2020 Workshops

September 26, 2020

Mining Trope for Character

Defining your characters in a romance novel can be one of the most fun--and the most frustrating--things about the craft. What many authors don't realize is that simply by choosing their romance tropes, they have also made some weighty decisions about character. Join romance novelist Amy Lane, author of Crafting Category Romance: The Art of Fiction Haiku as she helps authors find their characters in the stories they've chosen to write!

About Amy
Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. Two of her books have received a RITA nomination, she's won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in, to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance--and if you accidentally make eye contact, she'll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She'll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

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October 24, 2020

Representing Diversity in Today's World and What Writers Get Wrong

As romance writers we often work to include the world we see around us into our stories. The question becomes how do we realistically portray a character who has had a different life experience than our own due to the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their country of origin, physical or mental abilities, or their religion? It's far too easy to fall into the trap of stereotyping because that's what we've been taught. Our responsibility as storytellers is to do our best to get it right.

Today's panel discussion is designed to help us write more inclusively and sensitively as we represent our diverse society. The panelists – Bryan T. Clark, Kai, Michelle Ortiz-Remy, and Charlene Johnson – will share (caveat – the information shared is based on the panelists' experiences and is not representative of the totality of a diverse population):

-What writers get wrong when writing about diversity
-Common misconceptions and stereotypes about people of color/LGBTQ+/people with disabilities
-Common misconceptions and stereotypes about authors who are people of color/LGBTQ+
-Sources for increasing our awareness about the issues the panelists have faced in their lives
-The panelists' thoughts on using sensitivity readers

To represent marginalized characters well we must develop them as fully as any other character in our books. To accomplish this goal, it is our responsibility to write from a position of awareness and empathy.

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I've traveled the world, crossed galaxies, traveled through time and explored history on the pages of books. Charlene Johnson is a multi-published author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense from Sacramento, California. Books have been her passion since age nine. Being a daydreamer and an incurable romantic with a Cinderella complex, she started creating her own characters and storylines because she realized she had her own stories to tell. Homecoming, Book 1 in her Sterling Wood series, was named a Book Excellence Award finalist in the romance category. Blown Away, Book 2 in the multi-author Romance Suspense series, Crimes of Passion, received a Silver Award from Literary Titan.


Michelle Remy is an aspiring romance writer. She is passionate about perfecting her craft and has written two "practice" novels and is currently working on her third. She hopes to write a book good enough to self-publish next year. Her dream is to be an outrageously successful novelist who earns loads of money so she can travel, buy a cabin in the mountains and a beach house, and renovate her home. She works off and on in the workers' compensation field because her husband is mean and told her she can't be a full-time writer without financially contributing to the household. She also has a thirteen-year-old daughter who refuses to be seen in public with her because "it's weird." Still, Michelle loves her family and is fond of singing, crafting, HGTV shows, Hallmark movies, and reading romance, fantasy and how-to-write books.

Writing Today's Romance with a Twist
Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published, Rainbow Award winning author and a 2x LAMBDA Literary Finalist. He's also a funny, loving, family-oriented, and a proud member of the LGBTQ community. He is committed to bringing his readers stories of real life, with multicultural characters, riveting plots, and where the underdog always wins. He is the founder of Cornbread Publishing, Inc. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan and his husband of thirty-six years have made their home and life in the Central Valley of California.

For more information: visit: www.btclark.com
Follow Bryan on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

KAI (They/Them)
Kai is a college student and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. They have dedicated countless hours to improving equity at their school and developing resources for students from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities. As an avid reader, they have lots of ideas about how to make diverse characters more realistic, and how to be more inclusive in writing.

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November 14, 2020 

Finding the Dark Moment

Hold on to your hats! This interactive workshop is going to cover a lot of territory. Whether you’re a Plotter or Pantster, structuring your characters can help avoid the dreaded pitfalls of lifeless characters and too little or too much conflict. But most importantly, structuring leads to finding the dramatic high point of the story, “The Dark Moment.” Structuring your characters requires answering essential story questions like who, what, why and why not. Putting those answers in a grid can help you avoid those dreaded pitfalls and lead you to the dramatic moment YOU and YOUR READERS want. So bring your pencils (yes, with erasers!) and let’s get started!

About Tanya
Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…mysteries and exotic adventures, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a trip to new lands or a suspenseful journey filled with danger…be prepared for the extraordinary. Website, Facebook, and Blog.

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