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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nancy Merical's Top Ten Tips for Book Signings

(Courtesy Nancy Merical via Fay Thompson)

1. Take plenty of books—of your favorite authors to read during lulls.

2. Take plenty of business cards—to scribble down ideas for other books during lulls.

3. Don't forget your favorite book signing pen—for both the above.

4. Dress comfortably; napping in constrictive clothes can cramp your style.

5. Never eat before a book signing. The host will appreciate you helping consume all those untouched refreshments... except for the ones devoured by people making a wide circle around your table to partake of a free lunch.

6. Refrain from sticking out your foot to trip visitors who look straight ahead as they approach the librarian's desk, pretending they don't see you at your table.

7. Refrain from throwing paper wads at those who pass by your table with their head turned, hoping you'll think they didn't notice you. They do know you're there!

8. Take plenty of change. There may be a nearby snack machine. Munchies will help pass the time.

9. Resist the temptation to lay your head on the table and snore. You might wake the librarian.

10. When people say, "I'll be back; I forgot my money," resist yelling,"Liar! Liar! House on fire!"
And remember: Don't give in to discouragement. It has been said that seven books are the average sales for book signings. Zero is a good place to start.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Robert Tinnell interview is running an interview with comic book writer and screenwriter Robert Tinnell. Why is this significant to West Virginia? Because Mr. Tinnell lives in Morgantown and he will be one of the featured workshop presenters at this year's WV Writers Summer Conference.

Robert has contributed to an intriguing book called Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened. You can read the interview about it at the link below...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Alabama Writers' Conclave 2007 Contest Deadline Approaching

(From 2007 WV Writers Summer Conference Workshop Presenter Dr. Jimmy Carl Harris)

Hey, y’all.

Get those stories and poems and essays polished up and in the mail!

The deadline for entries in the Alabama Writers’ Conclave 2007 contests is 30 April (postmark).
Details for all eight contests are on our website:

Many of you have entered in the past and won. Many of you can win again, this year, but first ya gotta enter!

By the way, our website also has all the info and forms you’ll need to register for our 2007 conference (Auburn, 20-22 July). We have another outstanding faculty lined up. We’ll have workshops, critiques groups, a panel of editors, everything you need to become a better, more productive writer. And anyway, you really ought to be at Conclave 2007, to receive your prize in person!

Jimmy Carl Harris
AWC Program Chair

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Water Gap Retreat: Creative Writing with Anita Skeen (REVISED)

(From the Water Gap Retreat Website)

That Place Called Memory: Revisiting and Writing about Childhood

Jeanette Walls, in her memoir The Glass Castle, opens a window on her childhoodand gives us all a peek at what is was like to grow up in her particular family, in particular places, at particular times. We all have memories – some wonderful, some heartbreaking, some confusing, some fractured – of the children we used to be and the environments that led us to become who we are today. In this workshop we will go back and revisit some of those memories: we will recall the scratchy nap of the old navy sofa; the pond-water smell of Rascal, the beagle; the taste of homemade ice cream dripping from the dasher; the low wail of the train whistle as it called through the mountain night. We will resurrect the images, conversations, and objects that are a significant part of our past. "My mother is smiling as she looks up from reading The Yearling aloud to a pigtailed little girl," writes Lois Lowry in an essay. "I can join them any time. The place is called Memory."

In the age of flash fiction, sudden fiction and the snapshot poem, Anita Skeen will help you concentrate on creating small but moving and effective pieces of writing. She’ll introduce you to the lyric poem and lyric essay, prose poem and ten-minute play, to assist you in finding the best medium to express your individual circumstances. Bring photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings or poems that might help you. Writers in all genres and at all levels are welcome..

After yoga, breakfast, and a morning class with Anita, the weekend workshop will end with Sunday lunch. You’ll leave for home with the tools to shape your memories into vivid writing.

Workshop Fee:
$310 per person, double/triple
$360 per person, single

See the Water Gap Retreat Website for reservations.

CSI Day at Mountain State University

(This news courtesy of WVWriters Secretary Rhonda White)

Experience first-hand the thrilling field of forensic science during CSI Day at Mountain State University! We want to personally invite you to this event, which will “clue” you in on your opportunities for an exciting education—and career—full of discovery and daily learning!

You will receive real-world investigative experience and gain a better understanding of forensic career options. All participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance upon completion of the event.

