Get ready for A Dark and Stormy Night – Mystery Weekend in Manzanita

4f7a9b905a1bc2d6c97e5c8f0157ee9d_fullIt’s going to be another dark and stormy weekend in Manzanita, November 18 – 20, a Mystery Weekend which promises even more twists and turns than last year’s inaugural event.
Sponsored by the Hoffman Center for the Arts, North Tillamook Library, Riverbend Players, NCRD Center for Performing Arts and CART’M, mystery enthusiasts can partake in a variety of activities over the three-days. According to event coordinator Madeline Olson, there’s something for everyone.
“What started as a mystery book sale at the North Tillamook Library in Manzanita two years ago expanded the following year to include more mystery-related events along with additional collaborators interested in establishing a fall shoulder-season event,” Olson explained. “This year promises even more fun with more activities.”

Mystery Weekend II kicks off Friday, Nov. 18 with two evening events. The Riverbend Players present “Dead Give Away” at 7 p.m. at the NCRD Center for Performing Arts in nearby Nehalem. Admission is $15. At 7:30 in Manzanita the Hoffman Center for the Arts is host to a mystery movie presentation of “If There’s A Hell Below” at 7:30 p.m. at a cost of $5 at the door.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, mystery activities include a mystery version of Story Time for Children featuring “Where’s My Teddy,” by Jez Alborough, at 11 a.m. at the North Tillamook Library, 571 Laneda Ave. in Manzanita. The first 10 families attending the event will receive a free book.

“Taking Your Mystery Recycling” is the theme of an all-day free event at CART’M from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while NCRD, by popular demand, is host to a Live Clue Experience, a family-oriented whodunnit with prizes and snacks from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hoffman Center events on Saturday include a Writing Scary workshop by author Cat Winters from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Pre-register on the Hoffman blog. Cost is $30. Winters will read from her new novel “Yesternight” at 7 p.m. at the Hoffman Center, which will be followed by the Writer’s Series Open Mic with the theme “It Was A Dark & Stormy Night” for those wishing to share their creations. Admission is $7 at the door.

Mystery Weekend wraps up on Sunday, the 20th, with the Mystery Book Sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Tillamook Library featuring gently used mystery books with proceeds helping to support library building maintenance. And, if you missed the Riverbend Players presentation of “Dead Give Away,” at the NCRD Center for Performing Arts, you have another opportunity at 2 p.m.

Cat Winters will read from her new novel ~ Yesternight



Saturday, November 19, 2016
7:00 pm
Hoffman Center for the Arts
Manzanita, Oregon

Yesternight is Winters’ second adult novel, recently released October 4, 2016. Set in 1925 in the “rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon,” the novel involves reincarnation and madness as well as issues of a professional woman stifled by the conventions of her time.

“Winters follows The Uninvited with another gripping historical novel, this one an exploration of the effects of suppressed trauma and desire. Winters unveils the unspoken complexities of humankind in this well-written tale that is suspenseful in all the right places, and will keep readers guessing at every page.”  — Booklist

“Yesternight is a story that is unassumingly haunting.”  —Kirkus

Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of YA and adult fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her adult novels are The Uninvited and Yesternight. Her young adult works include In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Steep and Thorny Way, and the forthcoming Odd & True. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and “best of” lists.

Winters will lead a writing workshop during the day from 1 to 330 pm titled Writing Scary.

 Learn how to make your readers’ hearts race with fear, whether you’re a writer of horror or you simply want to write a chilling scene. Through lectures, group discussions, and a variety of exercises, Winters will share her favorite tools for producing writing that’s evocative and spooky.

Tuition is $30. Register here.

Following Winters’ reading and Q&A in the evening, we’ll have our popular Open Mic where up to nine local or visiting writers will read 5 minutes of their original work. The suggested (not required) theme for the evening’s Open Mic is “It Was a Dark & Stormy Night.” Admission for the evening reading is $7.

Both events are part of the second annual Dark and Stormy Night – Mystery Weekend in Manzanita, in collaboration with the North Tillamook Library.

