Monday, December 25, 2006

What I've Been Working On

Not writing-related but I wanted to share a project I recently uploaded related to my other interest, genealogy. It was no small challenge to organize 20 years of research but I'm happy to have finally found a venue to share. Now that the web site is presentable, I intend to get off-line and back to work on my fiction. ~ Ruth

New Year's Resolutions

The New Year offers a fresh start to improve your writing habits. Ginny Weihardt, offers these 10 Resolutions for Writers:

1) Write every day.
Commit an hour, a half hour -- even just 15 minutes to writing every day. Try to make it the same time, soon after you get up or before you go to bed, for instance, so that it becomes a habit. Just get yourself into the chair once a day and you'll be surprised at the results.

2) Defy your writer's block.
Renew your commitment to finding a way to overcome your block, if you have one. Find out what's causing your writing woes, and address it head on.

3) Finish an unfinished work.
Have a story or novel sitting around, keeping you from going on to new, more exciting projects? Don't let those unfinished projects steal your energy any longer. Make a plan to get through them this year, and stick to it. You'll find that you have a renewed energy and interest in your writing, once these old projects are off your plate.

4) Read more.
Are there classic novels you've always meant to read, but haven't? Or some genre you think might inform your work in interesting or productive ways? Make a plan. It doesn't have to be too ambitious, but set some modest goals for your reading life this year.

5) Keep a journal.
Though journaling is an art in itself, with its own disciplines and satisfactions, many fiction writers rely on their journals for ideas and details. If nothing else, keeping a journal is a good way to ensure that you're writing consistently.

6) Find a place to write.
If a lack of space is keeping you from writing, put this at the top of your list. Your resolution might also be to just make your writing space more conducive to your work. Clean up the clutter; surround yourself with things that inspire you. Have a space you look forward to entering.

7) Finish the first draft of a novel.
If you've always wanted to write a novel, but have been afraid to attempt it, make this the year you finally do it. Don't worry if it's good or not, or if it's publishable or not. Just find a story you need to write, that only you can write, and write it. There's something valuable about sticking to something this big, about discovering that you can do it. If nothing else, you'll finally be able to cross this off your list of things to do in life.

8) Send out.
If you know you're ready to publish, make a realistic goal about the number of magazines you want to submit to, presses you want to query, or contests you want to try, and stick to it. Stay focused on accomplishing your goal, though, and not on the result. Whether you get published or not, you can take satisfaction in meeting your goal.

9) Try a genre or an artform you've never tried before.
Screenwriters, playwrights, and poets have a lot to teach fiction writers. You'll find that you take the lessons of that genre back to your fiction. The same applies to other artforms. From photography, you'll learn to pay attention to the visual world, and from acting, to put yourself in the mind of someone else and to pay attention to how people move in space.

10) Be easier on yourself.

Focus on what you do accomplish this year, not on your failures. Writing is hard, and getting published even harder. Beating yourself up doesn't help anything. Reward yourself for having found something that you love this much, and for sticking to it.

More New Year's Resolutions

For the more experinced write, author JA Konrad's list of New Year's Resolutions:

Newbie Writer Resolutions

* I will start/finish the damn book
* I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
* I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
* I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
* I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
* I will finish every story I start
* I will listen to criticism
* I will create/update my website
* I will master the query process and find an agent
* I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
* I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy

Professional Writer Resolutions

* I will keep my website updated
* I will start a blog
* I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I'll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner
* I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won't send out more than four a year
* I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how
* I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher's
* I will stay in touch with my fans
* I will contact local libraries, and tell them I'm available for speaking engagements
* I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford
* I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion
* I will help out other writers
* I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
* I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
* I will do one thing every day to self-promote
* I will always remember where I came from

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Congrats Tom!

Congrats to Tom C. over at Persistence Ambivalence. Tom wrote a piece on autism that will be published in "Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism" due out in March 2007.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Need a Bio?

The topic for the Thursday, Dec. 14 meeting will be writing a personal bio. This is a great exercise and will be especially helpful to anyone who hasn't written yet their bio for the upcoming anthology.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Next Meeting

Just a reminder that the Saturday, Dec. 16 meeting will be devoted to proofreading selections for the upcoming anthology. You don't need any special skills and donuts will be provided. We need as many eyes as possible!

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tiny URL

Not really writer-related but for those authors who blog, there is a website,, that shortens long urls.

By entering a URL in the text field, they will create a tiny URL that will not break in email or blog postings and never expires.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gift of Reading

The Children’s Department of the Oshkosh Public Library announces its annual “Give the Gift of Reading” project. Shiny, new books for children age newborn through teen years will be delivered to the Salvation Army for Oshkosh area children.

The library is looking for board books, lift-the-flap books, picture books, easy readers, junior novels, and non-fiction as well. The “Gift Box” location is in the Children’s Department of the library. Items may also be dropped off at OPL Express in the Festival Foods parking lot Monday-Friday from noon to 7 p.m. or on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Author Spotlight Schedule

Upcoming Author Spotlight authors:

Dec. 2 - Bob
Jan. 6 - Jack
Jan. 20 - Joyce
Feb. 3 - Dixie
Feb. 17 - Tom
March 3 - Sebastiene
March 17- Bethany
April 7 - Bob

"Auther Spotlight" is held during the last hour of each meeting and is devoted to one, larger piece of writing by the featured author. Copies are distributed at the meeting prior to the Spotlight. Please note that if you accept a manuscript, you are making a commitment to read it and attend the critique session.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fond du Lac - Book Debate

Parents of students of Fond du Lac High School have asked the School Board to remove Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" from the advanced English reading curriculum. As the story grabs national attention, you can read more about the controversy here.

Pullman, Paolini, Pierce Interview

Thanks to Stacie P. for informing us that Random House is releasing a free, nine-part podcast with authors Philip Pullman, Christopher Paolini, and Tamora Pierce as they discuss writing, their influences, and more. A new podcast is released each week; as of this week, four podcasts are available. Podcast titles are:

1. On mapping out fictional worlds
2. On the coming-of-age story
3. On animals
4. On deception
5. On religion in their stories
6. On gender roles in their works
7. On inspiration and good reads
8. On relating to their characters
9. What's coming next from these authors?

Click here for the podcasts and instructions on downloading.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Word Play

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3 Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.

12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNoWriMo Progress

Since Stacie is modest, we thought we'd brag her up here about her amazing progress on writing a 50K-word novel in one month as part of National Novel Writing Month. She claims much of her high word count is because she took a vacation day and wrote all day at the beginning of the month. But we know it takes more than, such as self-discipline and time management skills. To keep track of Stacie's progress, click here.

Author Visit - Elizabeth Berg

Apple Blossom Books is excited to sponsor author Elizabeth Berg at her book signing on Tues., November 21st from 5pm-7pm held at the Women’s Center on campus at UW-Oshkosh. She will speak about her latest novel, The Handmaid and the Carpenter, and be available to answer questions and sign books. New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg tells the familiar bible tale of Mary and Joseph in The Handmaid and the Carpenter (on sale November 7, 2006). Beautiful in its simplicity and faithful to the traditional version, Berg’s careful examination of the young couple’s feelings about their immaculate conception brings fresh insights and a deeper meaning to this ancient tale.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Zander Press

Jeanette from Zander Press in Brillion has offered to be a guest speaker and/or schedule a press tour of their print facility.

She wrote "... We could be a good resource to your writers' club. Zander Press has the capability of making paperback books. We have helped authors self-publish their work into professional books. Some authors have gone on to market their books on and at local bookstores."

Please let Ruth know if you interested in either/both the speaker or tour; if there is enough interest, she will make the arrangements.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anthology Update

In order to spread the workload of putting together a club anthology, we're going to have a "working meeting" at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. The meeting will be entirely devoted to assisting our editors with proofreading, etc. And yes, snacks will be provided!

A Night at the Movies

In a change of pace, some of us from Writers Club thought it would be fun to take a group outing to the movies to see "Stranger than Fiction" since, well, it's about a novelist.

So, this Friday, Nov. 17 we will be going to the 7:05 p.m. showing at the Marcus Cinemas here in Oshkosh (on Koeller Rd.) We will meet at the theatre at 6:45 p.m so that we can all buy tickets, popcorn, candy, etc. and get seats.

You don't have to respond, but if you are pretty sure you will come, send an e-mail to so we know how many people to expect.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wisconsin Academy - Writing Contest

Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine (formerly the Wisconsin Academy Review) is accepting submissions for its annual short story and poetry contests, with a deadline of December 4, 2006. Awards include cash prizes, publication in Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the opportunity for winners to read their work at the Wisconsin Book Festival and other venues.

