a weblog for readers and writers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Highlandtown for the Holidays

Baltimore author Rafael Alvarez returns home for the holidays — and for a reading at the Highlandtown branch of the Pratt Library at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 23.

An appropriate venue since his first collection of short fiction was entitled The Fountain of Highlandtown.

You may know Rafael from his years as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, or as author of the fiction collections, Orlo and Leini and The Fountain of Highlandtown. Or you may know his work as a television writer for Homocide, The Wire, and The Black Donnelly’s. Many people know him as the Mister Baltimore, the teller of Baltimore stories.

His most recent television show hit is Life, for which he is writer and producer.

Alvarez reads his work alongside Mimi Zannino and Airin Miller at the new Highlandtown branch of the Pratt located on the corner of Conkling and Eastern avenue.

Learn more about Rafael Alvarez at the following link.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

National Novel Writing Month Tops 100,000

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was a big success this year. Novelists from more than 70 countries typed frantically toward the finish line of a 50,000 word manuscript.

This year, more than 100,000 novelists participated in NaNoWriMo — only about 15,000 authors actually crossed the finish line. And while NaNoWriMo stresses fun and creative exploration above publication, sixteen NaNoWriMo novelists have had their NaNo-novels published, including Sarah Gruen, author of New York Times #1 Best Seller, Water for Elephants.

My own novel in stories, TRACKS, began as a NaNoWriMo winner. Sure, it took more than a year to rewrite and revise, but only a month for that initial draft. So far, six of the stories from TRACKS have been published or accepted for publication in literary journals and magazines; excerpts from TRACKS have been read at book festivals and on National Public Radio's WYPR.

Not to mention that TRACKS was a semi-finalist in the Gather-Borders-Simon & Schuster sponsored First Chapters Novel Contest.

All this is to say that writing a novel draft in a month is nothing to scoff at. It can be done, has been done, and the seed that results can reap success if properly cultivated.

This year was my fifth consecutive win with National Novel Writing Month. Don’t expect to see CLICK! in stores anytime soon. My NaNo-Novel from 2004, however …

You can learn more about National Novel Writing Month -- and even read an excerpt of CLICK! — in my NaNoWriMo lounge.


Learn more about TRACKS at the online station.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Fiction on a Slow Train

It almost seems a perfect match: a story from TRACKS, my novel in stories taking place on a train traveling from Baltimore to Chicago, has been accepted for publication in the literary journal Slow Trains.

The Silences” will be published in the December edition of Slow Trains, later this month. “The Silences” was featured earlier this year at the Baltimore Book Festival.

Slow Trains is read by a large and diverse audience each day, including editors and agents. Fiction from the journal has been selected for "E2Ink - Best of the Online Journals," and in anthology award series, including one guest-edited by Pam Houston.

The editors of Slow Trains also forward appropriate writing to various awards, including the "Best American" series, Pushcart, and O’Henry.

Look for “The Silences” in the next issue of Slow Trains.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Get to Know a Good Liar

Want to get to know a liar? There are plenty of them around. But one in particular is well worth spending some time with. And the best way to get to know her is to read her steamy diary.

I recently put down The Liar's Diary by my friend and fellow author Patry Francis. It really was the kind of book that was hard to put down, each chapter ending on a cliffhanger that made you want to read on.

The story may sound usual enough on the surface: Jeanne Cross is a suburban wife in a dead-end job living in the shadow of a successful husband and in fear of her teenaged son getting into trouble. But when the main character gets to be friends with the scandalous new music teacher, the story proves anything but normal.

Patry has written a novel that is both a page-turner and of literary quality. She even got the attention of bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard, who said "The Liar's Diary twits and turns but never lets go." And bestselling author Tess Gerritsen said, "This is one of my favorite reads of the year!"

Learn more about The Liar's Diary by visiting Patry's website below. Then take the next step and order a copy for yourself.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Monteleone Keynotes Maryland Writers' Conference

Maryland author Thomas F. Monteleone is confirmed as the keynote speaker for the Maryland Writers’ Association 20th Anniversary Conference.

The Conference, which draws writers from across the state of Maryland and beyond, takes place on Saturday, May 3, 2008 from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Maritime Institute of Technology conference center. The address is 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.

Thomas F. Monteleone has been a professional writer since 1972, and is four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He has published more than 100 short stories in numerous magazines and anthologies. His stories have been nominated for many awards, and have appeared in a number of best-of-the-year compilations.

He has written thirty-six books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel.

Monteleone is one of many successful authors presenting an array of literary topics at the day-long conference.

Join local experts and established writers for an opportunity to hone your craft in sessions led by established authors, instructors, and experts. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s plenty for you at the conference. Come explore the many worlds of writing.

Register now to take advantage of our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL -- now through December 31!
To register, or for more information, visit the conference website.