Location, location, location!

Where is the Crossroads Writers Conference? This year, the conference returns to the Macon, Georgia campus of Mercer University. A lot has changed around the college since we were last there. Namely, the growth of Mercer Village, which features a great little coffee shop Jittery Joe’s, a Barnes and Noble, and some great places to grab a bite: Ingleside Village Pizza, Francar’s Wings, Margarita’s Mexican Grill and Fountain of Juice. Don’t forget the large and lovely Tattnall Square Park next door, so if you need a few minute to wander around and collect your thoughts, you can find solitude there. To find your way to Mercer University, just click here, hit “get directions” and type in your address. Is there an official hotel for us to stay in this year? Yep! The brand spankin’ new Holiday Inn North is the official hotel of the Wordy South. They have writer-friendly rates (get a great discount off their regular prices when you ask for the Crossroads Writers room deal), a great bar for after-hours hanging out and we’ll run a shuttle from the hotel to the conference to make sure you get where the other word nerds are. Wait… where is Macon, Georgia? Right smack dab in the middle of the state, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta and about three hours west of Savannah, conveniently situated on I-75 and I-16. The cool part is that Macon has long been a little creative haven that has been home to a variety of writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists who have make a global impact with their work. We’re talking...

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...
Is Your Story Getting in the Way of Your Writing?

Is Your Story Getting in the Way of Your Writing?

  So, a couple weeks ago, I started re-reading a book called “Redirect” by Timothy D. Wilson. It promotes the “story editing” approach to life, which should be perfect for a writer, right? But Wilson isn’t offering insights about writing, per se. His book is about psychology and neuroscience, not novels. And still, it is about narratives. Here’s an excerpt from Wilson’s interview with Scientific American: We all have personal stories about who we are and what the world is like. These stories aren’t necessarily conscious, but they are the narratives by which we live our lives. Many of us have healthy, optimistic stories that serve us well. But sometimes, people develop pessimistic stories and get caught in self-defeating thinking cycles, whereby they assume the worst and, as a result, cope poorly.  You (and I) have heard a bazillion times that “writers write” so get off your butt and just write. So why aren’t you (or I) writing? After the conferences and workshops and talks and great blog posts and all that motivation… why aren’t you writing? Once you’ve rocked out (or not) for a month doing NaNoWriMo why aren’t you still writing in December or January, February, March, etc.? Could it be the story you tell yourself about who you are? Maybe it’s because you’re looking at your stumbles and thinking, “I’m just not supposed to be a writer.” Or, maybe it’s because you’re telling yourself bad stories, like the situation has to be right, that you must first be inspired, that you will as soon as… But, Chris, there’s not enough time in the day. Believe me, I...
Guest Blog: “Do You Still Love It?”

Guest Blog: “Do You Still Love It?”

Do You Still Love It? a guest blog by novelist Lauren Morrill   While gearing up for roller derby practice and complaining about a mountain of deadlines recently, one of my teammates says to me, “You became an author because you always loved to write. Now that it’s your job, does that take any of the love out of it?” Since most roller derby conversations consist of how to care for those oozing blisters on your feet and which compression shorts are least likely to creep up your butt during a game, I was a little surprised. So I thought about it for a few seconds, and then gave her my answer. “Nope. Not at all.” But why? How? Aren’t deadlines and reviews and expectations crushing my spirit? Nope. Not at all. Ok, a little bit about me: Part of the answer lies in the fact that I am both a hopeless procrastinator and a very fast writer. Depending on your perspective, those characters combine to be either a very very good, or very very bad thing. As a procrastinator, I’m always trying to find the next book to read or show to Netflix binge (Dance Academy, anyone?). But as a fast writer, I can do all those things and still get my words down at the 11th hour.* But the deadlines! The humanity! Turns out? Deadlines are great, because they’re a reason to finish (and, just a little tip from me to you … finishing, is the first step towards being a successful writer). I find that I do so much better now than I did when I...
Stars Launch ‘New Girl’ Writer’s YA Novel, ‘Firecracker’

Stars Launch ‘New Girl’ Writer’s YA Novel, ‘Firecracker’

In the sea of familiar faces at the 2013 Crossroads, you’ll find a few new, talented folks in the mix. One of those will be David Iserson, who writes for “New Girl,” and wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and “United States of Tara” before that. But Iserson is also a novelist. His YA debut “Firecracker” bowed in mid-May with one of the best book trailers we’ve ever seen. It features more than a few stars including former Maconite Jack McBrayer, SNL alum Will Forte and stars from “New Girl” among others. (Watch it below or click here.) MORE: Interview with David Iserson at ForeverYoungAdult.com Los Angeles Review of Books podcast with David Iserson David Iserson’s Tumblr Goodreads page for...
Crossroads 500: Let’s Go Bookshoppin’

Crossroads 500: Let’s Go Bookshoppin’

The Crossroads 500 is our ever-growing list of the coolest, most interesting, creative and inspiring people, places and things in the big ol’ world of storytelling.  You can nominate someone or something by clicking here.   So maybe we shouldn’t have started this right before the July 4th holiday because we kinda got to partying and one thing led to another, and well… we got behind. But we’re back and we’ll get caught up. No worries, right? Let’s start by turning our attention to those awesome, indie places that sell the books we love to read, those local shops that give local writers a chance to have their first reading and still bring in established pros. This time, we focused on those east of the mighty Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Others will come. Note: Macon’s Golden Bough Books was featured in the first installment of the Crossroads 500. It’s a must-visit bookstore.   In no particular order, here are 14 great bookshops. Find them online and follow them on Twitter, but experience them in person: A Capella Books, in Atlanta’s Little Five Points, has hosted a host of amazing writers and partnered with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library – Atlanta – www.acappellabooks.com – @acappellabooks The Book Tavern in the birthplace of James Brown shows its soul (and some funk) there in beautiful downtown Augusta, Ga., befriending local authors and being a small business booster –  www.booktavern.com – @booktavern Little Shop of Stories in the heart of Decatur, Ga., where thousands and thousands gather every year for the Decatur Book Festival – www.littleshopofstories.com – @lilshopostories You’ll find another of Georgia’s great bookstores, Avid...

