Remembering the 2019 GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ in Pictures


, , ,

Another great year for the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ last March, hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.  Resident professional photographer, Joan Zachary, shared some her best photos of the event.


Thursday’s session, attendees arrived early to stake their places for Ben Wolf’s full day, advanced study of speculative fiction. 


Conference Chair, Dawn Sooy, made sure everyone  had a chance to purchase the conference commemorative coffee cup — “I Are A Writer”. 


Conference Chairperson – Dawn Sooy


Bart Palamaro facilitated “Writers Cafe” Thursday evening, where participants read the first 200 words of a story and get instant feedback.  Ben Wolf’s co-presenter, Charis Crowe, joined the group with constructive critiques.





On Friday, Ben Wolf and Charis Crowe teamed up to present “The Three Pillars of Storytelling”. 


Jean Ippolito conducted the afternoon session with “Book to Market – Tips to Package, Promote, and Publish Your Book”.



Janeen Ippolito

A conference tradition, three breakout rooms were set aside on Friday evening for the annual “Page Cuts Critique Sessions”.  Participants who signed up in advance, had short pieces of their work read aloud by a moderator, then critiqued by industry professionals composed of conference presenters and agents. 



Concurrent to Page Cuts, Charis Crowe held a special evening session discussing the Pixar Method in storytelling.


The evening ended with a group social gathering where participants, presenters, and agents rubbed elbows over cocktails and canapes.


Capping the night off, GLVWG’s resident “Mark Twain”, Charles Kiernan, was presented with a Samuel Clemons doll. 




Saturday was the busiest, with eight presenters, over twenty sessions, and still have time for an agent panel to discuss recent industry trends.


Saturday’s Keynote Speaker — Ben Wolf, offered his personal experience with “Writing Through Adversity”.


Ben Wolf – Keynote Speaker


Throughout the day, entries for the Flash Literature contest for Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction, were displayed on poster boards during program breaks. Each conferee had three different colored vote cards for each category.   Flash Literature Coordinator, Bernadette Sukley, awarded first, second, and third prizes to the winning entries. 


Bernadette Sukley – Flash Literature Coordinator

Note:  Watch this blog site for the winning entries in the next couple of weeks. 

When the conference concluded, GLVWG opened its bookfair, where participants could purchase books.




And finally, hats off to Dawn Sooy, who has chaired the conference committee for the last two years.  Her dedicated service to the often teeth-gnashing job of organizing the event has elevated the Write Stuff Conference to the hallmark it is today.  


Dawn Sooy – Conference Chairperson


Conference Committee Members



Our thanks to Joan Zachary for providing the conference photographs.


The 2019 GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ — The Grand Event


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Day 3 – Main Event – March 23, 2019

GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ 

 Over 20 Workshops, Agent/Editor pitch sessions, Marketing Consults

Lunch and Keynote address with Ben Wolf

Bookfair, Flash Literature Writing Contest, and Door Prizes


Dawn Sooy – Conference Chair

Announcements in Lehigh Room 7:30 AM – 8:20 AM

2019 Floor Plan corrected

Map of Rooms – So You Don’t Get Lost



Agent Pitches and Marketing Consults will run concurrent to workshops. Advance registration required. Please check your appointment times upon registration.




Saturday Overview

Sessions run concurrent in Cedar Crest, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, & Moravian Rooms

Lunch in Salon A & B with Keynote Address by Ben Wolf

Book Fair, Flash Fiction Contest

Door Prizes announced during Book Fair (must be present to win)

Saturday Schedule


Program Syllabus – Morning

Schedule 8 AM

Schedule 8 AM 2

Schedule 9 AM

Schedule 10 AM

Schedule 10 AM 2

Schedule 11 AM



Lunch with Keynote Speaker – Ben Wolf

In Salon B

Schedule Lunch



Program Syllabus – Afternoon

Schedule 1 PM

Schedule 1 PM 2

Schedule 2 PM




Flash Literature Contest 

Don’t forget to stop by the Lehigh Room to vote on this year’s entries for the 100 word Flash Literature Contest for Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.  

Use the color-coded note cards in your registration booklet to cast your vote for your favorite entry in each category. You may only vote for one entry in each category. Place your ballot in the box provided. You must be registered at the conference to be eligible to vote.

 Voting ends at 2:30 p.m. Flash Fiction officials will then tally the votes and announce the winners at the book fair after 3:30 p.m. Winners need not be present. However, winnings may include a certificate for book fair purchase which must be used at the 2019 conference.




3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Book Fair – Contest Results – Door Prizes – Networking Opportunities

Contest Winners, Door Prizes (Must be present to win)

Book FairAll published GLVWG members are eligible to participate in the book fair if registered in advance by March 3, 2019, with contact book fair coordinator Sandra Almonte at

Detailed instructions for selling your book(s) at the Book Fair, please click HERE.



5:00 PM — Conference closes

Check this website in the next couple of weeks, where we’ll post pictures of the conference.



