Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NEWS: Heidi Ruby Miller in The Writer Magazine


I'm in the January 2009 issue of The Writer - actually my face is. A couple of months ago I did a photo shoot for a new ad campaign at Seton Hill University for their Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program, and the ads are now making their way into magazines.

If you're a member of RWA, there's a black and white version of the ad in this month's Romance Writers Report too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seton Hill Writers Update

I haven't done one of these in a while because I've been busy on a novel (of course), but here are a few updates I've recently heard about:

#1: The Other in the Mirror, a collection of writings by Phillip Jose Farmer and edited by Christopher Paul Carey, is now available for pre-order.

#2: Mary SanGiovanni was interviewed at Famous Monsters of Filmland about her latest novel Found You.

#3: Kaye Dacus' Stand-In Groom received a four star review in Romantic Times BOOKreviews. This was her thesis novel for the WPF program.

#4: Renae Johnson has a new trailer for her upcoming release Blessed Be.

#5: The first two chapters of Anne Harris' second novel Accidental Creatures is up at Book View Cafe.

#6: HALO: The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seton Hill Seeks Faculty for Writing Popular Fiction Program

Here are two postings put out by the university. One is for graduate level, the other for teaching undergrads. Thanks to Mike Arnzen for the heads up:


Assistant Professor of English
Location: Greensburg, PA
Category: Faculty - Liberal Arts - English and Literature
Posted: 11/10/2008
Application Due: Open Until Filled
Type: Full Time

Seton Hill University seeks published novelist of popular fiction (preferably mystery/suspense), to teach and to mentor novel-length theses in the graduate low-residency Writing Popular Fiction program (half-load), and to teach undergraduate courses in creative writing and first-year composition.

Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in English, MFA considered. Background in journalism, publishing, and/or editing a plus. Teaching experience/potential at undergraduate level desirable.

Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, official transcripts, a statement of philosophy of teaching, a writing sample, a teaching portfolio, and three letters of reference. The review process will begin February 15, 2009 and will continue until the position is filled.

Seton Hill University is a Catholic, liberal arts University, educating traditional and non-traditional undergraduate and graduate students. Classes are offered in a variety of formats - day, evening, and weekends. Seton Hill has a student-centered campus culture based on Catholic values, acceptance, community and service. The campus is located 35 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Postal Address: Dr. John Spurlock, Chair
Humanities Division
Seton Hill University
Seton Hill Drive
PO Box 507F
Greensburg, PA 15601
Email Address: spurlock@setonhill.edu


Assistant Professor of Composition
Institution: Seton Hill University
Location: Greensburg, PA
Category: Faculty - Liberal Arts - English and Literature
Posted: 11/10/2008
Application Due: Open Until Filled
Type: Full Time

Seton Hill University invites applications for an Assistant Professor position in Composition, beginning fall, 2009. The faculty member will teach first-year composition courses, with a secondary teaching responsibility as a generalist in undergraduate English.

Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in Composition/Rhetoric with an M.A. in literature (or related area). Background in writing assessment and/or writing in the disciplines a plus. An outstanding candidate who has completed all but the dissertation may be considered.

Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, official transcripts, and a statement of philosophy of teaching composition, a writing sample, a teaching portfolio, a developmental composition syllabus, a set of teaching evaluations from a composition course and three letters of reference to. The review process will begin February 15, 2009 and will continue until the position is filled.

Seton Hill University is a Catholic, liberal arts University, educating traditional and non-traditional undergraduate and graduate students. Classes are offered in a variety of formats - day, evening, and weekends. Seton Hill has a student-centered campus culture based on Catholic values, acceptance, community and service. The campus is located 35 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Postal Address: Dr. John Spurlock, Chair
Humanities Division
Seton Hill University
Seton Hill Drive
PO Box 507F
Greensburg, PA 15601
Email Address: spurlock@setonhill.edu

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Authors Guild Call to Buy Books

The following is an email sent from Roy Blount, Jr., President of the Authors Guild and humor writer. I thought it merited repeating, even in these tough times, because I can say personally how much less our household has spent on books this year...

"I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to
write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Farewell: Steven Willows and Wanda Keesey


It is with great sadness that I report two recent departures from the writing world. I learned within days of one another that both Steven Willows and Wanda Keesey have passed. Below is a little about each of them. My thoughts are with their families.

