August doings

WOTA meets Tuesday, August 16 from 6 to 8 pm in room 301 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share. And bring something to write on, as we’re returning to our habit of having a short, introductory craft talk/writing exercise to get the gears turning.

Other literary news:

Audio recordings of the pieces in THESE INTERESTING TIMES: Surviving 2020 in the Quad Cities are available on the WVIK website! If you need a bit of inspiration on getting through challenging times, revisit this inspiring collection of local and regional authors and artists.

Authors and artists: the Midwest Writing Center is accepting pitches for workshops for the coming year. Send them your ideas!

Here’s to an August that fills the creative well and lets those projects grow & thrive!

Pearl City Press publishes first title

Writers on the Avenue and Pearl City Press are thrilled to announce the publication of their first title, Misty Urban’s moving story collection Married, Living in Italy.

Hailed as “a keen observer of the human condition, a skillful wordsmith who writes with powerful clarity, and an absorbing storyteller who commands your attention,” Urban offers a sequence of beautiful, poignant stories “about what matters in all of our lives”–“grief, loss, longing, and survival despite it all.”

Look for your digital copy on Amazon or other favorite retailers and library services now, with a Nook version in progress. For those who prefer hard copy, the paperback will release on April 30. Please join me in offering a hearty thanks to the editorial board who helped launch the press and bring this book into being, and show your support for Pearl City Press by leaving Married, Living in Italy a glowing review!

Announcing the launch of Pearl City Press!

Writers on the Avenue is excited to announce the launch of our new publishing imprint, Pearl City Press.

The mission of Pearl City Press is to give voice to vibrant stories telling a human truth from a new or unheard perspective.

Check out the website for forthcoming titles and stay tuned for releases and giveaways. We at WOTA are looking forward to this next step of supporting writers and the literary arts in and around Muscatine and, now, beyond.

Seeking contributors!

MWC Press seeks contributions to a literary anthology titled These Interesting Times: Surviving 2020 in the QC.

What did you survive in 2020? What disasters—personal, communal, national, global—can you bear witness to? Sure, 2020 brought us the COVID-19 pandemic, a derecho and flooding, massive public protests along with economic insecurity, and a bitterly contentious election. But your disaster doesn’t have to have the most devastation or the highest body count.

We want to hear what was going on in the shadows, what may have been invisible to the mainstream news. Whether you were an essential worker or trapped in lockdown, on the front lines or dealing with something else entirely, tell us what you grappled with in 2020, and what you learned from it. We seek strategies for survival, testimony to resilience, witness to loss, and antidotes to despair.

Anyone who resides or works within the within the six counties that the MWC serves (Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer counties in Illinois and Scott, Muscatine, and Clinton counties in Iowa): Send us your work by January 31, 2021.

  • Prose: For fiction, essays, or creative non-fiction of up to 4,000 words: Email a double-spaced attachment in 12-pt font in rtf or docx format. Include identifying information, including name, phone number, email, and mailing address, on the first page.
  • Poetry and hybrid or mixed genre pieces (3 poems or up to 1500 words): email an attachment in pdf format. Include contact information in the email.
  • Visual art: Send an image or photograph in black and white, minimal 300-dpi resolution along with a caption, creator credit, and contact information in the text of the email.

Email submissions <at> mwcqc <dot> org. Include a brief cover letter and 100-word bio.

Legacy Book Press will provide contributors with a copy of the finished book. A portion of profits from the sale of the book will be donated to organizations in the QC area that support recovery and disaster relief services. The MWC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the literary arts and its creators.

We want to hear your story!

If you have a terrific story but want help writing it down, use this form to contact WOTA and we’ll get you in touch with an editor.

Anniversary Anthology Available Now!

Writers on the Avenue announces the publication of a new anthology celebrating WOTA’s 30 years of serving writers and the literary arts in and around the Muscatine area. Get your copy now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers, and look for copies to be available soon in Muscatine-area stores and from your favorite local members.

If you are interested in purchasing copies directly, email us to inquire. Paperback copies cost $10 for nonmembers, $8 for members and contributors. All proceeds directly support WOTA’s work as a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the literary arts.

Featuring works by:

  • Duffy De France
  • Dan Titus
  • David R. Collins
  • Aldeen Davis
  • Mike Fladlien
  • Dick Stahl
  • Mary Kay Lane
  • Sharon Savage
  • Mike Bayles
  • Gesene Oak
  • Jeff Boldt
  • Judy Chapman
  • Dave Cooney
  • Anna Counter
  • Kimberly Dickens
  • Ron Lackey
  • Jason Liegois
  • Denise Smith
  • Robin Abbott
  • Alan Arkema
  • Bob Bancks
  • Monica Flink
  • Esperance Ciss
  • Dustin Joy
  • Dan Moore
  • Bill Telle
  • Jodie Toohey
  • Misty Urban
  • Rebecca Whitmore



February sweetness

February meetings

WOTA in the afternoon meets Thursday, February 6 from 1-3 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library.

The regular WOTA evening meeting takes place Tuesday, February 18 in room 17 of Musser Public Library. Members can come at 5:30 pm for a quick business meeting to discuss upcoming projects and events. Anyone is welcome to join us at 6 pm for writing exercises and sharing short work. As always writers of all ages, genres, and levels of experience are welcome.

