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Session Descriptions

 With more to come!
 
From Paper to Web: Turning Family Archives into a Wordpress Essay - Beth Taylor 

Using her own Wordpress essay, “What Grammy Knew,” this presentation will demonstrate how to turn a conventional print essay into a web essay.

The author will explain her own process -- finding her grandmother’s kitchen notebooks and hand-written memoir, choosing Wordpress over a conventional journal for publication, turning its blogging options into the pages and layout of a narrative essay, and finding digital images and audio to complement era- and region-specific references.

“What Grammy Knew” includes the historical tidbits of her life in Maine in the early 20th century: her childhood memories, waitressing jobs, courtship and marriage, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, raising children, farm life, recipes, home remedies, newspaper wisdoms, favorite “Aunt Het” cartoons, and later, coping with blindness and widowhood.

The author will demonstrate how software like Wordpress works, hoping to defuse tech-phobia that might deter some writers from trying to create a digital narrative. For those already comfortable with digital creations, discussion will allow for your own suggestions, adding to the instruction of the presentation.

It is hoped that each writer or researcher will consider crafting a digital essay or narrative so they can garner more readers than those using a conventional journal.


Author Branding: How to Stand Out from the Crowd While Still Being “You” - Nicole Evelina

When we hear the word “branding,” most of us automatically think “logo.” While that is one part of it, branding is actually so much more. It includes the way people feel when they interact with you, your “voice” both in your writing and online, and the image you project online and in person. In addition, branding encompasses your logo, author and book taglines and the fonts and colors you choose for your web site and marketing materials. Drawing on 15 years of professional experience in marketing and a master’s degree in public relations, as well as her own experience as an author, Nicole will help you understand branding through case studies of authors who do it successfully, as well as offer tips and exercises you can employ to discover your own brand.
 

From Family to Fiction: Using Your Ancestral History to Build Historical Fiction - Jenny Yacovissi

The funny, unbelievable, heartbreaking, crazy, or horrifying family stories so many of us hear throughout our lives often seem like they were tailor-made for fiction, but using those stories to create compelling narratives is rarely straightforward and offers unique challenges. While somewhat similar to issues raised in undertaking a memoir, using ancestors in fiction presents some wider concerns. Jenny Yacovissi, who used her own ancestors’ stories to develop her debut novel, takes participants through several issues to consider:

       Finding the Universal in the Personal: Why will the story have wide appeal?

       Privacy and Ownership, Legacy and Libel: Whose story is it?

       A Time for Fiction: The true story doesn’t necessarily make for great fiction.

       The Fiction of Truth: The truth of history is entirely based on perspective.

       Placing the Story in Time: Getting the era(s) right, finding the source material.

       Alternate Narratives: When the story goes against accepted history.

From Tradie to Indie: The Remaking of C.C. Humphreys - Chris C.C. Humphreys

C. C. (Chris) Humphreys has had two hugely successful careers, as actor and writer. An award winning author, who is published in 14 languages, invited to dozens of writing conferences to teach, deliver keynotes and often be the Guest of Honor… this year the ‘traditional’ publishing world offered him one quarter minimum wage for his next three novels! Yet instead of being daunted, Chris has joyfully taken up the challenge and launched himself as an Indie author.

Join this most engaging of storytellers to hear him tell the tale. This is not a ‘how to’ approach, though you are bound to pick up things along the way. This is a story of necessary reinvention – and how, at any stage in your life (and even after sixteen novels) it is entirely possible to seize control of your own destiny.    


Give Your Characters Voice: Bring your Readings to life!   - Barbara Salvatore

While creating characters and spinning stories, writers occupy the mind, body, and spirit of others. At public readings, we must make characters real, and hook listeners, so they will remember the human stories we pass on. We will
-Deal with stage fright and nerves and the fear of being judged.
- Define character voice, posture, gesture and body movements.
-Vary tone and pace, build suspense, engage your listeners.
-Use voice, to bring your unique characters to life!

Helpful Hints for Submitting Your Novel -Harriette Sackler and Verena Rose 

When submitting a manuscript to an agent or publisher, first impressions can determine whether your work will draw positive attention or be set aside without consideration.

 

In their presentation, Harriette Sackler and Verena Rose, two of the co-publishers and editors at Level Best Books, short story writers, members of the Malice Domestic Board of Directors, and lovers of historical fiction and nonfiction, will provide you with their observations and suggestions, based on personal experience, that can make or break your journey to publication.

