Showing posts from January, 2010

Good-bye: Bernardine Hagan at 100

Good-byes Last week Uniontown lost a wonderful woman, Mrs. Bernardine Hagan , the former owner of Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob . Even at 100, she remained involved in the community through various clubs and organizations. She was my neighbor and I would like to think my friend. I had the honor to work closely with her on official Kentuck Knob business as well as the casual neighborhood happenings. An inspiration with her truly brimming life, I could only hope to be as fulfilled during my lifetime. Bernardine Hagan 1909 - 2010 Photo by Monica Jackson

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#1)

News And finally, the #1 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: camaraderie. Camaraderie is something all writers can spell but many of us lack. Writing is a solitary job. Spending a weekend at a writers conference will help you build new friendships and renew old ones. Just for Fun Saturday night's dinner hour is traditionally left open so conference attendees can relax with friends or schmooze with agents and editors. After hours, however, is always filled with some sort of activity that has nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of writing and everything to do with simple socializing. We hope you'll join us for a masquerade and open mic party. Here's the deal: • Dress as your favorite author or book/movie character. In 2008, Marilyn Monroe showed up, and Agent 007, and the Tin Man (or something that sort of, kind of, maybe resembled him), and Scarlet O'Hara... This year, why not dress as Edgar Allen Poe, a zombie, Indiana Jones, Alice in Wonderland

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#2)

News The #2 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: a weekend of networking. Business cards. Don't leave home without them. Believe it or not, you'll have plenty of opportunities to hand them out at a writers conference. Scribble your "elevator pitch" (now sometimes called a "Twitter pitch" – how's that for new lingo?) on the back of your card and give it to the agent or editor at the end of your pitch session. Hand one to someone you think will make an excellent critique partner. Pass one to the person sitting next to you in a workshop. It's all part of networking. And you never know… somewhere down the line you might need the expertise of someone you met during the conference. Take stock of your writing goals before you get to the conference. A little networking with a specific outcome in mind can help you get to where you need to be. For example, is your goal for the year to pick up a freelance writing job? Talk to a few of the oth

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#3)

News The #3 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: inspiration. Worried that your opening hook is a sinker? Stumped by a sagging middle? Laid low by a plot twist that just came untangled? Can't seem to find the momentum to get those last several thousand words on the page? One of the great things about attending a writers conference is the energy that flows from one attendee to another. Listening to a workshop instructor could give you the solution to your pacing problems. Rubbing elbows with an agent or editor might give you the confidence to submit. Taking part in the late night conversations at the bar could give you an idea for your next book. Inspiration abounds. A Hefty Dose of Inspiration This year, Liz Scheier's address at the Published Penns luncheon promises to be exceptionally inspirational. Liz was a former editor at Random House and Penguin. She is now the director of publisher relations of ScrollMotion , the company that makes the Iceberg e-r

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#4)

News The #4 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: a wide variety of classes. At the 2010 conference, we've got about 40 one-hour workshops for you to choose from. They are grouped loosely into four categories—Perfect Your Craft, Know the Business, Branch Out, and Get Specific—so you can more easily find the best classes for you. Another great thing about our workshops is that they are "open enrollment." That means you don't have to preregister for any of our one-hour workshops; simply decide what you'd like to attend while you're at the conference. Here's a sampling of some of our classes: For those new to publishing, consider The Publishing Labyrinth with author Maria V. Snyder , Submission Tips: Before and After with agent Miriam Kriss , or Inside Children's Publishing with editor Barbara Lalicki . For those who want to polish their prose, try Getting Conflict on the Page with professor and author Tim Esaias , Say What? (Di

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#5)

News The #5 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: top-notch workshop teachers. We've invited a long list of well-published authors, well-known agents, and highly qualified editors to teach the 35-plus one-hour workshops that will be held during the conference. Some of the names you'll recognize as Published Penns : - Martha Johnson (Marta Perry) has written for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired for years and just signed a three-book contract with Berkley for her Pleasant Valley Amish series - Jonathan Maberry is following up his success with Patient Zero with book two of his Joe Ledger series - New York Times Bestselling Author Maria V. Snyder is a graduate of Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction program and is writing her second series of fantasy books for MIRA - Loree Lough continues to write romance for Summerside Press - Cyn Balog joins us after writing her debut YA fantasy for Delacourte - Timons Esaias is adjunct faculty at Seto

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#6)

News The #6 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: intense preconference classes. The #6 reason actually comprises four reasons: two full day and two half day preconference seminars on May 13 , the day before the conference. Our goal with these classes is to provide writers who are a little farther along in their "journey" with an intense, personal experience that includes direct feedback on their work from the instructor. Registration for these classes opens January 11, class sizes are limited, and in three of the four classes, participants are chosen by the instructors. Application materials must be received by February 11 . Visit the individual links at to learn more. Two Full-Day Seminars Fiction Writing with Timons Esaias . Join Tim, an instructor in Seton Hill's MFA program , for a full day of instruction on how to make your manuscript shine. Requirements: Must have a finished first draft of a novel; instructor will be cr

