Monday, October 29, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

For those who haven't heard of it, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is held each November, with the goal of writing a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days. It's not suppose to be good, or even pretty - the idea is to force you into the habit of writing on a regular basis, regardless of quality.

The NaNoWriMo website has lots of great resources - local contacts and events, writing tips, prompts to work with when you get stuck, and information on how to upload your work and get it counted.

Good luck!

Beth Ziarnik

Some time ago, Oshkosh Christian author/speaker Beth Ziarnik spoke to the club about all things related to writing conferences. Recently, she launched her own website that includes information on her own writing career as well links of interest to other writers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Private Soldiers: A Year in Iraq w/Wisconsin National Guard

Sgt. Joseph Streeter, squad leader for the 2-127th Gator Battalion of the Wisconsin National Guard and one of the photographers of the book Private Soldiers, will offer a rare first-hand account of life in Iraq.

The program shares the title of the book, "Private Soldiers : A Year in Iraq with a Wisconsin National Guard Unit," and will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Oshkosh Public Library. Area soldiers also will attend. This is a free program and open to the public.

The book chronicles the Wisconsin Army National Guard 2-127th Infantry Battalion's year-long deployment from the unique perspective of the soldiers themselves. Their mission would take them into the most dangerous regions of Iraq, where they would withstand hundreds of attacks, see dozens wounded, and lose three members killed in action.

Written and photographed by three battalion members, Private Soldiers provides a rare first-hand account of life in Iraq. Fascinating soldier interviews reveal the effects of deployment on the troops and on their families back home, and interviews with Iraqi civilians describe the Iraqis' perceptions of life, war, and working alongside Wisconsin troops. Brilliant photography illuminates the 2-127th's year, from training to "boots on the ground" to their return home, while candid photos taken by battalion members capture the soldiers' day-to-day lives and camaraderie.

The program will include a discussion of Gator Battalion’s experiences in Iraq and a display of photos from Private Soldiers. A book signing opportunity will follow the presentation; books will be available for purchase from Apple Blossom Books.

All royalties from sales of Private Soldiers will go to the 2-127th's family support groups and to funds established in memoriam of the battalion members who gave their lives in the Iraq war.

Click here to listen to Ben Buchholz and Joseph Streeter's September 24th Wisconsin Public Radio interview on the Larry Meiller Show.

Dinotophia Author James Gurney

Author/illustrator James Gurney will appear at the Oshkosh Public Museum on Saturday, Nov. 4. Gurney is best-known as the author and illustrator of the best-selling illustrated book series, Dinotopia.

Gurney will do a presentation from 1 to 2 p.m. and sign books from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase in the Museum Gift Shop. Please note: There is an admission charge to the museum.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Article on the Writers Club

Crystal Cummins, a reporter for the Oshkosh West High School Index, wrote a nice article on the Oshkosh Area Writers Club. The article is available online here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gotham Writers' Workshop

Gotham Writers' Workshop is the largest and most comprehensive private creative writing school in New York City and online. Ten-week, six-week, four-week, and one-day workshops are offered in more than a dozen forms of writing including fiction writing, screenwriting, nonfiction writing, and more.

For more information on online courses and how they work, click here.

For a list of online courses, click here.

Steal from the Best Contest

The Steal from the Best Contest for short stories offers the following prizes: First place: $750, Second place $150, Third place $75, 17 Fourth places $25 each


Each submission MUST contain one of the seven phrases below. Pick one per submission.

“I didn’t know the meaning of fear until I kissed Becky.”

“Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?”

“Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are…”

“Murderers are the best I think; they’re so polite.”

“Just forget you ever saw it. It's better that way.”

“I'm going to rest my eyes for a moment. But go on. I am listening...”

“I hate it when someone gives away the ending.”

Length: Each submission must be between 800 and 2500 words long.

Entry fees:
$10.00 for up to two submissions.
$15.00 for 3 to 5 submissions

Deadline: March 15th, 2008.

