It’s a month since the BookCamp 2018 ended and I’m still kvelling (look it up).

I was the year’s “scholarship student”; I received my Bookcamp week gratis, courtesy of the Chicago Writers Association (CWA) as the prize for winning first place in CWA’s 2018 First Chapter Contest. Though I’m listed on the roster as a Bookcamp participant (to attend all classes), I was actually there for the Writers Retreat.

Frank Joseph, author and 2018 Bookcamp participantAnd boy, did it work. In the lovely peaceful atmosphere of the Cedar Valley Center, I found a dark little writing nook and got a running 8,500-word start on my new novel.

This is something I’d started several years ago, then put aside. The new project is a dystopian satire featuring an evil scientist, a damsel in distress, a stupid Superman. and Puerto Rico achieving world domination – utterly unlike my other novel-in-progress, tentatively titled “To Do Justice,” whose first chapter won the CWA award – and I didn’t know whether it was even worth pursuing. My fellow Retreaters gave me the support I needed to press on, responding in our afternoon critique sessions with enthusiasm and even laughter. (Yes, it’s meant to be funny.)

I met a lot of wonderful people, not to mention some terrific writers. I got some great support and ideas for getting “To Do Justice” published. The seclusion combined with social contact among fellow writers was the perfect getaway atmosphere to focus on my fiction in a way that’s simply hard to do at home.

It was more than worth the money I (didn’t) pay for it. Next year, I just may.

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Frank Joseph, To Love Mercy

Frank S. Joseph worked at The Associated Press, covering the 1967 Detroit riot, the 1968 Democratic National Convention street disorders, Dr. Martin Luther King, and just about every ghetto uprising and incident of urban violence that defined the turbulent mid-‘60s in Chicago. He is a former editor with The Washington Post and an award-winning direct marketing copywriter. He and his wife now live in the Washington DC area.

To follow Frank’s writing, visit: Frank S. Joseph, author website

His first novel, To Love Mercy, winner of a number of indie-book awards, is a tale of blacks and whites, Christians and Jews, how children view the world, conflict and forgiveness … and Chicago in 1948.

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Registration is now open for the 2019 Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp. It will take place May 20–26, 2019, in southeastern Wisconsin at the lovely 100-acre Cedar Valley Retreat Center.

The Bookcamp is an annual six-day residential workshop, first held Spring 2014, for emerging authors working on a book-length manuscript, offering instruction and guidance by published novelists, editors, and literary agents. The concurrent Writing Retreat offers six days of personal writing time, with guidance from Bookcamp staff and the support of fellow writers in an encouraging atmosphere.

For more information, visit: Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat.


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