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Serving all writers since 1948

what you need to know for April 2020 Wisconsin Writers Association

WWA Members and Friends!     The COVID-19 corona virus risk is significant. The WWA is monitoring these risks with our members and the public in mind. As such, WWA encourages members to check on the status of WWA events before planning to attend to ensure that the event or activity has not been canceled due to elevated concerns. If an event is scheduled to take place, WWA encourages you to use your best judgement for your own health and consider the health of other attendees if you have symptoms. WWA will carefully consider the risks posed before canceling an event.  

For further info about COVID19, please see https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus

Hey {Contact_First_Name},

Here are 10 things we thought were worth sharing this month with you!

  1. A Note from WWA President Barry Wightman.
  2. Covid-19 Virus Cancellations
  3. 2020 Jade Ring Contest Opens Soon! Learn More
  4. WWA Coffee Chats and Happy Hour Online Open Mic
  5. WWA Friends Announcements 
  6. WWA sponsors Novel Book Camp and Lakefly Conference Learn More
  7. High School Writing Contest Deadline Nears
  8. Check our website for opportunities and Contests!
  9. Member News. See what our busy members have been up to!  SEE MORE HERE
  10. Keep up with WWA Every Day! Follow Us on Facebook! Learn where to network with other WI Writers on WWA's Meetup Page!

Editors Note: The WWA NewsBrief is about member accomplishments, writing events, and contests. It is delivered on the 25th of each month by email. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and yes, complaints.  Please send news bits for the March 2020 issue to me by February 20th. Thank you.


Access Links: To access web links inserted in this NewsBrief, click on blue text to jump to the referenced web link.

To download and print a copy of this NewsBrief, CLICK HERE.

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WWA Website News:  Send all requests for website changes, corrections, routine updates, and questions associated with the WWA website to Board Operations Chair, Kymberley Pekrul, kpekrul.editor@gmail.com.

Share your pride in WWA membership and promote the organization at the same time!  Download badges to include in your email signature and other areas where you want to tell the world about your associations. Visit the WWA website to download your badge.

Facebook: Keep up with WWA every day? Follow the WWA Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/WIWrite/ – Post your exciting writing news! Stay up with the pulse of what’s trending in today’s shifting marketplace. Network  with other members. Explore, learn, discover, connect, and keep up with authors.

Paid a visit to the  WWA website, yet?  You'll find tons of great information for writers. Check out the "Helpful Articles for Writers" page for a valuable list of  resources from industry experts. 

Website Refresh

We've got a great public
website! Have you
noticed? Check it out at: wiwrite.org

Keep Up With Us


WWA Website

WWA President’s Message
March 20, 2020

Strange, challenging times indeed. Last month, my Newsletter message was upbeat – a fat list of programs and workshops, conferences and festivals all over Wisconsin, full of optimism. Now events, big and small, have been canceled, gatherings have disappeared, bookstores and venues gone dark.

Here we are in the middle, or perhaps only at the beginning, of our time with the COVID-19 corona virus, worldwide pandemic. Fear injecting itself everywhere.

So, rewind. William Shakespeare wrote and first staged King Lear in 1606, a dark time in English history. The Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt to kill King James and the entire Parliament in November 1605, rattled the nation. Think of our own 9/11. And during those first seven years of King James’ reign beginning in 1603, plague was everywhere, quarantines throughout summers, theatres closed, many dead. Life changed.

And yet, Shakespeare was somehow able to write and finish King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra during 1606. Amazing.

Here are the final lines of King Lear:

“The weight of this sad time we must obey, 
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.”

Speak what we feel. That is our job. Write what’s in our hearts. Get it out there, feel it, dream it. We are all of us on the great stage.

If you don’t write it, nobody will.

And WWA is here to help. In the weeks ahead, WWA will be announcing a series of free, live, online programs. Open mics! Workshops! Available to anyone, anywhere. Free. Come online and read your stuff, share your latest. Think of these sessions as virtual Wisconsin campfires for us writers. Watch your email, watch our Facebook page. We’ll get through this.

Be like Will.

Be strong. Keep on writing…


Ready to be a Member of the Board?

WWA, a registered 501(c)3, is managed by a Board of Directors.  Board members focus on policy and the goals of the mission to support Wisconsin writers as they achieve their own writing goals.  If interested, contact Barry Wightman, barrymwightman9@gmail.com  Not ready for the board, consider other volunteer opportunities.

WWA Business Membership Available:  Promote your writing-related service business. Just $35 one-year annual membership for individuals who own/operate a business that provides related writing services may join WWA and secure a listing on the Business Member Profile Directory page of the WWA website.

