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



**The list of workshops is not complete, so check back often**


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.


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.


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.


Get Your Sh*t 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!


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.


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


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.


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.


DIY Swag And More
Learn how to make your own swag as well as brain storm 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.


Great Expectations: Building Successful Partnerships With Readers, Bloggers, And Assistants
In this workshop you’ll explore how authors can build successful partnerships with
others vested in publishing – readers, bloggers, and assistants. Social media has given
readers greater access to authors. Kim and Kim discuss strategies for interacting with
readers to increase book sales while maintaining a professional relationship.
Meanwhile, bloggers continue to grow in numbers and influence in promoting author
brands. The presenters will guide authors through the rewards and challenges of
interacting with reviewers and bloggers and advise authors on how to hire an assistant
as a resource to balance writing the next bestseller, promoting it to readers, and
enjoying the fruits of success.


Kim Lowe is a military veteran, international travel enthusiast, and dark chocolate
connoisseur. Her family now resides outside Baltimore with too many cats and stacks of
books. Kim Rocha juggles a full-time job, a full-size family, and a romance addiction
second to none. She created the Book Obsessed Chicks Book Blog to complement her
monthly book club and annual beach party. Kim is often seen at conventions indulging
in her other passions – spontaneous photography and line dancing.


Producing Audio Books Using ACXWorkshop


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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