right here, write now
Write On The River Member and Conference-attendee Dan Gemeinhart has won First Prize in the highly competitive Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2013 Literary Contest. His manuscript faced rigorous competition from nearly 1,000 entries from all over the world. From those entrants, eight finalists in each division were chosen. Dan was a double-finalist for two different projects in two different categories: Middle Grade & Young Adult. At the PNWA’s annual conference in July, Dan Gemeinhart was announced as the First Place winner in the Middle Grade division. His manuscript, now titled A Better Kind of Truth, is a fictional novel for children that takes place partly in Wenatchee.
Dan says winning the award was “a thrill and an honor,” adding: “It was an amazing night.”
While no guarantee of publication, winning this high-profile contest does come with a $700 cash award and increases the chance of getting the book published.
Wenatchee and Write On The River have a great track record in the PNWA Literary Contest. Two years ago, WOTR Member Teri Fink took first place in the Nonfiction/Memoir division.
We love to celebrate WOTR Member success…if you have any good writing news to share, please let us know!
For over a year, we’ve cheered on Steve Daniel as he sat at the keyboard and “opened a vein,” as writers sometimes say. His weekly posts on his journey to publish his first novel have been part of our Write on the River culture and an intimate portrait of the writing life.
I’m sad to say that Steve’s final blog just went up. The demands of work, family–and writing the novel! have made increasing claims on his time and he will no longer be able to keep up with the rigors of the weekly blog.
We’ve watched over the last year as Steve has grappled with the same issues every writer faces: Am I good enough? Where is the time, discipline, energy to write? Is the story hopeless or full of promise? How does the act of writing reflect upon me as a writer, a person, a life-long learner? And does the period go inside the parenthesis or out?
I know you all join with me in thanking Steve for sharing his journey with us. I hope you’ll visit the blog this week and share your thoughts with him yourself.
Thanks, Steve. Write strong and stay in touch.
–Kay KenyonFeatured Members. Posted on December 11, 2012.
Writing is not a passion – or a career – that comes to fruition without dedication. To strive and succeed as a writer takes commitment, sacrifice, and an unwavering determination. Write On The River Member and Conference attendee Haley Whitehall embodies that commitment to the art and craft of writing. She has been involved with Write On The River in a wide variety of ways: Conference attendee, Member, critique group member, NaNoWriMo group member, Writers Meeting Writers public reader, and Conference volunteer. She approaches her writing with pure passion and unblinking focus. In addition to all these Write On The River engagements, she also finds time to actually write! She recently published her first novel of historical fiction (read below for how to find and buy it!). Write On The River is proud to introduce Haley Whitehall as our newest Featured Member.
How would you describe your writing?
I write novels exploring the depths of human nature portraying the past with sharp, straight-shooting truth. I write what I fondly call “out of the box” stories; shedding light on little known history. Many of my novels feature an underdog. I find the common man fascinating and relatable and easy to root for. Mark Twain has served as my writing mentor; I think of my writing as Mark Twain with a little more faith. An element of spirituality is ever-present in my writing.
What is one of your biggest struggles with the craft of writing?
Description does not come easy to me. It is always an afterthought. When I edit I go in and add more description. Description is key in any piece of writing, but especially historical fiction. These period details are what transport a reader back in time. Description helps readers visualize the characters and setting.
I have found that each project comes with its own unique challenges. In my debut novel Living Half Free my biggest issue was pacing. However in my current work in progress Grits and Glory I’m having trouble with striking the right balance of tension. The elements of great storytelling remain the same but each novel develops differently and therefore I have different struggles.
Wow. I have to pick one? That is like asking which child a parent prefers. I’ve heard many authors say that their favorite thing they’ve written is their current project. I agree with that to some point. Each piece of writing whether it is a scene, short story, or novel contains a piece of me, a piece of my soul. I fall in love with aspects of each of them. In Living Half Free I loved Zachariah’s innocence and strength. I loved Zachariah’s growth from a boy into a man. I loved the sacrifices he made for love.
What do the people in your life think of your devotion to writing?
I am blessed that my parents and friends support my devotion to writing and my budding career as an author. This has been the career I wanted since I was four years old. I didn’t go through stages of wanting to be a dancer or a doctor like most kids do. Writing feeds my creative soul. I appreciate the uninterrupted hours when I’m feverishly trying to type fast enough to keep up with my brain. I also appreciate that I have a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to when my writing isn’t going well.
At first the people in my life didn’t think writing was a career. I think most people viewed it as a hobby. I’m planning on proving them wrong. However, to please everyone I went to Central Washington University and majored in history education so I’d have a teaching career to fall back on if I’m ever penniless and near starvation. The history classes really helped beef up my historical fiction books. Not everyone in my life understands the writing industry but they are trying and I’m learning along with them.Featured Members. Posted on July 10, 2012.
At Write On The River, we love the diversity of our vibrant writing community. Besides hailing from all over our region, Write On The River Members come from every age, background, career and experience.
Last fall we were thrilled to learn of the success of one of our Write On The River Members and Conference attendees. Teri Fink attended the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association’s annual Conference in August and submitted the manuscript of her nonfiction book to their Literary Contest. Not only was she a finalist (in itself an amazing accomplishment and honor), but her manuscript took First Place in the Nonfiction/Memoir category.
