TABLE OF CONTENTS INSPIRATION
What’s a Mystery Room?......................8
“Literary Unleashed” Column .................36
Field Trip: The Book Barn....................12
Writing Workshops.................................. 40 6 Months to Your Manuscript...................42
“A Christmas Carol” Dessert Gala .... 17
Spotlight: Beverly Army Williams ........ 44
Holiday Storytimes & Events ............ 18
Holiday Gift Guide ................................... 45
Midnight in Paris..................................20
Writing Submissions .............................. 46
Valentine’s Date Night.........................22
Winter Calendar ..................................24
AUTHOR SALONS Author Nights......................................... 28
by Beverly Army Williams...........47 by Elsa Kurt ................................. 50 by Megan Tolly ............................. 51
CHILDREN’S EVENTS Epic Immersive Events............................55
Dinner with an Author .......................... 30
A Night with Rudyard Kipling............... 32
Summer Camps ..................................... 59 Children’s Event Calendar ..................... 60
A Look Back on our Fall Activities ....... 62 Winter Recommendations .................... 66 Submission Guidelines ......................... 69
Dear Reader, Welcome to the Winter issue of Inkling Magazine! Since our last issue, The Storytellerâ€™s Cottage celebrated its first birthday on October 6th. We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and to have met so many of you at the hundreds of literary events we hosted this year, from our book-themed parties, to our live murder mystery evenings, to our popular fan events, intimate author salons, writing workshops, book clubs, and much more. If you havenâ€™t come by to see us yet, make sure to pencil us in for 2019! We have so many new ideas to share with you this winter! Inside this issue, learn more about some of our favorite things, including our unique mystery rooms, our favorite quirky bookstore, our upcoming holiday events and Midnight in Paris themed dinner and more. Enjoy fascinating submissions from our new writer-in-residence, C. Flanagan Flynn, and from talented local authors Elsa Kurt, Beverly Army Williams and Megan Tolly. Warm Regards,
Alanna Hammond Inkling Editor
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What Is a Mystery Room?
The Detectiveâ€™s Dinner Party
The “Escape Room” trend is sweeping the nation.
At Great Scott! Mystery Rooms, we’ve combined our passion for immersing ourselves in our favorite books with a roomful of hidden clues and puzzles to create a completely unique experiences for all ages. Whether you call them escape rooms, locked rooms, puzzle rooms, or in our case, mystery rooms, the thrilling race to solve a roomful of clues and codes in one hour has become the latest popular intellectual/social activity for groups of friends & family looking for something fun, different and challenging to do together. This welcome respite from smart phones and computer screens allows players to imagine they are detectives solving a complicated crime. At the Great Scott! Mystery Rooms (located at the Storyteller’s Cottage), the historical accuracy of our game rooms allows players to feel as though they’re immersed in their favorite mystery novels! Escape rooms appeal to players who enjoy the thrill of victory that comes from exercising their brains to solve complicated codes, riddles and puzzles. But what does it take to create such an elaborate mystery? We asked our friend Michelle Weathers of Simsbury, the owner and creator of Complexity: A Puzzling Adventure in Farmington, Connecticut, what drew her to the industry and how her business began. “My family loves games and puzzles, and we heard about the first escape room that opened in Connecticut,” says Michelle. “We played and had so much fun that we booked their second room for the following weekend. Both times after playing we were so excited about it and we talked about how great it would be to create our own puzzles and rooms.” There are three themed rooms available at Complexity: The Mall, The Pirate Ship, and The Cat Burglar, with a fourth under construction. What gets the best reaction from customers? Michelle says, “When the group first enters the room and sees the environment. And then anything that has a surprise reveal--something they were not expecting, something they didn’t see beforehand or noticed would change.” How does the creation process start? Michelle clues us in. “We start with a theme. We want to be sure everything in the room makes sense from the perspective of being in the environment. Then we build the puzzles around what we might find in that environment. For example, in our Pirate Ship room, the puzzles are made into things one might find on a ship. Sometimes, though, it makes it a struggle with how to include all the necessary components of an escape room. We didn’t want to include a computer monitor inside the Pirate Ship room for use as a countdown timer or for the hint system---it wouldn’t make sense to have one on our type of Pirate Ship.”
Legend of the Fairy Queen
The concept of escape rooms is still fairly new, so flexibility and keeping an open mind to changing parts of the rooms is key. “We have definitely tweaked a few things over time. When we test and first open a room, we pay close attention to how and when the groups are doing things,” Michelle explains. “What one person thinks is really difficult, that same puzzle might click immediately with someone else. So we do what we can to have the puzzle make sense for the majority of the groups.” Sometimes, to create an authentic and immersive experience, props and puzzles must be custom made. At our own Great Scott! Mystery Rooms, we created a number of unique mystery elements ourselves, and reached out to several talented friends for help as well, including prop-makers Dave & Diane Murray, and engineer Paul Boutin. Detective’s Dinner Party was the first escape room to open at Great Scott! Mystery Rooms in 2017. In this Victorian murder mystery, players act as world-famous detectives who’ve been invited to a very unusual party at the historic manor house of the eccentric millionaire. Every guest is a wellknown celebrity with a history of solving crime, and their host, Sir Carter Whittington, ostensibly would like help solving several historic cold cases (as this is his hobby). Upon arrival, however, these carefully chosen dinner guests are met with a shocking twist! Players have one hour to examine Sir Carter’s Steampunk Library (pictured on the previous page) to determine his fate. This room is one of the few handicap-accessible escape rooms in the state. Upstairs at the Storyteller’s Cottage, The Dame Disappears is a World War II era Agatha Christie themed mystery. That famous female British mystery novelist has vanished and left a letter suggest-
ing that her broken heart has driven her to take drastic action. Players act as master detectives from Scotland Yard, examining the cryptic clues Agatha left behind in her bedroom to determine whether her disappearance is truly a cry for help, a stunt created to sell more books, or a sign of foul play. While knowledge of Agatha’s books is not necessary to solve the mystery, the room is full of nods to her most famous stories that are sure to thrill Christie enthusiasts. Set in a charming farmhouse bedroom, the Legend of the Fairy Queen game allows players to imagine they’re staying for the summer in their grandparent’s house, where fairies live in the walls! The adventure begins as an innocuous scavenger hunt, but as players search the room, elements from the popular fantasy series The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fablehaven, and even The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe come into play! This room appears simple at first glance, owing to its setting in a child’s room, but it is in fact our hardest game. All of the games at Great Scott!Mystery Rooms are appropriate for all ages, and have become popular birthday party activities. When adults play the rooms, our game masters will offer fewer clues, while when children are the players, we’ll provide more assistance, or even play in the room with them to ensure they can solve the mystery. Many families choose to rent one of our special rooms afterward for food & drinks, such as our hidden Medieval Castle Keep. For die-hard mystery fans who’d like to take their immersion into a real mystery a step further, The Storyteller’s Cottage stages live murder mystery evenings that feature actors in every room of the house. Guests stroll from room to room and interview these suspects about their alibis, while enjoying delicious appetizers & drinks, vintage music and costumes. The next live mystery, the Ivory Tower Holiday Soiree, will take place Saturday, December 15 at 8:00pm. Tickets are available here.
