Saturday, December 13, 2008

White Elephants on Parade in Charlottesville

The tenth annual Charlottesville LLL White Elephant Exchange was held yesterday at the Gracious Home of writer and documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Howard. Some twenty Literary Ladies were in attendance. As the exquisite wrappings fell away, we were left with many truly wretched offerings. (Why, this is the best holiday EVER!)

My personal favorite was Susie Langenkamp's new "pump" soap.

Hearty congratulations to our first- and second-place winners, Laura Rydin and Sally Honenberger!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

LLLer Noted and Quoted

Colorado LLLer Doreen Orion, currently, marking...time in Crescent City, CA, made it into TWO (2!) newspapers this week.

First was The Rocky Mountain News holiday book gift guide: Nonfiction (scroll down to Travel), for her memoir, QUEEN OF THE ROAD.

Today, Doreen was quoted--as Dr. Orion, psychotherapist (but not author)--in a New York Times article about book groups, Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?

Denver White Elephant Extravaganza!

Scene at Denver Literary Ladies Luncheon December Extravaganza: Sharon Glassman, Christie Hartman, Nancy Hightower, Karen Carter, Kate Schafer Testerman (face obscured).

Denver's second annual LLL White Elephant Gift Exchange was held yesterday at the Gracious Home of Bella Stander, National Cofounder & Western Social Secretary. Everyone shared food, drinks and tastefully wrapped dreadful (or not-so) regifts. To add to the fun, there was an Accessories Swap. Gold hoop earrings were the thing to de-accession; at least 7 pairs were up for grabs (seen at Karen Carter's rear, above).

Carleen Brice demonstrated her "Welcome White Folks" video, to much hilarity. Andrea Cohen is seated at left; Sharon is looking over her shoulder. At the next screening, Tamara Greenleaf laughed so hard she cried; she's wiping her tears at right. Carleen gave a copy of her book, ORANGE MINT & HONEY, and an audiobook. Not exactly White Elephants, but they were greatly appreciated.

Left, Denise Turner receives the gift acclaimed as Best Wrapped. Little did she know what many of us guessed: that it contained the ghastly double-necked vase Carleen got last year. We expect it to reappear in 2009. A can of guava paste has been circulating in Charlottesville for a decade; here's hoping it turns up again this Friday.

Right, the Tackiest Gift, a balky lava lamp bestowed on Karen by Nancy Hightower.

Above left, Sharon models a fetching ensemble--black knit cap & mauve camisole--received from Janet Singleton (rear), who's holding the finishing touch: a red-flowered scarf. Center, Christie models a belt from the Accessories Swap. Right, Nancy models a flowered neck--we think--thing and black handbag, from Vanessa Appleby, who had to leave (escape?) before all the gift giving.

Left, Janet responds to Kristin Nelson's gift of a pewter,, vase?

Right, Bella with the Most Ghastly Gift, courtesy of Denise, who gave as good (i.e., bad) as she got.

As you can see, Janet was stunned by the spotted green frog from Denise. Carleen was amazed by an opened bag of Snickers bars (another Halloween leftover) and can of evaporated milk from Debra. They were packed in the most precious and patriotic gift bag EVER (the trifecta: teddy bear, angel & American flag). For some reason Carleen refused to take it with her, so it was squirreled away by Bella, to make a glorious reappearance next year.

More hapless giftees.

Left, Debra Goldyn with Nelly CD.

Right, Elizabeth Wrenn with PURE SKIN. (Note how her eyes match the book jacket!)

Left: Pleased (or faking it) recipient Paula Singer and giver Elizabeth Wrenn with--ick!--POOH'S LITTLE BOOK OF FENG SHUI.

Below: Best-Coordinated Package & Recipient Nancy Jarrell and bag (Denise is at left). Inside was a silver bookmark in the shape of a heart. Groans all around for its being truly lovely.

Happy giftees Kate Schafer Testerman with cat thingy; Kristin Nelson with DOGA: Yoga for Dogs (dog on left resembles her Chutney).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Welcome to the African-American Books Section!

The Welcome White Folks video is out in the world. LLLer Carleen Brice, aka the Black Book Welcome Lady, states that no non-black people were harmed in the making of it. In fact, she treated us to lunch afterward. (I'm in the rousing and heartwarming finale; most of the cast is in the LLL.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New York Approves of LLLer!

Carleen Brice made it into the BRILLIANT HIGHBROW section in The Approval Matrix for her National Buy a Book By a Black Author & Give It to Somebody Not Black Month. I wrote about NBBBAGISNBM here and here (with demented pix of yours truly).

