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League of Vermont Writers

"Into the Words"—LVW's Summer Retreat and Member Showcase!

Read all about the event in the June Edition of League Lines

[scroll down for registration information]

General Overview: In the earliest days of the League, programs for members centered around gathering to share ideas and to spend time together. In efforts to build a stronger community and bring LVW back to “its roots,” a special Summer Program Planning Committee has worked to orchestrate a day-long retreat that pays homage to LVW members.

Purposefully named “Into the Words” playing off the hit-musical and movie Into the Woods, event planners wanted to create that feeling of getting lost in the thing that you love (words) with people who share that adoration (writers). The day will be comprised of members showcasing their skills and talents by leading a variety of ½-hour and hour-long sessions (from craft to publishing to the writing life) and exhibiting their work in a designated “Member Showcase” area.

There will also be a lunch break (this is a bring-your-own!) mid-day that will feature a reading of the 10-minute play, Fish and Game, written by member Marge Sharp, and a reading from our host, Jerry Johnson. Johnson will read from his books Up the Creek Without a Saddle and Noah’s Song. The rest of lunch will be devoted to time to mingle.

After several more sessions during the afternoon, LVW is offering an ice cream and watermelon social. During this time, member Mark Pendergast, accompanied by Sophia Donforth, will sing some his poems that have been set to music. And, once again, the remainder of the time will be spent in socializing and community building.

Throughout the day there will be a fundraising tag-sale and a storytelling open-mic lead by member Recille Hamrell. This won’t be a traditional open mic, so don’t come with anything prepared. In addition, it’s important to note that as part of the ambiance of the day, no one is required to go to any of the sessions, but this is strongly encouraged so that attendees can see what other members of LVW are doing and can meet new folks. But if people would rather slip away to a quiet corner and just write or talk with a fellow writer, that is okay, too!

A full schedule of the day will be provided at check-in that morning. If the program is successful and everyone raves about it at the end of the day, LVW may just make this event a new biennial tradition to happen during the years Writers Meet Agents isn’t happening. So, if you come and enjoy yourselves, please let someone at the Welcome-and-Registration table know. As always, members’ feedback is important.

A Select List of Presenters:

Alec Hastings

Amy Kolb Noyes

Jerry Johnson

Joan Grant

Joy (J.P.) Choquette

Mark Pendergast

Melinda Meyer

Michael Caldwell

Pat Goudey O’Brien

Paula Diaco

Stephen Payne

Ted Tedford

A Select List of Workshops

What is Your Fictional Voice?
Poetry and Music Coming Together
The Importance of Literary Mentors
Performance Techniques for Writers
Poetry into Song

A Venue for True Stories Told Live: Open-Mic

Treat yourself to an afternoon session of shared personal stories. Come just to listen or to tell. Prompt sheet provided to trigger memories. 7-minute story limit. No reading from writings. To sign up to tell your story--see Recille Hamrell. Find out more at the event!

Showcase Your Work: SIGN-UP!

Are you interested in showcasing your work in our members' showcase this July? This is a free perk for members (which means you have to be current on your dues, write to Tommy Walz, membership chair, if unsure: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Please note that you must bring your own table and be responsible for its supervision. This includes the sale of your own books and the exchange of monies. Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you intend to showcase your work so event-planners can account for appropriate amounts of space.


We thought it might be fun, and a good way to raise some funds (for LVW), to have a tag sale at our summer program. The theme for your donations should be related to the arts (writing, painting, sculpting, music, etc.). Please, no books, LP’s, 8-track tapes or clothing. Bring cash for making a purchase. If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact Vice President, Mary Muncil, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 518-677-2929.

If You're Planning to Attend, Keep in Mind:

  • Coffee, tea, bottled water, and light snacks will be provided by LVW, but not lunch; please bring a bagged lunch (if refrigeration is needed, bring your own small cooler)

  • Plan for any kind of weather; dress appropriately

Please be sure to bring:

  • writing utensils and paper

  • pieces of your work, in-progress or finished (some sessions might require work)

  • a voice recorder (if you have one); there’s at least one session where this may be useful

