Pennwriters Area 5 Fall News

PR People Needed!

As we all know, Pennwriters is a volunteer organization. Because of that, it is up to us to ensure its success. As we move forward toward the next Pennwriters’ Conference, delegation of responsibilities is now in progress. The conference this year will be held in our woods, Lancaster, Pa. If anyone has interest in volunteering please let me or Ayleen Stellhorn know. This is your chance to become more involved and familiar with the writing industry.

The following are our immediate needs:

Twitter: Need someone familiar with Twitter to keep an eye on the list of presenters, agents, and editors and re-tweet their posts or write a new post about what they’re up to once or twice a week beginning September, then more as we get set to open registration in February.

Facebook: Need someone who uses Facebook to do the same as above: share presenters, agents, and editors’ news and repost.

Email Releases: someone who could write (Ayleen will give you topics) then email the info to media outlets. Also, being able to make contact with colleges, local writing groups, and libraries is helpful.

If you have a desire to be involved in the next Pennwriters’ Conference, please let us know!

Ayleen Stellhorn –


Congratulations to Janet Cincotta who recently took second place in the 2015 Catholic Press Awards short story category for her story, Absolution, published last August in the US Catholic Magazine.

Member Publication News

Congratulations to the following Area 5 members for the recent or upcoming publications.

  1. Susan GourleyThe Warrior and the Professor, Book #3 in the Warriors of Gavin series, Published by New Concepts Publishing.


Susan’s book, Keepers of Sulbreth, has also been re-released by New Concepts Publishing.

2. Maria V. Snyder – Maria’s  first book, Poison Study was released in Japan in July. In the 10 years since Poison Study has been published, it’s been translated into 17 languages and 24 countries.


3. Sherry Knowlton – Sherry’s second book, DEAD OF SUMMER, has been release by Sunburry Press.



1. Susan Gourley – THE YORK BOOK EXPO – Oct. 17th, 2015. 

2. Maria V. Snyder:

October 19, 2015 Afternoon Craft Talk at Elizabethtown College Bowers Writers House (840 College Hill Lane, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, 717-689-3945 or writershouse AT etown DOT edu). She’ll be discussing the craft of writing fantasy fiction. This is a free program that is open to the public. 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.

October 20, 2015 Evening Reading at Elizabethtown College Bowers Writers House (840 College Hill Lane, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, 717-689-3945 or writershouse AT etown DOT edu). She’ll be doing a reading from a couple of her books. This is a free program that is open to the public. 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

3. John Amen – John has a busy traveling schedule of book readings. If you are in any of the following locations, stop and say hello.

09/10/15: Reading in Chapel Hill, NC
09/12/15: Workshop in Albuquerque, NM
09/12/15: Reading in Albuquerque, NM
09/13/15: Reading in Albuquerque, NM
09/14/15: Reading in Albuquerque, NM
09/15/15: Reading and Workshop in Albuquerque, NM
09/16/15: Reading in Taos, NM
09/27/15: Salon Reading in Asheville, NC
10/08/15: Reading in Kingston, NY
10/10/15: Reading in Woodstock, NY
10/11/15: Reading in New York, NY
10/15/15: Reading in Albany, NY


Area 5 Summer News.

Don’t Forget to Renew!

Pennwriters memberships expire June 30th, 2015. Don’t forget to renew your membership. Below is the link that will direct you there.

Recent/Pending Publications

Norma Huss’ short story, “Fish or Cut Bait” was published in the April edition of Sisters in Crime anthology.

Yolanda Stout’s Murder & Obsession will be published by Curiosity Quills Press for publication in March of 2016. It is about a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist but soon they split as another man’s obsession ignites into a towering inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

Jon Sprunk’s new book, Storm and Steel, has just been published by Pyr Books.

Janet Cincotta’s short story, “Liar, Liar,” will appear in the August issue of Central PA Magazine.


Congratulations to Janet Cincotta for winning the 2015 Central PA Magazine Writing Contest!

Congratulations to Don Helin, whose novel Secret Assault won best suspense/thriller at the 2015 Indie Book Awards, and honorable mention at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival.


Catch Steve DeBock’s May 31 interview with “The Big Thrill,” monthly e-zine of ITW.

Critique Groups Wanted

If you are interested in joining a critique group and there is none in your area, perhaps it is time to form one? With so many members in Area 5, the need for interactions is increasing. If you are interested in forming one, let me know.

