Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’

Well, the reviews are in and they’re great!

OK, I’ve actually had them for weeks, but I just remembered that I have to send them to Communiversity at UC. In April, I taught a one-day workshop called “Writing to Publish.” We had a great class, with lots of good questions about writing, formatting, and publishing your work.

Here are some of the highlights from the evaluations:

“You learn from a person who actually practices. Thank you. Loved it!”

“I learned exercises to help me unlock my writing blocks.”

“Fantastic! I truly learned so much about the writing market. [Would recommend this class to others] absolutely — so informative and so constructive. Very thorough, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Your next opportunity to hear my instruction on writing and publishing will be at my Capon Springs Nonfiction Writers’ Retreat. Even if fiction’s your thing, you’ll benefit from the beautiful surroundings and the instruction from Ann Hagedorn and me.

Registration deadline is August 15. Make your $50 deposit through PayPal to reserve your place.

Ready to go? Make your deposit with PayPal:
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Capon Springs Nonfiction Writers’ Retreat
Postponed to Fall 2016
Capon Springs, West Virginia

Join us for a retreat in a fantastic mountain setting, where you’ll receive expert instruction from two award-winning writers: Ann Hagedorn and Wendy Hart Beckman. Learn the strategies and tactics of being a successful nonfiction author. Experience a one-on-one manuscript critique. And enjoy personal time for writing while exploring the exquisite, inspiring surroundings! The retreat fee of $450 includes all workshop instruction, lodging, meals, gratuities, and taxes. (more…)

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If you’re looking for a friendly environment with good food in which to share your writing for some gentle, constructive criticism, the Writing Workshop Workshop is for you! We meet at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month at Allyn’s Cafe in historic Columbia-Tusculum. Bring seven minutes’ worth of reading to share, $5 for the kitty — or more if you plan to eat or drink. We meet in the secret back room. I hope to see you there!

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I was invited on a Writing Blog Tour by Trudy Krisher (check out her blog at www.trudykrisher.blogspot.com). I’m ashamed to admit that I was on deadline when my “whistlestop” came, so I hope the train didn’t leave the station without me!

Trudy invited me to answer some questions about my work and writing process. Here are my answers.

1) What are you working on?
I just finished a book for the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing called University of Cincinnati College of Nursing: 125 Years of Transforming Health Care. The book will be published by Orange Frazer Press in time for the college’s 125th anniversary celebration in November. I really enjoyed learning about how UC’s nursing college was formed by a group of Cincinnati’s leading ladies, then went on to become the first to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing, and is now leading nursing education by offering online nursing degrees and using technology in nursing.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
So far all my books have been in the genre of nonfiction, but I have written for both adults and YA. I’d say that my work differs in that no matter what I write (I’m finishing up my first novel now), I want my readers to come away thinking, “Wow—I didn’t know that! That was interesting!” One of my supervisors also told me once, “That sense of humor of yours is never very far from the surface, is it?” He didn’t mean it in a good way, though. Incidentally, he is in my last book, Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati, but I won’t tell you who he is.

3) Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do for a variety of reasons, but often it’s because I’m asked to and I find the topic interesting. The College of Nursing book will be my eighth book. That means that half of the books I’ve published now were my idea and half were the publisher’s (or client’s) idea. But I have to find it interesting, or I wouldn’t be able to stick with it for an entire book.

4) How does your writing process work?
In almost every case—whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, magazine article or book—I start with a bubble map. I get all my existing ideas down on paper. I get all my “gaps”—my questions, or lack of knowledge—down on paper. Then I start researching, organizing or writing from there, depending on what type of work it is. But I always start with a bubble map. I have about 20 bubble maps going right now for books, essays and articles that I’d like to publish someday. It’s also a good exercise if I find myself stuck in traffic, or a boring meeting, or waiting in a doctor’s office without anything to read. When I finally get to the writing step, I tend to write nonfiction directly on the computer (because it’s less of a visceral process and more of an intellectual one for me). But with fiction, I tend to write it longhand, on lined paper. I spend a bit of time thinking about what type of writing implement I feel like that day. Then I think about what writing position and lighting I want to be in. It’s very organic.

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Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati has just hit the streets. If you want to hear a little bit about the book, check out the interview I did with Mark Perzel on WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition on May 16, 2014.


Founders and Famous Families starts with a look at the geological forces that made our city the sinus capital of the world that it is, then touches upon the native peoples who were here before the European Americans started arriving from New Jersey, New York and New England. The founding families in Cincinnati have been joined by new faces and new names, but many of them still remain to become the foundational families of the future.


