Happy women at a gathering


Washington Romance Writers

2021 In The Company of Writers Retreat and Conference--Virtual

April 10-11, 2021

 The premier writing conference and retreat experience in the Washington D.C. area.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wrw-retreat-2021-tickets-133798176949


WRW Members Two-Day Ticket EARLY BIRD: $89 (Buy before March 3)

WRW Members Two-Day Ticket: $99

WRW Members Saturday Only Ticket: $69

WRW Members Sunday Only Ticket: $49

RWA Members Two-Day Ticket: $109

General Public Two-Day Ticket: $129

What To Expect:

More Retreat and Conference Bang For Your Buck —There will be more than 20 hours of continuing education master classes and workshops covering craft, business, and writing life topics that can help you become a more successful author. Your ticket entitles you to access the conference archives so you can “attend” the sessions you missed after the conference is over.

We begin with a special welcome from 2019 RWA Mentor of the Year Veronica Forand and will conclude Sunday afternoon with an inspiring send off from WRW powerhouse J.T. Bock.

Day Passes —Can’t attend the entire conference? That’s okay. This year we are offering a limited number of value-packed day passes granting you access to pitching opportunities, workshops, and networking.

Master Classes —Each in-depth seminar is geared toward the experienced writer.

Workshops —Covering a wide variety of topics, these courses are meant to address the concerns of every writer, be they pre-published or one hundred books into their publishing journey.

Connecting With Peers —Writing can be a lonely business, so the retreat and conference is the perfect opportunity to meet or reconnect with your fellow writers. Stop in to Saturday’s open Zoom “cocktail” and “dinner” hours, and lunch on both days.

Pitch Sessions —On Saturday we will have opportunities for you to pitch your book to an editor &/or agent. Information on required pre-Retreat sign-up to come. This year, you could pitch to Nalini Akolekar (agent, Spencer Hill Associates), Linda Camacho (agent, Gallt & Zacker Agency),  Michelle Grajkowski (agent, Three Seas Literary), Norma Perez-Hernandez (assistant editor, Kensington Publishing), Carly Silver (assistant editor, Harlequin), and Deb Werksman (editor, Sourcebooks). Additionally, Sara Megibow (agent, KT Literary) will sit on the panel for American Author. For their bios and wish lists, see the FAQ page at https://washingtonromancewriters.com/faq/ ONCE YOU'VE REGISTERED for the Retreat, email writingskye@gmail.com for information on securing a one-on-one appointment or taking part in a small group pitch session.

American Author —If you are a WRW member, submit your first page to be read aloud anonymously, then let VIP guest judges give you their HONEST opinions. Bring your own cocktails.  Warning: Submission critiques are not for the faint of heart. Send your submission to moderator Denise McInerney, dmcwriter@aol.com no earlier than 6:00 am on Monday April 5th and no later than 11:59 pm on Thursday April 8th. THIS EVENT IS NOW FILLED; NO MORE SUBMISSIONS CAN BE ACCEPTED. THANK YOU!

Come One, Come All…to the WRW Raffle/Auction —LAST CHANCE TO BUY TICKETS IS ON THE MONDAY AFTER THE RETREAT. Check out our latest Virtual Raffle Auction (monies support the WRW Scholarship Fund).  Socially distanced FUN for virtually everyone! Browse the many fantastic opportunities at https://go.rallyup.com/wrwraffle?fbclid=IwAR0gmXDzkYHsxU2GILyl4AFXp-fqCMkVQHNfkP9tEBFJnT8sB3CasyH5tZQ Drawing will be held on April 13 at 11am Eastern. You do NOT need to attend the Retreat to buy tickets or win a raffle drawing.

SCHEDULE (Note: Subject to change!)

Saturday, 8:30

Retreat opens


Saturday, 8:45

Welcome—Veronica Forand


Saturday, 9-11:30, 1-3:00

10-minute pitch sessions to individual agents and editors. Pre-Retreat sign-up required. A FEW SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE. To sign up for a pitch session, email writingskye@gmail.com


Saturday, 9-10


I Wrote A Book, What Now?Veronica Forand

Writing a book is the hard part, but then what? Agent? Publisher? Self-publish? Do I need to market it? What is Mass Market v. Trade? How much money can I expect to spend and to earn? I’ll focus on all of your questions to help you make the best decision for your book and your personality.


