Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Reading/Workshop for Local Yocals

It is time to get together, once again, for a reading/workshop at WestConn! I know we are all very busy with work and our MFA-ing, but hopefully, we can find time to get together, to read, schmooze, and appreciate one another.

Please post your interest and schedule availability, and we will try to get a date and a room with a view! Once it is established that we have enough interest to go ahead, we'll talk about guidelines and snacks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

07 Connecticut Book Awards

Call for Entries

The Connecticut Center for the Book at Hartford Public Library will present the sixth annual Connecticut Book Awards to recognize and honor those authors, illustrators, and designers who represent the best books in or about our state.

It is the mission of the Connecticut Center for the Book to celebrate books, writers and readers who engender and sustain the life of the imagination and to highlight authors, illustrators, printers, publishers, and the literary heritage of the State of Connecticut. We are an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.


• Author/illustrator/designer must have resided in Connecticut for at least three years or have been born in the state. Alternatively, the work may be set in Connecticut.

• Titles must have been first published between 1 January and 31 December 2006.

• Anthologies are acceptable if all authors are Connecticut-based.

• Authors/illustrators/designers may enter more than one book per year.

• Every genre will have its own judging panel. One judge should come from each of the following categories for each panel: scholar; publisher or bookseller; journalist; librarian or educator; writer.

• Judges may reassign a title to a category deemed more appropriate than that for which it was originally submitted. Judges will defer to the committee chair to determine the winner in the case of a tie vote in any category.

• Awards will not be made if there are insufficient entries in a given category.

• The Connecticut Center for the Book and its Connecticut Book Award judges resolve all questions about eligibility; their decisions are binding.



• Nominations must be postmarked by 16 April 2007.

• Finalists will be announced in early August 2007.

• Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on 23 September 2007.

• An award will also be presented for Lifetime Achievement in Service to the Literary Community at this ceremony.

Entry Form

This form may also be found at

Please include one completed entry form and entry fee for each category entered per title. Entry fees are based on initial print run.
2000 or fewer: $25.
2000 – 4999: $35.
5000 – 9999: $50.
10,000 or more: $100.

This entry is eligible for consideration because of the following connection:

___ Author/illustrator/designer has resided in Connecticut for three years
___ Author/illustrator/designer was born in Connecticut
___ The book has a Connecticut setting

Category(ies): please check all that apply

□ Biography or Memoir
□ Children’s Literature – Author
□ Children’s Literature – Illustrator
□ Design: ___Cover only ___Entire book
□ Fiction
□ Nonfiction
□ Poetry

Title of entry: _____________________________________________________

Copyright date of publication:


Nominated by ___author ___publisher ___other (please specify):



Street address:

City, state, ZIP:




Mailing address:

City, state, ZIP:

Telephone: Fax:


The Connecticut Center for the Book may use the book cover, excerpts from the text or graphics, and publicity notices for books submitted in any promotion of its Connecticut Book Award.

Send all forms, payment, and other correspondence to:
Connecticut Center for the Book
at Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Direct queries to or call 860.695.6320.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New novel, UNDER MY ROOF, now widely available

My latest book, the short novel of neighborhood nuclear proliferation Under My Roof, is now available in bookstores across the United States. Distribution was held up for a while due to the bankruptcy of AMS, a major fulfillment house, but the books have finally shipped.

Back in December, Under My Roof received a starred review from Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. In this hilarious near-future political satire, a Long Island father-son duo strike a blow for individual freedom by building a nuclear bomb, hiding it in a lawn gnome and declaring independence from the United States. The world, as seen by telepathic 12-year-old narrator Herbert Weinberg, is grim: Latin America has been declared evil (and Canada is the "White Menace"), the president talks of nuclear strikes and planes are blown out of the California sky. Herbert's laid-off father, Daniel, has a Patriot Day freak out, and after he and Herb build the nuke and fax out a press release proclaiming the creation of the kingdom of Weinbergia, the cops, FBI and National Guard descend on the home. Herb's mom, Geri, splits, and as the media pick up on the story (the local weatherman is the first hostage of the "armed micronation"), Weinbergia mania sweeps the nation (even the local Qool Mart convenience store proclaims itself an Islamic republic) and Daniel and Herbie become cult heroes. Trouble looms for Herb, who is kidnapped and briefly reunited with his mother. A big-bang ending caps the fast-paced novel, and there's much fun to be had watching Mamatas (Move Under Ground; Northern Gothic) merrily skewer his targets. (Feb.)

