Friday, September 7, 2018—4:00-6:00 p.m.
Master Class with Mel Jolly—preregistration required

Saturday, September 8, 2018—7:30-9:00 a.m.

(Artemis Ballroom)
Registration, Full Breakfast, and Welcoming Remarks


Saturday, September 8, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.

(Sunroom)

Surviving And Thriving While Writing Your Heart Out:
The twists and turns of the market, writer's block, disappointing sales, and closing publishers can rock anyone's boat. This class will discuss ideas for how to navigate and thrive in any time, how to write your way around writer's block and how to start again if necessary.

Misty Simon loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three for Kensington and The Wild Rose Press.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.
(Mariner III)


Characters: The People Of Your Story:
The most critical component of a novel is character. How do you go from flat, two-dimensional characters to vibrant, three- dimensional ones? Templates to develop characters and the concept of character arc and change will be discussed. These include profiling, psychological frameworks and the tools to show character arc and change.

Bob Mayer is a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of West Point, former Special Operations, and the feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world (usually not the tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife and his Labs.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.
(Mariner II)

Getting Past the Gate: Your Query is Key!:
In this workshop you’ll learn how to target the right agents for your project, and how to write a query that will get you noticed (in a good way)!

Tara Leigh attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. She published a two-book Wall Street Romance series with St. Martin's Press in 2017 and a three-book Rock Star series with Grand Central Publishing in 2018. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
(Artemis)

Manuscript Critiques by Agents and Editorspreregistration required

Saturday, September 8, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
(Mariner III)

Get Your S*** Together: Organization For Authors:
In this workshop, we’ll discuss the tools that can be used to manage your to-do list more efficiently, how to organize your time for peak productivity, and how to make sure you never forget to Do The Things. From applications for project and time management to organization tips and tricks, this is the workshop that will teach you how to clear up brain space for maximum creative thinking. The bottom line: a more organized, more creative, and more relaxed entrepreneur.

Mel Jolly, Project Manager and Assistant for multiple NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors, has been "Keeping Authors Out of the Loony Bin Since 2009."  Mel started out as a Library Assistant in Young Adult Services where she specialized in outreach to at risk teens at juvenile detention centers and group homes. Mel has always had a true passion for connecting readers (and non-readers) to books and now enjoys channeling that energy into teaching all authors the tips and tricks she’s learned about how to thrive in the publishing industry through workshops and her weekly newsletter. Mel also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance, which means she’s not afraid of a challenge, a crowd, or a little drama!

Saturday, September 8, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
(Mariner II)

Decent vs. Indecent Exposure

Whether published or hoping to be in the near future, in this interactive workshop you’ll learn how you can market your name without being too pushy. From website building to blogging to social media stalking and partying, learn how to make connections and build relationships with authors and readers without under or over-exposing yourself.

Marianne Rice writes contemporary romantic fiction set in small New England towns. She loves high heels, reading romance, scarfing down dark chocolate, gulping wine, and Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and her husband and three children. 


Saturday, September 8, 2018—11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
(Artemis)

Agent and Editor Roundtablespreregistration required

Saturday, September 8, 2018—11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
(Mariner III)

It Takes A Village:
Most have heard the saying, it takes a village. This is true in real life and also in the books we love to read. While many writers spend countless hours (days, weeks!) developing their main characters, often times the side characters get overlooked. How the hero, heroine, and even the antagonist interacts with others, be it friend, family, or foe, reveals a lot about the character. A large and diverse cast of characters can make for an exciting, layered, satisfying story. In this workshop, we’ll discuss tips and strategies for creating a well-balanced ensemble cast which will not only develop your H/H, but can also help lay out the framework for a series.

Marianne Rice writes contemporary romantic fiction set in small New England towns. She loves high heels, reading romance, scarfing down dark chocolate, gulping wine, and Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and her husband and three children.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
(Mariner II)

Making Trouble: Tips And Techniques For The Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller Writer:
Mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels have been popular for centuries—and they’re especially hot right now. We’ll discuss the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between these related genres so you can figure out what type of story you’re actually writing, as well as learn techniques of pacing, plotting, and character development that will keep readers turning pages long into the night.

Jane Haertel is a full-time editor at Annie’s Fiction, a book-club publisher specializing in mystery, romance, and women’s fiction. She is also a freelance editor who has worked on hundreds of fiction and nonfiction projects, including New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. As Sadie Hartwell and Susannah Hardy, Jane writes cozy mysteries. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, son, and the world’s most dangerous tuxedo cat.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—12:30-2:00 p.m.
(Artemis)

Buffet Lunch and Keynote Address by Bob Mayer

Saturday, September 8, 2018—2:10-3:10 p.m.
(Sunroom)

The Agent-Author Relationship:
Join real-life agent and author team Jessica Alvarez and Tara Leigh for a discussion of the agent-author relationship and how they work as a team to support and build and author’s career.

