Friday, September 28, 2012

Arts Council Members: Marketing Workshop Upcoming!!

Dear Arts Council Members:

Based on input we received from the membership at our annual meeting this summer, we have planned a half-day workshop designed to help you "Take Your Marketing to the Next Level." The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon (coffee and networking from 8:30 a.m. to 9) on Saturday, October 27, in the McCoart Building's Board Chamber. Detail is in the attached flier.

A couple of important notes:

- This free workshop is open to all members of the PWC Arts Council--individual artists, non-profits and for-profit arts organizations. Please feel free to forward this invitation to your board members, volunteers or anyone who assists with your marketing and outreach.

- If you plan to attend, please RSVP to me before October 21 so we can have sufficient handouts and resource materials available.

We hope to see you on the 27th! This promises to be an engagine workshop where you can learn and share ideas about how to market the local arts.

Kathy Bentz

PWC Arts Liaison


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1956 Ford, 2-door Coupe, Black: A Short Story by Chip Deyerle

1956 Ford, 2-door Coupe, Black

By Chip Deyerle

That was part of a radio call heard on the police monitor that Friday evening m in the newsroom of a small town newspaper in southwest Virginia. It would also be the story line in the Saturday morning paper, complete with photographs. The background noise of the newsroom became quiet except for the City Editor who was busy taking another news story from a distant reporter in Abington. Two other reporters and two staff photographers finishing sandwiches for their dinner drew immediately near the news room police monitor.

“All cars, be advised that… WT-7… is following a suspicious vehicle… northbound on Rt. 221…stand by for further information,” came the deep, southern voice of the duty police dispatcher.

Moments later, “Dispatch, this is WT-7, ” came a quiet response. “ Run this plate – Virginia 245-669.”

“Roger, WT-7”replied the dispatcher.

Moments later, WT-7 advised he was now closer to the suspicious vehicle and moving at the speed limit, but he advised for downtown units to be on the lookout for the vehicle should the situation change. The dispatcher acknowledged the message.

It was only moments later that WT-7 called again, this time with alarm that the suspect vehicle had failed to stop on the Viaduct over the railroad tracks outside the city center, and was now speeding at a very high rate toward an intersection with US 460 and an escape east of town . The 1962 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor driven by WT-7 was not good matchup against the little 56 Ford Coupe.

It was clear to all who listened to the monitor that 56 Ford Coup was suspected to be driven by a bootlegger from the” wettest county in America,” Franklin County, Virginia.

“All cars… WT-7 is in pursuit of a… 1956-2 door coupe, black…last seen approaching Williamson Road and Orange Avenue. WT-7 is… gray four door Crown Victoria. Use caution as this vehicle is traveling at a very high speed,” said the dispatcher.

The news room ignited into a flurry of activity and two photographers grabbed their Leica M3’s and some flashbulbs and ran to the back of the news room exit. Bounding down four flights of stairs, both headed for the stair well to the basement garage and the 1962 Red Comet with the newspaper and News logo on both doors of the car.

The comet was easily recognized when used to make news runs for spot news stories and photos because it had the word “NEWS” on both doors, along with the company name and logo just below.

With the police chase underway, the dispatcher directed available motorcycle units 14 and 19 on traffic duty to aid in the chase if available. The dispatcher also called out the only K-9 unit in town to assist if needed.

Police units reported that they were converging on Orange Avenue east of town and were awaiting further instructions or updates.

By now WT-7 was moving at a high rate of speed and having difficulty keeping up with the speeding Ford. He attempted to contact the dispatcher again but his radio signal was breaking up as he moved out of range of the police radio communications system.

“You are breaking up, WT-7 –what is your location?” call the dispatcher desperately.

Large static was the response.

“All units be advised that WT-7 is in pursuit and is breaking up –stay off the radio unless I call you,” said the dispatcher taking back control of the air waves.

As WT-7 passed the Vinton turnoff, he found a car wreck in the intersection, with drivers and passengers out of their cars. One man was pointing east and waving in that direction. WT-7 floored the crown Victoria and picked up the chase.

WT-7 called the wreck in, suspecting that the black ford was probably culpable in the intersection accident. The police dispatcher advised of the accident and directed one of the units to work traffic in the intersection and to make sure other pursuing units are aware. He also dispatched the Life Saving Squad to respond for any injuries.

