PPWC Workshops

We are hard at work on Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018.

The dates: April 27-29, 2018

If you are interested in presenting at conference submit a proposal.

If there’s a presenter or topic you’d like to see if we can get request a workshop.


Below are some of our 2017 PPWC workshops! We hope to start listing 2018 workshops by November 2017.  Stay tuned to this page for the latest updates–we’re typing as fast as we can! Please be aware that planning a conference of this size is a somewhat fluid activity, and circumstances beyond our control may dictate changes to workshops or faculty at any time. We strive to keep this list, and our attendees, updated in a timely manner.


Presented by Becky Clark

Have you ever wanted to speed up your process and write a complete and non-crappy novel in only two months? Learn how to create a flexible outline you can live with (even if you hate outlines), how to write fast, and how to organize yourself to get it done using Becky Clark’s tried-and-true techniques.



Presented by Lana Williams

Strategies to keep the middle of your story riveting by deepening the emotional journey of the hero and solidifying the external plot. The dreaded ‘sagging middle’ of a story can be the most challenging for writers. It’s difficult to think of how to sustain conflict and what will keep the reader turning pages. We’ll explore these and share examples from well known movies and books to clarify the points.



Presented by David R. Slayton

As writers we often juggle many things: day jobs, parenting, day-to-day life, etc. This workshop will demonstrate techniques for time management and breaking your writing time down into manageable pieces to maximize effective use of your time. We’ll look at writing through a project management lens, emphasizing Agile Project Management Techniques and adapting them to the writing process.



Presented by KL Cooper

Learn how to make social media work for you instead of against you. This is an advanced course for writers who have an established platform and a book or books to sell but are having trouble gaining traction online, and who feel like they are spinning their wheels, wasting precious writing time on marketing. I’ll present some down and dirty tips for rocking sales with social media without feeling like a door to door sales person.


BE THE RISING TIDE THAT LIFTS ALL BOATS:  Networking in the Book World

Presented by Michael R. Underwood

Writing compelling work is the most important factor in succeeding as a writer, but who you know makes a big impact as well. This workshop will describe and explore methods of networking and building connections in your industry/genre in order to benefit others as well as yourself.



Presented by Stant Litore

“Writer’s block” actually can cover a range of habits and ways of getting stuck. We’ll cover several of the most common blocks and an array of practical strategies for getting over, under, around, or through them.


BEFORE SHERLOCK: Forensics for Historical and Fantasy Novels

Presented by Megan Rutter

No DNA or fingerprints in the 17th century. Seriously. Not kidding. Nothing can ruin a good book more than solving a mystery or murder with the wrong tools for the time period. The science of forensics has existed in one form or another since ancient times. Historically societies have used multiple methods, including threats from the gods, magical animals and even autopsy to solve crime. From early explorations into bile and ill humors as a cause of death, through the first stumbling steps of forensics as a scientific inquiry in the late 18th century, accurate representations of this science adds depth and believability to your writing. This session will examine the history of forensic sciences and how it can be applied in historical and fantasy writing.



Presented by Kevin Ikenberry

Are you familiar with BookBub? This class will take you through the basics of the program, explain the costs and process, and ultimately show what the impact on sales can be. There have been authors who’ve made bestseller lists through the BookBub promotions process, but there is a lot more to it than just securing a BookBub. We’ll also discuss pre and post promotion opportunities and leveraging your social networks.



Presented by Stant Litore

This session provides you with practical exercises and new ways to approach painting your character’s emotional experience more vividly on the page – to help readers feel as your characters feel, inhabit their bodies, to laugh and weep and rage with your characters.



Presented by David R. Slayton, Megan Rutter, Travis Heermann

Critique groups are an essential tool for aspiring authors, but what if you don’t live near other writers? This workshop will take you through the techniques for creating a successful online critique group: the dos and don’ts as well as strategies for keeping everyone engaged and on deadline.



Presented by Todd Fahnestock and Chris Mandeville

Using examples of well-known novels, this workshop delves deep into what makes a great beginning. The opening of the presentation discusses time and how, with the flashy entertainment options available to every possible audience, writers don’t have the luxury of 50 pages to ease a reader into our world. We don’t even get 10 pages. We get 10 sentences, if we’re lucky, and we have to make the most of them.


