A magical night…

We had some pretty crazy rain storms out here on the Cape last night, and afterward, there was a rainbow and an amazing sky. My friend and fellow writer Angi and I went up on the roof deck to get a better look, and before our eyes, the rainbow got darker, full-arched, and became a double. I felt the promise of something new and awesome coming into my life!

Later on, in celebration of Angi finishing her novel, we went for a night walk on the beach.

Last night was the night I spend every Cape Cod Writer’s Retreat waiting for: special and magical. There’s always one, and this time, last night was it.

Amazing Sky

I am not a good photographer. The sky just did this for me. It almost reminded me of something volcanic.

Angi Shearstone Rainbow

Angi is an amazing artist, but she’s also great with a camera. She was able to get a panorama and get the whole rainbow (to clarify: Angi took this; I didn’t).

 

Scenes from the beach

I’ve been having a great time on the beach retreat! I really HAVE been working. A LOT. So not many photos, but here are a few.

14 Beach Path Marker

 

Off to the beach house writer’s retreat!

This is my favorite beach house mug, although I always bring my own.

I leave Friday for the annual writer’s retreat at the beach house in Cape Cod with five other talented writers, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be there until 9/23.

While last year was incredible, I have to admit that the focus was mostly on my enjoyment of the great outdoors and getting some rest and social time. This year? The focus will be completely different. I have tons of stuff to catch up on: the Wicked Sick anthology, outstanding 34 Orchard business, website/blog/general writing practical-end catch-up, blog posts, the NEHW classes I’ll be teaching, Bad Apple’s 10th anniversary release, some reading… and some writing. Maybe. My list is pages long. Way more than I can get done in eight days. But I’m going to do my best!

And, with any luck, the weather will be such that I can get some daily beach time in.

Have a great week!

Hone your writing skills in these micro-focused classes! I start teaching September 28!

MASTER TOOBOX SERIES ART

Back to class! I’m thrilled to announce Trisha J. Wooldridge and I will be hosting an online Master Toolbox Series for writers that micro-focuses on specific skills. There’s one session a month and, at $35/each, they’re affordable; you can take just one, multiples, or, if you wish, all of them at a discounted price. They’re also keyed to any skill level. Proceeds support both the New England Horror Writers and 34 Orchard. Details and how to register below.

Tools of the writing trade need a sharpen? Need to pick up some new ones? No worries! Beginning in September, 2022 and monthly through February, 2023, the New England Horror Writers will present two hour Zoom webinars (which will include exercises and time for Q&A) that delve deep into the specifics of craft and business skills!

Open to the general public and NEHW members, each class will focus on a specific topic. Instructors are Kristi Petersen Schoonover and Trisha J. Wooldridge.

If you’re looking to build some new skills, these micro-focused, affordable classes are the way to go—and yes, we have plans to offer subsequent sessions with different topics every fall-winter going forward!

Here’s the full schedule:

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 – 7—9 pm

Story Openings Blueprint

We’ve only got one sentence to hammer that “you must keep reading me!” message home—and many writers don’t realize that sometimes, a piece getting moved out of slush is dependent on the strength of that one sentence. From do’s and don’ts to mining and can’t-miss criteria, this class gives the blueprint for great openers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 – 7—9 pm

Excess Hardware: Wordiness and Filter Phrases

We build stories from words and phrases—but sometimes we use more hardware than necessary to get the job done! This course teaches how to thoroughly inspect the piece to identify extra words and filter phrases and how to remove them for a cleaner reading experience.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 – 7—9 pm

EnTITLEment: Top-Notch Titles

A title isn’t just a label in My Documents. A good one should tell the editor or reader something about the story—right down to its tone. EnTITLEment provides the tools to nail a top-notch title every time, so that it not only stands out in an editor’s inbox—it pops in a ToC!