“We like to set up the stories with the mission. What is the purpose of going in? Why is the group in the room? We’ve found that not only sets the stage for transporting them but also helps builds a bit of suspense as we’re telling the story.” Michelle Weathers Complexity Rooms, Farmington
The Dame Disappears
The Book Barn:
our favorite quirky bookstore Lose yourself in the magic of The Book Barn, one of our favorite spots to treasure-hunt for books Are you a voracious reader? Do you love visiting bookstores and literary destinations? Weâ€™d like to recommend a visit to The Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut, one of our favorite road trips. Founded in 1988, this used bookstore spreads over 4 different locations throughout Niantic (Main Barn, Midtown, Downton and Store Four). Across these different locations, you can find over 500,000 books covering numerous topics ranging from art history, to young adult fiction, world history, graphic novels and even Arthurian legends! This selection alone is worth a trip, and the prices donâ€™t hurt either. All the books are reasonably priced, with some books offered for as little as a dollar!
Left to right: The Underworld section, Bilbo Baggins’ Hobbit Hole, a cupboard under the stairs and the nature-defying outdoor shelving.
The Main Barn includes 5 buildings, gardens, a playground, and even a pen with goats. At the entrance to the Main Barn, you will find “Ellis Island,” the drop-off point for new arrivals. Customers can sell books to the Book Barn seven days a week, 363 days a year. Over the course of a summer, the Book Barn takes in close to 10,000 books a week. The Main Barn also features “Hades,” a makeshift area that contains mystery, thrillers and paranormal romance novels. Don’t forget to check out “The Haunted,” a building surrounded by a graveyard which houses the rest of the mystery novels. Enjoy the mock graves engraved with humorous epitaphs, such as “Here Lies Darcy / Never missed her mark / Until while swimming / Consumed by a shark!” This building is said to be guarded by a group of unruly cats, which is the other wonderful thing about visiting the Book Barn. As you wander among the shelves, you will stumble upon many different cats with names like Iris, Pipkin, and Evinrude. Bookworms will also find Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole from J.R.R Tolkien’s popular Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series. This is just a brief glimpse into this gem of a bookstore. The charm of the Book Barn can only be experienced through a physical visit. Be careful though, you may just come home with more books than you were expecting! -- Alanna Hammond
The Book Barn 41 West Main St Niantic, CT
Winter Events From holiday activities to vintage nights out, enjoy a wide variety of magical & inspiring experiences this winter at The Storytellerâ€™s Cottage.
For the Holidays...
The cold weather in inevitable, but we’re making the most of it with these joyful events - which are certainly full of good cheer! Saturday, December 22nd 8:00pm
“A Christmas Carol” Gala Dessert Night
Enjoy a festive night out with a charming reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by genuine Brit Jennifer Munro, accompanied by live Christmas carols and traditional British Christmas pudding! A native of Great Britain and a nationally acclaimed storyteller, Jennifer Munro, will bring the real spirit of Christmas alive with her dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol”. This is a story that in its creation, Dickens wept over, laughed over, and wept over again – and you will, too, as Munro, using a multitude of voices, breathes life into the miserly Scrooge, the ghosts, and the rogues and rascals in the “lowbrowed beetling shop.” This is theater at its simplest and most eloquent. During the intermission, enjoy your favorite Christmas carols sung by the Simsbury High School singers, and enjoy mulled cider and Christmas pudding. You may also wish to BYOB. Come celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas by the fire in our beautiful Victorian library!
COST: $30 (includes your entertainment, dessert & non-alcoholic drinks) BUY TICKETS HERE
Children’s Holiday Storytimes. “Rockrhydin” by Fern Michonski
Saturday, Deceember 1. . . 11:00am
Did you have a favorite toy as a child? Was it a special stuffed animal or perhaps a rocking horse you shared many trips with, riding through the fields of your imagination. Where is your beloved childhood toy now? If it’s within your heart and memory, it will always be part of you. Rockrhydin, winner of the Children’s Division, Best Books of 2012 New England Book Festival Awards, and the Mom’s Choice Award, will be read by the author. RSVP
“Shmelf The Hanukkah Elf” by Greg Wolfe
Saturday, Deceember 8 . . . 11:00am
Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate. What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. Hear the author read his book, followed by a fun craft (edible dreidels made of marshmallows & pretzel sticks). RSVP
“The Polar Express” with Cookies & Santa
Sunday, Deceember 9 . . . 4:30 pm & 6:30 pm Saturday, December 22 . . . 4:30 pm & 6:30 pm
Wear your holiday jammies and join us for a festive afternoon or evening! We will have a holiday storytime in the library with Santa’s elves or Mrs. Claus reading the story, followed by cookie decorating, then a chance to visit with Santa! RSVP
“Truly the Fairy & the Great Holiday Rescue” by Lana Bennett
Saturday, Deceember 15 . . . 11:00am Truly is helping prepare for the holidays when a mysterious letter arrives at The Storyteller’s Cottage. Someone is lost in the woods and asking for help. Will Truly, Draco and Helga come to the rescue? Join them on their adventure to help a friend in need in time for the holidays! Read by the author. RSVP
“Jingle Bells” by iza Trapani
Saturday, Deceember 22 . . . 11:00am
Join children on a Christmas sleigh ride around the world as they discover traditions from Mexico, Sweden, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and the United States. Best-selling author/illustrator Iza Trapani once again extends a classic song to include new fun-filled adventures. Festive illustrations show the customs and foods that each country has to offer. Read by the author. RSVP
Holiday Open House & Toy Drive Saturday, December 8 / Noon - 4pm
Stop by this FREE holiday shopping event and find gifts for all the book lovers on your list! Meet over 15 local authors in person, and purchase signed copies of their books. Check out our array of book-themed t-shirts, desk accessories, and jewelry. Tap into Happy Holidays with Magic Buttons. At 1:00, enjoy a timely presentation about relieving holiday stress. Learn two simple, proven self-regulation techniques to relieve stress, anxiety, cravings and other discomfort from author Mimi Stevens. Works like magic! (Age 6 - Adult) Hosted by Mimi Stevens, author of Maven & the Magic Buttons. Also during the open house, there will be an Island of the Misfit Toys Drive. We will be collecting new, unwrapped toys to be donated to The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Help us put a smile on a child’s face this holiday season!
Great British Baking Club Christmas Edition
Join us on Tuesday December 4th from 4:30-6:00 pm to discuss Hercule Poirot and the Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie. Join fellow baking enthusiasts and enjoy mini Christmas puddings! RSVP
“A Christmas Story” Family Game Night
Friday, December 7th, join us at 7:00 pm for a fun, slightly dysfunctional, Parker-style family night at the Cottage! Bring the kids and get into the holiday spirit spending quality time together playing games, having treats and hot cocoa, and just having fun! We will provide the board games, but feel free to bring your own favorite! And, yes, the leg lamp will be lit for the occasion. $25 per family -- REGISTER
Midnight in Paris:
An Exclusive Dinner of Mystery Do you find yourself longing for an eccentric night out, one that you’ve only seen in movies? At 11pm on January 26th, grab your chance to experience something out-of-the-box. Put on your pearls and join us for dinner at midnight in Paris, just like Owen Wilson & Marion Cotillard! The City of Lights, glittering and romantic, has always attracted artists and writers. The film Midnight in Paris (2011) directed by Woody Allen, looks to the past and the allure that we find there through a lens of nostalgia. What is it that we love so much about the past? In the film, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is entranced by The Golden Age, specifically the 1920’s, in Paris, in the rain. His wife writes him off as a hopeless romantic, but Gil can’t help his attraction to the more sentimental things in life. Being a writer himself, he wanders the streets at night looking for inspiration for his novel. At midnight, Gil is transported to the 1920’s, and meets some of his literary idols like Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. The city captivates him, and he finds himself revisiting the past every night to continue his adventures with his new friends and a beautiful French woman named Adriana (Marion Cotillard).
