VWC Annual Meeting & Symposium Panel and Workshop Information

Registration is open September 1, 2018

The Centennial Meeting Keynote Speaker...

The Virginia Writers Club is very excited to announce that Jeanne Larsen will be the keynote speaker for the VWC Annual Meeting on Friday, November 2, 2018.

Details about Annual Meeting and Symposium are below.


Jeanne’s keynote talk will be Out of the Caldera: Making Creativity Happen; she’ll share tips and insights into the creative process, aimed at helping you access the wild energy of your creativity.

Jean will also be doing a workshop at the Saturday Symposium on Making Better Poems

The number one way to publish more poems is to write better ones. So we’ll examine a few poems by successful contemporary U.S. poets, and figure out what leads to their success. Then we’ll talk about how you can apply your version of their tricks to your own work in the poetry trade. Finally, we’ll have a guided poem-generation session, applying what we’ve learned to an on-the-spot first draft.

Bio: Jeanne Larsen’s next book is What Penelope Chooses: Poems, winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award: it will be out in January. She has published three print novels (Silk Road, Bronze Mirror, Manchu Palaces, as well as an e-novel, Sally Paradiso. She’s also the author of two books of poetry (Why We Make Gardens [& Other Poems], and James Cook in Search of Terra Incognita), as well as a poem sequence in an art book (These Gardens) and two books of literary translations (Brocade River Poems, and Willow, Wine, Mirror, Moon: Women’s Poems from Tang China). Her work appears regularly in literary journals nationwide.

Jeanne has received grants and awards from the NEA, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, Bread Loaf, the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission, AWP, the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and, in her student days, the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Roanoke County Virginia, and teaches in the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University. You can learn more by visiting Jeanne's website.

VWC Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium 

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018

Workshop Schedule

8:00–8:30 a.m.                  REGISTRATION                                                

8:30–9:00 a.m.                  WELCOME AND LIGHT BREAKFAST                                         

8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.          BOOK SALES                                                        

9:15–10:30 a.m.                 WORKSHOP SESSION ONE (Choose One)    

How to Work with Bloggers to Promote Your Book                                  

Making Better Poems                                                                                   

The Language of Suspense                                                                           

Elements of a Great Scene                                                                           

10:45–12:00 p.m.               WORKSHOP SESSION TWO (Choose One)

From Final Draft to Book                                                                             

Research: Before, During, & After Writing                                                

The Business of Writing                                                                               

Build a Social Media Marketing Plan                                                             

12:15 p.m.–1:00 p.m.        LUNCH                                        

1:15- 2:45 p.m.                  WORKSHOP SESSION THREE (Choose One)

Tug of Words                                                                                            

From Rough Draft to Final Draft                                                               

Flashers Wanted: Microfiction, Sudden Fiction, Postcard Fiction                

Email Marketing for Authors                                                                        

3:00–3:30 p.m.                  BOOK SIGNING/AFTERNOON SNACK                                         

3:45–5:00 p.m.                  WORKSHOP SESSION FOUR (Choose One)          

Plotter or Pantser: Two Ways to Tell Your Stories                                       

Poetic Voice                                                                                               

Getting Into Literary Journals                                                                       

From Memory to Memoir                                                                            

Workshop Descriptions 

Flashers Wanted: Microfiction, sudden fiction, short-short, postcard fiction – Esther Johnson

No matter what it’s called, flash fiction is here to stay, popular and publishable. As Michael Morton, a widely published ‘flasher’ says, “This form wants play. It can’t be categorized. It can’t be taught. It knows not to know.” Come to this workshop not to be taught, but to play with the form. We’ll chat briefly about categories of flash, about importance of prompts, and you’ll leave with a couple of new pieces.

Bio: Esther Whitman Johnson, a former high school educator from Southwest Virginia, travels the globe volunteering on five continents, often writing about her journeys.  She has completed fifteen international builds in countries ranging from Bali to Bolivia, Mongolia to Madagascar. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over two dozen journals and anthologies, most recently Forgotten Women and Black Lives Have Always Mattered. Currently she’s working on a flash collection of stories set in the 50’ and 60’s South.

