a weblog for readers and writers

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lit's Not Dead!

Authors T Cooper from New York and Joe Meno from Chicago join five local writers (Mike Cook, Olu Butterfly Woods, Justin Sirois, Jason Tinney and Niki Lee) for an evening of music and literature at "Lit’s Not Dead."

The November 30 show at the Brown Center on the campus of the Maryland Institute, College of Art completes the two-month series of Free Fall Baltimore programs sponsored by the City of Baltimore. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free on a first come, first served basis.

"Writing and reading are both often done in solitude, so we look for ways to raise the profile of the literary arts with dynamic public events," said CityLit Project founder Gregg Wilhelm. "It’s good fun presented by talented writers."

Learn more at CityLit's site.

Friday, November 24, 2006

John Sanford Likes the Smell of Stuffing

John Sanford, the Pulitzer-winning newspaper writer who's gone on to become a highly-successful novelist, likes a little stuffing. Not just during Thanksgiving, but with his female characters. "I want people to like them," he said. "I make them attractive, but always with slight weight problems. Make a female character struggle with being 10 pounds overweight and women identify with her."

When I saw John last year, he said he wrote his first novel while burnt out from the newspaper business. "I knew I was burnt out when I started trying to duck out of big assignments. Big news events became boring. I had to get out, so I turned to fiction."

John likes the smell stuffing, too. "A writer must create immediacy. You must involve all five senses. The most important is smell. You can make a character immediately loved or hated with smell. A bad smell makes a character unlikable immediately." He knows what he’s talking about; he's sniffed his way to several bestsellers.

To learn more about John Sanford, his uses for stuffing and his various smells, visit his website.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Powers Wins, Baby!

No, not Austin – Richard Powers. His novel, The Echo Maker, won National Book Award for fiction this week in New York City. The novel tells the story of a young man who has an auto accident and suffers a rare brain disorder.

Timothy Egan won for non-fiction with his book,The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.

See The New York Times for more, including a list of all winners and finalists.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fiction Published in The Washington Post

An excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Dead Ends, was published in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post ... albeit a short excerpt. The first line, to be exact.

Dan Zak's story, "Writer's Clock," the top story in The Washington Post’s Sunday Source, reported on local novelists putting their literary chops to the test with National Novel Writing Month. His story includes interviews with such established locals as George Pelecanos and Laura Lippman.

As a supplement, Dan compiled "Soon to be Famous First Lines" and included the opening of my own NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress, Dead Ends.

Read Dan Zak’s "Writer's Clock" story here.

Or beat the crowd to "Soon to be Famous First Lines" right now!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Meet Area's New Authors

Washington Writers' Publishing House invites you to a reading featuring its 2006 fiction winners Denis Collins (Nora's Army) and Laura Brylawski-Miller (The Medusa's Smile) and poetry winner Carly Sachs (The Steam Sequence). The new authors will be introduced by 2003 WWPH fiction award winner Kimrey Breeden.

The event takes place on Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at Annapolis Bookstore, 41 Randall Street, Annapolis. Refreshments will be served. Visit WWPH's website for more information about the area's newest published writers.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Literary Happy Hour

The CityLit Project and JMWW, Baltimore's newest literary journal, invite all writers (and literary groupies) to a literary happy hour tonight from 5-7 at Max's in Fells Point. (Note that Max's is but one of many rich settings in my own novel in stories, TRACKS.)

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Wine is bottled poetry." "Work is the curse of the drinking class," chimed in Oscar Wilde. Why not join other writers to celebrate, commiserate, procrastinate and talk about the craft. You may find just the inspiration you're looking for!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Down to the Wire

Tonight, Baltimore's own Rafael Alvarez talks to the Maryland Writers' Association about his career as a writer. Alvarez worked the city desk of The Baltimore Sun for 20 years before leaving the paper in 2001. Since then, he's written for HBO's The Wire and NBC's The Black Donnellys. He also writes books, both fiction and non-fiction, and short stories.

And you thought this would be a commentary on the election. But those results have already been written.

For more about tonight's event, see the MWA link below. Meetings are free for members and $5 for visitors. The event takes place tonight from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. at the Chesapeake Arts Center.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't be a McMurphey

The seventh installment of "Freedom" has been published in the November issue of Coliquio. Coincidently, this episode centers around a topic that should be on everyone's mind today -- voting. Joe, Manning and McMurphey are suffering through another day under the scorching sun in dusty Afghanistan, discussing what's on their minds as the election draws near. McMurphey is the one who decides he doesn’t know the issues well enough to cast a vote. He can fight and kill and die for his nation's agenda, but won't allow himself the right to help define it.

Find "Freedom" at the link below. And don't be a McMurphey. Get out and vote!

Friday, November 03, 2006

On Your Mark, Get Set, Write!

National Novel Writing Month is off to a fast-paced start. An estimated 75,000 writers are already well into the opening pages of their NaNoWriMo novels. Last year, the Maryland Region was honored as the most productive region of novelists in the world. As I write this, just three days in, Maryland's already ranked number three, just behind England and Washington. But we haven't even hit the first weekend yet, so anything can happen.

My own novel-in-fast-progress, Dead Ends, is off to a good start with nearly 10,000 words -- about a fifth of the way to the 50,000 word goal. You can learn more about it -- and even read an excerpt -- in my NaNoWriMo lounge. While you’re lounging, I’ve got to get back to writing!