New this year--for the poetry contest only--is the theme of farming and rural life in Wisconsin. Poets are invited to compose works relating to Wisconsin’s evolving agricultural and rural heritage and identity. Contest judges are not looking for the sentimental, but for an honest exploration, in poetry, of what farming or rural life means to you. For background information and possible inspiration, learn about the Wisconsin Academy’s “Future of Farming and Rural Life in Wisconsin” initiative,

The short fiction contest remains unthemed; stories about any topic are welcome. Winners of the Harry W. Schwartz/Wisconsin People & Ideas Short Story Contest receive prizes of $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $100 (third place). Their works will be published serially in Wisconsin People & Ideas beginning with the first-prize story in the summer 2007 issue. The lead judge is novelist, essayist, and poet Charles Baxter, author of a number of critically acclaimed works including “The Feast of Love,” “Saul and Patsy,” and “Believers.” As an added bonus, the first-place story will be read and reviewed by a literary agent of national note.

Winners of the Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest receive the following prizes: first place ($500, as the John Lehman Poetry Award); $100 (second place); and $50 (third place), in addition to such other prizes as studio time to record a CD of their poetry. Winning poems by the top three prize-winners appear in the spring 2007 edition of Wisconsin People & Ideas, with 10 runners-up in the summer 2007 issue. Lead judge for the poetry contest is poet Bruce Taylor.

The top three winners of both contests will be invited to read their work at a special event at the Wisconsin Book Festival in October 2007.

1. Authors must reside in or attend school in Wisconsin.
2. Stories must be between 2,500 and 5,000 words in length.
3. Authors must submit three copies of a story (photocopies are fine).
4. Each story must be accompanied by a $15 entry fee (non-Academy members) or $10 (Academy members, including those who join now) payable to Wisconsin People & Ideas Short Story Contest.
5. Writers may submit more than one entry, but each story must be mailed in separately with its own cover letter (see Rule 9) and entry fee.
6. Entries must be postmarked on or before December 4, 2006. Entries may be hand-delivered to the Wisconsin Academy (1922 University Avenue, Madison) by 4 p.m. on December 4.
7. Previously published stories (electronically or in print) are not eligible.
8. Each manuscript must be typed, double-spaced, in standard 10- or 12-point type. Each page must include the title of the story as a header. All pages must be numbered with both an individual page number and the total number of pages (e.g., Stormy Night, page 1/15, Stormy Night, page 2/15, Stormy Night, page 3/15, etc.).
9. The author’s name may not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself. The manuscript must be accompanied by a letter bearing the story title; the author’s name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if available); and the story word count. Every contestant must be able to provide an electronic version of the story if needed, either on disk or via e-mail.
10. Keep a copy of your manuscript. Manuscripts will be recycled, not returned. Do not send an SASE.
11. Contest winners will be announced on our website by the end of March.

1. Poets must reside or attend school in Wisconsin.
2. Poets may submit up to three poems per entry. No poem may be longer than one page. PLEASE NOTE THIS YEAR’S THEME BEFORE SUBMITTING.
3. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry fee of $6 (non-Academy members) or $4 (Academy members, including those who join now) payable to the Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest. Nonmembers: A check for $12 covers the $6 entry fee and a copy of the award issue, which we will mail to you. (Members receive the magazine automatically.)
4. A poet may enter more than one submission of up to three poems each, but additional submissions must be accompanied by a separate entry fee and cover letter. (See Rule 7.)
5. Contest deadline is December 4. Entries may be hand-delivered to the Wisconsin Academy (1922 University Avenue, Madison) by 4 p.m. on December 4. Entries postmarked after the deadline will not be considered and the entry fee will be retained to cover handling.
6. Previously published poems (in print or electronically) are not eligible. All work must be original. Any style or theme is welcome.
7. The poet’s name or address may not appear anywhere on the poems. Poems must be accompanied by a cover letter bearing the poem title/s, the poet’s name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if available).
8. Keep a copy of your poems. Entries will be recycled, not returned. Do not send an SASE.
9. Contest winners will be announced on our website ( and notified by the end of February 2007. Winning poetry will be published in the spring 2007 issue of Wisconsin People & Ideas, which appears at the end of March, in time for National Poetry Month (April). Works by 10 runners-up will be published in the summer 2007 edition.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Short Fiction Contest

$1,500 and publication in Boulevard awarded to the winning story by a writer who has not yet published a book (fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction) with a nationally distributed press.


All entries must be postmarked by December 15, 2006. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but previously accepted or published work is ineligible. Entries will be judged by the editors of Boulevard magazine. Send typed, double-spaced manuscript(s) and SAS post card for acknowledgement of receipt to: Boulevard Emerging Writers Contest, PMB 325, 6614 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117. No manuscripts will be returned.

Entry fee is $15 for each individual story, with no limit per author. Entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Boulevard (one per author). Make check payable to Boulevard.

There is no maximum length. Author's name, address, and telephone number, in addition to the story's title and "Boulevard Emerging Writers Contest," should appear on page one. Cover sheets are not necessary.

The winning story will be published in the Spring or Fall 2007 issue of Boulevard.
Include a 3 x 5 inch index card with your name, address and title of your submission(s). These are the complete guidelines.

Send submission(s) to:

Boulevard Magazine
6614 Clayton Rd
Box 325
Richmond Heights, MO 63117
Telephone: (314) 862-2643

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dr. Kickbutt

OAWC member Mike Wertel and his band, Dr. Kickbutt's Orchestra of Death is having a CD release party at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 at the New Moon Cafe, downtown Oshkosh.

Dr. Kickbutt has to be the greatest ukulele this side of the Fox River Valley...or the that side. The Uke of Jackie Greesehound, Finger pickin guitar of Country Road Freddie, Clarinet noodleing of well...the Noodles Galore, and "Sexy" Lexi Franklin flouting and a singin, these are a few members of the Orchestra of DEATH!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Writer's Digest Poetry Contest

Writer's Digest has announced the only Writer's Digest competition exclusively for poets! Regardless of style—rhyming, free verse, haiku and more—if your poems are 32 lines or fewer, we want them all.

Entry Deadline: Wednesday, December 20, 2006.


First Place: $500; Second Place: $250; Third Place: $100; Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25; Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books.

Competition Rules

1. The competition is open to poems 32 lines or fewer. Entries longer than 32 lines will be automatically disqualified. Each poem must be self-contained and must be titled. Style and subject matter are open. Type the line count on a separate cover sheet along with your name, address, phone number and email address. Entries received with names and other identifying information on the poems will be disqualified.

2. Entrants must be 16 years of age or older.

3. Entry fee: $10 for first poem, $5 for each additional poem. You may enter as many poems as you wish, but all poems must be entered at the same time. If you enter one poem or batch of poems and then submit another entry later, you must again pay the full entry fee of $10 for the first poem, $5 for each additional poem. You may send one check (in U.S. funds) and one entry form for a single entry or batch of entries.

4. All entries must be in English, original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere until the winners are announced. "Unpublished" means poems may not have appeared in print or on the Internet for public consumption (i.e., poems posted on a public forum or on your Web site may not be entered). Writer's Digest reserves the one-time publication rights to the 1st through 25th-place winning entries to be published in a Writer's Digest publication.

5. If you are submitting your entry via regular mail, all entries must be on one side of 8-1/2 x 11 or A4 white paper. Unusual typefaces, colors, and graphics should not be used. Poems will not be returned so keep a copy for your records.

6. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, December 20, 2006. Online entries will close after midnight EST on December 20.

7. Winners will be notified by March 1, 2007. If you have not been contacted by this date, you may assume that your entry is not a finalist and may be marketed elsewhere.

8. Winners' names will appear in the August 2007 issue of Writer's Digest magazine. Their names and poem titles will be posted at

Entry Form

To submit your entry online, visit their secure online entry form.

To enter via regular mail, use the printable form, and send it with your entries and entry fee to:

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards
4700 E. Galbraith Road
Cincinnati, OH 45236


Good luck to our friends who are participating in National Novel Writing Month!

NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge where participants write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November; or about 6-7 pages per day. Obviously, quality is not an issue. The main idea is get into the habit of writing every day and to learn how to write fast without that voice in your head judging every word.

If this sounds like fun, it's not too late to register! To do so, visit:

As in years past, Stacie P. is our regional contact:

Next Meeting - Deadline

Our next meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave.

