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 how to get downtown, click HERE.

Don’t forget to tag us with your social media:
Twitter: @CrossroadsMacon and #WordySouth
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrossroadsWriters

We hope you have a great time at this year’s conference!

Crossroads Hospitality Team

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.


Author Anthony Grooms (Photo credit: J. D. Scott Photography)

Author Anthony Grooms (Photo credit: J. D. Scott Photography)



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” part of your psyche for your personal writing endeavors? I imagine you with one voice chirping in your left ear, and a totally different voice in your right ear.

AG: The problem for me is often how do I turn on the professor! In fact, I’ve been writing and teaching for such a long time that the two roles seem fairly integrated—at least in terms of my personality. In the classroom, I want to be seen as a writer who teaches—I profess—or at least hope I do—many of the ideas and energies that I want to apply when I am at my desk.


 All of my writing groups turn into drinking groups—so I really like writing groups.



KH: Describe your creative process for book length projects. Do you complete an outline before drafting prose? Where does research fit it?

AG: I never do outlines. Rather, I focus on characters and conflicts and try to work out what happens when the characters I imagine meet certain challenges. My drafts are generally messy and my progress is often slow—but it is an exploration. I bush whack my way toward a destination. It can get frustrating, but I feel it is a more engaged and honest process for me than an outlining. Research is an ongoing aspect of my process. Thank God for Google and Wiki—no don’t thank God for them; they are distracting! In essence everything can provide detail for a novel, so I am constantly reading, listening, observing for helpful details.


KG: What’s your revision process? Do you make multiple passes through a manuscript?

AG: Yes. And when I think it’s perfect—I consult the services of a real editor.


KG: Does anyone read your work in progress? Are you in any writing or critique groups? What are your thoughts – pro or con – on critique groups?

AG: All of my writing groups turn into drinking groups—so I really like writing groups. In fact, I have a few carefully selected early readers and I usually find them helpful. Critique groups can be inspiring—or they can be destructive. It depends on the make-up of the group and its agenda. Outside of the classroom, I advise students to form carefully selected—and small—groups. As writers mature in their craft, the groups may become less useful as critique groups, and more useful as networking groups.


KG: You also write poetry and short stories. When inspiration hits, do you know right away whether the piece will be long or short, or does it change up some times?

AG: Oddly enough, I do have a sense of genre when I get an idea. Largely it depends on the scope of the idea—a succinctly made observation or a question about social interactions. Once, however, a poem expanded into a novel manuscript of several hundred pages. Both the poem and the manuscript are in the attic.


KH: What new writing projects are keeping you awake at night?

AG: It is not writing that keeps me awake at night. I tend to write in the late morning or early afternoon. I am working on a couple of different things—I never seem short on ideas—just on time to write them. I am well into a novel draft about a black American Vietnam deserter in Sweden. I am sketching out science fiction short shorts and thinking about a SF novel; I have two manuscripts circulating. Now, that does keep me awake at night! Fussing about publishers!—but, finally, all I can do is to write. Because that’s what I do.



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.


2013-07-17 13.15.14Q: 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 focus on. You read my stuff, you get that frenetic pace and enthusiasm.

People who talk too much about writing rarely have time to produce. They need to sit their butts down and type. You have the ideas in your head, just cut it open and let it bleed out on the page. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Emilie as Henrietta

Books, Steampunk & the Writing Life: interviewing 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


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 are, Chicago-punks, too. Clearly they have been flying at too great an altitude. Steampunk began as a Literary Movement – a direct response to the Cyperpunk genre. In fact, the early writers (Jeeter, Powers, Blaylock) WERE Cyberpunk writers. Early Steampunk was equally dark and dystopian. Over the years, it has evolved into it’s own: more adventure, stripes of romance and horror and comedy and even children’s books. I’ve interview most of the founding fathers (and the presiding mother – Cheri Priest) and the fellows all scratch their heads at what the genre has become. They don’t feel they own it at all (see my interview with Tim Powers http://youtu.be/B5CLnMJPPcg) — it’s grown into a huge movement.


