Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ghastly-Gift Gathering

Yesterday, the Charlottesville branch of the Worldwide Literary Ladies Luncheon gathered at Milan indian restaurant for the annual White Elephant gift exchange.

Going clockwise: that's yours truly (Janis Jaquith) with hand raised, Fran Slayton (who has wonderful publishing news that may not yet be disclosed), Jenny Gardiner, Laura Rydin Ventre, Marianne Sullivan, the intrepid Susan Wright, and Erika Raskin.

And lucky me, I got what has to get the award for "Most Desperate Gift, Ever." A can of beans, courtesy of Rose Elliott.

Marianne Sullivan having a "what the hell is this?" moment with a ghastly, multicolored ceramic bowl festooned with stuck-on ceramic fish. She decided it would make a good water bowl for the cat. (Although the ceramic fish could be cause for some feline frustration...)

That's Susan Wright holding her Hokie Napkins (unfortunately, the Hokie turkey doesn't show in this shot). Additionally, this tacky collection of Virginia kitsch included a snow and glitter globe of Jamestown, and a Hokie-bird golf tee.

Laura Rydin enjoys, temporarily, the painted-lady glasses that had been happily perched on a windowsill in my gracious kitchen for the past two years. (My gracious kitchen is painted the same periwinkle blue as the ladies.) My husband suggested last week that someone else's house -- anyone else's house -- would be a good place for the glasses. With a heavy heart, I wrapped them up for the LLL wingding. But Laura, the very soul of generosity, wouldn't hear of keeping the glasses, and they are now back home in my g.k.

Jenny Gardiner actually LIKES the collection of Christmas tree decorations she received.

I regret to report that the winner of the Tackiest Gift Prize (wrapped with panache by Erika Raskin) was not captured in a photograph. It was a plastic box (the kind a corsage should come in) filled with taupe satin rosettes. (Even if you could make a taupe rose, why would you?) Elizabeth Howard was the baffled recipient. ("Whatever would you do with THESE?" We suggested that she strew them on her sheets to wow her husband.) Although they didn't actually smell like some musty artifact from Miss Havisham's hope chest, they looked as though they ought to.

I raise my virtual champagne glass to Literary Ladies everywhere: Charlottesville, Denver -- wherever you may be. May 2008 bring inspiration, finished projects, wide distribution, and fat checks. Cheers!

(And many thanks to Elizabeth Howard, who took these photographs -- and had to take home those crappy roses.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jenny Gardiner's Publishing Adventure Enters a New Phase

You may recall, back in May, this headline from our blog: Jenny Gardiner Snags Publishing Contract!

Jenny has just entered the "advent" stage of her publishing adventure: The book will appear in bookstores in January (and at $6.99 it's not much more than an Eggnog Latte at Starbucks -- and easier to justify) and the reviews are beginning to appear. (Much like Sally Field, you could say, "They like her! They really like her!")

The first review is from
Before commencing with the accolades for Jenny Gardner’s new book, “Sleeping With Ward Cleaver”, let me say that Jenny is always welcome to have dinner at our house. I can’t imagine how someone who wrote this book wouldn’t be exceptional funny (like Molly Shannon), bright (like Madeleine what’s her name Secretary of State), and perhaps, even a little sarcastic. Just my cup of tea for a dinner guest!

Jenny’s book is a romantic comedy about a working mother who find herself and her husband again through all the paranoia and delusion that we all experience as parents and spouses. Luckily, Jenny’s book helps us all see the humor in the situation. The book is a well written and easy read.

The first chapter had me in stitches. Children puking. Planned and dreaded sex nights. Poorly trained pets. Poop. Oversexed single friends. And a husband who behaves like Ward Cleaver. A little something for all of us to relate to in our own lives.

This is book is the “Bridget Jones Diary” for all of us married and harried mommies! And perhaps, a good gift to give to our younger and single girlfriends. It’s a gentle and humorous way to give them a glimpse of what’s to come . . .

What I love the most about this book is the ending. It left me understanding myself and my husband a little more. I just wanted to give him one of those long and sumptuous hugs that say, “I understand.”

And at the end I was left understanding the delicate dance in romantic relationships a little more. “Sleeping With Ward Cleaver” was the perfect romantic comedy for a 30-something Mommy, who still wants to be a sexy and sassy gal, despite the spit up encrusted on all of my clothing. I can only hope Rob Reiner and friends, will put this sassy book on the big screen!
And this review is from

With five kids, a part-time job and a husband who barks orders while not actually helping, Claire Doolittle's life sucks. Because of her resentment toward her once loving husband, Claire has come to hate sex and allows her husband access to her body once a week, if he behaves.

When she receives an email from an ex-boyfriend, it conjures up memories of the past and Claire realizes just how far off the mark her marriage has gotten. Though she loves her handsome husband Jack, she doesn't like who he's become but feels powerless to change things.

She writes the ex, Todd, back and the pair are soon trading emails of enlightenment (even if Todd's goal is to get into her pants). Meanwhile, Julia, a young, beautiful colleague is hot for Jack. When Jack goes on a business trip to Miami, Claire gets an unexpected offer from her in-laws to watch the kids so she can join him. Jack is not pleased with the idea and soon Claire learns that Julia will be going too.

Claire backs off, but follows Jack to Miami to see if he's cheating. While in Miami she gets more than she bargained for.While the plot, a middle-aged worn out mom who's sick of her husband, does not crackle with intrigue and may hit too close to home for many, the story manages to be a page-turner.

Jenny Gardiner brings to life Claire Doolittle with such vibrancy that I feel I know her. Such was my concern over Claire's and Jack's happiness, that I couldn't put the book down which is a rarity for me.

With her sharp wit and hilarious descriptions, Ms. Gardiner has a delightful voice that left me wanting more.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rose Elliott's Latest Book of Poetry

Announcement from LLLer Roselyn Elliott:

My second poetry chapbook, AT THE CENTER, has been selected for publication by Finishing Line Press, and will be released February 15, 2008.

“The poems in At the Center are tough medicine; and the tougher they are the more beautiful. Roselyn Elliott has a skill for turning pain and illness into poetic transcendence, and then leaving us there, on the heights….Here is a poet who has seen the gleaming, exposed heart of autopsy, the cold and rigid patients “in their sweet blue gowns” and honors the drama of their lives. Let us be thankful for these poems of two worlds, the mortal and the spiritual.”
-- Robert Stewart,
Outside Language: Essays, and
Editor, New Letters

“In this moving collection, Roselyn Elliott stands at the center of the human experience, where the perception of pain and death collides with a fierce, impotent compassion. Speaking with the nurse's precise knowledge of the body and the poet's grasp of the disembodied, she illuminates the excruciating 'ballet' of patient and caregiver.”
--Sharon Leiter, The Dream of Leaving

You may have already received a postcard announcing the publication, and
if you’ve already ordered At the Center, my sincere thanks. Since advance sales determine the number of copies printed, would you please consider passing along a copy of the order form (either as a printout or a forwarded e-mail) to a friend who might be interested in the collection? Please note that if you place your order during the pre-publishing period (before January 18), shipping is FREE. After that, please add $2.00 shipping. Books will be shipped after February 15th.

Thank you!
Roselyn Elliott

(Please mail all orders to the Finishing Line Press address below or order online at and click on “New Releases”)

Please send me ______ copy(ies) of At the Center, by Roselyn Elliott, at $12.00 per copy.
Enclosed is my check (payable to Finishing Line Press) for $__________



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short Copyediting Gig for UVa

A tip o' the pen to LLLer Dawn Hunt for sending this one:

Copyeditor needed for UVA grant application--quick turn around required.
The final draft will be available within a few days (hopefully December
3rd or 4th) and will be approximately 15 pages. The job must be
completed by the end of the day on December 5.

