Sunday, February 18, 2018

Susan's Surprise

I got home all pumped up from the February Wordsmith's meeting, ate dinner, and then settled down to watch some more season 10 episodes of the Murdoch Mysteries. About quarter of ten my phone chimed to let me know I had some notifications. I picked it up, saw they were facebook notifications, so went to view them quickly. One was a notification from Chanticleer Reviews that included my facebook page susan buffum-author. It was in regards to the Paranormal Book Awards 2017. I couldn't open it on my phone or view it, so I went and got my laptop and jumped on the internet. I had entered Out in the contest- and there it was! Out has been shortlisted for the award! My novel now moves up to compete for the finalists list.

What is so amazing to me is that this is the second year in a row that one of my novels has been shortlisted in a Chanticleer International Book Awards contest. Last year Black King Takes White Queen had been shortlisted for the OZMA book Award 2016.

Fingers crossed that Out makes the finalists list from which the list of finalists competing for the Grand Prize Winner title will be chosen.

(I went ahead and ordered the silver "shortlisted" stickers for the covers of both novels!)

February 17th Meeting Notes

The WhipCity Wordsmiths gathered on Saturday, February 17th at Blue Umbrella Books in Westfield, MA.

There were thirteen Wordsmiths in attendance with several sending messages that they would be unable to attend due to viruses or travel. In attendance were Susan B, Susan F., Lynnmarie, Glen, Joyce C., Wayne, Andrew, Rhonda, Judith F-G, Geri, Joseph, Russell, and Doty. Kelly was in Canada.

The meeting started with Susan reminding authors who self-publish of the approaching early-bird deadline of April 2nd for the Writer's Digest Self Published Book Contest. Details and entry forms are available online on the Writer's Digest site and info is also available in the print magazine. If you enter, the judges send you a little critique of your book...their comments have been helpful in the past.

Susan also talked about the upcoming big cultural arts event taking place in Westfield. The third Articulture event will be held on Saturday, April 21 at the Church of Atonement on the corner of Court and Pleasant Streets in Westfield, one block west of the previous venue, the Westfield Women's Club, on the same side of the street. The Berkshire Bank is across the street from the church. There is parking at the bank and behind the church. The church is handicapped accessible.
Susan is in charge of lining up the authors who will be located in the Guild Room on the main level of the church, a nice space with a fireplace that resembles a living room. Tables and chairs will be provided for the authors. Set up for the event will be Thursday late afternoon/early evening, or for those traveling longer distances the day of the event with artists/authors/musicians arriving at 9AM and the event beginning at 10AM and running to 7PM. There are rest rooms on both main level and basement level of the church. There will be food trucks located in front of the church on the property.
There is space for 6-8 authors in the guild room. I currently have 6 authors who have contacted me for table space. I also am looking for readers who can schedule time during the event to come in and read. I have two poets who will be reading, and Rhonda is also going to read during the event. I will be getting more details as Artworks of Westfield, the sponsors of the event, meet and hammer out additional details. Right now, they are asking a $25 fee for table space. That's rather steep for authors whose books sell for a lot less than artists' I am going to make a pitch for a lesser fee for authors whose books do not sell for hundreds of dollars. Will keep everyone interested in the loop.

A round-the-table share session then was held. Susan B. has a new anthology of 17 ghost/supernatural/paranormal stories out this month, The Hanging Man and Other Stories, that was officially released February 1st. The book includes 5 previously published stories (from Miss Peculiar's Ghost Stories, Volume I, and Disturbing) and 12 new stories. Several were written for Ghost Stories LIVE!, a recurring event of which Susan B., Kelly, and Melissa Volker are cast members along with host Pugsley the Fiendish Ghost and mad puppeteer/reader/co-host Russell Atwood. Susan will be one of the authors at Articulture2018, and Kelly Buffum will also be at Articulture2018.

Glen Ebisch has a newly released historical fiction book out called Dearest David now available on, the David being Henry David Thoreau. This is a new avenue for Glen. (I ordered a copy for myself and one for my sister as son as I got home!)

Andrew Curran is recently returned from a trip to New Orleans which provided him with inspiration for new stories!

