Archive for ‘Announcements’

December 15, 2014

MWA Montgomery County Chapter Meeting: January 3rd, 2015

January 03, 2015
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
 Add to Calendar

Mid-County Community Recreation Center
2004 Queensguard Road
Silver Spring, MD 20906

Promoting Your Work with a Hefty Dose of Humor

To grow as a writer, it is important to repeatedly push your work out into the world. Yet, the more efforts you make to get your work published, the more chances you take at rejection. How do you stay positive in the face of all that negativity? Blogger and multi-book author Kat Spitzer has a few words of advice for you.

Blogging maven Kat Spitzer will discuss:

– Tips and tricks for promoting your work—the emphasis will be on nonfiction, but her humor-based strategies may also be used for fiction

– How to push through negativity and self-doubt

At the January meeting, Kat will present “Promoting Your Work with a Hefty Dose of Humor,” offering tips and tricks for promoting your work and growing a (primarily nonfiction) portfolio while keeping a sense of humor. Kat started her writing career with small unpaid articles, and grew from there to publishing larger features, a newspaper column, various blogs, her own daily blog, and now multiple books. Her blog and books are humorous and upbeat, and that’s been her approach to writing in general. You may experience lots of rejections in this business that threaten your belief in yourself as a writer. Kat will discuss how to push through negativity and self-doubt and prevail, even if it’s one little step at a time.
About the Speaker
Kat Spitzer is the author of The Happy Hypochondriac and the newly released The Happy Hypochondriac Survives World Travel. She also writes the humor blog by the same name, which you can find at her website, She contributes nonfiction freelance pieces to magazines and blogs and spent two years writing a weekly sports column for The Capital Gazette. While the Happy  Hypochondriac series of books is published by Apprentice House, she is also self-publishing a compilation of Happy Hypochondriac “Musings” books of her most popular blog posts. The first of these, Musings on Family Life, was released this summer. She is now working on a novel. Kat has a law degree, runs a small business, and is the mother of two and wife of one. The word “hypochondriac” appears on all of her medical records.


November 7, 2014

MWA 2014 Literary Contest up & open!

The MWA 2014 Literary Contest is now open–to members & non-members alike. And what’s better than winning money? Winners will also be considered for publication by Apprentice House Press! For guidelines and information, visit the MWA Contest Page.

October 22, 2014

New Maryland Art Martketplace Open for Artists

In advance of launching its new Maryland Art Marketplace, the MSAC is inviting Maryland artists of all disciplines to sign-up for the Maryland Artist Registry, and encouraging those with online selling sites for their art, crafts or artistic merchandise to opt-in to the Maryland Art Marketplace during the process.

Once launched later this fall, the Maryland Art Marketplace will be promoted by the Arts Council and its partners as a hub for Maryland-made art—including books, music and visual art—that is available for purchase online.

To read more, visit the MSAC website.

October 4, 2014

MWA at the Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival

The MWA will be present and participating in the 8th Annual Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival. Stop by and say hello, or check out MWA President Lalita Noronha in the “Ask an Editor” panel.

For more information on the festival and program, visit the Frostburg University website.


October 4, 2014

Annual Literary Contest

The annual literary contest is in the works–check back for more details on dates and submission guidelines!

MWA  Literary Contest Flyer

September 25, 2014

Open Board Position: Critique Group Coordinator

The MWA has an open board position for Critique Group Coordinator. The position is responsible for communication to group leaders and would be the lead contact for members seeking critique groups in the genre of their choice. If interested, please email a short bio to

August 26, 2014

Call for MWA Open Board Chairs

The Maryland Writers’ Association Board has the following Chairs currently open:

Communications Chair: The Communications Chair is responsible for publicizing MWA activities to members and to the public, for initiating and responding to media requests, using such communications tools as the Board may direct.

Conference Chair: The Conference Chair is responsible for all aspects of planning and carrying out the Annual Writers’ Conference, if one is held.  If there is no Annual Writers’ Conference, the Conference Chair may be given other responsibilities.