Further down the road, the black Ford pursued by the gray Ford Crown Vic was drawing closer and closer to a Semi Tractor trailer hauling groceries for a food warehouse in Salem, Virginia. Moving west at 55 miles per hour, the truck driver was not aware of the approaching police chase, nor was there any warning on his CB radio.

Meanwhile the black Ford was using the left lane of highway of a three lane highway to pass vehicles left and right. There were now about four cars and three pickup trucks that had been forced off the road on a four mile stretch of the highway.

By this time the County Sheriff Deputies had been dispatched to participate in the chase. Other counties along the highway were also alerted to the potential police chase. It would be difficult to set up road blocks, and by now, WT-7 was just out of radio contact with the police dispatcher. Messages would have to be relayed via on-scene police officers to units stopped along the chase route.

Near Bonsack, the Black Ford topped a hill while passing two cars at close to 100 miles per hour, when the truck driver saw three sets of headlights rapidly approaching r a head on collision. To avoid the catastrophe, the truck driver did the only thing he could do and that was to take his chances with a ditch on the right side of the road and into a ditch. Fortunately his injuries were minor.

In hot pursuit, the gray crown vic reached almost 120 mph as he hugged the center lane of the 3-lane highway. He could see the tail lights of his quarry dead ahead.

“WT-7-I’ve got him in sight below Bonsack, still heading east.”

“Roger, WT-7 – there are two back up units about a minute behind you.”

WT-7 acknowledged as he pushed up the hill at Bonsack. Topping the hill he saw two cars off the right side of the road and then the huge tractor trailer on its side in the ditch on the left. Looking for debris in the road, he kept the pedal down and sped off into the darkness of the Virginia country side. He could now see the flashing of red police lights in his rear view mirror and knew that he was a force majeure to deal with the speeding black Ford.

Around the next curve, and up another hill, the back-up police cars were very close now as was the Black Ford in front. Of a sudden, the black Ford began to lose speed about four hundred yards ahead. The driver’s door suddenly popped open and the driver tumbled out to the pavement while the car continued to roll forward. As quickly as the driver had hit the pavement, he was running at a crouch toward the underbrush on the left side of the highway and just as quickly disappeared. WT-7 slammed on the brakes and slid the next two hundred yards where he was abreast of the Black Ford, with engine still running. Shifting into park in one move, he was out the door running with his .38 Police Special aimed at the brush.

The backup units relayed to the Police Dispatcher that they were now on scene and pursuing the driver on foot. From the east, a Virginia State police car arrived on scene and set up a perimeter around the vehicle after shutting it off and putting the keys in his pocket. He was at once aware that the car carried moonshine, or illegal alcohol, or hooch, or white lightning.

The ground search did not produce any results that night, although when the reporters from the newspaper came roaring up in their little red comet, there was anticipation of another headline of a great chase and the capture of a large amount of illegal moonshine liquor. This stop tonight will put a dent in illegal alcohol in this county tonight, or so the police thought. After all it was a great chase and lots of mayhem this evening.

The picture of the 56 2-door Black Ford revealed the stacked boxes of mason quart jars stacked tightly in the truck and where the back seat had been removed. But this was not an ordinary “bootleg Car”.

Not by a long shot. The fact that Black Ford had carried as much booze as it did was overshadowed by the Hurst Speed Shifter recently installed; the massively rebuilt block sporting three four-barrel carburetors, racing transmission, special tires, and reinforced front end. Whoever built this car, was probably building stocks for NASCAR and other racing organizations, commented one of the police officers.

The story that night did not reflect who the driver was. While the police were credited with seizing some 18 gallons of illegal booze, the property damage done by the errant driver was in the thousands of dollars. People were injured and taken to the hospital, but thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. The little Black Ford Coupe, however, was not damaged in the slightest. No one disagreed that the little Ford could probably make some money in drag racing or perhaps even stock car races. That night the little black Ford was towed off to the Police Impound lot back in town, where it would be checked for any incriminating evidence. The vehicle might be sold at auction or other means.

It was two weeks later, on a similar Friday night that another chase ensued, this time on nearby neighborhood streets. The news room came alive as it always does when there is a reported police car chase. This call was quickly followed by a fire call to a fire alarm pull box on a street corner near 10th street, in the area of the police chase. As the Newspaper’s comet arrived on scene, so did the 1956 Ford, being driven by WT-7! Going through the gears, the little Ford made a quick left turn toward 9th street and stopped a t a house where another bootleg car, a 1956 Plymouth, white and dark pink with large tailfins, had been abandoned just moments before. Apparently the fire alarm was used to block the police chase, and quite effectively. The K-9 unit arrived and the dog and handler took off down the ally in pursuit of the driver. That driver as well, was never located.

