May 3, 2015 – Literary Salon hosted by J.L. Forrest and Karen Douglass

May 3, 2015 – Literary Salon hosted by J.L. Forrest and Karen Douglass

The Literary Salon is fashioned after the great salons of Paris in the Eighteenth Century, and is free and open to the public. Members talk about their writing successes and challenges, solicit advice, share their experiences and keep each other up-to-date on trends. Our topics range widely–covering the art, psychology, spirituality, business and craft of writing and publishing. All genres and experience levels are welcome.

This Literary Salon will have two headliners this time around, members J.L. Forrest and Karen Douglass will be hosting and reading from their novels for the discussion.

 The event is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required. Please register for this event at: Boulder Writers’ Workshop at

Event will take place Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 3-5PM at Arapahoe Conference Room at Boulder Public Library



J.L. Forrest lives in Boulder, Colorado with the actor and stage artist Shana Cordon and two enormously spoiled cats. He teaches and writes in Boulder, but migrates regularly to Seattle, Washington and Roma, Italia. Most of his work fits neatly within the science-fiction rubric, but every few stories he tries something different. A new anthology of his short stories will be available later this year. You can reach him at or on Twitter @WordForrest.


Karen Douglass, a Colorado writer, has published short fiction, many individual poems and five books of poetry. She has a BS (Chapman College), an MA (Georgia Southern) and an MFA (Vermont College). She is a co-host for an ongoing poetry reading in Lafayette CO, a member of Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop, Colorado Independent Publishers Association (board member), and Boulder Writers’ Workshop. You can find her full bio and publication list at

Highlights from the March Literary Salon: Gary McBride “Foreshadowing in the First Person Present”

Highlights from the March Literary Salon: Gary McBride “Foreshadowing in the First Person Present”

By Michael Carson, BWW Vice President

A former keyboardist who made his living playing music - no simple feat - Gary McBride understands how the intro affects the rest of a song. It can draw you in, or drive you away. It can set the tone, or make you tune out. It can let you know that you’re in for a good listen - just as the introduction to a book can tell you you’re in for a good read.

Gary hosted the Boulder Writers' Workshop March Literary Salon and read from novel-in-progress, The Wildcat, which was a second-place winner in the 2015 Zebulon Contest hosted by Pikes Peak Writers.  The Literary Salons held by the BWW are patterned after the traditional salons of Paris and feature a member reading from his or her work, followed by a discussion of all things publishing and writing.

In his salon, Gary guided the topic toward “Foreshadowing in the First Person Present,” and used examples from the first chapter of his new novel to highlight some foreshadowing techniques you can use when writing in first person, present tense.

While foreshadowing doesn’t have to be part of your introduction, and in fact can appear in a variety of places in your book, a good writer sets our expectations by skillfully foreshadowing major plot developments in the introduction or first chapter. She whets our appetite keeps us turning the page to see how things will turn out, just as we keep listening to a song after a good intro section makes us want to hear more.

Foreshadowing in any tense sets up expectations, and gets the reader to continue to want more. Here your character says or does something that gives the reader a hint of future action or developments, usually events that are critical to paying off the story hook, or completing a character’s plot or personal growth arc. Foreshadowing:

  1. Creates anticipation – by increasing the reader’s interest.
  2. Drives story forward – creating motivation for the characters.
  3. Makes the fantastical seem believable.

The biggest problem with first person present tense is that the narrator herself has no idea what’s coming next, and can’t tell us with any certainty what’s going to happen down the road. Which makes it impossible to foreshadow in present tense, right? Not necessarily. It is possible to foreshadow, but the author must rely on more subtle techniques, such as omens, Chekhovs Gun, symbolism, and the red herring, to name a few.

Chekhov’s Gun is one of the more famous devices in the foreshadowing repertoire. In the late 1800s, Chekhov wrote: “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.” 

See if you can find Chekhov’s Gun in your own work. If you’re writing first person present tense, it would be worthwhile to see if you’ve used any of these techniques, either intentionally or accidentally. Below, Gary gives you some more that are worth putting into your bag of tricks. Even if you think you know what they are, take a few minutes to look them up and it’s almost certain you’ll learn a new tidbit or two:

  • Omens and Prophecies.
  • Symbolism
  • McGuffin
  • Parallel Actions
  • Epigraph
  • Seed narrative with objects
  • Odd behavior: action without explanation
  • Character reactions to objects
  • Changes in mood or weather
  • Changes in story pace.

Despite being under the weather, Gary led an energetic salon. Our thanks go out to him and everyone who attended. The topic was relevant, useful, and presented in an action-oriented format: you can apply these techniques to your own work today. Do so and make your readers drool with anticipation for what happens on page 135.

Gary Alan McBride is a writer and musician from Denver, Colorado, born during the Kennedy administration. He is a good conversationalist and has written a number of essays, plays, musicals, songs, tone poems, and choral works. Gary can be found @garyalanmcbride on Twitter and on the web at, or email admin (at ) garyalanmcbride (dot)com.


MichaelCarsonMichael Carson is a contributing editor for The Insider, Colorado’s comprehensive writing and publishing industry newsletter and the vice-president of the Boulder Writers' Workshop. He is writing a YA novel. 

Richard Wall

Richard Wall

As a freelance writer, Richard writes about everything from The World’s Most Expensive Male Prostitute to Percutaneous Spinal Fusion—and by the way, you don’t want to be in laid up in bed with either one. In his novels, Richard writes about big social issues, not in a preachy manner but as one element in interesting, character-driven stories about people striving to make something of their lives. His writing style is friendly and wry; his characters are relatable and realistically complex.

