Our condo.
Our condo.

…or the Pacific Coast Children’s Writers’ Workshop. It’s a two half-day, one full day intensive, where we critique and get critiques on our work.

A gorgeous location on Monterey Bay, south of Santa Cruz.  For some reason I am the only male writer among about 15 women.

One of the unique things about this workshop is the inclusion of five teenage and pre-teen writers, who offer articulate and very useful takes on what they like–and don’t–like about middle grade and young adult fiction. And (judging from their short writing samples), they are accomplished writers.

i am jealous.


Fall writing workshop

I’m heading for Santa Cruz at the end of the month to take a three-day writing workshop, put on by the Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop. It was recommended by a long-time writer friend, Sheryl Scarborough, who’s attended and been on staff. Attendees get a chance to have their work reviewed by an agent and an editor, as well as hearing peer critiques.

I’ve sent in most of The Story Store, and am reading others’ sample chapters. Looking forward to it. I’ll FB or blog or something while I’m there, time permitting. It looks like a full schedule.

A Reader Response edit

I went to a writers conference in LA and met a freelance editor, Laura Garwood. She agreed to give The Story Store a read. What follows (here and in subsequent posts) are her observations, abbreviated for length.


Thank you so much for entrusting me with The Story Store. I sincerely enjoyed reading it, and felt invested in Alex and his family. I also felt carried along in the suspense and action. I do have some suggestions for you, however, as you revise. A lot of my comments and suggestions have less to do with throwing away what’s already on the page and more to do with building some more structure and details into it.

You have done a good job of maintaining just one point of view in each section, which is important. However, I think we need to beef up Sara’s point of view, mostly in the beginning. We get a lot of Alex’s chapters, and very few of Sara’s there. We thus end up not knowing her nearly as well as Alex, her backstory could use some strengthening. She is supposed to do a lot of drugs, but we don’t particularly see her doing that or see her under the influence.


She was very good, and inspired me to begin draft #6. More to follow.

The Story Store

After numerous requests — I think it was Andy who asked — I’ve decided to post the first pages of my book, The Story Store. I’ve been sending out queries and getting rejected — 41 and counting — but at the Chicago BookExpo, I met an editor for a big publishing house who requested the entire MS.

So I’m hopeful. But then I’d be in some other line of work if I weren’t an optimist.

Let me know what you think.

BookExpo cont’d

Day 3. So many books! The publishers are waving them in our faces as we cruise the aisles, probably because attendance is down 20% from last year, and they don’t want to haul books back to wherever. Also, NY publishers don’t (apparently) want to come to Chicago, and a lot of other vendors didn’t either, so fewer of them had booths here.

A lot of digital publishers were here, although ebook sales are down, and print book sales have grown.

But lots of opportunities here for DIY publishing if you want to go that route. I was invited to a reception by Archway publishers, and talked with a few writers who were clients. One author had paid $7000 to get his book published and had, in the several months since, sold 71 copies, with only 6029 to go before he breaks even.

But the authors I spoke to — all first-timers — were happy to get their books out there.

Money aside, I’m reluctant to do that. The big pitfalls of self-publishing are the lack of publicity and promotion. I will keep querying agents.


View from my AirBnB host's apt.
View from my AirBnB host’s apt.

I am in Chicago at the big book event, BookExpo. I plan on looking up agents and publishers as well as collecting a book or two.

Membership? Feh!

Some might have noticed that the whole ‘membership’ aspect of this site is gone. It was really hard to set up correctly and no one was joining anyway. Membership was free to begin with, but now it’s even free of membership requirements. Enjoy!