CHAT IT UP: How to Talk About Your Story in Casual Conversation

Presented by Chris Mandeville

Talking about your story can be challenging. Many of us stumble over our words, engage in verbal vomit, or freeze-up and can’t say anything at all. But with a little prep and forethought, it’s possible to talk about your story in a casual and natural way that engages and entices the listener rather than boring them to tears or sending them running. This workshop will help you identify the key elements of your story, create a logline that rolls off the tongue, and recognize appropriate times and places to chat up your masterpiece. In addition we’ll cover techniques for combatting nerves and overcoming anxiety.



Presented by M.H. Boroson

Learn to use cinematic methods to create memorable action scenes! We’re going to explore the components of a scene, and explore ways to make your action scenes distinct and memorable.

We’ll look at the components of action scenes, from the smallest segment of time to the sweeping whole. How can you use your setting to make your action scenes more memorable, more grounded in the specific world of your story, and more fun? How can you demonstrate the personalities of your characters through their techniques, strategies, and split-second decisions in the midst of action? If you have multiple action scenes planned, how can you make them distinct from each other?



Presented by Gregg Taylor

Want to improve your power to craft authentic, engaging dialogue that moves your story forward and develops characters through their unique voice? Take a holiday and come play in a true dialogue-driven arena – audio drama!

For decades radio drama was the dominant popular storytelling art form, and while technology may have left the form behind, there are many lessons that any writer can learn when you flex your muscles and tell a complete story through dialogue.

This workshop will discuss historical styles and examples, talk about what works and what doesn’t, and discuss ways that you can use experience with audio drama in preparing and improving your own dialogue in any writing style. We will look, listen and take a stab at speaking some text together!



Presented by Laura DiSilverio

No story moves without conflict. No characters change without conflict. It’s at the heart of any storytelling—romance, mystery, mainstream, fairytales–and yet, many writers shy away from it. We like our characters too much to make their lives miserable. That attitude can derail our storytelling. I define conflict as anything and everything that keeps the viewpoint character(s) from accomplishing his or her goal. I’ll provide techniques for increasing conflict in every scene and across the scope of the story or novel. I have a five-step process for doing this: 1) defining the viewpoint character’s goals and needs in each scene, 2) providing internal and/or external opposition to those goals, 3) giving the illusion of progress, 4) surprising with disappointment and setbacks, and 5) working with a “What Could Be Worse?” mindset. I’ll also discuss how creating characters with conflict inherent in their relationships and goals can get your story off to a fast start and keep the conflict humming through what is often the “sagging middle” of a novel.



Presented by Jennie Marts

With so many authors writing multiple books—it’s important to create an author brand that will help readers recognize you. USA TODAY Best-selling author Jennie Marts will share practical advice and tips on understanding what your brand is, and how to build your own unique author brand and increase your discoverability.



Presented by Stant Litore

You never want to hear, “I just don’t care enough about your character.” This  session provides you with five strategies for digging more deeply into your character’s history, motivations, desires, and fears.



Presented by M.H. Boroson

Writing about magic can be rich with detail or unexplained and luminous. Learn to make your magical scenes add together to unforgettable world-building. Explore the roles magic can play in a story, advancing the plot and providing characterization. We’ll go over some different ingredients that can make your magic unique — the sublime, the eerie, cultural specificity, and fun.



Presented by KL Cooper

Don’t be the self-published author with a bad book cover! Even though I run a company that designs professional book covers, I feel it is my duty to save self-publishing authors from making the biggest mistake they can for their book. We’ll discuss what elements make a good cover as a opposed to a bad cover. I’m going to show you the tools and resources you need to make a decent book cover with or without a ton of technical know-how. By the end, you will understand the importance of a well-designed cover, and have at least a working knowledge of what it takes to produce one.


EDIT SOBER (The second half of our special Write Drunk; Edit Sober activity!)

Presented by Deb Courtney

So you did some improv writing. Some of it might even be good. Now the real work begins. This session focuses on unpacking the small samples you create in response to writing prompts, flexing the ideas, identifying themes and understanding how to develop these exercises into usable material. Please note: This workshop is suitable for anyone who has done improv writing, or writing to prompts. You’re welcome to attend even if you didn’t attend the “Write Drunk” portion last night.



Presented by Therese Francis

I want you to leave this workshop thinking of your writing as a business. This workshop tells you why you should care, how to make the selection with the IRS and more importantly, how to keep it. I will also cover basic bookkeeping, what records you are required to keep, and basic tax form know-how.