Wanda Keesey lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband and was a member of PennWriters Area 5. In 2006 she received the organization's Meritorious Service Award.

For more insight into Wanda, you can read her HEIDI'S PICK SIX interview from May 10th of this year. It celebrated the release of her first novel Lost in the Mist. She was in the process of editing her second novel The Walk Home.

Steven Willows was a Seton Hill Writer and a Rooney Scholar who lived in Hendersonville, North Carolina, with his wife. His novel The Fallen is still available from Amazon and other online sellers.

To sign a guestbook and find out more about Steven, please visit his memorial site.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

NEWS: Seton Hill Writer Carmine Coco DeYoung on CBS Sunday Morning


Seton Hill Writer and alum Carmine Coco DeYoung will appear on a segment of the CBS Sunday Morning show on Sunday, September 21 (9:00 AM EST). Bill Geist did a segment which features her as the 2008 Hobo Queen.

Carmine is the award-winning author of the children's book A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, which was recently translated into Korean.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

NEWSLETTER: Summer Field Notes from Heidi Ruby Miller


The special tri-issue of my newsletter, Field Notes, went out this weekend with its new online format. The theme for summer is, of course, road tripping. Here's an excerpt:

Despite the rise in gas prices, Jason and I managed to drive or ride over four thousand miles during these past three months. In Florida, we saw Storm Troopers and Jedis, celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary, and became lost in the magic of Disney World. In Maryland, I reunited with family members and basked in the nostalgia of my childhood. And, in the Outer Banks, we discovered the beauty and renewal of the shore and just why the Wright brothers spent so much time there.

A little closer to home, we attended the 7th Annual WPF alumni retreat and writing conference at beloved Seton Hill University, where we reconnected with author pals, made many new acquaintances, and received our anticipated dose of motivation and inspiration.

We are always lucky to share these experiences with friends and family, and the memories and photos often keep us warm when the trees are bare and the wind chill makes our breath freeze once again.

If you would like to subscribe to Field Notes from Heidi Ruby Miller, please email heidirubymiller AT gmail DOT com.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Paper Scissors Death_Joanna SlanPaper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan

My first published story detailed a disastrous sleigh ride culminating in having hungry wolves eat one of the passengers. But I won an award in our high school “literary” magazine, a poorly mimeographed collection of papers which were stapled together crookedly. Even so, the spark of possibility was lit within me.

After that I wrote for my college magazine, aptly named “Weekend” because that’s when it came out. One of my first gigs was reporting on a gay bar and interviewing the drag queens. A photographer was assigned to accompany me. Probably, in part, to keep me safe since I wasn’t old enough to drink and the bar was in a rough part of town. Unfortunately, he wasn’t familiar with his camera. The resultant photo printed poorly. I was standing between two “singers” (lip-syncing was actually what they did), but the image of one of the men didn’t show up. Worse yet, the cutline was badly written. For the rest of my college career, folks would clear their throats, work up their courage, and finally ask, “Don’t you appear in drag?”

Uh, no.

I continued to write for any and all takers. I had a regular column in the Muncie (IN) Star while I attended Ball State University. After college, I edited a weekly newspaper, sold advertising, did freelance work, worked in public relations and as a corporate speech writer.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to write a novel. Maybe because I was selling my non-fiction, and I couldn’t take the time from it to try fiction? Beats me.

Finally, while I was working as a motivational speaker—a motivational speaker with book-length handouts—I heard about a call for personal essays. They were to go in the second book in a new series called Chicken Soup for the Soul.

By then, I was married with a young and incredibly active son. No way could I give up my lucrative speaking career to write a novel, but I could knock out a few personal essays. Which paid nothing. But might be good publicity.

I wound up writing five of the Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, plus one that was turned into a program for the PAX TV Network. I never saw a dime from those essays, but you know, it was the best experience because it revived my sense that I was, indeed, a writer. When Simon & Schuster requested book proposals from speakers for a new series, I was ready. That’s how my book Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience (ISBN: 020526893) came into existence. We’ve sold more than 10,000 copies and the rights to Taiwan.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion. I followed that with nine other non-fiction books, including seven on scrapbooking.

But I wanted to write a novel. To create unforgettable characters. To make people laugh and cry and think.

