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Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium


Save the date, August 6, 2022, to attend the Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium: Reel in the Stories-Fishing for Writing Solutions, back at our previous location, PVCC in Charlottesville, VA. We're excited to have Bradley Harper as our keynote speaker.


Early Bird Registration is from June 1 to June 30th.

Early Bird price is $55 for members and $65 for non-members. 

After July 1, prices will be $65 for members and $75 for non-members.

Registration includes access to all workshops, the symposium booklet, plus morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.


Register here!


Check out the line up of speakers and workshops scheduled for this year...

Keynote

Bradley Harper: Weave a net of neurons to increase your haul! Your brain and Self Editing

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Colonel and pathologist with extensive experience in autopsies and forensic investigation. Along with clinical experience, he had four commands, and is the only non-Italian to ever receive the Knights of Malta award for his support of the Italian Army. A life-long fan of Sherlock Holmes, upon retirement he received his Associates in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, to help him write the book–A Knife in the Fog–that he’d always wanted to read. Each Christmas, he and his wife play Mr. & Mrs. Claus.


Speakers and Workshops

Betsy Ashton  You: Ways to build a brand to present you and your books in the best ways possible  

Brand You: Ways to build a brand to present you and your books in the best ways possible The workshop will combine reader-facing activities, including, but not limited to, your website, publishing a periodic newsletter, to blog or not to blog, facing down social media, and advertising. Participants are asked to bring samples of their marketing activities for group discussion.

Betsy Ashton is an award-winning author for the 2021 Firebird Book Awards for Out of the Desert and Betrayal. Born in Washington, DC, Betsy claims she was raised in Southern California where she ran wild with coyotes in the hills above Malibu, even though her mother challenged her memory. She writes in multiple genres: mysteries, serial killer psychological suspense, and suspense. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in several anthologies. An activist in her earlier years, she earned the nickname of “Buckshot Betsy,” during a march in California. You’ll have to ask her for details. Reach her at www.betsy-ashton.com.


Robert Boucheron  Writing for magazines

Writing for magazines Rivanna Review is a new print quarterly for stories, essays, poems, and book reviews, website rivannareview.com. As editor, I am looking for Virginia writers and topics related to Virginia.

Robert Boucheron is an architect in Charlottesville, Virginia and the editor of Rivanna Review. His short stories and essays appear in Alabama Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Concrete Desert Review, Fiction International, Louisville Review, New Haven Review, and Saturday Evening Post. His flash fiction appears online in magazines linked at robertboucheron.com.


James Cole  Negative Capability

Negative Capability- deriving from the creative theories of John Keats, this class will explore the nature of doubt, uncertainty, and fraud in the generation of compelling literature. How does indulgence in mere perceptions over actual truth help good poems become great? How can such willful misunderstandings compel readers in prose? This class will explore concepts of literary authenticity and use of compelling image, concept, and narrative to better express our ideas.

James Cole is a writer, poet, filmmaker, and scientist based out of Charlottesville, VA. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Virginia Medical School, where he studies retinal development. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Rudderless Mariner Poetry, Oddball Magazine, and Poetica Review. In 2019, he released his first collection, Crow, come home, through VerbalEyze Press. He is an instructor at WriterHouse, founder of the Charlottesville Poetry Critique Circle, and host of the Poetry Live! showcase at Live Arts Theater.


April Michelle Davis:  Using Your Book to Develop Multiple Streams of Income

April Michelle Davis is a freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. She is the executive director of the National Association for Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE), the founder of Editorial Inspirations, the coordinator for the Virginia chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), and a lifetime member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). She teaches courses through her own companies, as well as for associations and colleges on topics such as editing, indexing, grammar, writing, and macros.


Connie Dowell First Steps in Self Editing

Connie B. Dowell is a writer of cozy mysteries, children's fiction, and nonfiction for writers, as well as a freelance editor and book coach. She hosts two writing-related podcasts: Authoring Onward and Let's Start Writing.

First Steps in Self Editing: This workshop will cover simple steps writers can take to revise their plots and prose before submitting for traditional publishing or getting their book edited in preparation for self publishing. Solid self editing skills will save writers time and help them get an even stronger result from the formal editorial process.


Scott Ellis  Every Fourth Reader is Listening: Getting Your Book Into Their Ears

This presentation covers understanding the process of getting your book into audio. We will cover the vocabulary involved, understanding the steps as well as the costs and returns on investment.

