Everything you wanted to know about publishing…

. . . and were afraid to ask?  Well, ask away, compadre!  Cuz that is exactly what’s happening at our next monthly meeting.  I know we say this a lot, but this time our next event will be extra, extra special.  An event of biblical proportions and spectacular bandwidth, as it were.  Because, ladies and gents, children and small house pets, for the first time ever Buckeye Crime Writers will be combining with another central OH writing group, the Ohio Writers’ Association (formerly Columbus Creative Cooperative), to form a DUAL MEETING as our speaker will be none other than OWA founder Brad Pauquette, who will be expounding on, wait for it:  publishing.  Among the items he will be discussing:

  • The three primary paths to publishing (self-publishing, small presses and traditional/big 5).
  • The advantages, expectations, costs and compensation of each of the above.
  • Scams, red flags and false promises to avoid.

So where are you going to be Saturday 10/27/18?  Sprawled on your couch watching OSU football?  NO (it’s a bye week anyway).  You’re going to be at the Grandview Library (1685 W. 1st Avenue) from 12:30 – 3:00, learning the process of turning your written words into filthy lucre.  Because if anybody knows a thing or two about publishing, it’s Brad.  Not only has he written a book about self-publishing (The Self-Publishing Handbook), he’s consulted with clients from professional athletes to New York Times bestselling authors, and he’s also the founder of the Columbus Publishing Lab and the Columbus Press.  In addition, Brad has edited several anthologies, authored a book on the water crisis in India (Sejal:  The Walk for Water), and when he’s not doing any of the above he spends his time thinking up stuff to do on a farm in Zanesville with a wife, four children, and several adorable critters.  So block out the aforementioned Saturday and come loaded with questions for an event you don’t want to miss.  Per usual, we will try to corral the speaker at a local restaurant after the meeting for some extra input, so feel free to join if you are able.  And since this is a combined event, two groups will be occupying one space, and the space holds up to 60 people.  Do the math.  In the meantime, keep writing.

So, Tell Us About Your Book.

How do you summarize your 90,000-word novel in two sentences or less? Or even in just a page? Can you summarize what your book is about quickly, before the listener begins to glaze over or lose track of what you’re saying? If any of these questions vex you, you need to come to our next event. We’re holding a workshop to help you write your log lines, elevator pitches, query paragraphs, and short synopses. Writing a book is hard enough; writing something succinct is an altogether different challenge. Our own Connie Berry, fresh off her own new book deal (yay, Connie!), will lead our session from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., Bexley. Be prepared to learn to promote your work-in-progress, or if you’re between projects, use one of your favorite books as an example. This is an interactive session, so be ready to participate! See you then!

The lawyers are coming! (And that’s a good thing!)

Hi, everybody! We had a great visit last month with Michelle Pretorius; she did a great job of talking us through some writing tips and sharing some of her process. Here’s more about Michelle.

And now we’re looking ahead to our next event! For our next Buckeye Crime Writers meeting, we’re going from writing tips to practical tips on how the criminal justice system works, and we’re hearing from the experts.

Our visitors will be Melanie Tobias, Director of the Criminal Appeals Unit, and Annie Murray, Domestic Violence Director of the Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit, both in the office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. They’ll talk about what they do, share information about interesting cases they’ve handled, and share their perspective on the things that authors get wrong and right about attorneys and legal issues. (We personally can’t imagine anyone would mischaracterize lawyers or the justice system – would they?)

So if you’re involving prosecutors in any way in your next story – and even if you aren’t – you won’t want to miss this! Join us at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Old Worthington Library, 820 High St., Worthington. See you there!

Just sommer . . .

