Second Saturday luncheons resume on Feb 11 at Brew River in Salisbury, when Ocean City author Vincent Gisriel, Jr. recounts the story behind his acclaimed and very successful family memoir of World War II, “Hearts Away, Bombs Away.”
Vince will explain how he drew on a treasure trove of 1,100 letters exchanged during World War II between his mother and father, a bombardier on a B-17 based in England, to tell the story of his parents’ relationship in those war-torn years. Initially, he was looking for information to help shape a war story, but his father, understandably, had been very limited in his ability to share military details.
What he discovered in his parents’ correspondence, though, was “a beautiful love story that just poured off the pages of their letters. Vincent had set out to write a war story, which he did; but he also found a love story that just would not go away, thus Hearts Away, Bombs Away.”
Of equal interest to ESWA members, Vince will explain how he used shoe leather, passion, and tenacity to hand-sell 5,000 copies of his book the old-fashioned way, face to face, author to reader. (Actually, Vince explains, the running total is 4,970, but who’s counting … and anyway, in another month it may well be an even 5,000.) Both the content of his story and the story behind the story will make for an interesting and educational session.
The luncheon will begin at noon Saturday, Feb. 11 at Brew River. The event is free. Each attendee will be responsible for their own purchases of food and drink.
For more information see www.HeartsAwayBombsAway.com.
Delmarva storytellers share their own tales and writing advice
Three of Delmarva’s finest chroniclers and storytellers gathered in Easton to share their knowledge from decades spent documenting the people who make the region so unique.
The authors’ panel, sponsored by the Eastern Shore Writer’s Association, was held on Saturday, January 29, 2017, at the Easton Library.
Sharing their experiences were Ed Okonowicz, perhaps best known for his ghost tales and his book Disappearing Delmarva; Gary Crawford, columnist for the Tidewater Times; and Ann Foley, author of articles and books, including Having My Say: Conversations with a Chesapeake Bay Waterman.
Moderated by outgoing ESWA president Mindie Burgoyne, the authors’ discussion was at times poignant, but mostly humorous, as they shared encounters with world famous decoy carvers, muskrat trappers, and old-time watermen.
While they might be “Come Heres” in the Delmarva sense, all three have spent decades writing about the uniquely Delmarva way of life.
“I used to like to sit and listen to the stories people had to tell, even before I was a writer,” Foley said.
Some of their advice to writers when interviewing others included getting a couple of people together so that they start having a conversation and build off each other. All three also make a point of meeting their interview subjects in their homes, or workshops, or boats, where people will be comfortable talking. That interview approach sometimes takes early mornings, long drives, making friends with dogs, and hours of listening.
While these writers check their information carefully with exhaustive research, Crawford said that ultimately writers have to be willing to take that final leap and get their work into print.
“I would recommend that you not be too shy about putting yourself out there to ridicule,” Crawford said.
He said that the hardest writing assignment he gave himself was to write an account of the sinking of the Hay Russ IV in 1979, in which five Tilghman Island men, all of the same family, were lost.
Okonowicz had this bit of tongue-in-cheek advice for writers: “I avoid young people at all costs. You have to go to people who have lived and experienced good stories to get good stories.”
Ed Okonowicz is a Delaware native who currently lives in Elkton. He’s written over 20 books on Delmarva and Maryland folklore, oral history, regional culture, crime and ghost stories including The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories, Disappearing Delmarva and Civil War Ghosts at Fort Delaware.
Ann Foley has lived 20 years on Elliott’s Island in Dorchester County. In that time, she’s published articles in the Washington Post, Stars and Stripes, Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Bay Sailor Magazine. She is also the author of several books on the Eastern Shore’s rural culture including A Dorchester County Scrapbook, Having My Say: Conversations with a Chesapeake Bay Waterman and Elliotts Island: The Land the Time Forgot.
Gary Crawford is a regular contributor to the Tidewater Times and, along with his wife Susan, operates Crawford’s Nautical Books, a unique bookstore on Tilghman Island. Gary has authored numerous publications about the area, including some video presentations, and for five years published the “Island Flyer,” a weekly paper for Tilghman Island.
