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Keynote Speakers and Workshop Presenters

We will be adding more workshops and presenters over the next few weeks. 

Keynote Speakers

Catherine Bybee

Keynote Speaker

Catherine Bybee is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five books that have collectively sold more than eight million copies and have been translated into twelve languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, and the Most Likely To series.

John Van Stry

Keynote Speaker

Bestselling Author John Van Stry was the first author to ever successfully sue an owner of an illegal book downloading site and WIN. John's lawsuit in federal court set legal precedent and we are very happy to have him as one of our keynote speakers. 


John will present a workshop titled: Show, don't Tell, but don't Filibuster either!

We've all been taught to 'show' things to our readers by characters and their actions, rather than just have a narration that explains everything to the reader - i.e. 'Tell'. But what if our story involves one character telling another about something that happened? How do we avoid a filibuster (one character just talking on and on while telling their 'story')? A filibuster, one character just giving a long dialogue is often no better than the narrator telling us, so how do we avoid it and what are some techniques to make it more interesting while still showing our reader what the need to see?

Presenters and Workshops
Suzan Tisdale

How to Write Gooder

Author. Storyteller. Cheeky Wench. Leader of the Indie Resistance. 

Join Suzan Tisdale and Kathryn Lynn Davis for a fast paced, fun-filled workshop we like to call "How to Write Gooder". Yes, we know 'Gooder' isn't a word, but if Webster's can add Irregardless to their dictionary... we think you get the point. 

We will discuss writing better characters, developing intense plots, keeping your readers engaged, plotting, and whatever else tickles our fancy.

Jennifer Probst
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Write True: A Romance Writer’s Guide to Craft, Career, and Staying True To Oneself

You can handle the truth. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst teaches a surprising key to success in the romance industry: truth. Join Jennifer as she discuses handling fear, developing your craft, the importance of pivot in an ever-changing industry, and discovering your truth as a storyteller.

Chasity Bowlin

Career Planning for Newbie (and Oldie) Authors

You can fly by the seat of your pants writing your books, but not mapping out your career and what it takes to be a professional author without the safety net of a day job. This workshop will touch on how to plan financially for taxes, health insurance, unexpected business expenses and the importance of utilizing technology to stay abreast of book keeping when you're not the most diligent at it. We'll also talk about what it takes to make it as a mid-list author in today's market by discussing how many books to publish per year, how length of books can impact your number of releases and your bottom line. In short, this is the down, dirty, and sometimes ugly truth about how unglamorous the #writinglife really is. 

Allie Pleiter
Allie Pleiter

Dynamic Dialogue

Sure, dialogue records conversation.  But it can do so much more--if you know how to wield it.  Dialogue can provide subtle backstory, vivid characterization, or shoot a plot forward at high speed.  Great dialogue is memorable and effective.  Bad dialogue is cumbersome and can turn your reader (or potential editor) off quickly.  Multipublished author Allie Pleiter leads you through all the ways you can use dialogue within your story to pack a far bigger punch than “she said.” 

Kathryn Lynn Davis
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My Agent's Pajamas OR Writing Makes Strange Bedfellows

NY Times Bestselling Author, Kathryn Lynn Davis will discuss the ins and outs of writing, traditional publishing....

Terry Maggert

Building a Science Fiction or Fantasy Brand

Left-handed. I like dragons, coffee, waffles, running, and giraffes; 
order unimportant. I write the Halfway Witchy, Messenger, and Shattered 
Skies series, with thirty-nine titles and counting. Trained as a 
Military Historian, I was a history professor for six years, and have 
taught in an MFA for Science Fiction and Fantasy writing since 2018.
  I don't sleep, but you probably guessed that already.

E. Ardell
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Tips to Getting Your Book on Your Local Library’s Shelf (or How to Make Your Local Librarian Like You.)

It is simple as cake to bring a free copy of your freshly published book to your local librarian and request that it be added to the library’s collection. After all, it’s a free book written by a member of the community, and libraries love free books. They give them out all the time. You go in with a smile and leave confounded. The librarian did not seem happy to see you and they may have told you something vague and inconclusive about adding your book to the library’s collection. You check the library catalog a week later and your book is not there. What went wrong?

Well, for anyone who bakes, you know that cake is not simple, and neither is adding a book to a library’s collection. There are nitty gritty things that must take place.


Libraries have collection development policies, limited shelf space, and other circumstances they must consider before adding new titles to their collections. Learn from a librarian what all we are looking at and for when it comes to adding new books. Eliminate “red flags” and “blackball” status during and after your interactions with your friendly neighborhood librarian.

