Pennwriters Interview

Coming soon, the Pennwriters Annual Conference, May 18-20, 2018, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I will be presenting two workshops:  “Old School Scene Planning” and “Damsels, Dames & Darlings: Writing Realistic Women.”

PW 2018

Each year before the conference, Pennwriters does a Q&A with its faculty. Below are the 2018 questions. Below is a copy of the interview from the Pennwriters Facebook page.

Pennwriters: What do you think is special about the genre you write in?

Ramona: I write in a couple of different genres, but I’ll choose creative nonfiction. CNF is special because it allows me to write about real events with the freedom of a fiction writer. For example, I’ve published personal essays about surviving hurricanes as a child and also about the impact of drug abuse on my family, citing facts and figures but also sharing how the experience affected my world. CNF is unique in that allows a writer to smoothly place factual information in a personal story.

PW: What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing? Did you ever encounter a serious roadblock and how did you overcome it?

Ramona: I have a maddening and pushy internal editor, which is ironic for someone who works as an editor. If I am not careful, I can get mired in a scene that isn’t working and I stay there, grinding on the problem, rather than moving on and coming back to it. I have to make the concrete decision to let this poorly executed scene sit for a while. That can be tough.

PW: What’s individual or unique about your writing space? Do you have a memento or good luck charm on your desk?

Ramona: I have a home office for my editing work, but I find it difficult to do my creative writing in that spot. I have adopted the desk in the guest room for my writing, and I do have mementos, among them a cardinal ornament from my mother and a seashell from my mother-in-law. My two moms encourage me to tell stories. I am very much into establishing a regular writing routine, so I only sit in that chair, in that spot, when I want to write. That gives the signal to my body and brain that we’re here for that purpose only. So much of writing is a mind game, so I’ve learned to make that writing space work for me mentally as well as physically.

PW: What has been the most satisfying or significant project of your literary career?

Ramona: It’s a tie. A few years ago, I had the privilege of co-coordinating an anthology of poetry and prose by Delaware writers, through the Delaware Division of the Arts. The State of Delaware is very supportive of its artists, so that opportunity to give back—and to have a wonderful collection of work from my writing tribe—was a big gold star in my career. The second is contributing to and editing Into the Woods, a brand new anthology from the Mindful Writers Retreat authors.

PW: What is your favorite tip or advice for writers?

Ramona: Give your writing the priority it deserves and develop a regular writing habit! Same time, same place every day is the optimum, but if you are a weekend writer or an after-the-day-job writer, choose a specific time to write and stick to it. Our stories are our legacies to the world, so it’s important to give writing its proper due.

PW: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

Ramona: A very thick blank notebook, a pen that would never run dry, and a handheld blow torch. The last because I was never a Girl Scout so I don’t know how to start a fire by rubbing sticks, and I also like to be prepared for any crème brûlée emergencies.

PW: If you had a time machine, where and when would you be right now?

Ramona: In the galleries of the US Capitol on August 18, 1920. That’s the day the 19th Amendment was finally ratified by Congress. I would love to witness women’s right to vote made the law of the land. Then I’d rush out and party with my sisters!

Conference Bio: Ramona DeFelice Long’s writing has appeared in numerous literary and regional publications, and she’s a multiple fellowship winner. She is an author, editor, and writing instructor. As an editor, she specializes in short story anthologies, crime novels, and women’s fiction.



My 2017

PS_Summer_2017_Proof3-1-200x268It was a very good year….

A story published

A Pushcart Prize nomination

An essay about aging 

and my thoughts on midlife crisis in the Washington Post

A submission a day and a novel in a month

Conference fun

Crime Bake
Crime Bake, 2017

Retreat dinners and fellowship

Retreat dinner
Clare House, 2017


Hockessin Book Fair, 2017




Mindful tree

And my most beloved sprint friends.

sprint club at PW
Sprint club at Pennwriters


2017 was also a sad year…

I lost my friend Josh, who was funny and smart and a rascal, and who helped me research all things Delaware. Rainbo 2

I said goodbye to my father and wrote a tribute to him.

What will 2018 bring? We’ll have to see, and I hope we’ll share it together, either in person or virtually.

Happy New Year, my friends! May the next year bring only good things.

Pennwriters Presents


On Monday, September 25th, I will be this month’s guest at Pennwriters Presents, an online Q&A session provided by the Pennwriters writing organization through its Facebook group.

Pennwriters Presents offers access to industry professionals, who answer questions on a variety of topics. Here is the official blurb about the upcoming September session:

Pennwriters Presents proudly hosts guest Ramona DeFelice Long, an award-winning professional skilled in multiple areas of writing and editing. Ramona will take your questions from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and again from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on any of these topics: working with an editor, self-editing, mysteries, short stories, women’s fiction, and writing retreats.

Post your question for Ramona on the Pennwriters Presents Facebook page on the 25th and she will post her reply. Please join us! The Pennwriters Presents Facebook page is open to all current Pennwriters members.

Guest bio: Ramona DeFelice Long is an author, editor, and online writing instructor. As an author, she has written fiction and essays in all sizes. As an editor, she focuses on mysteries and women’s fiction and has edited over 200 novel manuscripts, a dozen short story anthologies, and countless novel openings and short stories. As an instructor, she teaches online courses through Sisters in Crime and is currently putting together a workbook for mystery authors. Her writing has been acknowledged by the Delaware Division of the Arts, the Pennsylvania State Arts Council, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her two favorite things are crème brulee and going away for a writing retreat.


I have been a proud member of Pennwriters since I joined the Indiana Women’s Writers Circle in Indiana, PA, back in the 1990s.

Pennwriters is a multi-genre writing organization established in 1988 to help writers of all levels, from the novice to the award-winning and multi-published, improve and succeed in their craft. It is focused in Pennsylvania but its membership is international. The group offers an annual three-day writers conference and area events and has a strong internet presence, with email groups, online classes and social networks. For more information, visit their website. 

How to Write an Hour at a Time

RamonaGravitarAt the Pennwriters Conference this past weekend, I gave a workshop on a writing challenge called Sprinting. To Sprint, a writer shuts off all distractions and writes without interruption for an hour. The goal is to get down 1,000 new words in an hour.

Sprinting is simple and hardly enough content for a one hour workshop. Finding an hour a day to write, and incorporating it into an otherwise busy life, may not be so simple. Also complicated is how to make the most effective use of a writing hour. Those—finding an hour and using the hour—will make up the content of this mini blog series. Here’s the schedule:

Continue reading “How to Write an Hour at a Time”

Mastering the Art of Self-Editing Workshop

Pennwriters Area 2 Workshop

Saturday, April 6, 2013 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
911 Market Street, Bloomsburg, PA Fire Hall

Registration for this workshop is open here.

Mastering the Art of Self-Editing, taught by freelance editor Ramona DeFelice Long, is a hands-on workshop designed to help writers view their work with a sharp and critical eye. Writers will learn strategies and revision skills to sharpen craft, style, and technique, as well as how to recognize and change bad habits. The workshop will also include larger topics such as structure; characters and consistency; and central ideas and story arcs.

Materials to bring:

  • Paper, pen/pencil

  • Yellow highlighter

  • Pink highlighter

  • First 5 pages of your current work in progress