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.
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
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
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.
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/
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!
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.
TODAY IS RELEASE DAY! My western cosmic horror story—first shot at that, too!—“Wish Bones,” is now available in Timber Ghost Press’ Dead Stars and Stone Arches: A Collection of Utah Horror.
In 1873 Utah, Quicken offers to shepherd a woman condemned to hang for the massacre of a Mormon traveling party—but what’s waiting for them in the canyon is more terrifying than any crime she could have possibly committed.
I’m thrilled to announce that my short story –“Beware Burning Snow” — is now available to read for FREE over at The Sirens Call eZine Issue #58!
In “Beware Burning Snow”: In 1980, ash people warned ten-year-old Sissy of the imminent eruption of Mount St. Helens. But there’s a natural order to things, and now they’re back. Sissy’s not only driven to keep one eye on the mountain—she’s compelled to keep them from haunting her teenaged daughter, too.
Come say hello at Book Fiend Reader’s Fest this Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT. The event is free!
Sponsored by Silk City Steampunk and Oddball Newt, this celebration of steampunk, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, and supernatural authors will feature sword fighting demos, food trucks and plenty of other fun. There will be opportunities to buy books and have them signed, shop for some cool and unique gifts, attend some panels—and even join us for tea at the end of the day for informal chats with writers (the tea is the only thing there’s a charge for—it’s $10, and you can pay at the door. See the above poster for more details).
I’ll be manning the New England Horror Writers table with writer Trisha J. Wooldridge. We’ll have most of the books in the Wicked series on hand, as well as books by both of us and by other NEHW members. Writer Gevera Bert Piedmont—well known for fantastical lizard stories—will be in the booth next to us!
I will be joining other writers on a panel called The Horror! The Madness! The Creeping Sense of Doom!—about writing horror. It’ll run from 12:45 to 1:45 in the Panel Room. I’ll also be available for chats at the tea.
Come on by if you’re so inclined. I’d love to see you there!
We have another Carolina wren nest this year! It’s under one of our grill covers that we’d pulled off and left on a chair–these little guys build QUICKLY! Mommy wren and Fattypants are being pretty protective, as expected. They have commandeered the porch, pretty much.
Carolina wrens build their nests of moss and sticks.