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

Registration open!

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 3 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, June 2, 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.

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.


Ninth 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.

IDing Your Book

Your book needs a unique identification number, one that simplifies the distribution of your books throughout the supply chain. There are several ways you can provide that.

You can purchase your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number). ISBNs are purchased through Bowker, the only official ISBN agency for the United States. Numbers you purchase through Bowker can be used for that same book regardless of where you take it for publication. Do note, though, that you will need a different ISBN number for each and every format of your book: paperback, hardback, ebook, audiobook, etc. If you do a new, updated version of your book down the road, with significant changes, you may need a new ISBN number.

Bowker ISBNs are not cheap ($125 for one), but they can be purchased in bulk with small discounts ($295/10, $595/100), and can be an investment in your writing future. (It’s worth noting that you cannot transfer or sell unused ISBNs. You buy it, you keep it.)

You can use the free ones provided by Amazon, IngramSpark, or whatever company you go through to produce your book. But keep in mind that Amazon ASIN numbers can only be used with Amazon. IngramSpark numbers can only be used with IS. If you take your book elsewhere later on, you cannot take that same identifying number with you. As mentioned above, each different format of your book will require its own identification number.

Regardless of which way you obtain your identification numbers, each one will require a barcode. Make sure your cover design has a blank space for this detail. You do *not*, however, need to purchase the barcode from Bowker. There are plenty of barcode generators online. Kindlepreneur provides one on their site for free. My cover designer provided one for me.

Note that while you can purchase the ISBNs at any point, you can’t register them to your work until the book is ready to publish. We’ll talk about that in a later installment.

That’s it for now. See you next month!


By: Heather Brown Barrett

Jayne Ormerod
Compiled her four Mutt Mysteries novellas into one book, titled Paws-itively Coastal: Four Mutt Mysteries Set Along the Shore. Available on Amazon or Jayne's website.

DM Frech
Her new chapbook, Quiet Tree, is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press, and will be published September 2023.

Heather Brown Barrett
New poem titled “Finger Painting” published at BUBBLE Literary Magazine.

Dr. Gil Snider
His latest book, The Last, will launch on June 12. He and his wife, Judy, have a joint book due out in November. The protagonist in The Last is a female physician with multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Snider worked with M.S. patients for years.


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

Kimberly Thorn

By: Sandy Robinette

Congratulations to Kim Thorn, poet! Her Poem, “The Journey,” was ‘published’ in paint on the Elizabeth River Trail (hike/bike) in Jeff Robertson Park in West Ghent, part of an innovative art display that allows words and structures to enrich patrons’ experience of the outdoors.

Kim’s poem joins several others on a stretch of the actual trail path including those by some HRW members among the poets represented.

The Journey

I don’t walk often
It hurts too much
I have to move,
It helps
Here with nature.

I can stop
To hear a bird sing
To speak to a squirrel
To smell a flower
To rest.

Kim claims all of Hampton Roads as her hometown, being raised in the Great Bridge area and living in Bowers Hill. After her daughter graduated from Western Branch High School, Kim wanted to get serious about her writing. She looked online for a support group and discovered Hampton Roads Writers.

The tenth Annual Conference (2018) was in the works, and she signed up only for it to be canceled due to a hurricane. She came back for the next one, because of the rollover of her previous registration and the generous people who worked with her. She compliments those first contacts. Kim described the excitement she experienced when she was warmly welcomed by the ‘pros.’ As a first-time attendant and an uncertain author, she received advice about classes, help with finding her way around, and a seat at the table during the breaks.

That encouragement gave her a sense of belonging and an incentive to write, write, write. And she has. Not just poetry but short stories, nonfiction, and mystery. She also contributes along with her Mystery by the Sea colleagues in a blog. In Kim's contribution of Is the Pen Still Mightier Than the Sword? she delves into some ways previous writers have influenced the world with their writing. She occasionally contributes essays in the Sand in Our Shorts blog.

Kim credits HRW and the workshops provided by HRW, classes at The Muse Writers Center, and inclusion in other writer groups such as Sisters in Crime – Mystery by the Sea Chapter, and more for much of her recent writing success. Kim is now an HRW board member and is treasurer of the Sisters in Crime – Mystery by the Sea Chapter.

“Encouragement given so freely, really makes it possible to keep writing,” Kim said. “I’m so grateful.”

Kim's sidewalk poem

Looking for another writer group?

Here are just a few in our local area.

Virginia Beach Writers

The mission of Virginia Beach Writers is to provide a forum for writers—both published and unpublished—to read original prose or poetry and be given critiques of their work. Alternating between Zoom and in-person, the group meets every Tuesday from 10-12. Members who want to submit for that week need to email their work by Sunday afternoon. Submissions are limited to 1200 words.

Their members have different levels of experience and competence. They offer a positive environment to encourage writers to improve their craft. For more information, see their Facebook page or email them at virginiabeachwritersATgmail.com.

