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Rhody Writing Group’s Fifth Anniversary

2010 NaNoWrimo TGIO Party happy to be done with the writing!

Rhody Writing Group’s Fifth Anniversary

Writing in a vacuum can be very boring. For most you either need to sit at a desk or library or if you’re like me you have a 3 days worth of movie soundtracks to listen to get you into the mood. The downside to writing in a vacuum is no feedback or moral support feels like you’re building a sand castle at the beach and no one is there to admire it.

I started writing by adapting the Transformers pilot episode onto my dad’s TSR-80 laptop and continued through Junior High and High School writing at the time what was fan fiction Robotech novels.

During college, I met up with Paul Chabot and in a year or two we’re semi-yearly self publishing a black and white comic book called Totems.

In 2004, I found NaNoWrimo and got back into the universe I create in College and updated it so the Robotech trappings were gone.

Rhode Island is small state so traveling to write ins and finding coffee houses that can hold a burgeoning amount of people who’re just going to sit there and tap away on their laptops sounds easier than it should be but it’s not when your favorite place on Fox Point up and closes and you now have to seek another watering hole.

In December of 2010, sitting at the TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) party for NaNoWrimo over at Brewed Awakenings in Johnston,  there were great deal of people sitting around and I asked them if I started a writing group would they be interested in joining and they said yes.

Thankfully, Warwick Public Library had rooms available to reserve and in February (after a mis-step in January with snow in the forecast that never appeared) our motley group got together and reviewed several pieces including the first chapter of Weaver which has since been filed under: Nothing happens in fifteen pages it’s being revised.

It has been a fun five years. I’ve attempted to switch gears from hobby writing to writing professionally and even finished the first draft of Weaver to find I put too much into it.

It’s been a delight to see  other authors hone their craft until they have a voice and knowing when you read their piece it’s going to be interesting.

If you’re writing and haven’t found a writing group I suggest checking Meetup. You’d be surprised to see how many writing groups there are.

A writing group is great resource to have because:

  1. No one at the table is a blood relation to you.
  2. You’ll get free feedback on your work from people who may not even be writing in your genre.

We’ve had people come and go, the core group had clicked and even started meeting once a month to write in Newport.

We’ve even had a few people self publish a book or two, like Matt Keefer, Janet Parkinson and more.

So, when Bennett North sold her first short story to Fantasy and Science Fiction it was happy day since she had submitted to the group.

It was even a more happier day when it appeared in the January/February 2016 Edition of the magazine.

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And here are some of those reviews from Tangent and SFRevu of the issue.

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[Plotting About] Closing out 2015 with writing goals for 2016

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Looking back on the end of 2013 and 2014 I’m in a better place than last year even if I’m still writing Weaver.

The list I made last year was:

1. Finish Weaver Book #1. Query Agents. Work on Book #2. – I’ll get to this in a second.
2. Find a graphic design job – No such luck but I did get a job at Displays2Go.
3. Continue to write – Yep.
4. Read more – I have been.
5. Take more pictures and post’em – Need more time in the day.
6. More gaming with Team Formation – Still need more time in the day altho Rainbow 6 Siege coming out is a welcome breath of fresh air.
7. Hope for a good season of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi – There’s a blog post about the utter shit writing that was this season. If they cancel it next season it’ll go out on a low note from the writing standpoint. More on this later…

Where Weavers Daire Update

The Where Weavers Daire K BAR count:

I may’ve lost 10k from October but the plot is a lot better than what it had been.

The writing and re-writing continues. I’ve also found an easier way to jot things down besides my moleskin: Google Docs. Generally I use M$ Word to write and compile in Scrivener but I’ve been using Google Docs to write down and plan out plot points.

This is a good thing since most of it is still in my head and I’m making a concerted effort to plot instead of discovery or pants my way through.

I mentioned how the first draft of Weaver had an enormous amount of  content that should’ve been in other book and that’s what I’ve been doing when not watching Jessica Jones, The Expanse, working (!) or playing Fallout 4 / Destiny / Rainbow Six Siege.

I’ve been pushing plot threads that were in the first draft to the next book and it’s been helping a lot.

Writing Goals for 2016

  1. Plot out the rest of book 1.
  2. Finish writing Weaver.
  3. Work on Weaver graphic novel / web comic / Patreon.
  4. Get Weaver professionally edited.
  5. Self publish Weaver
  6. Plot out book 2 and 3.
  7. Attend several of the local events like the 4th Annual ARIA Author Expo and RICC and sell it!
  8. Make loads of money minus stealing the underwear.

Yep, short writing goals.

Misc Updates

Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, going to see it again then there will be a review post. My first thoughts: Great looking and well acted unlike the prequels. The new characters and the actors portraying them infused new blood into universe even if the plot hit all the notes from the original trilogy and it’ll be interesting to see how many deleted scenes show up on the DVD. I need to read the novelization as well since it was based on a previous screenplay draft.

The Art Book is worth getting but nowhere as detailed as the Making of Trilogy books.

On another note, Legos and Star Wars. It’s an expensive hobby.

The 3rd Annual Association of Rhode Island Author Expo went off without a hitch. I’m going to ignore the power failure at Lincoln Mall for 30-40mins.

Writing Excuses Cruise 2016 – I’m looking into doing this like Bennett North did this year.

Con Season 2016 consists of Emerald City, Necon and RICC. 3/4 of those I don’t need a hotel or airline tickets for. I’m half tempted on going to Boston Comic Con this year just as a fan to see how it is.

On the job front, I got a job at Displays2Go. I highly recommend their products and they’re local to Rhode Island!

That’s it for now, here’s hoping 2016 is better than 2015.

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A great thing to do in R.I. this Saturday is The 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo!

