Friday, February 26, 2010

Writerly Words

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview with Jerry Waxler

by Jodi Webb

About Jerry Waxler, in his own words: "I grew up in Philadelphia and went to college in Madison , Wisconsin during the war protest years. Gasping across the finish line with my Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, I slid beneath the waves to become a depressed hippie in Berkeley , California . With the help of a spiritual teacher, I climbed back on to land, gave up meat, fish, eggs, drugs and alcohol, meditated, went to India , came back, joined a commune, became a computer programmer, then a technical writer. In my forties I realized I knew nothing about people, so I went to graduate school, earned a Master’s Degree in counseling psychology, gave therapy, started writing and teaching, and the rest is history."

JODI: In bookstores I often see memoirs and autobiographies crammed together in the same section? Are they the same?

JERRY: The definition of “memoir” or “autobiography” depends who you ask, and more importantly, it depends when you ask them. It seems like the definitions change from year to year. A few years ago, I would have said a memoir is more story-driven than an autobiography, and an autobiography is intended more for historians and grandkids. Nowadays publishers occasionally use the two words interchangeably. As a result, I now read the title, blurb, and reviews and form my own judgment.

JODI: Can you tell us how or why you became such a fan of memoir?

After I got my master’s degree in counseling psychology, I began to write self-help articles. My writing mentor, Jonathan Maberry ( said my essays sounded like they dropped from the sky. He advised me to insert myself. I had always been shy and had no idea how to tell personal stories, so I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. The deeper I went, the more fascinated I became. Soon, I was reading memoirs, and realized that each one gave me two gifts. First, it was a window into the life of another person, and second, it gave me some insight into the way life can be turned into story.

JODI: Why do you think memoir publication has exploded in the last few years? Why is the public so interested in reading about other people's lives?

JERRY: In the television age, we all sat on the sofa quietly watching celebrities. In the internet age, we sit at our computers and type. The internet has created a hundred million penpals. I think memoirs are a logical next step. We want to know more about each other.

Another thing that is changing is that talking about ourselves used to be taboo. Memoirs and talk shows have blown the cork out of that bottle. One stunning result has been that we are sharing stories about the journey from child to adult. Bestselling stories like “Liar’s Club” by Mary Karr have encouraged us to take a closer look at Coming of Age.

JODI: Do you feel memoir writing has always been popular in the form of journals, etc.? If so, why is it such a popular form of expression?

JERRY: I journaled for an hour every day for a decade. It gave me a wonderful opportunity for reflection, and helped me form the habit of translating my thoughts into sentences. This process is a fundamental tool for writers, and also a powerful self-help strategy. But while the journals were important to me at the time, I wouldn’t have expected anyone to ever read them. I needed to discover memoirs before I knew how to translate introspection into communication.

JODI: So have you made the jump from introspection to communication? Have you written a memoir?

JERRY: Once I became interested in memoirs as a way to understand life, I naturally wanted to write my own. I took classes and gathered material. As the project picked up steam, I discovered that while I had been reading stories my whole life, I have never told them, so I not only had to learn about my own life, but about the craft of storytelling. I attended writing conferences and connected with writers to learn as much as I could.

I was in a class taught by Jonathan Maberry when I decided to jump in. I wrote my first draft and that was only the beginning. The entire project has contributed to one of the most fascinating, and creatively stimulating challenges of my life.

JODI: Do you have any favorite memoirs you would like to recommend?

JERRY: I have many favorites ( . For example, right now I’m reading two memoirs, “Stones into Schools” by Gregg Morenson and “Spiral Staircase” by Karen Armstrong. Mortenson is the author of the memoir “Three Cups of Tea” (three million copies sold) in which he told about building schools in Pakistan. “Stones into Schools” starts where the first left off. Karen Armstrong was a nun, a scholar, and an interpreter of world religion. Her memoir takes me on a journey from religion to atheism, and then back to spirituality. These memoirs teach me to see the world through other people’s eyes.

JODI: How about books on writing memoirs?

JERRY: While there are lots of good books on the subject, I would like to give special praise to two. First is “The Power of Memoir” by Linda Joy Myers president of the National Association of Memoir Writers . In addition to her profound appreciation for the power of Story, she is a therapist and her book offers special sensitivity to the human drama, such as family dynamics and healing from trauma. The other book is the one I put together for my workshops. “Learn to Write your Memoir in Four Weeks.” It is the only short, simple, step by step guide I know of.

