WV Writers, Inc.
WV Writers, Inc.  Writing Contests. 
Site Contents

                  Writers Podcast


Follow us on Twitter


Online Store

2011 Conference

(UPDATED 5/ 24 / 12)

Belinda AndersonBelinda Anderson


While Belinda Anderson was making up a story for her great nephew one day, stepping off a train arrived a character so dramatic that the tale became an award-winning middle-grade fantasy novel. Belinda Anderson has been a state judge for the middle-grade level of the West Virginia Writers contest. She also has been a state judge for several years for the elementary-aged entries in the national Letters about Literature contest, a competition that asks children to write about books that have affected their lives. She was the featured speaker for The Young Writers Day at the University of Charleston in 2007.  Her three collections of short stories, published by Mountain State Press, have been used in classrooms at all grade levels. Her work has earned her a place on the first Literary Map of West Virginia.

Workshop One: Those Pesky Parents

Whether you call the genre middle grade or juvenile, writing novels for 8- to 12-year-olds presents a unique challenge: what to do about the pesky parents. Whatever choice you make will create continuity challenges throughout your book. Sure, you can simply eliminate them, but the young protagonist will still have to somehow deal with authority figures. Leave them in, OK, but then how do you give your protagonist the freedom to have adventure? Join us in this workshop for tips on how to turn these parental obstacles into plot advantages while avoiding the pitfalls of stereotypes. We’ll have fun examining some of the sinister and humorous possibilities and participants will have the opportunity to practice with their own characters. The workshop is designed both for writers getting started and authors looking to hone their approach.

Workshop Two: Writing the Middle-Grade Novel

The middle-grade novel offers unique challenges – and pleasures – for the writer. Workshop leader Belinda Anderson will share tips and offer an extensive sampler of what’s being written today. She’ll also offer participants a chance to play the game that provided the foundation for her award-winning middle-grade novel --  an exclusive opportunity she’s only shared so far with a kindergarten class. (“They went wild over it,” she confides.) This workshop is designed both for those new to the genre and those seeking to fan their creative embers.


Laura Treacy
                                        BentleyLaura Treacy Bentley


Laura Treacy Bentley is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and book editor for WV Living Magazine (“Conversations”). She divides her time between Huntington, West Virginia, and Garrett County Maryland. The past three years she served as writer in residence for the Marshall University Writing Project. Laura’s work has appeared in the United States and Ireland, and her first book of poetry, Lake Effect, was published in 2006. She received a Fellowship Award for Literature from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and her poetry has been featured on the websites of A Prairie Home Companion and Poetry Daily. In 2003 she read her poetry with Ray Bradbury in Venice, California. One of her poems, “Keepsake,” was chosen by Maria Shriver and the editors of O Magazine in 2011 to be featured on Oprah’s website. Visit Laura’s website: http://www.lauratreacybentley.com.

Workshop One: The Hocus-Pocus of Poetry Part I


In this session we'll look at some magical/healing and cryptic/confusing poems by some of my favorite and least favorite poets. We'll discuss the arresting poetry of Laura Gilpin, Ted Kooser, Irene McKinney, Stephen Dunn, Sylvia Plath, George Bilgere, Jan Harrington, Wendell Berry, and Billy Collins, among others. I'll also read a few poems by nameless poets that I do not like and tell you why. I hope to simplify, demystify, and help you fall in love all over again with the power of poetry. Ideas and tips to help craft and create new work will be presented. We will shape a poem from a novel excerpt and draft a new poem. The importance of the opening line and the use of distance will be modeled. I believe like Ted Kooser that "Poetry is communication. Poetry's purpose is to reach other people and to touch their hearts."


Workshop Two: The Hocus-Pocus of Poetry Part II

The magic transformative powers of poets and poetry will continue to be modeled and discussed. Three poems drawn at random that were created and refined by participants in Part I will be workshopped. Everyone will participate and benefit from informal and non-threatening critiques. There will be time for questions and concerns in both sessions.


Sarah DooleySarah Dooley

Sarah Dooley grew up in Summersville, West Virginia, and now lives, writes, and teaches in Huntington. She is the author of two middle grade novels, Livvie Owen Lived Here and Body of Water, both published by Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan.  Sarah teaches a weekly creative writing class for middle graders at Cabell County Public Library.