The film is well-loved for its all-star cast and familiar nods to classic literature. Art enthusiasts also thrill over the gorgeous sets and scenery. A number of famous artists appear in the film, including Pablo Picasso, Saslvador Dali and Henri Matisse. But the atmosphere of the film is really what is so enticing. Paris, bustling with the 1920’s art and music scene, shimmering in champagne and topped with glitter and pearls. The Storyteller’s Cottage Midnight Dinner Series aims to capture such evocative times and placees, and our Midnight in Paris dinner promises to be full of the City of Light’s romantic sparkle. Guests who arive at 11:00 pm will enjoy decadent appetizers and drinks while participating in unique party games to get to know their dinner companions. Dinner will be served right at midnight, featuring French foods and keeping on theme with our favorite Parisian film. A delightful dessert will follow, accompanied by coffee and tea, and despite the late hour, we doubt you’ll ever want to leave! Throughout the night, we are pleased to host Matt Ryan, an extremely talented professional artist, who will draw beautiful sketches of each guest’s glamorous outfit in our swanky vintage library. DINNER TICKETS are $60 for dinner; a limited number of DINNER WITH SKETCH TICKETS are available for $80. Our midnight dinners only occur once a season, and are one of our favorite Signature events. Wear your favorite 1920’s outfit, or dress up as one of the classic writers, authors, or musicians in the film and enjoy a unique night of literary extravagance!
-- Heather Murray
Valentine's Date Night
Often the snow outside makes you want to stay at home. But sometimes, a night out (dipped in chocolate) is exactly what you need. A cold February night is the perfect time to warm up with some sweet treats and a romantic atmosphere! As we know, chocolate is best way to win the heart of your beloved, so grab your favorite sweetie and get ready for a decadent night of love. On Saturday February 16th from 8:00-10:00 pm, professional Chocolatier and Steampunk Author Nikki Woolfolk will host an intimate chocolate tasting in our extravagant red and gold Steampunk Library. Nikki enjoys pulling readers into her humor-filled spectacular cogged and geared world. Sought after for her informative Chocolate Tasting sessions at conventions, Nikki uses her polymath talents to pen articles on the craft of writing and apply her computer science, culinary and aviation knowledge to create a sleuth chef who cooks up Steampunk adventures under a dirigible-filled sky. On this evening, sheâ€™ll be making her custom chocolates for you! TICKETS Nikki Woolfolk is a member of Sister in Crime, Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America. Her books include: * Mise en Death: A Bittersweet Mysteries Series * RIVETED: A Collection of Steampunk Tall-Tales * Now That Your Joystickâ€™s Broke
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz
December, January & February Outloud! Storytelling with Teresa Whitaker & Frank Schwartz December 1 ................................................................................................................................... Fairytales in the Forest: Owl Moon December 2 One-on-One with an Author: Lisa Acerbo Discover the Secrets to Getting Published December 2 ................................................................................................................................... Author Night with Kristen Pomeroy “Vibrant Living Project” December 6 ................................................................................................................................... “A Christmas Story” Family Game Night December 7 ................................................................................................................................... ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ Drive December 8 Holiday Open House: Gifts for Book Lovers! December 8 ................................................................................................................................... Author Night with Connie Bombaci “Hogan’s Hope” December 13 ................................................................................................................................... Ivory Tower Holiday Soiree: A Live Murder Mystery December 15 ................................................................................................................................... The Grand Tour Revisited: “Slow Train to Switzerland” December 16
TO REGISTER: (860) 877-6099 Svenja@storytellerscottage.com www.StorytellersCottage.com/book-online NEVER MISS AN EVENT! Sign up for our newsletter
All Access Authors : Holiday Edition December 20 ................................................................................................................................... “A Christmas Carol” Dessert Gala with Storytelling December 22 ................................................................................................................................... A Night with Rudyard Kipling January 4 ................................................................................................................................... The Grand Tour Revisited: “Circle of Karma” January 6 One-on-One with an Author: Discover the Secrets to Getting Published January 6 ................................................................................................................................... Author Night with Alison Downs “Ladybird Adrift” January 10 ................................................................................................................................... Author Night with Julia Tennenbaum “Changing Ways” January 17 ................................................................................................................................... Fine Parlor Magic January 19 ................................................................................................................................... “Midnight in Paris” Signature Midnight Dinner January 26 ................................................................................................................................... Dinner with an Author: Penny Goetjen January 31 All Access Authors : New Year Edition January 31 ................................................................................................................................... One-on-One with an Author: Discover the Secrets to Getting Published February 3 ................................................................................................................................... Valentine’s Date Night: Custom Chocolate Tasting with Nikki Woolfolk February 16 ................................................................................................................................... The Grand Tour Revisited: “The Wandering Falcon” February 17 ................................................................................................................................... All Access Authors : Romance Edition February 28
Join us for intimate book discussions with local auth0rs in our cozy Jules Verne Library.
KRISTIN POMEROY The Vibrant Living Project Thursday, December 6 / 7:00-8:30 pm Join local author, Kristin Pomeroy, as she discusses her new book “The Vibrant Living Project”. Do you ever feel like there has to be a better way to make life “work”? Are you pasting a happy face sticker over your “low-fuel” warning light? We all have the power to create vibrant lives for ourselves, but many of us are missing the toolkit. The Vibrant Living Project is just that. This is a not just a book, it’s a roadmap to a more vibrant, uncluttered life. In this straightforward, no-nonsense guide, author, speaker and success coach, Kristin Pomeroy, shows you just how simple it can be to achieve the life you have always imagined (but may not have thought possible). Join Kristin as she cuts through the confusion and discusses how to: · Remove obstacles that steal your time and energy · Feel your best so you can seize the day · · Create rituals and habits that will revitalize your life · · Unleash your true power and · · Bring your ideal life vision into being Don’t miss free giveaways and prizes too!. Cost: $5 / RSVP
CONNIE BOMBACI Hogan’s Hope Thursday, December 13 / 7:00 -8:30 pm Join author Connie Bombaci for an intimate discussion of her book, “Hogan’s Hope,” an incredible story about a deaf dog who was abused, and and how she took him in and changed his life. Light reception to follow. Deaf dogs are often mistreated, abandoned, or even destroyed. Hogan’s Hope is the tale of a legendary deaf canine hero who, after being rescued from severe abuse, prevailed as he learned American Sign Language and provided the hope of life, not death, for deaf dogs worldwide. His courage to overcome prejudices and myths continues to provide inspiration to anyone – human or pet – that success and genuine love are truly possible. This valiant deaf dog reveals that by choosing hope anyone’s dreams can come true and the world can be filled with steadfast faith, pure joy, and unconditional love. Cost: $5 / RSVP
ALISON DOWNS Ladybird Adrift Thursday, January 10 / 7:00-8:30 pm “Ladybird Adrift” has been praised by readers for its emotionally raw candor depicting how Alzheimer’s Disease affects patient and family alike. “Love knows no age barriers, and in Ladybird Adrift, Alison Downs writes a bittersweet novel about love between a younger woman and an older man. As their love grows, so does the realization that a health issue threatens their relationship and happiness. This moving and tender love story highlights the heartbreak of a loved one’s descent into Alzheimer’s, depicted through the eyes of both victim and caregiver. This book will move every reader’s heart as it opens a window into this pitiless illness that has no cure,” says Lurlene McDaniel, best-selling author of Losing Gabriel: A Love Story. Cost: $5 / RSVP
JULIA TENNENBAUM Changing Ways Thursday, January 17 / 7:00 -8:30 pm Join us for a special Author Night with 15-year-old YA author from West Hartford, Julia Tennenbaum. Julia will read and discuss her debut novel, ‘Changing Ways’. Julia will have copies of her book available for purchase. Growing up sucks. Struggling to cope with the constant stress of school, her mother, and her confusing social life, sixteen-year-old Grace Edwards finds sanity in the most destructive of ways: dieting and self-harming. But just when Grace thinks she has everything under control, a classmate catches her cutting in the girls’ locker room, and Grace’s entire life is flipped upside down. Now she’s faced with the unthinkable – a stint in a psych ward with kids who seem so much worse than she is. After all, she’s not sick. She’s totally okay. She’ll never do it again. But the longer Grace stays, the more she realizes that the kids in the ward aren’t that different from her. Slowly Grace comes to terms with her mental illness, but as her discharge date crawls closer, she knows that the outside world is an unpredictable place . . . and one which whispers temptations about hidden food, dangerous objects, and failure to stay in recovery. FREE EVENT / RSVP
Dinner with an Author Do you love to discuss writing and books over dinner? Would you love to discuss a new book with its actual author? Discover our new series where you can do just that with our favorite local authors! Have you ever wanted to sit down with the author of a great book and chat with them about their story? Now is your chance! Join mystery author, Penny Goetjen, at the first of our new series, Dinner with an Author, on Thursday January 31st from 5:307:00 pm in our elegant Jane Austen Salon. We’ll discuss her newest novel, ‘Murder Beyond the Precipice’, sequel to ‘Murder on the Precipice.’ You and a select few guests can enjoy unprecedented access to this talented author over a delicious dinner before she speaks to the public at our All Access Authors event at 7pm.
