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Archive for the ‘Events for Writers’ Category

SONY DSC           Last week I had the good fortune to teach a writing workshop at The Writers’ Barn, in Shelburne, Vermont.

The barn is just that – a barn, but it’s been renovated into a light, airy space with all the modern amenities for that particular breed: writers. There are tables, chairs of several varieties, light, heat, wi-fi and coffee and tea on demand. The mission of The Writers’ Barn is to build a supportive space for writers of all ages to develop writing skills, whether for pleasure or profession, and to build communities that share and celebrate the written or spoken word. They pursue this mission two ways: through workshops and through space.

The Writers’ Barn has offered workshops in writing memoir, children’s picture books, manuscript revision, sports writing, poetry, and craft. I taught a workshop on craft, detailing techniques for writing short. Eight people attended, including the editorial staff from a national magazine, a memoirist, a free-lance magazine writer, and an eighth-grader who wants to be a professional writer. We had a lot of fun – and enjoyed the cider donuts provided to fuel us through the afternoon.

I was particularly pleased to be able to hook my laptop up to a huge, flat-screen TV, so that I could project my materials for all to see without having to inhale marker fumes on a white board or kill a lot of trees. It’s times like this that I love technology. And I’m looking forward to a return visit later this month to lead a Holiday Writing Retreat.

The Writers’ Barn is also a space available for use as a meeting venue and as a workspace. The Writers’ Barn has hosted special events, including poetry readings and literary salons. The Writers’ Barn is also available as shared workspace for writers who don’t have a room of their own. For a monthly fee, writers can use the barn to write. They are free to come and go at all hours except those blacked out for workshops or events, and they are provided with cubby space in which to store any materials they don’t want to schlepp.

I’ve heard about shared office space before, and know of several published authors who rent offices where they can treat their writing with the seriousness of a job – and have access to a water-cooler, where they can hydrate and sip office gossip. There’s one such space in Northampton Massachusetts called Click, where writers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and frazzled parents can go to get work done. Click offers professional office space, complete with comfortable work stations, wireless internet, power, conference rooms, printers, kitchenette, and the requisite free tea & OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcoffee.

I work alone, in a studio in the woods, which is absolutely great – most of the time. When it’s not, I wish I could walk down a hall and find a colleague to help me out of a slump, or tell me a joke, read me a poem, or remind me that having a bad day is no reason to quit.

Does anybody use or know of other shared office spaces? Has anybody attended a great workshop on craft lately? Does anyone know of another place like The Writers’ Barn?

I’m looking forward to your comments.

dll2013Deborah Lee Luskin is a novelist, essayist and educator who lives in southern Vermont.

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I spend a lot of time behind my keyboard, but in real life, I’m a people person. I love to socialize and meet new people. I used to be an event planner, so I intrinsically understand the value of connecting people face to face. Still, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a conference. I’ve got an itch to meet people.

I know several NHWN writers are looking forward to the New England Crime Bake November 8th & 9th. I’m looking forward to 2014 because there are two conferences coming up for romance writers, the NECRWA Conference and a New Hampshire event that hasn’t been publicly announced yet (I’ll share the details as soon as I can). I’ve also been searching for some professional development events to expand my business as well. I thought I’d share what I found. Right on the heels of Jamie’s post  Social Media and Marketing for Writers: A Crucial First Step, I present to you an incomplete list of conferences on Social Media.

Blogher Pro October 22 & 23, Redwood City, CA. From the website.

BlogHer PRO is a multi-track conference for professionally-minded bloggers looking to take their business, marketing, and technical skills to the next level. Improve your knowledge and hone your skills on everything from personal brand to personal finance to personal privacy.

Time is short, but it’s not too late to register.

The Vermont Web Marketing Summit November 14, 2013 – Burlington, VT From the website

The Vermont Web Marketing Summit is a leading digital marketing conference, held in Burlington, VT, every Fall.

