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Write more.

Write better.

Hustle hard.

You’ve written. You’ve improved. You’ve published. Now, if you want to make a living of this writing thing, it’s time to hustle.

Want to write a book? How one summer at Camp NaNoWriMo can get you there

Do you have a writing friend you want to go to camp with? Share this post with them! Camp NaNoWriMo – Even Writers Like Camping… When It’s Online! by Casey Rusinowski, SinnersTongue.com Most of you are probably aware of–and probably fans of–National Novel Writing Month (aka – NaNoWriMo). Oh yeah, of course. It’s in November. But did you know the same folks host an additional month of support and writerly fun in July. Camp NaNoWriMo functions as an online camp a la summer camps of old. Think Bill Murray in Meatballs but with more productivity. Before you ship off to Camp, here are the basics Camp runs July 1 through July 31 but cabins will be assigned June 25 (yes, you heard right, they are actually assigning “cabins” to maintain the feel of being at camp!). If you aren’t interested in being assigned to a new group of writers, have no fear, private cabins became available yesterday. So if you already have a ragtag group of ne’er-do-well writers you trust with your work, you can make that happen. The private cabins hold up to 11 people. Camp NaNoWriMo is not just for novelists Another difference between traditional NaNoWriMo and camp is the broader range of writing projects. If you don’t have a novel you are attempting to complete, but still want to enjoy some camaraderie with your fellow writers, there are a few more options: Nonfiction Poetry Revision Script Short Stories Whether you want to write something new, something short, or revise what you’ve already got, there is a place for you at Camp. The sign-up process is free and...

Crossroads went back to the drawing board and now we have something new to tell you

Earlier this year, we hit a brick wall. The planning for our next Crossroads Writers Conference had gone swimmingly …until it didn’t. Suddenly, the puzzle pieces weren’t fitting together anymore. What happened? We couldn’t get the venue we wanted on the same weekend as the conference hotel we wanted. A tall order, but not an impossible task. And then… we found out two of our favorite (and vital) organizers become mamas this fall. Another beloved Crossroader, a committee chair, gets married in October. There’s always a lot to juggle with the conference because we’re an all-volunteer group, so with this news, the venue/hotel trouble and us Von Braun Hornes now living in Akron, Ohio, the answer seemed clear: step back and re-evaluate. So we’re putting the conference on hiatus until 2015 and going back to the drawing board. The first step in this process was asking our people how we can actually help. What are your goals? What are your roadblocks? What, if anything, have you gotten out of Crossroads in the past? Whenever we’ve asked before, it’s been about the conference. You know, how can we improve it? Now, we’re thinking bigger. How can we help you all year long? What did we learn? A lot, actually. I’ll start with some broad strokes here and where it’s leading us. Then, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share more in-depth results from the survey. In a nutshell, this is what you told us: #1) Our people have big, awesome, inspiring goals for their writing but often struggle to finish what they start. #2) They want to connect to other people, specifically readers and other writers. #3)...

Our future is in your hands, Dude

Crossroads is at a crossroads. We need your help again, starting with your honest feedback. Just as we were set to announce the dates and location for the 2014 writers conference, we received unexpected news. It wasn’t BAD news in a cosmic sense but our original plan was kaput. In a nutshell, the problem is that we can’t have all three of these at the same time: the date, the venue and nearby lodging. We have targeted one of either the last two weekends of September or the first two of October. We narrowed it down to two venues that have facilitated our raucous crowd before. We made it a priority to select a hotel as close to the venue as possible–preferably one with both venue and lodging under the same roof. No combination of those things will work out for 2014. But that doesn’t mean we’re disappearing in 2014. (I repeat: We aren’t disappearing.) However, we have to change something. I’m asking you to help us figure out our next steps. Somewhere along the way, we started focusing entirely too much on ourselves, on improving. What do you like about the conference and the speakers and the topics and the food? That’s all still important but there is one question whose answer is at the heart of everything we do: What goals can we help you reach? Until we know, we can’t make a good decision about what we do next. That’s why your help is so crucial. Crossroads was started in the belief we could make the world a better place by helping all kinds of storytellers grow....