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#7)

News The #7 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: great value for your money. At $225 for members for three days of programming, Pennwriters still has one of the most reasonable fees for writers conferences nationwide. We also allow conference goers to pick and choose from a variety of extras so they can tailor their costs to their wallets. The base price of $225 includes breakfast Saturday, the keynote lunch Saturday, 10 workshops (we've got about 40 to choose from), agent/editor pitch appointments and read-and-critiques (available on a first-registered, first-assigned basis), author tea and book signing, and of course all the coffee you care to drink. Optional add-ons for Friday include your choice of a networking lunch or the Published Author's Luncheon with special guest former Random House editor Liz Scheier , the Friday keynote dinner with James Rollins , Saturday night's masquerade "Heroes and Villians," and a breakfast buffet on Sunday

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#8)

News The #8 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: knowledgeable editors. We've invited three editors this year to hear pitches, teach classes, and participate in read and critiques: Barbara Lalicki is senior vice president and editorial director at HarperCollins Children . She is our keynote James Rollins' editor and also worked with Beverly Cleary and Dan Gutman. David Pomerico is assistant editor at Del Rey Spectra where he focuses on fantasies of all sorts, dystopian literature, and near-future sci-fi thrillers, and works with the Star Wars program. Leis Pederson is associate editor at Berkley Publishing Group where she acquires commercial fiction including romance, urban fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, and general fiction. Find more information about each of them at . Get Great Feedback Our visiting editors will be critiquing at the Friday night read and critique sessions, an excellent spot to seek feedback on the opening pages of

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#9)

News The #9 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: dinner with a bestselling author. We're pleased to welcome James Rollins — bestselling author of science-adventure thrillers, a movie novelization, and a newly launched series of young adult thrillers—as our dinner keynote on May 13 . Jim's first novel, Subterranean , was published in 1999 by Harper and will be rereleased in 2010. To date, he has six individual thrillers, six books in the Sigma Force series, the movie novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull , and a thriller for young adults to his name. Jim's presentation Friday night will focus on his 10 years in the publishing industry and the changes he's seen, and will be followed by a Q&A and book signing. Visit his website at or stop by Jonathan Maberry's big scary blog ( ) to learn more. And to see why we think he'll be a f

News: Top Ten Reasons to Attend 2010 Pennwriters Conference (#10)

News Registration for the 2010 Pennwriters Conference , May 14–16 in Lancaster, PA, opens Jan. 11 , and with apologies to a certain late night host, we'd like to present the top ten reasons to attend this year's conference — in reverse order, of course. The #10 reason to attend the 2010 Pennwriters Conference: approachable agents. The line between a good conference and a great conference (in our humble opinion) lies in how much face-to-face time you can get with an agent. Some conferences only offer 10-minute pitch sessions—and that's all you see of an agent for the rest of the weekend. All five of our guest agents at the 2010 conference will be available to hear your pitches (whether you take advantage of the official pitch sessions or hit them up with an idea after hours), to teach classes, to take part in Q&A sessions, and to comment on first pages during the Friday night read and critiques. Make time to talk with them about pitching, querying, common mistakes

Interview: The Eight Writing Questions

Interviews Well, since V. R. Barkowski tagged me for The Eight Writing Questions , I'll say she was the one conducting the interview. Instead of tagging others, however, I've set up a Mr. Linky at the bottom of the post for those of you who want to participate or have already done so because you have been tagged and would like to share it with others. This reminds me that I haven't done a HEIDI'S PICK SIX or PATHS TO PUBLICATION in a while, so here's an all-call for any writer who would like to participate. You can see what these interviews are all about by clicking on the links above, then just email me or leave a comment asking to participate. Now, back to my questions... 1) Do you type or write by hand? I usually type, but still enjoy writing in my notebooks, then transferring everything later. 2) Do you save everything you write? I suppose I do since I create backup copies of my novels every week as I'm working on them. That certainly do

Submissions: 2009 Submissions and Responses

Submissions It's time to look back on my submissions record for the previous year once again. Those of you who have followed these submissions over the years know I try for the Buckell 150 and each subsequent year I've submitted less and less. This is my lowest submission year since I started tracking my submissions in 2003. Am I discouraged? Not so much because I've managed to finish the first draft of a new novel (my third) this year while pouring a majority of my time and energy into a brand new position at work . That being said, I'm hoping the submissions for 2010 are the ones which take my writing career to the next level. I guess we'll have to wait a whole year to find out. 2009 SUBMISSIONS AND RESPONSES: 12 total submissions *The total is 56 less than 2008 . 4 rejections *These are from various sources for a variety of projects, some agented, some freelance (mags, agents, online media, editors). 4 non-responders *This isn't as cut and dr