Article by D.T. Krippene – Social Media Chair

Dan Central Park 3

You can find DT at his Website – “Searching For Light in the Darkness

his Facebook Page, and Twitter @dtkrippene



An Interview with Jon Gibbs


, , ,


Author Jon Gibbs has been a mainstay for the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ for several years. In addition to his Saturday morning session – “Are Your Characters Right the Part”, Jon will conduct a two-hour workshop – “The Seven Sentence Solution”.

 Tammy Burke had a chance to ask Jon a few questions.



Could you give us a little teaser about your two-hour workshop “The Seven-Sentence Solution” and also a teaser for “Are Your Characters Right for the Part?”

There’s a classic summary-tool used by great story-tellers like the folks at Pixar Animation.

In The Seven-Sentence Solution, I’ll be showing how to apply that same tool to sub-plots and individual characters in a way that can really help bring a book, and the people in it, to life.

In the Characters workshop, we’ll be working through some subtle techniques that can make the people in stories even more memorable/relatable to readers.

If you wrote a letter to your younger self about the writing journey, what would it say and what advice would you give?

There’s always going to be a great excuse for not writing, something that seems more important, more urgent, or simply more enticing. The question is: Would you rather look back in twenty years and have a body of work to be proud of, or a long list of great excuses?

Basically, don’t let your ‘but’ get in the way of your dream.

On your website I see you do Classroom talks with 3rd graders on up and I see one of your talk modules is entitled “Terrific Titles.” Titling for anyone can be challenging in of itself. What are your techniques for titling your works and what advice would you give an aspiring author?

I always start with the title because I suck at coming up with one after I’ve written the story. If you brainstorm titles before you start writing, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to come up with something eye-catching. As an added bonus, a great title can be a huge inspiration for characters and/or plot.

It’s always interesting to learn how other writers juggle writing time with family and work commitments. What strategies work best for you?

I try to get my writing done in the mornings because I have to fit my schedule around my twin daughters. They’re both severely autistic which makes for a lot of unexpected excitement (and plenty of sleepless nights). If I’m not careful, days, even weeks, can go by without me doing much on the productivity front, but I’ve learned to make the most of it when things are going well, and not to beat myself up when I hit a rough patch.

What resources do you use to research? How long do you typically spend researching before beginning a book? And what are you working on currently?

Mostly, I use Google, but I rarely do much research until I have the initial story down. My first drafts are riddled with notes like: INSERT: check this, INSERT: research needed (not to mention INSERT: witty line here or INSERT: write this gooder!).

Currently I have five projects on the go: I’m seeking representation for my middle-grade novel, ABRAHAM LINCOLN STOLE MY HOMEWORK. I’m revising two other novels: DEAD DORIS (MG), and a thriller, WAKING UP JACK THUNDER. For my next wip, I’m bouncing around ideas for two MG novels, GLASS-HEAD, and #MY_SUCKY_LIFE – I’ll decide which one to focus on when I have their outlines finished.

When did the “writing bug” bite you? And what was your favorite genre and/or books at that time. Why? 

I was in my 40s when I started writing. Before then, I hadn’t written a word of fiction since leaving school – unless you count tax returns. That changed when I started walking my son, Bill, to his primary school in England. He’d pick an animal, and I’d make up a story about it, with Bill as the main character (I still remember one about a giraffe who was afraid of heights).

I’ve always been an avid reader. At the time, my favorite author was probably Terry Pratchett. I love books that make me laugh, especially when they also put you through the emotional wringer, which Pratchett’s books often do.

And finally, is there anything that you would recommend giving up to become a better writer? Is there anything you’ve given up in order to become one? 

I would recommend that anyone serious about writing gives up complaining and/or arguing online. Social media can be a beautiful thing, but if you’re not careful, you can get sucked into the ‘With us or against us’, ‘If you don’t think like me, you’re stupid/evil’ mentality that seems par-for-the-course these days. Some folks love to surf the web, trolling people they disagree with, or reading the spiteful back-and-forth of folks who probably wouldn’t dream (or dare) be so obnoxious in person, but that kind of bile is pure poison for creativity. In this digital age, we all have to get online, but if you ask me, the world would be a better place if the internet had more funny cat videos and less pointless arguments.

When I moved here from the UK in 2004, I made a conscious decision to give up music, and focus on writing stories instead. Before then, I’d been lead vocals and keyboard player in a rock band since the late eighties. As far as fame and fortune goes, we were very much a legend in our own lunchtime, but we had a lot of fun, especially writing and recording songs.

I don’t know if giving up singing has made me a better writer, but I’m sure my neighbors are happier.  


Jon Gibbs

John Gibbs

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in New Jersey, where he lectured on Creative Writing at Georgian Court University from 2014-2017. Jon is the founder of The New Jersey Authors’ Network (, his middle-grade fantasy, Fur-Face (Echelon Press), was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. The sequel, Barnum’s Revenge (also from Echelon Press), was published in 2013.

Jon has a website: and a blog: When he’s not chasing around after his three children, he can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.



Article by Tammy Burke

tammy burke headshot

Tammy Burke, past GLVWG conference chair and  president, has published over 400 articles in daily newspapers, newsletters and regional magazines. She is shopping her first YA fantasy manuscript, Hazel Lies, and is revising her second book. In addition to writing, she spearheads marketing for a fire and security systems company, raises a brilliant ADHD middle-grader, fences with rapier swords in  the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), and considers herself a student of the fantastic and mundane.