WORKSHOP ONE: What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Novel)

Too often, authors hesitate to pursue traditional publication because of a fear of the unknown. Is it really possible to find an agent? Will an editor demand changes the author doesn't want to make? In this workshop, author Sarah Dooley will use examples from her own novels to illustrate the stages of the publication process. Participants will come away with an idea of what to expect at each stage, from writing a query letter through planning a book launch party.

WORKSHOP TWO:  On the spot: Writing Circle for Kids and Teens

Writing groups are a great way to meet other writers as you strengthen your own work. In the first half of this session, you will be asked to respond to one of several writing prompts. In the last half of the workshop, you will have a chance to share and receive comments on your work, and to respond to the writing of your peers.


Jeanette EberhardyJeanette Eberhardy


Jeanette Luise Eberhardy is a writer, artist, and educator. Her love for food, art, nature, and reinventing the writing self shows in her publications for Brevity magazine. Jeanette teaches writing at Massachusetts College of Art & Design and she is working on a book titled Creating Meaningful Work: What People Do and How It Impacts the World. Her art focuses on creating artists books using all sorts of materials found in nature. Jeanette earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College. She can be reached at www.wivinc.com

Workshop One: Creative NonFiction: Fieldnotes to Freewrites in Nature Writing

Our strongest, deepest experiences with nature cannot be paraphrased and that is why we need the personal essay. As nature writers, we begin with fleeting impressions captured in fieldnotes — notes that might reflect a gentle walk in the forest or our experience confronting a fierce storm. 


In this workshop we will begin by learning how to make our own field notebooks. We'll document our adventures and begin the work of fine tuning our impressions in freewrites. Your curiosity for the world around us is all you need for this workshop.


Workshop Two: The Personal Essay: What Fills Us — Food & Spiritual Writing

Join us for an opportunity to explore your passion for food and spiritual writing — two popular forms of the personal essay. Bring your love for both and we'll supply all the writing exercises you need to get started.


This workshop will include an opportunity to learn how to make a hard bound folder to carry your writing work with you. No experience required (except for your remembrances of a favorite meal).


Workshop Three:  From Notebooks to Chapbooks: Bookmaking Skills Reviewed


In the relaxed and leisurely feeling of Sunday morning, let's review your bookmaking skills. Join us if you want to practice the skills you learned in making field notebooks or hard bound folders. Join us if you are new to book making skills (and couldn't attend the earlier sessions at our conference). Come and have a bit of fun learning how to make one of the most important tools for the writer: a notebook for your informal notes, or for your final work.


Suehyla El-Attar

Suehyla El AttarSuehyla El-Attar is an actor/writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She's worked with many theatre companies across the Atlanta area in both capacities, including but not limited to: The Alliance Theatre Company, Theatre du Reve, and Working Title Playwrights. She's an artistic associate with Synchronicity Theatre and is currently working on a commission for Horizon Theatre, via a grant from the MAP fund. Her secret passion is providing scripts for teens to perform and to see; she'd like to be the John Hughes of High school Theatre...simply because she believes we should get them young. She's accomplished this with her two scripts, FISHBOWL and DESPERADOES. Her acting career is attempting a spread from the stage to the screen, at the moment. More information provided at www.suehyla.com.

Workshop One
The Celeste Miller Method
In 2005, Suehyla met and collaborated with Celeste Miller, a storyteller/dancer, on the Women+War project, produced by Synchronicity Theatre. Celeste imbued the experience by sharing her method which aided the artists to take true stories of women in war, and -give- them to the audience. In this workshop, Suehyla will share this same method. Come prepared to move and be honest.

Workshop Two
Critical Response Method.
In this workshop, Suehyla shares what she feels is an essential step in the development process of a playwright and a theatre workshopping a brand new script. Or, even, a method that can be shared with artists who are supporting each other as creations are being made. Bring a short play of your own, and come prepared to discuss it in a proactive way.


