Atlanta Writers Club Talks Writing

In the Coffee Shop, we have an extended conversation about writing. A panel of five writers gathered around our favorite table addressed “What’s Really Wise in Conventional Writing Wisdom,” with advice gleaned from years of experience writing and marketing their work. Many of their lessons apply to new writers and multi-book authors alike.


Joining us are:


  • Emily Carpenter (, Amazon best-selling author of three suspense novels: BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS, THE WEIGHT OF LIES and the upcoming EVERY SINGLE SECRET, which is coming out May 1, 2018.
  • Ellie Jordan (, writer and actress, who has developed screenplays and appears in numerous films and TV shows, including THE WALKING DEAD.
  • JD Jordan (, the author of the sci-fi Western CALAMITY, which he is now developing for television in collaboration with a production company.
  • Chris Negron (, whose short fiction has appeared in a dozen online and print literary publications; his first middle grade novel is currently on submission with publishers.
  • George Weinstein (, who is making his second appearance in the Coffee Shop. He’s the author of five novels that span a variety of genres, the latest being the mystery novel AFTERMATH, which we discussed in 2017. He also is the former president of the Atlanta Writers Club ( and runs the twice-yearly Atlanta Writers Conference (



They bring a variety of perspectives, having written extensively and across a wide span of genres, including suspense, middle-grade fiction, sci-fi Western, mysteries, historical fiction, and more, as well as screenplays. The common thread that connects them is that they all met each other in the Atlanta Writers Club writers critique group George has managed for more than a dozen years. During that time, they saw each other grow in many ways. Ellie and JD fell in love because of the critique group and George even performed their wedding ceremony! Both Emily and Chris obtained their first agents through the Atlanta Writers Conference. After years of helping each other succeed, overcome setbacks, and achieve milestones along their individual writing journeys, they remain a tight-knit, supportive network, assisting one other with contacts, advice, and opportunities.


In addition, they assist new writers by sharing lessons they’ve learned and, as often, dispelling wrong assumptions, misunderstandings, and outright bad advice these writers have been exposed to, especially from online so-called resources.


Among the alleged pearls of conventional writing wisdom they’ll support or dispute (or sometimes do both) during our extended conversation are:


  • Write every day
  • Restrict the points of view you use
  • Write what you know
  • Write about people like yourself
  • Pick a genre and stick with it
  • Create an outline vs. write by the seat of your pants
  • You’ll be set once you get an agent/publisher/bestseller
  • Writing is a solitary, non-collaborative activity
  • Write what you read
  • Read books to learn how to write; watching TV shows and movies doesn’t count
  • And much more!


So, join us for a special, multi-hour addition of the Coffee Shop!


John T Prather discusses The Nephilim Virus

Nick Reese wakes from a 3-year coma to find the world he once knew is gone. An ancient virus has infected two-thirds of the world’s population, turning humans into either incredibly intelligent super-humans or large and indestructible animalistic creatures. For the survivors, there is no government, no antidote, and no safety.

With the help of a beautiful hematologist named Faith and a man they call the Commander, Nick must survive long enough to discover the origin of the virus and learn how his blood could hold the key to a cure. But he has to do it while being hunted by the infected. And failure means the extinction of the human race.

About John:

John T Prather grew up with seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, on a steady diet of BBQ and southern values. After graduating from the University of Memphis, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at the entertainment industry. He has been featured in TV series such as Scream Queens on Fox as well as WWE Raw. His commercial work has included ads for FedEx, Old Navy, Burger King, and Ruffles, in addition to various other major corporations. As a model, he has been featured in national magazines such asPeople, GQ, Men’s Health, as well as on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine, among others. John and his wife are expecting twins in early 2018, and hope to adopt their foster daughter very soon.

Marla Martenson: The Buddha Made Me Do It

What starts as a search for a decorative Buddha statuette leads one woman on a spiritual journey that will change everything.

Marla lives the good life in Los Angeles—house, pool, her own business helping Cupid find love for LA’s most discriminating singles. Her handsome and ardent hubby Adolfo performs at an exclusive steak house in Beverly Hills. He tends to scoff at Marla’s green juice, vegan diet, yoga, and daily affirmations and can be a teensy bit of a control freak.

A discarded Buddha statuette that Adolfo suddenly can’t live without sends Marla searching through New Age boutiques along with her skeptical friend Julie. They are soon schooled by a charismatic “Goddess,” delving ever deeper into self-realization, conversations with angels, pendulums, candle “Magick,” Reiki, crystal healing, and more. Attend a Hindu Bajan? Sure. Orgasmic Meditation? (Wait, what…?) Maybe not that one.

Growing in her spirituality, yet exceedingly frustrated with some of her persnickety clientele—aging men who see themselves as Dorian Grays, worthy of exquisite young women—Marla’s world is shifting. She achieves certifications as an energy healer and encourages Julie to sample the concoction Julie calls “green gunk” and other healthy practices to help her conquer an addiction to unavailable men. Marla deepens her communication with the Beyond while Adolfo, always so practical, asks, “Have you lost your mind? Are you hearing voices? Angels aren’t real, come on!” Matters grow worse when certain psychics warn of “dangerous low-vibrational entities” and rabidly disagree with each other.

Her alternating universes give Marla spiritual whiplash, yet she discovers the LITE way to balance the human carnival with a transformational spiritual journey.

Author Bio

Marla Martenson is a professional matchmaker, energy healer, radio show host and the author of three memoirs, Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker, Hearts On The Line & The Buddha Made Me Do It.

She has appeared on countless radio and TV shows including the Today Show, WGN Chicago Morning News, San Diego Living, Urban Rush, and Coast to Coast am with George Noory.

Marla lives in Los Angeles with her husband, composer, Adolfo Jon Alexi. You can connect with Marla at