Check it out if you like. There will also be a review in the April or May issue of The Believer and a few readings around that time as well.

Friday, February 23, 2007

How Did I Get Here?

Some of the students have heard this story, but when I was working with Andy Thibault as a mentor, I got assigned to interview all the candidates running for governor which turned strange with the Lieberman factor. I spoke to Andy and said, "I'm not sure I am qualified for this assignment." He said, "You're a citizen, you're qualified." And I managed to get some good interviews and get some articles in the newspaper.

After getting boxing credentials from the same newspaper, I went to a boxing match and covered the fights for the newspaper. After that I started a blog so people could read my boxing reportage, what little I had. It was something I considered a hobby. I continued to go to fights, I continued to report, and link with other promoters, boxers, and news organizations. I chatted with some of the other writers and reporters at the events and networked. I began watching ESPN2 Classic Boxing matches trying to get a crash course in boxing history. I read books about boxing history, listen to Teddy Atlas, read Normal Mailer, and Joyce Carol Oats.

In the last two months we reconditioned the website, we covered some fights and we made a few new allies. In the last two months, not only have we grown fast, we are actually taking this seriously. We have affiliated ourselves with Brick City Boxing and now Northeast Boxing News is a player. We are designing t-shirts and business cards.

I am explaining all this to you because it is important to write as an art form, but it is rewarding to write about something you love, things you are passionate about. I never thought I would be passionate about sports. But here I am. We are all writers, we are all readers, but if you have something in your life you love, a hobby, a skill, your dogs, anything, start writing about it. Start a blog or website. Start getting other like minded people involved. It may turn into something really exciting, really fun, and like the Talking Heads song: you will wake up one day and say "My God what have I done!"

Occasional musing from a dime store novelist. Ron Samul

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Study of Yoga on MFA in Creative Writing Students

Students in MFA in Creative Writing Programs experience not only the typical stresses of being a writer - performance anxiety, depression, stale generation of ideas; they also experience the additional pressure of being graduate students.

WCSU mentor Jeff Davis (author of The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing, Penguin) is developing a long-term study of yoga's effects on MFA students' writing process and practice. The study will include each participant engaging in a regular yoga & writing practice, documenting their practice, and documenting their experiences over the course of several months. Although much of the study will be based on students' anecdotal evidence, the study also might be co-authored by a neuro-psychologist who will help measure yoga's tools on MFA students' brain waves and well-being.

If you are an MFA student interested in possibly participating in this study, please email Jeff Davis at Please follow these directions:
1. Title your message in the subject box as "MFA Yoga Study."
2. Include a brief message of interest with your full name, mailing address, and telephone number.
3. Include in what MFA program you are a student, when you entered the program, and when you will graduate.
4. Include your specific area or genre of study.
5. Indicate what if any background you have in yoga.

No yoga experience or current physical fitness is necessary to participate. Selected participants, however, must commit to the program and the documentation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Writing Job Posted in Chronicle of Higher Education

Position: Development Writer Salary: UnspecifiedInstitution: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Location: D.C. Date posted: 2/19/2007Writing/Development: Development Writer. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (, a national research and policy institute, seeks an exceptionally skilled writer to work in its development division. The position entails working closely with policy experts to develop foundation proposals and reports that address timely public policy issues. At least three years of relevant writing experience on policy issues or for a development office is required. Salary commensurate with experience. No calls please. EOE. Send resume, with cover letter and writing sample to: Writer Search, CBPP, 820 First Street, NE, Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20002 or e-mail to

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Congratulations and Thanks to Peter Streckfus

Writer in Residence Peter Streckfus has accepted a full-time position at the University of Alabama, starting in Fall 2007. Consequently, Peter has decided that he won't be with us next year. Thanks for all your good work, Peter, for your generosity of spirit, and for being such an important part of the successful launch of the program!