No one seems to recall what ever happened to the Little Black Ford, but somewhere out there, the little 1956 Ford 2-door Coupe had its fifteen minutes of fame as the fastest police car of its day. Doomed to a brief life on undercover police assignments, its spirit could never be the tamed beast that it really was, running wild and wide open as it did the night it let the driver escape.

Back at the news room, there were feet on the desk at about 10:30. The police monitor was strangely silent. The story line and photos were in the editor’s office for final release. The paper was “put to bed" by about 11:00 as it was every evening except Saturday, and the presses were getting ready to run. The photographers and reporters were finished with their assignments for the evening and would head out the door to go home. But all four were still thinking about the Little Black Ford in their mind’s eye, wondering what it would be like to take it out for a little drive and really crank it up, just like the bootleggers. But reporters just report the story and the facts; they don’t make the news.


WbtR member "Chip” Deyerle is a Virginia-born writer /photographer and retired military officer with a passion for steam railroading. His website is and two other websites:; and He lives in Bristow, VA.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Turning the Page: We Need Your Opinion

Write by the Rails is at the point of a vote:

Do you want Write by the Rails to remain a loosely-organized local networking group?

Or, do you want Write by the Rails to organize as “Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club”?

June Forte, President of the Virginia Writers Club, met with 12 of us on Sat., Sept. 15 at Trinity Episcopal Church.  She gave us a chapter startup kit, application and a great presentation of the requirements and benefits.

The requirements to become a chapter: we would need to have five people join the Virginia Writers Club at $30/year dues (two of our group are already members).  We would elect officers, establish bylaws and have two representatives drive to Charlottesville or Richmond to meet with the club each year.

The benefits include a 501c3 designation, the ability to apply for mini-grants from the state club (and perhaps the Prince William County Arts Council, if they accept Write by the Rails as a member group), listings on the state website’s bookstore for all authors who join, and for those of us who offer editing services; also writing contests, educational programming, and more.

If you need more information, check out the state website at and follow the links to the other nine chapters to see what they’re doing.

Thank you to June Forte; thank you to Chip Deyerle for drafting bylaws and thank you to everyone who attended the summer meetings exploring this issue. 

Stacia Kelly is sending a survey link to the e-list.  If you haven’t received it by Monday, Sept. 17, send an email with your name and email address to and Stacia will send you the survey.  Or, click here to access the survey.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Virginia Writers Club Meets with WbtR Tomorrow!

Write by the Rails meets Sat., Sept. 15 at 2 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West St., Manassas. 
Our guest will be June Forte, president of the Virginia Writers Club. Should Write by the Rails become the Prince William Chapter of this statewide organization? 
If you are a writer in Prince William, Manassas or Manassas Park, please join us!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Local Authors Give Marketing Tips to Writers

Thirty people attended "How to Market Your Book," a panel discussion sponsored by Write by the Rails on Sept. 8 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Old Town Manassas.

Among other advice, here are five free tips that were offered by our writing pros:

1.        Bristow resident Carol Covin, author of Who Gets to Name Grandma,
detailed how social networking on websites such as and can build a platform and a fan base for your books

2.        Lake Ridge resident Nancy Kyme set up a blog, Campfire Memories
(, that both complements her book,
Memory Lake: The Forever Friendships of Summer, and drives traffic to it.
She landed a phone interview with the editor of the newspaper in the town
where she grew up, and now uses the article he published as a clip to
promote her book to others.  She also has an elevator speech to describe her
book that is attention-worthy of Twitter.

3.        Bristow resident Tee Morris talked about the value of producing a
short, compelling video trailer that will 'show, don't tell' a scene in your
book.  He ran three video trailers for his novels, including Phoenix Rising
and The Janus Affair to demonstrate.  Morris also explained how recording
your short stories on can easily pay a bill or two

4.        Manassas resident Ross Murphy is both an author of You Will Never
Dance Alone
and Dancing with the Devil and the acquisitions director for
Aberdeen Bay Publishing (  From a marketing standpoint,
Murphy warned "nobody cares about you, nobody cares about your book and
nobody wants to buy your book." After that splash of cold water, he advised
authors to create a marketing plan that casts both a wide natural market
(family, friends and a growing list of everyone you know and meet) and a
narrow target market (specific readers hungry for your specific subject
matter).  He also advised first-time authors to polish their product with a
professional editor before finding a mid-size press to publish it.  Don't
approach a mainstream publisher until you've sold at least 5,000 copies of
your book.

