Tuesday, October 04, 2011

October/November 2011 Events

I'll be participating in the following events this Fall. 

Rock N' Shock
October 16, 2011, 11 am - 1 pm
DCU Convention Center
50 Foster St.
Worcester, MA 01608

Going to Rock N'Shock? Stop by the NEHW table in the vending area. I'll be there from 11-1 on Sunday, but members of NEHW will be on hand all weekend while the vending area is open.

Other NEHW members present include Jack Haringa, L.L. Soares, NECON E-Books, Ken Wood (Shock Totem), Tracy Carbone, T.J. May, Danny Evarts, Jason Harris, Stacey Longo. For more information, see the NEHW website at www.newenglandhorror.org.

Intro to National Novel Writing Month
(presented by members of the New England Chapter of Broad Universe)
October 20, 2011, 7 pm
NPL Theater
Nashua Public Library
2 Court Street
Nashua, NH 03060-3475

From the Nashua Public Library Calendar:

"November is National Novel Writing Month, a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to writing. Participants begin writing on Nov. 1 with the aim of completing a 50,000-word novel by Nov. 30.

Four NaNoWriMo veterans, all members of Broad Universe, a group that celebrates female sci-fi, fantasy, and horror authors, help you make the most of the challenge—and tell you what to do when you finish."

November 11-13, 2011
Anthology 2011 Conference
Best Western Wynwood Hotel & Suites
580 US Route 1
Portsmouth, NH 03801

This is the first year for this con, but they've got some really good guests including authors Jackie Gamber, Catherynne M. Valente, Jennifer Pellan, Christopher Golden, Rick Hautala, and Jonathan Maberry and artist Ogmios.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Witches' Almanac #31: The Little Warrior

The Witches' Almanac has posted their table of contents for the 2012-2013 issue. My article, "The Little Warrior: A Protective Talisman" is listed along with a number of fascinating selections.

I always marvel at the diversity of articles they manage to assemble. Here are some more examples:

Weather Lore in Rural Pennsylvania, Astrology of the Vampires, Gettysburg: America’s Ghost Hunting Paradise, Museum of Witchcraft Diamond Jubilee, and The Locavore Revolution. It also has an article on the Tarot Sun card by renowned author, Paul Huson, a tarot expert, screenwriter, and novelist.

One of the more popular regular features of The Witches' Almanac is the yearly astrological forecast for each sign by Dikki-Jo Mullen, who now has a blog at dikkijomullen.wordpress.com. Dikki-Jo has been their house astrologer for ages.

The Witches' Almanac has been publishing since 1971, and I look forward to it each year. This is the seventh time I've contributed an article to the issue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Divination as Writing Tool Panel At Pi-Con

Pi-Con - August 26-28, 2011, an annual convention in the Springfield, MA/Enfield, CT area of New England, describes itself as a celebration of geekery. Just that description is enough to want to make you go, right?

On Saturday, August 27, at 7:00 pm, in the Suffield conference room, I'll be on a panel called "Tarot & Divination as Writing Tools" where you'll learn how authors use divination tools in their writing. Participants include KT Pinto (moderator), Catt Kingsgrave, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Trisha Wooldridge, and me, Morven Westfield.

Stop by for what I'm sure will be a fascinating panel.

The entire Pi-Con schedule is posted on their website.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always been fascinated with death. I don't know whether my interested in vampires, ghosts, and other things beyond the grave fed my interest or vice versa, but that, combined with a strong curiosity about the human body made this book a natural addition to my bookshelf.

Roach does not disappoint. She gives you the scientific detail, but explained in such a way that us mere mortals can not only comprehend, but appreciate, what she's telling us. Her dry humor comes through, especially since she's the one reading the book to us. (I listened to the audio edition.)

I loved this book. If you're fascinated with death, medicine, or general science, give it a shot.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Broad Universe Annual Meeting

I'm a member of Broad Universe, a nonprofit international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been busy helping them launch their first ever virtual annual meeting. Prior to 2011, Broad Universe held its annual meeting at WisCon, a feminist science fiction convention held in Madison, Wisconsin. Broad Universe is moving it to a virtual location to make it possible for more members to attend.

