Thursday, October 23, 2014


The Prince Deceiver, Book 6 of The Silk & Steel Saga

by Karen Azinger

Deceive, divide, corrupt and conquer. After centuries of planning, the Mordant has laid his traps well. Armies sharpen their weapons for a battle of swords while the Mordant engages in a battle of souls. The Dark Sword is unsheathed in the north, the horde at Raven Pass is poised to descend on Erdhe and foul plots thicken in Lanverness. Darkness converges on Pellanor as the Mordant plays a lethal game of wits with the Spider Queen. Destinies clash in an epic struggle as the Great Dark Dance begins.

Available in print and kindle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Deceiver-Silk-Steel-Saga-ebook/dp/B00NN5J6B8/


Author Bio from Amazon

A voracious reader ever since the fourth grade, I fell in love with Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and then started devouring the local libraries. Later I discovered Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the trilogy ignited my life-long passion for epic fantasy. But it was George Martin's Game of Thrones that started my writing career. I'd just finished reading Storm of Swords and I desperately wanted more, but George takes a long time between books, and I could not find anything on the bookstore shelves to satisfy my craving. So I decided to write my own epic medieval fantasy, something similar but different. The first thing I borrowed from George was writing each chapter from the perspective of one point-of-view character. I love this writing style, the way it lets the reader and the author get deep into the character. It makes the story intimate and very personal, where the reader understands the dreams and fears of every POV character. The second thing I borrowed from George was complex plots and strategies. I wanted to write a big sweeping saga full of twists and turns that would surprise, shock, but also delight the reader, grabbing hold of your imagination and never letting go. But there were some things I wanted to do very differently. I wanted more women in the saga, not just women to bed and/or wed, but women that make a difference. From a sword-wielding princess, to a seductive priestess, to a queen who rules by coin and guile, to a silver-haired grandmother who wields knitting needles and knives, I wanted to explore how women gain, keep, and wield power in a medieval world. I wanted my saga to be a fast-paced sword-wielding adventure, but I also wanted it to be full of deeper meaning, so my saga explores the mechanisms of evil, the overarching theme the books. If the avatars of good cannot recognize or understand evil, then they will not prevail. And last but not least, I agree with George that some characters must die to make the risk real...but not all of them. If you love Game of Thrones like I do, I hope you will consider reading The Silk & Steel Saga. I'd love to hear how you think the two sagas compare.

Soapstone Literary Announcements


These announcements of events and opportunities of interest to the writing community have been sent to you by Soapstone. Feel free to send them on to your friends and colleagues or to invite them to join the list by emailing us at retreats@soapstone.org. (We need first and last name, city, and email address.)

For more information about receiving the announcements or sending your own announcement to this list, go to www.soapstone.org/about_us_pages/community_announcements.html

We never lend or sell our mailing list. If you no longer wish to be on this list, send us an email with “remove” in the subject line.

ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE ON AN EVERY OTHER WEEK SCHEDULE.

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The New Soapstone: Celebrating Women Writers 


We are pleased to announce that we are now offering two new opportunities for readers and writers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Small Grants to an Individual Woman or an Ad Hoc Group of Women

These funds are to support events and study groups celebrating the work of women writers. The application process is simple and the time between applying and notification short. For the first year, Soapstone board members will serve as the grant review committee.

All events and study groups will be open to the public and offered at no charge.

Go to our website for more details: www. Soapstone.org

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The 15th Annual reading of Oregon Jewish Writers will take place at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE), Tues. Nov. 4th, 7:30pm. The readers will be Brian Benson, Linda M. Cohen, Sharon Munson, Willa Schneberg, Evelyn Sharenov and Nina Spiegel. The museum is located at 1953 NW Kearney in Portland.

Please reserve your tickets. They go fast. http://www.ojm.org/experience/talk-2014-11-04-jewish-voices

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Free and open to the public –

Gobshite Quarterly celebrates at Glyph Cafe & Arts Space Glyph Cafe & Arts Space • 804 NW Couch • North Park Blocks • Portland OR 97209

Saturday October 18, 5:30-7 p.m.