Presented by Gregg Taylor

There are many reasons to learn to love your voice, and to share it! From promoting your writing and sharing it through new media, to simply improving your writing by speaking it and the listening. In this three hour workshop, participants will learn the basics of working with a DIY recording system, learn how to work with a microphone and begin an introduction to preparing your sound files through the use of easily accessible (and often free) audio editing software.

Everyone is asked to bring a short text you are prepared to work with on mic (not prior preparation is necessary – we will learn together and share discoveries from the “mistakes” we make!) As many participants will work on-mic and hands-on as time will allow.



Presented by David R. Slayton

Whether you plan to self-publish or go the traditional route, you’ll need to promote your work. This workshop will help you communicate about your work in a genuine manner. We’ll review techniques for professional face to face communication.



Presented by JL Fields

How one nonfiction writer started blogging about what she knew…and now has four books under her belt and another on the way! During this workshop, you’ll develop a plan to create content – and a reputation – on a blog, with an eye toward creating content that will appeal to publishers and, most importantly, to readers


FROM WORLD TO STORY: Science Fiction and Fantasy World Building

Presented by Michael R. Underwood

Science Fiction & Fantasy are famous for their settings – imagined futures and fascinating invented worlds. Many writers get bogged down in worldbuilding or struggle to move from setting to a specific story. This workshop will provide tools and example processes for developing a setting in a way that will enrich character, support plotting, and help avoid falling down the hole of endless worldbuilding.


GETTING MORE OUT OF SOCIAL MEDIA: New Ways to Query and Pitch Your Book

Presented by Lisa Abellera

With the proliferation of social media, the pressure to stay current, network, and promote yourself as an author can be overwhelming. All the while, authors must still write compelling queries or come up with tantalizing pitches for their books. With thousands of other authors in the same boat as you, how do you stand out? More importantly, how does an agent who is looking for your type of project find you? Authors, agents, editors and other publishing industry professionals have started to use social media as another means to find book projects and have introduced new ways for authors to pitch and query. What started as small hashtag contests have now become trending phenomena on Twitter.



Presented by Travis Heermann

A discussion of research tools, techniques, and tribulations for writers. How much research is enough? At what point is it standing in your way?



Presented by Fleur (FT) Bradely

Perfect pacing, chapters with cliffhangers, and strong suspense: your favorite author makes it look so easy. Whether you’re writing a romance, a mystery, or a literary novel, adding suspense to your writing will keep your reader hooked. In this workshop, we’ll look at some basic suspense editing techniques; participants can bring the first chapter of their work-in-progress to share or work on. By the end, you’ll have an editing checklist, and a better opening chapter to your project.



Presented by LS Hawker

One problem often encountered by writers is their ideas seem to be predictable and formulaic. If you’re one of those, you can learn to inject some unexpected twists to your ideas.



Presented by Michael R. Underwood

Author and publishing professional Mike Underwood shares lessons from seven years of hand-selling books to readers, booksellers, and sales reps.  Learn how to put your work into a market context, showcase what makes it special, and connect with readers when selling at conventions, festivals, and more.



Presented by Travis Heermann

Few first drafts are gold dripped upon the page. This presentation will include tips on re-visioning your work so that it sparkles.


KIDLIT 101: Understanding the Children’s Fiction Market

Presented by Fleur (FT) Bradley

So you have this great idea for a novel for kids… But is it a picture book, middle-grade, or YA—and what do all those terms even mean? Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced author interested dipping your toe in the growing kidlit market, middle-grade author Fleur Bradley will explain the ins and outs, how to write for kids, and what to understand about marketing to the young set, from practical experience.


LOVE LETTERS FROM THE IRS: From Unreported Income Notices to Identity Theft

Presented by Therese Francis

Sooner or later, everyone that files a schedule C will get a CP notice, for topics ranging from just informing the writer of a change on their tax forms to a more serious issue. This workshop covers what a CP notice is and how to respond to one. I will cover how to challenge a notice and how to complete an audit. Plus I will discuss what to do when identity theft affects a writer’s taxes (ID theft affected more than 1 million taxpayers in 2015).



Presented by Jennie Marts

This workshop shows how to effectively utilize Amazon’s tools to reach more readers. Learn what you can do to help readers discover you. USA TODAY best-selling author, Jennie Marts will cover metadata, rankings, reviews, Amazon Author Central, and show you steps to create a great book page so you can be discovered by more readers and sell more books.



