Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts


Thrillerfest 2012

Preparing for ThrillerFest 2012
I love to write thrillers.  One day, I might even become a successful author in the terms of the world, meaning selling lost of books.  In the meantime, I love to immerse myself in a story and work to improve my craft of writing.  I am fortunate to have a supporting family, including a professional blogger.  The trade association of thriller writers is the Int’l Thriller Writers’ Ass’n.  The ITW annual meeting in New York City is ThrillerFest.  It will occur just after the 4th of July and we will be there.  One element of the meeting is AgentFest,  which is a speed-dating process of aspiring writers and agents.  This will be my third AgentFest.  I did have an agent at one point, who had wonderful credentials and credits but his heart was elsewhere.
My blogging partner, whose enthusiasm for the fiction business never ceases (even though her writer is yet to become a household name beyond the world of transfer pricing), and I will participate in both ThrillerFest and AgentFest this year, and I will try to be a faithful reporter.
Last year, about ten agents asked me to send a synopsis and the first 3-5 chapters of the manuscript I was working on, Bite Me!  At the time I was working with a wonderful editor helping me to polish my style.  We are still working, though I am delighted with my progress.  I have contacted those agents to advise of my progress, hoping to see the mat AgentFest again this year.

I will report on ThrillerFest and AgentFest again this year, as well as my progress in the fiction-writing world.

Are you attending?


Scholastic Summer Challenge - Keep Everyone Reading!

Scholastic Summer Challenge

From our good friends at Scholastic...Thank you Nadia!!


The Scholastic Summer Challenge Invites Kids to Keep Reading this Summer by Logging Reading Minutes to Win Virtual Rewards 

New York, NY–May 1, 2012– While athletes prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics, kids will compete in their own challenge – the Scholastic Summer Challenge - a free, interactive reading program dedicated to helping kids keep their reading skills sharp throughout the summer by reading every day. Kids everywhere will Read for the World Record by logging the minutes they spend reading this summer and attempting to beat the current world record of 64,213,141 minutes set during summer 2011. The 20 schools whose students log the most minutes will be recognized in the 2013 Scholastic Book of World Records. The Scholastic Summer Challenge kicks-off today at and runs through August 31, 2012.

“Just like the world’s greatest athletes, children need to keep their skills sharp and reading is like any other skill - it needs to be practiced,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “Without this practice, children find themselves falling down the “Summer Slide,” and that is not the fun slide at the park, but rather the loss of critical learning and reading skills caused by not reading books over the summer.” Francie continued, “The proven way to get kids reading is to put them in charge of their own reading – let them choose the books they want to read, when they want to read, and how they want to read – whether in print or digitally. It is the win-win summer reading solution.”

SUMMER READING FOR KIDS: The Summer Challenge motivates kids with weekly challenges, fun sweepstakes, virtual rewards, book chats and friendly competition. Starting today, kids can log their reading minutes, track their reading stats, and their school’s rank, collect virtual rewards in their ‘prize center’ and enter sweepstakes for the chance to win free books. For the third year in a row, WORDGIRL™ , from the Emmy Award winning television series airing on PBS KIDS GO!, is serving as the national “Ambassador of Summer Reading” to help encourage kids to practice reading in order to have a better vocabulary.

To reach even more young readers this summer, the Scholastic Summer Challenge is teaming up with the American Camp Association’s® Explore 30 initiative that encourages campers to read 30 minutes every day. Campers nationwide will be logging their reading minutes to help break the world record.

SUMMER READING FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS: The Summer Challenge website is also the go-to summer resource for parents and teachers. Through the site, teachers can sign up their class, track their students’ reading progress and access free helpful tools including printable reading logs and reading certificates. Plus, parents can sign up to receive email alerts on their child’s reading achievements, access summer book lists compiled by Scholastic experts, and discover ways to use the Summer Challenge at home with the Family Participation Guide created in collaboration with nonprofit partner Reach Out and Read, an organization that prepares America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

For the second year, Scholastic is teaming up with iVillage and PBS KIDS to promote the importance of summer reading to families nationwide through Summer Reading Parties hosted by 80 bloggers across the country. Bloggers will receive Summer Reading Kits including books, activities, bookmarks and more to celebrate summer reading in their communities, on and through their blogs.