JODI: What are you working on right now?

JERRY: In addition to my memoir, I am working on a couple of manuscripts about using memoirs for self-help. I write an essay every week on my blog , and I teach and present at writer’s conferences and other venues. For example, I’ll be teaching an eight hour memoir workshop under the auspices of the Philadelphia Stories Journal , and I regularly give teleseminars and teleworkshops through the National Association of Memoir Writers. You can see my list of events here.

JODI: We’re excited that one of the events on your calendar is the Write it Right Conference in April!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's Holding You Back?

How are you doing with meeting your writing goals?

Have you given any thought to what’s holding you back from accomplishing as much as you’d like?

One word: fear.

Fear of failure, or even worse, a fear of success, often holds writers back from accomplishing as much as they’d like. It can be absolutely paralyzing, and hold many of us back from even getting started. There’s that pesky “inner critic” in our heads that tells us our stuff is garbage, we’ll never amount to anything, and we should just give up the dream and try something else for awhile. It’s also fear that stalls projects all the time; we get overwhelmed by what the characters should do next, or we think that no editor will ever be interested in that article or this manuscript, so we stop in midstream and the project lies there, abandoned.
So how do we conquer that fear of failure? Think of how much worse we’d feel if we never tried writing at all. We owe it to ourselves to at least power through a first draft. No book that has ever been on the shelves started out as the version we see; chances are they’ve gone through many, many revisions until the story was told as well as it could be. We never lose that inner critic completely—the secret is to ignore him and focus instead on the work in front of you.

Kudos to BDWN member Richard Clark, whose book The Wreck of the Red Arrow has earned some nice publicity! Read the full article from Friday’s REPUBLICAN Herald here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Writerly Words

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with Tisha Tolar

Tisha is a full time writer of non-fiction materials for the Internet market. She makes a living providing web content for a multitude of clients in a variety of industries. She began her online writing career in 2007 by chance after meeting her now business partner, Debbie Dragon, through an online job posting. Forming a working relationship via Instant Message, the two set the stage for the writing e-course, which teaches others how to make money writing for the online market. Prior to establishing herself as a freelance writer, Tisha wrote her first full length manuscript in 6 weeks just to see if she could do it. She decided to dust off the manuscript on the advice of her colleagues in 2008, finally self-publishing her debut Gen X in the summer of 2009. She currently is the editor and contributor to several major websites, including and actively works to promote her novel and her company, Trifecta Strategies. Since the novel’s release, Tisha has participated in several local book signings as well as a reading awareness program for local elementary school children. Tisha is a Schuylkill County native. She is married and has one daughter.

BDWN: Thanks for speaking with me, Tisha! We're so glad to have you as our presenter at our meeting this month!

TISHA: Thanks, Sara for inviting me to be the featured speaker at this month’s BDWN meeting. I am really looking forward to it and I thank you and all of the members for the opportunity. I had so much fun and took home so much from the January meeting. Your group is such a necessary resource for writers and I am glad to be a part of it.

BDWN: Can you tell me a little bit about your job as a full-time freelancer and your company, Trifecta Strategies?

TISHA: My job requires me to write every day, in some capacity. I am also the marketing strategist at the company, writing marketing materials and sending emails to promote our services. Trifecta Strategies is an online content writing company, meaning we write content used on websites, articles, blog posts, and e-books for a variety of clients and industries. We also manage the content by adding it to the websites directly, using social media to promote it, and building links back to our clients’ websites. There are three of us that make up Trifecta Strategies and we all maintain our own clients as well as shared work. We also manage several of our own websites and blogs under Trifecta. Plus, we have developed a program to teach others how to do what we do, which can be found at We are growing and now work with a great team of subcontract/freelance writers to accommodate our work load.

BDWN: How did you get the idea for your novel, Gen X?

TISHA: I had the idea for Gen X many moons ago when I was actually living in Philadelphia and going to art school. It was a little autobiographical with a ‘what if’ twist in the beginning. It wasn’t until more than 10 years later that I actually sat down to write the story in 2006. It was 2003 when I came up with the name for the book. The idea, title, and storyline had stuck with me all those years. When I sat down to write it, I did so just to see if I could. I had no plans to publish but eventually I shared the completed manuscript with others who thought I was crazy for not doing anything more with it. I started querying agents (a LOT of agents) and after a year, I got tired of waiting for someone to make something to happen – so I did it myself. I self-published last summer and still work weekly on promoting the book.

