The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2019 55 AFSA NEWS As part of its pre–Foreign Service Day activities, AFSA welcomed members to the second event in its new Next Stage series, which high- lights post–Foreign Service career options and activities. AFSA Retirement Benefits Counselor Dolores Brown moderated “Taking Up the Pen: Writing and Publishing in the Foreign Service,” a panel on how best to pursue writing in tandem with life in or after the Foreign Service. AFSA invited four success- ful FS writers, editors and publishers to speak at this standing-room-only event. FSO author Matthew Palmer, who is currently a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, shared his experience as the author of a series of novels published by Penguin Random House. Featuring American diplo- mats as protagonists, his works include Enemy of the Good (2017) and Secrets of State (2015). He recounted colorful and not-so-positive examples of the FS in film and books— including the infamous 1976 film “The Omen,” in which the son of the U.S. ambas- sador to London is actually the devil. Palmer has made it his goal, however, to create positive and realistic FS char- acters in his work. If you are a fiction writer, Palmer said, it’s a must to have an agent to shop your work around. Margery Thompson, the publishing director at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, advises diplomats and others on editing and publish- ing matters. She works primarily with university presses, which tend to be the most likely takers for most foreign affairs manuscripts. Thompson underscored the need for every writer to work with a skilled editor. Ambassador (ret.) Charles Ray, who has published more than 100 works of fiction and nonfic- tion ranging fromWesterns to ethical dilemmas in the practice of diplomacy, emphasized the discipline behind writing and the need to put words on paper—in his case, at least 2,000 per day. Amb. Ray pro- vided concrete information about how to successfully self-publish—and actually make money. According to the self-described “pulp fiction” writer, in the end you should write because you love to write. Donna Gorman, the associate editor of The Foreign Service Journal , has written articles for Time magazine, The Washington Post , Huffington Post, the FSJ and many other outlets. She emphasized the need In the end you should write because you love to write. Next Stage: FS Writers and Publishers Offer Advice to mine your FS experiences when you write, turning small moments into fleshed-out stories with a beginning and an end. She discussed the pitfalls of writing for free to build up your portfolio, and explained how to get your foot in the door at nationally known publications. The entire program can be viewed at video. n AFSA/DMITRYFILIPOFF Panelists take questions from the audience. From left to right: Donna Gorman, FSJ ’s associate editor; Margery Thompson, ADST’s publishing director; Dolores Brown, AFSA’s retirement benefits counselor; FSO Matthew Palmer, deputy assistant secretary; and Ambassador (ret.) Charles Ray. In the June issue (p. 49), Sinclaire Language Award recipient Fredric Nicholas (Nick) Stokes’ first name was inadver- tently misspelled. We regret the error. n CORRECTION