2017 Conference Workshops

Saturday’s Schedule

9:00 – 10:00
Writers Track
Panic Free Pitching– Melinda Leigh – Silver A
Pitching your novel is a daunting task. For the unpublished writer, the thought of sitting across from an editor or agent and convincing her/him to read your book is intimidating. Even multi-published authors often break a sweat thinking about pitching a new project. This interactive workshop will cover the basics of writing a successful pitch and offer tips on keeping your cool during your appointment. The dos and don’ts of editor/agent appointments will also be covered so you can successfully navigate your appointments.

How to Craft a Slam-Dunk Hook – Mary Altman & Laura Costello – Sapphire B
A slam-dunk hook is a useful tool that can make your book stand out to editors, agents, booksellers, and readers. This interactive, deep-dive workshop will cover: What is a hook? Why do you need one? Why is a series hook so important? How do you use a hook to craft pitches and queries? Learn hands-on how to create a compelling series hook that will woo any reader and make them fall in love with your book.

Plot Your Work – C.J. Ellisson – Gold
Do you struggle with balancing your writing with the rest of your life? In this workshop we’ll cover how to stay organized on multiple novel projects, completing tasks to reach your goals, setting deadlines, and maintaining your focus daily. Bring your existing planners, and details on four projects you’d like to work on within the next year. Your project details should include projected word counts for each and an honest understanding of how much you can consistently write each day.

Readers Track
Heroes: You Made Me Love You – Virginia Kantra – Sapphire A
Join Virginia for a rousing (arousing?) discussion of stand up guys, alpha males, real men, and heroes who make us go “hmm…” Who are these men who keep us up at night? How are they different? What do they have in common? Using examples from books and movies, we’ll talk about ten essential heroic qualities from animal attraction to commitment.

10:00 – 11:00
Author Signing Spotlight Featuring Stephanie Julian, Kelly Jensen
Silver B
Stop in and meet the authors!

10:15 – 11:15
Writers Track
Diversify Your Characters, Strengthen Your Story – Avery Flynn – Sapphire A
The real world is diverse and our fictional worlds should reflect this. In this workshop, you’ll learn—no matter what census boxes you check off—how to better incorporate diverse characters into you writing to strengthen your fictional world.

Intimacy – Tere Michaels & Damon Suede – Sapphire B
From hands brushing to raunchy sexploits, the way characters come together drives readers wild. Build connections that matter. Join us for a hands-on workshop to find the spark between your characters and the fuel that makes them burn.

Page Turning Conflict – Laura Kaye – Gold
Conflict is the main element that drives your plot and separates your characters from their goals. This interactive workshop will explore the elements guaranteed to create tension, drive pacing, make your book compelling, and keep readers turning the page until the very end.

Readers Track
Romance Cards Against Humanity – Avery Flynn & Kimberly Kincaid – Silver A
Come play Cards Against Humanity with a romance twist with USA Today Bestselling Author Kimberly Kincaid and Avery Flynn, featuring your favorite and most hated tropes, heroes, villains, heroines, and more. Giggles guaranteed. Happily ever after, not so much.

11:15 – 12:15
Author Signing Spotlight Featuring Antonia Aquilante, Ashley York, Judi Fennell, Jenna Kendrick, and Felice Stevens
Silver B
Stop in and meet the authors!

11:30 – 12:30
Writers Track
Cover Art 101 for the Indie & Hybrid Author – Taria Reed – Sapphire A
The cover is the first opportunity a writer has to tell the reader what the story is about. A bad cover will turn readers away before they get to the blurb. It’s easy to tell a bad cover from a good one, but negotiating the way to that perfect cover can be tricky. You want your book to be remembered for the wonderful story and amazing characters, not a bad cover. Learn what it takes to get that perfect cover from working with cover artists to DIY don’ts. Learn what SELLS your book and what gets bypassed by readers.
Join a professional cover artists who know what they’re talking about and learn what is going to work for YOU!!

Buzzing Your Book & Building Your Brand – Jillian Stein & Liz Berry – Sapphire B
Learn how to make your mark in the ever changing publishing world. From marketing to advertising to building your brand, we will give you tips and tools for success.

Exposing the Forensics in True-Crime Headlines – Geoff Symon – Gold
Ever want to go deeper than the byline? From OJ to JonBenet to Casey Anthony, Geoff Symon will discuss investigative concepts and techniques in the stories behind the headlines. Using the good and bad of a notorious case as a starting point, he’ll provide a gritty realism you can use in your own stories.

