An Interview with Charis Crowe – Presenter at the 2019 Write Stuff Conference™ March 21 through 23


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Article by Idelle Kursman

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GLVWG member, Idelle Kursman, introduced Charise Crowe, January 27 on the GLVWG WordPress Blog. As a follow-up, Idelle took some time to ask a few questions of Charise, who will be co-presenting with her husband, Ben Wolf, at the Write Stuff Conference™ March 21 through 23.



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

 If we met a conference, you would probably start the conversation. I’m notoriously shy when left to my own devices, but I do love meeting and talking with other writers. If you asked about my hobbies, I would say that I crochet, I love to cook, and I’m trying to learn the ukulele–with mixed results. If we talked about politics I would say that everything swings on a pendulum, and remember to be kind, and that I have very well formed thoughts about our inevitable AI. overlords. If we chatted about life, I’d encourage you to take more time for yourself, focus on joy, and spend time in the sun.

 Idelle: Who are your favorite authors? Why were they favorites?

I’m a Hogwarts kid, so of course I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. My current favorite authors are Neal Shusterman (Scythe and Thunderhead are particular standouts),  Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy, with a TV series that really does the books justice), Scott Westerfeld (The Leviathon Trilogy was fantastic), and Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psycopath Test) Shusterman, Grossman, and Westerfeld are all YA/New Adult authors who put their characters in imaginative far-flung worlds while keeping their character’s feet on the ground. Ronson is just a personal favorite. I love his style of Gonzo journalism and the ridiculous situations he gets himself into. He’s described himself as being high-anxiety and so his bravery in insane situations is something that I’m a bit envious of.

 Idelle: What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Vanity publishers. If someone is asking you for thousands of dollars to publish your work and you’ve 1) never heard of them, 2) never heard of their authors, 3) can’t find any of their books for sale/they won’t put you in touch with any of their authors…. Run. Run far, far away. Having a “tribe” of writers with varying levels of experience and expertise is crucial for avoiding pitfalls in publishing.

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

 I think the first book I wrote is doomed to sit and collect dust forever. And that’s okay. I have a YA Steampunk manuscript that needs a solid edit. I might look into doing something with that one towards the end of 2019. We’ll see. Currently in my head I have an idea for a remake of Brave New World and an idea for medieval series that focuses more on the common folk than the wealthy ruling class.

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

I do tons of research. Usually weeks/months before even starting a project. And once I start the research just continues. When I write fantasy, I like to base my people groups and cultures off of a real world example. I also like to focus on characters that have some sort of disability, so there’s a ton of ever-evolving research I do for that as well. I’m kind of a spreadsheet nerd. I keep an Excel file as my “Story Bible”. My current W.I.P. Excel file has… 14 tabs. I need it to keep everything straight!

 Idelle: What is one thing you would give up to become a better writer?

I’m actually in a season of reevaluating this. I’m tweaking some lazy habits to devote more time to writing and trying to be more mindful of my time management. I practically hibernate in winter, and we live in Iowa. Can I give up Iowa? I’d love a warmer climate. I would definitely get more work done.

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

I would definitely fill it with spoilers. “Don’t do this!” and “You’re gonna regret that!” 

But mostly I would tell myself that, really, I am good enough. I am strong. I’d tell myself to not pretend to be someone I’m not just to make others happy. Because doesn’t that mean the other person doesn’t *actually* like me? Who needs that? What a silly waste of time. I’d tell myself to keep going, to work harder, and to always, always act with love. 

 Oh, and to invest in Bitcoin. Really missed the easy meal ticket on that one.

 Idelle: How would you counsel a writer who is having trouble making sales?

That’s a tough one. Sometimes a beautiful book can earn very few sales while a seemingly dumpster-fire becomes a global best seller.

Books that sell really well have a host of similar qualities, but the biggest one (in my opinion) is this: they meet a need. They meet a huge need. 

If your book isn’t selling well, have you set it up correctly? Is there an audience for what you wrote? Are there other books in your genre? Do you have a title and a cover that fit the idea of that genre? Is your back cover copy engaging, does it make a reader ask enough questions that they must open it to page 1? Do you have the right social media presence? Are you partnered with other authors in the same genre?

There’s a lot of ways a book can “fail”. You wouldn’t ride a bicycle on the Autobahn, and you wouldn’t try to climb Everest on a motorcycle. Are you on the right road and are you approaching it the right way? Have you given yourself the right tools to find success? I’ll be teaching a class on a lot of this–so if you’re unsure then I hope to see you there! 

Idelle: If someone wanted to find a job in the writing field or with a publisher, what advice would you give that person?

Marry someone established in the field! (haha, just kidding!)

Make yourself available. Join critique groups and offer to beta read. Attend as many conferences as you can. Give constructive feedback. Offer to bring that super-awesome professional a bottle of water or a cup of coffee. Offer favors with no expectation of repayment. Be a friend. Ask yourself, “If I was in their shoes, what would I need?”

I met one of my absolutely favorite people at a writer’s conference. (Well, several, actually. Hi, Ben!) She was working in an entirely different stratosphere from little, lowly me. It took time to develop that friendship–she was used to people having interest in her job but not really in her as a person. During one conference, we were in a group and she got saddled with someone who wouldn’t take a “no, thank you” for his manuscript and just kept pitching. And she just couldn’t pull herself away. I glanced at my watch and said “[Friend], weren’t you supposed to have a call 20 minutes ago?” And we politely excused ourselves. At the next conference we were at, I hadn’t seen her all day. She came up to me after dinner and demanded to know where I had been–she’d been getting cornered all day and needed a friend to help rescue her from those situations.

 I saw a need I could help fill. That’s 99.99% of making industry connections.

 If you get a no or a yes, accept it with grace. Recognize that these people are people. They are there to help you, but if a publisher/editor/agent says no, don’t keep hounding them. That’s won’t make their answer any better! 

charise crowe



Article Written by Idelle Kursman

Idelle Kursman was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her Master’s from William Paterson University. She has a loved one with autism and after watching the movie Taken five years ago, she felt compelled to write a novel about human trafficking. Since she loves thrillers, especially if it is a book she cannot put down, she sought to give readers this experience in her debut novel. At the same time, Idelle seeks to raise awareness for autism and the international human trafficking crisis. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

You can find Idelle on her website:, and social media links.

