Archive for February, 2008


February 14, 2008

A lot of folks have been asking me about writing classes, so I want to answer everyone at once with a list of the programs I have coming up at the Writers Corner USA.  And, for those asking about Online Classes…as soon as I find a decent chat utility I’ll be getting those up and running. 

So…here’s what’s coming up.  Registration info is at the bottom of the list.  -J 


DATE/TIME:  Three Thursdays, March 13, 20 & 27, 6:30 to 8:30

FEE: $100 (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount)

DESCRIPTION: The short story market is on the rise.  More and more markets are opening up for short stories in all genres.  This three-week program will teach you the basics of crafting saleable short stories and also how to locate paying markets; how to format your work; submitting your work; legal rights for short-story writers; and more. 

SHORT STORY BOOTCAMP –A Write, Revise, Submit in one Weekend

DATE/TIME:  Saturday Feb 23 and Sunday Feb 24; 10am to 4pm

FEE: $100 (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount).

DESCRIPTION: If you like a faster pace or need to acquire some writing discipline then enroll in our Short Story Bootcamp.  On Saturday, from 10-4 you get a crash-course in short story writing for today’s market and will then settle down here at the Corner and write an ENTIRE SHORT STORY.  Overnight the instructor will read the stories to provide feedback; and on Sunday as you revise the story the instructor will search the best of today’s markets to find the best places for you to submit your work.  By Monday your story will be in the mail! 


DATE/TIME:  A monthly program; starts Saturday, February 16, Noon – 2pm

FEE: $300.00 for the complete six-month program. (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount).

DESCRIPTION:  Most writing workshops are geared toward beginner writers, which can frustrate someone who already knows the basics but needs to take things to a new level.  The Advanced Novel Writing workshop is designed for established writers (of all kinds) who now want to write a novel, see it through to completion, and get it to market with the best possible chance of sale.  This program will cover all aspects of the novel craft (voice, tension, POV, character development, psychological subtext, imagery, dialogue, etc.) and will also provide an insiders view of the current status of the fiction market (who is buying and selling, what trends are hot and cold, etc.) and will help you prepare for the pitch, the sale, the deal, and the promotion.  Program also includes a Peer Critique group, the first session of which is moderated by Jonathan who will go through the steps of how for a manuscript analysis.  A dedicated Yahoo Group will also be set for this program. 


DATE/TIME:  Two Thursdays: February 21 & 28; 6:30 to 8:30

FEE: $50   (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount).

DESCRIPTION: If you have a book you are ready to market (or have been marketing and haven’t had any luck selling), then come join us at the Writers Corner USA on Sunday September 24, from 6 to 9pm for a special workshop on selling your writing.  There have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry and more than ever the Pitch has become a vital selling tool.  You’ll not only learn how to pitch…you’ll practice your pitch and get feedback and suggestions on how to fine-tune it so that it closes the deal.  Jonathan will be teaching this program along with director/actor/author Keith Strunk! 

Date/Time:  Begins Saturday, March 8, 3-5pm; Six 2-hour sessions meeting once per month, plus reserved monthly peer critique group;

FEE: $225.00  ($25 discount if you register before March 1). 

DESCRIPTION: Want to write a crime novel, thriller, suspense story or mystery? This writing-intensive program takes that idea that’s been knocking around in your head all these years and gets it onto the page. This 6-month course covers every aspect of writing and developing the novel, including: Building your platform; Creating a flexible book outline; Building suspense; Laying down the Clues; Creating Real Characters; Developing the story idea; Developing various versions of the storyline synopsis; Writing and Finishing the First Draft; Identifying Your Market; Insider tips on the writing business; Learning how to find an agent and/or publisher Outline the Novel; Preparing for Revisions; Preparing for Revisions; Publicity; Searching for Agents and Publishers; Setting a Practical and Possible Daily Word Count; The writing contract step-by-step; Time management for writers Working the markets; and much more.


DATE/TIME:  Sunday March 9; 10am – 3pm

FEE: $75   (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount).

DESCRIPTION: The truth is that authors have to do most of the work to publicize and promote their own books, and this is true whether you have a three-book deal with a major publisher or have self-published your own work.  The job is left up to the writer to get the word out there, set up their own signings, arrange public appearances, create websites and social networking sites, create marketing tools and giveaway items, and keep their books flying off the shelves!  Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry will show you what you need to know and share insider tips to make your book –and your writing career—really stand out.  


DATE/TIME:  Begins Sunday March 9; 4-6pm; Six 2-hour sessions meeting once per month, plus reserved monthly peer critique group

FEE: $225.00  (Ask about our Friends and Family Discount).

DESCRIPTION: The market for Thrillers and Mysteries is hotter than ever.  Crime Novels, Thrillers and Suspense Stories dominate the bestseller list, and editors are always looking for the next new voice who will intrigue and entice the readers.  If you want to learn the secrets of writing and selling for this market, then this is the program you’ve been looking forward.  This 6-month course covers every aspect of writing and developing the novel, including: Plots and subplots; character creation; scene building; POV; action and pace; ratcheting up the tension; as well as draft and revisions; figurative language; identifying the right markets; finding and working with agents and editors; publicity for authors, and much more.  

INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Maberry is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Ghost Road Blues (Pinnacle Books).  He has been a professional writer for nearly thirty years and is the author of eighteen nonfiction books and six novels. He has also sold more than 1100 articles, numerous short stories, plays, poetry, greeting cards, workshop packets, training materials, instructional posters, and video scripts. Jonathan is a founding partner of the Writers Corner USA; the Executive Director of Career Doctor for Writers; a writing mentor for the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association; a member of the International Thriller Writers; and a speaker for the National Writers Union. He is frequent workshop leader for writers’ conferences (Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Conference, Sisters in Crime, Bedford Springs Literary Series, BackSpace, PennWriters, etc.); and often lectures at colleges.  In March he will be keynote speaker for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Conference, and will be a featured speaker at many other writers’ events.  Jonathan is also a founding partner of The Liars’ Club, a networking group of professional authors, screenwriters and journalists. 

TO REGISTER FOR ANY PROGRAM Contact Jonathan via e-mail at, or via phone at 215-808-0945 to reserve your spot today. If responding by e-mail include the name of the program in the subject line, and provide us with your contact information. 

CHECK/MONEY ORDER: Payable to: Jonathan Maberry – PO Box 84 – Southampton, PA 18966

PAYPAL payments can be made to

CASH: During class only; please don’t send cash via mail. 



February 12, 2008

JADE SHAMES – POETOne of the real pleasures of being a professional writer and of having been in this business for a long time (30 years and counting) is that sometimes you get to see young writers at the beginning of their careers and can watch them blossom. I want to introduce you to a writer that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for his entire life (actually his dad directed the traveling production of GODSPELL I was in back in the late 1970s!). His name is JADE SHAMES.  Take a moment and get to know this young man. He’s a poet, a playwright, a singer-songwriter, performance artist, and novelist.  He wrote his first novel when he was fifteen, and it was a real killer about sex, drugs and psychological manipulation in high school.  Not exactly Disney Channel stuff.  Since then he’s studied playwriting and poetry in Paris and published a chapbook of poetry.  He’s 22. I first heard Jade read his poems at a night of spoken word we held at the Writers Corner USA.  Words like ‘powerful’, ‘disturbing’, and ‘riveting’ seem inadequate, considering that most of the poems he read were written during his teenage years. Here are a couple of examples…two of my favorites. “REGULAR” That guy at the bar
With that woman
With the cherry lipstick
And the stem of her glasses
Pinched between her perfectly white
Perfectly straight
Perfectly mint fresh chloride baking soda teeth
Letting her fingers slide out flat
Her cuticles rubbed with oil just a few hours ago
Her eyes locked and ready
Her nail polish
Her shampoo
Her blush
Her scent
Ready for him to take
That guy is Jim, a regular
He worked blue collared jobs
Until he became a famous poet
Where he wrote about his blue collared jobs
And regulars

So many times stared from across the room
Trying to sit like him
With his spine straight
Shoulders slouched
Fitted into a plaid red shirt
Beer in one hand
A grin so natural you..d think he had been grinning on the ultrasound photos
His other hand squeezing into his tight worn at the knees workman’s jeans
For another dollar
For another beer
For another woman
I am four thousand miles from him in this bar
Over with my friend, Thom
Who has one gimpy eye
Wild oil spill hair
Hunched over and hunched over again
Half a white Russian in one hand
And god knows where the other one is
A waitress with two handfuls of breasts keeps passing us
Keeps speaking in secret to a manager
Keeps pulling up her blouse and crossing her arms over her chest

And more than another drink
All I want is for everyone to be naked right now
And everyone would laugh
And be in love with everything.

For a moment I lose myself
And approach a blonde bartender with a LIVESTRONG yellow rubber bracelet
She looks busy but I get her attention anyway
..I would like to buy that guy over there another MooseHead,.. I point to Jim
..Say it..s from Jade,.. I say with a cranked smile
..From who?..
..No..uh, you know what, never mind…

I sink back into my seat next to Thom who is now part of the furniture
..What the hell am I doin.. here?.. He says.

