Save the Date – Writers Project Runway II

Writers Project Runway – Taking Your Writing to New Heights is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2016, at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, VA.  Registration will open at 8:00 AM and the conference will run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with an author signing from 4:00-5:00 PM. A catered lunch is included in the conference fee.

Fees: $75.00 for Pennwriter members. $80.00 for college students. $100.00 for nonmembers.

Registration online and via mail will open in February 2016.

Stop by this blog and look in your upcoming PennWriter newsletter for details and bios on the wonderful speakers who will be presenting this year.

Fiction, Nonfiction, Mystery, Children’s Book, Newspaper Writing, YA,  all will be addressed in the available workshops. Two publishers will be there to take pitches. 

Save the Date and Register Early.


Interested in Writing a Children’s Book?


Writing a Children’s Book

This interactive workshop will cover:
* 6 Common myths about writing children’s books.
* Does my book include all the elements of good story telling?
* Who is my customer?
* Writing for children while appealing to parents.
Upon completion of the workshop participants will receive a copy of Bobbi’s PowerPoint presentation on writing for children and a signed copy of her multi-award winning book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog.
Course Schedule: Feb 3, 2014 –Mar. 7, 2014

Bobbi Carducci’s book for young readers, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, received a Gold Mom’s Choice Award, a Bronze Living Now Award, and was named A Best Dog Book for Young Readers by Cesar Milan, TV’s The Dog Whisperer.
She is a multi-award winning short story writer and a former senior staff writer for a small Washington, D.C. area newspaper.
Bobbi was honored to be the luncheon keynote speaker at the 26th annual Pennwriters Conference in May 2013. She serves on the Pennwriters board of directors as the Area 7 Representative.
Bobbi is also known as The Imperfect Caregiver on her blog of the same name, written to support women and men caring for loves ones at home.

Contact info:

Register at, Courses \ Online Courses,


If you are thinking about writing a nonfiction book, you need to consider more than the manuscript. Unlike fiction works, which should be complete before submission, nonfiction books are generally sold through proposals. The proposal presents a strong case for your book idea and will have a publisher take you seriously. In addition, developing a proposal will help you stay focused on the book’s topic and the market for which it is intended. How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen is one of the best books I have read on this subject.
Book proposals contain specific information arranged in an easy-to-read format. Some publishers have their own standard company proposal templates, which they send to the author. A typical nonfiction book proposal consists of four main parts: Overview of the Book, Sales and Marketing Strategies, About the Author, and an Outline and Overview of the chapters. These main sections contain subsections, resulting in a proposal that is several pages in length. My typical proposal runs between 18-22 pages.
The main sections of a proposal include the following:

Title Page
• Introduction/Overview
• Outstanding Features
• Market
• Competitive Books
• Complementary Books
• Author Promotion
• About the Author
Table of Contents
• Overview of Chapters

Title Page. Center the title and the author’s name. Type the author’s contact information in the lower left corner.

Introduction/overview. Describe the book’s (1) main subject area, (2) contents, and (3) page count. State whether the book will be part of a series. Answer the following questions in the introduction/overview:
• What is the book about? (3-4 sentences)
• Why is the topic important?
• What will the book’s angle be?
• What makes you the best person to write the book?
• What outstanding features make this book different from others on the market?

Market. Describe the market and audience for this book.

Competing and Complementary Books. Make a list of books that compete with yours and those that complement it. Give a sentence or two about your reasoning.

Author Promotion. Describe what you will do to personally promote the book.

About the Author. Detail your background, including your academic and professional background as it relates to the book, your publications, and your writing-related activities (e.g., member or officer in a writing group)

Table of Contents. Type a table of contents.

Overview of Chapters. Give a page or so overview per chapter.

Writing a proposal is a lengthy but necessary procedure if you want to increase your chances for success.

Carol Silvis is the President of Pennwriters and the author of Job Hunting After 50,  available on

