Do you have a novel submission ready, but you’re not sure if your query letter does the job? Fortunately the twenty-five writers who signed up for Agent Quick Query sessions at the 2016 CCWC summer conference learned what works and what doesn’t when they met with our agents.

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They were:

  • Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency
  • Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency
  • Kimiko Nakamura, Dee Mura Literary Agency
  • Amaryah Orenstein, Go Literary Agency
  • Ammi-Jaon Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Given the success of the Agent Quick Query in 2016, the CCWC will schedule a similar program for the summer conference of 2017.  So practice your queries and be prepared to try them out on our agents at August 3-6, 2017 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.

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.





by web editor on March 17, 2016

The Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Committee is announcing that nominations will now be accepted for the 2016 year.

This prestigious award is given annually to the Cape Cod woman who most demonstrates leadership in the Cape Cod Community, who has made a significant contribution to the arts, education, business, community and/or volunteerism, while embracing the ideals of patriotism.

Nomination forms can be found in local Town Halls, Libraries and Branches of The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank.  Deadline for nominations will be Patriots Day, April 18, 2016.

The award will be presented Monday, June 6th, at the meeting of Tales of Cape Cod, and the recipient will be asked to participate in the 4th of July parade in Barnstable Village.


Mercy Otis Warren, born in West Barnstable in 1728, was a playwright, a historian, a pioneer in women’s rights, a champion of liberty, an advocate of the Bill of Rights and a patriot. In an era where it was unusual for women to be educated, much less to emerge as a leader, her advocacy for the cause of patriotism and a central role for women in society was remarkable.

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me,” Ray Bradbury once said. So it must have been for the sixteen talented students who appeared at the Cape Cod Writer’s Center’s Tomorrow’s Writers Today program at the Sturgis East Charter School on Saturday morning, March 11th, to learn how to more effectively put their ideas in print.

The students, ages 12-17, were divided into age-appropriate groups and received instruction, advice and suggestions from author-teachers, Arlene Kay and Steven Manchester.  Almost unanimously, the students praised the program which was funded by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



Below are some of their comments from the exit surveys:

“Everything went perfectly. I wish we could do this more frequently.”

“They (the teachers) helped by showing us different strategies to format our thoughts and our writing.”

” I enjoyed the relaxed and warm atmosphere created by the students and teachers. I would definitely  come again.”

“Each instructor was experienced and accomplished. they both gave tips to avoid common writing pitfalls and addressed specific personal concerns.”

“They gave amazing advice!”

“They helped me better understand the pieces of a story and how to work on them.”

” I love the people I met and all the types of writing styles I saw.”

They gave me a lot of insight on how the process of writing comes along and how to get creative with your work.”

” I was glad to have had this day.”





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Point of View: The Key to Successful Prose

The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Ave.
5:30 Networking
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Presentation
6 vs 9
Focused.  Specific.  Immediate.  POV can make or break a book.  Skilled authors use POV to guide the reader into an intimate relationship with the characters and plot.   Author and editor Devon Ellington shares tips and techniques to help you choose the strongest POV to tell your story.
Devon Ellington publishes under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction.  She writes the Jain Lazarus urban fantasies and the Gwen Finnegan paranormal archaeological mysteries. She’s worked as an editor, marketing writer, and this is her third year as a judge for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards.  She is also an internationally produced playwright and radio writer.
Please note the change in prices! Dinner is 
$25 for CCWC members and $30 for non-members. However, there is 
NO COST to attend the presentation at 7:00 only; non-members may give a $5 donation if they wish.
Please contact Sara at our office to sign up via email for what promises to be an inspiring and instructive or call 508-420-0200.
See you on the 16th!

March Member News

by web editor on March 8, 2016

Take a look at the latest success stories of our hardworking members:

Sharon D. Anderson, Ph.D., has published a short guide for writers who want to make money with their books as a “real” business, titled Writing as a Retail Business: A Guide. Check it out here:

Sandra Bolton sold a short screenplay to a production company to be produced and entered in Film Festivals 2016-2017 across the country. She also created and self-published the book Explore Contemporary Marstons Mills, Cape Cod.

