Finding Sanctuary Cover Reveal

Reposted from Field Order Press.com

My debut novel, Finding Sanctuary, started out as a writing assignment for grad school. What later became my first chapter was a hastily written draft that I snatched off the printer minutes before I had to make the commute to DC for class. I didn’t give much thought to my characters or the setting I placed them in, let alone the tone or cadence of my writing. The following week, my professor handed back my writing assignment and asked to see me after class. I just knew she was going to tell me that my assignment was garbage, and that I would have to redo it.

I was wrong.

“Your characters and this scene are so vivid,” my professor said. “I was reading this wanting more.” (You could have bought me for a penny.) “This is your thesis,” she told me. I couldn’t fathom it. I was barely halfway through the master’s program at Johns Hopkins University, and my thesis was the furthest thing from my mind.

I left class that night imagining the possibilities for the characters and world I hastily created. Eventually, Finding Sanctuary sprang to life. It wasn’t instant. It took time to cultivate the essence of the story, but when I finally hit that writing sweet spot, I could see everything — from the beginning to the end of the story and all that was in between — so clearly.

Well, almost everything.

Envisioning what I wanted the cover of Finding Sanctuary to look like was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I bounced around some ideas with CP Patrick and the Field Order Press team, grateful that they gave me the latitude to come up with ideas. “It’s your book baby,” CP Patrick told me in one of our many phone conversations. “Take your time. Have fun with the process. You’ll know your cover when you see it.”

I tossed around a couple of ideas, but I was fixated on having some sort of artistic rendering of the distinctive row homes in South Baltimore, where much of Finding Sanctuary takes place. When we had our first concept call with Molaundo Jones of The Clever Agency, I mentioned a couple of ideas, one of them being a map of historic South Baltimore. I also considered the mid-Atlantic region as the story spans between Virginia and Maryland.

Molaundo was very thorough and patient during our concept call, listening to me as I vacillated between row homes and maps. It took CP nudging me before I even mentioned the third idea I had. Since Finding Sanctuary tells the story of three generations of women, I thought that could be a concept to consider for an alternate cover image, albeit far-fetched.

When Molaundo sent the renderings of the cover concepts we pitched, the concept I thought had the least potential was the one that took my breath away. As CP had told me – I’d know my cover when I saw it. And I did. Silhouettes of the three different generations of women, each a different shade of brown against an endless blue background — that was the cover I wanted for Finding Sanctuary. I couldn’t stop staring at it. These characters that I didn’t give much thought to in the beginning seemed to come to life in the drawing. Especially Ella, the woman holding the baby. The women that I birthed on the page and introduced to Molaundo only by way of synopsis, were exactly as I had envisioned them. Molaundo and his team even nailed it with the positioning of the women on the cover. Where and how the two women stand bears significance readers will understand when they read Finding Sanctuary.

Seeing the cover of Finding Sanctuary was a very surreal, emotional moment that marked an important milestone in this journey. It’s humbling to have a team of talented people who are so invested in my story. I’m ever so grateful to CP Patrick and Molaundo for shepherding me through the cover design process. I couldn’t be more proud of the finished product.

Finding Sanctuary will debut this fall. I hope readers will love the cover and novel as much as I do!

Writing Outside the Fence Seeks Volunteer Instructors for Fall & Winter Workshops!

Writing Outside the Fence seeks qualified, committed volunteer teachers for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 workshops. The program offers creative writing workshops for ex-offenders and the extended community through the Reentry Center in Baltimore. We launched in May 2006 and were the cover story in the June 6, 2007 issue of City Paper. In addition, the winners of our Inmate/Ex-Offender Writing Contest were featured in the March 2009 issue of Urbanite. In June 2009 two of our writers were featured on WYPR in Tom Hall’s segment of Maryland Morning. We’ve held readings at  the Enoch Pratt Library the last several summers. A podcast of our 2012 reading is available on the library website.

The program is currently looking for volunteers to commit to a month of weekly meetings — four consecutive meetings total per teacher — for late summer into fall of 2014. The workshop meets Tuesdays, 5-7 PM at the Reentry Center at 2401 Liberty Heights Ave. on the upper level of the Mondawmin Mall in Northwest Baltimore.

Past instructors have been poets and journalists, playwrights and screenwriters, fiction and creative nonfiction writers. They have included instructors from BCCC, Coppin State, Goucher, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, MICA, the University of Baltimore, and elsewhere. No two have run their workshops quite the same way; all have found it rewarding.

If you are interested in volunteering for this worthwhile effort, contact WritingOutside [at] aol [dot] com.

Writing Outside the Fence Seeks Qualified Volunteer Teachers

Writing Outside the Fence seeks qualified, committed volunteer teachers. The program offers creative writing workshops for ex-offenders and the extended community through the Reentry Center in Baltimore. We launched in May 2006 and were the cover story in the June 6, 2007 issue of City Paper. In addition, the winners of our Inmate/Ex-Offender Writing Contest were featured in the March 2009 issue of Urbanite. In June 2009 two of our writers were featured on WYPR in Tom Hall’s segment of Maryland Morning. We’ve held readings at Enoch Pratt the last several summers. A podcast of our 2012 reading is available on the library website.

