See you at the Pennwriters Conference!

May 6, 2010

***UPDATE*** 5/9:

AREA 6 PENNWRITERS: Join Lisa Kastner at Breakfast!

Lisa is our Pennwriters President and fellow Area 6 member. She coordinates the monthly Philadelphia Pennwriters critique group and supports writers throughout the region. Lisa is a great writer, a great leader, and a great person to know in Pennwriters.

Join Lisa at breakfast for a quick rally with other writers. Put faces to names, and make a new friend!

Jade Blackwater regrets to announce that after having fun day getting her hair done in Seattle to prepare for the Pennwriters Conference, she promptly came down with the flu and is unable to fly. Jade sends her deepest regrets, and encourages all writers to take full advantage of the Pennwriters Conference.

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We’re a week away from the 23rd Pennwriters Annual Writers’ Conference to be held in Lancaster, PA May 14-16 2010. This year’s conference features keynote speakers James Rollins and Elizabeth Kann, a stellar lineup of agents, editors, and authors for workshops and pitch sessions, plus designated party time at the Pennwriters ‘Heroes and Villains’ Saturday Night Masquerade Ball.

REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2010 PENNWRITERS CONFERENCE

So why should you attend? For starters, if you’re a Pennwriters member of Area 6 or another writer from the Mid-Atlantic, this is a fabulous opportunity to participate in a writers’ event right here in your region. Pennwriters offers a variety of workshops, networking, and promotional opportunities to help writers of all levels improve their work and build their business.

You don’t have to be from the East Coast to enjoy a Pennwriters event! Keynote James Rollins joins us from Northern California, and I’m flying over from Western Washington state to join the fun and support Area 6. The great thing about the Pennwriters membership is that it started with a strong community of writers from Pennsylvania, and has grown to include members from all across the US, and a few far-flung folks overseas. The annual conference is the perfect time to put a face to a name/handle/avatar/penpal/writing-buddy.

LOOK FOR LISA KASTNER JADE BLACKWATER AT BREAKFAST

AREA 6 MEMBERS (and all writers) can find me at breakfast – I’ll have something to catch the eye and make it easy to spot me – and please come introduce yourself! I want to meet members, shake hands, and introduce you to one another.

I’m on the hunt for a new volunteer for the Area 6 Representative position. All members of Pennwriters Area 6 extend a hearty thank you to Bob Michalsky for his support of Pennwriters, and wish him all the best in his endeavors! If you are ready to support writers in your area and do more with Pennwriters, then I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

GET READY TO PITCH YOUR WRITING

Over at the Pennwriters Area 6 blog, Conference Coordinator Ayleen Stellhorn stops by with tips to prepare yourself to pitch, and a detailed interview discussing more about the conference.

Pennwriters Area 6 Member Ash Krafton has also prepared a link-rich post about pitching your work, plus more about editing the muse and navigating the transition from hobby writer to career author.

Follow @Pennwriters on Twitter for even more resources including tweets about Pennwriters activities as well as news, tips, and insights from members, guests, and other writing resources. You can also Follow @JadeBlackwater on Twitter for my own #PWcon tweets plus more about writing, art, creativity, ecology, sustainability, and various miscellanea.

If you’re on Twitter, remember to use the #PWcon hashtag to tweet the conference, and use the #Pennwriters hashtag any time to chat about Pennwriters. Send @Pennwriters a @ (mention) or DM (direct message) and let them know you’re a member (tell them your name so you can be located in the roster). @Pennwriters follows Pennwriters members and guests.

If you’re on Facebook, be sure to join the Pennwriters Group and Page to keep up on news and announcements and to engage with the membership.

Contact me with any questions (or to be my last-minute volunteer angel).

See you all in Lancaster!


Feature Artist Interview: Ayleen Stellhorn

February 1, 2010

This interview also appears at the Pennwriters Area 6 HQ blog.

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Ayleen Stellhorn, freelance writer and editor, Pennwriters Member, and 2010 Pennwriters Conference Coordinator.  Ayleen works hard, balances multiple projects, and still greets everyone with a smile (you can even “see” her smile in her friendly emails).

You can contact Ayleen via email with questions about this year’s Pennwriters Conference at this address: conference2010[at]pennwriters[dot]com.

[Additional details are available at the end of this interview.]

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JB: Greetings Ayleen!  Thanks for joining us for an interview at the Pennwriters Area 6 HQ blog.

AS: Nice to be invited, Jade. Thank you.

JB: First, tell us a little about yourself.  What do you write?  When did you first join Pennwriters?