After ten years as an editor, Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds in April 2011. She began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity to acquire and edit a wide array of fiction, specializing in historical romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance. Jessica left Harlequin in 2008 to pursue a freelance editing career, and completed projects for Harlequin, Scholastic Books, Thomas Nelson, and independent writers. She uses her editorial background to help writers hone their skills and develop strong, marketable books. Jessica is actively building her client list and is proud to work with a wonderful group of clients. She is a member of AAR. 

Tara Leigh attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. She published a two-book Wall Street Romance series with St. Martin's Press in 2017 and a three-book Rock Star series with Grand Central Publishing in 2018. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—2:10-3:10 p.m.
(Mariner III)

Publisher Spotlight: Sourcebooks:
Find out more about Sourcebooks in this overview of the company, its editors and authors.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—2:10-3:10 p.m.
(Mariner II)

Producing Audio Books Using ACX:
This workshop will provide step-by-step instructions on how to produce an audio book, from creating an account through marketing your finished book.

Anna James writes contemporary romance novels with strong, confident heroes and heroines who conquer life’s trials and find their happily ever after. She is married to a wonderful husband who spends countless hours picking up the slack around the house so she can pursue her dream of writing, and is the proud mother of five fabulous children and a big, loveable rescue dog the entire family adores. Although she’s lived in several locations throughout her life she now calls Connecticut home. When not writing, reading, or plotting, she can be found spending time with family and friends.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—3:20-4:20 p.m.
(Sunroom)

Agent and Editor Panel
Our agent and editor guests will tell you what is on their manuscript wish lists and will take questions from the audience.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—3:20-4:20 p.m.
(Mariner III)

DIY Swag and More:
Learn how to make your own swag as well as brainstorm on personalized swag projects. A variety of projects will be discussed in detail for crafting skill levels, from can-barely-tie-a-bow to Martha-Stewart craft-ista. Additionally, discussion will be opened to share ideas and strategies on swag. Handouts will include details and instructions for some of the projects discussed.

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling happily into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle. When not writing, Heidi often falls back on her childhood growing up in a craft store by knitting cat sweaters, arrange holiday decorations, or whipping up quirky swag.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—3:20-4:20 p.m.
(Mariner II)

A Rose By Any Other Name: Why Your Character Names Are As Important As The Story You Tell:
In this workshop, writers will be educated about why character names are so important. The workshop includes instruction in why: • Character names are a first means of branding your stories • The wrong names can torpedo your story and cost you readers • The right names make a connection between the reader and the character • How to choose the correct names for the story you want to tell, the genre, era, culture • Resources for naming characters. Using examples from beloved novels, pop culture, and history, this workshop will allow the author to distinguish between a good character name and a great, memorable one.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal. . . or two . . . or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—4:30-5:30 p.m.
(Artemis)

Cocktail Party (Cash Bar)
Meet and mingle with our agents, editors, and other presenters, as well as your fellow conference attendees.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—5:30-8:00 p.m.


Dinner On Your Own:
There are many great restaurants in Norwalk, many within walking distance of the hotel. See the FAQ page for a partial list.

Saturday, September 8, 2018—8:00-10:00 p.m.
 (Location TBD)


Saturday Night Desserts and More:
Come relax and socialize after dinner with your choice of activities at various stations—visit one, or visit all. We’ll have desserts, Scrabble, and tarot card readings. The Plot Doctors will also be in, so if you need help with your story, our crack team of specialists will be on duty.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—8:00-9:00 a.m.
(Artemis)

Full Breakfast

Sunday, September 9, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.
(Sunroom)

Don't Get Your Pantalets In A Bunch: Writing Historicals Without Getting Lost In The Details:
Everyone knows it's important to get the details right when you write a historical novel, but how do you keep all the facts straight and organized? How do you know what to make up and what to keep accurate? How do you find accurate information to begin with? Historical fiction and fantasy author and editor Melanie R. Meadors helps guide attendees through the twisting turns of time itself to help with worldbuilding, character development, and organization so writers can whisk readers away to a historical escape.

Melanie R. Meadors writes historical fiction and fantasy. Her work has most recently appeared in the anthologies Champions of Aetaltis and Kaiju Rising 2: Reign of Monsters, as well as magazines such as Circle and Prick of the Spindle. She also is an editor of science fiction and fantasy anthologies, writes for role-playing games, and is the codirector of the Gen Con Writer's Symposium, one of the largest writers’ conventions in the country. Melanie lives in a one-hundred-year-old house in Massachusetts, in a neighborhood dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt, with her family and a menagerie of small animals.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.

