Category: Events


Another book giveaway…

By Midge Raymond,

It’s not only Short Story Month, but it’s also the anniversary of The Pen and the Bell, the marvelous book about mindful writing by Brenda Miller and Holly Hughes.

Brenda and Holly are hosting a giveaway to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their book — click here for details and to win your own copy.

In case you don’t yet know why you need this book, check out my Q&A with Brenda about the book, writing, and more.

Happy writing!



Happy Short Story Month!

By Midge Raymond,

As many of you know, May is Short Story Month!

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To celebrate, the Kindle edition of Forgetting English will be only 99 cents for the entire month of May.

I’m also offering a giveaway of the print edition of Forgetting English, a beautiful, expanded edition from Press 53. To be entered to win a copy, simply contact me with your favorite travel destination (whether it’s someplace you’ve been or someplace you’ve always wanted to go), and I’ll enter you in the giveaway. A winner will be chosen in early June. (Please note that I can’t ship overseas, so the giveaway is limited to U.S. readers.)

For all of you who enjoy reading individual short stories, a few stories from Forgetting English are always available on e-readers. On the Kindle, you’ll find Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean, The Ecstatic Cry, Translation Memory, and Beyond the Kopjes.

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On the Nook, you can read Translation Memory, The Ecstatic Cry, and Beyond the Kopjes.

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And, finally, you can also find Translation MemoryThe Ecstatic Cry, and Beyond the Kopjes  in the Apple iBookstore.

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A few other celebrations are taking place for Short Story Month …

Visit Press 53 and check out the special Kindle discounts on short story collections — and join Press 53 on Facebook for more special offers and giveaways.

Dan Wickett, founder of the Emerging Writers Network and creator of Short Story Month, has a lot of story news on his EWN blog.

Visit the Short Story Month website for stories, news, and resources.

Jean Ryan’s new collection, Survival Skills (which Publishers Weekly calls “captivating”), is hot off the presses from Ashland Creek Press — click here to get yourself a copy. And if you have an e-reader, enter to win a free Survival Skills e-book on the Booklover Book Reviews blog.

Happy Short Story Month — and happy reading!



Stuff for writers in the new year

By Midge Raymond,

Happy new year to all!

So, here we are. It’s 2013, and most of us writers have grand writing plans and goals — right? I know I do…and I also know that I don’t want any of them to be forgotten by February. So I have a few things that I hope will inspire you and get your new writing year off to a good start.

First, if you’re in San Diego, come to one of my jump-start-your-new-year-of-writing workshops! I’ll be in the lively studio of author Judy Reeves on Saturday, January 12, from 1 to 3 p.m., for Everyday Writing, where you’ll learn how to fit various aspects of your writing into every day (from how to hone your powers of observation to how to keep your projects moving forward even when you’re short on time). We’ll work on overcoming your biggest obstacles and do writing prompts that will teach you how to become an everyday writer, even if you’re not able to sit down to write every day. Click here to register. (You’ll also be able to pick up copies of Everyday Writing and Judy’s new Daily Appointment Calendar for Writers.) And check out all of Judy’s upcoming workshops and events here.

And if this is your year for sending out new work, join me on on Monday, January 28, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., for a workshop on writing contests at San Diego Writers Ink. This workshop is for all writers who have wondered what goes on behind the scenes of writing contests, from literary magazines to small presses. We’ll talk about how to tell whether a contest is reputable, when it’s worthwhile to enter a contest, and how to make the most of the opportunities contests offer. We’ll go over submission guidelines as well as tips and resources for finding the best contests. Click here to register — and check out the rest of San Diego Writers’ great lineup of winter workshops.

When it comes to writing, I’m usually in need of a daily dose of inspiration, whether it’s about the craft of writing or the business of writing. Here are a few resources that I enjoy…

For both the business of writing as well as inspiration, check out Erika Dreifus’s blog, Practicing Writing, which offers wonderful opportunities and resources, as well as notes on her own progress as a writer.