Research: Before, During, and After Writing – Judy Light Ayyildiz

Research can be a fun and stimulating part of any writing project. A little or a lot of exploration into a subject can even inspire an author out of a writing block. This lively session examines how research enriches all genres of our writing. To illustrate, Judy will briefly share how she used research as a source and resource in her own published memoir, poetry, and novel while getting started, during drafts, and in editing the finals. The class will next, be led to brainstorm one of their own works-in-progress. They will explore the conception of their writing venture to find places where some method of research might be a valuable tool to enliven the project. We will compare and share this investigation aloud, and receive feedback from the class. Finally, the class will do a hands-on oral interview with a classmate. Both interviewers and interviewees will write a short piece that incorporates ideas generated by the exchange. We will discuss discoveries.

Bio: Hollins Writing Program and MALS. Marshall Music Education BS. Writing workshops, all levels in U. S and Turkey. Authors Guild and literary, arts organizations. 11 books in 5 genres: Poetry, Memoir, Novel, Text, and Children. Internationally published, translated. 13 years Editor of Artemis. A Blue Ridge Writers Conference founder. President Medical Auxiliary, founder/director RAMA Choir. Featured: New York Quarterly, Mickle Street Review, the new renaissance, Sow’s Ear, Pig Iron Press, Hawaii Pacific Review, Black Water Review, Northeast Journal, Kaliope, and The McGuffin Fjords, Artemis, Six Hens, Nazim Hikmet Festival Chapbook, Women in Dialogue international anthology, Outstanding Persons Come and Gone in Kirklareli, Turkey, 2018 Centennial Anthology The Best of VWC, periodicals, Internet, others. Honors: nomination of Intervals, Appalachia to Istanbul for Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry, YWCA Women of Achievement award in Education, VCA grants, Great Expectations teaching award, poetry and short story prizes, 2015 Chatter House Press Biting the Bullet, Women Speak of Courage book anthology contest, Daughters of Ataturk award, Turkish Forum award, College Bookstores Best Book nominee, Gusto Poet Discovery Winner, VCCA Fellow, and JXP International Literary Novel 1st Place Literary Fiction. Visit Judy's website to learn more.

From Memory to Memoir - Lisa Ellison 

The memories of our lives create a meaningful tapestry when effectively sewn together. But, where do you start? How do you create a lived experience that’s uniquely vivid and universal? From Memory to Memoir is intended for budding memoirists who are interested in shaping their life experiences into a dynamic story around a specific theme. During this 75-minute seminar, we’ll discuss the basic tools you’ll need to write engaging and vivid stories about your life. We’ll read short examples of writers who use these tools effectively, then we’ll write our own. Please bring a photo of something that’s related to the book you want to write, a notebook, and a pen.


Bio:  Lisa Ellison is a freelance writer, editor, and writing coach. She teaches classes in memoir and creative nonfiction at WriterHouse, a nonprofit writing center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her work and life story have appeared on NPR’s With Good Reason, and in Huffington PostThe RumpusThe GuardianStreetlightGravel Literary Journal, The Rusty Nail, Charlottesville Family, and The Healthy Living Directory. She is currently working on In the Land of Flood and Slaughter, a coming-of-age memoir about the events that led her to carry her belongings in trash bags across a divided highway during the summer before her senior year– this time leaving home for good.

The Business of Writing – Liz Long

Writing is more than creating great works of fiction or poetry. If you're goal is to make money, it’s important to treat your writing career as a small business. In this workshop, you'll learn how to get your writing business set up, calculate expenses, set your budget for every book, marketing strategies and more.

Bio: Liz Long is a USA Today bestselling author of 11 independently published works in YA and urban fantasy and is a magazine editor in Roanoke, VA. She is the Director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion, as well as a public speaker, covering topics such as self-publishing and magazine writing. To learn more about Liz, including info on her books, plus writing, marketing and social media tips, and writer pep talks, visit her website at lizclong.com.  

