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Virginia Beach Writers’ Conference to Connect Writers with Literary Agents, Editors, and Publishers

Hampton Roads Writers, Inc. (HRW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for writers to achieve publication success, will host its fifth annual conference in Virginia Beach, September 19-21, 2013, at the Westin Town Center hotel.  The multi-day conference will provide opportunities for attendees to hone their writing craft, pitch their book manuscripts to New York literary agents actively seeking clients, and network with writers and other writing professionals. “We are proud of the expansive selection of workshops offered this year,” said Lauran Strait, HRW founder and President of the Board of Directors. “There’s something for all writers at the conference.” In total, attendees will be able to choose from twenty-eight workshops, covering topics such as poetry, screenplays, fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and the business of getting published.  “Since most of the craft workshops will be interactive, we expect that attendees will depart the sessions with short works-in-progress in hand,” said Strait. The conference kicks off the evening of September 19 when attendees may choose from four workshops.  One workshop designed to help writers pitch their manuscripts to a literary agent is expected to fill to capacity as more and more writers take advantage of the free ten-minute agent pitch sessions that have come to be a popular feature of the HRW conferences.  “Last year, of the more than seventy-five conference attendees who pitched,” said Strait, “a few were subsequently asked to submit full manuscripts.”  This year’s agents include Ethan Vaughan, from Kimberley Cameron and Associates, and Jeff Ourvan, of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. Friday’s keynote speaker will be Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of the WAKE Trilogy, the VISIONS series, and the UNWANTEDS series.  Kevin Maurer, award-winning reporter and New York Times bestselling co-author of No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden will deliver the keynote on Saturday.  McMann and Maurer also will lead several one-hour workshops. Other workshop presenters include fiction writers Clifford Garstang, Lydia Netzer, Jeff Andrews, and Chantelle Aimée Osman, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Mitch Weiss, author and Certified Public Accountant Jack Downs, and poet Jeanne Larsen. Three writers’ contests offered as a free component of the conference allow attendees an opportunity to win cash prizes.  Anyone who registers for the conference on or before July 26 may submit a short story, a nonfiction piece, and/or a poem for competition.  Winners will be announced and awarded prizes at the conclusion of the conference on September 21.  Prizes range from $100 to $250, and it’s possible for entrants to win something in all three categories. One of the most eagerly anticipated segments of past conferences, the First-10-Line Critique sessions, will occur again this year on Friday...

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4 Keys to a Killer Book Cover Design—a free webinar

INTRODUCING the 4 Keys to a Killer Book Cover Design—a free webinar! Your book cover is often the most powerful and sometimes the best marketing tool to help grab attention at bookstores and online. So you want to make sure you know the keys to designing a great cover. In this free webinar, hosted by Archway Publishing, Jason Heuer, Assistant Art Director at Simon & Schuster will reveal the keys to creating eye-catching covers for fiction and non-fiction books. Whether you plan to pay a designer or do your own design, you don’t want to miss this event. Time: Thursday, May 2, 2013 – 12:00 pm EST Registration Link:...

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Fiction Writing Bootcamp May 3-5, 2013

Two Publishing Pros to Offer Fiction Writing Bootcamp May 3-5 in Santa Barbara Two literary insiders team up to help budding authors craft novels that will catch the eye of agents and publishers. Shelly Lowenkopf and Toni Lopopolo began the bootcamps in 2010 in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area. The latest edition is “Bare Knuckles Bootcamp” which brings their accumulated knowledge and street creds as Executive Editors with Macmillan, St. Martins, Bantam and Dell, along with Ms. Lopopolo’s literary agency work, to help writers achieve their dreams of publication. “We’re looking for a few good writers who have the stamina and imagination to reach the level of marketable authors,” Ms Lopopolo said. “We wanted to hone the skills of more talented area writers.” The camp is a three-day intensive limited to ten writers who must submit up to ten pages and a synopsis in advance to be accepted. The bootcamp will delve into: your opening page (velocity vs. set up); refining point of view; how to avoid fatal story errors; and an area where many writers never do enough, revision, revision, revision. Other areas covered include: creating charged dialogue; how to create your character’s defining moment; how to make your story win every round; and, much more. “So many people dive into writing without understanding that novel writing is not like a thesis for an English Lit class,” Shelly Lowenkopf said. “To be published, a writer must meet a high standard, one that is achievable IF you know where the bar is. Toni and I have been raising that bar for years and will now pass on our experience to new writers.” Shelly Lowenkopf has held major editorial positions with Sherbourne Press (Editor-in-Chief); Dell Publishing (Director, Los Angeles office); Clio Books (Editor-in-Chief); Ross-Erickson (Editor-in-Chief); and, Capra Press (Advisory and Acquisitions Editor). He has seen over seven hundred books and hundreds of short story and essay projects through the publishing process.  Currently a freelance consultant and teacher, his clients include novelists, retired and active academics, and the humorist creator of one of the most popular television series of all time.  For over 30 years, he was a fixture at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, running his famous nightly Pirate Sessions. Lowenkopf taught courses in short story, novel, dramatic writing, editing, genre fiction, and revision at the graduate level in one of the most prestigious writing programs in America at University of Southern California, where he was given a Lifetime Teaching Award.  He is a past regional president of the Mystery Writers of America. His most recent book, The Fiction Writer’s Companion, is a guide to terms, concepts, and forms related to storytelling. Literary Agent, Toni Lopopolo, brings a book publishing resume...