One day I was at a book festival with USA Bestselling Author Emilie Richards. We’d just met. I didn’t know she was a goddess in the book world. She was nice to me, and I liked her. We sat together through another author’s presentation. Emilie gave me a nudge with her elbow and passed along a piece of folded notepaper, just like we were two kids in school. I peeled it open quietly. She’d scrawled:

“Why don’t you write a mystery featuring a scrapbooker as an amateur sleuth?”

From that one sentence sprang my protagonist Kiki Lowenstein, a woman who’s only ever been good at two things in life: scrapbooking and getting pregnant. When her husband is found dead, under suspicious circumstances, Kiki decides she's the perfect person to investigate his murder. After all, she's a mom--and moms are invisible, right? Kiki uses her knowledge of scrapbooking to learn more about her husband's secret life. Unfortunately, her snooping around puts her squarely in the path of a serial killer. Can a slightly overweight soccer mom with no self-confidence save her own life? You'll have to read Paper, Scissors, Death to find out.

-Joanna Campbell Slan
September 2008

Kiki’s the star of Paper, Scissors, Death (IBSN: 0738712507) which will debut September 13, 2008, from Midnight Ink. It’s the first book in a series. Included are recipes and scrapbooking tips.

Anyone who pre-orders the book will have a chance at being a character in Book #2. Just email Main Street Books of St. Charles (MO) at msbstchas@sbcglobal.net. (Or call at 636-949-0105.) The proprietor, Vicki Erwin, is keeping track of all the purchasers' names.

To see what reviewers and early readers are saying about Paper, Scissors, Death, or to learn more about scrapbooking and public speaking, go to www.joannaslan.com. You might also enjoy the blog I share with other mystery authors who write about hobbies. Go to http://killerhobbies.blogspot.com.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Robin Wasserman

Robin Wasserman_Heidi's Pick SixRobin Wasserman
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
This question is harder than I thought it would be, but I think it's got to be Harper Grace, the main character in the Seven Deadly Sins series. Harper is the first real character I ever created (at least the first one who ever got to star in her own book). Several years ago, back when I thought being a writer was just a ridiculous fantasy that I would eventually have to forget about, her name popped into my head, attached to a character: a spoiled, insecure girl who expects the world to give her what she deserves -- but deep down, isn't sure what that really is. The world of the Deadly Sins -- the setting, the other characters, the plot -- all unfurled from that one character. And that eventually became my first book series. So I guess I owe Harper Grace my career!

2. Tell me about your travels.
Last May I spent a month (ie, best month of my life) in Paris. I rented an apartment on the left bank, a couple blocks away from the river, and spent my time writing in cafes, getting lost on purpose (and by accident), eating large quantities of crepes, Nutella, and croissants, picnicking along the banks of the Seine, and understanding about 1 in 100 things that anyone said. I used to think that New York, where I live now, was the greatest city on earth. It turns out I was wrong.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Milk, but only if it's *chocolate* milk. Preferably the kind you get at a diner, when the chocolate syrup is so thick you have to stir it in yourself, and even then it still coats the sides of the glass.

4. What else can you do besides write?
Alas, nothing that anyone would pay me to do, so let's hope this writing thing works out. But I do have other...um, let's call them talents. I can: play the piano, juggle three balls for a minute or two, yo-yo, cook a mean baked ziti, recite most of the state capitols and all of the countries in South America from memory, speak French (a little), speak German (a very little), and explain the theory of relativity and the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics.

5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?

9. Food you could eat everyday.
Chips and salsa and some homemade guacamole. I think I could also eat a fresh tomato and mozzarella sandwich every day for a few years before I got bored. (Actually, I did eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every day for eleven years -- ages 3 through 13.)

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
Robert Downey Jr.'s been at the top of that list for a while now, but Neil Patrick Harris is making a run for second place. (If you saw him in Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog," you know why.) However -- Nathan Fillion, Hugh Laurie, or guy-who-plays-Chuck-on-Gossip Girl, if you're reading this? You should also feel free to call me!

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Robin Wasserman grew up in suburban Philadelphia. Every day she wished she would get a dog, get better hair, and grow up to be a writer who lived in New York and ate pasta for dinner every night.

She never got the golden retriever, but the rest of it came true (even the part about the pasta, at least most nights).