The Lit Show features fabulous interviews with authors on their work and craft — as does the Writers at Warwick archive.

If you get inspired by (and addicted to) hearing great authors talk and great work read aloud, check out The Guardian’s short story podcasts, as well as The New Yorker’s fiction podcasts.

And, of course, the Paris Review Interviews, which go back to the 1950s, are fantastic.

Now that you’re inspired, back to your own work. If you haven’t already, follow Priscilla Long’s invaluable example and create a List of Works. If you already have one, now’s the time to update it. This may be the most important thing you do to get you on your way to a fruitful new year of writing.

Happy 2013!

 





Bookstore Geek: Shiretown Books

By Midge Raymond,

It’s autumn — and in New England, that means celebrating the foliage. If you’re out leaf peeping, don’t forget to pop into the local bookstores in all those fabulous New England towns.  Woodstock, Vermont, has one of the sweetest: the lovely Shiretown Books, right on the main street as you stroll through town.

The store is small but has plenty to offer, including books by local authors and staff picks, and it’s a terrific place to browse. And it’s a bookstore with a big heart: Last year, in response to Hurricane Irene, which devastated parts of Vermont, including areas of Woodstock, Shiretown gave back by donating a portion of book sales to relief efforts.

Bookstores like Shiretown are among the many reasons it’s wonderful to shop locally — to support not only the indies but the communities that support them best as well.



Bookstore Geek: Northshire Bookstore

By Midge Raymond,

Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, is a place for which you’ll want to set aside an entire day.

The bookstore is in a beautiful old Victorian, with several levels, including a full-service cafe on the top level and a large reading area for its many visiting authors.

It’s an fabulous place to wander through — even better, to get lost in — and among its treasures are not only books but clothing, jewelry, accessories, and a huge children’s section that includes toys and games.

Another interesting aspect of Northshire is that it’s one of the growing number of bookstores with an Espresso Book Machine, which means that you can order up any book available through the print-on-demand service (such as self-published books, small press titles, or large publishers’ backlist titles) and have it printed while you wait. And for all you indie authors out there, Northshire also has its own imprint, Shires Press, which offers a variety of packages for authors who want to self-publish their books — a very smart idea and likely one of the many reasons this bookstore is celebrating its 35th birthday and going strong.



Ten 5-minute writing prompts for summer

By Midge Raymond,

Thanks to the Author Exposure blog for featuring my 5-minute writing prompts for summer this week!

These 10 prompts, all designed with summer in mind, can be done in five minutes or fewer (though they can also see you through an entire weekend of writing if you let the prompts take you wherever they want to go…) And, for all you fiction writers out there, keep in mind that you can do these exercises from the point of view of your characters (these offer a great way to find your way out of a scene or to combat summer-induced writer’s block).

Wishing you a happy weekend of writing!



Finding room to write this summer

By Midge Raymond,

Thanks so much to Susan Rich for hosting me this week at The Alchemist’s Kitchen blog, where I offer 3 tips and prompts for how to find room to write during the summer months with all its temptations.

It’s very easy to be lazy in the summertime, especially when it comes to getting any serious writing done — but actually, the fact that we’re outdoors more than usual actually opens up opportunities: Even if we’re not sitting inside typing, being out in the world can feed our writing, simply by offering up so many different sensory experiences. If we look, listen, and think like writers, we can do more than we imagined possible in the relaxing days of summer.

Hope you enjoy the tips and prompts — and have a great week of writing!



Notes from the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

By Midge Raymond,

It would be impossible to sum up the amazing first week of this year’s Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, which was, as always, an inspiration. Not only is Port Townsend a gorgeous setting in which to immerse oneself in All Things Writing, the writers it brings together creates such an incredible energy.