August Residency

Reserve the dates July 28 through August 5 for the August residency, but don't make your travel plans yet. The August residency will be extended by a day or two to accomodate events for our first graduation, but we don't know yet exactly what the schedule is or when non-graduating students will be required to arrive. More on that as soon as we know. Meanwhile, reserve those dates!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Debate: Who’s A Journalist?

Following the arrest of a photographer at Gov. Rell’s inaugural parade, reporters in Connecticut and throughout the nation have examined the evolving nature of today’s news reporting.

Issues in play include the civil liberties of all citizens and the roles of the mainstream media and the blogosphere. The New Haven Independent, an online newspaper, has followed this story in depth.

  • New Haven Independent
  • Quick Link and the MFA program itself got some neat virtual ink yesterday on the important publishing blog Galleycat. Galleycat is an essential blog for anyone interested in keeping current with the industry.

    Check it out: Another Novel Moves Online To Get Noticed

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Update of Graffiteen

    My Two Rivers Magnet Middle School (TRMMS) writer's group is coming along swimmingly....

    After my last post, I met with the ladies and we discussed production schedules and cost for printing. When the ladies discovered I would be paying for the printing out-of-pocket, they balked and stated we should do a fundraiser.

    "Okay then," I said. "What kind of fundraiser do you have in mind?"
    "Yo! A dance! We could hook it up! Charge $5 for regular people and charge $7 for VIP section," suggested Zoe.
    "A VIP section? And what kind of treatment should these VIPs get?"
    "Free food and a place to sit," answered Ariel. "Otherwise they gotta buy food at the door and they can't bring it in. If they act up, we get some bodyguards to throw them out."

    So the plan was to hold two dances in April: one for the 6th graders, one for the 7th and 8th. But would the administration of TRMMS support such an endeavor? Using my powers of persuasion in the written form, I e-mailed the principal with my proposal and held my breath. Two days later my response came:

    "I would love to assist in this endeavor…and I might be able to make this a bit easier for you…
    Would you provide me with an estimate of the cost of printing the Grafiteen Magazine?...This type of request is exactly why I set aside such funds during the year! Let me know what amount of funding is necessary and I will try to help out. -Tom Scarice"

    When I finished reading the message, my hands immediately went up in the air for a touchdown signal. When I told the ladies the good news, which included the school's support in a launch party to generate interest in the magazine, they vowed to get Mr. Scarice some sort of fruit basket.

    In the interim, I took the group on a Saturday field trip to see, "Freedom Writers" with Hilary Swank (excellent movie. A real tear jerker). In two weeks we plan to go to the Wadsworth Atheneum for a tour I arranged with a docent so my group can get a better perspective of what art is all about and to use what they've seen to make Graffiteen aesthetically stunning!

    Sadly, Ryan, my caucasian invasion, has dropped out of the group. To take his place is A. J. Texidor, knows by all as an excellent artist. I think he was a bit overwhelmed by all the giggling and carrying on in his first meeting but I think he'll adjust with no problems. His stepmother has offered to host our next meeting during school vacation.

    I appointed positions at my last meeting and I'm glad I waited as long as I did so I could get a sense of who they were before I waived my magic wand. Graffiteen now has an Editor-in-Chief (me of course!), Managing Editor (Ariel), Editorial Assistant (Jacinta), Art Director (Daniella), Poetry Editor (Zoe), Circulation Editor (Sierra), and staff writers and artists. They can't believe that this project is actually going to happen and I think they are thrilled to be a part of something that will give them an opportunity not only to express themselves but to show the world what they're capable of achieving. When I told the ladies we wouldn't be meeting this week because their school has a half-day, they insisted on a meeting during school vacation. I had no idea how much they looked forward to our weekly meetings.

    I better be careful. I'm growing quite fond of them.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Call for Entries: The Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship

    This is for my fellow screenwriters. The deadline is around the corner, February 28, 2007, but the application process is pretty simple so you could get it done if you were interested. It's definitely worth checking out the website, especially those interested in writing for television. Good luck for those who apply.