 

Participants will learn what preparations ought to be made to prepare for submitting your manuscript, how to maximize the impact of your submission, and how to survive the highly competitive world of today’s publishing industry.

 

Come armed with your questions.  The presenters will make every attempt to address your concerns.


How Far Can a Horse Travel? - Mary Ann Trail

Characters in historical novels do not stay in one place. Sometimes they need to race after kidnappers, prevent some other skullduggery or even travel for fun! No matter the era, it seems to me, the question of how do you move characters from place to place with historical accuracy is important. Accurate presentation of the geography that our characters find themselves in, lends an authenticity to our work that our readers enjoy and actually look for.

 

This presentation will demonstrate a couple of primary sources used to lend geographical correctness to the author’s novels. These will include Paterson’s Roads, a 19th Century travel guide, several historical maps, and a diary of a prisoner of Napoleon.

 

Understanding that we all work in different time periods, some ideas will be presented about how to find sources that attendees can use in their own research. Databases that will presented to allow the researcher to find their own materials even if they do not have access to major libraries. 

Language and Culture: The Seed of Language - Barbara Salvatore

Language is core to culture, spirit, values, identity, and knowledge. Respect for cultures begins with good manners and authentic care taken with all portrayals. Write with abandon, but edit, represent, and research with attention to detail, protocol, accuracy and correctness, when including an indigenous culture or language. Writers must make diligent effort to communicate, and receive permission, direction, and guidance from Native speakers, language educators, and cultural departments. Barbara’s novel, Big Horse Woman, led to her interest in the Ponca Language, which eventually led to her becoming a Ponca Language Educator for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.

MAKE IT REAL: FROM LEGEND TO STORYMarc Graham

Myths and legends have captured the popular imagination for millennia. Recent blockbusters and bestsellers have shown a revived interest in ancient tales, recast for a modern audience. In this workshop, we'll explore the tools and processes for analyzing popular stories and events, identifying the core elements and timeless themes contained within them, and developing a new story that is true to the subject matter while offering a new and unique telling.


Marketing Plans for Traditional and Indie Authors - Nicole Evelina

In today’s publishing world, it’s not only indie authors who have to handle the lion’s share of marketing their book. Increasingly, traditionally published authors are being asked to shoulder the burden. So where do you start? Drawing on 15 years of professional experience and a master’s degree in public relations, as well as her own experience as an author, Nicole Evelina will lead you through creating your own marketing plan. You’ll learn how to:

  • Get an idea of the market for your genre
  • Research competitive and comparative books
  • Identify your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats
  • Identify your target audience
  • Develop key messages about your book and yourself
  • Plan what tactics you will use before launch, during your launch and after to gain and sustain sales
  • Measure for success and evaluation of ROI


Meditation for Writers - Stuart Horwitz

In this session writers will learn an ancient yet simple meditation to center oneself before writing and combat the fear that can take over the first 5-10 minutes of a writing session. Meditation can assist writers in setting a reachable goal for the day's writing session and bring consistency and continuity of approach to their material regardless of what draft they are in. As part of a personal ritual, meditation can
sustains our writing for a lifetime. No previous experience or specialized equipment required!
 Never Give In, Never Give In, Never, Never, Never, Never - Judithe Little

(or, how Winston Churchill and baseball can help get your book published)

 

You don’t have an MFA. You’re not a celebrity. You don’t have friends in publishing. So how can you find an agent and a publisher for your book?

 

Blood, toil, tears and sweat. And baseball. Writing is fraught with rejection. Like baseball, it’s a game of failure.  Last season’s MVP, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, only had a hit one-third of the time. That means two-thirds of the time, he failed. As Churchill said, “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

 

Topics include:

 

  • Writing is a team sport.
  • How to avoid wild pitches.
  • You shall query on the beaches, you shall query on the landing grounds, you shall query in the fields and in the streets…
  • Every strike brings you closer to a home run.
  • Sometimes you must pass through a dark and deadly valley.
  • You can’t hit a walk-off home run if you’re winning.
  • The publishing contract: This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
PLANTS ARE CHARACTERS TOO! - Barbara Salvatore

We use plant knowledge to ground our stories, down to earth, well rooted, tapped into memory. Our characters are drawn to specific plants and places, as keys to survival, nourishment, healing, shelter. What does your character encounter, on trails, in fields, woods and gardens? Plants hold powers and secrets, set and change moods, relay messages, provide strong symbols, have a language. Plants are integral to our history, our stories, poetry, legends, and song. A language of plants evolved along with us, and worldwide, plants are prepared as food, medicine, teas, infusions, poultices, salves, tonics, tinctures, meads, wines, and tonics.