SUMMER READING AMBASSADORS Joining Scholastic to support summer reading will be dozens of the nation’s Governors’ spouses who will be hosting summer reading events at schools in their home states. The names of all of the 2012 Summer Reading Ambassadors will be announced soon.

For more information about the Scholastic Summer Challenge, please visit: 

About Scholastic Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and services and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site,

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Original Artwork by Renowned Children's Illustrators on Auction to Benefit Literacy

Picnik collage

New York, NY — May 6, 2011 — Twelve original works of art created by some of the top children’s book illustrators and featuring some of the most beloved characters in children’s literature are now available on auction at through June 5, 2011. Net proceeds from the auction will benefit the literacy organizations Reading Is Fundamental and Reach Out and Read, organizations that provide books to underserved children and are suffering from recent federal funding cuts.

The artwork, ranging from pen and ink sketches to acrylic and watercolor paintings to digital art, was commissioned by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, as part of the company’s 90th Anniversary global literacy campaign, Read Every Day. Lead A Better Life. Artists were asked to provide their own artistic interpretations of the campaign message, underscoring the importance of reading in the lives of young people. The resulting art captures the whimsy, the imagination, the adventure and the humor to be found in great children’s books.

"At Scholastic, we believe that books are key to ensuring that children have access to a world of big ideas," said David Saylor, VP and Creative Director of Scholastic Trade Publishing, and the curator of the collection. "We are proud to have brought some of today’s most talented children’s artists together to raise awareness of the critical role that books play in all of our lives."

Artists participating in the project are: Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog®; Bruce Degen, illustrator of The Magic School Bus® series; Mary GrandPr√©, illustrator of the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter series; Jeff Smith, author/illustrator of the BONE graphic novels; David Shannon, author/illustrator of No, David! and its sequels; Jon J Muth, author/illustrator of Zen Ties and Zen Shorts; Mark Teague, author/illustrator of the LaRue series and illustrator of the How Do Dinosaurs...? series; Stephen Savage, author/illustrator of Where's Walrus?; Edwin Fotheringham, illustrator of Tony Baloney; Barbara McClintock, illustrator of fairy-tale retellings; Sean Qualls, illustrator of Dizzy; and RainaTelgemeier, author/illustrator of Smile.

To extend the reach of the Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life campaign message to millions of children worldwide, Scholastic is making poster editions of the twelve works of art available for schools, libraries and literacy organizations. Posters will also go on sale exclusive at on June 6, 2011.

For more information about the artwork or to access the auction, please visit

For photos of the twelve illustrators during events on May 5th, please visit

For more information about Scholastic, please visit


Cathy Lasiewicz

Yanique Hart


Rosemary Beach Spring Writers' Conference


The Rosemary Beach Writers Conference is on the agenda for next week (May 12-13) in beautiful Rosemary Beach, Florida in the Panhandle. I am looking forward to meeting new friends and colleagues, as my Sweetheart and I try to keep up with a 7 year-old grandson who will be on his wheels (skate board and bike) with all the kids, swimming pools, and beach-side fun. I hope you can join us if you are in the vicinity or visiting in the lovely 30A area.

Here are some of the specifics:

Join us for Evening Readings and Receptions
Open to the public
May 12 & 13, 2011

A popular feature of the Rosemary Beach Writers’ Conference continues this year with a series of public evening receptions and readings. Donations to the Rosemary Beach Foundation and its charitable endeavors are encouraged.

Featured faculty will read excerpts from their published poetry, fiction and short stories during the evening presentations in the Rosemary Beach Town Hall. Open to the public.