Ep. 4 – The Agent-Writer Relationship w/ Carrie Howland & Cat Scully

Play Episode 4 of the Wordy South Social Hour below or click here to download it. It’s no secret that Donadio & Olson agent Carrie Howland is one of our favorites at Crossroads. (We are secretly plotting to keep her.) Likewise,  we quickly became fans of writer/novelist/illustrator Cat Scully, who we first met in 2012 as a Crossroads scholarship recipient. Her story is pretty amazing. In this episode of the Wordy South Social Hour, they talk about the relationship between a writer and an agent, how theirs came to be and what work lays...

Wordy South, Ep. 3: Bernice McFadden & Chuck Wendig

(NOTE: This is the corrected version of the podcast. The first post was missing a few words. Sorry!) What “lunatic” thing did acclaimed novelist Bernice McFadden do until 2005? And why did she stop? Find out in this interview with the two-time Hurston/Wright Award nominee and author of New York Times editor’s choice book “Gathering of Waters.” She has a ton of great insight to share with writers trying to complete their novel. The next time you think about saying you could care less, be aware pen monkey Chuck Wendig may tap you on the shoulder, eyeball you up and down, and then shake his head, “No, you could care less. And you should.” We play his speech from the 2012 Crossroads so you know why. Shout-outs to a couple of talented writers in the Crossroads family. YA novelist Lauren Morrill, who made Crossroads 2013 awesome and then released her second book–“Being Sloan Jacobs”–on January 7. You can get your copy here. You can see what Lauren looked like in high school here: Delilah S. Dawson, writer of paranormal romance and whatnot, just unleashed “Damsel and the Daggerman,” a new Blud series novella. And, on January 28, you can get your hands on “Wicked After Midnight,” which may or may not be about lonely mogwai who eat dinner too late and have to deal with their emotions as they’re transformed into gremlins. Also, Susannah Breslin is awesome. Find these folks on Twitter: Bernice McFadden, Chuck Wendig, Lauren Morrill, Delilah S. Dawson, Susannah Breslin, Crossroads and Chris Horne Web interviews and blogs: Bernice McFadden – interview How to survive 74 rejections (BONUS: M.W. Gerard’s review of “Glorious”)...

Episode 2: Wordy South Social Hour w/ Max Adams, Chris Baty & Tina McElroy Ansa

Wait. There are a lot of folks on this one. You are correct. We’re still test-driving this podcast thing so in this episode, we give you more. Enjoy! So what will you find on the other side of that play button? After a patented Chris Horne ramble, we hear from  Macon-born novelist and filmmaker Tina McElroy Ansa on what she learned from the late John Oliver Killens, the Macon-born co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild and author of “Youngblood,” in whose honor we named our conference Crossroads. Because we’re nearing the beginning of the New Year and we’re all excited about writing more and writing better–but can always use more motivation–we play a clip from NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s keynote at the 2012 Crossroads Writers Conference.  Then we get to a real jewel: An interview with award-winning screenwriter Max Adams who joins Phillip Ramati for a conversation about telling stories with moving pictures. As promised, here are a bunch of links to more good stuff: Tina McElroy Ansa on the web, on Twitter and at The Moth. John Oliver Killens in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Chris Baty on the web, on Twitter, in his poster shop and at NaNoWriMo. Max Adams on the web, on Twitter, on Amazon where you can buy her book,  and in classes at the Academy of Film Writing. And Susannah Breslin online, on Twitter and at...

And the Max Adams’ book giveaway winner is…

Rachel Anne! Congratulations. If I remember correct, Rachel Anne has attended Crossroads twice and is a student at Mercer University in Macon. Can’t wait to see what movie Max’s book helps you write. Stay tuned, too, Rachel Anne because Max Adams will also soon appear as a guest on the new Wordy South Social Hour podcast dispensing more insightful advice for...