Wednesday, December 14 – 7—9pm

The Architecture of the Submissions Process

There’s more to the submissions process than just clicking send. We’ll offer plenty of insider tips on everything from formatting, market searching and close reading of guidelines to cover letters and bios to ensure pieces get considered. We’ll also cover other mechanics like tracking and how to develop structured—but easy—processes that guarantee we don’t inadvertently screw ourselves.

Wednesday, January 25 – 7—9pm

Dampproofing Dialogue

At best, dialogue can say a lot about characters, make them leap off the page, and be incredibly memorable; at worst, it can waterlog the pacing, tell instead of show, turn the story into a boring lecture and quite literally, say nothing. We’ll not only study how to write effective dialogue that makes characters feel organic, we’ll look at formatting, dos and don’ts, and how to make choices about what comes out of people’s mouths.

Wednesday, February 22 – 7—9pm

Nailing Theme

When it comes to theme, many of us probably didn’t feel like the sharpest tool in the shed that was high school English—but as writers, understanding theme is crucial: it’s the support beam of the story. We’ve got a fool-proof, easy way to identify theme and thematic statement, and we’ll teach its use in building a story that will stand the test of time.

Class materials will be sent to registrants ahead of time via email and are included in the $25 NEHW Member/$35 NON-NEHW Member fees. You can sign up for any combination of classes. Want to buy access to ALL SIX webinars? You can do that too: Member price for all six webinars is $130; Non-member price is $175.

Registration for NEHW Members:
https://wickedcreativellc.submittable.com/submit/231651/nehw-members-master-toolbox-webinar-series

Registration for Non-paid Members:
https://wickedcreativellc.submittable.com/submit/232874/nehw-non-members-master-toolbox-webinar-series

The Stars Were Right! at NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE 2022

Narragansett Beer Banner

Narragansett Beer is…awesome! That is all.

A little whirlwind tour of my experience at NecronomiCon Providence 2022. Enjoy! There are links at the end of the gallery for anything you might wish to know about further.

What an amazing weekend. See y’all in 2024, NECRO PEEPS!

LINKS

Here are links to things mentioned in the captions, in case you want to check them out!

NecronomiCon Providence

Graduate Hotel

The Green Hand Bookshop

Colour Out of Deathlehem, Grinning Skull Press

Nick Gucker

Rodger Binyone

Narragansett Beer

HP Lovecraft Film Festival & Cthuluthon

It’s everybody’s dream to make THE NEW YORK TIMES, LOL!

My sister put this little blue arrow on the pic to show where I am.

How was my time at Necro? I’ll be posting a round-up with some of my favorite pics later this week. Imagine my surprise this morning, though, when an article on NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE showed up in my news feed. I was reading the article, and I was looking at all the pictures closely to see if I could ID any of my friends or people I knew. I spotted, up in the corner of one picture, this tiny little person that had the same dress as me.

NYT Necro Lobby Close Up

LOL. See me checking out my book to try to find the room this party was in? The back of my neck looks amazing.

It turned out it WAS me. Don’t you think the back of my neck and my $13 Target backpack look amazing? I just cracked up! Still, it’s kind of cool. What’s extra funny is that this photo was taken on Saturday night, probably at around 7:40 pm. I was getting ready to go to the HWA-RI chapter’s release party for their awesome anthology, WE ARE PROVIDENCE, and I couldn’t find the room the party was in. So I pulled over and looked at my guide to see if I could figure it out.

And that’s the moment the picture was snapped.

I’ve made The New York Times. Maybe not in the way I expected, but achievement unlocked! 🙂

The full article in The New York Times about the con can be read at this link, in case you’re interested:

Creepy singing avocados… yes, there’s video

Me and Trisha Stew Leonard's

Me and Trisha clowning around at Stew’s. It’s kinda hard not to, especially when you’re with an out-of-towner!

A couple of months ago, I attended Book Fiend Reader’s Fest III up in Manchester, a little less than an hour from my house. My friend and fellow writer Trisha Wooldridge, who lives in Massachusetts, came down for the weekend, as the morning drive from my house was shorter than hers—but also, we LOVE having weekends together and would use any excuse to get one.