On-line Critique

The call is still out for anyone interested in being involved in an on-line critique format. Let me know if you are interested. There must be a minimum of at least three per genre in order to proceed.

Area 5 Spring News

Pennwriters 2015 Conference

Don’t forget to register for the 2015 Pennwriters Conference!

May 15 – 17 at the Pittsburg Airport Marriott

Click the icon below and you will be redirected to the Pennwriters website for registration and details.


Area 5 Member Releases:

Maria V. Snyder’s latest release Shadow Study has just been published by Harlequin MIRA and is a fantasy adventure novel for adults and young adults.

Stephen Debock’s novel, Hemophage (closing the Pentacle Pendant trilogy), will be published in e-format on or about April 1, with the print edition coming shortly thereafter, from Gypsy Shadow Publications.

Carolyn Astfalk’s novel, Stay With Me, will be published by Full Quiver Publishing on October 1, 2015.

Area 5 Awards and Appearances:

Maria V. Snyder’s novel, Storm Watcher, was nominated for a PA Young Reader’s Choice Award given by PA school librarians association (PSLA). Congratulations Maria!

Here are a few local events where you can find Maria:

April 17, 2015 Book Signing at Barnes & Noble. (300 Neshaminy Mall, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, 19020, 215-364-4235). 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

April 25, 2015 Book Signing and Panel Discussion at Midtown Scholar. (1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17102, 717-236-1680). 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

May 6, 2015 Book Signing and Discussion at the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library (16 North Walnut Street, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 17055, 717-766-0171) starting at 7:00 p.m. Books will be available for sale.

Other News:

A Round Robin Critique Forum may be started this spring/summer provided there is enough interest. If you are interested in participating, let me know. Genre and writing level will be matched for each participant. This is a great way to critique and to have your own work critiqued without leaving your house.

Area 5 January News

Good day one and all! I hope everyone is enjoying the start of a new year. Now that the cold weather has settled in Central Pa, it’s time to stay inside and write.

Just a reminder, Lynda Lampert is Guest Staring on our Yahoo Pennwriters Presents Program today till 9pm this evening!

The Pennwriters 2015 Writing Contest is now open! 

The Pennwriters Annual Writing Contest is composed of four categories:
1. Novel Beginning
2. Short Story
3. Non-Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction/Article
4. Poetry

Each category will receive a certificate and the following:

1st Place– either a full registration fee voucher to the Pennwriters Annual Conference (must be used within 2 yrs) or $50 cash.

2nd Place– a choice of half the registration fee voucher to the annual conference (must be used within 2 yrs) or $30 cash.

3rd Place– A $15 voucher to be used for a free entry in next year’s contest.

This contest is open to any member in good standings as of January 1, 2015. Online submissions only by using the submission form found on the contest’s web site. Please familiarize yourself with ALL of the guidelines before submitting.

All guidelines and the submission form are found here:

Members’ News

Congratulations to Susan Kelley for her resent fantasy release, The Warrior and the Governor. 


Susan’s first fantasy novel, Keepers of Sulbreth, will be rereleased February 20th.

Pennwriters Area 5 September News

Happy September! With the changing weather comes less time outdoors and more time to write. So, settle in to your favorite writing chair and DO IT!!!!!

Perhaps an online writing coarse is what you need.

Announcing Pennwriters Online Writing Course:


Characters make a story but getting to know them isn’t easy. This enlightening, hands-on workshop will teach novice and intermediate writers how to look for, understand, and utilize clues given by the creative imagination. Decoding and unencrypting those clues leads to “story people” that readers will delight in.

WHEN: October 1 – 31

Catherine E. McLean, author of numerous short stories in many genres, will be the instructor.

COST: $79.00

Visit Pennwriters website to find out more! 


Recent Publications:

1. Sherry Knowlton’s new novel, DEAD OF AUTUMN, has been released by Sunbury Press.


1. Norma Huss’ new YA novel, CHERISH, is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book. CHERISH is a ghost for all lovers of the genre.



Congratulations to Lynn Dempsey whose novel TAKE THE DOG OUT is a 2014 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Children-Animals category! Way to go, Lynn!