Sisters in Crime-Mystery by the Sea

Mystery By the Sea is the Local Hampton Roads area group of mystery writers. Sisters in Crime is the national affiliate. Yes, Misters in Crime are welcome too! Meetings are either in person or via Zoom the second Monday of each month from September through June at 7pm. Summer break happens usually July and August. The next meeting is a Zoom meeting Monday, June 12 at 7pm and will focus on Polishing Your Short Story by Yvonne Saxon.

Poetry Society of Virginia

There are no set meetings. Instead, the state is divided up into regions and each region hosts several poetry events through the year. Check out their website to see what district you are a part of and upcoming events. Poetry Society of Virginia

Chesapeake Romance Writers

The Chesapeake Romance Writers meetings are the second Saturday each month at the Russell Memorial Public Library, 2808 Taylor Road, Chesapeake, VA 23321. You have the option of joining in-person and via Zoom. The next meeting is Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 am at the Russell Memorial Public Library where Ella Quinn will be speaking on 'Spicing Up Your Writing with Food and Drink.'

KPC Writers

Looking for a Writing Group in Virginia Beach? Perhaps the KPC Writers Group is for you. Their goal is to encourage and nourish your God-given talents for writing. All genres, ages, and levels of experience are welcome! Even if you haven’t written anything yet but are interested in learning more about writing, you are welcome. There is something for everyone. They have a range of speakers each month who cover topics related to writing, from craft to publishing, along with writing exercises and prompts, readings and discussions.

They meet in-person and on Zoom each month. Please email Evelyn for the Zoom link or if you have any questions.

Where: Kempsville Presbyterian Church
805 Kempsville Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
When: 3rd Tuesday of each month

They just celebrated their 19th year! Come join the fun. Meet other writers and make new friends among the “write-minded” folks at KPC. They look forward to meeting you.

Chesapeake Bay Writers

The Chesapeake Bay Writers group endeavors to help all aspiring and established writers achieve their individual writing needs and goals. Founded in 1991, Chesapeake Bay Writers is a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. CBW serves writers from the Middle Peninsula, the Northern Neck, and Williamsburg and adjacent areas. Become a Member
If you are in a local writing group that you would like to include in HRW's list, please email a short blurb.


Hampton Roads Writers IN-PERSON Social

Saturday, July 22, 2023.

More details to follow.

Chesapeake Bay Writers

Meeting June 7, 2023, 11 AM

Midtown Row Club House
221 Monticello Ave., Williamsburg 23185
Theater on the lower level

Reserve now for their June 7 meeting at the Midtown Row, at 221 Monticello Ave., Williamsburg. Their speaker Will be Patti Procopi on “Writing Your Story.” THIS IS A FREE EVENT.

Patti is a firm believer that everyone’s life has a story in it. She will share ideas of how to tell that story either through a Q & A book that will give your children a better idea of your life, writing a memoir, or writing a fictionalized version of your life story. Their making arrangements for those who wish to stay for a Q & A over a box lunch after the program at $12.
Advance reservations are required for lunches by June 3.
Register HERE

After the program, there will be time for socializing and networking. An optional, $12 box lunch needs to be ordered in advance.

Lancaster Community Library Call for Participants

2023 Author Expo, July 8, 2023, 1-4 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Lancaster Virginia Historical Society

As part of the LCL summer reading program All Together Now, authors, publishers and writing clubs are invited to apply for a space at the 2023 LCL Author Expo. Cost is $10 for a card table or $20 for a double space. Limited spaces are available. Registration deadline is May 31, 2023.
Applicants’ registrations will be confirmed by June 15th. Please await our response. For more information, contact the Expo Coordinator at authorexpo@lancasterlibrary.org.

For online registration and payment, visit the library’s website lancasterlibrary.org and click Events. The Lancaster Community Library is located at 16 Town Centre Drive, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.

Hampton Public Library has two upcoming FREE (in-person) writing workshops led by local award-winning author Ran Walker.

JULY 24 at Noon: Using Fairy Tales to Create New Stories
JULY 25 at Noon: Tips for Writing Horror Stories

Each workshop will take place at the Hampton Main Public Library (4207 Victoria Blvd., Hampton , VA 23669) in Meeting Room A.

Ran Walker is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hampton University and teaches with Writer's Digest University. He also serves as a principal writer with Worldspark Studios. Learn more about Ran.

To register, please follow these Eventbrite links:

Using Fairy Tales to Create New Stories
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/writing-workshop-with-ran-walker-using-fairy-tales-to-create-new-stories-tickets-632318400357?aff=ebdssbdestsearch [eventbrite.com]

Tips for Writing Horror Stories
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/writing-workshop-with-ran-walker-tips-for-writing-horror-stories-tickets-632334638927?aff=ebdssbdestsearch [eventbrite.com]

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 They're interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500–2,500 words). They especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition, stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. Stories may be on any subject and may be challenging, dramatic, playful, or cryptic. Above all, the stories must be well crafted and compelling. Check out the Fictive Dream website. Also, please see their submission guidelines.
Thanks for reading. See you soon!

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