  • a lawn chair or blanket for sitting outside

DATE: July 18, 2015

TIME: 10:00am - 5:00pm

LOCATION: Jerry Johnson’s Residence, 870 Creek Road, Albany VT (physical location); 870 Creek Road, Irasburg, VT (mailing address). If using Mapquest, use the above mailing address to get directions that will bring you right to Jerry’s door. If using a GPS, please use Jerry’s physical address. Directions from the common in Irasburg: Pass Ray’s Market on your left with Irasburg’s common on your right. You are now 3.3 miles from Jerry’s schoolhouse. Just after Ray’s Market, you will pass a church on your right. Continue straight ahead down Creek Road. (It may not have a sign.) About 100 feet past the church you will come to a road that forks to the left. Do NOT take it. Continue straight. After about 3 miles you will come to a blinking light at a 4-way intersection. Continue straight. Jerry’s schoolhouse is the 2nd place on the right, about 0.2 miles after the blinking light. Look for “870” just below the mailbox. Park along the road. If you get lost, you can ask people in Ray’s Market or anyone on Creek Road, “Hey, how do I get to Jerry Johnson’s schoolhouse?” Jerry’s number: (802) 754-2265.


Register using the Shopping Cart link in the right hand column ["Sign Up Today" box], or fill out the DOWNLOADABLE REGISTRATION FORM HERE and mail with your check to:

Mary Muncil, LVW Vice President: 148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY 12816

The price is $28 for members and $35 for non-members.

Make check payable to: LVW Summer Program

If you have questions, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thanks to all who participated in our Spring Program at the Franklin Howe Conference Center in Rutland!


Joanna Tebbs Young

How to find your story beneath the scripts given us by family and society. How to find your own voice. How to write from a place of personal truth that will resonate with readers as universal.

Ben Hewitt

At once humorous, inspiring, and entertaining, Ben explored the rules of good writing. These rules are not what you think. Writers came away with a new perspective on the craft.

Cheryl Young

A good story comes in many ways, expected and unexpected. Cheryl's talk spoke of the story behind the stories, and the rewards and challenges they bring with them.

And thank you to all of the LVW members and friends who came along to listen, learn, and share.

Thanks for all you do!

Thank you, writers! For making our 2015 Annual Meeting

and Winter Program such a great event

And thank you to our presenters,

author and teacher Stephen Kiernan,

and New York Times book reviewer

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt.

You were wonderful.


The morning with Stephen Kiernan


With nearly four million words in print, Stephen Kiernan is a longtime newspaper journalist and author. His books include LAST RIGHTS and AUTHENTIC PATRIOTISM (nonfiction), plus the novels THE CURIOSITY, and THE HUMMINGBIRD (out in the fall of 2015).

A graduate of Middlebury College, the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, Stephen has won more than 40 writing awards. His work has been translated into numerous languages, and THE CURIOSITY was optioned by 20th Century Fox for a feature film. Each year his "Winter Tale" is part of the Vermont Stage Company's annual December performance of the same name. He lives in Charlotte with his two sons.

Stephen gave two presentations during the morning of Jan. 31.

First up, "The Biz: Breaking into Publishing"

As the publishing industry simultaneously innovates and consolidates, the challenges of reaching an audience and making an income from writing grow ever more complex. This interactive session addressed such topics as how to find an agent, how to submit a manuscript, what an editor is now, and what the merits and demerits of self-publishing are.

Next, "The Almost Right Word"

The foundation of writing is language, though we often take for granted its tools and powers because we use them in conversation all day. Through a series of interactive exercises, we examined the potency of language and how to give our writing greater specificity and strength.


2015 Annual Meeting included election of officers


And we heard from Keynote Speaker Christopher Lehmann-Haupt


[photo by Sigrid Estrada]

New York Times book reviewer and editor Christopher Lehmann-Haupt has worked in the world of books for his entire professional career. He began as an editor for various New York City publishing houses, among them Holt, Rinehart & Winston and The Dial Press.

In 1965 he become an editor on the Sunday New York Times Book Review. In 1969, he was appointed senior Daily Book Reviewer for the New York Times, a position he held until 1995, when he became a regular daily book reviewer. From 1965 until 2000, he wrote more than 4,000 book reviews and articles on a range of subjects from trout fishing to Persian archaeology. In April 2000, he assumed the job of Chief Obituary Writer for the Times, and in June 2006, he retired from the paper.

Since then, he has taught writing courses at Marymount Writing Center, the College of Mount St. Vincent, the CUNY Graduate Center, and Columbia University School of Journalism. He has also written freelance for the Times and served from 2007 until 2012 as editorial director for a small publishing company, Delphinium Books. He still provides occasional obituaries to the Times, and he continues to supervise student projects at the Columbia School of Journalism.

