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The Eastern Shore Writers Association (ESWA) is the perfect starting point for anybody who has a desire to write. And to be sure, once a person is past the “starting point,” it’s the perfect association to be a part of to continue to find sources of inspiration, expertise, and friendship within the profession and past-time. As the name might indicate, the group’s primary activity occurs on the Delmarva peninsula, but boasts membership from coast to coast in the United States, and several members abroad. Further, there’s no age restriction, and ESWA’s youngest writer as of the recording of this episode is 12 years old. In today’s blog post, you’ll meet a few of the long-time members who have transitioned into leadership positions.
The episode guests are three members of the Board of Directors for ESWA. Tara Elliot is an English teacher at Bennet Middle School and is currently serving as the association President. She also serves as the co-director of the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference held annually each spring. This conference has been named by Writermag.com as one of the best conferences in the Mid-Atlantic region. Tara has a poet’s heart and she is a strong voice for the genre throughout Delmarva.
Kenton Kilgore serves as the other co-director of the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference. Kenton is primarily a fiction writer with a slant towards the Young Adult genre. His published works include This Wasted Land, Lost Dogs, and the two-part series, Dragontamer’s Daughters. He has also written a children’s book, Our Wild Place, as well as a how-to book for authors, Hand-Selling Books: Making Money and Winning Fans.
Emily Rich is the managing editor of ESWA’s anthology, Bay to Ocean. Emily spends her writing hours com-posing short stories and memoir. She also conducts writing workshops – primarily memoir – and has a passion for helping writers find their voice. In fact, it was in a memoir class with Emily when I decided to get serious about writing. It is likely that without her there would be no Delmarva’s Own podcast, or jeffreyscottwriting.com .
Now, you may be asking yourself, “How does someone publish a book on Delmarva?” Well, ESWA and its members are here to help. There are, in fact, several independent outlets on Delmarva that will help you navigate your way to publication, no matter what genre is your groove. Perhaps you’ve decided to eschew the large publishing companies and go the independent route. Well, that’s their bag. Read on, you future Pulitzer Prize winner!
Local Small Press Companies
Stephanie Fowler – the word nerd who owns the place.
Patricia Gregorio – the tech nerd who runs the place.
Stephanie Fowler and Patty Gregorio founded Saltwater Press in 2013, and the expertise they bring to the writing experience for Delmarva writers is substantial. Fowler is a multiple-award winning author beginning her career with winning the 2001 Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate writing prize in the country. As you may recall, Stephanie was a previous guest on Delmarva’s Own, and we spoke about her recent book, Chasing Alice. In the days since our meeting the Independent Publisher Book Awards announced that Chasing Alice was the Bronze Medal winner in the True Crime category. Stephanie knows writing and publishing, and she knows how confusing it can be for writers. From the Salt Water Publishing website:
Our philosophy is simple: just because an author chooses to self-publish doesn’t mean it has to look like an amateur project. We create custom, interior layouts and make sure each book has a great cover. All the little pieces of the puzzle are in place. Our job is to understand the project and then bring it to life. With us, the client doesn’t need to worry about the technical components or formats and layouts. We’ve got it covered!
Salt Water has a bit more to offer too, and in an area you’re not likely to find at all independent publishers. This is where Patty Gregorio brings her own expertise. She is a bonafide Apple expert (…as in the computers…) carrying certifications as an Apple Associate and an Apple iCracked Technician. (Having used Patty’s expertise to solve my own Macbook problems, I can attest to her work!) Salt Water also serves as a second-hand Apple store of sorts, offering limited sales of apple products, tech support, tech tutoring, website design, and even tech classes.
Salt Water Media can be found at www.saltwatermedia.com.
There might be a certain type of “help others” gene in the blood of award-winning authors. Much like Fowler above, Crystal Heidel also jumped into the indie publishing world in an effort to help aspiring writers conquer the details of book publication. Heidel’s cover designs have won multiple awards from the Delaware Press Association Communications Contest. Heidel launched Byzantium Sky Press to publish her own novel, Still Life in Blood, but soon realized that designing covers and helping other authors publish was her passion. She has spent years helping members of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild create covers for their works.
Byzantium Sky Press has a passion for helping women develop their voices as authors. From the website:
Byzantium Sky Press is a small indie publisher dedicated to sharing the voices of empowering, tenacious, magnetic, goddess-embodied women writers who are not afraid to be who they are and change lives with their words.