Readers Track
Hot Heroes Bingo! – Laura Kaye, Avery Flynn, C.J. Ellisson, Sara Humpherys, Kimberly Kincaid, Damon Suede – Silver A
What makes a hero hot to you? Match up the hottest hero traits and characteristics before your opponents to win big! All while meeting some of your favorite authors and learning about their must-read characters!

12:30 – 2:00

Lunch featuring Keynote Speaker Jennifer Armentrout

2:00 – 3:00
Writers Track
The Six Goals of Online Book Promotions (and the Tools to Achieve Them…) – Laura Kaye – Sapphire A
Online promotions are one of the most important, effective, and available means of gaining exposure and sales for your book. In this workshop, a New York Times bestselling author of thirty books in multiple genres shares a new perspective on promotion and offers tangible advice for building your platform that will help you achieve all of the six goals of online book promotions.

Writing Supporting Characters: It Takes a Village – Tere Michaels – Sapphire B
Writers spend a lot of time on their main characters—our heroes, our villains. But what about the world around them? That needs to be populated: by names and faces (and the nameless and faceless) who bring forth information, distractions, difficulties and even just color and commentary. They are the supporting characters and to forget to give them the attention and depth they deserve is to short-change both yourself and your readers. We’ll discuss world building, characterization and plot development using your secondary characters as building blocks to a strong story.

POWER COUPLES: Making Lovers – Damon Suede – Gold
Great romance starts with fascinating relationships: it takes two to tangle…Bring your fictional folks to the next level with a simple, powerful technique that will strengthen your ideas, your voice, and your projects at any stage. During this two hour session we’ll tackle a characterization strategy that goes beyond boilerplate traits and faux interviews to build the perfect duo and amp the action, attraction, and interaction between them. Whether you like to wing it or bring it, you’ll leave this workshop with a new set of practical, hands-­on approaches to making lovers who pop off the page.

Readers Track
Make Your Own Hero – Avery Flynn & Kimberly Kincaid – Silver A
Get crafty and build your own hero to take with you for the rest of the conference. USA Today Bestselling Author Kimberly Kincaid and Avery Flynn will help you build the hero of your dreams who won’t ever leave the seat up.

2:15 – 3:15
Author Signing Spotlight Featuring Taylor Donovan, Roz Lee, K.M. Fawcett, and KT Grant
Silver B
Stop in and meet the authors!

3:15 – 4:15
Writers Track
I Want What She’s Got: How To Cope With Professional Jealousy – Kimberly Kincaid & Avery Flynn – Sapphire A
In this hour-long workshop, two best-selling authors (Avery Flynn, and Kimberly Kincaid) discuss the ins and outs of professional jealousy as it pertains to an author’s career. We will begin by exploring exactly what professional jealousy involves, and how every author experiences it on some level or another, and offer some anecdotal examples from our own experience. In addition to defining professional jealousy, we will discuss its repercussions–that rather than being something authors should hide or ignore, it simply means we’re human and actually very driven. In many if not most cases, professional jealousy can be channeled in healthy directions, but we will also explore the negative impact these feelings can trigger.

Master Class: Emotion: More than Words – Virginia Kantra – Sapphire B
Practical strategies to build the emotion in your story from opening conflict to final payoff. Layering emotion is more than adding adjectives and adverbs. It’s about creating worthy protagonists with compelling motivations and then dragging the reader along on every step of their emotional journey through everything those characters see, say, and do. Virginia will discuss how to craft emotionally authentic and engaging stories through the use of deep point of view, dominant mood, significant, specific triggers, visceral reactions, pacing, and payoffs. Hook your readers’ emotions and bring them back for more!

POWER COUPLES: Making Lovers – Damon Suede – Gold (Continued)

Readers Track
A BLOODY Good Time – Lyla Bellatas, Geoff Symon, and Sara Humphreys – Silver A
From Vampires to Mob Hits to Forensic Investigations, authors Sara Humphreys, Lyla Bellatas and Geoff Symon know a thing or two about the red stuff. Come for fun, games and cookie as they get your heart pumping and your creative juices flowing. Bloody good. Bloody fun. Bloody prizes. Bloody COOKIES!

3:30 – 4:30
Author Signing Spotlight Featuring Caridad Pineiro, Linda J. Parisi, Eden Freed, Rose Carole, and Norah Bennett
Silver B
Stop in and meet the authors!

4:30 – 5:30
Editor and Agent Panel – Sapphire A
Don’t miss this Q&A session about the ins and outs of publishing.

Master Class: Emotion: More than Words – Virginia Kantra – Sapphire B (Continued)

Takin’ It to the Street: How to Manage Your Street Team – Kimberly Kincaid – Gold
Street teams are a great way to connect with your most avid readers, but they need to be well-managed in order to work. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of how to create and cultivate a successful street team, what sort of guidelines to consider as your group grows, and how to field changes as they come down the pike. Who, what, when, where, why, and how…come discover how a successful street team can be one of your most valuable assets!