Robin penned the Seven Deadly Sins series. Her latest release is Skinned.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conference: 2008 WPF In Your Write Mind Retreat and Seton Hill Residency


Almost There Panel_June 2008Almost There Panel at WPF In Your Write Mind Retreat and Conference from L to R: Heidi Ruby Miller, J. A. Konrath, Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency, Jason Jack Miller, and K. J. Howe

We had a full schedule of workshops and panels at the Seton Hill WPF In Your Write Mind Retreat and Conference, as well as thesis readings and graduation for the WPF Graduate Residency, which was running concurrently.

I moderated the "Almost There" panel about those of us in the middle stages of the novel publishing process: after the classes have been taken, the books have been written, and the queries sent out, how do you keep up your momentum?

Here are a few other photos from the residency and retreat.

Red Star_WPF Retreat 2008WPF attendees at Red Star

Red Star2_WPF Retreat 2008WPF attendees at Red Star

Tim Esaias_WPF Retreat 2008WPF mentor Timons Esaias at Adrienne Kapp's thesis defense

Adrienne Kapp Thesis_June 2008WPF graduate Adrienne Kapp at her thesis defense

Grad Luncheon_WPF Retreat 2008Seton Hill WPF graduate luncheon

Grad Luncheon2_WPF Retreat 2008Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction graduate luncheon

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

From The Authors Guild: Accounting Practices of F&W Publishing and Adams Media

I received this recently via email from The Authors Guild:

"Internal e-mails, including an admission that Adams Media has "no system in place for tracking inbound Royalty Statements from translation rights deals," and a recent arbitrator's ruling in Massachusetts awarding $209,000 to an author raise serious questions about the accounting practices of F&W Publishing and Adams Media.

Authors Guild member Sherry Argov brought an arbitration more than four years ago against F&W Publishing and its subsidiary Adams Media regarding the payment of royalties for her book "Why Men Love Bitches." The arbitrator found that F&W had purposefully withheld documents needed by Ms. Argov to complete the royalty audit to which she was contractually entitled. This amounted to an "unfair and deceptive practice" under Massachusetts law, leading the arbitrator to award $209,000 to Ms. Argov. The arbitrator's review of the work done by F&W's outside expert, however, led the arbitrator to conclude that domestic sales had been properly accounted for.

Accounting for foreign editions and translations appears to be a particular problem for F&W and Adams Media. In a stunning e-mail dated October 18, 2006, an F&W employee admits, "We have no system in place for tracking inbound Royalty Statements from translation rights deals. We do not go looking for missing statements from our Translation rights customers. No one is responsible for the collections on either open contracts nor balances indicated on Royalty statements." Another employee adds, "in many cases, we have not received statements from the foreign publishers per the contracts (specifically, on Sherry's titles, but there are lots of others)."

The arbitrator didn't rule on foreign royalties. Instead, it urged F&W to report to Ms. Argov what amounts may be owed her for foreign editions, so the company could avoid arbitration on that issue.

For more information, please see the Publishers Weekly story or the arbitrator's ruling.

We'd like your help on this matter.

1. If you have knowledge of F&W or Adams Media's royalty accounting practices, please get in touch with the Authors Guild's legal department.
2. If you are an F&W or Adams Media author (whether you are a Guild member or not) and would like to be kept up to date on this matter, simply send us an e-mail.
3. Feel free to forward and post this alert in its entirety.

Contact: legalservices@authorsguild.org or 212-563-5904.

The Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org) is the largest society of published book authors in the United States."

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Veins_Lawrence C. ConnollyVeins by Lawrence C. Connolly

I started out as a reader, and I’m still convinced that reading is the best way for a writer to begin. If a person doesn’t like reading the stuff, why bother writing it?

I read everything I could get my hands on: classic and contemporary sf novels, anthologies, and (most importantly) the magazines.

When I got the notion to try writing for the magazines, I sat down and dissected some of my favorite stories, noting everything from placement of exposition and dialogue to the length of paragraphs and use of punctuation. Then I went to work, following Heinlein’s three step approach to writing success: I finished everything I wrote, submitted everything I finished, and kept submitting everything until it sold.

I made my first sale to Amazing Stories and followed it up with three more to the same editor before moving on to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazines, Year’s Best Horror, and lots of others.