Poetic Voice - Larry Helms

It’s Easier To Have A Voice When You Have A Person Speaking  

Really helpful hint, huh? But what I mean is that a poem with a “real” person just talking is likely to have more direct voice than one with an omniscient narrator. You’re stuck with that one voice, vernacular, and viewpoint, without the opportunity to chorus in or comment on the person’s words. All the better—leave it to the reader or hearer to find the blind spots and misperceptions of the person speaking. The elimination of any hint of a more “objective” commentary keeps you, the poet, out of the way of your character.

The personal voice doesn’t restrict one to first person, although first person is often more effective. Third-person narrative can also hew to the limits of the teller/tellers of the story.

But what about the poem that deals solely with abstractions, images, and rhythm? I don’t think there is such a thing; voice just comes from a greater remove. But we’ll talk about how any poem is still the talking of a person, although the person is you, or part of you, the poet.

Bio: After retirement from the practice of trial law in Chicago, Lawrence found time to go from dabbling in writing to dabbling more extensively. He writes novels (as yet unpublished, but with an agent working on it), poetry, and songs. He occasionally performs his songs, accompanying on guitar. A member of the Lake Writers in the Smith Mountain Lake area, he has edited anthologies of prose and poetry, and is co-editing one now. He lives in Franklin County with his wife Judy, who is also a writer.

Tug of Words - Patsy Asuncion

The workshop that cannot be categorized is TUG OF WORDS because it “tugs” at ALL writers although plugged in the poetry receptacle. The act of writing is a bodily act as well as a mental act, and the act of reading – even silently – must be bodily – before it is intellectual. Let’s get intimate – body to body with your words, touch them, feel them, breathe in their flesh, listen carefully to what they don’t say. You first connect with the emotional story of your words by detecting changing tones, sensing intellectual and emotional impact of words and sensing deep feelings heated by rhythms. Then your words speak free of the page, tug at all the senses. Through much group interaction, you’ll learn elements of the human voice, considerations of timing, use of diction, syntax and emphasis, in addition to tips on the mechanics of public readings.        

Bio: Patsy Asuncion’s Cut on the Bias 2016 depicts her world slant as a bi-racial child raised by an immigrant father and WWII vet. Publications include The New York Times, vox poetica, The New Verse News, Indiana University, Loyola University, Fredricksburg, Prevention Magazine, Cutthroat Journal. State and National presentations include the Poetry Society of Virginia, FL State Poetry Society, Split This Rock, Woody Guthrie Festival. Patsy promotes diversity through: her open mic (11,000+ YouTube views); community initiatives (e.g., month-long events supporting women, people of color, all genders, immigrants); community policy making as board member for two arts organizations. Patsy’s community involvement also extends to judging Poetry Out Loud, other competitions and collaborations. Learn more at Patsy's website 

The Language of Suspense - Mollie Cox Bryan

The Language of Suspense. Many writers think “suspense” is just for certain writing genres, like murder mysteries or horror—and the ever popular “suspense” subgenre. But the truth is, no matter the genre, if you want your reader to keep turning the pages, you’ll need to seduce them with suspense. Yes, even love stories need an injection of suspense! You want to know if the couple ends up together, right? In this workshop we will look at the langauge of suspense by taking several scenes and injecting suspense into them. You'll also be led through several suspenseful writing exercises.

Bio: Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. The first book in her new mystery series, "Cora Crafts Mysteries." is DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES, which was selected as "Fresh Fiction Not to Miss" and is a 2017 Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, NO CHARM INTENDED, was named a Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read by Woman's World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. Several of the books in that series were short-listed for the Virginia Library People's Choice Award. She's also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG and historical romance: TEMPTING WILL MCGLASHEN. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va.

You can visit Mollie's website for more info.

Elements of a Great Scene - Raymond Goode

Creative nonfiction: “The primary goal of the creative nonfiction writer is to communicate information, just like a reporter, but to shape it in a way that reads like fiction."

Raymond Goode’s workshop will include a setting of storytelling from victims whom have been victimized and chose to share intimate details of their lives and how; through a supportive community, they overcame and became survivors.

Their stories were shared with author Raymond Goode and compiled into an anthology of short stories. 