The conference serves as a platform for online marketers and digital marketing experts to keep up to date with the latest trends, benchmark their current digital activities & share challenges and successes with their peers.

Started in 2010 with only 80 attendees, it drew more than 250 attendees from all over New England and beyond in 2012!

A-Ha Social Business Summit November 15, 2013 – Manchester, NH and Online. From the web site

The “A-Ha!” Social Business Summit is a full-throttle experience designed to help you discover, align, and EVOLVE your social media, marketing, and success mojo and paradigms. Join us in person at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH, or online via Digital Pass from anywhere in the world. This award-winning conference, now in its fifth year, is Friday 11/15 from 9am-4pm.

I know we have readers from all over the world, so if none of these venues work for you, take a look at Social Media Breakfast. SMB was started in Boston in 2007 and has spread around the U.S. and the world. Gatherings are typically hyperlocal and inexpensive. For more information and locations visit their web site.

How about you? What events have you attended or will you be attending in the foreseeable future? Please share in the comments.  Who knows we might just meet in person!

Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com. Her words have appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently a freelance marketing communications writer and at work on her first romantic fiction novel. 

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I know that a few of you were interested in what exactly happened during the Buddhist Mediation Writing retreat.

IMG_20131005_150539816Friday afternoon, after we had all gotten settled in, we met as a group. The instructor told us the format of the retreat (meditation, writing workshops, writing time, *great* food) and then we went around the room and introduced ourselves.

There were poets, future novelists, those who wrote journals – the common denominator was that they all loved the art and craft of writing.

When it was my turn to introduce myself, I told everyone that I was a writer. I wrote full time for a living. I was what some of them wanted to be.

“Be careful what you wish for,” I told them. I spend my days writing what other people want me to write and as a result I don’t have time to work on the project that *I* really want to get out. If it’s not the editors requesting a story, then it’s my kids who need a ride somewhere,” I whined.

“I never have time to focus on what I want to do.”

This was when the instructor said to me to use this workshop as I felt I needed to. “If you need to go off somewhere and write, go ahead. If you’d rather skip the workshops and meditation feel free. Do what you need to do.”

“Oh no,” I glibly replied, “I’m here for the experience. I’m going to participate in everything.”

Once we had gone around the room, the instructor told us that after dinner we were going to enter into something called “Noble Silence” for the rest of the weekend. That meant no talking.

At all.

Wait. What??????!!!! No one had told me about that part.

As anyone who knows me is aware, that’s one tall order.

But a funny thing happened when we stopped talking (for the record, I didn’t consider Facebook updates “talking”) when I stopped hearing other people’s voices, I started hearing my own.

I sat down at the end of a long dining table and I wrote.

I went to some mediation sessions (I made it to one a day) but I didn’t go to all four. I didn’t even go to the workshops, instead I wrote and wrote and wrote.  Seriously if my butt wasn’t in that chair for writing, then it was in the SUV where  I was sleeping.

People walked through the room, I wrote. Bells rang, calling for meditation, I wrote. The story, my story, that had been hovering on the edges of my mind, *finally* had the freedom to come out. I heard the voices in my head telling me how it was and because of the silence, I was able to feel some of the pain that I had been so careful to stuff into a jar so that it wouldn’t overwhelm me.

My initial wise-guy response to the “Noble silence” was “what’s so noble about silence?”

I had it wrong, by Sunday I realized my query should have been “what is there that’s not noble about silence?”

Between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, I ended up writing 35,000 words. Combined with what I went up with, I now have a 300 page first draft manuscript.

Was it worth it? You betcha’.

Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.

My only regret (besides being woken up by the 3 resident roosters at 5:30 a.m.) was that it took a writer’s workshop for me to give myself the permission to write what I wanted to write.

As a writer, I should have embraced that permission all along.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

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There’s an event coming up in a couple of weeks that is mixing two of my passions — (dark and mysterious) fiction and New Hampshire.