The 2019GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ – Day 2


, , , , , , , , ,

Day 2 of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group Write Stuff Conference™ on Friday, March 22, will consist of half-day seminars with Ben Wolf, Charis Crowe, and Janeen Ippolito, followed by Page Cuts Critique Sessions with publishing professionals, and an early evening seminar on “The Pixar Method” with Charis Crowe.


7:00 a.m. Check-In table opens. Pick up registration materials at the check-in table

Friday session includes Lunch, two half-day workshops and evening seminar, Page Cuts Critique (with $10 fee) and evening reception. 


2019 Floor Plan corrected

Map of Room Locations – Don’t Get Lost





charise crowe 6

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM ~ The Three Pillars of Storytelling

with Ben Wolf and Charis Crowe

Storytellers throughout the ages have employed three essential elements to weave compelling tales: the high concept, the characters, and the plot. Each of these elements, when utilized efficiently, work together to support everything from short stories and flash fiction to epics sprawling across multiple movies, shows, and books.

This half-day workshop begins with a discussion of the story’s high concept and what makes for an irresistible idea. Then follows a breakdown of how to create engaging and realistic characters with backstories and motivation. The class concludes with an exploration of how to create interesting plots based on the classic three-act structure. Developing these three pillars of storytelling will help propel any story (and any storyteller) to new heights.


Day 2 Lunc

12:00 Noon – 12:45 PM ~ Lunch (included)

Salon B

Plus: Networking Opportunities



Janeen Ippolito Headshot

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM ~ Book to Market:

Tips to Package, Promote, and Publish Your Book

With Janeen Ippolito

 Should you aim for a traditional publisher or try to publish yourself? Is there a way to make selling books easier? And what social media should you really be using? Get clarity on your publishing and marketing options from publishing industry pro and marketing coach Janeen Ippolito.

These sessions take out the “overwhelm” and enable you to make decisions with confidence about your manuscript’s future.



6:30 PM – 8:30 PM ~ Page Cuts Critique Sessions

In the Cedar Crest, Muhlenberg, and Lafayette Rooms

LIMITED SEATING: Advance registration necessary

Additional $10.00 charge with any registration

Page Cuts critique sessions are optional ($10.00 session charge) Participants will be assigned to a room headed by a team of publishing professionals who have been asked to provide feedback on your work. This kind of “cold critique” i.e. where first impressions count, is exactly like someone reading the first page of your novel at a bookseller, whether on line or in a store. That impression is what determines whether they buy your book. Don’t pass up this opportunity to get that first page polished so it shines!

Your work will be read aloud by a room moderator and commented upon by our panelists. No names will be used, all works are COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS. Opinions of workshop panelists are theirs alone and do not represent the opinions of GLVWG.

Limited readings. Participants who have been informed of their successful enrollment should bring to their session four copies of the first page of a longer work (fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir) along with four copies of a 100-word overview of the entire work.

Copies must be formatted. Double-spaced, 12 pt. “Times” font, 1-inch margins, Title & Genre at top of page. No names please. Print to start at the top of the page. 



charise crowe 2 copy

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM ~ The Pixar Method with Charis Crowe

In the Moravian Room

(Runs Concurrent to Page Cuts Critique)

Through the magic of engaging characters and heart-tugging plot lines, Pixar has brought us stories that ring true to who we are for over 20 years. Discover their methods, unpack the Pixar secrets for success, and learn how to apply them in your own writing.



8:30 PM – 10:00 PM ~ Reception/Social Gathering

A relaxing atmosphere with snacks, soft drinks, cash bar. A perfect opportunity to network among fellow writers, presenters, agents and editors.


But don’t party too hard. Saturday’s main event is a busy day.



Article by D.T. Krippene – Social Media Chair

Dan Central Park 3

You can find DT at his Website – “Searching For Light in the Darkness

his Facebook Page, and Twitter @dtkrippene


The 2019 Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group – Write Stuff Conference™


, , , , , , ,


Day 1 of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writer’s Group Write Stuff Conference™ begins tomorrow Thursday, March 21. 7:00 a.m. Check-In table opens. Pick up registration materials at the check-in table.


Get ready for a full day seminar with Ben Wolf and Charis Crowe

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM ~ Into the Deep:

An Advanced Study of Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction rules today’s popular culture in books, movies, and TV shows. Learning the ins and outs of the various genres is absolutely essential for writers who intend to compete in a saturated yet hungry market.

This extended workshop delves deep into speculative fiction and its sub-genres and will discuss the conventions, philosophies, types, standards, and other key elements that help define the genre.

So strap on your blaster, mount your dragon, and fly with us into the depths of the weird and wonderful world of speculative fiction.


Day 1 Lunch

12:00 Noon – 12:45 PM ~ Lunch (included)

Plus: Networking Opportunities



2018 Conference


1:00 PM – 4:40 PM ~ Into the Deep:

An Advanced Study of Speculative Fiction – Part 2


7:00 PM – 9:00 PM ~ Writers Cafe:   Lehigh Room 

Facilitated by Bart Palamaro

Get ready for Friday night Page Cuts or Saturday Agent/Editor pitches by bringing your pitch or opening page and we will give you instant feedback!  Or just bring the first page of your manuscript for a critique. 