If you are interested please contact Gertrude Fraser at
gjf2v (at) and use the subject line "ADVANCE copyediting."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Writing Gigs

Part-Time Freelance Writers - Local Lifestyle Content (Comp: per assignment fee) (Central Virginia) :
Charlottesville House & Home is looking to expand our pool of local free lance writers. We assign everything from brief 500 word profiles of local craftsmen to 1500-2000 word lifestyle features. Our beat is regional home and garden design and all the Central Virginia resources that provide those services. More info on the magazine at Send a brief letter of introduction, any particular subjects of expertise or interest and previous local writing credits. All of our writers must live in Central Va.
Texas Diversity Magazine is seeking freelance writers to contribute
articles for our new magazine that wlll launch during the first quarter
of 2008.
Texas Diversity will be a source of knowledge and information to learn
about the benefits of diversity and its impact on business performance.
It will provide a platform to celebrate diversity and encourage dialogue
around this topic. Published three times per year and with an expected
distribution of 10,000 copies per trimester, we will primarily cater to
business professionals, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses,
educators, students, government, institutions of higher learning and
Please contact David Miles via email for more information, Please visit
our website at to learn more about us.
Compensation: Pay for articles is .33 cents to .50 cents per word.
Reply to:
Learning Through History magazine is a bi-monthly history publication for
readers in middle thru high school.
We are accepting submissions for the Italian Renaissance issue through
December 15, 2007. Below are just a few of the many topics that would be
of interest - we also encourage writers to submit manuscripts and queries
on other possible topic(s) that are related to the issue theme:
Medici family
The Papacy
Papal States
Leonardo da Vinci
Sistine Chapel
Lucrezia Borgia
Sack of Rome in 1527
Venice (the Doge)
Italian City States
.. and other related topics.
Learning Through History pays $75 per non-fiction articles of 1000-1200
words, plus a complimentary issue in which your work appears.
Please see the freelance guidelines section of our website for complete
details on how to submit to our magazine:
No agencies, please. Writers must submit their own work directly to us.
Thanks for your interest!
Full guidelines:
Compensation: $75 per article
Reply to:
Looking For health conscious, career minded, individuals to write articles
regarding nutritional supplements and their benefits for an expanding
marketing company. Please email resume and a brief paragraph about yourself
and your interests in health, beauty, and future career goals. Definite
possibilities for growth with the company.
Compensation: Varies
Reply to:
We are seeking an experienced blogger to write 3-5 posts per week for one
of our high profile client websites.
The voice we are looking for is professional, educational and extremely
articulate in nature. The successful candidate will possess excellent
writing and research skills, a strong understanding of tea and the tea
industry, knowledge about professional blogging formats and have the
ability to submit posts on a regular and timely basis.
Although we will provide a detailed content plan and editing assistance
each post will be approximately 500 words in length, include at least one
image, and cover a wide range of news and advice oriented topics about tea
types, quality and history, tea health and tea paraphernalia.
If you meet the requirements outlined above and feel you would be an
excellent candidate for this position, please reply with a copy of your
resume and writing/blog post samples by November 30th, 2007.
As this position is designed for a highly skilled writer and blogger, we
ask that only qualified candidates apply.
Compensation: We offer a very competitive salary of $1,100 per month and
support telecommuting contracts.
Reply to:
Travel Company needs travel writer to research and write short travel
descriptions of travel opportunities in the United States and around the
world. Work from home. The pay is low, however we have a lot of regular
and consistant work. Please send samples of your writing.
Compensation: low
Reply to:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writing Gig for Lobbying Firm

As always, caveat scriptor. I know nothing about these people.



A grassroots lobbying firm seeks freelance writers who are available to
assume episodic writing work for our prestigious client base. Ideal
candidates will be motivated self-starters with clear and concise writing
styles, engaging turn of phrase, and excellent grammar. Ability to manage
multiple simultaneous projects and meet concrete deadlines is a must.

We are currently accepting applications from freelancers with skills in any
of the following areas:
- Business writing
- Sales and marketing
- Ghostwriting
- Journalism
- Copywriting
Projects are assigned to qualified freelancers on a first-come, first-
served basis.
Qualified candidates should submit a resume and two relevant writing
samples Please put Freelance Writing in the subject line of your email and
identify which of the writing skills listed above you possess.

ApplicationDeadline: January 1, 2008

Compensation: Freelancers are paid a fixed fee on a per-project basis.
Fees vary based on the type and scope of each project. Fees range from $35
(for a single page of website copy) to $1,600 (for work on more intensive
Reply to:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Susan Tyler Hitchcock's FRANKENSTEIN! reviewed in Washington Post Book World

In case you missed it, here's The Washington Post's review of Susan Tyler Hitchcock's "delightful cultural history" of Frankenstein's monster:

It's Alive!
We've been remaking this monster since he first got off the table.
Reviewed by Louis Bayard
The Washington Post
Sunday, October 28, 2007; Page BW05


A Cultural History

By Susan Tyler Hitchcock

Norton. 392 pp. $25.95

"I saw -- with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, -- I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion."

A monster wasn't the only thing stirring in the dreams of teenaged Mary Godwin. A vocation was awakening, too. The lover of poet Percy Shelley and daughter of ur-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, young Mary knew enough of literature and commerce to realize she was on to something. "What terrified me will terrify others," she reasoned, and she was not even half wrong. As Susan Tyler Hitchcock's delightful cultural history reminds us, the monster that Mary fashioned from her slumbers is still alive and kicking: "in our bookstores, on our film and television screens, from morning cartoons to wee-hours rerun movies. He plays roles in advertising and political debate, he appears at public library story hours and on graduate-level reading lists. He is both a joke and a profound ethical dilemma."

But in the beginning, he was the product of a dare, thrown down by Lord Byron in that rainy Geneva summer of 1816: "We will each write a ghost story." Byron and Shelley bowed out, but Mary Godwin found a voice. Drawing on a private brew of philosophy, literature and myth, she discovered probably her most proximate inspiration in the writings of Luigi Galvani, who had used electrical currents to trigger movements in disembodied frog legs. Readers looking for more science than that will have to look elsewhere, and anyone coming to the original story from the Hollywood back lot will be startled to find that Victor Frankenstein's monster, after a brief setback, learns both to speak and read. Goethe, Plutarch and, fittingly enough, Paradise Lost are among the texts he marshals against his creator, who dies unmolested on an Arctic voyage, mourned by the creation he has once again abandoned.

The novel was published in 1818 by Lackington & Allen, "Cheapest Bookseller in the World," and while the reviews were mixed (Walter Scott was among its defenders), readers took to it and began immediately changing it to their liking. Within a year, the monster whom Mary Shelley (by the book's publications, Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley had married) deliberately left nameless was being given the name of its creator. The accretions we associate with Universal Pictures -- angry villagers, bumbling lab assistant, climactic grapple between scientist and science project -- were initially the work of London stage adapters.

By the time Dickens referenced the story in Great Expectations in 1861, " 'Frankenstein' had become a code word for misguided ambition, for new ideas conjured up with good intentions but destined to grow and change beyond all reckoning, ultimately overwhelming those who conceived them." As such, the name could be appropriated by virtually anyone: capitalist, socialist, democrat, imperialist. In an all-too-familiar pattern, Mary Shelley's own creation escaped her, and today we find it used as a shorthand for everything from cereal (Franken Berry) to genetically engineered produce (Frankenfoods).

No one, it seems, can quite agree on what this monster means, and for more than a century, no one could be sure what he looked like -- until director James Whale tapped a minor, 40-something actor named Boris Karloff for the 1931 film adaptation. Karloff's sunken cheeks and deep-set eyes were heaven-sent, but the monster's true auteur was makeup artist Jack Pierce, who deduced that Dr. Frankenstein, being "a scientist but no practicing surgeon," would saw the creature's skull "straight across like a potlid." Pierce decided to "make the monster's head square and flat like a shoe box and dig that big scar across his forehead with the metal clamps holding it together." Add neck bolts, throw in a pair of asphalt worker's boots, and you have the lumbering, lurching beast of a billion Halloween costumes.

