Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Writing News

#1: Seton Hill writer Dana Marton's latest from Harlequin Intrigue, Undercover Sheik, is on shelves now.

#2: The Magazine GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) is now on LJ at gud_staffblog and shipping its first issue.

#3: Deborah Kolodji's poetry is up at Sketchbook.

ambasadora, setonhillwpf, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Author News

#1: Kimberley Howe launched a new website today. She's made it into the next round of the American Title III Contest over at Romantic Times. To vote for her story, e-mail: with ONE SHOT, TWO KILLS in the subject line. Voting for this month ends on December 31, 2006.

#2: Infuze Magazine has a nice review of Thou Shalt Not, a horror anthology edited by Lee Allen Howard at Dark Cloud Press.

#3: The 2005 RITA award-winning book Grounds to Believe by Shelley Bates is being reisuued in mass market paperback in February.

ambasadora, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

BOOK SIGNING: REI Has MOON Pennsylvania Camping


Jason and I made a stop at the REI in the Southside Works in Pittsburgh, PA, today to finish up some shopping and there were four copies of MOON Pennsylvania Camping on the shelf. The manager had been trying to get these copies since May when Avalon first put the guide out, but had some difficulties with their (REI's) corporate office.

We signed all their copies, met Ron Rodriguez, the store manager, and Peter Greninger, the outreach specialist, and discussed doing two clinics at the store during 2007. The first will be this spring and be devoted to family camping. The one in the fall will be about travel writing.

Then J left so I could get his present and on the way out I had the gift wrapped by the wonderful volunteers from the Regional Environmental Education Center in Boyce Mayview Park.

As a related aside, we stopped by the Barnes and Noble in Monroeville and found to our delight that they had sold eleven signed copies of our book since May. For a niche market guide, we were pretty happy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

SUBMISSIONS: Greensburg Magazine


Greensburg Magazine editor Moira Richardson sent out the following call for submissions a while back, but I only came across it recently, so the deadline is coming up soon.

Calling All Writers / Artists
Greensburg,PA-based magazine now seeking submissions with a local* flavor:

Non-fiction pieces up to 1,000 words on topics such as:
Bicycling, Dumpster Diving, Recycling, Local Politics, Current Events, Arts & Entertainment, Healthy Lifestyles, & so much more!

Interviews with Greensburg natives and local* celebrities.

Some flash fiction and poetry; ideally, Greensburg will figure prominently in the work.

Black & white photography, drawings, and comic strips**.

Send queries / completed articles / art submissions to:

The deadline for the first issue is DECEMBER 12th.

You will not be paid for your contribution, but you will receive 2 contributor copies, with the opportunity to buy more issues at cost. This magazine will be distributed for free throughout Greensburg, and, we hope, fill the gap left by other local publications.

We will reply to every submission within one month, usually with comments.

* NOTE FOR NON-LOCALS: While local pieces are given preference, we'd love to read any great article that touches on the issues listed or above or similiar subjects that you'd like to send in. Query first, if you are unsure, or send the full text article in the body of the email or as *.rtf file. We are a collective of open-minded, intelligent people and we'd love to hear what you have to say about the state of YOUR world!

** We don't have any comic strips at all, so if you send in one, you have a darn good chance of being accepted.

REVIEWS: Year's Best Fantasy 6 and Electric Velocipede


Publisher's Weekly has a review of Year's Best Fantasy 6, which includes a nice nod to Anne Harris' short story 'Still Life with Boobs.'

Velcro City has a review of Electric Velocipede #11 which includes the story 'The Duel' by Toby Buckell.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pennsyvania Mercury Rule Passes!

I received the following from the National Wildlife Federation list serve:

On the eve of Thanksgiving, Pennsylvania won a great victory for wildlife and public health. The state's Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted 3-2 in favor of the strong mercury rule developed by Gov. Ed Rendell and the Department of Environmental Protection.

The rule requires all coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania to cut mercury emissions 90 percent by 2015.

Pennsylvanians played a key role in making this happen--more than 99 percent of the record-breaking 11,000 public comments submitted were in support of the DEP's plan.

Thanks so much for your help!
Catherine Bowes
Mercury Program Manager
National Wildlife Federation

This rule is extremey important to the area where I live, considering there are currently three of these plants, with two more in the works, between Morgantown, WV, and Masontown, PA, an area of 20 miles. Studies already show that these plants contribute heavily to Greene County, PA, having one of the highest rates of cancer in the country.

