November meeting: How To Publish Your Novel

Have you written a novel? a collection of poetry? a series of short stories? Please come to our November workshop to get advice about writing a cover letter, creating a synopsis, compiling a resume, approaching an agent, etc. This will be at the beginning of the meeting, then we will have our ordinary monthly sharing-and-critique session.

publishingMonday, Nov 3rd, 6-10 pm
Living Hope Church, 330 Schantz Rd, Allentown, PA

* writing materials (paper or digital)
* work to share (optional)
* food and friends (optional)


Players of the Stage has a new website!

logo_2Ekphrasian Sharon G. is the Artistic Director of Players of the Stage, a youth theatre company in Allentown whose vision “is to be an established, reputable Christian youth and community theater in the Lehigh Valley that glorifies God and brings His Light into the world of Theatre.” They have a brand-new website with information about upcoming shows and future summer camps, photos of past productions, and a brand-new blog, Please do check it out!

Novel Madness in at least four senses

On Sunday, several Ekphrasians and friends gathered at Lehigh Valley Presbyterian Church to read part of my novel-in-progress, The Four Senses, out loud. We shared good food and fellowship, and we read the first ten chapters — 30,000 words — out loud together.

What a wild experience that was!! First, the fellowship was wonderful. Most of the members of the core group were there, plus some occasional attendees and four newcomers! In attendance were: me, Marian B, Richard B, Betsy G, Sharon G, Carl H, Gary H, Jeff H, Nadine K, Andrew MacD, Jenn R, Terri R, Dan S, Elaine S, and Elizabeth S. Everyone brought wonderful food: guacamole, tacos, chips, salsa, curry, chicken bites, rice dishes, home-baked bread, cookies, and so forth. It was a feast for the body, heart, and mind.

Second, the sensation of hearing my writing read out loud was wonderful. I was afraid it would all sound stupid once it hit the air, but it didn’t. Yet the act of listening to my own prose was revelatory: I could tell which passages dragged or limped along, and which were more smooth. I knew what to cut, shorten, or otherwise alter just from hearing it read. And my friends did a beautiful job reading, especially Nadine K (who read the main character/narrator) and Carl H (who read musical and philosophical passages in a beautifully rich tone). Everybody brought their characters to life for me.

Finally, however, it was exhausting to try to take in all the comments, questions, critiques, and suggestions for revision. As the evening went on, the comments became more and more similar: “Develop this character more. Replace narrative with action.” And then at last a few members were competing with one another to see who could criticize the most, and I had to stop it before I fell asleep with exhaustion or started to cry. The suggestions were all wonderful, and I will take them all into account as I revise, but it was a lot all in one go! I don’t know how Sharon G. managed to put up with it for 13 hours and her entire 70,000 word novel earlier this year. Whew.

So thanks, everyone! Let’s do it again sometime. And bring pillows and blankets.


Reading of “The Four Senses”

10288762_10204404392332815_4941618668333392283_nYou are invited to attend a read-through of the first 50,000 words of my novel-in-progress, The Four Senses. RSVP right away on the facebook event page if you would like to read a part!


Reading of The Four Senses

Sunday, October 12senses
1:00pm – 9:00pm
Lehigh Valley Presbyterian Church
31 S 13th St, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18102

1. a digital device from which to read the text (I’ll email it)
2. food, lots of food: at least two meals to share potluck-style
3. maybe something comfy to sit on, as it’s all metal folding chairs in there

Here is a (cheesy) description of the book:

If you were forced to choose, would you rather be blind or deaf? This is the question that Cassandra Woods, adjunct professor of English and angst-ridden emerging adult, thinks she faces throughout The Four Senses: a 104,000-word piece of new-adult literary fiction that is part road novel, part dystopian literature. As Winston Smith anticipates the bullet to the back of the head throughout George Orwell’s 1984, so Cass knows that her first step towards investigating a possible government conspiracy is the first step towards sensory deprivation. But meanwhile, she is a confused girl struggling to pay the bills, carve out a career path, and manage relationships. Following a series of mysterious blog posts, she sets out on a road trip across the United States that is also the American twenty-something’s emotional journey towards adulthood. Her story is punctuated by philosophical musings on the nature of narrative, of sensory perception, and of the human mind.