Promote and Support Wisconsin Authors!

Order Your Copy of the WWA Creative Wisconsin Anthology Today!

Order online: WWA Shop or by mail: send a $10 check to Kymberley Pekrul, W1347 Pit Road, Mount Calvary, WI 53057-9508 (please include the address to which to send the copy sent.

Writing Quote of the Month:

This issue's quote is by a public figure usually not described as a writer, but I think his words are particularly relevant during these days.  

      "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity
        in every difficulty."                                                   ~ Winston Churchill

WWA  is pleased to announce the 72nd Annual Jade Ring Contest

The Jade Ring Contest is open for submissions and over thirty writers have already sent in  their entries! And what better time to finish your best work and submit it to this prestigious  contest? Entrants can also seek the valuable critiques of our accomplished judges for a small additional fee. Remember, the deadline June 5, 2020.  


Fiction: short story, flash fiction, novel excerpt, genre, etc.  2,000- word limit.  

Nonfiction: articles, essays, nostalgia, memoir, self-help, etc.  2,000 word limit. 

Poetry: open to any style or theme. Up to 3 poems per entry, limit one poem per page.

Meet the judges, review contest rules and enter here!

President Barry Wightman featured on the WRITESCAST Podcast!  

Exciting News from the WWA Executive Team!

WWA will begin hosting online events, a virtual writing community. Join us for Happy Hour/Coffee Chats and Open Mic Events!

Online Happy Hour and Open Mic Event - Thursday, Apr 9, 6:15 p.m.

Online Coffee Chat and Open Mic Night- Tuesday, Apr 14, 11:15 a.m.

 Online Happy Hour and Open Mic Night - Saturday, Apr 25, 4:15 p.m.

Mark your calendars and connect with fellow writers. Lets create an engaging, robust chat! Check the website for instructions for logging in to the workshop. 

1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Winners!

  • Closes April 30, 2020
  • Open to any Wisconsin junior or senior high school student
  • No entry fee
  • 1,500 word maximum
  • Check here for details and submission form

Member News:

Got News? Send your member news by the 20th of each month for inclusion in the upcoming month’s WWA NewsBrief issue. Send to the  editor, bjm.writer@gmail.com.

Member Book Reviews!

New member book reviews are always appearing on the WWA website. This month we feature a supernatural ghost story

The Sisters
Paranormal Spiritism and Occult, 264 pages

Author: Janet Kay

Reviewer: Lisa Lickel

The Sisters, steeped in the occult and spiritism, is a cautionary tale of three souls locked in a cycle of jealousy, rage, and despair. This lifetime could be their chance at forgiveness.

Kay’s novels are set in exotic eras of unusual settings, always painstakingly researched with believable characters experiencing the reality of their situation. In this story, Bella relives the shock of a soul lost in the devastation of the 1900 hurricane that shredded Galveston, Texas. But the gift of Bella’s spirit guide is only the means to show her truths of a battle that she can ultimately decide to win or lose…again.

Read the full review here

Thank you again to our dedicated team of book reviewers. If you’re interested in becoming a reviewer or would like to see a review of a WWA member book, please check the guidelines under the Blog-Book Reviews tab on the WWA website, or email Lisa at lisalickel@gmail.com.

News from the North

St. Croix Writers meet by free audio teleconference each Tuesday, 9:30 - 11:30 am. You are welcome to dial in and read your work, or just listen to the works of other writers from all genres.  For details, please contact WWA Board member Debra Raye King, Moderator, at SunnyCoveStudio@gmail.com 

St. Croix Writers of Solon Springs, WI were honored with a proclamation from the Village Board of Trustees recognizing their SCW thirtieth anniversary (1989-2019) and impact on literacy in northwestern Wisconsin.    

Thomas Wayne King's article "Sticking with Code Skills" appears in the April 2020 issue of QST, Journal of the American Radio Relay League, Newington, CT.  QST has global readership of over 200,000. 