Be sure to read Carleen's new blog, White Readers Meet Black Authors. Today's post has the Top 10 reasons white people should read books by black people:
8. Seriously, haven't you read enough Philip Roth? Jewish guy obsessed with sex and death. Oy! Enough already.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blurbs needed for WWII Book - Know Any Experts?

Maybe you know a WWII historian or other authority on the subject. LLLer Alice Faintich could use your help, and sends the following request:

As some of you might remember from a discussion one Friday, a second edition of my father’s book, The Ice Road, will be published in the U.S. and pretty much the rest of the English-speaking world either next fall to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the start of WWII or early in 2010 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the start of the deportations of Poles by the Soviet Union.

The book is dad’s memoires, as a 15-year-old, of being deported with his parents to a labor camp in Siberia; of life in the camp; and then of the long journey, including by raft from the forest to the nearest railhead, to get out of the Soviet Union and join up with the Polish army being formed under the British in what was then Persia.

The first edition, published in the U.K. got excellent reviews in the British papers and sold out, but the publisher fell down on the marketing side and did little to no promotion of the book, something we plan to redress with this second edition. The new edition is the same book, but with the addition of some new material, such as a historical background to put the memoires in context for readers, most of whom know nothing about this aspect of WWII.

To this end, we are looking for people to write blurbs for the jacket. Do you know anyone who has name recognition, possibly, but this is not critical, who is associated with, say, history or WWII, who we might approach for such a blurb once we have review copies ready?

Many thanks,

(Responses should go to me at alicefaintich [at] cyberwind [dot] net.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Elizabeth Howard's Documentary Debuts at VA Film Fest!

Elizabeth Howard's documentary, Rosalina's Faith in America,
will be screened at the Virginia Film Festival on Sunday, November 2nd at 3 p.m. at the Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville. The film tells the story of an immigrant Italian's struggle to honor her faith and her family.

[Gravity Lounge is located at 103 South First Street, across the Downtown Mall from Hamilton’s restaurant.]

Moviemaking in Charlottesville
3:00 PM, Gravity Lounge

Four short films by Charlottesville filmmakers addressing aspects of the Aliens! theme: Space Movie by Aidan Keith-Hynes and Chris Yeaton, an animated short film from Light House that takes a whimsical and irreverent look at the possibility of alien life forms. My Day With Conrad, in which local filmmaker Doug Bari gets the chance to spend a whole day with Conrad Brooks, the last surviving member of the original Ed Wood film Plan 9 from Outer Space. Sahar Before The Sun, by Sahar Adish, the story of a young Afhani teenager's escape from the Taliban, produced at Light House.

Rosalina's Faith in America, by Elizabeth Howard, tells the story of an Italian immigrant whose religious conversion leads to family fury and the building of a church she believes in. This film is narrated by Vito Cetta, Rosalina's son and a Charlottesville architect.

[In photo: Vito and Rosalina Cetta.]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What's Your Book About?

If your answer to the above question is, "Um,'s kind of like Gone With the Wind meets The Wind in the Willows meets The Winds of War," then you might need LLL cofounder Bella Stander's "Polish Your Pitch!" seminar. She's coming back to beautiful Charlottesville to conduct it at WriterHouse next Saturday, October 18, 1-3pm.

You can read an interview with Bella (which includes the #1 mistake new writers make when describing their books) on the WriterHouse home page. There's more info about the seminar--and how to register for it--HERE.

Literary Ladies Awarded!

On October 8, Boulder LLLer Kim Reid won the Colorado Book Award in Nonfiction for her memoir, NO PLACE SAFE. Hooray for Kim!

On Sept 25, Denver LLLer Carleen Brice won the African American Literary Awards Show prize for Break-out Novel of the Year for her debut, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY. (Her 2nd novel, CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, will be released in July; read the prologue.) Hooray for Carleen!

Charlottesville Literary Ladies will remember Kim & Carleen from this year's LLL Summit at VaBook.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Janis Jaquith Is Fired Up!

Charlottesville LLL Social Secretary Janis Jaquith writes:
Rather than preach to the choir, I wrote this piece hoping to reach the voters in the "reddest" areas of Virginia. The commentary appears in today's edition of The Roanoke Times.

What have Republicans done for you?

You know in your heart that homosexuality is unnatural, an abomination. You are foursquare against abortion and there's no doubt in your mind that Muslims are a foreign threat -- and it goes without saying that the United States is a Christian nation.

