Uncle Terry’s Gift Ideas from WV Authors List 2018

Uncle Terry

Over a decade ago, T.W. "Terry" McNemar, our former president (2009-2010) began an annual gift guide for books by West Virginia authors. With his unfortunate passing in 2015, we continue this tradition in his honor.  As such, it's only fitting that Terry's books are #1 and #2 on the list.

So while you’re doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget to support these WV Writer, Inc. authors. And don’t forget to stop at your local bookstores: TamarackTaylor Books in Charleston, Empire Books & News in HuntingtonFour Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, Main Line Books in Elkins, A New Chapter Books in Lewisburg …to name just a few.  Those are great places where you might find these books!

(If you are a member of West Virginia Writers, Inc. and your book is not listed here, please send a link to eric.fritzius@gmail.com.  We'll be happy to post them as well.)


- webmaster Eric

Conference First Timer Guidelines 2018

As a service to first time attendees or potential attendees of WV Writers Summer Conference, this document is being provided as a guide to planning your conference experience. There are answers to frequently asked questions below...

  • If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to fill out the separate Cedar Lakes form, as well. You'll also need to fill it out if you plan to eat meals there, which we recommend, because it's hard to get out and back without missing a workshop or two.
  • On the weekend of the conference, stop at the Cedar Lakes office when you enter the grounds. The office is the first building on your right as you enter. You'll get your meal tickets (more like a typed sheet of paper) and your room keys. DO NOT LOSE YOUR MEAL TICKET.
  • Ask the Cedar Lakes staff to point out the Assembly Hall building for you (they'll give you a map, too, but you can see the building from the office). Come there next and register. If you have pre-registered and prepaid in full, there is usually a "quick line" you can jump to and simply check your name off the list, grab your name tag and goody bag (we always have the best goody bags of any writers conference), and head to step three. If you still need to register, that's fine too. We accept cash, checks, and can now accept credit cards via Square Up at the registration desk or bookstore.  (Cedar Lakes can accept credit cards for room and meals).
  • Stop by the reception table for a cold (or hot) drink and a snack.
  • The Writer's Wall competition will be held in one of the classrooms beside the assembly hall. For the Writer's Wall, participants can bring in a one page piece of poetry and/or prose to anonymously post to the wall (which means, naturally, that your name must not appear on it). There will be a sign up book and an intern to help with the process, assigning each entry a number which conference attendees will be able to vote for using the ballot slip in their goodie bags. The winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
  • Similarly, there will be five total sessions of People's Choice, with prose and poetry sessions on Friday evening and prose, poetry and youth sessions on Saturday. During People's Choice, attendees are invited to read a piece of their own work that must come in at under 5 minutes in length. After all the pieces are read, ballots will be passed out for fellow readers and other attendees to vote on their favorite pieces. Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
  • You don't have to register for the individual workshops in advance. Just pick them as you go. Some people find that it's easier to print out the schedule (or use the one given to you at registration, which will be the most accurate) and then highlight two classes each session that you're interested in. Then, when the time arrives, you can pick between the two. Some people like to have a "back up class" in case one is overcrowded, or in case you find yourself enjoying a particular track so much that you want to stick with it (poetry vs. non-fiction, for example). We would recommend that you take at least one class outside of your chosen genre; not just for the broadened experience, but because you might find inspiration or a particular nugget of writing wisdom that you can apply to what you're working on. For example, if you write fiction, take a poetry workshop or a nonfiction editing workshop, which can help with your craft.
  • Be sure to dress light but bring a sweater and an umbrella. It’s not uncommon for it to rain very hard on at least one of the conference days. The classrooms can also be hot. Be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable for walking, not only for walking to and from the dining hall but for taking strolls around the grounds of Cedar Lakes.  Oh, and open toed shoes can be sort of iffy, for there is a great deal of goose poo to be found in certain parts near the lakes.
  • We also hope you're planning to attend the banquet and stick around for entertainment in the assembly hall on Saturday evening!

Contest Judge Rollout: Jerrie Howard (Children’s Books)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Jerrie Howard is a retired teacher of English and journalism from Point Pleasant High School. While at PPHS, she advised the student newspaper, The Tu-Endie-Wei, as well as introduced the Advanced Placement and Honors programs to the county.

She is a graduate of Ohio University where she majored in English and journalism and received a minor in secondary education. She received her Master of Arts degree in journalism from Marshall University and did graduate work in secondary administration.

Currently, Ms. Howard is a member of the Point Pleasant City Council and the Historic Landmark Commission for the historic district of Point Pleasant. She is also the newly elected president of the Mason County Democratic Women’s Organization for 2018-2019. In 2017, she received the Local Public Official of the Year award for her interest in and work with Main Street Point Pleasant. She was presented a certificate from Gov. Jim Justice by Main Street Director Charles Humphreys.

