Session Descriptions2018-05-04T11:47:37-05:00

Session Descriptions

Keynote – Mark Sulllivan


The ultimate secret to a long, productive, happy, and lucrative writing career. Sullivan will reveal the habits, patterns, and methods he has learned and used to thrive in the thirty-five years he has been writing full time. In this keynote address, he will show you the value of shifting your writing “center” from your intellect to your heart, and the extraordinary power of reorienting your writing goals from specific outcomes to the pursuit of mastery.


Screenwriting 101: The Basics (and Secrets for Success)- Evan Balkin

Television and film is, of course, a visual medium. But before any shot is taken or image created, there must be a script. Literally the least visual aspect of the television or filmmaking process is its most essential; without the script, without the written idea, there is no show and no film. This informative session covers the major elements that go into creating correct and compelling screenplays. Filled with insider knowledge and tips from the trade, this session will provide those interested in writing for the screen the tools to make that a reality. Using movie clips, script examples, and hands-on workshopping, participants will leave well equipped to put their own television/screenplay ideas into a more unified and marketable shape.

10 Sins of Travel Writing – Evan Balkin

This session, borrowing from the great travel writer and friend Thomas Swick, focuses on places where novice travel writers go wrong – and inversely, where we as travel writers can “go right.”

Playwriting 101 – Alison Blake

This class will point out the differences, and reasons for the differences, between plays, novels and movies. We’ll go over the different techniques required for playwriting as well as the play structure and the different types of plays. We’ll discuss working with directors and actors using personal experiences. And stress how the written play is influenced by actors, directors, stage design, lighting, etc. The attendees will be asked to bring in a short (around 5 to 10 minute) scene they have written if they have one. It will be read and discussed in light of what was previously covered. The main thrust of the class will be structure.

Poetry As Story Telling – Joss Burnel

Overview: short, long, humorous or tragic, poetry has been a means of telling stories since long before the printed word. I smile when people tell me they don’t like poetry. From advertising jingles, to Christmas stories; from Bible passages to Shakespeare, poetry is a means of communicating that has influenced and impacted our lives. There’s really no getting away from verse! Join me as we explore and practice ways and means to include poetry in your writing. Whether a lullaby, a witch’s spell, a rhyme to solve a puzzle or ask a question, verse just might be the answer you need and can create or develop.

Writing Historically 101 – Jay Cardam

So you want to write a historical, where do you begin? Right here, This presentation will focus on: What do I need to know about the period? What do I need to know about the people? How do I find out? To Prithee or not to Prithee. Incorporating history into your story. Details, details, details, but stop!….when is it all too damn much! Who are these readers anyway, and just what are they looking for? What are the most popular periods in Historicals, genres?

Global Flash Fiction- Anne Carr

Juxtaposing a flashpoint and powerful images with causality, flash fiction exposes a simultaneous conflation between intersecting physical and emotional worlds. In 1000 words, the story demands they co-exist as an incommensurate new entity where the narrative inhabits both actively and interactively. In 1000 words you can and you must bring a setting to life as a lens to view the story because it will never happen again!

Participants will practice constructing a world glossary for their own writing on social issues and identity in a global location. Setting is paramount and can equal character because it’s the visual, thematic and psychological resonance and significance to events.

Poetry and Book Art- Magdelena Herreshoff

In this workshop participants will explore writing and editing their poetry, build skills and confidence by reading out loud to listen for the rhythm of the poem. This will not be a workshop on the many forms of poetry, but links and resources for further study will be provided. There will also be a demonstration of poetry book art such as the different ways one can present poetry in broadsides and chapbooks as well as simple book sewing techniques.

What’s Creative About Creative Nonfiction? – Kitty Hoffman

Many recent articles, and sales figures, proclaim that creative nonfiction is now the genre favored by writers and publishers. Recent notorious controversies over ‘fact vs fiction’ testify to the power of the form and the passions it can ignite.

What makes creative nonfiction ‘creative’? Or, for that matter, what makes it ‘nonfiction’ in a literary way? Is there an appropriate balance between fact and fictional embellishment?

Experience intensive exploration of this popular genre that combines the authenticity of biography, history or science with the freedom of imagination and creativity. Explore a combination of theory and practice, writing exercises and workshop feedback.

For beginning or experienced writers interested in personal essay, memoir, and other forms of creative nonfiction.

