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  • 01/16/2019 10:21 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    At the Annual Meeting in November 2018, the VWC membership elected a new board. Here is the new board and a little bit about each of them.


    President, Leslie Truex

    Chapter: Blue Ridge

    She joined the Virginia Writers Club and the Blue Ridge chapter in 2014. Before being elected president, she served two years as the First VP, and a year before that, she served on the symposium committee.

    By day Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, author, speaker, and online entrepreneur. By night she's a novelist writing under the pen name Jenna Harte. As Leslie, she’s the author of Digital Writer Success: How to Make a Living Blogging, Freelance Writing, and Publishing Online. As Jenna, she’s the author of the sexy cozy Valentine series, the first book of which reached the quarter-finals in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. She also has a 3-book romance series, and in 2019 she’ll release a cozy mystery series.

    Leslie teaches classes in blogging, publishing, and platform building through PVCC's Workforce services. She's spoken about social media, book marketing, and romance writing at the VWC Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium.

    Her goal in life is to live on a beach and write every day on her lanai.

    View Leslie's VWC profile.


    First Vice President, Susan Schwartz

    Chapter: Richmond

    I have been an avid writer for around 10 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 and the Virginia Writers Club where I serve as Co-President of the Richmond Chapter and 1st Vice-President of the state organization. I have two novels in the works, a paranormal romance and a medical thriller.

    View Susan's VWC profile


    Second Vice President, Joanne Liggan

    Chapter: Hanover

    I began my journey with the VWC in 1996 when I visited the Richmond Chapter and became their President for 2 years. I lived in Mechanicsville and the Richmond Chapter was meeting in Southside, so I decided we needed a chapter on the north side of the river and began the Hanover Writers Chapter in 2002. Since that time, I have had five books published and am currently working on a series of at least five more books. I am also the founder of the annual Hanover Book Festival, which began in 2006, a writing instructor and public speaker. 

    Visit Joanne's VWC Profile


    Treasurer, Liz Long

    Chapter: Valley Writers

    Liz Long is a USA Today bestselling author of YA and urban fantasy, most recently The Brighton Duology. She is a magazine editor in Roanoke, VA, and when not writing, can be found drinking happy hour prosecco, attempting hand lettering, or cuddling her dog, Fisher. She is the Director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion, treasurer for the Virginia Writers Club, and a public speaker, covering topics such as self-publishing and magazine writing. 

    Visit Liz's VWC Profile


    Recording Secretary, John Nicolay

    Chapter: Blue Ridge

    I'm very active with the Blue Ridge chapter, and currently serving as the Treasurer of BRW. I attend VWC events.

    Visit John's VWC profile.




    President Emeritus, Phyllis "Maggie" Duncan

    Chapter: Blue Ridge

    Five years on the VWC Board: two as secretary; two as 1st VP; one as President

    Visit Maggie's VWC Profile


    Member At Large, G.M. Maillet

    Chapter: Northern Virginia

    Author of the St. Just and Max Tudor mysteries, and a standalone suspense novel (WEYCOMBE). Co-founder of the Virginia Writers' Association, which later merged with VWC.

    Visit G.M.'s VWC Profile


    Member At Large, Michelle McBeth

    Chapter: Northern Virginia

    Michelle McBeth has been writing short and long form fiction since 2012 when she entered the Nanowrimo contest on a dare. She is working on finishing her 5 book series, "The Sphere Saga", about a woman who works for a secret lab that sends people back in time to solve mysteries. One of her short stories, "Fire Drill in Motherhood" has been publishing in the Virginia Writers Club Centennial Anthology. She is thrilled to be counted among the best writers in the state of Virginia. She lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband and her sons, where she spends her days working as an engineer for the Navy, and her nights engaging the other half of her brain as an author, actor, and creator.

    Visit Michelle's VWC Profile


    Member at Large, Greg Smith

    Chapter: Richmond

    Greg Smith is a writing coach, editor, and publisher. He founded the Agile Writer Workshop in 2011 with the mission of finding a method to help beginning writers complete a first-draft in 6 months. He also co-authored the Reel Heroes series; books on heroes in the movies. His seminars on the Agile Writer Method have informed and delighted thousands of writers, scholars, and university students. Since 2011, Agile Writer authors have completed dozens of first drafts and 12 published novels. ​ Greg is a developmental editor for novelists and memoirists. He also coaches authors through the self-publishing maze. Greg runs the popular Agile Readers Book Club where new writers can get a 'beta' read from a dozen or more readers.

    Visit Greg's VWC Profile


    Member At Large: Betsy Ashton

    Member At Large: John Ferguson

    Member At Large: Roseanne Vrugtman


  • 01/10/2019 2:21 PM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    The Hanover Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club is open for registrations for its Hanover Book Festival scheduled for Saturday, April 27

    To register for a table, visit the Hanover Book Festival website.

  • 12/20/2018 10:23 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    Calling All Writers! Submissions Open January 1, 2019 for Short fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry

    Chesapeake Bay Writers is proud to announce the opening of submissions for the 2019 Keating Award, an annual literature competition in honor of author and renowned scientist Jean Clarke Keating.

