Archive for January, 2011

AWP is Next Week

January 28, 2011

It’s been a busy week. I’ve been getting ready for  the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference in Washington D.C. On Thurs. Feb 3, 2011 I’ll be speaking as part of the panel “Things That Go Bump When You Write: Monsters, Myths and the Supernatural in Literary Fiction.” Other panelists include B.J. Hollars, Bryan Furuness, Hannah Tinti, Laura van den Berg. The panel is at 10:30 to 11:45.

If you’re there come check it out. I’ll be discussing ways to inject believability into your supernatural fiction and ways to do research on monster legends, ghost stories and the like (and sharing some of my own research ideas that I used working on my book Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America).



WD Conference Going on Now!

January 21, 2011

Here’s how you can stay up to date on everything going on at the WD conference whether you’re there in person, or following the event online.

Follow @WritersDigest conference from start to finish using the new hashtag #wdc11:

Coming to you LIVE from #WDC11 – follow the live blogger’s and be in on all the action

January 19, 2011

Some nice reviews for Nighttime Novelist by Joseph Bates:

The Examiner-Montreal Book Examiner

San Francisco Book Review

Sacramento Book Review

Diary of an Eccentric


January 19, 2011

Check out these interviews with The Productive Writer author Sage Cohen:

Nice Review of Monster Spotters

January 14, 2011

This morning I was excited to see a nice review of my book Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America.

Nice to know people are still finding the book and sharing it with others.

WD Workshop Attendee Scores Book Deal

January 13, 2011

I recently recieved a reader’s copy of a book from an author who attended one of Writer’s Digest’s workshops. I had the privilege of reading and critiquing a portion of D.K. LeVick‘s Bridges: A Tale of Niagara a while back (heck it must have been a year or so). LeVick had a great story that was set in Niagara Falls and blended the Falls’ unique history with a charming coming of age adventure story set in the early 1960s. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with LeVick about his book, and was thrilled to find out that he’d gone on to get a book deal.

Bridges is available from Langdon Street Press on 3/15/2011. Learn more here.

If you’re interested in workshops and events from WD check out this month’s WD Writer’s Conference. (There’s still time to register!)

Author Interview: Orson Scott Card

January 11, 2011

Yesterday I was saddened to learn that science fiction author Orson Scott Card suffered a mild stroke on New Years Eve. Card has written some wonderful writing instruction books for Writer’s Digest over the years. Here’s a link to a recent interview I conducted with Mr. Card. Enjoy. Here’s wishing the author a speedy recovery.


Adventures in Editing: A quick stint working a teleprompter

January 7, 2011

I always enjoy posting about new experiences I have as an editor. I’ve never worked with any filming or video shoots before… but yesterday I got the chance. Writer’s Digest was making a online commercial for a new series of box sets, so I volunteered to help.

I got to run the teleprompter. Which basically means pushing a button. Hey, I also did some editing of the script on the fly (so, don’t mock). It was a fun change of pace to work on the set of a video shoot.

WD’s own Kelly Messerly was the on-screen talent and she did a great job–the commercial was shot in only 4 takes.

Teleprompter-eye view of WD’s commerical featuring Kelly











learn more about the WD Master Box series:

Deluxe Get Published Master Box

Get an Agent, Get Published Master Box

Mastering the Craft of Fiction Master Box

Writing for Children Master Box

Author Interview: Steven Harper

January 6, 2011

If you’re into writing about spooky subjects, from horror to fantasy, you’ll want to check out Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper (coming Feb 2011). Harper knows his stuff; he’s penned several novels including In the Company Mind, Corporate Mentality, and books based on Battle Star Galactica and The Ghost Whisperer, among others.

I had a chance to ask Harper a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

What are your five favorite books and why?

Jumper by Steven Gould: A great adventure story with an entirely empathetic, hugely likeable main character. You’ll want to be Davy’s best friend from the first page.

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler: Best. Book. Ever. Everyone raves about Kindred, but this one is much better. Octavia Butler is the master at yanking you into her story and never letting go, and then when you start noticing the themes and symbols, the story becomes more breathtaking.

The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley: The best character novel I’ve ever read. It made me laugh and cry and ache and want to go into the book to live with these people. I slipped references to this into my book Trickster after Marion died.

From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister Faust: Most creative way to write a book in all history. How the heck did Faust come up with the idea of doing a self-help book for super-heroes? And how did he manage to work an intricate, character-driven plot into it? I stand in awe. You have to read this one, even if you’re not a super-hero fan.

Watership Down by Richard Adams: If you haven’t heard of this one, you spent your life in a cave on Mars. Go get it. Right now.

What do you think is the main thing that sets writing a paranormal or supernatural novel apart from writing other kinds of fiction?

The need to explain the magic. It’s the biggest challenge, really. It’s so easy to use big expository lumps, but that bores the reader. On the other hand, you can explore fantastic themes and ideas that other kinds of fiction don’t get to touch.

Do you have any advice for new writers on building an audience?

Write the most enjoyable stories you can, and keep going! If you land a series, remember that most people read multiple books because they care about the characters and want to know what’s going on in their lives.

Read the full interview on

Preorder the book

Also, don’t miss the Writer’s Digest Writer’s Conference… there’s still time to register!