Anita A. Caruso will be selling her books– memoir As Ever, Pudd and her children’s books Brayden’s Magical Jungle and Brayden’s Magical Carousel Horse— on April 8th at the Cape Cod Cultural Center from 5-7:30pm, in a program sponsored by the National League of American Pen Women, Cape Cod Branch, titled “How to Sell Yourself and Your Art.” She will also be interviewed on “Books and the World,” Cape Cod Writers Center’s cable TV show, on April 22nd at 1pm on her two children’s books.

Donna Walo Clancy just released a new NA book on February 27th. The Big Mistake Club is available on Kindle Unlimited and in print.

Jim Coogan and Jack Sheedy of Harvest Home Books were notified on February 20th that their 2015 Summerscape issue received 2nd place from the New England Newspaper and Press Association for the category of general interest supplements.  Summerscape, which annually focuses on aspects of Cape Cod History, is jointly sponsored by the Barnstable Patriot and Cape Cod Times newspapers and reaches over 60,000 readers.

Debi Graham-Leard was interviewed for the CCWC local cable program “Books and the World” on Friday, Feb 27, regarding her new book The Uninvited Guest

On March 17th, Arlene Kay will join Sisters-in-Crime authors at a panel in Chelmsford, addressing “Methods of Murder” (oh no!).

Christine Lajewski’s horror flash fiction, “Tight Squeeze,” will be featured online by the Flash Fiction Press on April 10. (Sign up for a free subscription and get a free story every day.)

Carolyn LeComte will be participating in a Fiction Writers’ Workshop on March 12, from 10-12 at the Sandwich Library. After a panel discussion by four published authors, there will be a fun writing exercise for the attendees, who are encouraged to bring a one-page piece they are working on to read for short comments from the panel and audience. The public is invited – there is a ten-dollar charge. More info on the Sandwich Arts Alliance website.

Diane McDonough’s poem “A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove)” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by National League of American Pen Women poetry editor, Treanor Baring.

Death at the Paris Exposition by Frances McNamara, the 6th book in the Emily Cabot Mystery series, has been accepted by Allium Press of Chicago and will be published in the summer. Other titles in the series include Death at Woods Hole.

Maxim D. Shrayer’s recent memoir Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story was reviewed by the Boston Bibliophile: Shrayer’s essay “A Purim Shpil in Soviet Moscow” was featured in Mosaic Magazine:

The South Chatham Writers’ Workshop is pleased to announce its summer 2016 sessions. 18–22 July 2016: Nonfiction & Memoir Writing;
25–29 July 2016: Fiction Writing. For more information, visit:

Barbara Eppich Struna, author of The Old Cape House, The Old Cape Teapot, and the upcoming release of The Old Cape’s Hollywood Secret, will be hosting the Sisters In Crime, New England booth at the WZID Women’s Expo at the Center of NH/Radison Hotel on Saturday, March 12 from Noon until 2PM. Stop by to say Hi and then enjoy the rest of the expo, where adventure and fun await you with over 140 exhibitors. New Hampshire Womens Expo


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 Tuesday in April. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Friday, April 1st. (If you submit an item as an April Fools’ joke, we WILL post it, so beware!) 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.)CCWC Logo Quill only

Dear Calliope Community,

You can feel it in the air, and hear it, as the nightly peepers tune up: Spring is coming, and every day the sunlight stays just a little bit longer. It’s a magical time of rebirth and renewal—and what better way to celebrate than with the magic of poetry? Join us, as Daylight Savings Time begins, on March 13 at the West Falmouth Library, when poets Rich Michelson, Susan Donnelly, and Mary Ellen Redmond (along with our open mic readers) welcome the new season in style.  Remember we “spring forward” so 3 PM was 2 PM the day before!

