Category Archives: WVW Summer Conference 2008

Conference Countdown: Entertainment

Once again, WV Writers has lined up two stellar nights of entertainin’ for the Summer Conference.

On Friday night conference attendees will be treated to Joe’s Shorts Part II: The Revenge, a selection of live readings from the short plays of the late Joe McCabe. Before Joe passed away in 2007, we had already been planning on asking him for a repeat performance of Joe’s Shorts, which were a hit as entertainment at the 2006 Summer Conference. With Joe’s passing, it seemed only fitting that we go right ahead with plans for Joe’s Shorts II. We’re currently casting our net for cast members to take on roles in these plays, so if you have a hankering to act or just to honor Joe, please contact El Presidente Eric Fritzius at

Saturday night features another reprise of a past conference favorite, Pops Walker. Last year Pops absolutely blew the roof off the assembly hall using a guitar, sound system and his voice alone. Well, almost alone; he did have a particularly memorable special guest join him mid-way through the show, one Mr. Lee Maynard, who read a new short story he’d written while Pops provided musical accompaniment. It was a wholly impressive and appropriate collaboration, being as how Pops is responsible for the music in the Mountain Whispers audio adaptation of Mr. Maynard’s novel, Crum and is also responsible for the tunes in the upcoming adaptation of Crum’s sequel, Screaming With the Cannibals. If you were there to witness the show, you know how great it was. If you weren’t there, man, you missed out—but you now can make up for it with Pops return performance this year.

For Pops grand return he will be accompanied by not one but two very special guests in the forms of Keith and Joan Pitzer. Keith and Joan are known and respected West Virginia musicians. Haling from Kingwood, they’ve appeared as part of the Voices of West Virginia touring group with songwriters John Lilly, Kate Long and Todd Burge. Their song "Underneath a Blackened Moon" is included in the Mountain Whispers adaptation of William Blizzard’s, “When Miners March.” Their musical style is a blend of blend contemporary style with Appalachian and Celtic music. So it shall indeed be an unprecedented event to hear their style mix with Pops Walker’s trademark Southern Fried Zen Mojo style.

Pops and the Pitzers will also be leading two workshops during the conference, one a tag-team workshop on Songwriting and the other a panel discussion on Issues in the Arts.

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Conference Countdown: Literary Agents Workshop

Literary agents Christine Witthohn and Judith Ann Miramontez, with Bookcents Literary Agency of Charleston, will be featured speakers on Saturday afternoon at this year’s Conference. They will bring their knowledge of the publishing industry to give Conference attendees insight as to what editors, publishers and agents are looking for in the current market and how they typically prefer it to appear when submitted to them.

A big part of their session, which will be held in the Assembly Hall, will focus on query letters. Attendees may bring their query letters which we will collect at the start of the session and read aloud for critiquing during the workshop. (If you wish, names and titles in the query letter may be kept anonymous or pseudonymous.)

Because Christine and Judith are only available for a limited amount of time on Saturday, there will not be opportunities for one on one critique sessions as we’ve had with agents in years past. However, while they are not currently accepting open submissions at Book Cents, Christine and Judith have offered make an exception for future queries from West Virginia Writers Conference attendees. You’ll have to be present at her session to learn the secret code word that will get your submission through the door.

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Conference Countdown: The Reception Table

A popular feature of the WV Writers Summer Conference for the past few years has been our Reception Table. This is the long table at the back of the assembly hall where snacks, food, drinks and assorted goodies are to be found and enjoyed by all conference attendees. However, all those goodies don't magically appear by themselves.

This is why we are once again asking our members who plan to attend the conference to please bring with either one item of food (such as cookies, pastries, finger foods, maybe a pack of snack-sized candy bars, a pack of full sized candy bars, or, heaven help us, something healthy like trail mix bars, Kashi bars, etc.) or one 12 pack of drinks (non alcoholic, of course, most likely of the soft and fizzy variety). WV Writers will be suppying the water, coffee and veggie/fruit trays. We are also in need of the loan of coolers full of ice to help keep the drinks cool.

