Excerpt from The Skeleton Paints a Picture

September 26, 2017

SkeletonPaints

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Flakes had just started falling out of the slate gray sky as I walked to the faculty parking lot Friday afternoon, but since students were within earshot, I waited until I was inside my minivan to express my opinion of the swirling bits of frozen aggravation. The fact that only a couple of inches were expected that evening was no consolation.

It’s not that I have anything against snow. I was born and raised in New England, and while my so-called career as an adjunct English professor has involved moving all too often, I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t require a winter emergency kit that included a fold-up snow shovel, a blanket, and a bag of cat litter for traction on icy roads. But not only was Falstone in the snowiest part of Massachusetts, with an annual average snowfall second only to nearby Ashburnham, this year was turning out to be one for the record books.

I felt as if I were driving through a tunnel as I pulled onto the street that ran past Falstone College of Art and Design—FAD to its friends. There had been five major storms in the past month, and the weather hadn’t warmed up enough for appreciable melting, so the exhausted snowplow drivers were running out of places to push the snow. That meant the piles on the side of the road and in every available median strip were getting higher and wider, and the roads were getting narrower and narrower.

As I drove, I could see brush, rocks, even shopping carts partially buried in the icy piles. My students were starting to make jokes about missing classmates who wouldn’t be found until the next thaw.

I just wish they’d been the only ones to get that idea.

Finally, I made it back to the bungalow I was borrowing from one of my parents’ friends for the semester. Snow was still falling, and it was already half an inch deep on the long driveway I’d cleared just the day before, meaning that another session with the snowblower would be due in my near future. I trudged up the sidewalk—which would also need clearing—and was cheered to see two big packages waiting for me on the front porch. Both had my parents’ house in Pennycross as the return address, but the labels were typed, so I didn’t know if they were from Mom, Phil, or my daughter, Madison. Nobody had warned me they were sending anything, which was unusual, but maybe they’d wanted to surprise me.

I grabbed the box on top and left the other on the porch while I divested myself of the coat, hat, scarf, and gloves that winter in Falstone required. I was about to go back for the second box when there was a ping on my phone. I pulled it from my pocket and saw that my best friend, Sid, was texting me.

 

SID: Hi, Georgia. Did the packages arrive?

GEORGIA: Good timing. They came today.

SID: Open 1 of 2 first!

 

I checked the box I’d lugged in. It was labeled 2 of 2. Of course. I dropped the phone on the table in the hall, opened the door just long enough to drag the package inside, and went to track down a pair of scissors. I was on my way back to the front hall when I heard my phone ping again.

 

SID: Aren’t you going to open the box?

GEORGIA: Give me a minute!

 

There was another ping, indicating that yet another text had arrived. Only, it wasn’t from my phone. It had come from inside Box Number One. I , then sent another text.

 

GEORGIA: I’m trying to find the scissors.

BOX: Ping.

 

I briefly considered shoving both packages back out onto the porch, but I knew that would only be delaying the inevitable. So I slit the tape on the top of the cardboard box and lifted up the flaps. Inside, nestled in a bundle of old T-shirts, was a pile of clean white bones and a cell phone. Plus a skull with a very big smile.

As I watched, the bones snapped together with an uncanny clatter, and within seconds, a human skeleton was standing in front of me with bony arms flung wide.

“Surprise!” Sid said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

It sounds scarier than it was. I admit that it would have been trauma-inducing for most people, but most people hadn’t grown up with an ambulatory skeleton for a best friend. Sid had come to live with—or at least to stay with—my family when I was a child, so I was blasé about Sid walking, talking, and assembling himself at will. Mailing himself to me, however, was new.

“Sid, what are you doing here?”

“I came to keep you company!”

“Sid––”

“Don’t I get a hug?” He gave me puppy dog eyes, an impossible feat for a bare skull that he was really good at. So, of course, I hugged him.

Hugging a skeleton is kind of like hugging a coat rack—only, a coat rack doesn’t hug back.

I helped him step out of the box. “Do Mom and Phil know you’re here?” I couldn’t imagine my parents would authorize this shipment without checking with me.

