2018 Presenters and Presentations

Gordon Warnock

About Gordon. Gordon Warnock is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and Editorial Director of Short Fuse Publishing. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director, editor for independent publishers, publishing consultant, and author coach. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. He is an honors graduate of CSUS with a B.A. in Creative and Professional Writing. With a zest for fresh, new voices and a deep love of the classics, Gordon actively seeks out both the timely and the timeless. In that spirit, he establishes involved, long-term working relationships with talented and dedicated authors of many genres.

Submissions Demystified. From finding the right agent to crafting a knockout query to submission strategy, we'll cover the process from start to finish, with the dos, the don'ts, and the OMGs. Bring a copy of your query letter as a potential in-class example.

Publishing Options. Agents are only part of the picture. Take a tour across the different landscapes of publishing, and see where you best fit. Do you need an agent, or are you better off without one? Which publishing path(s) should you pursue?

Agent Consultations. Here's your chance to bend the ear of a literary agent in a low-pressure situation. This isn't a pitch session--it's for us to tackle any questions or problems you've run into and make sure you're on the right path.

Saturday Afternoon Author Panel

Nicole Persun

About Nicole. Nicole J. Persun writes in many genres. Her epic fantasy novel, DEAD OF KNIGHT, won a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award in 2013. Her debut women’s fiction title, THE INGREDIENTS OF US, will be released with Lake Union Publishing in 2019. Nicole has a master’s degree in creative writing and is a board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association. When she’s not writing, Nicole can be found spending time with her husband, horse and two cats.

The Author’s Journey. Keynote.

Secrets of Character Development, with Terry Persun. We can all think of inspiring and memorable characters—Harry Potter, Han Solo, Katniss Everdeen—but how did their authors create such magic on the page? In this class, we’ll first detail the various modes of character development: dialogue and voice, physical appearance and movement, actions, thoughts, narrative commentary, and more. Then we’ll cover the common pitfalls of character development—info dumps, too much (or too little) emotion, etc—and how to avoid them. From big action and moral dilemmas, to the unseen but essential subtleties of revealing character word-by-word, we’ll show attendees how to write unforgettable, realistic characters.

Self-Editing: The Focused Draft Approach. Editing your messy first draft before you send it to beta readers or a trusted editor is a necessary but often overwhelming task—especially if you don’t know where to begin. In this class, I’ll address common self-editing mistakes and discuss a new approach: editing through a series of focused drafts. By tackling different areas of craft—such as plot, character, setting, pacing, word choice, emotion, and more—separately, you’ll stay organized and productive without overworking the passionate prose of your first draft. Attendees will come away with helpful exercises and tools needed to self-edit confidently and effectively.

Blah, Blah, Blah: When Dialogue Falls Flat (And How to Fix It!). Dialogue isn’t just about propelling the plot or allowing your character to voice her thoughts—it’s about power struggles, current situations, emotions, backstory, and more. Good dialogue is nuanced and intentional. It grips the reader’s attention and subtly conveys the unspoken thoughts of our characters. In this class, attendees will learn how to take their dialogue to the next level. We’ll discuss word choice, slang, and phonetic dialect. Through exercises, we’ll practice writing unspoken implications, power struggles, and realistic situational dialogue.

Friday Afternoon Author Panel

Maureen McQuerry

About Maureen. Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet) is an ALA Best Book for YA 2013, winner of the Westchester Award. Her MG fantasy duo Time Out of Time, includes Beyond the Door, a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth, and The Telling Stone, a finalist for the WA State Book awards. A new historical novel, Between Before & After (Blink/HarperCollins) will be released in Feb 2019. She taught middle school through college for almost twenty years. In 2000 she was awarded the McAuliffe Teaching Fellowship for WA State. She currently supervises student teachers for WSU and is a board member of SCBWI Inland Northwest.

The Stakes Must Always Be Death: Fueling the Emotional Core of Your Story, with Stephen Wallenfels. As writers we long to hook our readers’ hearts as well as their minds. Together we’ll discover how conflict and tension fuel a character’s emotional journey and keep readers engrossed until the very end. Using examples from current literature, we’ll discuss techniques to strengthen your story’s emotional core and identify the one thing every powerful story has in common. Be prepared to participate in short writing exercises. Come with the seed of a story you’ve always wanted to write, opening pages or better yet a work in progress.

