The picture shows a joint writers’ group meeting in Washington, Georgia, in the 1990s. I’m on the front row, first left. Next to me is Elise Weston (author of Coastwatcher), Jackie Elsner (now head of the Oconee County Library),Gail Karwoski (author of nine books now, including Riverbeds). The back row shows Cathy Fishman (author of many books including Passover/ and On Sukkot and Sim Chat Torah), Bettye Stroud (author of The Patchwork Path and Down Home at Miss Dessa’s, and several other books), Laurie Myers (author of Lewis and Clarke and Me and Co-author of My Dog, My Hero, with her mom, Newbery-winning author Betsy Byars, who is one of my all-time favorites, and sister Betsy Duffey), and Sherri Jones Rivers (owner of Mr. Frog and rhyme writer and author supreme). Our annual joint writers’ group meetings in beautiful and historic Washington are a treat each summer and a writers’ dream, since we meet in the Washington library and critique all day and most of the night!
Right now, I belong to two different writers’ groups. One is presently called “Tuesday Writers” and is made up of several members of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a professional organization for published and aspiring writers of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Tuesday Writers evolved from another writers’ group, Powersurge Writers. And Powersurge Writers was the result of a merger between two other groups, Four at Five Writers and a writers’ group that formed as a result of a social event in 1996 (what was the name of that group? I don’t remember us calling ourselves anything but “the writers’ group” back then.)
I’ve lost track of how many writers’ groups I’ve belonged to over the years. The other writers’ group I currently belong to is called Sub Rosa in the Shoals. It’s an offshoot of author Rosemary Daniell’s Zona Rosa. I’ll write about ZR in a later post. Today, I want to tell you about an event hosted by Tuesday Writers (and sponsored by SCBWI) on Saturday, January 23, 2010, from 10 AM to 1 PM, at the Oconee County Cultural Arts Foundation, OCAF, in Watkinsville, Georgia. We’re calling this event a “manuscript swap shop.” From 10 – 10:30 AM, we’ll visit and catch up and exchange chit-chat about writing and such. After that, I’ll speak about writing and publishing and will take questions. Then we’ll break up into groups of no more than five and have a manuscript critique session. Things you need to know about this event: It’s free! You need to bring five copies of one manuscript, up to ten pages long. (We won’t turn you away if you come without a manuscript, but you’ll get more out of the swap shop if you bring a writing sample). You don’t have to register, but if you know for sure you’ll be there, shoot me an email at email@example.com, and let me know.This swap shop is for writers of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. (We like writers of fiction and nonfiction for adults, too. But this event focuses on writers for children. We’ll have refreshments!
So come and join us on Saturday, January 23, 10 – 1, at OCAF. Oh, by the way, the publication of my debut children’s middle grade novel, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, is tied directly to my participation in strong writers’ groups/strong and strong SCBWI/strong. During my 20 or so minutes of talk time at the Manuscript Swap Shop, I’ll tell you all about these connections and how you can follow the same path. Disclaimer: There are no guarantees that you’ll end up with a published book by attending this event. However, this is how I made it to published author. Join us on Jan. 23 at OCAF to learn more!