These volunteer positions greatly influence other writers and help us foster a strong literary community. If you are interested in either of these positions, please email a bio with some notes about your experience in the particular position to

June 22, 2014

2014 Annual Meeting Business Report

At yesterday’s annual meeting, the results of the MWA state board elections were officially announced:

With 59 ballots cast, 57 (98.28%) voted to approve the slate as presented, 1 (1.72%) voted to not approve the slate as presented. One blank ballot was cast. There were no write-in candidates.

Congratulations to the incoming board of the Maryland Writers’ Association!

Elected Positions:

  • President: Lalita Noronha
  • Vice President: Holly Morse-Ellington
  • Treasurer: Mark Prebilic
  • Secretary: Kathleen Young Rybarczyk
  • Communications Chair: Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein
  • Conference Chair: Denise Camacho
  • Members at Large: Carolee Noury, Ally E. Machate

Appointed Positions:

  • Editor, Pen in Hand: Jill Earl
  • MWA Books Co-Directors: Gary Lester, Ally E. Machate
  • Teen Writers’ Club Co-Coordinators: Diane E. Booth, Mark Willen

The attending members also voted to approve the change in wording to Article III of the Bylaws:

Original Text:

“The membership and fiscal year is July 1 through June 30. New members are accepted throughout the year, but dues are not prorated. For those who join between March 1 and June 30, membership is extended through the next fiscal year. Membership dues are not refundable.”

Approved Revision:

“The fiscal year is July 1 through June 30. New members are accepted throughout the year. Membership dues are not refundable.”

June 2, 2014

Meet the 2014-2016 MWA Board of Directors Candidates

We are happy to announce the slate of candidates for the 2014-2016 MWA Board of Directors. Congratulations to our nominees, and thank you for volunteering to serve the MWA!

Online voting for the slate of candidates will open on Monday, June 9. Current members will receive a ballot e-mail that will allow them to register their votes anonymously. The online election window will remain open for two weeks, until midnight Friday, June 20, and the results announced the following day at the 2014 Annual Meeting, Saturday, June 21 from 1-3 at the Leonardtown branch library, 23250 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650 (please RSVP; directions at the link). Members who attend the Annual Meeting will also have the opportunity to cast their ballots in person.

Please take a moment to get to know your 2014-2016 board candidates!

Elected Positions:

President: Lalita Noronha lalita-noronhaBorn in India, Lalita Noronha received a Fulbright travel grant to the US and earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from St. Louis University School of Medicine. She is a widely published research scientist, poet and fiction writer. Her literary work has appeared in over seventy journals, magazines and anthologies. She is the author of an award winning short story collection, Where Monsoons Cry, (Black Words Press) and a poetry chapbook, Her Skin Phyllo-Thin (Finishing Line Press). She has twice won the Maryland Literary Short Story Award, a Maryland Individual Artist Award, the National League of American Pen Women Award, and Maryland Writers Association Awards in fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. She is a fiction editor for Baltimore Review, a nominee for a Pushcart prize in poetry, and she teaches both science and creative writing.
Vice President: Holly Morse-Ellington holly-morse-ellingtonHolly Morse-Ellington’s articles and essays are forthcoming or have appeared in Three Quarter Review, the Baltimore Review blog, Outside In, Baltimore Fishbowl, Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore, Urbanite, The Journal of Homeland Security, and The Washington Times. Anthologies include Whereabouts: Stepping Out Of Place and Freshly Squeezed: A “Write Here, Write Now” Anthology. She is a fiction editor for Baltimore Review and will be speaking on a panel of Baltimore Review editors about “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary” at the 2014 Baltimore Book Festival. Holly was a staff writer for Baltimore Fishbowl and has told her true stories for the Stoop Storytelling Series, The New Mercury Readings, and Lit & Art. She holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland Law School and currently writes as a consultant for a Federal grants review contractor, LCG, Inc. When not writing, Holly is an active member of the Gunpowder Garden Club and plays the ukulele. Her publications are available through her website,
Treasurer: Mark Prebilic mark-prebilicIn my day job as a database expert, I have been involved with financial systems for large organizations as well as government agencies. I am currently involved in helping to relieve the VA benefits backlog and helping to speed up the time it takes for our disabled veterans to receive the benefits they are due.
In my personal life, I am currently a chair of the Poolesville High School Post Prom Committee. I own and operate a corporation involved in the information technology services sector. I am responsible for the financial books for the corporation. I also prepare the corporate tax filings for the business. I write fiction, poetry, and opinion pieces. I’m inspired by the natural world around me and my writings reflect that inspiration. I’ve been published in The Washington Post, Yoga Journal, and the Gazette newspapers.
Communications Chair: Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein vicky-pinpin-feinsteinBorn in the Philippines, I came to the U. S. shortly after I graduated from university to work as a research fellow on a five-country study on the portrayal of women in American, British, Korean, Japanese, Filipino television programs. The engagement led me to pursue graduate studies in Communications, Political Science and Public Policy. I then spent a substantial part of my working life in areas such as strategic communications, media research and policy, media assessments and behavior change and the use of information and communication technologies for international development. I worked with institutions such as the Smithsonian, Public Television, the World Bank and other UN agencies and private telecommunications companies. As perhaps you can imagine the kind of writing I did for these institutions tend to be technical and laden with jargon that only those instructed in the codes would understand. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to change that and write differently resulting in a first book, a memoir, last year. I know that joining MWA is a good move: meeting other writers, honing on the craft of writing, and building all manner of ‘writerly’ connections. Thus far, it has been great. It was made even sweeter this year when I attended the MWA conference. I enjoyed meeting so many nice people and learned a lot from the workshops. I have a lot to learn as a writer and being with MWA is a path to that. In turn, I hope that by joining the MWA board, I can use my skills to help the association in improving its communications functions and activities to its members and the community at large as Communications Chair. I hope that anyone who has an interest or experience in Communications will join me and together we can all help in making MWA even more of a success.
Secretary: Kathleen Young Rybarczyk Kathleen Young Rybarczyk lives near Baltimore with her lifemates and two sons. A medical transcriptionist and proofreader by trade, she writes paranormal fiction under the pen name Katherine Fisher Clarke. She loves reading, tabletop gaming, baking and cooking, gardening, knitting, renovating her sixty-year-old house, and running her family-friendly guild in World of Warcraft. She also volunteers at writers’ conferences, science fiction conventions, and at her kids’ schools through their PTAs. She is a proud member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and the national and local chapters of the Romance Writers of America.
Conference Chair: Denise Camacho Denise Camacho is the president of Intrigue Publishing. With over 10 years in the publishing realm, she brings her knowledge and expertise to those wanting to branch out and become published authors. As the president, Denise has the responsibility to review new submissions and make recommendations to the acquisitions team that are worthy of becoming properties under the Intrigue Publishing banner. Her other responsibilities include managing contract negotiations with potential authors.
Member at Large: Carolee Noury carolee-nouryCarolee Noury earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling at George Washington University and is a freelance writer in Rockville. She is Vice President of the MWA and Vice President of the MWA-Montgomery Chapter. Carolee has completed courses in creative and business writing and is currently working on her first novel, tentatively titled Favored.
Member at Large: Ally E. Machate ally-e-machateAlly Machate has represented the interests of MWA members as a Member at Large for five years and would like to continue in this role to help MWA better serve our membership by providing opportunities for education, networking, and exposure. Her MWA experience also includes a term as Vice President, four years as a critique group leader, and an ongoing appointment as co-publisher of MWA Books, through which she spearheaded the production of MWA’s anthologies. Her 15 years of experience in the publishing industry gives her unique insight into what our writers need to succeed in today’s publishing environment, and she enjoys being able to use that insight to help her fellow MWAers.