How to submit: Original, unpublished work only. Entries may be submitted via the website using Paypal or you may email an entry directly to the judges at in the body of the email or email an MSWord or txt attachment.

Submissions can also be mailed with check or money order to:
Hazel Street Productions
PO Box 635
Van Nuys, CA 91408-0635

The top winning entries will be published at If this contest receives enough entries, each and every winning entry will also be published in an anthology.

Writing Prompt for Nov. 3

Some members have indicated they would like a writing prompt to get them started on a piece to write/read at a future meeting. The prompt may used in a poem, essay, character or description sketch.

For the Nov. 3 meeting, there are two prompts to choose from:

1. America the Great.
2. Love is the most common of emotions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

St. Louis Writers Guild Short Story Contest

St. Louis Writers Guild's decades-old annual short story contest opened for submissions on October 1, 2007. This is one of the longest running writing contests in the country. Tennessee Williams won first place in 1935 for his story, "Stella for Star." Contest seeks previously unpublished stories of 5,000 words or less. Cash prizes: $500 for first place, $250 for second place, $100 for third place. Three Honorable Mention awards. Additionally, all finalists receive award certificates and publication of their stories on the Guild's website. Deadline for entries is November 15, 2007; there is a $15 entry fee.

NPR's Peter Sagal

Peter Sagal, author of The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things, will speak at 7 p.m.,
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. The host of National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” will delve into the culture of vices: the appeal of many vices, how to indulge in them, what their inherent risks are, and how not to look completely foolish when inevitably caught. He reviews famous, infamous and heretofore under-reported incidents of people caught indulging in their vice of choice and includes how they explained themselves, if and how they apologized, and to what extent they were lying when they did so. Harry W Schwartz Bookshops, 2559 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County. Call 414-332-1181.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Submit your manuscript for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It’s the perfect opportunity to become the next great novelist: the winning author will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group, including promotional support for their book on, and a media suite from Hewlett-Packard. All entrants are eligible to self-publish their novel with CreateSpace and sell it on Enter your manuscript for consideration by November 5, 2007!

Once the submission period ends, Amazon editors and top Amazon customer reviewers will read submissions and select authors for the semi-final round, beginning January 15, 2008. Each semi-finalist will receive a full review of their manuscript by Publishers Weekly and a book page on featuring a short excerpt from their novel that customers can download, read, and review. Penguin will select manuscripts to read from the semi-final round based on customer feedback and Publishers Weekly reviews and announce the Top Ten finalists on March 3, 2008. customers will then select the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Award, to be announced on April 7, 2008.

Register now and break through! Only the first 5,000 submissions will be accepted. The registration deadline is November 5, 2007.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Writing Prompt for Oct. 20

Some members have indicated they would like a writing prompt to get them started on a piece to write/read at a future meeting. The prompt may used in a poem, essay, character or description sketch.

The writing prompt for Oct. 20 is: That Jack O' Lantern looks sick.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wisconsin Book Festival

Wisconsin Book Festival will be held Oct. 10 through the 14th. The following is a sample of events, all held in Madison.

Distinctive Voices
Two distinct Midwest voices, Jean Feraca & Patricia Hampl, share their memoirs about family.
Oct. 14, 12:00-1:45 Orpheum Theater

Kevin Kling explores of the notion of happiness, and reminds us that there are two sides to everything, including ourselves.
Wednesday, October 10, 9:00 - 10:45 PM
Venue: Cafe Montmartre

Michael Perry, a perennial Festival favorite is back on the streets of Madison with his Truck: A Love Story.
Thursday, October 11, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Venue: Borders Books & Music (West Side)

Ask A.J. Jacobs, "What would it require for a person to live all the commandments of the Bible for an entire year?"
Sunday, October 14, 6:00 - 7:45 PM
Venue: Wisconsin Studio/Overture

Bring your book club to this event featuring Jacquelyn Mitchard, Judy Merrill Larsen, and Ellen Baker.
Saturday, October 13, 7:00 - 8:45 PM
Venue: Promenade Hall/Overture

Rock n' Read: Two authors share their stories set against the backdrop of the punk and indie rock scene.
Saturday, October 13, 9:00 - 10:00 PM
Venue: Cafe Montmartre

Click here for a full schedule of events.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jan Brett - guest author

Children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett will be speak at the Appleton Public Library on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 5 p.m., signing books from 5:30 -7 PM. The entire Jan Brett collection of books will be on sale, including her newest book, The Three Snow Bears. Conkey’s Bookstore will have plenty of books to purchase to accommodate everyone.

