Congratulations to CCWC president and Young Adult novelist, Trisha Leaver, on the paperback release of her Contemporary Novel, THE SECRETS WE KEEP (FSG/ Macmillan)!

TSWK high res cover

Twin Sisters. A fatal accident. A devastating lie.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy’s shadow, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she’s chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy’s world.

When―after a heated argument―Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy’s life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options―confess her deception or live her sister’s life.

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver is a fast-paced, powerful story about identity, sibling love, and accepting yourself.

Amazon           Barnes & Noble         IndieBound

Praise for the SECRETS we KEEP

*”Leaver’s story is certainly entertaining and intriguing. VERDICT: This should be a primary purchase for any library.” ~SLJ, STARRED (AUDIO) REVIEW

*”Leaver’s brilliant novel is the high school version of What Happened to Janie? The compelling premise will attract readers and the strong characterization will keep them enthralled.” ~VOYA, STARRED REVIEW

“Watching Ella grapple with questions about life, death, and love makes for rewarding reading.” ~Publishers Weekly


“Write What You Know!”

All authors hear this when they attend their first class in creative writing. What does it really mean? Join with Kevin V. Symmons, best-selling author of 5 romantic thrillers as he explains how he has taken this to heart.

Kevin has had what some might call a diverse life. He has a BS, an MBA, and was the President of a successful manufacturer. He also studied in France, minored in classical music and psychology at Northeastern University, and spent time studying vocal performance at New England Conservatory. He’s used many of these skills and experiences in crafting his novels.

He served four terms as President of the Cape Cod Writer’s Center, has taught creative writing at Massasoit Community College, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events.

On April 24th he’ll be at the South Yarmouth Library from 2 to 4 p.m. to explain how his most passionate avocation—being a long-time U.S. Coast Guard certified mariner—led to the writing of his most successful novel, Out of the Storm.

Out of the Storm is a contemporary romantic thriller set on the Bass River. It has garnered dozens of 5-star reviews, been a selected by Amazon for its prestigious Encore Program, and continues to find its way to the top of Amazon best-sellers rankings—as high as #2 this January!

Come meet Kevin and learn how his life on Cape Cod helped propel Out of the Storm into his most successful novel!

ArtWeek JPG

Two opportunities for Cape Cod writers

by web editor on March 22, 2016

Check out the following writing opportunities, submitted by our members:

Writing Workshop on Saturday, April 2nd with Cape Cod Children’s Writers

A writing workshop is being offered for aspiring authors to hone their writing and to prepare to send it to an agent or publisher. Members of the Cape Cod Children’s Writers (CCCW), based in Falmouth, are offering a critique day for writers on Sat., April 2, from 9:30-3:30 at the West Falmouth United Methodist Church, 636 West Falmouth Highway (Route 28-A), West Falmouth. To register, email  by March 31, Authors may bring a picture book, three poems or the first 10 pages of their middle grade or young adult novel. Detailed critiques will be made by each individual of CCCW for the writer to take home. Coffee and refreshments will be served. Lunch may be brought or purchased across the street at West Falmouth Market.



Haiku Contest for Poetry Month

Cape Codders are invited to enter a haiku contest to celebrate Poetry Month in April.

The Cape Cod Branch, National League of American Pen Women, is sponsoring a contest to support two youth to attend the Cape Cod Writers Center Summer Youth Writing Program. This tenth annual haiku contest is open to all people. Deadline for the haiku is a postmark date of Wednesday, April 13. Entry fees are $3 per haiku or four haiku for $10. A check should be made out to “Cape Cod Branch, NLAPW” with a notation of “haiku contest.”

Each haiku should be typed on one-half of an 8 1/2 by 11 paper horizontally with the following on the back of the sheet: name, address, phone and email. Entries not following the rules will be eliminated. Entries should be sent to “Haiku Contest, PO Box 936, West Falmouth, MA 02574.” If entrants want critiques of their haiku, please include an SASE.

Haiku are three line verses with no similes and no title. They have a reference, either stated or implied, to nature. Originally containing lines of five, seven and five syllables, this it no longer required in American Haiku. However, the third line should have a surprise, or “ah-ha,” element to it, adding a nuance that takes the reader further into the image. Words like “a, an, and, the,” and “as” are not usually used in haiku. For examples of nature haiku, see

Prizes will be awarded with a book plus $25 for first, $15 for second and $10 for third prizes. Honorable mentions will receive a book prize.


If there was one unifying request from the thirty people who attended the Cape Cod Writers Center’s Pathways to Publications workshops on Saturday, March 19 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, it was that each of the presenters should return “and present a day-long workshop.”

The morning presenter was Christine Merser of Blue Shoe Strategy, a specialist in non-tradition marketing methodology who explained how to use social media to target audiences and sell books efficiently to niche audiences. Later Christine emailed that information to those who attended her workshop.

IC. Merser CCWC March 19, 2016 3263

Here’s a sampling of comments from Christine’s exit surveys: 

” Insights into what works and doesn’t — all very useful!”

” Extremely helpful. I want more!”

” Great speaker — very charismatic!”

“Christine’s honest thrust was awesome — I was intrigued by the social  media and how to market it.”


After lunch, Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarin of the Massachusetts Historical Society,  presented on how to delve into historical research. To do so, he spoke about the  value of historical and library archives in Massachusetts and on Cape Cod, explained collections of historical directories, bibliographic collections and other tools useful to the writer, and provided handouts about them.


Here are examples of what Peter’s audience wrote in their exit surveys:

“Please have it again and expand it!”

“Absolutely helpful!”

” Very informal ad accessible.”

” Absolutely helpful, extremely knowledgeable and his passion was certainly imparted to the audience.”