BDWN: It seems like it would be a difficult transition from nonfiction to fiction. What kind of challenges did you experience?

TISHA: Honestly, I was a fiction writer first but I didn’t realize it. I only wrote out Gen X as a challenge to myself and never thought twice about it making me a writer. I was one of those people who still at 30 wondered what she was going to be when she grew up. I fell into writing by accident but when I did I knew I FINALLY figured out where my journeys had been leading me.

I don’t think there is any difficulty for transitioning from fiction to non-fiction and vice versa. For me the bigger challenge is finding balance as a work-at-home writer/mom/wife. Running a business is tough and can often be a roller coaster but I love every minute of it. I could say my biggest challenge between fiction and non fiction is finding time to write the fun stories because the fact stories are a priority since they pay cash.

BDWN: Do you have a preference of fiction or nonfiction?

TISHA: As an online writer, there is no subject I am not asked to write about. From the most boring to the most over-your-head topics imaginable – I’ve written some weird stuff. After doing this for so many years, there are some topics that I once knew nothing about and now I can just write articles off the top of my head. I really enjoy the research and non-fiction writing and it comes easy to me.

I wish I had more discipline and time to write fiction. I literally have a handful of stories started and I continually update the story lines in my head all the time but I never sit down to write them out. I think it is because I spend so much time already at the computer writing for work that writing fiction doesn’t always seem like such a fun idea. When I wrote Gen X I do recall being completely fascinated by how the story in some parts just wrote itself.

The answer to your question is I haven’t a preference – I enjoy it all.

BDWN: Do you think writers should just focus on honing their skills in one genre, or should we dabble in whatever interests us?

TISHA: I think they should do whatever suits them. ‘They’ tell us write what you know. I do believe in that piece of advice. But I think as any kind of writer, you need experiences. Take yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time and see what you can do. I never thought I would be a writer at all. When I was young, I was good at writing quirky rhyming poems and stories but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a writer of both non-fiction and fiction – until I tried it. You have to really put yourself out there to be writer of any kind. If you want to focus on one area – great but don’t forget to explore what else is out there even if it is just in little peeks.

BDWN: Since you already spend most of your day writing, was it easier to find time to spend working on the novel?

TISHA: I didn’t have that problem in the beginning because I wrote Gen X before I became a full-time, online writer. Now it is a big problem as I’ve mentioned. People ask all the time ‘when is book two coming out?’. I have started it and I know what is going to happen for the most part but finding a few more hours in a day to sit back down at the computer while my daughter is bored isn’t always practical. I do have spurts of motivation that helps but I think for true motivation to occur, Gen X will have to take on a life of its own and force me to complete the rest of the series. I hope that isn’t the case but right now, it’s the reality.

BDWN: Can you give us a little sneak peek of your presentation at the BDWN meeting on February 20?

Since I already had the pleasure of meeting with the group in January, I am a bit more open to letting the questions lead the way for the discussion. I plan to talk a little bit about how I became a non-fiction writer and how much that has helped me with my fiction writing, especially the promotional end of things. I have made a name for myself online, I have learned the ropes of online promoting, and I use all of these skills to promote my self-published novel, Gen X. Even if I was working with a major publisher and agent, I would still be required to self-promote my little heart out. No one is going to do it for me (not even your family and friends) and because of my non-fiction writing I have learned so much. I also wanted to share a few insights about how to become an experienced online writer to help springboard other writing success.

BDWN: What do you hope the members will get from your presentation?

TISHA: Motivation. I think that is the number one priority for writers. If I had a quarter (inflation) for every time I heard someone say ‘I should write a book…’, I wouldn’t be very worried about making a living as a writer. I want people to realize that there is more out there than this one book they created. I was personally amazed at the guts people showed during the last meeting. They were so willing to share and the listeners were so welcoming. That goes a long way to helping people ditch the fear and really believe in what they can do. Ask my closest friends and they will tell you I can probably convince a fish to buy a glass of water. However, public speaking is not my forte and I hope people will see that stepping outside your comfort zone is good for the soul. I also hope people who might be interested in exploring online writing will take the opportunity to learn more about how they can make a career doing what they love – writing.

Thanks again, Tisha!

Learn more about Tisha's company at
Learn more about Gen X at

Monday, February 15, 2010

Local Author to Speak at February BDWN Meeting

Schuylkill County native and first-time author Tisha Tolar will speak to the Black Diamond Writers Network on "Writing in Two Genres" on Saturday, February 20 at the Tamaqua Public Library, 20 E. Rairoad St., Tamaqua.