In addition, BSP aims to simplify the details of the publication process which may prove overwhelming for the uninitiated. Their work puts the decisions about the process back in the hands of the author, and gets rid of the intimidating aura of large publishing companies.
As a show of their commitment to simplicity and transparency, you’ll find most of the fees for the work they do listed right on their website. No surprises here!
Oh, and while BSP’s bread and butter is women authors, a perusal of the website proves they’ve worked in various capacities with male writers as well – from cover designs to book sales.
Owner/Editor/Publisher: Nancy Day Sakaduski
Cat & Mouse Press (CMP) publishes engaging, inclusive, award-winning books with a connection to the Delmarva region, manages the annual Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest, and offers resources and opportunities for writers. Publications include short story collections for adults, how-to resources for writers, children’s picture books, journals, and even a board book for toddlers. They provide a showcase for local writers and illustrators through their publications, which are professionally edited, produced, and marketed. CMP treats writers and illustrators with respect and works collaboratively to produce the finest books possible.
The company’s Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest, which is now in its ninth year, runs from March 1 to July 1 and seeks stories of 500 to 3,500 words that have a connection to Rehoboth Beach and fit the annual theme. A panel of judges selects the top stories, which are published as an anthology. The top three stories also receive cash prizes. The contest is sponsored by Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. Books in the series have won state and national awards and are popular with residents and visitors alike.
The company also publishes a free weekly online newspaper, Writing is a Shore Thing, which offers a curated selection of expert advice on a variety of topics related to writing and publishing. Subscribers receive an email each week with clickable links to content in the newspaper. Many writers find the publication saves them time selecting useful content from the overwhelming array of information on the internet.
Cat & Mouse Press is owned by Nancy (Day) Sakaduski, an award-winning writer and editor. She has authored 24 books, including The Mermaid in Rehoboth Bay, which received first-place awards from Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women. She also wrote How to Write Winning Short Stories and its companion, How to Write Winning Short Stories Workbook, which were based on her experiences helping writers perfect their short stories and prepare them for publication. Many writers have credited the books with helping them get published.
Nancy founded Cat & Mouse Press to create “playful” books that have a connection to the Delaware shore and provide a way for new and emerging writers to have their work published. She enjoys working with writers to help them improve their writing and experience the joys of publication. She does indeed have a cat, and probably a mouse or two, as the cat prefers napping to hunting.
Owner: Jamie Brown
The Broadkill River Press is an independent publisher located Milton, DE. Owned and operated by Jamie Brown, the press publishes the winner of the annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. Since 2009, the company has published some forty-six books and chapbooks from the region and beyond.
Brown founded and edited The Broadkill Review for its first ten years (2007-2016), and organized and ran the John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Poetry for its first ten years (1999-2008) in the town of Milton, Delaware. He is the author of The Delaware Bay: Poems, which won the Delaware Press Association’s 2020 Prize as the Best Chapbook of Poetry, and four other books, Sakura: A Cycle of Haiku, which won DPA’s Prize for Best Book of Poetry in 2014, Constructing Fiction, a chapbook on craft, Conventional Heresies, a full-length collection of poetry, and Freeholder and Other Poems, a chapbook of poetry. He is currently working on three novels and a collection of short fiction. His poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been widely published and he is a prize-winning playwright.
The Broadkill Review is a literary quarterly and can be found at broadkillreview.com. Founded in 2009, the journal publishes short drama, poetry, book and media reviews, interviews, short fiction, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. Edited by Kari Ann Ebert and Stephen Scott Whitaker, the journal also features a podcast where the editors discuss poems from the current issue. The Broadkill Review publishes emerging writers and established writers and welcomes submissions from writers from underrepresented backgrounds. Fiction, non-fiction, and drama submissions will open on January 1, 2022. Poetry submissions for the Winter issue will open on October 1 and close on November 1. You can find submission information here https://www.broadkillreview.com/submissions
Founding Publisher/Editor: Dianne Pearce
Devil’s Party Press (DPP) has a mission to provide good publishing opportunities for talented authors who have passed their 40th birthday. The editorial staff works to develop relationships with authors, and usually choose their full-length authors from authors who have published shorter pieces with them.
DPP publishes novel-length fiction (novels/short story collections by a single author) via their imprints: Hawkshaw (detective) Out of This World (sci fi), Gravelight (horror) and Devil’s Party Press (literary fiction). Publishing occurs through the traditional model, so no fees to the authors, and payments in royalties. DPP is not vanity press. That is, authors do not pay them to publish their work, and they are pretty selective in who the accept for publication.