Investigate a mock crime scene

Learn fingerprint collection methods

Perform blood spatter analysis

Analyze tool marks and impression evidence

Observe a grave dig by forensic students

CSI Day will be held on Saturday, April 28th from 12noon – 6:00pm on the Beckley Campus of MSU. A $25 fee includes all activities, and proceeds are used to send MSU Forensic Investigation Association students to professional forensic conferences throughout the year.

Registration is limited—for more information about CSI Day or to register for the program, contact Brittany Vaught at To learn about the Forensic Investigation program at Mountain State University, call Bobbi Brown at 866.FOR.MSU1, extension 1443.

If you’d like to register today, make your check for $25 payable to FIA, and mail to Mountain State University, c/o Andrew Wheeler, Box 9003, Beckley, WV 25802. Be sure to eat lunch before you come, as you’ll experience a high-energy day, CSI-style!

(And just a reminder, WV Writers will be offering a very similar program at the WV Writers Annual Conference this year)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Raleigh County Public Library hosts WV Authors

Raleigh County Public Library, in Beckley, WV, will hosts Meet the Authors, this Saturday, April 21, 2007 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Several local and West Virginia authors will be at the library to sign their books and talk with the public. An eclectic mix of genres will be represented and books will be available for purchase.

Scheduled to attend:

Dennis Ackison
Jennifer Allen
Joyce Broyles
Jean Gillespie
Fran Klaus
Patti Lawson & Sadie
Catherine Mack
Thurmond Miller
Nancy Lee Shrader
Robert Walker
Tammy Whisman

WVW's Sean O'Leary chosen 2007 Winner of Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award

VALU-MART wins National Playwriting Prize.

Last Friday, West Virginia Writers member Sean O’Leary’s new play VALU-MART was chosen from over 300 entries as the 2007 winner of The Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award for plays confronting racial issues. The Apsey Award is presented every two years by the Theatre Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Previously VALU-MART was selected as a finalist in the Playwrights First competition conducted by the National Arts Club in New York.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wilma Acree Reading in Vienna

WV Writers' Wilma Acree, a former president of the organization and current editor of the literary magazine Confluence, will be giving a poetry reading at Borders, Grand Central Mall, Vienna, WV, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Brooke County Public Library Welcomes Mountain Voices

This week, the Brooke County Public Library in Wellsburg, WV, will be celebrating their 110th anniversary. They have quite a bit of celebratory programming throughout the week, culminating in a program on Friday, April 20, which will feature several of the authors behind the Mountain Voices anthology.

Wilma Acree, Patsy Pittman, Sandy Tritt and Eric Fritzius will be on hand to provide readings of some of the fiction, nonfiction and poetry featured in the collection. Copies of the book will be available for sale and a reception will follow.

The program takes place at 2p at the Brooke County Public Library, 945 Main Street, Wellsburg, WV 26070. The public is encouraged to attend.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Writers’ Toolbox: Weaving past and present (Updated)

This weekend, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History presents The Writers' Toolbox: Weaving past and present, at the Cultural Center in downtown Charleston.

Admission is free

Writing memoir? Recreating the Civil War? Setting your story in the past? Weaving the past into the present? Sharpen your ability to bring the past to life, with the help of.

  • Novelist Denise Giardina, 5 acclaimed novels set in the past

  • Poet Diane Fisher, National best-selling collection set in 1920s Mingo County

  • Civil War author Terry Lowry, 6 books recreating Civil War events

  • Writing coach and songwriter Kate Long, 23 years coaching professional writers

  • Songwriter Pete Kosky, Appalachian history in song

  • Writing coach Geoff Fuller, First-rate advice and critiques

  • Want a private coaching session? Coach Geoff Fuller has time to meet with 8 people. Send material and $20 in advance. Individual Critiques with Geoff Fuller
    Ten page limit. For longer pieces, add a one-page summary and a statement of your goals for your writing.

    To register your place for a critiques session send $20 check made out to Geoff Fuller with manuscript. Manuscripts sent without check will not be included in the schedule.