ESWA Elections – Slate of Officers for 2017
The following Slate of Officers was presented to the ESWA Board of Directors by the appointed nominating committee. This slate has been approved by the ESWA Board and affirmed by the ESWA membership during a vote at the annual meeting in Easton on January 28.
President Elect – Fran Severn (Salisbury)
Secretary – David Healey (Chesapeake City – 1 year )
At Large 1 – Jim Duffy (Cambridge)
At Large 2 – Pat Valdata (Elkton / Crisfield)
At Large 3 – Susan Parker (Salisbury)
The following officers will continue in their current positions or transition.
President, Mindie Burgoyne will transition to Immediate Past President
President Elect, Ron Sauder will transition to President
Charlene Marcum is completing her 2-year term as Treasurer
Rick Barton is completing his 2-year term as Chair of the ESWA Education Fund
Emily Rich is continuing to serve as the Delmarva Review representative
Judy Reveal is continuing to serve as the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference representative
David Healey is continuing as ESWA Communications Chair
All nominees have been contacted by the nominating committee. A vote by ESWA members to approve this slate will be taken at the Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 28th. Members may also email their approval (or disapproval) before that date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Later in the year, an announcement will be made on the ESWA Facebook page and website calling for nominations for 2018.
Predicting the Past: Writing Historical Fiction
Saturday, November 19 at 10 a.m. at Third Haven Quaker Meeting,
405 S. Washington St, Easton, MD
Maryland author Lucia St. Clair Robson will speak at a meeting of the Eastern Shore Writers Association at 10 a.m. on November 19, 2016 at the meeting room at Third Haven Quaker Meeting, 405 S. Washington St, Easton, MD 21601.
“Predicting the Past” is what Robson calls this talk about writing historical fiction. She said, “I use examples from history to illustrate the irony that making up stuff doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. People also are often curious about how I organize the thousands of details that go into a novel based on facts.”
Lucia St. Clair Robson wrote her first book, Ride the Wind, while working as a public librarian in Anne Arundel county. WIND made the New York Times best-seller list in 1982, won the Western Writers of America Spur award, and has been in print ever since. Her ninth book, Last Train from Cuernavaca, also received a Spur. After nine historical novels she wrote Devilish, a contemporary mystery with a supernatural twist.
NATIONALLY KNOWN PUBLISHING EXPERT JANE FRIEDMAN
TO HEADLINE EASTERN SHORE WRITERS CONFERENCE IN SALISBURY
Contact: Ron Sauder, email@example.com, (410) 845-3193
SALISBURY – Nationally known author, editor, consultant, and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, Jane Friedman, will keynote a one-day conference for writers to be held Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Downtown Library in Salisbury.
Aimed at both aspiring and experienced writers, the conference is being sponsored by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, a 30-year-old nonprofit organization that promotes networking, a sense of community, and professional development for its members. The event is co-sponsored by the Wicomico Public Libraries.
Friedman’s talk will explain what an author platform is, how to build it using both social media and off-line forms of personal and professional networking, and why it matters so much to the eventual success of any book.
After lunch, she will offer one-on-one consulting sessions to authors who seek a professional evaluation of their queries and proposals – whether for fiction or nonfiction projects. Limited to conference registrants, Friedman will offer twelve 15-minute sessions at the special rate of $25 each.
Also speaking will be recently-retired director of the Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture, Salisbury University professor emeritus Dr. G. Ray Thompson, who will explain how writers can find and take advantage of the rich historical troves available to them in libraries and archives, and Easton-based writer and manuscript editor, Judith Reveal, who will analyze the craft of writing fiction.
The one-day conference will cost $10 for ESWA members and $45 for non-ESWA members, which automatically includes a one-year membership in ESWA.
For questions and more information, please contact Ron Sauder, board member, Eastern Shore Writers Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 845-3193.
Delmarva Review Editors to Speak
Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Talbot County Free Library, 100 W Dover St, Easton, MD.
The editors of The Delmarva Review will discuss how they select new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for the Eastern Shore Writers Association’s literary journal. The next submissions period for writers opens November 1.