These are your most cherished values. What could be more natural than to vote for people who share your values? Someone you feel comfortable with. Someone like you.

This is a basic human instinct. We gravitate toward our own kind.

People who look like you, sound like you and think like you have been in charge of this country for nearly eight years now. As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that workin' out for you?"

Do you have more money in the bank than you did in 2000? Is your job more secure? Is your medical care any easier to handle?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, you may want to rethink the way you choose your leaders. Ask yourself what your congressman and your president have done to make your life better.

Do you feel safer than you did in 2000? I sure don't. And I have not seen a shred of evidence that Virgil Goode or Bob Goodlatte or George Bush have done a single thing -- made a law or put a policy in place -- to improve my life one iota.

Instead, I feel like my pocket has been picked. I feel like my own patriotism was used against me when they tricked me into supporting a war against Iraq -- a country that had, it turns out, not a thing to do with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And now, my tax dollars are stuffing the pockets of war profiteers like Halliburton and Blackwater. (And don't forget the high-rollers on Wall Street who are resting in a cushy safety net -- on our dime.)

Meanwhile, Virginia manufacturers have closed up shop and fled to other countries, leaving tons of Virginians high and dry. Why are there no effective trade policies or tax incentives in place to bring jobs back to Virginia? We've been without leadership for so long, we've forgotten what it looks like.

The fact that Goode and Goodlatte and Bush share their heartfelt values must be cold comfort for the legions of hard-working Virginians who are now either without a job or are under-employed. And the loss of Virginian lives in the ill-conceived Iraq war is too painful to think about.

Ask yourself: Are you better off now than you were before the Republicans took the wheel?

This Nov. 4, I'll pick my leaders by finding out which ones will make my life better. The candidates who advocate for ordinary, middle-class people, the ones who will keep us out of wars, help me get decent medical care for a fair price and allow my bank account to fill up again.

Will they be the candidates who also share my bedrock values? To tell you the truth, I really don't care.

Jaquith is a columnist for Charlottesville's newsweekly, The Hook. She has also been a frequent radio commentator for WVTF and for PRI's "Marketplace," and has appeared on NPR's "Day to Day."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Free Wine and Cheese!

Okay, now that I've got your attention, keep reading below for details regarding LLLer Dahlia Lithwick's gig at the TJ Center this Friday. (They ask you to reserve so they can have sufficient wine and cheese on hand. You know I'll be there!)

If you've never been to an event at the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, you're missing out. The Center, along with the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, is housed in a lovely old mansion. The open house is traditionally held in the spacious back yard with a view that unfurls all the way to the Blue Ridge. You'll find smart people (who are passionate about the Constitution), stimulating talk, art like you may never have seen, plus those tasty refreshments!

Dahlia Lithwick, Award-winning Legal Correspondent, to Speak at TJ Center

Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at, contributing writer to Newsweek, and legal commentator for NPR’s Day to Day, will be speaking at the annual Open House / Reception of The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. In 2001, Lithwick received the Online News Association’s award for online commentary and last year was recognized by a Legal Affairs magazine poll as one of the top 20 legal thinkers in America.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To reserve your place, please contact the Thomas Jefferson Center at 434-295-4784.

Friday, September 12, 2008
5:00-7:00 PM
400 Worrell Drive (Pantops)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Report from Denver

Colorado Literary Ladies deep in conversation on August 1.

After a lull in July, when there was a cozy affair for four, the Colorado LLL returned with a roar on August 1. Fourteen (14!) Literary Ladies showed up to chow down at The Empress Dim Sum Sea Food Restaurant in Denver. Newcomers included writer/memoir coach Kathryn Black (at rear, in white) and literary agent Beth Jusino of Alive Communications (4th from right, facing camera).

A good--cheap! ($11.60 each, including 20% tip)--time was had by all. By popular demand, next month we're meeting at Bombay Clay Oven, which is conveniently located halfway between Your Humble Correspondent's Gracious Home and favorite dog-walking park.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Karen Carter Communications

Denver LLLer Karen Carter (aka Sustenance Scout) is offering "Client-Focused Copy Editing" at her new site, Karen Carter Communications. She's looking for referrals to individuals or organizations in need of editing assistance.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Short Story Contest

Entry deadline for the Sean O'Faolain Short Story Prize is July 31. Full competition rules here.
  • The competition is open to original unpublished short stories in the English language of 3,000 words or less. The story can be on any subject, in any style by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.
  • First Prize: €1,500 (approx US$2300) and publication in the literary biannual Southword.
  • Second Prize: €500 (approx US$790) and publication in Southword.
  • Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a fee of €100 euros (approx US$158).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Belated Report from Denver

June 6: Our biggest group ever. We're wearing leis courtesy of Andrea Cohen (center rear, holding her book, A BLESSING IN DISGUISE, below Bella in blue), who gave them out in celebration of her birthday.