“Not exactly, but… Hey, we can catch up later. I want a tour of your new digs!” He dashed away, rushing from room to room. I suppose it was pretty exciting for him. Sid only rarely left my family’s home, for obvious reasons, and his opportunities to explore other houses had been limited. So he oohed and aahed over everything as we roamed through the eat-in kitchen and the living room. The bungalow had been intended as a summer cottage, and the decorations were determinedly rustic: exposed wooden beams, braided rag rugs, and vaguely Native American patterns on the upholstery.

“Is there an attic?” he asked.

“There is, but it’s packed full of the owner’s things.”

“That’s all right. I can bunk in the living room. Or the kitchen. I don’t need a bed, right?”

“There’s a spare bedroom, but—”

“Perfect!” He trooped down the hallway, opening doors as he went. “Just one bathroom? Well, it’s not like I ever use it. I can tell this is your room. I recognize your mess. Maybe I can clean while you’re at work. And this is my room! Kind of small—”

“Sid—”

He held up one hand. “No worries. I don’t need much space. And bonus! The curtains are nice and thick, so nobody will see me in here. I’ll just go get my things.”

“Sid, why don’t we sit down and talk first?”

“Just give me a minute to unpack.”

“Sid! Sit.”

He plopped down onto the bed, and I sat next to him.

“Now talk.”

“Okay,” he said, with the tone of voice my daughter, Madison, uses when I catch her doing something she shouldn’t have. “No, your parents don’t know I’m here. I printed out postage and put the boxes in the front hall, then left a note asking Dr. T. to finish taping up the box and leave me on the porch for the mailman to pick up.”

“And he didn’t want to know what it was you were sending me?”

“He may have thought the note was from Mrs. Dr. T.”

“Why would he have thought that?”

“Because I signed it ‘Dab.’”

“But why—No, first things first. I need to let them know you’re here. They must be worried sick.”

“I doubt it,” he said with a sniff. “They probably haven’t even noticed I’m gone.”

That didn’t sound good. I got my phone from the front hall and texted home.

 

GEORGIA: Sid is safe with me. I’ll explain later.

 

Then I went back to the bedroom that Sid had laid claim to. “So what’s going on? Have you guys been fighting?”

“You have to talk to somebody to fight with them.”

“Oh. Then they’ve been working long hours.” My parents had only recently returned from an extra-long sabbatical and had restarted their jobs at McQuaid University after the first of the year.

“No, they’re home plenty, but since they’ve already started collecting grad students, the house is always full of strangers. I think they’re feeding a dozen students breakfast and dinner, and I’m pretty sure a couple of postdocs are spending half their nights on the living room couch.”

My parents had always attracted and ministered to needy grad students, a hobby that had gotten more pronounced once I’d moved out. And of course that meant Sid was stuck up in his room in the attic, or if he got caught downstairs, he was trapped in the armoire in the living room where he could listen in but couldn’t exactly socialize.

“What about Madison? Isn’t she spending any time with you?”

“I’m sure she would, but you know how brutal sophomore year is. Between rehearsals for Drama Fest and choral ensemble, she’s barely home, and when she is, she’s got homework. And the mutt to take care of.”

I suspected it was the time Madison spent with her Akita, Byron, that bothered Sid the most. He was never going to be a dog person.

“Deborah?” I asked.

“The only time I’ve seen her is when she came up to the attic to get one of her storage boxes.”

My sister and Sid had never been as close as he and I were. “I thought you guys were getting along better.”

“It’s not that. It’s because she’s busy, too. Juggling two boyfriends is taking up a lot of her time.”

“So what you’re saying is that you’ve been lonely.” After years of mostly being confined to the attic, circumstances had finally changed enough that Sid could hang around with the rest of the family. Having to go back to isolation must have been harder than ever.

He hung his skull. “I know I should have asked first, Georgia, but I was afraid you’d say not to come. And from your e-mails and all, I thought maybe you were lonely, too.”

“Are you kidding? With texting and e-mail and Skype, it’s practically like I haven’t gone anywhere. And for the first time in years, I get to be on my own! I can set mealtimes by my schedule, go out whenever I want, stay up as late as I choose, pick what to watch on TV, and play my music extra loud. I can even use real cuss words, instead of skeleton-related euphemisms.”

As I spoke, Sid’s bones loosened, which was a sign that he was unhappy. Since he holds himself together by pure force of will, weakened will means weakened connections.

I went on. “And I have never been so miserable in my life.”