KH: Fast forward: The Steampunk literary genre has grown tremendously, yet there’s confusion over how to describe it. How would you define Steampunk today?

EB: High adventure in low technology.


KH: Pull out your crystal ball. Any prediction for where the genre is going? Are there any boundaries yet to be pushed?

EB: Oh that is the big question, isn’t it. There is a bit of a battle going on right now to define Steampunk. It is a difficult thing to put in a package when MOST of it is do it yourself. The elements of recycling, upcycling and inventing, of self reliance, make it a hard demographic to market to. At this moment, a tv series called Bruce Boxleitner’s Lantern City is looking for a home. FABU concept, great actors signed on, complicated world building, and a huge buy in from out community already, so why hasn’t it found a network? It’s so up for grabs – this product called Steampunk. Beyond that, it doesn’t lend itself well to product placement. But some may not agree with Boxleitner on HIS definition of steampunk – which is somewhat dark and violent. Others want to define it there way, and that’s OKAY! It is not like the Marvel Comics cannon where each character is trademarked and image branded. The future of Steampunk is going to be decided by the people who brand it. And when there are rules to this game, a lot of early adopters will take their goggles and go home.



Verdu_CoverKH: What drew you to fiction writing in general, and more specifically, into Steampunk?

EB: I was a long time writer of NON-fiction. I sold my first news story to NPR when I was 19-years old, and have been a professional writer since. When I “retired” from journalism (and I neither retired or actually stopped writing, it seems) I got the yen to create when I was TOTALLY plowed under as a new mother. I needed something for me – that didn’t include washing cloth diapers and making baby food. And a character study a friend of mine, Trish Nolde, wrote plagued me for a very long time. I like two elements of her character – the shady airship captain and the scholar explorer. I talked to her about taking those elements and making a new story – which became Chenda and the Airship Brofman. Trish has been one hell of a muse for years.


KH: You’ve written several acclaimed Steampunk titles for children. Talk about the nuances of writing for younger readers.

EB: I was TERRIFIED to write children’s books. ( Keep in mind I have interviewed more than one US president.) Kids are TOUGH and the couch NOTHING in kindness. I realize, after three children’s books, that the role of the author in children’s books is… small. The pictures are key, and William Kevin Petty is really good at knowing what appeals to a child’s eye. As for the writing, verse is TOUGH. Short stories are harder than novels. But – it’s SO much fun…


KH: Can you give a few tips for writing great Steampunk?

EB: (1.) Know what Steampunk IS to you. Make your world and live in it. (2) Know that the difference between Steampunk and another genre with gears glued on – is SUBVERSION. Play with cast systems, play with putting historically appropriate morals and customs on their ear. (3) Don’t get lost in the gadgets and moustaches. I’ve seen many a good story come to a screeching halt to describe some brass or handlebars. Focus on the story. The ADVENTURE.



KH: Are you a disciplined writer with a set routine? Or total Bohemian? (please tell us about your writing process)

EB: I don’t force the muse. You force it you get rotten muse. SO, I write in spurts. I try to set goals but that is futile. Deadlines are better.


KH: Any new projects to share?

EB: Coal City Stories should have a coloring and activity book out by Christmas and two books out in the first half of 2014. AND at some point I will finish book 3 of the Brofman Series (sorry fans – it will be worth the wait) and I’m exploring some contracts for an urban fantasy I wrote last year – THAT, I think, is the best thing I have ever written.



KH: You attend and speak at a lot of writer conferences – DragonCon, JordanCon, Deep South Con, to name a few. And you’re a repeat presenter at the Crossroads Writer’s Conference. What’s a highlight from last year’s Crossroads Conference?

EB: Can I say the Karaoke? No wait – the NaNoWriMo GOD keynote lunch – I mean, I TOTALLY drank the kool aid. The joy of sitting with FANTASTIC authors.


KH: What can 2013 Crossroad Conference attendees look forward to?

EB: You miss half the conference if you don’t turn up at the bar, or at breakfast. I’ve never know a more approachable crowd of writers than the ones at CWC. It’s kinda set up that way. Chris Horne has magic in a bottle with this gem – it’s the best conference I do ALL YEAR.



