Archive for March, 2013

March 30, 2013

Howard County Chapter Welcomes Humorist Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski

Meet award-winning author, freelance writer, humorist, and stand-up comedian Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski at the April meeting of the MWA Howard County Chapter, Thursday, April 18 from 7:00 to 9:00 p. m. at Sunrise Senior Living, 6500 Freetown Road, in Columbia.

Ms. Wojciechowski tentatively plans to speak out loud, and later answer questions related to the subjects about which she has spoken out loud. There will also be a door prize.

Among the subjects Wojo has addressed and may or may not ever speak of again:

  • Moving
  • Groundhogs: Are They Beavers?
  • Baltimore
  • The spelling and pronunciation of her name
  • Barney Miller
  • Movies
  • Carrots with the green things still on them
  • Writing about the subjects listed above
  • Writing about subjects not listed above

At this month’s meeting, the chapter is collecting new or gently-used books for the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County. Bring one and you’ll receive an extra door prize ticket. Due to the nature of their services, they request that the book contain no mention of violence against women or children.

About the speaker:

Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski writes the humor column, Wojo’s World. In addition, her writing has appeared in the LA Times MagazineFamily CircleBoys’ LifeMaryland LifeBaltimore magazine, and other publications. She has also written and performed standup comedy at several of the annual Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshops (where she has served as a faculty member), and venues such as The Baltimore Comedy Factory, Ryan’s Daughter in NYC, and E. M.P. Collective Theater. This year Wojo’s book, Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box, has won an Outstanding Book Award (Lifestyle/Memoir category), from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She also speaks publicly about public speaking, and says funny things about saying funny things.

See Wojo perform on her YouTube channel. For more information about the meeting, visit the Howard County Chapter website. Click here for directions to Sunrise Senior Living.

A look ahead:

On Thursday, May 16, author LM Preston speaks on “The BOOM of the Short Story: the New Market for Young Adult, Middle Grade, and New Adult Short Fiction.” Details coming soon!

March 30, 2013

Children’s Author Karen Leggett Abouraya Speaks at the Montgomery Chapter’s April Meeting

Karen Leggett Abouraya, author of the children’s book Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, will share the true story behind her book and the the joys and challenges of writing for children — including whether you can make a living at it — at the April meeting of the MWA’s Montgomery County Chapter on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Room PE 135 in the Physical Education Building on the Rockville campus of Montgomery College, 51 Mannakee Street, in Rockville.

The title of Ms. Abouraya’s presentation will be “Why Write Books for Kids: How a Veteran Journalist Joins a Successful Children’s Illustrator to Write an Inspiring Story about the Middle East.” She will discuss the true story of protesters who held hands around the great library in Alexandria, Egypt, to protect it from vandals during the 2011 revolution, and how she and illustrator Susan Roth turned that story into a children’s book. Ms. Abouraya will also share slides of Ms. Roth’s exuberant collage art from the book during her presentation.

Guests are asked to please park in student parking as designated by the white lines.

About the speaker:

Karen Leggett Abouraya was a broadcast journalist for many years on WMAL Radio in Washington, where she hosted a news program that included discussions of children’s books. Her reviews have also appeared in The New York Times, the Baltimore SunWashington Parent and other periodicals. She is a former president and very active member of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC. Currently, Karen writes for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System, Voice of America, International Educator magazine, and other periodicals. Ms. Abouraya graduated from Brown University and met her Egyptian husband in Washington. They have two children and have been lucky enough to visit Egypt many times — especially Alexandria, her husband’s home town. You can find out more about Hands Around the Library at its official website and on Facebook.

For more information about the meeting, visit the Montgomery County Chapter website. Click here for directions to the Physical Education Building of Montgomery College’s Rockville campus.

March 30, 2013

MWA Members: Put Your Book in the Auction Basket at Pennwriters 2013!

Are you an MWA member with a published book? Would you like to reach new readers while supporting a worthy cause at the same time? If so, consider donating a copy of your book for the MWA basket to be auctioned off at the 26th Annual Pennwriters Conference, May 17-19, at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott!

The annual Pennwriters Conference is hosted by our newfound friends, Pennwriters, a nonprofit organization for writers in our northern neighbor (and beyond). Money raised from the gift basket auction is used to support the organization’s broad range of programs that include regular meetings, online courses, local workshops, and of course the annual conference.

Traditionally-published and self-published books are welcome to be included in the gift basket. All donations to the MWA gift basket are tax deductible.

And if you’d like to attend the conference, registration is now open! Literary agent Donald Maass will be the keynote speaker at this year’s conference, and the programming includes pre-program intensive workshops as well as sessions on subjects such as finding an agent, creating a book trailer, writing query letters, and even how to beat writers’ block.

Please send all donations to Jessica Williams, Pennwriters’ secretary and 2013 conference coordinator. Feel free to drop Jessica a line if you have any questions.

Jess Williams
7 Strut Court
Baltimore, MD 21220

And big thanks to MWA member Joya Fields for bringing MWA and Pennwriters together around this very cool idea! Here’s hoping it becomes an annual tradition.

March 20, 2013

Author Barbara Morrison To Discuss Effective Marketing at Baltimore Chapter Meeting

Author Barbara Morrison will be the guest speaker at the March meeting of the MWA’s Baltimore Chapter on Monday, March 25 at 7 p. m. at Ukazoo Books, 730 Dulaney Valley Road, in Towson.

