2020 Workshops


January 25, 2020

Vision Board Your Way into Your Future with Debbie Hurst

Kick off your year with a vision board! Visualize your ideal life, have fun, and take a powerful step towards achieving your dreams. What does success look like for you, as an author and in all areas of life? Your vision board will be a unique expression of you—what you want, what you want your life to look like, what makes your heart sing.

Cut out pictures and words that evoke your dreams and goals, paste them up, and put them in front of you where you see them often! Come prepared to laugh and dream with your fellow authors and collage your way into your future!

And above all, have fun doing it!

“A vision board is a pictorial representation of your vision—and a powerful way to make your dreams more tangible and attainable. That’s because the very act of creating the vision board tells your mind what’s important. You’re teaching your mind what you want to focus on in your life.” –Emma-Louise Elsey

“The best way to achieve your goals is to keep them top of mind, so you’re always looking for ways to move yourself closer to them – and a vision board is the perfect tool to help you do that. By putting a vision board some where you can see it every day, you will prompt yourself to visualize your ideal life on a regular basis.” – Jack Canfield

About Debbie Hurst
Debbie Hurst writes paranormal romance for adult women who love alpha heroes and the women who are their equals, and YA fantasy for women of all ages who enjoy strong heroines on a path to embracing who they truly are.

Debbie has used vision boards for more than two decades and been amazed at the powerful, often astonishing results. She regularly speaks and gives workshops on tools and principles that empower people to transform their lives. She enjoys a busy life with her husband, four young-adult children (two at home), two loving Labradors, and a cuddly-when-she-chooses cat. She enjoys hiking, friends, and wine, and envisions a world that works for everyone…with no more power outages in California.

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February 22, 2020

Writing Realistic Cybercrime: What Your Characters Need to Know with Sean Smith

Hi-tech crimes are a part of modern life and the characters in the books we write are often either the victim or the perpetrator of the crimes. Most of us are not tech savvy and the scope of these crimes leave us baffled. If we are to realistically portray these crimes in our books, we need to understand the types of situations our characters might find themselves in.

Today's discussion will focus on:
  • What is cyber crime?
  • An overview of the types of crimes people encounter (phishing, spamming, identity theft, etc.).
  • Tools perpetrators use to commit the various crimes and how they would use them (software, devices, etc.).
  • How people fall victim to these crimes and what they can do to protect themselves.
  • A general overview of the education and skills a person who works in a cybercrime unit would need.
Bring your questions and learn from our expert.

About Sean Smith
Sean Smith is in his 27th year with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and since 2006 has been assigned as a Detective to the Sacramento Valley Hi Tech Crimes Task Force. He is tasked with investigating such cybercrimes as online child enticement, child pornography, dark web narcotics vendors, online fraud, business email compromises, and identity theft. In addition to his investigative responsibilities, he also conducts digital evidence examinations on mobile devices, computers and internet websites. Sean is an instructor at the California District Attorney Association, the California Peace Officers Standards and Training Institute of Criminal Investigation courses on Human Trafficking, Homicide, Sex Assault, and Child Abuse, the California Department of Justice Advanced Training Center and the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy in the areas of Hi Tech Crimes, Social Media/Internet Investigations, and Dark Web/Cryptocurrency Investigations.


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March 28, 2020

Conflict Hurts with Melinda Curtis

Writing conflict hurts – not just because it makes your characters suffer, but also because it's painful to create and carry through on the page. However, conflict drives story and holds an editor's attention, which means it sells books. Conflict also entices readers to turn the page, which helps create a satisfying experience (plus repeat purchases). Bring a story idea to this interactive course and learn how to build, refine or edit your stories by creating compelling conflict and stronger plots, one element at a time.

Takeaways include:
  • Developing story goals that are hindered by conflict
  • How to deepen character and create emotionally satisfying endings
  • Better understanding of internal and external conflict
  • The "bumpers" that keep your characters acting consistently
  • Conflict that catches the attention of editors and agents
  • Summarizing your finished or developed story
About Melinda Curtis
Prior to writing romance, award-winning USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat-otherwise known as the potty. One course shy of a psychology minor, Melinda's role in corporate America included working with a cultural anthropologist and a marketing psychologist to create more compelling packaging and advertising. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer and has over 50 books released. Melinda believes that knowing what makes people tick can add depth and believability to your writing. She recently came to grips with the fact that she's an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty.

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