Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The Baltimore Chapter of the Maryland Writers Association is Very Cool…

Mr. Boh - Copyright Pabst Brewing Company…they invited me to speak about my writers conference experiences and they didn’t act at all bored with my suggestions for getting the most out of a workshop (my biggest worry).

In fact, questions were asked, business cards were disbursed, and I think most attendees left knowing more about how to evaluate what conferences and workshops will work for them.

I got to chat informally with the fascinating folk who make up the group both before and after the event. Had there been time, I think the many of us (25 or so?) could have stayed another hour or two and discussed All Things Writing. It’s a comfortable group and I could feel quite at home in it.

And besides all that, they have this really kewl logo.

The venue was the Cyclops Independent Bookstore, a place so new and shiny that books don’t line the walls yet. I can tell tell it’s going to have just the right amount of glitz and trend married to Traditional Bookstore Goodness to make it a winner. Look for lots more events — music, as well as writing — at the Cyclops.

If you’re a local writer, check out the Baltimore Chapter of the Maryland Writers Association, or look to the main Maryland Writers Association if you’re a little father away.

Many thanks to Paul Lagasse, Gary Lester, Nancy O. Greene, Ally E. Peltier and the rest of MWAB for inviting me.

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

On Writing Workshops

I’m speaking tomorrow evening –on Writing Workshops– at  the Cyclops Bookstore, 30 W.  North Ave. at Maryland Avenue in Baltimore (7:00 p.m.).  It’s  a wonderful opportunity which just fell into my lap.  I’ve been to several writing workshops  (or conferences or retreats or whatever you want to call them…) and I love to talk about my experiences, so this should be a lot of fun.

I’ve been to the Taddle Creek Writer’s Workshop at University of Toronto, Viable Paradise on Martha’s Vineyard and, most recently, Seton Hill University’s Writer’s Retreat in Greensburg, PA.  There have been others, but these stand out in my mind.

At Taddle Creek I met Robert J. Sawyer for the first time.   Many of his lecture’s points pop into my head at appropriate moments when I’m writing, even after all these years (it’s been at least five, maybe more, since I attended Taddle Creek.) Viable Paradise is equally memorable. It is hosted by Teresa & Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, James D. McDonald and Debra Doyle (and others). Elizabeth Bear and John Scalzi instruct there now, too. The Writer’s Retreat at Seton Hill University allowed me to scope out the campus and instructors to determine whether or not I wanted to enroll in their MFA. At SHU I met J.A. Konrath, author of the “Jack Daniels” mysteries and Ginjer Buchanan, Editor and Chief of Ace Books.

I could write quite a bit, but why don’t you let me know what you want to know? That way I can focus. Do you have any burning questions about writing workshops?