When we were planning food for the weekend, I asked, “well, what would you like me to get?”

Her immediate response was, “Can we go to Stew Leonard’s when I get there?”

She hadn’t spent the weekend here in Danbury since 2013, when she and another friend and fellow writer, Nanette, came here for a writer’s retreat (we were all broke and couldn’t afford to rent a place). On that trip, I took them to Stew’s—and Trisha, who wasn’t familiar with it, remembered her experience.

So, for those who’ve never heard of it, what is Stew Leonard’s? Billing itself as The World’s Largest Dairy Store, it’s a wonderland of pretty awesome stuff, but the biggest attraction is probably, honestly, all of its crazy singing animatronics. Most of these displays entertain the little kids, but they’ve been a great balm in Gilead for any adult who’s feeling down. Nothing a little video of singing animatronic chickens can’t cure, right?

Or maybe just these creepy avocado girls.

 

How a reckless driver gave me back my writing mojo

I was in a car accident earlier this week.

It was after work, and I was in the parking lot, getting ready to back out of my space. I checked both ways behind me before pulling out—physically, which means I turned around and actually looked—and then slowly crawled out. I had barely gone a couple of inches when suddenly? WHACK!

I thought for a second perhaps I’d struck the light pole I was parked next to, but then I turned around and saw a black Jeep Cherokee sitting several feet past me—he’d been passing me. Not head on, just driving by in the driving lane.

Shit. Where the hell had he come from? He had to be going pretty fast to just show up out of nowhere, and because he was past me, he either didn’t stop at first or it took him a while to stop his vehicle. All of this pointed, at least in my mind, to unreasonable speed. In addition, it was a straight away. I definitely would’ve seen him coming.

Car Accident View -- 08-09-22

This was what I saw just before I backed out of my space, which is to the right of the photo.

The driver, a kid who would later prove to be in his mid-20s, leapt from his car, phone in hand, screaming “I’m so sorry! Are you hurt! Are you hurt?”

Well, at least he asked the right question.

He had some damage to his driver’s side door. Mine was a different story—it was pretty severe, probably more damage once it got opened up at the shop than could be seen with the naked eye. We agreed to exchange information, but I wanted to call the police. He was very uncomfortable with the idea, but I’m a Gen-X adult who knows better than to not call. I wanted the cop to see us both walking around and breathing, mostly so that this kid couldn’t invent terrible injuries later. He wasn’t acting like a jerk—in fact, he was polite, just totally confused and didn’t know what to do because he said it was his first accident—but his discomfort with getting the police involved signaled he couldn’t be trusted.

He hedged around the parking lot, pacing, calling his mom and his wife. Then, he asked, “Can you call back and find out when they’re going to get here? I have to go to a Mets game tonight.” Read the rest of this entry

NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE IS COMING: I’ve got a reading! An art show, panels, parties and a ball!

Even as I juggle fifty million projects (an anthology, the 10th anniversary of Bad Apple, 34 Orchard, HWA-CT business, a short story deadline and critiques I owe people)…I’m getting ready for NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE, in Rhode Island August 18—21, 2022! The main website for the event is here: http://necronomicon-providence.com/welcome/

Necro 2022 Schedule Book

I made my own schedule book so I can choose all the things I want to go to. See all those flags on the right? Yeah, I’m gonna be BUSY!

Here are some of my cast-in-stone plans. Would you like to join me? Some events require a ticket (one-day passes are available HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/necronomicon-providence-2022-tickets-143546536555) but some events are not only open to the public, but free! Please note, according to their website, masks and proof of vaccination will be required for all indoor events. Policies are here: http://necronomicon-providence.com/policies-privacy/

In between whatever I’m doing, I’ll be taking in panels—both pop and academic, readings, at least one performance, a few short films, and hooking up with friends old and new. I’ve got my wish list ready to go, but it’ll be a busy weekend, and it’s very fluid.

Before I get started, Read the rest of this entry

In other news … I haven’t killed my plants yet.

Summer 2022 Flowers

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