Barbara Barnett is available to speak at meetings and conferences large and small. Her 2017 speaking engagements have included:
- MENSA Chicago’s HalloWeeM Convention
- Faulkner Society Words and Music Literary Conference
- Horror Writers Association StokerCon Conference
- Midwest Writers Association
- Adult Reader Advisory Round Table ARRTCon for Northern Illinois Librarians (Keynote)
- And many book club appearances!
Her topics range from the craft of writing to the nuts and bolts of social media, from classical literature to pop culture:
From Bronte to Batman: The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture
Lord Byron’s Child Harold is original “Byronic Hero.” Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know, said Lady Caroline Lamb of Bryon himself, and the eponymous and enduring hero of fiction, film, television, comic books and video games. In this engaging lecture-discussion, Barnett offers a feast of modern-day and classic tragic, misunderstood, brilliant and damaged heroes (and antiheroes). As magnetic as they are challenging, as brilliant as they are self-destructive, they pull us in and make us fall in love with them, even as they push away all comers.
- Child Roland, the anti-hero of Stephen King’s Dark Tower
- Aragorn, the reluctant hero of Lord of the Rings
- The dark, brooding Edward Rochester of Bronte’s Jane Eyre
- The Doctor of Doctor Who (at times)
- Gregory House
- The Dark Knight—Batman
- And so many more…
Debut Novel: An Author’s Journey
Traditional or Self, Agent or no agent, Platform and Publicity. Reviews and Ratings. Join Barbara Barnett on the journey to her Bram Stoker Award-nominated debut novel The Apothecary’s Curse. From the eternal question pants or outline to the decision to hire an editor and the tortuous wait for rejections and ultimately offers, Barnett offers humor and wisdom—and real take-aways to put you on the path to your first published novel.
- The road from concept to elevator pitch to outline, revision and ultimate offer
- To Pants or Not to Pants: the Pitfalls and Discovery of writing by the seat of Your Pants—and why you shouldn’t
- The three-act structure
- Scenes and how to write them
- Killing the Darlings
- The eternal wait for an offer
- The road to publication: editorial letters, copyedits, galleys and ARCs
- Reviews, Ratings, Blogs, and Interviews
The Conan Doyle Conundrum
How is it possible that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best known for creating Sherlock Holmes – the most rational, logical, enduring character in fiction – also had a lifelong belief in the world of fairies and all things supernatural? Join Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of The Apothecary’s Curse and Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. Barbara Barnett for a fascinating exploration of how Holmes and the fairy world might comfortably co-exist in Sir Arthur’s fertile, expansive imagination.
Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)
Some are cautionary tales for a world teeter-tottering on self-destruction; others are just for fun (and laughs). Join author-blogger Barbara Barnett for an interactive exploration of our love affair with disaster movies.
- Why we love them
- The “formula”
- Natural Disasters to the consequences of humanity’s stupidity
- The apocalypse revisited (again and again)
- Sharknado: Really? The MST Effect
- The 50 best Disaster Movies
Novel Writing: Outlining, Pantsing, and Everything In Between
To outline or not to outline? That is the question. But is writing by the seat of your pants, stream-of-consciousness style the way to reach the novel’s finish line? There are enough models out there to make a would-be novelist’s head spin, but what’s right for one author may not be right for you. Join Bram Stoker Award-nominated novelist Barbara Barnett (The Apothecary’s Curse) as she describes her own journey and guides attendees to success. (Adults; 60 min; $175 with permission to sell books)
Between Fear and Wonder: The Hidden History of Speculative Fiction
The worlds of the unknown and hidden have both fascinated and terrified us for millennia and fueled imaginative literature for nearly as long as we’ve been telling stories and speculating about the unknown and wondering what’s next for us humans! A Bram Stoker Award-nominated novelist, TV critic, and Executive Editor of pop culture magazine BlogCritics, Barbara Barnett presents an engaging multimedia history of speculative fiction, from the Gilgamesh Legend to the tomorrow’s biggest blockbuster.
More than a philosophy, Radical Amazement represents a way of viewing the world through “wow” moments, and through those small moments finding the awe in this amazing universe. Ever notice how a child gazes endlessly snowflakes? Looks wide-eyed the first time he or she sees a rainbow in the sky? There’s no logical reason for kids to have all the fun. Radical Amazement is a philosophy, a practice, the means of staying focused on what’s important, what’s beautiful, what’s “wow,” in a divided, distorted world. An ordained Cantor (Hazzan) in the Jewish Conservative movement, a long-time educator in spirituality and prayer, and contributing writer to the book Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellen Worldwide, 2015), Barnett will teach you how to again look at the world through the eyes of your inner child, but imbue the experience with a spirituality that can only be appreciated by an adult.