Dick Hatin

Dick Hatin

An author friend of mine, Richard Hatin is celebrating the launch of his second novel by speaking and doing a book signing.

Dick is a fellow Granite State Ambassador (GSA) who volunteers his time to share his passion of NH with visitors to our wonderful state.

At this event, on October 30, from 6:30-8PM, Dick will be talking about his writing and his volunteerism.

About his novels:

EVIL AGREEMENT
Evil Agreement begins in Sutton, Vermont, in 1843, when a coven was formed comprising devil worshipers recruited by Satan s servant, the purely evil Moloch. When one coven member breaks rank, she and her family are slaughtered by coven members out of revenge. One infant child survives the massacre, however, and is hunted relentlessly by the coven, but without success. Now the descendants of that first coven are closing in on Aaron Bailey, the last descendant of that surviving infant. The Evil Agreement, the Malum Pactum, may at last be fulfilled!

The hunt is on as the coven seeks to capture Aaron to complete the coven and fulfill their ancestors hideous bargain with the devil. Meanwhile, Aaron must learn about his hidden past, forge new alliances, and, with aid from an unlikely source, perhaps have a chance to destroy the coven – and even live to tell about it!

DEADLY WHISPERS
“A dark and evil legend was born in the northeastern corner of Vermont hundred of years ago. An unspeakable act was perpetrated by a hunting party of Indians.  Later, their Chief and the tribe’s Medicine Man placed an eternal curse upon them for their crime.  Now doomed, to live only in the darkness beneath the earth, their anger and hatred of all humans, grows with each passing year. Then, in 1962, a group of young boys exploring a small cave, come face to face with this devolved and hideously evil creature, and a battle for their very lives begins.  Together, they may stand a chance, but divided, they will all surely all die.  If only…….”

The event is open to the public and is at Carlyle Place – Courville Communities, 40 Route 101, Bedford, NH.

I’ll be there, as will other local writers. It can be a great time to connect in person.

Agenda for the evening:

6:30 pm – Networking and Welcome

7:00 pm – Presentation

7:45 pm – 8:00 pm – Book signing | Personal Visits | Facility Tour

I know there will be treats, too! Since it’s Halloween, well, who knows how many ghosts might make a brief appearance, but I’m sure they will all be friendly spirits…right?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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nanofence            Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. I didn’t write an entire novel in those thirty short days, but I did I add 50,000 words to a novel that was already underway, and that made me a winner.

I loved having that goal and that deadline. Dorothy Parker famously said that “writing is the art of applying ass to seat,” and Nanowrimo certainly motivated me to stay in my chair.

Participating in NaNoWriMo gave me permission to write and write and write and to keep on writing: the essential task necessary to advance the novel I was working on.

  • I loved Nanowrimo on the days I could chalk up another 2,000 words.
  • I hated Nanowrimo on the days I had no words to add to my tally.
  • I loved Nanowrio for helping me buckle down and spill the goods.
  • I hated Nanwrimo for promoting quantity over quantity.
  • And I loved that by the end of last November, I added 50,000 words to my draft.

So, as the emails from the Office of Letters and Light (the originators of what has become an international November phenomenon) start to skitter across my screen announcing the countdown to November, I’m not sure if I’ll sign up again.

For one, I’m still working on the same novel I was writing a year ago – now in its third draft. I’m making great progress (thanks to drafts one AssInSeatand two). In fact, I’ve (re)written 50,000 words in the past six weeks. At this point – since I know my characters better and have a much clearer idea of what kind of trouble they’re in, my rate of composition is accelerating exponentially (as are the number of hours I can spend at my desk).

I’m sure I could sign up for Nanowrimo and “win” again, but I’m not sure I want to. The program offers lots of support – which I barely used. The Office of Light and Letters sent me emails to cheer me on, and they offered me a virtual network to other writers all over the world. But I already get a lot of email, which distracts me from my story, and when I’m finished writing for the day, I want to get off the computer and socialize with people who I can hug. And I don’t want a virtual drink, thank you very much, but a real slug of single malt.