I am Scott Ellis, an award-winning audiobook narrator and producer. I have narrated over 60 audiobooks and coached several authors through the production of their first projects. I've also assisted authors who choose to narrate their own projects and facilitated the process. Being a retired teacher, I love to teach and have an online classroom where I instruct people who would like to become narrators and voice actors. My wife and I started our official audiobook production business, Scott Ellis Reads, in 2019 although I have been narrating since 2016 and she's been producing alongside me since 2017. We now have a team of 18 people that work in narrating, editing, marketing and a managing our business with us.


Diane Fanning Interviewing Tips for Fact or Fiction: How to get them talking, keep them talking and get all the information you need and more than you expected  

Diane Fanning is the Edgar-nominated, best selling author of fifteen true crime books and 11 mysteries and a recipient of the Defender of Innocence award from the Innocence Project. She has served as a consultant to 48 Hours, is a regular presence on 14 seasons of Deadly Women, and appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, Forensic Files, Snapped, the Biography Channel, Investigation Discovery, E! and the BBC as well as numerous cable network news shows and radio stations across the States and Canada. Raised in Baltimore County, she moved to Virginia, then south Texas, and she now lives in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford, Virginia. http://dianefanning.com


*Bradley Harper Workshop: Sherlock Holmes as Science Fiction. How the world's most famous fictional detective inspired the first crime lab.

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Colonel and pathologist with extensive experience in autopsies and forensic investigation. Along with clinical experience, he had four commands, and is the only non-Italian to ever receive the Knights of Malta award for his support of the Italian Army. A life-long fan of Sherlock Holmes, upon retirement he received his Associates in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, to help him write the book–A Knife in the Fog–that he’d always wanted to read. Each Christmas, he and his wife play Mr. & Mrs. Claus.


Troy Houston  Intent on Intent: Helping writers and poets identify the message or purpose of their piece to assist in word choice, thematic approach, and overall structure of their writing

The presentation will cover the purpose of identifying a message before introducing a work to the public, tools to help understand what the current work is saying, and how those tools can also be used to dictate form and carry a message through to the reader.

I am a consultant who has worked on informative, and academic writing for the past six years to a variety of customers. While most of my work is a compilation of disparate information with analytic predictions, the art of crafting a narrative to engage and assist the reader in understanding the information lead to my poetic hobby. To take the abstract and put it into an emotional work that a reader carries with them to other parts of their life brings me joy and I hope to share that with others in this seminar.


Patti Procopi  Writing a Memoir - Fact or Fiction

Every life is a story or has at least several stories in it worth writing about. Most of us are not famous but there is probably something in our lives that could help other people who are struggling with family issues or just want an entertaining read about an interesting family in a particular place and time. Sometimes though, writing a memoir might be difficult if some of the people in your life don't want stories about the family to be "out there". So the other option is to fictionalize your life story. I will explain how I use incidents from my life and other family member's lives to create a story. I call it fictionalized biography. Let's talk about how to put the story of your life into a non-fiction book or a novel.

I am a former army brat who lived all over the world before settling in rural Virginia. I worked at two area history museums for 32 years. After retiring I took up writing. I've had one novel published and my second one will be out this year. I've won a couple of contest awards and published some short stories. I have been on panels for the Virginia Association of Museums, the Peninsula Museum Forum and the Museum Stores Association. I set up a two day conference for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Museum Stores Association and was also one of the main speakers at that conference. I spoke about developing childrens books for the museum stores.


Susan Schwartz How do I begin a non-fiction book? The ins and out

I have been an avid writer for around 17 years doing everything from writing freelance articles to editing manuscripts for other authors. I also love to write horror stories that have a twist at the end. 

My alter ego is an Operating Room Nurse/Nurse Educator who loves creating tales from the interesting and weird things I have seen. I am a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Nonfiction Authors Association, and the Virginia Writers Club where I serve as 1st Vice-President of the state organization. I have two novels in the works, a paranormal romance and a medical thriller. My non-fiction book, Haunted Charlottesville, was released in May 2019. 


David Simms   Building New Worlds

How to Immerse Your Readers Into Inventive Settings. Interesting in speculative fiction but haven't grown up on Star Wars or Game of Thrones? Learn fun ways to create believable settings through interesting activities using psychology, art, and other realms that will immerse readers into worlds that will create the perfect illusion. Using the techniques of best-selling authors and renowned psychologists, this workshop will help writers create novels that are worlds of their own. You might want to bring some pencils or crayons!