(drumroll) Wordy South Social Hour, ep. 1

Technically, it’s still December 19, as I post this. That’d been the plan: Post the first episode on Thursday, December 19. But I quickly learned that I don’t know much at all about sound. So, my self-education (thank you, Internet) slowed my progress. As did things like getting a broken tooth pulled. Regardless, here’s our first installment. I’m proud of it and no matter how much better these episodes get–and they will get better–I’m always going to love this one. Here, we kick-off the Wordy South Social Hour podcast the same way we kicked-off the 2013 Crossroads Writers Conference: With a talk by Delilah S. Dawson. (And her shout-out to the awesome Susannah Breslin.) If you get nothing else out of it–besides how weird she is–remember these four things, which she says are key to being a published writer: 1) Work really hard for a long time. 2) Develop thick skin. 3) Never stop learning. 4) Write every day, even when it drives you crazy. In a couple weeks or so, we’ll release the episode featuring an interview with Delilah. For now, enjoy the podcast and let us know what you think. We’ll be posting more from past conferences (I just found a stash from 2011) and including interviews with our favorite folks. Remember, you can find Delilah online at www.DelilahSDawson.com and follow her on Twitter at @delilahsdawson Yay!...

3 exciting reasons not to feel lonely in 2014

I’ll be honest. I miss you all. Just a couple months ago, we had our fifth–and I think, best–Crossroads Writers Conference and it was chock full of awesome, but now I’m lonely again. It happens every year. I just never get used to it. This time, I decided to do something about it. That’s why I’m happy to tell you about three things we’re doing between now and the next conference that gives me a great excuse to talk/text/email/pester you.  (Yes, you!) #1) the Wordy South podcast Do you like things that are free? I do too! That’s the deal with podcasts. Download ’em for free then go workout, take a walk, stream it in your car on long rides. You may think they’re soooo 2005 but I love ’em. That’s why we’re launching our own on Thursday, December 19, 2013. Every week, there’ll be a new installment featuring some of our favorite guests from past conferences, members of the Crossroads family and writers new to the whole Wordy South thing. You’ll find each episode online, via iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and whatever else we can get set up. Our first guests include Bernice McFadden, Adam Mansbach, Carrie Howland, Delilah S. Dawson and Cat Scully. We’ve got a couple of surprise guests and dozens of cool folks from the five previous conferences so this is going to be fun.   #2) Webinars, tweet-ups and Hangouts, oh my! Early in 2014, we’re re-launching this website. The idea is to keep regular blogs with tips, advice, insight, prompts and whatever else we can think of to help keep you motivated. But we’re also working...

Gear up! “Writing is a lifestyle” shirts by Modern Giant

Jason at Modern Giant has FINALLY made his award-winning “Writing is a lifestyle” design available as a T-shirt. And we think you’d look great in one. Seriously. Buy one and flaunt it to all your jealous friends. But as they say, flaunt it if ya got it… so if you ain’t got it, you can’t flaunt it. That’s infallible logic, yo. Click...

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...

Shuttle Information

Good news, Crossroads buddies! We have some updated shuttle information for you. Our organizers will be driving a passenger van from various locations at regular intervals to help some of you non-car folks (or those who are just more sociable travelers) get around. Tonight (Friday), the shuttle will be taking people from downtown Macon (The Rookery on Cherry Street) to the hotel 11 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., meaning the last shuttle leaves downtown Macon at 12:30 p.m. Tomorrow (Saturday), the shuttle will be taking people from the hotel to Mercer 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. Trips to and from Mercer and the hotel will resume at 5 p.m. Starting at 8:30 p.m., the shuttle will be taking people from the hotel to downtown Macon  (The Rookery on Cherry Street) to the hotel. The shuttle will be leaving the hotel half past each hour, and picking up from the downtown location on the top of each hour. There will be a break at 9 p.m. and then service will resume 11 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., meaning the last shuttle leaves downtown Macon at 12:30 p.m....