A Hollywood production company optioned one of my stories a few years later. Three more options followed. I began thinking seriously about writing a novel, but it would be many years and over 50 story sales before I got around to finishing Veins.

I sent Veins to the agent who had been handling my film rights. A few days later, I mentioned the novel in a letter to Will Horner at Fantasist Enterprises. Will had purchased a story from me for one of his anthologies, and he wanted to hear more about the book. He got in touch with my agent, and shortly thereafter we had an agreement.

Veins has just been released in a beautiful trade paperback, with cover and illustrations by Star E. Olson.

Here’s the synopsis from the back of the book:

Fleeing from what should have been a perfect crime, four crooks in a black Mustang race into the Pennsylvania highlands. On the backseat, a briefcase full of cash. On their tail, a tattooed madman who wants them dead.

The driver calls himself Axle. A local boy, he knows the landscape, the coal-hauling roads and steep trails that lead to the perfect hideout: the crater of an abandoned mine. But Axle fears the crater. Terrible things happened there. Things that he has spent years trying to forget.

Enter Kwetis, the nightflyer, a specter from Axle’s ancestral past. Part memory, part nightmare, Kwetis has planned a heist of his own. And soon Axle, his partners in crime, and their pursuer will learn that their arrival at the mine was foretold long ago . . . and that each of them is a piece of a plan devised by the spirits of the Earth.

Fantasist has some nice advance notices on Veins from Michael A. Arnzen, Gary A. Braunbeck, T.E.D. Klein, Robert Morrish, and Mary SanGiovanni at the novel’s official website:

You might also want to check out this live journal review of the Veins debut at Garden State Horror Writers.

~Lawrence C. Connolly
August 2008

Veins is available through most of the major chains, but Fantasist is giving a nice discount for direct orders through their website:

Also available at the Fantasist website is a cool Veins T-shirt.

You can visit Lawrence online at www.LawrenceCConnolly.com and www.VeinsTheNovel.com.

He has a lot of stuff in the pipeline. Next up will be a new horror story entitled “Painkeeper,” due out in Cemetery Dance 59; a new ghost story entitled “Flames” in a new anthology from Ash-Tree Press, one of his favorite small-press publishers. The anthology will be called Shades of Darkness, and it is due to be released in October, in time for World Fantasy. Also due out in time for World Fantasy is a full-length CD of ambient music inspired by Veins. Fantasist Enterprises will be releasing that one, and you can hear one of the tracks at www.VeinsTheNovel.com. Toward the end of this year, look for “Reckoning” in Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry from Dark Hart Press and “Die Angel” in Darkness on the Edge: Tales Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen from PS Publishing.

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Friday, August 01, 2008


The Marathon Murders_by Chester CampbellThe Marathon Murders by Chester D. Campbell

My path to publication as a novelist was as twisting as a snake. I wrote my first mystery while a journalism student during the day and a newspaper reporter at night. That was back in 1948. A publisher rejected it and I put it away. Before I tackled another novel, I worked for two newspapers, served as an Air Force intelligence officer in the Korean War, wrote non-fiction for magazines, worked in public relations, wrote speeches for a governor, and edited a local (Nashville) magazine. The second book spent about six months with an Avon editor before it was rejected. I worked as an advertising copywriter, did more PR, and managed a statewide trade association until retiring in 1989.

That’s when I started writing novels in earnest. By 1998 I had written seven mysteries or thrillers and gone through four agents who sold nothing. I took a trip to the Holy Land that year and got the idea for Secret of the Scroll, a thriller involving a retired Air Force OSI agent and his wife. A small press took it as part of a three-book contract. My first novel was published in 2002 when I was 76. It won a Bloody Dagger Award in 2003 and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Mystery Book of the Year. I liked the characters so much I decided to use them for a series. Designed to Kill came out in 2004 and Deadly Illusions in 2005. After writing book four, The Marathon Murders, I parted company with my first publisher and was accepted by a new independent, Night Shadows Press. The novel came out in February 2008 in both hardback and trade paperback.

Here's a blurb from The Marathon Murders:
Did Sydney Liggett, assistant treasurer of Marathon Motor Works in Nashville, skip town in 1914 with embezzled funds, or was he framed and murdered? That's the question PI's Greg and Jill McKenzie are hired to answer in The Marathon Murders when 90-year-old documents found during restoration of the company’s buildings disappear. They discover the contractor who had them has been murdered. As they follow the twisting path, more bodies are found and their client, Liggett’s great-great-granddaughter, may be next.