Presented by Darby Karchut

Once considered the red-headed stepchild in juvenile fiction, middle grade is now hot, hot, hot! Come join the crazy fun as we explore what makes middle grade “middle grade” (and not YA or children’s), and how to find your distinct middle grade voice.



Presented by Abellera, Flaherty, Lakosil, Maass, Morgan, Nelson, Pelletier

Everything you wanted to know about agents but were afraid to ask! We’ll cover a lot of ground in one hour, from unsolicited manuscripts to pet peeves to slush piles. We’ll talk about what mistakes to avoid, what agents are really looking for, queries that stand out for all the right and the wrong reasons, and so much more.



Presented by Braff, Brauning, Klein, Sogah

Everything you wanted to know about editors but were afraid to ask! We’ll cover a wide range of topics, from unagented manuscripts to the secrets of the slush pile. We’ll touch on how they work with agents and how they work with authors, what they’re looking for, and how their respective publishing houses work. A wealth of information is yours just for showing up.


NEXUS:  The Sales Tax Monster Under the Bed

Presented by Therese Francis

Knowing when to charge sales tax and how to report it is not as easy as it should be, especially with the ever-changing interstate and international rules for the Internet. For some states, having physical presence is required. For others, just having a certain dollar amount of orders pushes you over a threshold. Some states have one rate for the whole state, others can have different rates by city or county – or by the block. Today, mailing a book to someone might also mean you have international issues to address. I will discuss and demystify these moving targets.


OVER THE TRANSOM: What Really Happens to Your Query Letters

Presented by Donald Maass

Feeling brave? Get ready for reality! Members of the audience will be randomly selected to read their single-page query letter aloud, and Donald Maass will tell you if you’ve earned a “send it” — and why. Bring two copies of your appropriately formatted SINGLE PAGE query letter and be prepared for honest feedback.



Presented by Fleur (FT) Bradley

You started the new year with all these great writing resolutions, but life keeps getting in the way. Join author Fleur (F.T.) Bradley, who manages a freelance writing career as well as several novel and short story projects, to plan your most productive year yet. She’ll help you identify your goals, break large projects into manageable chunks, plan your schedule (even when life throws a curveball), and offer helpful advice for when you get off track. By the end of this workshop, you’ll have a personalized writer’s calendar, plus a list of resources.


PODCAST IT! Using New Media to Share Your Voice

Presented by Gregg Taylor

“Podcasting” is the distribution to media files through the internet by the means of an RSS feed. It is also a powerful tool for building an audience, promoting your work and telling your story. In this hour-long workshop, we will talk about history, styles and concepts for the medium, share a simple technical introduction to making it work for you, share ideas for the taking and work on becoming a fantastic guest when promoting your work on existing podcast shows!



Presented by Kevin Hearne

A workshop defying the old saw that “you can’t teach voice.” Maybe it can’t be taught in its totality,  but this workshop will cover practical techniques to make your characters pop and sound distinct from one another in both third person and first person POVs. Plenty of examples from lit and a firm belief from the instructor that you can master this.



Presented by Travis Heermann

Crowdfunding can be a great way for some authors gather the funding for a real indie publishing effort, but it’s not for everyone. But what are the pitfalls? What are the benefits?



Presented by Lana Williams

The advantages for using story tropes are numerous. Tropes are proven concepts that readers love, and they help writers better explain their stories to agents and editors. I’ll share ways to make their stories stand out in the slush pile or bookshelves by twisting tropes to wring out new ideas.


READY? SET? GO! Using Conference Energy to Launch Into Your Next Phase

Presented by Jodi Anderson and special guests

You’ve listened to the wisdom offered.  The tips.  The techniques.  And the advice.  From workshops, to pitches, to chatting with fellow writers and industry professionals, you have a new or improved set of tools in your writer’s arsenal.  So, what do you do now?  How do you move forward? Come chat with writers like you who have seen a change or two in this industry.  They have been newbies and attended many conferences.  Learn about how to be your best writing and life coach to use what you’ve learned to push your writng into the next level and be motivated to keep going.


REBOOT AND RECHARGE: If Writing Isn’t Fun, Play More!