No matter how many times I come here
I will never be a regular.
   ***************“TIME” Time Category: Writing and Poetry  I am staring at the clock. Kara isn’t home.It’s 1:15 AM.She’s out with someone else. Last summer,We decided to share the apartmentEven though we were breaking up. Now it’s winter.1:18 in the morning. She told me last night that she met him at the bar.She told me about how he fucked her so hardShe bled. I’m making myself little snacksOf cheese and crackers and tea with honey.I am watching commercials on TV,To pretend that I am not staring at the clock. And I told her this morning that I want her to see him again.And I told her this morning that I want her to be happy.And I told her that the reason I still say, “I love you” before bed,Or before I leave, or hanging up the phone,It’s in the hope that those words will stay with herThough out her day,And make her life just a little easier to bear.This morning she cried in my arms. It’s 1:23.And time is moving on.And I am not.   **********************   So…do yourself a favor: check out his page at  Subscribe to his blog.   And support the arts and offer to buy a copy of his chapbook, MOMENTUM.  Every page is a jewel. Would I be saying all of this if I didn’t know him and just stumbled onto his stuff online?  Yeah.  Absolutely.  Check it out.   See for yourself. -Jonathan   


February 6, 2008



There are a lot of tools you, as a new author trying to pitch your book, can use to help you stand out from the pack.  Over the next few blogs I’ll be discussing some of those (and in earlier blogs I talked about good form in query letters).


One really useful tool is variously known as the ‘competitive analysis’, ‘marketplace analysis’, ‘market list’, or ‘submission list’.


This is a list of books that define the genre and identify the audience where your book would be accepted.  Remember, pitching a book is a sales process, so you have to help the agents and editors see the profit potential in your product.  The book has to fit onto an established shelf at a bookstore –and knowing which shelf can make or break your pitch.


For example, in Barnes & Noble there is no ‘horror’ shelf.  Novels that would ordinarily fit there are scattered onto different shelves.  Most of them wind up in the general ‘Fiction and Literature’ section, which is not a bad place to be, especially if you’re looking for a broad audience.  Some, however wind up in ‘Science Fiction/Fantasy’, because the fan base is more genre-based.  Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher are both in that section, and because the publishers know that the SF/comic book/fantasy crowds are the core demographic they keep those books there and they do well.  But new shelves are emerging, such as ‘Paranormal Romance’ (authors like L.A. Banks, Sherrilyn Kenyon, etc.)


I suggest creating a list of 6-12 authors whose works most closely resonate with your own.  This identifies those publishers who have known track records for handling your kind of work.  Most writers don’t know about these lists, but when they do and can offer them up front to an agent it shows market savvy and a willingness to partner in the sales process that many agents find very appealing.  Editors appreciate the lists because it’s something they can take to the marketing department and publisher to get approval to buy your book.


It’s also useful for any novelist as a way of identifying the genre/subgenre where they would ideally like their book placed. 


Sublists should be a mix of recent hot sellers (which establishes that the genre is making money), a few enduring classics (showing that the genre has staying power), and a few recent deals (showing that the genre is active right now).  These recent deals can be found by searching databases such as


For pitching, say, a supernatural thriller, the entries would likely include:


  1. SALEM’S LOT by Stephen King; Signet; paperback; 1976; 496 pages
  2. THEY THIRST by Robert McCammon; Kinnell; 1981; 552 pages
  3. GHOST STORY by Peter Straub; Coward, McCann & Geoghegan; 1979; 483 pages
  4. GHOST ROAD BLUES by Jonathan Maberry; Pinnacle Books; 2006; 480 pages



When I query I often offer a competitive analysis.  Often this results in the editor/agent taking the next step and asking for it, along with the synopsis and sample chapters.  Some might want to have the list emailed to them before deciding whether to ask for the manuscript.  In all cases it shows that you are sharper and more business focused than most aspiring authors.  Or as Stephen King would say, “It’s one more tool in your writer’s toolbox.”


-Jonathan Maberry





February 1, 2008

The writing life is always interesting but it isn’t always fun.  Most writers don’t make enough cash; reviewers can be savage; with the sagging economy book sales are down; and publishers mostly don’t spend much bread on promotion. 

To want to be a professional author you really need a lot of optimism, or you need to be just on the useful side of delusional.  Often both.  One of the key elements to making this wacky profession work is ‘networking’.  Two writers together can do more than two writers alone.  Not exactly a new concept, but it’s nice to discover that it still works.


Yesterday I met with three friends who are also professional authors and together we created a new organization: THE LIAR’S CLUB.  (Why that name?  Well…let’s face it, we’re authors, we make stuff up for a living.)  We started the group to network with each other authors, but over the course of a long and very funny lunch at the Irish Pub in Philly, we agreed that we could also do a lot of good for the writing and reading community.  So…were cooking up plans to do joint signings, workshops, panel discussions, speaking engagements, contests, mentoring and more. 


The one certain thing is that we’re going to have fun.  No doubt about it.  But I got a feeling that Liar’s Club is going to make itself heard.  Count on it.


Here are the founding members:

  L. A. Banks (, author of the insanely popular Vampire Huntress series of novels. 

Gregory Frost  ( author of, among other things, the recent Random House release SHADOWBRIDGE.


Jon McGoran  (, who writes forensics mysteries under the pen name of D. H. Dublin.  The third in that series, FREEZER BURN will be out in June.

 And my website is 

There are some other folks who will be joining us.  I’ll catch you up on those later


Right now, do yourself a favor and check out my co-conspirators in the Liar’s Club!