This meeting is the DEADLINE for submissions to the OAWC Anthology. If you would like to be included in the book, please follow the guidelines below:

There is no theme and we will accept all genres; essay, poetry, short story, non-fiction, etc.

Word limit is 3000 words or 10 pages (can be one long piece or several shorter pieces of writing).

In addition to your submission, please write a bio about yourself in 100 words or less.

We reserve the right to decline a submission and/or change the guidelines as needed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Teen Lit Group

Young adult/chick lit novelist Sarah Mlynowski has created a MySpace Teen Lit group -a place for readers and writers of teen fiction to meet. Writers can post book info, event info and new covers. Readers can ask all those questions you've been wondering...about books you've read, books you're thinking about reading, or about writing in general. To visit the site, go to:

Help Write a Teen Story

From October 17th to December 15th, HarperTeen editors and a panel of bestselling authors (Meg Cabot!) invite you to join thousands of readers online to collectively create an original short story—one chapter at a time.

It’s easy to get involved. Just register for the event, and then follow the weekly schedule to participate. You can submit chapters, vote for your favorites, or just browse and get writing tips and feedback from HarperTeen editors and bestselling authors, including Meg Cabot, Rachel Vail, Jodi Lynn Anderson, Laura Ruby, and more

To register or get more information, click here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Poetry Markets

For current contact information on Wisconsin magazines and publishers specializing in poetry, please click here. The information is maintained by

WRWA Newsletter

The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association has now made its quarterly newsletter available online. The newsletter includes conferences and contests; news briefs from local clubs; and articles related to writing and publishing. The Summer 2006 issue is the most recent issue available online

Monday, October 16, 2006

Local NaNoWriMo events

Stacie P. is once again the regional contact/coordinator for those participating in National Novel Writing Month.

If you would like to meet Stacie and other writers from the Fox Valley Area who have signed up for NaNoWriMo, please visit the Regional Lounge.

Also, Stacie has organized a Kick-Off Party at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Barnes and Noble, Appleton (by the Fox Valley Mall). Topic of conversation will probably revolve around writing experience, goals, and NaNoWriMo experience. Spouses, children, ride-providers are all welcome. If you plan to attend, please contact Stacie at

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Registration has begun for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Taken from their website:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and -- when the thing is done -- the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2005, we had over 59,000 participants. Nearly 10,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: Sign-ups begin October 1, 2006. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

For FAQs, forums, help lounges, writing tips, and much more, please visit

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Author Riley Weston

Teen author Riley Weston will appear at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, under the Dome of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. Ms. Weston will speak for about a half hour, take audience questions and autograph copies of her book (books will be available for purchase, courtesy of Apple Blossom Books).

Oshkosh will be Weston's only stop in Wisconsin as she completes a national tour. The event is free and open to the public.

Riley Weston has worked as an actress on many television sitcoms and dramas, as well as the UPN television movie, What About Your Friends. She received rave reviews starring as Lix, the rebellious, orphaned teenager in the hit musical, 2nd Wind.

Riley started her writing career on the WB television drama Felicity. While writing on the first season, she guest starred as Story Zimmer in the critically acclaimed episode Drawing the Line. Riley followed that up with writing the feature film Damaged for Artisan Entertainment. In late 2004, Riley wrote and co-starred in the highly rated ABC holiday television movie Christmas at Water’s Edge starring Keshia Knight Pullium from The Cosby Show and Tom Bosley from Happy Days. She recently sold the family comedy script Summer at Dad’s to Revolution Studios.

Riley’s debut novel “Before I Go” is a touching story of family, love and the will of the human spirit. It centers on Annie, an ice skating coach who gave up on her dream long ago, and young Olympic hopeful, Madison Henry. What makes this team different from the rest is... Annie and Madison also happen to be mother and daughter.

The novel was published in September 2006 and is getting excellent reviews. Click here to read the first chapter.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cream City Review Writing Contests

Cream City Review sponsors annual Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry contests judged by established writers.

Deadline for current year's contest: December 1.

Fee: $10/story (no longer than 30 pages) or 3-5 poems, payable to Cream
City Review

Prize: $100 plus publication.

Address your submission to one of the following:

The C. Prescott Sobol Award for Fiction, The Erica F. Wiest Award for Poetry or The David B. Saunders Award for Non-Fiction

and send your entry to:

Cream City Review; Dept. of English,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413,
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Submissions must be typed, double-spaced, and include the author's name and address plus an SASE (for results only). Simultaneous submissions are acceptable as long as Cream City Review is notified in the event the manuscript is accepted elsewhere. The reading fee, however, is non-refundable.

Oshkosh BookFest

The Oshkosh Public Library will host Denys Cazet, author and illustrator of the Minnie and Moo series of books written for beginning readers. He has published more than 25 picture books including Never Spit on Your Shoes, winner of the California Young Readers Medal. The event will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the lower level.

Members of the OAWC are invited to attend the event, followed by our regular meeting at 11 a.m.

Wisconsin Book Festival

The schedule for the Wisconsin Book Festival has been finalized and is available here. The site includes detailed information such as directions, speaker bios, etc. The schedule is packed with lots of interesting speakers and workshops; a sampling of events are posted below but it would still be worthwhile to check out the schedule of over 60 events statewide.

Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Gary K. Wolfe

Genre Fiction and the New Wave Fabulists -- A discussion with Neil Gaiman*, Peter Straub, and Gary K. Wolfe: The Evolution of Horror and Fantasy
Sunday, October 22 4:00 - 5:30 PM
Orpheum Theatre: Main, Madison

Presenter(s): Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Gary K. Wolfe

Panelists will discuss their work in the broader context of genre writing. They will examine the current state of horror and fantasy writing, the "New Fabulists" movement, and why Wisconsin has inspired such notable horror--both real and fiction. A moderated discussion with questions from the audience will follow short introductions.

*NOTE: Mr. Gaiman is on-call for an overseas film production. His participation here is confirmed -- unless he is unexpectedly called overseas.

Author Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott: After This
Sunday, October 22 2:30 - 3:45 PM
Madison Public Library-Main Branch

Description: National Book Award winner Alice McDermott's powerful new novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and modern freedom, while also capturing, with McDermott's inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin and undermine what it is to be a family.

Magazine Editors' Round Table

Calling All Writers! Magazine Editors' Round Table
Sunday, October 22 12:00 - 1:30 PM
Wisconsin Historical Museum-Capitol Square

Description: Join local magazine editors at this open forum on writing for magazines. Topics to be covered include researching and writing, submission requirements, reader audiences, and article topics. Joan Fischer, editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas, Jane deBroux, editor of Wisconsin Magazine of History, and Harriet Brown, editor of Wisconsin Trails will discuss their respective magazines and provide direction to those interested in writing articles. After a brief presentation followed by Q&As, attendees will be free to talk one-on-one with editors and pitch completed articles or story ideas.

Jacquelyn Mitchard/Michael Perry

Jacquelyn Mitchard & Michael Perry
4-5:30 p.m. Sunday, October 22
Promenade Hall/Overture, Madison

What does the author of Oprah's very first Book Club book have in common with a guy who wrote a love story about his rusted-out 1951 International Harvester pickup truck?

A whole lot, we think! Especially when the authors are beloved Wisconsin treasures Jacquelyn Mitchard (Cage of Stars, Deep End of the Ocean and many more) and Michael Perry (Population: 485, TRUCK: A Love Story). Both authors are known for their candor, their refreshing honesty, and their side-splitting and often self-deprecating humor. Both can seemingly wax eloquent about anything from their vegetable gardens to their vehicles. According to critics, Jackie is "an astute observer of family dynamics [who] renders her characters flawlessly, endowing them with a humanity that is both accessibly grounded and astonishingly deep," while Perry "writes from a blue collar, hardscrabble, waist-deep-in manure-perspective that is never condescending ... His affection for and empathy towards people who aren't afraid to dirty their hands is always evident."

Join Jackie & Mike in this point-counterpoint conversation designed to bridge the gap between "He Says" and "She Says," and ultimately, to introduce die-hard fans of two dynamite writers to each other -- and to one anothers' favorite authors!

Author Jonathan Harr

Jonathan Harr: A Civil Action
Saturday, October 21 4:00 - 5:30 PM
Promenade Hall/Overture, Madison

Can lawsuits uncover the truth? What happens when the power and resources of the parties at odds are disproportionate? Jonathan Harr's compelling, true story in A Civil Action recounts the case constructed by a young personal injury lawyer on behalf of working class families of Woburn, Massachusetts. The book, now used as part of many law school curricula, reveals the messy, human way that justice is wrought. The author will read from this A More Perfect Union: To Establish Justice discussion series selection, take questions from the audience, and be available after the event for book signing. Madison's own Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will introduce Mr. Harr.