Penny’s third novel, ‘Murder Beyond the Precipice’, was published this October. The story follows the Livingston family, who seem unusually prone to mysterious accidents. The Livingston family is no stranger to tragedy. Losing both parents at a young age in what authorities ruled an accident, Lucretia Livingston, the sole heir to the estate, is left to pick up the pieces. But many locals question the circumstances surrounding their deaths and if the family’s wealth was an irresistibly seductive motive for crossing the line. Elizabeth Pennington returns to the coast of Maine after receiving an unexpected wedding invitation. Hoping to surprise her friend, she arrives unannounced at the Livingston Estateturned-inn, only to discover no one knows her whereabouts. Just as disconcerting is the disappearance of the innkeeper’s young bride, Lucretia. Frantic for answers, Elizabeth becomes tangled in a tortured trail of betrayal, deception, love lost, and murder.
Space is limited to just 7 guests. Book today to reserve your seat. Tickets are just $50, and include a signed copy of her book ‘Murder Beyond the Precipice’ and free admission to the All Access Authors event following the dinner where you will have the chance to meet two additional talented local authors!
A Night with
Rudyard Kipling Far away in India, the great author Rudyard Kipling was born. Join us for a passionate retelling of his tales right here in Simsbury. Join us on Friday January 4th from 7:00 - 8:00 pm for a performance of Rudyard Kipling’s work by fantastic storyteller Jackson Gillman. Jackson has been making these literary gems sparkle for 35 years, and annually portrays Rudyard-in-Residence at Kipling’s historic Vermont home. It was here that Kipling penned The Jungle Book, an adaptation of which returned to movie theaters in 2016. Jackson made his off-Broadway debut presenting The Magic of Rudyard Kipling: “Just So” for an adult audience as part of the 2014 United Solo Theatre Festival. Of the 130 shows from around the world, it received the Best Educational Show award. Jackson frames the program as Rudyard Kipling, but tells the stories as himself with lots of physicality and interaction. Jackson has brought Rudyard Kipling Revisited to many adult audiences and it is this more historical version of his show that he has been presenting for NH Humanities to Go. TICKETS: $20
â€œAll you have to do is write one sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.â€? -Ernest Hemingway
Writing at the
A new monthly column by C. Flanagan Flynn Writer-in-Residence at The Storyteller’s Cottage From the first time I walked up the porch steps of The Storyteller’s Cottage, turned the brass door knob, then entered the gleaming, light-filled foyer, I was smitten and obsessed. Since then, I’ve taught dozens of writers in this Victorian gem for nearly a year, helping them shape their writing and stories for publication. I realized what drew me to The Storyteller’s Cottage was what I’d obsessed about on my small blog in past years: literary events, writing workshops, and a venue which helped writers thrive.
I now find myself in the delightful position of kicking off a new, old column: LiteraryUnleashed.
New and old? I’ll get there, I promise.
The column’s focus is writing. With that in mind, today’s column is a sneak peek into an exciting development. Beginning in January, I’ll assume the additional role as Writer in Residence at The Storyteller’s Cottage. We’re also adding a half year memoir and novel generator workshop: 6 Months to Your Manuscript. I’m thrilled! Many of you might be wondering what a Writer in Residence does. Simply put, I’ll hold office hours from noon to 6 pm on Thursdays, but I’ll be available via email anytime or on the phone during business hours to help you with any of your writing. Any means everything from memoir, personal essays, novels, copywriting, marketing content, to fill in the blank. Maybe you’re asking why a Writer in Residence is necessary? We’ve found oftentimes writers and professionals need additional help outside of a workshop, not only in the genre they love to write but also for the writing they’re assigned in their professions or at school.
Sharing a bit about my background might help you understand “why me?” For nearly three decades, I’ve brainstormed and collaborated on writing projects and scrutinized the written word. I’ve happily done that because I love writing and editing.
Most recently, I was Managing Editor of two global, literary magazines. Prior to that, I served as a Department Manager at a marketing firm, and I began my career as an Encyclopedia Proofreader. I’ve edited novels published by Penguin Random House, nonfiction books published by New World Library, and helped professionals write marketing content, articles, and personal bios. I’ve served as a copywriter on campaigns for Coca-Cola, Seagram’s, and the NHL. I earned my M.A.L.S. from Wesleyan University and studied writing at Yale University and Harvard University. A Pushcart Prize Nominee and a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize, I’ve been published in, among other venues, the New York Times, Memoir Magazine, The Hartford Courant, Brain Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers, Brain Teen: The Magazine for Thinking Parents, and Hale Global (with writing forthcoming in Proximity Magazine).
So, old and new?
Literary Unleashed was my small blog, started ten years ago after graduating Wesleyan. I curated a calendar of Connecticut’s writing events then attended and wrote about them. The blog was my way to share and connect the literary community, much in the same way The Storyteller’s Cottage shares and connects readers and writers to all things literary. For several years the blog disappeared but has reemerged here as a column. I’m thankful the old Literary Unleashed found a new home in Inkling Magazine. And I’m overjoyed I’ll be meeting with writers at The Storyteller’s Cottage during my new office hours. Teaching writing continues to fill me with meaning and awe. I’ve helped writers get their first bylines, attended their book launches, and helped them navigate the inevitable sting of writing rejections. If you’re a writer or hoping to improve a piece of writing, I’d love to meet you over a cup of tea or coffee in The Jane Austen Regency Salon to learn more. You’ll likely find, as I have, that The Storyteller’s Cottage instills a perfect mix of cozy writers’ haven and inspiring literary hub. Now when I walk up the Victorian’s front steps and my hand turns the brass doorknob, I feel like I’m returning home. If you haven’t yet visited The Storyteller’s Cottage, check out our calendar of events, And please stop by on Thursdays to say hello or email me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org. When you walk into the foyer, I hope you feel the sense of wonder and possibility that I did in October of 2017. Cheers! ~
C. Flanagan Flynn
While it’s suggested you book time in advance online or via phone or email, I’ll do my best to accommodate walk-ins. You’ll find details online about booking blocks of time and payment options for working one-on-one.