It took a second for that to sink in. “Really?” he said tentatively.

“Really. Yeah, I’m glad to have a teaching job, and it’s great that Madison didn’t have to switch high schools, and I know my parents love having her to themselves. But I hate this. I know almost nobody in town and there’s not much town anyway. I had no idea how much snow they get around here, and the weather has been so awful that I don’t dare drive home on weekends for fear of not making it back in time for Monday classes and getting fired. Of course, we’re going to have to establish some ground rules while you’re here, but I cannot tell you how glad I am to see you!”

Sid’s bones were tightly connected once again. “I’ll go get my stuff.”

It didn’t take us long to unpack Sid’s belongings because he hadn’t brought much. He didn’t wear clothes and didn’t need toiletries, so all he’d brought was his laptop and accessories, a few books, and his favorite DVDs: The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Toy Story trilogy, and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. All of that was packed neatly in a small rolling suitcase that I used to tote Sid around when the need arose.

“Planning a field trip?” I asked, looking at the suitcase.

“I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have it around. Just in case.” He looked at me hopefully.

“We’ll see,” was all I’d commit to.

Just as we got everything put away, my parents called back for an explanation of why Sid had gone AWOL. That got tricky because Sid was at my elbow insisting that I not put the blame on them, but they finally accepted my excuse that he was feeling restless. The fact that there were three grad students at their house during the phone call provided a good explanation of why he’d felt hemmed in.

Once that was addressed, the evening was one of the best I’d had since arriving in Falstone. We made dinner—which only I ate, of course. Then we settled in to watch TV and I caught Sid up on my not-overly-thrilling adventures teaching Expository Writing at a school dedicated to visual arts.

When the snow wound down, we went outside to shovel. This was a new experience for Sid. My parents’ house was in the middle of town, and though it had a good-sized yard, the fence wasn’t high enough to allow him to move around safely out of doors. The bungalow was much more isolated, on a large lot with no neighbors within easy view. The grounds behind the house were filled with trees and stretched out for yards. Not that I had any interest in going back there, since the snow had already been too deep for easy access when I moved in at the beginning of the semester.

Just to be extra careful in case somebody randomly decided to venture down the driveway, I had Sid swaddled in a spare parka, jeans, boots, gloves, and ski mask so he looked semi-normal.

I expected him to fuss about having to wear all that, but he’s always loved costumes. Even if he hadn’t, he was having too much fun playing in the snow to mind. Sid actually enjoyed shoveling snow and liked running the snowblower even more. His snow angel didn’t work out very well, but he loved throwing snowballs and was just as happy when I returned fire.

It was with the greatest of reluctance that I finally dragged him inside so we could thaw out. Or rather, so I could. Bare bones don’t feel the cold.

After a cup of hot chocolate to warm me up, I headed for bed, and since Sid doesn’t sleep, he settled in for an all-night session with the stack of books I’d bought since I’d been in Falstone. I didn’t know about him, but I felt happier than I had in weeks. What with being kept inside so much by the weather, the house had been starting to feel claustrophobic. Now, with Sid in residence, it felt like home.

With one thing and another, we didn’t get around to establishing any ground rules for his stay, which I had cause to regret at three thirty in the morning. That’s when I woke up with Sid’s skull hovering over me.

“Georgia, wake up! You’ve got to come right away!”

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A Nifty Time to Be a Writer

October 18, 2013

My first novel, Down Home Murder–the first Laura Fleming mystery, was published over twenty years ago, but as is more common than not with fiction, it went out of print long ago. I wrote eight books in that series, and there was a never time when all of them were in print at the same time.

Then I moved on to the Where are they now? series, and wrote three books in that series. All of them are out of print, too.

But here’s the nifty thing about being a writer today. Every one of my novels is available again! 

Earlier this year, Audible brought out audio downloads of every one of the eight Laura Fleming novels:

http://www.audible.com/series?asin=B00C2TX018&source_code=SCLGB906MWS082913

As soon as those were up, they put out the Where are they now? books:

http://www.audible.com/series?asin=B00CF04SKG&source_code=SCLGB906MWS082913

Don’t like audio books? No problem. I’m in the process of re-publishing the Laura Fleming books as ebooks. (They were never published in that format before because the format didn’t exist.) The first four books are already out, and with luck the rest will be live by Halloween. You can find links for all of the platforms here:

http://awfulagent.com/ebooks/toni-kelner

I cannot tell you how much this delights me. None of these technologies existed when I started writing, yet now my earlier books live again.