As a first taste, below is a touching poem by Susan, whose work has appeared widely—in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications, including her new chapbook about childhood, Sweet Gooseberries. This poem, from the current edition of the Valparaiso Poetry Review, use an antique iron as the springboard for a meditation on the passing of time, and human connection, and, ultimately, kindness.



                            — for David


Heavy, this old blackened

triangle, bringing to mind

the gigantic labors of wash day,

and the frail woman who’d visit

your mother, how her hands

must have hefted this, pressed

forward, set it down a moment,

raised and reheated it —

an expedition around collars,

the wrinkles at each button

like those at her squinting eyes,

the journey down a sleeve

a tracing back to her wedding day

in 1890 when she and Mr. Maher

took a coach—imagine!—from

the church to the reception.

A fine day that, when her wrists

were strong, and the ring

fit her finger.  Now she lived,

long widowed, in one room

on the Old Age Assistance,

and glad enough to visit

the kind neighbor who’d set out,

always, a sandwich with the tea.

You can hear more of Susan’s work (along with Rich’s and Mary Ellen’s) on March 13. The reading will run from 3 to 5 p.m., with open mic sign-up at 2:45 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested to help fund the poets’ stipends. You can read more about each poet below.


You can hear more from Susan when she leads the March 12 Calliope Poetry Workshop, “Choices and Changes: Revision and Critique,” which will also take place at the West Falmouth Library. Only two seats remain; for more information go to and email to reserve a space.


See you at Calliope!



About the March Readers


 Susan Donnelly is the author of four chapbooks—her latest, Sweet Gooseberries, was published in 2015—as well as three full collections: Eve Names the Animals, Transit, and Capture the Flag. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals, textbooks, anthologies, websites, and blogs, including The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Her poem “Chanson on the Red Line” appears in the 2016 Common Threads collection published by Mass Poetry.  She lives, writes, and conducts poetry classes and consultations in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Richard Michelson, who just completed his second term as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Harlem Book Fest Award, and he is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals in a single year from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker, and among the best Dozen of the Decade by Amazon. The University of Pittsburgh Press published Michelson’s latest poetry collection, More Money than God, in 2015, and his most recent children’s book, S Is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his summertime gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. He recently received a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship.

Mary Ellen Redmond earned her MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems have appeared in The Drunken Boat, Free State ReviewComstock ReviewCape Cod Review, and Rattle. A former slam poet, she represented Cape Cod at the National Poetry Slam Competition in Providence, Rhode Island. This is her twenty-second year teaching English to students in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District. Her son, a submariner stationed on Guam, has given her the new designation as a “Guam Mom.” He has a poem of hers tattooed on his rib cage.


About Calliope: Poetry for Community

Founded in January 2008 by Alice Kociemba, Calliope seeks to foster and celebrate community through a shared appreciation of poetry. The readings have featured both well-known and emerging poets, and many have included an open mic for local poets. For more information about upcoming events, go to

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Join a Writing Group Today!

by web editor on February 24, 2016

One of the main goals of the Cape Cod Writers Center is to “provide opportunities for writers to congregate for inspiration, education, and networking.” One of the many ways the CCWC strives to accomplish this is through writing groups.  The CCWC offers a variety of genre-specific groups of writers who meet regularly to share their work and enhance their skills in a supportive atmosphere. During sessions, writers read from their work and fellow members comment upon its strengths and offer suggestions for improvement.

We have just finished updating our files on existing CCWC writers groups and are happy to say we have some open slots in several groups and are in the process of forming new groups for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and picture books. If you are interested in joining a CCWC writing group, please email the information below to and one of our writing group coordinators will be in touch.

Thanks, and happy writing!


Contact information (email and phone):

Writing level:

Location preference:

Meeting time preference (daytime or evening time):

Are you willing to be the contact person/coordinator for a new writing group:

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