Thursday, August 28, 2008

Writers & Readers: Enjoy an Informal Conversation with Three Bestselling Novelists

Want to "listen in" on some great conversations with bestselling novelists? I've "prettied up" and posted the transcripts from the last three Athena Isle Writers meetings to our blog. These meetings are intimate round-table discussions with guests (often in Second Life for the very first time) who are published authors or writing experts.

Crime fiction novelist Michelle Gagnon at Athena Isle Writers in Second LifeThe most recent guest was bestselling crime-fiction novelist Michelle Gagnon, whose second novel, The Boneyard, made it to the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list the morning of our meeting! It joins her first thriller, The Tunnels, on that list, and ensures publication of more books in the series.

Michelle has some interesting and encouraging things to say to both writers and readers about such topics as:
  • How she began her writing journey
  • Where her novel ideas came from
  • The need for writers to market their books
  • The benefits of being part of the mystery-genre writers' community
Literary fiction writer Michelle Richmond at Athena Isle WritersNot to confuse matters, but our guest the week before Michelle Gagnon was another Michelle: literary fiction bestselling author Michelle Richmond. Her newest literary mystery, No One You Know, has just been released to rave reviews, while her previous novel, The Year of Fog, was a New York Times bestseller!

Michelle shared a wealth of advice and support for yet-to-be-published and emerging authors on a wide range of topics, including:
  • Finding agents and publishers
  • How to get started as a literary fiction author
  • Her own writing process
  • The two most important things for writers to do
Vampire Huntress Legends author L.A. Banks at Athena Isle Writers in Second LifeTwo weeks earlier, the acclaimed author of the popular Vampire Huntress Legends series of novels, L.A. Banks joined our meeting, and offered hugs, wisdom, and a great deal of support to the writers and readers at the event. She's just released the 11th novel in the 12-book Vampire Huntress series, The Shadows, as well as the first in her new Crimson Moon crime/romance series, Bad Blood.

An incredibly prolific author (more than 30 novels), Leslie shared many aspects of her writing career, including:
  • The circumstances that "forced" her into a writing career
  • Writing for TV and movies
  • Where she gets her ideas for books
  • How she manages to keep her characters and plots organized
All three authors shared their advice and thoughts on:
  • Finding and working with agents
  • Getting published
  • The importance (or not) of MFAs for writers
  • The exciting possibilities that Second Life can offer writers
Check out these bestselling authors' words of support and tips for writers, as well as photos of the events, held at Story Mountain Center for Writers in Second Life, at the Athena Isle Writers blog.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Crime Thriller Novelist Michelle Gagnon to Join Athena Isle Writers Meeting Aug. 20 in Second Life

Michelle Gagnon, author of the thrillers The Tunnels and Boneyard (just out), will join the Athena Isle Writers round-table discussion on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 12 p.m. SLT (i.e., Pacific time), at the Story Mountain Center for Writers in Second Life.

Michelle Gagnon at Athena Isle WritersMichelle is a former modern dancer, dog walker, bartender, freelance journalist, personal trainer, model, and Russian supper club performer. To the delight of her parents, she eventually gave up all these jobs for an infinitely more stable and lucrative position as a crime fiction writer.

Her debut thriller The Tunnels was published in the United States and Australia, and was an IMBA bestseller. Described as "Silence of the Lambs meets The Wicker Man," the story involves a series of ritualized murders in the abandoned tunnel system beneath a university.

The second book in the series, Boneyard, depicts a cat-and-mouse game between dueling serial killers in the Berkshires.

"I defy anyone to read the first chapter of Boneyard and put the book down. Pure reading pleasure—creepy, terrifying, and utterly believable," says New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston.

Michelle is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

In her spare time she runs errands and indulges a weakness for stale cinema popcorn and Hollywood blockbusters. Hopelessly addicted to Scrabulous, she's seriously considering a twelve-step program. She lives in San Francisco with her family.

Everyone – writers and readers – are invited to come meet Michelle Gagnon on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 12 noon SLT at the Story Mountain Center for Writers on Athena Isle. The meeting is free!

Monday, August 11, 2008

NY Times Best-Selling Novelist Michelle Richmond to Join Aug. 13 Athena Isle Writers Round-table Discussion

No One You Know by Michelle RichmondJoin in a round-table discussion with best-selling and award-winning novelist Michelle Richmond at the August 13 Athena Isle Writers meeting in Second Life. The one-hour meeting begins at 12 p.m. SLT at the Story Mountain Center for Writers on Athena Isle.

Michelle is the author of the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle best-seller The Year of Fog, which was one of Library Journal’sBest Books of 2007,” a Kirkus Reviews top pick for reading groups, a Washington PostA-List” selection, and a San Francisco ChronicleNotable Book.”

The Year of Fog has been translated into nine languages and is currently in development with Newmarket Films.

Michelle’s third novel, No One You Know, is just out from Delacorte. In addition to The Year of Fog, her previous books are the award-winning story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, and the novel Dream of the Blue Room, which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award.

Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, Playboy, Oxford American, The Believer, Salon, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2006 Mississippi Review Fiction Prize and the 2000 Associated Writing Programs Award, and has received fellowships from the Millay Colony, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, among others.

Michelle holds an MFA from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow, and teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at California College of the Arts. She has also taught in the MFA programs of the University of San Francisco, St. Mary’s College of Moraga, and Bowling Green State University.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Michelle lives with her husband and son in San Francisco. She is the founding editor of the literary journal Fiction Attic, and she serves on the advisory board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.

Come meet and discuss writing with Michelle Richmond on Wednesday, August 13, at 12 noon SLT, in an intimate round-table meeting at the Story Mountain Center for Writers on Athena Isle (SLURL).

The meeting is free and open, everyone is invited to attend.

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