It’s no secret best-selling nonfiction author Martin Sandler is a gifted storyteller, but as the twenty-six writers who attended the CCWC’s May 19 Writers Night Out session at Uno’s, discovered  he is also an extraordinary researcher.



After the members enjoyed cocktails and a buffet dinner, “Marty” spoke about various tactics he uses to research a projects. These included  reading every book on the subject, researching in libraries and archives, examining old newspaper records, and pursuing photographic collections that are relevant (even if distantly) to the subject. Trips to the location of the subject often turn up additional information as does research on national archives, Among the most useful are the archival and photographical sites at the Library of Congress.

Beginning a  story that rivets the reader’s attention in the first chapter is also important.  “The best way to start a book is with a dramatic story — one that touches upon the humanity of the situation. That speaks to the reader more than anything else,” Marty said.



Thank you, Marty, for that all-important message for writers of fiction as well as nonfiction!

Calliope Poetry Series 8th Season Finale

by web admin on May 21, 2015

Calliope Poetry Series—Our 8th Season Finale

Sunday, June 14th 3 to 5 PM. Open Mic Sign-up, 2:45 PM.  $5 suggested donation.



Barbara Crooker is the author of six books of poetry, including Radiance, which won the Word Press First Book Award, Line Dance, winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, More (2010), Gold (2013), Small Rain (2014) and Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (2015). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Beloit Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Poetry International and in many anthologies, including Good Poems for Hard Times (Garrison Keillor, editor).  Barbara is the recipient of an array of awards, fellowships and residencies, some of which are: the 2007 Pen and Brush Poetry Prize and the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, a residency in France and in Ireland and sixteen residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Her poetry has been read on the BBC, by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and in Ted Kooser’s column, An American Life in Poetry.

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (2014), which was recently selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and Underlife (2009), both published by CavanKerryPress. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University.  Among her numerous publications and awards, January’s poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, Seattle Review and in Cave Canem anthologies II & IV.  She was awarded a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant and was featured in the January/February 2010 Inspiration Issue of Poets & Writers as one of its 12 debut poets. A Cave Canem fellow, January runs a popular blog called Poet Mom (  January earned her MFA at New York University and lives with her two children in Beverly, MA.

Irene Willis is the author of four collections of poetry, including Reminder (2014). They Tell Me You Danced (1995), At the Fortune Café (2005) and Those Flames (2009).  Irene’s awards include winning the Violet Reed Haas Prize for At the Fortune Café,  a Distinguished Artist Fellowship  from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a residency fellowship from the Millay Colony for the Arts, and grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Berkshire/Taconic Foundation.   She is also the Poetry Editor of the online publication, International Psychoanalysis.  A longtime educator who has “retired” three times, Irene has most recently taught at Westfield State University and at the American International College in western Massachusetts.

Directions:  From Bourne Bridge.  Rt. 28 south to Thomas Landers Road exit, right off ramp to Rt. 28A south (left), about 1 1/2 miles.  Just past Old Dock Rd., on right, West Falmouth Library is on the left, with parking.

From Woods Hole.  Woods Hole Rd. to Palmer Ave. to Rt. 28 north to Brick Kiln Rd. exit, left off the ramp to Rt. 28A (stop sign).  Take a right, and go less than I mile.  West Falmouth Library is on the right, with parking (before the library, across from the Quaker Meeting House.)

We hope to see you there!

Alice Kociemba, Founding Director

Heidi Stahl, Associate Director, 

Rich Youmans, Associate Director

Kathleen Casey, Social Media Director

Calliope – A Community for Poets

“Friend” us on Facebook

by Chantelle Aimée Osman
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series

I’m thrilled to be returning to CCWC this August. I’ll be covering topics that will be helpful to those who are about to complete or have recently completed their manuscript. First, on Friday, I’ll be teaching “Perfecting Your Pitch and Query” (10:15-11:45), which will cover the key points in both in-person and written pitches and queries. Should time allow, we’ll go over individual pitches.  Next, on Saturday, “50 Editing Mistakes Authors Make” (8:30-11:45)—as a professional editor, I tend to see the same set of mistakes from authors over and over. We’ll discuss the best methods for approaching your edit as well as those most common mistakes, giving you the edge of a polished final product. Again, if time permits, we’ll do some live editing. On Saturday and Sunday (1:00-2:30) “Social Media for Writers” will go over the basics of websites, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Learn how to use them to your advantage, find potential readers, agents and more while not taking away from your writing time.  I’ll also be available for manuscript mentorship & evaluation throughout the conference.

