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February Writing Show: Author Newsletters & Tapping Your Digital Tribe

February 1st, 2017

Feb 2017 Writing Show Speakers

For better or for worse, writers have the opportunity to connect with their readers like never before in history. And when authors are smart, they can transform their readership into a true community, where the connections are genuine and an army of support is ready to spread the word of new projects. Sure, growing your digital tribe is part of your author platform, but it is so much more than a data point. It is your opportunity to thrive in a new era of publishing. At this Writing Show, attendees will learn best practices with author newsletters, new and outdated tech trends, and tangible steps to hit the ground running.

And in the spirit of community, all attendees with newsletters will have the opportunity to grow their own digital tribe with an open newsletter sign-up time during intermission.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meet & Greet at 6:00; program starts at 6:45)


Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street


$12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)

Click here to register today!





Tim Asimos is a recognized B2B marketing thought leader, providing keen insights on modern Tim Asimos Headshotmarketing principles and an uncommon perspective gleaned from nearly 15 years of experience working on both the client-side and agency-side of the business. As Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation at circle S studio, a strategic marketing agency, Tim focuses on helping B2B firms grow in today’s increasingly competitive and digital landscape. He leads the digital team to develop innovative strategies in website development, content marketing, and online lead generation.

Tim is a syndicated blogger and a national speaker on various marketing topics including content marketing, branding, web design, online marketing and technology. His expertise has been featured in numerous publications, blogs, webinars, programs, and conferences across the country. He’s also a member of the American Marketing Association and is Immediate Past President of the Richmond, Virginia chapter. He holds a B.S. in Communication Studies and an M.B.A. from Liberty University.

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including Murder at the Book Maggie King Author PhotoGroup and Murder at the Moonshine Inn. Her short stories, “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion in Shockoe Slip” appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies. “Wine, Women, and Wrong” is included in 50 Shade of Cabernet: A Mysterious Anthology.

Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She belongs to James River Writers, the American Association of University Women, and is a founding member of the Sisters in Crime Central Virginia chapter. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, customer service supervisor, web designer, and non-profit administrator. Maggie has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband Glen and cats Morris and Olive. All her jobs, schools, and residences have gifted her with story ideas for years to come.

Rebecca Joines Schinsky Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product & e-commerce at Riot rebecca schinsky headshotNew Media Group, which runs Book Riot, the largest independent community for book lovers in North America. She is the co-host of the Book Riot Podcast and All the Books, a weekly show about the best new book releases. Rebecca has been writing and speaking about books and the publishing industry since 2008.




Samantha Willis is a writer and Arts & Entertainment Editor at Richmond magazine. Formerly, she was digital content manager in the ABC 8News newsroom. With a writing, editing and social media Samantha Willis Headshotmanagement career spanning nearly 10 years, Samantha most recently created #UnmaskingRVA, a three-part community learning series designed to examine, discuss and learn from Richmond’s deep racial history and its continuing impact. Samantha’s also a civil rights advocate, a children’s book author, a pianist, a loving wife and a proud mom.





Award-winning author Mary Chris Escobar writes women’s fiction. Her debut novel, Neverending Beginnings was published in 2012 and released in paperback in Author Mary Chris Escobar2015. Subsequent works include Delayed, How to be Alive and her latest, How to Fall, published in December 2014. How to be Alive was the winner of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award for the Chick Lit category. In addition to her weekly blog, her personal essays have appeared in the The Write Lifestyle magazine (Issue 2, Issue 11), on Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books, the Kobo Writing Life blog, and USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog.

February Literary Salon: Love and Hate

January 28th, 2017

Sadeqa Johnson head shot

February’s Literary Salon, led by local author, Sadeqa Johnson, will focus on “Love and Hate.” Whatever your genre, the Literary Salon is a wonderful way to connect, to learn, and to philosophize in an intimate setting with writers, and artists, and other creatives.

We welcome writerly types of all experience levels and readers, thinkers, and artists of every sort. Be sure to bring your favorite writing implements.