In addition to her community service work, Ms. Howard has been working on two children’s books and traveling, mostly aboard, whenever possible.

Contest Judge Rollout: Tamara Woods (Mystery)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Tamara grew up in the poorest state of the Union as a laid-off coal miner’s daughter. She learned from this that money isn’t the root of all happiness, but it sure makes it easier. One fateful summer at a youth workshop she learned both the art of stolen kisses and being open in her poetry: lessons she’s never forgotten.

All of these aspects of her life have culminated into her writing that’s accessible to people. Her poetry is spoken word with a heavy emphasis on things that we all know and do. Her fiction hits on darker, uncomfortable subjects, because she’s a firm believer that stories can be beautiful without being pretty.

She’s living on an island now, still a misfit, but now there’s palm trees. Life feels differently in a world filled with palm trees. She geeks out on books, Doctor Who, Star Trek TNG (aka the best generation), and social media. (Like https://tamarawoodsauthor.com/, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCUt-YGmeMSHZfXQQe4XF0g, Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/TAWoods, Facebook http://facebook.com/TamaraWoodstheWriter, and Twitter @penpaperpad.

You can find her work on Amazon, including a book of poetry The Shaping of an "Angry" Black Woman. She also has co-edits a poetry journal: The Reverie Journal.

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #53

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  A bit of concern here. I submitted three stories in Emerging Writers and Short Story categories. One of these I also submitted in the Mystery category and one in the Humor category. As you can probably guess, I am new to all this and when I read the guidelines for submissions, saw that, “All manuscripts must be titled, typewritten in standard 12-point font, and double-spaced.” I wondered what “standard” font was, but my Word program defaults to “Calibri (Body)” and since it looked like that was the font of the guidelines themselves, I did not worry about it. However, I have been looking at publications to submit short stories (you can certainly guess that I am very new at this), and it appears from a couple on-line sources that Courier font, with underlining rather than italicizing. is considered the basic format for literary submissions.  Am I okay with my submission in Calibri with italicizations? If not, might I substitute the same stories re-formatted?

ANSWER:   You're safe with Calibri.  What we intend by "standard 12-point font" is to prevent submissions using odd and stylized font choices that might be difficult to read.  For instance, if someone submitted an entire manuscript in Edwardian Script cursive or Blackadder ITC, those would not be standard.  But basic, clean, readable serif or even sans serif fonts are fine. Calibri is what my word processor defaults to as well, but I prefer Times New Roman.  Either would be fine.

2018 WV Writers Summer Conference Presenter Preview

Below is a preview of some of the presenters who will lead workshops and panels at the West Virginia Writers 2018 Summer Conference.  Keep watching the contest page for full workshop descriptions and information about conference registration and lodging and meal registration.

Heather Day Gilbert - Self-publishing and Indie Publishing; Book Buzz before, during, and after publication

Patrick Grace - Humor in Writing.

Lucia Robson - Historical Fiction and Research; Saturday morning keynote speaker.

Mickey Johnson - Editing; Editing Panel.

Fran Allred - Editing; Editing Panel.

Doug Van Gundy - Saturday Night Entertainment.

Sandy Tritt - Dynamic Characters.

Anna Smucker - Children’s Writing; collaborative workshop on children’s writing with Marc Harshman.

Jeremy Richter - Playwriting.

Marc Harshman - Our state's Poet Laureate will lead a collaborative workshop with Anna Smucker; a single workshop on children’s writing; and will take part in the Saturday Night entertainment along with Doug Van Gundy.

Laura Bentley - Intermediate Poetry Workshop.

Audrey Stanton-Smith - Writing for Magazines.

Cat Pleska - Memoir.

Nick White - “Hot Scenes” for short stories and novels.

Steve Saffel - Acquisitions editor for Titan Books; author pitch sessions; how to pitch publishers workshop.

M. Lynne Squires - Social Media.

DM Pulley - Novel.

Contest Judge Rollout: Kelly Sundberg (Nonfiction)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Kelly Sundberg's essays have appeared in Guernica, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Slice, The Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. Her essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset" was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015, and other essays were listed as notables in Best American Essays 2013 and 2016. Her debut memoir Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival is forthcoming from HarperCollins on June 5, 2018, and it will also be released by PiperVerlag in Germany. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from West Virginia University, and she is currently completing her PhD in Creative Nonfiction at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she lives with her twelve-year-old son.

