Welcome to 2022! I recently updated my Resources for Educators page with some exciting new contest and publication opportunities for young writers! I also added 2022 application deadlines, where available, for upcoming workshops. I’m on a brief teaching hiatus for some project deadlines, but I’ll have new workshops to share later in the year. Hope it is a good one for all of us!
We had so much fun during last autumn’s horror-themed series and I’m excited to see how these talented young writers will interpret and engage with our spring themes–I expect it’ll be a blast.
These online sessions sold-out last time, so if you have any young writers (ages 9-12) in your life who might be interested, please don’t wait to register! Also, please help spread the word on Twitter (and anywhere else)!
Event details from The Center for Fiction’s website:
Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session examines a different slice of genre fiction and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.
Saturday, April 10, 1-3pm ET
Witches and warlocks, mages and sorcerers—by any name, spellcasters are magic! In this workshop we’ll be discussing fictional magic systems, spells, and tools as we write stories about the people (and creatures) who make and use magic—from the mightiest wizard to the tiniest fairy.
Saturday, April 24, 1-3pm ET
Fiction’s strangest creature club has something for everyone, from Loch Ness Monsters, yetis, and Jersey Devils to chupacabras, jackalopes, and krakens! In this workshop, we’ll explore the wide world of cryptids, craft our own pseudoscientific catalog of creatures and write stories about our fantastical creations.
Saturday, May 8, 1-3pm ET
Super Spies & Top-Secret Tech
When it comes to high-octane espionage, everyone knows that elite secret agents get all the best gadgets. In this workshop we’ll explore the thrilling world of spy stories and invent incredible technology for our secret agents to use while they try to save (or destroy) the world!
- One Class: $50
- Two Classes:
$100$75 with coupon code KIDSWRITE2
- Three Classes:
$150$100 with coupon code KIDSWRITE3
The Center for Fiction has TONS of amazing programming coming up, so be sure to check out all their events and workshops!
*Image art by E. L. Trouvelot.
I’m thrilled to be leading a new series of horror workshops for young writers at The Center for Fiction next month, kicking off the Halloween season *AND* the CFF’s KidsWriting program!
We’re going to have a lot of fun exploring some of the genre’s most popular branches and playing around with its most infamous tropes. Halloween is my very favorite holiday and even though I know this year will be different, I’m still all-in for celebrating the spooky season, and, IMHO, this is a perfect way to do that safely and creatively.
We’ll be meeting via Zoom beginning on October 10th, with the first of three sessions (detailed below), which can be bundled or taken individually. Registration is open now, but attendance is limited, so please don’t wait.
Additional info from the CFF event page:
Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session breaks down a different branch of horror and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.
Saturday, October 10, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Haunted Places & Ghostly Faces
In this workshop, we’ll be writing ghost stories, urban legends, and crafting original “local lore” about hauntings, cursed places, and other spooky, unexplained phenomena. Poltergeists welcome!
Saturday, October 17, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Movie Monsters & Creepy Creatures
From vampires, werewolves, and zombies, to shape-shifters, ghouls, and mummies–and everything in between–in this workshop, we’ll be writing stories about the terrifying things that go bump in the night (or in your closet)!
Saturday, October 24, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Scary Science & Techie Terrors
Whether it’s extraterrestrial invasions or evil scientists, destructive blobs or sentient computers—in this workshop we’ll be writing Sci-Fi Horror about the places where science and technology meet the unknown and the unexpected.
A version of this post appears on nrlambert.com.
Go Vote, Baby is out in the world and IT IS ADORABLE. Anne Passchier’s illustrations are charming and joyful, and the sliding “vote” windows are lots of fun to play with, even if you’re not a tot. I’m thrilled that Book Riot recently included Go Vote, Baby in its recent round-up of “10 Great Children’s Books About Voting and Elections.”
In 2020, maybe you’re wondering why we didn’t call it, DEAR GOD BABY, GO VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF ALL YOUR NEIGHBORS AND LOVED ONES DEPEND ON IT! But that doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue and besides, this is not a book about the election per se, but an introduction to decision making for little kids. But as for you, my (presumably) voting-age reader, you truly must DEAR GOD, BABY, GO VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF ALL YOUR NEIGHBORS AND LOVED ONES DEPEND ON IT!
So, right now please do one or more of the following:
Register to vote.
Check that you are registered to vote.
Request an absentee ballot.
Help encourage others to vote. Volunteer here or here or here, or do a little googling to find other volunteer opportunities at the national level and/or for your local elections.
Please, please, PLEASE vote.
