What’s so special about Crossroads?


You can also write a screenplay. We aren’t dictators.

Here’s what Crossroads is all about:

1) having fun
2) making new connections with other writers
3) getting the insight to be more creative
4) finding the motivation to finish your writing project

Ever heard the advice that you should read good books to write good books? It’s like that with us. We go heavy on creative, prolific, versatile professional writers because we want you to be more creative, prolific and versatile.

That’s why we’re bringing NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, critically acclaimed novelist Bernice McFadden, New York Times bestseller Adam Mansbach, writer/producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman, TerribleMinds.com’s Chuck Wendig, Louder than a Bomb co-founder Kevin Coval, Zona Rosa founder Rosemary Daniell, Ga Writers Association co-founder Tony Grooms, graphic novel writer Robert Venditti, Forbes.com blogger Susannah Breslin and a whole bunch more.

So whether your goal is to keep that promise you made yourself years ago or to win at NaNo this November, Crossroads is here to make that happen. Welcome to the Wordy South!

Yeah, but what does that mean?

We want you to be more creative after Crossroads than you were before. To us, “more creative” means creating more and creating better. That’s why we put the emphasis on the writing itself. We want to help you get to the point where you can query an agent–we aren’t about learning how to query an agent.

What’s the Freelancers Summit? 

The Freelancers Summit, on Friday, October 5, is our first dedicated set of talks, workshops and small groups on writing for magazines, websites, blogs, newspapers and whatever else might bring in a little money on the side. The Summit is a half-day with writers like Susannah Breslin, who’ll talk about finding your place in “the Gig Economy;” Pulitzer Prize winner Mitch Weiss and embedded war reporter Kevin Maurer who’ve collaborated on a couple of books; Charles Bethea who has written for GQ, Rolling Stone and Garden & Gun, as well as working as an editor for Atlanta Magazine; Annabelle Carr who is the editor of Savannah Magazine; and a few talented, working writers like Joe Kovac, Leila Regan-Porter and Rhett Thomas. To register, click here.

Where is all this happening? 

The whole weekend is under one roof this year. Friday, you’ll find the Freelancers Summit in Macon’s nicest hotel, the Marriott City Center (and if you want a great deal on a beautiful room, click here), which is connected to the Edgar Wilson Convention Center where the Writers Conference will be on Saturday, October 6. And on Sunday afternoon, we’ll be back in the Marriott for a fun, free few hours when you’ll be able to get your books autographed, hear some readings and say goodbye to some new friends. For directions, click here.

What’s the deal with lunch this year? 

Yes, we’re serving lunch again and this time with a big-time keynote speaker: Mr. Chris Baty, the dude who invented National Novel Writing Month and authored “No Plot? No Problem!”

You could say the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get you to just write, to commit something to paper (or hard drive space… or the cloud) with which you can then work. You know, being a writer by actually writing.

Sounds simple but it’s powerful. Don’t believe us? Check out all the “Thank you, Chris Baty!” videos to see what a difference it can make.

Yeah, but what about the food?

Oh yeah… your meal is included with the keynote address and everyone purchasing one of our three registration packages will get to dine with us.  The food will be prepared by the Marriott and the menu makes us hungry just looking at it. We’ll be picking the particulars closer to October and you’ll get to choose what you eat. (If you’ve already registered by then, we’ll email you so no worries.)

So what does registration include?

You could just take a look at our registration breakdown by clicking here, but we don’t mind explaining it a little.

This year, you can chose from one of three registration packages or you can get one of our “a la carte” options. While the better deal is a package, the a la carte options are for folks who may only want to come to lunch with Chris Baty or just want to check out one of the Talk Blocks with Chuck Wendig or Bernice McFadden. Or Emilie Bush’s Self-Publishing 101 breakout session.

Now, if you want the packages, you’ll get access to all the Saturday talks, breakouts and small groups plus the Chris Baty keynote lunch, and we’re throwing in a Crossroads T-shirt too. That’s the basic level–our Pen & Paper package. You get more with the Storyteller Deluxe and Wordsmith Mega-Supreme packages. (Yeah, we let Chris Horne name the packages this year… sorry.)


Wait… what’s a “Talk Block”?

In general, we like to think we have a certain joie de vivre that sets us apart from other, less French-invoking conferences. But in particular, there are some changes for this year’s conference that have us super psyched.

If you’re familiar with the TED conferences (and if you’re not, watch this video), you’ll recognize our Talk Blocks: five short, ideas-focused, passionate plenary talks from our guest writers who will hit you with the things that move them most.