Chris FreeburnChristina Freeburn


Christina Freeburn's newest series, New Beginnings, features a skip-tracing business that specializes in relocating abused and stalked women. This inspirational romantic suspense series is published by Desert Breeze Publishing, a traditional e-book and print publisher. Lost Then Found and Led Astray, books one and two in the series, are currently available and the third, Safe and Sound, is scheduled for release in November 2012 with two more to follow. Christina (under C.A. Freeburn) has also revamped and is independently publishing the Working Shadow Inc Series starring PI Callous Demar who opened up a detective agency in Limbo after his murder. She served as a legal specialist in J.A.G. of the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, a librarian and a church secretary. Christina has been a judge for the Edgar award for the Best Novel category and the ACFW Carol Awards, and previously chaired MWA:Reads, the youth literacy committee of MWA. She has had three mystery novels published and her first novel, Parental Source, was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee.

Workshop One (with Pam Hanson) Another Road to Publishing -- Going Indie taking the ebook route

It used to be if you wanted to write a book and have it to go out to a national, or even global, audience, you had to work with a major publisher. But today, with online “long-tail” publishing technology, anyone can distribute his or her work to a vast audience independently.

First an overview of alternative publishing options, including electronic publishers, traditional publishers offering electronic books, and going indie, whether for Kindle via Amazon, Nook via BN, iBookstore, or a combination of ebooks and paper via Amazon’s CreateSpace and other outlets.

The key to successful indie publishing is knowing that operating independently doesn't mean the author does everything entirely on their own. If you're going to work on distributing your work electronically, the following need to be considered:

  • Finding the best editor for you (and it's not you)
  • Cover art (books are judged by their covers)
  • Formatting (One book, four different ways)
  • Marketing Plan (Tweeting and Facebooking 'Buy My Book' is not a plan)

Workshop Two (with Pam Hanson) Time Management Tips for Writers

One of the biggest obstacles for writers is how to manage time. This is especially true for writers who decide to seek alternative publishing routes, especially those going ‘indie.’ When you do everything yourself, how do you find the time to get it all done?  This workshop will offer tips for all writers from indie to academic.

Workshop Three -  The Morning after Wrap-Up

All weekend you've heard so much great info on a variety of topics pertaining to writing in all genres to publishing in many different venues. This is your chance to ask the questions of workshop presenters on time management and publishing anything you want and the chance to solidify the goals you've been forming. Let us help you return home and write!

Geoff Fuller


Geoff FullerWhen Geoff Fuller won first place in the crime fiction category in 2012, the same contest in which his wife, Karin, won the romance category, it was the first time that a married couple both won in the same year. He has read his work on the radio and in a variety of settings around the state; given over 25 workshops on a variety of writing topics; and taught classes on the novel, sudden fiction, and memoir in the Charleston area since 2005. He is also the only person to win prestigious WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships in all three prose categories: fiction, nonfiction, and memoir.

Currently, he works as a writer-editor for a variety of private clients, small publishers, and university presses. Fuller lives with his wife, Karin, and his stepdaughter, Celeste. (Oh, and three dogs, two cats, and a couple of rabbits, and something no one wants to talk about.)

Karin Fuller


Karin FullerKarin Fuller won first place in the romance category of Writers Digest’s genre short story competition in 2008 and 2011, and she has twice made the top ten in Glamour magazine's annual “Story of My Life" essay contest. Some of her publishing credits include Family Circle, Woman’s World, Appalachian Heritage, Atlanta Parent, and Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers, among others.

She has also been a lifestyle columnist for The Sunday-Gazette Mail since 1997. In June of 2003, her columns were awarded first place in the United States (general interest category) by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and in 2008, she was awarded an arts fellowship for memoir by the West Virginia Division of Culture & History. She lives in South Charleston with her husband, Geoff, her 14-year-old daughter Celeste, three dogs, two cats, two rabbits, and that other thing.



Short Takes
Karin and Geoff Fuller will show how you can use material from your own lives to produce short nonfiction for yourself or for the market. Together they will present principles and writing prompts that can be used to spin personal stories into narrative gold. Although writing prompts will not be the focus of the class, Karin and Geoff will be handing out and discussing a few that you can take away to use later.
“It Lives!”
Geoff Fuller will explore various techniques for writing nonfiction that will leap off the page and grab the reader from the first words. Whether you are writing brief nonfiction or a book-length exploration of an idea or historical period, you will want to know how to give your monster the electricity it needs to thrive. Tools and prompts that you can use later are included. (Geoff would be pleased to work over the weekend one-on-one with anyone who wants to craft a short nonfiction piece--free one-on-one collaboration!)