Enjoy fine fare and robust writing. Our featured readers include:

Amy Temple Harper, author of Cramped Uptown

Brenda Taulbee, author of Dances with Bears and Other Ways to Lose a Limb

Trevor Dodge – author of two collections of short fiction (The Laws of Average and Everyone I Know Lives On Roads), a novella (Yellow #10), and collaborator (with Lance Olsen) on the writing anti-textbook Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Writing.

Kassten Alonso – author of two novels, Core: a Romance, and The Pet Thief. He has also published in the Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly, the Oregonian, The Organ, and was a contributor to Citadel of the Spirit: Oregon's Sesquicentennial Anthology.

Lynda Shay, reading for Michael Shay – frequent contributor to Gobshite Quarterly and co-editor of Broken Word: The Alberta Street Anthology Volume 2.

Douglas Spangle – published in venues too numerous to mention, author of the chapbooks Initial, August, 2½ Bridges, and the recently-published collection A White Concrete Day: Poems 1978-2013.

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Through poetry, fiction, and essay, Winged: New Writing on Bees explores the timeless but imperiled relationship between human and honeybee. Sponsored in part by Oregon’s Regional Arts & Culture Council, Winged seeks to connect readers to the vital importance of pollinators through the universal art of storytelling.

Designed and printed in Portland in a limited edition, Winged will be available for purchase at the book launch and public reading at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 30 at Literary Arts (925 SW Washington Street in Portland). A dozen writers will read from the book, and a local conservation expert will speak to the current state of pollinator health.

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MOSS, an online journal dedicated to Northwest literature, is now seeking fiction and non-fiction submissions for its second issue. Published three times annually, MOSS features short stories and essays that exemplify a distinctly Northwest voice, helping to bring new audiences and appreciation to talented young and emerging Northwest writers.

The first issue, published in August 2014, was recommended on The Stranger's blog, and included an interview with acclaimed Northwest author Ryan Boudinot. The issue, along with more details about submissions requirements, can be found at: http://www.mosslit.com - please read our current issue to get a feel for the journal before submitting.

Writers must be current residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, or have a substantial connection to the region. We do not publish poetry. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, with the condition that you notify us immediately if your piece is accepted for publication elsewhere. Pay for each accepted piece is $125 (for First Serial Rights); there is no fee to submit.

To submit, please email a short bio and your submission (attached as a Word document) to mosslit@gmail.com. Thanks for your interest!

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Finding the Next Draft: A Revision Workshop

The first stage of revision is all about discovering the possibilities. This workshop engages with the revision process in a way that illuminates the potential and possibilities in your writing and creates space for an intentional next draft.

If you have journals full of spontaneous free writes you've always wondered what to do with next or a stack of rough drafts you aren't sure how to revise, this workshop is for you!

4 Saturday Afternoons, November 1st-November 22, 1:30-4:00 PM

At Shout House, 210 SE Madison, Ste 11, Portland, OR 97214

$100 for the workshop series. Registration required.

Facilitator: Mary Kibbe

I write poetry and creative nonfiction, am an Assistant Editor for TLR: The Literary Review, and an editorial reader for Serving House Books. In 2013, I was awarded the Baumeister Fellowship in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University where I am pursuing an MFA. In addition to my literary endeavors, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and have a private practice in Portland, Oregon.

Learn More & Register for this workshop at http://www.marykibbe.com/finding-the-next-draft.html

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Mountain Writers Series at Glyph Cafe & Arts Space presents a reading by

Barbara Drake & Jim Heynen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, at 7:00 PM Glyph Cafe & Arts Space • 804 NW Couch • North Park Blocks • Portland OR 97209 Suggested admission $5

Barbara Drake’s newest book is Morning Light (Oregon State University Press, 2014), her latest memoir describing life in western Oregon’s Yamhill Valley and the lessons she’s learned from her long stint of country living. Her earlier memoir, Peace at Heart: an Oregon Country Life, was an Oregon Book Award finalist in 1999. Drake’s books of poetry include Driving One Hundred (Windfall Press, 2009), Love at the Egyptian Theatre,What We Say to Strangers, Life in a Gothic Novel, Bees in Wet Weather, and Small Favors. She is also the author of Writing Poetry, a widely used college textbook, in print since 1983. Her writing appears in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Drake taught creative writing, environmental literature, and book arts at Michigan State University and Linfield College.