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So what really goes on at a writers’ retreat?

There’s been a real boom in the popularity of creative writing weekends over the last few years. There are some who say writers retreats are a waste of time, pandering to writers’ fragile egos and encouraging people to believe they have writing talents which they, frankly, lack. But on the other hand, many writers really enjoy them and swear that a weekend away with other writers is a positive part of the creative process.  The truth about writers’ weekends away By Mark Hoult: http://www.westsussex.info/what-really-goes-on-at-a-writers-retreat.shtml...

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10 REASONS POEMS DON’T ALWAYS NEED TO RHYME

While the traditional view of formal poetry includes a very strict rhyme scheme that must be adhered to, the free verse style popularized by the great Ezra Pound largely eschews rhyme schemes altogether, instead relying on the power of the words themselves to paint a vivid portrait of the poet’s feelings. Free verse has become so widely accepted by publishers of modern poetry, in fact, that some won’t even entertain submissions of formal poetry. These are ten of the reasons why it’s okay to break the traditional mold in your own poetry, opting instead for something a bit less rigid. Visit the website for details:...

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Ojai WordFest to Host “A Celebration of Words” at Libbey Bowl Saturday, April 13th Day-long event will feature authors, poets, songwriters, and Book Fair

The third annual Ojai WordFest will host “A Celebration of Words” at Libbey Bowl on Saturday, April 13th. The event will be the highlight to the 8-day Ojai WordFest, which runs Saturday April 6 through Saturday April 13. Scheduled festivities will include stage readings and performances by authors, poets, playwrights, songwriters, and other word-artists. A “Book Fair at the Bowl” will be held on the lawn above the bowl featuring authors and poets with books and other literary items for sale. The event is free to the public and will run from 10 am to 5 pm. “We’re thrilled to offer a full day celebrating the written and spoken word at Libbey Bowl,” said Sequoia Hamilton, WordFest director and co-founder. “The renovated Bowl is the perfect place to welcome the Ojai community and out-of-town guests to a free event showcasing the wealth of literary talent from this area.”Hamilton adds, “We invite you to return to WordFest or experience the literary festival for the first time. As an incentive to draw folks out, we have a special hour-long performance that promises to delight the literary community and book lovers. You’ll want to stay to the very end of the day for this surprise performance.” The family-friendly event is open to authors, poets, playwrights, songwriters and word-artists, representing all genres and ages wishing to participate. For consideration, please submit a copy of what you wish to read to Catelyn Howard at Catelyn@zaziepress.com. To reserve a booth at the Book Fair or share a space, please contact Kate Sexton at Kate@KateSexton.com or register at www.WordFestBookFair.com. Saturday’s events are sponsored by the Ventura County Writers Club, the Ojai Academy of Arts, Ojai Writers Conference & Workshops, Soul Centered Metaphysical Shoppe & Dome and the Krishnamurti Foundation of America.”We’re grateful for the outpouring of support from local businesses, organizations and individuals including an arts grant from the City of Ojai,” said Hamilton. For more press information on “A Celebration of Words” at Libbey Bowl on Saturday, April 13th, call  (805) 524-6970  or email Kathleen@KathleenKaiser.com.   For general information on Ojai WordFest, visit...

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