ALL registered Conference attendees are welcome to attend this Conference version of GLVWGs monthly read and critique meeting. 

It’s a fun time!


Then get some rest. Friday brings more learning and networking



Article by D.T. Krippene – Social Media Chair

Dan Central Park 3

You can find DT at his Website – “Searching For Light in the Darkness

his Facebook Page, and Twitter @dtkrippene



An Interview with Keynote Speaker, Ben Wolf


, , , , , , ,

Ben Wolf Pic 3

We introduced Ben Wolf our Keynote Speaker for the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ , March 21 – 23, 2019, in our WordPress Blog – January 14. On Thursday, he kicks us off with Into the Deep: An Advanced Study of Speculative Fiction. On Friday, he’ll engage conference attendees in a discussion on The Three Pillars of Storytelling. Saturday, Ben will conduct seminars on Backstory: Your Secret Weapon to Engaging Readers, and Writing Flash Fiction that Sells.

Don’t miss his keynote speech during Saturday lunch, Writing Through Adversity.

GLVWG member, Joe Fleckenstein, took some time to ask Ben a few questions.


In an interview with Geeks under Grace in 2014 you mentioned that you very much favored Frank Peretti’s writing and, in fact, you read his book The Oath at least a half dozen times. That’s saying something. What was it, specifically, that you admired in Peretti’s writing that you found so enthralling? Would it be fair to say there’s a similarity to some degree between Peritti’s style and what is to be found in your Blood for Blood?

Frank Perett’s writing captured my imagination at an early age. In part, it was some of the first “grown-up” fiction that I was exposed to, so the level of intrigue, drama, and even violence in his stories grabbed me and didn’t let go. The main reason I read The Oath so many times is that its high concept is brilliant, yet simple, and it is flawlessly executed. I can’t say much more about it without giving away a major plot point, so go read it and you’ll see what I mean.

With regard to my own writing, Blood for Blood did feel Peretti-esque, I think, in some ways. It has a dark feel to it (like much of Peretti’s work does, especially his earlier works), and I think I deal with that darkness in a unique way which is something Peretti does frequently as well. My latest novel (at least at the time of this interview), a sci-fi/horror story called The Ghost Mine, sways less toward Frank Peretti and more toward Robert Liparulo’s style of thriller storytelling. I’d say that in recent years, Robert Liparulo has usurped Frank Peretti as my favorite author.

Splickety, the flash fiction magazine you edited, is scheduled to close down. To what do you attribute the closure? Has the interest in flash fiction peaked? What’s the future for flash fiction? Are you personally finished with flash fiction?

I will always love and continue to write flash fiction stories, and flash fiction has such fantastic value as a tool to learn how to write better fiction. The closure primarily comes as a result of me realigning my priorities in publishing. For years, I ran Splickety to offer new authors a path to professional publication. Those publishing opportunities with Splickety helped me develop a career teaching at writers conferences nationwide and freelance editing for other authors.

Over the last year, I realized that though I had succeeded in the conference scene and in freelance editing, I was doing a poor job of pursuing my own personal dreams of becoming a multi-published, full-time author. So I took a hard look at what I would need to do in order to move toward that actual goal of writing full-time, and I realized that had some considerable changes to make in order to get that to happen. Unfortunately, shutting down Splickety is one of those changes.

Your proclaimed genres are Christian and horror. Christians say “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How do you rectify these positions with a character bent on, say, using a stiletto on someone’s kidney? Will the real Ben Wolf stand up?

This is a great question, and I’m so glad you asked it. How do Christianity and horror go together? I’ve given a lot of thought and had a great many discussions about this over the years. It’s a complicated discussion, and there is no one right answer, but I’ll give you my thoughts on it as succinctly as I can:

A read-through of the Bible reveals plenty of horrific things happening–both natural and supernatural. People are brutally killed, demons torment humans, God opens up holes in the ground to swallow people whole and sends serpents to bite them and strikes people down for touching the ark of the covenant–the list goes on from there.

Are these “good” things? Not really. But the authors of the Bible included them for a reason: to show how horrific life can be, specifically with the intention of drawing a comparison between a life walking with God and a life separate from God. As I said, this is a huge discussion, and I don’t want to ramble on forever, but suffice it to say that horror as a genre or as a feature in any other genre (I’m working on a dark fantasy series as we speak, for example) is an excellent tool that an author of any stripe can use to their advantage to convey a message and tell a great story. And furthermore, I am not the same as my characters; I have a mind of my own, and they’re fictional beings. So they can stab kidneys with stilettos all day long, but it really gives no indication of who I am as a person.

Sidebar: One of the sessions I’ll be teaching at the conference is an extended presentation on Horror and how to wield it effectively. We’ll have plenty of time for discussion about this topic in more detail there, so I encourage any interested folks to sign up for the conference so we can delve deeper into the darkness together.