Prepping for NaNoWritMo

PREPPING FOR NaNoWriMo with SUSAN MEIER: Online Course INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier DATE: October 1 – October 31, 2011 REGISTER: (LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.) COURSE DESCRIPTION: Everybody believes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which runs every November at is a race against the clock, a fight with procrastination and inertia. In some ways it is. But once you’re in the thick of things, you’ll discover NaNo is really all about ideas. Writers don’t stall because they’re lazy. Writers stall because they don’t know what to write next. The month BEFORE NaNo, get proven tips from Susan Meier—the author of almost 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette—and let her take you through several different ways to examine the story you want to write, to capture the natural scene possibilities within your idea, to generate new ideas, and to push yourself through the most grueling, but fun, month you will spend this year! Lessons include: * The List of 20 (How to generate ideas quickly so you have little downtime when your natural ideas run out) * Turning a “Want” into “Need” (How does knowing why you’re writing this book provide you with both energy to write and ideas for your story?) * The One-Paragraph Story Summary (Say it succinctly…3 kinds of one-paragraph story summaries: back cover blurb, core story question, and growth paragraph) * Could, Might, Must and Should List (How to capture ideas that spring up naturally) * Storyboard Versus Synopsis (Breaking your idea down into manageable bites) * The Psychology of Pushing through the Hard Times (What to do when you get stuck) * The Psychology of a Draft (Push, push, push!) * What Are You Doing in December? (Editing tips) Discover how to get the most out of NaNo and write a publishable novel. LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now. REGISTER: ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier is the author of over 45 books for Harlequin and Silhouette and one of Guideposts‘ Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. Her books have been finalists for Reviewers Choice Awards, National Reader’s Choice Awards and Reviewer’s Choice Awards and nominated for Romantic Times awards. Her book, HER BABY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS won the traditional category in the 2009 More Than Magic contest. HER PREGNANCY SURPRISE, her first release for the Harlequin Romance line, made both Walden’s Bestseller List for Series Romance and Bookscan. MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE, MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, and COUNTRY TWIN CHRISTMAS are her 2010 releases. Susan loves to teach as much as she loves to write and is a popular speaker at RWA chapter conferences. Can This Manuscript Be Saved? and Journey Steps, Taking the Train to Somewhere! are her most requested workshops. Her article “How to Write a Category Romance” appeared in 2003 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Markets. Susan also gives online workshops for various groups and her articles regularly appear in RWA chapter newsletters. For more information about Susan Meier, visit * Subscribe to our announcement list for email on our latest online courses! ***** * For more information on this course, contact Laura M. Campbell, Online Courses Coordinator. To mail in your registration and payment, send payment at least one week before the course starts using the mail form at this link.

Read and Critique – Round Robin

Pennwriters offers a Round Robin Critique Group program that is ideal for those who can’t get to area meetings as often as they would like, or who live too far away from their area meetings or other Pennwriters, or who write in a genre or form that isn’t as popular as others (and it’s difficult to find like-minded writers to network with).

A Pennwriters Round Robin Critique Group or partnership can be done either by e-mail or by US Mail. And do consider partnering to help those still looking for match-ups in: Short Story, Romance, Literary, Christian/inspirational, Mystery/suspense, Science Fiction-Alternate History, Middle Grade (ages 9-13) fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical nonfiction, and Eclectic (writing short in various forms/genres.)

All you have to do is contact Catherine McLean, and ask for a Round Robin Request form.

Catherine E. McLean is a Pennwriters Meritorious Service Award winner who has given more than 30 workshops and had two-dozen articles published on the devices and techniques of writing fiction. Her short stories have sold to magazines and anthologies.

I Still See Books – By Deanna R. Adams

I’ve been a bit down in the dumps lately. In the past few months, one of my favorite book stores, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cleveland, closed, followed by news of a Borders demise just five minutes from my house.
Big. Sad. Sigh. My mood became as dark as the ominous skies that dominate throughout our long Ohio winters.
What’s going to become of our industry? I couldn’t help wonder. I’m finally making a living as a writer (albeit, a modest one), and now book stores are crumbling faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career. Not to mention that I love, love, love books—printed books, that is. I love the smell, the feel of the pages, the infinite selection of stories in which to choose . . .
I go to bed with a book each night. I love the words telling me fascinating tales as I drift gently into a good night’s sleep. I even won an award recounting my lifelong love affair with books—it was the easiest essay I ever wrote.
Quite simply, books make me happy.
And so, I cringe as, one by one, book stores are closing everywhere I look, and as I hear people tell me proudly, “Oh, got your book on Amazon!” This even after I’ve suggested they support a local bookstore. And I know it’s because “it’s easier now just to order online.”
But then, I saw a vision. Or several, actually. While vacationing in Key West recently, I saw a great book town. Strolling along Duval Street, I saw books. And signs for books. And book stores! Imagine my joy when I discovered two independent book stores within walking distance! My heart leapt with exhilaration! The stores were big and beautiful, and I was once again reminded how much I love hanging out in a book store. What fun it is to browse through so many books—all shapes and sizes and stories. For years, spending time in a book store has been my favorite thing to do on my birthday. (Oprah gets a mammogram on her birthday. I shop at books stores. Who has the better time?)
As I blissfully scoured through a wonderful array of titles (and yes, there were many others there, too), I was reminded why E-books will never be for me. To add to my delight, I saw a new book by a colleague of mine, Cleveland writer, Paula McLain, prominently displayed. Her wonderful new novel, The Paris Wife (about Hemingway’s first wife) had just been released that week. Hope of good books still being published was restored.
If all those thrilling visions weren’t enough to lift my literary spirits, I saw more books. At the airport, awaiting my trip back to the arctic north, I gazed around me and saw nine people (yes, I counted) reading books. Real. Printed. Books. Others were reading newspapers and magazines. I saw not one Kindle. I nearly wept with happiness.
For in that moment I was reassured that I am not alone. I believe that after all the buzz of these new, exciting gadgets dies down, both E and printed books will live together in harmony.
So don’t let all the bad news about the book industry get you down. Books are still vital, cherished commodities. And it’s up to us writers to keep it that way by continuing to produce good work. . . .
*And by the way, did you know that this is National Novel Editing Month? If you’re working on getting that novel polished in time to pitch it to an agent at the upcoming Pennwriters conference, check out: National Novel Editing Month – GalleyCat
See you next time.