Pam HansonPam Andrews Hanson


Pam Andrews Hanson along with her writing partner/mother (Barbara Andrews) is the author of more than 30 novels, including women’s inspirational fiction for Guideposts Publishing and romances for Harlequin. Several more titles will be released by Guideposts this year. In addition, she and her partner released two indie inspirational romances for Kindle on Amazon and Nook on Barnes & Noble.

A former reporter, Pam previously taught beat reporting and was the director of advising for the School of Journalism at West Virginia University. She is a past recipient of the JUG Award. Pam now resides with her family in Nebraska, where she writes fulltime.



Marc HarshmanMarc Harshman


Marc Harshman’s eleven children’s books include THE STORM, a Smithsonian Notable Book.  New titles are forthcoming from Eerdmans and Macmillan. His third chapbook of poems, LOCAL JOURNEYS, was published by Finishing Line. Periodical publication of poems in the U.S. and abroad includes The Georgia Review, Appalachian Heritage, Atlanta Review, Shenandoah, 5 AM, and The Progressive.  His poems have been anthologized in publications by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. His prose poems and flash fiction have recently won awards from the Newport Review and Literal Latté and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Workshop One: Children's Book Publishing – Remembering the Child Within And…

In this workshop, Mr. Harshman will survey his own experiences in the area of children’s book publishing and how it has changed over the past 25 years. He will discuss professional organizations, agents and editors, critique groups, library, bookstore and online resources, as well as practical advice concerning manuscript preparation, audience, character, narrative tension, and picture book visualization. He will also briefly examine the influence of both children and storytelling upon his own writing. There will be ample time given over for questions from the attendees.  Beginner to Intermediate Level.

Workshop Two: Writing Workshop – From Blood to Revision 

The workshop begins with a discussion that addresses the practical need for detail in the creation of convincing writing.  In this activity I will use personal examples, diagrams, and participant responses to illustrate the movement from generality to detail.

The centerpiece of the workshop will be a written exploration of a particular metaphor that will allow participants to utilize not only their previous discussion of detail and free writing, but also to draw upon their memories and senses in the creation of a short story or reminiscence. Before the conclusion of the workshop, I will also illustrate how the revision process can be brought to bear upon the subsequent shaping of rough drafts.

Beginner to Intermediate Level.

Joy Held


Joy HeldJB George (Joy E. Held) acquires all genres for Secret Cravings Publishing and edits everything but Regency. She is an author and educator. You can read her monthly blogs about editing, submissions, queries and more at Words from the Editor and Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

SCP is actively seeking submissions in all genres including non-fiction and fiction. Ms. George is particularly interested in romantic fiction set in any time period for the new SCP series "Love On A Plane." Secret Cravings Publishing is an independent publisher offering royalties and publishes both digital and paperback versions of all contracted works.

Pitch information coming soon.


Heather IsaacsHeather Isaacs graduated from Marshall University with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree. Her concentrations were in Criminal Justice, Journalism, English and Communications. After graduating she went to work for her hometown community newspaper the Coal Valley News selling advertising.

Heather now works full time from her home in Southern West Virginia where she promotes books. She is also a blogger, freelance writer and book reviewer. 

Her blog Always An Open Book can be found here http://alwaysanopenbook.blogspot.com/ on blogger and is about anything and everything books. She has had book reviews published in Around the Panhandle magazine as well as the Coal Valley News.

Heather is a member of West Virginia Writer’s. She had the privilege of teaching workshops at the group’s annual conference held at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, WV. Her workshops were on freelance writing and book reviewing.
Heather is currently working on her first book.

Michael KnostMichael Knost

Michael Knost is a Bram Stoker Award-winning author, editor, and columnist of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and supernatural thrillers. He has written many books in various genres, helmed anthologies such as the Legends of the Mountain State series. His Writers Workshop of Horror won the Black Quill and Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement in nonfiction. He has also served as ghostwriter for several projects, including associations with the Discovery Channel and Lionsgate Media. He writes a monthly column for Fangoria Magazine and is currently writing a Mothman novel. To find out more, visit www.MichaelKnost.com.

Workshop One:  "The Invisible Writer"

Techniques to keep the reader in the story at all times, never being pulled out of the story due to writer intrusion.