Geri Johnson brought her memoir piece about the spoon she inherited that she read to us. It was at times funny, poignant, and brought those of us empaths to tears at places...well written and read by the author of Fredi's Ride.

Doty continues to be Susan B's beta reader of ghost/paranormal stories for which Susan is grateful. Doty is Susan's "adopted Mom" She says it's because, "She needed a mother!" (True!)

Judith Foard-Giucastro, author of Senior Year, is working on various projects she was developing with her late husband Giuseppe Giucastro. She'll receive assistant and support from various Wordsmiths as she continues with these projects. Judith will be one of the authors at Articulture2018.

Rhonda Boulette, author of two books in the T's Adventures on Bear Paw Ridge series continues to work on several new projects and will meet with Susan B in the near future to talk about a book she wants to write. Rhonda will be one of the authors at Articulture2018.

Susan F. remains undecided where to begin and what project to start. Susan B issued her a challenge to write one memoir- be it a single paragraph in length or several pages in length, just to write something to unlock the gateway for her to marvelous adventures in writing. Susan also has an art background! She's volunteered to help with book illustrations!

Joseph Vass was lent Susan B's copy of Writer's Marketplace 2018 to start researching and exploring avenues to get his memoirs published. Rhonda has volunteered to help him get his typewritten manuscript on the computer where it can be formatted for submission. Joseph also collects antique and vintage buttons, which is a hobby he shares with Susan B who has been collecting since 2003. 

Wayne Weatherwax, author/researcher/genealogist, had his massive 900 page genealogy of the Weatherwax family with him. He has been working on revisions and additions. Susan F. found her ancestor among the indexed names in Wayne's book!

Joyce Collins hasn't begun a project yet but was inspired by listening to others speak about their projects today. 

Lynnmarie May has a number of projects in the works. She's the historian of the Westfield Theater Group and is working on a project for them she hopes to turn into a book of some sort. 

Geri read her memoir and then Susan read a stream of consciousness piece she wrote after learning that a patient she had helped had passed away. 

There was plenty of laughter and camaraderie round the table, and several connections made between Wordsmiths which is one of the reasons for the group- support, advice, camaraderie, inspiration, assistance...

Susan B had several books for the taking including a copy of The Hanging Man, a copy of The Magic of Cross and Crowe, a copy of Melissa's Where We Go (which she highly recommends) and a copy of Glen's book Breaking the Rules. All books found new homes.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45PM.

Just saying- Russell Atwood had another amazing front display window in place- a giant chessboard on which he had placed books with chess-related titles, among which was Susan B's Black King Takes White Queen. So cool to see the book in the front window!!

There will be a meeting in March but the date has not been set yet. Watch the blog for the date, and I'll also try to send an email with the date.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 17th Meeting Reminder

This is a reminder that the WhipCity Wordsmiths will be gathering together on Saturday, February 17th at 3PM at Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA.

The WhipCity Wordsmiths is a group for writers/authors and those with a passion for the written word. It is not your typical you gather around a table and write to prompts and then read aloud and lightly critique one another's work. The group is a dynamic mix of authors and writers whose meetings are different each time we're together because of who's available to attend and what each member brings to contribute to the meeting (gathering would be a better word!)

We meet to talk about our works in progress, our recently published works, ideas we have, goals we have set for ourselves, to celebrate our triumphs and commiserate about our failures among those who understand the deep disappointment of receiving a rejection letter or the somewhat less harsh "I'm sorry but we cannot use your material at this time (unspoken but not stated-or ever) but will keep it on file (unspoken- in the circular file, ie trash can)," the agony of writing something you think is amazing then having to trash it because it just is not what you thought you were writing, and having to start over...all the ups and down on the rollercoaster called Writing. The Wordsmiths are also a writer's support group, advice group, and a group where beta readers can be found, feedback given, and friendships established among ones peers. Occasionally we may have a fun prompt but it's not mandatory to write or read. We hold our meetings in a book shop, so if you want to get up and stretch there's always books to search among, to discover a hidden treasure on the shelves.

Drop-in visitors and new members are always warmly welcomed.