Member discount to WWA members for the Saturday Craft & Publishing Workshops at Red Oak Writing Studio. WWA members enjoy a special rate of $45  (a $5 discount!)  For more info, contact Kim@redoakwriting, or call 414-881-7276 or visit the website

Whose Point of View is it Anyway? 
Janet Burroway, author of 8  novels
Saturday, April 18, 2020  9:30 am - noon
Register Here  -  Space is limited

Point of Point of View is the most complex element of fiction writing, the most difficult to understand and the most difficult to accomplish. It consists of many moving parts. This workshop deals with the practice of point of view: How can you understand POV in the fiction of others and yourself? How do you choose what person to write in? How can you be consistent when the reader needs external information? Must you really be consistent? How can you show physically a character whose viewpoint we share? How do you show the backstory? How do you signal an unreliable narrator? How do you make one sympathetic? The method will be a combination of practicum—analyzing published passages—writing prompts and Q&A. UPDATE: Workshop continues as online video 

WWA is a proud sponsor  

Novel-in-Progress Book Camp and Writing Retreat Book Camp & Writing Retreat, two six-day, residential programs focused on the craft of long-form writing, publishing, and networking among new friends (writers all.) It will be held Sunday evening, May 17 through Saturday morning, May 23, 2020, the week before Memorial Day. The event is hosted by member Dave Rank.

The Book Camp is a hands-on workshop led by published novelists, editors, and literary agents, providing craft classes, one-on-one consultations for your Work-In-Progress, group critiques of your writing, and presentations on writing and publishing. A roster of writers are already lining up to attend, so reserve your spot  by contacting director Dave at davejrank@ameritech.net, as soon as possible.  No word yet on cancellation or postponement. Check in for updates. 

Covid -19 virus has led to cancellations and postponements. Continue to look for updates on the WWA website or with the event organizer. 

Local Author Slam, Madison - Cancelled

Cabin Fever Spring Rendezvous, Solon Springs - Postponed until further notice

Untitled Town Book  Author Festival - Postponed until further notice.

Lakefly Writers Conference, Oshkosh - Cancelled. Work begins in fall for the conference next spring.


Announcements: WWA forges relationships to help us better serve our membership, improve our organization's performance, and engage our professional networks.

WWA Affiliate Announcements:  WWA develops long-lasting partnerships between complementary organizations and businesses where a mutually beneficial relationship serves each organization's interests. WWA will consider proposals to work together or on events and projects but does not guarantee acceptance.

Lakefly Writers Conference
Hello fellow writers!

The 2020 Lakefly Writers Conference is cancelled. This is a great disappointment, but a necessary step in light of the  COVID-19 virus.

Full refunds to all who registered will be mailed to the address provided on the registration. If your address has changed, contact Ruth, akeflywriters@gmail.com,  as soon as possible. It may take 8 to 10 weeks. 

Best Western Premiere Waterfront Hotel adjacent to the convention center will automatically cancel your room reservation.

The writing contests are still moving forward! Judges are delayed in picking up the entries, but once entries are judged, winners will be notified by mail with checks and certificates included.

Planning for the May 6-7, 2021 conference will begin this fall with attempts to reschedule as many 2020 speakers as possible.

Questions? Contact Ruth, lakeflywriters@gmail.com

Announcements from our WWA Friends:
WWA provides a monthly listing of non-sponsored, non-affiliate opportunities for its membership community. WWA shares this information solely as a service to its members.

Red Oak Writing offers programs for writers of all levels of ability and experience: Registration is open for Roundtable Critique Groups (online and in person), Craft & Publishing Workshops, and Youth Creative Writing Camps.

Subscribe to Masters Review
Find contests and other writing opportunities. Masters Review offers a quality platform for emerging writers.  Click here for details.


Tied to home is an opportunity to write and enter contests. Here are a few...for more visit our contest page on the WWA website!

Global climate fiction short story contest!
The contest’s lead judge will be Claire Vaye Watkins, a former Guggenheim Fellow, winner of The Story Prize and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and author of Gold Fame Citrus, a climate fiction novel that was named a best book of 2015 by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and NPR.

Claire will join an interdisciplinary group of judges with expertise in climate science, sustainability, creative writing, and environmental literature. Our judging process will be blind: judges will not have access to any identifying information about the authors, including their names, places of origin, or ages.

Submissions must be 5,000 words or less. All genres of short fiction are welcome. The first place winner will be awarded $1,000, and nine finalists will receive prizes of $100. There is no entry fee to submit your story. The winner and finalists will be published in our third Everything Change digital anthology, which will be free to read and share. The submission deadline is April 15, 2020, by 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time (GMT-7).

For full details and to submit your story, visit our Submittable page.

Shondaland is seeking ‘quarantine life’ stories. They are looking for innovative or very fun ways to pass the time while being asked to stay indoors. These pieces will be short (500 to 800 words) and will pay $250. Writers should send pitches to britni@shondaland.com.

For details, read their culture editor’s Twitter post. To contact them, visit this page.

HuffPost Life is a section in HuffPost, a news and opinion website. This section covers food, drink, wellness, beauty, style, relationships, home, and more. They are looking for health/wellness freelancers for reported, service-focused COVID-19 stories. They pay at least $350 per story. Interested freelancers should contact their senior wellness editor at lindsay.holmes@huffpost.com.