(Mariner III)

The Creative Process for Writers:

Why do we write? How do we write? How do we create something out of just our minds? The longer Bob Mayer’s been writing for a living, the more he’s been focusing on process. It’s unique for every writer, but the most important aspect of what we do. We have to understand how our minds work, how we create, and how we process idea and story and integrate them into our writing. A topic rarely covered, but Bob has found it’s the most fundamental thing a writer needs to understand.

Bob Mayer is a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of West Point, former Special Operations, and the feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world (usually not the tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife and his Labs.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—9:10-10:10 a.m.
 (Mariner II)

Writing Sweet Romance and the "Sense-ational" Novel:
Amping up the senses leads to building up the situations in your stories--which leads to building up a novel that leaves the reader breathless. “Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em wait” has been advice offered by a variety of writers including Charles Dickens and Nora Roberts, both who have understood the power of the five senses and how to leverage them effectively—no matter what the genre. It’s a particularly valuable skill within the “tamer” lines where the senses maybe all the author has to play with. This is not just a workshop on writing a sweet romance, but also a workshop on how to bend the sensual limits while still following the publisher's guidelines.

Since 2010, Katy Lee has published twelve romantic suspense and mystery novels, many award-winning. Her books have won numerous awards, and she has twice been nominated for both a RITA® and a Daphne du Maurier award. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She also enjoys traveling the side roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways where she loves to sit and hear people’s real stories.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
 (Sunroom)

Law Enforcement Panel:
Several law enforcement professionals will describe their jobs and will take questions from the audience.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
(Mariner III)

Goal Setting & Motivation for Writers:
Do you struggle to maintain motivation? Do you set goals and not keep them? Is there an internal critic sabotaging you? Join clinical psychologist, Jessica Bayliss, and for a workshop on the psychology of productivity and motivation. Learn to set effective goals, tools for challenging your internal critic, and strategies to help you build a powerful writing habit along with the principles behind these strategies.

Jessica Bayliss is a fiction author with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology who loves all things reading and writing. Her work crosses genres including romance, urban fantasy, and horror. She writes for all ages, but has been focusing on books for young readers. She is also a Senior Editor for Allegory Magazine. Because one cannot live on writing alone, Jessica also spends a great deal of time with friends and family. She is a lover of all animals especially one very special Havanese and one extremely ornery cockatiel. She also loves to cook, eat, and exercise (it's all about balance, right?) and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place. She lives in Connecticut.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—10:20-11:20 a.m.
(Mariner II)

Writing Though the Tears, Tempests, and Transitions:
“I want to write; I really do, but I can’t find the time. I have a full-time job, a brood of kids, a needy spouse, a special needs cat...” There are always reasons why the keyboard is getting dusty and our ideas for that next book are getting rusty. Melva and Anna have finished manuscripts (some published and some prepublished) as solo acts and as cowriters while fulfilling many family and work roles as well as facing adversities and challenges that have come their way. They will share the numerous successful maneuvers and strategies that have kept them pounding out pages under the best and worst of circumstances. Attendees will learn how to seize the page and be productive under the most trying of conditions, how to prioritize time and effort, how to build management skills, and how to keep a sense of humor while their personal existence descends into pandemonium.

Melva Michaelian and Anna Bowling have been publishing in various media for over twenty years. They have written and been published in novel-length contemporary romantic suspense and historical romance respectively. They have also been published in short story and novella form as solos before currently embarking on a co-authorship in a three-book romantic series.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
 (Mariner III)

The Military for Writers:
An introduction to the military from conventional warfare through Special Operations, the War on Terror, weapons of mass destruction, and insight into the men and women who make up our armed forces, all tailored for the writer who might need research in this area.

Bob Mayer is a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of West Point, former Special Operations, and the feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world (usually not the tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife and his Labs.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(Mariner II)

Deep POV: The What, Why, and How:
This workshop will explain what Deep POV is, why it is important, and how to achieve it.

National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one million copies. She is a 2017 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly (starred review), and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

Sunday, September 9, 2018—12:30-2:00 p.m.
(Artemis)

Buffet Lunch and Silent Auction Results

Sunday, September 9, 2018—2:10-3:20 p.m.
(Mariner III)

Writing Time and Sprints:
Finish out your Fiction Fest conference with some free writing time with optional word sprints led by Jamie K. Schmidt.

USA Today bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy, Life’s a Beach, reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. The first book in the series, Heat, put her on the USA Today bestseller list for the first time, and is a #1 Amazon best-seller. Her book Stud was a 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita® Finalist in Erotica. Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.

 

 



Schedule of Workshops:

Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
​99 East Ave, Norwalk, CT
September 7-9, 2018 
Fiction Fest 2018