Friday Afternoon Author Panel

Stephen Wallenfels

About Stephen. Stephen Wallenfels earned a BA in Physical Education and International Relations from USIU San Diego. Stephen was a freelance writer for CBI Magazine with over 100 feature articles and columns published in the health and fitness industry. He published short stories for children and adults, and his YA science fiction novel, POD (Penguin-Ace), was published in eight languages and has been adapted into a screenplay. Stephen’s second novel, Bad Call (Disney-Hyperion), a YA survival thriller set in Yosemite National Park, was released on December 19, 2017. His third novel, Deadfall (Disney-Hyperion), a YA suspense thriller, is scheduled for publication on December 11, 2018.

The Stakes Must Always Be Death: Fueling the Emotional Core of Your Story, with Maureen McQuerry

Friday Afternoon Author Panel

Thom Caraway

About Thom. Thom Caraway has been writing poems since he was in high school, and has pursued writing as a calling for the last 20 years. He has an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University and a PhD in English Literature from the University of North Dakota. His poems and short fiction have appeared in numerous magazines and other publications, including Ascent, Redivider, Ruminate, Smartish Pace, and Sugar House Review. His books include A Visitor's Guide to North Dakota, No Secrets to Sell, and What the Sky Lacks, forthcoming from Korrectiv Press. He is also the publisher of Sage Hill Press (which published, most recently, former state poet laureate Tod Marshall's anthology WA129) and the editor of Rock & Sling, a journal of witness, published by Whitworth University, where Thom has taught since 2008. From 2013-2015, he served as the poet laureate of Spokane. In 2017, he helped found, and continues to operate, Millwood Print Works, a community-based letterpress and serigraphy shop.

Writing Your Life: Making Personal Poems. The first advice many writers receive is "Write what you know," and what do you know better than your own life? Writers from Chaucer and Wordsworth, to Plath and Oliver have mined the details of their own experiences to write libraries of great books. But how does one go about it? What details are compelling and how do we render them in such a way that they'll matter to other readers? In this workshop we'll explore some of those questions and work through a series of exercises that will help you produce a file of raw material to draw from later, as well as complete one fully drafted poem.

Writing What the World Gives You: Found, Constructed, and Collage Poems. Writer's block can be a frustrating obstacle for many writers. One strategy to overcome it is by using words that are already in the world. From blackout to whiteout, collage to pastiche, there are many ways to use existing materials to create original, new, and exciting work. In this workshop, we'll explore many of these techniques and using sharpies, white-out, scissors, and glue, we'll build a number of found poems, and discuss what makes these poems more or less successful.

Friday Afternoon Author Panel

Kira Jane Buxton

About Kira. Kira Jane Buxton is an American writer who grew up in Asia and the Middle East, penning stories of overweight dragons and essays on environmental conservation. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, NewYorker.com, McSweeney's, The Rumpus, The Huffington Post, and more. Her debut novel HOLLOW KINGDOM will be published by Grand Central in 2019.

Rethinking Rejection. Keynote.

Hearing Voices: Developing Voice As Writer And As Character. Allen Ginsberg said, “To gain your own voice, you must forget about having it heard.” In this fun and generative class, we’ll explore the writing of authors with iconic voices. Bring a pen and a playful mind as we focus on exercises to develop or hone your authorial voice and the voice of the characters who must pop unapologetically from the page.

Saturday Afternoon Author Panel

Terry Persun

About Terry. Terry Persun has published four poetry books, dozens of short stories, and over 20 novels. He is the recipient of seven novel and poetry awards. He writes across a variety of genres from mainstream to science fiction. Terry is a regular speaker at writers’ conferences, libraries, and universities. www.terrypersun.com

Secrets of Character Development, with Nicole Persun

Make Money Writing. There are magazines, newsletters, websites, and newspapers that cover literally every subject you can imagine. These venues need material daily to continue publishing. Think of the magazines you read and love, and the subjects you know and understand, and start putting the two together. This session will discuss the details required to enter into the market of writing for the many publications and websites looking for content: which ones should you approach, what do they need, how do you contact them, and how much do they pay.

