February Writing Show: Author Newsletters & Tapping Your Digital Tribe

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 At this Writing Show, attendees will learn best practices with author newsletters, new and outdated tech trends, and tangible steps to hit the ground running.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

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.


January 2017 Writing Show: Befriending the Editing Scissors

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!

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!


Great Ways to Keep the Conference Magic Going . . .

Had a blast at the conference and want to keep that momentum and inspiration alive?


Purchase a 2017 Season Pass for The Writing Show!

2017 Line-up*

  • January 25: Befriending the Scissors: Cutting the Extraneous
  • February 22: The Professional Writer: Email Newsletters & Tapping Your Tribe
  • March 29: Fairytale Retellings & The Brothers Grimm
  • April 26: Finding Authenticity: Writing Outside Your Gender, Race, or Culture
  • May 31: The Squishy Middle: Keeping Your Readers Captivated
  • June 28: Examining the Writing Marketplace: Micro to Mid-sized Publishers
  • July 26: The Art of the Start: Finding the Entry-point to your Story
  • August 30: Playing with Language: Tools & Techniques for Creative Play
  • September 27: Stepping Up to the Stage: Public Speaking for Writers

Two Great Ways to Save!

  • Purchase a Writing Show Membership for $125. It includes your traditional JRW membership and admittance to all nine shows of the 2017 season.
  • Or purchase a Writing Show Season Pass for $85. Membership is not included, but you still get nine shows and save over 20%!

*Topics are subject to change.
Click here to register today!


Literary Salon: Stories from the Shadows: Writing What Haunts Us






During Stories from the Shadows: Writing What Haunts Us, the last literary salon of 2016, we will be serenaded by stories of Richmond’s dark past. Then, spooky writer extraordinaire, Julie Geen, will guide participants through prompts to write our own tales. Exercises are designed to tickle your genre of choice (we use the term “stories” loosely), and to push the borders of your comfort zone. Select participants will be invited to share their writings at the 2017 Poe Birthday Bash celebration in January.

Exorcise your macabre side on Thursday, October 20, from 7-9 PM at Patrick Henry Pub & Grille (in the upstairs salon, of course!), 2300 E. Broad St., RVA 23223.


Julie Geen writes for Richmond’s Style Weekly and had two columns in belle magazine, before she went to the print media graveyard. One of them won a Virginia Press Award and she got to eat chicken at a banquet. She has an essay in the anthology “Ask Me About My Divorce”, although she did not get a divorce. Julie is also published in the anthology “Tarnished:True Stories of Innocence Lost.” Her zombie short story titled “Damn Whore Shoes” is in “Richmond Macabre Volume II.”  Divorce, lost innocence and zombies.

Date and time

Thursday, October 20, 2016
7:00 to 9:00 pm


Patrick Henry Pub & Grille
2300 E Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23223
Admission is free.

About Literary Salons

James River Writers and The Poe Museum present

A new place to find inspiration this year

We’re bringing back the grand tradition of the literary salon, an intimate setting to meet & fraternize with local authors and artists, as they in turn guide you in your own writing practice. Whatever your genre, this is a great way to connect, to learn, and to philosophize.

Salons are organized by topic and are held on the second Thursday of every other month, February, April, June, August, and October. There is no cover charge for these events. We welcome writerly types of all experience levels and readers, thinkers, and artists of every sort. Be sure to bring your favorite writing implements.

For more information, visit Literary Salons.

Poetry Unhappy Hour in the Poe Museum’s Enchanted Gardens

Poetry UnHappy Hour banner

October 15, 2016, James River Writers and the Poe Museum will co-host a special Poetry Unhappy Hour in the Poe Museum’s Enchanted Gardens from 6PM to 9PM.

The Poetry Unhappy Hour will feature readings by the acclaimed poets of the 14th Annual James River Writers Conference. Included in the evening’s lineup will be internationally known surgeon-poet Neal Hall; National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient Allison Seay; founder of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival Stan Galloway; and Zoa, winner of the 2016 Shann Palmer Poetry Prize, among others.

As in other “Unhappy Hour” events held in the Gardens, the Poe Museum buildings and exhibits will be open to explore. A cash bar with beer/wine will be available, and light hors d’oeuvres.

Register Now for the 2016 James River Writers Conference

14th Annual James River Writers Conference Logo Click here to register today and take advantage of JRW member discounts!sponsor


General Sessions on Saturday, October 15 – Sunday, October 16, 2016
at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, VA

Pre-Conference Master Classes on Friday, October 14, 2016

Register before August 1st to take advantage of our early bird discount.
Starting at $220 for members ($275 for non-members).

On August 1st, prices will increase for members to $270 (non-members to $325).

Click on any of the images below to learn more about this year’s conference.

friday master classes Saturday and Sunday Sessions One-on-One Meetings with Literary Agents
Learn more about our award-winning speakers The Agent Dating Game with Jason Tesauro The First Pages Panel



Click here to register today!


September 2016 Writing Show: Action and Reaction: Capturing Movement on the Page

Fist fights, street chases, and scenes from our world’s war zones—action scenes can be tricky territory for writers. On one hand, it can be the culmination of built-up tension, the place where the author’s promise is delivered. On the other, a heightened sense of urgency can drive the reader to skim over a blow-by-blow description to get to the result. How much detail is too much? And how can an author keep the readers’ attention while staying true-to-life, in fiction and non-fiction? (Sponsorships available)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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!



Malik Hodari

Three photos of Malik_Hodari

Malik Hodari is a lawyer and a recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, where he served from October 1966 to October 1967. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harris Stowe State Teachers University, a master’s from Michigan State University, and a law degree from North Carolina Central University. Hodari joined the Mighty Pen Project on the recommendation of his Veterans Affairs therapist and began to write about his memories, some of which were suppressed for many years. He found healing in the process and hopes his story will help others.

Erika Orloff

Erica Orloff headshotErica Orloff is the author of the popular Magickeepers series. She writes for YA and adult readers and has had over 25 novels published. She is also the author of the Pushcart-nominated “Choose Me.” Erica has worked in publishing since 1985 as a book editor, book doctor, ghostwriter, and book packager, and acts as a writing coach, as well as being an in-demand speaker.  Her most recent publication is a short story in the anthology River City Secrets. She co-owns Editing for Authors, and its sister-company (and publisher) Dragon Tree Books. She can be found at www.ericaorloff.com.

Bill Blume

Bill Blume headshot

Bill Blume discovered his love for the written word while in high school and has been writing ever since. He’s the author of the young adult Gidion Keep, Vampire Hunter series. The latest book in the series Gidion’s Blood was published by Diversion Books. His short stories have been in many fantasy anthologies and various ezines. Just like the father figure in his first novel, Bill works as a 911 dispatcher for Henrico County Police and has done so for more than a decade. He’s also a board member for James River Writers and served as the board’s chair in 2013. @BilltheWildcat


Kris Spisak

Kris Spisak headshotWith 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.