Contest Judge Rollout: Wendy Oleson (Emerging Writers Prose)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Wendy Oleson is the author of Please Find Us (winner of the Gertrude Press 2017 Fiction Chapbook Contest) and Our Daughter and Other Stories (winner of the Map Literary 2016 Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award). Her stories, poems, and hybrid work have appeared recently in Cimarron Review, Calyx, and Copper Nickel. Wendy teaches for the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension and Washington State at Tri-Cities and serves as an associate editor for Fairy Tale Review and Memorious Magazine. She lives in Walla Walla, Washington with her wife and a hiccup-prone dog named Winston.

WV Writers Contest Reminder Checklist 2018

West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests are currently accepting submissions for 2018.

To help things run smoothly for both entrants and our contest coordinator,  here’s a handy checklist that you should go over before sending in your entries.


1) Have you read the contest rules to make sure you’re complying with them? Even if you’ve entered a dozen times in the past, please don’t assume you know the rules by heart. Mistakes happen, so please read the rules again. The CONTEST GUIDELINES are guidelines, not merely suggestions. Follow them and you cannot go wrong.

2) Is your contest category and the word count for your entry printed in the top right corner of your entry? The word count means the actual number of words in your entry. (You don't need word count for poetry entries. You DO for all prose entries.) Your word processing program will be able to tell you this. Please do not estimate. For Book Length Prose, this means the word count of your submitted excerpt, not of the overall novel.

3) Have you filled out your entry form correctly and marked which categories you’re entering? Not filling out the category section would be okay if you’re sending only one entry and its category is noted on the entry itself, but in the case of multiple prose entries it can be important to have it in both places.

4) Have you double and triple checked that your name and/or address is NOT printed on your actual story or poem? This contest is blindly judged; meaning, the judges may not know the names or identities of the writers.  The ONLY place your name should appear is on your contest entry form.  (We assign each story a code corresponding with that author’s entry in our contest database, where the author’s name and their story are recorded. This way our judges have no idea who has written a given piece.)

5) If your entry requires a one-page synopsis (Book Length Prose, Middle Grade Children's Book) have you included it?  In order for the judges to be able to see the plan for your entire work, the synopsis must be included.

6) Have you double-checked to make sure you included all of your entries in your envelope? In the past, we’ve received a few envelopes that are a story or poem short of the intended amount. (In fact, we once received an envelope that only had an entry form and no submission at all.) We always contact entrants to make sure of their intentions. But the more careful you are in submitting the easier it is on me. Which brings us to…

7) Have you included accurate contact information for yourself? Every year people send entries in that require followup to correct an error or two, and every year many of those emails sent bounce back because they are incorrectly written on the form. (Sometimes, handwriting interpretation on our part may be at fault.) Please legibly print your contact info, especially your email address, and make sure it’s all correct.  Better yet, download and use the fill-in-the-blank contest entry forms we have available this year.

8) Have you addressed your envelope with the correct address of our contest coordinator?  The mailing address to send your entries to is different than in years past.  Be sure your form says 2018 and don't use a form from a previous year.

9) If you live in a state other than West Virginia, have you made certain your membership dues in WV Writers are paid in full?  Out-of-state members may absolutely enter the contest, but they do need to be current members.  You can check with WV Writers secretary at wvwriterssecretary@gmail.com.

Dos and Don'ts.

  • DO staple your individual entries if they have multiple pages. (You can also paperclip them, but I'm just going to remove the paperclip and staple them again for added stability in transit to the judges.)
  • DON'T staple all of your entries together in one big stapled document. You may use a paperclip to hold multiple entries together, but stapling them all together does not help and may actually hurt. (I've received several stabbings while trying to remove such staples.)
  • DO write legibly on your entry form.
  • DON'T forget to include your zip code on the contest entry form. We don't know the zip code for every town in the state and having to find your envelope to double check the return address, or look it up online, slows down the process.

If you have questions feel free to send them to us at wvwcontest@gmail.com. Do know, though, that many of the answers to questions we have received about the contest are found at our Frequently Asked Questions list.

Contest Judge Rollout: Sarah Lowther Hensley (New Mountain Voices Middle School)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Sarah Lowther Hensley is a writer living in Fairmont, WV. Ms. Hensley’s experience includes more than a decade as a public broadcasting journalist in the U.S. and Europe; a stint working in higher education administration--focusing on public relations, marketing, communications, and community relations; and working as a technical writer for a federal government contractor. As a volunteer, she has provided web and social media support to several non-profits. Ms. Hensley also writes a personal blog, is a voracious reader, and enjoys staying informed. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.A. in German from Middlebury College, and is a 1998 graduate of Leadership West Virginia.