RUNES FOR WRITERS: ANCIENT TOOLS FOR MODERN STORYTELLERS - Marc Graham

This workshop provides an introduction to the runes of the Elder Futhark, and a unique application of the runes for storytellers. Used for centuries by Norse skalds as tools of divination, the runes serve modern storytellers as an aid to bypass the left brain and get directly in touch with the right brain’s center of creativity. Similar to the Tarot, each rune has its own esoteric meaning. When cast into a particular array, the runes help the writer tap into the subconscious for ideas and to solve story-development challenges. Attendees will be provided with a brief history and origin of the runic system of writing, along with an examination of the shape, symbolism, sound, and order of the runes. The workshop will also include at least two rune-castings for audience participation and practice.



SEX AND VIOLENCE: Revealing the character in hot action - Chris C.C. Humphreys

What do readers want in genre fiction? Great characters in a thundering good tale. Join award winning, bestselling author C. C. Humphreys (Vlad, The French Executioner) to explore how characters are revealed by their actions, what they do and what they say, how they act - and react to stress and passion. With exercises to free the fingers and the imagination, this workshop will explore the two great action arenas – sex and violence.



Spiritualism in 19th Century America - Nicole Evelina

In the aftermath of the bloody Civil War, Americans were desperate to connect with departed loved ones. In March 1848, the Fox Sisters began a movement that promised to allow the living to communicate with the dead, a phenomenon called Spiritualism that would last into the 1920s. Famous Spiritualists include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Todd Lincoln and Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for president.

In this presentation, Nicole Evelina will give a brief history of Spiritualism, introduce you to the fascinating world of mediums and clairvoyants, show you some of the tools and tricks they used to communicate with the dead, and illustrate how Spiritualism helped women gain a voice in public forums.



Story to Stage - Dorothea Bonneau

The Story to Stage Workshop is designed for writers who want to bring their stories to life on stage and for fiction and non-fiction authors eager to breathe vitality into their scenes using the playwright’s toolkit. Participants in this experiential workshop will explore: means to create mood and vivify theme using the architecture of setting; ways to tap the power of sound as a pathway to memory and/or expectation; how to intrigue an audience using dramatic irony; and how to utilize character tactics that raise the stakes and capture the attention of audience/reader. A workbook will be provided for all participants.



Violence, Guarded Bodies, and the British Suffragettes (1903-1914): Emmeline Pankhurst, Constance Lytton, and Gertrude Harding - Clarissa Harwood

2018 marks the centenary of the first women to get the vote in England. The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, was the best-known militant women’s suffrage organization in the early 20th century. Drawing on the experiences of Pankhurst as well as WSPU members Constance Lytton and Gertrude Harding, Clarissa Harwood will discuss the increasingly violent tactics of the militant suffragettes as well as the even more violent backlash against them, exploring the following questions: What led these women to break the law by destroying property? Why were they attacked so brutally by police and bystanders even when they were staging peaceful demonstrations? After they were arrested, how did their hunger strikes and forcible feeding affect public perception of them? How did they negotiate relationships with friends and family who opposed their involvement in the WSPU? Finally, did the actions of the militant suffragettes ultimately help or hinder their cause?



Way Beyond Wikipedia: Online Sources for Historical Research - Mary Malloy

How much history needs to be in a historical novel? And where does it come from? While good secondary sources are essential for understanding the context of the period about which you are writing, the Internet now allows access to primary sources that can give your book fascinatingly appropriate details. Most of the texts published in English since the invention of the printing press are now online, including plays, novels, sermons, statements from the gallows, descriptions of nature around the globe, and instruction manuals for every kind of job from blacksmithing to navigating a ship. Many are illustrated with pictures not available elsewhere. In this presentation, Mary Malloy will introduce databases of historical materials including “Early English Books Online” and “Eighteenth Century Texts Online,” and discuss ways to use them in your novel.


 

World Building in Historical Fiction - Tim Weed

 

In addition to the goal common to all fiction—to tell a gripping story featuring compelling characters—historical fiction aims to transport a reader back in time. In this dynamic and interactive talk, we'll examine the strategies some of the great historical novelists of the past and present have used to achieve this special method of time travel. We'll finish up with a brief writing exercise introducing a surprisingly practical way to incorporate historical world-building techniques into your writing.