Workshops - Retreat 2023

Beyond Pumpkin Patches and Christmas Cookies: How to Write a Heartwarming, Hallmark-Sweet Romance

USA Today bestselling author Teri Wilson discusses the rising popularity of low-angst, Hallmark-style sweet romances and what specific elements set these stories apart from other varieties of closed-door writing. Participants will learn how to craft a Hallmark-style story, why these feel-good romances have such mass appeal and how to get them published, both indie and traditionally. They will also learn how to generate conflict and romantic tension in a softer, hot-button-free world and how to craft “filmable” scenes that translate well to movie adaptions. The slide presentation will include a recommended viewing list—from Hallmark Channel favorites to shows like Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie—as well as a reading list of books that represent this very specific subgenre.
USA Today Bestselling Author Teri Wilson writes heartwarming contemporary romance with a touch of whimsy. Three of Teri's books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies, including UNLEASHING MR. DARCY (plus its sequel MARRYING MR. DARCY), THE ART OF US and NORTHERN LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, based on her book SLEIGH BELL SWEETHEARTS. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction and a 2022 inductee into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.
Teri loves pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films and following the British royal family. Visit her at or on Instagram @TeriWilsonauthor where she posts way too many photos of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

The Business of Publishing

You are completing a manuscript you want to publish. What happens now? What options are available for publication? What is the right way for you to go?
As an author, regardless which route you take, you are the CEO of your own business. You own your Brand. Taking charge of your business isn’t complex, but it is time-consuming. There is a learning curve to getting your book published, managing your brand—your company, and being taken seriously by the industry and out of trouble with the IRS. I will discuss these items, share what I’ve learned about them and provide tips to help you manage this process. --Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru.

Lynda Rees is a multi-award-winning storyteller, horse farmer, born in Eastern Kentucky. This coal miner's daughter, part-Cherokee Indian author's writing is influenced by growing up in the area when Newport prospered as a mecca for gambling and sin. Her fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into her written pages.
Having traveled the world working with heads of industries, foreign governments, and business leaders during a marketing and global transportation corporate career, this free-spirited adventurer turned her workaholic tendencies to following her passion for writing.

Focus on Story Issues

Whether you are developing big story elements or identifying the small details that make the story special, there's nothing like the frustration of knowing something isn't working. We'll talk about how to triage a scene, the best way to brainstorm solutions, and how to hack your neural pathways. This session includes time to dissect story issues the participants are facing.

Jen Graybeal (she/her) offers creative coaching for your books, business, and mindset through encouraging feedback, collaborative problem solving, and gently-applied tough love. She has a degree in English, an ever-expanding TBR, and a furball assistant that is usually on her lap. Visit her website for client testimonials at or follow her on Instagram and TikTok @jentheeditor.

Better Faster Academy Workshop: Strengths for Writers Day

Have you ever taken a workshop (marketing, plotting, productivity) and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t make the outcomes happen that the workshop promised? Ever wondered why that happens? If you join us for this masterclass in success alignment, you’ll not only learn *why* this happens, but how to maximize your capacity for better success in the future. Anyone can tell you what worked for them, and they can say “it might not work for you,” but they can’t tell you why. I can tell you why. Join me for a day of success alignment, specifically designed for writers, that will unlock many of the answers to “why is this not working” and “how could I do this better” that you’ve been seeking. Workshop taught by Becca Syme (MATL), Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, who has coached nearly 6000 individual authors to success alignment and better career satisfaction.