An Interview with Stephanie Kehr – Agent with Cyle Young Literary


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Article by Donna Brennan: 

Stephanie Kehr Headshot

Stephanie Kehr is a Junior Agent for the Cyle Young Literary (C.Y.L.E). She currently lives in Northern Virginia and serves on the publishing board of Illuminate YA Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. She’s an adventure lover with a special place in her heart for travel and culture. Although she grew up reading books, writing and representing them became an accidental passion.

Stephanie will be taking pitches during the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019, and is looking for skillfully crafted stories that stir the soul and sharpen the mind. In fiction, she’s seeking young adult, middle grade, historical, children’s picture books, romance, fantasy, inspirational, and authors with strong platform, unique ideas, and diverse characters. She also represents non-fiction, including religious genres.

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


GLVWG veteran member, Donna Brennan, caught up with Stephanie to ask her a few questions.

DONNA: Your agency places a lot of emphasis on platform and discoverability. How important is platform to you versus a well written book with an engrossing story?

Our emphasis on platform does seem to intimidate a lot of authors – but it’s really not as scary as it looks. The publishing industry is changing, and with it, platform has become more and more important for authors to have in order to sell their books. Platform isn’t a request to “be famous,” it’s simply a venue used test your product, and see if people are interested in what you have to say.

For non-fiction authors, I do require some form of platform. However, fiction allows me to be a little more lenient—and I look primarily for solid writing talent and storytelling skills. Across the board, I’m looking to be impressed. It’s hard to turn down a book that’s incredibly done.

DONNA: Many authors have a full-time job and/or family responsibilities; they need to fight their overburdened schedules just to find time to write. What are some tips you can offer regarding what platform building tools they should try to squeeze in, and how could they go about doing that?

I tell most of my authors just to start with Twitter—it’s a great platform with a fantastic writing community. If you’re a non-fiction writer, find creative ways to test your content by posting on blogs or by writing articles for magazines. It’s easy to draw small pieces from your book and rework them into a post, newsletter, or even talk about them in an Instagram story. It’s a lot more productive to find one avenue that works for you, and focus on that. Find the best way to create community.

DONNA: In one of your blog articles you wrote about the importance of authors being confident—both in themselves and in their work. But I know many authors who, although they might have confidence in other areas of their lives, seem very vulnerable where their writing is concerned. What advice can you give to these authors?

Know why you write your story. I see so many authors struggle—bouncing from one piece of writing advice to another, and applying these to their manuscripts, without really taking the time to figure out for themselves why their book isn’t working. Advice from other authors, agents, editors, and professionals is fantastic—but at the end of the day, you know your book better than anyone.

One way you can work to gain confidence in your writing is simply to spend time with it. Save pieces of encouragement people have given you, and read over the chapters or scenes you’re most proud of. Work so hard on your book that you can’t help but be confident in it.

DONNA: What advice or encouragement can you offer to authors whose work has been rejected—not just once, but multiple times?

Keep going! Let rejection motivate you to submit more. There are so many reasons an agent or editor might reject your manuscript—sometimes, simply because it isn’t a good fit. Research the industry, agents, and become your own advocate.

DONNA: I know your faith is an important part of who you are, and one of the types of writing you seek is inspirational—or Christian. Can you give a brief description what is meant by this category? How important is it for authors to mention God or faith for a work to be considered inspirational?

Absolutely! It’s becoming less and less important for Christian authors to mention God or faith in their fiction to be considered “inspirational.” A lot of Christian publishers are looking simply for books that show good morals and character, and aren’t “preachy” or trying to sway readers one way or another. Think about “show” vs. “tell” and apply that to Christian literature. We’d rather be shown how God can impact a story, rather than told.


Article by Donna Brennan:

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An Interview with Janeen Ippolito


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Article by Dawn Sooy:

Janeen Ippolito Headshot

Last month, Dawn Sooy introduced Janeen Ippolito on our Write Stuff Conference™ blog.  Janeen is an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, marketer, and Editor-in-Chief of Uncommon Universes Press, a small science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. Whether brainstorming a plot twist, developing a course, or analyzing marketing angles, she’s happiest when creating solutions that get unique words written, polished, published, and noticed in the ever-changing publishing industry.

Dawn had the chance to interview Janeen before the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™, where Janeen will give a half-day seminar March 22: Book to Market: Tips to Package, Promote, and Publish Your Book, followed by March 23 courses: Fundamentals of Fiction – Inside Out, and How to Write Romantic Subplots.


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

 I’m synesthetic, which means I have cross-wired senses. I can see, taste, and feel sounds. I can also see scents and I have conceptual synesthesia, which deals with the perception of time within space. 

 Who is your favorite authors? Why were they favorites?

 Gail Carson Levine. She has such elegant, creative, precise middle grade fiction that is timeless and great for all ages. Malcolm Gladwell, Brene Brown, and Mark Kurlansky are favorite nonfiction authors for their unique voices, insight, and perceptions. P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie are favorites for their pitch-perfect humor and plotting, and are two inspirations for my own writing. 

 There are times when people relax at home, the read, crochet, and color in the Mandela pattern books. What is your favorite pastime when relaxing?

 Wood burning! I love sitting down and burning patterns and images into wood.

 What are common traps for aspiring writers?

1. Not taking time to understand your unique goals and reasons for writing. 

2. Giving up too soon. Writing is a learning process. The more you write, the better you’ll get. 

3. Writing in a genre you haven’t read at all. There are conventions, tropes, and word usages common to each genre. 

4. Comparing yourself, your process, or your journey to other writers. Every writer is unique. Focus on doing you and let others do them.

5. Publishing too soon. Invest in a good critique group. Invest in beta readers. Invest in craft improvement. Invest in an editor. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect (and it never will be), but make sure it meets a certain standard of quality. 

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

 You’re going to be okay. Relax and ease up on yourself. Follow your gut more and trust the journey. 

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

 About 10, I think. There will be more. Since trying out drafts and abandoning them is part of my process, so there are a lot of relics on the road to publication! I have no interest in publishing any of my unpublished works or half-finished books, because the parts I like have already been recycled into better works.

 Question – What age did you start writing? What was your favorite genre at that time, and why?

 I started writing at age thirteen. At that time, my favorite genres were science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. I was raised with science fiction and fantasy, and I love the puzzle aspect of mysteries. 

