Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Three Thoughts about Foreshadowing

Three Thoughts about Foreshadowing
Brad R. Cook

Foreshadowing… what could be coming in this article… we’ll have to find out.

Foreshadowing is defined as a warning or indication of a future event. A dramatic device used to inform the reader that an important plot-point will return later in the story, in a significant way.

In television it will be accompanied by rousing music like… dun, dun, duun

Foreshadowing is a wonderful way of teasing the reader. Arousing a sense of wonder, and making the reader ask questions, or develop their own theories of what is coming. Foreshadowing comes in two important parts, one scene or line that teases the future, and a scene or line later with the promised payoff. A false buildup can anger the reader, leaving them longing for a scene that will never come.  

Usually, foreshadowing will happen in the first act of a book, but it can happen in the second act, or even the beginning of a chapter. The important point is to leave the hints before the significant scene. On a personal note, I love when writers elude to something early on in a book and that gets paid off much later in the story, it builds a sense of having come full circle in the story.

Three thoughts about Foreshadowing:

1 – Elude to the Future:
The best foreshadowing drops hints as to what the important plot-point will be. Truly great writers will drop enough hints that the reader can’t figure out what is coming, but once the plot-point has happened the reader will remember the foreshadowing and all will become clear. A foreshadowing scene or line can come any time before the significant plot-point. From the beginning of the book all the way to right before the reveal.

2 – Don’t Give Too Many Details:
Tease the future to your audience. With too many details, the reader might figure out the plot-point before it arrives. Yes, most will continue reading to see if they are correct, but if the reader can figure out what is coming, if they figure out the big reveal before the writer unveils the scene, disappointment can ensue or worse, they could stop reading. A single line might be all it takes to foreshadow what is coming, maybe even something as simple as the weather. Keep the foreshadowing simple and the reader will appreciate not giving it away.

3 – Foreshadow the Big Moments:
Foreshadowing is a device that is best used sparingly. Overuse would be a tad ridiculous. Imagine a book where every little detail is foreshadowed. The writer would spend as much time eluding to what was coming, as they would be revealing the plot. Select the moments that create the most impact, like the climax, or a significant plot-point, but there is no need to foreshadow every event. You can even foreshadow the twist of the book. The important thing to remember is to not elude to every event in the book. Foreshadowing gives the important moments even more emphasis.

One of my favorite moments of foreshadowing came in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke sees his face in Vader’s mask on Dagobah and later finds out Vader is his father. Though as Anna Kendrick points out in Pitch Perfect, Vader means father.

What are you favorite foreshadowed moments in books or movies? Let us know in the comments.

Brad R. Cook, author of the YA steampunk series, The Iron Chronicles. Iron Horsemen - and Iron Zulu -  A member of SCBWI, he currently serves as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild after three and half years as its President. Learn more at, on Twitter @bradrcook, or on his blog Thoughts from Midnight on tumblr

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Free writers’ conference Aug. 6 offers tips for kids & adults

Learn the why’s and how to’s of audiobooks from authors George Sirois and T.W. Fendley, who will share their different paths to creating audio versions of their novels as keynote speakers at the seventh annual Writers in the Park.

The free festival for writers will be held indoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 6, at Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd. It will feature multiple writer tracks for adults, a workshop for young writers (4th-8th grades), and a bookroom filled with local authors. The popular “Buy a book, get a sandwich” promotion will return, featuring sandwiches from 6 North Café. Best of all, the conference remains free and open to all writers, no registration needed.

Workshops each hour will focus on topics such as social media marketing, using social media for writers, Young Adult vs. New Adult, publishing for Kindle, and the craft of writing. Authors and publishing professionals scheduled to appear include, George Sirois, T.W. Fendley, Meredith Tate, Barry and Sarah Coziahr, and Peggy Nehmen, with more to be announced soon.

Plus, stop by the local author book fair and learn about the Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention hosted next June by the St. Louis Writers Guild.

In the keynote presentation entitled “Audiobooks: ACX, DIY, and Everything in Between,” George Sirois will share his step-by-step journey to create a digital audiobook. Sirois is the author of the science fiction novels EXCELSIOR and FROM PARTS UNKNOWN.

T.W. Fendley will focus on services such as the Audiobook Creation Exchange. Fendley’s published works include fantasy novels ZERO TIME and THE LABYRINTH OF TIME, and several short stories.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild and Writers in the Park at

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Penned Con, Bringing Authors and Readers Together for Charity

Penned Con, Bringing Authors and Readers Together for Charity
Brad R. Cook

In the writing world there are many different types of conferences. Starting with the giant mega-writer’s conferences and going all the way down to a single day workshop. Penned Con set out to do something a little different. This is the third year for this unique book event. Set in St. Louis, Missouri, Penned Con looks to bring authors and readers together in a two-day book event packed with authors.

