Why go to Crossroads? Because Meaghan says so!

Our friend Meaghan Walsh Gerard is a writer. When we met her, she was working and living the nonprofit life, which is about as lucrative as being a writer. That’s to say not much. And though she didn’t get one of our full scholarships, she did get a partial scholarship, funded largely by our awesome community of writers, because we knew we needed her to join us last year. What a great decision on our part! When you meet her at this year’s conference, you’ll know exactly why too! She has a ton of fire and a bunch of talent. Best yet, she has that follow-through we adore at Crossroads, which is to say she’s a good influence on a few of us slackers (ahem, Chris). Here’s an except about what she had to say about her experience, meeting Crossroads organizers and mingling with our all-star lineup of professional writers — and why she thinks you should join us this year. Meaghan, thank you! (To read the whole dang thing and to check out more of her work, go to MWGerard.com.) The act of writing is solitary but I never knew writing could be so friendly. There is no competitive jealousy at Crossroads. Everyone I met and talked to wanted to better their own process and was genuinely interested in each other’s projects. And for the first time ever, I won NaNoWriMo that November. …If you like writing, GO… …It’s a celebration of the written word. It’s the annual reminder for those of us who need the encouragement to keep writing during those subway commutes and while the dinner...
This is why we love you.

This is why we love you.

(Or, “What we’re talking about when we blog about love.”) It’s been a whirlwind week (and some change) since we closed out the fifth (cheers!) Crossroads Writers Conference. In the painful wake of saying “See ya later” to a bunch of friends, new and old, we came together for one last meeting about 2013 with an eye towards year six. The good news, of course, is that we’re all back in for another conference. We’re hitting up potential venues and hotels, checking in with some of our favorite writers and checking out some fresh faces to add to the mix. In the near-ish future, we should be able to announce a date for the 2014 Crossroads Writers Conference. In the meantime, we’re turning to you to help us make this conference better. While we love all the positive comments, don’t be afraid to tell us what went wrong, how and what we can do to fix it. That’s how we grow. Consider each conference a draft of our latest work. We need the feedback. [And you can offer that in this anonymous survey here — bit.ly/1aOzQnk — or by shooting me an email: chris (at) crossroadswriters (dot) org.] As much fun as we all have at the conference, we recognize that there’s more we can do to help our Crossroads family write more and write better. We’re talking about doing some “Tweet Meets” and webinars and such. But tell us, how can we help keep you motivated? What insight can we wring from our writer friends so you can get past some tough roadblocks? Where can our lil’ community stay...
Creepy Carnivals & Steampunk

Creepy Carnivals & Steampunk

REVIEW: “The Three Lives of Lydia” by Delilah S. Dawson a Blud Short Story, included in CARNIEPUNK Reviewed by Meaghan Walsh Gerard   Full disclosure: I don’t read romance books. They’re just not my thing. I do however love creepy carnivals and some steampunk literature so I was thrilled to see Crossroads veteran Delilah S. Dawson had a short story included in a book called “Carniepunk.” Let’s just take a minute and acknowledge how cool that title is. Alright, proceed. The entries vary but most are in some way related to fantasy worlds. Titles include “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street,” “The Werewife,” “Freak House” and “Hell’s Menagerie.” One can already hear the rusted calliope cranking out a tune in the distance… In “The Three Lives of Lydia,” Dawson tells a tale connected to her already-established Blud series. Lydia wakes up in a field, unable to remember what happened. As she slowly comes to, she recognizes the unmistakable features of a traveling circus. Right away the reader is hit with sharp descriptions. Running a finger over the crooked heart tattooed on her left wrist, she inhaled the scent of grass and cold iron and waited for something to happen. “Am I dead?” Her voice was overloud in the moon-bitten night, and she suddenly felt like an extra in someone else’s movie. Pg. 24-5 Though Lydia is confused, and perhaps a bit shaken, she is not useless. She examines her surroundings and knows that to blend in she will need new clothes. One of my favorite passages is the description of the costume car. A series of Victorian-looking sconces lit...

‘Glorious’ is like nothing else I’ve ever read…

REVIEW: “Glorious” by Bernice McFadden reviewed by Meaghan Walsh Gerard   “Glorious” is like nothing else I’ve ever read. And I read a lot. Author Bernice McFadden uses sparse language yet still manages to create searing images for the reader. The book opens with the young heroine Easter witnessing a brutal lynching in post -Reconstruction South. This becomes the jumping off point for Easter’s nomadic trek through the rest of her life. She leaves this violent town and joined a traveling circus. There she meets the enigmatic entertainer Rain. Six-foot, red-boned, green-eyes, Geechee girl with close-cut curls the color of straw. She was barefoot and Easter thought Rain had the prettiest toes she had ever seen. She wore a yellow-feathered boa coiled around her neck. Pg. 34 Rain becomes a mentor, of sorts, helping Easter navigate the wholly awkward phase of adolescence. Easter, either abused or ignored her entire short life, develops feelings for Rain. Aware of Easter’s immaturity, Rain sends her on to New York, eager for her to have a life she never could. Easter lands in the midst of Harlem, during the peak of its literary renaissance. She goes to parties with Zora Neal Hurston and Langston Hughes. She becomes a celebrated author in her own right. Easter pens a brilliant novel, entitled Glorious, and enters it into a contest. Unbeknownst to her, a jealous “negrophile” steals the story and enters it as her own. Easter is disgraced when the judges assume she was the plagiarist. The balance of the novel traces Easter’s life into old age, where she reflects upon the choices she’s made along...
Review of FIRECRACKER by David Iserson

Review of FIRECRACKER by David Iserson

David Iserson, a writer for “SNL,” “The New Girl” and “Up All Night,” made his YA debut with “Firecracker” this May. He was interviewed in the Los Angeles Times, reviewed at Reading Rants and featured in Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life and on ForeverYoungAdult.com. And you should love his star-studded book trailer for “Firecracker,” which you can watch below. This will be his first visit to Crossroads and we’re geeked. Meet him at Crossroads when you register by clicking here.  Meaghan Walsh Gerard reviews FIRECRACKER by David Iserson Only once before have a read a YA book most of the way through before realizing it was categorized as such. I haven’t got anything against YA per se, but having been 29 for a couple of years now, I am generally uninterested in the adolescent themes they explore. But occasionally (though rarely) a YA novel manages to defy its genre conventions and just be a darn good story. Our tempestuous heroine, and narrator, is Astrid Krieger and she lives in a rocket ship. Yes, you read that right. Astrid is the teenaged daughter of very wealthy if aloof parents. In short, Astrid is bored. Her only amusements are pulling the strings of those less perceptive than herself. She’s been recently expelled from her very exclusive high school for cheating – something she never denies doing but only determines to find out who turned her in. Her therapist (and former dean) instead challenges Astrid to do at least three things that she doesn’t want to do. As an embittered, independent teen, the list of potential tasks is quite lengthy. But as Astrid embarks on...