No, that’s not a misspelling for ‘just summer.’  ‘Just sommer’ is a South African phrase meaning ‘just because.’  As in, why should you attend the next SICCO meeting on Saturday, 7/28/18, at the Worthington Library (2280 Hard Road, Worthington) from 12:30 – 3:00?  Just sommer, my china (‘just because, my friend’).  Just because, as in South African writer Michelle Pretorius will be our guest speaker.  Eish,* how do we find these people?  Because we’re kief**, duh.   Michelle is not only a doctoral student at Ohio University, but she’s also the author of The Monster’s Daughter (Melville House; novel of dystopian crime fiction in South Africa) and a winner of the Friends of American Writers award (previous winners including Toni Morrison, Celeste Ng and Gillian Flynn).  She’s also a winner of Ohio University’s John Cady Graduate Fellowship, and is currently working on a 2nd novel titled Where the Devil Turns (also taking place in South Africa).  Michelle, an up-and-coming author you DON’T WANT TO MISS, will be talking about fiction writing, apartheid, South Africa and a whole lot of other stuff.  And per usual, we will be gathering at a local restaurant/watering hole afterwards for additional discussion, questions and camaraderie (location to be decided).  So waste some time with us on Saturday and revel in our leker indaba ***.  Oh, and keep writing.

*exclamation of surprise

** wicked cool

*** great discussion

 

You can also find us on our SiCCO Facebook Page!

It’s all about the scurvy

Captain Kidd.  Blackbeard.  Pirates of the Caribbean.  The Pittsburgh Pirates.  You like pirates?  Of course you do . . . who doesn’t like pirates?  Probably some Yankees fan, like Rudy Giuliani, because his name starts with an ‘aarrrrrrr’ (shut up, that was hilarious).  Anyway, since everybody likes pirates, you have no reason to not attend the Old Worthington Library on Saturday, May 26, from 12:30 – 2:00 and converse with our monthly speaker, Steve Goble.  Steve is the home-grown Ohio author of THE BLOODY BLACK FLAG, and THE DEVIL’S WIND (coming out in September, 2018).  Both books feature a reluctant pirate protagonist who solves murder mysteries in the early 1700’s off colonial America . . . a plot device so cool it’s got antifreeze in its veins.  Steve is a debut author who’s also a local journalist for USA Today, a former speaker at the recent Murder and Mayhem Conference in Chicago (with Gillian Flynn and Jeffrey Deaver), and just for fun he has Godzilla as his spirit animal.  In short, he has tons of experiential advice to pass on to new authors which you don’t want to miss.  So bone up on your pirate lingo and fancy sword skills and spend some quality time with a few of your faves (and join us for lunch afterwards, per usual).  Oh, and keep writing.

OUR ANNUAL 9/23/17 EVENT!

Saturday, September 23, 2017!

Our annual BIG EVENT!

Be there!

 

OK, if you missed this on the home page then you shan’t be blamed (we’ve been experiencing some website thingies since switching over to the new format and our site became . . . ah . . . infected).  Nothing you need worry about, but a big pain in the butt for us.  So we’ve been letting things sit and cool out until we were sure the fire was extinguished, and now we’re testing out the new wheels (baby steps) with the most pressing update to REMIND YOU OF OUR BIG EVENT ON 9/23/17!

Our speakers for the all-day extravaganza are as follows:

Andrew Welsh Huggins (Keynote Speaker):  AP reporter, local author of the Andy Hayes mystery series, and all-around terrific person (not to mention a popular past speaker for SICCO), Andrew will discuss his research methods for how he nails the details on his now 4-book series with Ohio University Press.

Peter Tobin (U.S. Marshal for the Ohio Southern District):  holy cow, is this someone not to miss.  Former Chief of Police for Powell and London (Ohio), SWAT commander, Narcotics Division Chief for BCI, and now Superintendent of BCI/US Marshal.  If you’re looking for info on how to catch bad guys or just a lot of wicked, big-time anecdotal stories, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Gary Wilgus (Supervisor for the Ohio BCI Forensic Underwater Dive Team):  we’re still scratching our heads how we were able to get this guy.  If you’ve ever wondered how they find the people with ice water in their veins to strap on SCUBA gear in the middle of a freezing January night to search for a drowning victim, this is your chance.  A definite must-see.