Andy Peloquin

An Author's Complete Guide to Understanding Great Villains and Antagonists 

“Evil” comes in more shapes and sizes than you might realize! Andy Peloquin dissects a list of all the classic villain and antagonists types to help inspire writers to craft thrilling new characters for their stories. Join this panel to learn how to make the enemies your heroes face truly memorable.

Lynn Crandall

Keep on Rising by Investing in Your Career

Many writers create successful careers. Many create successful careers but don’t know they have. Many writers feel they miss the mark that gives them the successful career they want. And many, many writers invest in their writing career in ways that are detrimental to it. They neglect fundamental health needs, and misunderstand where and how they can sustain good health. They don’t see how they can even enjoy a writing career when they don’t achieve best seller status. They define themselves as failures when they don’t need to.


Lynn Crandall will teach you how to build and sustain a meaningful, healthy writing life.

RL Jackson

FADE IN: A Screenwriting workshop with author R.L. Jackson

This workshop is designed to guide authors through the beginning stages of the script writing process, adapting your novel into accepted industry standard form.

We will discuss Planning, Screenwriting Software, Loglines (what are they and how to write a compelling one), Proper Formatting, Resources, and so much more. We will see it in action, examples from novel to script to screen. 


Hallee Bridgeman
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To Be Determined

More Information on Hallee's class coming soon!

Gregg Bridgeman

The Ultimate Self-Editing Checklist

You have a brilliant cover and a snappy blurb! The reader is so hooked she stops and checks the "Look inside" preview.

                Q: What is she looking for?

                A: A reason to stop reading and move on.

Traditional authors face the same challenge because editors and agents look for any opportunity to stop reading your manuscript, too. This class gives authors the single tool and training to remove any excuse your audience may have to stop reading.

Attendees will take away: 1. How to change your mindset from dreading the overwhelming self-editing process to manageable and effective editing in layers. 2. How by layering edits onto the plain blank canvas of your first draft, your editing brushstrokes gradually reveal the beauty hidden within, resulting in the best final draft manuscript you can present. Attendees will take home The Ultimate Self-Editing Checklist at the end of the workshop.

Debra Holland


In this workshop, psychotherapist and corporate crisis/grief counselor Debra Holland, Ph.D will discuss ways to stay mentally and emotionally healthy as well as ways to (relatively) stay on track with your writing. Audience participation will be encouraged. 

TJ Mackay
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Founder/Publisher -  InD’tale Magazine
The publishing industry’s most trusted publication for independent and small published authors and readers. With top level interviews, cutting edge information and educational articles, along with professional book reviews, InD’tale brings the very best in publishing to anyone who loves to read.  With worldwide distribution, InD’tale’s premier status was built on the high quality and professional yet personal interest Ms. Mackay is known and famous for.

Samantha A. Cole

The Right to Remain Silent: Writing Police Procedure

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TV and movie writers and directors are working with time constraints, having the actors solve a crime in an hour or two, so they take liberties with how the police conduct arrests and investigations. However, as authors, we have all the time we need to get the scenes correct. We don't want to lose a reader because we didn't write the proper way to do something and they know it. In this class, you'll learn how to write believable and accurate arrest and police procedure scenes. The information may also help you plot ways for evidence to be thrown out and a suspect to go free.  

Shannon Nemechek 
Shannon Nemecheck

Writing Believable Military Characters

It’s not news to you that one of the biggest challenges in writing is creating authentic scenes, settings, and dialogue that make the story feel real. Sometimes, especially with the military, the obstacles are huge and when you’re dealing with very realistic scenes, settings, characters, and readers who are quite familiar with all of those, it becomes an even more daunting task. One of the toughest things to write is writing something you don’t know. 

Many service members are huge readers, and they know when you are ate up. So if you don’t want to get called out or get a scathing email then I think this presentation is for you.

Madeline Martin

Digging Deeper into Reader Connection

Make your readers connect with your characters on a deep level. Go beyond genre and even GMC to create characters who will lodge themselves in your reader's hearts and minds and make your story unforgettable. 

Linda Rae Sande

Authorpreneurship for Authors

In today's publishing world, an author is also an entrepreneur. Here are the how-tos! We’ll cover how to set up your business and use forms to track expenses and royalties, set up your online files for optimum organization, back up data, create media kits for your books, set up your author database of information, and publish. Then we will cover the promotional tasks—website, blog, newsletter, and low-cost promotional sites to aid helping you get you discovered—and finally, protecting your work! All will be revealed in this fast-paced course presented with PowerPoint slides.