Appointed Positions:

Editor, Pen in Hand: Jill Earl jill-earlAs a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association, Jill Earl served as a proofreader and was published in Pen in Hand. She has been a contributing writer for online magazines WOW! Women On Writing and Catapult. She also worked with local media nonprofit Christian Walk Alive on the video production team as well as writer, editor and voice artist for A Work in Progress, the nonprofit’s online radio drama. Jill is an avid reader, a serious foodie who can cook up a storm, and an emerging photographer, and she is always looking forward to her next travel destination.
MWA Books Co-Director: Gary Lester gary-lesterGary L. Lester won his first writing award at the age of 17. He has been involved with various forms of writing ever since, from plays to stories and even a novel. His first book, Ursula the Yellow,  won first place for Fantasy in the Maryland Writers’ Association’s Novel Contest. He currently is the Creative Director for Greyrock Publishing, LLC, and Senior Editor for Channel 37. He co-authored, along with Paul Lagasse, the anthology Season One!, which includes numerous short stories from the Channel 37 website. He also has numerous e-books on Amazon and Smashwords. He has been a member of MWA for many years and held officer positions such as treasurer and vice president on the state Board of Directors, and treasurer, vice president, and president of the Baltimore chapter. He and Ally Machate launched MWA’s publishing arm, MWA Books, which has published the anthologies New Lines from the Old Line State and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire.
MWA Books Co-Director: Ally E. Machate See above
Teen Writers’ Club Co-Coordinator: Diane E. Booth diane-e-boothI look forward to serving with Mark Willen as co-chair of the Teen Writers’ Club. Much of my writing work includes jobs as either reporter, or writer, and/or editor for: Baltimore Sun newspaper, Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore magazine, Army magazine, Life magazine, and American Legion magazine, among others. Significant awards came from both legal and medical groups. My interest in working with teens comes directly from experience as a teacher for a private high school and for Baltimore County Public Schools Home and Hospital. Relevant volunteer work: president of the U. S. Merchant Marine Mid-Atlantic Parents Club, chairman of the annual All Service Academies Holiday Ball (an event that included all five federal academies), judge for the Ben Carson Scholarship Committee, and chairman of the Maryland Writers Association Writers Conference. I am a member of the National Press Club in DC and reside in Monkton, MD.
Teen Writers’ Club Co-Coordinator: Mark Willen mark-willenMark Willen has been a reporter, columnist, blogger, producer, and editor at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly , Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. His published nonfiction articles have covered a wide array of topics and carried far-flung datelines, from Washington to Moscow to Cairo to Beijing to South Africa. He has been a member of MWA since 2009, participates in three MWA critique groups, and has led an MWA Teen Writers’ Club for three years. His first novel, Hawke’s Point, will be released July 22 by Pen-L Publishing. He has a Masters of Arts in Writing from Johns Hopkins and lives with his wife in Silver Spring.
May 14, 2014

Save the Date! MWA Annual Meeting and Elections

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Maryland Writers’ Association will be Saturday, June 21 from 1-3 at the Leonardtown branch library, 23250 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Our thanks to the  St. Mary’s Chapter for hosting the event!

At the meeting, we will:

  • Tally the votes and announce the slate of officers for the 2014-2016 Board of Directors. (Slate to be announced soon!)
  • Vote to change the bylaws from a fixed membership year (currently July 1-June 30 for all members) to a rolling membership year (i.e., starting on the date that a person joins).
  • Welcome the Summer Solstice — and the new board, of course — with light refreshments, hors d’ouerves, and socializing.
  • Perhaps we’ll have a speaker too! UPDATE: We’re pleased to announce that past MWA president and current mystery/thriller writer Austin Camacho will be the speaker at the Annual Meeting!

Keep an eye on Keyboard in Hand, Facebook, and the website for more details. In the meantime, please circle the date on your calendar and come on down to St. Mary’s County to celebrate with us!

For directions to the Leonardtown branch library, click here.

Hope to see you there!