Shenandoah Writers News: Nov. 3 Meeting


Shenandoah Writers is a writing group, based out of Harrisonburg, Virginia, which meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Barnes & Noble at Harrisonburg Crossing at 7pm. Stop by!


Beth Trissel signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her historical romance, Red Bird’s Song.  Congrats, Beth!  You’re an example to us all, and I look forward to hearing all about your journey to publication.

JoMarie DeGioia is moving back to Florida at the end of this month.  She’s been a tremendous asset to me in terms of talking up our group, and I know we’ll all miss seeing her face around Barnes & Noble.  If you’re in the Harrisonburg area, stop by the store before 11/22 (her last day at the Harrisonburg B&N), and wish her well.

Three new members – Mindy & Andrew Franke and Carolyn Chilton – joined me at the Nov. 3 meeting.  Welcome, welcome, welcome!


With the three new members and the absences of a few others, we spent most of the time in a “meet and greet,” where we discussed everyone’s writing areas and what we want to get out of the group.

We had each done a different writing prompt, which showed the wide range of our interests when we passed around each others’ work, and we discussed our experiences in completing each one (Carolyn, who found out about us through the B&N Web calendar – YAY, B&N Web calendar! – brought one of her self-published pieces to share).

We unanimously found the exercises beneficial and decided to focus on craft for the next several meetings.  To do so, we will be reading Brian Kiteley’s The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction.

Andrew suggested we create a Web-based bulletin board to stay in touch between meetings (more on that below).


Please note: The Dec. 1 meeting will be 7pm—not 7:30pm as the B&N calendar currently says.  I just e-mailed them to request the change be made.

Also: Please read the first chapter of Kiteley’s book.  That section deals with point of view.  We did a few of the prompts for the last meeting, but we decided that the exercises were so worthwhile that we’d like to read more about what Kiteley has to say in terms of POV.  Being that he gives several writing prompt options, we decided that we’d all just pick our own this time.


It’s not up and running yet.  However, it will be a Web-based, password-encrypted forum, where we can post work for critique, discuss our work, bounce ideas off one another, brainstorm, etc.

I will also post news and minutes from each meeting for anyone who has missed a month.  As well, I have a few out-of-state friends who are interested in joining our circle, and this would be the ideal way for them to do so.  If you know anyone else who might go for something like this—or if you are not in the Harrisonburg area but are interested in joining Shenandoah Writers, please e-mail me at

I’ll keep you posted on the bulletin board once I have more info.  So excited!


Available at Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, and Amazon's got it new for $10 or used for $1. doesn't have it - I checked.

Shenandoah Writers: Shameless Self-Promotion

Are you in the Harrisonburg area and looking for a writing group?

Come to Barnes & Noble on October 6 at 7:30 pm and see what Shenandoah Writers is all about!

This month, we will be doing a meet & greet as well as deciding on a writing book to discuss.  I already have one in mind….!

Click here for more info, or e-mail me at


Writers Wanted!

Searching for writing groups or critique circles in Harrisonburg did not prove successful, as I did not find much.  Or anything, actually.

In a town with two universities (James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University) within minutes of one another, I got to thinking: There have to be some writers out there. JMU has creative writing/play writing/script writing/screenplay courses, for crying out loud.

Because of the serious drought of writing groups, I have decided to create my own.  I talked to some folks, made some flyers, and on Tuesday, September 8th at 7:30 PM, Shenandoah Writers will hold its inaugural meeting at Barnes & Noble (Harrisonburg Crossing).

I’m new to this whole thing, but I plan to treat this as a critique group/writing workshop.  Depending on the number of attendees and the interests of those attendees, I envision us meeting semi-monthly.

One meeting will be a full-on critique session of someone’s work (be it part of a manuscript, a short story, a query letter, a magazine article, etc.).  In the other meeting, we will read and discuss writing books; do exercises in said books; generate writing ideas; laugh, cry, and bitch at how wonderful and horrible being a writer is, etc.

Depending on the climate of the group, we could also dedicate certain months to certain types of writing or genres as well.  I would even like to see us attend writing conferences or, perhaps, persuade some speakers to come see us.

As I’m writing this, I’m getting more and more ideas…and I love it!  So many possibilities.

Last night, I dreamt about the first meeting (nerdbomber!).  In the dream, there were actually more people than I could handle, and I had to figure out how to split it into groups.  I seriously don’t think I will have this problem initially, so calm down, subconscious.  I’d settle for somewhere between 4-6 individuals who are as serious and passionate about writing as I am.  Hell, with this first meeting, I’d be happy if two people showed up!

If anyone out there has ever started anything like this before or belonged to a group such as this, let me know.  Whatever pointers you can give would be greatly appreciated.  I want this thing to be the bomb diggity, and I’m looking for any advice I can get.

Additionally, I would also be interested in doing something like this remotely – say, via the Web.  If anyone not within driving distance is wants to chat me up about that, shoot me an e-mail:

Having a group like this, bouncing ideas off others, getting feedback/criticism/support from writers is integral to good writing…and it may just help my sanity a bit.

So, if you are in H-burg on Tuesday, stop on by Barnes & Noble and help me take over the city.  I’ll be at B&N’s fake Starbucks.

Come see us at Barnes & Noble on Sept. 8th at 7:30p.m.!

Come see me at Barnes & Noble on Sept. 8th at 7:30p.m.! Shenandoah Writers needs you!