5.        Each attendee was given a handout of marketing tips from Claudia
LeFeve, author of Parallel, Paradox, unDead Dixie Debs and The Fury.  In the
handout she explained how running a free promotion for Parallel, the first
book in her series, on brought her 401 paid downloads of Paradox
in one week, landing her in the #2 spot in Hot New Releases in Sci-Fi on
Amazon.  Her formula for great success is limited to these essential things:
a. Write a good book; b. Have a great cover and c. Start writing your second

Dan Verner, Biscuit City blogger ( and Manassas
columnist, served as moderator of the event and Leigh Giza, author
of Found and Lost,
( coordinated the panel.

Our next meeting is Saturday, Sept. 15 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal
Church, 9325 West Street in Manassas.  Our guest will be June Forte,
President of the Virginia Writers Club.

For photos, visit our Facebook Page at

For more information on Write by the Rails, email

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Unhappy Story?

An Unhappy Frozen Yogurt Story
by WBTR Member Ron Glaser
This story does not have a happy ending.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, my wife Beth and I were driving back from Richmond, Virginia to Haymarket, Virginia. a two-hour drive, when we decided to stop by her Mother’s house on the way home to take care of some things her Mother (88 years old) asked us to do.  The clock had fallen off the wall after a cleaning lady dusted it too hard and the date and time needed resetting before hanging the clock back up.  The refrigerator door had a lot of moisture on it and needed checking.  The toilet was not completely flushing.   And a red warning light had suddenly appeared on the Toyota Camry her Mother still occasionally drove.

This was all going to take some time and I was going to be a little tired to start tackling these jobs after driving two hours.  I needed some energy to fortify myself.  So I started a conversation:

Ron:  “How about if we stop at Zingas and get some frozen yogurt before we go to your Mother’s?”

Beth:  “With all that traffic on route 29?  No.”

Ron:    “There shouldn’t be that much traffic.  It’ll be going the other direction.”

Beth:  There’s always traffic on 29.

Ron:   So it will take us a little longer.

Beth:  “You really don’t need yogurt.”

Ron:  “Yes I do!”

Beth:  “All that sugar is not that great for you.”

Ron:  “I’ll just get something simple.  A little vanilla and chocolate, and a little hot fudge sauce.  I don’t’ even need toppings.  Maybe just a few Oreos.”

Beth:  “You don’t need it.”

Ron:  “I know I don’t NEED it.  No one NEEDS frozen yogurt.”

Beth:  (Silence)

Ron:  “You know, if I had a heart attack right now, and died, you would really regret that you didn’t let me get the frozen yogurt.”

Beth:  “I think I would just regret the heart attack.”

Just then, as we were coming to a stoplight in Warrenton, Virginia,  we saw fire trucks and police cars about a block away facing us with their lights flashing. There must have been a big accident. 

Ron:  “I bet all those trucks and police cars are going for frozen yogurt.”

Beth:  “You are a sick puppy!”

Ron:  “We need to take a detour.”

So we did.  This added another ten minutes onto our trip.

Ron:  “After I check the clock, refrigerator and toilet, I’m going to have to take the car for a test ride to see if I can figure out what’s happening with that dashboard light.”

Beth:  “A test drive?  What, to get yogurt?  No.”

Ron:  “You know, this story is not going to have a happy ending cause I’m not getting frozen yogurt today.  I am going to write a story about this and it will have a sad ending.  People don’t like sad endings.”

I did not get my frozen yogurt that day.  I told you this story would not have a happy ending.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tomorrow is the day to learn how to market your book!

Don't forget!

Tomorrow, September 8, 2012, is the day of the Write by the Rails “How to Market Your Book” panel discussion.  The event will take place 12:30 to 2 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West Street in Manassas, VA. The event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Bristow husband and wife team Thomas Earl “Tee” Morris and Phillipa “Pip” Ballantine, Bristow resident Carol Covin, Lake Ridge resident Nancy Kyme, and Manassas resident Ross Murphy.

