Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Pen on Fire workshop in the mountains

I'll be doing a writing workshop at Mammoth in August. Here's a write-up that Leslie, who's putting the workshop. Please feel free to forward to any friends who live near Mammoth (in Bishop) or maybe you'll want to join us.

A Writers Workshop Saturday August 21, 2010

Overcome Obstacles ... Organize ... Ignite!

If you have been thinking "I love to write ...but who has time for creativity? I don't even remember where to start" or "Words used to shoot like lightening from my fingertips. Now the blinkety blank screen is the only evidence of electrons in my life!"

Then it's time to set your Pen On Fire, with Barbara Demarco-Barrett as your guide.

How Does Barbara Do It?

Author/Radio Host/Salon Host Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's book, Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within (Harcourt, 2004), a Los Angeles Times best-seller, is in its 8th printing. Her story, "Crazy for you," is included in Orange County Noir, published by Akashic earlier this year. She produces and hosts the radio show, Writers on Writing, on KUCI-FM, which broadcasts from UC-Irvine. Barbara founded the Pen on Fire Speakers Series, a monthly salon that takes place in Corona del Mar. She is the new book reviewer for Orange Coast Magazine.

How Could This Workshop Change Your Life?

What Happened to Others
"She has turned the cold sad pen on my desk, which had been yearning for the
writer within me, into--A PEN ON FI-YAH!! Smo-kin!" --a former student, Teresa

"I picked up Pen On Fire three years ago, shortly after the birth of my twins,
and when I was certainly a 'busy woman.' I now have a few publications, a stack
of rejections, and more determination than ever." --Katherine Barrett
(unrelated to Barbara), a reader

Open Your Creative Wings!

Registration Limited to 12 Participants

Details, Details--
"Pen On Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within" is offered
by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Saturday, August 21, 2010 from 9:00 AM until Noon
at The Green Thread near Mammoth Lakes, California.

During this workshop, you will find focus, inspiration and time to fulfill your
own creative aspirations. Barbara will share the secrets of her writing, as
well as stories about how guests from her radio show and her salon build their
writing identities and guard their writing time.

The Green Thread is located a few minutes south of Mammoth Lakes, CA, at the
foot of Red Mountain, in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. A
naturally-lighted Great Room provides gentle indoor/outdoor access to discover
your own inspiring spot for thinking, planning, and writing.

A $60 registration fee ($50 for early birds by 5:00 PM August 1) includes
presentations, a copy of "Pen on Fire: a Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the
Writer Within", nibbles and beverages. A 50% nonrefundable deposit is required,
balance due August 21. Presenter reserves the right to cancel if fewer than 10
registrations are received by August 14. Deposits will be returned if class is
cancelled due to insufficient registration, illness, or other emergencies.

For the most meaningful experience, registration will be limited to 12
participants. For more information or to register, please contact Leslie
Willoughby,, (760) 935-4892.
The Green Thread
Mammoth Lakes.
CA 93546

©Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved. The Green Thread Yarn and Art Boutique

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

David Sax and Michelle Huneven

Marrie Stone interviews David Sax, author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, and Michelle Huneven, author of Blame.

Download Audio

(Broadcast Date: October 21, 2009)

Friday, July 23, 2010

the quiet desperation of novel writing

If you haven't read this essay, now's the time. (Thanks to Connie for sending me the link.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Andy Ross and Wells Tower

Marrie Stone interviews Andy Ross, agent at the Andy Ross Literary Agency, and Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned: Stories.

Download Audio.

(Date aired: January 13, 2010)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Elif Shafak

Here's a new TED talk by novelist Elif Shafak, brought to my attention by my architect friend around the corner, Ron Yeo. I like what she talks about, fiction connecting people, circles doing magic, and in fiction, writing not what you know but what you feel. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Evening with Literary Agents Sally Van Haitsma, Jamie Weiss Chilton and Jill Marr

It may have been a bit steamy in the lobby where we set up the chairs for 80+ mostly writers, but the consensus is that it was an informative night. Our agents in attendance responded off the cuff to first pages and agent queries submitted by attendees, and I think most would agree that even if they weren't talking about your work, there was much to learn by how they did respond to the work in question.

Perhaps some of you who were there who are reading this will talk about what you got out of it?

Photos by Travis Barrett and Barbara

Last four photos by Adele Peters

Sunday, July 11, 2010

John Irving

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett interviews John Irving, author of Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel.

Download audio.