Pennwriters Area 5 August News

Just a reminder, Pennwriters membership renewals are past due. If you have not renewed yet, it is not too late. Here is the link: Pennwriters Membership Renewal


Member Publications

1. Demi Stevens‘ children’s’ book WRITE AWAY has been published and can be found on Amazon.comUnknownMore about the book and Demi’s buy one/give one to the library can be found HERE.

2. Written in collaboration with his 11-year-old great-grandson, Joel Moore has just published BLAKE’S STORY, REVENGE AND FORGIVENESS.  Find it at Barnes & Noble, in paperback and ebook formats.




Maria Snyder will be participating in the Lancaster County Literary Festival on December 5, 6-8pm at the Ware Center in Millersville University.


Member Achievements

Maria Snyder’s middle grade novel, STORM WATCHER, has been nominated for a 2014 Silver Falchion Award and is one of the final nominees for the Texas Bluebonnet Award from the Texas Library Association.


Upcoming Events

The Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop in Mechanicsburg, will be hosting a one-day mystery conference on September 20, at the Eagle View Middle School Caferteria, 6746 Carlisle Pike. Preregistration required. More information is found HERE.

(*please note, this is not a Pennwriters event)

Pennwriters Area 5 July News

I don’t know about you, but I find myself doing very little writing during the summer months. Too many distractions. The garden, the trails, the bike, the kayak, the kids, the road…they all call my name. If you are feeling the same, remember to carry a pen and a note pad wherever you go. Summer is the time to gather your ideas. The rain may come without the power-outage soon!

Keep writing!

And now for the news:

Congratulations to Jon Sprunk. His latest novel, BLOOD AND IRON, made Amazon’s “Top Books of 2014 So Far” for the scifi-fantasy genre.

Recent Publications:

1. Julie Myers’ has published a choral piece with Shawnee Press, entitled “LO! IN THE COLD OF WINTER DEEP.” It is an anthem for Advent.

2. Stephen DeBock’s new e-publication, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” a crime/romance novella, was released July 1 by Gypsy Shadow .

Society has made the death penalty obsolete; instead, convicted killers are condemned to       serve humanity as living organ donors. Paparazzo Patsy Galiardo publicly contends that former friend turned backstabber Peter Serafin belongs in that select prison population. True, the coroner has ruled the suspicious death of Peter’s affluent first wife a suicide. But when Peter later remarries, his bride this time a wealthy supermodel, Patsy vows to pursue his personal vendetta with even greater zeal. Further, because the paparazzo has designs of his own on the newest Mrs. Serafin, Patsy has even more motivation to get Peter out of the picture—thus giving Peter more motivation to get Patsy out of the picture. Permanently.



3. Stephen DeBrock’s YA scifi/fantasy novel, “The Bridge Between Worlds,” is now available in paperback.

Alden Walker—sport pilot and skydiver—finds himself and his light airplane mysteriously transported into an alien world: a parallel Earth peopled by exotic-looking humans as well as a host of animals that have evolved into human-like form, with human-like powers of thought, but which have retained their appetites for flesh and blood.

Especially human flesh and blood.

Accompanied by a beautiful indigenous woman with a score of her own to settle, Walker must set out upon a covert mission to retrieve a vital element from the creatures who have stolen it, employing his piloting and parachuting skills in combination with her superb swordsmanship. On their quest they will encounter a host of anthropomorphic predators, until they finally reach their goal: a mountain fortress occupied by a coldly calculating race of humanoid vampire bats.

And upon the success or failure of their mission hangs the fate of both their worlds.





Catch Lisa Lawmaster Hess at book signings for “Casting the First Stone” at the following places:

This Sunday, July 13 from 4 to 6pm at the Starbucks in Gettysburg (1275 Lincoln Highway)
Tuesday, July 29 at 7 pm at Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, DE and
Friday, August 1 at 10 am at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE.



New Critique Group:

Melanie Thomas has started a new critique group on the third Monday of the month at the Guthrie Memorial Library, 2 Library Place, Hanover Pa. from 6:30 until 8:00. Please contact Melanie for more details at

Pennwriters Area 5 June News

Announcing the next Pennwriters Online class!

Camera Angle Matters: Using Point of View and Indirect Characterization to Develop Your Writing.

Next Pennwriters Online Class
June 9th through June 30th, 2014
With instructor:
Val Muller

In this class, participants will examine how point of view can help shape a reader’s reaction to scenes and characters. They will examine techniques in indirect characterization and incorporate the techniques into their own writing. Participants can use a work in progress or create new characters and scenes for this workshop. All participants will receive a free one-chapter critique at the end of the class.

