Feb 20

Howard County February Mtg - P.J. O’Dwyer Presents “The State of Modern Romance"

Chocolates, flowers, and a complete run-down of the modern market for Romance

Mar 19

Howard County March Mtg - Finding Your Poet's Voice

Get ready for April, National Poetry Month, by Honing the Poet Within

Apr 16

Howard County April Mtg - The Non-Fiction Panel

Janet Ruck and Valarie Austin describe their experiences in non-fiction publishing

Click here to view all MWA meetings.

Howard County Chapter

HoCo on Facebook

The Howard County Chapter meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:00pm at The Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia.

Chapter President: Suzanne Forest, [email protected]

Chapter Vice President: Mary Patrick, [email protected]

Chapter Treasurer: Steve Lubs, [email protected]

Chapter Secretary: Donald McLean, [email protected]

20 February 

The State of Modern Romance

 What's going on in the genre, and in the marketplace!
Join us for our February Chapter Meeting

Thursday, February 20th
7:00 - 9:00
Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

Romance is the best selling literary genre, but a few years ago traditional publishers gave up on this money maker because the Indie writers could produce content faster and appeal to an ever growing number of romance sub-genres with greater agility. So where does that leave the market today? And what if you just want to know what makes for a good romantic storyline in the novel or short story you're laboring over right now? We have a speaker for that!

 Our Presenter 

P. J. O’Dwyer is an award-winning author of romantic suspense who likes her heroines bold, feisty, and, above all else, authentic.  But it’s all in the chemistry, right? And sparks can’t help but fly when she pairs these willful women with equally determined, yet dangerously sexy leading men. So if you enjoy an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride and a burgeoning love story where menace and mayhem unfold, find a comfy chair and let P. J. take you on a riveting journey that is sure to keep you guessing until the very end. P.J is an active member of Romance Writers of America. Her books include The Fallon sister's trilogy, and "Linger," a romantic suspense novel.  She has also published the YA book "Claimed." Find her on Amazon or on her website,


 ~ Other News ~

Contest Winners!

here are the winners of our winter writing contest "Short Stories on the theme of Winter Holidays." Congratulations to: 

1st "Stolen Holiday" By Rissa Miller

2nd "Santa's Agents" by Rick Wright

3rd The First One Without by Joyce Elaine

Congratulations on great work within the tough 1,000 word limit, and many thanks to our two past MWA HoCo Chapter Presidents, Nancy Alexander and Amy Kaplan who graciously assisted in the judging. Come by the meeting to get your prize or contact us to arrange a time to pick it up.


Critique Groups

MWA Howard County Poetry Critique Group
— Meets on the First Monday of the Month at Whole Foods in Columbia
— Closed. Waiting list,
— Contact: Patti Ross, [email protected]

MWA Novel Development Group 
— Meets on alternate Tuesdays at 12:30 at Philly's Best Pizza and Subs,
— Note: Members are all in some stage of working on a novel,
Contact: Suzanne Forest, [email protected] to check on openings, wait list

MWA Memoir Writers Group 
— Meets on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month in members’ homes,
— Contact: Kay Armstrong-Baker, [email protected]  to check on openings, wait list.

MWA Howard County Group #1, Multi-Genre
— Meets on Alternate Wednesdays at members' homes, 7:00
— NOTE: Requires a trial period.
— Contact: Ali Varden [email protected] to check on openings / wait list

MWA Howard County Group #2, Multi-Genre
— Meets on the Second Tuesday of the month at members’ homes, 7:30 
— May have openings
— Contact Steve Lubs [email protected] to check on openings / wait list

Other Resources in Howard County 

Columbia Writers
— Multiple meeting opportunities/times/venues
— Genres: All fiction genres; no non-fiction or poetry at this time
— Visit for more details

Weird and Wonderous Writers
— Meets the third Tuesday of the month at BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House, Columbia
— Genres: Mainly Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror.
— Visit  for more details

Maryland Dream Weavers
— Maryland Dream Weavers meets once a month at a member’s house
— Genre: Primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy
— Currently has no openings
— Contact: Amy Kaplan [email protected] for wait list.

Savage Writer's Circle
— Meets on the second Monday of the Month at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library
— Genres: All Genres
— Contact: Claire Ferguson at [email protected]

Fiction and Screenwriting Critique Group
— Genres: All fiction welcome, including screenplays
— Meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month in Columbia
— More information at   


And now, for a Potential new MWA Group coming in early April, depending on the response: 
Writers and Coffee – 8:30 AM every Thursday, for our members on non-traditional schedules
This would be an informal drop-in group at one of the central Columbia Coffee shops (Mad City, Roggenart, The Corner Bakery, etc.). where MWA writers could meet, write, share their questions, and connect to find critique or beta reading partners. This would also have a mailing list, and (if there is enough interest) some kind of discount card good during the meeting times. 
Suzanne Forest is willing to be the POC, keep a loosy-goosy membership list, print the discount cards (if we can swing it…), but for this to work, at least two alternate POC’s to get in and save us a table since 1) I am not yet entirely retired so I can’t be there every Thursday in the beginning, and 2) When I am entirely retired we will have a lot of pent-up travel to attend to.  

Email [email protected] to let Suzanne know if this is something that would interest you. If enough members sign up by the end of February, she'll get working on a venue and a "club card"! 


Please Join US
Finding your poetic voice
Prepare for April, National Poetry Month

March 19, 2020

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Owen Brown Community Center

6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045