DATE: February 16, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

FEE: Free and open to the public

LOCATION: Patrick Henry Pub & Grille, in the upstairs salon, 2300 East Broad Street (free street parking)

About Sadeqa Johnson

Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debutSecond House from the Corner Book Cover by Sadeqa Johnson novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag, is the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction. She is also the author of Second House From the Corner which New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner called, “So good!”

Her third novel, And Then There Was Me will be released in April 2017. A native of Philadelphia she has recently relocated to a suburb of Richmond, which is a great place to raise children until it snows and schools close for a week. She is a motivational speaker, inspirational blogger, runner, wife and mother of three incredibly busy children who keep pestering her for a dog.


The Best Unpublished Novel Contest is open for submissions!

January 25th, 2017

The Best Unpublished Novel Contest, a partnership between James River Writers and Richmond magazine, is open for submissions January 1 through March 31, 2017.  For rules and information, see Best Unpublished Novel Contest.

The contest is part of a three-year sequence with the Best Self-Published Novel Contest and the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest.


January 2017 Writing Show: Befriending the Editing Scissors

December 14th, 2016

Ever use ten words when five will do? Ever fear you’re being long-winded? Writers working across many forms and genres understand that editing should go far beyond dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Knowing when to pull out the editing scissors often makes the difference between writing that is okay and writing that is so sharp it cuts straight to the heart.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017


6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meet & Greet at 6:00; program starts at 6:45)


Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street


$12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)

Click here to register today!




Nathan Richardson profile postNathan M. Richardson is an accomplished performance poet and published author.  His published collections are “Likeness of Being” and “Twenty-one Imaginary T-shirts”.  Nathan teaches a variety of workshops for emerging writers and is the Head Coach of the Hampton Roads Youth Poets a division of the youth empowerment organization – Teens with a Purpose.

Nathan is preparing for his 3rd year of The Frederick Douglass Speaking Tour, in which he delivers a remarkable portrayal of the former slave, writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  A short list of Nathan’s other affiliations include the Poetry Society of Virginia, Young Audiences of Virginia, and the Suffolk Arts League.


Gretchen Comba profile picGretchen Comba‘s fiction has appeared in a number of journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The North American Review. She is a recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Prize for Short Fiction and the Yemassee Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Magazine. She received her MFA in Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University.






Larand Lancaster profile picLarand Lancaster is President for the Richmond chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She has experience in strategic communication, print publication management, web site management, branding and identity campaigns and graphic design for internal and external audiences. Currently, Larand works at a state government agency where she is responsible for employee communication, the intranet, and digital signage.




Picture of Editor Kris SpisakWith degrees from the College of William & Mary and 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 was the driving force behind her book Get a Grip on your Grammar: 250 Writing and Editing Reminders for the Curious or Confused (Career Press, 2017). Kris is also pursuing the publication of her first novel and is the co-founder of Midlothian Web Solutions.




2017 Conference Dates Announced!

December 4th, 2016

JRWC_2015_5Hold the dates! The 15th annual James River Writers Conference will be October 13-15, 2017.

Master Classes on October 13

General Sessions at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on October 14 & 15

Registration opens in early summer. Be sure to sign up for Get Your Word On, our e-newsletter, to get all the updates!


Now Accepting Submissions for the Poe Inspires Contest!

November 16th, 2016
Last year's judge, Bill Blume, with the coveted Golden Poes.

Last year’s judge, Bill Blume, with the coveted Golden Poes.

Need some inspiration to get you through the end of the year?

The Poe Museum and James River Writers are pleased to invite submissions to the second annual Edgar Allan Poe Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest.

Poe has been a major influence on authors as diverse as Arthur Conan Doyle and Neil Gaiman, and he continues to inspire new generations of artists. Has he been significant to your own development as a writer? Please send us poetry or flash fiction that demonstrate his influence, whether you’ve been inspired by Poe’s use of the grotesque, his theory of the unified effect, or his pioneering work in science fiction and the detective story. No matter what he wrote, Poe imbued his work with a relentless creative spirit—that’s what we’re hoping to find in your submissions.