For more information, send an e-mail to

If you would like to show Governor Rendell that you support the Pennsylvania Mercury Rule, call 717-787-2500 and thank him. I am.

ambasadora, penncamping, the county, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Friday, December 01, 2006

EVENT: Exquisite Corpse Screening


Jason Jack Miller and I attended Mike Arnzen's screening of Exquisite Corpse on November 9. Ten directors from around the world made eleven short films based on his work in 100 Jolts.

We first had dinner at Primanti's with Timons Esaias, Al Wendland, Moira Richardson, and Mike Brendan.

Then it was off to Seton Hill where we met up with Pat Picciarelli, Becca Baker, Bruce Siskawicz, and Karen Herc.

Here's Arnzen casually drinking his coffee before it all got underway.

And, here's Bruce's reaction to Mike's latest book LICKER.

Unfortunately we missed the second Greensburg screening on November 25, but he's hoping to show it at residency in January.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

As promised, here is Seton Hill writer Kim Howe's responses to my Questions about Characters.

To participate in an ongoing discussion about women in the military, you can visit one of my previous LJ entries.

Interview with Kim Howe

HEIDI: Out of all the works you've written, who is your favorite character and why?

KIM: In RED DIAMOND, Kinshasa Omari, an eleven-year-old African boy, plays a pivotal role. When his parents are murdered by a Warlord, he is drugged and manipulated into becoming a boy soldier. Yet, he maintains a moral stance and never gives up hope for a better life. Having just traveled to Kenya, I was inspired by the resilience and warmth of the people there. I hope I capture that essence in Kinshasa.

HEIDI: Out of all the works you've read, which character do you wish you could have created?

KIM: Hannibal Lectur. Brilliantly drawn villains are the most interesting characters. Thomas Harris used just a few details to make his cannibal serial killer stand out. Who could resist an academic gentleman who likes fava beans and Chianti with his “dinner.” The impact of Hannibal can be demonstrated by this fact: With less than 16 minutes of screen time, Anthony Hopkins' performance in The Silence of the Lambs was the shortest ever to win a leading acting Oscar. Now that’s impact!

HEIDI: Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

KIM: Never. I’m married to a lawyer and know better. :) Actually, I tend to use a compilation of character traits that I see in friends, family, and strangers to make up unique individuals. Characters become a melange of all the people I’ve met.

HEIDI: Is there a character you've written who is more like you than the others?

KIM: I would have to say that all of my female protagonists have a little bit of me in them. Industry hazard. Authors tend to use writing as inexpensive psychotherapy!

HEIDI: Do you cast your characters or give them theme music when writing them?

KIM: I definitely cast my characters, especially the heroes. Matthew McCaughahay would be a very busy actor if my books were made into films. :)

Don't forget you can vote for Kim's book ONE SHOT TWO KILLS in the American Title III Contest by e-mailing with ONE SHOT TWO KILLS in the subject line.

ambasadora, setonhillwpf, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

SUBMISSIONS: Post or E-mail Submissions


Looking at my submission record today, I realized that out of 82 total submissions this year, I only had 20 post submissions.

I think I know why I seem to prefer e-mail:

#1: It's easier. (no printing and stuffing)
#2: It's cheaper. (no postage)
#3: It's less cluttering. (pop the sent e-mail into a yahoo folder instead of keeping a real folder of papers)
#4: It's immediate. (find a market from Ralan or Duotrope, open a new window, send off an e-mail to the market right then and there)

I wonder if I'm unconsciously limiting myself by heading first for the markets which accept e-mail submissions. Truth is, I save the ones who only deal through the post for last.

Anyone else run into this phenomena?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Taking a Hiatus

I've decided to do NaNoWriMo unofficially this November. (Unofficially because I already six chapters of the project completed.)

Between attempting 10 pages a day and getting back into German (Alps trip this summer!!) my blogging will be spotty at best.

You can still get me at e-mail and LJ Talk and on my cell.

Before I sign off for a while, here are a few things of note:

#1: Michael A. Arnzen's Film Screening
EXQUISITE CORPSE -- a short horror "anthology" film based on Michael Arnzen's poetry and flash fiction -- will be screened on the Seton Hill University campus in an event open to the public. Mike will be on hand to host a discussion following the screening and also sign books after the event. Here are the details:

What: EXQUISITE CORPSE. 17 minutes. Producer: Poeticollage/Jim Minton Design Group, 2006.
Preview the trailer online here:
When: Thursday, November 9th, 8:30pm
Who: Free and open to the public. (Parental Guidence suggested: PG-13)

#2: Fantasy Writer David J. Corwell is presenting "Hooking the Reader at First Galance-- The Importance of Titles" Nov. 21st in Albuquerque, NM, in conjunction with the South West Writers. David has written short fiction, has won five national writing awards, including the 2003 SWW Storyteller Award, and has recently just completed his first novel and received his M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

#3: Russ Howe is teaching a module at residency this January! Details to follow when the schedule comes out.