I have lots of friends in the mystery community who have been fortunate enough to link up with the right agent and a large publisher to enhance their success. I haven’t been so lucky, but I have enjoyed what I’ve achieved. My books aren’t on the shelves at most stores, so they sell in the low thousands rather than the ten thousands. My wife and I work as a team at book signings and have done well there. We attend several conferences a year and enjoy traveling about the country and meeting readers.

When my first book was published, I did a crash course on promotion. I set up a website, started a quarterly newsletter, joined Internet listserves and got my name out every way I could. I incorporated much of this information into my website’s “On Writing” link. My latest venture is Murderous Musings, a blog with five other authors. You can read more about me at:


~Chester Campbell
August 2008

Sylvia Cochran at Roundtable Reviews had this to say about Chester's new book:

“THE MARATHON MURDERS is a skillfully woven tale that shows detective fiction wannabes how it’s supposed to be done. Chester D. Campbell’s vibrant characters all but leap off the page and the scenes are so realistically crafted that you cannot help but feel part of the plot. This book is a page turner, and it is not surprising that the literary world has finally caught on to the fact that one of its greatest assets has been flying under the radar for far too long. This reader eagerly awaits the next installment in the McKenzie series. A must read!”

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Seton Hill Writers Book News

#1: Veins, the debut illustrated novel by Lawrence C. Connolly, is now available from Fantasist Enterprises. You can see and read more about it at the official Veins site.

#2: The Song of Kwasin, a novel by Philip Jose Farmer and Seton Hill alum Christopher Paul Carey, was announced at Farmercon 90. The novel is a direct sequel to Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar.

#3: Susan Mallery's latest novel Sweet Talk is on shelves now.

#4: Kimberley A. Opatka-Metzgar, Director of Public Relations for Saint Vincent Archabbey and Seminary and Seton Hill alum designed The Illustrated History of the Schickel Motorcycle written by Ken Anderson.

#5: Nica Berry has a new e-book out from Torquere Press titled Hart and Soul.

#6: Simply Romance Reviews gave Katherine Ivy's novel Dishonorable Intentions an A+. You can read the entire review here.

#7: Timons Esaias has only a few copies left of his poetry chapbook The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture, now in its second printing.

#8: Dana Marton has an unedited draft of one of her novels up for free on her site. She is asking for email addresses (privately) just to see how many people are reading the book. If enough people take advantage of it, she'll post more free books.

#9: Michael A. Arnzen's limited edition novelette Bitchfight is available now from Bad Moon Books.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Maryann Miller

Maryann Miller_Heidi's Pick SixMaryann Miller


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Jenny from One Small Victory is right up there at the top of the list just because of the courage it took for her to overcome the darkness of grief and become proactive about the drug problems in her small town. With her, I was able to explore such a wide range of emotions, and often she would surprise me with a reaction to a situation.

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I can make a mean blackberry pancake sauce. And last year I got brave enough to take a major role in a play and astounded myself and the audiences. Even my friends were surprised. They kept saying, “Gosh Maryann, I didn’t even know you could act.” I resisted the urge to say, “Maybe I’ve been acting all along.”  But, seriously, I love theatre and had always directed shows, tamping down that urge to step on stage. Now I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

5. Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading a Y/A novel for review right now, Ringside 1925: Views From the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant. It is an interesting book written in verse, and offering multiple views of the trial of a teacher who taught the theory of evolution. The Scopes trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, and Ms. Bryant has created a number of characters who have distinct opinions about the issue and distinct voices in the story. A very insightful look at an issue that is still relevant.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
One of the toughest scenes I ever wrote was the love scene in Play It Again, Sam. It’s a real challenge in a romance novel to write the love scene with wordage that is fresh and original. I mean, how many different ways can you describe the act? But to be fair to Sam, especially because she waited through most of the story to have the courage to let Frank make love to her, I wanted the moment to be special. I don’t even remember how many days it took me to get that one scene just right. Or just right to suit me.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
My inspirations always come from real people or real incidents. One time my husband and I were taking a little road trip for our anniversary and were going down this rural highway in central Texas. I saw an old black man sitting under a Mimosa tree and I wondered what he thought of the cars that passed him. That wondering led to the beginning of a story idea, so I asked my husband if he minded if I jotted a few notes. Three hours and lots of pages later, I had a short story titled "Maybe Someday".

