Short Story Fest

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Opening Remarks and Keynote

Festival remarks by Donna Ledbetter, Founder and CEO of Short Story Book Club with keynote by Joseph Holt, author of Golden Heart Parade. Announcements include the winner of the 2021 Short Story Book Club Scholarship and kickoff for the annual Short Story Book Club short story writing contest.

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11:00 am – 11:30 am
Readings with Otis

Short stories about the lives of black people and events you may have heard of but do not know well. They are presented in a poetry format.

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11:30 am – 12:00 pm
When Pivotal Life Moments Get in Your Way, Joy Embrace!

Get ready to enter a journey experience that will speak to create a unique tapestry of oneness. How do you write a devotional? When do you know it is the message your heart is searching for? Delve deep into the crevices of hesitation and unearth the hidden treasures revealed to you in the Spirit. Discover how this awakening blesses you with boldness and a presence that points the way to realize your dreams of published book works and engaging stories to tell.

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12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Author Chat with Christine Drawl

Author Christine Drawl chats with moderator and Short Story Book Club Founder and CEO Donna Ledbetter

About Grandmother Tree by Christine Drawl

These are quiet stories about the small towns and tired houses where generations grow up and fade from, and the magic of the hold these places have on them.

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1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Writing Your Life's Story with Jamie

You are the hero of your own story.

In this session, we will talk about how to create a well-structured memoir, using the hero’s journey method.  Think of yourself as the hero of your own true story, decide what your quest, and choose who (or what) your allies and enemies are. Using the hero’s journey technique, Jamie will guide you through re-envisioning your story, bringing the drama to the surface and creating a satisfying story arc.

For an example of Jamie’s technique, please read her essay that appeared in the New York Times Modern Love column, “The Semi Colon was our Blinking Caution Light.” She will deconstruct the elements that made it a compelling memoir that was immediately picked up by editor Daniel Jones.

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2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Writing Erotic Short Stories

Erotica. Some say it is the dirty side of literature that no serious author would engage in. But many time honored literary works fall into the category of sensual and/or sexual writing. The Bible’s “Song of Solomon.” Molly Bloom’s closing soliloquy in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Poetry by Rumi, Audre Lorde and John Donne. Writing that examines the pleasures, the mechanics, and the emotional impact of sex have always existed–though some say the most famous examples of modern-day erotica aren’t necessarily well-written. But how do you write about sexuality and sensuality in a way that isn’t awkward and awful? From carefully selecting your words and skillfully crafting your phrases and metaphors to finding the writing voice that conveys what you want to deliver to your reader, there is a special kind of wordsmithing that makes erotica happen successfully.

This workshop will examine the history of erotic writing, spotlighting a few iconic works, with focus on creative uses of language and storytelling devices. We will discuss erotic writing tropes, and how writers find that “sweet spot” in their writing that touches on the sexual/sensual elements in exactly the manner they intend. There will be writing exercises and other surprises. Whether you are an experienced writer or trying your hand at erotica for the first time, the workshop will inform, engage, and will be a lot of fun!

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3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Author Chat with Kathy Anderson

Author Kathy Anderson chats with moderator and author Joe Holt.

About Bull and Other Stories by Kathy Anderson

A rich lesbian couple torment their realtor in a quest for the perfect house. A rabbit farmer faces a showdown in her marriage. A teenage boy struggles to accept his transgender parent. Two elderly squabbling sisters swim with stingrays on their last trip together.

Set in the tri-state area of Philadelphia, the thirteen stories in Bull and Other Stories (Autumn House Press, 2016) humorously explore gender, sexuality, and family.

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4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
PR Tips During COVID-19

Most authors have been affected by COVID-19. Whether it’s the end of conferences, book signings or media interviews, this micro-workshop will share PR tips to help you stay visible during this world pandemic. Topics include: focusing on your customers’ needs; being proactive not reactive, keeping all lines of communications open, etc.

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5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Write Like the News

“Lead with the future–not background” is the most important of 8 journalism skills that will transform how you write and place your short stories. The others: write your readers’ language, be positive (to be both clear and upbeat), lay out logically, be consistent, be precise, be concise (short stories as concise stories) and choose strong verbs. (Plus a Speak Like the News skill: avoid “uptalk?”) Emulate the vivid news examples you’ll see in this webinar, and you’ll strengthen your writing voice with lively, engaging news style. To cover as much ground as possible, we’ll have just a few writing exercises and most of them will take less than a minute each.

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6:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga is fun! Laughter yoga is a unique concept as an exercise in a group where anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on humor, jokes, or comedy. It is not a hard-physical exercise. We will sit down, walk around, run around, lay down with eye contact and  childlike playfulness. However, after following a one hour exercise, we will need to drink water. Ha, ha, ha! It is a great way to witness happiness, peace and release stress. There is scientific proof that it has benefits for school children, adults, seniors and businesses.

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