October 29: Storytelling Techniques Aren’t Just for Memoirists

Essayists, journalists, screenwriters, poets, and documentarians all contribute techniques that can help you become a better storyteller, no matter which genre you choose. Yes, even fiction and memoir.

Join us October 29th as we discuss everything from back story to voice to scene-setting, and more.


Saturday, 29th October
1:00-3:00 p.m.
John Marshall Library
6209 Rose Hill Dr
Alexandria, VA 22310
(703) 971-0010

dianne-hennessy-kingDianne Hennessy King co-authored, Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story through Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels, and More, which was published by Skyhorse Publishing of New York in September 2016.

She is a cultural anthropologist who teaches classes on memoir writing at George Mason University’s Osher program, and is a guest lecturer on writing personal history across cultures.

Dianne is also a television producer for public television. Some of her programs have been on subjects as diverse as “Tolstoy: Creativity and Madness,” “Community Environmentalism,” and interviews of educators and authors such as the poet Grace Cavalieri. Dianne is a charter member, past president, and, for the past ten years, editor of the Culinary Historians of Washington, D.C.

Among other career byways, she was formerly a teacher of Humanities at the University of Minnesota, editor in chief for Pillsbury Publications, and a writer and editor for Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia.

September 24: Historical Research for Fiction Writers

Join us on September 24th for a presentation on historical research for fiction writers. Our presenter, Dorothy Spruzen, will provide answers to the following questions:

Do you really need to get it right?
How much is too much?
Where can you find it?
A reliable source? Maybe not.

Also … learn how to avoid pratfalls!

Saturday, 24th September
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Kingstowne Public Library
6500 Landsdowne Centre Dr,
Alexandria, VA 22315
(703) 339-4610

D.A. SpruzenD. A. Spruzen grew up near London, England, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing when she’s not seeking her own muse. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Her short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and she is the author of The Blitz Business, set in WWII England, released on August 1 from Koehler Books. Her other books are: Long in the Tooth (poetry collection); The Flower Ladies series, of which Books 1 and 2 have been published: Not One of Us and Lily Takes the Field, and Crossroads; two novellas. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia, where she also teaches writing classes. Visit Dorothy’s website at www.daspruzen.com.

August 27th: Keeping Your Audience Engaged / Writers’ Roundtable


Your book is out. You have a list of followers on social media. How do you keep your followers engaged, or attract new followers without constantly saying, “Buy my book, buy my book” on every tweet?

Join us at the August 27th meeting for a presentation on keeping your target audience engaged with creative marketing initiatives without saying a word about your book.

At the conclusion of the presentation, we will also have a writers’ roundtable. Participants can bring in samples of their unfinished work to have critiqued by the group.

Saturday, 27th August
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Sherwood Regional Library
2501 Sherwood Hall Lane
Alexandria, VA 22306



Ayesha Shoulders will share her advice and experience, gleaned from the marketing of her two novels, When it’s Time to Walk Away (2011) and When Love’s Knot Enough (2015).

Website: Ayeshashoulders.com
Follow Ayesha on Twitter

May 21st: Writers Round Table – Critiques

Join us on Saturday, May 21st for a writers round table discussion on critiques.

We will discuss all aspects of critiques, including how to find a critique group, how to form a critique group, where to find critique partners, the difference between critique groups and critique classes, what to expect from critiques, how to give critiques, how to use technology to sustain a critique group between in-person meetings, and best practices for critique groups.

We will also be discussing options for adding a regular critique circle to the Northern Virginia meeting roster.  If you’re interested in joining a critique group, please make the effort to be at this meeting.

Saturday, 21st May
1:00-3:00 p.m.
George Mason Regional Library
7001 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003

April 23rd: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.  Join us on Saturday, April 23rd for a celebration of poetry.

We will discuss some of the ways poetry can improve your prose.  You are welcome to bring a favorite poem (or two) to share with the group.

Saturday, 23rd April
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Burke Center Library
5935 Freds Oak Rd
Burke, VA 22015
(703) 249-1520

March 26th: Scenes from our Favorite Books

Join us on Saturday, March 26th for a discussion on scenes from our favorite books.

Please bring a book from one of your favorite authors, annotated with a scene you would like to read and discuss. 

You will have the opportunity to read the scene aloud and share why you chose that particular scene.  We’ll follow with a short group discussion on where the scene succeeded and where it perhaps fell short.

The goal is to stimulate discussion and exchange ideas on this very basic block of writing in order to enhance our own writing.

Saturday, 26th March
1:00-3:00 p.m.
George Mason Regional Library
7001 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003


February 27th: Elections & “Here, Tweet This…”

Join us on Saturday, February 27th for our Annual Elections and an interactive presentation on using Twitter to reach your publishing goals.

Saturday, 27th February
12:30-4:00 p.m.
Lorton Library
9520 Richmond Highway
Lorton, VA 22079-2124

Twitter is a one of the many social media platforms that is very useful for writers. You can use Twitter to find an agent, connect with your readers, or market your latest writing project…all in 140 characters or less.  Bring your laptop or tablet to this interactive workshop to find out how.

You’ll also discover how to create your Twitter account, tweeting best practices, what’s the story with the #hashtag, and how some well known writers are using Twitter, including Neil Gaiman, Harlan Coben, and Margaret Atwood.

Etsy-Fallout-photoLinda Ensign has been talking to computers since before the Internet was born and is fluent in multiple computer languages. She enjoys finding new ways to use technology to make life easier, so that she has more time to write … and play video games (she’s currently on a top secret mission in Fallout 3).


Website: LindaEnsign.com
Facebook:  LindaEnsignAuthor
Follow Linda on Twitter @gypseywriter

January 30th: Marketing Strategies

Join us on Saturday, 30th January and work on your marketing strategy with our special guest presenter, Tracee Lydia Garner.

Please note that we’ll also be voting in our elected officers.  This will take place after the presentation.


Saturday, January 30th
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Martha Washington Library (Room 14A/B)
6614 Fort Hunt Road
Alexandria, VA 22307-1799

You ARE a writer and as much as you’d like to simply stay in your cave and write, marketing is a necessary evil that you will have to tackle at some point if you want to get your book out there. You need a strategy and to be prepared. Preparation is half the battle to success. We will discuss all the different platforms for print, ads, social media campaigns to get your book out there. This presentation will also provide you with a sample marketing plan and give you some practical and low-costs tips to make any of the marketing efforts you choose, work for you.

TraceeG picture 2012Tracee Lydia Garner is a speaker, private writing coach and author of five books. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, she holds a degree in Communications from Old Dominion University. She tremendously enjoys the written and spoken word and prior to entertaining full-length novels, was a contributor to her alma mater’s campus literary magazine for her poetry.

Writing her first novel at 23, Tracee submitted it to a nation-wide contest hosted by BET Books, then the largest publisher of African-American fiction, where her story entitled Family Affairs, beat out hundreds of other contenders, winning the grand prize, a monetary advance, an all expense paid trip to NYC to accept her award with leading publishing professionals and a contract for publication. She signed a book deal for two more titles. Tracee has been writing since she was in elementary school. She teaches Romance Novel Writing and How to Write the Novel at the college level and has done so for ten years. Tracee uses a wheelchair due to having a form of Muscular Dystrophy, a neuromuscular disease. Anchored Hearts is Tracee’s fifth book.

Website:  http://www.teegarner.com/
Follow Tracee on Twitter @Teegarner