Programming

2018 Workshop Listing

Special Workshops: Criminologist Officer, K-9 Unit Officer, Crime Scene Officer and an EMT will present hour-long workshops in their field.

Murder Mystery Event: Solve the murder on your own or with a friend.

Pitch Workshop: Sharpen your pitch with experienced authors.

Editor & Agent Panels will also be available for attendees.

Don’t Get Scammed When Publishing There are so many horror stories these days about writers falling victim to scams, shams, and poor providers of publishing services. How can a writer hire editors, designers, or publishing support companies that they can trust? This session includes: Questions a writer should ask; samples they should ask for; and red flags to look out for.  Angela S. DeCaires

3 Shades of Gray: Making the Antagonist Real This workshop will introduce three main concepts to remember when composing the antagonists’ character. The goal is to make the villain complex and believable, not one sided and flat. An interesting antagonist character should make the reader want to but feel guilty about rooting for the villain. This is an interactive workshop where participants will be expected to write, answer questions and critique other participants’ writings. Anita Lovely

A Horse of Course – Getting It Right Remember that scene in Lonesome Dove, when the gray mare, named “The Hell Bitch,” comes on screen? The horse used in the movie was a gelding, not a mare! Yep. It’s kind of hard to miss those boy parts. Join a horsewoman with over fifty years in training, breeding, and showing in this interactive workshop, targeted for all writing levels. Participants will be provided a Horse Profile Template. During the presentation and visual aids on equine breed, color, equipment, movement, and some basic horse sense. Writers will be encouraged to develop the perfect secondary equine character for their story. In addition, there will be exercises so every greenhorn gets it right—at least once. Becke Turner

Sight, Sound and Scent  Sight, Sound and Scent words are all we have to describe the setting and feel of the moment, yet without the appropriate background, our plot will go stale and stall the story on the page. Putting your reader into the story’s world, should be instrumental in developing your plot and your character’s arc. Learn how the same scene can be manipulated by using different descriptive words, thus becoming anything from a sweet contemporary to a fast-paced romantic suspense to a frightening paranormal.              Claudia Shelton

The Bedroom And Beyond: Writing Compelling Sex Scenes That Keep Things Sizzling All the Way to the HEA We’ve all read those books where we skimmed through the sex scenes. This workshop is designed to make sure your readers aren’t skipping over the naughty bits. We’ll go beyond theory and offer practical advice participants can take home and use right away. Regina Kyle; Stefanie London

Writing the Real Military Hero: Beyond the Badass SEAL Military heroes are hot and sexy. We love reading about the men (and women) who put their lives on the line for us. But who are these people? What are they really like? Are they all badass alphas? What is there besides SEAL Team 6? Do they all suffer from PTSD? Come learn from a Navy wife who has spent the last 27 years surrounded by real life heroes. Gail Chianese

Author Secrets of MS Word What can Microsoft Word do for you?  Learn its hidden secrets and advanced techniques for easier formatting and writing.  Format your manuscript with the proper margins and page numbers, search for extra paragraph marks or green text and properly mark your chapters.  See a table of contents at every step of the writing process and learn how to submit your manuscript using online forms.  These steps also help preparing you for self-publishing. This workshop is for attendees who use Word for their daily writing and want to know how to go beyond the norm. Abigail Sharpe

Self-Publishing: Risks, Rewards & Realities Now that self-publishing has finally gone mainstream, new and established authors have another viable career path beyond traditional publishing. To make the crucial decision whether to go indie or traditional, you need to know exactly what’s involved in the independent publishing process. What is the time commitment, the estimated costs to produce your book? How do you source the expertise required for a top-quality product? What are the downsides to self-publication vs. a traditional publishing house? What is it like to be your own publisher?  In this timely workshop, “hybrid” author Jana Oliver will show you the differences between traditional and self-publishing, as well discuss the risks, rewards (and realities) of either choice so you can make the best decision possible for your next book.       Jana Oliver

Upping Your Game: How to Work with a Freelance Editor As more authors become independently published, and the resources for self-publishing expand at a dizzying pace, the need for laser-sharp editorial input has grown. But how do you know which type of editorial your work needs, or how to find the right editor to help you shape your manuscript into the best story it can be? Mollie Traver & Jana Oliver

Running on Empty: Using Routines, Time Management and Purposeful Goals to Maintain Your Sanity.          A school librarian and author of 17 romance novels, Jeannie Moon has had her ups and downs managing time. Part inspirational talk and part down-and-dirty methods, this class will inspire participants to find the best method to get off the hamster wheel, be more productive, and have significantly less stress.          Jeannie Moon

Using Music and Images to “P.L.O.T.”…If You’re a Panster Like Me!  I’ve read writing craft books. I’ve listened to countless writing seminars, and I’ve gone to various writing workshops on plotting, but here’s the truth…I can’t plot. Not well. Not really. Not the traditional way. And not without losing the essence of my story. So, after years of trying to be what I’m not, I finally let go and started to P.L.O.T my own Pantser way by using pictures and music to craft characterization rather than events to shape my stories. Jeanine Englert