Hello Crossroads Friends! Here’s some helpful information…

Good afternoon, Crossroads buddies! Here’s the email we sent out to attendees on Wednesday, which should have some helpful information about where the conference is, where to park, etc.   We are so excited to bring you another great year of nerdy writer experiences at Macon’s Crossroads Writers Conference. If you haven’t already, check out the schedule of event HERE. Find out a little (or a lot) about the home city of Crossroads, Macon, HERE. You can find directions to the Mercer University Campus HERE and a campus map HERE. The conference will be taking place in and around the Willingham Auditorium, building 3 on the campus map. Registration is in the building next door, Newtown Chapel, building 4 on the campus map. There is plenty of parking in Mercer Village, behind the restaurants on Montpelier Avenue, street parking in front of Willingham Auditorium, or street parking around the Tattnall Square Park. The Mercer University Village has some great places to eat: Francar’s Buffalo Wings Fountain of Juice Ingleside Village Pizza Jittery Joe’s Margarita’s Mexican Grill If you have any questions during the event, please don’t hesitate to find us at the check-in table, or grab any of the Guest Services folks in red sashes. On Friday night, we will be having fun at our Author’s Avenue in downtown Macon, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday night is also First Friday in Macon, which means a lot of great free events in the arts and culture spaces, including the One City Art Festival First Friday Art Crawl. We also have a ton of other recommendations for what to do in Macon, and for that information, as well as...

Allowing for Failures and Successes: Interviewing Anthony Grooms

 A conversation with writer Anthony Grooms by Kathy Holzapfel Anthony Grooms is an award winning writer, teacher, and poet. The former Macon State College professor is the author of “Ice Poems,” the short story collection “Trouble No More” and the novel “Bombingham.” A two-time Lillian Smith Prize winner and co-founder of the Georgia Writers’ Association, Tony is a Fulbright Fellow and Professor of Creative Writing at Kennesaw State University. His books have been twice selected to the All Georgia Reads list.   ABOUT ANTHONY…AS PROFESSOR:   KH: You teach creative writing and you’re a multi-publisher author. Which one is more challenging – and why? AG: Each has its own set of challenges, but perhaps teaching is the more challenging since it requires trying to enter the realm of the student’s imagination as a way to help him or her improve. It is also very time consuming and impinges heavily on my writing discipline. But I enjoy teaching. It is a part of how I define myself as a writer.   KH: A writer’s creative process is deeply personal. But the audience – readers – have expectations. How do you teach aspiring writers established literary conventions that don’t inhibit originality? AG: I emphasize that tradition is a part of creation. In order to respond to, or even rebel against, tradition, the writer must first understand it. After that, I allow students to discover on their own—always guiding them—but allowing for failures and successes, many of which lead them to a deeper understanding of how to use or not to use tradition.   KH: How do you shut off the “professor”...

Interview with Barry Reese: Pulp Prolific

Crossroads favorite Barry Reese is a writer’s writer. Not only is he the dedicated author of pulp favorites The Rook Chronicles, Lazarus Gray and Rabbit Heart (the latter of which earned him the 2011 Pulp Ark Award for Best Author), but he also spends his days as a librarian. And did we mention, he has written for Marvel Comics, Moonstone, West End Games, Pro Se Press and others? He’s also a co-creator on the “Pulped!” podcast and the Ubergeeks podcast. Writer Rachel Helie caught up with Barry to give us a little insight to what he’ll be telling writers at this year’s Crossroads. He will be discussing his stories and craft at “Making The Most Out of Murder and Mayhem,” taking place on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Learn more about Barry Reese at his website, barryreese.net, and follow Barry’s thoughts and progress on Twitter, @BarryReesePulp.   Q: How do you do it? The sheer volume of work that you produce is amazing! Does it help to operate on an assigned character, knowing that character’s back-story and building on the pulp’s oeuvre? Share your secrets, Reese! BR: Classic pulp authors wrote thousands of words a month because they had to – they were paid pennies for each word so in order to live, you had to produce. I take a lot of inspiration from that. I believe that what you produce under a strict schedule may be less polished but it’s a lot more intense and true. It’s a pure vision that hasn’t been meticulously scrubbed by revision. I write. Then I write some more. I never stop. I never worry about the last story because I have another one to...

