Mastering Plot Twists won the Agatha

I’m thrilled to report that Mastering Plot Twists won this year’s Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. Here I am posing with my teapot, the prize given to the winners.

Jane with her 2018 teapot May 2019


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Invitation to Hear Some of Our Great Undergrad Poets

I am pleased to invite you, on behalf of the students, to two opportunities to hear some of the amazing work written by WCSU Writing Majors this semester.

On Wednesday, May 1 the students of the Poetry II workshop will read from their work at The Mothership, 331 Main St. in Danbury at 5:30 pm. I understand there is extra parking behind the building. The Mothership’s most excellent beverages and baked goods will be available. Our gratitude to Anna at Mothership for hosting us!

On Monday, May 6 the students of the Poetry I workshop will read from their work in White Hall 127 at 12:30.

I must say that the students in both of these classes this semester have done truly admirable work. You’ll hardly believe your ears when you hear some of the work they’ve produced.

So mark GREAT POETRY on your calendar for these two dates, and we hope to see you then. Both events will start promptly at the time indicated. This event is open to the public, so feel free to invite guests.

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WCSU Undergrad Writing Awards

Dear MFA Alumni,

I hope you might consider making a small donation ($5, $10, $20?) of whatever you might be able to afford to two of the Writing Department’s undergraduate writing awards, The Jim Scrimgeour Award for Excellence in Poetry and the Barbara Winder Award in Creative Writing. These awards memorialize two emeritus members of our department and recognize the excellent work of some of our undergraduate writers. Unfortunately, the funds for these awards are depleted, and we’d like to refill the coffers. Can you help?

If so, you can make an easy, tax-deductible donation online by using the link below. On that page, you will need to select OTHER in the first dropdown box, and then type the name of the award (Jim Scrimgeour Award or Barbara Winder Award) in the Other box that will appear.

If you prefer to make a donation by check, you can do so by making it out to the WCSU Foundation and writing the name of the award in the Memo line. Send checks to WCSU Foundation, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810.

Thank you!

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Op Ed, because I’m a nerd

Hey All,

I wrote a Star Trek opinion piece, and got it published by for Black History/Women’s Higstory months.

Check it and let me know what you think.


God Is A Woman On The Enterprise – The Importance Of Nyota Uhura

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Poor Yorick Open Mic!

Come learn more about Poor Yorick, #WCSUMFA‘s literary journal, and share some of your work at our open mic! Sign up starts at 7:30; open mic begins at 8:00. Free drinks!

Poor Yorick: A Journal of Rediscovered Objects is an online literary publication of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative and Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University. The journal publishes poems, stories, essays, profiles, digital video shorts, photo essays, scholarly articles, and other innovative works about or inspired by rediscovered objects and/or images of material culture. In addition to unsolicited submissions, the journal’s editorial staff will occasionally identify a particular historical object, collection, exhibit, etc., and call for submissions inspired by the selected artifact. Poor Yorick also works in conjunction with museums both locally and nationally to identify and encourage innovative works focusing on lesser-known and overlooked objects and images

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Job at Norwalk Community College

Communication Manager

The Norwalk Community College Foundation, Inc. (NCCF) is a 501(c) (3) corporation that supports and raises funds for the benefit of Norwalk Community College (NCC), its students, faculty and programs, to further the educational purposes of NCC. The Communications Manager is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Executive Director. The Communications Manager provides creative and innovative leadership in the development and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy for NCCF to engage NCC and the community, and writes grant applications and reports. A successful communications strategy will enhance the image of NCCF within the broader community and serve to increase financial support for NCCF.

Duties and Responsibilities:

•Works with the Executive Director to develop a vision of NCCF’s long-term communications strategy
•Translates the vision into an actionable plan measurable in quantitative terms (i.e., detailing a one- two- and five-year schedule with metrics to measure success)
•Defines messages and determines the methods to convey those messages consistently and effectively.
•Evaluates effectiveness of implemented strategies to adjust and revise as required for sustained improvement.
•Writes and edits a broad range of print and digital materials.
•Oversees the development of a new website, including written content, graphics and photos, and maintains the website with regular updates to keep the material fresh, current and in line with NCCF’s communications strategy.
•Launches targeted and systematic effort to strengthen media relations and secure positive news coverage for NCCF.
•Manages third-party relationships.
•Other duties as assigned.

Grant writing:
•Deliver strong project management to ensure that grant writing deadlines are met.
•Develop paragraph templates to compellingly describe why NCC and/or the NCCF is an excellent investment for corporations and foundations locally, regionally and nationally.
•Coordinate all phases of the College Advancement Grant development process.
•Write and submit customized proposals for both unrestricted operating revenue and restricted projects working closely with the Executive Director to best represent the NCCF’s work.
•Effectively interface with a variety of constituents within the College to stay abreast of College activities, review grant implementation, and take advantage of publicity opportunities.
•Maintain excellent records of correspondence, grants, and formal reporting in Raiser’s Edge and NCCF’s shared drive so information is accurately captured, filed, and easily retrieved as needed.
•Develop and manage a streamlined, continually updated grant and publicity tracking process which insures timely submission and reporting along with keeping the Executive Director informed.

Knowledge – Skills & Abilities:
•Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing or related field with a minimum 5 years of experience in strategic communications planning and the successful design and production of print and digital materials in a non-profit environment.
•Exceptional writing, editing and oral communication skills as well as proficiency in engaging effectively in print and digital outlets with a wide range of external and internal constituencies.
•Ability to think strategically, analytically, and creatively, and to reorient strategy in response to new opportunities and changing priorities.
•Ability to deliver high-quality work within designated timelines.
•Self-starter that meets deadlines and has excellent organization, attention to detail and teamwork skills.
•Ability to build strong relationships, work independently, make decisions, maintain confidentiality, multitask, organize, and prioritize while maintaining high standards.
•Knowledge of fundraising goals and techniques preferred.
•Proficiency with technology, including all Microsoft Office products, as well as experience with Adobe Creative Suite.
•Required: A successful candidate will have multiple writing samples with a portfolio of successful print and digital materials.

Please send a resume and cover letter by email to:
Tanny Ochoa
Norwalk Community College Foundation

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Jane Cleland’s Honors Class

Honors Class - Cleland - banner

I’m excited to announce a new, completely free program I’ve created called the Honors Class. Designed for thoughtful readers and writers alike, the Honors Class provides one-minute lessons to improve and reinforce your understanding of the tools skilled writers use to tell captivating stories. Writers will learn new techniques they can put to work right away. Readers will discover tricks of the trade that will deepen your appreciation of your favorite books. You can access these in both text and podcast formats—completely for free.

I’m thrilled to report that author Dan Brown, best known for The Da Vinci Code, recommends my methods in his writing Master Class, while New York Times #1 bestselling author Louise Penny said my Agatha Award–winning book, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, offered “A gold mine of information.” And Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, says, “Mastering Plot Twists provides a unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author (new or experienced) who wants to produce a riveting, twisty, un-putdownable page turner. And who doesn’t?” The Honors Class expands on this foundation, bringing the tips and techniques to life.

Don’t miss an episode! Sign up today to receive a monthly newsletter that collects each weekly lesson into a quick-read compendium. You can also find the Honors Class with your favorite podcast reader to get each audio episode as soon as it’s released. An archive of all the lessons will always be available on my website as well.

As a special thank you for joining the mailing list in February, you will be entered to win one of ten free copies of my book Mastering Plot Twists, my latest book on the craft of writing, that was just nominated for an Agatha Award. This book details how writers keep readers on the edges of their seats by filling stories with unexpected twists and turns.

I can’t wait for you to join me in this new venture!

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