Hampton Roads Writers - Where Characters Connect

Looking for Tomorrow's leaders today

Would you like to help mold HRW's future? We're looking to grow our voting board and our advisory board. Voting board members chair committees, such as Traveling Pen Series of Writers Workshops or Show and Grow Your Prose with Professional Critiques. Advisory board members serve on committees to help with planning and implementation of the programs.

Membership on either board requires a 2 to 4-hour a month time commitment. Board and committee meetings are held via zoom. Board meetings occur once a month, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

If you'd like to become part of the leadership of Hampton Roads Writers, please email Lauran Strait.
Next Zoom Social hour, AKA the Quarantini, is Friday, January 6, 4:30 - 5:30 PM.

Get your ZOOM link
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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.

Feb 18, 2023–TPS workshop–Revealing Character Through Dialogue: Secrets, Lies, and Innermost Thoughts, presented by Amy Bernstein

You’ve plotted your novel, mapped your main character’s arc of change, and set your story in motion. Now for the hardest part of all: Figuring out what all these people should say to one another—and to themselves. The writer and poet Elizabeth Bowen once said, “Dialogue is what characters do to each another.” We’ll examine the role of action beats, reactivity, and the mental, physical, and verbal components that establish context and generate the conflict your story needs. You’ll examine how “Voice is not a choice. It’s a result,” as author Robert McKee says.

Presenter Bio

Amy L. Bernstein writes stories that let readers feel while asking them to think. Her novels include The Potrero Complex (finalist for the Petrichor Prize), The Nighthawkers (Book Fest award winner), Dreams of Song Times, and Fran, The Second Time Around (winner, best YA book, Maryland Writers Association). Amy is an award-winning journalist, speechwriter, playwright, and certified nonfiction book coach. Amy’s poetry has in Yellow Arrow Journal, Loch Raven Review, Lost Boys Press, Parliament Literary Journal, Passaic-Voluspa, She is Kindred, and elsewhere. In addition, Amy has published numerous nonfiction essays about arts and culture through Medium and has written about the craft of writing for Publishers Weekly’s BookLife and other outlets. She is a frequent guest on podcasts to discuss books, publishing, and creativity.

March 18, 2023–TPS Workshop–Submitting Your Work to Magazines and Journals, presented by Arthur Klepchukov

Perhaps you’ve written a few stories, poems or essays and want to know where and how to submit your work for publication. What’s the best draft to send? How do you choose among the deluge of submission opportunities? How do you make sense of submission guidelines? Learn what tools and resources exist to help you on your journey to publication in this informative workshop for writers who want to begin their paths to publication in literary journals or magazines.

Presenter Bio

Arthur Klepchukov found words between Black Seas, Virginian Beaches, and San Franciscan waves. He adores trains, swing sets, and music that tears him outta time. Follow Art’s writing journey at ArsenalOfWords.com or read his words in places like Glimmer Train, The Common, Necessary Fiction, and The Best American Mystery Stories.

April 15, 2023–TPW Workshop–Writing Your Novel In Seven Drafts, presented by Mary Burton

Writing a novel can be a daunting task that can be overwhelming. Instead of tackling all the elements of your novel at once, Writing Your Novel in 7 Drafts breaks the process down into manageable pieces. From Draft 1, the Sloppy Copy, to the final draft, the BIG READ, each draft has a purpose and focus that will help you transform your ideas onto the page.

Presenter Bio

Mary Burton loves writing suspense, getting to know her characters, keeping up with law enforcement and forensic procedures, morning walks, baking, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson. When it comes to research, she’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviewing professionals, attending forensic seminars or studying evidence collection and analysis.

Mary is routinely featured among the top ten writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for suspense, romantic suspense and thrillers. Her recent titles The Lies I Told, Don’t Look Now, Near You, Never Look Back, I See You, and Hide and Seek consistently rank high on the Kindle eBooks Store Bestseller List. She is a 2019 Montlake Romance Diamond Award winner signifying she’s reached one million readers.

Formerly a Richmond, Virginia native, Mary now resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She’s a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and she worked in marketing before her first book was published in 2000. Today she’s the author of thirty-seven published novels and five novellas as Mary Burton and nine works of contemporary fiction as Mary Ellen Taylor, including Winter Cottage, Spring House, Honeysuckle Season, and the upcoming The Brighter the Light.

She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Novelists, Inc. When not on the road for research or visits with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary remains very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their four-legged babies Buddy and Tiki.

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.
Fourth 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

One thing worth mentioning early on in this process is Digital Rights Management encryption for your ebooks. I did some research on this and found that many indies choose not to use it. Here's the thing. DRM encryption was intended to make your ebook impossible to pirate. But—surprise!—pirates break the encryption anyway to bootleg your book.

Meanwhile, buyers who purchased your book through legitimate venues can't read the ebook on their tablet because it's already on their Kindle, and they can't use it on both. There are numerous other reasons why DRM encryption might not be the best option for every writer, but note that once you choose between enabling it or not enabling it, you cannot change your mind later. Here's a link for more info.

I mentioned the Alliance of Independent Authors in my first installment, but want to mention here that one of their websites holds an amazing list of vetted services for indie publishers, and rates them according to track record on a scale ranging from “Excellent” to “Watchdog Advisory,” offering reasons behind any cautions or warnings given. This is a useful tool to have in your arsenal, and might save you time, money, and heartache.

You’ll probably want a website where you can market your own books and connect with potential readers. Many options in this regard exist, but I suggest that you purchase a domain name with your own publishing company’s name or your author name, to make it easier for your readers to find you. Udemy and other online companies offer courses to learn the hows and whys of building a site. I went with “WordPress for Beginners,” by Dr. Andy Williams (Udemy) and created my own site(s), but you can also hire someone to create and maintain it. It can be time-consuming, but it’s absolutely worth it.

That’s it for now. See you next time!


DM Frech

By Sandy Robinette
Ever want one rule for living? DM Frech has it. DO ART – music, writing, dancing, painting, every creative way that inspires you to keep waking up, to discover quirky nuances of existence, to find beauty in dull clicks of time, to embrace wrongs, heal the hurts, and forgive the unforgiveable.

DM Frech tried it all, from a career as a professional dancer to a recently published poet and photographer. Finishing Line Press published Words From Walls in 2022, and a chapbook of new poems, Quiet Tree, is due in 2023. From reading the poems in Walls, DM has a gift for finding meaning in new ways. Her photography has been featured recently on Streetlight online magazine. Water, fog, nature disturbed – captured and evocative to the viewer.

DM was born in Illinois and moved to the familiar variety of places that military families settle in. She lived in New York City for a number of years, before returning to the Tidewater area. She found Hampton Roads Writers through our good friends at The Muse and joined at the last Conference. Her work was on display during the event.

Asked what advice she would give another friend and author, she replied: “Submit. Put it on paper and edit, edit, then send it out. Submitting gives you a deadline and propels you to get it out. Submit.”

Words From Walls is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Finishing Line Press, Ingram Book Group, Chapters Indigo (Canada) and other retailers.

Frech_DM_COV-EM copy
Due to lack of interest among newsletter readers, the Kudos, New Members, and Paying Calls for Submission sections have been eliminated.
Thanks for reading. See you soon!

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