Workshop Two: "The Visible Writer"

Techniques to ensure the success of the writer. This is where visibility counts, and how to maximize it.

Jolie Lewis


Jolie LewisJolie Lewis is a writer and teacher, and vice president of the Board of Directors at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in Hillsboro, WV. She was raised in nearby Ohio, but came to West Virginia in 2000 by way of Alaska, where she worked for several years as a news reporter. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House, Shenandoah and The Hopkins Review. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University, where she also served as an instructor, and she is a past recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for emerging women writers. When not writing, she teaches adult education, raises her two young children, and tirelessly promotes Pearl Buck’s legacy as an author and humanist.

Workshop One: Pearl Buck’s Classic Short Story, “The Old Demon”: Ten Lessons for Short Story Writers

Considered by many to be Pearl Buck’s greatest short story, “The Old Demon” has much to say to today’s writers of short fiction.  This workshop session describes ten effective strategies for character development, narrative, and plot used by Buck in writing this powerful story about a superstitious old woman who uses the river to defeat the enemies of her village.

Workshop 2: Food-Writing: A Feast for the Senses

Only a few beans did Wang Lung hide in his own hand and these he put into his own mouth and he chewed them into a soft pulp and then putting his lips to the lips of his daughter he pushed into her mouth the food, and watching her small lips move, he felt himself fed.

Whether we realize it or not, food is often close to the heart of our identity. What we eat, when we eat, where we eat, how we eat, whether we’re trying to eat less: Each of these things give away something about us. And how we prepare food and share it—that speaks volumes about how we relate to others. These same details are just as revealing when used in writing, whether prose or poems.

Pearl S. Buck knew enough about the power of food—or, sometimes, the power of hunger—that almost any page you turn to in The Good Earth has some kind of mention of food or eating (if not literal, then metaphorical). This session will draw on examples from her work and others’ to explore the power food can have on the page, and present exercises to help you write about food, well, deliciously. We might even sample some sweets made from recipes in Pearl’s own cookbook … and use them as prompts for writing exercises!


Marie ManillaMarie Manilla


 Pushcart-Prize nominee Marie Manilla is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in The Chicago Tribune as a Nelson Algren finalist; Prairie Schooner, where she received the Lawrence Foundation Award for best story; Mississippi Review; Calyx Journal; The Portland Review; The Long Story; Kestrel; GSU Review; Yemassee Review, Echo Ink Review, and other journals. Her collection of stories, Still Life with Plums (West Virginia University Press, 2010), was nominated for the Weatherford Award and ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year in the short story category. Author Daniel Wallace selected her novel, Shrapnel, as winner of the Fred Bonnie Award for best first novel. Manilla lives in her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, where she regularly teaches writing and American Literature at Marshall University. Her website is www.mariemanilla.com.

Workshop One: The Heart of the Short Story, Part One

We all experience light-bulb moments when we understand some truth about the world or the people we bump into as we navigate through it. Sometimes these truths are earth-shattering; sometimes they are quiet. Light-bulb moments are at the heart of the short story, and in this hands-on workshop participants will consider their own light-bulb moments and then explore how they can craft a short story that will best dramatize that truth.

Workshop Two: The Heart of the Short Story, Part Two

These days, everyone is a writer. Everyone. In addition to dramatizing light-bulb moments, it is imperative that your short story has a richness and depth that will distinguish it from the hundreds of others that editors see every month. In this hands-on workshop, participants will explore techniques that add layers and texture to short stories that will not only make them sparkle and shine, but will help them rise to the top of the slush pile.


Kipyn MartinKipyn Martin (music Saturday night)


Soulful: this is how a listener perceives a performance by Kipyn Martin. Often compared to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, songwriter Kipyn Martin sings from the core. She was a semi-finalist in the 2007 NewSong Academy Songwriting Competition, and a finalist in the 2009 Shenandoah Valley Acoustic Roots Songwriting Competition. Kipyn has shared stages with award-winning independent artists such as Chuck E. Costa, Trina Hamlin, Beaucoup Blue, and Pops Walker. Kipyn is a versatile performer, mostly operating within the blues and folk genres. Listeners can expect no frills. Just soul.


