Category Archives: The Writing Life
Writer in your life? Unique gift suggestions
The holidays are around the corner—and I’m posting this now so that, if you’ve got a writer in your life and you choose some of the more time-consuming or ordered gifts on this list, you’ve got time to make or get them before the days arrive.
As a writer, I get showered with lots of wonderful gifts related to my profession. There are always the obvious choices: journals, mugs, pens. If you don’t want to give your friend another journal, mug, or pen? Here are some Read the rest of this entry
Hone your writing skills in these micro-focused classes! I start teaching September 28!
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.
Registration for NEHW Members:
Registration for Non-paid Members:
The Stars Were Right! at NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE 2022
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!
Here are links to things mentioned in the captions, in case you want to check them out!
Colour Out of Deathlehem, Grinning Skull Press
HWA-CT’s 1st Annual Poolside BBQ!
I love my work as a writer. I do. But I’ve been working non-stop lately, and yesterday was just the break I needed!
We had a total blast at the 1st Annual HWA-CT Poolside BBQ at the house of one of our members! Bert hosted, her husband Will cooked burgers and dogs (and made homemade pretzels, you have not LIVED until you’ve eaten these), we had cake for a couple of birthdays, we had Read the rest of this entry
Most recent escape to the Bronx Zoo!
I’ve been a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York City Zoos and Aquarium) for twenty-one years now—I’m lucky enough that I live just about an hour away.
In my earliest days of being a member, it was because I was heavily involved volunteering for two aquariums, and there were volunteer opportunities at the zoo—such as decorating for the Holiday Lights—that were offered to members, so I joined. I was also dating a guy at the time who was, like me, an aquarium volunteer and loved animals. Most of our dates involved, if not the Bronx Zoo or New York Aquarium, some other zoo or aquarium.
The guy turned out to be a class-A jerk, but I’m grateful, because it was the zoo that became a true love.
Over the years, the zoo has been a place to escape for a few hours, an inspiration for several short stories, and a place where magical memories are made. Nathan and I have been the busiest we’ve ever been since the beginning of 2020—and recently, I’ve had so much on my plate I’m basically working through nights and weekends. There has been very little time to see each other, let alone hang out. So when Nathan suggested I take the weekend off and go with him to the zoo—well, that sounded great!
Our usual course is have a couple of beers and lunch, see two or three exhibits, and hit the gift shop. Because the zoo is so big and can never really be completely done in one day, this is a great system. Every visit is different, and we can key experiences based on conditions (the last few times, we have stuck to outdoor or large indoor exhibits, like World of Birds, due to the pandemic, or if it’s pouring rain, we stick to a small area and do the larger indoor exhibits at the bottom half of the zoo, like Wild Asia, which has Jungle World and isn’t too far from Congo Gorilla Forest. In the winter, we do all the warmer things in the center of the zoo and jump from Mouse House to Reptile House to Madagascar).
We can also base them on other factors. World of Birds was on my list last June because of one particular bird I wanted to see—a bleeding heart dove, for a story idea (which is still germinating, but will eventually come to pass). Sometimes, it’s just to go do a big-ticket exhibit like Dinosaur Safari, or participate in a particular event, like Holiday Lights (which we spent mostly just boozing at the ice bar) or Boo at the Zoo (which we mostly spent at the extinct animal cemetery and photographing an informational wall of extinct animals). Sometimes I want to Christmas shop or just pick up the annual Members-only t-shirt. And regardless of what we do there, we love to bird. We always do a bird count!
We ended up picking a 95 degree day, but because we’re members, we never feel like we have to push ourselves, so we agreed we’d go see just a couple of favorites.
First stop was lunch! We couldn’t sit at the usual outdoor patio across from the Dancing Crane Café because there was an event, but we found a nice little table away from the action. My favorite is always chicken fingers. I can’t drink a lot of beer, so Nathan always gets a giant one and I get to have some.
Then we went down to see the lions, because that’s Nathan’s favorite, and passed a bunch of sunning turtles on the way.
On the way back up to the Dancing Crane area, we took a rest (that’s actually quite a hill to climb in the heat) at the Somba Village, which is a souvenir/snack stand area Nathan’s never been to (Jerk and I used to hang there because it was near World of Darkness, our favorite exhibit, which has long since closed). Nathan, who grew up on a farm and used to raise goats, of course still loves them. He was thrilled to get an ice cold beer and watch all the goats that were in the baboon exhibit. It was really fun to take him to an exhibit he’d never been to (and we have been many times, so I was surprised there was still something he hadn’t seen!)