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

 For my fiction, I do quite a bit of world building research and characterization research. However, I start writing while doing research. I pause and dig up ideas along the way. The first draft is part of my research process. I learn through the story what I need to learn more about. It usually takes me several attempts to get a draft I’m confident with, but on the plus side, I don’t have the months of pre-draft prep!

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

 Pride. And I continually have to give it up to learn more! My writing process is nonlinear and always shifting, so I’m always learning new things, making new failures, and learning from those failures. Perseverance and humility are two essentials for writing success!

 You have two books published on World Building. What is the difference between these two books? Is one better than the other to use? 

World Building From the Inside Out – Textbook + Workbook is a quick-start reference guide and primer for world building with a strong cultural bent.

I wrote the textbook because I couldn’t find something out there that was quick, easy, and people-oriented (aka, how will your characters act within their culture) rather than place oriented (let’s make up names for the moon and stars and plants and etc).

I wrote the workbook because literally, a review said “can I get a workbook?” The workbook is separate so that you can flip through the textbook with one hand while writing down your answers in the workbook. 

 Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories is a creative writing guide. It explains how to weave the world building you’ve created into your plot, characterization, and story themes. I wrote this book on client demand because I saw that authors would create these great fantasy worlds, but wouldn’t use those elements effectively within key story beats. So I created a resource to help!

Since they cover different aspects, writers will either buy one book (set of two) or the other, based on their need. But they often buy all three!

To read more on Janeen, visit:

·         Author Website:

·         Facebook Page:

·         Twitter:

·         Instagram: @janeen_ippolito

·         InterviewWorld Building with Janeen Ippolito 


And don’t forget to check out her book series: The Ironfire Legacy




Article by Write Stuff Conference Chair – Dawn Sooy

Dawn Headshot Updated

Dawn is a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, with plenty of experience the four seasons have to offer. Armed with a Computer Science degree, she worked in the tech industry until 2012. As an animal lover, she volunteers at the local animal shelter, sneaking in treats for the four-legged residents.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Dawn fulfills the duties of Secretary, Conference Chair for the 2019 GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™, and is part of the 2019 Anthology team. She has published six short stories, the most recent, “Love Knows No Boundaries,” featured in the 2017 GLVWG anthology, “Write Here – Write Now.” She plans to contribute a story to the 2019 GLVWG anthology “Rewriting the Past.”

“From the Darkness” is her first novel, self-published in March 2018. This is based on a true story about a woman with bipolar depression.

Dawn and her husband Bob reside in Kempton, PA. Between them, they have four children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

An Interview with Donna Brennan


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Article by Jerry Waxler
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We introduced Donna Brennan a week ago on the GLVWG Conference Blog. Donna will be conducting two seminars, Writing for Magazines, and Putting Off Procrastination, at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019. Memoir Writing Coach, Jerry Waxler, asked a few questions about Donna’s writing journey.



I see you were a technical writer. Wow. You earned a living as a writer. That is awesome. Or is it? I’ve heard two schools of thought. One is that if you want to be a writer, get a menial job like driving a bus, so you’ll go home at the end of the day desperate to write. Versus the other school that writing for a living, while not totally satisfying, provides you with thousands of hours of experience working with language. I know from my own experience that technical writer requires a fascination with language. Could say a few words about lessons you, your love for language, your pleasure in communication, etc. as a technical writer? Which one do you believe? Can you pass a message to your younger self, or a person trying to become a writer, about how this method of earning a living contributes to or detracts from the goal of creative writing?

Donna: I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was a kid. I always had a fascination with the world around me and with how things work. Plus, I love learning something new and sharing it with others. That’s why technical writing had such a great appeal for me. I would take something that many people would think of as too complex, confusing, or even boring, and put it into words that someone at a sixth grade or high school level could understand. I also wrote technical manuals for more educated users (programmers, repair technicians, etc.) and enjoyed that as well.

I think, for me, a technical writing job was just what I needed at that point in my career. It helped me to write on a regular basis, and I had plenty of experience editing my own work and the work of my peers. I had to say things concisely and precisely. Plus, the regular paycheck was nice. Yes, a boring job would give you more time to dream up stories to write when you got home, but I think enjoying your life and what you do helps you write more engaging and energizing stories.

But honestly, I think the best path for becoming a published author is to do whatever works for you. Regardless what kind of job you have, keep the writing dream alive, and work toward that dream.

One big difference between writing for a living and writing for yourself is that as a creative writer, you are your own boss.  Describe what kind of emotional skills you need in order to motivate and direct yourself to sit and write, when it is you who are both the boss and the worker.

Donna:  Being the mom of four kids, working for years when my first two were young and then being a stay-at-home mom after my twins were born, it wasn’t easy to find time to write. I was working as a technical writer and taking courses for computer programming when I met and married my husband. I received my Computer Science degree one month before my daughter (my second child) was born. I would sometimes find time to write short stories and share them with some of my writing-minded friends at work, but it wasn’t easy to do this while raising a family. I did take several creative writing courses along with the computer programming and math courses, and that helped–I had to make the time for my creative writing. But I wasn’t submitting very much back then. I kept telling myself there would be plenty of time to do that when the kids were older. Finally, when my twins entered kindergarten, I had the time to start working on my writing with more consistency.

So, I guess the short answer to your questions is that it’s easier to find time to write when you go into an office each day and writing is a major part of your job. But when you have a million jobs (chief bottle washer, kid-chauffeur, family cook) and are trying to get your kids involved in all sorts of activities (MOPS, soccer, scouts, baseball, tennis, Sunday School, piano lessons) it’s too easy to let your own needs and dreams fall to the wayside. I have to work at ways to make sure I write on a regular basis, and one of the best tools I found for that is a set of to-do lists kept next to my laptop. These are the things I have to get done today; these are the things I’d like to get done today; and these are the things I should have done yesterday. (Sigh.)

I’ve learned not to beat myself up for not being as diligent as I would like. It’s just like cheating on a diet by eating that piece of cake or candy bar. Admit you messed up and pick up where you left off. Don’t start over tomorrow, start over now.

Many people who earned a living as a writer want to repurpose their years of experience say as journalists, marketing writers, academic researchers, technical writers, grant readers. One obstacle they run into is that the “writing voice” that was appropriate in their career is not appropriate to their goals as a creative writer. How was it for you when you tried to switch from technical tor creative writing voice?