[Also, probably of note only to me, Go Vote, Baby is the last work-for-hire book under my real name. I’ve started using a pen name for my freelance, ghostwriting, and work-for-hire books. My reasoning: As I publish more widely in SFF and horror for adult readers, I want to be sure my work is as siloed as possible for younger readers, teachers, and librarians. Also, as I move toward publishing original children’s work, I want to clearly delineate my those publications from my work-for-hire writing. It’s probably more info than most (any?) people need to know, but I’m getting it out there now to avoid confusion later. I’ll also do a separate post about it for transparency’s sake. So hold on to your hats, I know this is thrilling stuff.]
Go Vote, Baby is available now at bookstores and online. Please consider supporting your local bookstore! If you prefer Amazon, be sure to use Amazon Smile!
Kew & Willow Books
This was the magical-rainbow-glitter-unicorn of assignments: one that requires I rewatch hours of a beloved television series in order to write it! (My only regret? No chance to reference one of the greatest cold opens in all of human history.)
The Office, adapted from the UK show of the same name, premiered 15 years ago. So it’s the perfect time time for Entertainment Weekly to give it the Ultimate Guide treatment, to which I contributed a fun overview of the Scranton branch’s various Regional Managers (and the occasional Assistant to the Assistant to the Regional Manager).
Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to the Office is available on Amazon and pretty much wherever you buy magazines, including in Japan, if you’re feeling wanderlusty…
So if you somehow missed the first run (perhaps you were busy being born! 😬) and want a taste of The Office before you make a marathon commitment; or if you simply need a break from TTDT (this, the darkest timeline) and prefer to take one by immersing yourself in some well-earned nostalgia; or if you’re ready to just bang out* a nine season rewatch and would like a handy companion guide as you do so, go on and get yourself a copy of Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to the Office.
*That’s what she said.**
**You had to know that was coming.***
***That’s also what she said.
Reposted from nrlambert.com.
I know I usually reserve this space for my licensed and work-for-hire projects, but it felt right to also share this bit of news from my fiction life with you over here…
I’m incredibly, ridiculously, completely-dead-and-looking-down-at-my-body-from-above excited* that my short story, “Tag, You’re It,” will be included in the forthcoming anthology, NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK.
This collection, edited by the inimitable Jonathan Maberry, will be published by HarperCollins in 2020 and is a tribute to the original series, which was (perhaps obviously) highly influential in my development as a reader and a writer.
The full list of contributors, adapted from Jonathan Maberry’s announcement:
NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
1. Alethea Kontis is a New York Times Bestselling author, princess, fairy godmother, and geek, authoring of over twenty books and contributor to over thirty more.
2. Amy Lukavics is the author of The Ravenous, The Women in the Walls, and Daughters unto Devils, which was selected as a YALSA 2017 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
3. Aric Cushing is the multi-award winning author of the young adult novel, Vampire Boy, and the co-writer and lead actor of the feature films The Yellow Wallpaper and There’s No Such Thing as Vampires.
4. Barry Lyga is the author of the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers, and more than a more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels
5. Brendan C Reichs is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller Nemesis and its sequel Genesis, and co-author of the six-volume New York Times bestselling Virals series
6. Brenna Yovanoff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five novels, including The Replacement and Places No One Knows, as well as numerous short stories.
7. Catherine Jordan is an author of horror, dark fiction, and articles for her hometown–facilitates writing courses and has been an award judge.
8. Christopher Golden is the New York Times bestselling author of ARARAT, SNOWBLIND, and many other novels, the co-creator of the cult favorite comics series BALTIMORE and JOE GOLEM: OCCULT DETECTIVE, as well as being a screenwriter, editor, podcaster, and lecturer.
9. Courtney Alameda’s debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal.
10. D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies. As an author, his ten-volume book series: Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.
11. Gaby Triana is the author of Wake the Hollow, the Haunted Florida series, Summer of Yesterday, an ALA Best Paperback, and Cakespell, a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick.
12. Gary A. Braunbeck, is the author of To Each Their Darkness, creator of the acclaimed Cedar Hill Series, including In Silent Graves, and 7-time recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award.
13. James A. Moore the award winning, bestselling author of over 45 novels, horror and science fiction and fantasy alike.
14. Jamie Ford, New York Times best-selling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
15. Joanna Parypinski, college English instructor and writer of horror fiction published in Nightmare, Black Static, Haunted Nights, and more.
16. John Dixon’s first two books, Phoenix Island and Devil’s Pocket, inspired the CBS TV series Intelligence and won back-to-back Bram Stoker Awards in the Young Adult category
17. Jonathan Auxier is a New York Times bestselling author of strange stories for strange children. His haunted house story, The Night Gardener won the ILA Book Award, the TD Book Prize, and was named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and NPR.
18. Josh Malerman is the author of Goblin, Unbury Carol, and Bird Box which is a major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich.