I got the idea for One Small Victory, when I read a short item in the newspaper about a woman who worked undercover to bring down a drug ring in a small town in Michigan. And the central character in Play it Again, Sam is based on a friend of mine who was devastated when her husband of 25 years dumped her for another woman. Of course, in both instances I fictionalized the characters, but my friend did ask me if it was possible to write her a happy ending in real life.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I’m a real sucker for a sad, country song. Sometimes I can be listening to one and start weaving a sequel to the story offered. I also truly love old hymns like “Amazing Grace”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, “In the Garden”, and “How Great Thou Art.” They touch my soul and are my favorites to sing at church and play on my guitar.

Unlike some writers, I can’t listen to music while I write. I am distracted by the music, even when it is just instrumental, and I can’t concentrate on the writing.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, A Question Of Honor. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications, and the Rosen Publishing Group in New York has published her non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping with Weapons and Violence In School and On Your Streets. A romantic suspense One Small Victory was released in June 08 in hardback from Five Star Publishing, and Play It Again, Sam comes out in July 08 from Uncial Press as an e-book.

Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and an editor.
She is currently the Managing Editor for WinnsboroToday.com, an Online community magazine, as well as a reviewer for ForeWord Magazine and BloggerNews.net.

Miller lives on some acreage in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her husband, one horse, two goats, two dogs, three cats, and an assortment of moles and gophers the cats have been unsuccessful at catching.

You can visit her at her Web site at: http://www.maryannwrites.com and read her blog at http://themanyfacesofgrief.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008


Final Justice_Marta PerryFinal JusticebyMarta Perry.

Goodness, that was a long time ago! I always knew I wanted to write, but it seemed so impractical, so I trained as a teacher instead. But the desire never went away. I was teaching a Sunday school class for six-year-olds when I read the story in the take-home paper and thought, I could do that. I approached it very methodically, studying a lot of examples before trying my own story.

When I thought I had something that had a success at selling, I searched through the Writer's Market in the library and made up a list of all the possible markets. The first place I sent it to returned it with a form rejection. The second sent a form rejection with a handwritten note of encouragement on the bottom. The third place bought it for the magnificent sum of $25 or so. I continued writing for those papers, eventually branching out into writing for teen and adult religious publications. Eventually I moved into mainstream magazines, both fiction and non-fiction, and then into book publishing. Each time I approached a new market I followed the same procedure--reading a lot, studying and dissecting published works until I felt I understood what made them saleable.

I started focusing on book-length fiction in the 90s and had some success, but nothing that led to a long-term career at a particular house. Lines kept dying on me! I kept at it because I was born with a persistence gene, I guess, and when the founding of the Love Inspired line was announced, I felt convinced that was the place where I was meant to be. My first submission to them sold, and I've been with them since 1998.

-Marta Perry
July 2008

Check out Buried Sins, also by Marta, and visit her online at www.martaperry.com.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Seton Hill Writers Poetry News

#1: My poem "Misplaced my keys" is in the March/April issue of Star*Line.
Star Line March_April 2008Star*Line March/April 2008 Issue

Also, in that same issue was Fairytale Graveyard, a gift booklet of horror poetry from the SFPA for World Horror Con 2008. Among the contributors was Seton Hill's own Michael A. Arnzen with his poem "The Fall Down the Stairs of the House of Usher."

#2: In other SFPA news, K. Ceres Wright's poem "Doomed" was nominated for a 2008 Rhysling Award and is part of The 2008 Rhysling Anthology.

#3: Rachael Pruitt's poem "Merlin" is in Issue 12 of Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

May Field Notes from Heidi Ruby Miller

I sent out the May issue of Field Notes and am happy to report that I've gained subscribers since launching the new format last month.

Here's an excerpt from the Research section:

After my husband and I got married in 1998, we had to decide if we would apply to the anthropology graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh or move to Orlando to work at Walt Disney World. We had an intense interest in Mayan archaeology, and the faculty at Pitt aligned with our interests. But in the end, "the mouse" won, and we enjoyed an extended honeymoon at the happiest place on Earth. However, we remain avid Mayaphiles and keep up with the current research in the field.