The Delmarva Review has been called one of “the best-of-the-best literary journals” in print today. You’ll receive a preview of the next issue, coming in November. And, you can ask your questions about the journal directly to the editors. How to prepare your submissions? What do the editors want? What are my odds?
Join editors Wilson Wyatt, Emily Rich, Bill Gourgey, George Merrill, Harold Wilson, Melissa Reddish, and others. This is a great opportunity to ask your questions and discover valuable information about literary journals.
Guerilla Marketing with Kenton Kilgore and Sharon Brubaker
Saturday, September 17, 2016
The Eastern Shore Writers Association (ESWA) hosted a meeting at the Queen Anne’s County Library, Kent Island Branch in Stevensville on September 17, 2016 from 10 – 12. The library is located at 200 Library Circle, Stevensville, MD.
Every author, whether traditionally or self-published, wants sell their books. ESWA members Kenton Kilgore and Sharon Brubaker will share what works for them. Kilgore will talk about the “hand selling” techniques he has developed, and Brubaker will share why she goes to book fairs, festivals – what works and what doesn’t. She’ll also reveal tips about how she gets the word out about her books – wherever she goes.
Kenton Kilgore writes young adult science-fiction/fantasy with characters you care about and worlds in which you can get lost. He is the author of Dragontamer’s Daughter, Lost Dogs, and the children’s book, Our Wild Place.
Sharon Brubaker is a nationally award winning librarian, the author of several educational publications and a romantic suspense trilogy, the Green Man series.
How to Write Winning Short Stories
Workshop with Nancy Day Sakaduski
Saturday, September 17, 2016
When it comes to giving your writing an award-winning polish, Nancy Day Sakaduski wrote the book…literally! She is the author of How to Write Winning Short Stories, and is ready to share her expertise with you. Learn the specific techniques and insights to help your work win contests and win over publishers. Drawing on her experience as a publisher, Nancy will give you the tools and skills for success.
Nancy helps writers perfect their short stories and prepare them for publication, offering tips through her blog and newsletters. She is the author of over 100 articles and 22 books. As the founder and owner of Cat and Mouse Press, she runs the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest, which attracts entries from across the United States.
This half-day workshop will be held September 17, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral’s Miller Hall, 315 Goldsborough Street, Easton MD, 21601. The cost is $35 for ESWA members and $45 for others.
How to Write Winning Short Stories Workshop is presented by Eastern Shore Writers’ Association Educational Fund.
Thriller author Robert Blake Whitehill shares insights
June 25, 2016 Queen Anne’s County Library in Stevensville
Thriller author Robert Blake Whitehill was the speaker at the Saturday, June 25 gathering of Eastern Shore Writers. Whitehill shared his own success story with writing and publishing his Ben Blackshaw series, which has not only been a hit with readers, but has been optioned for film and is currently in the development process.
Whitehill grew up in a Quaker family in Mardela Springs (Wicomico County) but now lives in Montclair, N.J. Those Eastern Shore roots tugged at him in creating and writing his novels. Earlier in life, he didn’t set out to be a writer, but an actor. However, he soon found a knack for writing personalized audition monologues for other actors, and then screenplays. He even found a gig writing for the “True Crime” TV series.
Both were good training grounds for how to write action and emotion: “For the monologues, whatever made them breathe faster and brought color to their cheeks, that was the subject of the monologue.”
For many years, Whitehill also worked on the ambulance crew in Montclair, which was a real eye opener into the many facets of how people really live—and die. But the ambulance work took its toll emotionally and physically—hauling stretchers up and down staircases isn’t easy on a back—and he turned his attention to writing fiction. The result was his first Ben Blackshaw novel, Deadrise.
Blackshaw is one of those characters in the vein of Jack Reader or Travis McGee. And while McGree in particular is associated with Florida, Blackshaw is a Chesapeake Bay man.
To help him in writing the books, Whitehill has assembled a team of experts on everything from firearms to the “emotional truths” of combat veterans to editing and cover design.
Whitehill said his goal is for the reader to be entertained on every page. “If a reader is going to give that time to me, I’m going to respect that to the utmost,” Whitehill said.