Narrative Voice in Non-Fiction And/Or Memoir – Kitty Hoffman

How is the “I” in literary prose different from the author; what distinguishes this form from a private journal? How do we create a voice that the reader will trust, and also follow with interest? How much do we reveal? For writers at all level of experience, who are interested in exploring narrative persona.

Turning Gobbledygook into Great Articles – Kate Kunkel

In our lives and in our work, we’re often called upon to take complex information and turn it into something others with no background in that subject can understand. Technical writers make salaries upwards of $60,000 a year to do that.

In this class, you will learn a simple, replicable technique that will help you develop, gather, and communicate information in a fun and fresh way. Whether you are looking to break into or increase your freelance magazine work, or you are struggling to market a book, program or project, this interactive workshop will give you plenty of opportunity to turn gobbledygook into great articles.

Writing Sex Scenes: The ins and… never mind- Daphne Loveling

Does the thought of writing a sex scene make you cringe? Have you tried to write one, but just don’t know how to start? Are you having trouble trying to figure out how sexy it should be for the book you’re writing? You don’t have to be a romance novelist to benefit from this session, because there are sex scenes in all manner of fiction. I’ll talk about some of the reasons writing sex scenes can be so intimidating, and also help you with some techniques to help you feel more confident and start writing scenes that work for you — and especially for your readers — and that enhance your book. (Daphne Loveling is the author of fifteen steamy contemporary romance novels.)

Creating Characters That Walk Off the Page- Jeanne McCafferty

Don’t you love it when you are reading a book and a character just waltzes off the page and into your life? Characters that soon feel like old friends, ones you miss when the book is over. Characters like that take a lot of thought, planning and detail on the writer’s part.

This presentation will guide participants through creating a character’s backstory, developing personal characteristics, and identifying their dynamic in the story. Participants will be asked to take part in some exercise demonstrations.

Oh Go Edit Yourself! – Jeanne McCafferty

Editing your own prose can be a challenge, but there are certain time-tested techniques that can make the task easier–and lead to a manuscript you’ll be proud to submit for publication.  Jeanne McCafferty will take participants through several steps to a polished and professional manuscript. Attendees will learn self-editing tips to use even before you let family and friends anyone else read your work; the difference between first readers, editors, and gatekeepers; and tools and techniques for evaluating your own manuscript.

You Have an Idea, Now What? From Thought to Publishing – Judi Moreo

If you’ve always wanted to write but have no idea where to start, this workshop will demystify the process for you. You’ll get an understanding of the creative process, improve your writing skills, and discover six habits of successful career authors. We will delve into identifying markets, deciding on a title, finding the right editor, and choosing a cover design. We will also discuss working with publishers vs self-publishing, identify the publisher committee players, and the nine key elements of a good book proposal. In addition, we will discover some non-traditional ways of promoting your books.

How to Write the How To Book- Judi Moreo

Do you know that you can make money by sharing what you know?  Many of the best-selling books in the marketplace today are “How To” books. People buy “how to” books when they want or need to know how to learn something. “How to” books are written about everything from relationships to dieting to home repair and dealing with life issues such as stress, grief, and anger! The best news is that “how to” books make great ebooks and cost little-to-no money to publish.  As writers, we can knock these out quickly and create an income while we are writing our novels.

In this program, Judi Moreo will show you easy ways to get into book form the information you know to help others and jump start your writing career.

Writing as Spiritual Practice – Don Morreale

Each participant will interview the person sitting next to them, and then write and read aloud an introduction to that person.
I will then offer a brief description of the two major aspects of Mindfulness Meditation (tranquility and insight), and draw parallels between meditation and creative writing. This introduction will be followed by a brief session of guided meditation.

The focus of the class will be on writing as a means of self-exploration, so I will offer prompts to facilitate that endeavor.

Some examples:

Write about the place where you grew up, and how living there influenced you.

Write about what you learned from your mother, father, older sibling that has helped or hindered you in your later life.

What was the religious tradition you grew up in? Why do you still, or no longer, go to church/synagogue?