Wisconsin writers interested in particating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) are invited to attend "NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month Rev Up" at 1:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 21 at Mount Horeb Public Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Description: Candace Gallant will gather National Novel Writing Month participants from 2005 to rev their writing engines for 2006's November efforts. Newcomers are welcomed to jump on the bandwagon and find out how they too can write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days this November.

Agent/Editor Workshop

AllWriters Workplace & Workshop, Milwaukee, will sponsor "Ask an Agent/Ask an Editor" at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Wisconsin Studio/Overture, Milwaukee.

Description: A moderated discussion on the art and business of publishing, to include Ted Genoways (Editor, VQR), Michelle Wildgen (senior editor, Tin House), and literary agent Katherine Fausset.

Awakening the Reluctant Writer

Sara Rath will present a brown bag/catered lunch workshop "Awakening the Reluctant Writer" from noon to 1 p.m., Saturday, October 21 at Mount Horeb Public Library.

Description: Revive your own writing with the author of Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages and enjoy a light, healthy meal from Blue Sky Café. Sara will share fun ways to motivate your own writing when words seem to escape you. She will also discuss the development of her upcoming biography of the poet, activist and spiritualist Achsa W. Sprague. Beginners are welcome! Register for this free workshop and make lunch reservations by calling 437-5021 ext. 0.

Ten Percent of Nothing by Jim Fisher

Title: Ten Percent of Nothing
Author: Jim Fisher
Genre: Non-Fiction
Summary: The story of a scam agent and how her agency was brought down.
The Take-Away: Dorothy Deering's literary agent career began when her own novel wasn't accepted by publishers. She quickly found out how hard it was to find an agent, but became engrossed in the "helping" of others. It was easy enough, after all, to purchasing a Publisher's Market book and forward manuscripts to agents. Writing one took work that may or may not pay off.
Deering was one of the first scam agent, someone who charged fees to the writer in order to help the writer find a publishing home for their manuscript. Deering was a smooth talker, coaxing thousands of dollars out of her victims while her husband kept the books and made sure that contracts were renewed each year, for around $300 a year.
The persistance of those who had been scammed, combined with opportune timing for a FBI agent lead to the discover of the fraud.
While it's easy to see how people could be misled, it's amazing that no one caught on sooner. Unfortunately, the practice of scamming new agents continues today, however, various watch dog groups, like Writer Beware, or writer's boards, like Absolute Write, are available to new writers.
Recommendation: Great read, especially if you've wondered how a scammer can stay in business.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Next Meeting, etc.

Just a reminder that the next meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. Those who are interested can spend the first hour listening to guest author Denys Cazet. At 11 a.m., Rachel is the featured Author Spotlight.

Also, please make an effort to get your submission(s) for the OAWC anthology to Stacie P. by mid-October. We'd like the anthology to be available in time for Christmas and we need to give Stacie ample time to format the manuscript.

Also, a big thanks to Tom C. for working on cover art and a possible title!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chippewa Valley Book Festival

The Chippewa Valley Book Festival, Oct. 15-22, features the following speakers:

Mike Perry
Michael Perry was raised on a small farm in northwestern Wisconsin. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Esquire, Newsweek, the New York Times magazine, Salon, the Utne Reader, and Cowboy Magazine, and his essays and humor are frequently heard on both Wisconsin and Minnesota public radio. His latest work, "Truck: A Love Story," is due out in October 2006.

At the Festival:
October 15 | 3pm | Masonic Temple, 616 Graham Ave, Eau Claire

Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy is the author of seventeen novels including the New York Times Bestseller "Gone To Soldiers" and the National Bestseller "The Longings of Women." Her latest book, "Sex Wars," was published in the fall of 2005. She has been a featured writer on Bill Moyers’ PBS Specials, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show, and many radio programs nationwide. She has taught, lectured and/or performed her work at well over 400 universities around the world.

At the Festival:
October 17 | 7pm | Davies Theatre, UW-Eau Claire

Minnesota Crime Wave
The Minnesota Crime Wave is made up of three popular mystery writers from the Minnesota area. They have become known for their compelling costumed presentations to audiences at bookstores, libraries and other venues across the country. In 2005 the Minnesota Crime Wave published an anthology titled "The Silence of the Loons." The book consists of 13 short mystery stories from some of Minnesota’s best crime writers. The group is currently working on putting together another anthology. The new volume, to be titled Resort to Murder, is planned for release in late summer, 2007. Individual Minnesota Crime Wave author bios below.

At the Festival:
Themes and Forms in Crime Fiction
October 21 | 2:30pm | Chippewa Valley Museum

October 21 | 7:30pm | Chippewa Valley Museum

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen's nine books include the Elizabeti Series, beginning with "Elizabeti's Doll; We'll Paint the Octopus Red." Her books have earned honors such as the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the Africana Book Award, the Parents' Choice Foundation Book Award, and the LA Notable Book Award. After living on Midway Atoll for nearly three years, she now lives in the state of Washington, not far from Mount St. Helen's and is a permanent faculty member of the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program.

At the Festival:
Reading For Kids and Teens (with David LaRochelle and Patrick Jones)
October 21 | 10:15am | Eau Claire Room, L.E. Phillips Public Library

Sources for Stories with Emphasis on the International Perspective(with Joel Friederich and Karen Loeb)
October 21 | 1pm | Eau Claire Room, L.E. Phillips Public Library

Wisconsin Book Festival - Edgerton

The Edgerton Book Festival has an amazing line-up of speakers on Saturday, Oct. 21, in their 600-seat Edgerton Performing Arts Center.

The Keynote Speaker from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. is Helen Thomas, is an internationally known Washington Press Corps reporter, a famous United Press International reporter covering every Presidential Administration from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. Helen has completed a book called "Front Row at the White House."

After Ms. Thomas, Wisconsin's own Michael Perry will speak from 11 a.m. to noon. Perry was raised on a small dairy farm in northwestern Wisconsin. As an author and humorist, his work includes humorous offbeat appearances as a commentator on Wisconsin Public Television's "Here and Now." He is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, can milk a cow in the dark, and says that you should never show up at the fire hall in tights.

Other speakers include Kevin Henkes, from Racine, Wisconsin, and David Maraniss, a Michigan native.

Henkes belongs to an elite group of authors who have won three of the highest honors in children's publishing: The Caldecott Medal in 2005 for Kitten's First Full Moon; the Newbery Honor award in 2004 for the novel, Olive's Ocean; and the 1994 Caldecott Honor award for Owen.

David Maraniss and his family moved to Madison when he was eight years old, and he attended the University of Wisconsin. His journalism career began in college. He has written for many newspapers, including The Washington Post, where he served as Southwest Bureau Chief for seven years and is currently writer-at-large on the national staff. He has won several awards for writing including the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1993.

Wisconsin Book Festival - Milwaukee

The "Cream City" is participating in the Wisconsin Book Festival in a big way! A sampling of events are listed below:

Workshop with Dasha Kelly
Wednesday, October 11, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Lyrical Sanctuary Writer's Workshop, Multicultural Student Center Lounge, UWM Union 198. For more information, call (414) 229-6998.

Dust off that poem-in-progress and join a group of blossoming writers as we discover how to express ourselves on paper. Perhaps you'll come up with something to share at the Lyrical Sanctuary open mic. This month's featured facilitator is Milwaukee poet Dasha Kelly. As a performance poet, Dasha has been featured around the country with her two spoken word CDs, Still Waters and Mixed Greens. All Fall Down is the title of her debut novel. Sponsored by UWM Union Sociocultural Programming and the Still Waters Collective.

An Evening with Dan Savage
Wednesday, October 11, 8:00 PM
UWM Union Ballroom, $5
For more information, call the UWM LGBT Resource Center at (414) 229-4116.

Spend an evening with Dan Savage. Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column, Savage Love. He is the author of The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family. Sponsored by the UWM LGBT Resource Center with the assistance of UWM Union Programming and the UWM Union Sociocultural Programming.

Wisconsin Authors Night
Monday, October 16, 7:00 PM
Marquette University's Weasler Auditorium, 15th and Wells.
For more information, call (414) 288-7179.