Jim Heynen is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, most recently Ordinary Sins (Milkweed Editions, 2014). Modeled after the work of Theophrastus – the Greek philosopher who originated the character sketch as a literary form – the short shorts in Ordinary Sins deftly capture the oddest of individuals to discover the most universal themes. Heynen is perhaps best known for his collections of short prose featuring young farm boys: The One-Room Schoolhouse: Stories about the Boys (Vintage), Boys House: New & Selected Stories (Minnesota Historical Society Press), Fishing for Chickens: Short Stories about Rural Youth (Persea), and The Man Who Kept Cigars in his Hat (Graywolf). He is also the author of poetry and young adult fiction. Heynen lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife, Sarah T. Williams, formerly the Books Editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Concordia University Libraries' Art & Culture Program and Mountain Writers Series present a reading by Barbara Drake & Jim Heynen Thursday, November 20 2014, at 12:00 PM, George R. White Library and Learning Center, Concordia University • 2800 NE Liberty Street • Portland OR 97211
Free and open to the public

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Willa Schneberg and Ingrid Wendt will read at Tsunami Books, Sat. Nov. 1st, 5PM,

2585 Willamette Street in Eugene. Willa will read from her new collection Rending the Garment.

Contact: tsunami1@opusnet.com for more info.

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Story Swap/Potluck—Free. Friday, Nov. 7, 6:30 pm, McMenamins’ Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave. A social time to listen or tell a 5 minute story in a safe environment. Open to listeners, newcomers, and experienced tellers.

Sometimes You Have To Be Your Own Hero, a performance by four favorite tellers. Maura Doherty, Barb Fankhauser, Avery Hill, and Pearl Steinberg perform tales of women who make choices that change lives. Music by Avery Hill. November 8, 7:30 pm, Hipbone Studio, 1847 East Burnside. $10 or $8 member/student. Join us for Tellabration!TM , a world-wide storytelling celebration. Two exciting events, Saturday, Nov. 22, First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main: The Company We Keep: Character Development in Stories, a workshop with MaryGay Ducey, one of America’s foremost storytellers. Learn how to bring characters to life in oral or written stories. 9 am - 1 pm, Saturday, November 22, $50 General Public; $40 PSG and First UU Members.

Live Performance: MaryGay Ducey will regale us with tales that will make us laugh, sigh and glad to be alive. 8:30 pm, $20 General Admission at the door; $15 Advance & PSG Members.

www.portlandstorytellers.org Buy tickets at the door or www.brownpapertickets.com

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The Studio Series: Poetry Reading and Open Mic will feature Christopher Luna and Brittney Corrigan on Nov. 9 at Stonehenge Studios, 3508 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland 97239 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Free and open to the public, the Studio Series is held monthly on second Sundays. For additional information, please contact Leah Stenson at leahstenson@comcast.net.

Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna is the co-founder, with Toni Partington, of Printed Matter Vancouver, an editing service and small press that serves Northwest writers. Together Luna and Partington edited Ghost Town Poetry volumes one and two, featuring poems from the popular open mic poetry reading series that Luna established in 2004. Luna’s books include Brutal Glints of Moonlight, GHOST TOWN, USA and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978. Recent publications include Bombay Gin, Unshod Quills, It’s Animal But Merciful, gape-seed, Take Out, Chiron Review, and Soundings Review.

Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collection Navigation (The Habit of Rainy Nights Press, 2012) and the chapbook 40 Weeks (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and she is the poetry editor for the online journal Hyperlexia: poetry and prose about the autism spectrum (http://hyperlexiajournal.com/). Brittney lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is both an alumna and employee of Reed College. For more information, visit http://brittneycorrigan.com/.

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Greetings!

I am the new caretaker/owner of the beautiful Soapstone cabin and property. Many of you probably know of the house, the river, and the 22 acres surrounding it and I am now offering it as a rental through Airbnb (see https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2442083). For those of you on this list I would like to extend a 20% discount to stay at this incredible property. I would love for writers and aspiring writers to continue to fill the space with your energy and to continue to experience the inspiration of Soapstone. There is a description below and more can be found at the Airbnb link.