There will be two Talk Blocks–one in the morning, one in the afternoon–and after each, we go into Speak Easy mode: smaller groups for salon-type settings (the literary kind, not where you get your hair did) for a lightly-moderated round-table panels so you can pick the (delicious) brains of our guest writers.

Alright, who is actually going to be there?

So you wanna know whose brains you’ll get to pick? Well, here’s a little primer on our guests from writerhood of the traveling pen. (If this doesn’t make you mark your calendar… you probably don’t have a calendar. We need to work on that.)

Chris Baty – The author of “No Plot? No Problem!” founded National Novel Writing Month in 1999 and has since inspired hundreds of thousands of people to try writing a novel length book in just one month. Many participants have succeeded, dozens have been published and some famously so, including “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen and “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

Bernice McFadden – The acclaimed novelist of “Glorious” and “The Warmest December,” Bernice’s latest is “Gathering of Waters” a beautifully drawn imagining of the people Money, Mississippi, before and after the lynching of Emmett Till. Her great-great grandfather, a freed slave, founded the First Baptist Church of Macon and became president of an area publishing concern.

Adam Mansbach – The author of “Go the F*** to Sleep” and “Angry White Black Boy,” which is about a character named for Macon, Georgia, Adam is a Sundance Screenwriting Fellow whose newest book is a satire in graphic novel form titled “Nature of the Beast.” He’s also written a collection of poetry, started a magazine, been an MC, a creative writing professor and an essayist.

Kevin Coval – Poet and author of “L-Vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems,” a collection that chases after art, theft and race, unafraid of the complexity and unwilling to settle for simple answers. He is also the co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb, the world’s largest youth slam poetry competition, featured in the stirring documentary of the same title produced for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Chuck Wendig – Sometimes profane, Chuck Wendig is more often profound, doling out bite-sized writing advice that burrows into the brain. That is when he isn’t writing (or Tweeting). He’s the author of “Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey,” “500 Ways to Be a Better Writer,” and “Double Dead.” His latest novel is “Blackbirds,” and he too is a Sundance Screenwriting Fellow.

Susannah Breslin is a freelance journalist and award-winning blogger. She’s currently a Forbes blogger, and has written for Newsweek, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, Salon, Slate, The Daily Beast, Variety, The LA Weekly, TheAtlantic.com, Esquire.com, and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2008, TIME.com named her one of the best bloggers of the year. Susannah has also appeared on Politically Incorrect, CNN, and NPR.

Robert Venditti is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Homeland Directive” and the sci-fi graphic novel series “The Surrogates,” the first installment of which was adapted into a feature film starring Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames. He also writes the graphic novel adaptations of Rick Riordan’s bestselling Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels. His most recent project is the ongoing monthly comic book series X-O Manowar.

Kevin Maurer

Mitch Weiss – Kevin has spent much of the last several years embedded with US special forces in Afghanistan and Mitch Weiss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. They have collaborated on “No Way Out,” the gripping true story about a mission to capture a terrorist leader that went terribly awry.

Rosemary Daniell – A writing coach and author praised by the likes of Erica Jong and Pat Conroy, Rosemary is the founder of Zona Rosa, which encourages women to tell their stories and teaches them how. She’s also the author of “Fatal Flowers: On Sin, Sex and Suicide in the Deep South,” a powerful memoir that won the Palimpest Prize and was immediately re-issued.

Delilah S. Dawson is the author of WICKED AS THEY COME, a steampunk paranormal romance out now with Pocket/Simon & Schuster and the first in a series. She wrote her first book at 31 and found her agent, Kate McKean of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, through the slush pile. She’s a native of Roswell, GA and her career gag reel includes stints as an art teacher, a balloon artist, a reptile vendor, various Disney princesses, a corpse, a cube monkey, a tour guide, a horseback riding instructor, a muralist, and a gallery supervisor. Delilah is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Georgia Romance Writers, and the Artifice Club. She’s an Associate Editor at www.CoolMomPicks.com and www.CoolMomTech.com and a contributor to the Steampunk Chronicle.

Nathan Edmondson writes comic books and screenplays. He created “Olympus” with Christian Ward, “The Light” with “Surrogates” artist Brett Weldele, and the Eisner-nominated “Who Is Jake Ellis?” with artist Tonci Zonjic. He currently pens the ongoing series “The Activity” with artist Mitch Gerads and was the writer for the DC Comics “New 52″ title “Grifter.” NPR has listed his recent work among the “Top 6 Comics to Draw You In” and USA Today and CNN are among those who have listed his work in their respective Top 10 lists. “Dancer” is his latest project. A native of Augusta, GA, Nathan now lives in Macon but given his travel schedule, he might just be coming to Crossroads from the other side of the globe.