Moreover, in between writing novels I’ve co-edited a slew of anthologies with Charlaine Harris, and they’re all available as paper books, ebooks, and audio books. A Skeleton in the Family, my brand-new book written under the pen name Leigh Perry, is out in all those formats, too. 

Just thinking about it makes me grin.

Now I admit that there are plenty of challenges for the writer today. But right now, I’m really enjoying the feeling of having all my books in print at one time. It’s a nifty time to be a writer.

 


Interviewed by Writers Who Kill

August 7, 2013

That title sounds a bit more provocative than I expected. What I mean by it is that today I’m interviewed by the talented Paula Benson at the Writers Who Kill blog. Paula has read my new book A Skeleton in the Family, and has all kinds of questions about the book, the series, and my new pen name.

To take a look, go HERE.


Games Creatures Play

July 28, 2013

Just an update on Games Creatures Play, the forthcoming anthology from Charlaine Harris and myself. As the cover copy says, “Sports fans live and die by their teams’ successes and failures—though not literally. But these fifteen authors have written spirited—in more ways than one—new tales of killer competitions that would make even the most die-hard players ask to be benched.”

The book won’t be out until April 1, 2014—just in time for some season for baseball season.  Until then, you can check out the all-star team members we’ve assembled and the sport or game they’ve written about.

Jan Burke—Dodge ball
Dana Cameron—Pankration
Adam-Troy Castro—Hide and seek
Charlaine Harris—Softball
Toni L.P. Kelner—Candlepin bowling
Caitlin Kittredge—Darts and other bar games
William Kent Krueger—Hide and seek
Ellen Kushner—Fencing
Mercedes Lackey—Stock car racing
Joe Lansdale—Boxing
Laura Lippman—Ice skating
Seanan McGuire—Roller derby
Brendan DuBois—Lacrosse
Brandon Sanderson—Cops and robbers
Scott Sigler—Baseball

They’re all MVPs to us!


An Open Letter to Nate Bell

April 20, 2013

I haven’t posted here in ages, but here’s something my erudite husband Steve sent to nitwit Nate Bell, who is a blight upon the lovely state of Arkansas. It makes me proud of Massachusetts, and particularly proud of my husband.

***

 

Dear Sir:

Part of my family came over here with the Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom. Another part fought in the Revolutionary War. Another fled persecution under the Tsar and came here during WWI. I am myself a proud son of New England, and without the people of Boston and Massachusetts, especially John Adams, you would not be living in the United States today. Both Washington and Jefferson said that Independence would never have happened without John Adams, truly one of the original Massachusetts liberals, a proud and gutsy man who even defended the Redcoat soldiers of the Boston Massacre, because it was the right thing to do.

That same kind of pride and bravery showed itself on the day of the Marathon bombing, when hosts of those “Massachusetts liberals” you demean ran toward the explosions, to help people. And those same Massachusetts liberals took in those who had no place to go. One Massachusettsian was so tough that after having both legs blown off, as soon as he woke up he wrote a note about the bombers he had seen, and spoke to the cops, in accurate and telling detail. (http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/19/news/nation/boston-bombing-victim-who-had-legs-blown-off-helped-identify-suspects/)

We weren’t “cowering in [our] homes.” And your so-called apology for the timing and not the content does not satisfy me, nor will it the many brave people of Massachusetts who are wholly uncowed by terrorists, and who, even as I write this, are hunting them down. We shut down our city to go after them. Mess with this city and these people at your peril.

I strongly suggest you apologize for your insults to the people of Massachusetts; whether we share your political views or not, your implication of cowardice is better aimed at the terrorists than our citizens. Perhaps you would have cowered under your bed without your AR-15, but we wouldn’t, and we didn’t.

Shame on you.

Sincerely,
Stephen P. Kelner, Jr.


The Next Next Big Thing

December 6, 2012

As with last week, I’m blog hopping or perhaps, hopping blogs. I was tagged to share the answers to the following questions about my forthcoming book, and will tag another writer to share news about her new book.