At the upcoming GLVWG conference, you may expect to have a variety of aspiring writers in attendance. There will be writers who do explicit sex, a few who do YA, those who do pieces with a religious bent. No doubt, others too. Do you have a common set of recommendations, advice, or taboos you might pass along to this varied group?

Yes. The key thing that I’ve learned over the last year is that you MUST know your audience. You must know what they like to read and what they expect to find in the books they read. 

A lot of writing advice out there states something to the effect of “write the story of your heart and find an audience for it.” There’s a counterculture of primarily independently published (aka self-published or “indie”) authors who start by identifying their preferred audience and then writing books that will energize and excite that audience.

Many of those indie authors are making six figures a year writing. I know a handful of them, and I know a couple who are making seven figures a year using this strategy. So if your goal is commercial success, then choose a ravenous target audience in a genre that you’re interested in writing, read a lot of best-selling books in that genre so you can identify what elements readers are looking for, and then craft a story that will satisfy readers’ appetites accordingly.

Every wannabe writer at sometime in his or her life will think about using an agent. What is your experience with agents? There will be agents at the conference. Do you use an agent? The same agent for the different pubs? Experiences with agents are always of interest. What’s yours?

I’ve had two agents thus far, and now I am technically agent-less. A good friend of mine is a top agent in the industry, and he has informally offered to send anything out for me whenever I want him to, but right now, I’m focused on indie publishing because it is likely going to be the quickest and most lucrative path for me.

Please note that this is a decision I came to based on a lot of publishing experience (I spent seven years chasing traditional publishing and not getting anywhere) and working with two agents prior. I’m not at all saying it’s the right path for everyone–some of my closest friends are traditionally published authors who are making a living off of their writing.

The key thing to understand when working with an agent, at least from my perspective, is that no one will ever care more about your book than you. Therefore, you are in most ways the best person to sell it. A good agent should have connections to the folks you want to get your book in front of, and a great agent will have a solid understanding of your genre and the readership for your writing as well as some sales ability. Truly excellent agents are rare, just like top-notch folks in any industry, and thus they’re harder to land.

At the end of the day, the only thing any author can control is the work that they themselves do on their writing and on their career. So work to achieve new levels of productivity, quality, and imaginative storytelling so as to improve your chances whichever route you choose to take.

Tell us about your human side. You write a lot about blood. Does the sight of blood bother you? When you give blood, do you watch the needle go in or do you look the other way? Could you butcher and clean a chicken?

I’m on the fence with blood. A little blood here and there in real life is fine. A lot of blood and I do start to get queasy. I’m not big on needles, but I got a tetanus shot and a blood draw a few weeks ago, and I watched the whole time. In crisis situations, I tend to handle trauma pretty well, so I would think that if someone’s life were on the line, I could probably throw up real quick and then do whatever I could to help the person in need. I also practice Brazilian jiu jitsu, so I’m comfortable choking people and manipulating their joints.

With that said, I’m generally a peacemaker rather than a person who seeks out physical confrontation. Though I can probably hold my own in such a conflict, I would prefer to avoid it. Butchering a chicken doesn’t sound like the worst thing ever, and animal blood doesn’t gross me out quite so much. I field-dressed a pheasant once, and I don’t really eat vegetables, so in the apocalypse, I guess I’d find a way to do what I had to do in order to survive–chickens or otherwise.

We, of GLVWG, will be looking forward to seeing you in person and to hearing you speak about one of our common, favorite topics: writing.

I’m really honored and excited to have the chance to join you!


Ben is the founder and owner of Splickety Publishing Group, the publisher of three flash fiction magazines. He has edited, written, and/or published over 100 published works and has taught at 40+ writers conferences nationwide.

Ben currently has one novel on the market, The Ghost Mine, a gripping sci-fi/horror novel sure to thrill you and chill you late into the night. Ben has also published a children’s book and will be publishing the first books of a nine-book fantasy series in early 2019. You can find his books on

You can find Ben at or follow him on TwitterInstagram, and on Facebook.


Ben and his wife Charis Crowe (who sometimes is his presentation partner) live in ­­­­­­­Iowa with their children. Charis is also presenting at the conference, and you can read Charis’ interview on our WordPress Blog – February 27.




Article by Joe Fleckenstein

joe fleckenstein bio headshot

Joseph E. Fleckenstein, active GLVWG member for nine years and club treasurer for two years, has published over 35 items. The list includes technical papers, online courses, and 22 short stories in ezines and print magazines. In 2015 CRC Press published his technical book Three Phase Electrical Power. His novel The Kurdish Episode will soon be available at Amazon. Additional bio particulars are available at his website

An Interview with Tia Mele, Agent with Talcott Notch Literary


, , , , , ,

Article by Albert Tucher

Tia Mele Facebook Pic


Tia Mele, agent for Talcott Notch Literary Services, will be at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on March 23, 2019, to take pitches from conferees for women’s fiction, romance, YA and MG on a first come, first serve basis.

To sign up for a pitch session, follow the instructions on the registration form. Your actual appointment time will be assigned after registration is closed, and will be attached to conference materials upon signing in.  

GLVWG member, Albert Tucher, had a chance to ask Mele a few questions.