Creating Internal and External Conflict with Astrological Archetypes – C.A. (Carol Ann) Newsome

Each planet in an astrological chart serves a specific role, its placement in the zodiac determining how that role will be fulfilled while setting up conflict or congruence between wants, needs, fears, purpose, mental processes, how you take action, and more.  The planets can also be used to determine how two people will interact, how they will support each other, and what will generate conflict. C. A. (Carol) Newsome draws on 30 years as an astrological hobbyist to give you the tools to flesh out rich characters and relationships that will have readers returning to your series book after book. This session includes a downloadable astrological cheat sheet and a list of recommended resources.

Juicing Your Plots with Tarot Cards – C.A. (Carol Ann) Newsome

Hundreds of years ago, gypsies adopted playing cards to tell fortunes because the images on playing cards of the time stimulated their intuition. Those ancient cards were the ancestors of the Tarot cards we know today. Just as gypsies used cards to prompt their intuition, you can use them to prompt your imagination, opening up new ways to look at your plots and characters. This session includes a downloadable pdf of layouts designed for authors and a list of recommended resources.

Murders, Mysteries and Munchies, Oh My! – Summer Prescott

This cozy course will take you through the joys and mechanics of how to write a Cozy Mystery. You’ll learn the goals, the audience and a whole lot of hints and handy tips for this fast-growing popular genre.

Writing Horror – Ricardo Segreda

Ricardo Segreda, author and film critic, will present a workshop on
the psychology of the horror genre, utilizing examples of horror
fiction in both literature and film, as well as the use of horror in
classical narratives such as in Greek tragedy and epic poetry.

The Creative Mindset: – Mark Sullivan

How to hack your brain and body to increase creativity and productivity. Sullivan has spent the last three and a half decades studying peak performance in all aspects of his life, but especially in writing. In this practical workshop, Sullivan will share insights learned in the extensive study other successful writers, and by studying Aikido, meditating with Zen monks, and learning how to play video games with his mind. Using concrete examples and a few unorthodox exercises, he will teach you tools to help you shift into a creative mind-set that will change the way you work and make your writing come alive.

High Concept Conflict – Leonardo Wild

Just as the tiniest spark can cause the biggest of explosions, understanding “conflict” could help you turn a fizzling story into a skyrocketing success. Type of conflict will define the type of story you are writing, just as it will establish the sort of beginning and become a blueprint for the end. “Tension” is the focus on unresolved conflict, yet it needs the appropriate resolution of your core high-concept conflict to end your story in a satisfying way. The good news is, of all story elements, conflict is perhaps the easiest to master.

Subtext, The Dark Matter Of Story – Leonardo Wild

Subtext is as important as Plot and Structure, yet because it deals with the “unstated,” it lurks in the shadows of story craft. Subtext is the gap that allows for the revelation we seek, it is what gives character their depth and emotional layers to dialogue. Subtext is at the core of symbolism and permeates an author’s voice and style as well as the thematic nuances that makes us write different than others. In fact, Subtext, albeit dealing with the unstated, is what allows us to be more economical in our plot and scene buildup, giving that extra punch to structural turning points as the unstated suddenly cannot be ignored any longer.


The Process of Publishing: You’ve signed a contract. What happens next? – Kimberly Davis

I will describe the behind the scenes and tell perspective authors what they should expect from the publisher in terms of time, marketing and promotion, and royalties. I’ll also discuss author etiquette, since the author’s behavior can have a huge impact on the success or failure of the book.

Share your Story to Sell your Book- Kate Kunkel

Are you writing a non-fiction self-help book? Or do you have one already written that is not quite selling the way you’d hoped? Then this is the workshop for you. Hi, I’m Kate Kunkel, and I’m inviting you to learn how to Tell Your Story to engage readers and get them to buy your book.

Most people who write self-help books are doing it to share a solution- something they have learned as a result of overcoming adversity. But if the person for whom you’re writing doesn’t understand how you came to the solution, they are not going to take the time to learn how you can help them with their own similar struggle. So… Show your audience how much your book can help them by sharing how you arrived at the solution you’re offering. Let your audience know what’s in your heart, and they will want to know what’s in your book. When your ideal readers learn what you’re about and how you got where you are, they’ll be anxious to read your book and learn what only YOU can share. We will begin the workshop by telling your story to the class, so come prepared with about 200 words about yourself that you can read aloud. And – be sure you are clear about what you offering in the way of concrete information to help others on this journey. You will come away from this class knowing what is important to share, how to share it, and what medium is the best to use for your niche.