New works by Michael Perry and Elizabeth Berg headline the Wisconsin Authors Night, which will include eight Wisconsin authors performing a literary can-can line of very brief readings. Writers scheduled to read include UWM's Liam Callanan, Susan Firer, Jim Hazard and John Koethe, and Marquette's C.J. Hribal, Ben Percy, Angela Sorby and Larry Watson. A reception and book signing follow, with Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops on hand for those wishing to purchase books at the event.

Ted Kooser, David Maraniss and Jane Hamilton
Saturday, October 21, 7:00 PM
Free. Seating is limited; doors open at 6:30 PM.
Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth St.
For more information, call (414) 286-3000.

Join the U.S. Poet Laureate and two of Wisconsin's favorite writers for the literary event of the season! Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, professor of English at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, joins biographer and historian David Maraniss and novelist Jane Hamilton. All three will read from their works. Book-signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Daily Lit

No time to read? The e-mail service Daily Lit sends you a bite-sized chunk of a novel to your inbox every day.

Search for a book you'd like to read via e-mail from an impressive list of classics in the public domain - like Gulliver's Travels or Moby Dick - and receive it in parts, one part each day, at a scheduled time, via e-mail. The message isn't too long and gives you the option to get the next installment immediately, or wait till the next day's scheduled time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

If you miss Mitch Albom...

If you can't make it hear Mitch Albom in Oshkosh on Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, he will also be appearing at 7 p.m. that night at Alverno College Pittman Theatre. The fee is $27 (instead of $25 here in Oshkosh) and includes a copy of his newest novel, "For One More Day." For more information, click here.

Author Denys Cazet

Children's author/ilustrator Denys Cazet will be at the Oshkosh Public Library at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the lower level Childrens Room. The event is free and open to the public.

The OAWC plans to attend the lecture and then resume with our regular meeting at 11 a.m.

Denys Cazet is the author and illustrator of the Minnie and Moo series of books written for beginning readers. He has published more than 25 picture books including Never Spit on Your Shoes, winner of the California Young Readers Medal. (Author Daniel San Souci was to appear with Cazet but he had to cancel for personal reasons.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the OAWC meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. This would be a great time to bring submissions for the upcoming anthology.

As always, meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 and older.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Author Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry will delivery the 9th annual Charlotte Zolotow Lecture on Wednesday evening, October 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Wisconsin Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus.

Ms. Lowry is the author of many acclaimed books for children and teenagers, including the Newbery-award winning "Number the Stars" (Houghton Mifflin, 1989) and "The Giver" (Houghton Mifflin, 1993). Her most recent book is "Gossamer" (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

This is a free public lecture, and is a featured event of the 2006 Wisconsin Book Festival. For more information about this year's
lecture, go to

The annual Charlotte Zolotow Lecture is sponsored by the Cooperative
Children's Book Center of the School of Education at UW-Madison to honor UW alumna Charlotte Zolotow's distinguished career as a children's book editor. The CCBC also sponsors the annual Charlotte
Zolotow Award to honor Charlotte's career as an author.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Write Great Fiction : Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

Title: Write great fiction : plot & structure : techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish
Author: James Scott Bell
Genre: Non-Fiction
Summary: A thorough study of plot and structure, using various movies, plays and books to drive home the point.
The Take-Away: The structure and explanation of plot devices and novel structure is so deceptive, it creeps up and slaps you along side the head. Then I wondered, "Why didn't I see that before?"
This title was a great refresher and a fantastic way to plot my next story while pointing out the holes in the current one. Since Bell uses a variety of books, movies and plays to make his point, everyone should be able relate to what he is saying without reading any obscure books.
Recommendation: If you need a refresher or a motivator, this is it.

August Titles

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Congrats goes to...

Congratulations to member Stacie Penney for taking second prize in the first annual writing contest sponsored by The Writing Show.

Stacie won for "Journey and Arrival," the first chapter of her novel "Is There Life Out There?" about a young widow who returns to her Midwestern hometown to pick-up the fragments of her life.”

You can read or hear Stacie's chapter (read by actress Kymm Zuckert!) by clicking here.

The Writing Show podcasts feature interviews with well-known authors, agents and publishers. The programs are informative and interesting; highly recommended!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

WRWA Fall Conference

The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association Fall Conference will be held September 23- 24 at The Ramada Inn, 3431 Milton Ave., Janesville, WI.

Fees are $75 for members and $85 for non-members; meals are extra. Registration deadline is Sept. 18.

Workshops include:

Jennifer Turner
“Launching a Career, a Novel Journey”

Jack Byrne
“Literary Agents: Who, What, When, How & Why”

Chris Roerden
“Voice--Sounds from the Submission Pile”

Jack Magestro
“hanging the Paradigm of Publishing”

Tom Montag
“Writing Poetry Successfully: 99 Propositions”

To end the event, The Robert E. Gard Foundation will present its Award for Excellence at the Jade Ring Banquet on Sunday, September 24.

This years recipient, Ben Logan, is one of the quintessential Wisconsin Authors who has created that sense of place that Wisconsin is. His Wisconsin classic is "The Land Remembers" about growing up on a farm in Wisconsin. It is the best selling book ever by a Wisconsin Author. The presentation will be made directly following the Jade Ring meal.

For more information or to register for the event, click here. Or, call Jane at (920) 533-3044.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Author Spotlight" Schedule

“Author Spotlight” allows writers to bring in pieces of work that are eight or more pages, or a compilation of pieces that are best read/reviewed together. The last hour of each Saturday meeting is devoted to discussing the works of the featured author.

Advance registation is required and authors must bring ten copies of their work prior to their turn in the “Spotlight.” Those who accept a copy of the author’s work must commit to reading it and showing for the review.

Upcoming featured writers are:

Saturday, Sept. 2 - Jim S.

Saturday, Sept. 16 - Tom C.

Saturday, Oct. 7 - Rachel C.

Saturday, Oct. 21 - Stacey P.

Saturday, Nov. 4 - Bethany W.

New Books

Listed below are new releases related to creative writing as listed on Feel free to submit a review on any of the new titles!

If you prefer to save your money and have the Oshkosh Public Library purchase a book, please click here.

Beginner's Guide to Writing a Novel: How to Prepare Your First Book for Publication
Marina Oliver
Aug. 2006

Creative Writing: How to Unlock Your Imagination, Develop Your Writing Skills And Get Published
Adele Ramet
Aug. 2006

See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit
Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs
Aug. 2006

How to Write a Blockbuster (Teach Yourself Creative Writing)
Helen Corner and Lee Weatherly
Aug. 2006

Late Bloomer: On Writing Later in Life
Naomi Wakan
Sept. 2006

Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel
Cathy Yardley
Sept. 2006

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly
Gail Carson Levine
Sept. 2006

Self-Publishing For Dummies
Jason R. Rich
Sept. 2006

Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
Sherry Ellis
Sept. 2006

The Pocket Muse Endless Inspiration: New Ideas for Writing
Monica Wood
Oct. 2006

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing for Young Adults (Complete Idiot's Guide to)
Deborah Perlberg
Oct. 2006

Inspired Creative Writing (52 Brilliant Ideas)
Alexander Gordon Smith
Oct. 2006

Creative Writing: A Glossary and Guide to Fiction Writing
Colin Bulman
Nov. 2006

On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association
Horror Writers Association and Mort Castle
Nov. 2006

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer's Guide to Selling More Work Faster (The Renegade Writer's Freelance Writing series)
Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli
Nov. 2006

The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier by Bonni Trenga

Title: The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier
Author: Bonni Trenga
Genre: Non-Fiction
Summary: A detective reviews seven cases of bad writing.
The Take-Away: A sweet and easy way to learn about passive voice, run-on sentences and other newbie writing mistakes.
Recommendation: Great title for a beginner or refresher course.

July Titles

The Master List

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Third Anniversary

The OAWC will celebrate its third anniversary with coffee and donuts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Also on tap is a critique of "The Vanity of Vayn." If you have not received a copy of the manuscript, you may download it by clicking here.

As always, meetings are free and open to anyone 17 or older.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Family Circle Fiction Contest

Have you ever dreamed of being a writer? Family Circle wants to help make that dream come true with our fiction contest, running from July 1 - September 15. Read below to find out how to submit your story!

Contest ends September 15, 2006 . Entries must be postmarked on or before September 15, 2006 and received by September 22, 2006 . Entries become the property of Meredith Corporation, 1716 Locust St. , Des Moines , Iowa (“Sponsor”) and will not be acknowledged or returned. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for illegible, lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or stolen entries or mail.