You also have the beginning of the end. The trajectory from Karloff to Herman Munster is dismayingly short, and it could be argued that, once Mel Brooks and Abbott and Costello and Frank N. Furter have had a go at you, you're no longer the stuff of nightmares. Each new interpretation vitiates the original's power, with the result that Frankenstein becomes less interesting as it becomes more universal.

With great effort, then, we work our way back to the core text. Clear away, for starters, that business of henchman Fritz dropping the "normal" brain intended for the monster and making do with the one nearest to hand. Whoopsies, it's abnormal! Marty Feldman made antic hay with this in "Young Frankenstein," and it's a deeply silly way to explain the creature's antisocial rages when the circumstances of his birth are reason enough. As Karloff himself pointed out, "The most heartrending aspect of the creature's life was his ultimate desertion by his creator."

We have feminist scholars to thank for placing that loss within the context of Mary Shelley's own life. Seventeen when she first gave birth, she lost three children within four years and had to sit by while her "free-thinking" lover chose pleasure and poetry over child-rearing. The question isn't why she would revolt at the idea of caring for her own creation but, more properly, what parent hasn't? And while we're at it: What child has never felt abandoned? Forget Galvani and his frogs. The real subject of Frankenstein is parents and children and the harm they inflict on each other. "This is our monster," writes Susan Tyler Hitchcock. "To know him is to know ourselves." *

Louis Bayard's most recent book is "The Pale Blue Eye," a novel about Edgar Allan Poe.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Desperately Seeking Cville Transcriber

VA LLLer Rebecca Barns’ s husband is a reference librarian, and a patron asked him how to find a transcriber in Charlottesville who could transcribe dictated memoirs. Does anyone know someone they could recommend? If so, Rebecca will pass the info along.

Contact Rebecca: rbarns1212 (at)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Roanoke Regional Writers' Conference: Be There or Be Square

[I'll be at this conference -- I hope you'll join us. As you read over the bios, you should know that I didn't write my own bio. "Known and respected" sounds a little lame! Ah, well. That's show biz. Also, I don't know whether or not you're a fan of Sharyn McCrumb, but I can tell you that I heard her presentation at a conference several years ago, and she's a remarkably entertaining speaker. I hope you'll spread the word about this conference among your writer friends. -Janis]

The Roanoke Regional Writers Conference will feature 22 well-known writers, mostly from the western half of Virginia, talking about what they know best: writing in many of its forms.

Join us in the evening on Friday September 25 in Fitzpatrick Hall at Roanoke's Jefferson Center for an evening with Sharyn McCrumb and all day Saturday September 26 for the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference!

Friday evening: Sharyn McCrumb, “Writing About Appalachia”
Networking, book signings by the author

Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Roanoke Regional Writers Conference
Featuring: Sharyn McCrumb, Dan Smith, Nelson Harris, and Tommy Denton

The goal of the conference is to give professional and serious amateur writers and a few select writing students a chance to get to know each other, to learn from each other and to share stories in a relaxed setting.
The classes will be informal and offer an opportunity for interaction among students and teachers.

There will be four classrooms available for the conference, three in the main
Jefferson Center building and one in Fitzpatrick Hall. Classrooms will be assigned at registration.

Conference Schedule

Friday, 7-7:30 p.m. Registration (Fitzpatrick Hall)
7:30-8:15. Sharyn McCrumb, “Writing About Appalachia”

8:30-9 p.m. Networking, book signings by the authors (cash or check only)

Saturday, 8:30-9 a.m. Registration (Fitzpatrick Hall)

Register Online


9 a.m.-9:45 a.m.
Rehearsal Hall: Nelson Harris and Elizabeth Barbour, “Writing Local Histories”
Training Room: Dan Smith, “The Short Essay”
L.L. Rice Hall: Keith Ferrell, “Blogging”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Sandy Smith, “Using Children’s Stories to Make Your Point”

10-10:45 a.m.
Rehearsal Hall: Kurt Rheinheimer, “Short Fiction”
Training Room: Melanie Almeder, “Writing a Poem from Start to Finish”
L.L. Rice Hall: Todd Ristow, “Writing for the Theater”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Cara Modisett, “What Magazine Editors Want”

11-11:45 a.m.
Rehearsal Hall: Donna Dilley, Kathy Surace, “Writing What You Know”
Training Room: Janis Jaquith, “The Radio Essay”
L.L. Rice Hall: Rex Bowman, “Writing About Country People”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Sarah Cox, “Writing About Your Family”

Lunch (soup and sandwich), $6.
Roanoke City Market is four blocks from Jefferson Center and has many good restaurants.

Rehearsal Hall: Sandy Smith, “Emphasizing Your Point with Stories”
Training Room: Dan Smith, “The Memoir”
L.L. Rice Hall: Gene Marrano, “Freelance Writing in This Region”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Tom Field, “Writing Persuasively and Getting Feedback”

Rehearsal Hall: Darrell Laurent, “Finding Stories in Your Back Yard”
Training Room: Karen Adams, “Writing for Children”
L.L. Rice Hall: John Montgomery, “Writing About Sports and Selling It”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Tyler Godsey, “Getting Your Book into Print”

Rehearsal Hall: Andrew Kantor, “Using the Internet for Research”
Training Room: Tommy Denton, “Writing Opinion”
Fitzpatrick Hall: Sharyn McCrumb, “Tell it Slant; Using Historical Events in Fictional Works”

Fitzpatrick Hall: Roundtable Discussion featuring various presenters.

Who’s Talking?
Here are brief biographies of the people who will be leading classes:

• Sharyn McCrumb: New York Times best-selling author who lives in Catawba. She has written a number of novels and has won awards for contributions to Appalachian literature and as Southern Writer of the Year.

• Dan Smith is a veteran of four decades of journalism, the winner of a number of awards, a regular essayist on Public Radio and the author of four books, including his recent memoir, Burning the Furniture.

• Sandy Smith is a nationally-known speaker, management consultant, trainer and business coach. His recent children’s book is often used in his presentations.

• Keith Ferrell is the former editor of Omni Magazine, author of 18 books, popular blogger and a medical columnist.

• Melanie Almeder is a respected poet (On Dream Street was recently published) and a former Virginia Teacher of the Year as a professor at Roanoke College.

• Todd Ristau’s work has been produced at London’s West End and he is the founder of No Shame Theater. He is Mill Mountain Theatre’s literary associate and teaches at Hollins University.

• Kurt Rheinheimer is the editor of the Roanoker Magazine and a respected writer of short fiction, especially baseball stories. His Little Criminals has received good reviews nationally.

• Nelson Harris, mayor of Roanoke, minister and writer of several local histories.

• Elizabeth Barbour, freelance writer, law student and author of a local history.

• Cara Modisett is the editor of Blue Ridge Country Magazine and an author.

• Gene Marrano is a freelance journalist involved in radio, television, newspapers and magazines. He has his own television show in Roanoke, “The Interview.”

• Donna Dilley is an etiquette consultant and writes a popular column on business etiquette.

• Kathy Surace is a fashion consultant and writes a column on dressing.

• Janis Jaquith is a known and respected columnist and Public Radio essayist.

• Rex Bowman of the Western Virginia Bureau of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has written one novel and is working on a collection of his stories about mountain people.

• Sarah Cox has written as a freelancer for a number of different publications in the market and also teaches writing at the college and high school levels.

• Tom Field is the general manager of the Blue Ridge Business Journal and owns a marketing and advertising business in Roanoke.

• Darrell Laurent is an award-winning columnist at the Lynchburg News & Advance, where he has written the paper’s lead column for more than two decades.

• Karen Adams writes children’s books, among other things.

• John Montgomery is the publisher of a sports magazine and has a long background in the newspaper business.

• Tyler Godsey has worked for a small book publisher.

• Tommy Denton is the former editor of the editorial page of The Roanoke Times.

