Practice makes perfect as fifteen writers discovered when they presented  their one-minute pitches for their books at Writers Night Out on May 11, 2016 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.

Their pitches ranged from the romantic to the historical to the mysterious — several which elicited  applause from fellow writers.  As one author wrote the  Writers Center the next day “Thank you. A great informative evening with “sparkling” people!”

Enhancing the supportive tone of the session were comments from the two judges. They were Maria Allen, the editor of South Shore Living magazine and CCWC member Arlene Kay, author of seven novels in the mystery and romantic suspense genre.

WNO May 11, 2016

The Pitch Practice during the CCWC’s Writers Night Out  helped prepare authors for the “real” pitches this summer at the Cape Cod Writers Center’s 54th Conference, August 4-7th, but don’t worry, you still have time to polish your pitches.

This year writers have two opportunities to pitch their ideas to agents and editors at the conference, both in an Agent Quick Query conference or in a longer  mentoring session.

So don’t wait, register now.  Here’s the link:








May Writers Night Out: Pitch Practice

by web editor on May 10, 2016


Announcing Cape Cod Writers Center’s Annual Pitch Practice at Writers Night Out!

The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Avenue
6:30 Cocktails
7:00 Presentation

Isn’t dessert the best part of dinner? We think so and that, combined with the chance to present your pitch before three literary experts, will be an informative evening.

The pitch for your book or article is the key to attracting the best agents and publishers in the business. So come with your one-line pitch to the Resort and Conference Center on May 11 at 6:30 p.m. for presentation, dessert, and networking. Cost is $10 for CCWC members; $15 for nonmembers.

The three basic ingredients in a one-sentence pitch are the inciting incident (or conflict), its effect upon the character (the obstacle), and how that character resolves it. This can be a physical or interior struggle. It’s a one-line description of what happens in the story.

Remember that the feedback you receive on May 11 will help you prepare your pitch for agents at the Cape Cod Writers Conference, August 4-7!


The cost of Writers Night Out is $10 for CCWC members and $15 for nonmembers. Please note that we will not be serving dinner. Coffee and dessert will be available.

Please contact Sara at our office to sign up via email for what promises to be a fun and informative evening: or call 508-420-0200.


May Member News

by web editor on May 6, 2016

Our high-achieving members continue to inspire! Check out the latest below:

Hugh Blair-Smith reports that sales of Left Brains for the Right Stuff have definitely passed the 100 mark since publication in November, even after deducting copies sent free to family and potential reviewers. The good notice in the Cape Cod Times book page (Sunday, April 17) is starting to take effect.

Rick Cochran’s book, Wellfleet Tales, was one of two books selected for a Barnstable Patriot article on Cape Cod memoirs.  Rick is finishing his second book, Wellfleet Tales II: Confessions of a Wash-Ashore, and plans to have it ready for a book signing at Books-by-the-Sea in Osterville on Friday, June 17th.

On Monday evening, May 9 @7 pm, Debi Graham-Leard will share the ins and outs of writing her debut mystery The Uninvited Guest during Elizabeth Moison’s monthly program ‘A Book in the Hand’ at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library, 23 Center Street, East Dennis, MA.

The Cape Cod Branch, National League of American Pen Women, headed by Christina Laurie, has completed the decision for its 2016 haiku contest. Nearly 20 people submitted over 150 haiku, enabling the Branch to send scholarships for two young people to attend this summer’s CCWC Young Writer’s Workshop.

Antoinette Libro’s new poetry chapbook, The Carpenter’s Lament in Winter, was published by Finishing Line Press in February, 2016, and is now available from the Finishing Line Press website or from

Judith Manchester, known to our members as Judy Bougas, has published her first novel, Sisters of the Stone. For more about the novel, check out on her website:

Steven P. Marini will be at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library for A Book in the Hand on Monday, May 9th, seven o’clock, talking about his latest mystery, Schmuel’s Journey. A Holocaust survivor tries to live a quiet life thirty years after Auschwitz. But a stunning revelation from an old friend steers him in a different direction, putting him and people near him in danger.

On 4/30, the Cape Cod Times, Spring Times 2016 Magazine insert,  did an article on “Where Writers Write.” Debbie McNaughton was one of five writers interviewed by Mary Ann Bragg. She is a short story and creative nonfiction writer who writes in her spare bedroom closet, behind two louver doors. The space is 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep.  The CCT printed a photo and interview.

Dwight Ritter is using a unique style of marketing his new book, Growin’ Up White, by using it as the basis for giving a sermon at a racially diverse church.  He is also writing a lesson plan to be used in High School literature classes studying his book.

Maxim D. Shrayer contributed “Memories of Our Lost Soviet Youth” to Tablet Magazine: He also published “Last Seder in Moscow” in Jewish Journal: The South Chatham Writers’ Workshop is accepting applications for its summer 2016 nonfiction and fiction sessions:

Serena Lo Piccolo Smith, MD, and Joel Smith, PhD, launched a new website and web app made by writers, for writers, called 272 (tagline: Read. Write. Discover). Build your personal brand and discover new readers by signing up and writing your first 272 at

Barbara Eppich Struna has a busy month ahead of her. On May 14 at 2 p.m., she will be part of a mystery author panel with two other Sisters In Crime authors at the Marstons Mills Library –Making the historical mystery compelling for the modern reader. Then on to Eldridge Library in Chatham on May 19 at 2 p.m. to talk about The Old Cape House and finally on May 24 at 5 p.m. Barbara will talk about the legends of Cape Cod at the Osterville Village Library through their historical lecture series. For the future, she has been accepted as a panel member during International Thriller Writers Thrillerfest, held in New York at the Grand Hyatt on July 9. Details at

Bob Surrette expects to be published in Prime Time Magazine’s June issue with articles on John Fulone of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and Dr. Paul Houle, neurosurgeon at Cape Cod Hospital.

Following eight years of writing, Nicole Waybright recently completed her nonfiction work, Long Way Out – A young woman’s journey of self-discovery and how she survived the Navy’s modern cruelty at sea scandal, in which she tells the true story of her coming-of-age struggles while deployed as an officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Nicole chronicles the despair and psychological crisis that she experienced when she discovered she was ill-suited – and philosophically opposed – to Navy life. Available on Amazon and

Current CCWC members are invited to submit their news to the next Member News Roundup, which will be posted to our blog and Facebook page on the first Friday in June. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Thursday, June 2nd. Write “Member News” in the subject line, and be sure the announcement includes your name exactly as you would like it to appear. We do not have room for longer articles or reviews, but you may include an email or website link so readers may contact you or find further information. If you have multiple events, signings, etc. coming up, the best way to publicize these is with a link to a calendar on your own blog or website. (Please note that we reserve the right to edit any announcement for length or for potentially offensive or controversial content.)

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“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.”



Audience I      

Click here to download the brochure!

Register for the conference here! 


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.

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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