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Craft of Writing Sessions 2019

LAURA SHOVAN – But I'm Not a Poet: Writing Novels in Verse 

Novels-in-verse are increasingly popular with kidlit and young adult readers, but you don’t have to be a poet to give this genre a try. Join debut verse novelist and poet-in-the-schools Laura Shovan for an overview of the novel in verse form. We’ll focus on three key ways that poetry appeals to young readers: white space, wordplay, and voice; as well as how plot structure works in a verse novel. Laura will lead a writing exercise that authors of any genre can use to hone a character’s voice.  

Laura Shovan's debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was an NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry. It was named the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices honor book in 2018. Laura's second children's novel with Random House Kids, Takedown, is about the first girl on an all-boys wrestling team. She lives with her family in Maryland, where she is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council. She is former editor of Little Patuxent Review and won the Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize for her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone.    

LORIANN OBERLIN & ROBERT BIDINOTTO –  The Do Nots & Definitely Do Steps for Writers

Professional writers spend one-third of their time creating, the rest on "the

business side of writing." In this presentation, Loriann and Robert will share their own hard-won learning experiences: their mistakes and the lessons they learned along the way to successful writing careers. Among many topics, they'll discuss how to identify "the one thing" – your most important goal during each writing session. They'll explain how you can avoid becoming paralyzed by anxiety and perfectionism, while still maintaining high standards of professionalism in writing, production, and marketing.   

They'll address such common errors as impatience and hasty publishing; failing to engage the right beta-readers prior to publication; confused branding and poor marketing; unrealistic sales expectations; plus much more. There's a ton to learn from these veteran authors' missteps, and you'll have the opportunity to ask them about your own problems and concerns. Here's a can't-miss session if you want to avoid costly, time-consuming, and demoralizing mistakes.

Robert Bidinotto is author of HUNTER -- a #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in “Mysteries & Thrillers,” and a Wall Street Journal “Top Ten Fiction Ebook.” Its first sequel, BAD DEEDS, was named CLFA “Book of the Year.” His latest thriller, WINNER TAKES ALL, is garnering stellar reviews and completes the opening trilogy of his bestselling Dylan Hunter thrillers series. For decades prior to his turn to fiction, Robert was an award-winning nonfiction author, magazine editor, and investigative journalist. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, The Boston Herald, The American Spectator, and many other publications. He lives with his wife on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where he is at work on new Dylan Hunter adventures. 

Loriann Oberlin has written thirteen books, beginning with a Writer’s Digest title more than 20 years ago. Her latest, Writing to Make Money: Short Projects, helps writers boost bank accounts and their confidence. In addition to her decades of experience with magazines, newspapers, greeting card companies, and traditional publishers, Loriann is also a licensed mental health therapist. This background helps her to encourage writers through their self-defeating glitches and habits. Her titles Overcoming Passive-Aggression as well as Surviving Separation & Divorce are available in most bookstores. Under the pen name of Lauren Monroe, she has also indie-published two women’s novels—Letting Go: Book One of The Maryland Shores and Second Chances: Book Two. Visit her website: www.loriannoberlin.com

CHRISTINE STEWART & ANN TATRO– Grants and Opportunities for Writers

Find all about grants and opportunities for writers that you may not even know exist! Find out about your local arts councils, the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Awards, The Maryland Artist Registry, and how to become an Artist-in-Residence, or a Visiting Artist Performer with the Maryland State Arts Council.  

Christine Stewart is the program director for literary arts with the Maryland State Arts Council and editor-in-chief of Del Sol Press (@delsolpressbks). Chris is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Some of her publications include Poetry, Ploughshares, Five Points, Blackbird, The Cortland Review, and Smartish Pace. She's faculty at the Algonkian Writer Retreat and Novel Workshop in Virginia. Find tips, tools, information, and inspiration on her website: www.therealwriter.com. 

Ann Tatro is the grants collection specialist at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.  Through the State Learning Research Center, she serves the State of Maryland as a Foundation Information Network Supervisor for the Foundation. She uses her knowledge and passion to support nonprofits and to help  seek grant funding by teaching people how to use the Foundation Directory Online for prospect research, giving tips on proposal writing, and working closely with professional organizations and nonprofits throughout the state.