This month we will take abut How We Create, about the upcoming Articulture2018 event in Westfield, what we're writing/working on/or have recently published, and other's always different.

See you there!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Book Released Today- February 1, 2018

It's officially hit the Amazon marketplace! (But is not a Kindle book yet.) I won't have copies until around Valentine's Day and will make a few available at Blue Umbrella Books then.

The Hanging Man and Other Stories was released this morning, Thursday, February 1, 2018. It is 292 pages and retails for $14.99. The book is a collection of 17 ghost/supernatural/paranormal stories, 12 of them have never been published before. The other five have previously been published in Disturbing, the book of ghost/supernatural stories I co-authored with Kelly that was released in September 2017.

I began writing stories with supernatural elements in them a long time ago. The Fairlawn Investigation and The Victorian Wayfarer Investigation are about ghost hunters based at a college in Burlington, VT and have some ghostly encounters in them that take place during investigations, but they really aren't ghost stories per se since they're more about the ghost hunters. The Talon series is about a grim reaper and his portal, who, in this case, happens to be an angel which isn't the norm, so they have a very volatile relationship because of that. My Magical Life  and Out have vampires as main characters. My Magical Life, Black King Takes White Queen, and Black Knight, White Rook have witches, warlocks, demons, and magic in them. Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I-III have a variety of stories in them with characters that include the angel of death, the grim reaper, ghosts, Death, an angel and a demon who live as Vegas magicians in this world, a curious being who lives within the walls of a house, a disturbing family connected to an asylum, etc. Miss Peculiar's Ghost Stories, Volume I contains mostly ghost stories, which I began writing for Ghost Stories LIVE! in October 2016. Disturbing has newly written ghost stories (several read at Ghost Stories LIVE! events), and some older ones from the archives written back when Kelly was in middle and high school. 

The Hanging Man and Other Stories is a repository for ghost stories that are too long for reading aloud at Ghost Stories LIVE! and one sort of satiric/dark humor story I really don't know how to classify (Between). The Hanging Man is the longest story in the anthology...although it originally was meant to be a quick scare. However, it took on a life of its own, stalled in December when the story veered onto a darker path and I didn't want to go there, but I kept being urged to finish it, so ended up following that path in mid-to-late January, finally completing what I'd started.

And then I couldn't find what I wanted for a cover (first thought was a rustic, turn of the century barn, but I couldn't find one with the right look), so I ended up drawing a hanging man myself in a sort of Edward Gorey style, only I left the skull-shaped face blank, which is creepier than giving it a face straight out of my own imagination which would have probably just been weird. 

The WhipCity Wordsmiths (as a group, not individually-although you're all included) authors/writers group is mentioned in the dedication.

I picked mauve, black, white, and gray for the cover colors- the traditional colors of Victorian mourning.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

February 10th is Ghost Stories LIVE!

For those of you who enjoy the tradition of oral story telling and especially the telling of ghost stories, please join Russell Atwood and ghost host Pugsley the Fiendish Ghost at Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA on Saturday, February 10th, at 6PM to about 7:30PM or so for the telling of classic and newly written ghost and supernatural tales.

Before Kelly and I founded WhipCity Wordsmiths, I was invited to write and read new ghost and supernatural stories at this event. My first reading was in October 2016. Kelly began writing and reading ghost stories for the event in April 2017. Melissa Volker joined the cast in February 2017 reading her eerie story A Piece f My Heart. 

Kelly, Melissa and I will be reading new stories on February 10th and Russell will be reading a classic story. Rumor is another local author will be joining us that night for the first time with a story he's working on.You never know what will happen or who will appear in this allegedly haunted little indie book shop!

As always, after the readings there will be open mic time for audience members to share their own true stories of ghosts and paranormal experiences from their own lives.

Join us for an evening of spooky stories...if you dare!!

February 2018 Meeting Date Set

The WhipCity Wordsmiths will be meeting at Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA on Saturday, February 17th at 3:00PM- around 4:30/5PM.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Need a Beta Reader!

The Hanging Man is finally finished. I need a beta reader. If you're interested contact me through facebook messenger, a text message if you have my cell number, or via email at   The Hanging Man is a ghost/supernatural/horror story, 9511 words. Thanks!