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JRW Volunteers Talk About Their Experiences

May 29th, 2014

By Jennifer Drummond

James River Writers’ mission states it builds community by connecting and inspiring writers and readers in Central Virginia. While this is certainly true, JRW has also quietly built a community of wonderful volunteers. These volunteers have given, and continue to give, many hours of their time and talents each week. Whether they are keeping the community informed, creating awesome events, or offering a valuable resource, the volunteers are making great things happen.

So it is at this time we say thank you to our volunteers for all they have given and for choosing to be part of JRW. We spoke with a few volunteers who took the time to share their thoughts with us as they move out of their current roles at JRW.

After seven years, Cathy Allen has passed on her role of editing the Lit Calendar for James River Writers.

Jennifer Drummond: How long have you volunteered at JRW and what volunteer role did you fulfill? How many hours per month did you volunteer?

Cathy Allen

Cathy Allen

Cathy Allen: Since 2007, I’ve have proudly served as JRW’s Lit Calendar Editor. For 7 years I devoted 20 hours a month “snipping and clipping” a diverse range of literary events in the metro Richmond area and beyond.

Denise Golinowski: I’ve volunteered at JRW in one way or another for over ten years (maybe longer, but I haven’t a clue when I started). Initially, I helped with registration at the Writing Show when we were meeting at the Science Museum back with Anne Westrick and crew. Then I stepped in to hostess Writers Wednesdays until this year.

Cathy Hill:  I didn’t make a mental note of the year I started volunteering, but it was probably four or five years ago.  The Writing Show was still meeting at the Science Museum.  I served as greeter/hostess, helping set up and clean up, folding and handing out programs, collecting entrance fees, etc.  It took about 4-5 hours a week.

Also, I twice served as a first round reader at the Best Unpublished Novel contest, which was extremely enlightening and enjoyable.  (more…)

May 2014 Writing Show Recap with Fraga Studios

May 29th, 2014

How many times have you bought a movie ticket at least partially based on the trailer? At least once and probably more, right? A really good trailer gets you to the theater for two hours. A bad one keeps you away. Today, trailers are not just for movies or television. Book trailers are popping up in all genres, from children’s books to suspense to non-fiction. A compelling book trailer can play a large part in an author’s marketing campaign. May’s Writing Show at The Broadberry focused on what makes a book trailer work, types of book trailers, and things to consider when making a trailer. Sharing their wisdom were Tom Sanchez Prunier, a freelance screenwriter and film producer, and Lew Fraga, a producer, writer, director, and owner of Fraga Studios.

Tom Sanchez

Tom Sanchez

What does a book trailer do? Tom and Lew believe a trailer gives the author a chance to say more than what’s on the book’s jacket. They believe a video ad attached to a book can be more cost-effective and far-reaching than a book tour. Used properly, it can be an integral piece in building an author’s brand.

By showing several trailers on screen, Tom and Lew emphasized the importance of showing—not telling—in creating a powerful trailer. Of course, every writer has heard this phrase repeatedly, but they stated it also applies to the video sneak peek into a book. As part of a total marketing campaign, Tom suggested a good book trailer is as important as your book cover. According to Tom and Lew, to make a trailer work, it should create emotional engagement, get to the point, respect the audience, have a clear message, hint at the story, and have a call to action (buy the book!). Unlike a movie trailer, the best book trailers don’t show the faces of the protagonists (or only briefly) or reveal too much of the story. Lew said, “Let the reader come up with a face.” A good trailer never shows credits and is generally under 2 minutes (1-1 ½ minutes is ideal). Bad editing, unrelated content, and excessive text can detract from any trailer. (more…)

Jeff Sadler Joins JRW Staff

May 28th, 2014

JeffSadler-1Just a month after moving into new offices in Church Hill, our literary organization welcomes a new employee. Jeff Sadler is our organization’s Program Director. Jeff is a long-time resident of Richmond. After moving to the city to attend VCU, he never left. Jeff has lived in 7 of the 9 Richmond districts, including Church Hill back in the 1990s. He’s glad to be working back up here.

“The area has changed so much over the years. Broad Street was great back then, but now north of here is so much improved. Having lived in so many Richmond areas, I think of it as the district that most feels like a neighborhood.” (more…)

Part-time Membership Coordinator Opportunity

May 23rd, 2014

James River Writers is hiring for a part-time Membership Coordinator to work closely with the Executive Director, Board Members (particularly the membership committee), and volunteers to ensure all aspects of membership outreach are implemented smoothly and professionally. Membership efforts would include monitoring expired memberships and creating an efficient system for renewal; implementing a substantive member benefit program that encourages engagement; creating and implementing a plan for diversifying our member base and reaching a wider segment of underserved or underrepresented populations; producing and sending a monthly members e-newsletter; and engaging in numerous community partnerships that both support other non-profits and bring JRW to the attention of new constituents. Good communication, administration, and organizational skills are a must. $7,800/year (lasting one year; job continuation planned but must be re-assessed). (more…)

New This Year at the JRW Conference: RVA ♥ Writers!

May 20th, 2014



This year we’ll be sharing a portion of our conference with all of Richmond—and sharing Richmond with our conference goers. Saturday, October 18, afternoon and evening hours are set aside for some of our speakers to give open presentations at various RVA locations.

This program is sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.


RVA ♥ Writers will include free presentations from

Kwame Alexander, T. R. Simon, and Stacy Whitman on Multicultural Books: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature.  At Art180, 114 West Marshall St – 4:00 p.m.

Bruce Holsinger, Sarah MacLean, and Kelly O’Connor McNees on Taking Liberties: The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Historical Fiction. VCU Globe Building, 817 West Franklin St – 4:00 p.m.

Hugh Howey on Rapid Fire: Self-Publishing and the Changing Climate for Writers and Readers. UR Downtown. 626 east Broad St – 4:00 p.m.

Brian Jay Jones on Not Just Muppets: Jim Henson’s Cultural Influence. St. Christopher’s School, 711 St. Christophers Rd, in the Playhouse Auditorium located in the Luck Leadership Center – 5:30 p.m.

No registration is required for these events and all RVA Loves Writers events are free and open to the public, so bring friends and family.

Please see below for additional information on these fun and informative panels. (more…)

Emyl Jenkins Award Accepting Nominations

May 12th, 2014

Emyl Jenkins 1941-2010








To honor the memory of Emyl Jenkins, who died in 2010, James River Writers presents an award to an organization or person who, as Emyl did, inspires a love of writing and writing education in Virginia.

An advocate for writers and their readers, Emyl had a knack for connecting both people and organizations. She shared her time and expertise with everyone she encountered. She encouraged writers at all levels, especially fledglings trying to get those first words down on the page. Her generous spirit and her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone she touched, and her actions widened the circle of writing encouragement.

Award Details

Any Virginia individual or organization is eligible, except for members of the JRW board of directors or the advisory board.