If I were to meet you at a conference, what is something you would tell me about yourself that would be intriguing?

I love math! I do algebra problems in my free time because I find it really relaxing, and I went up to calculus in high school and took pre-calculus in college. People think it’s strange because I was an English major who took a bunch of math classes throughout my college career, but I just love numbers and solving problems mathematically. It’s probably not surprising that on those “which side of your brain is dominant” tests, the result is always that I use both sides equally. 

What drew you to becoming an agent?

I learned what an agent was when I started writing seriously right after high school, and I was looking into how to get published. I saw agents as being a little like fairy godmothers, and I wanted to be a part of making author dreams come true!

When you get a submission, how far into it do you get before you know this one is not for you?

 Sometimes I only get as far as the query, because the submission will be in a genre I don’t represent. If it is in my wheelhouse, I read the whole query and first ten pages before making a decision.

What are the current trends in publishing that you think we should know about?

I don’t want to call diversity a trend because I think it’s here to stay, but diversity is huge in publishing right now. Diversity is one of those ‘trends’ that you can follow because it isn’t going to disappear by the time you finish your book. I’ve noticed a lot of YA fantasy over the last few years. With the successes of Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda (Love, Simon) and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in film, I’ve heard a lot of editors say they’re looking for swoony, sweet YA romances across genders and sexualities, which I have always loved, so I’m especially excited for this trend.

What do aspiring authors do in seeking an agent that drives you crazy? In other words, what should we avoid doing?

 Please don’t send mass queries (putting a hundred different agents in the subject line, or cc/bcc’ing us on the email). Do follow the guidelines on our website for submitting your query. Also, your query should tell me about your book. I get a lot of queries that are mostly about the author or the writing process, and don’t tell me about the characters or plot. I try to emphasize relevant biographical information in queries. Your bio should tell an agent your writing background (if you have one, it’s not a requirement to be published!) and what makes you the best person to write the book. For example, if your book is about a ballerina, you should tell me that you did ballet for ten years, but not that you have twenty-seven dogs.

What is your favorite place in the world to visit? (Mine is the Big Island of Hawaii.)

 Oh, man, this is a hard question. I’ve been so lucky to visit some amazing places. I think I have to go with two: Paris, France and Nashville, Tennessee. 

And finally, tell us what you’re specifically looking for as an agent.

I’m looking to build my list with middle grade and young adult projects in any genre. I’m especially interested in dark middle grade and contemporary YA. Please send me your LGBT+ stories, as well as stories featuring visible and invisible illnesses, especially relating to mental health. I like everything from deep, terrifying thrillers to sweet, heartwarming romances. Sports plots are always interesting to me, especially if they involve baseball or softball. Dogs are a huge part of my life, so I’m all for dog-related stories as well.

I’m seeking limited adult projects in women’s fiction and romance.

In non-fiction, I’m looking for anything sports related, especially baseball, football, or basketball. I’m also open to cookbooks from chefs who have a following from a blog or channel.


You can contact Tia at , and follow her Twitter Feed @tiathetiger.


Article by Albert Tucher

Albert Tucher Headshot

Albert Tucher  came to writing late, after twenty years spent pursuing an operatic singing career. Always busy, Albert could never get to the point where he could give up his day job as a librarian.  So, he started writing novels and sending them out to agents. 

See what Albert is up to on his blog at

An Interview with Donna Galanti


, , , , , ,

Article by Susan Golden


Donna Galanti 2

Donna Galanti writes thrillers for kids and grownups. She is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine, a writing contest judge at, and regularly presents as a guest author at schools and teaches at writing conferences. She lived in England as a child and was stationed in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.

GLVWG member, Susan Golden, asked Donna a few questions.


If I were to meet you at a conference, what is something you would tell me about yourself that would be intriguing.

In high school in the 1980s I was obsessed with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and dressed up as Aragorn (what I envisioned he would look like at the time). Of course, no one knew who I was in my cloak and boots. I am a fantasy reader and writer at heart.

What have you learned from the mistakes made in marketing a product?

Not realizing that I am marketing myself first, in many instances. People often want to connect to you as a person first, so they can then be drawn in to your product. Also, it’s key to build a subscriber list and a cheerleading team before you market a product so that it already has momentum to sell when it’s available.

What is the difference between marketing and selling?

With marketing, it’s important to remember that this is about being focused on what the consumer needs. Find their need and fill it. With selling, this is really all about focusing on sales, and how to increase numbers and product.

Do you have a favorite or suggested reading regarding marketing?

The Social Media Examiner is a good blog to follow to keep up with social media marketing trends. I also follow Neil Patel who has great podcasts with marketing tips through his Marketing School program.

Based on your experience as a contest judge, what are the biggest mistakes made in submissions and what advice would you give authors when selecting and submitting works in contests.

I see many of the same mistakes made over and over in submissions. I see overuse of exclamation marks, situations that are not believable, too much dialogue and not enough action/reaction/setting, too many characters and names, all telling and no showing, and head hopping. With fantasy, I see a lot of made-up lingo, places, names that bog down the story and pull me out of it. I would suggest when submitting short works, to make it simple. Have 2-3 characters we can connect with and care about. Add in sensory details to enrich the story and add in action/reaction between characters to show us about them and their motivations.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your experience in moving from fledgling author to success?