The Manzanita Writers’ Series is a program of the Hoffman Center for the Arts and will be held at the Hoffman Center (across from Manzanita Library at 594 Laneda Avenue.) For more information contact Kathie Hightower,

Chelsea Cain reads from The Night Season Saturday November 5 during the Dark & Stormy Beach Weekend

Thriller author, Chelsea Cain will read from her new book on Nov 5. Photo by Laura Domela.

So, who is Chelsea Cain and why does she write gory thrillers?

New York Times Bestselling author Chelsea Cain will read from her latest book The Night Season at 7 pm Saturday November 5.

Caine’s Portland-based thrillers, described by The New York Times as “steamy and perverse,” have been published in over 30 languages, recommended on “The Today Show,” appeared in episodes of HBO’s “True Blood” and ABC’s “Castle,” named among Stephen King’s top ten favorite books of the year, and included in NPR’s list of the top 100 thrillers ever written. According to Booklist, “Popular entertainment just doesn’t get much better than this.”

So how did this “Queen of serial-killer fiction” (Kirkus Reviews) get into writing gory books? Here’s the start of an explanation.

“In retrospect I always had a fascination with the macabre.

It started with the pet cemetery. A kitten of mine was hit by a car and I buried her in an elaborate ceremony under the Rhododendron bush in our front yard in Bellingham, Washington. Months later, I came across a dead bird. I picked it up, put it in my lunchbox, carried it home and buried it under the Rhododendron.

Eventually kids in the neighborhood started hearing about the cemetery and would appear at my door cradling their dead pets. By the end of that year I had buried fifteen birds, three cats, a hamster, a rabbit, a chicken, and about a dozen gold fish. Each corpse was laid in a shoebox, cushioned with toilet paper, and presented with a piece of costume jewelry from a collection that someone had given me. I would then bury the box and say a few words to whoever was present. I had a special vintage ladies hat I would wear for the occasion. It was black, with white silk flowers piled on it, and a torn black net veil.

I was not an ordinary child.”

Get the idea that Cain won’t be an “ordinary reader?” To find out more about how the Green River Killer, Nancy Drew and TV cops shows headed Cain down the path of gory thrillers join us on November 5.

After Chelsea’s reading and Q&A we’ll have our popular Open Mic focused on the theme of “It was a dark and stormy night” at the Hoffman Center in Manzanita.

Admission for the evening is $5.

The weekend is a joint event of the Manzanita Writers’ Series/Hoffman Center and the Manzanita Business Alliance, and is made possible in part by a grant from the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition.


2 Workshops: Flash Fiction and Writing the Picture Book

On Saturday, November 5, Mindy Hardwick will lead two writing workshops. Workshops will run from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Fee for each is $25. Both workshops will be at the Hoffman Center, 594 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita. Click here for a registration form.

Writing From Life: Flash Fiction–10 a.m. to Noon

It’s short. It’s fast, and it’s fun. Mindy will lead us through exercises to “mine our memories” for ideas. Then, we’ll take those rich ideas and turn them into pieces of flash fiction. You’ll learn about publishing markets open to Flash Fiction. This is a great workshop for writers wanting to learn more about Flash Fiction, memoir writers looking for new writing ideas, and high school writing teachers looking for new ways to teach writing.

Writing the Picture Book: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Picture books are the most beloved story form of children’s writing. But, how easy is it to write a picture book and how can the knowledge of picture book writing help writers who are working on longer stories? Join Mindy to learn to create a memorable character and how to structure a picture book. The workshop is perfect for writers and educators who want to better understand how to work with and teach the elements of story.

Mindy Hardwick to teach Flash Fiction and The Picture Book

Mindy Hardwick is a published children’s writer and educator. Her middle grade novel, Stained Glass Summer is due out December 2011, and her young adult contemporary romance novel, Weaving Magic, will publish April 2012. Mindy has facilitated a poetry workshop with teens at Denney Youth Juvenile Justice Center for five years. Her flash fiction and narrative non-fiction about the youth has been published with Between the Lines and Glass Cases. Mindy is co-editor of four anthologies, written by the youth, entitled, Call It Courage, I Am From, Because I Wanted to Be Loved, and Please Brave Me, Don’t Cry. Visit Mindy at:

Workshop: Fund Your Creative Project

Gigi Rosenberg to teach Funding Your Creative Project on Sunday, November 6th. Photo by Heather Hawksford

Sign up for this workshop before October 24th for a Special Rate!  Click here for a registration form.