ENTRY: Submit an original, fiction short story of no more than 2,500 words, typed on 8-1/2x11 paper. Include your name, address, daytime telephone number and e-mail address (optional) on each page and send to: Family Circle Fiction Story Contest, c/o Family Circle Magazine, 375 Lexington Avenue, Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10017. Entries must be original, unpublished and may not have won any prize or award.

PRIZING: One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive $750 and possible publication in Family Circle Magazine. Two runners-up will each receive $250 and stories may appear on One (1) prize per Household.

For complete contest rules, click here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mitch Albom booksigning

Mitch Albom will speak on his newest book, "For One More Day," at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the Park Plaze Hotel Ballroom, Oshkosh.

Tickets are $25 and include an autographed copy of his new book and a limited edition art piece inspired by the book. A ticket is required to attend.

Albom is the author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” & “The Five People You Meet in Heaven." His latest book, "For One More Day," is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

Contact Apple Blossom Books, downtown Oshkosh, to reserve your ticket at 230-3395. This event is co-sponsored by the Oshkosh Public Library.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Critique Guidelines

New and prospective members might be interested to know the guidelines we use for our Saturday critique sessions. You can find the guidelines at Persistent Ambivalence. In addition, we ask readers to keep their pieces to 6 or fewer pages, and to bring 8 copies to pass out.

Critque sessions are held at 10 a.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. Meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 and older.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Northwest Wisconsin Children's Book Conference

The 4th annual Northwest Wisconsin Children's Book Conference will be held Sept. 21-22 at Telemark Resort and Convention Center in Cable, Wisconsin.

Presenters will include Kathleen Baxter, Sue Benson, Kathleen Horning, Megan Schliesman, Lise Lunge-Larsen, Chris Lane, Susan Pagnucci, Tom Pease, Janie Schomberg and Vicki Palmquistt.

Programs of interest include:

Stories From My Backyard - Rick Chrustowski. This presentation will cover the entire life cycle of a book, from the first moment you get the idea, to the day the box of completed books arrives on the doorstep. Visual aids will be used including sketches, dummy books, bookplates, printed sheets and actual illustrations from Rick’s books.

Why Folktales Still Matter – Lisa Lunge-Larsen. In this session Lise will look at the folktale as a literary genre and examine in detail why readers remain spellbound by these stories. She will examine the value these old tales have for us today and specifically their value as teaching tools and carriers of a common human ethic. Throughout the session you will be entertained as she tells stories and relates to us the reactions her audiences have had to them, thus illustrating the point that folktales still matter.

Telemark Educational Foundation Inc. (TFI) and Redbery Books are continuing the vision of the Spooner Public Library in sponsoring this conference which is focused on quality children's literature and programming. Librarian, teachers, childcare workers, and writers will be given opportunities to hear authors, illustrators, storytellers, and experts in their fields.

Third Anniversary

The Oshkosh Area Writers Club will celebrate its third anniversary at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Enjoy refreshments while we get reacquainted and share ideas for the upcoming year. We will also discuss details of the anthology we're putting together.

As always, meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 and older. For more information, please call 231-6182.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

2006 Wisconsin Book Festival

The fifth annual Wisconsin Book Festival will be held in downtown Madison, from October 18-22, 2006. Designed to delight booklovers of all walks, tastes, and ages, the Festival features readings, lectures, book discussions, writing workshops, live interviews, children's events, and more.

The Festival is not a sales fair or "book expo;" rather, it is a series of dynamic interactive programs that celebrate the written word, writers, reading, and books. Drawing total annual attendance around 10,000, Festival events are designed to reach diverse audiences of all ages.

Joining the festival this year will be noted authors Ted Kooser, Michael Chabon, Marjane Satrapi, Robert Sapolsky, Marilyn Nelson, Lois Lowry, Ann Bausum, Kevin Henkes, Amy Timberlake, Kashmira Sheth and many others.

Headliners include:

Jane Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Rochester, Wisconsin. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her second novel, A Map of the World, was also a selection of the Oprah Book Club and an international bestseller. Her most recent novel, The Short History of a Prince, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998.

Michael Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001 for his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. His two prior novels, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys were also bestsellers, and the latter was made into a critically-acclaimed film featuring actors Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. Chabon's newest novel, entitled The Yiddish Policeman's Union (due in April 2006), is a thriller set in an imaginary world inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's short-lived plan during WWII to create a Jewish homeland in Alaska, rather than the Middle East.

"Chris Ware is the Emily Dickinson of comics," says the distinguished poet J. D. McClatchy, one of the artist's many fans. As one of today's most renowned cartoonists, Ware is widely considered an artist of genius. Combining innovative comic book art, hand lettering, and graphic design, Ware's uniquely appealing work is characterized by ceaseless experimentation with narrative and graphic forms. The publication of his graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth in 2000 inspired a near avalanche of praise from critics and readers alike. Ware's unique art form extends beyond the world of graphic novels into the broader worlds of literature, graphic art, and popular culture, and challenges traditional definitions of all three. Ware is the first cartoonist to be serialized in The New York Times Magazine's "Funny Pages," which debuted in 2005.

For a complete schedule of events, click here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Volunteers Needed!

This is my annual plea for volunteers to work at Waterfest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, on behalf of the Oshkosh Memorabilia Club. You can choose from: checking IDs, taking admission fees, putting wrist bands on people, pouring beverages, waiting on customers, running a cash drawer, and directing cars in the parking lot. As always, I'd be very appreciative if you can help out and even more grateful if you can bring a friend!

Due to PMI's requirements, I have to hand in a list of names by Aug. 8 so please respond quickly. And if you have any questions, give me a call evenings at 231-6182.

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

- Ruth P.

OAWC Anthology

In celebration of our third anniversary, the Oshkosh Area Writers Club is putting together an anthology which we'd like to have by Christmas.

There is no cost to be included in the anthology but there are a few basic rules:

To be included in the anthology, you must have attended a minimum of three meetings since the club's inception.

There is no theme and we will accept all genres; essay, poetry, short story, non-fiction, etc.

Word limit is 3000 words or 10 pages (can be one long piece or several shorter pieces of writing).

In addition to your submission, please write a bio about yourself in 100 words or less.

Authors who want to be in the anthology are asked to bring their work to a club meeting for a group critique/edit process. The meeting times are 10 a.m. the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month; and 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month.

Once your work has been critiqued and proofread at a meeting, you will be given further instructions on how to submit your work for publication.

The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31.

We reserve the right to decline a submission and/or change the guidelines as needed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Poetry workshop

Wisconsin Poet Joanne Flemming will lead a poetry writing workshop at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Apple Blossom Books, downtown Oshkosh. The workshop is free and open to new and experienced writers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fall Writers Conference

The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association Fall Writers Conference will be held Sept. 22-24, 2006 at Ramada Inn of Janesville.

WRWA invites members, non-members, professionals, amateurs and students to attend our annual Fall Conference. Gather tips from nationally recognized speakers. Talk and share at a writers’ roundtable. Enjoy authors reading their work and shop at the book fair.


Chris Roerden, Voice—Sounds from the Submission Pile

Following a 40-year career as an editor, Chris Roerden, now an independent contract editor and publishing consultant speaks from experience as she advises writers how to have a stand-out voice that attracts an editor’s attention.

Jennifer Turner, Launching a Career, a Novel Journey

Award-winning author, Jennifer Turner, explains how her passion for storytelling, word smithing and scene crafting leads to adventure with a happy ending.

Jack Byrne, Literary Agents: Who, What, When, How and Why

Teacher and freelance writer turned literary agent, Jack Byrne answers the questions all writers ask about finding and working with agents.

Tom Montag, Writing Poetry Successfully: 99 Propositions

Poet and essayist, Tom Montag tells how personal experience influenced his writing. Tom has published five books and co-edited poets’ calendars.

Patricia Fry, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book

The author of hundreds of articles and twenty-four books, Patricia Fry speaks from experience. She provides editing and publishing services to writers.

Jack Magestro, Changing the Paradigm of Publishing

Author and acquisitions manager for a publisher, Jack Magestro addresses today’s publishing world where marketing and selling are as important as writing.


Visit, email

Or write Bette Williams, PO Box 115, Nashotah WI 53058.

Hotel reservations call 1-800-433-7787 or 608-756-2341 Ask for WRWA rate.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Terrible Trouble"

Here's a link to a great article by James N. Frey (not the "Million Pieces" author) about how to begin a story with all the necessary background details but exciting enough to capture a reader's attention. Hint: begin with your character in "terrible trouble."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bookstore closing

Book Warehouse, the discount bookstore on South Washburn in the Prime Outlets mall, is closing its doors. Currently, their entire stock of inventory is 20% off, with further reductions expected. They have not yet announced their last day of business.