Crossroads 500: Starting in Central Georgia

Starting today, we’re launching the Crossroads 500, a list of the coolest writing people, places and things. Three times a week — usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday — every week from here until the end of the year, we’re going to share six new entries into the Crossroads 500. The best part is that you can help us make it happen. Share your favorites by clicking here: Tell us who and what should be in the Crossroads 500. It’s another way to help you get that story out of you and into the heads of the people who deserve it. But it’s also our way of shining the light on the folks who might otherwise be ignored. And to kick things off, we’re starting our list in central Georgia, home of the Crossroads Writers Conference. In no particular order, here we go… Mercer University Press isn’t your traditional university press. Instead they specialize in Southern literature and books about Southern culture. That’s just one reason we like them so much. In addition to being good folks, they’ve been good partners with the conference, launching both their Macon poetry collection “Writing on Napkins in the Sunshine Club” and their writing awards for fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Follow them on Twitter and meet ’em in person at Crossroads this October. This year’s conference, our fifth, will be at Mercer University, a short walk to Jittery Joe’s in Mercer Village. This eclectic coffee shop was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, but migrated to Macon, lured by “the song and soul of the South.” Now, if you’re looking for a good local...
Some Q, Some A: Trauma Comics founder Simon Sanchez

Some Q, Some A: Trauma Comics founder Simon Sanchez

One of our favorite Crossroaders, Rachel Helie, recently started writing a column for The Comics Cube called ‘Double Helix’ and she’s agreed to share some of that goodness with us. In this installment, she interviews Simon Sanchez, the founder and force behind Trauma Comics. Sanchez is also the writer of Trauma’s grindhouse revival comic ‘Nazi Werewolves from Outer Space.’ Catch the rest of their conversation (including the story behind this photo) on Double Helix at the Comics Cube! Simon Sanchez aka “Trauma Comics” by Rachel Helie, Double Helix   Rachel: When did you first think “Hey, I can write a comic”? What was your inspiration? Are you a fan and if so what specific kinds of comic books do you prefer? Simon: A few of my friends and I were kicking around ideas one day at lunch and we started talking about werewolves and then one thing led to another. Before I knew it I was talking about ‘Nazi Werewolves from Outer Space.’ I contacted Don Marquez through an Ebay cover auction and told him my idea. He sent back his sketch. I sat down and wrote 8 pages of text and the rest, as they say, is history. That Marquez painting became the cover art for issue #1. I’ve been a fan since I was a boy. That was a while back and I loved horror movies too. My dad took me to see ‘The Excorcist’ when I was seven and it scared the hell outta me but I loved it and grew to love it more as I became an adult. Some of the best times I can...
Wordy South Women’s T-Shirts: the Pre-Pre-Order

Wordy South Women’s T-Shirts: the Pre-Pre-Order

Thanks to the stellar work by our phenomenal designer Jason Frost (Modern Giant Design), we had a healthy run on our Wordy South T-shirts at the 2012 conference. The only complaint was that they’d been made just for men: thicker cotton, boxy shape. So, we’re taking orders on women’s tees for the next month. If we get enough, we’ll print them up and ship ’em to you. If not, well… we’ll cross that bridge later. At least this can help us correct our mistake at the conference to ensure the ladies of Crossroads can kick it in the literary-themed style they prefer. The shirts will look *something* like the photo attached. (Shirts will not come with someone else’s torso already inside.) For the time being, we’re going with the grey/steel color from before, but on the order form, we’re taking a poll for a different color. If we get enough of the same color, we’ll offer that. Deal? No money up front, just a handshake commitment to buy a shirt later. We’d like to get 50 pre-pre-orders but if we get close-ish, we’ll move forward. Each shirt will be in the $16-$18 range depending on how many orders we get. By filling out a pre-pre-order form, you are reserving the first batch of these shirts. Click here to get to the pre-pre-order form. If you have questions, just ask them in the comments section or give us a holler at @CrossroadsMacon on Twitter or via email at...
Three reasons to enter a writing contest

Three reasons to enter a writing contest

Take the next big step in your writing journey by joining the community at Crossroads 2013. Learn more here: CrossroadsWriters.splashthat.com You’ve been dedicated. You’ve scribbled, drafted, edited, revised and polished. You’ve even given your work over to trusted friends for feedback. Now, you want to see your writing stand up on its own two and walk. Maybe run. So, have you checked out writing contests? Here are three good reasons to consider entering one: A deadline – Even the pros with scores of books under their belts suffer from either procrastinating to write or never finishing their revisions. Having a hard and fast deadline can be a good cure for either problem. Gut check – Most contests cost something up front — usually between $15-$35 — but that should serve as a mini-moment of truth. Is your writing ready for public consumption? And is this contest the right one for your work? Payoff – Yes, winning a contest has its benefits — publication, a little cash and an ego boost — but even if you don’t land the prize, you should be proud because you wrote; you polished; you gave it a shot. The only failures are when you aren’t trying. If you’re looking for a writing contest to enter — be it for short stories, poetry, non-fiction and essays, etc — check these websites for some of the best: GlimmerTrain.com – The good folks at Glimmer Train are among the biggest supporters of new, emerging writers. They only publish the unpublished and have  a nice variety of contest options. Good place to start. Poets & Writers – This huge database...