• Andrew Kantor is a Roanoke-based freelance writer who specializes in technology. He has taught use of the Internet to journalists.

Register Online

Tickets: $40 registration fee ($46 includes lunch)

Sharyn McCrumb Website

Friday, October 12, 2007

Writing Gigs

December Issue:
A "How to Create an Author Platform" article for our December 2007 issue
on Authors. Please review our magazine's previous "How 2" articles to get a
flavor of what we're looking for. Only experienced authors will be accepted
for this particular column.
January Issue:
Focus on reading groups, literary guilds, and libraries.
Seeking: interviews with founders of literary guilds, popular reading
groups. Articles on subjects such as: "How to get your Book into a Book
Club"; Inside information on different reading groups and their decision-
making process on selecting authors; Anecdotes about your experience with
book clubs.
February Issue:
Romance is in the air! We'd love you to query us on your craft of writing
romance: How to create love scenes, Romancing the Reader, How to break into
the Romance Market, etc. And, if you're a romance author and would like to
write an article about your experience, or request an interview, we're all
March Issue:
Have you been published by a Small Press? Or perhaps you've researched them
and are awaiting publication. We want to hear from you! Send us your
View our submission guidelines:
(Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page under "Submissions")
Please view WOW! Women On Writing to get a flavor of our publication's
voice. Query the appropriate department.
Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Compensation: $50 - $150 per article
Reply to:
b5media is hiring 2 writers for a new blog on Science Fiction. The blog
will primarily cover SciFi television shows & movies (present and past),
as well as other important news in SciFi.
The applicant must be very familiar with the SciFi genre - television,
books, movies. This is a very high demand blog. The ideal bloggers will be
able to post articles several times per day, plus the additional time for
promotion & community building.
Knowledge of Science Fiction is a requirement. Please detail your
familiarity with the topic in your application.
Knowledge of Wordpress a plus. Knowledge of Image Editing a must. This is
a paid position.
Please include 2 writing samples related to the topic, and links to your
online writing experience, if any.
Compensation: paid
Reply to:
We are a new parenting focused magazine and are looking for freelancers to
write multiple articles on various topics surrounding pregnancy and
Specialization in health is a plus but we need content on a wide range of
parenting topics such as stages of pregnancy/babyhood, child development,
behavior, fun with the kids, etc.
Please contact me with you resume and send samples of work if you are
Compensation: Per article basis
Reply to:
National technology magazine geared toward government readers seeks
freelance writers for various projects.
Experience writing about business technology applications or government
is highly valued.
Interested candidates should submit at least two writing samples.
Compensation: based on project and experience
Reply to:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Writing Gigs

Let me know if any of these jobs I post actually pan out. It'll give me some motivation to keep doing it!

This is a part-time position.
Oxford Intelligence (, a UK-headquartered business research
company specializing in international corporate location issues, is seeking
North American-based business writers, analysts and researchers to conduct
interviews with US and Canadian companies regarding their overseas
expansion plans.
Ideal candidates will be able to:
- identify potential companies for interview through their sectoral
- contact and interview senior business executives by telephone
- understand North American/European business culture
- understand business development issues
- demonstrate well-developed Internet research skills
Company profiles are comprised of basic company data plus a 300-350 word
analysis of the company's expansion plan, based on interview. Please visit
the website ( for more information.
For more information, e-mail your resume.
Compensation: depends on number of profiles produced
Reply to:
We are seeking writers who have a strong background in economics, finance
and international relations.
Experience required:
Experience in economics, finance and international relations.
How to apply:
Send your resume and writing samples.
Compensation: Depends on Experience
Reply to:
Wellness Professionals, a new healthcare business, seeks editor to edit a
range of healthcare content.
Work will take place over the next 5 weeks (by Nov 15, 2007). Location and
daily timing of work are flexible. Compensation is negotiable and based on
experience. Please reply with
(a) compensation requirements,
(b) work samples and
(c) resume
Compensation: negotiable
Reply to:
Creative individual needed to create, write and publish a insurance
newsletter for restaurants. Will be responsible for content and design to
be published on the web and in print for our current clients as well as
prospects. You will be paid $600 for each issue which will be 6 pages.
Copy and past resume here along with any links to prior work. We ask that
you also list ALL software programs you know of and noting how well you
know the program Excellent - Good or Fair.
Compensation: $600
Reply to:

Proofreaders needed. We're looking for the best proofers around -
specifically those with financial, legal or general advertising experience.
We must insist on those with at least 2-3 years experience. Looking for
top-notch pros who thrive on making sure words and meanings are clear and
concise! Is this you? If so, please apply today and upload your resume. No
phone calls please. Only qualified applicants will be contacted.
Compensation: $100/hr [Do you suppose this is a typo? A hundred bucks an hour...]
Reply to:
Part-Time Technology/Education Writer for Newsletter - Contract (Comp: Generous) (North Jersey/NYC; telecommute) :
Date: 2007-10-09, 5:27PM EDT We are a technology company serving private schools. We have a great opt-in bi-weekly newsletter dealing with the integration of technologies in education. Our writer is leaving us real soon, and we're looking for someone who can provide two 500-word articles a month. The articles need to intelligently discuss new technologies and their place in the school. If you have a talent for writing, a passion for technology, and a vested interest in education - we want to hear from you! Please send writing samples, ideally something to do with technology and/or education.
College Alumni Website Needs Writers! - Contract (Comp: negotiable DOE) (New York City) :
Date: 2007-10-09, 3:21PM EDT A new website for college alumni is seeking motivated and talented writes to work on contract basis. To be eligible for this gig, you must have attended a U.S. college or university, and know enough about your college and college town to write about it! You'll get paid to write about your old college! Please email for full details. Thanks!
Freelance Work - TBD) (New York) :
Date: 2007-10-09, 3:29PM EDT We are a commerical printshop, with an online website, looking to provide useful articles to our customer base about graphic design, the prepress process, etc. We are looking to find someone with extensive experience in the printing industry, mostly prepress and/or graphic design, to write relevant, useful articles, to not only educate our client base, but to provide them with the tools and knowledge to help build superior files that are print ready. If you have experience in prepress, or with working with printshops, or already a writer, you maybe the person we are looking for. The ideal person would be someone who wore all the following "hats" : writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer, art director, prepress manager, production manager, and print buyer.... here are just some possible examples of the type of useful and relevant articles we need. Sample Topics • Avoiding Fuzzy Four-Color Type • 4-Color Process Vs. Spot Color Printing • What You Should Know About Ink • Keep the Post Office in the Design Loop • What You Should Know About Ink Drying Time • Converting Images to CMYKConverting Fonts to Curves, Paths or Outlines • Electronic Files Formats DefinedUnderstanding Color - Printouts vs. Monitors • How to Sail Through Prepress • Paper Grain Direction - Why it Matters • Designing with Type in Photoshop Please respond ASAP and attach any relevant work you have done. We are looking to start an ongoing relationship with someone to showcase any articles you may have already written that are not specifically the property of someone else, and continue building on useful article, tips, tricks, etc.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New Orleans Renaissance: What You Can Do

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day at a Habitat for Humanity site in New Orleans. (I pounded nails all day, and Harry installed roof joists. We had no previous experience - turns out, though, we're trainable!) It was at Habitat's "Musicians' Village" in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

The weather was hot and humid, and the labor was wicked exhausting, but I have to say that it was the high point of our trip.

We were there for an insurance convention. (NAPSLO) On Saturday morning, two busloads of insurance folks (and spouses, like me) showed up to wield circular saws and hammers, hoist plywood, staple Tyvek, etc.

We worked side by side with several of the people for whom the houses are being built. I worked next to a man and woman and their teenaged daughter -- their house in the Lower Ninth Ward was washed away when the levee burst. It was five days before the couple knew the whereabouts of their daughter.

A few rows of these houses have been completed. If you'd like to see the project we were working on, here's a link to the dedication, and the handing over of keys, to one person's new home: New Home Video

Also, here's a link to the Habitat for Humanity page about this particular project: Musicians' Village.

