Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gearing up for Blogmania!

The Susquehanna Writers will be part of Blogmania this September! Mark your calendars! Shown below are the current offerings, to which we'll be adding more goodies from the Sweetest Place on Earth: Hershey, Pennsylvania. Click on the photo for a larger view.

How will you be able to win this wonderful giveaway? Simple. On September 15, visit this blog, leave a comment and become a blog follower. One follower (current or new) will be selected the following day.

Check back for further updates!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Harrisburg Book Festival

Here are a few pics from the first annual Harrisburg Book Festival, hosted by the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. Below shows the view from the Gallery, where visitors can sit in comfy chairs to read. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Don Helin introduces visitors to his thriller, Thy Kingdom Come.

Mike Silvestri and signing tablemate Terry Welsh. We're very excited about Mike's upcoming release, The Gospel of Matthias Kent! Stay tuned for more details.

Sharing another signing table were Susan Gourley and Cate Masters, here staffed by her daughter.

A few of the Susquehanna Writers gathered together - Laurie Edwards, Don Helin, Cate Masters, Susan Gourley and Mike Silvestri.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The blog tour continues

Today the amazing Kiki Howell interviewed me at her gorgeous blog (I have blog envy!) :) Pop over and join the discussion. Is genre important to you? Or simply a good story?

And there's still time to leave a comment at Ramsey's Reviews for a chance to win a print copy of Fever Dreams! Hurry - visit today! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Harrisburg Book Festival next weekend!

The Midtown Scholar is hosting the Harrisburg Book Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27.

Along with some other Susquehanna Writers, I'll have a signing table from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday inside the Midtown Scholar book store, located at 1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg PA 17102.

Here's an overview of events, all free and open to the public!

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore will be hosting several *very* special events on June 26-27th, including...

* Sat 6/26, Noon-1 PM: FAMILY EVENT: Celebrity Storytime!
Leading Central PA women and men read from their favorite children's stories. A family-friendly event, for all ages!

* Sat 6/27, 1 PM - 1:30 PM: FAMILY EVENT: Meet Famous Authors
A troupe of Central PA actors, sponsored by JumpStreet, will recite passages from classic and modern literary works. With Rachel Lewis, Matthew Martin, Mihir Patel, Aaron Rineer, and others.

* Sat 6/26, 7-9 PM: KEYNOTE EVENT: What writers contribute to society.
A conversation about urban renewal & the duties of a writer, with Jackson Taylor (Assoc. Director, The New School's Graduate Writing Program), author of The Blue Orchard (2010), a historical novel set in Harrisburg.

* Sun 6/27, Noon-1 PM: FEATURED EVENT: Inspired writing, and writing that inspires.
Readings and reflections by essayists Jen Hirt (Penn State-Harrisburg) and Paul Cockeram (HACC), and poets Jehanne Dubrow (Washington College, MD) and Doris Washington (Harrisburg).

* Sun 6/27, 4-6 PM: FEATURED EVENT: How coffeehouses contribute to society.
A conversation about public spaces & consumer culture with Temple University Prof. Bryant Simon (Director, American Studies), author of Everything but the Coffee: Learning about American from Starbucks (2009), and special guest Phil Proteau, Philadelphia-Regional Representative, Counter Culture Coffee.

* Sun 6/27, 6-7 PM: FEATURED EVENT: Making new kinds of art.
Multimedia presentation on historic faith images and the new forms of art they can inspire, by Messiah College Prof. Kathy Hettinga (Art), author of Grave Images: San Luis Valley (2009)

AND ...

A weekend-long BOOK FAIR (held inside the bookstore), highlighting the publications of MORE THAN 50 regional authors, in all genres!
Dozens of different authors will be available to talk one-on-one about their work & sign copies of their books during *each* of these times:
Saturday 9am-noon - Children's Books, Teen-Reading, and Books about Growing Up
Saturday 1pm-4pm - Fiction, Food, & Music
Saturday 4pm-7pm - Memoirs, Stories, & Histories
Sunday 1pm-4pm - Poems, Places, & Meanings

PLUS ...