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


delilah_slider25 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.


IMG_1454Anatomy 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 point in time (think: way back pre-2010), a writer could simply survive off of freelance assignments. But in 2013, the market has drastically changed and freelancers are forced to evolve with the times. Now, publications expect writers to be a one-stop shop: from the crafting of a story to the photography and right down to publicity and social media promotion. In order to rise to the top of a diluted market, there’s one thing you have to be: an entrepreneur.


CarrieHowlandGetting Past The Gatekeeper: How to get your work noticed by an agent

Carrie Howland

Getting an agent is a tricky business, and can seem overwhelming. How do you write the perfect pitch? How do you find the right agent in the first place? How do you stay out of the dreaded slush pile?! Agent Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson, Inc. will answer these questions and more to help you on your way to finding, and building a lasting relationship with, an agent.


How to Build Your Story

Margaret South

Learn the secret of telling a great story. Master your use of turning points to heighten meaning. Give yourself the opportunity to get the story right the first time.


If Writing Is Easy, You Ain’t Doing It Right

Joe Kovac Jr.

Tons of pointers, tips, advice and other random nonsense you may or may not need to survive the writing process. (Lesson One: It is anything but a process.) But if you sign up for this session, we’ll discuss the oft-maddening act of turning out page-turning stories, and how to know if you’re pushing yourself enough to do it.


Shawn DurhamI Wrote an Awesome Book … and You Can Too

J. Shawn Durham

So you’ve finally written that awesome, super duper, kickass best selling tome, eh? But now that you’ve penned that awesomeness, how are you gonna let the world know about it? Welcome to 21st century authorship, where it’s not just enough to be Next Faulkner, Ellison or Morrisson. You also have to get your I-net game up. You ready?


Making History Live (in Fiction)

Anthony Grooms

You’ve researched the historical facts, but how do you blend them into lively fictional scenes? The speaker will discuss strategies for scene writing for historical fiction.


Making The Most Out of Murder and Mayhem

Barry Reese

The heyday of the bloody pulps might have been the Thirties and Forties but the movement has gained new legs in recent years with the rise of New Pulp. What is it and why might it be the salvation for small press writers? Award-winning New Pulp author Barry Reese will take you through the ins and outs of the New Pulp world, including where and how you can become a part of it.


Never Say No: Building A Portfolio In The Gig Economy

John Rhett Thomas

With expertise in website development, social media, publishing, and project management in the comics industry – both as a writer and an editor – John Rhett Thomas will field questions on a variety of discussion points, including how to get and keep a freelance writing job, operating within the “gig” economy, and working for – and as – an editor. He will also highlight the importance of “never saying no” (with a few caveats) when you start your freelance writing career. And, oh yeah, comic books.


Novel Writing 101

Sarah Domet

Have a great idea for a novel, but you can’t seem to get started? Or, have you found yourself halfway through your novel, but stuck and stumped? In this session we’ll explore novel writing basics, from character development to story arc. We’ll take a look at what drives a novel, and we’ll examine techniques and exercises to keep you focused, creative, and working toward the completion of your first draft.


Kat+ZhangPlanning the YA Trilogy

Kat Zhang

The three-book structure is getting endemic. But looking at all the cases of “second-book syndrome” and complaints about overstretched plots, do all stories fit neatly in 3 books? And how does one go about selling a trilogy anyway?


Poems from Oblique Lexicon

Judson Mitcham

My ongoing project is a collection of poems called Oblique Lexicon. Emily Dickinson said, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” and that is the guiding principle of these poems. My session will involve a reading from the collection.


David Iserson 210Putting Words in Other People’s Mouths

David Iserson

I wrote a funny young adult novel and my day job is writing for film and television. I’ll discuss how to get started in those various kinds of writing, balancing different projects at once, and if I can get it on the plane, I’ll try to bring candy.


Story Telling in a Digital Age

Erick Erickson

The attention span of the average person has shortened considerably in the digital age. Instant on, instant off, and instant change affect the experience of connecting through words. This session will focus on capturing and keeping attention in a digital age.