(It's an especially interesting project: they are constructing houses for displaced musicians, so the musicians can return to New Orleans.)

If you know anyone who's planning a trip to New Orleans (or would like to plan one) I hope you'll tell them about the volunteering opportunities through Habitat for Humanity.

During spring break and the summer, they have lots of volunteers. But at this time of the year, volunteering drops off. (And it was so hot and humid out there yesterday -- I can't imagine what summer is like!) Winters are mild in New Orleans, and it would be a great time to volunteer, if you can spare the time.

And, of course, donations are always welcome.

We were there for just one day. And lots of people volunteer for just one day. And it is astonishing what gets accomplished that way, over time! (My hat is off to those wonderful people who work there - gratis - for weeks at a time. Amazing. The young woman who led our crew is a year-long volunteer through AmeriCorps, which is like the Peace Corps but for projects here in America.)

The "before" photo is one I took in February of 2006. To see the rest of this set of pictures, click here: Jaquith post-Katrina photos. The "after" photo is part of Briebanofsky's photostream at

A friend of mine knows she can talk me into doing just about anything by saying, "But, Janis, you can write about it!" Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is certainly worth your while...and, you can write about it!

Northern Virginia Magazine writing gig


Do you devour books? Seek out film beyond mainstream cinema? Have an
affinity for quirky websites? Northern Virginia Magazine is seeking a
freelance contributor to write book, independent film, DVD and CD features
on a semi-monthly basis. Interested applicants MUST demonstrate savvy in
all areas of the world of media. Contributor will also have the opportunity
to write profile features on artists, authors, philanthropists and notable
performing arts figures in the Northern Virginia region.
Qualified candidates must be familiar with Northern Virginia, should have
at least three years' experience writing for a newspaper, magazine or
online newsletter and be familiar with Associated Press Style Manual.
Submit resumes and no less than three writing samples.
Compensation: TBD
Reply to:

A Whole Passel o' Writing Gigs

Once again, I offer this information having no clue about those making the offers. Caveat scriptor.

Bridal Guide is interested in articles about marriage, relationships,
sexuality, psychology, budgeting and travel. Please do not send queries
concerning fashion, beauty or home design, since we produce these pages
in house. Wedding-planning ideas should cover broad subjects, such as
organizing a long-distance or theme wedding, or touch upon emotional
topics, such as dealing with divorced parents. Shorter, how-to pieces
(e.g. finding a band or choosing a cake) are written in house. We also do
not accept fiction or poetry.
We are looking for service-oriented, well-researched pieces that are
journalistically written and have a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words. ww/bl
Payment, made on acceptance, is 50 cents per word. Writers we work with
consult at least three expert sources, such as wedding planners, book
authors and business professionals in the appropriate field. Our tone is
conversational yet authoritative. Features are generally filled with real-
life anecdotes. We also run features that are completely real-person based
(e.g. bridesmaids discussing their experiences or grooms-to-be expressing
their thoughts about marriage).
In written queries, we are looking for a well-conceived idea, a specific
angle or focus, and the sources the writer intends to use. They should be
brief and snappy, and titles should be provided to give the editor a better
understanding of the writer’s direction.
Feature ideas, including queries for the magazine’s Confident Bride column,
should be sent to our executive editor, Susan Schneider. Feature ideas
related to honeymoon travel destinations should be sent to our travel
editor, Jenna Mahoney. Submit queries only, along with clips of work
published in a national consumer magazine and a self-addressed, stamped
envelope. You should receive a reply within one to three months, but please
note that we are unable to return manuscripts, clips or photos.
Compensation: $0.50/word for 500-3000 words
Reply to: Associate Editor/Bridal Guide Magazine,
We are an established Medical Spa in San Mateo looking for someone to write
our monthly Esthetic newsletter. The newsletter features articles on
fitness, health, and the latest beauty break throughs. Please send a
writting sample a long with a short paragraph telling us a little bit about
Compensation: TBD
Reply to:
Research and writing assistant wanted to assist successful technology and
media executives in creation and publication of articles, blogs, speeches
and books on the impact of technology on both university and K-12
education. Require superior critical thinking and writing skills. Knowledge
of education industry or technology useful but not necessary. Flexible
hours. Highly competitive compensation. Downtown DC office space available
or work from home.
Interested applicants please reply with cover letter and resume.
Compensation: Highly Competitive Compensation
Reply to:
A downtown Austin e-learning company is looking for freelance, offsite
writers to pitch, outline, and write online courses dealing with a wide
range of consumer and SMB finance topics -- everything from understanding
and improving credit scores to retirement planning for singles to selecting
an accounting package for your small business. Subject-matter knowledge,
good Web writing chops, and a clear, approachable writing style are
essential; experience in working with Word styles and templates is a big
plus. We're looking to expand our stable of freelancers who can pitch,
scope, and deliver courses on finance and general business topics. We
prefer Central Texas writers who can meet with us in our downtown offices
as needed, but we will consider qualified writers from other parts of the
US. Please send a resume, statement of interest, and links to your work.
Compensation: contract; 1099; flat fee per project; fee BOE
Reply to:
If you are an experienced outdoor writer and a passionate hiker with a
keen knowledge of area trails, please apply. This is a book project with a
premier publisher of outdoor guidebooks. Please submit resume if
Compensation: advance/royalty
Reply to:
Online News Service Seeks Freelancers (Comp: Not stated) (Columbia, MD) :
Disaster News Network (, a respected 24/7 Web news service is reopening its search for journalists with a passion for human interest reporting. The turnarounds are demanding but not deadly. The real rewards, however, are in the subject matter. This is news about people in trouble and those who respond. Disaster News Network has been produced since 1997 by Village Life Company, a non-profit that is largely funded by faith-based disaster response organizations. You'll conduct interviews by phone and in the field if you are available to travel. To be considered, you'll need a degree in journalism and at least one year of professional experience with daily or weekly papers or the wire services. Ability to shoot photos an added plus. Send your resume and no more than three samples (attachments preferred) to: or fax them to (410) 884-7353. No phone calls please.
Part-Time Freelance Reporters for (Comp: Not stated) (Chicago)
:, the Internet's fastest growing Web site and the Official Site of Major League Baseball, is seeking freelance reporters to help cover Major League Baseball for the 2008 season. We're interested in candidates with solid reporting skills and strong voices who are as well versed in writing about the sport off the field as they are about the games themselves. Responsibilities include: - Live reporting off of games, as well as the news of the day off the field. - Factual reporting; intelligent writing. - Professional representation of our company inside and outside our walls. - Multimedia experience a plus. Qualifications include: - Four-year degree preferred. - Passion for the sport, as well as a thorough knowledge of the sport. - Experience in writing on deadline. - Able to produce clean, crisp copy. - Team player to work in field, as well as with editors. - Good communicator and well-organized. - Self-starter with a wealth of ideas. - Willing to travel. - Bilingual a plus. Note: Baseball reporter job openings are subject to business requirements, and, as such, positions may not be available with respect to all MLB teams. Only applicants that apply online will be considered. No phone calls please.
Need Part-Time Medical Writers - Contract (Comp: Up to $20/hour possible) (telecommute) :
Looking for qualified writers for a medium-sized educational publishing company with background in medical fields for contract-based telecommuting positions. Pay is based on productivity, so if you're a motivated person with a writer's talent this could be the opportunity you're seeking. This position is being posted confidentially because of the competitiveness of the company's business, but applicants are aware that the work involves writing educational materials and interpreting large amounts of technical medical information quickly. Those interested should send a resume to Please put Cleveland Craigslist in the subject line.

Google Will Help Promote Your Book -- For Free

Alert LLLer Kathleen Valenzi Knaus ("Knaus"! She's a newlywed!) sends along this tip for those of us who have books to publicize: Promote Your Books On Google - for free.

From the Google site:
Want a way to sell more books without spending a penny on marketing? Sign up today and soon you'll be able to.

