Hampton Roads Writers - Where Characters Connect

Hampton Roads Writers 15th Annual Writers Conference
November 9 – 11, 2023

Holiday Inn VA Beach & Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center
5655 Greenwich Road
Virginia Beach, VA

We expect to open registration within the next week or two. Check back soon.

Basic Conference Rate—Includes 2 plus-day admission (November 9 - 11), daily continental breakfast and lunch, (no outside food permitted), all-day beverages, no-fee writing contests, First 10-Line Critique Sessions, two 10-minute pitches with any of the five agents, 90-minute social, and open mic.
  • Early Bird (until Aug 11, 2023) Member = $279, Early Bird Nonmember = $319
  • Aug 12 - Oct 27, 2023 Member = $329, Nonmember = $369
  • Oct 28 - Nov 9, 2023 = $409
  • 2-day FULL TIME Student = $199
  • 1-day FULL TIME Student = $150
  • 1-day (Friday OR Saturday) member or nonmember = $209 (may attend Thursday evening session for free)
  • Thursday evening only = $59
Golden Ticket includes everything in the basic conference rate plus a dedicated parking space, dedicated front-row seating, Nov 9 pre-conference dinner at 4:45 PM with conference presenters and HRW board members, one free drink at the social, guaranteed entry of work into one of the First 10-Lines Critique Sessions, and an opportunity to pitch to all agents/publishers. LIMITED TO 6 PEOPLE. (ONLY 4 LEFT)

Member or Nonmember $469

A few need-based full and partial scholarships for tuition are available; scholarships do NOT cover hotel lodging or transportation to and from the conference. Contact us to inquire and be prepared to show the financial need.

NOTE: Members must be logged in to receive discounts.

Next Zoom Social hour, AKA the Quarantini, is Friday, May 5, 4:30 - 5:30 PM.

Get your Zoom Link
martini glass

Traveling Pen Series of Writers Workshops for 2023

Our 2.5 hour workshop (9:30 AM thru noon EST) cost $10 for middle and high school students, $20 for current HRW members and $30 for nonmembers. Scholarships always available for those people with a true financial need. ALL workshops are zoomed.

May 20, 2023–Preserving a Daily Poetry Practice in a Frenzied World, presented by Charlotte Matthews

For poets, the act of writing embodies the act of falling by engendering a wider, albeit riskier, realm. How can we preserve our spot in this riskier realm and still live, still engage, in the “real” world? Workshop participants will receive practical tips for writing every single day even when life spins feverishly. Together, we will practice some quick writing exercises that can be employed while being on hold or in a waiting room. In addition, the workshop will include a guided look at two poems that speak to the finding placidity in a frenzied world. Participants will experience first-hand the possibility of keeping a daily practice and will walk away emboldened to do so.

Presenter Bio

Charlotte Matthews is the author of five poetry collections and a memoir. Associate Professor at The University of Virginia, she teaches writing to adult learners. In addition, she serves as writer in residence during the summer at The Chautauqua Institute. She lives in Crozet, Virginia with her husband, children, two dogs, and three determined chickens.



June 17, 2023 TPS–Landmarks On An Indie Publishing Journey, presented by Drema Deòraich

You’ve decided to self-publish? Congratulations! There are so many ways to go indie it can be confusing! Learning even a little from someone else who’s done it can be validating and help ease the Fear of Things You Don’t Know. I’m happy to share what I’ve done, and perhaps help you find a path toward that goal, identifying the steps that best suit your abilities and needs. We’ll talk about business basics, costs and expenses to plan for, marketing without a budget, where and how to publish, and much more so you can engineer your own indie publishing journey.

Presenter Bio

Drema Deòraich is a writer of speculative fiction that asks big questions. Her short stories have been published in numerous online journals, as well as a few semi-professional zines. Her debut novel Entheóphage, is a medical sci-fi/climate fiction story, released on October 14, 2022. Chesapeake Style magazine reviewed it in their November 2022 issue. It also has been reviewed in various other places. She is still hard at work on her science fantasy trilogy, “The Founder’s Seed,” with plans to release book one later this year.

