November News

cropped-ramonalogofinal.jpgThe end of one year means planning for the next. I am busy scheduling appearances and readings, signing contracts for online classes, and making a major change in my career as an editor. Ahead is a peek at some of what’s ahead in my world.

November Events

Book Fair

On Saturday, November 10, I’ll be a featured speaker at the Art & Book Fair, one of norther Delaware’s biggest book events. I’ll also be selling the Mindful Writers charity anthology INTO THE WOODS. The event will feature multiple readers, and vendors selling books, art, and crafts. Lots of people to chat up and fun to be had. I hope to see  you there.Hockessin 2018

Literary Reading and Discussion

On Thursday, November 15, I will join Jen Epler for a reading and discussion “When Family Becomes Inspiration for Fictional Stories” at the Rehoboth Beach Museum. Jen is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Our talk will include readings and a discussion forum on making the jump from truth to fiction when writing stories inspired by family.  For my own experiences in writing about family, you can read my IAF interviews: Masters Fellowship in Fiction in 2016 and Established Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction in 2013.


Teen Writing Workshops

On Sunday, November 25, poet Jane Miller and I will present a workshop for teen writers interesting in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Seven workshops will be held in county libraries throughout Delaware to provide critique, guidance, and encouragement for young writers and artists.

Teen writing workshops 2018

Courses and Classes

It is always my pleasure to teach online courses for Sisters in Crime. In 2019, I will lead three courses for the Guppy chapter:

March 3 – 16:  Story Arcs
August 8 – 13:  Necessary Parts
Sept. 29–Oct. 10: Strong Starts
Stay tuned for updates on workshops and other classes at conferences in 2019.


My one woman editing business has been alive and well for ten years now–a cause for celebration but also for review. I have been fortunate to have enough work come my way that I can’t always handle the load, and I’ve been happy to refer writers to other trusted editors. In my 10 years as an independent editor, I have worked as a full time editor and part time writer. For 2019, I’ve decided to switch those roles and make writing my priority. I will be writing more and editing less. This means that I am happy to keep my current roster of clients but will not be accepting new ones in the coming year.

To the authors who have trusted me to review your manuscripts and brainstorm ideas, I am honored to have worked with every one of you. There is no greater job than helping people find the heart of their stories. Thank you.


NaNoWriMo #4: Inspiration from Judy Clemens

There are many wonderful people in the many different writing communities. No matter your genre or tribe–mystery, romance, YA, fantasy, creative nonfiction, children’s, women’s fiction–in each, there are special people who bring a particular kind of brightness to the group. My guest today, Judy Clemens, is one of those bright light types of people. She was my NaNoWriMo writing buddy last year, and while I didn’t make the 50K goal, she did. She cheered me along the way. Being Judy’s buddy feels like winning.

Judy Clemens-7-croppedI have asked Judy to pop in today and spread some of her encouragement. She’s a NaNoWriMo veteran, a respected and well-published writer, a much beloved Sisters in Crime sister, and she can bake! Here’s what Judy has to say about National Novel Writing Month:


50,000 words

30 days

1667 words each of those days

Countless hours of writing

Fewer hours of sleep

Looking ahead to this crazy month puts me in mind of the old adage: You can do anything for a month. (Or a week, or a day, or an hour…)

It also makes me think of a NaNo version of Green Eggs and Ham:

I can write on a couch.

I can write at my desk.

I can write on a laptop.

I can write on my bed.

I can write late at night,

Or early in the morn.

With the house all still,

Or the television on.

I can write by myself

Or in the midst of a crowd.

With my surroundings quiet,

Or even very loud (well, up to a point).

I can write in a house,

I can write in a shop.

I can write with energy,

I can write till I drop.

I can do it, you see,

Because NaNo’s for me.

And at the end of the days

I’ll have the words,

I’ll be free!

NaNoWriMo is a glorious, exhausting, fun, dreadful, inspirational, harrowing, and ultimately satisfying experience.

There will be days that will feel like flying, and you write over and beyond the 1667.

There will be days when you can’t write a word (from exhaustion or simply for life reasons – they happen to everyone!).

There will be days you have to write more than your allotted 1667 in order to catch up.

There will be days you push and groan and scrabble your way to exactly 1667, checking your word count after each sentence.

And there will be days when you surprise yourself by how swiftly to reach your goal.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. But do not despair! You will find reserves within you that you didn’t know you had. And in the meantime, remember these NaNoWriMo hacks to help you through your day:

  • You don’t have to write the 1667 words all at once. Write 200 here, 300 there, and you will get to your goal before you know it.
  • Sequestering yourself is only one option – you can also hang out in the living room with your family if they want to watch TV or play video games or whatever. If they are doing that and you are writing, you are still together!
  • There are twenty-four hours in a day. You can write during any of them.
  • If you get stuck with your story, think outside the box. Write a character description, a dialogue between a couple of characters that (you think!) has nothing to do with your plot, or describe the setting of your story. Those words all count, and you may learn something important!
  • Suppress your inner editor. This is not going to be a perfect draft. Accept that and move on.
  • Find a writing buddy on the NaNo web site or on Twitter or a writer you already know, and help each other through. It really does wonders to have a cheerleader and someone to whom you are accountable!