AS: I write newspaper and magazine articles mostly. My articles have appeared in the Hanover Evening Sun, the Chambersburg Public Opinion, and the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. Right now I’m writing regularly for Lancaster Farming Journal and Adams Electric’s corporate magazine PennLines, and I just signed a contract to author a book featuring contemporary hooked rugs. I also do a lot of freelance editing for publishers of craft and hobby books. I’ve been a member of Pennwriters for about 10 years.

JB: I understand that this isn’t your first time volunteering as the Pennwriters Conference Coordinator.  Could you tell us a little about your experiences, and what brings you back to organize the 2010 Conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania?

AS: I coordinated the 2008 conference in Lancaster. We had an amazing turnout, and overall, everything went really well. Award-winning literary writer and Princeton University professor Joyce Carol Oates was our keynote speaker; Susan Meier, Mary Jo Rulnick, Brian Butko, and Valerie Malmont were a few of our workshop presenters; and a record 236 people attended. We had a lot of firsts that year, including the preconference intensive classes, an author as a Friday keynote, and the networking lunch. I decided to volunteer one more year because I wanted to do a couple things differently: the first was a new hotel and the second was a commercial fiction writer as a keynote. So in 2010, we’re at the Eden Resort in Lancaster and we have adventure-thriller writer James Rollins as our Friday night keynote.

JB: This year I’ll be joining everyone in Lancaster for my first writers’ conference ever.  Can you tell a newbie like me what to expect?  What would be the *top three* things a writer could do to make the most of the Pennwriters Conference experience?

AS: Top three things for a newbie… Let’s see…

Be prepared to be overwhelmed is one. A lot goes on in a very short time, and your brain will reach overload quickly. I’ve been to five conferences, and I always walk out of each workshop with my head spinning with ideas. Even if you think you’ll remember something, write it down anyways. Odds are you’ll get another great idea — or piece of advice or link to follow — at the next workshop, and that first idea will be long gone.

Be ready to talk is two. If you’re generally the person who sits back and listens to conversations flowing around you, make a conscious decision to not be that type of person at the conference. Introduce yourself to the folks sitting at your breakfast table; find out what the person sitting next to you in a workshop likes to write; join a group of people hanging out in the hospitality room or at the bar; volunteer for one of the little jobs like moderator or Penn Pal. And along those same lines, be prepared to answer the question, “What do you write?/What are you writing?” in one or two sentences. You’ll get asked that more times than you can count.

Latch on to the positive is three. Getting published in any form takes a lot of skill, but it also takes a lot of persistence: you need to be in the right place at the right time with the right manuscript. You’ll hear lots of gloom-and-doom statistics at a writers conference dealing with how many queries an agent receives and how few they accept, or how many rejection letters an author received before he or she got published, or how many writers write but quit before their manuscript is even completed. Don’t get discouraged. Focus on the encouraging personal stories and listen to the advice of the agents and editors we’ve invited.

JB: Event planning is a huge undertaking – especially for something like this.  Can you tell us about some of the joys and trials of volunteering as the Conference Coordinator?  What advice would you give to other volunteers who organize events for nonprofits?

AS: The joys far outweigh the trials. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be back for my second shot at this! I love seeing a writer make a connection with an editor or agent. I love to sit at dinner and hear people talk about how their characters are running their lives. I love providing an opportunity for writers to learn and grow and just be writers in whatever genre, whether that’s nonfiction, thrillers, comics, magazines, poetry, corporate communications…. The trials (and they are sometimes devils) are in the details. Putting together a quality three-day program that will appeal to a broad range of writers is a real challenge. Lining up everything the editors, agents, and presenters need — from travel arrangements to special room set-ups — can fall through the cracks with one missed e-mail. And making sure all the little things are covered, like codes to book rooms online and full coffee pots 24/7, is sometimes overwhelming. My advice to other volunteers who organize events like ours would be to believe in what you’re doing, and be a list-maker!

JB: I know that readers can get the scoop if they follow Pennwriters on Twitter, join the Pennwriters Group on Facebook, or visit the Official Pennwriters website, but please tell us again: What are the highlights for the 2010 Pennwriters Conference?

AS: Highlights:

Keynote James Rollins, author of adventure thrillers, the movie novelization for the most recent Indiana Jones movie, and a new series of young adult thrillers. Watch his videos at www.jamesrollins.com to see why we think he’s going to be an excellent keynote.

