Thursday, August 4, 2011

Latest from Word Harvest

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In This Issue
News From the Trenches

Santa Fe-A Traveler's Paradise

Quick Links
Anne Hillerman's Books
New Mexico Magazine
2010 Hillerman Prize Winner Tricia Fields

Hello, everyone!
Hope your writing is going well. We are happy to provide suggestions for writing a winning mystery short story, just in time for our August 15 mystery short story contest deadline. Plus author John Vorhaus, a rising star in the literary galaxy and all-around nice guy, shares a writing tip. Please consider joining us in Santa Fe for the 2011 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference.

Warm wishes,
Anne and Jean

Six Clues for a Winning Mystery Short Story
The deadline for the Tony Hillerman Mystery Short Story Contest is August 15, 2011.

WORDHARVEST welcomes our new co-sponsor, New Mexico Magazine, which will publish the winning entry and give the writer $1,000. To qualify the story:

• Must be 2,500 words or less
• Must be set primarily in New Mexico
• Must be a mystery
• Must be postmarked no later than August 15
• You'll find the entry form and complete rules here.

Here are some clues to help you create a winning entry from Wolf Schneider, mystery book reviewer and emcee for Writing with the Stars:

1. Make sure the story has a beginning, middle, and end that resolves the mystery-no vague endings or "to be continued."

2. Create compelling, memorable characters with character development.

3. Be sparing with adjectives and descriptions.

4. Plot out a storyline where things happen.

5. Avoid wasted words. Study the work of a good mystery writer, like Tony Hillerman, Robert Parker, Michael McGarrity, Sandi Ault, Margaret Coel, etc.

6. Create suspense---a ticking clock that gives urgency to the solving of the mystery.
Writing Tip: The Face of the Wave
From John Vorhaus, Hillerman Conference Speaker

"The face of the wave" is the name I give to the place where the written words end and the blank space begins. It can be a scary place, but I conquer it through momentum. I go back and read what I wrote yesterday - not editing, just gathering speed and reacquainting myself with the work. Then, when the written words run out and I'm back there at the face of the wave, I just... ride it! I remind myself that everything written can be rewritten, and that the only thing I have to do right now is just put more words on the page. Not good words, not bad words, just words. The good news is that by this method, I always advance the face of the wave. The bad news is that the face of the wave will be right back there tomorrow to confront me once again. So I repeat the process: review, reacquaint, remind myself to keep expectations low, and plunge ahead. I don't worry too much about results; as any good surfer will tell you, wipeouts are part of the game."
John Vorhaus is the author of what he calls "sunshine noir" novels: The California Roll and The Albuquerque Turkey and the comedy writing classic, The Comic Toolbox. He tweets for no apparent reason @TrueFactBarFact, and secretly controls the world from He joins the HIllerman Conference on Nov. 11 for the panels "Creating Good Bad Guys" and "Non-fiction, Fiction and True Storytelling." Learn about other conference presenters here.

News from the Trenches: Author Updates
Author Tricia Fields is now accepting pre-orders for The Territory, winner of the 2010 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel. Tricia's blog talks about why it's worth the trouble to enter contests. She also has good advice on manuscript organizing, first drafts and other insights for fiction writers. Tricia and her editor, Peter Joseph of St. Martin's Press, will swap stories at this year's Tony
Hillerman Conference.

Sandi Ault's latest installment in the WILD mystery series, Wild Penance was a finalist for the Spur Award and three other major awards over the past few months. Sandi, a popular teacher who will be in Santa Fe to lead the Hillerman pre-conference workshop, is at work on a new novel which will introduce an exciting new detective. Stay tuned!

Among the nominees for the 2011 Macavity Award is thriller expert David Morrell. The MaCavity Award nominees are selected and voted on by members of Mystery Readers International. The Awards will be presented at Bouchercon 2011: Sprits of St. Louis in September. Morrell and co-editor Hank Wagner were nominated in the Best Mystery Nonfiction category for "Thrillers: 100 Must Reads." Morrell, a successful writer for many decades, will talk about changes in the world of publishing at the Hillerman Conference.

John Trudel's first novel, God's House, is being published to excellent
early reviews. It will be out in paper and eBook formats in September. John calls it "a new type of thriller." For early information, check here. God's House will be up on in September, so, if you like it, please post a review. John's second novel, Privacy Wars, will be out in 2012.
Santa Fe Ranks High Among Travelers
Need a reason (besides our conference) to come to Santa Fe? For the tenth consecutive year Santa Fe is included in Travel + Leisure (T+L) magazine's "World's Best Awards" list of top 10 favorite United States and Canadian travel destinations. For 2011, Santa Fe is ranked as the fifth most popular travel city in North America by the magazine's travel-savvy readers.

Of Santa Fe, T+L says: " this ever-changing city... thick-walled adobe buildings nearly 400 years old stand cheek-by-jowl with avant-garde art galleries and edgy modern restaurants. It's a reminder that, despite its vibrant population of skiers and hikers, painters and photographers, alternative healers, hippies, and gays, this city is strongly connected to its Spanish-Native American heritage-and to the pristine landscape that surrounds it."
Preview: 2011 Tony Hillerman Conference Highlights
Look forward to these presentations and events at the Hillerman Conference:

"A Writer's Toolkit: Seven Essentials for Success" with Sandi Ault

A Spy's Guide to Santa Fe, with Edward Held, author and Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

"The Plot Thickens: Keep Readers Turning Those Pages" with best-selling author Douglas Preston

"The Art and Craft of Narrative Non-Fiction" with Hampton Sides

"Building Tension" panel with Jo-Ann Mapson, David Morrell, Sean Murphy and Hampton Sides

"Harnessing the Beast: Organizing your Manuscript" with Steve Havill

"Pitches, Synopses and Queries to Seduce an Editor/Agent" with author Bill O'Hanlon, St. Martin's Press editor Peter Joseph, New Mexico Magazine editor in chief Dave Herndon, and agent Liz

Presentation of the Tony Hillerman/New Mexico Magazine Short Story Prize.

Don't forget: The deadline for the Hillerman Short Story Contest is August 15. Enter soon!


Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg

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Connie Gotsch Host Write On Four Corners KSJE FM, Farmington NM Author two award winning youth novels ‘Belle’s Star,’ and ‘Belle’s trial,’ based on the life of a real dog and written from her point of view. Available from Artemesia Press at and, and Anazon,com Belle’s Star was a New Mexico BookAward in 2009 and 2010; First Place for Juvenile Fiction New Mezxico Press Women and National Federation of Press Women Communication Contests 2010’ Silver Mom’s Choice Award 2010.
Belle’s Trial’ won First Place for Juvenile Fiction in the 2011 New Mexico Press Press Women’s Commuication Contest, and a Silver Mom’s Choice Award for 2011. The book received an Eric Hoffer Award nomination for 2011.

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