Saturday, March 8, 2014

AAUW Book and Author Champagne Brunch

Marie Gilbert with the SJWG anthology
By Marie Gilbert

Four of the writers featured in South Jersey Writers' Group's anthology Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey, were invited to speak at the Medford Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Champagne Brunch held at the beautiful Medford Leas Community Center on Route 70 in Medford.

This event was to help benefit AAUW’s 2014 Scholarship Fund for women returning to college. The four SJWG writers and guests of the event were Dawn Byrne, Joanne Costantino, Jennifer M. Eaton, and Marie Gilbert, who were warmly greeted by everyone there at the Champagne Brunch.

The AAUW’s goals are to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. The President of the Medford Branch of AAUW is Mary Ann Brookes and was helped in preparing for the brunch by Elsie Behmer, Nancy Sauer, Lynne Poag, Cidnie Richards, Dian Hattrick, Gladys Lowden-Metz, Linda Chamberlain, Mary Strickler, and Rita Manno.

Rita Manno and Elsie Behmer
Rita Manno, who has promoted our group since our book’s launch, interviewed the writers a few weeks ago and her interview of us was featured in the Burlington County Times and the Central Record. Dawn and I set up the book table as soon as we arrived, which gave us time to chat with the lovely members of AAUW.

After brunch, Joanne Costantino stood at the podium to give the AAUW members a little background history of the South Jersey Writers’ Group and what the group’s goals are and where we’re heading. Joanne spoke about her writing and her inspirations for her stories. Before introducing Dawn to the members, Joanne read one of her poems called “A Flowing: An Ode to a Kidney Stone” to the rousing applause of the assembly.

Dawn Byrne
Dawn Byrne then stood at the podium to talk about her published works with Chicken Soup for the Soul, and about her facilitating the Critiquing Program with fellow SJWG member Kevin Stephany. Dawn explained to the AAUW members the importance of a critique group and how she and Kevin go about orchestrating this program for our group. Dawn also detailed the work she and Marie do with marketing and promoting the group and the anthology.

Marie Gilbert was up next and explained where she gets her inspiration for her horror and ghost stories, using her ghost hunting investigations as an example. Marie also talked about writing for the Pop Culture website Biff Bam Pop!, and Go Jane News and ended with her blog stories on family and especially the weekly Life with Fred & Lucy posts. Marie was asked to read one of her stories from Tall Tales and Short Stories.

Elsie Behmer and Mary Ann Brookes
Jennifer M. Eaton was last up at the podium and spoke about her books, her experience in getting her books published, and the pros and cons for a writer in today’s publishing world. The members of the audience asked Jennifer questions on publishing, agents and her newest books, The First Day of the New Tomorrow and Paper Wishes. The floor was then opened for people to ask questions from all four writers.

It was an enjoyable day spent with the lovely members of the AAUW and it was for a great cause. Check out the Medford Branch of the AAUW or their main national website to see all the good work they’re involved in.

We sold a lot of our books and we’re hoping to be invited back again when our group’s next two anthologies are published. Thank you to everyone with the Medford Branch of the AAUW responsible for this wonderful event.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, Marie. Just getting to read it. Great time.


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