Because of her inspiring success and her consistent support of our organization and Conference, we’re proud to make Teri Fink our featured Member of the Month for February 2012. She was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions from Write On The River about writing, writers, and reading.
What kind of writing do you do, Teri?
Professionally I write news and feature articles for the Wenatchee School District, and did the same for Wenatchee Valley Medical Center for eleven years. Personally I have had about a dozen nonfiction magazine and journal articles published nationally and locally, and have written a couple of novels that will never see the light of day. Most recently I have written the biography of Isak Gaši, a Yugoslav champion athlete who was interred in a concentration camp during the Bosnian War. The book is called My River Sava.
Writing a biography about a living person must have been interesting. What was the writing process like?
I spent one evening each week for about five months interviewing Isak and his wife Jasminka in their home. Luckily for me Isak and Jasminka live here in Wenatchee, and we’re friends, so I’ve interviewed them many times since then, filling in the gaps. I felt strongly that the story needed to be told in Isak’s voice in a first person narrative. Literary agents who read the first chapters from my first draft said my writing didn’t wow them. So I went back, reorganized the narrative, and rewrote the entire book using more literary language. I submitted the book to the Write on the River contest, and the judges talked about what they liked, but said I used too many similes and metaphors. I scaled the flowery language back a bit, submitted my work to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, and ended up winning first place in the nonfiction/memoir category.
How does Isak feel about the book?Featured Members. Posted on February 3, 2012.
If you have attended any Write on the River event or conference the past few years, you’ve probably met Mark Neher. His intelligence, friendliness, and positive good nature are infectious, and his laugh-out-loud writings are popular crowd favorites at our “Four Minutes of Fame” Writers Meeting Writers public reading events (click here to see videos of these events, including excerpts of Mark). Always quick with a handshake, a word of encouragement, or a self-deprecating joke, Mark’s face is a familiar and welcome one at any gathering of local literati. Behind his ready smile and arched-eyebrow humor, though, there lies an unmistakable seriousness and sensitivity. His is clearly a seeking soul, and it expresses itself through thoughtful words. The author of two books (Target Practice, available on Amazon by clicking here, and Saturday Morning Sins, coming out soon), Mark has taken full advantage of all that Write on the River has to offer to advance his craft and network with other writers. Write on the River is proud to make Mark Neher our very first “Member of the Month,” and he was gracious enough to thoughtfully answer all of our questions. If Mark is a stranger to you, attend any of our events and he isn’t likely to be for long.
WOTR: How would you describe your writing?
I would like to think my writing is lovable, cute and fun, like a brand new puppy, not quite housebroken. I write humor as well as emotional essays with a spiritual outlook. It is natural for me to combine the two. Humor with a gut and a dark side is funnier. Serious emotional explorations with humor are more approachable. My goal has always been to lay my words down in a way that makes them easy to digest. I am not seeking literary review as much as I am seeking an audience who is moved. To laugh, to cry, or to throw my work in the trash, it’s all okay as long as I’m not boring.Featured Members. Posted on October 22, 2011.
WOTR Member Takes Home annual Hazel Lipa Prize
Congratulations to Write on the River Member Cynthia Neely, who has won the 2011 Hazel Lipa Prize for environmental poetry!
Cynthia is a poet from Leavenworth, Washington and an MFA student at Pacific University in Oregon. Broken Water won the 2011 Hazel Lipa prize and is now available from Iowa State University’s Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment: http://www.flyway.org/2011/10/01/issue-13-3-now-available/
Of Cynthia Neely’s Chapbook, Derek Sheffield says:
“In Broken Water, Cynthia Neely begins with ancestry and ends with loss, but what persists, what weaves itself through all of these poems is wildness. This collection makes the lyrical case for sustenance in nature. Even the greatest suffering is not too much for the world of bird and wolf, seal and wave. If we can draw our gaze up from a ground littered with shotgun shells, we might catch a glimpse of “the meadowlark, bibbed and shining.” –Derek Sheffield, winner of the inaugural Hazel Lipa Chapbook Award for A Revised Account of the West (2008)
Way to go, Cynthia!
Featured Members. Posted on October 22, 2011.
Wenatchee Writer Takes Home PNWA Prize
Write on the River Member and Conference-attendee Teri Fink has won the highly competitive Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2011 Literary Contest. Her manuscript faced rigorous competition from nearly 1,000 entries from all over the world. From those entrants, eight finalists were chosen. At the PNWA’s annual conference in August, Teri Fink was announced as the First Place winner in the Nonfiction/Memoir division. Her manuscript, My River Sava, is the true story of Isak Gasi, a Yugoslavian athlete who now lives in Wenatchee and works at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center.
While no guarantee of publication, winning the contest increases the chance of getting the book published, and she received a number of requests from literary agents and editors at the conference to submit the book for their consideration.
Congratulations, Teri!Featured Members. Posted on October 8, 2011.
Starting soon, Write on the River will be highlighting one of our many Members a month. You’ll be able to see the diverse, talented crowd of interesting people that Write on the River brings together, and learn more about the writing and lives of some of your literary neighbors in North Central Washington. Stay tuned for our first featured Member of the Month!Featured Members. Posted on September 25, 2011.