Finally, remember…THIS IS NOT LIFE OR DEATH. This is for fun. This is to further your career. This is to do something you may have only dreamed of. Don’t let it become a burden. Let it fill you with joy.

Happy writing!

tag you're deadJudy Clemens is the author of the Anthony- and Agatha-nominated Stella Crown series, the Grim Reaper mysteries, and the stand-alone LOST SONS. She also writes YA fiction as J.C. Lane, and was a 2017 Agatha- and Anthony nominee for TAG, YOU’RE DEAD, a YA thriller. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime and an Equity stage manager, besides being a soccer mom and wife and the baker of most things chocolate. You can learn more about Judy at

Twitter: @judyclemens1

Facebook: judyclemensauthor


August Reading & Workshop

I am happy to be on tap for two dates–a reading and a workshop on character building to start off the month.

AUGUST 4th ART LOOP, 5 – 9 PM at the Delaware Contemporary

1st Friday (Dennis)

Continue reading “August Reading & Workshop”

Swimming with the Guppies

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgIn every career, there is a project or a contact or a conference that is a game changer. For me, a professional boost came in 2010, with the offer to edit the first Guppy anthology. Continue reading “Swimming with the Guppies”

Fall 2013 Courses and Workshops

Upcoming Courses and Workshops

Interview Your Story Workshop

Dates: Sunday, September 8 – Saturday, September 21
Where: Online via Yahoo Groups
Subsidized cost: $35
Open to: Members of SinC Guppy Chapter
The workshop will guide the author in examining his/her story in series of daily Q &A sessions. There are three basic Question areas: The Story, The Storyteller, The Audience. The goal of the course is to allow the author to examine his/her story in great depth. A secondary goal is to help the author articulate what this story is about, why he/she is the perfect person to write it, and identify and write to the perfect reader for this story. Daily Topics below:
Sunday:      The Crime
Monday:     The Sleuth/s
Tuesday:    The Story World/Setting
Wednesday: The Quest and Emotional Journey
Thursday:   Theme
Friday:        Plot Points and Structure
Saturday:    Secondary Characters and Storylines
Sunday:     catch-up
Monday:     Suspects, Cops, Clues, Red Herrings
Tuesday:     Story and Character Arcs
Wednesday:    Resolution and Aftermath
Thursday:     The Author
Friday:         The Audience
Saturday:     Putting it all Together
Sunday:       catch-up

Writing A Novel: You Can Do It! series

Writing a Novel: You Can Do It! will be offered by the Harford County Public Libraries, Havre de Grace Branch in Havre de Grace, Maryland
This 4-part writing session is offered in advance of 2013 National Novel Writing Month in November. The sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required. All sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. To register, call 410-939-6700.

Monday, Sept. 16: Session One, Intro to NaNoWriMo presented by Lauren Carr
Monday, Sept. 30: Session Two, Preparing for a Month of Intensive Writing, presented by Ramona Long
Monday, Oct. 7: Session Three, Settings, Dialogue & Mind Games, presented by Lauren Fox

Monday, Oct. 21: Session Four, Structure: Beginnings, Middles & Ends, presented by Ramona Long

Scene Writing Workshop 

This online workshop is sponsored by the Mary Roberts Rhinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime. To register, visit their website.

When:  Sunday October 13, 2013 – Saturday October 26, 2013 (2 weeks)
Where: Online via Yahoo Groups

How Much: $50 for Members, $60 for Non-Members

This course will examine the nuts, bolts, and necessities of good scene writing, addressing questions such as:
  • What is a scene?
  • What should a scene accomplish?
  • What are different types of scenes?
  • How do scenes move a story?
  • How do scenes work as set pieces?
  • How do you write an effective scene?
  • How do you insert subtext into scenes?
This workshop will be devoted to understanding, planning, and writing different types of dramatic scenes. The topics will include scene structure; scene goals; working with a scene checklist; and types: romance, action, fight, sex, introductions, contemplation, etc. Although there will be exercises, a work in progress or story idea would be helpful, so authors can work on scenes from their WIPs.
This workshop will better serve writers of some experience as opposed to someone who has never written before. However, anyone who wants to learn about scenes and scene structure would benefit. A work in progress or, at the very least, a concrete story idea would be necessary, because this is a hands on workshop. We will discuss the different scene types, and I’d ask students to search within their drafts for types of scenes as examples. If that’s not possible, participants may have to write a new scene for the class.

How To Give a Public Reading

Because I am away at a conference today, I am going to cheat and repost a guest blog I wrote for the Sisters in Crime National website.

It’s a two-part series on How to Give a Public Reading.

Part 1 is called  Four Tips for the Performance Author

Part 2 is called Four Tips for the Performance Author, part 2.

All you need now is an audience or an open mic!


Tomorrow’s topic: Sunday is a day of rest. Monday’s topic will be How To Follow Up a Conference.