    Send packages to The Cultural Center c/o Pat Cowdery 1900 Kanawha Blvd East, Charleston, WV 25305

    Friday night, April 13: Finding the right details.
    6:30 - 7:30 Creative non-fiction: Late night roads and battlefields. Two skilled literary researchers tell you how they recreate times and places they never lived through. Terry Lowry is noted for his ability to find and use details, large and small, that bring soldiers and West Virginia Civil War battles alive. Geoff Fuller is recreating 1970s Morgantown, detail by detail, as he writes about the murder of two coeds.

    7:45 - 9:15 Beef up your writer's tool chest. A writer's guide to two libraries full of useful tools for any writer who wants to research West Virginia's past - or the past in general: the State Archives library and the West Virginia Library Commission Research Library.

    Workshops will be repeated twice, Go to one, then the other.

    * The State Archives Library: State and local history. Through quick-write exercises, learn to tap county history, family history, historical photographs and videos, unpublished letters and a rich array of other documents. Limit: 45 participants.

    * The West Virginia Library Commission Research Library: Local to international detail. Get to know online and in-house resources that help you gather authentic detail about any day, any time, any place. Apply those resources through quick-write exercises. Limit: 45 participants.

    Saturday, April 14: Bringing the past to life
    Top-notch teachers and a great chance to sharpen skills and meet other writers.

    9:30 - 9:45 Continental breakfast, greetings and overview. Peruse the book sales area and Goldenseal table, where you can talk with an editor about ways to submit manuscripts.

    10:00 to 11:30: Workshops. They will be repeated in the afternoon.

    * When history and creative writing meet. Diane Fisher's poetry collection, Kettle Bottom, is on the top-selling national poetry list. She wrote her poems in the voices of imagined people living in a Mingo County coal camp in the 1920-21 West Virginia mine wars. She drew her first collection from her family history. Fisher will pass along tips about nuts-and-bolts of historical research, and lead you in writing exercises based on your own history. You'll leave with topics, prompts and models for writing about the past.

    * The Civil War: Recreating a different time and place. Terry Lowry, author of 6 books about West Virginia Civil War battles, knows how to find the details and true-to-life stories and details that bring another time to life. He focuses on the Civil War, but his advice will apply to whatever time you choose.

    * Flashing forward, flashing back. For 23 years, writing coach Kate Long, an award-winning writer herself, has been teaching other writers how to weave the past and present. Practice tricks of time travel in this workshop: Flash forward, flash backward. Tap your right brain. Cover a century in two sentences or two minutes in two pages.

    During the workshops: Individual coaching sessions for those who sent in writing samples in advance. If you sent in your material and received confirmation, check at the registration desk when you arrive for your conference time with Geoff Fuller.

    11:30 - 12:20 The past in a song. A sit-back-and-enjoy theater session. Songwriters Kate Long and Pete Kosky will demonstrate ways they combine music and historical detail to create songs that bring another time, another place alive.

    12:30 - 1:45 Lunch on your own.

    1:45 - 3:15: Denise Giardina and Diane Fisher: A visit with two master time travelers. Two accomplished time travelers read from their work and tell you how they brought past West Virginians to life. You'll get valuable tips and advice, then they'll answer your questions.

    3:15 - 4:45 Workshops B: Repeat morning workshops .

    The faculty:

    In her five novels, internationally-acclaimed novelist Denise Giardina has recreated the past many times, from the West Virginia mine wars through the Buffalo Creek Flood to pre-WWII Germany. A McDowell County native, she won the prestigious Boston Book Award and was a finalist for the Dublin Literary Prize for Saints and Villains. The characters in her last novel, Fallam's Secret, literally travel between the 17th and 21st centuries.

    Diane Fisher burst onto the national poetry scene in 2006 when her second collection, Kettle Bottom, hit the national poetry best-seller list. Writing in the voices of residents of a Mingo County coal camp during the 1920s mine wars, Fisher created a stunning collection that caused a New Pages critic to write: "Kettle Bottom is a one-woman rescue operation accomplished in words that say plainly, yet eloquently, as only a gifted poet can, that these men and women and children were once here in the same world as ours, that they gave up the breath in their lungs and their very daylight to fuel this world, they loved and often lost too soon "that all of it mattered."

    Fayette County native Kate Long, longtime Charleston Gazette writing coach, has won national awards for her fiction, newspaper stories, radio production, and songwriting. She has coached professional writers for 23 years, so she knows how to pack a lot of writer-tested, ready-to-use advice into a workshop. Her songs have won honors from Merlefest, the International Bluegrass Music Association, and others, and she has taught songwriting for the Augusta Heritage Center, the Swannanoa Gathering, and others.

    Popular Charleston writing workshop leader Geoff Fuller also coaches individual writers who are finishing larger projects for publication or personal satisfaction. A former textbook editor and business writing teacher, he is working on a manuscript about the 1970 murders of two Morgantown co-eds, with a working premise that the wrong person is in jail.

    Prolific songwriter and accomplished guitar player Pete Kosky reaches back into West Virginia's history to create memorable songs about settlers and explorers, Indians and politicians. A wildly entertaining performer and comedian, Pete has taught songwriting workshops for Allegheny Echoes and is a popular festival performer.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Carnegie Hall Potluck

    The Carnegie Hall WV's storytelling series presents POTLUCK: Stories and Songs About Women, Wisdom and Food.

    It takes place Friday, May 4, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Hall Auditorium. General admission is $10. Phone 304-645-7917 for tickets or more information.

    Grab-a-Nickel WELCOMES submissions!

    (News courtesy of Terry McNemar and Barbara Smith)

    Grab-a-Nickel WELCOMES submissions!

    No deadline but the sooner the better.

    Poetry, short fiction, short nonfiction, book reviews, black-and-white photos—all welcome.

    Hard copy and photos should be sent to:

    Box 2158
    Alderson-Broaddus College
    Philippi, WV 26416.

    Or electronic—with G-a-N as the subject line to

    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

    (This news courtesy of Fay Thompson)

    The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is now accepting entries.

    Stories must be original, unpublished,typed and double-spaced, and 3,000 words or less. Entries from non-U.S. writers are welcome. The contest is open only to those whose fiction hasn't appeared in a nationally distributed publication with a circulation of 5,000 or more.

    Each story should be accompanied by a cover sheet with your name, complete address, e-mail address, phone number, and title of the piece.

    The entry fee is $10 for each story postmarked by May 1, 2007, and $15 for each story postmarked between May 1 and May 15. Entries postmarked after May 15 will not be accepted.

    Prizes include $1,000 cash to the first-place winner, $500 apiece to the second-and third-place winners, and honorable mentions to other promising writers.

    All manuscripts and fees should be sent to...

    The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition
    P.O. Box 993
    Key West, FL 33041.

    Winners will be announced in late July in Key West, and all entrants will receive a letter from Lorian (either via snail mail or e-mail) and a list of winners by October 1.

    For more information, go to http://www.shortstorycompetition

    Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Conference Banquet Pricing Update!

    Hola all,

    Just wanted to send out an important pricing update for the WV Writers Awards Banquet.

    It's been reduced!

    For those of you who've sent in your Cedar Lakes room and meals registration form, you probably noticed the price of tickets to the Awards Banquet was set at $17.50. This is an increase of nearly $5 from the 2006 ticket price. The reason for that was two fold: A) Cedar Lakes raised their table service charge from $3 to $5; and B) WV Writes added a $2 charge of our own in order to give everyone who attended the banquet a special surprise in honor of our organization's 30th Anniversary.

    We've now changed our minds on this and have removed the $2 charge, opting instead to simply purchase quantities of the "surprise" and have them for sale at ridiculously low prices in our bookstore. This way, anyone who wants one (or four) may purchase them and anyone who does not can refrain, go peacefully and live in envy of those who did.

    What is this mystery item without which your life can never be quite complete? Ain't tellin'. You'll have to come to the conference to find out.

    Which brings me to my next point...

    The 2007 WV Writers Summer Conference is still in Pre-Registration Mode, through May 15. You can find all the information about the conference, as well as registration forms for both the conference itself and for your Cedar Lakes lodging and meals (with the aforementioned reduced banquet price of $15.50) at our website...


    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    McKernan in Motown.....Tonight!

    (This news courtesy Terry McNemar)

    John McKernan will give a poetry reading at 7:30 pm Wednesday April 4 in the Robinson Reading Room at the WVU Downtown Library in Morgantown.

    He will read from his new book of poems Resurrection of the Dust.

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    WV Writers Writing Competition Now Closed to Entries

    The WV Writers 2007 Spring Writing Competition is now closed.

    The entries from this year will soon be in the hands of our JUDGES and the results will be announced June 9th at the Awards Banquet portion of our 2007 Summer Conference.

    Hope to see you there!