In addition to teaching five afternoon workshops on topics from scene to character to dialogue — and the writers who join me in these classes always have something to teach me — I had the opportunity to learn from the craft lectures of such writers as poet Ashley Capps (on empathy in writing) and fiction writer Jennine Capó Crucet (on humor), as well as to enjoy their evening readings and many others, among them Judith Kitchen, Dinah Linney, Sam Ligon, Diane Roberts, Erin Belieu, and Chris Crutcher. It truly feels impossible to sum up the wealth of good writing and conversation of the week, but author Donna Miscolta does a great job over on her blog.

I also fit in a little writing time, which is so much easier to do here than in my regularly scheduled life. For one, the setting is so peaceful; looking out over the water or watching deer walk past relaxes the brain in a way that just doesn’t happen when I’m trying to fit writing in amid all my other work.

The other brilliant thing about being at Fort Worden is that Internet access is available in only a couple of spots — which means that unless you go to these specific places, you’re disconnected. I had many conversations with writers about how well our writing went when we didn’t have web access; we all experienced big breakthroughs in our projects thanks to having time and space uninterrupted by email, news, and social media.

Now that I’m back, I’ve created a few new rules for myself in order to keep my writing momentum going. I have set myself new, limited social media hours, even for work-related posts and tweets (one thing I learned from being mostly offline for a week is that taking some time off isn’t going to make you disappear as a person, an author, or a business), and I’ve created specific writing goals for myself as well. I’ve also realized that being accountable is part of the deal: If you have to answer to someone about why you haven’t met your deadline, or why you got online during your offline writing time, it makes you think twice about procrastinating. So I’ve got weekly check-ins all lined up.

All these little rules may sound over-the-top — but as most of us know, it’s all too easy to get distracted and to let the writing slip. So here’s my tip for you: As the summer continues, start defining some guidelines and goals, and find yourself a writing buddy to keep each other on track. And, if you can, find a conference or retreat that will help remind you that your writing is vital and important.



Weekly Writing – Mojo Monday

By Midge Raymond,

On this summer Monday, I’m delighted to be featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s amazing Writerhead blog as part of her Mojo Monday series. (Visit Kristin’s blog every Monday, where she offers “a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.”

Today on Mojo Monday, I write about how to be an everyday writer (i.e., how to find time to be a writer every day even if you’re not able to sit down to write every day) and offer three tips with matching prompts — so there’s no excuse not start this week off in a writerly mode.

Thanks to Kristin for hosting me today — and happy writing!



On being an everyday writer

By Midge Raymond,

Today I’m delighted to be one of the featured Writers on Writing over at the fabulous Passages North blog. This literary magazine, sponsored by Northern Michigan University, has published fiction (including one of my own stories a few years back), creative nonfiction, and poetry since 1979, and its blog is a treasure for readers and writers alike. Check it out for news on the magazine, submission advice, deadlines, and especially the wealth of information from Writers on Writing.

Thanks to Passages North for the opportunity to share my thoughts on being an everyday writer in a busy world!



Bookstore Geek: Pages in Manhattan Beach

By Midge Raymond,

There’s a lot to enjoy about Manhattan Beach, from its miles of sandy beach to its boutiques and shops to its amazing Mexican food — and, most of all, Pages: A Bookstore, a fabulous indie in the heart of the neighborhood at 904 Manhattan Avenue.

I discovered Pages thanks to author Cher Fischer, who held her launch party for her novel, Falling Into Green, at Pages in May.

Pages and its three owners — two of them, Patty and Margot, were there for Cher’s party — are warm, generous hosts, and the bookstore itself is a wonderful, inviting space not only for a book event but for wandering and reading.

In addition to comfy chairs for browsing, the bookstore’s shelves are topped with quotes about writing, from William Faulkner to Thomas Jefferson. The layout is spacious but somehow also offers that cozy feeling of being among a great abundance of books.

Like all good bookstores, Pages is active in its community, with events (including author appearances, game nights, workshops, and book clubs), a monthly newsletter, and an expansive children’s section with beanbag reading “chairs.”

Don’t miss this wonderful bookstore the next time you’re in Manhattan Beach — it’s the perfect place to find your beach reading, and a wonderful respite when you’re ready to step out of the sun.