When she isn’t writing, she’s helping her legal-eagle boss to save the world one case at a time, petting her husband’s cats, or spending time in Nature, surrounded by flora and fauna.



July 15, 2023 — TPS workshop — Outlines, Treatments, & Synopses (Oh, My!) A Workshop on Structure for the Brave, the Frightened, and the Doomed, by Dr. Dennis Bounds

Often writers hear the terms “outline,” “treatment,” and “synopsis” used interchangeably. This is far from the truth. This workshop will present tools for creating an outline to guide your writing of a story – whether it will be a short story, novel, or screenplay. Further, we will present the purpose and elements of the standard treatment. We will conclude with a guide to writing a synopsis of your work for selling it. After taking part in this workshop, you will know the difference between these terms and how you can fashion each into useful tools in starting, writing, finishing, and shopping your story. There will be handouts and times given to designing and writing during the workshop.

Presenter Bio

Dr. J. Dennis Bounds has taught in the areas of cinema and TV history, aesthetics, and writing at universities both nationally and internationally for over 30 years. At Regent University, Bounds developed and was the first director of the Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. Bounds is currently an adjunct professor in film at Regent University when he is not working with his wife as a media specialist and freelance writer.
Bounds’s book Perry Mason: The Authorship and Reproduction of a Popular Hero (Greenwood Press, 1996) serves as a key text on the character “Perry Mason” in literature, broadcasting, and film. His recent publications include an essay in the anthology The Silence of the Lambs: Critical Essays on a Cannibal, Clarice, and a Nice Chianti (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and a book he co-wrote titled Divine Film Comedies: Biblical Narratives, Film Sub-Genres, and the Comic Spirit (Routledge, 2016). He is currently writing a novel titled The House of Trent Adderley – a Horror/SciFi novel – and a second edition of his book on “Perry Mason”.

Bounds lives in Suffolk, VA, with his wife, Margaret, and attack poodle, Della.



August 19, 2023 — TPS workshop — The Invisible Narrator, presented by Caroline Leech

In this class, authors will learn how to limit the narrator’s presence, allowing the Viewpoint Character to invite readers directly into the story and keep them there until the very last page.

Have you ever been sipping some dark and delicious coffee in a sunny sidewalk café in the heart of Paris . . .

. . . or been hiking through dank, dark jungle to reach a waterfall where the magical runes are hidden . . .

. . . or been running down a New York alley, desperate to escape from the bad guys who are desperate to get their hands on the precious . . .

. . . and suddenly you’re YANKED out of the story and thrown back into your reality – the reality in which you’re sitting with your book on a subway train, or on a sofa beside a rain-drenched window, or at your office desk at lunchtime? Did the voice of the Narrator start shouting over the voice of the viewpoint character and remind you that you’re only READING the story, that you’re not IN the story?

No one likes to read a book in which the narrator gets in the way of the viewpoint character, but sometimes it happens. How do we authors avoid that happening to our own books? In writing-craft books and blogs, Narrative Voice and Point of View are often reduced to simple decisions between First Person and Third Person limited or full-blown omniscient, and between Past Tense and Present, but there is so much more to it than that.

Join YA author, Caroline Leech, as she guides you toward the best Point of View from which to let your story happen while allowing your viewpoint characters the freedom to complete the narrative and character arcs with the least amount of narrative intrusion as possible. Attendees will learn how to get into their viewpoint character’s head and stay there until the final page. Using writing prompts and fun exercises, she’ll show you how to become a truly invisible author so you can let your viewpoint character experience their own story without need of a highly visible narrator.

Presenter Bio

Caroline Leech is a Scottish/Texan author, podcaster, and coach who not only helps authors write, but then helps then present themselves and their books in public with confidence and professionalism.
In the UK, she was a Press & PR consultant and trainer in strategic press, media, and presentation skills, working with major performing and literary arts organizations. She edited the photographic book, WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – THE FIRST SIXTY YEARS, and the souvenir book of Wagner’s Ring Cycle by Russia’s Mariinsky Opera at Wales Millennium Centre.