Lee MaynardLee Maynard

Lee Maynard was born and raised in the hardscrabble ridges and hard-packed mountains of West Virginia, an upbringing that darkens and shapes much of his writing. He has received the National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship. As a journalist, Maynard was an assignment writer for Reader's Digest for more than two decades. His journalism and non-fiction work has appeared more than 100 times in publications as diverse as The Saturday Review, Rider Magazine, Washington Post, Country America, Dual Sport News and Christian Science Monitor. Maynard’s short fiction has appeared in such publications such as Columbia Review of Literature, Appalachian Heritage and the literary magazine, Kestrel. His prose has been held in comparison to Hemingway, Twain, Harris, Faulkner and Salinger. Specializing in the novel, Maynard has taught at many national and regional workshops, including the Appalachian Writers Workshop, Southwest Writers Workshop, and West Virginia Writers Conference. He has served as Writing Master at Allegheny Echoes. His latest novel, The Scummers, the final novel in the trilogy that includes the oft banned Crum and Screaming with the Cannibals, will be published in April by Vandalia Press. He once rode a motorcycle from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Arctic Circle. He lives near Santa Fe.  Lee is our keynote speaker this year. Keynote:  Standing in the Center of the Room -- Taking the Risk of Writing

Workshop: Fragments -- the bits and pieces of storytelling

In the workshop we'll tackle -- voice, sense of place, imagery,  and rewriting.

Jim Moore and Phyllis Wilson Moore

Jim and Phyllis
                                        Wilson MooreJim and Phyllis Wilson Moore recently completed a twenty-five year research project identifying the literature of West Virginia and related sites. For the project, Jim served as graphic artist, poster maker, power point program creator, and photographer.  Phyllis’s role included reading the literature and writing about it for websites and journals.  She is an essayist, a poet, and the author of the text for the first official literary map of West Virginia. Her author interviews, author survey information, and personal research serve as the nucleus of the map’s content.  In 2011 the couple donated their extensive West Virginia literary materials to the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University, Fairmont, WV.


The Coming-of-Age Fiction of Selected Multicultural Authors of West Virginia
What do Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Homer H. Hickam, Jr., Christopher Janus, Chuck Kinder, John Knowles, Keith Maillard, Lee Maynard, Jayne Anne Phillips, June Langford Berkley, and Meredith Sue Willis have in common?   Find out in this session dedicated to West Virginia's wild and wonderful coming-of-age literature.


A professor emeritus at Marshall University, Edwina lives in Huntington.  Her poems, essays, and stories appear in anthologies, such as Wild Sweet Notes, and in periodicals, such as Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Hawaii Review, and Indiana Review. She has authored and co-authored articles, chapters, and books on education, including Out of Our Minds:  Anti-Intellectualism and Talent development in US Schools (Teachers College Press).  Her publications include two books of poetry.  Her second poetry collection, Like the Mountains of China, reflects a visit to that country.  Her Raft Tide and Railroad is the story of one family’s history in eastern Kentucky.  Her most recent nonfiction books, a series of young-adult biographies, were published in dual language editions by the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.  She is book review editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. 

Edwina was heard reading from her work on Episode 39 of the WV Writers Podcast and interviewed Jaimy Gordon in Episode 61.

Workshop One: Pearl Buck’s Classic Short Story, “The Old Demon”: Ten Lessons for Short Story Writers

Considered by many to be Pearl Buck’s greatest short story, “The Old Demon” has much to say to today’s writers of short fiction.  This workshop session describes ten effective strategies for character development, narrative, and plot used by Buck in writing this powerful story about a superstitious old woman who uses the river to defeat the enemies of her village.

Workshop 2: Food-Writing: A Feast for the Senses

Only a few beans did Wang Lung hide in his own hand and these he put into his own mouth and he chewed them into a soft pulp and then putting his lips to the lips of his daughter he pushed into her mouth the food, and watching her small lips move, he felt himself fed.

Whether we realize it or not, food is often close to the heart of our identity. What we eat, when we eat, where we eat, how we eat, whether we’re trying to eat less: Each of these things give away something about us. And how we prepare food and share it—that speaks volumes about how we relate to others. These same details are just as revealing when used in writing, whether prose or poems.

