24 Hours Left…

Hey there! If you were on the fence about taking my Gothic Story Elements class this Saturday afternoon, please note that you have about 24 hours left to sign up for it. (That *might* be flexible, but seriously do it before tomorrow evening.) The course will be conducted over Zoom — and you don’t need your own Zoom account, since you’ll get a link to join at registration — so you can take it from anywhere online.

Writespace sometimes offers discounts on classes at the last minute, and it looks like they’re doing that with mine, woot! If you want that discount code, let me know ASAP.

You can register for the course here.

Here’s the course description, too, in case you missed it before…

GOTHIC STORY ELEMENTS

photo by Bee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash

What do a darkly beautiful aesthetic, #WitchyGirlAutumn, and a tantalizing sense of foreboding all have in common? They can be part of the rich pageant of Gothic story elements that make so many “classic” — or “forbidden” — literary pleasures so deep. In this three-hour generative workshop, we will dip our feet into the chilling waters of Gothic literature to find out what that genre entails. Expect a multi-faceted exploration as we discuss a range of examples in visual art, film, music, and mentor texts. Our writing time will include the opportunity to use these Gothic  elements to begin a story or enhance one you’ve already started. Students will have the option of sharing what they’ve written during the workshop. Come with your favorite writing utensils (a laptop, a legal pad and sharpened pencils, a leather-bound journal and a fancy feather quill—whatever works for you). Let’s kick off the Gothic season in writing style!

All levels of writing experience welcome.

Dipping into the Gothic and Magical Waters

Here in the northern hemisphere, the autumn equinox fast approaches. Earlier this week, as my family was driving to my parents’ house to have dinner with them and my brother who was in town, we saw our first house of the season decorated for Hallowe’en. I saw two more this weekend, including one in our own neighborhood. We’re slated to get our first real cool front of the season in a few days. (I CANNOT WAIT. I’ve already got a sweater picked out to wear the minute one becomes even a little bit necessary, and I’m drinking pumpkin spice chai tea even now as I write this blog post.)

Partly in celebration of the season and partly because it’s going to be really fun, I’m teaching two new workshops at Writespace next month. The first is Gothic Story Elements, a three-hour generative writing class happening on Saturday, October 2nd. The second is a two-day workshop focused on Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, happening during the afternoons of two Sundays, October 3rd and 10th. You can click this link to learn more about and register for all the October and November workshops Writespace is putting on (including mine), but I’m also including the descriptions of both classes below.

I’d like to mention also a note about the formats of these classes, which are, as I said, generative. This means you will not be listening to me lecture for three hours. Far from it! I will teach you some interesting things, sure, but you will also be doing your own writing and idea work — generating, as it were. The Gothic Story Elements class will help you with writing stories in the Gothic genre, and the class about The Night Circus will include some focused literary analysis as a means to writing well. (And yes, you will be writing.) I’m SO excited about them both!

I sincerely hope you’ll join me for one or both classes. Since they’re being conducted on Zoom, there are no covid-related safety concerns, and you can join us from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. (My previous Writespace classes this year have included students from a variety of states in the US and even other countries. That has been awesome.) And while Writespace classes are typically an incredible bargain, the organization also offers scholarships with glee, so never feel embarrassed to ask for one.

Now without further ado, here are the course descriptions:

GOTHIC STORY ELEMENTS

photo by Bee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash

What do a darkly beautiful aesthetic, #WitchyGirlAutumn, and a tantalizing sense of foreboding all have in common? They can be part of the rich pageant of Gothic story elements that make so many “classic” — or “forbidden” — literary pleasures so deep. In this three-hour generative workshop, we will dip our feet into the chilling waters of Gothic literature to find out what that genre entails. Expect a multi-faceted exploration as we discuss a range of examples in visual art, film, music, and mentor texts. Our writing time will include the opportunity to use these Gothic  elements to begin a story or enhance one you’ve already started. Students will have the option of sharing what they’ve written during the workshop. Come with your favorite writing utensils (a laptop, a legal pad and sharpened pencils, a leather-bound journal and a fancy feather quill—whatever works for you). Let’s kick off the Gothic season in writing style!

All levels of writing experience welcome.

READING YOUR WAY TO WRITING WELL: THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

In this series of workshops, Writespace instructors select a work of literature and guide participants in a deep dive into craft, style, technique, and device. In these six-hour workshops, the instructor will lead an analysis of the work, and participants will practice using the techniques and devices discussed, leading to generating ideas and techniques for their own writing. Participants will need to read the selection in advance and come prepared to discuss it. 
 
Erin Morgenstern’s highly acclaimed debut The Night Circus rocked the literary world with its lush writing, clever structure, magnetic characters, and gripping story. In this two-day course, we will explore some of the reasons why Morgenstern’s novel is so well written and use it as a mentor text to generate some innovative writing of our own. Expect to discuss various elements of the text and to write original creative work, using Morgenstern’s techniques for inspiration. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their writing in class both days. Homework involves reading The Night Circus in its entirety before the first class begins and one or two writing exercises between class sessions.

This course is open to all levels of writing and literary analysis. Reading the text before the class begins is necessary.