You may rent it via Airbnb - just message me that you found me through Soapstone LLC so I can offer you the discount - or you may email me directly at nicole.apelian@gmail.com if you prefer.

Thank you and I hope that we can continue the lineage that began 25 years ago.

Warmly, - Nicole

Below is some information about the property:

This famous retreat sits on 1/2 mile of river on 22 private acres. It was designed by architect Will Martin and has hosted writers including Cheryl Strayed and Marjorie Sandor. You can see salmon spawning from the deck and walk on your own private trails.

All through the residence there are large expanses of window that look out on the forest and creek, and skylights through which you can see the moon and stars at night.

The main bedroom is on the ground floor. The twenty-foot vaulted ceiling has a skylight over the bed and two walls of windows looking out over Soapstone Creek and the forest. It is separated from the main structure by a covered breezeway. The main bedroom has 2 beds - one queen and one full.

The main building has a kitchen and dining area, a living room with wood stove, bathroom with shower, and a washer/dryer. One entire section of the roof is a "sun roof" which makes the cabin light no matter the weather. A sleeping loft (2nd bedroom) with a built-in double bed facing the sun roof is the second level of the main building, with its own private upper deck. A staircase provides access to the sleeping loft.

"The cube” is the third level, perched forty-feet above the main floor, and aligned exactly north, south, east west. It has a built-in desk and large round windows on all four sides looking down on the creek, forest, and meadow. A short built-in wooden ladder from the loft provides access.

There is also a double futon in the main living area as well as a twin "Captain's bed".

Guests have complete access to the entire 22 acres, which include walking trails, the beautiful river with a trail right to the edge, a fire pit on the deck, and the famous "writer's cube" on top of the house. The house is in the "sun belt" in the coastal range and only 12 miles from the beach, so trips to the Oregon Coast are easy to coordinate! It is an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Portland.

PETS: Small dogs (25lbs and under) are allowed if guests are careful to pick up after them and don't allow them on the beds. Non-shedding larger dogs are also allowed.

For summertime I will give preference to week-long rentals. For weekends 3 nights will be given preference. Thank you!

Nicole Apelian, Ph.D. Eco Tours International - CEO, Guide, Indigenous Tourism and African Ethnobotany Consultant Instructor and Graduate Advisor, Prescott College 503-367-6296 http://ecotoursinternational.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ecotoursinternational

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Thurs., October 30, 2014 12:00pm to 1:30pm Room GRW108 George R. White Library & Learning Center Concordia University 2800 NE Liberty, Portland, OR 97211

Marilyn Stablein is the author of twelve books including Splitting Hard Ground: Poems which won the New Mexico Book Award and the National Federation of Press Women's Book Award. Other books include a Himalayan memoir, Sleeping in Caves and a collection of eco-essays, Climate of Extremes: Landscapes and Imagination. A former book critic for The Seattle Times and founding board member of Seattle Arts and Lectures, she received Creative Writing degrees from the University of Washington and The University of Houston. She teaches memoir, poetry and short fiction. As a visual artist working in collage, assemblage and artist books she has exhibited her work internationally and in books and journals including Gargoyle, Otoliths, Rattle, Raven Chronicles, Lark’s 1000 & 500 Artist Books series and on the walls of Anthology Booksellers a used bookstore she co-owns with her husband on Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland.

Rowing for years, Kate Gray coached crew and taught in an East Coast boarding school at the beginning of her teaching career. Now after more than 20 years teaching at a community college in Oregon, Kate tends her students’ stories. Her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive (2007) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and followed chap- books, Bone-Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Over the years she’s been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook, Norcroft, and Soapstone, and a fellowship from the Oregon Literary Arts. Her poetry and essays have been nominated for Pushcart prizes. After many years as a community college instructor and as a volunteer with Write Around Portland, Kate is presenting her first published novel, Carry the Sky, which takes an unblink- ing look at bullying. It’s a story “I have to tell!” This story, that needed telling, happened 30 years ago when Kate taught in a boarding school. Carry the Sky, is Kate’s attempt to understand what happened that year, to forgive herself, and to dig into how cruel we can be to each other...a story about “how to make cranes and kites that lift our eyes to the sky.”