Upcoming Contests

The Midwest Writing Center is taking registrations for its annual Iron Pen contest. Can you write a poem, a short story, or a creative essay in 24 hours? And can you base it on a prompt you’re given? If you’re a WOTA member, you do this all the time! Register here.

Poems are being accepted for the2020 Lyrical Iowa. Find the requirements and submission guidelines on the Iowa Poetry Association website.

Upcoming Workshops & Other Opportunities

Misty Urban is leading a Prayer & Poetry retreat at the Benet Retreat House at St. Mary’s Monastery, Rock Island, on February 7-8. Participants will read and discuss the works of Mary Oliver and others as well as take time to read, meditate, write, and share work.  Register here.

Misty will also be at the Davenport Eastern Library on Saturday, February 29 as part of their Local Author series, offering a workshop from 3-4 pm on the short, short-short, and not-so-short story. No need to register; just show up!

Jodie Toohey is leading an Online Beginning Writing Workshop that will run for six weeks beginning March 20. Classes will cover character, critique, voice, energy, plot, and more. For more information and to register check the Midwest Writing Center website.

Pat Bieber is leading a new Poetry Potluck group that meets at Musser Public Library on the 2d and 4th Thursday of each month from 1-3 pm in room 17. Poets are invited to bring work to read aloud. The focus will be on discussion, not critique. Free!

Word challenge

Need a little challenge in your life? How ’bout you write a sestina for February? Find the form, an example, and some tips at this website. Share your poem in the comments, email WOTA, post to our Facebook page, or bring to a meeting. Hope your February is fabulous!


Call for submissions!

WOTA has been supporting writers and the literary arts in Muscatine for 30 years!

We want to mark the occasion with an anthology that is a retrospective, a showcase, a reflection on WOTA’s contributions to the community, and a compilation of greatest hits by WOTA members and friends, past and present. To this end, we invite submissions of artwork, poetry, or prose—fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, reflections, journalism, other—that can help us celebrate writing, writing groups, WOTA, and the literary arts of Muscatine.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Favorite pieces from previous WOTA publications and anthologies
  • Previously published or new work from past members or affiliates
  • Reflections on time spent with WOTA, in any capacity: memoirs on past members, events, any impressions or influence the group has had
  • Newspaper articles, press releases, or any other clippings on WOTA events throughout the years
  • New work from current members, affiliates, and friends
  • Anything else that can help illuminate the theme of writers, WOTA, and Muscatine. Surprise us!

To submit, send artwork, up to 5 short poems, or prose of up to 2000 words to our email or submit through the website using the form below. Please note where the work may have previously appeared, and send only work which you have full permission to publish.

Please send submissions by September 15, 2019. Artwork should be in 300 dpi resolution in .jpg format. Documents should be sent in .doc, .docx, or .rtf. Include name, contact information including email and mailing address, and a short bio of around 100 words including your affiliation with or relationship to WOTA.

Work appearing in previous anthologies, pieces generated at or through WOTA meetings, and work by WOTA members and friends past or present will be given special consideration, though we are willing to consider a wide variety of creative works. Contributors receive a free copy of the finished anthology, sales of which benefit WOTA’s mission to continue supporting Muscatine writers and the literary arts for many decades to come.

Email WOTA or call (563) 275-6343 for more information.

Use this form to submit to the 30-year anniversary anthology:

March Madness

Join us for WOTA in the afternoon on Thursday, March 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in room 201 of Musser Public Library. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share.

Then join us again the evening of Tuesday, March 19 at 6:00 pm in the first-floor board room of Musser Library for our monthly meeting. Bring the same work, bring fresh work, bring the same pen or many others. We’ll do writing exercises, critique work, and talk through whatever is on our minds.

March’s word challenge is based on the exercise given to us by Paul Fitzpatrick at last month’s meeting. Find a book on your shelf – open to a random page – scan the page until a word leaps out at you. Then grab pen and paper and write something with, in response to, or around that word – story, poem, memory, whatever. It was amazing to hear what everyone came up with in February, and we’d love to hear what this exercise unlocks in you. Bring copies to share at a meeting, post to our Facebook page, submit here as a comment, or send it to WOTA through the Contact form for posting on the site. May the words be with you!

In other news

Congratulations to WOTA member Dustin Joy for winning honorable mention for his piece “Dan” in the nonfiction category of the Iron Pen contest sponsored by the Midwest Writing Center! The challenge to produce something from a prompt within the space of 24 hours would defeat many, but Dustin clearly rose to the challenge. WOTA actually walked away with two winners, as Misty Urban‘s story “A Many-Chambered Vessel” took second place in the fiction category. Way to represent, WOTA folk!

Congratulations also to member Jason Liegois for publication of his novel A Holy Fool: A Journalist’s Revolt, just out from Biblio Publishing! Check out Jason’s blog Liegois Media for information on book signings and workshops near you.

Thanks to all who came out to support WOTA at our Read Local event at Bettendorf Public Library! It was wonderful to hear such great work from our members, and a special shout-out to Mary Davidsaver for sharing from her novel in progress.

Read Local w/WOTA

As part of Bettendorf Public Library‘s terrific Read Local series, members of Writers on the Avenue will read from the latest anthologies, share works in progress, and answer questions about craft and the writing life on Wednesday, February 13 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

This event is free and open to the public, so we hope you’ll be there for moral support!

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