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Jeanne Cavelos, Director and Primary Instructor


    Jeanne Cavelos The creation of Odyssey, an organization devoted to helping developing writers of fantastic fiction improve their work, has been a dream of Jeanne's which she has worked to make a reality.

    Jeanne is a writer, editor, scientist, and teacher. She began her professional life as an astrophysicist and mathematician, teaching astronomy at Michigan State University and Cornell University, and working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

    But soon her love of science fiction led her to earn her MFA in creative writing. She moved into a career in publishing, becoming a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she created and launched the Abyss imprint of psychological horror, for which she won the World Fantasy Award, and the Cutting Edge imprint of literary fiction. She also ran the science fiction/fantasy publishing program. In addition, she edited a wide range of fiction and nonfiction. She worked with such authors as William F. Nolan, Joan Vinge, Robert Anton Wilson, Dennis Etchison, Tanith Lee, Kathe Koja, Poppy Z. Brite, J. M. Dillard, David Wingrove, Barry Gifford, Patrick McCabe, and Peter Dickinson. In her eight years in New York publishing, she edited numerous award-winning and best-selling authors and gained a reputation for discovering and nurturing new writers.

    In 1994, she left New York to become a freelance editor and pursue her own writing career. She runs Jeanne Cavelos Editorial Services, a full-service freelance company that provides editing, ghostwriting, consulting, and critiquing services to publishers, book packagers, agents, and authors. Among its clients are major publishers and best-selling and award-winning writers.

    Jeanne is currently at work writing a near-future science thriller about genetic manipulation, titled Fatal Spiral. Her last novel to hit the stores was Invoking Darkness, the third volume in her best-selling trilogy The Passing of the Techno-Mages (Del Rey), set in the Babylon 5 universe. The Sci-Fi Channel called the trilogy "A revelation for Babylon 5 fans. . . . Not 'television episodic' in look and feel. They are truly novels in their own right." The highly praised first volume, Casting Shadows, was called "Engrossing. . . . Powerfully written" by Speculative Vision. Her book The Science of Star Wars (St. Martin's) was chosen by the New York Public Library for its recommended reading list, and CNN said, "Cavelos manages to make some of the most mind-boggling notions of contemporary science understandable, interesting and even entertaining." The Science of The X-Files (Berkley) was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Publishers Weekly called it "Crisp, conversational, and intelligent."

    Jeanne's first published book, the Babylon 5 novel The Shadow Within, was brought back into print by Del Rey due to popular demand. Dreamwatch magazine called it "one of the best TV tie-in novels ever written."

    Recent works include a novella, "Negative Space" (which was given honorable mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction), in the anthology Decalog 5: Wonders and a chapter, "Innovation in Horror," which appears in both On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association and The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing. She has published short fiction and nonfiction in many magazines and anthologies.

    The Many Faces of Van Helsing, an anthology edited by Jeanne, was released by Berkley in 2004 and was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. The editors at Barnes and Noble called it "brilliant. . . . Arguably the strongest collection of supernatural stories to be released in years." Berkley released a mass market paperback edition and a Kindle edition in 2008.

    Since she loves working with developing writers, Jeanne created and serves as director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, the only major workshop of its kind run by an editor. Jeanne designed Odyssey to combine an advanced curriculum that allows writers to improve their craft with detailed, in-depth feedback on their work. She is also an English lecturer at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she teaches writing.

    Jeanne has spoken widely on writing, publishing, science, and science fiction at venues as varied as the Smithsonian Institute, the Air Force Revolutionary Technologies Division, the Intel International Science Fair, the American Chemical Society, Dartmouth College, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the Science Channel, Turner Entertainment, the Art Bell radio program, and many radio shows, bookstores, and conventions. More information is on her site, www.jeannecavelos.com.

2012 Special Writer-in-Residence

  • Lane Robins

    Lane Robins Lane Robins is a 1999 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate and one of our top critiquers at the Odyssey Critique Service. Her critiques are amazingly insightful and in-depth, and also provide wonderful instruction to authors. Lane is the author of Maledicte and Kings & Assassins, published by Del Rey. Under the name Lyn Benedict, she writes the Shadows Inquiries series, which is published by Ace: Sins & Shadows, Ghosts & Echoes, Gods & Monsters, and Lies & Omens. She has a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. Lane attributes much of her success to critiquing. Critiquing allows the writer to have new eyes on a manuscript, highlighting that often crucial gap between what the writer intends and what's actually on the page. Critiquing can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool that has the potential to expose rough spots in a writer's repertoire beyond the needs of a single story or manuscript, that improves not only the critiqued manuscript but the ones that come after. You can visit her Web site at www.maledicte.com.