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Monday, October 23, 2006

EVENT: Creative Nonfiction Festival in Pittsburgh


412: Can YOU Handle the Truth?, Pittsburgh's annual Creative Nonfiction Festival, is sponsored by the Creative Nonfiction Foundation and will be held at sites throughout the city from November 6-11, 2006.

Special guests are H.G. Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August and Kathryn Harrison, author of The Kiss.

Panelists include editors and writers from The Wall Street Journal, Library Journal, Brevity, The Washington Post, Popular Science, and representatives from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

OF INTEREST: Greening It Up Again


It's another day of dueling environmental posts with Christopher Paul Carey. You can check out his thoughts on global warming. He has graphics and everything!

Also, here's 15 little ways you can help save the planet - taken from the September 2006 issue of Glamour. How many do you do already? I do 12 out of 15! They're marked with an X.

X#1 Unplug all appliances not in use. They're energy vampires that still pull electricity even though they're not in use.

#2 Click to plant a tree. At you can donate a dollar and have someone else plant a tree for you.

X#3 Minimize frozen food consumption. It takes 10 times more energy to package and ship frozen food as opposed to fresh food.

X#4 Do your errands at one time. Less trips in the car means less CO2 in the air.

X#5 Put more air in your tires. It can boost gas mileage by 3%.

X#6 Donate instead of dumping. Give away unwanted clothing, furniture, etc. to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or just to friends.

X#7 Turn down the thermostat 2 degrees. And raise it 3 degrees in the summer to prevent nearly 700 pounds of CO2 going into the air every year.

X#8 Switch to fluorescent bulbs. A 20-watt compact fluorescent bulb gives off the same amount of light as a 75-watt regular bulb, but uses 1/3 of the energy. Plus they last for years.

X#9 Shut off the lights. When you leave a room, just flick the switch.

X#10 Use a canvas shopping bag. No more worries about paper or plastic.

X#11 Do a cold-water laundry. It cleans clothes as well as warm water, plus saves energy. (And stops shrinkage!)

X#12 Hang clothes to dry. Especially in the summer and for smaller loads.

#13 Get a thermal coffee mug. Use it at the local coffee house instead of their paper cups and burn shields.

#14 Go for "green power." Ask if your local utility offers solar or wind-produced energy.

X#15 Recycle!

NEWS: Michael A. Arnzen


I have two bits of news about Seton Hill author Michael A. Arnzen:

#1: You can hear him read his poem WHY ZOMBIES LUMBER to creepy music on the Science Fiction Poetry Association site.

#2: His LICKER LAUNCH PARTY kicks off with a live chat tonight at 10 PM EST in The Lost and the Damned Chat Room.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Greening It Up

Christopher Paul Carey and I are greening things up this week with daily posts about the environment. If nothing else, enjoy the awesome photos!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Pennsylvania Stream (Photo by Jason Jack Miller)

Yesterday I asked for signatures on the SAVE BLACKWATER CANYON PETITION.


Today I'm sharing with you a list of GREEN jobs compiled by Candace Corner, a writer for, featured on the MSN site:

1. Hydrologist: The median annual income is $51,080.*

2. Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $50,000.

3. Pest Control Technician: The median annual income is $30,500.

4. Conservation Biologist: The median annual income is $52,480.

5. Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $45,920.

6. Toxicologist: The median annual income is $79,500.

7. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $32,000.

8. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $45,000.

9. Ecologist: The median annual income is $68,950.

10. Camp Counselor: The median annual income is $19,320.

11. Business Manager: The median annual income is $50,000.

12. Economist: The median annual income is $72,780.

13. Forester: The median annual income is $48,230.

14. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate and land use is $70,000.

15. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $56,000.

16. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $35,500.

17. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,120. For landscape architects in nonsupervisory, supervisory and managerial positions for the federal government, the average annual income was $74,508.

18. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $35,000.

19. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $51,080.

20. Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: The median annual income is $39,000.

21. Urban and Regional Planner: The median annual income is $45,250.

22. Agricultural Inspector: The median annual income is $35,000.

23. Wastewater Water Operator: The median annual income is $35,000.

24. Wildlife Biologist: The median annual income is $42,000.

25. Air Quality Engineer: The median annual income is $66,000.

* Salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and

Interesting that Hydrology was first because that's what my brother does for the USGS. And, of course, Jason is an ace Earth Science teacher. (Voted BEST TEACHER last year at UHS!)