If you're headed up next week, how bout stop by your favorite neighborhood store and bring a little something with you. If everyone brings one such item above, we'll be set for the whole weekend. And to say thanks to those of you who donate such items, WV Writers will enter your name in a drawing for one of our soon-to-be-famous WV Writers Prize Packs. Just see the table attendant for your ticket.

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Conference Countdown: Silent Auction Table

Each year, WV Writers maintains a silent auction table to help offset costs of the conference. Our membership and conference attendees have been very generous in the past by donating items for the auction. So we're putting the word out again this year that the table will be open for new items.

Some suggested items that have been big winners in the past are ones regional to your neck of the state and/or other states. Book lots are nice as are arts, crafts and other unique items. Or, if you're the author of a book, consider donating a copy to the auction. We welcome it all. And if you need a tax receipt for your donation, we can provide you with one as well. So please do consider a donation to the table.

Those who donate to the table may pick up a ticket to be placed in a drawing for a WV Writers Prize Pack, including all sorts of WVW goodness, such as copies of anthologies both old and brand new off the press.

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Conference Countdown: Writers Wall

All writers are invited to post one or two poems or short pieces of prose (maximum of one page) on the Writers’ Wall at the conference.

The author’s name MUST NOT appear on the piece. A table near the registration table in Assembly Hall will be set up for Writers’ Wall writers to sign up, and sign-up times will coincide with registration hours.

The sign-up sheet will be pre-numbered with a place to enter the author’s name and the title of the piece. The number next to the writer’s name will be written on the manuscript and the manuscript will be thumb-tacked to the wall. In the registration packet, each attendee will receive a card to vote for his or her favorite poems and prose. A ballot box will be available near the wall. Be sure to vote before 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Please note that to prevent confusion, the prose wall, sign-up book, ballots and ballot box are lavender. The poetry wall, sign-up book, ballots and ballot box are blue. Be sure to post your entry in the proper book and on the proper wall, and be sure to vote on the correct ballot and place your ballot in the correct box. Votes will be tallied before the Awards Banquet. First, second and third places in each category (poetry and prose) receive a certificate of recognition.

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Conference Countdown: Program Ads Opportunity

Would you like your business to reach 150-200 writers and writing professionals? Would you like to advertise your book to potential readers? Would you like to advertise your editing or proofreading services to writers? Well, we're here to help.

West Virginia Writers, Inc, is offering low-price ads to be printed in this year’s Conference program. The program will be distributed to each attendee at the June 13-15 Annual Conference at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, West Virginia. The ads that appear in the program will also be offered for a limited time on the WVW website ( The ads will be printed in black and white in the 8 ½ by 11 spiral-bound program. (Ads on the website can be in color.)

Ad rates and approximate sizes are:
Full page (8 ½ x 11) - $75
Half page (8 ½ x 5) - $40
Quarter page (4 x 5) - $20
Business Card size - $10

Ads may be submitted as either a camera-ready print or emailed as a high quality jpeg, .tif or Microsoft Word document. Ads may be emailed to Paper copy should be snail-mailed to: Eric Fritzius, 1014 Hemlock Lane, Princeton, WV 24740.

Checks should be made payable to West Virginia Writers, Inc. and mailed to WEST VIRGINIA WRITERS, INC. 202 North Lee Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901.

Don't have an ad all ready to go? Give us a shout and we can probably come up with a design you'll like.

Please be sure to include contact information with your ad copy. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

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Conference Countdown: Small Group Critique Sessions

This year WV Writers will be offering two small peer group critique sessions of fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. Each group critique session will be limited to 6 participants who must register in advance. There is no fee associated with these sessions provided the pre-conference manuscript critiquing process is done via email. For printed and snail mailed submissions there will be a $6.50 fee for postage.

George Lies is the moderator for the sessions. His style is a blend of hard-knocks experience and collaborations with many writers. He’s been at this sort of thing with the Morgantown Writers Group for over 10 years and has had tremendous success in peer-based critique groups.

Here are the details.

Manuscript Critiques (Special Sessions Friday and Sunday)

Manuscript Submission Format – Submit fiction or non-fiction from 1,000 words to 4,000 words in a Word file. Use 1.5 line spacing and 12-point font size. Number pages. Write your name and email address on the first page. If submitting an “excerpt”, send a 1-paragraph summary of longer work. Email the document as an attachment to:

Hardcopy (paper) submissions will also be accepted. Attendees wishing to submit via “snail” mail should send 7 copies of their manuscript, plus $6.50 for postage to George Lies, 219 Kingwood Street, Morgantown, WV 26505.

