Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two Free Book Talks in September

For Immediate Release
Aug. 28, 2013
Contact: Patty Prince
703-257-8456 or 703-895-6535

Two Free Book Talks in September

City of Manassas, VA . . . In September, the Manassas Museum will host two free Book Talks, one on Sept. 8 and the other on Sept. 29. Both talks will be held at 2 p.m. at the Manassas Museum and are free to the public.

The first talk, on Sept. 8, features author and former Washington Post reporter Peter Carlson speaking about hislatest book Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy. This absorbing and somewhat humorous tale chronicles the unbelievable, but true adventures of New York Tribune Civil War correspondents Junius Browne and Albert Richardson. While trying to report on the war, the two were captured during the Battle of Vicksburg.

They suffered in multiple prisons, encountered a pirate and a secret society called the "Heroes of America." They then escaped over snowy mountains with the help of sympathetic southerners and slaves.

Carlson started writing and publishing newspapers when he was nine-years-old. He eventually found his way to the Boston Herald American, People magazine and The Washington Post, where he wrote features and columns for 22 years.

The second free Book Talk, on Sept. 29, features author Andrew Carroll who will discuss how his book, Here Is Where, grew out of a volunteer initiative to find and spotlight unmarked historic sites.

Before writing this book, Carroll trekked to every region of the country by car, train, plane, helicopter, bus, bike, kayak, and foot, seeking what he calls the "hidden history" that is all around us. His trek included Mound City, Arkansas, where a Civil War-era maritime disaster occurred that claimed more lives than theTitanic; the Paisley Five Point Caves, Oregon, where the oldest human DNA in America was discovered; Saluda, Virginia, where an African-American woman was jailed after refusing to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus, prompting a U.S. Supreme Court desegregation case-more than 10 years before Rosa Parks' arrest; and Rigby, Idaho, where a 14-year-old farm boy had a brainstorm that led to the invention of the television.

Andrew Carroll is the editor of several New YorkTimes bestsellers, including War Letters, which inspired the critically acclaimed PBS documentary of thesame name, and the Grammy-nominated audio version of the book. Andrew was the co-founder, with the late Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky, of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, which distributed free poetry books throughout the U.S.

Both books, Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy and Here is Where, are available at Echoes, The Manassas Museum Store at<>.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Three local writers to represent Prince William in state competition

Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, recognized winners of the chapter writing contest – the first tier of the VWC’s annual Golden Nib Contest – at their Aug. 15 meeting.

Of 178 networking local writers, there were 20 entries in the chapter contest (eight fiction, five nonfiction and seven poetry entries).  The distinguished panel of judges included Lillian Orlich, a guidance counselor in the Prince William County Public School System with 60 years of service (fiction); Kari Pugh, editor of Prince William Today (nonfiction) and Sofia Starnes, the Poet Laureate of Virginia, who graciously gave comments to the winning poets. June Forte, adjunct faculty at NOVA-Woodbridge and a member of VWC’s Board of Governors, organized the local contest.

These winners were chosen:
  • Fiction) First-Place: Cindy Brookshire, Manassas, “Woman of the Year”; Second-Place: R.P. Barr, Manassas, “Closing the Book”; Third-Place: Tamela J. Ritter, Haymarket, “Lima Beans & Barbie Dolls”
  • Nonfiction) First-Place: Carol Bellacera, Manassas, “And the Day Went Downhill”; Second-Place: Carol L. Covin, Bristow, “Remember Me”; Third-Place: June Pair Kilpatrick, Gainesville, “Reverberation: September 11, 2001”
  • Poetry)  First-Place: R.P. Barr, Manassas, “Seasons”; Second-Place: R. M. Goad, Woodbridge, “Bubble Wand”; Third-Place: Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, Bristow, “Lincoln from the Grave”
First-place winning entries have been forwarded to the Virginia Writers Club (VWC) for statewide competition. Carol Bellacera, declined to go forward, so Carol L. Covin will advance in the nonfiction category. Statewide awards are presented during the VWC Annual Meeting in November in Richmond.  For more information about VWC, the Golden Nib Contest, the upcoming Teen Golden Nib Contest and Write by the Rails, visit

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Minutes of the Write by the Rails Monthly Meeting August 15, 2013

President Cindy Brookshire opened the meeting at 7 PM.

Those in attendance reported on projects and needs.

Old Business

Cindy reported on a very productive officers’ meeting.

June Forte announced the local winners of the Golden Nib Contest. They were: Cindy Brookshire, Carol Covin, Burnett Deyerle III, Richard Barr, Tamela Ritter and Carole Foley Bellacera.

New Business

Katherine Gotthart reported that she would be at the Prince William County Fair representing the Rainbow Riding Center and also conduct a drawing for our basket of books by local writers.

Upcoming Events

Aug 20 – 2 to 4 pm meet and greet at Grounds Central Station, Manassas

Aug 24 & 25 – Authors at Civil War at the Junction, Manassas

Aug 26 – GMU-PW Welcome Week Community Corner

Aug 28 – 2 pm meet and greet at Uncle Sam’s Niece, 7568 Gardner Park Drive, Gainesville

Sept 26 - Fall for the Book Event 6-9 pm Hylton Center


Kate Brown-Wing spoke about illustrating books, publishing a quality book, and the business of promoting, publicizing and selling books.