Also, Somba Village seemed to be peacock haven. Peacocks sort of run freely throughout the zoo, but there were three or four in this tiny spot. There were lots of kids around, though, and they were clearly annoying—I mean, that’s okay, tiny kids see this big pretty moving thing and scream and laugh and chase them. That’s what kids do; no matter how hard you try to wrangle them, it’s going to happen. So I soon figured out the reason the peacocks liked it there was because there were elevated patches of brush they could duck into to get out of the fray. Several did. Smart birds!
We stopped to visit the brown bears, who were keeping cool in the water in their exhibit.
The heat was mighty, so we took Read the rest of this entry
This weekend’s Writing/Submissions/Marketing Workshop in Westford, MA: Yes, you can pay at the door; No, you don’t have to be an NEHW member
This weekend’s Writing/Submissions/Marketing Workshop, sponsored by the NEHW, is YES, open to people who didn’t register. You can just pay at the door (I got a few emails about this, so I figured I’d throw it up here, too, just in case), and NO, you do not have to be an NEHW member. This is open to all.
The full day is TOMORROW, SATURDAY, APRIL 9, from 9:30 am – 6 pm at Atelier Pro-Kreative in the C.C. Sargent’s & Sons 1877 mill building on 69 Broadway Street, Westford, MA.
Event Description: After some networking time with morning refreshments, instructors Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Scott T. Goudsward, and Trisha J. Wooldridge will lead a three-hour workshop on writing, submitting, and marketing short stories, with the option of additional critiques for submitted writing samples. In the afternoon, authors and editors from NEHW’s Wicked Women and Wicked Creatures anthologies will be signing, selling their own work, and taking part in a giant Q&A. Opportunities to network, purchase anthologies and authors’ publications, and socialize will happen before the workshops, during lunch, and at the end of the event.
Here’s the schedule for the day, and pricing. The only thing not available “at the door” would be the critiques, so I didn’t put them here.
Costs for the event are tiered and a la carte:
Full day of 3-hour workshop, breakfast, lunch, networking, signing, author Q & A:
NEHW members: $50 Non-NEHW members: $60
Afternoon only, including lunch:
NEHW members: $25 Non-NEHW members: $30
9:30-10:00: Light morning snacks, coffee, tea, water
10:00 -10:50: Workshop Part 1: Crafting Short Stories
11:00-11:50: Workshop Part 2: Submitting and Selling Short Storie
12:00-12:50: Workshop Part 3: “I sold a story! Now what?” Marketing & Promo
1:00-2:15: Lunch and Networking, Shopping Time
2:30-2:50: Author Signing (& Shopping Time)
3:00-4:30: Wicked Q&A
4:45-6:00: Individual Critique feedback in private, Social & Networking Time
If you can make it, we’ll see you tomorrow! If not, YES, I will be posting photos next week.
I love my ANGRY MAMA!
It’s been such a crazy couple of months I sorta fell behind on everything—including housework (NO ONE is to come into my home until I get this place under control). Anyway…the first step in getting this place back on track—other than, of course, a nice big trip to Bath & Body Works to replenish my spring wallflowers and candles, first things first!—was to deep clean the microwave.
The best and easiest way to clean the microwave is to Read the rest of this entry
Writer? Get your short story shine-on this coming Saturday, April 9!
Want some insider tips on writing, submitting, and marketing your short stories and selling to mags and anthos? Then don’t miss this workshop with me and experienced publication editors this coming Saturday, April 9, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. in Westford, Massachusetts!
Bonus? Lunch and a stellar signing event with the writers included in Wicked Women (which contains my story, “Arbor Day”) and Wicked Creatures (which includes my story, “Carving Grace”)!
Here are the details—I really hope to see you there!
Writing, Submitting, and Marketing Short Stories/Making Anthologies will be held at Atelier Pro-Kreative in the C.C. Sargent’s & Sons 1877 mill building on 69 Broadway Street, Westford, Mass.
After some networking time with morning refreshments, Read the rest of this entry
A little fun with forensic entomology …
Writers—especially of the darker genres—often joke that after we die, people would find things in our browser histories that might indicate we were actually something more sinister: how long does it take someone to drown, could you actually kill someone with a steak knife?, what kinds of poisons have no smell, how do you rob a bank?
Recently, I had to do some research on types of bugs that might be associated with a dead body. I had taken a really interesting forensics class back when I was working toward my (still unfinished) certificate in archaeology about twenty years ago, but digging up those notebooks in the basement was more daunting than Googling it.
I found this interesting little article from the Amateur Entomologists’ Society called “CSI Entomology: Insects at the scenes of crime.” You can check it out here: https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/insects-and-man/forensic-entomology.html
It’s not complete or very detailed, but it’s a good place to start if you’re a writer and you need to work on this particular level of realism in your stories, or maybe if you just need to make one quick mention (as I did). Have fun!