Tons of writing topics to be covered at Imaginarium

Tons (figuratively) of topics will be covered at Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 7-9, an event that I’m proud to be a part of for the first time this fall. The event is an annual event centered entirely around creative writing, including the worlds of books, movies, gaming, music, and comics/graphic novels.

Authors, illustrators, poets, publishers, podcasters, gamers and more will benefit.

Here are just a few of the topics to be discussed:EntertheImaginarium

What’s in a Name?
How to create names for your characters that fit your world’s language and culture.

Panelists discuss how to navigate the minefield of controversial topics without censoring yourself or offending the masses.

Faith in Fiction
A general discussion about presenting spiritual beliefs in fiction, how to be culturally sensitive to others’ beliefs and your audience, and how to write about religions/spiritual paths you do not know.

New Author Boot Camp
So you wrote a book…now what? This panel will take you through the steps of being a new author – from publishing to promotion, the tools you need to succeed, making friends in the industry, and the hard lessons learned from simple mistakes.

Query Crazy!
The book is done and polished. Now…to query. Our panelists provide tips on how to write a query which will sell your book.

Getting Into Illustration
You like to draw and would like to do it for books. How do you go about it? Do you need an agent? What’s it like to work with the author? This panel will cover these questions and more.

Creating Your Romantic Lead
Romantic leads don’t have to look like Fabio anymore. What makes a good romantic lead, male or female? They can be quirky, nerdy, and even a little bit evil … so long as we love them.

Game of Thrones
All things GoT! Panelists discuss the books, the tv adaptation, and how the two can coexist so peacefully in such a hard world.

Page to Screen
What books-to-screen have worked, and which could have worked better? Does a great book make for a great TV show or movie?

The Language of Fear
Good horror is all about atmosphere. Panelists discuss how to set the scene for a good scare without going too far.

Promotion for Self-Pubbers
How to cost-effectively promote your books on-line and in person without the support of a publisher behind you.

Podcasting 101
Technology has lowered the bar…you should be podcasting! Our panelists will tell you how and why.

Historical Writing
Whether it’s immersive content or just a hint of flavor for the period, historical writing can challenge your skills with setting and the portrayal of historical events for a contemporary audience.

The Psychology of Speculative Fiction
Why do people write (and read) it? Using examples – and writers – to help explain the effects of being creative in this field. I’ve never had a boring session moderating this panel!

Why Young Adult Works for All Ages
From The Hunger Games and Harry Potter to Goosebumps, writers discuss the universal appeal of writing for the YA audience – and why it’s never just for teens.

Again, this is just a tiny smattering of topics to be covered. See the entire list here.

Specific times and dates and my schedule to be announced.


Young authors event

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I had a great time helping inspire aspiring writers and illustrators on April 9 as part of an expert panel at the Young Authors & Illustrators Forum at the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus, Indiana.

The event was sponsored by the library and Pen It! Publications. The panel also consisted of Debi Stanton, president of Pen It! Publications; Korey Woods, an accomplished illustrator; Cheryl Jenkins, an author and writer who spoke on good editing; and Jeri Maynard, a young adult author.

We spoke on a great number of topics, such as getting better at writing and illustrating, who might want to publish your work, what kinds of places hire writers and graphic artists, and much more.

The event was free. I hope to be a part of another one of these before too long.


Learn about ‘Bold Women in Indiana History’

Did you know that a record company based in Gary, Indiana, was the first U.S. distributor of Beatles records? That same label also had such legendary artists as the Four Seasons, Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker. That company, Vee-Jay Records was owned by the husband/wife team of Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken.

I have the honor of reading a portion of Vivian Carter’s story at a book release party for Louise Hillery‘s “Bold Women in Indiana History” on Sunday, April 3 at Hotel Indigo in Columbus, Indiana. The event starts at 7 p.m. Local authors will read a little about some of the women Hillery profiles in the book. Hillery’s book will be available for purchase, as will books by other authors in attendance (yes, I will have my book there).
Hillery’s book is part of a series by Mountain Press. This will be the fifth such book, with offerings also in Texas, Michigan, Colorado and Alaska. Among the women featured in the book are important women from the Miami tribe; Mother Theodora Guerin, frontier educator and Catholic saint; Lillian T. Fox, the first African-American to be employed at a mainstream Indiana newspaper; Madam C.J. Walker, the foremost black businesswoman of the early 20th century; Margaret Ringenberg, a pilot who flew in the U.S. Army’s secret WASP program during World War II; and he woman I’m going to speak on, Vivian Carter, a radio deejay who ended up starting her own record company.
Stop by. Have a beverage. Learn something about Indiana’s bold women. Support your local authors.