Bio: Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Raymond Goode graduated from Meadowbrook High School in 1996. At this time, Raymond Goode was overwhelmed by the need to serve others, which continues to shape his life today. In an attempt to placate this need, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy after his time with the U. S. Army. Despite six years of military and civil service, a deep-seated desire to serve still flowed within him.

Raymond has authored five books: Traces of You, Road to Oprah, Through Their Eyes, 350 Goals of a Leader, and How to Write and Print Under $300.

He has also co-authored three books: The Pastor’s Pastor, The Bishop’s Corner and The Hymn Psalm.

From Rough Draft to Final Draft: The Best You Can Make It - Cliff Garstang

Editors and Agents want to see your very best work. To improve your chances of a favorable response from these critical readers, you need to make your manuscript as close to perfect as you can. A rough draft isn't good enough. In this workshop, we'll develop a checklist of steps for the revision process, everything you need to turn your rough draft into a polished product ready for submission.  

Bio: Clifford Garstang is the author of the forthcoming novel, The Shaman of Turtle Valley, the novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and the short story collection In an Uncharted Country. He is also the editor of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, a three-volume anthology of stories set around the world. His work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Blackbird, Cream City Review, Los Angeles Review, Tampa Review, and elsewhere, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and international lawyer, Garstang earned an MFA in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. He lives near Staunton, Virginia.

Email Marketing for Authors - Tina Glasneck

Do you want to take your writing career to the next level? What if I told you that the one thing you need is a newsletter list? Join me, Tina Glasneck, USA Today bestselling author of Fantasy and Crime Fiction, as I share tips on how you can grow your list and your income by creating a fan base that wants to hear from you!

Bio: Tina Glasneck is a USA Today bestselling author of crime fiction, and fantasy. As a formal criminal paralegal, she combines her expertise to create gripping crime novels. Equally, as a theologian by training, Tina uses her passions for the humanities to create fantastical stories that embrace history and mythology. Learn more about Tina at her website: www.TinaGlasneck.com

Getting Into Literary Journals - Jeri Rogers Editor-in-chief and founder of Artemis Journal

In this session, we will discuss the benefits of writers being published in literary magazines and journals. At any stage of a writer's career, these benefits can provide recognition, audience, resume building, honing and development of ones’s own work, readings, increasing the possibilities for book publications and anthologiesprizes and financial rewards.Whether you are a beginning writer or a seasoned author, literary magazines can provide a professional network both at the local and at the international level. We will consider the many possibilities for periodical publication,as well as show successful submissions happen due to selected reading, selecting, and following the publication guidelines. We hope to have an open conversation of experiences with many other aspects of the writers journey into the world of recognized writing excellence. 

Bio: In 1977, Jeri was the Director of the Women’s Resource Center in the Roanoke, Virginia. As a professional photographer, feminist and social activist, she incorporated her love of art and photography into the center's programs. In searching for ways to address problems facing their clients, Jeri started writing workshops for the Center’s abused women. With the help of volunteer writers, she encouraged women in the group to express themselves through poetry and other art genres as a therapeutic tool. That experience and those writings inspired the creation of Artemis Journal. For the first few years, Artemis showcased the work of women from this group and in 1979 the journal expanded its scope to include men and the community at large from the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. Jeri’s lifetime career has included working in the photojournalist field, publishing, teaching, videography and professional photography. She is a graduate of University of Texas at El Paso and received her master’s degree from Hollins University.  Jeri is a mother of three talented children and a grandson and she lives in Floyd, Virginia on her horse farm with her attorney husband, Jonathan.  Learn more at Artemis Journal

How to Work with Bloggers to Promote Your Book - Samantha McGraw

In this workshop, Samantha will cover:

How to Connect with Bloggers: 

- How to find bloggers to feature and review your book

- What to say when you reach out to them

- What to expect in return

Increasing Your Exposure with a Blog:

– Why you need your own blog

- What to write about

- How often should you blog

- Where to share your posts to increase your readership. 

Bio: Samantha McGraw is a freelance writer and blogger with Tea Cottage Mysteries where she shares inspiration for afternoon tea along with enjoyable mysteries. She also ghostwrites for other bloggers, creating content that focuses on growing their readership.

