August 29th: Members-Only Writing Workshop

Special Members-Only Workshop

Time, place, and registration link will be emailed directly to current Northern Virginia Writers Club members.  Emails will be sent out between August 17th and 21st.  Space is limited so please register as soon as you receive your email.

You Ain’t Scene Nothing Yet!

In this short workshop, award-winning short story writer Art Taylor discusses approaches to building scenes and arranging them as part of larger narratives, whether linear or modular and whether short- or longer-form. What could/should be the components of an individual scene? How do you begin and end scenes? How should one scene distinguish itself from another? How should scenes interrelate? The balance of scene and summary and the use of writing tools like Scrivener to plan scenes and structure will also be discussed.

Art Taylor Bio

Art Taylor has won two Agatha Awards, a Macavity Award, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction in addition to being twice named a finalist for the Anthony Award. Stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder and Homicidal Holidays, and in other journals and anthologies. His novel in stories On the Road With Del and Louise will be published in September by Henery Press. He teaches at George Mason University and contributes frequently to the Washington Post and Mystery Scene.


July 25th: Picnic in the Park

Bring your family and join us on Saturday, July 25th for our first summer picnic.


Saturday, July 25th
3:30 p.m. to Sunset
Gazebo 1
Occoquan Park
9751 Ox Rd, Lorton, VA 22079


Gazebo 1 is located near the batting cage and overlooks the Occoquan River.  Close supervision of children is required as the Gazebo overlooks a steep drop.   There is no electricity but there are grills.  There is limited parking for this gazebo; however, there is a parking lot 100 yards away.

Bring your own picnic (everything you need or want) and spend some time socializing with fellow club members While no activities have been formally planned, you are welcome to bring books to sell, swap, or read from.

The park website is

June 27th: Author Presentation – Ruta Sevo

Join us on Saturday, June 27th for a presentation by author Ruta Sevo.


Saturday, June 27th
1-3 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson Library
7415 Arlington Boulevard
Falls Church, VA 22042-7409


White Bird is about a man who travels to Nepal to scatter his brother’s ashes. The novel features travel to Kathmandu in Nepal, the encounter with Buddhism, a shaman, a Western female Buddhist nun, séances, reincarnation, spiritualism, and sex. White Bird took three years to research and write. The talk will describe the process of background research, for example, on Tibetan Buddhism, the Peace Corps in Nepal, accounts of early explorers like Alexandra David-Neel and Madam Blavatsky, and tourism to Kathmandu.  Ruta will discuss the process of writing for three years, improving craft, and shaping the story. Finally, Ruta will share some lessons learned about self-publishing.


Ruta SevoRuta Sevo writes fiction and lives in Burke, VA, retired from the National Science Foundation. She recently wrote and self-published a novel (White Bird), a novella (Vilnius Diary) and a translation of her grandfather’s memoir from Lithuanian.  She spent years in Calcutta doing field work for a Ph.D. in South Asian civilization studies from the University of Chicago and has a B.A. in comparative literature.

She’s published more than ten books since 2006, her own and others’, using, and Kindle Direct Publishing. The books are in PDF, paperback, Kindle and ePUB. She actively tracks options for authors, especially e-books and print-on-demand, and does most of the making (book cover, design, formatting, registration) herself.

Links to her books are on an author page on (click the author name under a book), an author page on ,  and

May 30th: How to Increase Your Chance of Publishing

Join us on May 30th to hear from our panel of experts on “How to Increase Your Chance of Publishing”.


Saturday, May 30th
1-3 p.m.
George Mason Regional Library
7001 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003-5975


We are honored to be hosting the following panelists:

Denise CamachoDenise Camacho, President, Intrigue Publishing

Denise is the president of Intrigue Publishing. With over 10 years in the publishing, she has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to those wanting to become published authors. She regularly attends seminars on what is new in publishing as well as attending conferences around the country sharing her experiences.

Tara Laskowski, Editor, SmokeLong Quarterly

Tara is the author of Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons. She was awarded the Kathy Fish Fellowship from SmokeLong Quarterly in 2009, and won the grand prize for the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Series. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She has been the editor of SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010. Her short story collection Bystanders will be published by Santa Fe Writers Project in 2016.

