Characterization at Ithaca Spring Writes Literary Festival 2018








Despite the snow on Sunday, Spring is coming which means it’s time for  Ithaca’s Spring Writes Literary Festival, May 3-6.

This year Strictly Genre: Ithaca Fiction Critique Group‘s panel is on characterization and I’ll be one of the panelists:

Sunday, May 6, 12:30 – 1:30pm @ Community School of Music and Arts, Lower Level
Panel: Beyond the Page: Creating Characters with Lives of Their Own
Members of the Strictly Genre critique group will hold a panel discussion on the art of characterization. Come learn how we create rich, well-rounded characters in a variety of genres including Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, and Historical Crime. We will explore ways to look beyond physical description to create compelling characters with believable motivations using writing techniques such as showing characterization through dialogue, using backstory to inform a character’s motivations, revealing a character’s inner thoughts through their body language, and more.  Panelists will include Jackie Swift (moderator), SF/Fantasy writer; Gigi Vernon; Historical Crime writer; Doreen Alsen: Romance writer; and E.C. Barrett: SF/Fantasy writer.

If last year’s panel is anything to go by, the conversation should be insightful and stimulating. Hope to see you there!

For a full schedule of 2018 festival events, check out:

Posted in Conferences | Leave a comment

Bouchercon 2017, eh?




Bouchercon is an international mystery convention, the largest in the world, typically held in North America. Fittingly, Bouchercon 2017: Passport to Murder was held in Toronto, a very international, very lovely city.

I had a great time catching up with long-time mystery friends and making new ones during the conference.

One of the highlights of the conference was a one-day workshop organized by Sisters in Crime– SinC Into Great Writing IX! Learn How to Give Your Novels Structure by Alexandra Sokoloff. We learned screenwriting techniques that can be applied to fiction writing. Alex finished with an excellent and very instructive commentary on the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

Posted in Conferences, Workshops | Leave a comment

My panels for Ithaca Spring Writes 2017








This year’s Ithaca’s Spring Writes Literary Festival  is May 4-7. It’s a fabulous, not-to-be-missed weekend, and the entire festival is free and open to all.  If you’re in the area, please consider attending.

I’ll be on two panels:

11:00 – 12:15pm
History Center
Panel: World Building: If You Build It, They Will Come

A panel discussion by genre fiction writers Doreen Alsen, E.C. Barrett, Cara DiGirolamo, Jackie Swift and Gigi Vernon on the ins and outs of world building. Come learn how these authors create rich, believable worlds in a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and more.

Doreen Alsen writes contemporary romantic comedy. Her seventh book, Worth A Thousand Words, came out in September, 2016.

E.C. Barrett writes weird and macabre speculative fiction. She teaches writing at the Community School of Music & Arts and is a freelance journalist.

Cara DiGirolamo is a graduate student in linguistics, with a particular interest in how our world is shaped through language, and how writers use language to shape their worlds.

Jackie Swift creates science fiction and fantasy worlds by harnessing poetic inspiration and science to blind leaps of faith via binary code. Also, she’s a freelance writer and editor.

Gigi Vernon is an historical crime fiction author and a class of 2016 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies.



12:00 – 1:15pm
CAP ArtSpace
Intimate Communities: Starting and Sustaining a Writing Group That Works

Writing groups can be an essential part of the writing life, a supportive mini-community to help you develop your writing projects and goals. They can also be challenging to create and sustain. Authors Kathy Henion, Angie Pelekidis, Aimee Lehman, Bob Proehl and Gigi Verson share their experiences forming and/or participating in writing groups, including how these groups were essential in drafting, revising, and/or publishing their work. They will also discuss how to find or create a group and provide practical strategies for organizing, dividing time wisely, and critiquing fairly.

Kathryn Henion’s fiction has appeared in Saranac Review, Natural Bridge, & Green Mountains Review, among others. Currently she reads fiction and serves as a production editor for the online journal of art and literature Drunken Boat.

Angie Pelekidis worked in public relations before receiving her Ph.D in Creative Writing from Binghamton University. Her dissertation won the Distinguished Dissertation Award and her work has appeared in The Michigan Quarterly Review, Confrontation, The Masters Review, and other journals

Bob Proehl is the author of the novel, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, was a 2012 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction and a 2013 resident at the Saltonstall Arts Colony.

Gigi Vernon is an historical crime fiction author and a class of 2016 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies.

Posted in News | Leave a comment