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GHOST TOWN POETRY OPEN MIC Hosted by Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna and Printed Matter Vancouver founder Toni Partington

7pm Thursday, November 13 Cover to Cover Books 6300 NE St. James Rd., Suite 104B (St. James & Minnehaha) Vancouver, WA 98663

Featuring Peggy Barnett: Peggy Barnett was born in 1945 and grew up in Queens, New York in the 1950’s. She went to Public School 89, Joseph Pulitzer JHS 145, Music and Art High School and graduated from The Cooper Union with a degree in Fine Art. She opened a photography studio in 1968 and became a very successful corporate still-life and portrait photographer. She sold the studio in 2006 and moved north of Seattle to the green fields of Maltby, Washington.

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Wendy Chin-Tanner is the featured poet at Last Tuesdays Poetry on November 25. Our events run from 7pm to 8.30pm at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at 7700 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98662.

She will read from her collection Turn. It wrestles with race, gender, abuse, love, sex, motherhood and death, with poems that are sensual and philosophical, personal and universal. Chin-Tanner is a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal (wearekin.org), poetry editor at Stealing Time Magazine and The Nervous Breakdown, staff interviewer at Lantern Review, co-founder of A Wave Blue World (publisher of graphic novels) and an online sociology instructor at Cambridge University, UK.

As usual, there will be open mic slots that can be claimed on the night. If you want to do one, please rehearse a 2-3 minute presentation.

And don’t forget our October 28 event, at which Martha Silano reads from her collections Reckless Lovely and Little Office of the Immaculate Conception. Here is the event page for that date:

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4743032

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Peter Sears to lead a poetry workshop in Philomath on Oct. 25

The Centennial Celebration of William Stafford continues in Philomath with a free poetry workshop lead by Oregon’s current Poet Laureate, Peter Sears, at 1 p.m. on October 25th. The workshop will be based on the poem of William Stafford, “Ask Me.” Peter will also comment on other poems of Bill’s and will read some of his own poems. Come prepared to listen, write and have a great time.

The workshop will be held at the Benton County Historical Museum 1101 Main Street in Philomath

The workshop is free and open to all

For more information contact Linda at lindaw@exchangenet.net

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The poetry of Oregon's beloved former Poet Laureate, William Stafford (1914-1993), has not only influenced many other poets in the Northwest and far beyond, but it has also inspired numerous visual artists.

As part of the continuing celebration of Stafford's centennial year, an exhibit of works of art inspired by Stafford poems will be held November 5-22 in the Salem Arts Building, 155 Liberty St. NE, in downtown Salem. This exhibit is a joint project of Artists in Action and the Mid-Valley Poetry Society.

An opening reception will be held Wednesday, November 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. Additional viewing times are 3 to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, November 6-8, 13-14, and 20-22.

On Saturday, November 15, there will be a reading of the Stafford poems that inspired the works of art. The reading, by members of the MVPS, will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The Mid-Valley Poetry Society is an open group of poets and poetry lovers in Salem and vicinity, which operates as a unit of the Oregon Poetry Association. Its mission is to create community among poets and poetry aficionados, to be a nexus for poetry activities and resources, and to promote appreciation for poetry throughout the greater Salem area.

Artists in Action is a nonprofit group of diverse, dedicated artists and artisans working to create stronger ties with each other and the communities of the Salem area.

For further information, contact Eleanor Berry , chair of the MVPS, or AiA board member Robert Selby .

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What: CONVERSATIONS WITH WRITERS

When: Monday, October 27 7:00-9:00 PM Where: Hillsboro Main Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro

For October, our Conversations With Writers meeting will be led by Penelope Scambly Schott.

Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her collection Crow Mercies (2010) got the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press. New in 2013 were Lovesong for Dufur, poems about the small town in central Oregon, and Lillie Was a Goddess, Lillie Was a @+**$, a verse history of prostitution.

Just published is a collection called How I Became an Historian. Penelope lives in Portland where she and her husband and their dog run the White Dog Poetry Salon and part-time in Dufur where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.

Penelope will lead the conversation on the subject of choosing the subjects for poems.