X-posted to ambasadora, penncamping, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Adrea Peters Interviews Tess Gerritsen

Seton Hill author Adrea Peters has an awesome site called Artists Looking Ahead. The feature this month is an interview with Tess Gerritsen in honor of the Writing Popular Fiction Program choosing Gravity as the book for January's residency.

X-posted to ambasadora, setonhillwpf, authors, discuss_writing, writerly, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Save Blackwater Canyon Trail

The United States Forest Service is threatening to let Allegheny Wood Products destroy irreplaceable cut-stone archways, bridges, coke ovens, culverts, and retaining walls along the Blackwater Canyon Trail.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Blackwater Canyon (Photo by Jason Jack Miller)


Friends of Blackwater and the Wilderness Society are parties.. to the Historic Preservation Act review process for the Forest Service..s Blackwater Canyon Trail Proposal. This review is called the ..106 Process... We have been meeting with the U. S. Forest Service, trying to persuade the agency to protect the historic Canyon Rail Trial.

So far the Forest Services is ignoring our concerns -- as well as concerns raised by the EPA, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the State Historic Preservation Office (who are also consulting parties) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has asked to be a party. The Forest Service has not shared with us the proposed Deed of Easement language giving the use of the Trail to Allegheny Wood Products (AWP), or the survey of the Trail. No information has been shared about AWP..s planned uses for the Trail such as the size of logging trucks or construction equipment, weight loads, or the boundaries of the proposed easement. No engineering analysis of the strength of the bridges along the Trail has been made public. The vehicles using the easement area must travel over another 5 miles of Trail to get there but no analysis of cumulative effects on this part of the Trail has been forthcoming.


X-posted to ambasadora, penncamping, thecounty, MySpace, Heidi Ruby Miller, WPF Writers

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Write Way November Workshop

The NOVEMBER workshop at The Write Way will be:
AG's Art of Action

Instructor Bio:
AG Devitt has had numerous short stories published in such places as Pulp Stories Quarterly. Devitt was also the writer/creator of the independent comics Monk, Mortal Coyle, Doug & Punk's Pulp Adventures, and The Custodian. His latest, Assassin's Playground, will be published in the fantasy anthology Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy, coming in 2006. In addition to his writing, Devitt has sang in a punk rock band, managed an independent music store, studied martial arts since the age of 8, and consistently denies rumors that have linked him to the Justice League of America. He holds three degrees and teaches creative writing at the college level.

Course Description:
AG Devitt has been involved in martial arts since he was eight years old, and in this four week course he will cover everything from the history of martial arts to how to generate conflict through realistic fighting scenes.

$20.00 Course Fee
To register, send payment via paypal to (info@ thewriteway. org – without the spaces). When your payment is received, or one week before class begins (whichever is later), you’ll receive an invitation to join our yahoo group.

Course Schedule:
November 3, 2006 - November 24, 2006
Week 1: History of Martial Arts
Week 2: Action and Conflict
Week 3: Action in Action (writing exercise)
Week 4: AG Reviews Writing Sample

X-posted to ambasadora and setonhillwpf

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Rolling in Clover - Penny Dawn

Rolling in Clover may be labeled EROTICA, but Penny Dawn takes this story beyond the obvious titilating sex and heady fantasies to tackle very mainstream issues such as infidelity, abortion, substance abuse, and the often over-looked spousal mental abuse. I laughed. I cried. I got hot flashes. An entertaining read with many layers that will keep you thinking about the characters long after the book is finished.

X-posted to ambasadora and setonhillwpf

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Monday, August 14, 2006

REVIEW: Alison Kent's New CIG to Writing Erotic Romance


I'm one of twenty-five writers blogging a chapter from Alison Kent's new Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance.

Because I write speculative fiction, as do most people who read my blog, I asked for Chapter 5 Writing 101: World-Building. Here Kent touches upon the basics in world building for any type of novel with tips on research and description, as well as fitting your characters into the world you've built.

In regards to research, Kent is spot on by reminding writers "if your story doesn't require you use all you've learned, don't create a need for those extraneous facts." She also explains the difference between an infodump and exposition, encouraging writers to show descriptive details through your character's POV.

Of particular interest to SF and Fantasy writers are the sections titled Blinded by Science and Logic and Consistency. Here Kent warns of following the rules of science or magic within your world from one page to the next without violating your own laws with inconsistencies.

And, of course, there's the section titled The Five P's of Your Sexual Universe. This is intriguing to me as an SF writer because sex doesn't always mean the same thing in my world as it does in the real world, but it is nevertheless an important aspect.

Among the authors who Kent quotes or references are Holly Lisle, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear, Jordan Summers, and Saskia Walker.