Deanna Adams’s Top Ten Tips for Achieving Your Goals

1. Know the Difference between a Dream and a Goal. A dream is an unrealistic vision (like winning the lottery), a goal is something is attainable, WHEN you apply the necessary steps toward achieving it.

2. Be Prepared. Have one place in your home where you write and do nothing else but write. This helps trigger the creative process. Also, try and keep the same writing schedule. Same time. Same place. Every day. You’ll see the words begin to flow easily as a result of this consistency.

3. Manage Your Time. Give yourself permission to write, and no more excuses. Get up an hour earlier to write, or stay up an hour later. Don’t waste time watching a lot of TV, it won’t enhance your life and won’t make you a writer. Email, too, sucks up a lot of time. Tell everyone you know not to send you those forwards and jokes. If they still do (and some will) delete them without opening them. Of course, as a writer, you have to check your email, but do it after you’ve written at least one or two hours. (If possible.)

4. Take Classes, Attend Writers Conferences/Workshops. Invest in yourself and your career. Whether a novice or veteran, we all need that shot in the arm, and there’s always something new to learn. These events give you the needed encouragement, stimulation, education and camaraderie you get from others who share your passion. Can’t afford a conference? Make a goal toward the next one you want to attend. Then start putting as much money as you can away each week (even if it’s just $10) and soon you’ll be there!

5. Network Whenever Possible. Surround yourself with successful people. “You are who you associate with” is a wonderful, and true, expression. Meet them. Learn from them. Stalk them. (Kidding.) Then follow their lead. Read their works so you can ask them questions on how they did it. Exchange emails or phone calls, and make yourself a new writer friend.

6. Read Great Works, Have Literary Heroes. You can glean so much from reading great books. My literary heroes include (but not limited to) Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, Mary Karr, William Zinsser, David Sedaris, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Who are yours?

7. Understand You’ll Need To Pay Your Dues. That’s how we all learn and grow. There is not one successful writer out there who has not known rejection. The difference is what they did afterward—they’ve learned from it and DID NOT GIVE UP! If you’re lucky, your rejection letter will include a personal note from an editor or agent, giving you a tip on how to improve the piece, or just some encouragement about your writing.

8. Review your Goals Now and Then, and Revise if Necessary. You may get halfway through a novel or researching a book and decide it’s not working. By all means, drop it and begin something else. Or revise your contents, extend a deadline if you need to. Things change. You change . . . It’s okay.

9. Celebrate Achievements, No Matter How Small. Celebrate after finishing a book chapter or get an article accepted, or, especially, when you get a YES! from an agent. Go out and buy yourself something (another book?), enjoy a good meal at your favorite restaurant, sip a chocolate martini, or drink of your choice. The point is, writing is hard work and you deserve to treat yourself!

10. Believe in Yourself! Remember, if you love the art of writing, then you’re already good at it. No one willingly does something they’re bad at. Because there’s no joy in it. You feel the joy of loving what you do, which makes you want to do it more, learn more. Which makes you accomplish more . . . which ultimately results in . . . TA DA – Success!
*Deanna will be a presenter at this year’s Pennwriters Conference. She will speak on Drafting the Nonfiction Proposal and The Art of Creative Nonfiction