The changing creative culture, "Have You Seen Any Good Books Lately?"

Writers in the Visual/Digital Age: In the last century or so, our culture has shifted away from print and towards cinematics. A number of really first-rate TV shows have been created from books, some of them arguably equal or superior to the original. Superseding this visual age is the new digital one introducing new ways of combining print and image, still and otherwise. So, while the talk always seems to be that the book is dying, and therefore writers grow ever more anxious that they’re becoming superfluous, this isn’t the case. Writers won’t ever be unnecessary or obsolete, but they may play a different role in the visual/digital culture we are now in. ‘Have You Seen Any Good Books Lately?’ enlightened writers, described what they’re facing in today’s multimedia age, discussed how to keep up with and engage with these new media and formats, and ultimately, addressed how to redefine their role as ‘writer’ in the 21st century.


Thanks to all who came and made it a great day.

It was great to see you all at Stowe for our Fall Program!

As always, it was a program full of information and fun.

Who & What:

Christine Moriarty from MoneyPeace gave a riveting talk on the financials of freelancing! YES! RIVETING! One participant said, "I didn't know how much I was going to learn from this until she started talking. She's GREAT!" Ms. Moriarty is a financial speaker, author and coach. Find her at www.moneypeace.com

Colin Thompson, film writer, director and star of Loser’s Crown had the room in stitches talking about his exploits on the way to becoming and independent screenwriter/film maker. He's shooting his second feature this month (October), and having a great time with friend and collaborator Myles David Jewell. Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/loserscrown.

The panel of editors, with Cindy Barnes [Barnes & MacQueen Publishing Resources], Linda Bland [Cahoots Writing Services], Pat Goudey O’Brien [PGO Editorial Resource and The Tamarac Press], Kim MacQueen [Barnes & MacQueen Pubishing Resources], Angela Palm [Ink and Lead Literary Services], packed a presentation with excellent information and advice.

Thanks to our terrific speakers and to all our members who came out, took part, and made it a wonderful day.

Our biennial Writers Meet Agents event was held at the Hampton Inn Burlington on Lower Mountain View Drive in Colchester.  Accounting for the writers, presenters, exhibitors, agents, and our keynote speaker, we had ninety people on hand, and (as they say in such a cliche way ...), A Fine Time Was Had By All!

Agents who so kindly attended to talk to our writers and ask for their manuscripts were:

Maria Ribas, from the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (http://www.morhaimliterary.com/agents.html)

Eric W. Ruben, literary agent and Attorney at Law (http://www.rubenlaw.org/contact/)

Katharine Sands, visiting us again from the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency (Sarahjanefreymann.com)

Beth Campbell, from BookEnds, LLC (http://www.bookends-inc.com/)

Kaylee Davis and Kimiko Nakamura, from the Dee Mura Literary agency (http://www.deemuraliterary.com/)

Emily Mitchell, from the Wernick & Pratt Agency (http://www.wernickpratt.com/)

Our presenters were:

Peter Biello, writer, radio producer and announcer at VPR, and founder of the Burlington Writers Workshop

Jo Knowles, award-winning author of books for young readers and young adults

Katharine Sands, literary agent extraordinaire

Our Keynote Speaker was:

David Dobbs, freelance science writer and book authore


And exhibitors supporting the work of the League were:

The Burlington Writers Workshop, represented by Barbara Alsop

IPNE [Independent Publishers of New England], represented by Tordis Isselhardt

and Ink and Lead Literary Services, represented byAngela Palmer

A sincere thank you to all who took part!

Thanks to all who came to the Franklin Conference Center at the Howe Center in  Rutland for our Spring Program in April: All About Agents & Editors.

Our program with JONI COLE [THE WRITERS' CENTER], DAVID COREY [UPNE], and MICHAEL METIVIER [CHELSEA GREEN] was energetic, full of great information, and made all the better through the participation of a great group of writers!

Thanks so much for making the day such a success, and we'll see you all at our Writers Meet Agents event on July 19 at the Hampton Inn in Colchester!

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THE VERMONT TRADITION grapples energetically with the basic problem of human conduct...how to reconcile the needs of the group, of which every man or woman is a member,..with the craving for individual freedom to be what he really is.

—Dorothy Canfield Fisher, 1953