Tisha is a full time writer of non-fiction materials for the Internet market. She makes a living providing web content for a multitude of clients in a variety of industries. She began her online writing career in 2007 by chance after meeting her now business partner, Debbie Dragon, through an online job posting. Forming a working relationship via Instant Message, the two set the stage for the writing e-course, which teaches others how to make money writing for the online market. Prior to establishing herself as a freelance writer, Tisha wrote her first full length manuscript in 6 weeks just to see if she could do it. She decided to dust off the manuscript on the advice of her colleagues in 2008, finally self-publishing her debut Gen X in the summer of 2009. She currently is the editor and contributor to several major websites, including and actively works to promote her novel and her company, Trifecta Strategies.

Gen-X, is the story of Genevieve Xavier, a 20-something gal who is trying to get her big break in the entertainment industry. She eventually does, with a few other adventures along the way. Gen-X is the perfect read for those who like chick lit with a bit of attitude.

Keep reading--we'll have a full interview with Tisha on Wednesday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Writerly Words

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.
~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interview With Rick Grant

Rick Grant, ( principal and founder of Rick Grant & Associates, has been a writer and journalist for over 25 years. He founded RGA in early 2007 to provide businesses with customized strategic communications solutions. Prior to launching RGA, he founded Texell Interactive Media, a production company delivering electronic audio and video content for Web-based marketing. Before that, he spent more than a decade as one of the nation’s leading financial industry-focused journalists. He writes features for National Mortgage News and is a columnist for HousingWire. Rick will be facilitating the session on "Effective Self-Promotion for Writers" at the Write It Right conference. Rick took a few moments to talk with us about why marketing is important for all writers, no matter the genre.

BDWN: Thanks for speaking with us, Rick! Can you tell us a little bit about your business?

RG: I own RGA (Rick Grant & Associates) in Jim Thorpe, PA. After ten years as a trade journalist covering the US financial services industry, I now lead a team of communications professionals that serve companies operating in this space. We help firms that sell to banks and mortgage lenders do a better job of telling their stories and promoting their businesses.

BDWN: Marketing is so important, no matter what business you’re in. But why don’t more of us do it?

RG: Few of us went into business to spend all of our time selling. It's painful to realize that while you took the leap to become a full-time writer, you'll only spend part of your time actually doing that. Often, the smaller part. Too often, writers try to ignore this responsibility to their doom.

Another impediment is presented by the fact that many writers are not comfortable talking about how great they are. We tend to be somewhat more introverted than that and it is difficult to get out there and tell people how great we are.
The good news is that the more you do it, the less you have to do it, especially if you use social media so that others can begin singing your praises for you. Building a reputation can be the best form of marketing and as long as you maintain it, it will work for you.

BDWN: It seems obvious that freelance writers, who do work for others, would need to market themselves. But what about fiction writers?

RG: Oh, absolutely. It's more important now than ever. While I've spent all of my time writing in the non-fiction periodical world, I have many friends who are published authors and they tell me that the publishing world has changed. It's not just about how well you craft a story and how quickly you can churn out the next. Now, publishers want to know about your “platform.”
They're talking about the audience the author has already attracted through short story publication, Web-based social media, conference and convention attendance and their own marketing efforts. Today, unpublished fiction writers are expected to come to the table with much of the work of attracting an audience already done. This requires a thorough understanding of marketing and the discipline to get it done.

BDWN: “Marketing” sounds very overwhelming and time-consuming. What are some easy ways that writers can market themselves?

RG: There are many easy ways writers can market themselves. My favorite is to publish a blog, its free, easy to set up and will help attract an audience. Beyond that, writers should have their own website or Facebook page. They should get out into the world they want to write in (whether that be the business world at a local Chamber of Commerce mixer, the journalism world by posting stories to news websites, or the fiction world by appearing at Cons) and shake some hands. Most of the work writers get comes to them from people they know who have referred them, so start building up that network.

BDWN: Do you have any pointers for how to get started?

RG: That's exactly what we're going to be talking about during my sessions, easy ways writers can get started now promoting themselves more effectively. There are a few things that come first. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you have to think of you the writer as a business. That means getting business cards printed up, setting up your website presence and creating a simple letterhead (both print and electronic). Secondly, you really need to learn all you can about social media. That's the cheapest and fastest way to begin building out your network and it has the potential to take you on a viral wave to stardom. But don't focus on that right now, just learn about blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn (if you're a news or business freelance writer) and tools like Twitter that can be used to promote your most recent work.