The Festival will feature
* an outdoor tent with a huge book sale, held in the open lot next to the Broad Street Market; the pallets there with 15,000 books priced at $2 and under will be reminiscent of the Book of the Month Club's Mechanicsburg-warehouse sales!

* as well as a Midtown street-fair with outdoor tables for artists & artisans, and live music performances throughout the day, with craftspeople sponsored by the Hodgepodgery, and artists sponsored by the Mantis Collective Gallery.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Signing

Just a reminder that I'm holding a book signing this week. Wednesday (Jun 16) at the Camp Hill Barnes & Noble, starting at 6 pm.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Shark" Factor at the Conference: Agent Janet Reid

Janet Reid's hour long presentation on using social networking for promoting your work was one of the most fun, fast moving and informative sessions at the May Pennwriters Conference. This post contains only a small portion of the loads of information she shared with us. She calls herself a shark but she's actually seems a big-hearted lady who loves books.

Most writers have at one time or another heard of the ‘query shark.’ Agent Janet Reid is the query shark and she takes on queries with the dangerous tenacity of that monster of the deep. On her blog she posts real queries and then analyzes their strengths and weaknesses. Then people can leave comments though she’s diligent on not allowing inane comments like, ‘this sucks.’ Sometimes she even requests the author brave enough to send their query to her to send her a submission.

If you’ve ever visited Query Shark you know what a terrific session Janet treated us with at the Pennwriters Conference. Even without all the information she shared with us, Janet is witty, interesting and entirely amusing. The hour with her passed much too quickly. Her topic was use of the social media in promotion. I took more notes on this workshop than any other.

One of the terms Janet used was the ‘noise level.” According to her, Twitter is nearly 100% noise which means most of what is on there is not helpful or a good use of your time. When using Facebook or Twitter, remember ‘it’s not about you or your book.’ Start a conversation and show interest in other people and they will become interested in you. Eighty percent of your social interaction should be about other people. Talk about other people’s books, events, industry news and follow clients of the agents or editors you hope will take you on.

Visit your social networks everyday or a few times a day for shorter periods of time. Get to know people and they will come to trust and like you. Don’t vent on social networks. Never tweet when you’re angry. Remember everything you say online is there forever. She suggests you don’t cross post on Facebook/Twitter. And don’t only re-Tweet.

Some etiquette advice was included in her topics. Don’t harvest email addresses and pitching to an agent or editor in Facebook, Twitter or a blog shows you’re an amateur. There is no harm in asking an agent or editor a ‘panel-like’ question that isn’t specific to your work alone.

Another use of Twitter and Facebook is to crowd source. For instance, if you don’t know what parts of the country eat shoo-fly pie, you could pose the question on one of their social giants and likely get a pretty good answer to your question. Some parts of the country probably never heard of shoo-fly.

Janet’s blog is so well-known and successful, she’s an excellent advisor on how to use your blog to get you name out there. She suggests you blog at least weekly if not more often. Use links to interesting things. Blog tours are every effective for reaching new readers but don’t ask the owner of popular blog to host your tour if you don’t really know them. And like other medias, don’t dash out a post when you’re upset or angry.

For both blogging and the other social media, Janet cautions you about the crazies you’ll run into now and then. Some obscene and some clearly disturbed.

Another piece of her wisdom directs authors to become known on Goodreads and Shelfari where you can connect to readers.

A blog she loves purely for pleasure is Montana For Real where you can read about genuine ranch life. I also learned a new acronym, TSTL.

To Stupid to Live as in the heroine who hears a bump in the night and goes into the dark basement with a faltering flashlight in her skimpy nightwear in a house where there have been historic killings.

Have you read a book with a TSTL character? Have you tried a blog tour and found it successful? How much time do you spend on social networking? How often do you blog?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Are you on the Summer Reading Trail?

It’s a great way to get your work out in front of readers. Here’s the link to my short free read, a mainstream short: (Warning, contains adult language)

Trail lines range from YA to erotic and poetry. The free reads include short stories, serial installments, deleted scenes and book excerpts from published and unpublished authors. Here are the links to stories

If you’re interested in signing up for the Summer Reading Trail, here’s more info: