Tag Archives: writing advice

bernice and chuck

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 McFaddenChuck WendigLauren MorrillDelilah S. DawsonSusannah 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”)

 Chuck Wendig - interview The Mutter Draft

Lauren Morrill – guest blog “Do you still love it?”

Delilah S. Dawson – reviewed “Creepy Carnivals & Steampunk”

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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?

 

 

 

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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 was wandering in the wilderness with my writing, when publishing a novel seemed like a far off fantasy. Having expectations and people who depend on me means that after I’m done watching the sixth season of Law and Order, I’m going to sit down and crank out a few thousand words.

But the expectations! They’re crushing!

The expectations? They’re motivating. I love thinking about the teen reader who finds my book at her local library or better yet, pulls it off the shelf at her local bookstore. I remember how much I loved to curl up with a good book, and knowing that there are folks out there doing that with something I wrote? Yeah, that’s a major incentive.

But still, don’t read the Goodreads reviews.

Sure, there are times when it feels like work, when the words aren’t flowing, when I’d rather just close my laptop and walk away. And when there are contracts and checks and professional relationships on the line, there are moments when it can definitely feel overwhelming. But ultimately, I remind myself of the best parts of my job: the readers, and the fact that I get to do my job in my pajamas on the couch while getting the most our of my Netflix subscription and eating ALL THE CHEETOS.

So has becoming an Author with a capital “A” spoiled the writing life for me? Not a bit. Despite the hardships and the stress, it really is as good as I imagined it would be.

*Yes, I recognize that this sounds braggy, but I believe in turning your weaknesses into a strength like you’re supposed to do in job interview (you know, “I work too hard” or “I care too much”).

 

LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and their dog, Lucy. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours getting knocked around playing roller derby. Publisher’s Weekly called her debut YA novel, Meant to Be (Random House) “entertaining and quick-witted.” Her second YA novel, Being Sloane Jacobs (Random House), releases January 7, 2014.

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 remember being a kid was getting my comics and hiding in my room for half an hour, totally disappearing into those stories. It was the hey-day of the Kirby and Lee collaboration. Neither of those guys, in my opinion, have had the kind of raw story-telling power since Kirby left Marvel to join DC. I’m a HUGE fan of EC Comics, which was founded by William Gaines with Al Feldstein doing the art. Feldstein is still around and producing pieces. I had him paint a cover for me and it was just beautiful. So yeah, I’m definitely a fan!

 

R: A lot of people would hesitate to jump out on their own and invest in an idea the way that you have. What do you think inspired your courage to make your ideas a reality?

S: I didn’t want to look back on my life and say to myself, “Well, why didn’t I ever write a comic book?” I only get one life and loving something as much as I love comic books…it would be a shame to not try. The way I see it, it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. I don’t want to live with that regret. Everyone needs a passion and I love doing this. It gives me a reason to keep moving along every day.

 

person typing pipe

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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 includes grants and fellowships too, so if you’re on *that* level with your writing, it can be a big help. It’s fairly easy to search and sort.
  • NewPages.com – Clean and dead simple to figure out. This list is sortable by deadline with enough details to get you started and a link for more information.
  • TerribleMinds.com – Our buddy Chuck Wendig doesn’t pay winners but he doesn’t charge either. Instead, ol’ Cherk wants to push you to be productive and creative. Baby-step into contests with one of his Flash Fiction Challenges.
  • Writer’s Digest – They’ve recently added a Self-Published Book Award to their big annual Writing Competition and the slate of genre fiction contests. The prizes include cash and a bundle of other goodies.

So start with these, give it a spin. Tell us your writing contest story. Has it helped you? Did you run into a scam? Have you won a contest before? Do you think Crossroads should do one?

We always want to hear from you!

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Post Up: The Baty Booster Shot

It’s only been four months since Chris Baty delivered his moving keynote speech at Crossroads 2012. In the time since, many of you have started and completed novels during November for NaNoWriMo. We’ve been quietly working on ways to up our game in 2013. (More on that soon, we promise.)

And Mr. Baty? Well, he’s taken his inspirational ways another step further.

First, if you want to hear his speech again, here it is for your listening pleasure. (Videos from the conference are coming soon… ish.)

Between globetrotting and working hard at his own writing, Chris Baty has also opened a little Internet shop of wonders, which you can–and dang sure better–check out here. There you will find posters and signs with that special Chris Baty touch of sincere care and interest in you as a person and a writer.

Grab one and close your eyes, hear his motivational words echo around your head and remember that he believes in you so you should too. Then get to writing.

And then write some more.

And more.

Make us all proud.

Amber J. Gardner

Amber J. Gardner: How I Got to Crossroads

Amber J. GardnerI decided to become a novelist shortly after my mom passed away in 2006 from cancer. My father had died (also cancer) when I was a year old, so I found myself without any immediate family and completely on my own by the age of 20. The latter was probably a good thing, the former not so much.

It was the first time I decided to take writing seriously, but didn’t actually make any progress till I finally completed the first draft of a novel in 2008 thanks to Chris Baty and NaNoWriMo.

Still, I wasn’t writing as much as I should’ve been due to perfectionism, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc.

Once I failed to graduate college, I was miserable. I hadn’t achieved any goals and I was still living in Puerto Rico, which is where I’ve lived since I was five-years-old and desperately wanted to leave since I was 13.

So after a Quarter-Life crisis, I decided I had enough. I was going to take my goals seriously. Moving to the U.S. was one of them, so after family on my father’s side found and contacted me (thank you Facebook!), I moved in with my aunt and uncle in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Meanwhile, I’d become an avid fan of Chuck Wendig and his blog Terribleminds.com for at least a year now. He was one of my writing idols because he was doing it. He was writing full time and doing it HIS way. I loved that. Thanks to his blog and his books, I was writing more than ever before. So when I heard he was speaking at the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, just two hours away, I had to be there.

But I had no money and no job.

Luckily, Chuck was giving away several tickets randomly to whoever entered that week’s Flash Fiction Challenge on his blog and I managed to win one.

But I didn’t have a ride.

So I started emailing and searching online, looking for someone I could hitch a ride with. I remembered NaNoWriMo.org and the fact Chris Baty was keynote speaker at the conference. I logged on, hit the Atlanta region forum and long story short, secured a ride to the conference and made a new friend all at the same time.

God must have been smiling at me or maybe this was a sign from the Universe that writing was my calling, because it was like winning the writers conference jackpot.

Despite my ticket being the basic one-day package, I got invited to the NaNoWriMo meet-up with Chris Baty on Sunday and my friend let me stay in her hotel room for the night (she had gotten the Deluxe Package). I also got to go to the Saturday night reception after the conference. I was able to get over my nerves and have real conversations with full-time published authors and other great people, people doing what I’ve always wanted to do: Chuck Wendig, Adam Mansbach, Robert Venditti, Delilah S Dawson, and many others.

I had a blast and I’m so glad it all worked out in the end, despite not having any money. I kind of wish I had taken more photos to remember it all.

And now it’s over and I’m sitting at the table writing this.

So there you have it, my story.

With lots of love,

Amber J Gardner.

amberjgardner.wordpress.com

 

delilah_slider

Delilah S Dawson: The advice would I give myself if I could go back in time…

We tasked the awesome and cool Delilah S. Dawson with applying her ample imagination to this question: If you could go back in time to the very start of your writing career, what advice would you give yourself?

Considering how far this Pocket/Simon & Schuster published author of “Wicked as They Come” and associated editor for CoolMomPicks.com has come, we thought it was a perfect question to have her answer.

When you come to the conference, you’ll be treated to more of Delilah’s insight (she may or may not wave a cupcake). Specifically, she’s going to speak on being “shipwrecked” as a writer and what to do with yourself while you’re waiting on your writing ship to come.

Until then… enjoy!

 

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“Everything happens for a reason”: interview with Bernice McFadden

LEARN MORE FROM BERNICE MCFADDEN AT THE CROSSROADS WRITERS CONFERENCE

“Everything Happens for A Reason”: an interview with author Bernice McFadden by  Sherry L. Moore-Williamson

Sherry: I have to be honest, I have yet to read one of your novels however, sooo many people rave about them. Knowing this, what book should I read first?

Author Bernice McFadden is as real as they come, as our own Sherry Moore-Williamson found out first-hand. (photo by Eric Payne)

Bernice:  I believe in always starting at the beginning. I would read “Sugar” first.

S: That’s funny you suggest “Sugar.”  I read and heard that it was one of Alicia Key’s favorite books and she had mentioned it in an interview now on Youtube.

B: Yes, a girlfriend told me about the interview and what Alicia said. I didn’t even know.

S: I also listened to Academy Award-nominated actress Alfre Woodard, who is one of my faves, read an excerpt from Glorious, another novel you wrote. She commented on why she too loved this book.  “It’s so full that I immediately wanted to pick it back up and rifle through the pages again… They are historical people…who seem alive and real to you….”

B: I received a lot of literary awards for “Glorious.”

S: And “Glorious” was mentioned in O Magazine, May of 2011.  What affects did that have?

B: Well, it was good for publicity since it was compared to “The Help,” which was out at the same time. It took “Sugar” about nine years to finally get published by a commercial publisher.  It was a good ride until I got dropped after my sixth novel. I was told I was a “done as a writer.”

S: Wow! How did that feel and how did you feel when the rejection letters came for “Sugar?”

B: “Sugar” received 74 rejections—

S: —before it was finally picked up?

B: You gotta stay true to who you are and what you write. My new publisher allows this freedom. I learn from every experience I have had. I keep it positive.

We started talking about many other things.  To wrap up our chat, I wanted to talk about the mechanics of how she writes, what inspires her, and her Macon connection.

Sherry: Where do you write and when are you inspired to write?

Bernice: I used to write at night and in my home office. What I have found is I don’t write in the summer.  The days are longer and I want to get out and do things. When the days are shorter, I hibernate.  This time gives birth. You know, you get full and have to release.  The best time for inspiration is when I’m experiencing emotional turmoil.  Stories aren’t told, they unfold.

S: Nicely put. What is your feeling on self-publishing vs. commercial publishing?

B: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! There are also smaller publishing companies out there. Not just self-publishing or commercial.  They are smaller publishers who are more positive and want you to stay true to your genre of writing. They don’t want you to be something you’re not.

S: Okay, we gotta end this.  It was only supposed to be a 10 minute interview. Two more questions: What is your biggest pet peeve?

B: Tardiness! It drives me crazy!

S: I’m a Screenwriter therefore I have to ask if you envision one or more of your books made into movies? And which one first?

B: Sugar is optioned as a feature and Glorious would make a good mini-series but I was told, “nobody would watch it. It wouldn’t have an audience.”

S: From what I hear about the theme of the novel and not being biased, there are some successful mini-series already made similar to it which had huge audiences.

B: Uh-huh.

S: Middle Georgia residents may or may not know about your ties to Macon. What or who is it? And have you ever visited?

B: My great-great grandfather was the founder and preacher at First Baptist Church of Macon; and yes, I have visited Macon before and have relatives who live there now.

Of course, we did not end the call there but for the sake of space and not wanting to reveal too much about Ms. McFadden, which she will share when she’s here, I will stop now. Her Historical fiction novels “breathe life back into memory” and might I add breathe life back in to history.

When she comes to the conference please, take the time to get to know her.  She is as “real,” encouraging and inspiring as anyone I have ever spoken.  This successful author has not let her 13-plus, published works cause her to forget who she is and her novels continue to reveal her ancestry and ethnic history with a touch of embellishment. One of her last comments was:

“ I like me and I have no regrets because I know everything happens for a reason.”