3 Rs of Building Your Writing Confidence: Researching, Revisiting, Rebounding
Whether you’re a newbie or have been writing for years, confidence may be the most elusive arrow in your writing quiver. Barbara Barnett provides tips and tricks to building your writing confidence through researching, revisiting and rebounding in this interactive session.
Comic-Con: A Journalist’s Eye View
Barbara Barnett has covered San Diego Comic-Con for the past several years, observing the mega pop-culture part from out front and behind the scenes. She will take attendees into her personal tour, sharing her celeb photos, videos and interview clips and experiences.
Review snippets for The Apothecary’s Curse:
“Barbara Barnett weaves together fantasy and scientific elements for a story rich in magic, history, and myth…The Apothecary’s Curse is bittersweet and tragic, with science, magic, and romance…perfect for fans of Sherlock, history, and science.” (San Diego Book Review)
“A wonderfully written and researched story with deeply drawn characters and more than enough action to keep the reader turning the page. It is at once an excellent rendering of old London and the state of medical practice at that time while also being a tense thriller. A clever and unique story…highly recommended.” (New York Journal of Books)
“Barnett’s debut novel is a fantastic mix of history and fantasy! Her scintillating portrayal of Gaelan’s tortured soul and Simon’s haunting guilt plus the OMG ending set this book apart.” (Romantic Times)
“Seamlessly weaves dual timelines together, shifting from Victorian England to modern-day America.” (Historical Novel Society)
“An unusual take on urban fantasy to be sure, but an intriguing one.” (Blackgate)
“Fresh and utterly compelling…one of the finest and most intriguing speculative fiction novels of the year. Sure to please a wide audience of readers, because it’s a stunningly vibrant novel…a breath of fresh air. (Rising Shadow)
“A wonderful read, featuring compelling characters, an interesting theme and awesome cameos from historical figures…one of my favourites so far this year.” (A Fantastical Librarian)
“An excellent story…explores all the classic themes: love and loss, friendship and fidelity, and the deep connections that can seem to stretch across the vast gulf of time.” (Windy City Reviews)
“Barnett throws you right in the action; her writing style is very enjoyable and easy to pick up. The pacing…spot on.” (The Book Plank)
“What price immortality? Barnett, explores the Promethean gift of immortality much like the gift of fire: it has the possibility of enormous benefit but also the capability of terrible misuse. The book moves fast, there is good character development, there are interesting and poignant personal relationships, and there is the lingering question, what is the true cost of deathlessness?” (Manhattan Book Review)
“Engrossing and keeps the pages turning. Raises a number of philosophical issues that are not so easy to put aside after you finish the book.” (SFRevu)
“Masterful blend of the finest storytelling elements…features excellent pacing, humor, passionate romance, tasteful adult situations, and descriptive writing.” (Edge of Infinity)
“Innovative and fresh. The author’s writing is fluent and precise, making this an effortless read, with just enough complexity and mystery happening to keep one engaged. A gripping start and a satisfying conclusion, this book felt complete and well executed.” (Books Vertigo and Tea)
“There is a romantic quality to this fantasy that is subtle but ever-present and works well for this story. a delectable mystery with a form of urban fantasy attached to it. A very satisfying mystery/fantasy that will make you believe the potion for eternal life exists.” (Looking for a Good Book)
“Combining a little of the transtemporal fatedness of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander with the sparring immortals from the Highlander film franchise, Barnett has created a unique urban fantasy that delivers pure magic intertwined with the quotidian demands of our daily lives—even if we are not all immortals.” (Official Barnes and Noble Newsletter)
“A wonderful new narrative.” (Steampunk Canada)
“Barnett creates plot twists worthy of Anne Rice and leaves the reader hanging at the edge of a waterfall” (Sue Baugh, author of Echoes of the Earth)
“A new narrative world lovingly created with an Old World touch. . . “(Jane Espenson, Writer/Producer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon a Time)
“Myth, medicine, and immortality, braided together like the border of an illuminated manuscript. (Doris Egan, screenwriter, novelist, and writer and co-executive producer of House)
“This inventive gothic time-twister is as tightly plotted as a Dean Koontz thriller and as emotionally engaging as Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles. The author has an alchemical eye for historical detail, and her nods to Conan Doyle and Celtic mythology are woven into this yarn with a deft hand…Barnett is a vivid voice and one to watch.” (Award-winning horror novelist Frazer Lee)