Ceci Giltenan

Where Would Sherlock Holmes Be Without Watson? How to create first-rate secondary characters

Well-developed characters give a novel depth. They allow the reader to be fully immersed in a story. Often authors focus most of their attention on the main characters, giving much less thought to their secondary characters. I will be discussing the importance of secondary characters and easy ways to breathe life into them.

Matt Orso
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I am someone who wears too many hats. I am a writer, photographer, journalist, videographer, social media marketer, and all-around storyteller who views all of the previously mentioned skills as tools to deliver stories. I am also a mixed-race, largely black, heterosexual, cis-man who grew up in a South Los Angeles. I also happen to be albino and legally blind. Therefore, I am a bit of an intersection of multiple isms who has a unique perspective on society and the various isms that I observe in the world, because of this, diversity, racial inequality, and inequity are massively important topics that I believe, we as a community, need to openly and honestly discuss.

Sue Toth
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Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

You’ve written a great book. You love your story, and you’re sure your audience will, too. It’s ready to go just the way you’ve written it…right?

Not so fast! Before you release any book, it needs to have an experienced editor read it. But why, you ask? You’re probably thinking an editor will just tear your book apart, make all kinds of changes, and it won’t even sound like your book anymore, right?

Not exactly. You do need an editor. In this session, fiction editor Sue Toth will give you the inside scoop on editors, including:

  • Why you need one

  • What the author/editor relationship should look like

  • Where and how to find the best editor for you

Hildie McQueen

The Art of Subtle Marketing on Social Media

An honest chat with Hildie McQueen about social interaction and how to subtly market to readers on social media.  Learn how to interact with readers, draw them in, and get to know them, with easy regular posting. More interaction on social media means more eyes on your work. Readers will get to know you and want to read your books with little effort on your part! 

Sue Burdorf

How to Be Present in Your Own Life

Learn the steps to a better YOU! Susan will teach you how to forgive yourself, prioritize what is important, and getting rid of negativity. 

Carole P. Roman
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Navigating the Indie World of Children's Books

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, and spies, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children.

In her workshop, you will learn how to navigate the indie world of Children's Books. How to publish, where to publish, and using social media to your advantage. 

Eliza Knight
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Maximizing Marketing Strategies Workshop

Whether you’re traditionally published, indie or hybrid, everyone can benefit from marketing their books, and themselves—YOU after all, are your brand. In this workshop, we’ll be discussing a wide range of marketing strategies that will enhance your career and hopefully increase your sales. Topics include: bolstering your brand; expanding your readership; techniques to boost discoverability on sales platforms; effective social media marketing; advertising/promotion; and creating a solid marketing plan for each book release.

Rebecca Forster
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The 'B' Word: Writing Your Blurb

USA and Amazon best selling author Rebecca Forster will show you how to conquer the most critical part of marketing your work:  writing a blurb that excites, intrigues, and motivates a reader to purchase your book.

Jamie Lee Scott

5 Killers - Or how to write a mystery the reader won’t solve early. 

Jamie started killing people (I mean writing mysteries) as a way to escape the stress of running a

restaurant with her husband. Her first mystery was published in July 2011, and since then she’s written

21 mysteries in 3 different series. She hit the USA Today bestseller list with her Gotcha Detective agency

series novel, Let Us Prey and has never looked back. The biggest compliment a mystery author can get is

when a reader says, “I had no idea who did it until the end.” Jamie’s going to teach you how to write

your mystery, so the reader is left guessing.

Jolanthe Alexander

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Panelist 

Jolanthe Aleksander is a Fantasy Paranormal Romance Author. Jolanthe published the first of 3 books in her Veil Series in 2015. They were followed by two short stories, Breathe Me to Life and Naiad’s Awakening. Jolanthe enjoys reading and writing romances with a touch of magic.

Jolanthe currently resides in Northeast Indiana with her son who reminds her, on a daily basis, to take pleasure in the simple things in life. She works as a front office manager during the day and slips on her author cloak at night. When she’s not working, writing, or trying to keep up with her son, Jolanthe can be found scouring the shelves of her favorite used books stores.

Denise Grover Swank

Aaron Michael Ritchey

Representatives from Smashwords

Representatives from The Author Show 

Representatives from Vellum

Representatives from Scrivener

Representatives from Plottr