19. Kami Marin Garcia is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels, which have been published in 50 countries and 38 languages. Kami is also the author of five solo novels, including Bram Stoker Award nominated novels, Unbreakable and Unmarked (The Legion series), Broken Beautiful Hearts, The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos, and her forthcoming graphic novel Teen Titans: Raven for DC Ink.
20. Kim Ventrella is the author of the middle grade novels Skeleton Tree and Bone Hollow.
21. Laurent Linn is the author of Draw the Line, which is a New York Book Show winner for Young Adult Illustrated Novel. Laurent is a professional art director for Young Adult books, and a Board Member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
22. Linda D Addison, award-winning author of four collections, including How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award and recipient of the 2018 HWA Lifetime Achievement Award.
23. Luis Alberto Urrea, Edgar Award winner, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and best-selling author of The Devil’s Highway and Into the Beautiful North.
24. Madeleine Roux is the New York Times bestselling author of the Asylum series, which has sold into eleven countries around the world and whose first book was named a Teen Indie Next List Pick, and the House of Furies series.
25. Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twelve books as well as Mighty Captain Marvel for Marvel Comics.
26. Michael Northrop is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle-grade adventure series TombQuest and other books for kids and teens. His first graphic novel, Dear Justice League, comes out in May 2019 from DC Zoom.
27. Micol Ostow is the bestselling author of The Devil and Winnie Flynn, an illustrated paranormal mystery and BookRiot quarterly selection. Her haunted house novel, Amity, was recommended by Buzzfeed, The NYPL, and School Library Journal as a favorite horror novel of 2014
28. N.R. Lambert is a pop culture writer and HWA-New York Chapter author whose work has been featured on the award-winning horror podcast, PseudoPod.
29. R.L. Stine is the internationally best-selling creator of Goosebumps and Fear Street.
30. Sheri White is an HWA member who has had many short stories published in the small press.
31. Sherrilyn Kenyon, #1 NYT & International bestselling author of the Dark-Hunters, Nick Chronicles and League series.
32. Priya Parmar’s debut novel Vanessa and Her Sister was a New York Times Notable Book, was praised by Vanity Fair, Elle, Oprah.Com, Entertainment Weekly, and People Magazine.
33. Tananarive Due is a bestselling author, and The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient, as well as a “New Voice in Literature Award” at the Yari Yari Pamberi conference co-sponsored by New York University’s Institute of African-American Affairs and African Studies Program and the Organization of Women Writers of Africa.
34. Tonya Hurley is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the ghostgirl series (Little, Brown) The Blessed Trilogy (Simon & Schuster) and Feathervein (Macmillan 2019.)
35. T.J. Wooldridge, author of spooky kids’ novels and poetry, is the child-friendly persona of Trisha J. Wooldridge,
36. Zac Brewer is the bat-loving, coffin-couch-owning New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, 2008 YALSA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers, and winner of the 2010 Truman Readers Award and 2012 Nevada Young Readers Award.
*Also, incredibly excited to read this collection–I mean, look at this TOC–holy forking shirtballs!
**This post originally appeared on my fiction site, nrlambert.com.
But coincidentally enough, Old White Guys™ are kind of a theme when it comes to actual witch hunts. As in how they have historically (and, erm, quite recently) targeted and demonized women, especially women who have the whiff of power or who don’t fall in line with patriarchal norms.
I’d love to say everything has changed in the 300-plus years since the Salem Witch Trials, but while people are not actually rounding up and beheading hundreds of women in mass executions–well, in America anyway, it’s still a problem elsewhere on Earth–it seems the trend of dudes (especially OWGs) feeling threatened by women (and lashing out accordingly) is still alive and well here in 2019.
All that said, while researching the pieces I wrote for TIME/LIFE: The Salem Witch Trials, I developed an extra level of gratitude that I was not born during the global witch panic of the 15th-18th centuries. Things may be infuriatingly slow to change, but at least no one is trying to hang me because their air-plant died a few weeks after I passed their desk. I mean…not yet, anyway…
If you’d like to read more about the Salem Witch Trials, witches in pop culture, and modern witches, be sure to check out TIME/LIFE: The Salem Witch Trials, available in digital and print formats on Amazon.
When I began working on my essay, “World War II & Nationalism” (one of several I wrote for LIFE: Rise of the Superhero), the 2016 election was just kicking into high gear and Nazis were primarily relegated to the past. Sure, we all knew pockets of white supremacists/neo-Nazis/alt-whatever-the-f*ck-else-these-guys-call-themselves, existed around the world. But a full-on Nazi rally? On American soil? In 2017? I never would have believed it. Nor that the President of the United States would then tap-dance around denouncing Nazis, or even publicly validate them by trying to create some sort of equivalence between the actions of actual self-identifying, muthereffing Nazis and the actions of the brave Americans protesting the rally.