On Memorial Day: Books for Soldiers

By Midge Raymond,

One of the many things I love about Forgetting English‘s publisher, Press 53, is its yearly Memorial Day tradition: For every book you purchase from the Press 53 website from Memorial Day until Flag Day (June 14), Press 53 will send, at no additional cost to you, a book to an active-duty overseas soldier or to a recovering soldier in a military hospital. What better way to celebrate mark Memorial Day?

Buy a book for yourself or a fellow reader, and Press 53 will take care of the rest. And, in celebration of National Short Story Month, why not try a new collection?

Forgetting English isn’t the only Spokane Prize winner among Press 53 titles — Becky Hagenston’s Strange Weather is also a recipient of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction (and it’s an amazing collection…I highly recommend it).

I also loved reading Tara Masih’s Where the Dog Star Never Glows and Andrew Scott’s Naked Summer.

And here are a few recent Press 53 award-winning story collections:

Anne Leigh Parrish’s short story collection All the Roads That Lead From Home won an Independent Publishers Book Award Silver Medal for Best Short Story Collection.

Marjorie Hudson’s short story collection Accidental Birds of the Carolinas won a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention.

Michael Kardos’s short story collection One Last Good Time won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction.

Click here for details on Books for Soldiers and to start shopping. Happy Memorial Day.



Instant books, via the Espresso Book Machine

By Midge Raymond,

It was a couple of years ago that I first saw an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) at work, at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington. It was impressive to see an entire book printed and bound in less than ten minutes — and even more impressive than the technology is the print-on-demand aspect itself: Books are made to order, which means no print overruns, which means no waste, which means more trees get to live.

Formerly used mainly for self-publishing, the EBMs are showing signs of going more mainstream. HarperCollins recently announced that it plans to make about 5,000 trade paperback backlist available for printing via EBM — and On Demand Books (the company behind the EBM) has also just announced that it plans to register with Google so that all EBM titles will become available through the Google Books website.

I caught a firsthand glimpse of the mainstreaming of the EBM on my recent book tour, when Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, printed up copies of Forgetting English rather than ordering the books and having them shipped. A couple of readers got to see their books being printed, which was fun — and the quality was amazing. The book cover was matte rather than glossy, and the pages were thick, the print crisp, and the binding strong. And I got a kick out of seeing a new and different version of Forgetting English, made to order.

The Espresso Book Machine at Northshire is located in a little nook near the front of the store, close to the cash registers.  Northshire also has its own imprint, Shires Press, which offers a variety of packages for authors who want to self-publish their books — a very smart idea and likely one of the many reasons this bookstore is celebrating its 35th birthday and going strong.

And Northshire is far from the only indie bookstore to have an EBM: Check out this list of EBM locations, which comprises indie bookstores, university bookstores, and libraries all over the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, China, the Philippines, Australia, and England. If there’s an EBM located anywhere near you, I recommend checking it out (and printing up a book!); it’s a fascinating machine that may very well play a very large role in the way publishing looks in the future.



Bookstore Geek: Tree House Books

By Midge Raymond,

Tree House Books in Ashland, Oregon, is one of the town’s many treasures.  I first visited this sweet little children’s bookstore last year, around the holidays, while shopping for the little readers in my life. And I’m glad I did — it’s one of the most charming bookstores I’ve ever seen, and it’s fun to wander around inside even if you are a grown-up. There really is something for everyone here.

Tree House Books has been on the Plaza in Ashland since 1978 but has relatively new owners who curate a hand-picked selection of books for infants to young adults, as well as a small selection of their favorite books for grown-ups as well. The space is welcoming and inviting, and in addition to books there’s a wonderful selection of gifts, toys, and seasonal items that makes it worthwhile to stop in for a look whenever you’re walking by.

Tree House also has a book club for kids age 11 and older (if there’s anything better than a book club, it’s a book club for young readers) as well as many other events, including local author appearances. And be sure to check out Tree House’s October calendar, coming soon, for upcoming Halloweeny events.