David Simms lives in Staunton and works as a psychology/English teacher, counselor, music therapist, ghost tour guide, and book reviewer. When free time permits, he moonlights in the Slushpile band on lead guitar after co-founding the Killer Thriller Band with F. Paul Wilson, Heather Graham, and David Morrell, which has played across America to promote literacy and questionable musicianship. He sold his first short story twenty years ago and has published a few dozen since then in various genres. His first novel, DARK MUSE (dark fantasy) was re-released in 2020 as a middle grade novel that celebrates the music in schools as well as children with disabilities. FEAR THE REAPER, a historical thriller(Crossroad Press) was the first novel about the American eugenics program which directly influenced Hitler, one of the darkest chapters in the country's history that isn't found in history text books. His new novels, SIX VOWS UNDER and VAGABOUNDS (scifi/fantasy adventure)will be published in the fall/winter.


J E Tobin Illusions of Speech? Writing Great Dialogue

Dialogue has the power to connect the inner life of your characters with the inner life of your readers. In this interactive workshop, we will explore the elements of dialogue that harness this power to breathe life into a novel’s characters and drive its action. Through the use of examples and exercises, you will learn the forms, functions, and purposes of writing effective dialogue. Learn how to eliminate some common mistakes that undermine credibility. Try your hand at crafting words and sentences that reveal and sparkle. Leave the workshop with resources for further learning.

J. E. Tobin moved to New York City after college with a journalism degree and dreams of becoming a writer. After writing two off-Broadway plays for the Circle Repertory Company and children’s books for MacMillan, he watched from a rowboat as his first novel burned in a New Hampshire hotel fire. As a result, his writing shifted to textbooks and scholarly articles as he pursued a career as an educator and psychologist. Only when his son convinced him to revisit his dream, did he return to writing fiction. When We Were Wolves, his debut novel, was published on May 15, 2022. Whoopi Goldberg says it's "a novel that's going to stay with me." Brian Castleberry calls it "a timely gut-punch of a book."  J. E. Tobin and his wife, Jean, reside in Williamsburg, Virginia, the fictionalized setting for his novel.


Jack Trammell  Written an article or essay but wish it was a book?

This session will share the secrets of making that transition happen quickly and smoothly. Many a good book started out as a smaller project; don't let the fictional enormity of a "book" stop you from a non-fiction success.

Jack Trammell is award-winning professor, blogger, writer, columnist, social critic, and grandfather. He has published more than two dozen books and hundreds of smaller projects (some of which grew up to be books). He can be reached at jacktrammell@yahoo.com


Leslie Truex   How Write Up to 5,000 Words Per Hour with Dictation

Have you heard writers tout the benefits of diction, but haven’t considered it because dictation is too awkward, too slow, and too disruptive to creative flow? Leslie Truex thought the same thing until a repetitive strain injury forced her to use dictation to continue her work as a freelance writer and author. From day one, she doubled and then tripled her writing output through dictation. In this workshop, you’ll learn common reasons writers resist diction and the benefits in time, productivity, and health of overcoming that resistance (beyond writing more in less time), dictation tools and software for every budget and writing goal, and the pros and cons of each option, equipment for quality dictation. tips to overcoming the awkwardness of speaking your book and saying punctuation, ways to improve the speed and quality of dictation to get close to the 5,000 words per hour mark, and ore ways dictation can assist your writing career.

Leslie Truex is an author, ghost writer, speaker, and literary agent. She has written several home-based career and writing books, published over a dozen fiction books under her pen name, and produced over 50 books for ghost writing clients. After developing RSI in her fingers, she started writing using dictation, increasing her output 3-fold. She owns an online community for romance writers and serves as the President of the Virginia Writers Club.


Mark Tuchman  Prepare to Publish. Your text is edited and ready to go. Illustrations are final and ready to go. What comes next?  

How do you go from here to holding a printed book that looks like it came off the presses at one of the Big Five publishers? The quick answer is “book design and art production.” The goal of this session is to demystify what happens in that space between “written” and “published.”

Mark Tuchman is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator (editorial and book), and creator of the award-winning self-published novelty picture book Hanukkah with Uncle Reuben: Not Santa, but Not Bad. By day, Mark is the creative director at a magazine for school librarians. To see some of Mark’s work, visit: https://markmywordz.myportfolio.com/


Plus don't miss a chance to win any of the great prizes these awesome companies have donated to the event!


Early Bird Registration is from June 1 to June 30th.

Early Bird price is $55 for members and $65 for non-members. 

After July 1, prices will be $65 for members and $75 for non-members.

Registration includes access to all workshops, the symposium booklet, plus morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.


Map to PVCC in Charlottesville



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