Week 1: Point of View

Week 2:  Indirect Characterization using your main character and first person POV

Week 3:  Indirect Characterization using other characters and third person POV

Week 4:  Putting it all together: using POV and indirect characterization to make your scenes work harder

Cost: $79.00
Register at


Membership Dues

Within the next few weeks, membership renewal notices will be sent out. Dues are due by June 30. Please contact Jess Williams at if you have questions or concerns.


Critique Groups

There are three critique groups listed for our area 5 members. If you are willing to start one in your area, please inform me so that we can provide information to our members.


Pennwriters Conference Wrap-up

I hope everyone had a successful conference. To be in the company of so many gifted writers is truly an honor. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard as I did during Saturday night’s impromptu comedic event. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Next year’s conference will be held at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott on May 15 – 17, 2015.  Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author, will be the Friday night keynote speaker, and Don Helin, Author of THY KINGDOM COME, DEVIL’S DEN and SECRET ASSAULT will be the Saturday afternoon keynote speaker.  Save the date.

Here are some highlights from the conference:

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DSC02635 DSC02636 DSC02637 DSC02638 DSC02639  DSC02641




Enjoy Yolanda Renee’s new book trailer, Murder, Madness and Love:

Pennwriters Area 5 May News

The 27th Annual Pennwriters Conference will be here in a few short weeks. If you have not registered, there is still time.

Lancaster Eden Resort

222 Eden Road

Lancaster, Pa  17601

The schedule is up and can be found on the Pennwriters Facebook page. Once in the page, go to FILES and you will find it there.


The following Area 5 members will be speaking:

Jon Sprunk –  Friday; Pitching to Agents & Editors  Sunday; Novel Outlining: Organizing Your WIP

Don Helin – Saturday; Through the Lens: A Look at POV 


If I have forgotten anyone, please let me know.


Area 5 critique groups

As of this date, I am aware of two critique groups that serve our members. Books-a-million in York and the New Cumberland Public Library in New Cumberland. If there is another out there, please let me know so that the members can be aware. I would like to gauge the interest of forming more groups in different areas of Area 5. If you are interesting in joining one or becoming a moderator for one, let me know.

– Hope to see everyone at the conference!


Pennwriters Area 5 April News

Only one month away!  The Pennwriters Annual Conference 2014 will soon be upon us. Don’t miss the big event: May 16 -18 at the Eden Resort, Lancaster PA. For details and registration information visit

New from our members:

1. Steve DeBock’s second novel in The Pentacle Pendant series, Metamorph, will be published in trade paper and e-formats by Gypsy Shadow Publishing ( on May 1.


What happens when Beauty becomes the Beast …    A vampire who has slaked his taste for terror through centuries of history’s darkest eras puts a hold on his covert attacks on America in order to pursue a secret vendetta against a beautiful bi-racial woman who has scorned him.werewolf and the needs that accompany both. Needs that conflict with her strong moral code; needs which compel her to conceal her extra-human identity from the mortal man she has grown to love.But the woman has a secret of her own. She is a metamorph, a hybrid shape-shifter with the healing powers of the vampire, the heightened senses and strengths of the  werewolf, and the needs that accompany both. Needs that conflict with her strong moral code; needs which compel her to conceal her extra-human identity from the mortal man she has grown to love.     

Metamorph combines known history with speculative fiction, a strong female protagonist, and the pitting of a creature of unmitigated evil against a pair of unsuspecting lovers in a complex cat-and-mouse pursuit.

2. Justina Ireland will be in Haverford PA doing a signing on Friday April 18, at Children’s Book World, 17 Haverford Station Rd., Haverford, Pa  19041. On Saturday April 19th you can find her at the YA Fest in Easton Pa.

3. The Perry County Council of the Arts presents A Novel Idea: A year long workshop to help you complete your novel. More information and downloads can be found on this website under UPCOMING EVENTs or visit the website HERE.

Novel Idea Postcard_Front


Area 5 Critique Groups

If you are looking for a critique group, there are two currently in our area. The New Cumberland Public Library and Book-a-Million in York. Information about these groups can be found on this blog under Area 5 Critique Groups. If you know of any others or would like to start one, please pass this information along. Critique groups are a great way to meet other writers and to refine your craft.