The Author/Editor Collaboration

Marc Jolley

Mercer University Press Editor Marc Jolley will discuss the role of an editor and the ways authors and editors collaborate to make a better book


The Not-so Gentler Sex: How to Write Women. And Sex.

Delilah Dawson

Whether you’re trying to help your female lead leap off the page or make sure your hero’s love interest isn’t just a cardboard cut-out, there’s an art to writing women. Which leads us right into romance, sizzling chemistry, and the bedroom. Things might get bawdy, but they’ll stay honest, and this once prudish Southern girl is more than happy to answer all your questions about the inside and outside workings of women in fiction.


The Seven Questions That Will Revolutionize Your Writing

Lauretta Hannon

Go straight to the heart of the matter as we explore the most critical lessons and solutions for your project. Expect to be energized and inspired by this lively, thought-provoking session.


Submit To Your Editrix: The Pleasure of Dominating Text

Annabelle Carr

The relationship between a writer and her editor can be intense to say the least—yet it can yield transcendent results. As both a consumer nonfiction editor and a literary fiction writer, I’ve put considerable thought into that delicate balance between dominance and submission. In this session, we’ll explore the twisted psyche of the magazine editrix and learn from some of literature’s greatest copyslingers. Think of it as text therapy for your freelance career.


BerniceMcFaddenTrusting the Voice: The Art of Listening, Writing and Living

Bernice L. McFadden

It’s easier to trust the creative process when you also trust that a greater force is guiding that process. Bernice L. McFadden discusses her personal journey from aspiring writer to published author by moving beyond fear by believing that a greater force was guiding her creative process.


Writer VS. Studio

Adam Torchia

The process of screenplay development in the contemporary movie studio. This will include both the studio and writer’s perspective, the art of navigating the fine line between art and business.


Andrew-Hartley-02_-300x214Writing in Multiple Genres

A.J. Hartley

Most successful writers work in only genre, and trying to do otherwise can be dangerous for both your craft and your career. But only writing one kind of book has perils of its own–not least of which is boredom for the author and his or her readers. This session will explore the issues and possible solutions for writers trying to navigate writing and publishing in more than one category.


Writing Poems That Get Published

Kelly Whiddon

Want to write poems for a bigger audience than your mom and your cat? This session will tell you how to construct poems that sing off the page and have editors take notice.


IMG_1435Writing Stories That Will Sell

Nathan Edmondson

Want to write like it’s your job? Or have a job writing? All you need to do is throw some sex and gunplay into the plot, maybe blow a car or two up, and you’re halfway there. Or is there more to it?





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


carniepunkFull 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 with an orange glow. She was in luck: the room was a jumble of mannequins, hats, and sequins. Costumes sprouted from dress forms, half finished in harlequin diamonds or lurid stripes. Feathers exploded from upturned top hats, and blots of cloth swooped across the ceiling like gypsy tents. Pg. 26

Lydia meets Charlie, her guide through this strange world called Sang – a world where her myriad tattoos are revered. She is to be put on display for the other inhabitants to gawk at. But other carnies are jealous of Charlie and newfound girlfriend. Lydia is in danger, in both our world and Sang.

As with any good story, there are universal themes to be found, regardless of genre or setting. Lydia must use her wits to navigate Sang, while dealing her feelings for Charlie and her fears of the unknown. She is the fish-out-of-water archetype, who isn’t so sure she wants to get back in the pond.

So, yes, this story was a bit out of my normal realm of reading, but it’s a good reminder that these short story collections and anthologies are a great way to get a taste for a new genre and to find new authors.


Paperback: 448 pages | Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (July 23, 2013)

Language: English | ISBN-10: 1476714150 | ISBN-13: 978-1476714158

Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 6.7 inches

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

REVIEW: “Glorious” by Bernice McFadden

reviewed by Meaghan Walsh Gerard


BerniceMcFadden“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 the way.

McFadden’s prose is incredibly clear and straightforward. There is no grey area, no smoke and mirrors. While her characters are delicate and layered, they are crystal clear.