John BetancourtJohn Gregory Betancourt, Publisher, Wildside Press

John is a best-selling science fiction author, an award-winning mystery author, and the publisher of Wildside Press, a publishing company located in Maryland.  He has been an editor for major New York publishers and book packagers, a literary agent, and a full-time freelance author over the years.


April 18th Meeting: Social Media for Writers

Our April 18th meeting will include two mini-workshops on social media for writers.


Saturday, April 18th
1-3 p.m.
Pohick Regional Library
6450 Sydenstricker Road
Burke, VA 22015-4274


The first workshop will cover the WHY and WHO of social media.  

A summary of analyses into WHY writers use social media will provide insight that attendees can use to answer their own WHY questions.   The WHO part of the workshop will cover WRITERS and READERS. A review of variety of social media platforms and the writers who use them provides the WHO of writers. A discussion of social media demographics and target markets will provide a clearer picture of the WHO of readers.

This workshop will be taught by Linda Ensign, small business owner and information technology specialist.

The second workshop will cover the HOW and WHAT of social media.

The HOW of social media will cover best practices for HOW OFTEN to post to different social media platforms and tips for creating a social media marketing schedule. The WHAT will cover the types of content that are most effective on each social media platform. Included in this workshop will be a discussion of the differences between paid advertising and organic marketing and tips on how to grow your social media on a shoestring budget.

This workshop will be taught by Monique Williams, a social media management and content specialist.


Monique WilliamsMonique manages digital marketing initiatives for clients who range from media agencies to local businesses and top-ranked international franchise systems to a Top 40 Billboard R&B artist. She is experienced in both ‘localizing’ national brands and giving small businesses a brand-dominant voice. Monique is a self-proclaimed marketing geek and dog lover.



Ways to connect with Monique:
LinkedIn –
Twitter –


Linda EnsignLinda is the founder of Yellow Hare Inc, a small software development company specializing in eLearning, games, apps, and websites. As a business owner, she is keenly aware of the crucial role social media plays in marketing and word of mouth.   Linda writes mystery, contemporary fantasy, and science fiction.   Her hobbies, when she has the time, include making jewelry, hand stamping greeting cards, and playing video games.


Ways to connect with Linda:
LinkedIn –
Facebook –

March 28th Meeting & Workshop “Touching the World”

Our March 28th meeting will include a special members only one-hour workshop entitled “Touching the World” presented by Dorothy Spruzen Hassan.


Saturday, March 28th
1-3 p.m.
Great Falls Library
9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA


Touching the World
As Eudora Welty said, you can’t write a story that happens nowhere.  And, if the reader can’t see your setting, your story is nowhere. Basically, you are talking to yourself. But I would add to that. Your character’s life is a journey through his world. He touches his world, and it touches him. In my students’ work I often see characters moving in their own bubble, encased in their own close concerns. We will discuss how to broaden and deepen your characters’ interactions with people, places, and events that may be incidental to your story.


Dorothy Spruzen HassanDorothy Spruzen Hassan (who writes as D. A. Spruzen)is a writer of fiction and poetry and has lived in Northern Virginia since 1971 except for a two-year hiatus in the Middle East. She grew up near London, U.K., earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing for Fairfax County Schools Adult and Community Education program and the McLean Community Center.  She also runs private critique workshops in her home and is a past president of the Northern Virginia Writers Club. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Dorothy’s short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and she is seeking representation for her novel The Blitz Business, set in WWII England.  The first two novels in her Flower Ladies Trilogy, Not One of Us and Lily Takes the Field, are available on Kindle and in paperback. The third book, Messenger of Love, is in progress. Crossroads, two novellas, is also available on Amazon. Her poetry chapbook, Long in the Tooth, was published by Finishing Line Press in July 2013. Check out her website at

February Meeting and New Officers

Please join us for our February Meeting, held Saturday, February 28 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm at the Lorton Library.  We’ll be hosting Andrew Kreig, author of Presidential Puppetry. His contact info follows so you can check out his work ahead of time:

Twitter: @AndrewKreig
Book website:

New Officers
Please welcome NOVAWC’s new officer corps for 2015!

Linda Ensign – President
Ayesha Shoulders– Vice President
AJ George – Treasurer