The topic of Ms. Morrison’s presentation will be marketing tools for writers. In today’s volatile publishing environment, publishers expect authors to excel at marketing and promotion, while self-published authors bear the full responsibilty for marketing their own work. Ms. Morrison will discuss the most effective marketing tools available to writers today, and review the pros and cons of various promotional strategies.

Chapter President Fernando Quijano III promises that, “You will come away from this meeting with the beginnings of an effective marketing plan. ”

About the speaker:

Barbara Morrison, who writes under the name B. Morrison, is the author of the memoir Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother and the poetry collection Here at Least, with a second volume, Terrarium, scheduled to appear in 2013. Her award-winning work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems edited by Laura Shovan and published by MWA Books. Ms. Morrison conducts writing workshops and speaks on women’s and poverty-related issues. She is also the owner of a small press and speaks regularly about publishing and marketing. She has maintained her Monday Morning Books since 2006 and tweets regularly about poetry as @bmorrison9. For more information, visit her website.

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

March 17, 2013

Video Highlights of MWA’s First Chapter Summit

On Sunday, March 10, 2013, MWA held its first quarterly Chapter Summit, an informal luncheon where chapter officers and MWA board members gathered to discuss issues of interest and concern and to make plans for future programs and activities. MWA Publications Chair David Joyner recorded the session and has made the edited highlights available to share with MWA members and friends.

Thanks to David for recording the session and to Program Chair Louise Harris and Howard County Treasurer Janet Ruck for organizing the summit.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

March 17, 2013

Organizational Meeting for Charles County Chapter Scheduled for March 25

Two local writers hope to establish a Charles County chapter of the non-profit Maryland Writers’ Association and ask those interested to attend a planning meeting on Monday, March 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 in room 108A of the Waldorf West Branch of the Carroll County Public Library, 10405 O’Donnell Place, in Waldorf.

College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Professor Emeritus Edna Troiano, a textbook author and freelance writer, and CSM Assistant Professor Michelle Brosco Christian, a college media writing professor and freelance writer, were both interested in finding ways to expand opportunities for Charles County writers and noted that a St. Mary’s County chapter was then in the process of forming.

“CSM’s well-established Connections literary series would be a perfect tie in for this group as they have been bringing published authors to the region for many years and they also publish a literary magazine for student and community members’ writing,” said Troiano, who chaired CSM’s Languages and Literature Department for 20 years.

While the initial meeting is geared toward having attendees brainstorm topics and activities that appeal to them, some of the initial thoughts for monthly meeting topics include tips for writing for the web, crafting successful query letters, the business of publishing, creating an author’s website, magazine writing, self-publishing, and how to build a non-fiction freelance clientele. There are also plans for several subgroups such as critique groups, reading groups and coffee/computer writing sessions.

For more information about the meeting or to volunteer to help launch a Charles County Chapter of MWA, contact Michelle Brosco Christian at or (301) 934-9072, and ​​Edna Troiano at or (301) 535-5079.

March 17, 2013

MWA Welcomes the St. Mary’s County Chapter

On Friday, the board of the Maryland Writers’ Association voted unanimously to grant a charter to the MWA’s newest chapter, the St. Mary’s Chapter. Congratulations and welcome!

The chapter will meet regularly at the Lexington Park Branch of the St. Mary’s County Library, in Lexington Park, MD. Its first official meeting, during which officers will be elected and plans for future meetings discussed, will be held on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 6:30. If you are a writer living in or around St. Mary’s County, please drop by! You don’t have to be an MWA member to attend. (And if you’re not an MWA member, consider becoming one. It’s only $40 a year!)

Be sure to like and follow the chapter online:

Questions about the St. Mary’s County chapter? Contact organizer Nancy Smay at

March 5, 2013

Pen in Hand Spring Issue Call for Submissions

Submissions are now open for the Spring 2013 issue of Pen in Hand, the MWA’s quarterly membership newsletter. The issue will be appearing in April 2013.

Pen in Hand publishes:

  • Tips and techniques on the art, craft, and business of writing and publishing
  • How-to advice for writers
  • News items and features on upcoming events of interest to MWA members and friends (please keep the publication date of the issue in mind when submitting dated items!)
  • Interviews with noteworthy people such as MWA meeting guest speakers
  • Short-short stories and poetry

Word count ceiling: 300-400 words for features, stories, and poetry; 100 words for news items and announcements.

Payment: Your story in print. Pen in Hand acquires no rights beyond first publication.

Submission deadline: Sunday, March 31, 2013. The newsletter can fill up quickly — especially the fiction, poetry, and memoir section — so don’t wait too long before submitting!

Pen in Hand reserves the right to edit for length, grammar, and spelling as appropriate. Publication will depend on factors such as timeliness, relevance, professionalism, and available space.

Submission Requirements:

  • You must be a current MWA member to be considered for publication.
  • Maryland-based literary journals, publishers, reading series, and writers’ associations are welcome to submit announcements such as calls for submissions and upcoming events.
  • Submissions should be in unformatted text and included in the body of an email message. No attachments, please.
  • Please include a brief bio.
  • If line art or halftones will accompany your submission, please specify that in your e-mail and the editor will provide formatting guidelines.
  • include “PIH” in the e-mail subject line and send to Paul Lagasse at Questions and queries are encouraged.

Please note: submissions that don’t follow these guidelines will not be considered!

Looking forward to seeing your submissions!