Archive for September, 2011

Short Story Contest

September 20, 2011

If you have a short story ready (or close to ready) you might want to enter the AuthorStand (free) contest for short fiction between 1,500 and 10,000 words. Deadline is October 13th. The prize is $250 — see their website at: Good luck, comrades. (Winning a contest is great for mentioning in a query letter.)


We’re not in Kansas anymore . . .

September 17, 2011

The theme of our September Supernatural Tea Party was “Other Realms & the Journeys There and Back” — the Underworld, Valhalla, Spirit Worlds, the Astral Realm, mythic journeys, the crossover between fairy realms and the land of the dead, etc. We dined on tea sandwiches and dried snap peas (Binny loved these crispy little things that Roxanne brought) plus, butter cake, shortbread, and grilled cinnamon apple slices. We saw clips, everything from The Return To Oz and Peter Pan to Twilight Zone episodes, The Dark, and Tron. Again, we had pop corn from the stove top crank machine for a late night treat. So many ideas get stirred up in my imagination during these teas – I love that.

The Arts & The Supernatural

September 14, 2011

At our August Supernatural Tea Party we ate truffle pudding, berry muffins, Quarter Cake (made with one quart each eggs, butter, flour, and sugar) and grilled Havarti sandwiches. My sister, Wendy, from California was there with her two daughters, Anne and Siobhan.

I shared a story about a haunted opera house in the south — its owner was called to the theater one night because someone had called the police saying the party going on inside the theater was too loud. Of course, when the cops arrived and investigated, there was no one there at all. The owner also claimed to have seen a production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin from a seat in the back row. If he did witness such a thing, my therory is that he was glimpsing the past rather than watching a troop of ghosts. Interesting idea . . .


We watched clips, were entertained by the ever fascinating Binny boy, and talked about haunted and/or magical paintings, sculptures, music, dance, theaters, plays, operas, and books — and we also enjoyed our traditional off-topic chattings. Huzzah to the Supernatural Tea Parties!

Supernatural Children

September 9, 2011

Our July tea party included stories about children of the paranormal: child ghosts, angels, saints, creatures, and same such. We dined on sugar cookies, miniature sandwiches, and pecans squares. Roxanne brought handmade chocolates. Don shared some books, movies, and photographs. Here is a famous photo that claims to be of a ghost baby.

Afterwards, at our clips party, we showed scenes from (among other titles): Let Me In (vampire girl), Peter Pan (enchanted boy), The Orphanage (ghost children), and The Messengers (baby who can see dead people). Thanks again, Roxanne, for giving Cyn the stove top popcorn popper with the crank — I’ll never eat microwave popcorn again!

The Secret Vaults of Time

September 8, 2011

At our June Supernatural Tea Party we talked about Psychic Archaeology, Ancient Astronauts, the Akashic Records, and many other intriguing tidbits of mystery and wonder.

We dined on Scones with homemade butter (well, it was sort of like unsalted butter — rather a bit like heavy whipped cream) and broiled bread topped with apricot jam, Provolone cheese, fresh basil, and chopped pistachio nuts. A neighbor, Margaret, who is one of the (now retired) reference librarians who helped me with research on my second novel came and brought some lovely flowers. Cynthia brought three flavors of Cotswold fudge, Pam brought jam, Susan brought berries, and Don brought homemade black and white cupcakes. Binny brought his winning smile and was a very good boy. As usual, afterwards we moved to the family room for movie clips and popcorn. The perfect day!

Dialogue Contest

September 8, 2011

FYI — I just heard about a strange sounding writing competition — The Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Only contest. Take a look at: — The rules? You have to compose a short story entirely of dialogue. Use as many characters as you want. It must be under 2000 words. And no he said, she said — just the dialogue.

Interesting, no?  They say, “The winning entry will be the story that most effectively uses dialogue to deliver a powerful and engaging story.” If I had more time I would be tempted to enter myself. I love a weird challenge. I believe the entrance fee is only about $10. The winner last year was awarded several hundred dollars, I believe. Good luck to anyone game.


September 7, 2011

If you are in the Portland (Oregon) area this coming weekend, come to the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire (Sat 9/10 and Sun 9/11) where I will be singing madrigals with my choir, the Sherwood Renaissance Singers. We’ll be adding two new songs: “Fyer, Fyer” and “Thus Sings My Dearest Jewel” (see text below) and Binny will be on my knee (sort of) singing along. Visit the faire’s website at: — it really is a charming event.

Thus sings my dearest jewel;
In love delay is cruel.

Or come and kiss me quickly,
Or say thou dost not love me!

Now sings my lovely treasure,
in love a kiss is a harmless pleasure!

Column teasers continue . . .

September 5, 2011

From “No, Really, I’m Almost Done” August 2011

I love being a full-time novelist, but the last leg of writing a book, leading up to the publisher’s deadline, can be stressful. I’m supposed to, I mean I AM GOING TO, turn in my latest manuscript this month. The following is a list of what goes through my mind during big crunches of this kind. 

From “Morning Magic” September 2011

A few months before I adopted my son, I got a cryptic email from my agent saying we might be hearing some good news from overseas soon. That meant a new foreign deal was probably on its way. The largest foreign I’d had before came to about $8000.00. Though it seemed unlikely, during our Morning Magic I said, “Let’s picture this new deal being enough to pay for the whole adoption.” (The adoption fees were between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars.) So we concentrated on that idea for just a few minutes. Within a couple of days I got the news that I’d sold the German rights to my first novel in a bidding war for 20,000 euros. Not dollars. Euros. More than enough to pay all the adoption costs. This might have happened even without the Morning Magic, but I’m not sure about that.

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September Give-Away

September 4, 2011

The winner of the August Give-Away is Sharen of Westwood, New Jersey. In honor of Halloween, the September Give-Away will be a copy of Melissa Marr’s first adult novel, a supernatural adventure romance called  Graveminder which I reviewed in the Washington Post. Sorry, it is not signed by the author but it’s a fun read. (Email your name and physical address to me via the “Email Laura Whitcomb” link on my website.)


I’m sorry that the Give-Away listings are not up-to-date on my website. My wonderful web stylist, Brian Batson, passed away and I am in denial about that and reluctant to find a new webmaster or learn how to do it myself. But I promise to get on that right away. Also, sorry that I got behind on mailing out Give-Away prizes — I’ll send the June, July, and August winnings tomorrow.

Plus, because of my recent deadline crunch, I fell behind on blog posts. So sorry. To make it up to you I will try to blog once a day for the rest of the month. News, book recommendations, teasers, and tips.