Digital Love in the Digital Age The smartphone is the new e-reader! There’s a large and growing audience of romance readers looking for original content they can read directly on their smartphones. But to reach this young, digitally-savvy reader base, you need to craft content optimized specifically for mobile reading. The key is writing in a serialized format.  In this workshop, Katherine Pelz will introduce you to Radish Fiction—a mobile app that is designed exclusively for smartphone reading. Katherine will then provide a step-by-step guide to creating serialized romantic content designed for the mobile audience. Finally, she’ll share thoughts from romance authors who were successful early adapters of this model and reveal their best tips for serial success. Katherine Pelz

How Music Can Rescue, Revive and Inspire Your Writing They say music is the universal language. When it comes to writing romance, it can inspire an author in many different ways! As a professional singer/songwriter and published author, KG Fletcher shows you ways you can use music in your writing process that will inspire and motivate. She’ll also touch on the legalities of copyrighted music material that most authors don’t know. KG Fletcher

Book Trailers: Every Author Should Have One.  Make a Book Trailer for Free Using Microsoft Movie Maker.” In this technological age of advertising, authors need every promotional tool at their disposal. This workshop dispels the notion book trailers do little to promote books. Learn what makes a good book trailer, and how to make one for free using Microsoft Movie Maker. Linda Gilman

Just My Type: Understanding Character Motivations and Conflict through Enneagram Characters. They’re at the heart of every story we write and, as authors, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out who our characters are, why they do what they do, and why they keep butting heads with other people in the book. We’re always looking for new ways to uncover and understand that information. Enter the Enneagram. Unlike most personality type systems, Enneagram is less about the things like work styles and environment preferences and more about what makes them tick at their very cores. Understanding this numbered, nine-type system can help you sort out motivations, create realistic reactions to stress, and understand the kinds of conflicts two characters of different types might encounter. Come talk type with an ICF-credentialed coach and award-winning fiction writer who uses Enneagram in both careers. Your characters will be glad you did!                CiCi Coughlin

Short Story Anthology: From Concept to Launch Five of the six authors of Love Around the Table, a short story anthology published Nov. 1, 2017, will provide the ABCs (and more) of producing and marketing a short story anthology, from authors, brand and budget to formatting, editing, covers and contracts, to promotion, publicity, pricing, timeline and lessons learned.  In deconstructing the process, we will arm attendees with a blueprint—everything they need to put together their own anthology for profit or to donate to a charity or what to expect when asked to participate in an anthology. Note: 100% of all eBook sales of our anthology go directly to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. Marilyn Baron; Rachel Jones; Constance Gillam; Melissa Klein

A Writer’s View of Discovering Story Magic—How Lessons from Laura Baker and Robin Perini Transformed My Storytelling and How They Can Transform Yours as Well This workshop will lay the foundation for discovering the true magic of all stories—emotion. Participants will be introduced to Laura Baker’s and Robin Perini’s foundational work on developing authentic character arcs and using turning points to drive those arcs. The workshop will also briefly introduce how to use character arcs and turning points to develop storyboards with controlled pacing and escalating tension.          McCall Hoyle

What to Write (When Romance isn’t it) Life happened, the muse left, or maybe you just can’t write another throbbing member. What do you write when romance isn’t the answer for you right now.  Exploring write to market and how to find other stories.    Renee Lovins

Thinking Outside the Alpha/Beta Box: A Research-based Approach to Heroes and Plotting       This workshop is based on two premises: (1) romance novels are about moral choices (among other things), and (2) most romance writers are women. The conclusion I draw is that psychological research on men’s moral development can help romance writers write stronger, more realistic male characters with clear character arcs to support the romance plot. Participants should leave with a stronger feel for their male characters and a clearer idea of how to plot their novel. Nancy Holland

From Critiques to Revision If writers aren’t prepared, understanding critiques can be difficult and criticism can stall the writing process. Feedback and revision are as much a part of the creative journey as putting down new words. Learn how to identify who gives feedback and how to interpret it. Take your critiques and use them in editing your manuscript. Don’t let critiques or even bad reviews stop you from making progress on your manuscript. This workshop is geared for writers who have received feedback, but don’t know what to do with it. It can all help new writers prepare for critique group interactions and published authors deal with negative reviews. Nicki Salcedo

25 Writing Tips from Watsonville We’ve all heard the tried-and-true “Rules of Writing” countless times. Show don’t tell! You must write every day! Adverbs are Satan!  But what if we throw caution to the wind and break a few rules? Will Stephen King show up and chuck our computer out the window?  Penny Watson explores a myriad of writing dos-and-don’ts and discusses how to bend, twist, and break a few rules without losing your Official Author Card. In addition to adverbs, passive voice, and thesaurus use, she’ll explore writer’s block, quick and painless edits, and even how decluttering your house can improve your writing.  Join Ms. Watson for a fun-filled discussion about being a literary rebel. Penny Watson