BDWN: So how can writers tap into all of the social networking and technology that’s out there and use that for marketing purposes?

RG: First, develop a love for drinking out of fire hoses, because that's what it will be like it you try to tap into it all. I suggest you just start with three tools: a Facebook profile and page, a LinkedIn account and a Twitter account. With those three tools, you can begin to build up a network of contacts that will get your work noticed. And by focusing on just a few marketing tools at first, you can spend the bulk of time doing what you must do if you're hoping for long-term success: write, write, write!

BDWN: Can you give us a little sneak peek of what you’ll be talking about at the Write It Right conference?

RG: We're going to go into depth on much of what we have discussed here, answer as many questions as we can, but most importantly, we're going to help folks get set up with these basic social media tools so they can start putting them to work.
We're also going to take a step back and look at some of the more traditional ways that writers can promote themselves. Some of these techniques are so old that they're new again—and they can get a writer a lot of attention.
By the time we're done, I expect attendees to walk away with a new understanding of some of the social media tools they can use to promote themselves and their work as well as a plan for getting that job started.

Join Rick and our other facilitators at the first annual BDWN Write It Right Conference on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, Pottsville!

Monday, February 8, 2010

BDWN Members to Present Library Talks

Members of the Black Diamond Writers Network are taking our show on the road over the next few weeks and offering a series of free presentations on "Write It Right-- Get Published."

Choose from the following dates and locations:

Wed., Feb. 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Panther Valley Public Library,117 E. Bertsch St., Lansford

Mon., Feb. 22, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Palmerton Library, 402 Delaware Ave., Palmerton

Tues., Feb. 23, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pottsville Free Public Library, 215 W. Market St., Pottsville

Tues., Feb. 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Hazleton Area Public Library, 55 N. Church St., Hazleton

Thurs., Feb. 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lehighton Area Memorial Library, 124 North St., Lehighton

Thurs., Feb. 25, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Tamaqua Public Library, 30 S. Railroad St., Tamaqua.

Whether you would like to write a letter to the editor, an article in a national magazine or a book, find out how you can achieve your writing and publishing dreams.

Members of the Black Diamond Writers’ Network who have published articles and/or books will give pointers on how to write for and find the markets that will publish your work.

The informal talks are being offered as a promotion for the Black Diamond Writers Network's first annual “Write it Right” writers conference on Sat., Apr. 17, 2010, at the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, Pottsville.

The event is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, through its regional arts funding partnership, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA). State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriate by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Berks Arts Council.

For more information about the lectures, call the Palmerton Library at 610-826-3424, Pottsville Free Public Library at 570-622-8880, Lehighton Area Memorial Library at 610-377-2750 or the Tamaqua Area Public Library at 570-668-4660.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Showing Up Everyday

There’s a well-known saying that goes something like “90% of success is showing up.” This is particularly true for a pastime like writing, which so many people want to do, but very few hunker down and actually do. For some, writing is just that—a relaxing pastime that allows us to record our memories or thoughts from days gone by, or create a new world with complex characters, interesting settings, and gripping plots.

But then there are those who recognize writing for the work it really is, and make the commitment to show up and do that work.

The most successful writers do the work faithfully every day—or, as often as our busy schedules allow. These writers put in the long hours needed for researching, outlining, interviewing, revising, the actual writing, finding places to sell their work, marketing themselves and their work, and powering through even when the words simply aren’t coming…they tinker with what they have and fight with the page until the words eventually do come they way they’re supposed to. The most successful writers don’t idly wait for inspiration to strike—rather than waiting for it to come to them, they actively go after it. The most successful writers feel a real sense of accomplishment and yes, mental fatigue after a hard day’s work, just as with any other job. Despite the fatigue and exasperation that comes with the job, for the most successful writers, it’s not a pastime—it’s a true calling.

Do you show up for work every day? Is writing your relaxing pastime or a serious occupation?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

5 Ways a Writing Group Can Help Your Writing

Most writers would probably agree that writing is often a lonely profession. It’s not like we casually drop by our co-workers’ cubicles to hear the latest gossip or get caught up on the goings-on in their lives. And fiction writers—well, our livelihood is creating imaginary people in imaginary worlds…few other folks can relate.

