20 Writing/Publishing Tips From Bestselling Authors – What the Pros Say. Based on literary spotlight column on www.writersnewsweekly.com
Opening Lines for Works in Progress Learn the components of a great opening. The first page determines whether the reader or editor will continue reading or put down your work. Participants should send Carlotta the first pages of a work- in-progress ahead of time. At the workshop the material will be read aloud, anonymously by another reader, and it will be evaluated.
Salem Witchcraft Hysteria. There were 19 men and women murdered as witches in 1692. Could it happen today? You bet it could – and has. What are the four factors that need to be present in any society to re-create another genocide? (Examples from novel, Salem Pact)
The Psychological Control of Superstitions. Examples from book, Touching the Dead, a collection of short stories based on ethnic superstitions, named honorable mention in the 2011 Halloween Book Festival, Hollywood, CA, Best Horror Book of 2008 by the New England Book Festival and Best Horror Book of 2007 by BooksandAuthors.net.
For Garden Clubs: Flower Power: Superstitions in Floriography – a Victorian practice where particular types of flowers meant different things. A woman rejecting a suitor might send him yellow roses; a man leaving for overseas might give his girlfriend forget-me-nots. Flowers are important in many cultures around the world, so they have had many superstitions, traditions, myths and legends attached to them.
Is April a cursed month? In his poem, “The Waste land,” 20th century American-born poet, playwright and critic T.S. Eliot concluded that, “April is the cruelest month.” He is not alone in his belief. Throughout history people have done an astounding number of horrible things to each other in the month of April. Some of the worse events of history happened in April. So what is it with April? Rationally speaking the month isn’t really any different than any other. Terrible things happen every month. However the tragedies are more balanced in the other months. While there’s no scientific evidence readily available to show that a specific calendar date has any effect on human behavior, it is oddly coincidental that such a small range of dates contains some of the darkest moments in US History including wars, assassinations, space shuttle explosions, violent weather, school shootings, etc.
Fascination with Vampires. Are they real? Where did the vampire myth really begin? Why is society so fascinated with the vampire culture? How does belief in vampires represent the fear of conquering death? Based on book, Vampire Resurrection, named third place best fiction book by National Federation of Press Women.
East Coast Ghosts – From Salem MA to Savannah, GA Stories and travel logs from articles I’ve had published in The Record of Bergen County and my books. Includes: The Ghost of Giles Corey – Salem, Massachusetts (Henry St. cemetery) The Ghost of Jerusha Howe and the Secret Drawer Society at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts Savannah ghosts Williamsburg Ghost tours
Ghosts Around the World – The belief in ghosts and haunted places exist all over the world. True ghost stories are found in every country and many tour companies offer visits to these infamous sites. Take a pre-Halloween armchair tour of some of these places with award-winning journalist/ author Carlotta Holton who has written about many of these places for the travel section of daily newspapers (e.g., The Record of Bergen County) as well as in her fiction novels. (Deadly Innocence; Vampire Resurrection; Touching the Dead; Salem Pact). Enhancing her stories are images of many of the sites she has visited and the unusual events she has experienced firsthand. Walk in the footsteps of the infamous Jack the Ripper where the ghost of one of his victims haunts London’s East End, while another ghost joins the swells at the Ten Bells Pub. Have dinner in a castle beneath the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots where her execution edict still hangs on the wall in Borthwick Castle, Borthwick, Midlothian, Scotland where the murder of a young servant girl still makes its presence known.
Deadly Innocence: Can immoral behavior be inherited? Why do children kill? Reminiscent of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, this latest ghost story, Deadly Innocence, which took Honorable Mention in the 2011 New England Book Festival, deals with the inheritability of the criminal gene? First there was Rebekah Cornell’s son. Then came her descendent Lizzie Borden. Now there is 8 year- old Grace Griffen, a descendent of both.
Superstitions of the Sea: Norman temples were laid out in the form of a ship, navis, on which the nave or “belly” of a Christian church was modeled. The words navel and naval once referred to the burial shrine, which was compared to a ship and to the mother’s womb. For centuries superstitions have surrounded the sea and the ships that make their voyages across it. Superstitions include: the wind sellers selling their hawsers to provide wind to the sailors, hiding a gold coin, the curse of nails on board, the significance of the figurehead, the ship’s bell thought to be the soul of the ship, boarding a boat, building a boat, burial at sea, cats, buying a “caul,” whistling on board, holy flints, the letter “a”, burning a jinxed ship and many more.
Unsolved Mysteries of history:Are they conspiracies or superstitions?Secret societies: Freemasons and the influence on the construction of Washington D.C. Hundreds of Masonic conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. These fall into three categories: political involving allegations of control of government in the USA; religious involving allegations of anti-Christian or even Satanic beliefs; and cultural involving popular entertainment. What really happened to Pope John I? What is the real power of the Spear of Destiny and why did Hitler place so much value upon it? What is the psychological power of curses, e.g. The Hope Diamond and Marie Antoinette; the Ravens at the Tower of London; The curse of Tecumseh; the curse of Giles Corey, Salem, MA? What really happened to the lost colonists of Roanoke? What is the truth about the disappearance of the Mary Celeste ship, circa 1860? Who is the Babushka lady on the scene at the assassination of President Kennedy?
Yuletide Superstitions: “Traditions, Superstitions, and Folk-Lore” What is the original intent of holly? What is the significance of symbols like candles, mince pies, the Christmas pickle- do not give shoes; If your birthday falls on Christmas; Christmas eve births, significance of dreams during holidays; bathing; At Christmas women can also predict the course of their love life (not many spouse-finding superstitions work for men). The last day to indulge your Christmastime superstition is Candlemas (Feb. 2). To avoid bad luck, all of your Christmas decorations should be down by that day. But be careful what you burn: it’s unlucky to burn Christmas greenery, except for mistletoe, which must be burnt or else those who kissed beneath it will become enemies. Every leaf left up after Candlemas will result in either a goblin seen or a death in the house during the year.
Ghoultide Greetings: Since its publication in 1843 the novella A Christmas Carol has transformed our present day of Christmas. But Dickens tale of familial joy and repentance was actually rooted in ghost stories. His continuous themes downgrading institutions like the workhouse as prison are easily found in works like Oliver Twist, but a closer examination will uncover his lifelong interest in the paranormal.
How Did Charles Dickens Become Interested In Ghost Stories? Four possible answers: His childhood influences, life in Victorian London, his near- death experience on a train, and his involvement in The Ghost Club.