Doreen Orion (the short one) and Carleen Brice posing for good fortune (at least that's what we hope the Chinese shield means). Next day was the official pub date of Doreen's memoir, QUEEN OF THE ROAD, which was picked for the Borders and Celestial Seasonings book clubs and featured at Target. Carleen's wearing Hollywood shades because her first novel, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, was optioned for a Lifetime TV movie. The audio book went on sale at the end of June.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Variations on a Medical Theme

LLLer Elizabeth Howard passes along this writing opportunity.

From the Hospital Drive website:
Hospital Drive: A Journal of Reflective Practice in Word& Image is an on-line journal launched by the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the fall of 2006, to encourage original creative work that examines themes of health, illness, and healing.

Submissions are open to anyone, but preference is given to those involved in providing, teaching, studying, or researching patient care. All work will be judged anonymously by reviewers and the editorial board. Poems, short fiction, personal essays, reviews, photography, visual art, audio, and video will be considered. Issues will be released at least once each year, and include invited work.

Hospital Drive submissions
[NB: They don't pay the writers. But if you're looking for publication and clips, then go for it. --JJ]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Colorado April Luncheon

On Friday, April 11, the Colorado Literary Ladies chowed down at our new fave meeting place: Empress Dim Sum Sea Food Restaurant., so several of us took home doggie/husband bags.

Clockwise from left:
Carol Berg, Elizabeth Wrenn, Andrea Cohen MD (partally obscured, in blue), Robin D. Owens, Doreen Orion (seated, in black), Sara Megibow (standing, in white), Pam Novotny (seated, in red), Kristin Nelson, Sheri Keasler-Benson, Kim Reid, Karen Carter and Christie Hartman.

Cathy Clarke Wins Big with THE HEIST

Congrats to Colorado LLLer Catherine Clarke, who won first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Paul Gillette Writing Contest, young adult category, for her first novel, THE HEIST. She'll be recognized at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference awards banquet in Colorado Springs on April 26.

Cathy writes:
I assume some of the LLL will attend the PPWC conference? I'll be looking
for them!

Monday, April 7, 2008

LLL Summit at VaBook!

Better late than never, above is a photo of the first-ever National LLL, during the Virginia Festival of the Book, on Friday, March 28 at Hamilton's on Main. "National" because there were three Ladies from the Colorado contingent: Kim Reid, barely visible at 4th from left; Social Secretary Bella Stander in green, 4th from right; Carleen Brice leaning back, 5th from right.

We lobbied hard for Judy Merill Larsen (2nd from left), who was participating in the Fest, to start an LLL chapter in Missouri.

As for the other Ladies at the table, visible on the left are Jenny Gardiner, Judy and Marianne Sullivan. At the very end is Deirdra McAfee. The first three on the right are Susan Wright, Virginia Social Secretary Janis Jaquith and Susie Langenkamp.

The First Annual LLL VaBook Happy Hour, at South Street Brewery on Thurs. 3/27, was a grand success. More than 30 ladies and gentlemen attended. There are no photos of the fabulous event because Bella forgot to take her camera out of her handbag. That's the Lit Life for you!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

27 Reasons Why Short Stories Are Rejected

These hot tips come to us by way of the Virginia Quarterly Review blog. (My son, Waldo Jaquith, is their Web developer.)

And while we're on the subject of the UVa's literary magazine, you should know that this is not your father's VQR. It has been souped up by young-pup editor Ted Genoways.

The latest edition (Spring Issue: Superhero Stories) features graphic novelist Art Spiegelman.

Plus, once again, VQR is a finalist in the National Magazine Awards (these are the Pulitzer Prizes of the magazine world), with three nominations.

So, whether you're looking to submit, or are hankering for a majorly good read, keep VQR in mind.

Okay, I'm done bragging now.

Do have a look at those 27 Reasons Why Short Stories Are Rejected. They are all useful (well, apart from number 24, which is absurd.).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

LLL at VaBook - Sun. 3/30

Literary Ladies' events on Day 5 of the Virginia Festival of the Book.