What to Do in Macon

Looking for something to do outside of the Crossroads Writers Conference while you are here in Macon? Well lucky you, there is a smorgasbord of exciting happenings happening in Macon, and almost all of it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the conference, in gorgeous, walkable downtown Macon. Downtown Macon is a super-safe place to be, especially on First Friday, with lots of folks and biking police milling around. Friday, October 4 is the monthly First Friday in Macon, which means a ton of different music, food and art events. The galleries show off their new exhibits with free receptions, restaurants and bars have yummy specials, and we will be joining in the fun with our first Author’s Avenue. For eating, there are plenty of choices as you walk up Cherry Street, but we especially love The Rookery (with the swankier Dovetail just upstairs – a great place for a cocktail), Downtown Grill (tucked away in a cozy alley), Ginger (make-your-own stir-fry spot on Poplar Street, with another great bar, Kashmir, upstairs), and Doughboy Pizza. They are all within a few blocks of each other, and easy to find.   How to get around: If you are staying at the Holiday Inn North, you will have to drive to downtown Macon and Mercer University. From Mercer University, you can drive a few minutes to downtown Macon, where there is plenty of street parking, or have a pleasant 20-30 minute stroll past some gorgeous historic homes to get there instead. Directions from the hotel to downtown Macon (for First Friday). Directions from Mercer University to downtown...

Books, Steampunk & the Writing Life: interviewing EMILIE P. BUSH

BOOKS, STEAMPUNK AND THE WRITING LIFE WITH EMILIE P. BUSH Go ahead and admit it. You’re as excited as we are that Emilie Bush is returning to Crossroads Writers Conference. Here’s a quick introduction, then it’s Q & A time with Emilie and Crossroader Kathy Holzapfel. Bestselling writer Emilie P. Bush is the Publisher of Coal City Steam Blog, and CoalCitySteam.com, as well as other fine blogs. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Steampunk Chronicle. A former Senior Staff Reporter and host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Georgia Gazette, Emilie is the author of the novel Chenda and the Airship Brofman (2009). Her second novel, The Gospel According to Verdu (2011) picks up where Chenda left off – high in the skies and full of adventure. Emilie’s first children’s book, Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story (illustrated by William Kevin Petty) hit #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Science Fiction genre. Her second children’s book, Steamduck Learns to FLY!, launched in late 2012. Emilie is an ABNA Quarterfinalist (2013) and Semifinalist (2010.) She is a calendar girl – Ms. December 2014 – for the Girls of the Con Calendar. Additionally, Emilie does book interior layout and design for other indy authors. Check out Emilie’s website: www.coalcitysteam.com Follow her on Twitter: @CoalCitySteam LET’S TALK STEAMPUNK… KH: Atlanta Magazine recently noted that Atlanta ranks #1 for Steampunk. Perfect coincidence: you live there. You KNOW this genre inside out. You write it; you speak on it, you breathe it at cons. Take us back. Where did Steampunk, as a genre, begin? EB: Interesting that. Seattle Steampunks will tell you they...

This is why you registered for Crossroads

You come for the classes and the comraderie. If you’re a returning Crossroader, you already expect to have a good time, learn a bunch and leave inspired to write more. Well, here’s a run-down with (almost all) our workshops coming up this weekend. We dare you not to be excited!     List of 2013 Crossroads Workshops   25 Steps to Being A Traditionally Published Author, Even Lazier Edition Delilah Dawson Instead of reading my 7,000-word guide to getting a traditional publishing deal, come listen to me talk about it–and answer the questions you’re afraid to ask. From finishing your first draft to getting an agent to what happens after your book is on the shelf, it’s possible to sell a book without having an MFA, a friend in publishing, or a reality TV show. Hint: it involves a lot of hard work.   Anatomy of a Book Emilie P. Bush Whether you plan to self publish or enter a deal with a commercial publisher, knowing your gutter from your half title page is important. Topics include publishing terms, an up-close and personal look at what a book interior SHOULD look like and the basic “rules” of layout.   Digital Storytelling Tim Regan-Porter Should you write differently for digital media? If so, how? What tools are best for telling a compelling story? This panel will address a variety of issues in writing for the web, tablets, and mobile.   Fiction Writing Tips Cate Noble Deconstructing story: the elements of compelling fiction, with tips for nurturing your writer’s soul.   Freelancing is Out; Entrepreurism is In Kristin Luna At one...