AUSTIN CAMACHO – Writing Winning Dialogue

In good fiction, dialogue not only moves your plot along, it is the best way to reveal the true nature of your characters. In this session you will learn the techniques that make dialogue believable, enjoyable and a vital element in your storytelling.

Austin S. Camacho is the author of six novels about Washington Dc-based private eye Hannibal Jones, five in the Stark and O’Brien international adventure-thriller series, and the detective novel, Beyond Blue. His short stories have been featured in several anthologies including Dying in a Winter Wonderland – an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Top Ten Bestseller for 2008. He is featured in the Edgar-nominated African American Mystery WRiters: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey.

Camacho is also editorial director for Intrigue Publishing, a Maryland small press, and works with their authors to improve their manuscripts. And Camacho is deeply involved with the writing community.  He is a past president of the Maryland Writers Association, past Vice President of the Virginia Writers Club, and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

SCOTT McCORMICK ​– Audio: All You Ever Need to Know 

 Join Scott McCormick, multi-talented director, book adapter, and narrator of GraphicAudio, who will discuss other means by which writers might tell/share their stories in a world where on-demand media, the death of book stores and digital piracy are making it harder and harder to make a living in print. We’ll examine alternative formats and means of distributing your work with a focus on audio entertainment.. 

 Scott McCormick has been a professional actor and voice artist for over 20 years. Scott has directed and adapted over 40 audiobook titles for the Rockville-based GraphicAudio, where he works as a director, book adapter and narrator. His work in Comic Book Prose Audio has included such titles as It's Superman, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt, The Avengers, and Daredevil: Man Without Fear. His adaptation of Marvel's Superheroes: Secret Wars (2015) and Thanos: Death Sentence (2017) were both named one of Audiofile Magazine's Audio Books of the Year. Currently he is the narrator and lead in G.S. Denning’s Warlock Holmes series and Simon R. Green's Ishmael Jones Mysteries. Scott has appeared on stages large and small around the DC Region, including Shakespeare Theatre, Studio Theater, Woolly Mammoth and Rorschach Theatre, where he has been a company member for over fifteen years. He lives in Kensington, MD with his wife and not enough shelf space. 


Explore what editors are truly looking for in poetry, creative non-fiction, and short story submissions with this fantastic panel discussion which will address best practices in the submission process, as well as editing tips, and ways to ensure your writing is up to par before submission.

Christopher Salerno is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His most recent collection is Sun & Urn, selected by Thomas Lux for the Georgia Poetry Prize and published by University of Georgia Press in early 2017. Previous books include ATM, (Georgetown Review Poetry Prize 2014), Minimum Heroic (Mississippi Review Poetry Prize 2010), and Whirligig (2006). He is a recipient of the Laurel Review Midwest Chapbook Prize, the Prairie Schooner Glenna Luschei Award, and a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship. His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, New England Review, The Academy of American Poets series, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Fence, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. He is an Associate Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey where he teaches in the undergraduate and MFA writing programs. 

Kim Roberts is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has been a writer-in-residence at 18 artist colonies. Poems of hers have been featured in the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas Project, on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Project, and on podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gerry LaFemina’s latest book is the poetry collection The Story of Ash (Anhinga, 2018). He is also the author of a novel, a collection of short stories, and numerous award-winning collections of poetry, including The Parakeets of Brooklyn, Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist (prose poems), Vanishing Horizon, and Little Heretic. His collection of essays on poets and prosody, Palpable Magic, came out in 2015 from Stephen F Austin University Press and his textbook, Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically was released last year from Kendall Hunt. The former director of the Frostburg Center for Literary Arts, he teaches at Frostburg State University and serves as a Mentor in the MFA Program at Carlow University.

CHRISTINE STEWART -- See bio and photo at left.

 Gregg Wilhelm's expertise covers book publishing, arts administration, and higher education. He started his career at Johns Hopkins University Press, launched four imprints including one with a major independent bookseller, founded the nonprofit literary arts organization CityLit Project in Baltimore, and held adjunct and leadership positions at several institutions. Over the years, Gregg has published more than 150 books across all genres and produced nearly 1,000 literary programs. In spring 2018, he became the Director of Creative Writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.media.




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