    Ms. Keating was a true rocket scientist who played a key role in the development of the space program at NASA in the 1950s and 1960s, earning NASA’s Special Service Award in 1968. In 1970 she was named Virginia’s Outstanding Young Woman of the Year, and one of ten Outstanding Women of the Year recognized nationwide. Ms. Keating was also the author of five novels, a popular speaker, columnist, and champion for the creative arts, who served as president of Chesapeake Bay Writers prior to her death in 2013.

    The Keating Award honors Jean’s memory by encouraging writers and the art of writing through the recognition of exceptional work by writers across the country. Monetary prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place entries where merited in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The submissions window is open from January 1 through March 1, 2019. The competition is open to members and non-members from anywhere in the United States, and a small entrance fee will be collected to help further support the work of Chesapeake Bay Writers. For more information, along with complete contest rules and requirements, writers are asked to visit CBW’s website at www.chesapeakebaywriters.org. Questions can be addressed to contest coordinator Ann Eichenmuller at aceichenm@gmail.com.


  • 12/19/2018 10:48 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)
    Pamela K. Kinney has two short stories coming in two different anthologies coming in January. 

    One, "Fae Thee Well,"will premiere on sale by the publisher at Marscon, January 18-20, 2019 in Williamsburg. 

    The other is "The Orange Bati," which will appear in the 13 Backyard Monsters anthology.


    Maggie Duncan has a release event for A Perfect Hatred: Bad Company on January 12, 2019, at 3 p.m. at Black Swan Books and Music in Staunton, VA. 


  • 11/12/2018 12:44 PM | Joanne Liggan (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Golden Nib contest!

    The winners have been posted on the "Announcements" page. 


  • 11/12/2018 10:09 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    For the Centennial Annual Meeting, we decided not only to celebrate VWC's history, but also, the members and chapter activities today. 

  • 11/12/2018 10:01 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    At the 100th annual VWC meeting on November 2, 2018, the membership elected a new board. Congratulations to the new Board of Governors:

    Executive Board

    • Pres: Leslie Truex 
    • VP 1: Susan Schwartz 
    • VP 2: Joanne Liggin
    • Recording Secretary: John Nicolay 
    • Treasurer: Liz Long

    At-Large Board Members

    • Betsy Ashton 
    • Rosanne Vrugtman 
    • John Ferguson 
    • Michelle McBeth 
    • Greg Smith 
    • GM Malliet 


  • 06/16/2018 7:07 PM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    What is GDPR? It's the EUs General Data Protection Regulation that requires websites to insure that the privacy of people who visit the site is protected, and that the information gathered and used is clearly noted. 

    Part of the compliance involves making sure your EU email subscribers want to be on your email list. If you have readers to your website or blog who reside in the EU, you're required to put in protocols that insure you're email list is GDPR compliant. 

    Another aspect of GDPR involves being transparent about what data is collected and how it's used. If you have a website that takes payments, uses Google Analytics, has an email list, drops cookies, etc, you're collecting and using data.

    Whether you're in the EU or not, if you have readers or subscribers from the EU, you should make sure you're compliant. 

    Admittedly, it's a pain in the behind and like many government regulations, isn't easy to figure out what exactly you need to do. 

    Here's what I did on my sites, but I'm not an expert, so below you'll find more information to get help:

    For Email Lists

    1) Emailed all my EU subscribers and asked them to re-confirm their subscription. Any who don't re-confirm should be deleted.

    2) Add a confirmation checkbox on your email sign up list. (see image below). Don't set the box's default as checked. Your subscriber need to actually check it.

    3) Unsubscribe links or instructions need to be in each email. 

    4) Make sure you're CAN-SPAM compliant as well.

    For Websites

    1) If you use cookies, you should have something on your website that lets readers know. If you're not sure, check with resources you have on your site and your host. 

    2) Add a Terms of Service page to your website. 

    3) Add a Privacy page to your site. This should cover the types of data collected and what it's used for. For both Terms and Conditions and Privacy pages, you'll want to research templates or hire help. They're fairly detailed.

    For more information about GDPR and whether you need to concern yourself with it, here are some resources to check out:

    Introduction to GDPR (video)

    Preparing for GDPR - 12 Steps (PDF)

    Sample Email Sign up Box


  • 06/16/2018 6:26 PM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    You've been hired to write an article or sold a manuscript, did your research, wrote and rewrote the piece, and turned in the best work possible. A little while later, the work comes back marked up with fixes, comments, and questions.

    There's nothing like an editor (or an agent) to make you feel like you're back in high school. You poured your sweat and tears into creating a great piece of writing, only to have it come back with a lower grade than you expected.

    The first response to getting notes from an editor is irritation and the desire to defend the piece. But if you want to make a living at writing, you need to learn to work with editors. Here are tips to doing that. 

    1) Take a deep breath. It ouches to get critiques. And after the initial sting, is anger. But before you tell your editor off, take a deep breath. Odds are your editor isn't wrong. More importantly, the editor isn't trying to be mean. She's just working to make the piece stronger. Even if she is wrong or mean, getting mad or becoming difficult to work with will only sabotage your writing career. So take a moment to collect yourself and calm your emotions.