Best of all the entire event centers around raising money for charities.

The main event is a two-day book fair, where authors from around the country will descend on the St. Louis City Center Hotel and Suites at 400 S. 14th St. St. Louis, MO 63103. A beautiful hotel sitting right beside Busch Stadium. Over 150 authors will be selling their books, one of the largest gathering of authors selling books that you will find in St. Louis and the greater region.

For a line-up of all the authors attending Penned Con visit -

Penned Con also offers writing workshops, panels, and keynotes speakers throughout the two-day event, and the whole event culminates in an exciting tradition, the Penned Con Luau. A charity dinner held as the last event of the weekend.

Penned Con raises money for Action for Autism a St. Louis based charity. For more information about their charity endeavors visit –

Tickets to Penned Con start at $15 for an all-day Friday pass, and run up to $130 for the full package with full attendance for the weekend, access to all the workshops, panels, keynote speakers, a t-shirt, lunch and the luau dinner. A two-day pass which gets you into the book fair, the workshops, panels, and keynote speakers will run $35.

Find out about all the ticket options here –

Order your tickets from Eventbrite here –

To learn more about Penned Con visit

To get an idea of what Penned Con is, watch this video produced at last year’s event.

In St. Louis, check out this great event that bring a premier literary event to our city. Outside St. Louis, consider planning a visit around Penned Con.

Penned Con
September 23 & 24, 2016
St. Louis City Center Hotel and Suites
400 S. 14th St.
St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A New Writer’s Conference is Coming in 2017!

A New Writer’s Conference is Coming in 2017!

Gateway Con – the Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention presented by St. Louis Writers Guild will take place June 16-18, 2017!

A conference for writers and convention for readers.

There’s a new road on the path to publishing… the Gateway to the West is now the gateway to the publishing industry.

St. Louis Writers Guild is bringing a new twist to the traditional writer’s conference, by adding a reader’s convention and book fair to the mix. They are expanding the traditional writer’s conference, meaning next June, the Renaissance Hotel will be taken over by all things literary.

The first annual Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention will feature a writer’s conference with multiple writing workshop tracks, pitch sessions with publishers and literary agents, critique sessions, master classes, and more. One cool feature, if a conference attendee is published, they can have their book sold at the book fair while they are at the workshops.

The Reader’s Convention and Book Fair will feature a weekend-long book store run by the Independent Bookstore Alliance. A Hall of Authors, with books from across the region. Books by the speakers and authors of the conference faculty as well as from SLWG members. Best of all the reader events will be free and open to the public.

St. Louis Writers Guild, founded in 1920, has a long tradition of holding writer’s conferences. In the 1940’s they held the regions preeminent writer’s conference, and recently, beyond aiding with such events like the Missouri Writers Guild conference, the Big Read Festival, and other large scale writing events, the organization has held Writers in the Park. Now in its seventh year, this free-to-attend festival of the writer, has been an overwhelming success. Now St. Louis Writers Guild is turning its sights to helping writers get informed about the publishing industry and maybe even find an agent or publisher.

St. Louis Writers Guild is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission to further Missouri's literary heritage, connect, support, and promote writers and literary organizations in the community.

To learn more about St. Louis Writers Guild’s Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention, or as it’s become affectionately known – Gateway Con – visit

Follow them online as well on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram - @GatewayConStL

To learn more about St. Louis Writers Guild, visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @stlwritersguild and check out #SLWG

Save the date, and more information is coming soon!

Gateway Con
Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention
June 16-18, 2017
Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis, MO
(Across from the STL Lambert International Airport)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Point of View: It’s more than First vs. Third

Every story has at least one “point of view,” but there is more to decide than First Person vs. Third Person. Join author Brad R. Cook July 9 to explore not only Limited, Omniscient, and Objective points of view, but what it all means when the words hit the page.

The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, at Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd, Kirkwood, Mo. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

“Point of view is critical to a writer’s voice, the story’s structure, and what the reader learns,” Brad said.

Author of the young adult steampunk series, The Iron Chronicles (treehouse publishing group), Brad R. Cook will see the release of book three, Iron Lotus, in November 2016. A former co-publisher and acquisitions editor for Blank Slate Press, he is a member of SCBWI, and currently serves as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild after three and half years as President. A founding contributor to The Writers’ Lens, a resource blog for writers, he can be heard weekly as a panelist on Write Pack Radio. He learned to fence at thirteen, and never set down his sword, but prefers to curl up with his cat and a centuries’ old classic. Find more @bradrcook on Twitter, Instagram, and tumblr.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

B-Fest, Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble

B-Fest, Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble
By Brad R. Cook

This weekend, June 10 – 12, 2016 Barnes & Noble will host B-Fest, a Teen Book Festival. Many stores have invited young adult authors to hold signings and create a nationwide book festival.

