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,

Don’t be left out!

Register for Pennwriters Silver Anniversary Celebration, May 17-20 at the Eden Resort and Suites, Lancaster, PA

From the Conference Coordinator, Danielle Ray
Did you ever wonder about who is in your Pennwriter Area? Now is the chance to meet people from your Area at the Area Meetings at the Conference this year!
We are also having some surprises and giveaways for all the attendees!
Time is running out, register now!
Don’t be left out of the silver anniversary celebration.
Check out all of the information on the website:

Thursday Pre-Conference Seminars

Madhu B. Wangu’s Mindful Writing Meditation
Sue Kreke Rumbaugh’s I Want to Be a Writer
Deborah Riley-Magus’ Creating an Effective Business Plan
Annette Dashofy’s Crime Fiction Story Structure and Finding Your Characters Voice
Maria Snyder’s Do Not Enter!

Friday Keynote Speaker
Hank Phillippi Ryan
New York Times #1 Best Selling Author and Agatha Award Winner

Saturday Lunch Keynote Speaker
Maria V. Snyder

Agents and Editors
Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency
Miriam Kriss of Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Katharine Sands of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management
L. Sue Durkin-Eggerton of Weaving Dreams Publishing
Tim O’Connell, associate editor with Vintage and Anchor Books
Kristin Sevick, associate editor with Tor/Forge Books.

Want to Sell Your Books at the Conference?
If you have a traditionally published book and would like the conference bookseller, Aaron’s
Books, to see if they can get it for the conference, please forward
your information to Conference Coordinator Danielle at
If you have a book that is not traditionally published, you may
bring copies of your book to place on the Pennwriters’ merchandise table for sale.

Interested in Book Signing on Saturday?
Please advise Danielle Ray if you are interested in participating in the
book signing on Saturday. Anyone who has books for sale through
Aaron’s Books or on the Pennwriters’ merchandise table may sign
books during the author’s signing.

Area 7 Celebrate Independent Book Stores
Please don’t forget to bring to the conference the items that you would like to donate to the Area 7 “Celebrating Independent Book Stores Basket.” Thanks!

Call for Volunteers!
The 26th annual Pennwriters conference is on its way and planning has already started! With YOUR help we can make this conference great. Interested in volunteering? Contact Jessica Williams, 2013 Conference Coordinator at

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

Writing in First Person? Watch your “I’s” By Deanna ADAMS

Today, let’s talk about me. Me, me, me, me, me, and a little bit more about me.
What, you don’t care? You don’t want to hear that I did this, and then I did that, and when I, and how I and why I….
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? I was reminded of this recently when reading a blog—by a writer, no less—that contained some good advice, but she used so many Is, it was hard to concentrate on what she was trying to articulate. Her overuse of this pronoun was so distracting, I decided to count them. In this one blog, she used 59 “I’s.”
That’s right, 59 of them. And it wasn’t even that long a piece.
Of course, when writing in first person, you will be using quite a few I’s, it simply can’t be helped. But when you use them in every sentence, and sometimes more than once in every sentence, the topic you want to discuss disappears into a muddy pool of self-serving blubber. Plus, it’s lazy writing. The writer’s not taking the time to be creative with their prose. And isn’t that half the fun?
It also shows that you’re so wrapped up in you as a writer, you’re not considering the reader. And writers must always consider their readers. You want them to take in your words, and forget about the person behind them.
For example. Let’s say you’re writing a memoir piece about your father:
“I loved those fishing trips my dad and I would take each year, and I can still see him. . . .
It’s not even a completed sentence and already the writer has used three “I’s.”
Isn’t this better? “Dad always organized our annual fishing trip. Those images are still fresh in my mind . . .”
This allows the reader to be involved. The focus is on Dad and the trip. Readers already feel involved, imagining Dad preparing for the big event, rather than hearing the writer go on about his reflections.
I know, it’s easier said than done. But a good creative nonfiction class can show you how. You can also just play a bit on your own. Try and tell your personal story without using hardly any “I’s.” Quite a challenge, but chances are, the finished piece will be incredibly more interesting.
You can also read how the masters do it. Here a few to get you started, my immediate short list of authors and their excellent books, written in first person:
E. B White, Essays of E. B. White
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies (Check out her others as well)
Mary Karr, Lit (Check out her first book too, The Liar’s Club)
David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Russell Baker, Growing Up
J. R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar
Till next month, Happy Writing!

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Learn from Catherine McLean

Do yourself a favor and sign up now for Catherine McLean’s online course The Project Bibile: Thou Shalt Create a Great Story.

I’ve already reserved my place online and hope you will too.  The opportunity to learn from Catherine is one of the many great benefits of being a Pennwriter.