Fund Your Creative Project: Grant Writing for the Visual, Literary & Performing Artist

In this hands-on workshop, held on Sunday, November 6th as part of the Dark & Stormy Beach Weekend, artists and writers learn to take a good idea and transform it into a compelling grant proposal. Discover how to research funding, decode application questions and create a budget that makes your application irresistible. Bring any writing you have about yourself or your work, including artist statement, project descriptions, or reviews, if any. Participants will have time to clarify their ideas and receive moderated feedback from the group and direct coaching from the instructor. Open to both experienced and novice grant writers.

Previous workshop participants have gotten grants to do things like:

• build a website

• fly to Europe to attend a conference

• attend an artist’s retreat

• put on a play

• hire a mentor

• take a workshop

• stage a performance installation.


The workshop will be held Sunday, November 6th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., bring a brown bag for lunch. Fee is $65 for the first twelve attendees who register by October 24th; $95 thereafter.  The workshop will be at the Hoffman Center, 594 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita.  Click here for a registration form.

Gigi Rosenberg is a writer, speaker, workshop leader and grant-writing guru. Her book, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing, grew out of her acclaimed professional development workshops launched in Portland, Oregon, and taught in Chicago, New York and throughout the Pacific Northwest at colleges, conferences and arts organizations. Visit



Hoffman Center Awarded $1,500 Grant

The Hoffman Center has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition to fund its Dark & Stormy Book Weekend this year. The funds will help expand the event, first held in 2009. The weekend event — featuring writing workshops and author readings — is designed to leverage the area’s reputation as a haven for writers and bring visitors to the area.

The grant will provide stipends to help recruit authors and experts, as well as additional marketing dollars to promote the event more broadly.

“Playing off one of the most famous opening book lines in history — ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ — and tying that to our obviously dark and stormy winter weather, we stand to attract writers and readers to the coast during our shoulder season,” said Kathie Hightower, co-founder of the Manzanita Writers’ Series. “That can benefit the business community at the same time it affords cultural connection between coastal and urban writers and readers.”

The grant will not cover the whole cost of the program, so additional funding will be sought from local organizations, businesses and individuals. “We will also be looking to work with local businesses to create additional related events and benefits for both visitors and local customers during that weekend,” said Vera Wildauer, Hoffman Center Board member and co-founder of the Manzanita Writers’ Series. “In 2009, several businesses jumped in to be part of the event and we hope to expand that participation this year.”

The Tillamook County Cultural Coalition is responsible for distributing Community Cultural Participation Grant program funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Matt Love: An Evening with a “True Oregonian”

Matt Love read from his collection --Super Sunday in Newport-- and quizzed the audience on Oregon facts.

Matt Love read from his collection --Super Sunday in Newport-- and quizzed the audience on Oregon facts.

The highlight of the Dark & Stormy Book Weekend was Saturday night’s evening author reading.   Author and publisher, Matt Love read from his new book Super Sunday in Newport and was followed by the Open Mic.  Over 70 people came to listen and/or to read.

Love engaged the audience immediately with his “true Oregonian” contest and prize. He started the group standing up, telling people to sit down when they could not answer yes to one of his questions.

“Have you visited Crater Lake?’

“Have you sat on the beach by a bonfire?”

“Have you been to the Country Fair?”

The questions continued until only one person was still standing.

Sharlene Hanlon of Olympia won the True Oregonian prize.

Local audience member Karen Reddick Yurka was quick to point out that Hanlon was raised in Klamath Falls and lived in Portland for a long time before moving to Olympia to care for her dad, so the rumor that a Washingtonian won the prize isn’t quite true.