Readers Track
Game Night!
Join us for a fun and hilarious games like Cards Against Humanity led by some of our featured speakers!

5:30 – 6:30
Featured Author Mixer – Diamond C & D
Come relax, have a drink, chat with our featured authors and maybe get some books signed.

6:30 – 8:00
Dinner / Dinner with an Author – Diamond A & B

8:00 – 11:00
Party with 1001 Dark Nights
Come dance the night away with the 1001 Dark Nights Team!


9:00 – 10:00 AM

Breakfast featuring Keynote Speaker Virginia Kantra

10:00 – 11:00
Author Signing Spotlight Featuring Lois Winston, Cathy Greenfeder, Karen Cino
Sapphire B
Stop in and meet the authors!

10:15 – 11:15
Writers Track
From Once Upon A Time To Happily Ever After — Structural Guidelines for Plotting and Pacing – Dee Davis – Diamond C
Join bestselling author Dee Davis in a journey from story beginning to story end with a little road building along the way; brick by brick, learn techniques that will help create a winning plot from first word to last.

In Loving Color: Diversity in Romance – Taria Reed, Harper Miller, Damon Suede, LaQuette – Diamond D
Readers desperately want diversity in romance novels. One doesn’t have to be the same ethnicity or sexual orientation as a character to portray them accurately. Many authors don’t tackle diversity in their books for fear of offending someone. Join us for an honest discussion on how to add diversity to your story.

Readers Track
Writing in Multiple Genres: The Pros and Cons – Jennifer Armentrout – Sapphire A
Open Q&A and Discussion centering around the benefits and pitfalls of writing within multiple genres through multiple publishing formats, such as traditional, small press, and self publishing.

11:30 – 12:30
Writers Track
Big Picture Revising – Kate McMurray – Diamond C
You’ve finished the first draft of your novel. What next? Many writers find the revision process daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In this workshop, we’ll discuss practical ways to approach revision. I’ll focus on the big picture, rather than the little details, to make sure you’ve got a great story. This includes what questions to ask yourself as you go back over your manuscript to make sure your book has a great hook, tight pacing, and compelling characters. I’m bringing my editorial experience to the table, too, to discuss common pitfalls authors fall into and how to avoid them to make your book the best it can be.

Writing Fast and Being Prolific – Jennifer L. Armentrout and Laura Kaye – Diamond D
Whether you’re a full-time writer or a writer with a day job; whether you’re traditionally published, indie published, hybrid published, or still working to get published…writing quickly offers definite advantages in today’s fast-paced market. Two bestselling, multi-published, and prolific authors will give concrete tips and tricks–and offer cautions–for writing fast(er) and getting your books out there.

Readers Track
The Killing Game – Melinda Leigh and Dee Davis – Sapphire A
Bestselling authors Dee Davis and Melinda Leigh discuss their favorite, most unusual, and most heartbreaking character deaths. How do they know it’s time to “off” someone (both good and bad), and what can make a case for saving them?

12:45 – 1:45
Writers Track
Tools of the Trade – LaQuette – Diamond C
You’ve written the perfect book. It’s edited, packaged, and published. You’re an author now, congratulations. Welcome to the business, and by that I mean the literal business of being an author.
By now you’ve hopefully figured out that writing involves so much more than sitting in a solitary room with your laptop. There are some real-world things writers need to address in order to survive as a business. This workshop will provide authors with business solutions that will help them solidify, facilitate, and grow their authorship.

Just One Taste: How to Write a Successful Novella – Kimberly Kincaid – Diamond D
Want to enhance your current series or participate in a group anthology but aren’t sure how to get all your story elements into 25-40,000 words? This workshop outlines all the must-haves for a strong, successful novella, along with several different methods for writing a shorter story. We will also explore how novellas can strengthen your series and offer benefits to give you the most bang for your buck.

Readers Track

Purple Prose Bad Libs – Damon Suede, Kate McMurray & Tere Michaels – Sapphire A
In Purple Prose Bad Libs, fans and authors come together for a high-energy, low-pressure word game that is creative, comical, and collaborative. Join us for over-the-top “Bad” Libs overflowing with steamy blanks just begging to be filled. You’ll race to concoct the most purple prose possible and compete for groovy prizes. Readers are encouraged to invite fave authors and fellow fanatics from around the conference as “ringers” to amp their chances. Expect a rowdy, rousing competition that lampoons western love stories at their most hilarious and extravagant.

A Multi-Genre Fiction Writers Organization

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