Writing Retreats “Write That Novel II”
Saturday December 1 / 10:00 am - 4:30 pm Stop thinking about it and start writing that novel! Spend one Saturday with us and learn from three talented local authors how to get your novel organized, edited, and on its way to publication. It’s one-stop shopping! Network with other local writers.. REGISTER ($225) * Overcoming Writer’s Block with Tracy McKee * Revision Tips & Tricks with Beverly Army Williams * Adapting Your Novel for the Screen with Pamela Perry Goulardt
“Overcoming Obstacles to Publication” Saturday February 2 / 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Want to publish your work but find yourself getting stuck? Spend one productive Saturday with us learning specific skills to explode those barriers! ($225) * Handling Negative Feedback * Overcoming Writer’s Block * Writing Better Query Letters
Whether you are an aspiring author or a seasoned writer, focusing your energy at a writing retreat can give you the kick-start your writing needs.
Improve your writing skills with guidance from professional authors, and enjoy the camaraderie of sharing your works in progress with other local writers.
Grief and the Lyric
Have you ever wondered what form grief can take in writing? What is it about hybrid or experimental writing that intrigues us? For some writers, it is a vehicle that provides an access point to emotional depth in their work. For others, experimental writing is a way to expose injustice, social or otherwise, or to give voice to the unspeakable. In the first half of the seminar, author Nikki Sambitsky will look at and discuss how grief disrupts, enhances, and shows up in the lyric, and discuss some of the techniques/hallmarks of experimental writing, During the second half of the seminar, the group will circle up to do some hybrid/experimental or lyric/fragment writing based on their own personal grief-filled or difficult experiences through writing prompts and free writing exercises. Meets Saturday, Dec 8, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm REGISTER / $80
Poetry Mentor Workshop
One of the most powerful methods to develop and grow as a poet is to work with a poetry mentor—and there are hundreds ready to help you, right on your bookshelf! Each month, Beverly Army Williams leads a group of poetry fans as they read and discuss a selection of poems by a featured poet, paying careful attention to how the poems work and make them feel. The workshop includes time to craft individual poems inspired by that month’s poetry mentor. Participants have the option of sharing their work for gentle feedback and exuberant appreciation. On Thursday, December 13 at 6:30pm, the mentor to be discussed is Paisley Rekdal. REGISTER / $25
Is there a story inside you bursting to get out? Are you a beginning writer who needs direction? Exuberant Scribe starts January 10th and meets for six Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Published author T.J. Banks will help you get your process started, and will help you feel more confident with your writing style and mechanics. REGISTER / $160 for six weeks.
Write Your Memoir or Novel
This popular workshop led by Storyteller’s Cottage Writer in Residence, C. Flanangan Flynn, meets for six weeks beginning January 10, from 6:00 - 8:00pm. If you have a desire to make writing your memoir or novel a priority, this collaborative workshop will provide you the necessary guidance, structure, and writer’s tools. Learn how to draw upon your life experiences to write a memoir or to craft fiction from your imagination. REGISTER / $240 for six weeks.
One-On-One with an Author
Discover the secrets to getting published. Sit down with a successful published author and have all your questions personally answered. On the first Sunday of each month, a different author is available on site between 3:00 and 5:00pm. Make a 15-minute appointment during this time for just $25 and ask anything you like. Get the secrets of publication right from the source! Please call (860) 877-6099 to arrange your appointment. December 2: Lisa Acerbo
Writer In Residence Office Hours
Sit down with Writer In Residence, C. Flanagan Flynn, and get personal help with all your writing and editing needs. Anyone working on any type of writing can benefit from C’s expertise and guidance. In addition to honing writers’ memoirs, novels, and essays, she’s helped business professionals write web content, students write essays, lawyers craft legal briefs, and impassioned citizens pen opinion pieces. Please email C@StorytellersCottage.com to arrange your appointment.
Want to complete your book in 2019? This January, we’re launching our first manuscript generator workshop. This workshop is for memoir or novel writers with a book idea underway who are looking to complete a full manuscript. Applications for slots in the workshop are already in progress, and the deadline for applications is December 6th . The manuscript workshop will provide writers an organized framework to attack a manuscript, as well as the constructive feedback and supportive guidance of an editor throughout the process. Writers can choose three different paths—Path 1, Path 2, or Path 3—on the journey toward completing their manuscripts. While writing is the central focus of the workshop, an additional benefit is a visiting guest speaker, an editor from a book publishing house. He’ll provide his perspective and insights on publishing, as well as be available to answer your questions on publishing. Path 1 is intended for those of you who want to dive into a draft-in-progress. Whether you’ve written 10,000 or 40,000 words and want to finish that first draft of your manuscript, this is your path. Editorial guidance and feedback will address macro issues, such as structure and how and where the prose could be strengthened. Path 2 is geared to writers who want to dive deeper into their manuscripts which are at least halfway done. In addition to completing a first draft, you’ll also tackle a round of revisions. Your full manuscript will be read twice. Editorial guidance and feedback will include structure, plot, character, setting, conflict, scenes, pointof-view, themes, literary devices, style, and voice. Path 3 is geared to writers who want to take the deepest dive into their manuscripts and is geared to writers closer to two-thirds complete. You’ll complete your first draft, revise your draft, then further hone your manuscript. With this path, manuscripts will be read three times, with the final review focusing on your critical first five pages. Editorial guidance and feedback will include structure, plot, character, setting, conflict, scenes, point-of-view, themes, literary devices, style, and voice. The final round of editing will examine your writing on the sentence-level.
Writer and Managing Editor, C. Flanagan Flynn will lead you on your journey to completing your manuscript. C. has edited books published by Penguin Random House, New World Library, and has taught at renown New England writing venues, including Westport Writers’ Workshop and The Storyteller’s Cottage. Her students have excerpted book chapters and received their first bylines. She’s a 2018 finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. All writers will give and receive peer feedback. However, most of this exciting six-month journey will focus on writing and revising your manuscript. The workshop will meet three Wednesday evenings a month. Apply to “6 Months to Your Manuscript” by sending a 5,000-word excerpt from your memoir or novel to C. Flanagan Flynn (email email@example.com). Include a summary of what you hope to accomplish in this workshop, as well as a short personal bio. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email C. or call us at 860-877-6099.
Beverly Army Williams Beverly Army Williams is a frequent collaborator with The Storyteller’s Cottage. We asked her a few questions about creativity, her poetry, and writing inspiration. How long have you been writing creatively?
I don’t remember NOT writing creatively! I learned to read by the time I was three, and I started making little storybooks and movies (on construction paper, to show in a cigar box theater my dad helped me to make) not long after. I wrote a play and performed it with friends for my first-grade class, and I published poems in my town’s newspaper while I was still in grammar school. In 2004 I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to enter UNM’s MFA program, where I focused on fiction. A few years ago, I started studying with Taos’s poet laureate Sawnie Morris. I realized that many of my favorite prose writers have a background in poetry, which leads to their writing gorgeous sentences. Writing and studying poetry has opened my imagination in a new way that I find exciting.