Next Meeting: Thursday, September 19, at Trinity Episcopal Church. The speaker is Carol Covin—“”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Koi Pond

by Leigh Giza

I swim slowly
Inside a small prescribed circle
When I move I reflect the sun’s light
So that I will look pretty for you
And you will feed me

It’s going to be a long short life
Here there are few distractions
And fewer problems
But if I ever try to leave
You will put me back in my place

For my own good, you say
Because the fresh air
Might just kill me
And we wouldn’t want that
Now, would we?

Monday, August 12, 2013

From Member Bill Golden

I have only great expectations for this week. Have spent the last week at Walter Reed (WR) National Military Medical Center with some of the most challenged and courageous individuals that you will ever meet. Overcoming challenge is what gives us purpose. As always, every Monday is the chance to start anew. So let the games begin!

You cannot walk the WR halls without meeting brave lives that were shattered by war but now being rebuilt by some of the world's best doctors, specialists, therapists and nurses. ... It can be awkward ... What do you say? 'Gee, you are looking good' ... How do you look without looking? Missing arms and legs and hands and feet have been replaced by every contrivance of possibility in what now borders on sometimes cyborg design. ... And then you realize that it all goes on ... yesterday cannot be changed ... many of these wounded warriors have a smile on their face and their family by their side. The children of these warriors seem to adjust to their changed parent ... lots of smiles and playfulness ... at least in the hospital where services are provided to help the entire family evolve to what comes next: living life and overcoming life's challenges.

About the nurses, I spent quality time with 7 or 8 of them. There must be a special pill that each takes when they start their shift. Every WR nurse that I experienced was cheerful. Scary cheerful. Positive attitude cheerful. 'What can we do to help?' cheerful. It is the nurses of WR that most definitely help bring you back to living life. Bless them.

One other thing that I learned: don't try to laugh while in the ICU as you are recovering from a collapsed lung. It hurts like hell. ... Was trying to peel a banana and just as I was about to eat it I must have squeezed too hard. The damn thing flew off like a rocket across the floor into the hallway. I rang my bell and the nurse retrieved my banana ... with comment 'Perhaps it is best to eat something else' ... it was a good laugh but I cried for almost 20 minutes afterwards.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Free Book Talk: Mathew Brady, "Portraits of a Nation"

On Sunday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m., Author Robert Wilson will deliver a free book talk at the Manassas Museum about the photographer who captured the iconic images of Abraham Lincoln and so many others of that time.

Wilson's new book, Mathew Brady, Portraits of a Nation, has met with rave reviews.  Wilson, a resident of the City of Manassas, will travel to Boston, Paris and other great cities during his book tour.  Although his is one of hundreds of books examining Mathew's work, reviewers say Wilson has brought the photographer to life in a new way.  Wilson's richly illustrated biography chronicles Brady's influence on 19th-century photography and his role as promoter, innovator, teacher, mentor, collector, historian, and advocate for the new medium of photography.

The Civil War was the first war in history to leave a detailed photographic record, and more than ten thousand war images are attributed to the Brady studio. Wilson says that Brady knew better than anyone the dual power of the camera to record and excite, to stop a moment in time and preserve it. Mathew Brady, Portraits of a Nation is available at Echoes, The Manassas Museum Store at<>.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Call for Essays for Radio

1) WVTF: Looking for personal essays -- stories rooted in local experience. Listening Audience: 160,000 listeners in central and western Virginia and surrounding states. The presenter said she's seen essay accepted that just mention an area in their listening areas.  3:15 minute time slot (Just less than 600 words)
Presenter: Janis Jaquith. If you'd like her opinion on your essay and/or help with your delivery, mention her Virginia Writers Club Symposium's handout email her: . She can submit it to WVTF.

Some info on the station below:
The main broadcast center is located in Roanoke where a 12,000 square foot facility houses 11 studios, a large newsroom, state of the art operations, and staff offices. WVTF/RADIO IQ also has satellite studios/offices in Charlottesville’s downtown mall as well as news bureaus in Blacksburg and Richmond.
WVTF is our legacy public radio service offering a blend of NPR and regional/state news, classical music and Jazz as well as entertainment programs. TheWVTF network of broadcast signals includes 13 transmitters and translators serving central and western Virginia.    
The newer service, RADIO IQ and RADIO IQ With BBC News networks of signals feature a 24/7 news and talk format including content from the BBC, NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International, independent sources and our own reporters and producers. The 2 RADIO IQ networks consist of 9 radio signals serving central, southern, and southwestern Virginia plus the Richmond metro and Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County.
2) WMRA: Harrisonburg, VA will broadcast essays with political opinion in the "Civic Soapbox" series. The slot is 3 minutes long. Contact Martha Woodroof by email (didn't provide that) or phone: 800-677-9672. Submit essays to