Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance has just announced the finalists for the 2014 Maine Literary Awards, and I'm delighted to report that Massacre Pond is a nominee in the crime fiction category (along with Al Lamanda's Sunrise and Barbara Ross's Clammed Up), The awards have grown in prestige from year to year — the list of finalists itself is impressive — and I am honored to be included. The winners will be announced on May 29.
Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (MWPA) has just launched a new site designed to bring attention to Maine authors. It's called, plainly enough, Find Maine Writers. Here's the idea behind it:
Find Maine Writers is dedicated to profiling Maine’s many diverse and talented writers, publicizing their work and accomplishments, and connecting them with readers, editors, literary agents, publishers, and potential employers.
The design is beautifully minimalist, featuring an always changing grid of author photographs and book jackets. If you're not familiar with the state of Maine's many talented writers, it's an ideal place to start. I am proud to be included in the launch.
Disclaimer: Back in the early 1990s I was the executive director of MWPA. It was a different era: self-publishing was just taking off, independent bookstores were in a struggle with the big-box chains, and Amazon wasn't yet a glimmer in Jeff Bezos's eye. The organization is now closing in on its 40th anniversary, and it makes me incredibly happy to see it evolving to suit the needs of twenty-first century writers, publishers, and readers. The alliance seems more vibrant to me than ever.
With the March 29 enrollment deadline approaching I am reposting this one:
I don't teach many writing workshops, but when Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance invited me to be an instructor at its annual Black Fly Writing Retreat, I jumped at the chance. First off, the retreat is held in Grand Lake Stream, a village in eastern Maine that just happens to be:
A.) Spectacularly scenic.
B.) The setting of Mike Bowditch's next adventure.
C.) One of the premier fly-fishing destinations in the United States.
The retreat offers classes in fiction, memoir, poetry, and YA. I'll be teaching crime fiction. Now that I have a few books under my belt, I'm looking forward to a chance to work with new writers in the genre. Here's a description of the class I'll be leading:
Take a look at any bestseller list, and you'll see that crime fiction consistently dominates the tops of the charts. The genre's continuing appeal is easy to understand. Storytelling is at the essence of our humanity, and no other genre is unabashed in its devotion to story as the "whodunit." In this class you will learn the building blocks of the well-told story. We'll discuss compelling characters whose actions drive the plot, the elements of suspense that keep readers turning pages, settings that illustrate the conflicts at the heart of the tale, and narrative arcs that avoid cliche while delivering a satisfying reading experience at the end. No matter your sub-genre (thriller, mystery, cozy, procedural, noir, or caper) you'll learn techniques to make you a better storyteller.
Sound interesting? Registration is now open.