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 4:15 – 5:30 pm
Reception and Book signing at the newly opened Hidden Lantern Bookstore and Gallery, Rosemary Beach (84 N. Barrett Square) Cash bar provided by Amavida.

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 5:45 – 7:00 pm
Readings by poet and short story writer, Cindy Chinelly; novelist, William Cobb; and short fiction author, Laura Lee Smith. Rosemary Beach Town Hall

CINDY CHINELLY is a poet and short story writer, the author of the chapbook The Coralroot (Livingston University Press). She teaches creative writing at Florida International University and is co-editor of the anthology, Having a Wonderful Time: An Anthology of South Florida Writers.

WILLIAM COBB is the author of seven novels, the latest of which is The Last Queen of the Gypsies (Newsouth). His 1991 novel A Walk Through Fire (Morrow) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his short story collection Somewhere In All This Green (Black Belt Press) was awarded the Alabama Library Association Fiction Book of the Year in 2000. He was the Harper Lee Award winner in 2007.

LAURA LEE SMITH short fiction was selected by guest editor Amy Hempel for inclusion in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2010. Her work has also appeared in The Florida Review, Natural Bridge, Bayou and other journals, and it received the Snake Nation Press prize for short fiction. She teaches creative writing at Flagler College and works as an advertising copywriter.


Friday, May 13, 2011, 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Reception at Tommy Crow Gallery. Cash bar by Cowgirl Kitchen, Rosemary Beach (38 Main Street)

Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:45 – 7:00 pm
Readings by poet and short story author, Lynne Barrett and novelists, John Dufresne and Michael Lister. Rosemary Beach Town Hall

LYNNE BARRETT is the author of The Secret Names of Women and (forthcoming) Magpies, and co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She teaches at Florida International University and edits The Florida Book Review.

JOHN DUFRESNE is the author of several novels [Louisiana Power & Light, Love Warps the Mind a Little, Deep in the Shade of Paradise, and Requiem Mass]. He has also written two collections of stories [The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad] and two guides to writing fiction [The Lie That Tells a Truth and Is Life Like This?] He teaches creative writing at Florida International University in Miami.

MICHAEL LISTER, an award-winning novelist, grew up in North Florida near the Apalachicola River where most of his books are set. Lister became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections—a unique experience that led to his critically acclaimed mystery series featuring prison chaplain John Jordan (Power in the Blood, Blood of the Lam, Flesh and Blood, The Body and the Blood and the forthcoming Blood Sacrifice). His literary thriller, Double Exposure, won a Florida Book Award and is currently being turned into a feature film. Lister writes a popular weekly column on art and life titled Of Font and Film which includes reviews of film and fiction.

Hope to see you there! -CYM


Blue Collar Crime ~The Band~

Click Here to Listen: House of the Rising Sun, Instrumental
Click Here to Listen: One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer

My friend, Marty Lowey, is a member of the band Blue Collar Crime, a phenomenal blues group. Marty married my Sweetheart and me over a year ago. He also has a new album on the street "To a Life of Crime." You'll love it as I do.

(picture taken w/ my iPhone)

{From Blue Collar Crime}
In the summer of 2001, River Guy decided Dallas guitar legend Mark Pollock needed to be playing in public again. No one disagreed and Blue Collar Crime, a Texas Blues Brotherhood, was born kicking and screaming and wailing the blues. The band plays the blues Texas style and draws from classic Freddie King, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed as well as more modern influences such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tracy Chapman, George Thorogood and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

50% of Blue Collar Crime's profits go to the Southern Poverty Law Center.



Audelia Road Library Friends


I had a delightful time this week at the Audelia Road Library Friends meeting in Dallas. My topic was "The Path From Experience to Books or Movies - A Beginners Experience to Date." I began with my thoughts about reading fiction and developing an appreciation for the art of writing, including the process of constructing a story from a basic framework, like a building, a car, or a human being.