DPP’s publication runs close to an even split between local authors and authors from elsewhere. Their books are available locally at Browseabout Books, and they have sold out of DPP titles multiple times over the 2021 summer.
Currently, DPP is releasing 4 books this year, but typically produce more. They 8 scheduled for 2022, and 8 for 2023, so those interested in publishing with DPP would need to consider 2024, for which they already have a few books lined up.
Devil’s Party Press is run by husband and wife team David Yurkovich and Dianne Pearce, both of whom bring extensive experience as publishers and authors. Dianne has been teaching creative writing since the 1990s, and Dave, who is also an accomplished artist and designer, has been editing professionally (most recently for Hearst) since the 1980s. Their experience has enabled them to recognize a good book when we see one. Because we are a two-man team we have open and closed periods for submissions, and anyone interested in opportunities with us should polish up their work, and try submitting through our lit mag and anthologies first.
Coming soon from DPP, local author William Crandell and Vietnam veteran is publishing the first book in his 4-book detective series (hardboiled, think Chandler) with DPP this fall. Bill won short-story of the year through DPP nationally in 2019.
Owner/Editor – Ron Sauder
Secant Publishing is located in Salisbury, MD. They are primarily interested in Chesapeake Bay-centric fiction and non-fiction, and are passionate about supporting authors from a Black or Native American Heritage, two groups of people who continue to be under-represented in the literature of the Eastern Shore. The works they publish can be produced in hardback or paperback, depending on the genre, and almost all works are also published in e-format. ESWA members will recognize some names of people who have been published by Secant.
Authors interested in publishing with Secant should first contact Ron Sauder at ,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secant also offers an annual story contest with, wait for it… … prize money! The deadline for 2021 submissions has passed (May 1) and the and the resulting anthology will be published in the fall, in plenty of time for the holiday season. Authors interested in future opportunities to publish and perhaps win a bit of money are directed to the the website for more information. There is a $10
reading fee, and submissions are accepted exclusively through the Duosuma submission platform. Registration with Duosuma is free.
You can find Secant Publishing https://secantpublishing.com/ .
Poets take note, Secant does not publish poetry and has no plans to do so in the future. But have no fear, we got more for you below!
Quartet Editors: Gail Braune Comorat, Jane C. Miller, Linda Blaskey, Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll
We read to live and survive.
The above quote comes from the about page on the Quartet website, and given the primary contributors – women over the age of 50 – it’s easy to understand why the work published here will not only bring rhythm and rhyme, but also wisdom borne over time.
(…and that, my dear readers, is the best I have to offer when it comes to writing my own poetry. My apologies. Their site continues…)
We believe experience speaks for itself, that by fifty we’ve accumulated enough courage to revel in our talents. We want to read poems that tackle difficult themes, that bend or honor traditional forms, that surprise and illuminate, that are genuine, that have momentum and play with language.
Quartet launched in January of 2021 when four friends – Gail Braune Comorat, Jane C. Miller, Linda Blaskey and Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll – saw a publication void and took steps to fill it. The online poetry journal released its 3rd issue in July to great success. The journal has been read in over 40 countries and is viewed 278% more than other journals in its category, Books and Literature, in the United States.
The aptly named Quartet (with 4 founders) releases a new issue each…quarter. You can find the website at www.quartetjournal.com
Poetry Editors: Caroline Chavatel, Emma DePanise, John A. Nieves
The Shore is evidence of the permanent influence electronic media has brought to the art. Founded in 2019 by Emma DePanise, John A. Nieves, and Caroline Chavatel, The Shore is an online journal publishing 4 times a year. This seems an appropriate tribute to the seasons of life which can bring emotions which run the gamut. The Shore wants only asks one thing: that the finished submissions be the best you have to offer. Works that are as raw as the wounds life provides for us and the gifts we’re given.
Submission deadlines are:
September 1 – Autumn Issue
December 1 – Winter Issue
March 1 – Spring Issue
June 1 – Summer Issue
For further submission guidelines, visit the website at www.theshorepoetry.org.
You can also find all previously published issues linked on the site.
The staff at The Shore Poetry want you to know that the metrists there “are dedicated to promoting our authors vigorously. We work hard for good poetry.”
So What’s Your Story
Hosts: Stephanie Fowler and Tony Russo —http://www.sowhatsyourstorypodcast.com
Stephanie and Tony have amassed quite the collection of conversations with authors about why and how they write. This podcast is for you, the writer who wants to do it better!
And of course…Delmarva’s Own!
(The above post contains affiliate links.)