Author Spotlight Schedule

The following is the current schedule for Author Spotlight, held during the second hour of our Saturday meetings. If you are signed up for a Spotlight, please remember to bring at at least 8 copies of your work to the prior meeting.

Aug. 5 - Bob B.
Aug. 19 - Tom C. (postponed from July 15).
Sept. 2 - Jim S.
Sept. 16 - Tom C.
Oct. 7 - Rachel C.
Oct. 21 - Stacie P.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Name Game

Need a name for your character? Try the Random Name Generator.

Pick the type of first name and type of last name from the drop down boxes, choose how many names you want returned, and hit go! You'll get a list of full names that are completely random.

You can choose to randomly generate both first and last names, or if you already have a name you like (either first or last) you can enter that and just randomly generate the other. Note: Remember to check the radio button if you decide to add your own name.

On the results page, if you see a name you like (either first or last), but don't like the other name it is paired with, click the name you like. This will return a list of names which includes your chosen name, while randomizing the other part of the name.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Usefulness of a Group

If you’re in a group and you’re at a standstill, step back and look at the big picture. Are you focusing too much on the so-called writing rules? Are you reading nearly exclusively in the same genre? Have you broadened your horizons and tried something new? Is the group as a whole pushing themselves to be better? Have you had that defining moment when you realized your group is holding you back?

Originally posted at Writeminded by Jan Kenny

Jan's post made me think. Is OAWC helping or hindering me? Are we on the same playing field? Do we have similar goals?

I have a few answers too.

Is OAWC helping or hindering me? Helping, definitely. I write more because I know that when I'm ready, I have people I can trust to share it with. I might not always agree with the answer I'm given. Either it doesn't fit with what I know is right for me, the piece or the genre. Just as often, I'm given an answer that blows me out of the water because it is so damn right.

Are we on the same playing field? Mostly. And where we aren't, we are good about explaining and helping. We celebrate successes, even the tiny ones, because everyone of us remembers what that tiny one feels like, the first time it is reached.

Do we have similar goals? Yes, and no. Most of us want to improve our writing (at the very least, we want to make sure it sounds okay to someone other than ourselves.) Publication is a goal for the majority, but publication means different things to each of us.

Our strength, I believe, lies in acknowledging of our differences, especially for that last point. Making my living by my writing is my ultimate goal. I'd love to leave my day job and be a mid-list author. The big dream is having the breakout novel that puts my name in everyone's mouth. But I respect those who want to leave their memories behind, whether they are prose or poetry. When I offer advice, I try to keep their goal in mind, not mine.

I admire the Writeminded group, who posed the original question. Five women decided that they wanted to take their writing to the next level. To earn contracts. To be published. The road has been bumpy, but they've stuck together.

Our group is always open. Not everyone stays. But the regulars, and those that will become regulars, are becoming the kind of group that Writeminded started as. It gives me great hope that we are headed in the right direction.

Race you there.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Actor Dan Fitzgerald

Actor Dan Fitzgerald is returning to Oshkosh, his hometown, for his class reunion and two book signings. With roles in 39 feature films and numerous TV credits over the last thirty years, Fitzgerald has met his share of stars and gained an insider’s perspective on the film industry. His autobiography, “Stars in My Eyes: An Odyssey from Oshkosh”, was published in 2005.

He will be signing copies of his book at Paper Tiger on Monday, July 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. and at the Oshkosh Public Library on Wednesday, July 12 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Copies will be on sale at both locations during the signing.

The Clearing

The Clearing, in beautiful Door County, offers the following upcoming classes that are of interest to writers. For non-writing classes, fees and other information, please click here.

Expanding the Reach of Poetry
July 16-22
Instructor: Ellen Kort

Seasons of a Journal
August 6 - August 12
Instructor: Darlene Cole

Writing From Your Life
August 13 - August 19
Instructor: Jerry Apps

Short Story Magic
August 27 - September 2
Instructor: John Lehman

Sunday, July 02, 2006


S L Viehl, aka Lynn Viehl, recent interviewee of Word Nerd, posted ten links to assist with dialogue, including advice about the pesky -ly description versus action.

Paperback Writer regularly posts a "Top Ten" list of some writing related advice. Her blog is definitely worth keeping an eye on, if you aren't already.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Margaret Weis - Author Visit

Wisconsin author Margaret Weis will kick off her national book tour for her new release of "Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, the Lost Dragonlance Chronicles Volume 1" at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11th, at Apple Blossom Books, downtown Oshkosh. For more details, visit Apple Blossom Books.

Aestival Festival

Joanne Flemming of the Menasha Senior Center has confirmed that there will NOT be an Aestival Festival this year. The annual one-day writers conference typically rotates every two years and as of June 29, no one has stepped forward to sponsor the event for 2006.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oshkosh Public Library Bookfest

As part of the Oshkosh Public Library's annual Bookfest, children’s authors Daniel San Souci and Denys Cazet will participate in a panel discussion on Saturday, October 7th at the Oshkosh Public Library. Further details will be made available this fall.

Author/illustrator Daniel San Souci was born in California. He has collaborated on many books with his brother Robert. His most recent projects include the Clubhouse Books, tales based on the adventures of Daniel’s childhood.

Denys Cazet is the author and illustrator of more than 25 picture books for children. In 1998, Cazet published Minnie and Moo Go to the Moon, his first in a series of books written for beginning readers. Cazet also writes I Can Read Books featuring Elvis the Rooster. Cazet was an elementary school teacher for 25 years and has also been a school librarian and an elementary school media specialist. A California native, he lives with his family in the foothills of the Napa Valley.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Writers' Institute, July 13-14th

The Writers' Institute, an annual two-day summer conference for fiction and nonfiction writers, will be July 13-14 at the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Fiction and nonfiction writers gather each year at this conference to get inspired and learn the latest techniques for writing and marketing. The conference also features book sales, a writing contest and take-home materials.

The price is $245 for two days plus Wednesday evening workshop, includes instruction, handout materials for all sessions (even those you don’t attend), morning continental breakfast, afternoon refreshments, and the Fall issue of Creativity Connection. If you’re already a subscriber, we’ll credit your subscription by one issue.


Early bird workshop, Wednesday evening, July 12, “How to pitch to an agent.”

Special two-hour, roll-up-your-sleeves workshops in fiction and nonfiction

Keynote address: Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss. Learn more.

Featuring literary agents—

* Marilyn Allen, Allen O’Shea Literary Agency
* Vivian Beck, Vivian Beck Agency
* Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates, Inc.
* Scott Edelstein, Scott Edelstein Consulting
* Kristopher O’Higgins, Scribe Agency
* Jesse Vogel, Scribe Agency

To download a Writers’ Institute brochure, click here.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Two RWA members I know through email loops and their blog have recently posted about the importance of a single line or judging your own work.

Michelle Diener points to an editing technique used by Dean Koontz.

I read somewhere (don’t ask, I can’t remember) that Dean Koontz goes over each page in his novels at least 10 times. So my guess is that DK treats each line in his books as if he’s entered them in a first line competition.

Edie Ramer says:

I don’t know if it’s possible to write a better book every time, but I do know it’s possible to try. I’m only on page 77 on my wip. Maybe I’ll hate it in the end. Or maybe I’ll think it’s good but other people will hate it.

How do we know for sure? When we’re published? But I’ve read published books that aren’t good. And I’ve read unpublished books by my CPs that are terrific! Of course, I’ve read published books that are terrific too.

Either way, it illustrates the frustration of writing. Even when you've decided that the book is good and examined ever line to maximize it's impact, it still comes down to finding the right agent or editor at the right time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An Evening with Jacquelyn Mitchard

Two members of the club were able to have dinner with Wisconsin writer Jacquelyn Mitchard before she spoke to about 75 people at the Oshkosh Public Library. She is a lovely woman, funny and warm, and did not seem to mind when asked if she really does 200 sit-ups everyday as she says on her website. (She does.) Some other tidbits:

She starts each novel with a full outline. She then writes from beginning to end, revising as she goes. A novel usually takes her about 10 months, although the first few months are spent on research. She is also fond of writing camps, where she can write for four or five days without interruption.

A good story, she said, has a beginning, middle and end. "Something needs to happen," she said. "There are a lot of books today about nothing. They might have a good beginning or middle but no real ending."

Language is also important. "How the story is told, the language and dialogue, it all needs to sound authentic."

