Announcing a Reading with Susie Finkbeiner

Attendees of the Jot Conference will recognize Susie Finkbeiner. She’s worked the registration table and faithfully attended the conference for years. But in addition to being a wonderful helper and friend of Jot, Susie is a published author.

Her most recent book, A Cup of Dust, is a novel set in the midst of the dust bowl.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.

Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.

Susie will be reading a chapter from A Cup of Dust at the Jot Conference on Friday, September 9th at Baker Book House, 2768 East Paris Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Please join us!

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Jot 5 | Save the Date

Get out your calendars or smartphones or chisels and stone. You’ll want to mark this down.

Josh Mosey | Writer

jot_logoThe Jot Writers’ Conference always seems to sneak up on me. And that wouldn’t be so much of a problem if I wasn’t one of the main organizers of the event. But thanks to my skills in last-minute, procrastination-honed organization, I have exciting news.

Jot 5 is Friday, March 13th from 7-11pm at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI.

We even have speakers lined up. Good ones, too. I’ll be posting their topics soon on the main Jot website, but for now here’s the list:

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Parking Your Cars at Jot 4

You know where to park your buns tonight once you get to Jot, but where should you park your car?

Baker Book House is a great bookstore with a small-ish parking lot. Fortunately, there are many great places to park nearby.

2014_jot_4_parking_map

The largest lot is at the vacant Sanford-Brown Institute (soon to be a BioLife Plasma Center) on the corner of East Paris Ave. and Sparks Dr. If you are feeling daring, feel free to park across East Paris Ave. at either of the strip malls opposite Baker Book House.

Do NOT park at Cantina Mexican Grill, either in their main lot or their triangular overflow lot next to Baker Book House. They need these spaces for their customers as Friday nights are their busiest nights. If you are looking for a great place to eat before Jot, visit Cantina, but please move your cars afterward.

Thanks!

 

Interview with a Jot Presenter | Ellen Stumbo

Josh Mosey | Writer

Ellen-Stumbo-Head-Shot

In case you did not know, the Jot Writers’ Conference happens tomorrow night. I thought we might take a moment and get to know one of the presenters, Ellen Stumbo.

The rest of the presenters are from the West Michigan area, but Ellen is visiting us from the wilds of Wisconsin. If you aren’t familiar with her writing, read on.

We did the following Q&A over email:

Can you give us a 2-3 sentence autobiography?

I write and speak about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. I am passionate about sharing the real -sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly – aspects of faith, disability, parenting, and adoption.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

Jerry Spinelli! I love him, love his books, I laugh out loud, I fight back tears, and he writes the type of books I want to write someday.

Leif Enger and his book Peace…

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Parking Your Buns at Jot 4

If you’ve never been to Baker Book House, you are missing out. Fortunately, you can easily rectify that mistake by attending the next Jot Writers’ Conference which is being held at Baker Book House on Friday, September 12th (but you probably already knew that).

There are a lot of great reasons why we hold Jot at a bookstore. Here are just a few:

  • Bookstores are natural second homes to writers (and for those of you who would say that coffee shops are even more natural second homes for writers, Baker Book House is home to Icons Coffee, an indie coffee shop with the best Chai Latte in the world).
  • The space is free for us to use because Baker Book House is wonderfully supportive of West Michigan’s vibrant writing community (plus, one of the members of the writing group that runs Jot works there).
  • And finally, there are a lot of great places to tuck yourself away and work on your book.

It is this last part that makes Baker especially well-suited for hosting Jot, because Jot is one of the only writers’ conferences in existence that plans writing time right into the conference itself.

Let’s take a look at some of the nooks around the bookstore into which you may nestle to work on your book at Jot.

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Jot IV – Mark Your Calendars

Josh Mosey | Writer

pen_and_book

My writers group, The Weaklings, met recently to discuss the next Jot Writers Mini-Conference. I thought I’d tell you what we know so far.

Jot IV or Jot 4 (which one do you like better?) will take place on Friday, September 12th at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI from 7pm – 11pm. The price, as it has always been, will be nothing. The value will be considerably more (hopefully).

At the moment, only a few of our speakers have been confirmed. We’ll have veteran Jot speaker and editor at Discovery House Publishers, Andrew Rogers, and we just signed on blogger and Houzz.com writer, Alison Hodgson. We have two more speakers that we’re still bullying into agreements, so stay tuned for those.

For past attendees, we’re excited to announce that Baker Book House has agreed to expand the stage area of the store to accommodate our…

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How To Create An Effective Word Count Goal

PART-TIME NOVEL

Failure

Think about the last time you failed at a goal. Be it to land a job, run a triathlon, swim a mile, write a book, etc. Whatever it is, it weighs on you. It can be a mocking, dark cloud. You might have failed from lack of effort but those usually don’t hurt. I am talking about one that hurts, and hurts bad. Not a mosquito bite, but a side swipe by a car.

I’ve been side swiped on and off for the last seven years. Okay that might seem a bit dramatic but the stings have been there. I’ve gone through spurts where I have written a lot, and not written at all. This is not what a novelist does, I told myself. Novelists write every single day. They get up and write when they don’t feel like it. They write when they are tired and when they…

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