Donna:  I guess I never even think about “switching voices.” Just like most people don’t think about switching voices when they talk to their peers at work, their kids at home, or their friends at a party or bar. They just interact with their “audience.”

When I wrote technical documents (user guides, maintenance manuals, coding guides) I kept my target audience in mind and wrote to them. Most of the non-fiction I write now is in the form of advice to other moms or encouragement to other people (mostly women). I just write as if I were speaking to that other person, my reader. I consider my audience. And that’s the same way I write my novels or short stories–I think of my reader. I imagine their reaction to what I write and strive to phrase my words or show the scene in such a way as to have the effect I want on my reader.

What has been your experience teaching others how to find their creative writing voice? Is it hard for you to teach? Any tips?

Donna:  I love to teach. (My kids would say I love to talk!) I enjoy sharing what I know–what I spent time learning and understanding–with anyone who seems interested in listening. I love to show people ways to make their writing more effective, to strengthen their voice, to figure out what it is they want to say and then to say it. I always take care not to crush someone’s writing voice just because it’s not similar (or even close) to my own. There are all kinds of people in the world, and my writing won’t appeal to them all, but this other voice may speak to those people. I see my job as nourishing this other voice to be the best it can be, but still be its own.

I guess my biggest tip is to write–just write. Don’t edit what you write before the words hit the page. And don’t worry about what other people will think or say. Get the words on the paper and then once they are all written down, read them out loud and see how they make you feel. Is that the emotion you were trying to evoke? Is that the point you were trying to make? If not, put it aside (don’t delete it–there may be gems in there you will wish you had saved), and think about what you wanted to say. Then you can start with a fresh page or edit a copy of what you’ve already written.

Once you have the basic elements there–the points you wanted to make, the emotions you wanted to evoke, the direction you want to take your writing, then you can begin to edit it.

What is the coolest book length project you are either working on or wish you could complete? Describe where you are with the book and if you have an elevator pitch about it.

Donna:  Right now I’m working on editing two different novels and I’m putting together a short story collection–most of those stories have already been written. I usually include humor in my stories and novels, but my next novel will take that to another level. I wrote a “short” story called Many Kinds of Crazy (over 12,000 words long) and the folks I’ve shown it to, in addition to laughing out loud, wanted to know what happened next. They didn’t want the story to end. So I’ve decided to add another 70 thousand words or so and make it into a novel. That’s my project for February.

Elevator pitch? I haven’t gotten that far. It’s all told in the first person and my protagonist (in the short story) is categorizing every type of crazy that there is so she can put it into an app which she hopes will allow her to control all the kinds of crazy that affect her. She seems like a bit of a nut-job at first, but as you get to know her you realize she’s just lonely and very insecure. Each section of the book will be a separate story and have her deal with and overcome some new hurdle. All the little stories will come together to create one larger story. Sort of like all the little stories in our lives coming together to make us who we are and to form the saga of our existence.

How long have you been working on it?

Donna:  I wrote the first eight pages over a year ago, and then this past summer I spent about a week (or less) writing the next 24 pages. I spent the first three days trying to get back into my character’s head, but once I did the words just flowed. I hope to have it finished by the end of February.

What is that like having a book burning in your brain like that? Describe that weird mix of desire and frustration that accompanies the writing of a book.   

Donna:  It used to be frustrating having all these ideas rumbling around in my head yet not having enough time to write them down. But I’ve learned to work with what I can do. I have several potential books filed away in the crevices of my mind, and I’ll often fall asleep visualizing various scenes in different stories, listening to the dialogue and feeling the emotion. So when I finally write the stories I already know what will happen and I can get the words and scenes down quickly.

But the Many Kinds of Crazy story is so different–or the main character is so different–that I can’t just pop into the storyline on short notice. I need lots of time to get into her head and see the world as she sees it. She’s much more insecure than me (and tons funnier!) and her line of thinking takes more sudden twists and turns than a roller coaster on steroids. 


GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™


Jerry Waxler Headshot

Bio: Jerry Waxler writes, speaks, coaches and teaches about how to maximize human potential through reading and writing life stories. His book Memoir Revolution champions the social trend to turn life into Story and his workbook, How to Become a Heroic Writer, provides self-help tools to find the courage and time to write your own story. His memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World recounts his almost-failed attempt to grow into adulthood during the sixties. He teaches writing classes at Northampton Community College, and speaks about memoirs at libraries, senior communities, churches and wherever people want to learn about turning life into literature. He has a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology and practices psychotherapy in Quakertown, PA.

An Interview with Debora Riley Magnus


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Article by Write Stuff Conference Chair, Dawn Sooy
Debora Riley Magnus Headshot

We are pleased to have author and success coach Deborah Riley-Magnus return to the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on March 23, 2019.  She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio.

Deb will be on hand Saturday, March 23, for individual marketing consult. Spaces are limited, so be sure to sign up early.

NOTE: To sign up for a consulting session, follow the instructions on the registration form. Your actual times for consult will be assigned after registration is closed, and will be attached to conference materials upon signing in.


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

Well, I’m a retired award-winning chef. I absolutely love to entertain and throw dinner parties. I cook almost every single day, and my favorite pastime in the world is grocery shopping. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, let me know. I’ll cook for you! And one of these days, I will write a cookbook.

Question: What have you learned from the mistakes made within marketing a product?

Most of what I learned I learned in the very beginning. At 25 (long, long ago) I owned an advertising agency and it’s so true, God IS in the details. Always remember to look for typos, especially where you don’t expect them, like in the book title, the spelling of your name, or a blog title! Never forget to be kind, honest, and courteous. It sounds silly, but people remember and the last thing you ever want to hear is that someone you met thinks you’re, well, not a nice person. It can and does effect sales! Make sure your product is true to its word, not less than advertised, and never slightly off base. For example, if it’s a horror, it’s a horror. But if it only has a horror element or two, it’s not really a horror. That’s misrepresentation with a goal to tap into an unsuspecting hard-core horror audience. That audience will NOT be happy. And finally, you always have to believe in your product and yourself. It’s a brave thing writers do, putting our hearts and souls out there for the world to read. Believing in oneself is the biggest tool we have for plowing ahead and continuing our journey. Like sensing that a person is smiling over the phone, your marketing benefits from true, personal confidence.

