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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.
“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Seascape "Escape to Write" Writers Retreat
I just returned from Seascape, a writers retreat put on by Hallie Ephron and Roberta Isleib. Roberta's invitation to join stated "Devote a weekend to reinvigorating your creativity and revising your manuscript in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. Tune out distractions from the outside world as you spend time brainstorming, critiquing, revising and setting goals with other talented, committed crime fiction writers." And it lived up to the introduction.
It was a rewarding and pleasant weekend at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester Ct; a large, charming, renovated country inn surrounded by trees in a rural setting. There were comfortable areas to sit and visit with other writers, and our rooms were spacious, airy and clean each with its own bathroom. I had French doors on one wall of my room and a large window on another wall allowing a free flow of fresh air if I wished it. We had Internet access, but no TV in the whole facility to distract us. The only sounds were bird songs and the pleasant conversation and laughter of the guests. There was a grand piano in one room, but I didn't hear anyone play it.
Sixteen of us in addition to Hallie and Roberta attended this retreat workshop. Each of us had to submit the first 20 pages of our manuscript in advance of the members of our group to read before coming. We were divided into two groups. My group consisted of Debra Overton, Carol Lynn, Denise Terry, Marie Constanza, Mary Brookman, Rhonda Lane, Karen Cleveland, Rebecca Butler and myself. Although we mingled with the others in group sessions and meals, I got to know my own group best because of the in depth critique sessions. For our critiques, we were to read straight through the submissions first to get our overall impression of it as a reader. Then we were to go through it again following a list of things to look for and write what we saw were the major strengths and what needed to be worked on.
After our get acquainted session Friday evening, we went to dinner. Oh my, what a delicious meal that was. It was served buffet style with many choices including food for vegans and gluten free offerings. Coffee, hot water for a wide assortment of teas, lemonade, iced water and iced tea were available from early morning until nine or ten at night. Fruit was also always available.
When it ended at nine, I was ready to go to my room since I'd been up since 4:00 a.m. to catch my plane with very little sleep the night before, and also because of all the information and thoughts I had to absorb. I was so happy to have a comfortable bed to crash in.
After a plentiful breakfast, which I couldn't thoroughly enjoy because I'd slept in, we had our 2nd critique session with Roberta on creating memorable characters. It was another good session with lots of helpful input from Roberta and my group. I've come up with a lot of changes I want to make to improve my beginning from both critique sessions. Between the critique session and lunch there was a session on "Character Driven Plotting" by Roberta. After lunch there was free time to revise, relax, meet with others or have a "One on One" with Hallie if you signed up for one. I think everyone did.
At 3:00 Hank Phillippi Ryan joined us to present "Using Techniques from TV Journalism to Pump Your Novel." It was interesting, informative and at times funny as Hallie would interrupt and correct something Hank had said. It was quite obvious they're good friends. If you've not met Hank, you're missing something. She's quite charming and fun.
Later after dinner everyone met again to present their elevator pitches if they chose to do so, and then there was a practice session for a panel session Hallie, Roberta and Hank are presenting at Bouchercon. It's their take on Family Feud with questions pertaining to mysteries. We were divided into two teams; one side of the room against the other. It was so much fun that there was almost constant laughter. Our team won.
After breakfast on Sunday there was a session on "Pumping up Suspense" presented by Hallie. I had a "One on One" with Roberta during Hallie's session so I missed it, but I did get her handout. After my time with Roberta, I had to leave for the airport to catch my plane so I also missed the final wrap up and lunch.
Was the weekend worth the expense? Absolutely. I came away with ideas on how to make my manuscript better and I made new friends with people who have the same goal: writing a good mystery.
Have you ever attended any kind of retreat? Would you like to do so someday?