SUN 3/30
11:45am Fifth Annual Celebration Brunch
The Charlottesville Chapter of The LINKS, Incorporated presents a tribute to the African-American Literary Tradition, featuring guest authors from the Virginia Festival of the Book, including Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey).
Moderator: Tamyra Turner

LLL at VaBook - Sat. 3/29

Literary Ladies' events on Day 4 of the Virginia Festival of the Book. (Bella Stander's pals & Book Promotion 101 clients are in purple).

SAT 3/29
12pm African-American Voices

With Adam Bradley (The Collected Manuscripts of Ralph Ellison's Unpublished Second Novel), Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey, Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number), Stacy Hawkins Adams (Watercolored Pearls) and Evans Hopkins (Life After Life).
Moderator: Tamyra Turner

12pm Publishing Day: Promoting Like a Pro
What it takes to publicize your book, online and elsewhere, and how to present yourself to media. Bella Stander (Book Promotion 101) with fiction publicist Lauren Cerand and book promotion specialist Kelly Powers (Obie Joe Media).
Moderator: Bella Stander

12pm Publishing Day: The Editor-Agent Relationship
Simon Lipskar (agent, Writers House) and Mark Tavani (editor, Ballantine Books) join in an informal conversation about the way they do their jobs, how that impacts the books they sign, and what takes writers from unpublished to published authors.
Moderator: Mayapriya Long

2pm Nice Jewish Boys Gone Wild!
Fiction and memoir with Marc Estrin (The Lamentations of Julius Marantz), A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically), Adam Mansbach (The End of the Jews) and Peter Charles Melman (Landsman).
Moderator: Bella Stander

2pm Publishing Day: Managing Expectations
Clinical psychologist Susan O’Doherty (Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued) helps examine the goals, motivations, and expectations that come with being an author.
Moderator: Susan Tyler Hitchcock

4pm Echoes of the Great War
With novelists Nicholas Griffin (Dizzy City), Thomas Mullen (The Last Town on Earth) and Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs mystery series).
Moderator: Bella Stander

4pm Great Books for Great Kids
Cynthia Cotten (Abbie n Stitches), Barbara Kanninen (A Story with Pictures) and Sarah Sullivan (Root Beer and Banana) discuss reading, writing, and publishing quality picture books and coping with today's tight picture book market. Hosted by Mid-Atlantic Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Moderator: Anne Marie Pace

LLL at VaBook - Fri 3/28

Here are listings of Literary Ladies' events on Day 3 of the Virginia Festival of the Book. (Bella Stander's pals & Book Promotion 101 clients are in purple).

FRI 3/28
10:00am Science Writing: Life Cycles

Jennifer Ackerman (Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream), Michael Sims (Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination), and Susan Freinkel (American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree).
Moderator: Susan Tyler Hitchcock

2:00pm Families Coming Together: Fiction and Memoir
With novelists Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey), Emilie Richards (Touching Stars) and memoirist Kim Reid (No Place Safe).
Moderator: Grace Zisk

2:00pm Living on the Edge: Cons and Characters
Michael Sims (Editor of new edition of Arsene Lupin's Gentleman Thief), Nicholas Griffin (Dizzy City), and Dallas Hudgens (Season of Gene) explore clever rogues in tense situations.
Moderator: Jenny Gardiner

4:00pm Going Places: A Poetry Reading
Move across reflective landscapes with Margaret Gibson (One Body), Sharon Leiter (The Dream of Leaving), David Rigsbee (Cloud Journal), and Ron Smith (Moon Road).
Moderator: Jeff Coughter

6:00pm Dracula vs. Frankenstein: A Monster Mash of Fact and Fiction
With Paul Bibeau (Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man's Quest to Live in the World of the Undead) and Susan Tyler Hitchcock (Frankenstein: A Cultural History).
Moderator: Jonathan Coleman

LLL at VaBook - Thurs. 3/27

Here are listings of Literary Ladies' events on Day 2 of the Virginia Festival of the Book. (Bella Stander's author pals & Book Promotion 101 clients are in purple).

THURS 3/27
12:00pm Race and Place: Memoirs

With Margaret Gibson (The Prodigal Daughter: Reclaiming an Unfinished Childhood), Evans Hopkins (Life After Life: A Story of Rage and Redemption), and Kim Reid (No Place Safe: A Family Memoir).
Moderator: Hilda Ward

2:00pm Across Time and Space: Fiction Capturing Personal and Public History
With Arthur Phillips, (Prague, Angelica), Anne Landsman (The Rowing Lesson) and George Robert Minkoff (The Weight of Smoke).
Moderator: Deborah Prum

LLL at VaBook - Wed. 3/26

The Literary Ladies Luncheon--VA and CO--will be well represented at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Here's a listing of Literary Ladies' events for Day 1. (Bella Stander's pals & Book Promotion 101 clients are in purple).