Saturday, 9-11

Master Class

Writing Dialogue to Fall in Love WithRoan Parrish

Compelling dialogue makes characters fall in love with each other, makes readers fall in love with characters, and can break all of their hearts. In this master class we’ll delve into how to craft dialogue that is individual, interesting, and makes characters that readers will never forget.


Saturday, 10:15-11:30


Writer’s A-School: What’s Beyond Basic Plot and GMCGeri Krotow

Learn to take your story to the next level of crafting expertise. In the US Navy, sailors attend boot camp and then go on to A-School, a specialized course in their area of military specialty. In this workshop Geri covers the writing craft beyond basic plotting and characterization. Topics explored include the heroine’s/hero’s journey, theme, parallel plots, epistolary structure.


Saturday, 11:30-12:30

Break. Bring your lunch to the virtual gathering!


Saturday, 12:45-1:30

Writing Life

Where Did the Time Go? —Kate Forest

Writers are busy people, frequently with multiple jobs and roles in life. Too often, they place writing low on their priorities list. But how to juggle all the balls? This workshop provides strategies and tools to ensure that writing time happens.


Saturday, 1-3


Finding Your Way to the Pacing Sweet SpotAngela James

Better understand what editors and agents mean when they reference a book’s pacing. Learn what to look for in your own manuscript when it comes to figuring out pacing, structure and how to make it all work together.


Saturday, 1:45-3


Stepping into Your Character’s ShoesPriscilla Oliveras

This presentation discusses and demonstrates several techniques and exercises found in Brandilyn Collins’ how-to text Getting into Characters: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors to help writers succeed in their quest to create believable, unforgettable characters.


Saturday, 3:15-4:15

Editor and Agent Q&A

Ask them anything about getting a book published. This is your chance to get the real scoop!


Saturday, 3:15-4:30


Cross-Promo: Teaming Up for Discoverability and VisibilityPriscilla Oliveras

Discoverability, visibility...they’re buzz words we often discuss, maybe even stress over, with fellow authors and industry professionals, but cross-promotion can be fun with the right people. Learn more about tips and tools such as identifying comp titles and authors, pinpointing common contributions to the market, and how/when to know it might be a good idea to team up with others.


Saturday, 4:30-5:30

Open Zoom room for “cocktails” social hour



American Authors

Submit the first page of your novel to be read aloud anonymously. The agents and editors will then offer you critiques and suggestions. This opportunity is limited; submissions will be read in first-come, first-served order until we run out of time. AMERICAN AUTHORS IS NOW FULL; NO MORE SUBMISSIONS CAN BE ACCEPTED.


Saturday, 5:30-6:30

Open Zoom room for “dinner” social hour



Sunday, 9-10


Brand U: Creating A Unique Online and Real-World ImageJT Bock and Lynne Silver

Professional graphic designer, JT Bock, and promotional industry insider, Lynne Silver, will give you the inside scoop on your brand identity. Logo creation, color palettes, marketing collateral, swag, and more will be discussed in this behind-the-scenes comprehensive workshop.


Sunday, 9-10


Small Package/Big Payoff: Writing Novellas and Category Romance That Wow Your ReadersRobin Covington

By using trope-driven plotting, you can prove that size doesn't always matter when it comes to romance. Attendees will leave with handouts and reference tools to enable them to write a novella or category romance that readers will adore.


Sunday, 10-11:30

Master Class

Crafting Deeper POVRoan Parrish

Have you ever felt so connected with a character that it was a shock to put the book down and be back in your own world? In this master class, we’ll learn tricks of how to sink the reader deep into your character’s head and heart through presenting the world as only your character can.


Sunday, 10:15-11:15


10 Editing Hacks: Easy steps to clean up your manuscriptJessica Snyder

Romance editor Jessica Snyder provides an easy-to-follow list of ten self-editing tasks authors can complete before submitting their manuscript to agents, editors and critique partners. Follow along as she demonstrates live how to use MS Word’s Find and Replace functions to resolve everything from formatting problems to cutting extraneous adverbs.