Who is your favorite poet and why?
It’s hard to pick just one! As a kid, Shel Silverstein was a favorite because he is so whimsical. I loved the drawings in Where the Sidewalk Ends, which was the first book of poetry I ever owned. I have a soft spot for Shakespeare’s sonnets, and I have spent a lot of time reading the British Romantics. D.H. Lawrence’s poem “The Snake” is my favorite poem. As far as more contemporary poets, I’m always eager to read work by Sharon Olds, Margaret Atwood, Jane Hirshfield, Tracy K. Smith, Julia Alverez, and Ocean Vuong, among others. I just finished Girldom by Megan Peak (newly published by Perugia Press), and it is a powerful, provocative collection.
Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
Writing fiction, I’m often inspired by the question “what if?”. Everything I read and hear goes into the compost pile where I dig for short stories and novels. I turn to science for inspiration in my poetry. I like to understand how the plants and creatures I encounter on my daily hikes function, and I often draw connections between them and the issues that press me into writing poetry. While I don’t tend to remember my dreams, when I do, they often become poems.
Why did you become a writer?
I’m passionate about storytelling as an effective way to communicate. I have been able to use my writing skills to make change through my work as a grant writer and a writing teacher, and that may be the most thrilling reason to be a writer!
Beverly will be holding a Poetry Mentor Workshop on December 13th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. SIGN UP HERE
Holiday Gift Guide From the Storyteller's Cottage
Signed Books by Local authors
Stop by our new Booktique and buy a copy of an exciting book by one of a dozen local authors. Prices range from $10 to $25, and books are available in all genres and for all ages.
Do you know someone whoâ€™d love to play one of our mystery rooms, attend one of our vintage literary events, or participate in one of our workshops or clubs? Buy a gift certificate ONLINE!
Writing Submissions Curl up in a cozy spot and enjoy these samples of charming poetry and prose from talented local authors.
Long Before by Beverly Army Williams
I learned to swim
to hold my breath, blow bubbles paddle or crawl. Long before I found ease in the ocean craved the pulse of cold brook water releasing energy from stones and earth long, long before my sleep drew me to deserts to cliffs that tumbled one upon the other. Expanses of garnet gneiss rippled golden, dangerous to the me that was not me the me afraid, petrified. Impossible leap the only escape from unseen dream assailants. At once lapis water clear as air the morning after a midnight thunderstorm offered refuge. Creatures that were not mermaids, not men not Ophelias or Idas, Virginias, or martyrs of Solway, not Ashrays, for the sun burned and they did not melt, lithe like seaweed, beckoned me underwater to join hands as they lay
below the surface.
Previously published by The Dandelion Review
Two Ways to Die in These Woods by Beverly Army Williams
Succumb. Be overcome. Take, for example, two birds: dead. The first lies perfect on the bank of the beaver pond as though it fell from a curious hikerâ€™s pocket. I see it the moment before I step onto the wobbly, six-inch wide foot bridge. I wonder, was it the sudden frost? Canâ€™t bring myself to photograph the dead bird to make identification easier, so I memorize the curve of its barite white breast, the burnt sienna wing and tail tipped with rippled stripes the prober beak, open as if to gasp at the final effort of living. The husky tugs me to join him on the bridge, I turn the bird over, look for a mark for blood.
Previously published by The Dandelion Review
The bird, not yet stiff, recently succumbed. Contrast with the gray confetti of feathers scattered on the upended red oakâ€™s tangled roots. Some feathers small like the ones that stuff my pillow, some nearly as long as my ring finger. No blood. No body to tell the tale or at least confirm whose feathers fluttered on this plucking log as talons pierced organs. A bigger birdâ€”goshawk, barred owl, crow feasted
on the little bird-
warbler or phoebe. Overcome. The dead deserve the living to recognize their own. BEVERLY ARMY WILLIAMS received an MFA in fiction from the University of New Mexico. She teaches writing at Westfield State University in Western Massachusetts and is co-editor of MotherShould?, a website for women on the fence about motherhood. She lives in the woods of Connecticut with her husband and two dogs.
Excerpt from Mae’s Cafe by Elsa Kurt “First of all, we’re not sisters. I mean, if you want to be technical, we’re half-sisters.” Mae slapped down a napkin on the round bistro table before William, her voice low, almost a hiss. “Also, no one besides me, my aunt, and Bruce know that. Oh, and Joel Asheby. And the Brightsiders, I suppose.” “Okay, but I don’t know—” began William. Then he waited. “What do you want to know about her? How about I start with what’s important. She’s a little shit. And a thief. Oh, and a liar, too. You know what? I don’t want to talk about her. Or her mother, so don’t ask.” Mae stalked away, leaving William to stare after her. This was a side of the usually sweet and benevolent woman he’d not seen before. Surely, the child couldn’t have done so much to have angered her so. It had to be the mother. After a few minutes, William caught sight of who Mae had been referring to. A small, waif-like girl stood outside the café window. She held a large red apple in her thin, dirty hand the way a pitcher holds a baseball and William believed for a moment that the child was going to throw it through the window. The girl’s big grey eyes followed Mae through the glass as she lifted the fruit in front of her face. William had a brief image of Snow White, although this little girl was more like a street urchin from Annie than a Disney princess. She raised her other arm and held the apple between both hands. Without taking her eyes off Mae, she bit into the apple, taking a chunk too big for her small mouth. Heedless of the juice running down her chin, she masticated in a bovine-like manner. Before the piece in her mouth was swallowed, she took another absurdly large bite. The girl must’ve felt William’s curious gaze and turned slowly to him. He nodded, offering a smile. She, in turn, opened her mouth wide and gave him a full view of her vigorously chewed apple. Then she gave him the finger and walked away without a backward glance. William frowned, then chuckled and shook his head. After watching her disappear around the corner in her scuffed Keds, too-big denim overall cut-offs and too-small Rainbow Brite t-shirt, he let his eyes wander around the half-filled café. Glimpses and snippets of lives abounded. Stories and backstories, layers upon layers. His side and her side, and the truth somewhere in between. Lonely folk, tired folk. Happy ones, just getting by ones. Every walk of life, yet they all shared one commonality. It was the way they responded to Mae. Just as sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun, they all swayed toward Mae, then they bent to follow in her wake.