Once in Texas, she began to write fiction, and her young adult WW2 novels, WAIT FOR ME and IN ANOTHER TIME, are published by HarperCollins. WAIT FOR ME won the 2014 Joan Lowery Nixon Award at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Houston, as well as the YA categories of both the Romance Writers of America Emily and Lone Star competitions. IN ANOTHER TIME was named a Junior Library Guild Pick in fall 2018. Caroline was also a featured author for both of her books in the TXLA Spirit of Texas High School reading program 2019.
In 2021, she launched her own business, Caroline Leech Writes . . . , through which she serves her clients as a ghostwriter, copywriter, editor, and coach. She has designed and presented workshops on creative writing craft, social media strategy, and presentation skills for individuals and organizations such as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Inprint, The Writing Barn, Houston Grand Opera, Rice University School of Literacy and Culture, as well as schools in Houston ISD and the UK.

In 2022, she launched her podcast, Authors & Audiences, on which she chats to authors, illustrators, booksellers, librarians, publishers, and other guests, and invites them to share the secrets of their public speaking confidence and their media/social media strategies. She also shares her own extensive knowledge of publishing, public speaking, storytelling, event planning and media strategy.


Eighth in a series of essays about steps taken by HRW member Drema Deòraich on her way to indie publication success with her debut novel, Entheóphage.

More Small Steps to Indie Publishing

by Drema Deòraich

I want to talk for a moment about whether to make your books an official business. When I started out, I picked a business name and set up a Limited Liability Company with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (scc.virginia.gov). There is a small set-up fee, and an annual renewal fee, but to me it was worth it. An LLC, if set up and operated correctly, can offer limited protection of your assets. Besides I wanted to publish my books under the name of the LLC to lend them a touch more credibility. (You do not need a lawyer to do this. You can apply yourself online. But it wouldn’t hurt to know all the ins and outs first. Read up!)

Next, I applied with the IRS for an employer identification number, which is necessary to get a business license and a business bank account. Getting an EIN number is easy and can be done online. You can opt to have the IRS mail your number, but it’s faster to select the immediate online option; print or save the PDF confirmation with your EIN for later reference. You’ll need this number again, often.

With that in hand, I applied with the zoning board for my city to start the process of obtaining a business license. There is a setup fee for this, and an annual renewal fee, but unless you are making tens of thousands of dollars, it isn’t much. Do note that you are required to pay sales and use tax on every book you sell. Once you have a business license, you’ll need to file a S&U form every month, even if you don’t sell anything. (There’s a fine if you don’t.)

Not sure you need a business license? Check your city’s regulations. Also keep in mind that you may be required to have a license for every city in which you operate or sell your books. In Norfolk, a business license is necessary if you intend to sell goods or wares in this city. According to the Application, operating without the proper license is a violation of §24-25.3 of the Norfolk City Code, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or 12 months in jail. This does not count the civil penalties for violation of the similar rules in the Code of Virginia, which are even higher. (Please note that I am not a lawyer. Both the Norfolk City Code and Code of Virginia are accessible online, as is the business application.)

If you don’t plan to sell any of your books in person, of course, you can simply publish and sell then through Amazon without the need for a license.

That’s it for now. See you next time!

SHOW AND GROW your PROSE with Professional Critique

Don’t miss the chance to get free, professional feedback on your written work at Gus and George’s Spaghetti and Steak restaurant–4312 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452. Presenters will read up to ten minutes of their material, which will be followed by another ten minutes of feedback from our guest critiquers Lauran Strait and Michael Khandelwal. If you desire, your material can be read anonymously by one of our staff. We accept fiction and nonfiction (NO POETRY or SCRIPTS PLEASE), but in all cases reading time will be capped at ten minutes. Reading slots are limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Send submissions to HRWriters@cox.net. Send submissions to HRWriters@cox.net.


