A small town beauty pageant, a general store and a simmering potential for violence are the ingredients of my story, “Miss Brompton Falls 1938,” published a while back at Menacing Hedge.
Please feel free to check out the AUDIO VERSION, read by yours truly. Any comments are welcome. Thanks!
Thanks to our students and friends who came out to support our special event last Friday, Oct. 18!
Lela Scott MacNeil
Our teachers at The Writers Studio Tucson had a chance to read from their creative work at a public reading held at Antigone Books on Fourth Avenue here in Tucson.
It was called UNREAL, and gave our teachers, Lela Scott MacNeil, Richard Leis, Donna Aversa, Reneé Bibby and myself a chance to read selections of poetry and prose that focus on the unusual, the dark, and the unreal.
This was the program:
Lela Scott MacNeil / reading novel excerpt, Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Phil Ivory / reading flash fiction, Probably Last Meeting of Bluebell Ridge II Homeowners Association
Richard Leis / reading poems, [Aliens are here], Phantom Taste of Apricot on My Tongue, Cities Through Telescopes, City as Fairy Tale, and Burning Baby
Donna Aversa / reading flash fiction, A Little Bit Of Sausage
Reneé Bibby / reading short story excerpt, That Boy
We had a great turnout who came to hear our work and browse at Tucson’s most celebrated independent bookstore.
Many thanks to Antigone Books for being such a gracious and enthusiastic host, and making us and our guests feel at home. We’re looking forward to more events like it.
“Dynamic, Inspiring, invigorating, supportive. The Writers Studio seemed to me to have all the qualities one could possibly wish for in a writing school.”
JAMES LASDUN, poetry and fiction professor at Princeton University, New York University and Columbia University
Greetings Tucson writer friends! As a teacher and assistant director for the Tucson branch of The Writers Studio, I’m excited that our roster of fall classes is posted and students are already beginning to sign up for our fall session.
Check out our web site for a full listing of Tucson classes. Discover new voices and craft techniques to bring your personal material to life. Sharpen your feedback skills. Learn to identify and build upon your strengths as a writer
SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE: Use Coupon Code: shine to get $15 off one of our 8-week classes. (Discount must be taken at time of registration online or by phone (212) 255-7075 and may not be combined with any other offer. Expires 9/19/19.)
BEGINNER’S LEVEL WORKSHOPS
Wednesday Evenings with Lela Scott MacNeil
Starts October 16 at 6:30 PM
Saturday Mornings with Richard Leis
Starting October 5 at 10 AM
Thursday Evenings with Philip Ivory
Starting October 17 at 6:30 PM
Monday Evenings with Lela Scott MacNeil
Starting October 14 at 6:30 PM
Tuesday Evenings with Reneé Bibby
Starting October 15 at 6:30 PM
If you’re too far away to take an in-person class, consider taking one online.
Not sure what level you should be on? Contact Reneé Bibby at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Writers Studio has grown into one of the best creative writing programs I know, at once serving excellence and inspiring the individual. The ambiance is warm and invigorating, making it joyful to be there.”
GRACE SCHULMAN, author of Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems
I’m pleased to announce I’ve been asked to assume a new role at the Tucson branch of Writers Studio. In addition to continuing to be a teacher on the intermediate level, I’ll be serving as assistant director and working closely with branch director Reneé Bibby.
Here’s some info about the program and its philosophy, from our web site at writerstudio.com:
“The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.”
Janelle Drumwright, who has done an amazing job as Tucson branch assistant director for years, is relocating to another city. I hope I can carry on in her spirit and continue to bring the Writer Studio discipline and devotion to craft to students looking to expand and improve their skills. I’ll also be involved in outreach to potential students and planning of special events.
I started as a student in the program, and its emphasis on craft and the importance of creating a distinctive persona narrator for every piece of writing has been extremely helpful to me. It jump-started me after a long period of non-writing and put me on the road to getting work published. I can definitely attest to the program’s effectiveness.
New classes will be starting in January. Writers of all experience levels are welcome. Online classes are available as well as our in-person classes here in Tucson. Feel free to send me any questions about the program at email@example.com.
I have a new short story appearing at Two Cities Review, titled “Dr. Marsh’s Final House Call.”
Some back story: This piece originated from my participation in the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest earlier this year. In this contest, you are given a random challenge and deadline to complete it by. The challenge includes three randomly assigned elements that you need to use to create your story: a genre, a thing or object, and a person.
The genre I was assigned was Ghost Story. The thing was a Power Outage, and the character was a Physician. You can judge for yourself how well I integrated these diverse elements.