There are good reasons for me to participate in Nanowrimo this year. I’m still aiming to finish this draft before the end of the year, and a little pressure wouldn’t be amiss. But there are also good reasons for me to skip it: I’m already in the groove, and I like to get off the computer after a day of digging in the word mine. So I’m on the fence. Do I sign up or not?  What are you going to do?

dll2013Deborah Lee Luskin is novelist, essayist and educator. She is a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and the author of the award winning novel, Into The Wilderness. She teaches writing workshops and offers editorial consultation. For more information, visit her website at www.deborahleeluskin.com

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This Friday I am going to a weekend Buddhist writer’s retreat in northern New Hampshire. This is how the retreat is described:

At the Write Meditation retreat, we will delve into the creative writing process within the context of Buddhist meditation practice and explore how the qualities of mindfulness and compassion can enhance the generative flow of creative writing.

banner-aboutThis retreat has much to do with Listening. . . listening with the heart, mind and senses to what arises from the stillness of our being; listening for the voice and narrative that yearns to be expressed through writing.

We will use techniques and skillful means that help bypass our tendency to inhibit or self-edit the creative impulse and help identify the themes and images we most want to explore in our writing. We will also work with methods for revising and revivifying works in progress.

Sounds nice, right?

Although I’ve been to writer’s days and conferences, where there is a frenetic mishmash between workshops and exhibits, I have never gone to an event that is focused on nothing but writing for an entire weekend.

My biggest complaint about my personal writing is that I never have time for it. There is always a job that pops up or a kid’s soccer game that is out of town, or…. My best intentions always leave me with a blank page and a bit of a pissed-off demeanor.

Hopefully this will address that very issue of time.

So what does one do at a Buddhist retreat? The short answer is anything you want. There is a structure, but you are not obligated to follow it.

You do what you need to do. (That’s kind of how Buddhists roll.)

If, however, you do need some structure, there are meditation (ha, my spell check had corrected that to medication)  sessions –  running from 45 minutes to 1 hours – a few times a day, designated writing times, and even an opportunity to share your writing with others.

I figure that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this. I’ll be attending all of the meditations (I used to attend a Buddhist meditation group and so for me, sitting for an hour meditating is not as difficult as it sounds) and workshops, while working on my personal writing only (not bringing up any article work) during the dedicated writing sessions. Not sure if I’ll read my material out loud but I’ll certainly go to cheer on others.

I’m also looking forward to the vegetarian meals that will be offered. We’ve all heard that expression “garbage in equals garbage out.”  That applies as much to your physical body as to your imagination and writing soul. Even on my restricted diet, (for Lyme disease) my diet could always use some cleaning up.

Between the meditation and the food, I look forward to the cleaning out of stagnant materials that may be interfering with my writing (really, Wendy?? You can’t find 20 minutes during the week in which to write?)

And in an effort to really experience the retreat, I’ll be sleeping in my car for the weekend.

Yup, my car.

I signed up for the camping option.  There were bunk house and even private room options available (for an added cost) but I figured – in for a penny, in for a pound. I was all ready to set up one of my son’s single person tents on the retreats grounds (several people do this) when I realized that our (very large) SUV is easily the size of any tent (and its water and windproof.) I’m going to put all the seats down and lay out my sleeping bag in the back. I don’t plan on sleeping much and the way I see it, your eyes are closed when you are sleeping so who really cares where you are (And besides, the doors will be locked.) I’m just going to make sure that I have plenty of warm socks, a flashlight with a backup, and a polar fleece liner for my sleeping bag.

I have friends who are mortified that I would even consider doing anything like this retreat (especially the car sleeping part) and who are concerned that I might be falling into a “cult”, (once again, repeat after me Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy) but, I’m not worried, the way I figure – it’s all about trying new experiences and getting that story.