My tagger was my good friend Dana Cameron. We beta read for each other, meaning that we read the other’s works-in-progress to make suggestions. I’ll confess that Dana has kept me from making many bad writing choices. (I’m not having her beta read this post, though–she’s taking it on faith.) One thing I beta read for her was her upcoming novel Seven Kinds of Hell, so I can brag that I was one of the first to read it. Don’t worry, you’ll get a chance to catch up very soon, and you’ve got a treat in store for you.

Before I get started, I want to explain something. In her blog hopper, Dana referred to my forthcoming book The Skeleton in the Armoire. That was indeed the title last week. But the publishing world is a dynamic place, and yesterday it morphed into A Skeleton in the Family. With either title, the book will be coming out under my pen name Leigh Perry.

Now for the questions:

Where did the idea for this book come from?

Honestly, I don’t know. All I know is when.

In May of 2004 I sent an email to Dana telling her about this idea I had for an ambulatory skeleton named Sid who would solve his own murder. Dana patiently  gave me background information about skeletal specimens in universities and museums, and I wrote a few passages. About two weeks later, I sent a note to Charlaine Harris, my other beta reader. “I’ve got an idea for a new story or book–don’t know which, yet–and want to see what you think.  It’s probably too silly for works, but since you and Laurell and Dean and Maria have the vampire market by the throat, I thought I’d try something new.  Would you read this snippet and see what you think?” Then I pasted in a piece of what has become A Skeleton in the Family.

Obviously, at some point there must have been a moment when I said, “I think I’ll write a mystery about an ambulatory skeleton,” but I don’t know what led to that moment. Maybe too many daiquiris?

What genre does your book fall under?

Mystery, or to be really specific, cozy woo-woo. In other words, it’s a traditional mystery with paranormal elements. Sid the Skeleton is the paranormal element.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The only way A Skeleton in the Family could make it to the screen would be as animation or using serious CGI. So I’m going to pick Andy Serkis, famous for his portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. He’s the only one I can imagine playing Sid.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Georgia moves back home and has to deal with the family skeleton–an actual skeleton named Sid. He walks and talks and makes bad jokes, and now he wants to solve his own murder. (I know, that’s two sentences. I suppose I could have faked it with really creative punctuation or CGI…)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A Skeleton in the Family will be published by Berkley Prime Crime, and I’m represented by Joshua Bilmes of the JABberwocky Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Eight years. Or eight months. It depends on what you count. You see, I wrote bits of the book in summer of 2004, but got pulled away to work on other projects. In February of 2011, I pitched the idea to my editor, Ginjer Buchanan, and included an excerpt an synopsis. But it wasn’t until March of 2012 that I really sat down to write. I finished the first draft in October.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think I’ve got the skeleton mystery market all to myself. In terms of a ridiculous person in a normal world, I think A Skeleton in the Family is more like the Francis the Talking Mule movies, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and TV sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See the above overly detailed explanation of where the idea came from. Once I got started, I was inspired by stories I heard of adjunct faculty members and how it can be a precarious way to make a living.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Georgia, the protagonist, is a single mother with a teenaged daughter who works as kind of itinerant academic. She’s just started work at a New England college, and in the course of the book visits an anime convention and a carnival, fights with her perfect sister the locksmith, reluctantly adopts a dog, and has a romance. So there’s a lot going on. But the fact is, if the walking, talking skeleton doesn’t grab you, I may as well give up. Ditto if it puts you off.

These are the fascinating people that Dana tagged along with me:

Kat Richardson’s novel Seawitch was #3 on the Locus Hardcover Bestseller list for November! She lives on a boat, which is just nifty.

Christopher Golden is the award-winning, best selling author of (deep breath!) fiction, non-fiction, adult and YA, collaborations, and comics. I don’t think he sleeps.

Elaine Viets has two ongoing series: the Helen Hawthorne “Dead End Job” mysteries, and the Josie Marcus “Mystery Shopper mysteries.”  Elaine and I are both members of the Femmes Fatales (as is Dana), and she’ll be posting her Next Big thing blog there.

And here’s the writer I’m tagging next!