WED 3/26
12:00pm High Gloss: Making the Beautiful Book
With Susan Tyler Hitchcock (Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims Walk), Jon Lohman (In Good Keeping: Virginia's Folk Apprenticeships), and Anne B. Barriault and Kay Davidson (Selections from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts).
Moderator: Dorrit Green

4:00pm Opening the Vein: Pouring Life into Writing

The Moseley Writers, Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (Josias, Hold the Book), Deborah Prum (Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines), Fran Cannon Slayton (How to Hop a Moving Train), and Andy Straka (Record of Wrongs), discuss how real life experiences inform fiction and keep writing fresh in a marketing-saturated world.
Moderator: Andy Straka

4:00pm Life As We Know It: Novels of Change and Healing
With Virginia Boyd (One Fell Swoop), Therese Fowler (Souvenir) and Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers).
Moderator: Mariflo Stephens

6:00pm Memoirs: Writing Our Lives, Writing Our Cultures
Elko Stillfried (Leaves in the Wind), Konstantina Dimitra Mahlia (The House of Many Faces), Beatrix Ost (My Father's House: A Childhood in Wartime Bavaria), Linwood Custalow and Angela L. Daniel (The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History). Hosted by Piedmont Council of the Arts, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, and Senior Center.
Moderator: Faith Andrews Bedford

6:00pm Trying to Get it Right: Fiction About Marriage
Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver), James Collins (Beginner's Greek), and Joshua Henkin (Matrimony) offer fictional perspectives of twenty-first century marriages.
Moderator: Jeanne Siler

Monday, March 17, 2008

Literary Ladies Awarded!

Charlottesville weekly newspaper The Hook won 6 first-place prizes at Friday night's Virginia Press Association awards in Roanoke. And two of those prizewinners were Literary Ladies Lisa Provence (headline writing) and Janis Jaquith (editorials). Hooray!

L-R: Lisa Provence, Janis Jaquith & Hawes Spencer, editor of The Hook, whence this photo was lifted.

Friday, February 22, 2008

News From Country Cookin' Mollie Bryan

Hello Friends!

I'll be leading a workshop at Stone Soup Books in Waynesboro on March 15, 10-11 (or so). the focus of the workshop is "Writing Memoir, Essays, and Columns, " which is kind of a lot to cover in an hour or hour and a half . ;-) But I think it should be fun. I hope to give participants some unique and fun writing exercises. If you have writing to share, please bring it along. This workshop is completely free of charge and will be lighthearted. I hope to see some of you there.

On other news, my contract for the second Mrs. Rowe book was held up because I asked for some changes, but it is on the way (or so I am told). The MRS. ROWE'S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIE is due in July. But I want to have most of it done before the girls are out of school. We have a tester on board and things are rolling right along. (The tester, Kate Antea, is a pastry "cook" and a dear friend of mine that lives in Colorado.)

I am exploring another Virginia food book, which would have even more history in it than the Rowe book. More on that when things finalize.

In the meantime, the spring issue of Grit will have a pie article I've written for them--the photos of the pie are beautiful. I wrote that article months ago! And to all the Virginians on the list, Virginia Living's April issue will publish the Mary Johnston piece that I wrote well over a year ago.

Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley
A Narrative Cookbook

My website:
[Pie tester! Now THERE's a job my guidance counselor never told me about! --Janis]

Monday, February 11, 2008

Susan Tyler Hitchcock featured at California Literary Festival

From the Long Beach, CA, Press Telegram:

Literary women write on in L.B. [Long Beach]
720 people from across U.S. attend L.B. event; seven authors give talks.

By Kelly Puente, Staff writer

LONG BEACH - Each year on Jan. 2, Long Beach school teacher Phyllis Greenberg makes a dash to the post office.
"I know the day is coming and I get prepared," she said.

Greenberg was one of hundreds of women who scrambled to send in their invitations last month for an annual event so exclusive, only 720 people are permitted, and hundreds more are turned down.

"It's a fight every year," said Long Beach resident Judy Jacobson. "But it's so worth it."

Women from across the country packed into the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday for the 26th annual Literary Women Festival of Authors.

