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...

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 & 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

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...
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...