With spring on the wing, it’s never too early to think about summer!

Azaleas and tulips

Remember to save the dates August 4-7, 2016 for the 54th Cape Cod Writers Center Conference at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis!  

Brochure available in late April on line and in print in May 


Our Distinguished Faculty Include: 

Keynote Speaker:  Peter B. Abrahams, New York Times Best-Selling Author

Barbara Blatner, Award-Winning Playwright

Leslie Fishlock, “The Geek Girl,” prominent social media expert

Phoebe  Baker Hyde, Author of New York Times 2013 “Book of the Year”

Jacqueline Kolosov, award-winning author, poet, and memoirist

Mindy Lewis, author, editor, acclaimed essayist

Ron MacLean, prize-winning fiction /mystery writer, Grub Street instructor

Colin McEnroe, humor writer and radio personality

Olivia Miller, editor, creativity expert

Lauren Mills, award-winning author of children’s books

Leigh Montville, biographer and former sports columnist for Boston Globe

Jonathan  Papernick, short story author and Writer-in-Residence, Emerson College

Adam Sexton, author and professor of creative writing at Yale University

Deborah Swiss, award-winning author of nonfiction

John Walsh, prominent graphic novelist

William Wenthe, poet and fellow, National Endowment for the Arts


Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency

Alia Hanna Habib, McCormick Literary Agency

Ammi-Joan Paquette,  Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Amaryah Orenstein, Go Literary Agency

Do you have a novel submission ready, but you’re not sure if your query letter does the job? Register for an Agent Quick Query meeting to get professional, face-to-face advice from an agent on the spot.

Hands on keyboard copy 2

COST: $25 for CCWC 2016 Conference Registrants.

You must be registered for at least one course at the CCWC annual conference to schedule  an AQQ critique.

WHEN: Thursday, August 4, 6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Each critique lasts ten (10) minutes.

WHAT: An on-the-spot critique of your query letter or presentation to an agent.

Please note that there are a limited number of slots for each agent. gents will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis once registration opens in late April/early May.

Our agents are:

  • Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency
  • Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency
  • Alia Hanna Habib, McCormick Literary Agency
  • Amaryah Orenstein, Go Literary Agency
  • Ammi-Jaon Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency


A Sampling of CCWC 2016 Conference Courses, August 4-7, 2016

by Artistic Director on March 18, 2016

While August seems many months away, it’s never too early to start thinking about courses and workshops for the 2016 Cape Cod Writers Conference, August 4-7 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.

Couple at Beach

Here’s a preview of some ( but not all) of our exciting offerings this summer 

Creating Compelling Voice

Sports Writing

Promotion on Social Media

Writing for Change

Plotting Your Story

Recharge Your Creativity

Narrative Tension

Writing Fiction with the Masters

Omniscient Narrator

Graphic Novels


Chapter Book Writing

Creative Nonfiction

Pitches and Queries

The Art of the Sentence


Flash Fiction

Your Book’s First Page

Using Magical Characters

Latest News from Kevin Symmons

by web editor on March 18, 2016

Former four-term CCWC President Kevin Symmons is having a successful 2016. Since the New Year dawned he’s had some exciting publicity! A great review on his 2015 novel Chrysalis and a piece on his writing bio in the flagship publication of the thriller genre (International Thrillers Writers Monthly) in December by David Healey seemed to set the stage!  After Kevin’s enjoyable presentation on the “Lost Art of Writing a Love Letter” at the spectacular Thomas P. Crane Library, Lane Lambert of the Quincy The Patriot Ledger wrote an impressive feature which appeared on the front page of the Arts section on Valentine’s Day. He was also featured in the Living Arts section South Shore Living Magazine for February, thanks to editor Maria Allen. His graduate Alma Mater also featured him in the Babson Alumni Magazine for February with two other graduates. The article, written by John Crawford, was titled “Second Acts…” and it explored the second careers of former grad students who have gone on to success in fields unrelated to business. Finally, he has appeared in a Christi Enright blog post, again about his writing and literary success. But this one should prove very exciting since Christi also writes for none other than The Huffington Post and will be sharing her article with them in the near future!

In addition to his success in the area of publicity, Kevin has also had two of his novels that were selected by Amazon for their Encore Program reach the top ten in their respective sub-genres. Out of the Storm hit #2 in Techno-thrillers late January while another of his earlier novels, Rite of Passage reached #10 at the same time in Occult Thrillers. “Admittedly, it’s a heady feeling and great fun to have two of your novels reach the rarified air of Amazon’s top ten… even more so when they do it in the same week,” Kevin admits.

Finally, he spent an hour in February on The Jordan Rich show. Jordan is one of Greater Boston’s premier radio hosts and known for specializing in interviewing writers. “As always Jordan was gracious, supportive, and well-prepared. When Jordan is your host there’s never a question as to whether he’s read your book or not. Plus, working with him–it’s my 4th or 5the time now– is just plain fun!” Kevin volunteered.

Thirty writers turned out on Wednesday night, March 16, 2016 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis for the Cape Cod Writers Center’s March Writers Night Out to hear acclaimed author Devon Ellington (who has half a dozen bylines) speak about the power of point of view in story telling.

During her talk, Devon described the uses of various points of view as well as their  strengths and weaknesses:

  • The first person, or ” I” voice may instantly attract the reader but limits  the amount of information the writer may convey.
  • Second person, the “you” voice, may be used by the writer as an invisible narrator, but is tricky and seldom used.
  • Close third person, the use of “he” or “she’ in the narration is frequently chosen by authors because it allows a slightly wider perspective while giving the reader an intimacy with the writer.

Devon’s talk was followed by handouts and a lively question and answer session. What is truth?  In literary matters that seems to depend upon the point of view.