Google Book Search allows publishers and authors to submit their books for inclusion in Google’s search results. Whether you’re a large publisher with a thousand-title backlist or a small press that puts out a few titles a year, participating in Google Book Search can:

• increase your books’ visibility at no cost
• drive sales by reaching Google’s worldwide user base
• refer qualified traffic to your website
• deliver a new revenue stream via contextual ads placed next to pages from your book
[Main site:]
If anyone has given this one a whirl, I hope you'll click on "comment" and let us know how it worked out.

Monster Reviews!

The press is starting to roll in for LLL cofounder Susan Tyler Hitchcock's FRANKENSTEIN: A Cultural History. And WOW, is it ever hot!

Today's Los Angeles Times says:
Her text grows out of such a fertile ground of scholarly research that any chapter might blossom into another volume.

Thus it's all the more remarkable that this book is so much fun....

Her "cultural history" is so lively that at first you may decide it lacks scholarly ballast and slant. Soon, however, one sees that the author's admirable restraint serves to advance and streamline the text. In the last chapters, while addressing how academic criticism opened the door to "Frankenstein," Hitchcock's own work confirms the value of cultural history as a discipline.
Here's a Sept. 25 feature in Wired, It's Alive! How Frankenstein Created a Cultural Monster:
What is it about Frankenstein that has fascinated us for generations? "Frankenstein is about daring to go where your mind takes you," Hitchcock says. "But that can be dangerous, and our society has a whole set of rules and regulations to keep us from doing that." In a world of cloning, computers, stem cells, and transplants, it's not surprising that the monster seems even more alive today than it did back at the dawn of the electrical age.
And Frankenstein is at the top of a "Monsters, Inked" feature in the Books section in the Oct. 12 issue of Entertainment Weekly (not available online yet). Grade: B+.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Colorado LLLers on the Move!

Boulder Literary Lady Kim Reid will talk about her memoir, NO PLACE SAFE (Dafina), this Tuesday, Oct. 9 (changed from Oct. 10), on the NPR program News & Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya. Be sure to listen in--and then buy the book! It's a gripping reflection of Kim's teenage years, when her mom was one of the lead investigators in the Atlanta child murders, some of which occurred in their own neighborhood.

Edit: Guess what? News & Notes doesn't air in Colorado or Virginia. So we'll have to listen online here.

Denver Literary Lady (and Pajama Gardener) Carleen Brice has her first novel coming out in February, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY (One World/Ballantine). And she's just learned that the audio book will be coming out April 1. Woo hoo!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Short Writing Gig for UVA -- Interested?

I'm looking for a writer who can revise a notebook for Hip and Knee Replacement surgery patients. It has chapters explaining the various steps between pre and post operation. It is not particularly well written and has incomplete information that isn't very helpful. (i.e. Eat healthy meals before surgery.) It is about 13,500 words. It's not that it needs to be longer, just better. You'd need to talk with the lead surgeon and others to complete the information. We'd like this ready for layout in 3 to 4 weeks.
Give me a call or email...Thanks...Reecye

Reecye Modny
rfm9g [at]
UVa Health System
Marketing Communications
P.O. Box 800224
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0224

Monday, September 24, 2007

Save the date! Monster book arriving! Friday, Oct. 26 in Charlottesville!

Whip out your calendars, folks: Susan Tyler Hitchcock is inviting us all to Frankenstein's coming-out party:

[That's "fronk-un-steen".]

Dear Friends,

I invite you to enjoy a monstrous evening with me on Friday, October 26, to celebrate the publication of my lucky 13th book, Frankenstein: A Cultural History.

Book signing will take place at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall at 5:30pm. Party after, location TBA. I just wanted you to be sure to save the night for monstrous frolicking.

More to come. Meanwhile, check out the October Wired, keep fingers crossed that we score an NPR interview as Halloween approaches, and tell all your friends to ask for the book at their local bookstores.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

NPR's "Contessa of Country Cooking": Her upcoming literary and gustatory happenings

This just in from Mollie Bryan, author of Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley:


I hope to see some friendly faces in the crowd at my next two appearances. (Yes, folks are still interested in the Mrs. Rowe book!)

On Sunday October 7, 11:00 a.m., I will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro, which is on Pine Ave. I will be giving a Power Point presentation about the restaurant and Mrs. Rowe —with my husband's help. I'll also update you about future projects. If that's not enough to entice you, there will be cookies. The restaurant is sending over trays of fresh cookies. The choir will be singing some of Mrs. Rowe's favorite hymns. So it will be a real celebration of her life and accomplishments.

On Friday, December 7, 5:30-8:30, I will be participating in a Dinner with the Author series at Stone Soup Books, which is on Main Street in Waynesboro. It's a really good fit for the Mrs. Rowe book. If you haven't been there, and you're local, you need to check it out. They have wonderful food and a great selection of books. Books and food....Can't get any better than that! I am not sure of the details, but I will let you know soon. And please check my website from time to time for updates.

In the mean time, I've been writing for NPR's Kitchen Window, Taste of the South Magazine, Relish magazine, and back to writing for GRIT. Soon, my Mary Johnston article will be published in Virginia Living—and I am VERY excited about that.

I am not sure if I will be doing any more local public appearances about this book. So, I'd love to see any of you at either one of these events.

Keep reading, writing, and cooking!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Report from Denver

From left, seated: Janet Elyse Singleton, Sheri Keasler-Benson, Mary Taylor Young, Paula Singer, Kristin Nelson, Bella Stander. Standing: Karen Carter, Robin D. Owens. Photo by Carleen Brice.

The Northwest Contingent having all sent their regrets, the Literary Ladies met today in SE Denver, at the fantabulous Bombay Clay Oven in Cherry Creek. OMG is the food ever great (even better than Milan in Cville, but don't tell Kermit the host); so are the ambience, service and price. And I snagged one of the two free parking spaces!

Oh yeah, and we talked about books, publicity, good/bad covers (Mary's dad used to disparage her mom's "bosom-frigate" books; i.e., romances), the e-holocaust over thigh-highs at the RWA convention, and what Carleen Brice should serve at her launch February. (It's never too soon to start planning!) Small world: Carleen and Sheri have the same agent, Victoria Sanders.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Know Any Blacksburg Writers?

Jenny Gardiner has passed along a request from Blacksburg's new-writer-guy-in-town, Jonathan Schramm. Schramm, who works in the VA Tech undergrad admissions office, would like to tap into the writing community in Blacksburg. (There's a joke to be made here about reading all those undergrad admissions essays, but someone else will have to come up with it.)

So, if you can put Schramm in touch with Blacksburgers who write, email him at: jschramm at

Nuts & Bolts of Publishing and Promotion

Jenny Gardiner has helpful information to pass along (and, as the Sultan of Self-Promotion, Jenny knows what she's talking about):

A writer friend forwarded this to a loop I'm on. This is an agent's blog, and his piece about self-promotion is worth reading for anyone hoping to break into the industry in this grueling market.

American Title III winner, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, (Dorchester/Feb. 2008) &

[At Bransford's blog, scroll down to August 23rd for the self-promotion post. But don't confine yourself that post -- Branford has lots of good advice regarding other aspects of getting that manuscript published. How to write a synopsis is another good one. A good blog to bookmark, IMHO. --Janis]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Download Leslie Middleton's Radio Show

Leslie Middleton writes:

My weekly radio show, "The Rivanna Rambler," which airs at 11:55 a.m. every Thursday on 91.1. FM WTJU, is now available by podcast at my new blog:

You can catch it live at 91.1 FM (or audio streaming at or at your leisure on the blog which also includes the written narrative and links of interest. (The actual podcast is hosted at the Charlottesville Podcast Network:

I've been producing this show, which is an exploration of the cultural and natural history of the Rivanna watershed, since April 2006. Also, I have a new email address:

I welcome your comments and feedback! --- Leslie

Friday, August 17, 2007

National Exposure for Your Writing

Jenny Gardiner passes along this innovative approach to the world of medicine. (Caveat: I could find no mention of payment on the journal's website.)