As a member of the Motherboard, I'll be speaking briefly, but mostly I'll be the "woman behind the curtains", trying to prevent problems and solve them as they arrive.

Here's the announcement.

Broad Universe will have an open annual meeting on August 14, 2011, at 7pm Eastern Time (US/Canada). This will be different from previous annual meetings in that it will be virtual -- that is, a large-scale conference call and web presentation.

New president Trisha Wooldridge will chair the meeting, which starts with a message from our outgoing president, Phoebe Wray. Other members of the Motherboard will describe what we've been doing this past year, and all will talk about our plans for the future. At the end, we'll answer questions that have been submitted.

If you're interested in attending, visit our Annual Meeting FAQ page. The meeting is open to both paid Broad Universe members and non-members.

The meeting will be recorded so that those who can't attend will be able to listen later.

Broad Universe is a nonprofit organization under US Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Latest Sookie Stackhouse novel is out -- and on audio, too!

Dead Reckoning, the latest Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery by Charlaine Harris has been released.

These days I tend to do most of my "reading" by ear, either commuting to and from work, or trying to get in some daily exercise. I was pleased to discover that the Audible version, again narrated by Johanna Parker, is also available today.

As with all Audible books, you can listen to a short sample right there on the page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Grave Surprise, by Charlaine Harris

Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly, #2)Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Harper Connelly series, so I expected myself to still be warming up to the premise and the characters. That wasn't a problem: the book spent a lot of time filling in the background and showing how the characters developed because of their pasts.

I think, though, that it spent too much time there. I don't think the pace suffered, really, but more the sense of delight and fascination that one feels getting to know a new series.

I liked it enough, though, to try the third book in the series.

P.S. I actually listened to the audio version, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan, whose narration I enjoyed.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review: Writing, by Stephen King

On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's very rare that I have the time to read a book twice. It's also rare that I buy both a paper copy and an audio copy. It's rarer still that I do both.

With On Writing I did do both: Bought and read the paper copy, then bought the audio book so I could "read" it again.

The joy of the audiobook is that King reads it himself, and you get to hear the excitement and raw emotion behind the words. Oh, it's not that the master of horror couldn't get across those emotions by words alone, but to hear them, to feel his emotion in his voice, that is a treasure.

His advice, as both a writer and a teacher of writing, is excellent. His stories, especially ones from childhood, are priceless.

Recommended. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Grave Sight, by Charlaine Harris

Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, #1)Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have two friends who were fans of Charlaine Harris' mysteries way before the Sookie Stackhouse series. They both recommended the Lily Bard series and this one, the Harper Connelly series. The premise of Harper Connelly's story interested me more, so I started with this one.

I'm not giving it 5 stars because it didn't knock my socks off, but I really did like it and enjoyed the character of Harper Collins. She's more intelligent and level-headed than Sookie Stackhouse, but I liked that.

I also liked the fact that although I started to guess the mystery, I couldn't figure out all of it, and when it was finally revealed, I didn't feel cheated.

The character of Tolliver, her brother, seemed uneven to me, but I'm not sure if that's because of the way he was written or the way he was performed. I listened to the audio version of this book, so it's hard to tell if that's the way Charlaine told it or the way Alyssa Bresnahan interpreted. I think her narration was great, but I just didn't "get" Tolliver.

I've listened to only one book in the series, though, so I can't really judge it. I've got the second book, Grave Surprise, loaded on my iPod and look forward to listening to it.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 11, 2011

So that's what my cat was saying!

Like many geriatric felines, my cat talks a lot. Both my husband and I have developed the habit of meowing back. This normally isn't a problem --unless someone else is in the room. 

One day I was standing at the front door giving my cookie order to a local Girl Scout when the cat meowed from another room. Without thinking, I meowed back. I'm sure the girl went home and told her mother that the lady across the street was strange. Really strange.

Tonight I was giving my wrist a break, using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate some notes. From downstairs I heard the familiar meow. Again, without thinking, I meowed back. Looking at the clock I realized that it was probably time to feed the cat. When I looked back at the computer screen, I realized that Dragon had translated my meow to "well". So, that's what my cat was saying!

Monday, March 07, 2011

International Women's Day - March 8, 2011

From the press area of their web site:

"International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating
the economic, political and social achievements of women past,
present and future. In some countries like China, Russia,
Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD
event was run in 1911 so 2011 sees the Global Centenary."