Writers, she said, "Watch life closely." Eavesdropping and people watching are good habits for writers to develop. She told of overhearing a man on a cell phone say, presumably to his ex-wife, "I'm so done with you, I even hate your ancestors." Lines like this, she said, add realism to one's writing.

She also read from her latest novel and invited our club to enter her "Cage of the Stars" contest (the prize is a personal visit from her). For details, click here.

Call for Submissions

Wisconsin Humanities Council (WHC) invites scholars, writers, and creative thinkers from all disciplines and professions to submit essays for two WHC-sponsored features in Wisconsin People & Ideas (formerly The Wisconsin Academy Review).

The first feature, The Humanities Moment, asks writers to ruminate on a life defining moment, one in which the humanities played a transformative role (i.e. your discovery of a life-changing novel, a historian's lecture that swayed your political allegiance, a childhood trip to a museum, an anthropologist's visit to your family farm, etc.) The use of humor is encouraged. Payment is $200 with a 1,200-word maximum.

The second feature, The Public Scholar, asks humanities scholars and professionals to write engaging, entertaining, and compelling essays on any topic. The purpose of these essays is to demonstrate to a non-academic audience the vitality of humanities scholarship and the relevance of the humanities to pressing contemporary issues. Authors are encouraged to think provocatively and creatively—essays with titles such as "Huck Finn and John Ashcroft: American Boyhoods" and "Brett Favre as Greek Mythological Hero" are welcome. Payment is $350 with a 2,700-word maximum.


Send submissions to:

Masarah Van Eyck
Wisconsin Humanities Council
222 S. Bedford St., Suite F
Madison, WI 53703

Please include a daytime phone number and an e-mail address with your submission.

The selection process is competitive and submissions become property of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Excerpts from the published essays may be reprinted on the WHC Web site, and in development and publicity materials.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council
The Wisconsin Humanities Council is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1972, the WHC has served the people of Wisconsin through both a grant program and humanities projects of its own. Its mission is to create opportunities for all the people of Wisconsin to engage in critical exploration of the histories, arts, ideas, and values of their own and other communities.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Writers Stories

The people at Cup of Comfort (similar to Chicken Soup for the Soul) are looking for stories by writers for writers. The deadline is July 31; visit Tom at Persistant Ambivalance for more info.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Magazines for sale

Kris Z. has past issues of writer's magazines for sale, including Writer's Digest, The Writer, etc. Her asking price is $4.50 for a bundle of twelve magazines; two bundles for $8. If you are interested, please call her at 233-0773.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Weekly Round-Up

Whatever happens next is Ruth's fault. She invited me here. Gave me a chance to spread some of the blogging goodness that, quite frankly, I want to share with club members but am too lazy to email them.

I still need to figure out what to do with the identities of the guilty, er, innocent. Afterall, it's not their fault.

Tess Gerritsen had some great things to say about translations. Michelle Rowan fears Opal Mehta and for a good reason. Elaine Viets does her best to convince men that reading a book with a pink cover isn't a bad thing. Joe Konrath believes in doing it himself (it being techie sorts of things.) Melanie Lynne Hauser is giving away copies of her book, Confessions of a Super Mom, which is a really clever book that I reviewed here.

But the very best this week? Miss Snark shares an embarrassing typo captured on a NY Times review on the cover of "A National Best Seller and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize." Makes me appreciate my favorite proof reader's even more.

And double check my typing. The jury's still out on the effectiveness of that move.

Guest speaker Jess Riley

Oshkosh novelist Jess Riley will speak at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. The event, which concludes the meeting of the Oshkosh Area Writers Club, is free and open to the public.

Jess's bio:

"Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much of her childhood sitting at her desk during lunch hour for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist. Instead, because berets were big in the eighties, she usually showed up at Career Day dressed as a film director. But the siren song of writing was too strong to deny, and in between bad haircuts, she continued to write poetry and fiction in middle school. She was nominated by a high school English teacher to attend a summer camp for budding artists and writers, where she realized she needed a whole new wardrobe. Also, she needed to work on her creative writing skills.

“She won her first short story contest a year later for a tale told through the point of view of a seven year-old black boy living in Cabrini Green because as a middle-class white teenager, she knew a lot about that kind of life.

“Jess served as class president three years running and was voted one of the two "funniest girls" in her graduating class, but she stresses that looks aren't everything. She graduated from Campbellsport High School in 1993, and because she received a partial scholarship to UW-Oshkosh, decided to go there to study pre-dentistry and make poor dating decisions.

“Jess has been a cocktail and banquet waitress, a blue cheese packager, and currently, a grant writer for local school districts. She worked at a mall-based toy store during the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1995 and lived to tell about it. She has also worked as a teaching assistant at a medium-security men's prison, which was much less stressful.

“She graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1998 with dual degrees in English and history, which means she narrowly avoided a career selling burial plots through cold calls. She now lives in a drafty old house in Wisconsin with her husband and an extremely neurotic dog that despises the theme music for "Calling All Pets." She will never be a dentist, but that's fine with her."

Life Stories workshop

Author Jean Goodwin Messinger will lead "Cheers and Tears," an instructive workshop on how to research and write personal/ family histories. The session is informal, fun, and interactive. A great workshop for genealogists and life story writers!

The program will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. For more information, call 236-5205.

Mitchard Reminder

Best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard will sign copies of her new book Cage of Stars at the Oshkosh Public Library on Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. The signing will follow a brief reading from the novel. The free event will be held on the SECOND floor of the library

The author’s note on the novel says “Cage of Stars is just a little different from other stories I’ve written; but I think the truths of grief, love and joy still thread through the weave.” A 12-year-old girl’s life is shattered when her two younger sisters are murdered. Her parents find the strength in their religion to forgive the mentally-ill killer, but Ronnie cannot. She carries her grief, guilt and anger with her, eventually organizes her life around revenge and prepares to act on it. The Library Journal reviewer called it her best book yet.

Mitchard is best known for Deep End of the Ocean, her first novel and the first Oprah Book Club Selection. She has for many years written a column that appears in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal.

Copies of the book are for sale in advance of the evening at Apple Blossom Books and Paper Tiger Bookstore. Paper Tiger will also be selling copies at the library from 6 p.m. on the evening of the signing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Young Writers Camp

The Fox Valley Writing Project at UW-Oshkosh is accepting registrations for its young writers camps to be held in Neenah and Oshkosh, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 12:30, August 7 - 10 and 14 - 17.

The camps are open to 5th through 9th grade students who enjoy writing. During the two week sessions student write with local writers, teachers and each other producing memoirs, fiction and poetry. They also go on writing marathons and keep in touch with each other via a secure blog. In the early fall, their work appears in an anthology.

Application forms are at local middle schools and can also be downloaded from Once there, click on "brochure" and the pdf form of the brochure will appear ready for printing.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer Reading

Registration has begun for the Oshkosh Public Library Adult Summer Reading Program. Read what you want, when you want. Weekly prize drawings and free community programs. For more info or to register online, click here.

North stories

Crotalus Publishing is currently compiling a book aptly titled North. The Book will feature stories and photographs from talent in MN, WI, MI, and Ontario. "We are looking for stories about why we live in the North. Is it the fishing, the outdoors, the Mississippi River Bluffs, or your grandfather's farm?" Photographers are also being considered. Please limit essays to 1,000 words max and submit to:

Crotalus Publishing
3500 Vicksburg Lane North #302
Plymouth, MN 55447

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Cage of Stars" discount

Apple Blossom Books, downtown Oshkosh, is offering $5 off Wisconsin author Jacquelyn Mitchard's newest novel, "Cage of Stars." The offer is good through May 31.

Mitchard will be doing a booksigning at 7 p.m. June 14 at the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. The event is free and open to the public,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


At the May 20 meeting, members discussed self-publishing a book of members' works. Tom C. printed a single copy, hardcover book through Lulu Press; it looked great and was inexpensive (he will bring it again to the June meeting for members to review).

Since everyone liked the idea of putting together a book (and Stacie generously agreed to format the galley sheets), we're currently putting together an informal committee to set some guidelines regarding length of submissions, etc. If you are interesting in serving on the committee or would like to share your ideas, please attend any of the June meetings or email us at

Wisconsin Writers Conference

Some of Wisconsin's finest writers and educators will explore the culture and literature of our state in this two-day Wisconsin Writers conference. There will be over 30 creative writers, performance artists, and academics featured, reading from their own work or their studies of writers from Wisconsin or writers who feature Wisconsin in their works. The last time this bi-annual conference took place, in 2004, over 150 people attended. Call 608-355-5220 for more information or to register.