Conversations With Writers invites authors to read and tell us about their work and their writing methods. Not just a reading, but an event for audience members to interact and ask questions about word choices, styles, or the writer's development of his / her art. It's an informal atmosphere to help us all better understand the craft of writing. For more information, visit: cwwor.weebly.com

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A nature writer Gary Ferguson has a new book out.

The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness – is a haunting meditation on wilderness, conservation, and grief.

The Carry Home is both a moving celebration of the outdoor life shared between Gary Ferguson and his wife Jane, who died tragically in a canoeing accident in northern Ontario in 2005, and a chronicle of the mending, uplifting power of nature. It offers a powerful glimpse into how the natural world can be a critical prompt for moving through cycles of immeasurable grief, how bereavement can turn to wonder, and how one man rediscovered himself in the process of saying goodbye.

7:30pm November 13, 2014

Reading and Discussion of The Carry Home

Powell¹s Books, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Willamette Writers Author Series Features Crispin Young


Willamette Writers Author Series:

Crispin Young


The Willamette Writers Author series continues with Crispin Young speaking about her novel, Heart of the Current</b>.

From Amazon:

Annie is having one of those days: two hours late to work, hung over, and grouchy. As a video game designer, she is used to creating perfect worlds, but lately she's noticed a darkness creeping in to hers. She feels her life spinning wildly out of balance. Just as she is beginning to wonder how much more she can handle, an emergency broadcast alert tells her that America is under nuclear attack. As she frantically plans her escape, she wakes up in Tahldia, the strangely familiar world from her video game. When a scarred and grizzled knight, Hakayatas, saves her from a zombie attack, Annie has no choice but to team up with him to discover her destiny.

The Google+ Hangout interview with Ann can be found on the Willamette Writers YouTube page.

Born and raised in Texas, Crispin Young grew up on a steady diet of video games, comic books, cartoons, and watching Star Trek with her dad.

In 2001, she wandered off to the northwest in search of adventure, and received her degrees in Journalism and Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.

One night when she was a college freshman, she looked up at the thick blanket of stars above her campfire and saw the characters of Tahldia clearly in her mind. The memories and creative inspiration of that evening followed her like a shadow through the next eight years, evolving and growing into an enormous, bittersweet trilogy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

As Above, So Below, And Plot Above All


As Above, So Below, And Plot Above All

by Bill Johnson

This movie offers a good example of what happens when a movie is mostly plot with very little story. Story, in most successful Hollywood films, revolves around a character who embodies some issue of human need, with the character set in motion to resolve that issue by a story's plot.

As Above, So Below takes just a few moments to introduce something that drives the main character, a young woman, who has conflicted feelings about her father's suicide, and seconds to introduce the young man who helps her and his unresolved guilt over a younger brother's death. Then it's off to the crypts under Paris and about 30 minutes of a group of people trying to find a hidden chamber. There are a few 'boo' moments, but mostly its just more of the same as minor characters die in turn.

Toward the end of the film, the young woman comes across the hanging body of her father and she reconciles with him by hugging his hanging corpse. Her helper, also in a few moments, reconciles with his dead younger brother.

What drives these characters is resolved in seconds, leaving in its wake people walking through tunnels, crawling through tunnels, or running through tunnels, with the minor characters dying at a predictable rate.

The Descent, a film about some women cave diving, showed how this kind of plot could be in the service of a story.

It's oft repeated that a film generally needs to have a main character the audience chooses to feel invested in or care about. Films can violate that if they offer something else. As Above, So Below doesn't.

(If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Tweeter or Facebook.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mystery Author Bill Cameron Speaks about Character Development September 2nd, PDX



On Tuesday, September 2nd, at the Old Church in downtown Portland, Willamette Writers welcomes local author Bill Cameron who will talk with the membership about his approach to character development.

Bill is the author of the gritty mysteries "County Line" (Tyrus Books, 2011), "Day One" (Tyrus Books, 2010), "Chasing Smoke" (Bleak House Books, 2008) and "Lost Dog" (Midnight Ink, 2007) - featuring irascible Portland homicide cop Skin Kadash. In a starred-review of the 2012 Spotted Owl Award-winning "County Line", Publishers Weekly said, "Contemporary sharp-edged noir doesn't get much better than Cameron's mournful novel featuring ex-cop Skin Kadash." Library Journal called it ... "A perfect fit for Archie Mayor and William Kent Krueger fans."

