A Light in the Darkness (Or, Watching the Fireflies)

Dear Writers: I really appreciated the imagery and insight into writing in this post from The Eye-Dancers. I had to share it!

Eye-Dancers

It’s night–a warm, muggy summer night in the hills of east-central Vermont.  It’s late.  I’ve always been a night person.  Even though I arise by five thirty most mornings, I still shake hands with midnight from time to time.  Tonight is one of those nights.

I’m at the window, the breeze wafting in, carrying with it the sound of crickets as they play their fiddles, unseen, in the grass that needs mowing.  Out there, beyond the house, is the meadow–five acres’ worth, surrounded on all sides by woodlands.  It’s a private spot, down a dirt road.  There is no neighbor within a half-mile.  And while sometimes, the distant sound of a car engine or chainsaw can be heard, for the most part, it is quiet here–except for the crickets and the hoot owls and the creatures of the night who crawl and run and slither through the grass.

I’m not…

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WIN SCAMPERS!

Dear Writers:

Who can resist Scampers?!?!

Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow!

It’s time to win a signed, hardcover copy my new picture book: Scampers Thinks Like A Scientist!

Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist is the book that received a five-star review from Foreward Reviews. It’s the book that nabbed a glowing notice from the difficult-to-please Kirkus. And it’s the book that stars the cutest mouse in the history of ever.

Oh. My. God. Just look at that widdle face!

So let’s get started!

How To Enter

To enter the Scampers drawing, all you need to do is leave a comment below that answers this question:

Which fictional character would you most want to have as a next-door neighbor?

That’s it! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the random drawing for Scampers!

But Wait!

Do you already have a copy of Scampers? That’s great! Thank you!

Enter the contest anyway.

After all, if you win, you can…

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There Are Many Kinds of Scars

Dear Writers:
I’m fortunate to be able to say that the very first writing group I was in is still going strong eighteen years later. Our group has been a wonderful constant in my writing life, and I’m amazed at the insights I get from my mates at Dogpatch Writers Collective. As usual, they had much to say about my last piece of writing, and I’m now inspired to finish revising my essay.

Thanks, Dogpatch!

XO Laurel Leigh

Dogpatch Writers Collective

Dogpatch writer Laurel Leigh’s essay explores how as a child she experienced the scars of her mother’s mastectomy and how those issues of image and identity carried into her adult life. Here’s an excerpt of “Scars” and our comments about this deeply honest piece of writing.

The author’s mother on her wedding day.

The wound in my chest was open and wide, and I could see the layers of my skin disappearing into the circular black hole. As a kid growing up in the country and later an acrobat, I’d had plenty of scrapes and bruises, but I’d never had a cut that deep. I was engrossed by how deep the hole was—about an inch.

The doc came back to the table and explained that the wound leakage had just been fluid, but it likely would re-occur if he used liquid anesthesia. If I was tough enough to look at…

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Win a Doodle! Hooray and Huzzah!

Dear Writers:

If there possibly is anyone who knows me who doesn’t know my rather shady past as self-appointed fan club prez (some rude people have brought up the “S” word, but I think that’s totally uncalled for, and part of the proof is that a recent post of his linked to a post of mine, which means we’re sort of friends, so there) of that Writer Fellow Mike Allegra’s doodles . . .

I kind of lost track of that last sentence. Anyhoo, the esteemed doodler is after a long hiatus hosting another doodle contest with fabulous incentives. Plus you don’t have to do much at all to enter. Go on his blog and talk about yourself. Who doesn’t love doing that? Hit a couple share buttons or write a book review if you are a readerly sort. And in return, you get to be in a drawing to win a super-amazing doodle, which if you want could be a doodle of a pal for a certain salamander I know. Head over to Writer Fellow’s site to get the details!

XO Laurel Leigh

Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow!

I really like hosting blog contests!

And I really, really like doodling!

And I really, really, really like the fact that some people like my doodles!

So it is time once again for my semi-annual

WIN A DOODLE CONTEST!

Who will be the lucky winner? Will it be YOU?

The grand (and only) prize will be a custom made, one-of-a-kind, Mike Allegra doodle of ANYTHING YOU WANT!