My series of writing guides The Quick & Dirty Guide to… will be available in the conference bookstore in two volumes, which include: Social Media for Authors; The Submission Package; Screenplays; Crime Fiction; Short Fiction and Editing.

I look forward to seeing all of you in August!


Chantelle Osman photoChantelle Aimée Osman is a freelance editor and creative consultant, specializing in fiction and screenplays, and teaches writing across the country. She is also the author of the non-fiction QUICK AND DIRTY GUIDE TO… series on writing, as well as mystery flash fiction and short stories.

by Judith Arnold
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series

True, I’m not a math genius. But I can’t think of a better place than Cape Cod to find myself surrounded by book lovers for a few days. I’ll be teaching classes on writing romance novels and love stories at the 2015 Cape Cod Writers Conference, and this equation works for me.

I’m the author of ninety-six (so far) published novels, most of them romances, with some women’s fiction and mysteries mixed in. All my books, regardless of genre, include love relationships in their plots. Maybe this is because I’m an old hippie (well, not so old!) who believed the Beatles when they sang that all we needed was love. We live in a world filled with strife, hostility, war and conflict. To me, the most powerful stories demonstrate that even when people understand one another as little as men and women so often do—when they view one another as aliens or even enemies—they can still bridge the divide, find common ground, learn to trust one another and open their hearts to love. Love stories can save the universe.

I hope to “spread the love” in my class at the Cape Cod Writers Conference—but mostly, we’ll be discussing craft: how to create complex, three-dimensional characters, how to develop their conflicts so their final acknowledgement of their love will be cathartic for the reader, and how to use themes to enhance novels. If time allows, we can talk about sex, too.

Judith Arnold

About me: I live in a small town twenty miles west of Boston, and my family has spent many happy summer vacations on Cape Cod. I’ve written several plays which have been professionally staged in regional theaters and off-off Broadway, and I’ve taught at colleges and presented dozens of guest seminars and workshops at conferences and writing retreats. I’m currently working on Moondance, the fifth book in my “Magic Jukebox” romance series, and preparing my “Still Kicking” mystery series for digital release. I’m passionate about good wine, good chocolate, good music, and good books. I can’t wait to meet my students and fellow instructors at the Cape Cod Writers Conference. We’re going to have a great time in Hyannis this summer!

On June 2, 2015 at 6 p.m. author Jacqueline Trought will host a book party for her forthcoming work The Affair With Death at the C3TV studio in Dennis, MA. She is looking for literary experts to join the panel for a discussion about the book. This event includes entertainment with a live band, refreshments and book signings. At 7p.m. the studio will film the panel as they discuss The Affair With Death.

 If you’re interested in participating please contact Jacqueline Trought at For a preview galley, please see .


Member News for May

by web editor on May 4, 2015

Take a look at our members’ writing news for this month:

Margot Arnold (Petronelle Cook) will be celebrating her 90th birthday in May. Ms. Arnold is the author of the well loved murder mystery series with Tobias Glendower and Penelope Spring. Two of the series were set on Cape Cod.

Terri Arthur’s book Fatal Decision: Edith Cavell, WWI Nurse is one of the top 3 finalists for awards by the Midwestern Independent Publishers Association in the categories of Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction.

Jim Coogan of Harvest Home Books has published a new trade paperback: Cape Cod Collected: A Selection of the Cape’s Greatest StoriesDistribution of the book to local retail outlets will begin in May.

Marsha Danzig got a book deal with Monkfish Publishing to publish her work Yoga for Amputees. It will be out in Spring 2016.