Question: How has the marketing field changed over the last couple of years?

The honest truth is that marketing has never changed, it’s the same thing it always was—Marketing is CREATING AWARENESS for your book or product. What has changed is the multitude of cool, new, crazy venues available to us, and most at no cost. Another thing that’s changed is the unfortunate push for authors to use a shotgun marketing approach (email blasts, shouting “Buy my book!” on random and broad collections of Twitter followers and Facebook friends, being visible where a million other authors and their books are visible.) A far more effective targeted approach should be every author’s strategy.

Authors have gotten the mistaken idea that marketing is not creative, should be done quickly, in the same places all their competition markets, and is a one-size-fits-all system. This can’t be further from the truth. Is your book like every other author’s book? Does it tell the same story? Have the same cover? Attract to the same audience? No, no, and no. So, the one-size fits-all, get-it-over-and-done-with approach to marketing does not serve authors or anyone with a product to sell. It’s the sad reason most authors spend too much money, huff, roll their eyes, and proclaim that marketing just doesn’t work. Marketing does work. What they are doing doesn’t.

Question: What is the difference between marketing and selling?

Ah, great question! It’s actually a broader question than that. It’s the difference between SELLING and ALLOWING PEOPLE TO BUY! See, marketing is all about creating relationships with a buyer based on what they love. Imagine that your product is expensive women’s purses. Would you simply shout to everyone in hearing distance that you have the perfect purse for them? Would you set up a purse display in the weight room of a local boxing gym? Would you buy all the billboards or bus ads, or newspaper ads you can to get the word out? Now that’s selling and it’s hard, expensive work. This splattered shotgun approach can expect less than .3% return on money and effort investment. The better approach for selling expensive purses would be to target wealthy women who can afford your purses. They already love the product, are known to purchase the product, and willing to purchase more of the product. That’s allowing people to buy.

It works the same for books. If you shout in Facebook Groups loaded with other authors shouting about their book, it’s hard to be heard. But if your book is about the Civil War and you target all your marketing to antique lovers, do speaking engagements at antique shops, vintage clothing shops, or Civil War weapons collector shows, you would be allowing people to buy instead of working so hard to sell them something they may not want. When you target market, always remember all those car dealerships and newspaper pages loaded with new and used cars for sale. NO ONE is looking unless they’re in the market for a car. People not interested in the Civil War just skim past your book. However, those who love Civil War history are looking for your book. Focusing your marketing on them just makes sense. That focus will also take you to places where other authors aren’t shouting for attention.

Another big difference between selling and allowing people to buy is that often authors misunderstand their audience. Just because it’s a romance does not mean that the only people who read romance are looking at that romance lovers Facebook Group. People who love romance generally are women doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING women do! Target them where they live, and shop, and exercise, and enjoy each other’s company. There are always far bigger audiences than authors think. People who read are in a lot more places than book stores and online book shouting arenas. And they’re in those other places more of the time, making them more likely to see your marketing.

* To learn about targeted marketing meet with Deb at The Write Stuff March 21-23, 2019

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

The trend that most interests me is the vast movement to improve self-published books. Authors are starting to seek serious editing, good cover artists, and looking for higher quality publishing systems (like IngramSpark) for publication. For a long time, quality was low, even for really great self-published books. Create Space made it easy, but never focused on the highest quality that can compete with traditional publishing. A struggle for self-pubbed authors has also been distribution and visibility for libraries and bookstores. Things are improving, systems for publishing are getting better, and distribution and visibility is now available. It’ll still be a little while until readers will have no clue if a book was self or traditionally published, but things are moving in that positive direction.

Regarding genres, in my mind it’s kind of like fashion trends. They come, and they go. Vampires are back. Science Fiction has gone a little quiet. At this point urban fantasy trumps dark fantasy, but what’s quiet will get loud again and vice-versa. Romance, like a classic trench coat, never seems to waver or go out of style.

Electronic publishing, e-books and e-readers are the future. We can’t stop that. Someday there will be only online libraries and bookstores with only e-books for sale or loan. Go with it, write great books, have fantastic book covers, and target market well.

Question: I heard about different types of marketing philosophies; such as stealth marketing, guerrilla marketing, viral marketing, pragmatic marketing. Can you explain what each of these topics means?

Wow, that’s an interesting question. It really speaks to the ways people try to complicate a simple process. Marketing is marketing, period. However, I can address a few of these. Guerrilla Marketing is a system and book written by Jay Conrad Levinson and Jeanine Levinson. They wrote several marketing (public relations, advertising, and publicity) books. The word “guerilla” was used to convey the need for strategic approaches to marketing. Like a military action, marketing should never be approached without careful understanding of your target, where they are, what they love, how they like to hear information, etc. It’s the best approach out there for general marketing, hands down.

Stealth marketing is a conundrum to me. Stealth indicates subtle, silent, secret. How does that work? I’ve never heard of stealth marketing, but the concept of connecting with a prospective buyer through unique hooks in your product or book are in synch with my teachings. So, if stealth marketing means connecting with lovers of the Civil War, for example, in order to draw them closer and present your book, it’s a good idea.

Viral marketing is a product of the social networks and the internet. Certain topics, like politics, elicit affairs by highly visible personalities, current gun issues, etc. can and will go viral. Some things go viral for no reason we can put a finger on. When a celebrity or political person, like Lady GaGa or Michelle Obama write a book, it goes viral. It touches on topics that are like live tinder for social media. Viral marketing isn’t something you can plan for or strive for, UNLESS you are 1) famous, and/or 2) write a book that you KNOW is a hot topic. Oh, AND you must write it fast enough to take advantage of that topic. Viral trends are fleeting and unpredictable. Pragmatic marketing?

The definition of pragmatic is:  Of relating to a practical point of view or practical considerations.

In other words, all marketing is pragmatic if done correctly. We check our pocketbook, look at our schedule and time management, determine our target audience, develop creative ways to reach them, then plow ahead to reach as many lovers of our book’s unique hooks as possible. It doesn’t make sense to be impractical. We all need a practical, pragmatic plan.

Question: Do you have a favorite or suggested reading that I could use when marketing my book?

