Archive for January, 2013

January 27, 2013

Poet Shirley Brewer to Lead Baltimore Chapter’s Moon Madness

The Baltimore chapter of MWA is offering a re-scheduled Moon Madness by vice president and poet Shirley Brewer at its next monthly meeting, Monday, January 28, at 7:00 p.m at Ukazoo Books, 730 Dulaney Valley Road, Dulaney Plaza Shopping Center, in Towson. The workshop, originally scheduled for the day after the full moon in October, was postponed because of inclement weather.

Ms. Brewer will lead a series of Luna-inspired prompts sure to invoke the Moon Muse. Shirley’s poetry chapbook, A Little Breast Music, was published in 2008 by Passager Books (Baltimore). Her second book of poetry,After Words, is forthcoming in early 2013 from Apprentice House/Loyola University (Baltimore).

After the workshop, everyone will receive a Moon Words handout for those who are willing will share the fruits of their labor.

About the speaker:

Shirley J. Brewer is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator. She won first, second, and third prizes in the Maryland Writers’ Association 2010 Short Works Contest for Poetry. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Manorborn in 2009. Publication credits include The Cortland Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Loch Raven Review, Pearl, Comstock Review, Passager, Manorborn, and other journals.

For more information, visit the Baltimore chapter website.  Click here for directions to Ukazoo Books.

January 21, 2013

Howard County Chapter Offers Memoir Writing Workshop with Barbara Morrison

The Howard County chapter is offering a a free memoir-writing workshop led by memoirist and poet Barbara Morrison at its next monthly meeting, Thursday, February 21, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Sunrise Senior Living, 6500 Freetown Road, in Columbia.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of writing; other times, it’s getting restarted after you’ve stalled. Barbara Morrison, author of the award-winning memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, will provide tips and tactics for kicking off (or reviving) your memoir and lead some writing exercises to jump-start your creativity.
After the workshop someone will get a door prize, and if you bring a new or gently-used book for Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, you’ll receive an extra ticket, doubling your chances to win.
About the speaker:
An accomplished poet, Ms. Morrison is also the author of the poetry collection Here at Least, and a contributor to the MWA Books Life in Me Like Grass on Fire and New Lines from the Old Line State. For more information about her work, visit her website.
For more information about the workshop, visit the Howard County Chapter website. Click here for directions to Sunrise Senior Living.
January 19, 2013

Date, Venue Set for St. Mary’s Chapter Kickoff

MWA member Nancy Smay has informed us that the launch event for the new St. Mary’s Chapter of the Maryland Writers Association has been officially scheduled. The event will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Lexington Park Library 21677 FDR Blvd., in Lexington Park. Here’s the link to the location on Google Maps.

“If you have any interest in helping launch a new chapter, I’d love to meet you and discuss the potential for evolving this group into a supportive and useful environment for local writers,” writes Nancy.

Nancy invites interested writers and friends to e-mail her with questions, and encourages everyone to forward this announcement to anyone who might be interested. Nancy is also looking for volunteers to help with promoting the event.

Nancy is a local writer, military spouse and mother of tiny children, living in Callaway. Her goal for the chapter is to:

  • Provide a community for local writers, both social and professional
  • Foster interaction between local writers and residents (readers!)
  • Bring promotional opportunities to writers working to build a larger readership
  • Offer experienced speakers and workshops to help local writers grow our craft and learn about the changing business of the publishing industry

To start the chapter, Nancy needs about 10 interested members, some of whom might be willing to serve as officers, which hopefully wouldn’t entail too much time.

MWA president Paul Lagasse and other board members are planning to attend the event to answer questions about the organization and encourage people to participate in forming a chapter.

Hope to see you there!

January 18, 2013

The Winter 2013 Issue of Pen in Hand is Hot off the Presses!

The Winter 2013 issue of Pen in Hand, the quarterly newsletter of the Maryland Writers’ Association, is now available! The issue (PDF) is available for download here.

In this issue, you’ll find:

  • Eric D. Goodman on New Year’s writing resolutions
  • Carolee Noury on using your résumé as a marketing tool
  • Reviews of recent meetings and previews of upcoming speakers at MWA Chapters
  • Poems and short stories by Pete Koziar, Richard Baldwin Cook, and Minta Davis
  • . . . and more!

Download your free copy of Pen in Hand here. Back issues are also available on the MWA Publications Page.

January 17, 2013

News about the Next Maryland Writers’ Conference

Editor’s Note: the following is a message that was posted to the MWA Announcements list today. We’re rebroadcasting it here to help spread the word.

# # #

Hi, all —

I wanted to send out a brief message to the MWA membership and friends to let you know what we have in store for the next Maryland Writers Conference, the annual conference of the Maryland Writers’ Association.

First of all, there will be no conference in 2013. The board voted unanimously to move the conference back to the late-March / early-April time frame, and rather than attempt to hold another conference just a few months after our last one, we’ve set the date of the next conference as March-April 2014. We’ll let you know when we’ve locked down the date and the venue.

I’m sure that some of you will be disappointed to hear this news, but I’d like to explain why we thought this would be the best thing to do for the long-term health of the conference. The biggest reasons were:

  • We wanted to avoid overlapping with the Baltimore Writers’ Conference, which will be returning in 2013. The BWC, which has been running almost as long as the MWA’s conference, attracts much of the same audience as ours. By returning our conference to the spring, writers in and around Maryland will again have three general-interest writing conferences spread throughout the year — the Maryland Writers’ Conference in the spring, the Baltimore Writers’ Conference in the fall, and the Bay to Ocean Conference in February (this year’s BTO will be February 23 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills). We’ll be working with the BWC’s sponsors — the Towson University Program in Professional Writing, the Johns Hopkins University Master of Arts in Writing program, and the CityLit Project — to ensure that our respective conferences complement each other and serve the writing community better.
  • It will give us more time to organize an even better event for you. In addition to a volunteer conference chair, the board voted to approve bringing on a professional conference planner to assist with the organization of the event. With the benefits of extra lead time and a professional planner, we expect to be able to promote the conference widely, recruit a faculty of top-notch speakers, and plan a day of programming that will be worth the wait.