Sunday, 11:30-12:30

Break. Bring your lunch to the virtual gathering!




Sometimes You Have to Kiss: Writing Short Fiction in a Novel WorldToni Jackson

Learn to KISS (keep it simple) with this workshop focused on helping full-length novel writers identify ways to write 40k words and understand how it can help them increase their base.


Sunday, 12:30-1:45

Writing Life

Resistance: Change Your Perspective, Change Your CareerGeri Krotow

Resistance is a common factor in many of us never achieving our life’s purpose and/or dreams. Identify what Resistance is, how it shows up in our daily life, and why it’s always going to be here—we can’t fight it. BUT we can learn to live with it, and go beyond mere survival to THRIVE and become the person we are meant to be. You’ll identify your talents and see how resistance rises each time you employ your gifts.


Sunday, 1:20-2:20


Show Me The FunnyJ.T. Bock and Mary Strand

Utilizing clips from their favorite funny TV shows and movies and read aloud hilarious scenes from books to learn what makes audiences laugh. They’ll dissect the techniques writers use to get giggles so we can bring the funny to our own stories.


Sunday, 2:30-3:00

Inspirational Send-off—JT Bock



About The Workshop Presenters:


When J.T. Bock was a child, she wanted to be James Bond or Indiana Jones or Wonder Woman. Whatever brought her the most action, adventure, and romance while play acting on her stage—otherwise known as her grandmother's basement. In her UltraSecurity series, J.T. has assembled a team of action heroes, supernatural creatures, and maniacal villains and set them on adventures to exotic lands and other universes for their HEAs. Her alternate identity enjoys running a graphics business, spending time with her workaholic husband and their sidekick rescue dog, traveling, and enjoying life to the fullest with an amazing group of family and friends and a glass of wine.


A USA Today bestseller, Robin Covington loves writing sexy romance, spoiling her Corgi (Dixie Joan Wilder), indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans. A Native American author of color, Robin proudly writes diverse romance where everyone gets their happy ever after.


Veronica Forand, RWA Mentor of the Year for 2019 has assisted many writers find the path right for them by learning their strengths and weaknesses. She is published both traditionally and self-published.


Award winning author Kate Forest has worked in a psychiatric hospital, as a dating coach, and spent a disastrous summer selling above-ground swimming pools. But it was her over twenty-year career as a social worker that compelled her to write love stories with characters you don't typically get to read about. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two kids, and a fierce corgi.


Toni Jackson is the author of several Paranormal, Contemporary, Space Opera and Suspense romance novellas and short stories, she also writes Superhero, Science Fiction and Mystery.


Angela James is a digital publishing expert, author career specialist and top shelf editor with over two decades in publishing working with hundreds of authors.


Geri Krotow is the award winning, bestselling author of over 25 novels. A US Naval Academy graduate and former Intelligence Officer, she loves sharing how she employs her military training to her writing craft.


Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. She and her novels have earned recognition in the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, and Publishers Weekly, amongst others, and her next novel, Island Affair, releases May 2020. #LatinxRom


Denise McInerney is a skilled improvisationalist and brings that talent to the fore as she coordinates and emcees the Retreat’s popular “American Author.”


Roan Parrish is the author of over a dozen queer romance novels. They are all full of feelings, full of animals, and full of cuddling.


Lynne Silver is the author of sexy contemporary romance such as the popular Alpha Heroes and Coded for Love series. When she’s not writing she works at a top-50 promotional company in Washington D.C.


Jessica Snyder is an editor, coach and project manager who has been editing romance for over six years, working across Romancelandia with publishers, bestselling indie writers and newly published authors. She enjoys consulting with her authors on the self-publishing industry as much as she likes to dive into characterization and GMC in their manuscripts.


Mary Strand is a recovering lawyer from Minneapolis who, when not rocking out on guitar or injuring herself playing sports, writes YA, romantic comedy, and women’s fiction.  Her debut novel was Golden Heart winner Cooper’s Folly, and her four-book Bennet Sisters YA series, starting with Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras, is now available.