Eight agents and editors: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Agency; Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency; Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Agency; Alex Glass, Trident Media; Janet Reid, Fine Print Literary; Barbara Lalicki, senior vice president and editorial director at HarperCollins Children; David Pomerico, assistant editor at Del Rey Spectra; and Leis Pederson, associate editor at Berkley. They’ll be hearing pitches, teaching classes, and critiquing first pages.

Preconference classes. Attend in-depth and interactive full-day and half-day seminars with Tim Esaias (fiction), Jonathan Maberry (nonfiction), Loree Lough (plotting), and CJ Lyons (fiction queries).

Three days of workshops. The conference fee includes more than 40 to choose from, and all the instructors are published authors or industry professionals.

JB: We’ve held the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster before.  For visitors who’ve never been to Lancaster (or perhaps even Pennsylvania), what are some of the other local perks you might suggest they check out?

AS: Take an extra day to wander through Amish country. (The city is filled with tourist attractions, which give you a good overview of the culture, but there’s nothing like checking out the roadside stands and sharing the byways with buggies.) Go shopping at the outlets. Play golf at the Host. Eat at a smorgasbord. See a play at the Dutch apple. Check out Central Market. Visit Landis Valley Farm Museum.

JB: How can writers, editors, agents, publishers, book sellers, readers, etc. help to get the word out about the Pennwriters conference?

AS: I’d like to ask folks to simply drop our name and website into whatever social media they’re using. Mention us in your Facebook status, twitter about a favorite author who will be teaching, write about us in your blog, list the event info on your own website. I’ve also got fliers that you can hang up at local coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, etc. Every little bit will help. We’ve got an amazing program, and I want to share that with as many writers as possible.

JB: Where and how can writers register for the 2010 Pennwriters Conference?

AS: Online, go to www.pennwriters.com, click on Conference and then Register. If you prefer to send a check by mail, download and print a registration form at the Pennwriters website, or call or email me so I can send you one. Registration forms will also be printed in January-February 2010 issue of The Penn Writer newsletter. (Remember to book your room early. The Eden [1-866-801-6430] is a gorgeous facility but much smaller than the Host.)

JB: Finally, as a writer and journalist (and all-around awesome person), what words of wisdom or inspiration would like to share for writers and artists?

AS: Always end an interview with a question that strokes your source’s ego and makes her feel appreciated. 🙂 Nicely done, Jade.

Ayleen, we thank you again for joining us and sharing some behind-the-scenes insight.  See you at the Pennwriters Conference in May 2010!


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2010 Pennwriters Conference – The Writer’s Craft

When: May 14 – 16, 2010

(May 13, Preconference Seminars)

Where: Eden Resort, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA

POC: Ayleen Stellhorn, Pennwriters 2010 Conference Coordinator

Web: www.pennwriters.com

Email: conference2010[at]pennwriters[dot]com

Facebook: Be a Fan of the Pennwriters Annual Writers Conference

Twitter: Follow Pennwriters on Twitter

LinkedIn: Join Pennwriters on LinkedIn

Listserve: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PennwritersConference/


Writers: Run Wild for February 2010

January 26, 2010

Running Wild Writers, LLC offers its first fiction writers’ workshop for 2010 beginning Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7 PM. Workshops will run for ten weeks, and will be held in the heart of an artists’ community at 1241 Carpenter St. Philadelphia, PA 19147.

What You Get:
Participants will have the chance to workshop two pieces of a maximum 5,000 words each. The pieces will be given thorough written feedback by the instructor as well as feedback from fellow attendees.

Cost:
The ten week course will cost $410 for non-Pennwriters and $375 for Pennwriters members.

Interested?
Registration is available at www.runningwildwriters.org

Need More Info?
For more information, contact Lisa Diane Kastner at lisa [at] runningwildwriters [dot] org

Lisa’s Bio
A former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, Lisa Kastner currently writes freelance and by invitation in literature and the arts. Her literary interviews include Charles Baxter (Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature 1997) and Lee Martin (Pulitzer Prize Nominee 2006).

She is the Founder of Running Wild Writers Community, LLC and the President of Pennwriters (www.pennwriters.com), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting the novice to the award winning and multipublished writers to learn and succeed in the craft. She is the founder of the Pennwriters King of Prussia Critique Group, Philadelphia Critique Group and has led workshops on business communications. Her short stories have been published in 63 Channels Journal and The StraightJackets Magazine.

Lisa promises that her facetious redheaded tendencies will not get in the way of the workshop but instead provide a bit of flavor, like cinnamon. Learn more about Lisa at her blog The Wonderful World of a Facetious Redhead.