And yet, here we are, America 2017. Rallies like the one in Charlottesville are on the rise, at home and abroad; seething losers emboldened and encouraged by 45’s victory. It’s a shameful affront against Holocaust survivors and their families, Japanese Internment Camp survivors and their families, and World War II veterans and their families–especially relatives of the murdered, lost, and fallen–that they must now watch the horrific resurgence of these monsters in their own backyards. It’s extra offensive that these alt-holes then hide behind a faux nationalism that reveals an agenda having nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with hate. How else does one flip from getting one’s Dixie-print briefs all bunched up over athletes “disrespecting” America, veterans, the U.S. military, and idk, maybe golden-lab-puppies-with-bandanas, to being A-OKAY with marching as the very anti-American, anti-freedom groups that their grandparents and great-grandparents risked their lives to fight? Who’s really disrespecting America here? Hint: It’s not the athletes.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for how to end hate or hate groups (though it would be very on-brand for 2017 if I suddenly solved one of humanity’s biggest issues in the void of my deserted blogscape). But I’ll say this: Leading up to WWII, comic publishers created many (many, many) all-American superheroes in part to unify Americans under our country’s best qualities, even if those qualities were, and still are, mainly aspirational. But in this round against the rising tide of hate groups–and here’s where I get a little corny, please bear with me–I don’t think we need to look outside ourselves for inspiration. For those of us who think the country can do better than what hate mongers offer, this is an opportunity to fashion ourselves into our own superheroes.*
*Star-spangled spandex completely optional, but encouraged.
We have the tools, the platforms, and the connections we need to motivate and activate each other, and as of now, we still have the freedom to utilize them. But we’ve all seen how quickly the status-quo can change, abroad and at home, so it’s important that we exercise those freedoms. Because, as much as we still love them (or huh? them), it wasn’t Captain America (or Spy Smasher) that defeated the Nazis in World War II, it was the real-life people that inspired those superheroes to be created in the first place. To that end, I encourage you to find an anti-hate organization in your community, or online, and put your voice, your time, and if possible, your money into supporting them.
LIFE Rise of the Superhero: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen features an exclusive introduction by the legendary Stan Lee. In addition to “WWII & Nationalism,” I wrote a couple of other pieces for this special issue, including “Super Spoofs and Satire.” If you’d like to read more, LIFE Rise of the Superhero is available at magazine stands, in bookstores, and online.
(Mirrored post from http://www.nrlambert.com.)
I mainly write spec fiction and fantasy; and when I write nonfiction, it’s usually about spec fiction and fantasy. Or comics. Or pop culture. Or children’s books. So while I’ve written about plenty of fictional villains, I’ve never had an opportunity to cover any real life ones…until now. My most recent project for Time, Inc., TIME-LIFE The Mob: Inside the Brutal World of the Mafia, allowed me explore a cast of real-life good guys, bad guys, and even-worse guys.
Most people are familiar with the idea of the Mafia. There are the fictional versions, of course–the myriad of movies, shows, and books which seem to inspire an odd sort of cult worship in some circles. But then there’s the harsh reality behind those stories: The brutal violence. The drugs. The sites of gruesome hits we unwittingly pass every day en route to work. The ways in which the Mafia shaped local and national crime, and influenced local and national politics, with long-reaching effects that still persist today.
So while most folks know about the Mob in a vague, background, make-him-an-offer-he-can’t-gabagool-the-cannoli way, they don’t know many details about the real Mafia, its origins, or its major players. The Mob: Inside the Brutal World of the Mafia will help in bridging that gap.
For this book, I wrote about a dozen bios for some of the Mafia’s major players. I also wrote about the Mob’s Cosa Nostra connections, the Five Families (then and now), and the most prevalent Mafia Myths. Even I learned a thing or two beyond my perception of the Mob as just another violent, misogynistic branch of the patriarchy. I mean, it is definitely all of those things, but in working on these pieces, I was fascinated and somewhat surprised to discover how (in most cases) these men and women catapulted from relatively benign beginnings into a violent, unpredictable world of organized crime; and, how once “in,” they quickly sacrificed so much of their humanity to keep their rackets going, to stay in the game, to stay alive. The human stories beneath the flashy media Mob mythology are captivating and tragic arcs of aspiration, greed, and hubris, worthy of Shakespeare. It’s understandable why–even while grim as f-ck–these stories inspire retelling after retelling.
If you’d like to read more, The Mob: Inside the Brutal World of the Mafia is available at magazine stands, in bookstores, and online.
A quick note: Though he’s quoted aplenty in the Mafia Myths piece, I’d like to take a moment here to thank Geoff Schumacher of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas for being so generous with his time and expertise.
While we’re talking Las Vegas, people there are living a nightmare right now, so please consider donating to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund and/or Everytown for Gun Safety. (And if you disagree, please consider examining your soul.)