    Nickelodeon is offering writing fellowships in live action and animated television to culturally and ethnically diverse, ne writers. Participants will have hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas.

    The program, developed to broaden Nickelodeon's outreach efforts, provides a salaried position for up to one year.

    Developed to broaden Nickelodeon's outreach efforts, the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship is designed to attract, develop and staff - new and experienced, culturally and ethnically diverse writing talent on Nickelodeon Network productions.

    Operating in a three-phased structure, the Fellowship provides a salaried position for up to one year and offers hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas in both live action and animation television.

    This three-phased structure allows fellows an opportunity to nurture relationships with creators, network executives, line producers, head writers, showrunners and story editors.

    As part of their script writing, each fellow will be assigned to an Executive in Charge of Production and have an opportunity to write a spec script for an on-air Nickelodeon show.

    In addition, all fellows are integrated into the activities of both the development and production departments. This allows the fellows an opportunity to attend storyboard pitches, notes meetings, records, table reads, show pitches and show tapings, all while being exposed to top creators and key production crews.

    During the final phase of the program, the fellow will be assigned to either an animated or live action show and they will spend the remainder of their time as a fellow on that show, pitching story ideas and writing scrihe next submission perins from January 2 - February 28, 2007. Applications and submission guidelines are available on :

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Reading in New Haven, Feb. 16

    word of mouth open mic reading series, Arts & Literature Lab Gallery, 319 Peck St., New Haven

    Third Friday of Every Month @ 7pm Poets are encouraged to arrive a few minutes early to sign up for open mic.

    Upcoming Features:
    FEBRUARY: Brian Clements, Friday, February 16 at 7pm

    Brian Clements is the author of Essays Against Ruin, a book of poems from Texas Review Press, and of And How to End It, a book of prose poems forthcoming from Quale Press. He edits the small press Firewheel Editions and Firewheel's flagship publication, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics. He lives in Newtown and coordinates the MFA in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University.

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Move Under Ground released under Creative Commons license

    Hi all,

    As part of my ENG 538 class, I released my 2004 novel Move Under Ground to the Internet under a Creative Commons license. Essentially, this means that the text of the book can be distributed freely online on a non-commercial basis as long as the text is unchanged and is linked back to me.

    Published in 2004 by Night Shade Books and in 2006 by Prime Books as a trade paperback, Move Under Ground is the story of Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs taking one last roadtrip to save the American Dream from the Elder God Cthulhu, a creation of pulp writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was nominated for both the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards in the first novel category, and positively reviewed in a number of more "literary" outlets, including The Believer and the Village Voice.

    Feel free to take a look:

    For Molly

    I dig reading Molly Ivins. Her willingness to speak up is inspiring. She died of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) a few days ago. I apologize to the Multigenre class folks who already suffered this lecture. Guess I'm on a bit of a mission. Please educate yourself on IBC. Here's an article I wrote a while back for Cancerlynx. It wanders a bit for trying to please too many entities, but the one I love and the disease I hate are reasonably well represented.

    Best Wishes,
    Don Lowe

    Friday, February 02, 2007

    AWP Conference in Atlanta

    A reminder about the Associated Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Atlanta, February 28-March 3. The MFA program will pay the conference registration fees for several MFA students who are willing to staff the bookfair table shared by the MFA program, Sentence, and CT Review for a few hours. Let me know if you'd like to take advantage of the offer. For more info on the conference, see


    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Folks, many intriguing internships from around the country are listed in the new AWP job list. If you are interested in seeing the list (it's long, so I'm not going to copy it here), shoot Laurel an email request for a copy. She's out of the office this week, but she'll get to it when she returns.

    Sigh! Another writer movie

    I stumbled upon the coolest movie this past weekend.

    Flipping through the channels late Saturday, I was disgusted with my DirectTV. Three hundred friggin' channels and nothing to watch? After some vicious channel surfing, my eye caught the freckled and pixie-like face of Julieanne Moore standing beside a red-headed Woody Harrelson with a full head of hair and wearing horned-rimmed glasses. A period piece, I thought immediately. Since I like movies that take place during the 40's and 50's, I settled back to watch.