At 4:00 p.m. numbered tickets for the event will be given out next to Jan Brett’s touring bus located in the library’s parking lot. Please arrive early. The first 100 tickets in line will receive a free signed Jan Brett poster.

Each ticket guarantees that the family will get to meet Jan. She will sign a minimum of one book per ticket. If time does not permit Jan to sign every book, Conkey’s will have special signed bookplates featuring Jan’s artwork for all of the extra books. All family members may visit with Jan, and if you have a camera, you may have your photo taken with her.

Before the book signing Jan Brett will conduct a 15-minute drawing illustration and presentation. It will begin at 5 p.m. Everyone with or without a ticket is invited to come and listen to the presentation. Please arrive at Appleton Public Library by 5 p.m. to see Jan’s demonstration which will be held in the Lower Level Meeting Room of the Appleton Public Library.

Contact information: Conkey's Bookstore at 920-735-6223.

Novelist Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss, author of "Terminal: A Burke Novel" will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 14, at Harry W Schwartz Bookshops, 2559 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County. Call 414-332-1181.

The blistering new thriller from Vachss forces Burke back in time to keep a commitment to a brother from his prison past and avenge the cold-case murder of a teenage girl. When the former shot-caller of the country’s feared white supremacist prison gang comes calling he comes with references and the possibility of a huge score. The terminally ill ex-con needs a fortune to gamble on the long-shot possibility of a cure in Switzerland. His only card is a degenerate he paid for protection in prison.

Deanna Favre booksigning

Deanna Favre, wife of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, will sign copies of her book, Don't Bet Against Me, her inspiring memoir about becoming a reluctant celebrity overnight when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Now cancer-free, she shares the role her faith has played in her life, from her years as a single mom to her high profile marriage to Brett, to her battle with breast cancer.

A ticket is required for the event; tickets are free with purchase of her book. This is a booksigning event only; no talk.

The booksigning will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, 17145 W Bluemound Rd, Brookfield, Milwaukee County. Contact: Nancy Quinn, 414-270-3434 ex. 117.

Wisconsin Authors panel discussion

Love writing? Wish you knew more about the craft and what it takes to get published? Join six successful Wisconsin authors for a conversation about their work.

The free event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Redbird Studio, Milwaukee.

In this intimate setting, you'll be able to ask questions about style, character, genre, submissions and publication. A book signing and social gathering will follow the panel discussion. Panelists include Sharon Hart Addy, Liam Callanan, Kurt Chandler, Stacey Kannenberg, Sandra Kring and Paul Salsini.

Contact information: Redbird Studio/Marian Center, 3195 S. Superior St. #210, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County. Call 414-481-3195.

An American Girl Tea

An American Girl Tea Celebrating Women of Oshkosh will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 6, under the Dome (2nd floor) of the Oshkosh Public Library.

The program is for girls in grades 1-5 only, with their adult female guest.Girls are welcome to dress up in their finest party wear and bring their favorite doll!

Program will include:
Accomplished women of Oshkosh sharing their stories of leadership.
A fun presentation on proper manners.
A style show presented by "A Little Attitude."
Book Fair by Apple Blossom Books, LLC.
Tea party refreshments.

Seating is limited, so please call the Oshkosh Public Library Children's Desk at 236-5208 to register.

Jim LaMarche Booksigning

If you missed author/illustrator Jim LaMarche's author visit at the Oshkosh Public Library, you can catch him again for a booksigning at Apple Blossom Books, downtown Oshkosh, from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6., as part of the Gallery Walk.