(Broadcast Date: Jun 8, 2010)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Orange County Noir event at Mystery Ink in HB on Sunday

I'll be there Sunday afternoon, but the festivities begin today (Saturday).

Mystery Ink/California Greetings

Saturday, July 10th & Sunday, July, 11th

Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – ORANGE COUNTY NOIR Signing
Participating authors signing their stories in the anthology where all the action takes place in Orange County, California are Gary Phillips, Editor – THE PERFORMER, Barbara Demarco Barrett – CRAZY FOR YOU, Dan Duling – THE TOLL, Patricia McFall – ON THE NIGHT IN QUESTION and Martin J. Smith – DARK MATTER.

Mystery Ink/California Greetings Events
Goldenwest Plaza, 7176 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92647, (714) 960-4000

Friday, July 09, 2010

How to use social media to promote your writing career

Here's a direct link to the bookstore. (I posted about this a couple of weeks ago...)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Getting an agent, selling a book

A friend wrote to me about a friend of his who was writing a book proposal and wanted to know what to do next.

These questions always make me sigh because there's so much new writers need to know.

There are a few books that can help. One is Susan Page's The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book. It gives the lowdown on the process from idea to book. Another is Arielle Eckstut's Putting Your Passion Into Print.

Once you have a proposal, you want to find an agent. One place to find agents is to look in the acknowledgment pages of books like yours and query the agent that sold that book. Or pick up Jeff Herman's book on publishing or Writer's Digest Literary Agents.

If you've never written a query letter, you need to know how to write a great query letter. Lisa Collier Cool has a wonderful book on queries. There are others, too.

Then you query a list of agents and you wait, and you hope. If you're given to such things, you say prayers, light candles.

One thing you don't want to do is ask an author you don't know, who's never seen your work, to recommend agents. It renders authors speechless when that happens.

If you're interested in publishing, it's never too early to start reading books on publishing, going to writers' conferences, book signings, attending panels and listening to author and agent interviews. (On my show, Writers on Writing, I often interview agents, and Marrie and I always interview authors.)

Bone up! Writing is like any other field; you have to know the business as well as the craft. I sound harsh, don't I? It's a process, learning craft and learning the business. And if you want to be published, it takes both.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

John Irving and Novella Carpenter on Wednesday's show

Tune in on Weds., July 7, at 9 a.m. PT for Novella Carpenter, author of the memoir, FARM CITY (Penguin, 2010) and John Irving, author of LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER (Ballantine, 2010). Should be a mighty fine show. Listen online at or at iTunes/Radio: Talk-News. Or if you're in Orange County, listen at 88.9 FM KUCI.

Stephen Elliott

Marrie Stone interviews Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder.

Download Audio.

(Broadcast Date: December 30, 2009)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Last day

Leaving today for home. Been away a week. Nice. Last night was dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and a Dive-in movie (Old Dogs). The best appetizers at the CF: Avocado eggrolls and Firecracker Salmon rolls. We opted out of the cheesecake, though we ogled the menu. Going away is better than a good rest. Changing the atmosphere. Having a chance to miss what you have.

Friday, July 02, 2010

What do you need?

When we go away, I often think of George Carlin and his famous skit about stuff. At home, it's amazing what you think you need to hang onto and not donate or give away, but when you go away, you see up close what's important to you and what you can get by without. What's the stuff you bring with you?

I brought three books with me, current reads: John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River, Novella Carpenter's Farm City and Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. I brought my laptop, several issues of the Authors Guild bulletin, phone, chargers, a few knitting projects, clothes, food, and that's it. Travis has his guitar, clothes, phone, and a book (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings). We share a camera.

We've been here almost a week and not once have we said, Oh, we should have brought.....

When we go home, will that mean we clear out our closets, bookshelves, garage? I hope so, but probably not. When you're there with your stuff, you're sure you need all your stuff or might need it. It's when you go away that you see how so much of the stuff you live with could go bye-bye and you wouldn't even miss it.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Still away, but....

....Travis is sick. Something he ate? Too much fun? Not sure. But I must give props to the resort, and to Connie Orsak, in particular, who is the guest experience manager here. When she heard of Travis being up all night retching, she asked if she could help. I said all that works for him is yogurt, the plainer the better, and 7-up. Not a half hour later there was a knock on the door and there was the yogurt and the 7-up. When I was in the thick of travel writing, it was treatment like this I looked for because that was what set a place apart from the rest. Connie is one reason we continue to return to Rancho las Palmas, year after year.

More photos, from last night, pre-sick stomach....

And from earlier in the day and the night before....