I’ll be signing copies of Iron Horsemen and Iron Zulu, my young adult steampunk adventures at the Chesterfield Barnes & Noble on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 1pm. I’ll be appearing with two other young adult authors, Laura Nowlin and Mandy Ruzicka. I hope you can join us!

Laura Nowlin, author of If He Had Been With Me
A New York Times Bestseller
If he had been with me everything would have been different...

I wasn't with Finn on that August night. But I should've been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it's not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know―the cause of the argument―is crucial.

So let me tell you...

Laura Nowlin, author of This Song Is (Not) For You
Ramona fell for Sam the moment she met him. It was like she had known him forever. He's one of the few constants in her life, and their friendship is just too important to risk for a kiss. Though she really wants to kiss him...

Sam loves Ramona, but he would never expect her to feel the same way-she's too quirky and cool for someone like him. Still, they complement each other perfectly, both as best friends and as a band.

Then they meet Tom. Tom makes music too, and he's the band's missing piece. The three quickly become inseparable. Except Ramona's falling in love with Tom. But she hasn't fallen out of love with Sam either.  How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?

"Educators and librarians looking for fast-moving, interesting plots, in-depth characters, and meaningful themes need to add this one to their shelves."-VOYA praise for If He Had Been with Me

Mandy Ruzicka, author of Fun Wheeled American Style
Fun Wheeled American Style is a story about my views on things that I think are fun and experiences that I have taken from my own life as a full-time wheelchair user. It is geared toward young adults, with and without disabilities, or individuals of any age who need a little extra push to enjoy life and experience new things. Life is what you make it, and sometimes it can be a little too serious or get too real for all of us. My story will help you find ways to make your own fun.

The Iron Chronicles
Iron Horsemen, Book One of the Iron Chronicles
Alexander Armitage doesn't fit in at Eton College. Not only is he an American, his father, a new teacher at the college, is obsessed with ancient languages and the dusty old books he makes Alexander spend his time studying instead of trying to make friends. When his father is kidnapped, Alexander gladly leaves school behind and finds himself partnered with a baron's daughter, her little bronze dragon, and an eclectic crew of Sky Raiders in a quest to find him. When their search leads them to Malta, they discover a secret society intent on unleashing the ancient Iron Horsemen and usurping the reins of power in London.  
In a steam-powered Victorian world where pirates prowl the sky and secret societies determine the future like a game of chess, Alexander must confront the harsh legacy of the divided country he left behind, a new aristocratic world that rejects him, and the overwhelming pressure of being offered to become a Horseman himself.
Iron Zulu, Book Two of the Iron Chronicles
Alexander Armitage is back in the thrilling sequel to IRON HORSEMEN. It’s been almost a year since he saved London, and life has returned to the structured days at Eton College, a place he still doesn’t fit in. When a series of murders strike campus, they are blamed on the visiting Zulu delegation. But Alexander has doubts. In his search for the truth, he finds himself embroiled with the baron’s daughter’s dark past as they are captured and taken by armored Milli-train to the hidden city of the sky pirates. The chase is on, from the cobbled streets of London, to the great deserts and savannas of Africa.

In a steam-powered Victorian world where pirates prowl the sky and secret societies determine the future like a game of chess, Alexander learns the difference between what is savage and what is noble, while discovering the power within himself.

But we’re not the only authors appearing at B&N this weekend:

Kristy Blank Makansi, co-author of the Seeds Trilogy will be at the Chesterfield Barnes and Noble on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 7:30pm.

Join the Chesterfield Barnes & Noble at 7:00PM on Friday, June 10, 2016 for their Trivia Blast, created by Penguin Teen and Random House's First In Line, who will send one winner in every store advance reader copies* of the most anticipated new teen books. *Advance reader's copies will be preselected by the publisher.

George Sirois, author of Excelsior, Debbie Manber Kupfer, author of P.A.W.S., and Rebecca Jaycox, author of The Other Inheritance will be appearing at the West County Barnes & Noble at 12pm on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

Be at the Des Peres Barnes & Noble at 2:00PM to participate in a story development workshop created by Adaptive Studios and learn how to write a log line, create a spark page and reimagine popular characters.

Kourtney Heintz, author of The Six Train to Wisconsin, will be appearing at the Waterbury Barnes & Noble in Connecticut from 12pm to 2pm.

So check your local Barnes & Noble and see what is going on for B-Fest. Feel free to post other B-Fest appearances in the comments section. To learn more about B-Fest visit B&N’s website -  

Also, follow the weekend’s events using the hashtag #BFestBuzz