Presented by Jodi Anderson

When is it time to change direction in your writing career? Do you need to start over? It’s never too late. Are you feeling stagnant and need help jump starting your words? Learn about the signs to help you make this major career decision and gain some new tools to help you navigate new waters and get the words flowing.



Presented by Barbara Nickless

Dialogue is one of fiction’s heavy lifters. It moves the story forward, reveals character and relationships, creates mood, and conveys information. Really good dialogue will perform at least two of these functions in every scene. The best dialogue is also fraught with the kind of tension that keeps a reader turning pages. This workshop will help you up your conversational game by showing how the best writers turn potentially pedestrian dialogue into something that can leap tall buildings with a single line.


SEDUCING THE READER: The 4 Essential Elements of an Opening

Presented by Darynda Jones

Ever been told you’re starting your story in the wrong place? Your opening falls flat? Your characters fail to impress? Every opening needs four components to hook an audience, four elements that are absolutely essential to capture a reader’s attention. To lure her to the next paragraph. The next page. To leave her breathless. Darynda will discuss these elements, give examples from those who have used them successfully, and show you how to take what might seem impossible and conquer it with relative ease. And, let’s face it. Who doesn’t love a little relative ease?



Presented by Berg, Gerritsen, Hearne, Marts

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when we try to carry plotlines, character development and story arcs over more than one book. If you’ve even wondered how a successful series writer keeps all the details straight while coming up with new ways to torment your favorite characters, then this is the workshop for you! Learn what tips and tricks (and spreadsheets?) these bestsellers use to keep their characters moving and their readers glued to page.


SHORT STORIES: Good for the Novelist, Good for the Career, Good for the Soul

Presented by Sam Knight, Shannon Lawrence, Stant Litore

Short stories are an often overlooked gateway to many advantageous things in a writer’s career. We will offer up some really good reasons to consider publishing a few: making new connections, learning new genres, experimenting with (and improving) writing styles, and more!



Presented by Megan Rutter

Human bone tells a fascinating tale. Every aspect of a person’s life and death can be etched into its very surface and cells. This session will help writers understand how to find the clues hidden on our very bones. These clues can answer simple questions like sex and approximate age. But they can also indicate where and how someone was born, lived, died. Come discover the story human bone whispers to those willing to hear premortem, perimortem and postmortem.



Presented by Kevin Ikenberry and MB Partlow

One of the best ways to get to know fellow authors and engage potential readers is to present a class or a workshop. But do you have to know a secret handshake to become one of the faculty? Get both sides of the equation as author and popular workshop presenter Kevin Ikenberry takes you through engaging your audience, proper use of props and media tools to enhance your presentation, and managing content and time. On the other side, MB Partlow, three time Programming Director for PPWC, will talk about how to make the right impact on the people choosing speakers for their event, what conference/convention organizers are looking for, and how to write engaging and enticing workshop titles and descriptions.


SO YOU WANT TO WRITE FASTER: How to Be Prolific, Productive, and Keep Your Sanity

Presented by Jennie Marts

When you’re juggling multiple series and publishers, every minute has to count. This workshop shares tips and tricks to increase productivity, balance conflicting deadlines, increase your word count, and write books fast. Multi-published author, Jennie Marts shares practical advice on how to write multiple books a year without sacrificing quality or losing your mind.



Presented by DiSilverio, Gerritsen, Rutter, Spiller

Questions answered, mysteries solved! This is the panel where all will be revealed—if you’re interested in writing mysteries. Edgar Allen Poe wrote the first fictional detective in 1841, and readers have been clamoring for mysteries to solve ever since. This panel will talk about why we love mysteries, how to plant clues, tangling (and then unraveling) your plotlines, and more.


STEP ASIDE, MORGAN FREEMAN, or, Creating Effective Readings

Presented by Carol Berg

You don’t have to be a professional actor or confident speaker to read from your work in front of an audience. By way of examples, demonstrations, and a bit of good humor, learn some simple ins and outs of preparing a good selection from your WIP and presenting it with assurance.

This is not a speech class or a psychological motivator. We will not refer to glottal stops or practice dialects or make any but passing references to the diaphragm. Rather this workshop will cover problems with both the reading and the reader that bore, numb, or offend a listener, what to do about them, and how to select and prepare a reading that will show the work to good advantage.