To learn more, read this Twitter post. To contact them, refer to this page.

A Single Word Contest 
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2020. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world. You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact. Winner receives $500. 

$19 ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 20, 2020. Working Title: PLAY! Planned publication date October 2020. $500 first prizes each for poetry and prose. Also, second and third places. All winners will have Featured Reader status at PLAY's free Kickoff Reading (depending on Lit Fest scheduling) at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest, the nation's third largest book fair of its kind, seeing 100,000+ attendance in 2019. We nominate for a variety of literary prizes including the Pushcart Prize. Poetry: 32-line (including spaces) limit per poem; no long lines, please. Prose: 2,500-word limit per entry; no long titles exceeding 3 3/4". Guidelines

$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2020. Entries for the Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize should be approximately 1,500 words or less. Winner – $200 and publication in Fiction Southeast. Finalists – publication in Fiction Southeast.

Writers Groups Writing is a solitary endeavor, but we can learn so much from fellow writers, sharing our works, listening to others share theirs improves our writing. Do you know of writers groups in your area that welcome new members? Share them with us, send your information to the editor, bjm.writer@gmail.com.   Writing groups are likely cancelled or moving online following Governor Evers' order for social distancing. Please check with your group(s) for update.

The Kenosha Writers Guild meets at the beautiful Carthage College on the shores of Lake Michigan. See videos of members and their success and upcoming events at Kenosha Writers Guild

Lake Geneva writing group meets on the third Wednesday of the month from 1-3 pm at the Lake Geneva Public Library. For more information, contact Rachel, rstrehlow@lakegeneva.lib.wi.us 

Monthly Poetry Readings First Tuesday of each month at Suzy's Steakhouse in Portage WI; 6:00 - 8:00 pm. The group extends an invitation to Wisconsin Writers to attend or to request an opportunity to be a Featured Poet. The goal for each month is to have one male and one female Featured Poet and time for Open Mic. Contact June Paul at junegpaul@gmail.com to learn about current openings.

Opportunities and Events:

Do you know of an event? Send event news by the 20th of each month for inclusion in the upcoming month’s WWA NewsBrief issue. Send to the editor, bjm.writer@gmail.com.

Networking Opportunities:

Did you know that WWA is On Meetup? Yep, we’ve been on Meetup since November 2018. What’s Meetup you ask? It’s a new way for Wisconsin Writers to connect with writing groups and events around the state! Connect through Meetup with other writers you know from all over Wisconsin, learn about writing-related events that happen everywhere! WWA now has 210 Meetup members!  Meetup is a great member benefit coordinated by board member Adrienne Hulburt who regularly adds new conferences, events, and interesting writer events and anything else that gets thrown her way onto the WWA Meetup events calendar. Follow the link below to join WWA’s, Meetup Page! https://www.meetup.com/WisconsinWritersAssociation/

Publication Opportunities:

The Masters Review/New Voices – The Masters Review New Voices category is open year-round to any new or emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length. Authors with short story collections are free to submit. They accept simultaneous and multiple submissions but ask that you inform them immediately if your story is accepted elsewhere. They pay New Voices authors $0.10/word up to $200 and do not charge submission fees but are highly selective. To read previously published stories, or to submit a piece of fiction or narrative nonfiction up to 7000 words, please see the New Voices page of their website.

Join the group that supports you throughout Wisconsin!

Become a member here!

You write. Wisconsin writes!
WWA Monthly NewsBrief

NewsBrief Editor Barbara Messick

Please send NewsBrief bits to:  bjm.writer@gmail.com



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2020 WWA NewsBrief Submission Deadline Calendar:

To help WWA Members and our Partner Groups & Organizations schedule submissions for inclusion in the WWA NewsBrief, we’ve put together a handy Issue/Deadline Reference (see below) for the upcoming year. Feel free to print and keep the reference in a convenient place to schedule your news submissions.

Please note that the November and December NewsBrief is combined into one issue. Also, the January NewsBrief has an earlier December submission deadline to allow for timely distribution to members before Christmas week each year.

  • May NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Monday, April 20, 2020
  • June NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Wednesday, May 20, 2020
  • July NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Saturday, June 20, 2020
  • August NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Monday, July 20, 2020
  • September NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Thursday, August 20, 2020
  • October NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Sunday, September 20, 2020
  • November/December NewsBrief 2020 - Deadline Tuesday, October 20, 2020
  • January NewsBrief 2021 - Deadline Wednesday, December 13, 2020
    Note: earlier deadline for January submissions