Writers Rendezvous – January update Part 2

Welcome to part two of January’s update. This includes some free writing workshops, suggestions for finding more reader reviews for your upcoming book, and more.

On Tuesday, February 9, at 3pm, member Barbara Anne King (The California Immigrant) will be appearing at the Norwalk Library in a discussion on Zoom of her new novel, The Apple King, to be published February 3.  The book is the second historical novel in her Monterey Bay Series, based on the Croatian immigrants who settled in California in the 1930s. Register to get a Zoom link by emailing Cynde Bloom Lahey, or call (203) 899-2780 ext. 15133.

The Connecticut Romance Writers Association (CTRWA) allows non-members to attend two meetings a year to see whether membership appeals to them. Meetings are held monthly, and each one has a guest presenter with topics of interest to writers. The next meeting, On February 13, will host bestselling thriller author Hallie Ephron, (Careful What you Wish For) giving a workshop on Writing Character-Driven Fiction. She’ll cover topics appropriate for any novelist: creating a character web, developing a character arc within the novel’s three-act structure, mining the gap between what’s visible and what’s hidden, developing a character arc within a scene, and the importance of back story in driving plot, and how to use it effectively. Email connecticutrwa@gmail.com if you’d like to attend.

Jane Cleland, writer of the Josie Prescott series of cozy mysteries, and also a writing teacher, is offering some free online workshops that could benefit any writer of fiction. Here are the details: February 20: Thematic Writing (How to use figurative imagery, atmosphere, and allegories to add richness and depth to your writing) and on March 13, The Perception Gap (How to use your characters’ views of the world to create compelling and twisty plots.)

Finding readers to review your book can be difficult, but I’ve come across three companies that may be able to help. If you can recommend others, please let us know in the comments.

Booksprout app

Booksprout is a company founded in 2015 that helps increase your book reviews. Rather than signing up for numerous newsletters, checking multiple websites, and missing new releases by their favorite authors, readers can follow them in their app. It provides a single location with mobile notifications so that readers never miss a new book again! Authors need reviews on launch day in order to build trust quickly. With our ARC Management feature, they can reduce time spent delivering eBook files and following up with readers all while maximizing reviews. There’s a free version, and ones for $10 or $20 per month with more features.

Bookfunnel is a similar service, but also allows you to collect the email addresses of those who’ve downloaded the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of your book. Depending on your price point, there are other benefits too. Prices range from $2 to $20 per month, with a contract for a year.

Lastly, Story Origin provides the same services and is completely free because it’s in Beta (meaning they haven’t figured out all the wrinkles yet). It might be worth a try if your budget is tight, since you’ve nothing to lose, and they have a number of tutorials on the site to show you how to use it. Here’s a list of the opportunities they offer.

Published to death is a blog for writers that covers a multitude of subjects, including agents, self-publishing, and submissions. A recent post listed 49 places to submit to for the month of January. Because it’s late in the month, some of the deadlines have passed, but there are still plenty left. They cover all kinds of genres, so subscribe to keep up to date.

Lastly, in case you’re spending too much time on your phone and would like to break the habit, you could do worse than try Forest, an app that allows you to “grow” a virtual forest while you’re not on your phone. When you accumulate enough points, the people at Forest will plant a live tree for you.

So you can do the world a bit of good along with yourself. 🙂

Keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 1

I love the Zoom meetings we’re having with people from across the country. Writing can be lonely, but the lockdown has brought to the fore this great way of communicating. So, the WritersMic on Tuesday welcomed people from as far … Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: June update – Part 2

I’m always happy when members of the WritersMic and the Rendezvous are published for the first time. Tom Cowen came to read at last month’s WritersMic, and his moving article has just been published in The Good Men Project. It shines a different light on Father’s Day. Read it here.

Back to writer events coming up. On June 23, the Westport Library will host historian James Carter for a free talk on his new book, Champions Day. The book looks at the end of old Shanghai through the lens of one day of horse racing in 1941 China. More information about the event and how to order his book here. If you pre-order the book via the library, you can get a signed bookplate from the author.

The Westport Writers Workshop is offering a free six-week Creative Writing Workshop for Essential Workers in CT and NY to provide an outlet for creative expression for those Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: February update

Around twenty of us gathered at Barnes & Noble in Westport this month, to chat, encourage and suggest writing solutions for each other. Poets, fiction and non-fiction writers including journalists – everyone had something constructive to offer. We are a great community!

And now, first things first. The Westport Library is presenting a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues tomorrow night, Friday, February 21, to benefit the Center for Family Justice and the Rowan Center – both organizations are dedicated to helping people in crisis. Among the many women appearing, will be yours truly and Mitzy Sky, one of the Rendezvous members. If you can come, please do. The suggested donation of $20 will go to an excellent cause, and if that’s too much for your budget, come anyway. Sign up here.

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Westport Writers Workshop is offering a series of write-ins Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: January update – Part 2

Welcome back! Here’s the second list of events and suggestions this month. And check out the Writers’ Calendar for more.