The program is currently looking for volunteers to commit to a month of weekly meetings — four consecutive meetings total per teacher — for late summer into fall of 2014. The workshop meets Tuesdays, 5-7 PM at the Reentry Center at 2401 Liberty Heights Ave. on the upper level of the Mondawmin Mall in Northwest Baltimore.Past instructors have been poets and journalists, playwrights and screenwriters, fiction and creative nonfiction writers. They have included instructors from BCCC, Coppin State, Goucher, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, MICA, the University of Baltimore, and elsewhere. No two have run their workshops quite the same way; all have found it rewarding.

If you are interested in volunteering for this worthwhile effort, contact WritingOutside [at] aol [dot] com.

16th Annual Bay to Ocean Writers Conference

Source: en.citizendium.org

This one‘s for you writers in the DMV…

Mark your calendars for 16th Annual Bay to Ocean Writers Conference set take place on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. The 2013 conference will feature sessions and workshops on internet tools for writers, editing, pitching, publishing, marketing along with workshops on genre writing (fiction, poetry, essay, non-fiction, etc.).

For those who wish to have their manuscripts reviewed, one-on-one sessions with published authors will be available.

The 2012 Bay to Ocean Writers Conference drew over 200 writers from five states and the District of Columbia. This event is sure to be a sellout, as it has been for the past six years. Registration is $99 for adutls and $55 for students (with valid ID). Register now at the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference website: http://www.baytoocean.com.

For more information, email btowriters@gmail.com.

Follow @baytoocean on Twitter.

Source: Bay to Ocean Writers Conference press release

Very Literary: A Night for Lunatics

Share you love of all things lunar with the Baltimore Chapter of the Maryland Writers Association! On Wednesday, October 17, bring your poems, essay and other literary masterpieces for an open mic event as a part of Free Fall Baltimore’s Literary Arts Week. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Village Learning Place located at 2521 St. Paul Street.

Read more about A Night for Lunatics, Lunarians & Luna Lovers here.

Follow @promoandarts and @MWABaltimore on Twitter.

Free Fall Baltimore’s NEW Literary Arts Week!

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Free Fall Baltimore is back! Every fall, our awesome friends over at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts present an exciting series of cultural events during the month of October. However, this year’s Free Fall Baltimore will be even more exciting with a new Literary Arts Week added to the festivities!

Literary Arts Week runs from October 13-20 and will feature author readings, writing workshops, open mic performances and other events to highlight Baltimore’s rich literary culture.

Beyond Literary Arts Week there are literally dozens of free museum tours, theater performances, concerts, kid-friendly events and much more! Check out the list of events on Free Fall Baltimore.

Follow @promoandarts on Twitter to get all the latest news on upcoming events throughout Baltimore.

October Writing Challenge: #30WriteNow

You’ve probably heard about the various 30-day writing challenges floating around the ‘net. These aren’t NaNoWriMo challenges, but like NaNoWriMo they get the creative juices flowing, help foster discipline and get you closer to your goal of a finished project.

I was delighted to read on Twitter this morning that @BasseyWorldLive is kicking off a #30WriteNow challenge for the month of October. I know what you’re going to say; but October has 31 days. ‘Tis true. Bassey says that 31st day is for eating candy and relaxing. But the point is to write something every day.

I haven’t done one of these yet, but following the writing adventures of my friend Yawatta Hosby on her blog, I’ve been inspired to take the plunge and do a 30-day writing challenge myself. Yawatta actually did a 90-day novel writing challenge…and that’s a major feat!

If you’re up for the challenge, why don’t you join me? Let’s spend the next 30 days writing every day, whether it’s for a new or current project, or if it’s just to get words on the page for the sake of release. Think about it. Spread the word. Write!

Somebody hold me accountable, will you?

Columbus Day Open House at the Library of Congress

Source: loc.gov

Looking for something fun and educational to do with the kids on Columbus Day? Well, if you live in the DMV, you’re in luck! The Library of Congress will host an open house event on Monday, October 8 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in their Main Reading Room. The Library of Congress is one of our national treasures, home to the world’s largest collection of books, manuscripts, photographs and recordings. It also supports Congress in its research aims.

The Library normally is open to the public who are at least 16 years of age and who possess a reader registration card. But on Columbus Day, the Library’s Main Reading Room will be open to everyone. This will be a perfect opportunity for your children to learn about the Library’s vast collections, including services and resources for genealogy research. Reference librarians will be on hand to demonstrate the Library’s online resources and to answer questions.

The Library’s Young Reader Center will be open and Miss Delaware Collegiate America 2013 will be conducting a read-a-loud to children at 11 a.m. in the Main Reading Room.

To learn more about the Main Reading Room Open House at the Library of Congress, read about it here.

Follow @librarycongress on Twitter. http://www.read.gov/

Baltimore Book Festival This Weekend!

If you live in the DMV and have never been to the Baltimore Book Festival, then you need to head to Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood this weekend to see what the fuss is all about.

From author appearances and book signings, to cooking demos, open mic opportunities, historical tours, storytelling, street performances, music and food, there is something for everyone at the Baltimore Book Festival.

This year’s author lineup includes “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice (Fabulicious: Fast & Fit); Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi (Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power); bestselling author Ann Hood (The Knitting Circle); Laura Lippman (And When She Was Good) and Jessica Anya Blau (The Summer of Naked Swim Parties).

To check out the full lineup of authors, performances and events (including the City Paper’s super cool Book Swap), check out the Baltimore Book Festival’s website.

Check out these highlights from last year’s Baltimore Book Festival…

Follow @BmoreBookFest on Twitter, hashtag #2012BBF.