Why Writers Need a Writing Group @HeatherWeidner1

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

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Writing is often a lonely effort. I believe writers at all stages of their careers need opportunities to interact with other writers. I am a member of Sisters in Crime (National, Central Virginia, and Guppies), James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. These groups are invaluable for the education, support, ideas, and comradery. Here’s why I think you need a writers’ group…

1.   You will find critique partners or beta readers. My Sisters in Crime chapter has a mystery critique group. This is a chance for me to get feedback from readers and writers in my genre. I have learned so much from my reviews and the discussions of others’ work. It is a time commitment, but it is well worth it when I’m trying to polish a manuscript.

2.   You will learn about publishing opportunities. Many groups publish anthologies. This gives members an opportunity to gain publishing credits and learn about the process. These groups also share information about calls for submission and other opportunities for writers. My very first short story, “Washed up” was published in a Sisters in Crime mystery anthology, Virginia is for Mysteries. Also, many writing conferences publish themed anthologies.

3.   You will learn stuff. Many groups offer conferences like James River Writers. It’s a wonderful opportunity to attend panels, discussions, and workshops. They also have pitch opportunities with agents. Sisters in Crime and Guppies offer free or discounted online webinars (live and recorded) to its members. There are also scholarships available for other learning opportunities. Many also have local programs. My Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter has had programs recently on how authors and libraries can work together, crime reporting, and a tour of the courts with the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

4.   You will meet readers and writers. These groups are great ways to network and meet others. Many have social events and programs. Some have casual meet ups. You’ll make contacts and have opportunities to share information. I call on my networks for things like blurbs and to fill guest blog posts. It’s also a way to share opportunities and ideas. My writer friends are wealth of information.

5.   You will expand your social media following. When you meet people and network, you connect in person and on the web. I subscribe to lots of author newsletters because I want to keep up with their books. It’s a great way to stay connected. Plus, it will give you ideas for your website, newsletter, and social media platforms.

6.   You will find volunteer opportunities. These groups are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of events or projects. This is a great way to give back and to meet others.

7.   You will learn about opportunities for writer appearances. My SinC-CV chapter keeps a speakers’ bureau list. Librarians and book clubs are always contacting us asking for a speaker for their group/event. Also, many of these groups host events where they need speakers/panelists. My SinC-CV group hosts Mysterypalooza which is a writers’ panel and book signing.

My memberships in writing groups are well worth it. I have met so many great writers (and readers) who share their time, energy, and ideas, and they have helped me tremendously on my writing journey.


Synopsis of Glitter, Glam, and Contraband

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

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