A celebration of women writers and readers, the day-long event sells out every year and has attracted best-selling authors such as Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Kingsolver and Sue Grafton.

Organizer Judy Ross said those hoping to attend must send in their invitations on the same day received, or they probably won't get in.

"The event has become so in demand, we don't like to advertise," she said. "The entire thing had been through word of mouth."
Although a few men could be found in the crowd Saturday, the event has always been overwhelmingly attended by women.

Founder Harriet Williams started the festival in 1982 after she learned that her son's reading list from Wilson High School had only three women authors.

Since then, the event has become massively popular with women readers and writers alike.

This year's lineup of seven writers ranged from Pulitzer Prize-winner and best-selling author Geraldine Brooks to Bo Caldwell, whose debut novel, "The Distant Land of My Father," won Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.

Speaker Andrea Barrett, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of six novels, said the festival's almost fanatical attendance is contrary to reports that Americans are reading less every year.

"When you see such a large number of passionate readers in one room, it makes you feel like everyone is reading," she said.

Long Beach resident Wendy Zeh has attended the festival for the last 10 years largely for the camaraderie and inspiration.

This year, Zeh said she especially enjoyed author Susan Tyler Hitchcock's candid accounts of her life and the writing process. In front of a room of more than 300, Hitchcock regaled a time when critics blasted her nonfiction novel, "Coming About: A Family Passage."

"It hurt, but I was blessed with an overwhelming abundance of self-confidence," Hitchcock said, as the crowd laughed.

Zeh said it's that type of intimate atmosphere that keeps her coming back.

"You're surrounded by hundreds of women like you, who love reading," she said. "It's a special day."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Superb Book Launch Party for Sleeping With Ward Cleaver

Jenny Gardiner's next book should be "How to Promote Your Book." Last night, a few hundred of Jenny's closest friends (in other words, le tout Charlottesville) gathered upstairs at the Paramount Theater, where Jenny and husband Scott hosted a fantastic book launch party for Jenny's first novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver. By the time I arrived, the book-signing line snaked out the door, and people were snapping up multiple copies.

The food was so good, I wondered who the caterer was. I was thinking how lucky Jenny was, to get this kind of support from her publisher. Turns out, Jenny and her friends provided the food and drink, and the entire wingding was the author's undertaking. There were clever decorations using the graphics from the cover of her book, and the volunteer waitstaff sported matching aprons and pink rubber gloves which evoked the June Cleaver, early-'60s zeitgeist so intrinsic to Jenny's novel.

The evening was a huge success, and I have no doubt that in a few hundred Virginia homes this Sunday afternoon, people are chatting in person or online with their friends about Jenny's book, and curling up with a copy of Sleeping With Ward Cleaver and enjoying every minute of it.

My hat is off to Jenny (that would be a pink pillbox hat) for talent and creativity that extend well beyond the pages of her book.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Sleeping With Ward Cleaver" makes debut

Jenny Gardiner's novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver, has just hit the bookshelves. You'll recall that Jenny's manuscript for this novel won the American Title III national fiction contest last year. Order your copy at

"A fun, sassy read! A cross between Erma Bombeck and Candace Bushnell, reading Jenny Gardiner is like sinking your teeth into a big frosted chocolate just want more."

-Meg Cabot, author of Big Boned and Queen of Babble Gets Hitched.

Congratulations, Jenny!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

LLLer Makes the LA Times Bestseller List

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: 39 Life Lessons from Today's Greatest Teachers
by LLLer Andrea Joy Cohen is #7 on this week's Los Angeles Times Bestsellers List.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Job Opportunity in NC

From Press 53, a small independent publisher in Winston-Salem and Hamptonville, NC.

Edit 1/10/08: Hard to believe, but the below is an UNPAID VOLUNTEER position. As if!

Publicity Coordinator: BA in Public Relations, Journalism, Communication, or English. Previous experience writing press releases and pitching media in a book publishing environment or for a PR firm necessary (or really desirable). Experience in a book publishing environment is a big plus.

Ideal candidate will have a proven track record of successfully pitching story ideas and getting placements with national and trade media. Excellent computer skills (Word, Excel, Filemaker Pro, Bacons Media Source, Photo Editor (or equivalent), Microsoft Outlook e-mail, Internet Skills) required. Must be able to work independently, possess sound judgment, and be a creative professional. Individual should be able to show successful national print, TV, and radio placement. Media relations background and experience pitching authors to all media outlets desirable. Previous experience running a campaign independently desired.