Our fascination with this culture has served us well and provided a backdrop for a novel a piece. Most recently, I have gone back through our collection of Mayan-related books to write a SAT passage about epigraphy, the science of translating ancient hieroglyphics. The artistry is breathtaking, but the complex form of writing is amazing...

If you would like to subscribe to Field Notes from Heidi Ruby Miller, please email me at heidirubymiller AT gmail DOT com.


Sunday, June 08, 2008


Ed Lynskey_Heidi's Pick SixEd Lynskey

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
P.I Frank Johnson is the only protagonist I’ve yet to hustle into print. I guess he’s my favorite, if not by default. Does life imitate art? Is Frank like me? I don’t really know. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to offer a real physical description of him. The way I want for him to come across to readers is as a good guy, maybe a little rough around the edges, someone to sit down with and share a drink or conversation.

For my detective series, I cling to the old-fashioned notion that readers really want a fresh lead character they like and can root for over the three hundred pages to a novel. Critics have compared Frank to his counterparts in books by Loren Estleman, James Lee Burke, Daniel Woodrell, Walter Mosley, William Caunitz, Dennis Lehane, Bill Pronzini, and Robert Crais. So, I guess Frank stands in good company.

2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, hands down.

4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
My last sojourn to the library resulted in checking out Money Gun a new Western by Robert J. Randisi because, corny or not, I’m a sucker for an oater, film or book. I took Adrian Hyland’s Moonlight Downs which, I believe, was a title recommended on the DorothyL list (where I find many new authors kindly suggested to try out). Penny Rudolph’s Lifeblood because the protagonist Rachel Chavez strikes me as a self-reliant, strong individual (based on my browsing the dustjacket copy) that might appeal to me. Finally, I selected James R. Benn’s The First Wave, a Billy Boyle World War II mystery, again getting good notices, plus I dig historical mysteries and that time period. I also do regular reviews for Publishers Weekly, mostly literary fiction reads.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Rather than cite a specific one, I can lump most of my violent, bloody scenes into this question, without a doubt. Over my four books in print, I’ve evolved to think that less is better. I read and review a lot of crime fiction, giving me a wide perspective of what’s old and what’s current. A fair amount of the violence I encounter on the printed page strikes me as cartoonish, clichéd, and clumsy. Violence, like sex scenes, in fiction seems to do little to propel the plot, develop the characters, and build the pace. The toughest thing for me, I believe, is finding the right balance of such a scene and understanding where it should fit in the narrative fabric.

I struggle with the idea of entering late and leaving early when I write violent scenes. How much goes in and how much ends up cut? Will what I do alienate my reader? Of course, we’re inundated with violence in the world-at-large but a novelist has to exert an artistic control and constraint over the product being created. I wrote my Master Thesis twenty-five years ago on the Southern Gothic novelist Harry Crews who was known at the time for his dark, gory literature. So, the violent scenes have been a part of American fiction for at least that long.

9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
We enjoy watching the Washington Nationals at their new baseball stadium or on TV. During their seasons, I follow the Washington Redskins football and Washington Wizards basketball. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a sports junkie or not. The most physical thing I ever do is mow the lawn or go on long day hikes.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Oh, sure. Simpsons, Flintstones, and King of the Hill.

Ed Lynskey has published three novels in the P.I. Frank Johnson series: The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Blue Cheer, and Pelham Fell Here, as well as a short fiction collection Out of Town a Few Days.

The Blue Cheer generated positive reviews in prominent print media like Pubishers Weekly and a starred review in Booklist.

Ed is a reviewer himself and has sold book reviews to the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, and other prominent newspapers. He is also a regular paid contributor to Publishers Weekly, Mystery Scene, and Paste Magazine.

He has a strong "in-print" track record of short fiction in 250+ online/print journals, including Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly. Reprints of his work are in anthologies from St. Martin's Press, The University of Virginia Press, and Storyline Press. He has also made multiple pro sales to the Dorchester Media/TRUE magazines. Ed's work rated an Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 (Ellen Datlow, editor).

Ed has had full membership in Mystery Writers of America (MWA) since 2005 and is a past member of National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) and PWA.