Mitchell Seckman (Detective with Columbus PD/member of the FBI Columbus Violent Criminal Task Force):  there’s not enough room to include this officer’s bona fides.  Part of the Columbus Police gang unit and a popular SICCO past speaker, Mitchell is the quintessential cop’s cop.  With a wealth of experience for anyone interested in police procedurals, cozies, mysteries, thrillers or anything in between.

So for anyone interested in reading or writing about criminal activities, this is for you.  Whether an author looking for technical details or a reader simply wondering ‘how the hell do they do that?’, this is a perfect way to spend a central-Ohio autumn day.  The time is 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park/Beech-Maple Lodge.  Cost is $60 for SICCO members, $70 for non-members (lunch and breakfast goodies included).  Visit the SICCO Facebook page and click on the EVENTBRITE.COM link to sign up (parking is available, but space may be limited).  And please contact us at our Facebook site with any questions!

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo.  A word that invokes fear, desperation and loathing.  Kind of like taxes.  Politics.  Lutefisk.  And colorectal exam.

That last one was two words, but still.

NaNoWriMo (short for ‘National Novel Writing Month’) is coming up this November. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, NaNoWriMo started in 1999 on a whim by a group of 21 folks in San Francisco who were trying to encourage each other to write.  The goal was to put 50,000 words on paper during the month of November.  They continued the next year and got 140 participants.  So they thought ‘what the hell, why not?’ and continued to 2001.

They got 5000 participants and crashed their website.

Soon, the group was mentioned by such news agencies as the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and CBS Evening News.  Fast forward to 2015:  351,489 participants, 40,426 of whom completed their 50,000 word goals.  In a pre-event called Camp NaNoWriMo, held in April and July, there were 57,402 participants from 56 countries, with 1015 libraries, bookstores and community center partners lending a helping hand.  The non-profit group now has an annual operating budget over a million dollars, and some past NaNoWriMo projects include the following:

  • Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen); NYT bestselling novel (10 million copies sold), made into a movie (2011) and now being adapted for Broadway.
  • The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern); NYT bestselling novel.
  • The Persistence of Memory (Tony Eprile); about the waning days of apartheid in South Africa, praised by several reviews and Nobel-winning author J.M. Coetzee.
  • The Darwin Elevator (Jason Hough); NYT bestselling novel.
  • Cinder (Marissa Meyer); NYT bestselling novel/series.

So guess what SICCO’s doing this November?  You got it; NaNoWriMo.  Which means, guess what you’re doing this November?  Same thing; NaNoWriMo.  What else you got going on?  Dry turkey and tepid conversations with the relatives from Oklahoma City?  Muay-Thai training in anticipation of Black Friday?  Decompressing after 18 months of election year bickering?  Shoot, might as well make it productive . . . join SICCO at a reserved space with the Columbus library system this November (see the Calendar section for times and locations).  Just hang, chill, and do up that novel. Note:  Saturday, 11/19 will be our regular meeting, kinda sorta (we’ll be in the room writing, with coffee and snacks available), but otherwise it’ll be relaxed and comradely.  So stop on in with people of like minds, bring your laptop/typewriter/notebook pad/stone tablet and join us.  And no lutefisk . . . promise.

November Library Meetings

As you may have noticed, this month we aren’t having a normal meeting. Instead, we’ve decided to focus our efforts on helping YOU focus. Throughout the month, in homage to NaNoWriMo, we have times set aside at the Columbus Library/Northern Lights Branch, 4093 Cleveland Avenue. Our first reserved time is tomorrow, November 3rd from 1-5 pm (please note the time change from 9 pm to 5 pm). We will be providing a Keuring with coffee and tea and some sort of light snack.