Anything by Levinson. Guerrilla Marketing, Guerrilla Marketing & Direct Selling, Guerrilla Social Media Marketing, Guerrilla Marketing for Free, etc. When I originally read the Guerrilla books, I owned an advertising, marketing, and public relations company. All the techniques are great, cover a broad spectrum of methods for a broad product and services base. But the books do not focus on any specific industry or product.

There are hundreds of book-marketing books out there, even free books on the topic, but we all know the value of free, right? There are books on 5-minute marketing, and 30-day marketing challenges. But as I stated earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all where serious book marketing is concerned. There are books that teach you how to use Twitter, or the best ways to use Facebook (which changes constantly,) or using Instagram, or YouTube, or Pinterest for book sales. The reality is that you need to know more than how to use one or two social networks. A marketing author needs to understand how to integrate each chosen network, connect them to your target audience, intertwine them with live activities, the right message, and create the right platforms for YOUR book’s voice. Not anyone else’s book, YOURS.

My strongest suggestion for marketing your book is my book, Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap Between Creative Writer and Marketing Author. It focuses on BOOK marketing and the creative processes involved. The book introduces create processes authors don’t realize are part of marketing. It offers strategic tools, proven techniques, and opens the door for marketing related to the specific book the author has written and how to reach that precise audience.

Debora Riley Magnus Book Cover

Here are the facts, all the facts, and nothing but the facts about marketing. Marketing is CREATING AWARENESS that brings sales. Good marketing helps you allow people to buy your book, and real marketing doesn’t cost a fortune or take all your time.

To meet with Deb and get her expert consultation join us at The Write Stuff March 21-23, 2019

You can learn more about Deb at her website ~ The Author Success Coach.

Her books are on Amazon and you can find her on Twitter @rileymagnus and Facebook.



Article by The Write Stuff Conference Chair – Dawn Sooy

Dawn Headshot Updated

Dawn is a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, with plenty of experience the four seasons have to offer. Armed with a Computer Science degree, she worked in the tech industry until 2012. As an animal lover, she volunteers at the local animal shelter, sneaking in treats for the four-legged residents.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Dawn fulfills the duties of Secretary, Conference Chair for the 2019 GLVWG The Write Stuff Conference™, and is part of the 2019 Anthology team. She has published six short stories, the most recent, “Love Knows No Boundaries,” featured in the 2017 GLVWG anthology, “Write Here – Write Now.” She plans to contribute a story to the 2019 GLVWG anthology “Rewriting the Past.”

From the Darkness” is her first novel, self-published in March 2018. This is based on a true story about a woman with bipolar depression.

Dawn and her husband Bob reside in Kempton, PA. Between them, they have four children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Meet Kathryn Craft — Speaker GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019


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Article by The Write Stuff Conference Chair, Dawn Sooy


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Kathryn Craft writes stories that seek beauty and meaning at the edge of darkness. Rich with material for further thought or discussion, her novels make a great choice for book clubs.

Her first novel, The Art of Falling (Sourcebooks), grew from her 19 years of experience as a dance critic for The Morning Call newspaper. Set in Philadelphia, every page of the novel is infused with a dancer’s heightened awareness of the human body and its movement.

Her second novel, the IPPY award-winning The Far End of Happy (Sourcebooks), is based on the true events surrounding the 1997 suicide standoff that resulted in her husband’s death. It was these events that launched her interest working through troubling psychosocial issues by writing fiction.

Over the past decades she has served on the boards of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and the Philadelphia Writers Conference and worked with the Women’s Fiction Writers Association; she hosts writing retreats for women and often speaks about writing. She is a regular contributor at two of Writer’s Digest’s Top 101 Websites for Writers, Writer Unboxed and Writers in the Storm.

Kathryn Kraft Headshot

Who is Kathryn Craft?

“I love the sound of snow crunching beneath boots, the taste of butter, and pumpkin pancakes with real maple syrup (What can I say? I was born in Syracuse, NY). Perfume isn’t for me. When I’m swimming in a northern spring-fed lake, and my nose is right down near the water–that’s my favorite scent in the world. The next is baking bread, which reminds me of my grandmother (I’ve spent every summer of my life at the same lakeside cottage, where I can still conjure her spirit).”

Sat Kathryn Kraft

Kathryn was a favorite speaker at a past conference and we were delighted when she was available for us in 2019. She will be presenting the following sessions at the Write Stuff Conference, Saturday March 23.

  • Those Critical First Pages

An agent’s request for a full manuscript is so exciting for an aspiring author—but how much of your novel will an agent really read? Perhaps only a few paragraphs—about all you would give a book when browsing in the bookstore. We’ll analyze opening pages that refused to let publishing industry pros go.

  • Say That and More: Writing Effective Dialogue – Seating Limited to 24

In this two-hour workshop, you will participate in a series of exercises that will challenge you to improve your dialogue writing. Prepare to leave with a whole new respect for this multi-tasking tool—and perhaps the germ of a new story idea, as well.

  • To take advantage of Kathryn’s experience and expertise join us at The Write Stuff
    March 21 – 23, 2019


Kathryn lives with her husband in Doylestown. She is the proud mother of two sons: an opera singer and a traffic engineer.

To read more on Kathryn, visit:

You can follow Kathryn on her Facebook Page KathrynCraftAuthor and Twitter @kcraftwriter

Interviews with Kathryn:



Article by Dawn Sooy, The Write Stuff 2019 Chair.

Dawn Headshot Updated

Dawn is a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, with plenty of experience the four seasons have to offer. Armed with a Computer Science degree, she worked in the tech industry until 2012. As an animal lover, she volunteers at the local animal shelter, sneaking in treats for the four-legged residents.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Dawn fulfills the duties of Secretary, Conference Chair for the 2019 GLVWG The Write Stuff Conference™ and is part of the 2019 Anthology team. She has published six short stories, the most recent, “Love Knows No Boundaries,” featured in the 2017 GLVWG anthology, “Write Here – Write Now.” She plans to contribute a story to the 2019 GLVWG anthology “Rewriting the Past.”

From the Darkness” is her first novel, self-published in March 2018. This is based on a true story about a woman with bipolar depression.

Dawn and her husband Bob reside in Kempton, PA. Between them, they have four children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.



Meet Dr. Larry Schardt, Presenter at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019


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By Charles Kiernan


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Resident traditional storyteller and author, Charles Kiernan, offers us a perspective on GLVWG’s Dr. Larry “Rock ‘n’ Roll!!!” Schardt, whose life mission is to “plant seeds of love and happiness wherever he goes.”



