Join us April 29th for Author Website: Build It To Build A Following, 6pm at the Firehouse Theatre. Get your tickets now! Best Unpublished Novel Contest Closing Soon. Submit by March 31st!

News and Events

Best Unpublished Novel Contest

March 23rd, 2015

stack of manuscriptsJames River Writers runs the Best Unpublished Novel Contest in conjunction with Richmond magazine. (In even numbered years JRW and Richmond magazine run the Shann Palmer Best Poetry Contest.) Submissions are now open. The deadline for postmarking your entry for the Best Unpublished Novel Contest is March 31, 2015. (more…)

March Writing Show – Life After Rejection: What To Do Before You Query Again

March 3rd, 2015

Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl. Even these authors have been rejected. So how do you pick up and get going again? And what rational steps should you take to reevaluate your rejectedwork and submissions before you query again?

Join panelists Lisa Hagan and David Morgan, and moderator Kris Spisak for discussions and Q&A. Stay for the second half when coach Sarah Beth Jones will help provide tangible ways to get reenergized and stay motivated.

Some questions the panel will address include

Does your query match the quality of your book?
• Are you querying the right agent or publisher?
• Does your book need to be edited?
• Is networking your missing component?
• At what point do you call in professional help?



When: Wednesday, March 25, 6:00 pm

Where: Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street(Parking available across the street in the Lowe’s lot)

Price: $12 for Members; $15 for non-Members; $5 for Students;




Lisa Hagan: Non-Fiction Literary Agent

lisahagan2aLisa Hagan Literary is known for anticipating future book trends and is among the first to successfully create, shape, and develop appropriate projects with their worldwide clients. The agency handles only nonfiction properties.

Books represented by Lisa Hagan have been reported in the front pages of The New York Times; USA Today; The New York Times Book Review; and The Los Angeles Times.




David H. Morgan: Editor, Writing Instructor, and Ghostwriter

David Morgan has worked in publishing for 40+ years as a DavidMorgan smSenior Fiction Editor for a New York-based literary agent, a freelance acquisitions editor for literary agents, a literary agent, a publishers’ sales rep, and the Director of Promotion and Marketing for a regional press. He’s presented fiction and nonfiction workshops at top-level writing conferences, created books for literary agents and major publishing houses (as a ghostwriter and co-writer), and assisted writers to become published authors (in many cases, after their work had been rejected by agents and publishing houses).



Sarah Beth Jones: Business and Empowerment Coach

SBJbyDanSmith_0814Sarah Beth Jones is a business and empowerment coach, which means that she helps people access their own inner wisdom in order to unleash their most confident, talented, amazing selves and build their most powerful and creative lives. She is also a blogger, freelance writer, and former columnist. She kicks around in poetry and fiction when she’s feeling frisky.




Moderator Kris Spisak: Author and Editor

With a BA from the College of William and Mary and an MLA Kris Spisak headshot-2014from the University of Richmond, Kris Spisak began her career as a college writing instructor. However, after six years in the classroom, she transitioned to professional writing and editing. Helping writers sharpen their craft—both through manuscript edits and her “Wednesday Writing Tips” blog—drives her every day. Kris is also the co-founder/content specialist for Midlothian Web Solutions and is pursuing the publication of her first novel.

Popular Master Class with David Robbins Returns!

February 10th, 2015

David L. RobbinsNY Times bestselling author and professor of creative writing, David L. Robbins presents his popular Art of the Narrative Master Class for the third and final time. The class will go for eight sessions and focus on the structure of good story-telling. Robbins will guide students through the writing and workshopping of several short fiction pieces. Instructional emphasis will be on the actual craft, technique, and skills needed to tell each story.

The two prior master class groups have remarked that David’s classes are not only informative and eye-opening but fun and a little crazy as well! (more…)

Best Unpublished Novel Winner Now a Published Author!

February 10th, 2015
Kirsten Lopresti

Kirsten Lopresti

Kirsten Lopresti, winner of the 2009 Best Unpublished Novel (BUN) Contest, credits the feedback she received from judge and author Susann Cokal for helping her elevate her winning entry into an acclaimed debut novel, Bright Coin Moon, published in November by Sky Pony Press.

Cokal describes Bright Coin Moon as “Anywhere But Here for a new decade. Lopresti hits all the high notes in a story that’s wrenching, ripping, and often laugh-out-loud funny.”

We caught up with Lopresti to learn more about her novel, talk about the impact of James River Writers, and highlight the power of contests for writers. (more…)

The Writing Show – Plotting The Hero’s Journey: Fiction, Myth and Script

February 2nd, 2015

cb221x_608x211February’s Writing Show celebrates our new partnership (and location) with Firehouse Theater by discussing one of the oldest plot devices in storytelling, The Hero’s Journey.

From Gilgamesh to Odysseus and Ivanhoe to Katniss Everdeen, the Hero faces tests of strength and character and bests overwhelming odds while meeting his or her doubts and fears. We relate to the Hero by assigning our daily struggles to the Hero’s mythical ones and receiving inspiration that we, too, can overcome our personal Lex Luther.

Our panel of Greg Smith and Connie Lapallo, moderated by Doug Jones, will discuss the book to screen transition and topics such as:

• The stages of the hero’s journey

• How archetypes are forged, and how voice must change for each character

• What books and resources writers can use for studying the hero’s journey

• The books, plays and movies best for understanding the hero’s journey

When: Wednesday, February 25, 6:00 pm

Where: Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street(Parking available across the street in the Lowe’s lot)

Price: $12 for Members; $15 for non-Members; Season passes available for $71 through February 25.

Click here to register today!



Thank you to the following sponsor for their generous support of the February Writing Show:

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Additionally, JRW programs are Funded in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and CultureWorks Grant Program, championed by Altria.

Writers Farmhouse: New Day of the Week for 2015!

December 29th, 2014

writers farmhous july 2013
Writers Farmhouse is moving to Thursdays! Looking for some motivation? A place with friendly faces who will encourage you in your craft? Come write with us!

Organized by board member Bill Blume, Writers Farmhouse welcomes members of JRW and other writing enthusiasts to the Midlothian Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe every Thursday (except 1/1/15, 11/16/2015 and 12/31/2015) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (more…)