9:00-9:30 AM — CHECK-IN


Laurie Kincer, William N. Skirball Writers’ Center
Marin McGinnis, President, Great Lakes Fiction Writers


Introduction by Marin McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis is the author of multiple novels that span many genres. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to gothic thriller, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us. In her most recent releases, The Initial Insult, and its sequel, The Last Laugh, Mindy draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship…forevermore. Visit her online at

10:30-11:30 AM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:

1. Diving Into Writing a Romance / Miranda Liasson. Do you love romance? After reading one, do you close the book, heave a sigh, and ask yourself how the author worked that special magic? This talk is geared for the beginning writer with a burning desire to try her/his hand at writing a romance and will focus on how on earth to begin. We will discuss developing an idea, how to set up your story with lots of conflict and tension, the ups and downs of plot structure, and the critical importance of the first chapter. It is specifically focused on romance but also can also be helpful to anyone plotting a fiction book. (Romance)

2. Psychology of Characters / Abbie Roads. What makes us fall in love with a character, hate another one, or find amusement in another’s antics. What makes characters feel like they’re real? Personality. If we are successful writers, we create characters that readers believe are REAL. Abbie Roads will guide you on your journey to discover the psychology of characters through their personalities. (Craft)

3. Build Your Own Audio Book / Amanda Uhl. Audio is the up-and-coming market, but the price of entry can be a high $300-$500 per finished hour and up. Amanda Uhl said to herself, “Hmmm. I wonder if I could do that myself?” She found out she could, and you can too. She’ll explain how you can narrate and publish your own audiobook by discussing her audio journey. (Business)

11:30-11:45 AM / BREAK

11:45 AM-12:30 PM / Q&A PANEL

What to Expect When You’re Connecting: The Author-Agent Relationship / GLFW Members. Signing with an agent means choosing a partner for your career. It’s important to choose carefully. GLFW authors Chloe Flowers, Miranda LiassonJulie Anne Lindsey, Marin McGinnis, and Amanda Uhl will discuss the ups and downs of their agent-author relationships. Panel members will also take questions from attendees.

Local restaurant map available at check-in table, or you may bring lunch and picnic outdoors, in your car, or in the Writers’ Center.

1:30-2:30 PM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:

1. Beyond Banter: Mastering the Art of Dialogue in Romance / Angie Hockman. Dialogue is often a writer’s most underestimated tool. But what your characters say—or don’t say—can reveal their emotional journeys, drive romantic conflict, and hook readers from page one. Join Angie Hockman to learn how to use the art of dialogue to heighten tension, strengthen characterization, create conflict, and propel your story forward. (Romance)

2. Wielding the Red Pen: Giving (and Receiving!) Critique Like a Pro / Jess Everlee. Starting out, most writers don’t have access to professional editorial feedback. We rely on each other to be critique partners, beta readers, and cheerleaders. But feedback from an agent or in-house editor can look a lot different! Using examples from real edit letters, learn how to give more useful notes to your writer friends, find the gems in well-meant critique on your own work, and build a critique group that is supportive, useful, and enjoyable for everyone. (Craft)

3. Training Yourself to Be a More Productive and Prolific Writer / Abigail Drake. Abigail Drake has written twenty award-winning novels in under six years. In this lighthearted and inspirational workshop she’ll discuss the tips and tricks that helped her achieve this success, including the best advice she ever received as a writer. Not every writer works at the same pace, but Abigail will help you figure out the system that best fits your needs. With a little discipline, and by creating better habits, learn how you can change what you’ve been doing wrong and reach your writing goals. (Productivity)

2:30-2:45 PM / BREAK

2:45-3:45 PM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:

1. Love on the Run / Julie Anne Lindsey. Ever wonder what it takes to write romantic suspense? Or how authors blend romantic chemistry and relentless danger to create explosive, page-turning stories? Join Harlequin Intrigue author Julie Anne Lindsey, as she explores the popular tropes, elements, concepts and techniques that take romance to the next level. (Romance)

2. How to Write a Connected Series / Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta, & Kate Karyus Quinn. Join authors Mindy McGinnis, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Demetria Lunetta to discuss writing a series. Come talk world building, pacing, and character development across multiple series. Perfect for writers of YA, UF, and Paranormal. The authors will also discuss co-authoring and answer questions about being hybrid authors. (Craft)

3. Life After the Orphaned Book Blues: A Self-Publishing Story / Michelle Levigne. Early in 2018, Desert Breeze Publishing closed its doors, leaving two author friends with a gob of orphaned books on their hands, and a major investment in promotion that was showing some great returns. Initial inquiries revealed what they feared: most publishing houses weren’t willing to pick up previously published books. After years of driving to writing meetings together and occasionally talking about starting their own small press, the solution was kind of obvious. They were already working on an anthology, and it only made sense to turn it into the launch book for their new label: Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Michelle Levigne will talk about the path they forged, the choices they made and why, lessons learned, tricks and shortcuts. The MZRP path might not be the path you will choose, but you might still learn something. Even if it’s what not to do … (Business)