Samantha created Tea Cottage Mysteries as a way to not only share her love of all things tea and mysteries, but to build an audience that would be interested in her own cozy mysteries. Tea Cottage Mysteries following has grown every month since it’s creation in July, 2017.

In addition to sharing recipes, information, and inspiration, Samantha also enjoys featuring mystery authors and supporting their work. Instead of writing reviews, Tea Cottage Mysteries focuses on allowing fans to get up-close and personal with their favorite authors through interviews. This also introduces authors to potential new fans. Samantha always enjoys meeting and promoting authors to her readers.

Plotter or Pantser: Two Ways to Tell Your Stories - Austin Camacho

Do you need a detailed outline outline to follow in order to build your novel? Or are you more comfortable flying by the seat of your pants letting your characters or the fictional events tell you where your story is going? There are talented and successful authors in both camps, but which path is right for you?

In this workshop we’ll explore the pros and cons of each approach, and share a few tips on how to write a winning book no matter what kind of writer you are.

Bio: Austin S. Camacho is the author of six novels about Washington Dc-based private eye Hannibal Jones, five in the Stark and O’Brien international adventure-thriller series, and the detective novel, Beyond Blue. His short stories have been featured in several anthologies including Dying in a Winter Wonderland – an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Top Ten Bestseller for 2008. He is featured in the Edgar nominated African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey.

Camacho is also editorial director for Intrigue Publishing, a Maryland small press, and works with their authors to improve their manuscripts. And Camacho is deeply involved with the writing community.  He is a past president of the Maryland Writers Association, past Vice President of the Virginia Writers Club, and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

Build a Social Media Marketing Plan! - Betsy Ashton

Do you want to learn how to build a social media marketing plan that you can execute? It's one thing to build a plan; it's something else to execute it. In this workshop, we'll discuss what to do BEFORE you publish. We'll then go into how to use different social media platforms to build your brand AFTER your book is available and how to keep your name in front of readers--without overdoing it and driving them away.

Bio: Born in Washington, DC, Betsy Ashton was raised in Southern California where she ran wild with coyotes in the hills above Malibu. She earned her undergraduate degree at UCLA, her first MA at Keio University, Tokyo, and her second MA and doctorate USC.

Her first mystery, Mad Max Unintended Consequences, was published in February 2013. The second in the series, Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, came out in April 2015. Her third in the series, Unsafe Haven, is due out later in 2017 She is the past president of The Virginia Writers Club. http://betsy-ashton.com/

From Final Draft to Book - Phyllis Duncan

So, you’ve written a book; perhaps even rewritten it; incorporated the input of your beta-readers and/or critique partners; and had a professional editor hone it into a completed project. What’s next?

This workshop will focus on authors of “ready-to-publish” manuscripts and demonstrate various options (free and at cost) available to independent authors to allow them to publish books independently, books which are indistinguishable from traditional publishing. The workshop will highlight options for manuscript formatting, cover production/acquisition, selecting the type of book to publish, and various publishing platforms.

(Note: This workshop is not intended to be 100% comprehensive but rather a discussion of various services used personally by the presenter, an independent author with more than six years of independent publishing experience. Regardless of the many independent publishing options available, this workshop will serve as a starting point for any author ready to publish. The presenter has no fiduciary interest in any of the services mentioned.)

Bio:Phyllis A. Duncan is a retired bureaucrat but one with an overactive imagination—at least that’s what everyone has told her since she first started making up stories in elementary school prompted by her weekly list of spelling words.

A commercial pilot and former FAA safety official, she lives and writes in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A graduate of Madison College (now James Madison University), she has degrees in history and political science. Politics and history manage to work their way into her writing.

Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies and has placed or won several contests, including the 2016 Golden Nib Award. When not writing, reading, reviewing books, singing in a UU choir, watching the Yankees, or cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., she delights in spoiling her grandchildren.

She is president of the Virginia Writers Club. Visit her website: UnexpectedPaths

Check back soon for symposium schedule and registration!

Early Bird Registration is open now. Click here to register.

General Registration opens October 1, 2018

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