What was it about her that affected him so? Them, William. Them. Her beauty? Yes, but beauty, especially nowadays, is cheap. You can buy it, create it, manufacture it, fake it…but that wasn’t where her beauty came from. There was something…otherworldly about her. No, that’s not right. William backspaced over the word. There was something imperial about Mae Scarlett Huxley. Yes, that was it. Or at least part of it. Mae Scarlet was delectably contrary, he realized at once. For all her innate grace, she was also quirky, awkward, offbeat. And yet, still, there was another something—a something else—about Mae that drew him in. Them, damn it. Them. And it was intangible. It was that word at the tip of your tongue, that song you almost remember, that scent that brings you back in time— “Mr. Grant?” William looked up, his fingertips poised over the keyboard. Bruce towered over him—deliberately towered, William was sure—with barely hidden dislike. “Yes,” William said, his expression blank. “Can I sit?” William gestured to the chair across from him and inclined his head. Going by the man’s formality and stony expression, this wasn’t going to be a friendly chat between new acquaintances. William instinctively knew the young man’s speech had been likely rehearsed, probably in front of a mirror. He also knew his thoughts were uncharitable and petty, so he made a conscious effort to wipe the condescending, patronizing look off his face that he knew had settled there the moment the man-boy approached. Still, William couldn’t refrain from supposing that Bruce Grady would begin politely but firmly, then launch into the Many Virtues of Mae, followed by a dissertation of how long they’ve known one another, a declaration of intent, and lastly, a not so thinly veiled warning. William suppressed a sigh. If only there were someone to place a wager with. “I won’t take up too much of your time, Mr. Grant—” “Please, William.” Bruce nodded. “Right, yeah. Anyhow, I just wanted to, you know, talk to you for a minute while Mae’s out in the back garden. The thing is, Mr—William, Mae has gone through a tough time and, well, she’s vulnerable. She’s also too trusting.” The last part, he said more to himself than to William. “Now, I don’t know what all this book crap—sorry—is about, but I sure hope you’re not going to take advantage of…the situation. No offense or anything, but the people in Chance are good people. For the most part.” William suspected that big Bruce Grady was picturing Miles Hannaford’s cocky grin at that moment. “And, Mae? She’s the best thing in this town. There is no one like her, you understand?” “I think I do, Bruce. Thank you for…clarifying things for me.” “Yeah, well, everyone here loves Mae. We’d do anything for her. We’ve got her back, you know? We—” “Yes, I understand. I can promise you, nothing bad or harmful will go into this book, Bruce. I’m quite fond of Mae.” He let the words hang in the air, then added, “and the town of Chance.”
ELSA KURT is a multi-genre, indie & traditionally published author, brand designer, life coach, and motivational speaker. She currently has seven novels independently published, as well as three novellas published with Crave Publishing in their Craving: Country, Craving: Loyalty, and Craving: Billions anthologies. She is a lifelong New England resident and married mother of two grown daughters. When not writing, designing, or talking her head off, she can be found gardening, hiking, and kayaking.
Six Days Before by Megan Tolly
Her mother was from Jamaica—father Angola, Africa. She was born in a wooden shack, against the dirt floor on a cold January night, of the Baker Hill Plantation in Faunsdale, Alabama. Her father worked the sugar fields—mother was a house slave. At three-months-old her mother was summoned into the house to care for the new born child delivered to her master. That morning was the last her mother ever held her. Ruth was her name.
She had beautiful angled eyes, dark skin, large bridged nose, and semi-thin lips—with a heart that chased after the Lord. She was told by her Auntie June that every night “I walkd’ down by that door ova there, n’ ya mama wol’ meet me, n’ kiss yo’ forehead right between yo’ eyebrows. Din, I wol’ hurry on back home so yo mama won’ get caught. But I made sho’ yo mama kiss’d you er’ nite.” Her daddy was a young man who worked out in the field. He would come back from the fields—hands cracked, bleeding, and calloused, barely able to breathe from his fourteen-hour work day. Every night her daddy talked into the wee hours of the morning about “gitin my babies outta her’, an followin’ that railroad n’ gitin’ way from dis hell.” Then finishing his evening with a deep raspy version of “Sweet Chariot”. Her daddy would describe to her all he was going to do for her and her mother. The beautiful house they would live in, the yellow tulips he would plant for her mother—they were her favorite. “N’ daffodils daddy!” Ruth would always add. “N’ yo daffodils baby.” “Sixtn’ days baby, till we gon’ leave” he announced. Each day that passed Ruth would carve a tally mark into the wood next to her cot. She only made it to ten.
The tenth day her father died out in the fields. Auntie June said “Mastr’ was whippin’ im’
a good one, den made yo daddy go back to dem fields drippin’ blood er’were, wasn’ long afta dat, dat yo daddy dropped. Some say, yo daddy had heat stroke, or suttin’ like dat. All’s I know is dat, mastr’ Did em’ a reel beatin’, so I’s goin’ wid dat.” Ruth was eleven when her daddy died. She was also eleven the day she saw her mother loaded into the back of a wagon, and shipped to a plantation out in Mississippi. Precious cargo. “It’ll be alrit’ baby.” Her mother mouthed to her—as she watched from behind the property’s oak tree. Ruth began field work at age twelve, and worked until seventeen—when she decided to run. She went house to house reading the hidden messages within the quilts of abolitionists, and hid in the back of a wagon from Alabama to South Carolina. It was in South Carolina that her wagon was stopped. She was ripped from her hiding place among the hay, and dragged onto the road bashing her head against a rock. Seven other runaways were with her—two were already dead. The next time she opened her eyes, she was in the home of John Hall of New Jersey. She made it. She didn’t know how she made it, but she made it to freedom. “Oh dear, you’re awake! Praise the Lord! John, come quick, she opened her eyes!” An elderly white woman called leaning over her. A few months later once she was on her feet again, Ruth moved to Castine, Maine with her husband John. John was a white man who helped free countless slaves—including Auntie June. Auntie June told Ruth that “yo mama came back lookn’ fo you Ruthie, but you was lon’ gon’ by den. I tol’ her you done run off, but you alrit. Wasn’t lon’ afta dat, dat we burry her right next to yo daddy.” Ruth created a home in Maine. Her yard blanketed with yellow tulips, and daffodils, in which her children loved to surprise her with hand-picked bouquets.
MEGAN TOLLY is a student at Central Connecticut State University, and will graduate this December, 2018 with a degree in English and writing. She considers herself a poet, and loves to display her work on her various social media pages, and with her friends and family. Any free time Megan has, she is either writing, reading, or brainstorming ideas on a new writing project. She is a nanny to three fun little girls, as well as a social media marketing manager for a small local business in Bloomfield, Ct. Megan has read her work at The New Britain Museum of American Art, and local reading events. She has also published articles in her University’s magazine—Blue Muse. Megan hopes to become a published author, and poet, and strives daily to make that dream her reality.
Epic Immersive Events Do you ever wish you could step into your favorite story? Jump into magical new places and surround yourself with fun activities and new friends at our epic fantasy events!