Flyer for the 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo

3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo

This Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM is the 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo presented by the Association of Rhode Island Authors.

This local author event will be located inside Lincoln Mall (go in the double doors between Marshalls and 5 Below).

The Expo Committee consisting of Steve and Dawn Porter, Adam Wassman, Vikki Corliss, Leigh Brown, Nora Hall, Pat Mitchel, Julien Ayotte, myself and J. Michael Squatrito Jr who I shameless “borrowed” this list from have been planning this grand event since mid-spring and I have to say we’ve done a great job.

For those who haven’t been following along with with my reposts from Martha Reynolds’ blog posts for the last month on Twitter/FB/er, well, everywhere (ignoring my website’s recent bandwidth issues, obviously), the Association of Rhode Island Authors who I’m proud to be a member of has been working hard to get local authors at events like the Scituate Art Festival for nearly four years and this Author Expo promises to be our biggest event yet!

Just a take a look at the authors over on the Expo page, we have authors from all walks of genre from non-fiction, fiction, autobiography, children, memoirs and more all under one roof with free parking and admission!

There will be raffles and even hourly panels on different writing subjects!

And just in time for holidays, these books would make great stocking stuffers!

Check out the Expo’s Facebook Event page to RSVP!

This type of event only comes once a year!

But fear not if you can’t make it!

We’ll be keeping all of the author photos up on the Expo site and those photos link back to their websites.

Remember to support your local authors this holiday season!

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Mark Perry #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Mark Perry

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Last week, an eight-year-old girl from San Diego put a spell on herself in the shower, to turn herself into a mermaid.  Why hasn’t it worked yet, and how much longer will it take, she asks?  Where does such a child turn when they are contemplating their life’s most compelling questions?  Well, that would be good old St. Nick, or course, because the allure of Santa Claus to a child makes them think and feel that he is all-knowing.

When I became ‘Post’ Mark, the North Pole Postman, the elf who works in Santa’s mail room, I guess I hadn’t thought I’d be confronted with such far-fetched questions.  I more or less expected kids to share some interesting stories, because we all know kids say the funniest things.

For example, Oliver from Australia has a dog named Shelby who he believes is friends with Santa’s reindeer because she doesn’t bark at them.  Timmy, in the state of Washington, isn’t sure if Santa will come to his house this year because he tripped and fell down.  When he fell, he knocked over the Christmas tree, and broke a few of the ornaments, and thinks Santa is mad at him now.

Working for a boss who is a metaphor means I am the one who has to address these issues all while keeping a straight face when a child or parent visits me at one of my live book-signing events, or logs on to my website to share them.

A message in Santa’s inbox the other day is from a nine-year-old girl in the U.K. who has a crush on a boy, and wants Santa to let the boy know, so he will notice her, but if he can’t do that, she understands.  She would just be fine with an iPad underneath the Christmas tree, instead.

While I truly enjoy having the world come to my door with these messages, and feel they are a gift to me, you can imagine this is challenging at times since a child doesn’t know or understand that I might be going into the fourteenth hour of my work day, and there were dozens, if not hundreds of kids that came before them.

Working for Santa is a very rewarding experience, but as kids are taught, and one might expect with being an elf, it requires long hours.  I often ask myself, “How much longer can I go on doing this job,” and then, Santa receives a message from Angela in Virginia stating that she will be leaving cookies for him when he comes to her house on Christmas eve, along with carrots for the reindeer, and something for ‘Post’ Mark too because she loved reading his book.  Wow!  What an honor.  I wonder what she’s going to leave me!

It’s almost December! Visit Post Mark and find out how to send a letter to Santa!

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Claremary Sweeney #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Claremary Sweeny

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

I’m a late bloomer. Very late! At age 65, I wrote a story featuring a tabby kitten named ZuZu, born in a barn at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I liked it so much I wrote more stories set in the Berkshires and added in lots of farm animals and an extended family. ZuZu’s further adventures bring readers to many interesting and historic places. The Hancock Shaker Village, the Red Lion Inn, Chesterwood, the Berkshire Botanical Garden are some of those places that my husband Charley and I have visited many times and I wanted to share them with others.

A Berkshire Tale is comprised of ten tales following ZuZu and her friend Nick through the seasons of a year. It’s appropriate for children of all ages, even adult children like me. I wrote it so that adults could share the stories with a child. This motivated me to create a blog, Around ZuZu’s Barn, about the book and about  the importance of reading, storytelling and imagination in the life of a child. The blog evolved into a conversation with kindred spirits on many topics, with some of my photography interspersed. (I used my photographs to illustrate A Berkshire Tale.) 

IMG_7698I had been a teacher and administrator for over thirty years. I’m now retired, living with my husband Charley and our two cats, Roxie and ZuZu, in the woods of South County. People who read this invariably ask, “You have two cats? Well, what about the other cat? Why doesn’t she have a book about her?”  To appease my blog followers, I began to write posts of life seen through the eyes of Roxie, “The Other Cat.” People really love these vignettes and it appears there may actually be another book within these posts.

Another question I’m asked is, “Do you have a book set in RI?” I now can answer that I have one in the process of being published. It’s a small book in rhymed verse set in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park. The main character is a baby pitcher plant, Adonis,  who one morning decides to stop eating meat. This causes much consternation for his mother, Dee, her friends, and the other plants and creatures living around the carnivorous plant section of the gardens. And I’m currently working on a mystery set in South Kingstown, complete with black and white photos of settings in the book.

Although I’m a late bloomer, I am trying to catch up, so that by the time I’m 67, I’ll have more books under my belt. Please visit my blog and check out the photos and “The Other Cat” stories. You’ll also get to know a bit more about me and Charley and the ZuZu stories which I’m continuing in the future.

Claremary Sweeney is also on Facebook.

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