2012 Expected Guest Lecturers

  • Elaine Isaak

    Elaine Isaak Much to the dismay of her relatives, Elaine Isaak withdrew from art school to pursue her own ends in business and writing. She founded Curious Characters in 1997, designing original stuffed animals and small-scale light-hearted sculptures. She attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop the same year. Elaine is the author of The Singer's Crown (Eos, 2005), and sequels The Eunuch's Heir (Eos, 2006), and The Bastard Queen (Swimming Kangaroo, 2010). Her new dark historical fantasy series will be starting in 2011 with DAW books under a pseudonym (shhh!). Elaine writes traditional fantasy in a mythic and historic vein, harrowing tales of complex human relationships in the realms of fantasy. Magic may offer the choice of transcendence--or tragedy--and the quest never leaves you untouched. Above all else, know this: you do not want to be her hero. She has written how-to articles for the Writer Magazine, and authored the Lady Blade fantasy writing column at AlienSkin magazine for three years. Her speaking engagements have included local chapters of the Romance Writers of America as well as other writing groups, the World Science Fiction and World Fantasy Conventions.


  • Paul Park

    Paul Park Paul Park is the author of a book of short stories and eleven novels in a variety of genres--science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. He has recently completed the text for a sound installation at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, a Forgotten Realms franchise novel, and is currently at work on a meta-fictional pseudo-memoir. His novella Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance was a 2010 Nebula Awards nominee. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and two children.


  • Craig Shaw Gardner

    Craig Shaw Gardner Craig Shaw Gardner sold his first short story in 1977, and began writing full time in 1987. He has published over thirty novels ranging from his first, A Malady of Magics, to the Changeling War fantasy trilogy, written by "Peter Garrison," to the horror novel Dark Whispers, written by "Chris Blaine." Along the way, he's done a number of media tie-ins, one of which--the novelization of Batman--became a New York Times bestseller. He's also the author of more than forty short horror and fantasy stories, which have mostly appeared in original anthologies. Gardner has also served as both President and Trustee for the Horror Writers Association.


  • Barbara Ashford

    Barbara Ashford Barbara abandoned a career in educational administration to pursue a life in the theatre, working as an actress in summer stock and dinner theatre and later, as a lyricist and librettist. She's written everything from cantatas to choral pieces, one-hour musicals for children to full-length ones for adults. Her musicals have been performed throughout the world, including such venues as the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival.

    In 2000, after Barbara began writing fiction, she attended Odyssey. The workshop provided the supportive feedback and immersion in the craft of writing speculative fiction that she needed to create Heartwood, the first book of her Trickster's Game trilogy (written as Barbara Campbell). Published by DAW Books, Trickster's Game went on to become a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society's 2010 Fantasy Award for adult literature.

    Barbara returned to her theatre roots for her most recent novel, Spellcast, a contemporary fantasy set in a magical summer stock theatre in Vermont. She is currently at work on the sequel—Spellcrossed—to be published in June 2012.

    Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar and The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (March 2012). When she's not writing, she critiques manuscripts for the Odyssey Critique Service.

    Barbara lives in New Rochelle, New York, with her husband whom she met while performing in the play Bedroom Farce. You can visit her dual selves at barbara-campbell.com and barbara-ashford.com.


  • Jennifer Jackson

    Jennifer Jackson Jennifer Jackson is Vice President of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, which she joined in 1993. Growing up reading science fiction and fantasy led naturally to a concentration in that genre, which she continues to champion. After pioneering the expansion of the agency into the areas of romance and women's fiction, she is now developing her list in the mystery and suspense genres. She is also looking for YA fiction, both literary and commercial, in all genres.

    Her current roster includes New York Times best-selling fantasy writer Jim Butcher, Hugo Award-winning science fiction author Elizabeth Bear, USA Today best-selling author Anne Bishop, Anthony Award finalist Chris F. Holm, and Nebula and Hugo finalist Cherie Priest. Previously, she worked as a bookseller for Waldenbooks, and also for Forbidden Planet, the retail division of London's Titan Books. She maintains a personal website at http://www.jenniferjackson.org/ and blogs at http://arcaedia.wordpress.com/.


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Updated Jun 7, 2012
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