Hundreds of women around the world celebrate this day each year. The theme for 2011 is:

Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women

If you are a women and you've been fortunate enough to have such access, at the very least, stop and feel gratitude for what you have.


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Read an eBook Week - March 6-12, 2011

According to the history page of their web site, eBooks turn 40 this year!

In 1971, the first book to possibly qualify as an eBook was the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which was posted on a Xerox Sigma V mainframe computer. And that was the beginning of Project Gutenberg, a source of free books that continues today.

You can read the Project Gutenberg mission statement by Michael Hart, who posted that first eBook, on the Project Gutenberg web site.

Happy birthday, eBooks!
P.S. Both of by books, Darksome Thirst and The Old Power Returns, are available in Kindle versions. Other electronic formats are coming soon. Don't have a Kindle? You can read Kindle-formatted right on your computer. See my earlier blog post for details.

US Editions
Darksome Thirst

The Old Power Returns

UK Editions
Darksome Thirst

The Old Power Returns

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Broad Universe Membership Special

If you've been following my blogs, you know that I'm active in Broad Universe, an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

The Broad Universe membership year runs from June 1st to May 31st, but if you join or renew now, you get 15 months of news, tips, community, and more for the price of 12 months.

If you want to support women writers in the speculative genres, and especially if you ARE -- or want to BE -- a woman writer in the speculative genres, consider joining. As it says on the web site, "For the cost of three lattes at your favorite coffee shop ($15) or a dinner for one at a reasonable restaurant ($30)," you can receive benefits that include posting your news of sales and upcoming events on our web page, listing your books in our catalog, and having access ot the Members Only area of the web.

For more information, see


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Broadly Speaking: Faith and Fear

I had the pleasure to be one of three authors discussing faith and fear on the inaugural episode of Broadly Speaking, a new podcast series produced by members of Broad Universe.

Check it out at

Here's the description:

Welcome to the very first Broadly Speaking edition of the Broad Pod. Broadly Speaking brings you interviews and insights from women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror - and all the realms in between. Keeping with the Broad Pod's theme of Faith and Fear, Broadly Speaking will chat with Jennifer Pelland, Morven Westfield, and Gail Z. Martin about how they've used faith and fear in their writing, advice on how to do it well, and even how selling and marketing can be affected. Join host Trish Wooldridge for some true tales of women's adventures in writing!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Broad Universe Reading at Boskone

Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
at Boskone 48
February 18, 2011
9 PM, Lewis

I'll be reading with fellow members of Broad Universe, an international organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

If you've never been to a Rapid-Fire Reading, give it a try. They're a lot of fun, yet sometimes very sobering and thought-provoking as well. You might hear stories of horror, fantasy, or science fiction -- or a delightful combination of all of the above. The readers this time include Jennifer Pelland (moderator) Justine Graykin, Elaine Isaak, Shira Lipkin, Suzanne Reynolds- Alpert, Roberta Rogow, Trisha Wooldridge, myself, and others.

For information, see the schedule at www.boskone.org

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Using Local Settings in Works of Horror Well-Received

Tonight authors Daniel G. Keohane (Solomon's Grave), Tracy Carbone (The Man of Mystery Hill), and I participated in a panel discussion on using local settings in works of horror. We talked about how we each handled our fictional towns in our novels. Tracy's got her Bradfield, Dan's got Hillcrest and Ledgewood, and I have Danforth, Fenmore, and Bristleton. We touched on how other writers created their own towns (for example, Stephen King's Castle Rock) and the benefits of creating your own fictional town.

This event was sponsored and organized by the West Boylston Arts Foundation (WBAF), as a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday. WBAF is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to prevent cuts to town school arts and music programs. It was established in June 2007, following budget cuts which threatened to eliminate art and music classes in the West Boylston school system.

The building was beautiful, the library staff was helpful, and WBAF President Mark Baldi and his daughter were gracious hosts and audience members. In general, the audience was very attentive, asked great questions, and made the evening a pure delight.

For more information on WBAF and the great work they're doing, see their web site and the November 2010 Banner article Foundation Plans Winter Events.