Dear Jenny,

I am writing to ask your help spreading the word re: Hospital Drive, a new on-line journal of written and visual work concerned with health and illness. Our first issue was posted July 30, 2007. The website is . We plan to publish two issues a year, summer and winter. Each winter issue will have a theme—for 2008 the experience of pain.

In addition to placing ads in various magazines and journals and telling friends, patients, colleagues and relatives, we hope to find influential bloggers (positive influence of course), established writers and artists, publishers, and new friends and supporters who will tell others about Hospital Drive.

While many schools of medicine publish student work, there are only a handful of medical school journals that match emerging writers and artists with a national audience.

Hospital Drive is supported by the Dean’s Office and the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, UVA School of Medicine. We appreciate your interest and support.


Sharon L. Hostler, MD
Interim Vice President and Dean
McLemore Birdsong Professor of Pediatrics
School of Medicine
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 800793
Charlottesville, VA 22908

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

C'ville Grant-Writing Gig

Grant Writer Needed Part Time in CVille - Contract (Comp: Hourly, based on experience) (Charlottesville, VA) :

Seeking talented grant writer to assist with national project. Leads and grant templates will be provided. However, candidate should be familiar with the Foundation Center and related resources, and be willing to research potential grant-making organizations.

Must attend meetings in the CVille area on occasion. Please respond with a resume' and brief letter of introduction. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Dance Partners

From Literary Lady/Debutante Jenny Gardiner:

I'd like to invite you all to come on over to a grog (group blog) that I am thrilled to be a part of, The Debutante Ball.

The Debutante Ball was founded last year by Kristy Kiernan along with five other authors who were launching debut novels in 2007. It was a wonderful chance to bond with authors at similar points in their careers, and provide an opportunity for readers to become acquainted with books they might find enjoyable.

Last year's authors--Kristy Kiernan, Mia King, Tish Cohen, Jennifer McMahon, Eileen Cook and Anna David--turn over the reins this week, with Eileen Cook being the one carry-over author, as her debut date has been pushed back.

This year's authors, whose books will debut in 2008, are:
  • Danielle Younge-Ullman (FALLING UNDER)
  • Gail Konop Baker (CANCER IS A BITCH: Reflections on Midlife, Mortality, Motherhood and Marriage)
  • Eileen Cook (UNPREDICTABLE).
We hope you'll drop by to visit the Ball, bookmark the site if you like it, and check out the happenings as the year progresses!

Charlottesville Editing Gig

This opportunity from craigslist was passed along to me today:
Part-Time Editing Job Available (Comp: Hourly, no benefits, based on experience) (Charlottesville, VA) :
Person with editing experience in fiction writing or with good background in English needed for Fridays and Saturdays. Work involves taking dictation, assisting with editorial choices, and working on dialogue in novel in progress by experienced writer.
Bein' as how it's someone in C'ville, I can't help but wonder who it is!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Writing Gig at UVa

Silvia Sanides has a hot tip:

Gwen Ottinger, a UVA professor in the Engineering Department (science and society), needs help with writing a book about community organizing and pollution from a refinery in Louisiana. (Sounds like a great project, unfortunately I'm totally booked this fall). Gwen can be reached at 295 1257 or ottinger [at] virginia [dot] edu.

Hm... Louisiana, eh? This might call for a field trip to the French Quarter. Son of a gun, gonna have big fun, on the bayou. (You will now have "Jambalaya" stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.)

Mollie Bryan: NPR's "Contessa of Country Cooking"?

Well, hey, Ketzel Levine is NPR's "Doyenne of Dirt." Keep reading Mollie's blackberry adventure at, and you'll also get her recipe for Mrs. Rowe's Blackberry Cobbler.

Kitchen Window
By Mollie Cox Bryan

Hunt for Wild Blackberries Leads to Friendship, August 1, 2007 · The wild blackberry, my favorite summer treat, was the key that opened the door to Mildred Rowe. I wanted to write a biography of the 88-year-old owner of Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant and Bakery in Staunton, Va., but she had deflected my efforts to get to know her — until the subject of blackberries came up.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of Mollie's tale at

[Mollie Cox Bryan is a freelance writer and the author of MRS. ROWE'S RESTAURANT COOKBOOK: A LIFETIME OF RECIPES FROM THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY (Ten Speed Press, 2006), a narrative cookbook about the life of the amazing Mrs. Rowe and the history of her 60-year-old restaurant in Staunton, Va., including 175 family and restaurant recipes.]

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Listen Up!

Cville LLLers have been busy on the radio. Jenny Gardiner read an essay on WVTF on July 27; Janis Jaquith on July 20. You can listen to them both by clicking here and following the respective links.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Susan Tyler Hitchcock presents: FRANKENSTEIN!

[That's "fronk-un-steen.".]

Kirkus review of FRANKENSTEIN: A CULTURAL HISTORY -- the first review to hit the stands:

Hitchcock, Susan Tyler
FRANKENSTEIN: A Cultural History

A thoroughly entertaining look at the iconic monster.

How did the unwed, 18-year-old mother of a toddler come to invent this nightmare creature with neck bolts, flattop head and that power unibrow? Hitchcock (Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London, 2005, etc.) suggests that Mary Shelley, soul mate of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, daughter of radical philosopher William Godwin and pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, had heard about ghoulish experiments with electricity on corpses of criminals, which momentarily seemed to twitch back to life. She may also have drawn inspiration from her own life-altering trauma in 1815—the year before she thought of Frankenstein’s monster—when her first baby died after less than a month. Hitchcock fondly details how a novel prompted by a summer of reading ghost stories in Geneva has imbedded itself in popular culture. Frankenstein inspired hundreds of stage productions before the classic 1931 film and the not-so-classic ’60s TV series The Munsters, Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The author smoothly charts the monster’s transformation from cosmic and creepy to comic and campy, alongside Shelley’s slow evolution from overlooked to appreciated novelist. One memorable section details how Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara successfully sued Universal Studios for licensing products with his likeness on them; Hitchcock slyly notes that the monster once again broke free from its creator. In addition to selling 50,000 copies a year in America alone, Frankenstein lives on as a reference point in public discussions of genetic engineering and cloning. But the author doesn’t neglect one of the monster’s most enduring non-academic legacies: its ubiquity at Halloween.

Cogent vivisection of a literary legend animated by the universal human fascination with the dark side. (Agent: Jane Dystel/Dystel & Goderich Literary Management)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sneak Peek (and early-order option) for Sharon Leiter's Latest Book

Dear Friends,

As some of you already know, my poetry manuscript, The Dream of Leaving, was selected by Main Street Rag in their national poetry competition and will be published in November. After many years of revising and sending out the manuscript, this is a great fulfillment for me, and I look forward to sharing the book with you.

It has been listed on the publisher’s web site, where you can see the cover with its striking image by accomplished Minnesota artist, Paula Leiter Pergament. The book is being offered at a discount price of $8.00 until November 1, so if you’d like to order your copy online in advance, go to one of the following two links:

This is a link to the publisher's Coming Soon page.

This link takes you to the Online Bookstore main page.
You have to order online for advance sale. Please don't send checks.

I hope you’ll enjoy the poems.

Yours, with wishes for a pleasurable summer,


[Janis here: Check out Sharon's Website.She was a government analyst in Russian affairs and a consultant for a Washington think-tank. Who knew?]

Monday, July 16, 2007

Freelance Writing: How Much Should You Charge?

Leslie Middleton has a request:

"I wanted to ask fellow LLLers about freelance grant-writing -- anyone have experience? how to set fees? willing to talk to me about it?"

If you have wisdom to share, you can post it in a comment, and/or email Leslie: LMiddleton at embarqmail dot com.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Report from Denver

LLL Denver. Seated (L-R): Sara Megibow, Kristin Nelson, Kelly Notaras, Debra Fine.
Standing: Janet Singleton, Tamara Greenleaf, Carleen Brice, Elizabeth Wrenn, Bella Stander.