Deborah Meyler and I met online through mutual friends–one of the joys of the internet. The Bookstore, Deborah’s first novel, will be out in August 2013, and sounds like tremendous fun. If you read both The Bookstore and A Skeleton in the Family, you will note that we both use the phrase “enamel chili.” I don’t think we’ll say why that is…


Readercon Bound

July 9, 2012

Readercon, one of my favorite science fiction conventions, starts up this Thursday. My husband Steve and I attended the very first Readercon, and I was in awe of the caliber of writers just walking around. As if they were normal people! There were some admin problems–I seem to recall them passing the hat on the last day to help pay some of the bills. But from those humble beginnings, the con has grown into a much-respected science fiction convention. The organizers were even nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2010.

This is the twenty-third year, and while I haven’t attended them all–having babies kind of put the kibosh on my regular attendance–I’ve had a fabulous time whenever I have attended. I’ll never forget the feedback from Readercon workshops moderated by Barry Longyear and at one run by the Cambridge Science Fiction Workshop. Meeting Sarah Smith at that second workshop was just about the best thing that happened to me in my early writing career. When I was shopping around my first mystery, Sarah offered to read my manuscript and make comments. Her suggestions were exactly what I needed–thanks to her, I was able to rewrite and sell Down Home Murder, my first novel.

And I’m still in awe of the caliber of writers just walking around.

This year will be my second year actually appearing on panels, and I’ve got some great ones scheduled, including two panels and a kaffeeklatsch with Steve. If you get a chance, come on by. I’ll just warn you that given my renowned co-panelists, I may be awed into silence. (Don’t worry–I’ll have plenty to say in the bar later!)

Just FYI, advance memberships are sold out, so if you haven’t signed up, come early on Friday. They’re probably going to sell out early. However the Thursday night events are FREE!

Thursday, July 12 

8:00 PM  Managing Motivation to Write. Alexander Jablokov, Steve Kelner (leader), Toni L.P. Kelner, Matthew Kressel, Ben LooryKipling (an SF writer himself) wrote: “There are nine-and-sixty ways/of composing tribal lays/and every single one of them is right!” Science fiction writers should know this better than most, yet most people don’t realize just how different the creative process is for different writers. Join a panel of writers discussing how they keep themselves going, the underlying reasons for why a given tactic works for them, and how it might (or might not) work for others.

9:30 PM  
Reading. Toni L.P. Kelner. Toni L.P. Kelner reads from her story “Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park,” published inDeath’s Excellent Vacation.
Friday, July 13 
11:00 AM  Subversion Through Friendliness. Glenn Grant, Victoria Janssen (leader), Toni L.P. Kelner, Alison Sinclair, Ruth Sternglantz. In a 2011 review of Vonda N. McIntyre’s classic Dreamsnake, Ursula K. Le Guin quotes Moe Bowstern’s slogan “Subversion Through Friendliness” and adds, “Subversion through terror, shock, pain is easy—instant gratification, as it were. Subversion through friendliness is paradoxical, slow-acting, and durable. And sneaky.” Is subversion through friendliness a viable strategy for writers who desire to challenge norms? What are its defining characteristics? When do readers love it, and when does it backfire?

Saturday, July 14 

2:00 PM  No, Really—Where Do You Get Your Ideas?. Samuel R. Delany, Toni L.P. Kelner, Ellen Klages, James Morrow, Lee Moyer, Resa Nelson (leader). All writers have been asked this question. This panel takes it seriously, exploring the roles of accumulated knowledge, reaction, dissent, inspiration, influence, and skill in creativity.

Sunday, July 15 

10:00 AM  The Seven Deadly Myths of Creativity. Andy Duncan, Joe Haldeman, Steve Kelner (leader), Toni L.P. Kelner, Matthew Kressel, Jennifer Pelland, Luc Reid. What is creativity, really? How does it work? Many people think of it as somehow magical, but in fact there has been considerable neuropsychological research devoted to the process of creativity, and current evidence makes it clear that it is inherent in the human brain: everyone is creative; the question is how to harness it. There are many myths about creativity that not only are unhelpful but have actively blocked or inhibited writers. Fortunately, many of these myths are entirely explicable and avoidable. Stephen Kelner, a research psychologist who is also a professional writer, will give an overview of the myths and the realities, and discussion will further explore individual participants’ questions or challenges.
11:00 AM  Autographs. Jeffrey A. Carver, Toni L.P. Kelner.
2:00 PM  Kaffeeklatsch. Steve Kelner, Toni L.P. Kelner, John Kessel.