Responsibilities include developing and producing public relations materials, including press releases, fact sheets, author biographies, pitch letters, interview questions, etc. This includes writing press sheets for galleys to be sent to trade media. To conduct media relations, including responding to inquiries by the media, arranging interviews, planning book and media tours, and following up on news releases and mailings. To conduct author relations, including responding to questions and requests of authors, and maintaining continual flow of information. This includes planning events and scheduling author participation at trade shows and other venues. Superb written and verbal communications skills imperative. Ability to manage multiple tasks and foster good relationships with a wide variety of internal and external business associates essential. Specific knowledge of public relations strategies and tactics, specifically related to book campaigns, is important. Will train the right motivated candidate(s). More than one position may be available.

Please submit a letter of interest with two writing samples, a press release and a pitch letter or some other short nonfiction piece (an article, essay, etc.) that illustrates your writing ability. Email as attachments to Sheryl Monks: sherylmonks (at)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sharon Leiter reading at New Dominion

An invitation from Sharon Leiter:

Dear Friends,

Please come and join me for a reading of my new book of poems, The Dream of Leaving, on Thursday, January 24, at 5:30 pm, at New Dominion Bookstore on the Downtown Mall. Afterwards, we'll convene at Jean Sampson's studio on the second floor of the McGuffey Art Center, for food, drink and conversation!

Will you let me know by January 17 if I may expect the pleasure of your company? You can email me at SLeiter at

wishing you a happy, healthy new year,


Saturday, January 5, 2008

LLL Denver News 3

Debra Fine's new book is coming out this month:

THE FINE ART OF THE BIG TALK: How to Win Clients, Deliver Great Presentations, and Solve Conflicts at Work (Hyperion).

She will be speaking and signing books at:

Tattered Cover LoDo, Denver - Wed., January 30, 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

LLL Denver News 2

Andrea Joy Cohen MD's first book is being published today:

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: 39 Life Lessons from Today's Greatest Teachers (Berkley/Penguin)

She will be speaking and signing books at:

Boulder Book Store - Thurs., January 24, 7:30 pm.
Tattered Cover LoDo, Denver - Tues., January 29, 7:30 pm.

LLL Denver News 1

Carleen Brice's first novel, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY (One World/Ballantine), is debuting on Feb 12. Target has chosen it as a Break Out Title for February, and it's also a pick of the Essence Magazine and Black Expressions book clubs.

Upcoming events:

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 26
Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, Denver, CO 80202 (at Wynkoop directly across Wynkoop Street from the new EPA building next to Union Station just blocks from Coors Field). Hourly parking lots are located near the store and streetside parking is also available. Phone number: 303-436-1070.

7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 8
West Side Books, 3434 W. 32nd, Denver, CO 80211. "Stories for All Seasons." Free admission and refreshments. Phone number: 303-480-0220.

2:00 p.m., Friday, March 28, VIRGINIA FESTIVAL OF THE BOOK
New Dominion Bookshop, 404 E. Main St., Charlottesville. "Families Coming Together," with Tim Farrington (The Monk Upstairs) and Emilie Richards (Touching Stars).

7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Southglenn Library, 7500 South University Boulevard (Dry Creek and University), Centennial, CO 80122. Phone number: 303-LIBRARY (303-542-7279).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Denver White Elephant Gift Exchange

At long last, here's the Denver LLL White Elephant Extravaganza on December 14 at Mead St. Station. A hilarious time was had by all.

Clockwise from left front: Robin Owens, Rebecca Burgess, Andrea Joy Cohen, Debra Fine, Kristin Nelson, Shelly Vickroy, Bella Stander, Rebecca Burgess, Karen Carter and Mary Taylor Young.

The many exquisitely wrapped gifts were piled in the center of the table and the Ladies picked for themselves.

Carleen Brice happened on the most inappropriate gift, donated by yours truly: a self-published doorstop about an Irish guy who fought for the Confederacy, which she immediately regifted to Robin. Then good luck shone on Carleen again, and she walked away with what was unanimously deemed the most horrid item: a white bisque double-necked amphora (I'm sure there's a special term for it) with a Spirit of the West-type owl painted on it.

Andrea Joy Cohen blessed the amphora, but I have a strong suspicion that it's going to resurface next year. Perhaps it will become a rotating gift, like the famous can of guava paste in Charlottesville. If memory serves, the copulating frogs received by Dawn Hunt (see below post) have also made a previous appearance. And the painted-lady wine glasses that Laura Rydin got from (and returned to) Janis Jaquith were given by me two years ago.