The Maryland Writers Association created the Writers’ Roundtable program to encourage writers, poets, playwrights and authors through monthly articles and events.
Articles by well-known Maryland authors and tips from relevant Fun With Words writers are at the heart of the program. Each month, Southern Maryland newspapers feature a Maryland Writers Guild article about a writer. We encourage Marylanders to read these articles and try to follow the writing prompts each month.
Types of: Romance. Works that focus on romantic relationships in historical periods, often in which an independent woman meets and quarrels with a stronger man who ultimately wins or wins her love. The key to this genre is an emotionally satisfying and upbeat ending.
Example reading list: “Grand Thief Redemption” series (six volumes), “The Lost Lord” series (eight volumes), “Fallen Angels” series (seven volumes) and “Christmas Romance” (eleven volumes).
“Ideas are everywhere, the hard part is turning them into books.” —Mary Jo Putney
Born in upstate New York, the award-winning best-selling author earned degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design from Syracuse University.
Putney, who eventually settled in Baltimore, likes to say: “I was born with a reading addiction for which there is currently no cure.”
As evidence of her addiction, she reads everything she can see, but especially loves action, adventure, romance, history, and happy endings, all of which are essential components of historical fiction.
Growing up, Putney’s dream was to be a writer — she always had stories in her head — but it wasn’t until she got her first computer that she felt it was feasible. She then realized the great advantage it gave a writer, which inspired her to write her first book, The Demon Baron, in 1987. She weaves action, adventure, romance, history, and happy endings into her novels, and she succeeds.
This prompted her to become a full-time writer and leave her graphic design business.
Her historical romances are known for featuring main characters from difficult childhoods. As a result, her novels are known for their psychological complexity, including challenging issues of alcoholism, abuse, death, and dying.
Putney is also an accomplished writer. In addition to her strong work in historical romance, she also writes contemporary women’s fiction, young adult romance fantasy, and historical fantasy. Her repertoire includes more than 50 books, and she’s still writing.
Her books have appeared on all the national bestseller lists, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Dancing on the Wind and The Rake and the Reformer were awarded RITA by American Romance Writers and in 2013 received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her advice to hopeful authors is to “read, read, read, then write, write, write. Since talent is not uncommon, the defining characteristic of a successful writer is a strong drive to tell a story.”
MWA invites writers to enjoy writing historical legends as much as Mary Jo Putney did. Using just 100 words, a pair of man and woman suffering from childhood trauma are placed in a historical context (identify which period) as they struggle to heal and build a better life. Title your work and submit by the 22nd of the month to: https://marylandwriters.org/Notable_Maryland_Authors to receive a MWA Fun With Words Certificate of Submission. Selected responses will be published with the next month’s article and posted on the MWA website.
Last month, readers were asked to write puzzles like Tim Cockey in 00 words or less, pick a character from a career unrelated to puzzle solving, and start a puzzle with something found under the snow.
Here are some regional responses:
Soft and perfect snow fell overnight. My grandson Dylan and I went hunting for animal tracks. We found bird and squirrel tracks. Some small footsteps went away.
“What could they be,” he asked?
“A little man. Maybe a goblin.”
“Grandpa, does he have his pot of gold?”
“I don’t know. Maybe?”
We dig along a stable track. Snow was pulled up, then put back in place to cover what he was hiding.we didn’t bother with it
“Did he bury his first pot of gold here?”
“Maybe. It’s a mystery.”
“Let’s continue to follow his trail and catch him.”
I sit at my desk and wait for my students to come back. I kept wondering how the teacher across the hall left. No notes, nothing. No one even went to him. I stood up as I put on my coat. I will go to him. I went outside when I saw my kids lined up. I walked through the parking lot and through the trees. Then I saw snow dug up and a shovel. As I approached, I saw that hidden under the snow was the teacher across the hall.
– Mackenzie Tate, Prince Frederick
“Coach Nina! Coach Nina! My triaxial combination landed!”
Nina Myers smiles at her 13-year-old figure skating protégé. “I see!” she said. “Good job, Vivienne! Now, that’s enough for today. Get off the ice and we’ll take you home.”
Nina marvels inwardly at Vivienne’s boundless energy as the teenage girl jumps into the parking lot in excitement as she jumps to land.
It snowed while they were training. The asphalt road and the vehicles parked on it were painted white.
Halfway to Nina’s SUV, Vivian suddenly tripped over something under the snow.
“Vivian? Are you okay?” Nina asked.
Young skaters have no movement to stand up. “Huh, Coach? Someone lost a boot here, it looks like it’s all blood!”
– Kate Lassman, Charles County
The red light from Eusebius “CB” Kant’s headlamp rises and falls on a pair of big hairy feet. They stick out from under the no-way snow.
The amateur astronomer straps his backpack telescope to the shoulder of his parka. Had his health department colleagues mischievously invaded his secret hill southeast of Bryantown? He crawled forward, the snow creaking under his hiking boots, toward his head.
The man behind the mask is dead, with white eyes and a bullet hole in his forehead. CB believes that such costumes should carry a warning label: impersonating Sasquatch may be harmful to your health.
– Lawrence McGuire, Walldorf
Pearlberg — The-Snowplow-Driver walks into the last national snowbanks. Pearlberg finds lost lollipops and an empty vault. Back outside, Pearlberg found a lone pink snowshoe under a snowdrift. Pierberg then followed some tracks (apparently left by a getaway snowmobile) to an icy lair with a sign that read: “Snow Rabbit Bandit / No Crime Too Small / Free Valuation.” Pearlberg A girl was spotted wearing a fluffy pink parka and a single pink snowshoe. She doesn’t look as pure as Feng Fuxue. Pielberg yelled, “You’re guilty of first-degree robbery…less than zero!” [rim-shot]
The Snow Rabbit Robber spat out a lollipop and retorted: Keep shoveling! If you think you’re burying me with snow work…you’re a liar!
MWA is a 35-year-old statewide association dedicated to encouraging and mentoring Maryland writers, poets, playwrights and writers.