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Author Michael Ventrella, will be at the GLVWG Write Stuff Writers Conference™, “2020 Vision”, on Saturday, March 14, at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center.

He will offer three sessions.

How the Law Really Works

The Biggest Mistakes Made by New Authors

What Editors Look For

** Click “Continue Reading” for Interview and Course Details **



Outside of writing, Mike worked primarily as a public defender; however, he also was a lobbyist for the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action (and later served as the Massachusetts chapter President for a year), taught political science courses at Bunker Hill Community College, and was a campaign manager for a state representative. Mike also wrote songs and performed in two prominent bands, Agent 99 and Big House, which played the major clubs in the Boston area and received airplay on local college radio.

Mike also started a magazine about animated films called Animato in the mid 80s which grew to be quite prominent. He was quoted in many publications as an animation expert, including Entertainment Weekly and in the book THE DREAM TEAM: THE RISE AND FALL OF DREAMWORKS by Daniel M. Kimmel.

In 1997, Mike and his wife, Heidi, moved to the beautiful Poconos, where Mike now works as an attorney. Heidi is a Niche award-winning artist whose work can be seen in galleries around the country and in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums all over the world, as well as on ABC TV’s To Tell the Truth. They love the pitter patter of little feet (they have five cats:  McGonigal, Mrs. Premise, Mrs. Conclusion, Doctor Who and River Song).

Mike is a regular fixture at science fiction conventions on the east coast, where he appears on panels to discuss fiction, animation, and gaming. However, to many people, he’s known primarily as the Guy Who Predicted The Hodor Plot Twist.


An Interview with Michael Ventrella

By Conference Chairman – Charles Kiernan

Question: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from rejections?

Michael: Never take it personally. You can’t please everyone, and a story that one editor hates may be loved by another. As an editor myself, I have had to reject stories that were great simply because I didn’t have enough room for all the great stories I received OR perhaps I already had another great story with the same theme. So understand that rejection is part of the business and it may have nothing whatsoever to do with how good the story is. You have to expect it. Otherwise, you’re like a prize fighter getting into the ring and going “Hey, I didn’t know someone would be hitting me back!” (However, if you get lots of rejections from everyone, maybe the story needs more work or maybe you should start a new one. Don’t expect every single story to sell.)


Q: Share the strangest source of inspiration for your writing that you can remember. 

M: I heard someone say that Congress was full of bloodsuckers, and I thought “Now, wouldn’t that be interesting?” The idea that vampires can look you in the eye and convince you to do anything was appealing because what politician wouldn’t die for that power? I began a story about a vampire running for Congress, realized it needed to be bigger, rewrote it a few times, added a few assassinations and conspiracy theories and lots of action, and it eventually became my novel “Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President.” Bottom line: Inspiration can come from anywhere. Just pay attention and always say “What if…?”


Q: Who is your favorite main character you’ve ever created and why? 

M: I created a black female lead character for a story taking place in the 1890s. I wanted to have a fine adventure yet also deal with the issues of discrimination, but in a fun way (if that makes sense). Not being either black or a female, I had to be careful that I wasn’t being either stereotypical or patronizing, so I had black female friends read it and they loved it, which pleased me greatly. So because it was that challenge and I met it, she’s my favorite! Plus she’s a fun, strong character who is in way over her head but never gives up. I like those kinds of “reluctant hero” characters.


Q: What advice can you give beginning authors in establishing their brand and media presence?

M: Sell yourself, not your books. Make yourself into an interesting person with interesting things to say so that people go “I like the way that person writes, and I’ll bet their books are interesting as well.” Don’t start a Facebook page for your book, start it for yourself. And don’t make every post about buying your book. Also, promote other writers and they will reciprocate. We’re not in competition! (Oh, and when you do write, write well! If your posts are full of misspellings and grammatical errors, no one will want to read your book. Seriously, I’ve seen this…)


Q: What projects are coming up next for you?

M: As I write this in December 2019, my alternate history Beatles anthology “Across the Universe” is about to be released, and I’m anxious to see how that goes over. A second nonfiction book about the music of the Monkees comes out early in 2020, and some of my older novels with a small publisher are in the process of being reissued with new covers and a few changes (including a brand new short story in one of the anthologies), so that’s keeping me busy, especially since we’re trying to have the audio books released at the same time. I’m currently recording my own audio book of my nonfiction humor book “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative.” And, of course, I keep my blogs updated as often as possible. In my spare time, I am a lawyer.


Saturday Sessions:  March 14, 2020

How the Law Really Works

Too many authors have no idea how the legal system really works, causing lawyers to laugh at TV shows, movies, and books that completely misunderstand the process.  Even the news media messes it up. If you want your story to be believable, you need to know the process. Since you’re probably not going to be writing a story about minor crimes, this will mostly discuss big cases that grab attention and place your characters in jail awaiting trial. Michael explains what happens when someone is arrested and discusses how best to portray this in your fiction to keep it as exciting as possible (since much of it can be quite boring).

The Biggest Mistakes Made by New Authors

Basic, common mistakes are a surefire way to telegraph to an agent, editor or even your reader, that you are a starting writer. Often, these common mistakes are obvious once pointed out, and maybe only 20% of this may make you say “Oh, hadn’t thought of that,” but that 20% will be different for each person. Are you starting your story too early? Are you forgetting to trust your reader’s intelligence? Is this story about ideas instead of characters? How can I impress an agent? Should I self-publish?

This class will cover writing mistakes, submission mistakes, and promotional mistakes in a fast-paced checklist.

What Editors Look For

You’ve written a story and now you’re looking for a magazine or anthology editor who might be interested. Or perhaps you’ve seen a post searching for specifically-plotted stories for a themed anthology. Anthology editor Michael A. Ventrella discusses the obvious (Don’t submit stories full of spelling errors; don’t submit something the editor isn’t looking for; don’t offer bribes) and the not-so-obvious (Trim your story to the very basics; Make sure there is a story there and not just an idea; Don’t use the first idea you come up with). He’ll share some horror stories he’s heard from other editors and present a few of his own. 


Michael’s most recent novel, Bloodsuckers, is “A delicious blend of mainstream thriller, oddball horror, and biting social commentary. Sink your teeth into this one!” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero and V-Wars

Big Stickdoesn’t have everything. It has more than everything! A dynamic PoC secret agent! Teddy Roosevelt! Steampunk inventions! Real dirty politics in a fantastic might-have-been world! Rayguns! Airships! Assassinations! Teddy Roosevelt with a raygun! And a cover by Phil Foglio! What the heck are you doing looking at this stupid blurb? Buy this book and read it!” – Ryk Spoor, author of Grand Central Arena and Princess Holy Aura

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Michael Ventrella


You can find all of his books and short stories on Michael Ventrella’s Amazon Page, and his Goodreads Profile.

And don’t forget to visit his website, https://michaelaventrella.com/ ,

and follow his social media links at:




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