Arlene Kay will participate in a panel at the National Malice Domestic Conference in Washington DC on May 3rd. Her topic: When Romance Turns Deadly.

Steven P. Marini has submitted his manuscript, Schmuel’s Journey, to his publisher, Gypsy Shadow Publishing. This is his fourth book and involves the story of a ten-year-old survivor of Auschwitz who, at forty, becomes a reluctant Nazi hunter in New Hampshire.

Jan Purcell launched her second novel, The Long Way Home, set in Harwichport. Find her at or on Facebook: Jan Purcell, Author.

Dwight Ritter wowed them in Indianapolis at the 35th Annual Christamore House Book and author Luncheon. 984 attended to hear Dwight and four other authors talk about their books, then sign copies.

Maxim D. Shrayer published “A Genius in the Attic: Secrets of a Cape Cod Dacha” in Tablet Magazine:

Barbara Eppich Struna will collaborate on a presentation with her artist/husband, Timothy J Struna. They’ll be discussing: Where do the Strunas get their creative inspiration? He has designed all of her book covers. The event will take place at Brewster Ladies Library, Main Street, on Thursday May 14, 7-8pm.

Ric Wasley will be signing copies of his new book, The Girl with the Faraway Eyes, at Barnes & Noble in Hyannis on Saturday May 9th at 2pm. He’s also giving a talk titled “Tracking down a Mystery” at The South Yarmouth Library on Saturday May 30th at 2pm.

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 Monday in June. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Friday, May 29. 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.)

On a bright Saturday morning in early May it’s hard to imagine why Cape Cod teenagers voluntarily appeared at the Sturgis Charter School in Hyannis to spend the day in a classroom. Forget spring fever! The urge to write well brought twenty-six talented youngsters, ages 12-17, to attend the Cape Cod Writers Center’s spring Tomorrow’s Writers Today program.IMG_3071


The day-long sessions were taught by acclaimed novelists and Emerson professors Indira Ganesan and Tom McNeely, whose expertise fascinated, intrigued, and educated the students on literary arts.







Here are some of the comments from the students’ exit surveys.

“I’d like this program to be longer! It’s so fun!”

“I liked how we used our imaginations to create regular stories into fantasies.”

“I liked the freedom we got with what we wrote and I learned so much.”

“It was great!”

“The teachers just knew how to help us understand how to develop our stories.”


“Meeting other writers who had different writing styles.”

“I found stories in me I didn’t know I had.”

“I loved being able to strengthen my writing skills and make friends with other writers.”


On Sunday, May 17, join best-selling author Carole Bugge (aka CE Lawrence) at the Dedham Hilton for a writing workshop entitled Villains, Heroes, and Sidekicks—Crafting Characters that thrill readers (and SELL books) .

sisters in crimeThis fun, informative, interactive session is brought to you by the New England chapter of Sisters In Crime and is appropriate for fiction writers in any genre, not just mystery. Cape Cod Writers Center members may attend for a special price of just $25, including lunch!

Click here for details and a registration link.

Writing Picture Books with Jim Hill

by web admin on April 27, 2015

There are still a few days left to register for Writing Picture Books with Jim Hill through the arts education program at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

In six weeks you’ll learn about plot, character, pacing, and other important elements in creating a good picture book story. You’ll examine books to discover what makes them successful and join your classmates in writing your own stories, learning to make them stronger via supportive critique.

The class will include lectures, workshops, and group work.

“We’ll have fun reading picture books, and doing group exercises to free up our creativity,” says Jim. “At the end of the course, students will have a notebook full of ideas, several manuscripts, and know what to do to take them to the next level.”

In addition to being the President of the CCWC, Jim is a member of the SCBWI, and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

A published poet and award winning songwriter, he has presented multiple workshops for the New England Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and is a regular contributor to the Project Middle Grade Mayhem web site.

Click here to register.


To see our offerings and register electronically, click on “Quick Conference Links” at top right.

Looking forward to seeing you in August!