We’ll keep you posted as the planning for MWC 2014 gets underway in earnest. We’ll be putting out calls for volunteers, suggestions for speakers, and requests for programming ideas, so please start thinking about them.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to keep you informed on what your board has been busy doing.


Paul Lagasse
President, Maryland Writers’ Association

January 16, 2013

Carroll County Chapter Presents Author LM Preston

Author LM Preston, author of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and urban novels for middle grade and young adult readers, will be the featured speaker at the February meeting of the MWA Carroll County Chapter on Saturday, February 9, at 1:00 p.m. at the Mount Airy Branch of the Carroll County Public Library, 705 Ridge Avenue, in Mount Airy.

The topic of Ms. Preston’s talk is world-building in fiction. Whether you write fantasy or contemporary fiction, science fiction or historical fiction, the setting matters. How do you make sure that your story takes place in a well-established world?

About the speaker:

Washington, DC, native LM Preston has been creating poetry and short-stories since she was a young girl. A self-described “techie and educator” for more than sixteen years, she is the author of the Explorer X series of middle grade science fiction novels as well as the Bandits, The Pack, and Purgatory Reign series for young adult readers through Phenomenal One Press. She has also published short stories in the urban romance and paranormal zombie adventure genres. Ms. Preston is a moderator for YA Lit Chat. You can find out more about her and her work at her website.

For more information about the meeting, visit the Carroll County Chapter website. Click here for directions to the Mount Airy Branch Library.

January 16, 2013

Howard County Chapter Presents Children’s Author Pamela Love

Prolific children’s author Pamela Love will present “Writing and the Wonder of Hidden Things” at the January meeting of the MWA Howard County Chapter on Thursday, January 17, at 7:00 p. m. The meeting will be at Sunrise Senior Living, 6500 Freetown Road, in Columbia.

Ms. Love will discuss the essentials of writing and submitting to children’s magazines and picture book publishers; her writing philosophy; and the genesis of some of her most successful ideas.

post-holiday party with refreshments will follow her presentation. Stay and mingle with members and guests. Chapter President Glen Spangler says if you bring a new or gently-used book for the Howard County Domestic Violence Center, you will get an extra door-prize ticket! “Did I mention there will be a door prize?,” Glen writes.

About the speaker:

Pamela Love grew up in New Jersey. She gra duated from Bucknell University with a double major in English and Elementary Education. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a teacher and in marketing. Scholastic/Children’s Books published her easy reader, Two Feet Up, Two Feet Down. Down East Books published her four picture books,A Loon Alone (currently in its third printing), A Cub ExploresA Moose’s Morning, and Lighthouse Seeds. The anthologies Family Matters: Thirteen Short Stories, published by Pauline Books, and Short Short Stories for Reading Aloud, published by The Education Center, Inc., each contain one of her stories.

Her work has been chosen to appear on standardized tests and as preparatory material for such tests in several states. In addition, she’s published dozens of short stories and poems in magazines such as Highlights for Children,Cricket, and Jack and Jill, among others. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which awarded her a Letter of Merit in their 2005 Magazine Merit poetry contest.

For more information, visit the Howard County Chapter website. Click here for directions to Sunrise Senior Living.

January 9, 2013

Radio’s Garrison Keillor Reads Poem by MWA’s Sue Ellen Thompson

It was “totally mysterious,” says poet Sue Ellen Thompson when asked how National Public Radio star Garrison Keillor came to read her poem, “Leaning In,” on his program, “The Writer’s Almanac.” She included the poem in her book The Golden Hour, published by Autumn House Press. “I guess he just saw it. That’s all I know,” says Thompson.

She is an MWA member who has published four books and is also the editor of The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (2005), a selection from the work of 94 American poets that has been used in college classrooms across the country.

Thompson is not averse to her work being called ‘slice-of-life’ poetry. “It is more autobiographical than not,” she says. To the novice, the poetry is easy to read and follow. In fact, Thompson says, “I have been very aware how many people have been turned off by poetry. I try to keep that non-poetry-lover in mind when I write.” She recalls that she was not exposed to contemporary poetry in high school because it wasn’t part of the curriculum. “It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized poetry could sound like normal, natural speech.”

CLICK TO HEAR what Sue Ellen Thompson’s poetry sounds like, as read by the Mr. Keillor, following his story about Henrik Ibsen.

She writes about her own life in an elegant style that integrates her experience in such a way that the reader instantly understands. “That experience becomes the reader’s experience, too,” she says.

She became a serious poet at about age 30. She was still single and moving up the ladder in the publishing business when she realized that “this is what my life was going to become.” She quit and went to Oxford University in England to study poetry. She returned to her native Connecticut and became a freelance writer so she could devote several hours a day to her craft.

Her approach and the content of her poetry “changed focus” and became more complex when she married and raised a daughter. She says her daughter was “a great kid as a child, but then her adolescence was really hellish.” Her third book, The Leaving, was largely about the mother-daughter relationship. Thompson is currently writing another book, to be published next year, about how her relationship with her daughter, who is transgender, has changed and evolved.