Presented by Donald Maass

What exactly is “literary” fiction?  What makes it different from mainstream?  For authors, what does it mean to write “literary”?  Do agents and publishers make a distinction?  How is such fiction categorized, packaged and marketed?  Is literary fiction doomed to high praise and low sales?  Demystify the term and explore the promise and perils of the most elusive of categories.



Presented by Shannon Lawrence

A ton of information is available online to help you query novels, but what if you’re trying to submit short stories? We’ll go over formatting, finding open markets, cover letters, and what happens after.



Presented by Pam McCutcheon

Most writers hate writing synopses and no wonder. After you’ve agonized over several hundred pages to make your prose perfect, how could you possibly distill that down to a measly ten or twenty pages? Or, worse yet, one or two paragraphs for a back cover blurb? By the time you’ve written a book, everything seems important, and it’s difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out. To help with that problem, Pam McCutcheon came up with a method that she details in her book, Writing the Fiction Synopsis, A Step by Step Approach. She’ll share her process to help you put together a selling synopsis and/or write a back cover blurb.



Presented by Lana Williams

Whether you’re writing historicals (like me!), fantasy, sci-fi, or even a contemporary novel, layering in the fascinating details you find in your research is key to building a world readers won’t want to leave. I’ll share great ways to find those details, how to place them to avoid intrusive info dumps, and how to make them shine so readers will be immersed in your story.



Presented by Todd Fahnestock

Join bestselling author Todd Fahnestock as he shares his experiences—the successes and the failures— marketing both independently published and traditionally published novels. The workshop will center around the Doolivanti Diary Contest, his creative approach to marketing the middle-grade novel, The Wishing World, and lessons learned from a Denver-based CEO, lesson plans for teachers, and giving back to the community. This marketing plan engaged two dozen schools and kicked off the successful launch of The Wishing World.



Presented by Darby Karchut

In this workshop, we’ll explore various archetypes often found in teen and children’s literature (and other genres), and why writing to these archetypes can give your story extra depth and power. An overview of archetypal settings and journey will also be discussed.



Presented by JL Fields

Your fiction-writing buddies have polished up their manuscript and they’re ready to pitch at conference. Are you feeling left behind as a nonfiction writer because you have an idea but haven’t written the book? You’re right where you need to be. While it’s true that fiction books are sold on a near-finished manuscript, nonfiction proposals are concept-driven. In this workshop you’ll formulate your concept or idea into a proposal to pitch to an agent or publisher. To prepare for this workshop bring your computer (or pen and paper) and your idea. You will walk out of the workshop with an outline for your nonfiction book proposal, plus tools to strengthen the important proposal elements, including the overview, comparable books, about the author, author platform, chapter outline, and first chapter.


THE HERO’S JOURNEY TO SAVE THE CAT: How to Build Your Narrative

Presented by Sam Morgan

Studying a story’s structure is an incredible tool to find out what makes the story tick and help you get out of a rut if you’re just not feeling your own. In this class, literary agent Sam Morgan will go over his very simply technique to create the kinds highly commercial manuscripts he represents.



Presented by JL Fields

A publisher-funded book tour is a myth. This workshop is designed for writers and authors who want to do a small- or large-scale book tour and don’t know how to fund it. You will learn:
-How to seek sponsorship.
-How to create fee-based workshops in conjunction with your book events to fund the tour.
-How to solicit grassroots support in book tour communities, towns and cities.


THE WRITING LIFE: Top 20 Lessons Learned

Presented by Darby Karchut and MK Meredith

Writing is a solitary exercise in having a thick skin, a strong sense of self, and the ability to at least pretend to be confident in your craft. In this panel, authors Darby Karchut and MK Meredith will discuss the top twenty lessons they’ve learned while writing and publishing in MG/YA and Adult romance (respectively). The list is designed to help any writer navigate their careers with as few hiccups as possible, while comparing the similarities and differences that may arise across genres.



Presented by Sam Knight

As the editor of five anthologies, I’ve come up with a checklist of items many new authors overlook before submitting their stories. Many panels touch on this topic, but none have included a bullet point checklist for the author.  Topics include spelling, story vs chapter, guidelines, formatting and more.



Presented by Jodi Anderson

Purple prose and fainting damsels waiting to be rescued? This ain’t your mama’s romance. In today’s evolving romance market, readers are looking for an edge in their stories. Let’s give it to them. We’re going to not only explore the edge, we are going to jump right off of it. From paranormal to sweet to zombie love, this is the place to blend it and push the envelope. Not sure how to pitch that ‘out of the box’ book? We’ll work together to help you have a response when that editor/agent asks you where your novels belongs. Genre blending is no longer forbidden; enjoy it!


TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS IN GENRE FICTION: When,  if, and How You Should Add the Magic To Your Thriller/SciFi/Mystery!

Presented by MK Meredith

You have an amazing plot for your next book. What can increase the tension, create more impact, or heighten suspense? Sometimes, the answer is romance. Let’s explore the key elements of romance and how they can take your book from good to great. But is romance right for every book? Of course not. Let’s find out when and how!



Presented by KL Cooper

I’ll be presenting new ideas in book marketing that you probably haven’t heard of or thought of yet. It’s time to take advantage of today’s fast paced, tech-centered readers. This workshop is great for intermediate to advanced attendees who are either close to publishing or have already published books and are looking for new ways to sell them.



Presented by Carol Berg

What makes a character live on in a reader’s mind after the book is closed? (1) Names, physical description, and job description do not characters make, not for walk-on characters and especially not for heroes, heroines, and villains. Learn techniques for inventing a person, ways to get into your characters’ heads and give them an inner life that motivates their actions. (2) Reveal your characters to the reader with narrative, voice, and point-of-view, at the same time using the developing story to expand your own understanding of your characters.



Presented by Laura DiSilverio

Too often, writers, even experienced writers, see describing setting merely as an opportunity to sketch in the appearance of a location. That is wasting much of setting’s potential! This workshop will show writers how to reveal character through setting. Properly used, setting can reveal a lot about the viewpoint character and about any character whose setting is being described. Interactive with numerous examples to dissect/discuss.



Presented by Sam Knight

So you’ve decided to self-publish something, but the learning curve is holding you back. What do you have to know in order to get this thing done?



Presented by LS Hawker, Jennie Marts,  Barbara Nickless

This panel will discuss digital-first publishing (LS Hawker, HarperCollins Witness Impulse), the 800-pound gorilla (Barbara Nickless, Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon imprint), self/indy publishing (Jennie Marts), and small press (pending). The panelists will describe the process each publisher employs, their experiences with their publishers, the merits and drawbacks of each publishing model, and any helpful insider information they’re able to share.


WHY YA? The Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of the Young Adult Market

Presented by Bradley, DiSilverio, Jones, Karchut

The market is exploding for all kinds of Young Adult literature. The surge didn’t start with Hunger Games, and it won’t end there, either. If you want to expand your writing into this growing and changing market, come learn from these experienced pros about what sells, what doesn’t sell, and what teenagers really want to read.



Presented by Megan Rutter

Killing someone in fiction can be fun and complicated to plot. But what your characters do after the body is on the floor, or wooded path or floating in the pool is critical. It takes time and attention to hide a body. And even more time, as well as intelligence, foresight and skill, to successfully hide one.
This session will examine the methods of body disposal. Their benefits, pitfalls. It will also cover how, when and why bodies are discovered.
This will help writers to not only plot the perfect murder, but also help them to hide a body for the correct amount of time in order to create a plausible plot.



Presented by M.H. Boroson

A quick and dirty method for writing query letters that get your point across. Step-by-step instructions show how to create a query letter that grabs the attention of literary agents and tells them what they need to know.

This presentation is a simple set of step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Find recent, successful query letters that describe books similar to yours.
* how to identify books similar to yours
* how to find other authors’ query letters
Step 2: How to analyze the successful query letters for a kind of template
Step 3: How to build your own basic letter around that template; how and why to leave blanks
Step 4: How to research literary agents; how to fill in those blanks.



Presented by Carol Berg

A vivid sense of place helps any story come alive. What must you consider when setting your adventure, romance, or fantasy/sf in a world that is not contemporary USA? We’ll discuss the building blocks of believable societies, avoiding cliches, common world-creation mistakes, and evocative writing techniques.



Presented by LS Hawker

When you get a multi-book deal, that second book is like Fight Club–nobody talks about it! The Book That Shall Not Be Named dogs nearly every newly published author, but as if speaking of it will bring down the wrath of the gods, most writers suffer in silence. We’re going to take the mystery, shame, and fear out of Second Book Syndrome, from Sophomore Slump to High Expectations to Unreasonable Deadlines.