Dan Verner, “Biscuit City” blogger, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Participants will leave with a free handout of marketing tips by Claudia LeFeve, Manassas author. Books by other local writers will be available for purchase.

Much thanks to Leigh Giza, workshop coordinator, and all the other WBtR members who are making this happen.

Write by the Rails is working to raise the profile of the local literary community and explore ways to nurture, cultivate and help that community grow. Writers, published or unpublished, who are affiliated with Manassas, Manassas Park or Prince William County, are encouraged to join.

For more information, call 703-361-6941, or email

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letter from Poet Laureate Sofia Starnes: Call for Submissions

My name is Sofia Starnes. I was recently appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, and I would like to tell you about a project I have just initiated. I hope you will assist me in spreading the word.

This project, titled The Nearest Poem Anthology, is aimed at creating a lasting testament to the immediacy of poetry and its relevance to everyday life. My guiding premise is simple: we all have a poem with our name on it—not literally, and not a poem we've written, but a poem that seems addressed to us with unique immediacy, as if the poet had been thinking of us when he or she wrote the poem. When we find such a poem, we enter into a dialogue that is both intimate and lasting. We've found "our poem", a poem we'd like to keep near us.

The anthology, to be published after my tenure as poet laureate, will contain fifty to a hundred poems, all of them submitted by Virginians (with an emphasis on non-poets), accompanied by a personal explanation on why a particular poem is their "nearest" poem. The compelling nature of this brief essay will play an important role in my selection. I will endeavor to obtain reprint permissions for the poems, but if those are unavailable, excerpts will be published instead, as is legally allowed, in support of each essay.

So, at this point, I would like to put out a Call for Submissions, to readers of poetry, whether they write poetry or not. The wider the readership, the richer the anthology will be. Would you be able to assist me in this endeavor? Or could you advise me on an effective way to reach the many users of our libraries? I would be most grateful.

If you'd like to know more about this project, I would be delighted to talk to you about it. My number is 757-220-8595. Also, a complete description of The Nearest Poem Anthology, as well as guidelines for submission, appears on my website, and I have designed a brochure that can be downloaded from the site.

Thank you for any help you might provide in getting this project off the ground. I am eager to use my tenure as Poet Laureate to encourage poetry and to celebrate its readers, without whom a poem would never be fulfilled.

All good things,


Sofia M. Starnes
Poet Laureate of Virginia

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hell is Being a Republican in Virginia--A Literary Discussion

The Manassas Museum
9101 Prince William Street
Manassas, Virginia 20110

News Release
Date: August 30, 2012
Lisa Sievel-Otten


Hell is Being a Republican in Virginia: The Postwar Relationship Between John Singleton Mosby and Ulysses S. Grant

A Book Talk with Author David Goetz

Sunday, September 9, 2 p.m.

As 150th commemorations of the battles of Manassas or Bull Run conclude, one local author’s new book looks ahead to the political aftermath of the Civil War.
David Goetz, a well-known historian and Civil War tour guide who wrote Hell is Being a Republican in Virginia: The Postwar Relationship Between John Singleton Mosby and Ulysses S. Grant, will talk about his work during a free Book Talk at The Manassas Museum on Sunday, September 9 at 2 p.m.

The book tells the story of two unlikely allies who, at war’s end, put down their weapons and sought peace between the North and the South. Their 13-year post-war relationship, fueled by a mutual desire for peace and reconciliation, began when John Singleton Mosby, a Confederate hero, and Ulysses S. Grant, a Union hero and future President, built trust between themselves before moving on to the larger task of helping heal the nation.

In the book, Goetz also details Mosby’s role as a guerrilla chieftain in Virginia during the Civil War, the lives of both men during the early Reconstruction years, and what became of Mosby after Grant’s death in 1885 to his own in 1916.

“It is my fervent desire that you, dear reader, will also seek peace and reconciliation in your life and that our leaders will find ways to reconcile between themselves and follow the example of Grant and Mosby in healing our nation today and in the future,” Goetz writes.

Goetz, who has a professional background in public relations, sales and marketing, owns Mosby’s Confederacy Tours, is descended from the family of a Civil War chaplain, and is active in area Civil War associations. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and lives in Warrenton.

Hell is Being a Republican in Virginia: The Postwar Relationship Between John Singleton Mosby and Ulysses S. Grant is available at Echoes, The Manassas Museum Store. The September 9 Book Talk is free.