I wish I’d learned about how to write a book before writing my first book. I took writing workshops after I finished that first book and it required going back and fixing a ton of things! However, I don’t regret the learning that took place afterwards because it taught me how to write a better book from the beginning. Keep learning your craft and keep filling your writer’s toolbox. And remember that this writing business is not GOING to be easy – it’s going to be worth it! Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration, advice, and resources on writing.

What one thing would you like to relate to the audience?

As authors we get out of our comfort zone when we write, but we must also publicly get out of our comfort zone and into a new community comfort zone – online and in person. Through doing this, I’ve networked with all kinds of professionals in the publishing industry that have helped me get an agent, get a publisher, get blurbs, get exposure and more.

How to start? 

  • Join a writer organization, general one or genre-based. Search online by your region. “writer’s organizations” + “region”.
  • Attend writer meetups. Search and create one if none available.
  • Follow and connect with authors you admire.
  • Check out the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers and pick a few to follow and engage with.
  • Connect with other debut authors. Search online for “Debut Author” + “Year” your book releases. You can band together to do shared promotion.
  • Connect with readers before your book comes out. Book bloggers are your friend. Follow them online, comment on their blogs. Ask them to review your book, do a cover reveal, or a giveaway.
  • Position yourself as an expert and share what you know. Giving a talk in-person or being on someone else’s blog instantly positions you as an expert.
  • Build a subscriber list. A subscriber list is your direct line to your readers, whether a blog or newsletter list. It’s the only community list you own. What if Twitter or Facebook went away? How would you reach your community? Through email.
  • Start with who you know. Tip: run a Rafflecopter contest and have entrants follow your newsletter or blog for extra entries.

Donna will be available at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on Saturday, March 23, 2019 to provide marketing advice for conferees on a first come, first serve basis. To sign up for a consultation session, follow the instructions on the registration form. Your actual times for the consult will be assigned after registration is closed, and will be attached to conference materials upon signing in.


Donna Galanti Books


You can find Donna at and learn more about her recent book series, available on Amazon.

Be sure to follow her Facebook Page, and Twitter Feed @DonnaGalanti.



Susan Golden Headshot  Article by Susan Golden

An Interview with Danielle Modafferi of Firefly Hill Press.


, , , ,

Article by Susan Monroe: 

Danielle Modafferi LinkedIn Photo


Danielle Modafferi, CEO of Firefly Hill Press – LLC, a small independent publishing house who strives to find, publish, and market exceptional works of novel-length fiction, specifically in the Young Adult and Romance genres. Danielle will be attending the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019.

Firefly Hill Press specializes in stories that feature heroines who are not afraid to save themselves – no damsels need apply! Our stories feature love and obstacles that enhance our protagonists’ journeys but in no way defines them. We like to believe that we reclaim the term “happily ever after” and illustrate how it is a unique pursuit and triumph to each character and her goals.

Susan Monroe had the chance to ask Danielle a few questions.


If we were to meet at a conference, without using anything from the bio, what would you tell me about yourself that would be intriguing?

I have a pretty inexhaustible travel bug and have trouble staying in one place for too long! I started Firefly Hill Press as way to build a digital on-the-go company and pair it with my LOVE of books and writing. I have had the privilege of living all over the United States, in Paris, and in London and am always keeping my eyes peeled for my next destination and inspirational publishing location! If anyone has any good suggestions of what should be next on my list, come find me and let me know!

As an agent, you work with writers, hopefully, long-term, but who are strangers to you at first. Do you look at more than the work submitted to determine that relationship?

Absolutely! Since my company is small by design, I only take on authors with whom I hope to build a career and a future. Of course, it has to be an author whose work I believe in and am enthusiastic about, but more than that, I hope to foster a professional and working friendship with my team. Writing is hard and sometimes requires brutal honesty from both parties. I need my authors to know that those critiques come from a place of love and desire to make their work the best that it can be and the only way that happens is if trust is fostered between us. It is a pretty integral part of a successful working relationship, in my opinion.

Writers often say they became writers because they have to write. What drew you to becoming an agent?

Actually, I too started as a writer. I wrote and published a Young Adult Dark Fantasy novel titled The Girl in the Glass Box back in 2016, which is a fairy tale reimagination based on the Grimm’s version of Snow White. I earned my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2014 and during my time there learned how exciting the publishing side of the industry is. Additionally, I come from a background as an English teacher, so I feel like publishing is an awesome opportunity for me to fuse teaching, coaching, and my love of writing with my interest in the ever-changing landscape of publishing.

When you get a submission, how far into it do you get before you know this one is not for you?

Truthfully, it’s pretty early on – within the first page or so. But out of respect for the writer and the submission, I generally read through most of what is sent to me, even if I know it’s not for us. There are so many things to be told from the first paragraphs: writing style, tone, craft, content themes, and so on. So, I always tell writers that if they are continuously submitting and they are not receiving any promising responses, to consider revising their beginning and perhaps starting the manuscript at a more active point in the story. I see so many manuscripts that just begin in the wrong place. Not to say that the stories are bad or deficient, just that they begin before the “real beginning” of their story should start.