Photos from the White River library program

Thanks to everyone who came out to my program on Feb. 3 at the White River branch of the Johnson County Public Library. Here are a few photos to prove it really happened.

Come to my White River Twp. (Center Grove) library program

I’m looking forward to giving a presentation based on my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” at the White River branch of the Johnson County Public Library on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

The program is titled “Cold Case Files: Murder in Wauwatosa with Paul Hoffman”

Here are the details:

Location: WRB-Community Room (Whole room) at 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood, IN 46142. See map to right. Click here to see a map of all Johnson County Public Library locations.white-river-map

Library phone: (317) 885-1330

Event Type: Adult Program
Age Group(s): Adult-Teen
Date: 2/3/2016
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:00 PM (or a little earlier depending on how everyone behaves)

Description: Want to solve a crime? Join Daily Journal Special Publications Editor, Paul Hoffman, as he discusses his book, “Murder in Wauwatosa.” In 1925, 8-year-old Buddy Schumacher was found murdered in the small town of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The case was never solved, and the investigation had many inconsistencies.

Registration Ends: 2/3/2016 at 6:00 PM

Books will be available for purchase afterward (just $10 each, which saves you plenty over the retail price of $19.99 and the cost of getting me to mail you an autographed copy, which is $15)

If you’d like to register, click here.

Autographed copies of ‘Murder in Wauwatosa’ on sale!

Who doesn’t love saving money at this time of year?

From now through the end of 2015, you can get an autographed copy of “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” at the ridiculously low price of $15 (shipping and tax included). List retail price is $19.99.

Send a check for $15 per book to: Paul Hoffman, P.O. Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47201

Or send money via PayPal to

This makes an excellent gift for readers; fans of history, true crime, Prohibition and social justice; Wisconsinites or former Wisconsinites; as well as left-wing, right-wing and middle-of-the-road enthusiasts and people who just want to see me be able to afford to continue writing.

Hurry! Order before I run out of copies in my basement.


Arson delayed opening of new Wauwatosa West building

TosaConnection mastheadThe second installment of my Tosa Connection column focusing on some aspect of my hometown’s past has been published.

I chose to write about the 1969 arson that delayed the opening of the new (and current) Wauwatosa West building for a year. See the story in its entirety here.

The magazine, which was originally  planned to publish three times a year, has seen such a tremendous reception that the production schedule has already been increased to five times a year. And the second edition has a bunch more pages than the initial issue.

If you live or work in Wauwatosa, or really close by, chances are really good the magazine has been mailed to you free of charge. Make sure to patronize the advertisers, who make the product possible, and let them know you saw their ad in Tosa Connection.

If you don’t live in those areas, or missed the magazine in your mail, check out the website here.

Look for issues each odd-numbered month except July. That would be January, March, May, September and November.

If you have any ideas on topics I can write about for future issues, just email me at


Author’s Fair this Saturday!

I’m looking forward to participating in an author’s fair at the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus, Indiana, this Saturday! Authors will give readings from their works, whether prose or poetry,  every 15-20 minutes. I’ll be reading from 12:15-12:30 p.m. Stop by if you can!AUTHOR'S FAIR

Featured author in Pen It! Magazine

Pen It Magazine Volume 6 Issue 2 Mar Apr 2015 Email copy_Page_05 Pen It Magazine Volume 6 Issue 2 Mar Apr 2015 Email copy_Page_12

I am honored to have been chosen as the featured author for the March/April 2015 issue of Pen It! Magazine. The magazine is in its sixth year and is produced by Debi Stanton, based in southern Indiana. Debi recently invited me to speak on researching for nonfiction books at her Spring Writers Conference, conducted at the Yes Cinema in Columbus, Indiana. I had a blast doing that. It was the second time Debi asked me to speak at one of her writer’s conferences; the first time, I spoke on newspaper reporting. In addition to publishing my bio in her most recent magazine, Debi also published a recent poem of mine, “One Tree and Me.” I hadn’t written a lot of poetry lately, but got inspired one day to write that one.

If anyone is interested in subscribing to Pen It! contact Debi at for one free issue.