Bill plans to discuss his approach to character development by sharing anecdotes and specific techniques he uses to dig into characters "who are the most difficult". "Character development", says Cameron, "is not about likeability, or relatability, or sympathy - it's about empathy. As writers we must understand not only a character's traits, interests, needs and desires, but what they value and how they see themselves. We must be capable armchair psychologists, recognizing in our characters not only what they recognize in themselves, but what they're incapable of recognizing in themselves. And we need to do this for all of them, heroes and villains alike. If anything, the characters we find the most loathsome are the ones we must work hardest to understand and to portray fairly."

Bill tweets at twitter.com/bcmystery. He's a member of Friends of Mystery, Sisters-in-Crime, and International Thriller Writers, and serves on the Board of the Mystery Writers of America. For still more information on Bill Cameron, please visit http://bill-cameron.com/.

We hope you'll join us at the Old Church on Tuesday, September 2nd. As always, the doors open at 6:30 and the meeting gets underway promptly at 7:00 pm.

Meeting Information

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bill Johnson Offers Workshop at Write on the Sound

Write on the Sound (WOTS) is a unique, high quality, affordable conference focusing on the craft of writing. Over 30 workshops and panel discussions are presented for all levels and interests, including valuable information regarding today's publishing industry. A limited admission of 275 attendees makes WOTS the perfect place to spark your creativity, share ideas and network with other writers.

Now in its 29th year, WOTS attracts presenters and participants from all over the Northwest, the U.S. and from abroad. Plenty of free time is available to explore the picturesque community of Edmonds, located right on the Puget Sound.

This year's conference highlights are:

* Pre-conference full-day and half-day workshops and sessions
* Over 30 regular conference workshops and panel discussions
* Manuscript critiques
* A writing contest (this year's theme is "Catch")
* An evening with film critic Robert Horton on Friday October 3rd
* Keynote speaker Robert J. Sawyer on Saturday October 4th
* Round table topic discussions during Sunday October 5th lunch hour
* Presentation by illustrator and author Robyn Chance on Sunday October 5th

Willamette Writers members Bill Johnson and Clark Kohanek will be teaching workshops. Bill's workshop is the problems that arise when an author make's a novel's main character an extension of the author's issues in life. Bill will also be doing manuscript critiques as part of the conference.

Registration

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nye Beach Writers Series Presents... Sandra Stone

Nye Beach Writers Series Presents...

An Evening with: Sandra Stone author of Cocktails with Brueghel at the Museum Café

August 16, 2014 - 7pm at the Newport Visual Arts Center

$6 admission, students free

Sandra Stone is a visual and conceptual artist as well as a poet, playwright and author of literary fiction and nonfiction. She has received many awards, and more than 35 commissions from major architectural firms to create art for both public interiors and the landscape. She describes her work as "creating metaphor for space through architectural concepts, context, and literary text." Her books include Cocktails with Brueghel at the Museum Café; her plays include POof, An Imperfect Place to Dispose of Files; Yes, Out; and What Everything Is.

OPEN MIC The Writers' Series open mic will take place following intermission. Audience members are encouraged to read, sing, or recite original work for up to five minutes. Open mic slots are available to the first 10 writers who sign up. No pre-registration required.

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Four novels and a single-author collection of stories are finalists for the Endeavour Award. The 2014 Award will be the sixteenth year for the Endeavour, which comes with an honorarium of $1,000.00. The winner will be announced November 7, 2014, at OryCon, Oregon's major science fiction convention. The finalists are: "King of Swords" by Dave Duncan (47North), "Meaning of Luff," a collection of stories by Matthew Hughes (Create Space); "Nexus" by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot); "Protector" by C.J. Cherryh (DAW Books); and "Requiem" by Ken Scholes (Tor Books). The Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. All entries are read and scored by seven readers randomly selected from a panel of preliminary readers. The five highest scoring books then go to three judges, who are all professional writers or editors from outside of the Pacific Northwest.