Pearl S. Buck knew enough about the power of food—or, sometimes, the power of hunger—that almost any page you turn to in The Good Earth has some kind of mention of food or eating (if not literal, then metaphorical). This session will draw on examples from her work and others’ to explore the power food can have on the page, and present exercises to help you write about food, well, deliciously. We might even sample some sweets made from recipes in Pearl’s own cookbook … and use them as prompts for writing exercises!

Jay TaborJay Tabor


Jay Tabor lives in Martinsburg, in the Eastern Panhandle where he writes despite unfortunate interruptions such as work and household tasks. He writes a weekly column covering local auto racing at several tracks in his area for the daily, Martinsburg Journal. He has been published in B2B Outlook, BOXoffice and Main Artery magazines, is a multiple award winner with West Virginia Writers Inc. and has Additional Dialogue credits on the movie, Gypsy Vampire, produced and directed by Conrad Brooks, protégé of the legendary Hollywood auteur, Edward D. Wood Jr. maker of the historic Plan 9 From Outer Space. He is well looked after by his wife, Pat and his three Pugs and a little Boston Terrier.

Workshop: Stop The Presses!   Press releases are the fastest, easiest way to advertise your events or works and often lead to even greater coverage. Learn to write successful press releases that work and the follow up to make it happen. A great course for those running writers workshops and other writing events, self publishing authors and anyone who wants to get the word out, no matter your organization.

Pops WalkerPops Walker


Pops Walker retired from the US Army in 2003 and entered into to his second career as a performing singer/songwriter.   On the day of his retirement, he packed his guitars into his car and drove to Charlestown, WV, where he was the opening act for the Mountain Stage New Song Festival.

He performed twice that weekend and served as a judge for the songwriting contest.  One day he was a soldier, the next, a performer.  Since then, he’s enjoyed a reputation as one of the most passionate solo performers in his field, playing at festivals, acoustic listening rooms, theatres, and his favorite venues, house concerts.  Listening to any of his seven CDs is a treat, but watching him perform live is an adventure you’ll never forget.  Pops is again in the middle of a transition.  He’s now a writer.  His first book, Messages Without Melodies, Volume I opened the eyes and hearts of all who read it.  Volume II, recently completed, is now available online, via popswalker.com. Now working on his first novel, the transition is almost complete.  But Pops tells us that as long as his fingers and voice are in working order, you can expect him to keep playing his guitar like nobody’s business, and cranking out those original tunes folks have come to know and love.


Doug & Telisha
                                      WilliamsDoug and Telisha Williams

Dead right, honest songwriting delivered in a hauntingly beautiful yet gritty, neo-traditional Americana wrapper.  Doug and Telisha, now residing in the new Bohemian Mecca of East Nashville, write songs about a place where old time religion, superstition, run down bars, gravel parking lots and boarded up factories all mingle together.  Their most recent release, “Ghost of the Knoxville Girl”, received wide critical acclaim, and spent 15 weeks in the Americana Music Association Top 40 Radio Chart, landing a spot as one of the top 100 Americana Albums of 2010. The past few years have been filled with hundreds of shows and thousands of miles for Doug and Telisha.  They’ve traveled from Florida to Oregon and Michigan to Texas, they’ve played with some of their most beloved heroes -  Lucinda Williams, Darrell Scott, Charlie Louvin, and Joe Ely – and been on several of the nations most revered stages - Anderson Fair, The Birchmere, The Carolina Theater, Godrey Daniels, Madison Square Park and Floydfest.  Quick wit and fearless delivery make every show different and personal.

Workshop One: Want to write a song?  Want to write a song you'll be happy with?  You can do it!.  Not everyone can be Townes Van Zandt or Guy Clark, but almost everyone can write good, solid songs.  Doug & Telisha offer a clear method that anyone can use.  There are a few simple tools and techniques that will allow anyone to tap into a creative space and blast through any writers block.  This workshop will briefly touch on the basic mechanics of songwriting and then move right into the messy task of putting one together. By the end of the workshop each participant will, without a doubt, have the tools and know-how to walk away and write a good song.  No musical background necessary.  "Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time ... the wait is simply too long" -- Leonard Bernstein

Workshop Two: Where does creativity come from?  How can you be a more creative person?  It takes more than the ability to string words together to be a great writer.  Stories, ideas, conundrums, and questions are what really suck your audience in.  Where do the good ones come from?  We'll discuss, from a psychological standpoint, ways to improve your own creative process.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it does make for better writing.