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Book Notes: Oct. 23, 2016

The West Virginia Book Festival will feature two writing workshops that can help cultivate a writer’s skills.

The West Virginia University Press/Vandalia Press will lead a “Creating Vibrant Characters” workshop at 9 a.m. Friday.

Jonathon Corcoran, Laura Long, Marie Manilla, Jessie van Eerden and Doug Van Gundy will present a panel discussion on their process for developing interesting characters in their works. Participants will receive prompts and create their own characters as well.

Following at 11:30 a.m. will be West Virginia author Sarah Sullivan discussing how to write picture books and middle-grade novels in her workshop, “If You Want to Write for Kids!”

Learn the nuts and bolts of children’s literature from an expert in the industry. Both of these workshops are open for adults, seniors and teens and will be held in the Civic Center Coliseum.

Registration is required. Visit the Events & Classes page at to register.

For a complete schedule of book festival events, visit

Charleston area native Royce Sears’s debut science fiction novel, “Prophecies of the New World” received high praise in a recent review by acclaimed science fiction author Paul Levinson.

Levinson, an acclaimed author and professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York City, served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America from 1998 to 2001.

Levinson has been interviewed more than 500 times on local, national and international television and radio as a commentator on media, popular culture and science fiction.

In a review shared via Amazon, Goodreads and Levinson’s personal Twitter account on Oct. 9, Levinson had this to say about Sears’s debut novel:

“Rich, compelling, intellectual treat of a novel, told in detail so vivid that you can hear the rustle and feel the breeze on your face. The science in this science fiction tale is anthropology, writ large from Native Americans to aliens, from canines to CNN. The frontispieces of each chapter are themselves worth the price of admission, deftly harvested from poets and philosophers in all eras of humanity. Highly recommended!”

“Prophecies of the New World” is available locally at Taylor Books on Capitol Street in Charleston, at Empire Books and News in Huntington or online at your favorite book retailers.

Sears is a West Virginia native, originally from Big Otter, in Clay County, who now resides in Saint Albans. For more information about Royce, visit his website at