Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

New Literary Journal Focuses on the “Mostly True”

A new online literary journal called 3QR: The Three Quarter Review will feature stories, poems, and essays that “allow writers to stretch out a bit,” according to 3QR’s editor, Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson.

“It’s not your typical journal,” says Cavanaugh Simpson, a long-time friend of the Baltimore chapter as a lecturer in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and as a member of the editorial board of The Baltimore Review. “We bypass battles over literary categories, featuring ‘mostly true stories.'”

The name of the online journal is a reference to its requirement that submissions be “at least 75% true.”

The inaugural issue of 3QR features fiction by Stephen Dixon, poems by Marilyn L. Taylor, and an essay by Cavanaugh Simpson. The contents are available free in their entirety on the 3QR website. The journal is billed as a “three-year experiment.”

Authors are invited to submit to 3QR on an ongoing basis. Prose submissions should be no more than 3,000 words, and poets may submit up to three poems at a time.

They’ll take the author’s word on the percentage of fictional content, though.

March 27, 2012

Good Writing is Rewriting

by Ariel Paz

We have all heard it said, “Writing is rewriting.” As a newly published author, I would make a stronger statement. Good writing is rewriting. Anyone can sit down, throw something on paper, and call it writing. The question is “What quality of writing do I want to put out?”

As I rewrote many of my chapters time after time, I wondered if I would ever finish the book, and — more importantly — how I would know when I was finished. I began to notice that with each rewrite my sentences became clearer, more succinct. Descriptions became more vivid and emotions began to surface. Structure developed and paragraphs nestled into each other more closely. As a mother watches her child develop and mature, so it was with me and my book. Moreover, like waiting for a child grow up, it is a process that can’t be rushed.

Good writing takes time, discipline, and patience. Quality writing, at least for me as a new writer, doesn’t come the first time. It must be sifted and refined, as if looking for the golden nuggets in the river of language that will express exactly what I want to convey.

It also comes with having a calm, clear mind. I can never sit down and write when my mind is cluttered and turbulent or if I have a million things on my to-do list. There must be time and space to allow my thoughts to flow onto the paper at a gentle pace.

So, the next time you feel frustrated with the writing process, I encourage you to take a break, and then come back and work on the rewrite. It will all be worth it when, in the end, you have produced a manuscript that expresses exactly what you wanted to say as well as how you wanted to say it. Happy writing!

# # #

Visit Ariel at and check out her new book The Power of Faith, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.

March 24, 2012

Nominations Sought for MWA Board

Elections for the 2012-2014 Board will be held at the MWA Annual Meeting in June (details forthcoming). Immediate past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee Sonia Linebaugh is encouraging MWA members to run for the following open positions:

  • President: presides over the Executive Committee, Board, and annual membership meetings. Directs or supervises all MWA activities, serving as an ex officio member of all committees.
  • Vice President: assists the President, mentors committees, and presides in lieu of the President. Also traditionally serves as the Board’s liaison to the Chapters.
  • Secretary: prepares and disseminates the minutes of Executive Committee, Board, and annual membership meetings.
  • Treasurer: accounts for all income, expenses, assets, and liabilities of MWA, maintains all funds and accounts, prepares the annual General Budget, and collects data required for taxes, grant accountability, and other financial disclosures.

In addition, the following Chair positions are open for nominees. Each of the chairs will be responsible for forming a Standing Committee and should strive to recruit volunteers to serve on it.

  • Development and Long-Range Planning: handles development, sponsor recruitment, and long-range planning of the MWA, its chapters, and associated components.
  • Communications: publicizes MWA activities to members and the public, and initiates and responds to media requests.
  • Conference: manages all aspects of planning and organizing the annual Maryland Writers Conference.
  • Publications: supervises the publication of all MWA newsletters, journals, and books.
  • Programs: develops and manages writing contests, awards, critique groups, and other programs and events offered by MWA or in which MWA participates.
  • Membership: receives and processes membership applications and dues, and maintains accurate dues status and contact information for all members.