His recently published eBook, Fools Poll, is about the insanely frustrating American political system and the Nashville nobody in a wheelchair who decides to take it on as an independent running for Congress. If all goes well, Fools Poll will change U.S. politics and government forever, and make the whole world a much better place. At least that’s the humble plan.

His novel Drive Nice is about an idealistic graduate student (from Fort Collins) who leverages a bootlegged military device into a vigilante movement that enforces civil driving in San Francisco Bay area. Hunted down by NASCAR, Homeland Security and every cop on the peninsula, the members of this wildly popular group, called the Sprawlers, are doomed to a fiery end—unless the CSU grad can send them out with a bang first. Richard is seeking agent representation for Drive Nice. He is currently writing Blue Green, a historical novel about 6th century chariot-racing factions that almost overthrew the Roman Emperor Justinian, with a subtext of the importance of sports to society.

Richard has been a freelance writer and television producer for more than 10 years.  Okay, 15 years. Prior to that, he worked as a magazine editor, public relations flack, journalist, welfare counselor, bartender, cook, construction laborer, and newspaper boy back in the day when you had to ride your bike before dawn and pitch papers onto the roofs of subscribers.

He enjoys surfing (extremely difficult since recently moving to Colorado), bicycling, hiking, swimming, listening to history lectures, working on his website, reading, and explaining that you are not throwing your vote away when you vote for a third-party or independent candidate, no matter what every political pundit in the world says. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. To see some of his clips and a professional profile, visit












Best Letters Publishing has recently released the novel Fools Poll by Richard Wall. Kirkus Reviews says, “ . . .this rousing political page-turner won’t fail to entertain—maybe even inspire.” This 314 page commercial novel about 2012’s most exciting election is available as an eBook at Amazon and at Smashwords for such eReaders as Nook, Sony, iPad and others, or as a download file. Fools Poll is the story of Hector Lawrence of Nashville, who has had enough, of his sister Lola who’s cheated and abused him, and of the two parties that have ruined American politics. So Hector, who’s never had a job and has trouble buttoning his shirt due to polio, runs for Congress as an independent in an election that electrifies the city. Fighting the parties, apathy, betrayal and ruthless opponents, Hector battles down to the wire for every vote, surrounded by what Kirkus Reviews calls a “ . . .sharply drawn cast of characters, from doting matrons and 30-something lonely hearts to skeevy perverts and gum-snapping teens, all brought vividly to life by the author’s well-crafted, empathetic prose.”



August 18 – Peak Critique Club

August 18 – Peak Critique Club

Get your prose in top shape with the Peak Critique Club. Weed out weak writing and learn story-strengthening strategies. Gain a greater understanding of what makes a story work, through critiquing other people’s pieces and having your own critiqued. Writing exercises and spot-training with Writing Coach Lori DeBoer will whip you into peak performance so you can reach your publication goals. Her clients have won many awards, including: Finalist, Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; The Glyph Award; First Place, North American Travel Journalists Association; Salon Editor’s Pick; Finalist, Tin House Literary Award; Finalist, Southwest Writers Contest; Finalist, Colorado Book Award; First Place, Society of Professional Journalists.

This class is open to those working on short stories, personal essays, novels (any genre), memoirs or narrative nonfiction books. It is not suitable for those writing plays, poetry or children's picture books.

Club members must agree to:

--Submit one piece of writing, from 15 to 20 pages, for critique during the three-week period.
--Submit one rewrite for evaluation by the instructor at the end of the course. (Readings will be sent out on August 12, before the first meeting. Two folks will need to be ready to submit at that time.)
--Read and critique other members’ work each week.

The Details

$125 General Admission | $90 Professional Members



(price includes evaluation and feedback on up to 20 revised pages, which is a $180 value.)

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturdays, August 18 - September 1

Lori's Home in North Boulder (Address TBA to participants)

Limited to six students; class must fill to be a go.

Interested in getting the Professional Member rate? For $75 a year, you'll have access to the members-only area on our Website, including exclusive content, a listing in our professional directory, posting privileges on the BWW blog, private member forums, members-only events and much more.


August 11 – Literary Salon with Buzzy Jackson

August 11 – Literary Salon with Buzzy Jackson

Buzzy Jackson will host the Boulder Writers’ Workshop Literary Salon on Saturday, August 11.  She will open the salon with a brief reading of her work and then will guide our discussion. Attendees are free to ask her questions, as well as throw out discussion topics to the group. The Literary Salon is fashioned after the great salons of Paris in the Eighteenth Century, and is free and open to the public. The salon runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Villas at the Atrium. Pre-registration is required.

Buzzy earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History from UC Berkeley, where she wrote her first book, A Bad Woman Feeling Good: Blues and the Women Who Sing Them (W.W. Norton: 2005). She has received numerous writing and teaching awards, including those from UC Berkeley, PEN-West and the American Library Association.

Her book, Effie Perine: A Novel, was just published on Amazon. The main character, Effie, comes to San Francisco on the hunt for work and her long-lost father, so when she’s offered a job at a detective agency she figures it’s a two-birds-one-stone situation. But when her strange new boss invites her into a world of hardboiled mystery, the line between real life and film noir fantasy becomes as foggy as a San Francisco summer — and Effie’s future happiness is at stake.

Buzzy has also written a memoir. In Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist, Buzzy dives headfirst into her family gene pool: flying cross-country to locate an ancient family graveyard, embarking on a weeklong genealogy Caribbean cruise, and even submitting her DNA for testing to try to find her Jacksons. Through Buzzy’s research she connects with distant relatives, traces her roots back more than 250 years and in the process comes to discover—genetically, historically, and emotionally—the true meaning of “family” for herself.

Buzzy is currently a Research Affiliate at The Center of the American West at CU-Boulder. Buzzy writes for many online publications, as well as for radio and film. For more information, visit