Monthly Archives: November 2014

Find Your Inspiration at Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers’ Wordshop


Former Harrisburg Poet Laureate, Iya Isoke, poses with nationally acclaimed Black Arts poet & activist, Sonia Sanchez, performance poet Maria James-Thiaw and Wordshop founder, Nathaniel Gadsden, also a former Harrisburg Poet Laureate.

WWlogoLovingly known as “The Wordshop” to local poets, Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop is celebrating its 37th year as a hub for poetic expression in the Harrisburg area. Many published authors can look back to what they experienced at The Wordshop as being transformative and instrumental to their success. The Wordshop invites all budding writers and spoken word artists to join them Friday nights at 7 on the Second Stage at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore (1302 N 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA)  for Cafe Word. These open readings and educational workshops are free and open to the public. Here is what you can expect in December:

Friday, December 5th

“A Poetic Kwanzaa Celebration” with Harrisburg Poet Laureate Emeritus,

Dr. Nathaniel Gadsden


Friday, December 12th

“Poetic Interaction” with York City

Poet Laureate, Christine Lincoln

For more information about Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop, contact Wordshop advisory board member and poet, Maria James-Thiaw at

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by | November 18, 2014 · 9:06 pm

The Professional Writer: Introducing Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Contemporary Fiction Writer

” Something subliminal is going on when a person reads something of quality; the brain is absorbing good sentence structure, correct spelling, multi-dimensional characterization, vivid description and more without the reader even realizing it, which automatically makes for better prose.”


Kristi Peterson Schoonover, fiction author

Although the heavy winds are ripping gold and red leaves from the trees, and winter’s chill has begun to set in, let’s not forget the thrills of the Halloween season. The skeletons, the zombies, the witches and vampires –Face it! it’s fun to be scared, and that is why ghost stories are appealing all year round. One writer that has found success by scaring the “bejeezes” out of readers is short fiction writer, Kristi Petersen Schoonover.poisongroundprint

Schoonover is an award-winning writer who has received three Norman Wailer Writers’ Colony residencies and was even nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize for short fiction. Some of her popular works are Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole, Bad Apple, and The Poisoned Ground. She is an editor of a literary magazine called Read Short Fiction and lives in the haunted woods of Connecticut with her ghost-hunting husband.

                When describing her work Schoonover says, “I write short stories that explore relationships in twisted, surprising ways. I play with magic realism and psychological horror on a regular basis.”

In other words, her books are the kind the make your goose bumps rise and take notice.  It only takes one look at her publication list to see that this is a prolific writer. However, she says that she does not have a set time and place to write each day. She feels most inspired in her own home office with a great movie score playing, but overall, she writes when she is moved to do so.

When asked what advice she would give emerging young writers, she says, READ! “It’s critical, but not just because it’s important to consciously study the craft. Something subliminal is going on when a person reads something of quality; the brain is absorbing good sentence structure, correct spelling, multi-dimensional characterization, vivid description and more without the reader even realizing it, which automatically makes for better prose.”

skeletons-final-front-coverShe has so many favorite authors, it was hard to narrow down the list, however, “Both Gina Ochsner and T.C. Boyle explore human emotions and relationships in fresh, original ways that haunt me long after I’ve put the story down,” Schoonover says.

This professional writer is serious about her craft. She makes time to write and expands her writing skills by reading. In addition, Kristi Petersen Schoonover puts her public relations background to use and markets her own work with the precision of a Hollywood publicist. It goes to show you that even if your degree is in another field, you can use what you have learned in your artistic vocation as well.

So if you, too, think it is fun to be scared, you will love the work of Kristi Petersen Schoonover. For more information visit today!

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by | November 18, 2014 · 8:36 pm

November is National Novel Writing Month!

Shield-Nano-Side-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResEver thought about writing a novel?  Have a great idea for story?  A character that’s keeping you up all night?  Well, November is your month!  During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), hundreds of writers work on starting (and finishing!) their novels in the month of November in a feverish sprint of creativity.  Some of the most popular recent novels have been products of this rough drafting process.

What is it? 30 days.  50,000 words.  Last year, 669, 882 novels were written in the month of November with the help of the author forums, support groups, and tracking help all offered for free through the NaNoWriMo website.

What’s the point? The point of NaNoWriMo is not to write a final, polished draft, but to get a complete rough draft on paper.  Editing and proofreading take time and are often the reason why most first-time writers never finish the first draft.  Too often us fiction writers get distracted by the small details of writing and get frustrated when we can’t ‘get it right’ the first time.  By writing under pressure and with other authors, you will learn to let go of those small things that can easily be fixed on a third, fourth, and yes, fifth read through.

Why don’t you just do that on your own?  NaNoWriMo also makes it easier because, like all writing, it makes it a social event.  Writing can be a lonely, unforgiving trudge from the first word to the final sentence, but it doesn’t have to be.  Writing is always a communication between you and someone else (even if that someone else is your future self), and this process helps you to ask questions and get feedback much quicker than the traditional writing and publishing process.  NaNoWriMo also puts you in direct contact with others who are trying to reach the same goals, so they will intimately understand your struggles and will be excited to relish in your triumphs!

 Are you ready to take the NaNoWriMo challenge?

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