Rather than continue to work with just your computer screen for company, you may want to consider joining a writing group. You may not think you need one until you attend your first meeting—then you’ll wonder how you’ve gone this long without one.
Still not convinced? Here are just 5 reasons how a writers’ group can help your productivity:

Networking with other writers. Back to that point about “writing is often a lonely profession”…it doesn’t have to be! Writers’ groups tend to attract all kinds of writers, from all kinds of genres, including yours! They can be a wealth of information on where to submit your work, new writer-friendly products, “must-read” books, and anything else you can think of. We all share many of the same frustrations, no matter what genre we prefer. Join us—you have found your people!

Information about new opportunities. Markets, contests, agents, or plain old folks looking for help with a project—you never would have learned these things without your connections at the writers’ group!

Feedback on your work. Whether it’s a critique group that meets regularly, some time allotted at each meeting to share a work in progress, or something in between, most groups’ purpose is the same—to help their writers improve their writing! A little constructive feedback is all part of the process, and most are grateful for frank comments on their work. The trick is to give criticism that’s helpful rather than harmful.

Education. Workshops, seminars, monthly programs—different groups set different priorities, but almost all of them offer some type of educational program from time to time. The Black Diamond Writers Network features a monthly speaker discussing some element of the art or craft of writing, with occasional workshops held throughout the year to keep things interesting and offer additional skill-building. Take advantage of everything—you will learn something.

Shameless self-promotion. For those lucky few who have managed to reach their writing goals, whatever they might be, there’s no better feeling in the world than sharing it with others who may want to do the same. Whether you’ve published a book, had an article accepted by a major market, had your screenplay performed by a local troupe, or simply finished something (already a major accomplishment!), share it! Writers love to support one of their own, so if you have a book to sell, don’t forget your fellow scribes! It might also be a great motivator for a fellow member to sit down in front of the computer screen and get back to work on their own masterpiece.

Monday, February 1, 2010

More About the Write It Right Facilitators

The BDWN Write It Right Conference will include 8 breakout sessions led by professional facilitators in their respective fields. We have an amazing selection of speakers, and the toughest part for attendees will be deciding which sessions to go to!

We already introduced Kathryn Craft, our keynote speaker and facilitator for the “Get That Story Moving!” fiction session. Here’s a sneak peek at our other speakers and their topics:

Rick Grant—Effective Self-Promotion for Writers. Rick will lead one session on how writers can promote their work using traditional outlets such as media kits, book tours, and the like. His second session will focus on how social media can help writers take their marketing efforts to the next level. Grant brings more than 25 years' journalist experience with expertise in the financial industry, engineering and emerging media technologies to his audience. He most recently served as editor of Real Estate Technology Insight (RETI). Prior his work at RETI, Grant was an editor for Source Media publications (formerly Thomson Media) where he served as managing editor for Origination News magazine, Broker magazine, Mortgage Technology magazine and the HomeEquityWire electronic newsletter. He served as special reports editor for National Mortgage News and designed curricula for industry conferences.

Priscilla Y. Huff—Breaking into Magazine Writing: Beginners’ Basics and Expanding Your Freelance Writing Markets: 99+ Part-Time Writing Job Ideas for Earning Money While Writing Your Bestseller. Priscilla will offer step-by-step ways to get published in magazines, covering everything from finding ideas to identifying markets to writing the query and the all-important follow-up with the editor. In her second session, she will talk about some non-traditional ways to earn your living as a writer while you polish your novel manuscript (you know—in your spare time!) Priscilla has been a freelance business and non-fiction writer/author for over 25 years. Huff’s experience includes penning the best-selling 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, 3rd ed., and other related books specializing in topics about small and home-based businesses and women’s entrepreneurship. She has written articles for print publications including Home Business Journal, Pennsylvania Magazine and Small Business Opportunities and is currently a feature writer for Home Business Magazine. Her business, Little House Writing & Publishing, offers business information, consulting and research services as well as e-books and other publications. Visit her website at

Jerry Waxler—Turning Life Into Story (Memoir Writing Session). Jerry will talk about the ins and outs of writing a memoir, the most effective methods for turning your life into a story, and how to spot meaningful material in your everyday life. Jerry holds an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Villanova University and has been a longtime advocate for the healing power of the written word. He has held numerous workshops on writing memoir throughout Pennsylvania. He is a former board member of the Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Vice President of the Philadelphia Writers Conference, and a Program Director for the National Association of Memoir Writers.