March Writing Show Recap: The Hybrid Author

photoYou’re ready for the world to read your book. Should you self-publish and seek out your own audience? Or go the traditional route and entrust your work to a traditional publisher? There’s a third option: Do both. At the March 27, 2014 Writing Show, husband-and-wife team Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris (pictured left with moderator Bill Blume) showed us how.

“Many streams make a river,” counseled Ballantine, author of steampunk and fantasy fiction. While Ballantine has a long list of traditionally published fiction, she has also self-published work such as her novel Weather Child, which her agent said wouldn’t sell in the United States because it takes place in Ballantine’s native New Zealand.   (more…)

February Writing Show Recap: Storytelling through Filmmaking

Why should you attend the Writing Show? Because we have amazing panelists who  ignite that creative spark.

On February 27, 2014, James River Writers partnered with the Richmond International Film Festival to host the Writing Show, “Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking.” Julie Geen moderated a panel of noted screenplay writers and directors from L.A. and Singapore. Each panelist talked about their journey, process, and passion. They held the audience in the palm of their hand. (more…)

Recap of the January Writing Show — Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series, Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing, held on Thursday January 30 at the Camel, featured three authors with distinctly different stories and some great advice for those looking to self-publish. Moderated by Bill Blume, JRW treasurer and author of Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter, the panel, including Leila Gaskin, Rosemary Rawlins, and David Kazzie, shared their experiences in the ever-more-respectable arena of self-publishing, and fielded questions from the audience during the second half of the show. (more…)

JRW’s September Writing Show Recap: Unearthing the true story of the Hatfields and McCoys feud

Moonshine—when not inspiring fist-fights and gunshots—can loosen a good story.

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, a jug of the notorious libation found its way from hand to hand on the stage of the Camel in Richmond, VA. Taking sips and swapping tales were Dean King, local bestselling author of The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys: The True Story; Geoff Shandler, King’s editor from Little, Brown and Company in New York City, and Darrell Fetty, Hollywood producer of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning mini-series, The Hatfields & McCoys. “Warring Words, Endless Possibilities: The Hatfields & McCoys from Bookstore to Reality TV” was the last Writing Show of James River Writers’ 2013 season, and it was indeed a show-stopper.

King described his years of original research, including documents and interviews with relatives of both families. He unearthed anecdotes that shed new light and brought vivid detail to the tangled saga. (more…)

August Writing Show Recap: Interviewing Skills: Crime and Punishment Style

It was 9 a.m. Dr. Lauren Huddle strode down the hall to the lab, her white coat pristine, her stiletto heels clicking loudly on the marble floor.

“Greg, I would like to know the make-up of this DNA sample,” she said crisply to the young, tattooed lab tech. “Within the next thirty minutes.”

“Sure thing, Doc,” Greg said with a grin. “Anything for you.”

Dr. Huddle frowned. She rarely smiled and never joked with the lab technicians or her colleagues. Murder was not a laughing matter.

Dr. Lauren N. Huddle is not a character in a television crime show. She currently is the Forensic Pathology Fellow at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond. She does not wear high heels to work. She spends time in ditches with snails and maggots. (more…)

July Writing Show Recap:
Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source

Moderator Valley Haggard with panelists Lana Krumwiede and Lucinda WhitehurstIn its second turn at The Camel, the JRW Writing Show this past Thursday, July 25th, featured a two-part look at the booming YA genre. Panelists Lana Krumwiede, author of the middle grade award-winning novel Freakling; and Lucinda Whitehurst, lower school librarian for St. Christopher’s School both offered their unique insights into YA literature. Valley Haggard moderated the discussion.

The panelists tackled the definition of Young Adult, or YA. Lana commented that the label can mean different things depending on location, e.g. library vs. bookstore. Lucinda and Lana offered a guideline of YA as being for ages 12 and up and middle grade ages 7-11, though Lucinda added that the lines between them are fluid. Lana and Lucinda both discussed the age of the protagonist and how that influences the age of the audience.
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June Writing Show Recap: The Writer’s Platform: Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career

JuneWritingShow Marketing for WritersGone are the days when an author simply shows up at his or her book signing. While the burden of responsibility for marketing has shifted to the writer, on the positive side, so has the control. JRW’s latest Writing Show, “The Writer’s Platform: Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career,” held June 27 at the Camel, a new location, explored the various stages of promoting yourself as a writer. Guided by moderator Julie Geen, a freelance writer and teacher, the panelists—including Karen A. Chase, Deb Dudley, and Meg Medina—discussed topics from branding to book signings.  (more…)

May Writing Show Recap: The Gritty Truth About Editing

May Writing ShowFor the May edition of JRW’s Writing Show, “River of Dust: The Gritty Truth about Editing,” held on May 30 at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, debut novelist Virginia Pye and her editor Nancy Zafris discussed the importance and intricacies of editing. Zafris—an award-winning author, manuscript consultant, and series editor for the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction—visited Richmond from Ohio to share her expertise. Moderator Patty Smith, a local writer and teacher, steered the discussion towards subjects such as the role of editors, the importance of plot, and how to know what to let go and what to keep.

Pye explained that her novel, River of Dust, selected as an Indie Next Pick for May 2013, has been through at least twenty drafts. By the end of the editing process, only the first twenty and last twenty pages of her original manuscript remained. (more…)

Writing Show Recap: The Writer Whisperer

How do you respond when the little voice inside your head tells you your writing is awful? This voice, of course, is the same one that—just the night before—assured you a Newberry Award was within reach. What do you do when you can’t stop revising the same sentence? How do you feel when a potential agent rejects your manuscript as “unrealistic”—and he is talking about your autobiography?

Published authors Valley Haggard, Eliezer Sobel and Louise Hawes—with award-winning writer Gigi Amateau serving as moderator—discussed such maddening moments at JRW’s Writing Show on Thursday, April 25 at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. While each of these writers tackles stumbling blocks in a different manner, they all advocate clearing the mind to make way for creativity. The brain is like a rusty faucet, Sobel told the audience. You have to let the brown water run a while before clear liquid can emerge. (more…)

The Writing Show Recap: Killing Your Darlings: How to Handle Violence in Your Stories

JRW’s March Writing Show presented a panel of authors discussing violence in writing, a topic influenced by the recent school shootings. The panelists included Bill Blume, Howard Owen, Hermine Pinson, and Mary Burton. Moderator Douglas Jones guided an exploration of subjects ranging from audience, accuracy, and what it’s like to kill your characters. During the last part of the show, audience members seized the opportunity to ask their own questions. (more…)