Charles Bethea writes cover stories, features, essays and squibs for Outside, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, GQ, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and other solvent publications. He’s also a contributing editor for Atlanta Magazine. If you’re looking, he lives in a fortified compound in Buckhead, Georgia, with a good view.

Annabelle Carr was raised by artists on both sides of the Mason/Dixon line and so she’s made a fun-filled career out of toying with regional identity and playing dress-up with words.  This intrepid “editrix” launched and edited a series of niche lifestyle magazines before making herself at home in coastal Georgia as the editor of Savannah Magazine, Savannah Homes and Savannah Weddings.  She freelances for other lifestyle magazines such as Garden & Gun and Departures; writes short fiction, and spends her spare time teaching other writers what editors want.  Annabelle draws daily inspiration from the salt marsh, the saw palmetto—and the occasional Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

Sarah Domet is the author of “90 Days to Your Novel,” published by Writer’s Digest Books. Her fiction and nonfiction also appears in New Delta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Potomac Review, Harpur Palate, Talking Writing, and Many Mountains Moving. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature and fiction from the University of Cincinnati and currently teaches in the writing department at Georgia Southern University. For more information, visit her Web site at www.sarahdomet.com.

Barry Reese is a man with a prodigious habit for writing. A librarian by day, he churns out thousands of words a night, bringing to life pulp characters like The Rook and Lazarus Gray. He got his big break writing for “the Official Handbook for Marvel Universe,” then began creating his own stories. For his pulp short stories and addictive but gory, monster horror novel “Rabbit Heart,” Barry was awarded the 2011 Pulp Ark Award for Best Author.

Emilie Bush is a former host of GPB’s Georgia Gazette turned Steampunk author and blogger extraordinaire. Emilie is the publisher of Coal City Steam Blog and the author of “Chenda and the Airship Brofman” and “The Gospel According to Verdu.” Her first children’s book, “Her Majesty’s Explorer,” debuted in February 2012 at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Science Fiction, also ranking on the Children’s Literature bestseller lists. She’s worked up a draft for a mythological fantasy set in New York City and is plotting the third and final book of the Brofman Series.

Johanna Ingalls is the managing editor at Akashic Books where she has worked for over a decade since being rescued from the music industry by Akashic publisher Johnny Temple. A graduate of Barnard College, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their foolishly oversized animals–an Irish Wolfhound named Beckett and a twenty-pound cat named Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Carrie Howland is a literary agent at Donadio and Olson, Inc., where she represents literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. In addition to her own clients, she handles foreign, first serial, and audio rights for the agency. Carrie is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and writes for its newsletter. She also volunteers annually as a judge for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has also appeared in various literary journals and magazines. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue. She lives in Brooklyn. You can follow her on twitter at @ecarriehowland or learn more about Donadio & Olson at www.donadio.com.

When is this again?

Friday, October 5, 2012 is the Crossroads Freelance Summit, a half-day of workshops, talks and small groups focused completely on freelance writing, writing for the web, magazine writing and all the other ways you can make money making words dance.

Saturday, October 6, 2012 is the Crossroads Writers Conference, a full-day dedicated to writing fiction, memoir, screenplays, poetry, comic books, humor, pulp, etc., etc., etc… In other words, it’s a full-day dedicated to writing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012 is an all-you-can-digest, literary free for all (literally, it’s free for everyone and open to the public) where we’ll have special guests readings, book signings and poets doing push-ups.

Why come to Crossroads?

Good writing takes hard work. It isn’t easy. You go it alone and most the time, you hate everything you’ve written. You ball it up and start over because it’s never right, and you’re never satisfied. There’s rarely enough time. There’s never any money in it. You don’t have the energy because everyone wants a piece of you.

But you push forward anyway. You have to. Writing won’t let you go. Won’t let you just do something else. The stories eat away at your peace and quiet. The words hum around your noggin like a rattled beehive.

No, it isn’t all awful. You do feel at home when you’re writing. Especially when it’s working. You do enjoy it sometimes.

So you need some help. A community of folks who go through this too. People who see the world this peculiar way. More than that–maybe–you need some guidance and a good kick in the pants. But you don’t trust most folks so you want to hear it from people who’ve wrestled these demons and won just enough to make a living at this.

That’s why: Because you give a damn about becoming a good writer.