the laws change to allow such treatments in Georgia, Haywood says she and her family will return. For now, though, she’s doing whatever is necessary to take care of her granddaughter. (Click here to visit Haywood’s website. Scroll down and read the section “On A Personal Note” to learn more.)

I had missed the prior three monthly meetings due to travel and had nearly missed the one in May as well. However, last minute fortuitous circumstances had allowed me to make the May meeting. When I heard Haywood’s news, I realize that being there had offered me a chance to say goodbye.

Haywood, I wish you safe travel. I know that technology means you’re close. Still, I will miss seeing you at meetings. I thank you for every assistance you have given me. And, I wish you and your family all the best, particularly your granddaughter. You will be missed.

In honor of Haywood’s September release, Queen Bee Goes Home Again, One commenter will win a copy of the original Queen Bee book, Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, on either Kindle or Nook.

New Casual_Resized

 

Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.

 

Marilyn Baron - June 12, 2014 - 2:52 am

Walt,
How wonderful that you highlighted Haywood in your post. You’re right, she is a mentor and friend to a lot of writers in the chapter and we will miss her and hope she returns to Georgia soon. She is an excellent writer as well as a fantastic person. She has personally helped me in my writing. In one of her critiques she suggested I switch POVs and start in the hero’s voice and that made all the difference. That book went on to win the Maggie and was published. She is all about helping others and she is the bright light in every room. Best wishes to Haywood and her family.

Piper - June 12, 2014 - 7:42 am

A wonderful post Walt, thanks for letting us know. I’m a newer face in GRW , but as you said, she has always been warm and welcoming to me at the GRW meetings. She never hesitated to say good morning, and would always be happy to share some wisdom about writing or life. I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the May meeting to say goodbye to her and I hope she will return.

She told me about her granddaughter’s trouble a few months ago. It’s so wonderful that Haywood able to make the move to help. I pray for Haywood, her granddaughter and family that her granddaughter will find the help she needs in Colorado.

Walt Mussell - June 12, 2014 - 9:17 am

Marilyn and Piper,

Haywood has spent a lot of time helping me become a better writer. My biggest wish for her is that this procedure does help her granddaughter. As always, she is focused on family and what God wants for her to do with her life.

Thanks for commenting.

Pam Asberry - June 12, 2014 - 9:49 am

I too am sorry I missed the May meeting and the opportunity to say goodbye to Haywood. She has also been a huge inspiration to me in my writing; I was a Haywood Smith fan long before I ever decided to try my hand at fiction writing. I hope her granddaughter’s treatments go well and Haywood and her family will be able to return to Georgia soon.

Connie Gillam - June 12, 2014 - 10:02 am

Walt-

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. I’ve been a member of Georgia Romance Writers for ten years. During those years (except when she lived in Boston for a few years), Haywood has been a fixture at the meetings. She always offer support, writing advice and humor. Prayers to her family and hopefully we will see her back in Georgia soon.

Connie Gillam - June 12, 2014 - 10:02 am

Walt-

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. I’ve been a member of Georgia Romance Writers for ten years. During those years (except when she lived in Boston for a few years), Haywood has been a fixture at the meetings. She always offer support, writing advice and humor. Prayers to her family and hopefully we will see her back in Georgia soon.

Connie Gillam - June 12, 2014 - 10:02 am

Walt-

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. I’ve been a member of Georgia Romance Writers for ten years. During those years (except when she lived in Boston for a few years), Haywood has been a fixture at the meetings. She always offer support, writing advice and humor. Prayers to her family and hopefully we will see her back in Georgia soon.

Walt Mussell - June 12, 2014 - 11:32 am

Pam, I had never heard of Haywood until I met her. Love her writing.

Walt Mussell - June 12, 2014 - 11:33 am

Connie, I hope she’s back soon, too.

Sia Huff - June 14, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Oh, Walt, your words are indeed a moving tribute to one of the most generous people I know. Haywood is an inspiration. Her move to Colorado is proof of her giving, supportive, loving nature.
God Speed to Haywood and her family. And prayers for her granddaughter’s health to improve as much as possible.

Sandy Elzie - June 18, 2014 - 10:12 am

Hi Walt, I’m very late to this party…but absolutely loved your atticle. Haywood Smith is a treasure and I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love and admire the lady. She’s so giving and encouraging. Thanks for sharing her (and yourself) with us today.

F O L L O W   U S
R E C E N T   T W E E T S