And this will definitely be an experience.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

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BFL          While working alone on a long project like a novel, it’s easy to feel lonely, disconnected from readers and isolated from peers. The best antidote I know for this malaise is a literary festival. And even though I’m not feeling particularly lonely, disconnected or isolated at this time, I am nevertheless looking forward to the annual Brattleboro Literary Festival, which takes place Thursday through Sunday, October third through sixth of this year.

Brattleboro, Vermont, is a literary town. It is home to at least four independent bookstores, despite a population of only 12,000. In addition, it’s home to the Brooks Memorial Library, a full-service resource for stories and information in all formats, from the old-school hardcover to the on-demand digital download.

Rudyard Kipling and Saul Bellow both lived in the hills around Brattleboro, hills that continue to be heavily populated by writers of all genres and styles. The area has a strong creative economy, and the literary arts thrive here, especially during the festival, when writers from away come to town.

As always, there are more readings than it is possible for any one person to attend, so I always pick and choose carefully. It’s tempting brattto attend only readings of fiction, but I’ve learned that hearing poets read aloud illuminates their work, allowing me an almost magical understanding of language. I also like to hear from at least one non-fiction writer. These researchers often tell the story of their research, a story that reveals their passion and perseverance, which is inspiring. And of course, I love to hear fiction, too. This year, I’m looking forward to hearing Megan Mayhew Bergman, Sophie Cabot Black, and Christopher Castellani. I haven’t yet decided between Patrick Donnelly, Amy Dryansky or Patricia Fargnoli. In addition to readings, there are panel discussions, workshops and other literary events – like so much candy.

Despite careful planning, I know from prior experience that no matter how carefully I schedule my days, I may not make it to all the readings I aim to. I may fall into an interesting conversation, wander into a different reading, change my mind at the last minute, or become engrossed by the books for sale at the River Garden, where publishers and book vendors display their wares.

Saturation is another possibility, and something I’ve experienced before. After listening to several wonderful readings followed by Q and As, I don’t want to hear another word. I just want to go home – and write.

In addition to the festival, Brattleboro is home to several good restaurants and some purveyors of fabulous local foods. If feasting on words leaves you hungry, stop in at any of the eateries along Main Street, Flat Street or Elliot. And if you want to see how food and drink are made, check out the Grafton Village Cheese Factory and Sapling Distillery, both less than a mile north of town on Route 30.

dll2013Deborah Lee Luskin read at the Brattleboro Literary Festival in 2010, when her award-winning novel Into the Wilderness was published.

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Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: If you could attend any writers’ conference, retreat, or workshop, which one would it be and why. OR, if you could design one just for you – the perfect conference/retreat/workshop that doesn’t yet exist except in your head – what would it be like … and why?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson: Such a great question! Hands down my favorite writers’ conference is New England Crime Bake held each November in Boston. Ooh la la, do I love this small con that offers a little bit of everything for readers and writers of any type of mystery. I don’t know another local con where I can mix, mingle, and chat with big name authors and agents – and put faces to the names of the folks I chat with on writers’ loops.

As for creating my own retreat – perfection would be a cozy house on a beach. I think 8 or so fellow writers would be a great number; we’d each have our own sleeping space and plenty of options for where to spend hours writing. Then a large gathering area to eat and talk about our writing. I could be any time of year – definitely have a fireplace in the winter, though! Walking along the beach is the most rejuvenating activity I’ve found, and I enjoy it year-round (although I don’t do it nearly as often as I want to!).

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: I love the New England Crime Bake too, and have gone to it every year but the first. It is exhausting, but inspiring. And I do like that it is small. I am going to Bouchercon for the first time this weekend, and will report back. It is a HUGE mystery/crime fiction conference, geared more for fans than for writers (from what I understand). Adding the Writers Police Academy to my must do list–hear great things!