“Anything?” you ask.

Yes, anything—provided that “anything you want” isn’t perverted. I’m a children’s book author, so get your mind out of the gutter!

Otherwise, yes. ANYTHING YOU WANT!

Past contest winners have asked for all kinds of doodles. Like exotic birds…

(Click to enlarge.)

A caffeine gnome…

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A raven shapeshifter (whatever that is)…

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A woman doing yoga and holding a pen as the ghost of her dearly departed dog looks on…

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And (of…

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Just One Week Left Until the Chuckanut Writers Conference

Dear Writers: Here’s Amberly Baker of the Chuckanut Writers Conference back again with more about this year’s conference:

It is finally June. School is out for the summer, the days are as long as they’ll ever be, and here in Western Washington, we’ve even had a few sunny days. With the beautiful month of June comes the weekend of the 7th annual Chuckanut Writers Conference, which is coming up so fast—June 23rd and 24th, just a week away.

Coming from someone who has been working behind the scenes, this year’s conference is going to be a great one. We have arranged for a delicious spread of food and drinks for our Friday night faculty reading and reception. The swag bags you will take with you are full of useful items to help you take advantage of local businesses and restaurants all over Bellingham. And the conference itself is going to be beautiful, rain or shine—a rainy day in Washington can be just as beautiful as a sunny one, which is good, because you never know what the weather will do.

We have such a great faculty line-up this year, bringing a broad range of talent to all of our sessions. From fiction writers like Jonathan Evison, Samuel Ligon, and Kelly Magee, to nonfiction writers like Daniel James Brown, Paula Becker, and Ijeoma Oluo, our faculty are sure to get your pens (or keyboards) moving. Our faculty also features past and present Poets Laureate Elizabeth Austen and Tod Marshall. Everyone on this list comes with unique talents and experiences to offer, and they have promised their expertise over the weekend of the conference for one ultimate purpose–to help you get excited and inspired about your own writing.

For some of you, this isn’t new—you have enjoyed the conference before, maybe several times. For some of you, this is your first time experiencing it. Well, it’s my first time, too, and I for one cannot wait. The promise of this event leaves me buzzing with excitement! I am thrilled by the thought of so much talent concentrated into one space—the talent of both the faculty and the attendees. I am so excited to meet you, to spend the weekend with you, surrounded by the support and inspiration that comes with a room full of writers. I am honored to have been able to be a part of making this event happen. And I can’t wait to hear about everything you take away from this experience—all of the sage advice you receive, your new writings inspired by our breakout sessions, the lifelong friends and connections you’ll make, the food you’ll eat. It is all coming so soon. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Amberly Baker is a student in Western Washington University’s Creative Writing program, and works at a small bookstore. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys playing Animal Crossing, knitting, and is obsessed with her cats.

Chuckanut Writers Conference, 2017

Dear Writers: Here’s Amberly Baker of the Chuckanut Writers Conference to tell you what’s in the works for this year’s amazing event!

Welcome to Bellingham, Washington, an eccentric city nestled in the northern corner of the great Pacific Northwest. Bellingham is home to all kinds of people: With the bay to the West and Mount Baker to the East, it attracts all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. With so many amazing independent restaurants and holes-in-the-wall, it is a food lover’s haven. It’s a college town, bringing in passionate, excited college students by the thousands. It is also home to a huge writing community, and the annual Chuckanut Writers Conference.

Kelly Magee

Kelly Magee will offer a class on Rewriting Fairy Tales.

The Chuckanut Writers Conference is an amazing opportunity, whether you’re local or visiting, whether you’ve published three novels or are writing on napkins in rare quiet moments. This year, it takes place on Friday and Saturday, June 23rd and 24th at Whatcom Community College, and offers a wide range of breakout sessions to help you find inspiration and continue to develop your craft. These sessions are taught by some of the finest writers the area has to offer—and it has a lot.

There are several great events included in this year’s conference. If you are looking to pitch your amazing new piece of writing, you can find Sean Fletcher and Andy Ross offering Pitch Sessions. Continue reading