Spreading the Fire

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Calling all bibliophiles and aspiring writers craving a literary experience close to home.  Pen on Fire, a monthly salon held at Scape Gallery in CdM, offers an up-close and personal experience with renowned authors, as well as an avenue for socializing and inspiration.

The salon, founded by Newport Beach author and writing teacher Barbara DeMarco-Barrett says, “The atmosphere of Scape Gallery makes people feel like they’re in New York, without having to leave Corona del Mar”.

This month the salon will take place on Nov. 16 and will feature novelists Andrew Winer and Susan Straight.

“They’re both bestselling, literary novelists, and offer so much about their writing process,” DeMarco-Barrett said.

The salon’s name – Pen on Fire – comes from the title of DeMarco-Barrett’s best-selling and award-winning  book,  “Pen on Fire, A Busy Woman’s Guide To Igniting the Writer Within.”   She understands the challenge of finding time to write. At the time she wrote “Pen on Fire” she was also the mother or a young child, teaching a writing class through UCI extension and hosting a weekly radio show.

“When I wrote it, my son was small so I had to be creative with how to get writing done. All those ways went into my book, which, while geared towards women who are busy, has been used by men as well – and not just writers but artists in various genres.”

Currently, De-Marco-Barrett is working on expanding her published short story, “Crazy for You” into a novel.  In addition, she is the new literary critic for Orange Coast magazine and hosts and produces “Writers on Writing,” a radio show featuring interviews with authors from all over the country, which airs Wednesdays at 9 a.m. on KUCI-FM 88.9 and streams live at www.kuci.org.

De Marco-Barrett likes to weave more than words together. It seems her knitting needles are on fire, too. She describes herself as an “obsessive knitter” and has enjoyed perfecting a craft different than writing.

“It’s about color, texture, and creating beautiful things that people can wear.”

An obsession she writes about in her essay, “Knitting, My Urban Escape,” which was published in the anthology “Knitting Through It.”

When asked what the most important nugget of wisdom is that she can offer aspiring writers, DeMarco-Barret answered, “Stay in the chair.” And adds, “It’s nothing new, but it’s the most difficult aspect of writing. Ideas are easy.  It’s writing that’s the hard part. No one is born published.  You have to write and write and write and develop your craft and your knowledge of the business of writing.  There’s no way around that. But if you stay in the chair and you keep writing – and take workshops, classes, go to conferences, learn! – you’ll get closer than everyone else who would love to be published.”




For more information about Barbara DeMarco-Barrett or to register for the Pen on Fire Salon go to www.barbarademarcobarrett.com

The cost of the Salons is $20 and “includes nibbles, sips and sometimes cake.” Advance tickets are required to guarantee a seat and walk-ins are discouraged due to limited seating. Scape Gallery is at 2859 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.






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