I am part of another group blog, the Wicked Cozy Authors blog. This year I was invited to join their retreat (which they did last year as well) at a house in Old Orchard Beach. It was just terrific. (I blogged about it here.) Not only did we write, we had great conversations about careers, about what we brought to our group endeavor, and an impromptu Scrivener class.

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: So far, the only conference I’ve been to is the fabulous Muse Conference hosted annually by Boston’s Grub Street. I have attended twice and both times walked away exhausted (as Julie said), but also inspired and informed. Although the conference has grown tremendously since it began, it still has a very grass roots feel that makes me feel more at home than I imagine I would be at, say, a big New York conference.

I asked this question because I received an alert about next spring’s Iceland Writer’s Retreat. I have no intentions of running away to Iceland for five days, but the idea of it was so romantic that I couldn’t help daydreaming.

My perfect writing retreat would be a guilt free one. Like most of my fellow writers here at Live to Write – Write to Live, I have many responsibilities beyond my writing. What I would love more than anything is a retreat that didn’t leave me feeling selfish for taking time away from my daughter, my beau, my work, or my cats. (Yes, I feel guilty when I have to leave my cats.) If I could find a way to steal a couple of days all to myself without worrying about anyone or anything, that would be bliss.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I, too, think New England Crime Bake is an awesome conference. It’s fun, informative, and everyone there–authors, agents, and publishers–are all very down-to-earth.

I did go, once, to an amazing writing workshop (that felt like a retreat). I plan to go again one day. It’s The Self as the Source of the Story Writer’s Workshop that Christina Baldwin does every year out on Whidbey Island, in Washington. Many years ago, when I first started writing again after many years of just longing to do it, I met Christina at a medical conference and saw her flyer about this workshop. It happened to be on a week when my husband and I were both off and my stepchildren were away on an exciting vacation with their mom. I asked my husband (who is not a writer) if he would consider going with me. He said he would, then sent in a writing sample as all the participants had to do. He participated fully in the retreat, which was so wonderful. But the best part about the retreat was that the pace of life we lived that week was so much slower than our normal daily lives. We met twice a day for two hours to hear lectures about different writing topics, and we had plenty of time to write, run, and relax. There were 16 people in the group and we all ate lunch and dinner together. We also spent 36 hours together in silence, which was a powerful experience. On the last day we read out loud to each other. During the day of silence words just poured out of me. I still am amazed at how wonderful that whole week was. Sigh. One day I’ll go again.

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On the Premisesa good place to start is a resource for fiction writers. It’s a PDF and web-based magazine published 3 times a year. The stories in the magazine are those that have won in the contests set up by the editors. You can read or download back issues here.

So, On the Premises is always running a contest – a ‘regular’ one and a ‘mini’. I learn a lot from the editors suggestions/hints/tips for submissions as well as the feedback they offer once a contest closes. They also share entries.

And they offer a free critique if your story places in the top 10; and have a reasonable fee if you’d like a critique if your story didn’t make the top 10.

blue ribbonDid I mention the staff is generous in helping writers?

  • As of -last- Monday, their newest ‘regular’ contest, Contest #21, already had 36 entries. Submissions are being accepted until Sept 27. It’s looking for 1,000 to 5,000 words on the premise described here. There is no entry fee and prizes are: 1st: $180, 2nd: $140, 3rd: $100, Honorable mention: $40 (and sometimes they’ll do up to 3 honorable mentions).
  • The new ‘mini’ contest, Mini-Contest #21, is now open to entries until August 30. No entry fee. Prizes are: $15 for first, $10 for second, $5 for third, and honorable mentions get published but make no money. This contest is seeking a 20- to 40-word (yes, that’s only a maximum of 40 words) story that starts and ends with the exact same word. Oh, and that word can’t be used anywhere else in the story.

To enter either contest, use this page to submit your entry (and to get the details/guidelines for both contests).