The first 12 entrants to submit manuscripts for the sessions will be accepted. Deadline for submitting email manuscripts is Sunday, June 8th (June 1st for hardcopies).

How the Critique Session Works – West Virginia Writers has scheduled 2 peer-group critique session on Friday, June 13 at 3:30p; a second on Sunday, June 15 at 10a. Writers who submit early will have first choice of either date. Each session is limited to about 6 writers. The moderator will distribute manuscripts via email attachments. Each registrant will print, read submissions; and, critique works in advance, by writing notes on the hardcopy. The group will then discuss each manuscript at the conference session, by focusing on what the story is about; what are its strengths; and, what are suggested improvements. The moderator will email a useful Manuscript Critique Guide in advance to all participants. If you have questions, send an email to the moderator at

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Conference Countdown: The Overview


RIPLEY— West Virginia Writers, Inc. will hold its annual Summer Writers’ Conference, June 13-15 at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley. The 2008 conference is the 30th held by the WV Writers since 1978. The organization celebrated its own 30th anniversary last year

The conference will feature over 40 writing workshops and discussion panels on topics such as poetry, fiction and non-fiction, writing for children, screenwriting, romance writing, writing for radio, storytelling, grammar, memoir, comic book writing, and conventional and non-conventional publishing, among others.

Gretchen Moran Laskas, author of The Miner’s Daughter and The Midwife’s Tale, will lead a workshop on finding your voice as a writer, and one on editing your novel.

Charleston-based novelist Robert W. Walker will lead a two and a half hour intensive workshop on Execution and Craft, covering the basics of how to get a story in motion and keep it there, propelling readers to the end. The course will also cover ideas for fine-tuning as well as marketing and selling.

Christine Witthohn and Judith Ann Miramontez, literary agents with Charleston’s Book Cents Literary Agency, will be featured speakers. Their workshops will instruct attendees on the current state of the publishing industry, providing tips on the best ways to approach agents, editors and publishers, as well as providing a valuable workshop on query letters.

And in honor of the Romance Genre category from WV Writers’ Spring Writing Competition, this year, WV-based romance novelist Suzanne McMinn will be a featured presenter.

Other conference workshop presenters include: Marc Harshman, Dolly Withrow, Sandy Tritt, Robert Tinnell, Dr. John McKernan, Rich Knoblich, Jim Minick, Krista Fink, Llewellyn McKernan, Belinda Anderson, Cathy Pleska, Dr. Victor Depta, songwriter Pops Walker, Ethan Fischer, Carter Taylor Seaton, Bruce Cook, George Lies, and more.

The conference culminates June 14 with the organization’s annual awards banquet, announcing the winners of WV Writers spring contest. Gretchen Moran Laskas will be the keynote speaker for the banquet.

The price for the conference is $100 for all three days ($85 for members), $85 for two days ($70 for members), $45 for Friday only, $55 for Saturday only, $40 for Sunday only, and students receive 50 percent off adult prices. Membership for WV Writers Inc. is $20. Lodging is available both in Ripley and at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center, though early reservations are strongly recommended. Meals are also available on-site.

The latest information on the conference, including a full list of workshops and presenters as well as registration forms for both the conference and Cedar Lakes, can be found at the West Virginia Writers website, located at

WV Writers began in February of 1977, when a group of 25 writers gathered to discuss the need for a statewide collective of writers. The original purpose, as it has remained, is to assist communications between writers in the state and to promote not only writing in West Virginia but promote Appalachian writing in general. It has since grown into the state’s largest organization of writers, with over 350 active members.

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Update to Conference Info

One of our members helpfully pointed out that our Conference Pre-Registration form mentioned one on one sessions with literary agent Scott Hoffman as an option. I regret to say that this was an artifact left over from last year's form which I cannibalized in making this year's form.

So in short, there are no sessions with Scott Hoffman this year.

I've now updated the form.

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