Dr. Schardt is dedicated to helping people in any way possible. Through his workshops, he shares ways to help you maximize your joy in life, find your writing muse, and live a life of Success That Rocks . . .

Did you ever wonder:

  • How you can find happiness and success with all that’s going on in life?
  • Why some people are happy, and others just plod along?
  • What it takes for you to enjoy your days?
  • What it takes for you to feel successful?

During “Success that Rocks:”

  • You will experience ideas on how to enjoy life to the fullest.
  • You will learn the 3 Key Habits (Golden Keys) for Happiness and Success.
  • You will learn the success formula to change adversity into victory.
  • You will learn how to be a victor instead of a victim.
  • You will learn wisdom for fixing problems.
  • You will learn the many virtues of happiness and success

Put a Positive Spin on Rejection – Propel Your Writing and Yourself into Success that Rocks. 

A writer’s work is always on the line for criticism or rejection or both. When rejected you may be tempted to toss your computer off a cliff, watch your hard work smash into tiny shards on the rocks below, crawl in a cave, and sink into the gloomy dungeon of self-pity.

This workshop will provide you with the tools to help you escape from the dungeon and explore rejection from a different perspective . . . So you can grow, persist, and flourish.

You will learn the secrets of becoming a victor instead of a victim, making happiness a habit, and overcoming the diseases of cynicism, negaholism, and blame. You will also learn the secrets of enjoying a life of “Success That Rocks.”


Powerful Tools to Enhance Your Writing Success and Rock Your Life . . .

Suffer from writer’s block, overwhelm, lack of focus, stalled creativity, anxiety . . . ? Yikes! In this workshop, Dr. Larry “Rock ’n’ Roll” Schardt shares ways to blast through these maladies and empower your writing, and your life.

From daily routines, to mindfulness, to programs, to conferences, to potent psychological tools, and beyond, Larry shares secrets to improve your life and enhance your creativity. Supercharge your mindset, and your writing, with tools to help you reach your maximum potential.


Larry Schardt Pic Crop

Dr. Schardt will present at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019:





A seemingly insignificant incident transformed Larry’s life when he was 15. While he was delivering newspapers, he found a copy of a Reader’s Digest sitting on top of a bundle of trash. The headlined condensed story “How to Win Friends and Influence People” caught his eye. He sat on the curb, read the article, and changed his perspective forever.

Ever since that day his passion has been to explore and spread happiness and success. As a trainer and teacher he continues to hone his craft.

Dr. Schardt has a Masters in Education and Communications and earned his PhD in Education and Instructional Systems Design. Larry has toured the country motivating audiences from all 50 states and US Territories, with his presentations on success, leadership, writing, and happiness.

Dr. Schardt has been teaching at Penn State University for the past 25 years. He has also taught at University of Pittsburgh, Dickinson College, and University of the Virgin Islands. Schardt is co-founder and facilitator of the highly successful Mindful Writers Retreats and is presently co-authoring a book on Mindful Writing and Retreats.

He is also a regular speaker at writing conferences (where he receives rave reviews). His talks provide writers with tools and motivation to enhance their craft and Rock Their Worlds! . . .

Larry’s daily Facebook Blog to entertains, encourages, and motivates his readers to live a life of Success That Rocks. You can also follow Larry on his uplifting Twitter link @LarrySchardt

He wrote the textbook Natural Resources Conservation and Community Sustainability, published by Penn State Press. He has stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude.

His teaching philosophy is one of the few included in The Penn State Teacher II. He also authored manuals on grant training, mentoring, leadership, nonprofit management, and other educational trainings.

When he’s not writing, speaking, researching, or teaching you will find Larry involved with small businesses, community activities, and storytelling. He is a music junkie! His other hobbies include walking, skiing, rollercoasters, and people!

During his presentations, you will experience an atmosphere of fun and levity by sharing stories of life and triumph over adversity. Live Success That Rocks!



Article by Charles Kiernan


Charles Kiernan is the proud author of two, entirely unpublished, middle-grade fantasy novels. He is better known as a storyteller—as in, stand up in front of a crowd and tell them a tale. He has also pawned himself off as Mark Twain to the unwary, but with no success to literary agents.

Charles was featured on GLVWG Write Stuff Blog this past September, Charles Kiernan:  Mark Twain impersonator, traditional storyteller, and writer

He is also coordinator for the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, Pennsylvania State Representative for the National Youth Storytelling Showcase, Pennsylvania State Liaison for the National Storytelling Network, recipient of the 2008 Individual Artist Award from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, and grand slam winner at the Lehigh Valley Story Slam, November 2017.

He is proudest of his blog on fairy tales, Fairy Tale of the Month, which he has been writing since December 2010.

Be sure to follow him on Facebook, and his exploits as Samuel Clemons on his Lost Dollar site.


Meet David Fessenden — Speaker GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ March 23, 2019


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Article by Write Stuff Conference Chair – Dawn Sooy



David Fessenden Headshot

David E. Fessenden has launched out as an independent editorial and publishing consultant after 20 years in editorial management for Christian publishers. Dave has a B.A. in journalism, an M.A. in religion, and over 30 years of experience in writing and editing. In his previous positions, Dave has edited scholarly and popular journals, served on the staff of a Bible Institute, and edited a regional edition of the largest Protestant weekly newspaper in the country.

GLVWG was delighted when Dave agreed to speak at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on March 23, 2019, the only problem, he has a robust presentation list and choosing between the topics difficult. We decided on these:

  • The Publishing Contract

Just when you are rejoicing that your book is going to be published, you receive a thick envelope in the mail — the dreaded publishing contract. This seminar will explain the clauses in a standard book contract, from a layperson’s perspective. [Disclaimer — I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t dispense legal advice!]

  • The Writer/Editor Relationship

Writers and editors sometimes have a love/hate relationship — but it doesn’t have to be that way. This workshop covers what an editor looks for in a writer, and how you can be the kind of writer-editors love to publish!

  • The Dreaded Outline: What Your English Teacher Never Told You

Do you dread preparing an outline? It’s not surprising if you are doing it the way you were probably taught in grade school. This workshop shows you how to break free of strict and silly rules so that you can use an outline as a writing plan.