In addition to its website, On the Premises is also on Facebook, and has a blog. The blog doesn’t have a recent post, but that’s intentional. In the latest newsletter, the co-publisher mentions that the content on the blog is solid and they find it more beneficial to put time into the monthly newsletter.

I find the monthly newsletter to contain useful writing-related information every time, and look forward to seeing it in my Inbox.

This month’s newsletter, for instance, talks about using misdirection in a story — and also about how when submitting to a contest, to make sure your story doesn’t simply end, but that it actually wraps up the story line.

You can subscribe to their newsletter through this link.

Note: I’m not being compensated for this post. I personally enjoy On the Premises and felt you might like to know about it, if you didn’t already.

I’ve submitted stories in the past, but did not get published. I plan to submit to the mini contest this month, though! Nothing to lose and publication to gain. Are you with me?

Lisa J. Jackson Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys writing short. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Biznik.

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ITWplain           My first novel was published three years ago, my second novel is not yet published, and my third novel isn’t yet finished. So when I was invited to join a panel of Vermont Authors at this year’s Bookstock – a three-day literary extravaganza held in Woodstock, Vermont – I didn’t see the point.

I told my friend, author and marketing maven Beth Kanell, that Into the Wilderness was currently only available as an ebook. The hard copy has gone out of print, and frankly, I didn’t see the point in spending a summer Saturday working if I didn’t have any books to sell.

Beth said, “Go anyway! Talk about your next book! Keep your audience interested.”

Beth Kanell, author photo

Beth Kanell, author photo

I did a 180, and accepted the invitation with enthusiasm.

Beth’s right, of course. I have readers – some of whom regularly ask me, “When’s the next book coming out?”

I tell them, “I don’t know. Stay healthy – and stay tuned.”

So even though a part of me wants to do nothing but hole up with my imagination, another part of me knows that it’s good to practice my lame social skills. And it’s always a thrill to meet my audience. In fact, it’s good to be reminded that there is an audience, and I’m not just writing novels as a form of personal exorcism. And it’s also good to practice dressing up and speaking in public. Because I know once the next book does hit the shelves, I’ll have to dress up and travel to promote it.

Marketing my work and my self is not my favorite part of being a writer, but meeting my readers has been an unexpected pleasure. Nor is audience building the only reason to attend this literary festival. It’s also a chance to meet other writers.

Bookstock_Logo-3-125-e1364325761425            At Bookstock, I’ll be part of a panel of three writers of Vermont fiction. One of them is my neighbor Castle Freeman, Jr. whose Go With Me is one of those absolute gems of narrative fiction. He and I are carpooling, and I’m looking forward to talking shop on the drive. The other writer on our panel is Steve Delaney, a veteran journalist whose voice was familiar one on Vermont Public Radio for many years. We’ll be completely unscripted as we talk about writing in and about Vermont. Should be fun.

I’m looking forward to arriving early and staying late, so I can hear some of the other writers whose work I know and admire (like the poets Donald Hall and Galway Kinnell) and to hear the work of writers I don’t know (like Joan Wickersham, a National Book Award Finalist). There will be over twenty regional writers at this fifth annual literary event. And just as I’ve jumped on to the local food bandwagon for all its nutritive, socio-political, and environmental benefits, I’m a great believer in local stories – and local audiences. It’s great to have a home base, and I’m looking forward to becoming reacquainted with mine.

Bookstock runs for three days, starting on the morning of Friday, July 26, and ending late Sunday afternoon, July 28. My panel goes on at 1 o’clock on Saturday. If you come to the festival, please stop and say hi.

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Deborah Lee Luskin’s novel Into the Wilderness has been called a “love story to Vermont” and recognized by the Vermont Library Association for its “sense of place.” Readers most frequently say, “I didn’t want it to end but I couldn’t put it down.” It has been hailed as “a fiercely intelligent love story” and “a perfectly gratifying read” and was awarded the Gold Medal for Regional Fiction by the Independent Publishers in 2011. The book is currently available in electronic format.

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