In telling this story, mostly chronologically, McFadden skips years, or even decades. The acts of the book are meant to be pages of a scrapbook, not a detailed diary. These are moments and scenes and episodes in Easter’s life.

The plot is simple and the style is matter-of-fact, but descriptions are still vivid. Here, McFadden describes New York City on a spring morning.

The store owners spotted spring’s flouncing, flowered skirt way off in the distance and in preparation for her arrival sent their boys out with bucket and brush to scrub the pavement clean. Massive pots of lavender were set to boil and then poured out into the street to wash away the stench of stool and piss left behind by the police horses and stray canines. The fruit and vegetable vendors added a little extra shine to their apples and stacked them pyramid-style. Work rags popped and snapped against leather in a way they hadn’t all winter long, and the shoeblacks sang in that ancient, mysterious way. Pg. 89

Her storytelling is affecting. She approaches old themes but makes them feel fresh and unpredictable. Easter’s unlikely tale is an accomplished work of fiction, with plenty of true-to-life details to bring her to life.

See Alfrie Woodard talk about Glorious: http://bernicemcfadden.com/glorious.html


Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Akashic Books (May 1, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1936070111

ISBN-13: 978-1936070114


Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.3 inches


Scholarship Sponsors, Radio Spots and Billboards, Oh My!

GPB Radio Macon LogoThanks to a huge boost of support from the local community, this has been a stellar week in Crossroadsland!

WMUM, Macon’s GPB station, is running a new promo for the 5th annual Crossroads Writers Conference. Click here to listen to the Crossroads Stereo Promo.

CW-DIGThe next day, Lamar Advertising gave the conference space on one of its digital billboards overlooking Watson Boulevard so our buddies in Warner Robins will know what’s up.

And in great news for writers-in-need, we picked up two more scholarship sponsors from story-loving organizations and businesses.

The first comes from Historic Macon, whose hard work has preserved the gorgeous historic housing stock that makes our city so unique. Their crown jewel is the Sidney Lanier Cottage, where Macon’s famed poet was born and where you’ll now find the Lanier Center for Literary Arts. So it’s only appropriate that they want to sponsor a budding poet with a Storyteller Deluxe scholarship in honor of ol’ Sidney Lanier.

We’re also able to give away another Pen & Paper scholarship thanks to the generosity of the Law Office of J. Michael Cranford, Lanier Logowho is also helping support Authors’ Avenue on Friday, October 4 in downtown Macon. This one goes to a writer-in-need, doesn’t matter where you live or whether you’re a student. And if you’ve already applied for a scholarship, you’ll be considered for this one too. No need to reapply.

To apply for either scholarship, you need to go to this form and answer all of our unreasonable questions! Click here.

Now, you’re probably wondering about those other scholarships. Who won those?

Well, our anonymous donor has picked two first-time Crossroaders for the Storyteller Deluxe packages and those winners have been notified. We’ll share the good news with you as soon as we confirm with them. Same goes for the two Pen & Paper scholarships in the Middle Georgia State College giveaway.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with something our anonymous donor said about reading about the passion each of the scholarship applicants have for writing.

“It was a great reminder to ME that I’m not alone in my writing journey.”

And if there’s anything we can guarantee about your experience at Crossroads, it’s that you can find others so you won’t feel alone in your writing journeys either.


MGSC Ad cropped

Last weekend for the Pen & Paper giveaway, sponsored by MGSC

MGSC.lgo.rev.box.lft.267Time is running out but the entries keep pouring in. If you want a shot at one of two Pen & Paper registrations, generously sponsored by Middle Georgia State College, you should click here now to enter.

In addition to sending 10 of its students to the 2013 Crossroads Writers Conference, Middle Georgia State College has sponsored these two non-student registrations too.

Increase your chances by entering daily and sharing with your friends. The giveaway ends Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.

Learn more about tickets for the 2013 Crossroads Writers Conference here.

Check out the schedule for the 2013 Crossroads Writers Conference here.

Stay tuned for more news about Crossroads, including the special Sunday sessions for Storyteller Deluxe ticket holders and this year’s new T-shirt designs!