Spy School Secret Service and Surveillance Symposium Sunday, January 27 / 1:00 - 4:00 pm Shhhhh! It’s a secret! Spend the day with us transforming yourself into a secret agent who can handle himself/herself in any situation. Learn all about disguise, self-defense, code breaking, surveillance, survival skills and more. (Two groups: ages 6 - 9 & 10 - 13) REGISTER / $30
Adventures in Narnia Tuesday, February 19 / 1:00 - 4:00 pm On your day off from school, step through our enchanted wardrobe and find yourself in the fantastic world of Narnia! Inspired by The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, you’ll start in the 1940’s era bedroom of the Pevensie siblings and learn to play classic games like marbles, then travel to a winter wonderland. Enter a battle of wits with the White Witch, make magical Narnia snow globes, hunt for Lucy’s lost arrows, have tea with Tumnus (enjoy Fire Flower Cordial and Turkish Delight - but not too much) and more. REGISTER / $30
Dungeons & Dragons Day Sunday, March 17 / 1:00 - 6:00 pm Play D&D all day! Questing knights, conquering overlords, royal champions, elite foot soldiers, hardened mercenaries, and bandit kings -- who will you meet on your adventure today? Three games available today for different experience levels (initiate, intermediate and expert). REGISTER / $40
A Magical Club for Witches & Wizards The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has enchanted millions of readers since 1997. What young fan hasn’t
imagined himself or herself transfiguring teacups with Professor McGonagall, stirring bezoar into potions in the dungeons with Snape, or learning to swish and flick with Professor Flitwick? On the second Sunday of each month, a select group of young witches and wizards gather in the Magical Common Room on the second floor of the Storyteller’s Cottage to plan their strategy to defeat He Who Must Not Be Named. Visiting Hogwarts professors teach two different magical classes each month, along with a new Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson each time. Classes range from Potions to Herbology to Divination to Astronomy, Runes, Arithmancy and more. The first meeting in November focused on the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and each successive meeting will highlight the rest of the books in the series in order. After seven meetings, “graduates” of Dumbledore’s Army will celebrate at a glamorous costumed Hogwarts Ball in June. Participants attend in their Hogwarts robes or house colors, create magical items like wands and potions, discuss the books and movies, enjoy magical snacks like Butterbeer and chocolate frogs, and generally have a fantastic time with their new friends! This is a tremedously popular activity, so pre-registration is required (HERE) DECEMBER 9 - The Chamber of Secrets / Herbology & History of Magic JANUARY 13 - The Prisoner of Azakaban / Astronomy & Muggle Studies FEBRUARY 10 - The Chamber of Secrets / Arithmany & Divination MARCH 10 - Order of the Phoenix / Potions & Ancient Runes APRIL 14 - Half Blood Prince / Ghoul Stories & Charms MAY 12 - Review & OWLs
bbler i u Q ea h! Receiv each mont ail m e y b
JUNE 9 - Graduation & Hogwarts Ball
2:30 - 4
4:30 - 6
It’s Never Too Early To Register for
Yes, it’s cold outside, and you’re completely immersed in holiday shopping, but summer will be here again before you know it, and our fantasy-themed summer camp weeks will sell out soon! Perhaps someone you know would like to receive a gift certificate to camp for their holiday gift!
Harry Potter / July 1 -5 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $200
Spend a week at Hogwarts! Bring your wand, wear your house colors, and take classes from a range of visiting professors in all your favorite subjects, including Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Alchemy, History of Magic, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and more. Enjoy book discussions, scientific experiments, crafts & costuming, cooking, and even learn magic from a real magician! We’ll make chocolate frogs, drink butterbeer, play Quiddich, and even take a field trip to Hogsmeade. Bring your own lunch; we’ll provide snacks. (Two groups available for ages 6 - 9 and 10 - 13) REGISTER
Into the Land of Fantasy / July 8 - 12 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Were you born in the wrong era? Are you really a knight, or a mage, or a bard, or an elf at heart? Spend a week immersed in a land of fantasy ... create a clever and powerful character and spend your mornings crafting amazing costuming and accessories for it (like wings, horns, armor, weapons and more), then spend the afternoon playing Dungeons & Dragons as that character! (Ages 10 - 16) REGISTER
Code Breakers / July 15 - 19 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Are you a fan of exciting problem-solving books like the Mysterious Benedict Society, Book Scavenger, Mr Lemoncello’s Library and 39 Clues? Spend the week learning to break every kind of code there is! We’ll play all three of our mystery rooms, then build our own room from scratch. (Ages 7 - 11) REGISTER
The Lady is a Spy / July 22 - 26 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Do you love the idea of transforming yourself into a strong, confident agent who can handle herself in any situation? Spend the week with us learning all the skills a lady spy will need, including disguise, self-defense, sophisticated etiquette, code breaking, surveillance, orienteering, survival skills, sword-fighting, and even how to stay calm while debating! (Two groups available for ages 6 - 9 and 10 - 13) REGISTER
Camp Half Blood / July 29 - Aug 2 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Do you suspect you might be a demi-god? Come to Camp Half Blood and find out! Spend the week immersed in mythology, monster lore, weapons training, and more. (Ages 9 - 13) REGISTER
Visual Storytelling / August 5 - 9 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Stories are told many ways ... sometimes they’re verbal, sometimes they’re written, and when we’re really lucky, our favorite stories are told visually. Spend a week with us exploring all the coolest varieties of visual storytelling, from graphic novels, photography, videography (think YouTube), and hybrid versions like scriptwriting and screenwriting. (Ages 9 - 13) REGISTER
Get Published / August 12 - 16 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / $250
Do you love to write? Would you like to become a published author? Spend the week with us exploring all the coolest types of writing, like journalism, blogging, food critics, fan fiction, fantasy world-building, and more. Meet a different REAL PUBLISHED AUTHOR each day, and learn where to submit your writing for publication, how to write a query letter, when you’ll need a literary agent, and more. Spend afternoons at “CAMP NaNoWriMo”, the kid’s version of National Novel Writing Month, working on your creative writing. Complete a publishable piece by the end of the week! (Age 10 - 14) REGISTER
Children’s Events Fairytales in the Forest “Owl Moon” December 2 “A Christmas Story” Family Game Night December 7 ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ Drive December 8 Dumbledore’s Army / Herbology & History of Magic
American Girl Club: Holiday Tea Party December 11 Tall Tales: with Jackson Gillman January 5 Fairytales in the Forest “Winter Dance” January 6 Dumbledore’s Army / Astronomy & Muggle Studies
Spy School Secret Service & Surveillance Symposium January 20 Fairytales in the Forest “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch” February 3 Dumbledore’s Army / Arithmancy & Divination
Adventures in Narnia
Fairytales in the Forest “The Night Gardener” March 3 Dumbledore’s Army / Potions & Ancient Runes March 10 Dungeons & Dragons Day
A Look Back at Our Fall Activities
Our top book club reads from fall continued events covering: -masquerade ball -marilyn simon rothstein -novel retreat
The Phantom meets La
ng for B
Books * Sadie by Courtney Summers * The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White * Toil & Trouble by Tess Sharpe * City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab * In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
* Fruit spice tea with orange, pineapple and pomegranate juice * Snickerdoodle scones
Excitement and glittering lights are beginning to be seen everywhere we go. Soon, heavy blankets of snow will weigh on the trees, and we will all be traveling to see loved ones for the holidays. Itâ€™s during this time that city streets are somehow cozy-looking, with frosted windows and puffs of white everywhere you look. And in the country, the delight of seeing a family of deer dancing through the frosted woods is enough for all of us to feel the magic of winter. Once our world has been painted white, the sun goes down earlier, and we retreat to the comfort of our homes. From the cozy spot near your window, or perhaps the enticing little reading nooks of our cottage, the snowflakes outside are as pretty as a picture.
We were featured on Better Connecticut!
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Inkling Magazine Submission Guidelines In service to our mission to share the work of local authors with the surrounding community, we publish short fiction and poetry of up to 800 words. Our favorite works embody the Storytellerâ€™s sense of wonder and whimsy, and we are smitten with wildly creative pieces. Preference is given to authors who have visited us, and students of our writing workshops. Please email submissions to Alanna@StorytellersCottage.com,â€‹ using these parameters: -Times New Roman,12 point font - Double-spaced for prose, single-spaced for poetry - Name and page number in top right corner
Keep in Touch @StorytellersCottage @storytellerscottage @Storytelcottage
Inkling Staff Lisa Natcharian - Editor in Chief Alanna Hammond - Managing Editor Heather Murray - Art Director/Magazine Creator
The Storytellerâ€™s Cottage Staff Lisa Natcharian - Owner Lana Bennett - Programming & Publications Director Alanna Hammond - PR & Advertising Director Heather Murray - Creative Director Svenja Volpe - Director of Mystery Rooms & Visitor Experience Jen Cook - Guardian Juan Aguilar - Game Master Tyler Lawrence - Game Master Dave Murray - Game Master Emily Scott - Game Master Megan Stevens - Game Master