Non-presenting audience members are both welcome and encouraged to attend. Material is displayed on the auditorium screen so everyone can view the text and read along.

Not only are these events great for learning more about the craft of writing, by attending you also show your support for your fellow authors and writing community.

Attendance at the Gus and George restaurant will provide the opportunity to purchase lunch during the event. Lunch purchase is not a requirement to attend. If you will attend and will order lunch, please let us know so we can let the restaurant plan staffing accordingly.

We hope to see you there!

    May 13, 2023, 11:15 am - 1:30 pm


    By: Heather Brown Barrett

    DM Frech

    Her first published fiction, a short story titled “Appointment,” was recently published in The Journal of the Writers Guild of Virginia.

    Ken Poyner

    Drabble, “Profit Driven”, “Neologism”, www.neologismpoetry.com, #70
    Drabble, “Applied Force”, “Scribes Micro-Fiction”, www.fairfieldscribes.com, #28

    Skip Keith

    His poem was chosen and read for NPR’s National Poetry Month, heard on All Things Considered, Celebrating #NPRPoetryMonth with Franny Choi.

    CONGRATULATIONS to you all!
    Do you have a recent writing publication or writing award you’d like to share for the Kudos section of the Hampton Roads Writers monthly newsletter? If so, please email your name and publication information to Heather Brown Barrett.

    Author Spotlight

    Teresa Inge

    By: Kimberly Thorn

    As a young girl, Teresa Inge grew up devouring Nancy Drew stories. Realizing she had a love for mysteries, she started reading Hitchcock and Sherlock Holmes. Then she gravitated to short stories while reading authors like Poe and gained a new found respect and love for them. Because she is so busy, she loves the fact that she can read a short story quickly, that she can experience the full story, which includes much of what novels have, such as: dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and awesome endings in a shorter time frame. “With a short story,” she says, “you can’t waste words, you have to be concise and get to the point quickly.”

    Her writing career started out as “a stepping stone, one thing led to another.” She began writing for the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Gradually that lead to her writing for the business forum of the Virginian Pilot newspaper. Then she combined her love of mysteries and short stories to write short mystery fiction.

    She works full time as a CG news reporter where she says, ‘I write articles about a lot of different things.” She is President of the local chapter of Sisters in Crime, called Mystery by the Sea, where she feels very strongly about mentoring other writers. “There is nothing like seeing the excitement from a writer when they get their first publication, there’s nothing better!”

    Teresa is also a big classic car fan. She often travels around the country with her husband, A.J., and their two pups to show her own 55 convertible Thunderbird that has won awards.

    Considering all this, it’s amazing that she still finds the time to write. Currently she has contributed short stories to over 13 printed anthologies. That number is still growing as she contributed to another anthology that will be published by the end of this year. When she’s not writing she’s instrumental in gathering and editing her colleagues’ short story submissions to put together another anthology. You may see her at different writer events, connecting with readers and signing her books!

    Not only is mentoring other writers important to Teresa, but she is delving into novels now. She has finished her first novel and is in the stage of deep edits currently. But she also has the plans for the sequel already outlined! And yes, it’s a mystery!

    Her advice to other writers? “Write what YOU want to write. Don’t follow the trends.”

    Heroines Anthology - Volume 5: Call For Submissions

    Zinaida Jevgenjevna Serebrjakova - At the Dressing Table, self portrait. 1909.
    Heroines Anthology Volume 5 is a GLOBAL POETRY EDITION. Women poets are invited to submit poetry that re-imagines women in myth, fairy tale, folklore or legend, or poems that tell women's lost histories, or untold stories from across the globe.

    Submissions close OCTOBER 28, 2023. Find out more & submit your poetry.


    Fictive Dream is open to submissions and we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500–2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling. Check out the Fictive Dream website. Also, please see our submission guidelines.
    Due to lack of interest among newsletter readers, New Members, and the extensive Paying Calls for Submission sections have been eliminated.
    Thanks for reading. See you soon!

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