***

If you’ve been wanting to take a workshop from me but haven’t found the time yet, please note that these might be the last classes I offer before the new year. Jump on this bandwagon — you won’t be disappointed! You can find these classes listed under Writespace Houston’s offerings at Eventbrite, or just click on this link to register. Thank you!

Sonic Chihuahua Issue #5!

Coming out next week! Sonic Chihuahua volume 2 issue 5. Let me know if you want one.

In other news, my popular little zine is now going to be carried by my brother’s shop, Ella’s Apothecary, at their pop-up locations.

I’m also actively looking for zine fests and other venues where it might be well received. The response to the reboot of my zine this year has been…well, AMAZING. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who is reading and subscribing and reviewing it online and contributing and generally squealing with joy when I show up to hand it over. THIS MAKES MY DAY!

I also have enough subscribers now to actually pay contributors. Yes, it’s still a token payment because the zine isn’t actually profitable yet. But also? It’s a project I love doing, and I’ve got the contents slate for the next five issues already mapped out (rough drafts, so it’s flexible).

Thank you again! And if you’d like to get in on this fantastic zine action, do let me know. Drop me a note in the comments (with a way to reach you if I don’t already know where to find you), and we’ll get that taken care of.

OH! And there have been multiple requests this last month for ways people can pay for the zine. I’m currently taking subscription payments via PayPal and Venmo (but cash works well, too, if I’m delivering it to you in person). Drop me a note to find out more.

Thank you again!

And…one last bit…I’m still working out the schedule for next month’s Witchy Weekends series, so if you want to cast a vote in the poll about what the series will include this year, go here. I appreciate your feedback!

September Poll Plans For October

Hello! Welcome to September. I don’t know about you, but I’m desperately happy it’s not August, The Official Worst Month Of The Year In Texas. This September is admittedly not ideal, but we’re going to press on forward, onward and upward, and fake it till we make it around here.

One of the things I really love about September is its proximity to October, which actually is my favorite month! (Or one of them. Or probably my actual favorite. I mean, October is just grand.)

And October on the blog means the triumphant return of Witchy Weekends, one of the seasonal celebrations we do around here. This series has taken on a variety of forms over the years, and this time I’m in a bit of a quandary deciding what to feature. There are just so many options!

So I thought I’d pose the question to you, dear readers: what would you enjoy seeing here on the blog this October? Please let me know in this totally informal and unscientific poll, and feel free to expound upon your opinions in the comments section. I will take your preferences into account.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

 

A Class on Character

Great news! I’m going to be teaching my one-day course on character development for Writespace at the end of this month!

I’ve taught it once before, and it went really, really well, and so Writespace has me teaching it again on Saturday, July 31st, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. (central time). This three-hour session (with a break) focuses on creating characters who drive their own stories in smart ways. We’ll be drawing from sophisticated craft/technique, pop culture, and literary analysis in this generative workshop, at the end of which you’ll have written a good strong start to a new story — or gained a better grasp on a story you’ve already got in progress. This class is open to all skill levels.

I’ll be teaching on Zoom, so you can take this course from anywhere with an internet connection. Last time we had people joining us from Houston, the farther US, and even Mexico! Very cool stuff.

Here’s the link to register for the course.

One last note: one thing that’s so good about Writespace courses is that they tend to be far more affordable than other organizations for the same quality or better. (Writespace offers scholarships, too.) Early bird registration lasts until July 26th.

I hope to see you there!

SONIC CHIHUAHUA Issue #2 Out This Week!

Hello, zine readers! The second issue of Sonic Chihuahua is out this week. So, subscribers and other fans: watch your mailboxes for it to arrive very soon, if you don’t actually already have it. This month’s cover is a hot-summery acid green, which makes Han very happy.

In other news, the clerk at the post office yesterday morning saw my stack of envelopes and said, “Looks like you and I are gonna get to know each other real well today.”

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can click here for more information about my zine and click here for a marvelous review of the first issue. And if you want to be included in this awesome endeavor, drop me a line in the comments and I’ll send you one. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has already expressed their support and admiration of this fun little project.  🙂  You warm the cockles of our hearts.

Happy reading!

My Newsletter Is Migrating…

Authors these days have to manage a lot of platforms. Like, a LOT. And periodically it’s a good idea to evaluate all of them to see what’s serving us well and what could maybe be improved — or maybe needs to be pruned.

I’ve been doing that this summer. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and this blog are all working out well for me. My newsletter…is an albatross. I’ve been using Mailchimp and don’t love it. The time-consuming and somewhat non-intuitive (at least for me) process of creating a newsletter means I don’t do it every month, so it’s not super-effective. Engagement there is low, unlike on this blog and the rest of my social media, where it’s much better! So I just sent out my last newsletter with Mailchimp today. (At least, the last for now. Never say never on resurrecting something in the future. But for now, don’t look for it to happen.)

Instead, I now intend to make all my announcements in detail here on the blog, though you will still see nods to them on my other social media. My hope is that everyone who was getting the newsletter will now migrate here to Sappho’s Torque. I’m also intending to devote the time and energy I would have spent working on (or fretting about) the newsletter into making this blog even better, so here’s to the best of intentions.  😉

In case you want to see that last newsletter, here you go. Just click this link to see the Authorland missive.

Onward and upward!