2022 Workshops--POSTPONED until 2023


Talent Craft, and Platform—the Publishing Deal Triad

Amy Collins

Why do some authors get an agent and others do not? Why do some manuscripts and pitches garner huge advances and a juicy publishing contract and others just languish? It is possible to create a successful career as an author, but there are hard truths about what it really takes to "make it." Authors who have been querying agents or submitting manuscripts and not getting offers will appreciate this class in how to improve their chances of getting an agent or a publishing contract. This class will give authors a chance to evaluate what elements they possess and give them the tools they need to develop the elements they lack. I will gently and humorously teach what is needed besides a great book idea and talent. We’ll also cover tools to help with craft, market awareness, reader relationships and genre communities. The attendees will get a full evaluation of their current situation and will be given the tools they need to improve their manuscript and pitch for their next agent or publisher meeting.


The Skeleton in the Closet: What Film Structure Can Teach Us About Crafting Our Stories

Harrison Demchick

The world of film is filled with comedy and drama, sci-fi and fantasy, thrillers and romance, and everything in between, but nearly every film boils down to the same three-act structure. Novels and memoirs are different, based upon a less precise formula of inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. But there’s a lot we can learn about general story structure by focusing on three-act film structure. This talk will explore how and why stories are constructed, and how these lessons can be incorporated into our own writing.


Inside the Lines: A Game Plan for Writing a Winning Sports Romance

Tracy Solheim

Sports romance is one of the more popular subgenres in the industry. And it isn’t any wonder why. Is there anything hotter than an athlete? Romance readers don’t think so. But there’s more to the popularity of sports romances than just hot bodies. How do you write a compelling athlete hero your readers will want to root for? Join USA Today bestselling author Tracy Solheim for an overview of how you can make your sports romance novel as authentic as possible. No sweating necessary.



The Plot and Structure Master Guide: How One Simple Document Can Make Your Story’s Structure Stronger

Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA

From MFA programs to Pixar movies to LA writers’ rooms—patterns of structure, plot, and character development show up time and again. Throughout the ages, master storytellers and researchers have shown us that story is more than a simple three-act structure. But does using a specific story structure help or hurt the way that we create a story? Does story mapping, outlining, and meeting specific plot-point targets slow us down, creating cookie-cutter stories? Or does story mapping speed up the creative process and actually make us more creative? Finally, is there such a thing as a “great map” that can help us develop our stories more easily? Join this session for story structure wisdom and hands-on takeaways, including a Master Map distilling plot and structure guidelines from the likes of Joseph Campbell, Blake Snyder, Michael Hauge, Houston Howard, and more.


A Procrastinator’s Guide to Productivity: How to Beat the Monster and Get Sh!t Done

Alyssa Alexander

Been working on the same manuscript for years without finishing it? Overwhelmed by the length of your publishing or marketing to-do list? Or are you just avoiding writing, even though you want to realize your dream? This workshop discusses why we take the path of least resistance, the fear (and effectiveness) of deadlines, the habits that block us, and then provides practical tips to increase your productivity or writing time—and actually get sh!t done.


Basics of Editing and Proofreading

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Authors can make their manuscripts stronger by spending some time on self-editing and proofreading their work before submitting to agents and publishers, and especially before self-publishing. It can also help to understand the basics of these processes before hiring or working with an editor or proofreader. This session will explain levels of editing, the difference between editing and proofreading, how to find and work with editors or proofreaders, and resources for finding them or becoming one of them.



Make Goodreads Work for You

Diane K. Peterson

Goodreads is the largest online community of readers in the world. This workshop will empower authors to embrace their Goodreads presence and learn to deal with negativity. Five aspects of Goodreads to be discussed are: strengthening your author profile, interacting with readers, checking your book records, using promotional tools, and seeking help. Make Goodreads work for you!



Your Pacing Score: A Numeric System for Finding Slow Spots (And Tips to Fix Them)

Arielle Haughee

One of the most common issues in novel drafts is pacing. Too fast? Too slow? Saggy middle? The initial challenge is gaining perspective on your manuscript. That’s where a scoring system can help you analyze your scene flow and determine slow spots. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to score your scenes, determine the appropriate flow of pacing, and get top tips for how to adjust your scene as needed.


Pump Up Your Prose

Ava Cuvay

Strengthen your writing! Give your story a six-pack that has nothing to do with your hero's abs. Ava Cuvay offers a list of "rules" to apply to your craft to help beef up the power of your story and keep it from being flabby and weak. Excellent for beginning writers, and a good refresher for more advanced writers.



Writing More Diverse and Inclusive Romance

Jeevani Charika

Why bother writing books with a more diverse cast? What does ‘diverse’ mean? We’ll cover writing what you know and writing what you don’t know, cultural misappropriation, and tips and guidelines for writing characters who are outside your sphere of experience.


The Modern Author’s Press Kit

Sarah N. Fisk (Sarah Nicolas)

An author’s press kit should include all the information that might be needed in order to book media appearances, event appearances, publicity opportunities, or selective marketing avenues. A press kit is not a one-size-fits-all document, but should be customized for different applications. Author, event planner, and former book publicist Sarah Nicolas will break down every item an author should have in order before contacting journalists, retailers, bloggers, event planners, publicists, or anyone who might take an interest in you as an author.


Getting Your Rights Back from a Publisher

Dean Wesley Smith

There are steps that can be taken to get your rights back from a publisher so you can republish or resell your work. They are sometimes easy, sometimes hard, sometimes not possible for 35 years. If you have a book lost to a publisher, this is the session for you.


Free Alternatives to Microsoft Word

Crystal Ramos

Microsoft won’t tell you this, but there are other options out there besides Word. In this workshop we will look at Google Docs, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WPS Office, and Focuswriter (programs subject to change based on what is current at the time of retreat)and discuss their pros and cons as well as where to download them without viruses tagging along.



Creating an Audiobook for Your Literary Masterpiece

Flo McCahon

As audiobooks continue to be the fastest-growing segment of book sales, many authors are considering an audio version of their book. This presentation provides information to help authors decide if this is an avenue to pursue. We will look at current statistics for the market, provide options for producing the book, and the necessary steps to complete the process to offer an audiobook as part of the author’s products


Social Media 101: How to Harness the Right Social Media to Promote Your Book

Jenna Grinstead

In this course, we'll explore each of the major social media platforms that are popular today including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat and Tiktok. We'll discuss their target audience, how they are successfully levered by authors to build their platform, and how to decide which platforms best fit your author brand. We'll also discuss tools that can help you build and maintain a social media presence more effectively.