Some important promo

I thought I should take advantage of this chance to promote two writing programs that have helped me immensely. The first is a week-long conference in Florida, Writers in Paradise, that was founded by Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson. I attended the inaugural conference at a time when I was bottoming out in my own work, writing the fourth draft of my second novel and feeling increasingly like a clueless fraud. I’d never had any formal creative writing instruction, and that week was one of the most important experiences I’ve had as a writer. I can’t tell you how much it recharged and inspired me. It has been more of the same in the years since, and the faculty down there — Dennis, Sterling, Tom Franklin, Laura Lippman, Beth Ann Fennelly, Thisbe Nissen, Roland Merullo — is an amazing collection of talent and knowledge and compassion. Besides, we’re talking about the Florida Gulf Coast in January, here…as a Midwesterner, I assure you that you could do much worse at that time of the year. The conference web site is and if you’re looking for some guidance or perhaps just a warm-weather refresher, I can’t say enough about it. Go take a look.

I also had the privilege of participating in a low-residency MFA at Pine Manor in Boston, a program which shares some of the same faculty as WIP along with many talented additions, but is geared toward a different platform. So, take all the kudos I offered Writers in Paradise and extend them to this program, as well. That web site is , I believe.

I think too many times we benefit from people and programs and then do a poor job of spreading the word and the credit, so I wanted to take this chance to do that. Thanks.