Our other meeting times:

  • Wednesday, November 9, 1-9 pm
  • Saturday, November 19, 11-6 pm

Although we know the 19th is a Saturday during football season, we scheduled the time so that people could, hopefully, come either before or after the game, since the time has yet to be announced. On that day we are also going to be doing some more in-depth activities such as reading helpful hints from our favorite craft books, having a “word challenge” from 2 pm-4 pm with Prizes of Dubious Value being awarded by our President Patrick Stuart and anything else that may come into our heads between now and then. Drinks and snacks will be provided on this day as well

You don’t have to be participating in NaNoWriMo to join us at the library! Bring any work in progress and a desire to write…that’s all you need

If you have any questions, please contact us either through our Facebook page or our e-mail, siccowriters@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you at one or all of our scheduled library dates for all or part of the day. Come and go as you please.

Killer Nashville Made For A Killer Weekend by Kristin Crump

Anne Perry, Janet Evanovich, the Claymore Awards, the Silver Falchion Awards and the Dupin Detective Award…whew! Am I tired, but it was well worth it!!

On Augutst 17-21 I attended the 2016 Killer Nashville mystery writer’s conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time going and if anything, I enjoyed it even more this year. I took the trip with fellow SiCCO members Kandy Williams aka Mercedes King, Carolyn Melvin and Connie Berry. We drove down on Wednesday so we would be sure to be on time for our workshop Thursday afternoon. After the long trip, made even longer by rain, construction and accidents, we finally reached our hotel and decided to go to dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Mineo’s. When we finished feasting on truly delicious handmade Italian dishes, we joined in a trivia contest and Team Sisters In Crime took second place, and a $25 gift card, which we donated to our shuttle driver Joe for recommending the restaurant to us.

Thursday afternoon we were scheduled to attend the workshop, A Novel Process, taught by one of the preeminent writers of historical fiction, Ms. Anne Perry. As if getting to spend three hours with one of most prolific and award-winning writers of mysteries wasn’t enough of a treat, I learned a lot at the same time. In the first half, Perry covered outlining, why it’s important and what it will do for your writing. In the second she talked about rewriting and how to do it correctly and what to fix when you do it (more on this in a later blog post).

Friday was filled with a variety of expert panels including How To Build Your Network at Killer Nashville, How To Catch An Agent’s Eye, Inside the Deviant Mind and Creating Tension in Your Story, just to name a few. Friday night we were on our own for dinner so the four of us met up with some other Ohio writers, Ray Wenck and Andrew Welsh-Huggins, and went to dinner at a restaurant featuring southern food with flare, Tupelo Honey. If you’re ever in the Nashville area, I recommend it. They have a few other locations across the south, so you can look for them on their website tupelohoneycafe.com, to see if they have one near where you’ll be.

Saturday, the day I’d been waiting months for, finally arrived…Janet Evanovich was going to be there. I’m a huge fan and have read all her books (except for her new one Curious Minds, but it’s on my to-do list). I spent the morning working on my submission for the Dupin Detective Award, which is given to the person who figures out the mock crime scene. Around noon my day really began with lunch with Janet and Clay Stafford, then a book signing with Janet (where I gave her a book bag I made her!), then I attended a panel discussion, Writing a Series vs. Writing a Stand-Alone (with Janet Evanovich), and finally the afternoon break-out session, How I Write: Secrets of a Successful Author, with, you guessed it – Janet Evanovich! Who says you can have too much of a good thing? And no, I wasn’t stalking her…much.

Saturday night was the awards banquet. Some of the highlights of the evening for us were; SiCCO’s very own Kandy Williams was one of the ten finalists for the Claymore Award for her novel Junkyard Lounge, I won the Dupin Detective Award for solving the mock crime scene and Columbus novelist, one of our dinner companions and new SiCCO member, John Hegenberger, won the Silver Falchion for best Comedy for his novel Spyfall.

Sunday we attended a few more panels and then packed up the car for the long drive back to Ohio. We were tired, we were inspired and we were determined to come home and get back to our own writing. For myself, I can’t wait to see what my third trip to Killer Nashville brings; winning the Dupin Detective Award comes with a free registration for the next year, so 2017 will see me back at Killer Nashville, hopefully with my own novel completed!