    2. Read the critiques, notes, comments, etc objectively. It's hard to read your own work with objective eyes, but you need to try. What is the editor saying to you and consider, for a moment, he might be right. Could you have stated that idea or fact more clearly? Does the article really speak to the title? Does the article fit the tone and voice of the publication? 

    3. Ask questions. Sometimes, editors aren't clear on what they mean either. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification.

    4. Choose your battles. Your editor knows the publication and the reader better than you do. As a result, you'll not often win battles with an editor. With that said, there are times when you may need to defend your work. Perhaps you're an expert in the field and know the change suggested by the editor would confuse or mislead readers.

    5. Rewrite the piece. In most cases, you'll have been away from the article or manuscript for a little bit of time, giving you a chance to see it with fresh eyes.

    6. Keep your complaints about your editor to yourself. More to the point, don't fuss about an editor on social media and your blog, unless you plan to have a career other than writing. Any issues you have should be between you and your editor, or if you have an agent, you can ask her to intervene.

    7. Always be professional. If your goal is to make a living writing, that means you plan to be a professional writer. As a professional writer, you should act professional. Don't accuse and call your editor names. If you have an edit you disagree with, make a rational statement with a clear example of what you mean.


  • 06/16/2018 11:15 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    One of the challenges to writing is having all the resources you need to write and get published. The list of resources below is not complete, but hopefully will help you get started. 

    Each of these resources are free, although they may have options for more bells and whistles for a fee. 

    General Writing: Research, Prep, Drafts

    • Evernote Save research, organize articles and plots, and start drafts, and more. Access your notes on computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet.
    • GoogleDocs – Full suite of document tools including word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentation and more.
    • Google Keep – More visually oriented than Evernote, Google Keep is another option for storing notes, text or voice, set up reminders, transcribe notes from pictures, integrate into Google Docs, and more. It has a Chrome extension and phone app, as well.
    • OpenOffice – Full suite of document tools including word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentation and more.
    • PrimoPDF – If you already have Word, you can save as PDF, but if you don’t, you can use this create PDF files.
    • Scribus: I've never used this, but it's a free writing tool similar to Scrivner.
    • WriteWayProAnother writing software similar to Scrivener, except free.
    • YWriter5 - I saw this recommended by another writer. It's a free tool similar to Scrivner.
    • Speech Recognition (free with Windows) - Many people don't know that newer versions of Windows have speech recognition software. You can tell your computer to open up Word or email, and what to write. Visit Microsoft to learn how to set it up.
    • Todoist - Task management to help you keep on top of your writing deadlines and goals
    • Trello - Visual project management program. Especially if you plan to self-publish, Trello can help you set up a workflow from draft to revision, revision to editing, editing to formatting and so on. It's flexible so you can set up systems and workflows that help you.

    Grammar and Style

    Communication Tools (i.e. for interviews, contracts etc)

    • FaxZERO – Fax up to three pages twice a day for free
    • FreeConferenceCall.com – Free conference and video calls
    • Skype – Free call, video chat, and instant message for Skye to Skype users. Skype to landlines for small fee.
    • WebEx – Free video conferencing
    • Zoom – Video and web conferencing service

    Free websites

    Free Online Tools

    Social Media Tools

    • Buffer – Social media management tool. Manage up to 3 accounts and up to 10 scheduled posts on the free version.
    • Facebook – Free social media marketing platform
    • Hootsuite – Manage up to 3 social media profiles for free
    • Instagram – Free photo sharing media platform
    • LinkedIn – Professional social networking website
    • OneSignal – Send out push notifications on your website online or by app
    • Pinterest – Visual pin board marketing platform 
    • Twitter – Free social media marketing platform
    Free Email Tools
    • HubSpot – Free email signature generator
    • MailChimp – Free email marketing for up to 2,000 contacts
    • MailerLite - Free email marketing for up to 1,000 subscribers
    • SendInBlue – Free email marketing that offers unlimited contacts, up to 300 emails a day on the free version.
    Free Images and Photo Editing
    • Adazing - Free 3-D book cover creator
    • Burst – Free stock photos
    • Canva – Simple design platform and photo editor. Many free photos, layouts, and font options, as well as some you can buy for $1. Also can make book and Wattpad covers.
    • Dreamstime – Free stock photos and images
    • FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Free stock photos
    • FreeImages.com – Free stock photos
    • FontSquirrel – Free fonts
    • GIMP - Free photo editing similar to Photoshop
    • Morguefile.com – Free stock photos for commercial use
    • OpenShot – Free video editing software
    • Pexels – Free stock photos
    • Pixabay.com – Free stock photos
    • ResizeImage.net – Resize images (i.e. Facebook image to Pinterest) without losing quality
    • Unsplash.com – Free stock photos
    • WikimediaCommons – This is one where you’ll want to be sure to read any rules about attribution.
    Do you have a free resource to recommend? Please share in the comments.
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