41zJFP9zbwL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_On February 12, from 7-9pm and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Tracy Strauss, author of the new book I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, and Gina BarrecaHartford Courant columnist and UCONN Distinguished Professor of English, will discuss Writing About Love: How to Find It, How to Lose It, and Whether You Want to Bother With It At All. Tickets: $20. Copies of Tracy Strauss’ book, will be available for purchase and signing.

Norwalk Public Library is offering a free eight-week writing workshop with Kim Kovach beginning Monday, March 23 from 10:30-12pm. New and experienced writers are welcome to explore writing Flash Fiction (1,000 words) and Micro Fiction (300 words). Weekly homework assignments encourage participants to dive into writing. Registration required.

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Sonya Huber

Another program in the WestportWRITES series is Pain as Metaphor: Writing on Disability and Illness. The workshop with Sonya Huber takes place on Sunday, March 22 from 2-4pm and will delve into the generative and restorative power of metaphor, as used in her book, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System, to portray and explore the experience of chronic pain in a healing way.

Join Danbury book designer, artist and poet, Shelley Lowell, and Greenwich TV researcher and genealogy teacher, Janeen Bjork at the Danbury Library on March 28, from 10:30-2pm for a presentation on how to write a history of your family. Contact kmostacero@danburylibrary.org for more information.

Connecticut Center for the Book is now accepting submissions for the 2020 Connecticut circle-ctbook-01Book Awards. These awards recognize the best books by authors and illustrators from Connecticut or books about Connecticut. Categories include: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Books for Young Readers broken into three subcategories: Picture Books, Fiction, and Nonfiction.  The final deadline for all categories is April 17 and entry fees start at $40.00. Click here for submission guidelines.

CLA-LogoIn conjunction with the 2020 Connecticut Literary Festival,  which is to take place on October 10, 2020, the Central Connecticut State English Department is planning to publish a literary anthology of Connecticut writers. They’re looking for previously unpublished work in the categories of fiction, creative non-fiction, (2,500 words max) and/or up to two poems. For details and how to submit, click here. Submissions deadline: March 31.

Those looking for critique groups or partners might be interested in a new website called critique match. CritiqueMatch is an online platform that connects writers, published authors, and beta readers to exchange feedback and gain skills. While the service is in beta (trial) mode the service is free and might be worth trying.

The 50 best online critique groups include ones that critique query letters, ones for people who only have 10 minutes a day to write and critiques of your first 13 lines, to make sure you’ve hooked the reader.

Here’s an article on the best writing software with reviews by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur, a writing and marketing guru.

BookBaby, a website that offers all the services necessary for self-publishing, is offering a free book: Five Steps to Self-Publishing.

And here’s another on how one author did her own marketing in order to get onto the USA Today bestseller list.

 

 

Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 2

Hello again! Here’s the second part of the update, as promised, including more events that have just appeared in my inbox.

purnellJoin British author Sonia Purnell (First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill and Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition) at the Fairfield University Bookstore from 4-5:30 on November 3, as she discusses her latest book A Woman of No Importance, the astonishing but true-life tale of Virginia Hall. Hall, a young American socialite with a wooden leg, was a female spy in WWII who helped fan the flames of French Resistance. The rights to the book have already been sold to Paramount for a major film starring Daisy Ridley.

nunezAlso on November 3, Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend will be appearing at the Norwalk Public Library from 2-4pm as part of their AuthorSpeak series.

The Norwalk Library runs a regular series of AuthorSpeak events, and they provide lunch, too. If you are a local author Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: August update – Part 1

51tDpVmnPWL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_Twenty writers attended out meeting yesterday – and they had a lot to share. Mary Grace Dembeck’s children’s book, I’m Mad at the Moon, was published this month, Richard Seltzer has a publishing contract, and member V.P. Morris is launching her first weekly podcast series on August 27. The Dead Letters Podcast is a suspenseful audio drama in 25-minute episodes, focusing on the lives of five women who, over history, have received mysterious letters that warn of death and destruction if they don’t do exactly as the sender says. Find it on all the main podcast platforms: PodBean, iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher

Gotham Writers in NYC offers writing courses in a wide variety of genres, and for all levels of expertise.  To encourage you to take a look, they are offering a free course to the winner of their 27-word Story-in-a-Bottle contest. Imagine finding a bottle Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: July update

We had a great meeting on Wednesday, with lots of ideas for writers on how and where to submit, editing techniques, and congratulations to members recently or about-to-be published.  To keep this month’s update down to one post, I’m forging ahead.

On every third Thursday of the month, The Darien Library hosts a free Writer’s Workshop for writers of any genre and level of writing ability. Next meeting: Thursday, July 18, from 7-8:30 pm. They critique up to ten pages of written work in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. The meeting is directed by Laura Cavers, MFA. If you’re interested in joining the Writer’s Workshop for the first time, email Laura to get started.