Love is founder and publisher of Nestucca Spit Press, an independent press that exclusively publishes books about Oregon. He has published several hundred Oregon writers in his anthologies, as well as Old Nehalem Road, a collection of poems by Manzanita’s Travis Champ. This year Oregon Literary Arts presented Love with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, “in recognition of significant contributions that have enriched Oregon’s literary community.”

It was appropriate that he was the featured author for the first literary weekend and that he read from his new book, Super Sunday in Newport, because that book evolved from pieces he wrote and read weekly at an Open Mic at Café Mundo in Nye Beach.

Love drew extra applause when he mentioned a recent conversation he had with a writer from a certain publication.

“He asked me what was the best book town along the Oregon Coast,” Love said, “I told him it was Manzanita — the community supports two independent bookstores and they support Open Mic evenings like this one, in force. Other towns have events but they are not as well-attended.”

After Love’s readings, the Open Mic session triggered lots of laughter and applause, with writers from as far as Astoria reading their pieces.

The event continued past that evening into the rest of the weekend, in at least one instance.

Tobi Nason of Overboard read to much delight at the Open Mic. On Sunday, she had two different people walk into her store to ask her to read her piece to them because they’d missed it.

“Then I closed my shop and stopped in at Vino,” she adds, “Sarah asked me to read it again since Dixie had to miss the reading.”

Nason and another local writer who read at the event, Holly Lorincz, said they were inspired by their experience reading to commit to writing a piece for every monthly Open Mic.

We look forward to it!

Getting Writers Off Their Track

Local writers get creative with Susan Wooldridge

Local writers get creative with Susan Wooldridge

When it comes to getting creative, there are few writers that haven’t picked up an exercise or two from Susan Wooldridge’s book poemcrazy.  There’s at least one writing group in town that regularly uses that resource in its weekly writing sessions.  But, just ask anyone who was in the workshop on Sunday, November 8, and they’ll each say having the author lead the exercises was even better.

“The impact was so much bigger than just reading the book,” said Kathie Hightower, co-founder of the Manzanita Writers’ Series.

In addition to creating a group ‘word pool’,  doling out her famous ‘word tickets’ , pages from an old dictionary, and books by other poets, Susan also passed around postcards of paintings and paint chips from a hardware store to inspire participants and trigger new ways of expressing themselves.

Susan Wooldridge“I want you to steal words,” she exclaimed.  “Be a thief!”  And that’s just one way she gets writers to get off their regular track.  She also exhorted participants to lie.  “Lie to tell the truth,” is how she puts it, again to encourage writers to stretch beyond their usual writing habits. Along with the writing, Susan had the group laughing and dancing.

If you don’t already have poemcrazy, there are still some signed copies at Cloud & Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita.  Plus, Susan’s new book Foolsgold:  Making Something from Nothing (and freeing your creative process) is also available.

Options in Self-Publishing

Local writers Garry Gitzen, Judy Crandall, and Marko Smith at the Self-Publishing Workshop

Local writers Garry Gitzen, Judy Crandall, and Marko Smith at the Self-Publishing Workshop

Local writers got an in-depth look at all the options available for publishing their work.  Print-on-demand technology has opened the door for a lot of writers who might otherwise not get their work in print.  According to Helen Gallagher, author of Release Your Writing, there are many writing projects that lend themselves very well to the self-publishing model.  If you have a very specialized topic that’s aimed at a narrow audience, need the book to establish your professional credentials, have a collection of essays or articles, or want to release a book that has gone out of print, you’ll be well-served to explore your options.

In the past, self-publishing meant you had to contract with a printer on your own and then ended up with a garage full of books to sell.  That’s still an option–especially for books where the paper quality or images are especially important.  However, now you can upload your book to a variety of print-on-demand publishers and order books just as they’re needed.  Several will also make your book available at online retailers and in the databases regular retailers use to order books.

Just because you can easily get your book into print, though, doesn’t mean you can forego important key elements.  The cover has to be well-designed and compelling, and solid editing is mandatory.  And once your book is available online, it’s all the more important to focus on marketing it.

For more information and resources, go to Helen’s web site, or pick up her book at Ekahni Books in Manzanita.