Using Tarot to Write Scenes that Sizzle, Seduce & Sparkle Writers have used the tarot for and in their work for centuries, writers such as the very popular Nora Roberts and Stephen King. In this interactive workshop, participants learn to use the tarot while exploring story questions, character and conflict of their current projects. Paula Scardamalia

Who Said That? Creating Unique Character Voices There’s nothing worse than reading a book where all the characters sound the same. Not only will a unique voice will make your character more memorable to the reader, but it will also ensure your reader is more connected to the character and is invested in their story. This workshop focuses on using “character lenses” to create a unique voice for your heroes and/or heroines, and anyone else who steps onto the page. By understanding which aspects of your characters’ life influence the way they talk and think, you’ll be able to give your characters a unique sound. We’ll show you how to craft character-driven speech (both internal and external) and ensure that any metaphors, descriptions and other devices fit your characters’ voices. Stefanie London; Regina Kyle

Rejection- Making “NO” Work for You Rejection is part of the writing process.  A writer must learn to accept rejection to make it helpful in their writing life. Rejections can improve and encourage a writer once she learns positive ways to manage her reaction to rejection. This class will help a writer to do just that. Susan Carlisle

Editing 101: What to do after you write “The End” When I first heard the advice “Write Daily,” I thought that meant I had to produce new words for fresh pages every day. Then I realized there’s more to writing than first drafts. Editing your manuscript is another way to make every word count. There are no rules of writing, the same goes for editing. As you write and edit more, you’ll develop your own system of creating fresh ideas. Join me as I share tips on editing that have helped me along the way and maybe you too.          Tanya Agler

Writing Happy When Life is Crappy Ever tried to write a romance in the middle of a divorce or meet a deadline from a hospital waiting room? Sometimes life feels like one Big Black Moment, but that doesn’t have to derail your creativity or career. In fact, those might be the times you write some of your best work. Join award-winning authors Tanya Michaels and Susan Carlisle for a frank, funny discussion on seeking sanctuary in your story when everything else is going to hell in a handbasket. Tanya Michaels; Susan Carlisle

Growth Hacking for Authors Bootcamp Ever hear the terms “growth hacking” or “marketing funnel”? These are terms technology companies use to describe their growth strategies. What if you could apply those same strategies to grow your author business? This boot camp will outline strategies and tactics high-growth companies use to build awareness, engagement and revenue, then apply them directly to your author business. Leave knowing how to combine digital marketing and growth hacking strategies to create an army of minions for your books. Tivi Jones

From Their Lips to Your Pages: A Panel of Authors Talk Frankly About Writing Diverse Characters Join an ethnically diverse panel as they give authors the low down on how to write authentic, diverse characters. Tracy Solheim

The Devil is in the Details-How to Create a Series That Keeps Readers Coming Back for More   Readers love a good happily ever after, but they also love catching up with their favorite couples long after they read the words ‘the end”.  Join two best-selling authors as they guide you through the ins and outs of crafting a multi-book set that will keep readers interested in for the life of the series. Tracy Solheim

Building an HEA with your readers Building a relationship with your readers is as important as having the right tools to tell your story. You need both to be a successful author. This workshop will discuss different ways to reach your fan base and keep them engaged. We’ll use several examples of authors that have built strong and lasting relationships with their fans. Vicki Dabney

What’s up with those Audiobooks? You’ve got e-books and print books, so what’s next? The world of audio/narrated books is quickly gaining steam. Join The Wild Rose Press, narrator Dawson McBride and authors Jane Lewis and Kim Turner for an open panel discussion on what it takes to get your story recorded and out to readers. From choosing a narrator, to recording and marketing the finished book with success. Learn more about the process from beginning to completion with a panel that has worked together for the finished product. Chat with the publisher, narrator and two authors to learn more about the process. Leave this session with tips and tangible ideas for beginning your own journey of having your stories narrated.       Kim Turner

Ten Trends Impacting the Future of Book Publishing Smashwords representative Jim Azevedo takes a close look at the trends & issues impacting our industry, and what those trends mean to indie authors and publishers.

The Third Character: Setting Ever hear someone say a certain writer makes them feel right at home? That they wish such a place existed? That they hadn’t thought of a certain drink or song or candy in ages? Learn how you can make setting not only a location, time period or room decor, but develop the setting into a character itself, one the reader will want to visit again and again. It doesn’t matter what genre, sub-genre, or time period you write you need to make the reader feel as if they are experiencing the characters’ worlds. Learn how your setting can become more than just a description and something that will help sell your books. Besides being useful for bringing single titles to life, this workshop is especially helpful for those writing series. Claudia Shelton