Running Wild Writers Community
Running Wild Writers, LLC is a not-for-profit created to assist up and coming writers to learn and excel in the craft of writing. Running Wild welcomes writers from all forms and all genres. Located at 1241 Carpenter St, Philadelphia, PA, Running Wild Writers is in the heart of an artists’ community.

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Philadelphia Writers Make Room to Run Wild

August 1, 2009

August 1, 2009

For immediate release
1 August 2009
Contact: Lisa Kastner, Founder
lisa[at]runningwildwriters[dot]org
www.runningwildwriters.org
 
Philadelphia Writers Make Room to Run Wild
 
Running Wild Writers, LLC  debuts as Philadelphia’s newest writers’ community with its first Fiction Workshop beginning September 2009.  Founded by Philadelphia-based writer Lisa Diane Kastner, Running Wild provides a venue for writers of all forms and all genres to learn and succeed in the craft.  Kastner is a fiction writer, former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theater Review, freelance journalist for the Delaware County Times, Features Editor for the Picolata Review, and President of Pennwriters, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit writers’ organization.
 
“In my years with the creative writing community, I have repeatedly been asked to provide writers a venue to more thoroughly explore the craft of writing.  Running Wild Writers is the answer to that request.”
 
The inaugural Fiction Workshop will begin September 24 and will run once a week for ten weeks through December 2009. Attendees will have two opportunities to submit up to 5,000 words of original material to be reviewed by participants and to receive a detailed assessment from Kastner.
 
“What makes Running Wild Writers unique is that we believe all forms and genres are valuable. Most workshops specialize in a specific genre such as literary, thriller, mystery, romance and so forth. At Running Wild, we believe that writers can learn and grow by reading and writing across genres,” said Kastner.   “The same is true for form.  Writers need to experiment in creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction writing to hone their skills and discover who they are as writers.”
 
Workshop Details

Running Wild Writers Community will hold a 10-week Fiction Writers Workshop  from September 24 – December 3, 2009. The group will meet on Thursdays at 7 PM.
 
Participants will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces, maximum of 5,000 words each, during the sessions.  Each work will be given thorough written feedback by the instructor as well as feedback from fellow attendees.  In addition, the instructor will select elements of the craft to discuss during the sessions.  Craft discussions will be based on the pieces workshopped that evening.  Workshops will be held at 1241 Carpenter St., Philadelphia, PA 19147, in the heart of a thriving Philadelphia arts community.
 
Lisa’s Bio
 
Lisa Diane Kastner, fiction writer, creative non-fiction explorer, and former journalist writes fiction from Philadelphia and draws inspiration from her local experience. Kastner promises that her flaming red head tendencies will neither detract nor overly add to the commentary. If anything, it will bring a bit of flavor, like cinnamon.
 
A former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, Kastner currently writes freelance and by invitation in literature and the arts. Her literary interviews include Charles Baxter (Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature 1997) and Lee Martin (Pulitzer Prize Nominee 2006).
 
Kastner is the Founder of Running Wild Writers Community, LLC and President of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com) , a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the novice to the award winning and multipublished writers to learn and succeed in the craft. She is the founder of the Pennwriters King of Prussia and Philadelphia Critique Groups, and can be found throughout the region leading workshops on business communications, and occasionally performing on the local stage with theater companies such as CelebrationTheater.  Her short stories have been published in 63 Channels Journal and The StraightJackets Magazine.
 
For more information go to www.runningwildwriters.org or contact Kastner via email at lisa[at]runningwildwriters[dot]org.

 

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Abandon hope all ye who enter here: Anita Marie Moscoso and Jade Leone Blackwater team up in Seattle, Washington

July 23, 2008

Attention Seattle writers: I am partnering with Anita Marie Moscoso of Owl Creek Bridge and Irregular Bones to create a new writers group in the Seattle area.  We’re still in the planning stages, and selecting our meeting dates, times, and venue(s).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with A.M.M., you’re missing out.  Anita beams with curiosity, creativity, and possibility.  She seems to be a super-natural source of inspiration – just a little light lunch down the way from Ye Olde Curiosity Shop left me chewing on new ideas for weeks.  Anita is full of wisdom, humor, and true generous spirit.  I can’t wait to get our group started!

We invite other writers in the Seattle area to contact us and join our new group.  Also, be sure to stop by the Owl Creek Bridge to explore Anita’s work… (and watch out: I may be haunting her pages soon!)

PS – If you’re a writer in Pennsylvania, be sure to visit the Pennwriters Area 6 HQ blog for news, events, and resources for writers.  New authors will be joining us soon!