All Board positions are two-year terms, and require attendance at bimonthly Board meetings in addition to interim meetings of standing committees on an as-needed basis. If you are interested in tossing your hat into the ring, or would like to find out more information about the responsibilities involved, e-mail Sonia at

March 7, 2012

Teen Writers Club Featured in Towson Times

MWA’s Teen Writers Club at the Cockeysville Library is the subject of a terrific article by reporter John Meoli in today’s issue of the Towson Times. Check it out!

The Teen Writers Club is the brainchild of MWA member and past Maryland Writers Conference coordinator Diane Booth. Weekly meetings include a wide range of creative activities such as critiques, writing exercises, and talks by guest authors. MWA member and Baltimore Chapter President Gary Lester was the guest author at the club’s meeting that is the subject of the article. Several of the young aspiring writers who participate in the club are introduced in the article too.

The Cockeysville Library Teen Writers Club meets every Wednesday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. For details, contact Diane at (410) 557-9335 or e-mail her at

March 3, 2012

Legal Issues Workshop to Focus on Contracts

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MdVLA, formerly Maryland Lawyers for the Arts) and CityLit Project are co-sponsoring a two-hour workshop on the legal issues surrounding publishing contracts that “could be the most important two hours of your career.”

At the workshop, titled “Do’s and Dont’s and the Dotted Line,” intellectual property lawyer Cynthia Sanders of Ober | Kaler and agent Laura Strachan of Strachan Literary will discuss what authors need to know before they sign a contract with an agent or a publisher. MWA members will recognize both presenters from their appearances at past Maryland Writers Conferences.

The workshop will be held Saturday, March 10, 2012, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the MdVLA Offices at Union Mill, 1500 Union Avenue (Lower Level), Baltimore, MD 21211. There is a $15 registration fee. Call (410) 274-5691 for more information and to register by credit card or check.

MdVLA is dedicated to protecting Maryland artists’ legal rights through pro bono legal referrals and education. In residency at the University of Baltimore, CityLit promotes literature and the professional development of literary artists.

MdVLA’s free online newsletter, MLA Arts Brief, sometimes covers legal issues for writers. You can subscribe to the newsletter by e-mailing MdVLA Executive Director Marcia Semmes at, and include the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

March 2, 2012

Member Discount Offered for Self-Publishing Seminar

MWA members Ally Peltier and Angela Render have announced a 30% discount to MWA members who register for their Self-Publishing Success Intensive (SPSI) before March 15. The discount is equal to a savings of $100 over the regular registration fee.

The SPSI will be held in Columbia, MD, on March 31.

To register and take advantage of the discount, visit You’ll be asked to provide your MWA Member ID Number when you register. If you don’t know your membership number, contact the MWA Membership Chair.

The SPSI is:

“. . . an all-day, info-packed seminar designed to help you self-publish your book the right way. That is, the way that’s best for your book and your unique circumstances—not an attempt to emulate what the big publishers do or a violent rejection of the usual publishing process. This event isn’t just for would-be novelists, either: publishing a book can raise your visibility, attract ideal clients, and establish you as an expert in your field, so professionals of many types will find value in the SPSI.

“Join publishing insider Ally Peltier and Internet marketing expert Angela Render and learn everything you need to know for self-publishing success. You’ll also get pre-event trainings and tons of resources you’ll turn to for years to come.”

Topics covered in the all-day seminar include:

  • Publishing secrets most people won’t tell you (or don’t know!)
  • Choosing the right medium for your book
  • Assembling a power team of professionals
  • Building a marketing platform
  • Crafting a business plan
  • Maximizing opportunities and circumventing obstacles
  • Using blogs and social media to sell more books
  • Building, managing, and nurturing a mailing list
  • Crafting a sales message
  • . . . and more

For more information about the Self-Publishing Success Intensive, visit