  • Editing Your Own Material (Muhlenberg)
    It’s a basic fact of human nature — we tend to be blind to our own mistakes. (Otherwise, we wouldn’t make the same ones over and over again!) These tips on self-editing show you how to step out of your skin — to be “objective” in the truest sense of the word — and smooth out the rough spots in your manuscript.


Who is David Fessenden?

During my 20 years in Christian publishing, I have learned to wear a lot of hats. Let me tell you about a few of them:

Editorial Coach

I can come alongside you to find ways to bring focus to your manuscript, making it more oriented to a specific audience, more effective and more publishable. I can also help you hone your proposal into a dynamic presentation that will spark the interest of a publisher.

Publishing Consultant

I can assist publishing houses, whether large or small, with editorial services and advice in acquisition, publishing agreements, copyright issues, subsidiary and international rights, production (including printed, e-book and audio formats) and promotion.

Academic Literary Agent

I am available to represent a limited number of authors on a per-project basis at a standard 15% agency rate. I capitalize on two decades in editorial positions with CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) publishers and my seminary training to specialize in the nonfiction Christian book market, with a bent toward authors and manuscripts that are more theological, academic or semi-academic.

David Fessenden Headshot 2

Among many of the hats David wears, songwriting is another. He has delighted music lovers with songs that can be heard on

Dave’s God: There is one thing I really want you to know about me: my life is not my own. I have put it in the hands of the One who created the universe. To read more on this “God stuff,” select this link: Dave’s God

My wife and I live in southcentral Pennsylvania; we have two adult sons/daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.


To read more on David, visit:


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




Dawn Headshot Updated

Dawn Sooy, GLVWG’s Conference Chairman, is a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, with plenty of experience the four seasons have to offer. Armed with a Computer Science degree, she worked in the tech industry until 2012. As an animal lover, she volunteers at the local animal shelter, sneaking in treats for the four-legged residents.

Meet Jon Gibbs — Speaker GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ 2019


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Article by GLVWG member Tammy Burke


As you probably guessed from the wording on his favorite mug, he are a writer. And GLVWG knows, Jon are also an in-demand conference speaker and will be presenting the following topics at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on March 23, 2019:

Are Your Characters Right for the Part?

When you create a character for a book or story, it’s tempting to stick with the first ‘person’ who turns up to audition, but what if he/she isn’t really right for the part? How can you make sure the ‘actor’ you end up using is the best one for the role? Join New Jersey author, Jon Gibbs, for a fun, informative, workshop on auditioning potential characters. Also, there may be candy.

Please note: This is a hands-on session. Attendees should bring pens and plenty of paper to work with.

The Seven-Sentence Solution.

Can you tell your novel’s story in seven sentences? What about your characters? Can you tell their arc, and how the story has changed them, in seven sentences? Join New Jersey author, Jon Gibbs, to learn how applying the Seven-Sentence Solution to your story (and to the people who take part in it) can make writing your book a lot easier, and reading it a lot more fun. This is a two-hour session. Also, there may be candy.\

jon gibbs englishman

A writer of thrillers, fantasy, horror, etc. (most of it for Middle Grade), Jon’s middle-grade fantasy, Fur-Face (Echelon Press), was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon was ‘Author in Residence’ at Georgian Court University, in Lakewood, New Jersey, from 2012 – 2017.

In addition to his Fun with Fiction School program, Jon is the founder of The New Jersey Authors’ Network (NJAN). He has appeared with fellow NJAN members at panel/Q&As in libraries around the Garden State. He has also given numerous solo presentations and workshops on writing and blogging, as well as the occasional after-dinner speech. Jon’s 60-minute presentation, GETTING PUBLISHED: 10 Things Every Writer Should Know was broadcast on local cable TV in the Fall of 2012.

Born in England, Jon moved to New Jersey with his wife and children in 2004. He became a US citizen in 2016.

When he’s not running around after his special-needs children, Jon can usually be found in his basement office, staring at the computer – one day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

To read more about Jon, visit:


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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.

Meet Donna Brennan, Speaker GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ 2019


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Article by GLVWG Newsletter Chair – Sandra Almonte


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Donna Brennan will be doing a workshop Saturday morning at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ , March 23, 2019 titled Strengthening Your Writing. In the afternoon, she will be presenting on Getting Started Writing for Magazines and Putting Off Procrastination.

In her spare time, Donna enjoys daydreaming, walking, reading, and trying to catch up on all the Law and Order episodes. She used to enjoy playing FreeCell and Spider Solitaire, but had to give them up since they are addictive.

In 2017, Donna’s husband Jeff bought a restaurant in St. Croix. But their youngest two boys (twins) had two more years of high school and their daughter was commuting to college (still is), so Donna and Jeff now have a long distance marriage. Jeff came home five times last year, and Donna went down to visit him twice—once with the kids and once by herself. They both look forward to when the twins are in college and Donna can visit pretty much whenever she wants, for as long as she wants.

Donna was born and raised in Rahway, New Jersey and went to Rutgers College in New Brunswick to study communications. Twelve years later she went back to Rutgers for her computer science degree. She became a stay-at-home mom after her twins were born (with four kids, day care was cost prohibitive), and finally started to pursue her writing career a few years after that.

In March of 2019, a collection of her short stories will be self-published and available for sale at the conference. She has two novels she hopes to have published in the near future. An agent and two publishers have shown interest, so she’s keeping optimistic.

Since 2010, Donna has been helping out and/or instructing at writer’s conferences. She enjoys sharing what she’s learned and encouraging others.

She’s currently in the process of creating her website,, where she plans to give advice on getting the junk and clutter out of your life, living space, and diet. She hopes her website inspires people to be the best they can be and to have a positive effect on the world around them.

Donna lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her three youngest kids (all taller than her) and their cat.


Visit her website at She’d love to get feedback on what you think.


Sandra Almonte

Sandra Almonte is a Certified Fitness Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and Health and Wellness Coach. Passionate about the wellness and fitness fields, she decided to try freelance Copywriting in 2009. Since then she has helped companies write compelling copy for their products and services both in print and online while still training and coaching clients who are looking for healthier lifestyles.

When she’s not immersed in a good writing course or reading a book; she’s hiking or on a long walk with her dog. Sandra also enjoys spending time with her other pets (cat and bunny), bike riding, and volunteering for good causes.

You can visit her website at