News & Information
Available in paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Them-That-Go-Becky-Mushko/dp/1523750251
Available for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BTHSBDK
3/22/16 Franklin County Library (Rocky Mount) 6–8 PM
4/14/16 Westlake Library 2 PM–4 PM
4/23/16 Franklin County Library (Rocky Mount) 10 AM–1 PM
4/29/16 Penhook, VA. Water's Edge Country Club Author Event 6:30 PM
5/7/16 Wytheville, VA. Library 10 AM-2 PM
5/12/16 Fincastle, VA. Fincastle Public Library, 6:00 PM
- 5/14/16 Vinton, VA. Vinton Public Library, 11 AM
- 6/11/16 Rocky Mount, VA. Virginia Office Supply 10AM-noon
- 6/25/16 Danville, VA. Brewed Awakening 10AM-2 PM
- 9/24/16 Danville, VA. Brewed Awakening 10AM-2 PM
- 10/29/16 Westlake. Runk & Pratt Festival, 10 AM-2 PM
- 11/18/16 Westlake, CJ's Coffee Shop, 1-3 PM
"Authors on Grayson" in Galax, VA 2011
Blue Ridge Resources:
- The Blue Ridge Parkway
- Blue Ridge Parkway (NPS)
- The Blue Ridge Parkway Guide
- Blue Ridge Discovery Center
- Blue Ridge Institute & Museum
- Frontier Culture Museum
- Booker T. Washington National Monument
- Blue Ridge Country magazine
Booker T. Washington National Monument
My Appalachian Folktale
- The Laker Weekly, 4,/4/16
- The Laker Weekly, 3/25/11
- Franklin News-Post, 3/24/11
- Franklin News-Post, 12/18/09
- The Laker Weekly, 1/1/10
- The Laker Weekly, 1/8/10
- Roanoke Times Arts & Extras, 3/12/10
Helpful Books for Writers
When I do workshops or speaking engagements, I'm sometimes asked what "writing" books I recommend. Here's a list of books that have helped me:
- Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile is one of the best books for a fiction writer. His suggestions are practical and helpful.
- Les Edgerton's Hooked is another good one for a fiction writer. He explains strategies to get the reader's attention and keep the reader interested.
- William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is subtitled An Informal Guide to Writing Non-fiction. However, this very readable book is also helpful for writing fiction. Zinsser emphasizes style—especially getting rid of clutter. Every writer should own a copy.
- Constance Hale’s Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose is another extremely helpful book—and it's fun to read.
- Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is one of my favorites—a combination of good advice, autobiography, and humor.
- Stephen King’s autobiographical On Writing is also loaded with good advice.
- Carolyn See's Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers also has lots of good advice.
- Rita Mae Brown's Starting From Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers' Manual addresses both the writing lifestyle and ways to improve writing.
- Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is one of the classics that every writer should have. The original edition is available on Bartleby; later editions are available on Amazon.com.
While some folks consider writing a solitary activity, I find it helpful to network with other writers and get input from them. Currently, I belong—or have belonged—to these groups:
Lake Writers (the literary branch of the Smith Mountain Arts Council) is an informal group that meets twice a month. Most of us are retirees who want to perfect our writing; many of us seek commercial publication for our novels; several of us write for local publications. The critiques are usually very helpful. We sometimes sponsor a writing contest, guest speakers, or a publication—such as Voices From Smith Mountain Lake (2014, the spoof Nekkid Came the Swimmer (2015), or Reflections on Smith Mountain Lake.
Valley Writers (a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club) also meets twice a month in Roanoke and is a bit more varied (non-retiree members); again, the critiques are also helpful. Since I live so far from Roanoke, I no longer attend Valley meetings.
The Virginia Writers Club meets annually in either Richmond or Charlottesville but holds quarterly meetings in Charlottesville I've served as an officer and member of the VWC Board of Governors in the past. Currently, I'm a life member.
I used to attend a Roanoke area SCBWI critique group which met monthly. We'd e-mail our pages to the other members in advance of the meeting, so we are prepared to discuss and critique each other's work when we meet at a local coffee shop. (I really liked this system, but getting into Roanoke wasn't practical for me.)
I recommend that beginning writers (or not-so-beginning) find a group of like-minded individuals.
Read. Read a lot. Read in the genre you write and read out of your genre.
Blog. Blogging is a good way to hone your writing skills and develop a readership. I've been blogging since 2006, and it's taught me a lot.
Read blogs. Read agents’ and editors’ blogs to help keep up with the publishing industry. Read other writers' blogs. Read friends' blogs.
Perfect your craft. Attend classes and workshops. Read.
Learn the terminology. One place to learn is the Creative Writing Glossary.