If you subscribe to the philosophy, as I do, that limitations and parameters force a writer to be more creative, the NYC Midnight contests (short stories, flash fiction and screenwriting) are fun and useful. I didn’t win with this story. But by participating, I have produced two stories that have gone on to be published, which more than makes the contest worthwhile. (The other story was “How We Cured Racism,” published late last year.)
My thanks both to NYC Midnight and to Two Cities Review. I’ve written dark fiction before, but never a ghost story, so this was a great challenge for me and a lot of fun.
I just attended a public reading by my friend Alice Hatcher of selections from her debut novel “The Wonder That Was Ours” at the east side Barnes and Noble here in Tucson. Alice did a fantastic job talking about her writing process and the evolution of her novel, which includes a wily set of cockroaches who provide outrageous narrative voices … hence the giant inflatable cockroach (see below) gracing the ceiling at B&N!
If you missed the reading but want to sample her novel, check out the generous excerpt in the current edition of Tucson Weekly. Buy the book at Barnes and Noble online.
Kudos also to Stephen Russell, seen standing in the last photo, another friend to Alice and manager at Barnes and Noble who along with his staff set up a wonderful community event. Stephen also celebrated his last day at Barnes and Noble today. Best wishes, Steve!
The event was a great success, standing room only with all of the available in-store copies sold. An exciting start for a significant new literary talent: My friend, Alice Hatcher.
My good friend and fellow Tucson writer Alice Hatcher had her debut novel published today, The Wonder That Was Ours, and I couldn’t be more excited. Congratulations, Alice!
I’m eager to get my copy, because Alice is an awesome writer, who combines a sense of history and social awareness with wry humor and an ability to create compelling characters who are flawed but deeply human.
If you’re in Tucson, come out this weekend to see Alice read from her novel and take questions at Barnes and Noble at 5130 E. Broadway at 2 PM on Saturday, Sept. 8.
The Wonder That Was Ours won Dzanc Books’ 2017 Prize for Fiction and can now be ordered through Amazon.
A former academic historian, Alice has published stories, essays and poems in such places as Alaska Quarterly Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, Lascaux Review, Fourth Genre, Contrary, Chautauqua, and Gargoyle, among other journals.
Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire and The Daughters, says: “Hatcher’s unique narrators offer a bird’s-eye view of history, with all the glory and devastation that entails: an ambitious experiment that ends in an achingly compassionate achievement. This book is funny, warm, and piercingly intelligent―and it will probably break your heart.”
For more on Alice’s work, check out http://www.alice-hatcher.com.
Be sure to come out and meet her on Saturday. I’ll see you there!
I just completed teaching an 8-week summer session at Writers Studio Tucson. I had a great class with really talented students who worked extremely hard to develop their craft and produced some stunning material. Here we are meeting for a final pre-class bite at Brother John’s on Stone Avenue.
Writers Studio offers classes to help you develop your skills in writing fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. From our web site:
The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.
Our fall session starts in late September. Visit our web site at Writers Studio and sign up for a class today! If you don’t live in a city that offers in-person classes, try one of our online sessions.
My thanks to my friends at Arizona Mystery Writers for inviting me on April 14 to deliver a reprise of the “Craft of Dark Fiction” lecture I gave for Writers Studio last December. My friend Bill Adams is a longtime member and accomplished writer who initially approached me about repeating this lecture for his group. My thanks to him and also to the group’s workshop chair Kay Lesh who made the arrangements with me. Thanks also to another good friend and outstanding writer, Alice Hatcher, for helping with the audiovisual aspect of my lecture.
The lunch was tasty, the meeting was fun and the group was attentive and appreciative. I was speaking about horror fiction, which often intersects with mystery, although the two genres can also seem like two very different worlds.
Just for fun, I created and handed out the flyer below, a personal list but one that name checks examples of short writing in the dark fiction field that have impressed and influenced me. Check it out.
Calling all Tucson-area writers and devotees of the scary and macabre! Come out and hear me, Phil Ivory, deliver a special free lecture at 2:30 on December 9, 2017 at the Himmel Park Library here in Tucson. It’s part of the Writers Studio lecture series. It should be fun, inspirational and a little bit scary!
From William Faulkner to Shirley Jackson to Margaret Atwood, writers have achieved memorable effects by putting characters in extreme situations and evoking sensations of fear, dread, awe and horror. In this Writers Studio lecture, we’ll look at horror not as something confined to the macabre shelf but as an emotion that will add power and resonance to any material regardless of genre. We’ll talk about using description to evoke a dark and lingering mood. Crafting the best narrator to evoke singular emotional effects. Laying groundwork for readers to have a powerful emotional experience while never telling them what to feel.
So take a writing journey to the dark side, and come back stronger than you were before.
Hope to see you there on Dec. 9!
And while you’re at it, why not sign up for one of our upcoming Writers Studio Winter classes? Show the world how scarily creative you really are.