What are your personal peeves when it comes to submissions?

Ooh, when writers clearly have not done their research and are just blanket canvasing their manuscripts to anyone and everyone regardless of genre or submission guidelines. It shows a total disregard for the process and for my time as someone considering this manuscript. For instance, if you are sending me a horror, sci-fi, erotica manuscript, clearly you do not know much about our backlist and what we currently represent. It is just time consuming and a bit inconsiderate.

What trends in the publishing marketplace attract your attention? (Such as, what genres are hot? Where is electronic publishing going?)

Wow – I am LOVE-LOVE-LOVING the resurgence of chick lit and the Rom Com. As a fan of these types of stories myself, I love the hopefulness of these stories and even more so, I am loving the trend that these stories are becoming more female-story-centric. Life is hard and stressful and difficult. Watching the news is NOT FUN (understatement of the year!) and people are becoming bogged down with the heaviness of everyday struggles, which is why light, fun, uplifting literature is really making its way back into the publishing arena.

In terms of what’s coming for e-publishing? Hmm… the hot topic on everyone’s lips for the past few years has been a skyrocketing in popularity in audiobooks. I am really eager to see the technological innovations in this area and am looking forward to more texts becoming more accessible in an audio format. For me personally, audiobooks (and podcasts!) make commuting so much more tolerable. I would love to see maybe even more authors reading their own work? I know it sounds crazy because, of course, the narration needs to be well done, but a big trend in marketing and publishing has been an increased accessibility to authors through social media and live streaming video feeds. No longer are authors these creatures who are holed up in their dark cabins in the woods pumping out pages in their solitude – they are interactive with their communities and readers have become increasingly responsive to it! That aspect of publishing has been really exciting to watch and to be a part of.


Danielle Modafferi earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Since then, she incorporated Firefly Hill Press in 2014 and has been passionate about discovering and sharing incredible fiction through publishing ever since! She is a: Professor of Writing, Practicer of Random Acts of Kindness, Connoisseur of Cheese, Petter of Puppies, Professional Napper, and Lover of all things Harry Potter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @danimod115

You can also follow Firefly Hill Press on Facebook.



An Interview with David Fessenden


, , , , , , ,

Article by Jerome W. McFadden


David Fessenden Headshot 4

We first introduced David E. Fessenden with a recent article in the February 9 GLVWG Conference Blog.

GLVWG author, Jerry McFadden, had a chance to ask David a few questions.


Jerry: If I were to meet you at a conference, what is something you would tell me about yourself that would be intriguing? Pls do not use anything from your bio.

I have double-jointed elbows!

Jerry:  Who are your favorite authors and why?

A.W. Tozer — He said that a really good book should be read slowly, and often cause you to pause in your reading, to meditate and pray; that’s what his books do for me. C.S. Lewis — He taught me to think more deeply about my faith. Alton Gansky — With his novels, he always seem to write himself into a corner, then resolves his impossible plots by pulling a rabbit out of his hat! 

Jerry: There are times when people relax at home – they read, crochet, and color in the Mandela pattern books. What are your favorite pastimes, other than reading?

Watching old movies — and I mean O-L-D — early talkies!

Jerry: What are the common traps for aspiring writers?

Trying to write books as your earliest attempts at writing, instead of articles, short stories, etc., etc.

Jerry: If you wrote a letter to your younger self, what would you say?

The more you write, the more you’ll get published.

Jerry: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Do you have plans for them?

Probably a half-dozen. I hope to finish most of them, though a couple are real dogs, I have to admit — so I probably won’t ever get those done!

Jerry: What age did you start writing? What was your favorite genre at that time and why?

I started in earnest in high school, and liked to write short stories, probably because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to finish a full novel.

Jerry: What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t know — I start researching after beginning a book. How do you know what to research until you know what you’re writing about? I research on and off all through the book writing process.

Jerry: What one thing would you give up to become a writer?

I really should give up more of my free time — and I’m going to have to if I want to get some of those unfinished projects done.


 David will be at the The GLVWG Write Stuff Writer’s Conference™ on March 23, 2019 to speak about Publishing Contracts, the Author-Editor Relationship, The Dreaded Outline, and Edition Your Own Material.  

To read more on David, visit:

And don’t forget to visit his Amazon Page for books he’s written.



Article by Jerome W. McFadden

Jerome McFadden Headshot

Jerome W. McFadden’s stories have appeared in various magazines, e-zines such as Flash Fiction Offensive, Eclectic Flash Fiction, and several anthologies –  River Tales , Over My Dead Body, Trails End, including Hardboiled: Crime SceneOnce Around the SunA Christmas SamplerA Readable Feast, and Let It Snow.  Jerry has also been a prolific contributor to the BWG Author Roundtable series

Jerry has also won honorable mentions in Writer’s Digest Magazine annual national fiction awards, as well as in several regional writing contests. He received a Bullet Award for the best crime fiction to appear on the web. Two of his short stories have been read on stage by the Liars League London and Liar’s League Hong Kong. You can find his published short story works on Goodreads