Today was the third Denver LLL. We've had exponential growth: just two Ladies in June, five in July and nine today. Denver being just a wee bit (make that almost 15x) bigger than Charlottesville, we had to make some concessions to geography. Which means we had to forego Royal India at the SE end of town in order to accommodate the Ladies who live in the Boulder area.

So today we met in an Irish pub in NW Denver, Mead St. Station in Highlands Square. Upside: Good location, good prices, good food, great iced tea. Downside: Catch-as-catch-can parking, no reservations, noisy. Next month we'll probably meet at a larger, quieter (hooray for sound-deadening carpet!) Chinese restaurant with its own parking lot.

Hot tip from agent Kristin Nelson: If you're an author, freshen up your website periodically by posting "deleted scenes" from your novel. Your readers will love it, and you won't have to worry about giving away protected material.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kathy Erskine's Spanking-New Novel: Quaking

Uh, oh -- did I say "spanking"? This is a young adult novel with a focus on Quakers, so perhaps I should stick with "brand-new" novel. The release date is auspiciously set for the summer solstice: June 21st. (Okay, so now we're pulling Druids into this discussion.)

Here's what Booklist has to say about Quaking:

"...[T]his is a compelling story, which enfolds the political issues into a deeper focus on the characters' personal stories. Idealistic teens will be interested in Matt's growing acceptance of her new family, of Quaker values, and of her need to take action, rather than simply observe." Francisca Goldsmith Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Congratulations, Kathy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What's up with wedding cookies? Mollie Bryan enlightens us on

Okay, I know that various cultures celebrate weddings in distinctive ways, but mandatory wedding cookies in Pennsylvania?

Mollie Bryan, author of Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes From the Shenandoah Valley sheds light on this custom (and has got me thinking about mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough rather than writing this post) in her commentary on's "Kitchen Window" page of essays on food and entertaining, which is published every Wednesday.

At the end of the commentary are Mollie's recipes and pictures, and... You know, I'm pretty sure we have some chocolate bits in the cabinet, and I know we have eggs... Gotta go.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Letters for Literary Ladies

Virginia LLLer Deirdra McAfee sent a link to MARIA EDGEWORTH. LETTERS FOR LITERARY LADIES. To Which Is Added, An Essay On The Noble Science Of Self-Justification. Second Edition, Revised, 1798.

Deirdra notes, "Maybe our motto is buried somewhere in the first letter, the one from 'a gentleman to his friend.' " [That gentleman was no friend!]

Some choice nuggets:
...we differ materially as to the cultivation, which it is necessary or expedient to bestow upon the understandings of women. You are a champion for the rights of woman, and insist upon the equality of the sexes... I may confess to you that I see neither in experience nor analogy much reason to believe that, in the human species alone, there are no marks of inferiority in the female... In the course of my life it has never been my good fortune to meet with a female whose mind, in strength, just proportion, and activity, I could compare to that of a sensible man.

...Whenever women appear, even when we seem to admit them as our equals in understanding, every thing assumes a different form; our politeness, delicacy, habits towards the sex, forbid us to argue or to converse with them as we do with one another: – we see things as they are; but women must always see things through a veil, or cease to be women. – With these insuperable difficulties in their education and in their passage through life, it seems impossible that their minds should ever acquire that vigour and efficiency, which accurate knowledge and various experience of life and manners can bestow....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gatsby's Girl is "People's Choice" nominee

Caroline Preston's novel, Gatsby's Girl, along with Donna Lucey's Archie and Amelie, has been nominated for a Library of Virginia "People's Choice Award."

"People's choice" means we can all cast a vote. Click on the ballot image to make it bigger, so you can see the other nominees and categories. Then click this link and VOTE .

It worked for Jenny Gardiner! Never underestimate the power of the mouse. (Or the power of a well-written manuscript.)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Support Authors' Rights

The Authors Guild sent out an email to members yesterday, which begins:

When collectors donate manuscripts, letters, and diaries of an author to libraries or universities, they are entitled to deduct the fair market value of those literary papers from their income for tax purposes. When authors donate their manuscripts and other papers to libraries or universities, they're permitted to deduct only the cost of the physical materials used to produce those documents (the cost of paper, ink, toner).

The difference, of course, is immense, and immensely inequitable to authors who choose to donate their papers for scholarly research.

We now have a good chance to right this wrong, and we'd like your help.

Read the rest: Literary Papers Tax Bill Needs Your Support

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A good week for Jennifers

Jennifer Elvgren's picture book, Josias, Hold the Book, has been chosen as one of the best books of 2007 by the Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College.

Jenny Gardiner Snags Publishing Contract!

Faboo news from Jenny:

"Finally, I can let you know the results of the national fiction contest (American Title III) I kept bugging you all about for so long. (I've not been able to announce it until the official announcement this weekend in Houston.)

I won!!! Thanks to your support, my book, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, will be published by Dorchester Publishing with a release date of January 28, 2008.

I want to thank you all so very much for your help--your amazing collaborative effort has helped to launch a writing career. I've also landed an agent and she is working on sending some of my other books to editors now as well.

It's incredibly hard breaking into the publishing world, and I know this seemed like a crazy way to do it, but it's been a great thing and I just want you all to know how very much I appreciate your help in getting me to this point.

If you're interested in getting on my newsletter list, you can contact me at my website,, and I'll be sure to put you on. I also have a listserve at Yahoo that I haven't done anything with yet but will do so soon. You can get updates from there as well by sending an email to:
and I'll add you to the list.

If you did forward on the voting email to others during the contest, I'd greatly appreciate your forwarding on my thanks to them!

Thank you all again, so very much for your help!"

With Best Wishes,

American Title III winner, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, (Dorchester/Winter 2008)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Calling All Blog Virgins!

So, you want to post a comment, but you're not sure how to go about it?

Gather 'round: You can do this. (If I can do it, anybody can!)

It will be easier if you open another browser window, and go to the LLL blog. That way, you can read these instructions in one window, and click on stuff in the other window.

Choose a blog entry (such as "Poet Perseveres" or "You Don't Hear About the Rejections"). At the bottom of the post, you'll notice a line of small print. You'll see "0 comments" (or maybe "127 comments," if people have responded). Click on the word "comments".

If this is your first time posting on this "blogspot" site, you'll need to create a Google account. (If you have a gmail account, you can use that username and password.)

Find where it says "No Google Account? Sign up here." And click that link.

You'll enter your email address, and choose a password (at least 6 characters long). Type in your name as you want it to appear with your comment.

You'll see a graphic with 5 or 6 letters, and it's distorted. You'll be asked to type those letters into a box. (Why? This is a way of deterring spammers from using programs to make mass-postings on blogs. It takes a human eye to discern what those letters are.)

Check the box to accept the terms of service, and continue to the next window.

Type your comment in the box, and, once again, discern what the distorted letters are and type those in. Then click on "publish your comment" and that's it!

This "blogspot" site must have a bajillion blogs on it. Now that you have a blogspot account set up, you'll be able to post on any of the blogs hosted here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

You Don't Hear About the Rejections

Everyone who writes (and submits) gets rejected. A fact of life. Does that make it hurt any less when it's YOUR literary creation that gets the thumbs-down? I'd love to know how you all deal with this. Maybe we need a ritual, a voodoo dance or something, to get us back on track. Do you break down? Throw something? Kick the dog? (Hey, don't kick that dog!) How do you cope with rejection and keep on writing?

Poet Perseveres

Good news from Sharon Leiter: "My poetry manuscript, 'The Dream of Leaving,' much revised over the years, was a finalist in the Main Street Rag contest and, as such, will be published by Main Street Rag in the fall. At last. Hurrah."

"Harrah," indeed!

To find out more about Sharon Leiter, check out her entry in our LLL "Who's Who."