    I was not disappointed. The movie, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is the story of house wife Evelyn Ryan (Julieanne Moore) who supports her 9 children and alcoholic husband Kelly Ryan (Woody Harrelson) with prizes she wins from jingle contests. The book on which the movie was based was written by one of Evelyn's children, now a writer in San Francisco. Of course the movie deals with a lot more than just Evelyn using her gift of rhyme to support her family, but it's not about a woman trapped in a situation, her voice stiffled because of a male-dominated society. Nope. I guess my older son summed up the movie best when he said, "Man! She never let anything get her down. She makes the best of everything."

    The funniest part of the movie for me was Evelyn's first meeting with a group of ladies who also use their gift of rhyme to win jingle contests. The group, called "The Affadaisies" are sitting in the living room sharing ideas for contests they plan to enter. One woman shows the group a contest entry form that advertises no skill necessary. "Do you see this?" she complains. "No skill necessary! This is the death of literacy, ladies!"

    Yes, this movie is a little sweet but not too sweet that it will make 'ya sick. It's not a tear jerker, at least for me it wasn't. I guess it all depends on your emotional state.

    CAPA-U Professional Development Day

    FYI--some of you in CT may have some interest in the below event, an opportunity to meet with an agent. I attended last year; this is where I recruited the agents who visited our August residency. One of our MFA students was there also, and he was disappointed with the agent interaction.

    Event: CAPA-U Professional Development Day
    Saturday, May 12, 2007, 8:30am to 5:00pm
    Hartford Steam Boiler conference facilities
    One State Street
    Hartford, CT
    Sponsored by: CT Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA)
    Contact: Karen Klein: phone: 860-677-6338 or email:
    4th Annual CAPA-U Returns to Hartford May 12
    Hartford, CT – Meet with a literary agent or book-marketing expert at the 4th annual CAPA-U Professional Development Day -- Saturday, May 12, 2007, to be held at the Hartford Steam Boiler conference facilities in downtown Hartford. Successful authors and agents will share their expertise with burgeoning writers at this all-day conference sponsored by the CT Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA). The event offers a selection of 15 break-out sessions on various writing topics and 15-minute individual meetings with agents or marketing experts.
    The day kicks off with Marcella Ann Smith, Director of Small Press and Vendor Relations for Barnes & Noble, keynoting on the subject of marketing to booksellers of all sizes.
    After that, learn about "Publishing in More than One Genre" with Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of a several books including The Thin Pink Line; "Working with an Agent" with agent Gina Panettieri, whose recent sales include Family Matters by Ira Berkowitz; and "How to Write an Irresistible Non-Fiction Book Proposal" with agent and former large house editor Rita Rosenkranz. Sherry Cohen will help writers "Get Paid What You’re Worth"; popular fantasy writer Annie Kelleher will give tips on "Building Worlds and Making Magic" and short fiction writer Kristi Petersen will administer "RX for a Healthy Plot." Other experts will cover everything from "Writing for the Op-Ed Page" to "Working with your Book Printer."
    This year’s crop of agents and marketing experts includes Maya Rock of Writers House, LLC, who recently sold Handcuffs; Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary Agency, LLC, who handles National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson; Jack Scovil, whose Scovil Chichak Galen represents Arthur C. Clarke and Thomas Fleming; and Rebecca Strauss, a former book scout for Sony Pictures who is now with McIntosh & Otis. Others include Brian Jud, Eric Kampmann, Uwe Stender, Jessica Spradling, Katharine Sands, Kathi Paton, Lauren E. Abramo and Marilyn Allen.
    The 4th Annual CAPA-U will take place at the Hartford Steam Boiler at One State Street in Hartford. The day begins with registration and continental breakfast at 8:30 and runs until 5 p.m. Lunch and parking are provided. Advance registration is required and space is limited. The cost is $125 before March 31, which includes an Early Bird Registration gift, and $140 thereafter. To register or for more information, visit