41hnNV7tBgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_On Sunday, July 21 / 2:00pm – 3:00pm The Storytellers Cottage is hosting a chat with a published author about the secrets to becoming a successfully published writer. July’s Featured Author: Penny Goetjen author of The Empty Chair, Murder on the Precipice, and  Murder Beyond the Precipice. National award-winner Goetjen writes murder mysteries where the milieu plays as prominent a role as the engaging characters.

Pequot book sale Pequot Library’s 59th Annual Summer Book Sale takes place from Friday, July 26 – Monday, July 29, from 9-6pm. Prices vary day to day, from most expensive to begin with to almost free by the end. They often have over 60,000 books for sale, so there’s definitely something there for you.

The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury is also offering a class on Saturday, July 27, from 1-2:30pm, titled: Get Published: from Ideas to Instagram. Topics include: Opportunities on websites such as Submittable, preparing manuscripts, and deciding between a traditional publisher, and indie publisher or self-publishing. What to expect from publishing companies and editors. Revising and editing. And some of the most popular ways authors market their books from traditional bookstore signings to blogs, to Instagram. Good value at $30.

camouflageNorwalk Public Library is hosting two authors in August. Ivy Keating will be appearing on August 7 from 12-1:30 to talk about her book Camouflage, and on August 9, also from 12-1:30pm, Scott Kimmich will be discussing his trilogy of fantasy novels, Ordeal by Fire.

The Masters Review is now accepting submissions for their Summer Short Story Award for new writers. The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $300 and $200 respectively. All winners and honorable mentions will receive agency review Deadline August 31.

Registration for the 2019 Ridgefield Writers Conference is now open! The conference takes place Friday, September 20, from 6:30-9pm at the Ridgefield Library. This year’s theme is storytelling, and the keynote is acclaimed writer, teacher and New Yorker poet Charles Rafferty. They also offer an agent, editor and publisher panel with Q&A, and three breakout sessions, for poetry, fiction writers and nonfiction. For details, visit Ridgefield Writers Conference. To register, click on Ridgefield Library Events. $25.

The 2019 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize awards $5000 each to winners in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Winners are published in the spring issue of the Missouri Review and honored at a reading and reception in Columbia, Missouri, in late spring. Deadline October 1. All contest entries are considered for publication in the magazine.  Entry fee: $25-30. Submit here,

The New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America is offering two Burstein scholarships worth $1000 each this year to aspiring mystery writers. The purpose of the scholarship is to offer financial support to writers who want to take a specific class, attend a conference, or do specific research as demonstrably necessary to a mystery work they are creating. You don’t have to be a member of the MWA-NY Chapter, and submissions are open until October 9. Check the link above for how to submit.

If you want to pitch your book to an agent you could consider attending The Gotham Writers Conference on October 25-26. They promise genuinely to connect writers with agents and give a close-up look at how to get a book published.  Day 1 includes five panels and presentations. Day 2 is for pitching roundtables. Anyone can attend Day 1, but you must be selected to participate in Day 2. Space is limited.

Those of us with complete manuscripts have to decide how and where to publish. If that’s you, take a look at this informational chart from Jane Friedman, writing and marketing guru, about the key book-publishing paths. It is available as a PDF download—ideal for photocopying and distributing for workshops and classrooms—and the full text is also shown at the link.

Authors Publish is offering a new free book: 182 Short Fiction Publishers. It’s a very helpful guide to places where you can submit. You can download it at the link above.

Once you’ve decided, check out WriterBeware, which has an excellent newsletter that does what it says on the label. Each issue reviews publishers that have caused problems for authors or that misrepresent themselves. These are often self-described as hybrid publishers, co-publishers or partner publishers. What this means, essentially, is that you pay them to publish. This may be worthwhile in some cases, but it’s helpful to know which of these companies are on the level. Worth signing up for.

dreyerSome of you will have attended Dreyer’s evening at the Westport Library on July17, where he discussed his book, Dreyer’s English. If you’re interested in getting your work edited, it might be helpful to know what kind of editing you need. Member Alex McNab has a blog post to enlighten you, describing the Five Stages of Editing.

Don’t forget to check out the Writers’ Calendar for more events for writers, and – keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: June update – Part 2

Here, as promised, is Part 2 of the June update. Lots of author events, contests, and places to submit your work:

The Norwalk Public Library is offering two creative writing series: An ongoing poetry workshop on the first Monday evening of each month, and creative writing each Monday, from 10:30-12pm, beginning July 8. Free. Details here.

A quick reminder that I’ll be interviewing Amy Oestreicher about her extraordinary memoir, My Beautiful Detour,  on July 11 at Barnes and Noble in Westport at 6:30pm. She’ll be reading, and signing her book. And there’ll be refreshments Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: June update – Part 1

Some twenty of us gathered this month at the Westport Barnes & Noble—almost a record! There was lots to talk about, so this post covers Part 1 of this month’s update. First, and most important, the Westport Library is reopening … Continue reading