Give Away your Best Stuff to Sell Your Book – Kate Kunkel

Non-fiction writers, you can start selling your book even before it’s finished! If you are working on a self-help book, and have valuable information that can help and lift up others as they follow a path you’ve forged, then there are many things you can do to grow your list and create interest before your book is even written. In fact, as you give away some of your best information and build your list, you will be able to fine tune the message and create more interest before the book is finished, or maybe even, before it’s started! Hi, I’m Kate Kunkel, and I’ve used this technique to sell out workshops and retreats before I’ve even figured out exactly what the content will be! It’s a matter of paying attention to what is garnering the most interest from the free information products I create as I build my list. Join me in this workshop where we will develop reports and infographics and other “freebies” that can help you build your mailing list PLUS build authority in your niche. And if you don’t know what your niche is yet, we’ll figure that out, too.  Remember, you can’t sell to the whole jungle.  Pick the lions or the tigers or the elephants, but you can’t sell to them all.  What will we do? In this workshop, we will create a checklist, roadmap, infographic or some other free “thing” that provides a (simple) solution to one of the problems that your non-fiction/self-help book is geared toward solving. (And no, your book does not have to be finished yet!) We’ll discuss how best to publicize your offers, through social media, and how you can use landing (lead) pages and free email services to build your list and sell your book.

A Million Dollars and A Baby Unicorn: My journey from side hustle to full time author- Daphne Loveling

In June 2016, I walked away from my job as a tenured professor at a university and took the plunge into writing full-time. A year later, in July 2017, I had achieved my goal of being a financially successful author. But it was really some techniques that I started implementing in January 2017 that really pushed my career to the next level. In this class, I’ll tell you a little about my journey, and teach you about three things that I think are indispensable to any author wanting to build a lasting readership for the long term: reader magnets, lead generation ads, and a solid mailing list.

Engaging Your Fans for Fun and Profit – C.A. (Carol Ann) Newsome

A recent study determined that word of mouth is the primary way readers discover new authors. Author C. A. Newsome will show you how to engage with your fans in a natural, authentic way that will promote organic word of mouth and give you the tools to create a personalized strategy to build an active, growing fan base.

Even Cinderella Lost Her Shoe – How I Went from Freelancing to Full-Time Writing, and How You Can Do It Too! – Summer Prescott

Come experience an inspirational journey with Best-Selling Cozy Mystery Author, Summer Prescott. This rags to riches story will knock your socks off, as Summer shares with you her personal experience in the world of Indie writing and publishing. Learn insider tricks and tips that will help you to become the published author that you long to be. Everyone’s path is different, but this is an opportunity to hear about techniques for success, from someone who started out rock bottom and learned pretty quickly how to rise to the top ranks of her genre. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to ask specific questions about the problem areas that have been holding you back from achieving your writing goals, so come join this fun and fast-paced look at going from writer to published author.

Nifty Niche Publishing – Summer Prescott

Hear the ins and outs of creating your own small publishing house from someone who learned them the hard way. We’ll go over what to do and what not to do, as well as talk about fun and frightening experiences in the wild world of Indie publishing.

Promoting Ecuadorian Literature to a Global Audience- Ricardo Segreda

Ecuadorian-American film critic and author, Ricardo Segreda. will talk about his mission to promote Ecuadorian literary fiction to a global audience, both through his website,, and his book club meetings, and the larger value it has for redefining Ecuador’s public image.

Performing Your Work – Su Terry

Many writers fear reading their work in public. The natural temperament of a writer is often introspective and shy. Writers dismayed at the prospect of presenting their work can increase their comfort level by following a few simple guidelines. Regardless if you enjoy presenting or see it as a necessary evil, it requires effective communication and a professional approach. We would also prefer to have fun doing it, rather than looking upon it as a laborious or odious task! Join Su in learning how to be more relaxed, have more fun, and communicate more effectively when given the opportunity to present your work. Attendees will learn how to choose the most effective format for presenting your work in a performance setting, how to set up the right conditions for presenting your work, and how to overcome “stage fright.”

To Launch Or Not To Launch: Sending Your Book Into The World- Leonardo Wild

When a book is finished, you will need to find the best way to let people know it’s available. What are your options? Are book launches the best way to get your book noticed? Thoughts and considerations on book launches and other ways to make a splash.