Tag Archives: Lauretta Hannon


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?





It’s Not Even Past: Tina McElroy Ansa, Terry Kay, Lauretta Hannon & Robert Perry Ivey


At Crossroads 2011, we assembled a few really interesting panels but this one featuring novelist Tina McElroy Ansa, novelist Terry Kay, memorist Lauretta Hannon and poet Robert Perry Ivey still has people talking. Maybe that’s because it was a panel dedicated to Southern writing (thus the Faulkner quote) or, because Tina and Perry are Macon natives, Lauretta hails from Warner Robins and Terry Kay is published by Mercer University Press.

Either way, you’re sure to find a few nuggets of knowledge in these snippets.


Tina McElroy Ansa answers a question about what she learned from another famed Macon native, John Oliver Killens, who co-founded the Harlem Writers Guild and inspired the name of our conference in his novel, “Youngblood,” set in Macon’s fictional counterpart, Crossroads, Georgia.

Asked whether Southern writers are mired in stigma when they leave the region, poet Robert Perry Ivey says sure, maybe… but have fun with it.

Memorist Lauretta  Hannon talks about working as a Southern writer with a New York publicist.

Novelist Terry Kay talks about how he approaches writing as a Southerner and the privileges a Southern writer used to have.


Talkin’ Business With the Queen: an interview with Lauretta Hannon

Talkin’ Business with The Queen

by Beth Ward


I have had the pleasure of keeping Lauretta Hannon’s company exactly two times, and both of those times she was sporting fire-engine red lipstick, with leopard print sunglasses perched on top of her head. Nothing about this look was contrived; in fact, she was The Cracker Queen personified – right down to a laugh that bellowed out of her in loud, unapologetic waves, causing her head to tilt back as if to make room for its sound. It is a rare thing to be in the company of someone so utterly authentic. Fans of her memoir have responded not only to its brash, down-home humor, but also to its warmth and honesty. For many of us adoring fans, it is not a stretch to place ourselves right within its pages, living out scenes of our own lives.

Perhaps it is these things that can be credited for “The Cracker Queen”’s success; perhaps it is Ms. Lauretta herself. Either way, we have all fallen in love with her and her joyful, jagged life.

I had the opportunity to pick The Queen’s brain a bit in lieu of her Crossroad’s appearance this year, and as always, she left me laughing and aching to write.

BW: To begin, when did you know writing was what you wanted to do?

LH: I’ve always had a hungering to write, but I didn’t always know that I was “good enough” to do it well.


BW: I think that’s the main problem emerging writers struggle with – just getting over that fear, because there’s always someone in your ear telling you that you can’t make a living that way. How did you handle the people around you that thought, “don’t quit your day job?”

LH: Like I always treat such folks: I ignored them and listened to my gut. I realized that I’d have to choose risk over security if my book was to have any chance of success. The book market is like a blood sport, and I knew I’d have to hustle to keep The Cracker Queen alive. Actually, I think dog fighting is more humane than publishing.


BW: So to say you need a thick skin and selective hearing would probably be a bit of an understatement then. But when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of writing, what is your process like? How do you tackle the blank screen and the big messy desk?

LH: My process is a hot junky mess. I’m not one to rise at 5am everyday and write 500 words. Instead, I’ll go on marathon writing jags on a weekend after not doing anything for days. I like to write at Waffle House in the morning, but it has to be the right Waffle House, know what I mean? And I find that I’m productive when traveling–in hotels, airplanes, and such. Too much structure in my writing routine makes it seem like drudgery, so I have to toss things up. That said, I keep in mind how much I need to accomplish and see to it that it gets done. I set goals and deadlines, but I don’t have any rules about how I get there. Caveat: there are times when I have to be that 5am writer, such as when I was on deadline to finish The Cracker Queen. Sometimes the situation demands that kind of process, and I obey it when that’s the case.


BW: I’ve had many nights holed up at Waffle House myself actually, haha. It’s funny how personal the process is for everyone. It’s the beauty of a creative life. But what about those mornings at WaHo where the words just don’t come and the fear sets in? How do you get through bouts of writer’s block?

LH: I used to freak out when I couldn’t write! I’d become convinced that I had no future as a writer, and this would plunge me into great dramatic moments of despair, curtain-clutching, and consumption of Ruffles with sour cream and onion dip. After many years I’ve finally learned that the so-called blocks aren’t blocks at all; they are a necessary and vital part of the writing process. Accept them instead of fighting them. Your brain needs them.


BW: What about your reading life? What types of things do you read when you’re waiting in line at the DMV or the doctor’s office?

LH: I typically use that time to jot down ideas or notes about whatever I’m working on or thinking about doing next.


BW: Let’s talk a little about your illustrious memoir for a second. At last year’s conference you talked about “The Cracker Queen”’s beginnings some 20 years ago. The story sat on your chest for so long and when you finally wrote it down, it was in a tiny shed in your back yard. Since then, it’s been critically hailed as a manifesto for strong, southern women, with it’s own almost cult-like following. What has “The Cracker Queen” meant to you as you’ve seen its success grow?

LH: EVERY DAMN THING. Next question


BW: Do you think you’ll stick to writing non-fiction?

LH: My next book is non-fiction, but a novel is definitely on the horizon. It’s inevitable that I’ll write fiction in the future; it’s just too much fun to play in the land of unfettered imagination! I like the notion of making up a story in order to tell the truth.


BW: As an aspiring non-fiction writer, that notion has always intimidated me. But it’s one of the most beautiful things about reading and writing. Now, I heard the unfortunate news that you won’t be able to hang out with us at Crossroads this year. I can almost hear the collective sighs of sadness. Had you been able to go though, what would you have liked to cover?

LH: First of all, I’m mad that my schedule won’t let me be at Crossroads. I relish the chance to return to my Middle Georgia stompin’ grounds and hang out with fellow writers. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about writing as a spiritual practice, so I would have liked to cover that this year. I’m also surprised by how few writers understand platform, so I might talk about that next year.


BW: I’ll be adding that session to my schedule for sure. It’s a bit of a hot point among published authors though, whether or not writing groups and conferences are really as beneficial as the money you pay to attend them. What do you think the benefits are to attending conferences for beginning and seasoned authors?

LH: I don’t care if you’re a neophyte or a bestselling author, you benefit from being in the company of kindred spirits and from keeping writing front-and-center in your mind. Writing is complicated business, and others have a lot to teach us–regardless of our level of experience or acclaim.


BW: Now that is something I can personally attest to. There is a creative and spiritual energy unlike anything else when you are in the company of people sharing your passion. For me, that alone makes the trip worth it. A couple more questions though. I’m sure throughout your career you’ve gotten your share of wise words and advice from people who claim to know it all in terms of making yours a writing life. How would you sum up the best writing advice you ever got in one sentence?

LH: Copy the masters.

Pick a literary masterpiece, and spend 15 minutes a day copying it, either in longhand or at the keyboard. I was doubtful about this exercise when Terry Kay advised me to do it, but you’ll learn more about craft than you could get from years of classes or conferences. I hand-copied The Grapes of Wrath. Anna Karenina will be next.


BW: And finally… What has writing meant to you and your life?

LH: EVERY DAMN THING. Next question


Well. I’d say that just about sums it up.