On Wednesday, May 28, we will be holding the official book launch at the Cincinnati Museum Center at 7 p.m. I’ll talk about Nicholas Longworth as part of their regular Insights Lecture Series in a presentation called “a Glass of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Wow!” The talk will be followed by Q&A and coffee reception/book signing.





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The arrival of Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati is being heralded by talks at the annual “Books and Brunch” May 7 and a book launch at the Cincinnati Museum Center May 28.

After two years of research and writing, I am extremely pleased to announce that Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, Powells.com, or a local bookstore near you (like Joseph-Beth, here in Cincinnati).

And if you’re here in Cincinnati, you have two opportunities to hear me speak on topics from the book coming up in May.

First, I will be one of four featured speakers on May 7 at the “Books & Brunch” for the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati. They’re a nonprofit that helps children and adults with educational and health “gap” needs and helps them succeed in removing themselves from abusive environments. So, given the focus of what they do, I am talking about DeHart Hubbard and his being the first African American to win an individual Olympic gold medal, then winning an Enquirer contest that gave him a full-ride scholarship to the University of Michigan and what a successful, meaningful life he had afterward. Hubbard was the great-uncle of former Cincinnati mayor and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

Second, the official book launch takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28, at the Cincinnati Museum Center. I will talk about Nicholas Longworth in a presentation called “A Glass of Wine, a Loaf of Bread and Wow!” The talk will be followed by Q&A and a book signing.

I did a lot of my research for the book at the Museum Center (and of course at the fantastic Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library) and the Museum Center is a wonderful, valuable resource in our community, so I am donating 5 percent of my profits to the Museum Center.

The May 28 event is free (except for $4 for parking; handicapped accessible parking is available). Wood, Herron & Evans is sponsoring a coffee reception during the book signing.

I’m supposed to be doing a book signing in June at Joseph-Beth, but the details of that haven’t been firmed up yet. Check back for more info!


From the publisher’s website:

When gazing at the city’s impressive skyline, we too often forget the notable individuals who built these grand and glittering buildings, as well as the nearby museums, parks and neighborhoods we also treasure. Reflected in the character, reputation and even design of our city, the legacy of the early settlers continues on today. Through their efforts, almost always imbued with a civic entrepreneurial spirit, they stamped their mark on our burgeoning regional reputation, while also allowing current leaders to bolster and broaden our national reputation.


Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati brings to life the founding families’ histories, sharing these intertwined and fascinating tales with readers near and far. A charming history of lives lived large — truly the Who’s Who (as well as the When and Where) of Cincinnati — that when considered together, made the Queen City the great place to live and work that it is today.



Mary Thomas Watts, writer for the “Gary Burbank Show” on WLW:

“Wendy Hart Beckman’s Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati is an enchantingly fresh, generation by generation narrative of the men and women whose dreams, hard work, governance and philanthropy built the Queen City.

Beckman’s meticulous historical research, her affection for the city she calls home, and her luminous good humor reward the reader from first page to last. Informative, inspiring, entertaining, and a whole lot of fun to boot, Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati is a must read for Cincinnati aficionados, those who live here and those who would if they only could.”


Ann Hagedorn, author of Wild Ride, Beyond the River, and more:

“Have you been to Losantiville? No? Think again. You may live there, for this was Cincinnati’s first name. And it is just one of many fascinating details unveiled in Wendy Beckman’s new book Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati. The names may be familiar but the facts are often fresh in this depiction of the Queen City’s past. Beckman not only shows us Cincinnati’s significance to the nation from the start, both culturally and economically, but she deepens our understanding of the individuals who shaped the city’s uniqueness and spurred its success. The struggles, the risks, the sacrifices, the wealth, the crises, the excitement. It’s all there. Did you know that Cincinnati’s 1813 volunteer fire department was the first in the nation, that 8,000 Cincinnatians perished in the 1849 cholera epidemic, and that 150 furniture factories once thrived in the town? It’s a good read for all of us who love Cincinnati and always want to know more.”


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Sunday, March 23, at 2 p.m. will be another of our great Writing Workshop Workshops. As usual, we’ll be gathering downstairs at Olive’s in Cincinnati’s Clifton Gaslight District.

Bring seven minutes’ worth of your writing to read, $5 for the kitty, your books to sell, any publishing or writing questions you’d like to ask, and a friend or two. I hope I will have a big announcement for you!

Head’s up for April: on Sunday, April 27 (same time, same place), at our Writing Workshop Workshop, we’ll be joined by Carol Topp, CPA, author of Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. It’s too late for your 2013 filing, but Carol will have lots of great advice for your 2014 return on how to be a professional writer, in terms of what’s deductible and what’s not.

So put April 27 on your calendar, and in the meantime I hope to see you Sunday, March 23, at 2!

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