The moderator had a series of great questions which provided a lively discussion, which, frankly, I love to participate in, on either side of the discussion. The prepared questions follow, though we liberally departed from the script:


1. How long ago did you first start thinking about your 2008 novel Riddle of Berlin?
2. You said in a YouTube interview with artist Cynthia Chartier that you feel as if the story was already written when you put pen to paper. Your book has many characters and many different venues. Did you go back and formally plot out your novel as part of the writing process?
3. You lead a very busy life involving lots of travel, family, and civic activities. Do you write in spurts as your schedule permits, do you write a little every day, or ?
4. You have written many law books and law articles. How is writing fiction different for you from your academic writing?
5. Do you read thrillers while you’re writing, or other genres, or just the newspaper?
6. Tell us about how you knew that Riddle of Berlin was ready for publication, and how you went about getting it published.
7. Your website mentions that you are a member of the Mystery Writers of America. How do you benefit from an organization like MWA? In a similar vein, what is it like to attend a conference for professional writers like Thriller Fest?
8. Who are some of the authors that have influenced you? How?
9. What are you reading right now?
10.Tell us about your next novel, Harvest of Gold. When might it appear? Will it continue characters from Riddle of Berlin?
11.In the emails leading up to this conversation, you also mention another book, a children’s story, and a short story. Do you work on several projects simultaneously?
12.Riddle of Berlin is set in Europe and California, two locales that you are very familiar with. Did you have do any special research or traveling to write a novel set in these two areas?
12.Early indications are that Harvest of Gold will be set at least in part in Texas. Does writing a novel set close to home pose any particular challenges for you?
13.You have contributed the proceeds of Riddle of Berlin to Scotish Rite Hospital. What is your motivation for doing that?
14.What questions did you expect to be asked today that you are disappointed not to have been asked?


I then went on to discuss "The Nature of Fiction". I enjoy making presentations concerning the nature of fiction. To me, the essence of fiction is the telling of a story in a particular context. I believe there are three essential components to any successful story:

1. Emotional struggle

2. Background story

3. Genre: Action-thriller, literary, suspense, mystery, romance, religion, or so defines the genre

The priority of these components is idiosyncratic with the author.

During my presentation, I took along several books that I have read and reviewed recently. Those that we have reviewed in the blog include the following:

Ross Lockridge Jr.: Raintree County (Chicago Review Press 1947)

1. Emotional struggle: life long struggle to overcome love of a childhood sweetheart

2. Background story: small house in a small university town (Nebraska)

3. Genre: literary

Kylie Bryant: Terms of Attraction (2009)

1. Emotional struggle: overcoming personal loss (male and female protagonists)

2. Background story: drug smuggling and kidnapping

3. Genre: action-thriller

First Blood by David Morrell (1972 by David Morrell; 2000 printing by Grand Central

1. Emotional struggle: “I will not be intimidated”

2. Background story: attack on a “hippie” by local sheriff

3. Genre: action-thriller (Rambo)

As I look at it, the composition of a fictional story involves selecting the ingredients, which end up having the book being classified by its genre. Whether a novel is a religious or thriller background and genre, the essential elements that rivet a reader I believe to be consistent across genres.

This presentation at the Audelia Road Library was a pleasure for me and, I hope, for the charming friends of the library who raise money to support the busy, lovely public Audelia Road Library.

Warms, Cym


Scottish Rite Hospital Book Club Presentation

I am off this afternoon to make a book club presentation to a Scottish Rite group in Austin, Texas.  Proceeds from Riddle of Berlin go to the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, a phenomenal hospital for children that has not charged any patient one cent for treatment of all manner of maladies in its 70 year history.  It is an honored connection for me.  I find that it is fun to make these presentations by becoming the protagonist in the story and explaining his or her own emotions.  In this case, it is a male group so it will be the feelings of the man (John Jaegerman) who jumped in the Seine River only to eventually save the world from a plague of terrorism.  Next week, I will speak to an Eastern Star group of ladies and will frame the discussion from the standpoint of the female protagonist (Carmen Pacifica).