Saturday Afternoon Author Panel

Shaela Kay Odd

About Shaela. Shaela Odd has been writing since she was six years old. She studied Theatre and English at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she wrote and performed her own stories for a professional storytelling troupe. She currently writes historical romance, and publishes under the name Shaela Kay. She is an award-winning cover designer, and hopes to someday turn her “little book business” into a real live publishing house.

It's OK To Judge: Book Cover Design for the Indie Author. This class will go beyond the basics of cover design to explain the little details that often get overlooked; details that transform covers from so-so to so amazing. Learn where to find stock images, how and when to mix fonts, why custom layers and shadows are so important, and steps you can take to make your own covers pop. Plus, we'll take you step-by-step through two different cover designs so you can see these principles in action.

Wendy Kendall

About Wendy. Mystery writer finishing my first Cozy Mystery series Kat Out of the Bag. My love of writing and reading shows in my Recommended Reads column, syndicated through the Seattle Times. I’m also a Chanticleer Organization Book Reviewer. I’m a freelance blogger, editor, speaker, and catch my exciting mystery author interviews about books and the writing craft on my Podcast - Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries on YouTube, iTunes, and KBFG radio 107.3 FM. Learn more on my website wendywrites.org

The Contemporary Cozy. This presentation will teach the ingredients of a successful Cozy, and specifically what it is that the contemporary, target audience is hungry for in their reading. Includes advice from best selling Cozy authors. Learn how Cozy Mysteries have evolved.

Smart Social Media. Learn the advantages of different modes of social media, and the ways to select a mix that effectively establishes a productive social media presence. Then apply what you’ve learned to design your personalized social media plan.

Noir Resurgence. This presentation will explore the contemporary resurgence of Noir in books and screenplays. It will demonstrate what Noir is, how to recognize and use its techniques in the craft of writing a story. It will also show ways to effectively use elements of Noir in other genre writing.

Krista Jensen

About Krista. Krista writes contemporary romance, and fantasy. She is the author of OF GRACE AND CHOCOLATE (2012 Whitney Award Finalist), THE ORCHARD (2013 Whitney Award Finalist), FALLING FOR YOU (2014), and KISSES IN THE RAIN (2015 Whitney Award Finalist) with Covenant Communications. She has novellas in Love Unexpected: With All My Heart (2014, Covenant), Christmas Grace (2017, Covenant) and A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letters (2014, Mirror Press), and Regency Christmas (coming 2018, Mirror Press). Many of Krista's readers and reviewers praise the way her settings come to life and bring an added depth to her stories, a compliment she greatly appreciates.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Romance in fiction is everywhere and we can’t get enough of it. But writing romance isn’t just “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back’. This class will explore the definition of romance, how to make it fresh, what it takes to draw readers into your characters’ hearts, and how to elicit the sigh.

Contemporary World Building: Yes It’s a Thing. Your contemporary setting is a character in your novel. Don't leave it out in the cold just because it's already familiar. Learn to take your chosen setting for your contemporary novel and KICK. IT. UP. Research, dig deeper, build higher, MAKE YOUR READERS WANT TO GO THERE AND NEVER LEAVE. Hands-on world-building worksheet.

Katherine Parkers Richmond

About Katherine. Katherine Parker Richmond used to tell herself stories while she walked home from school and she’s been doing it ever since. Her poems have appeared in New Era, Segullah, That Odd Mom, Poetry in Form, The Stories on Medium, Boston Literary Magazine, and Broken Circles: a Gathering of Poems for Hunger.

So Be It: Crafting a Statement of Purpose to Manifest Your Creative Vision. Whether you’re a starry-eyed beginner, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in between—a clear creative vision will anchor your career and propel you forward. In this class, you will learn step by step how to construct a statement of purpose including a succinct vision for your writing career, concrete long- and short-term goals, as well as specific statements about how your writing will fit into your own life and impact the lives of your readers.

Wendy Oleson

About Wendy. Wendy Oleson is the author of Please Find Us (winner of 2017 Gertrude Press Fiction Chapbook Contest) and Our Daughter and Other Stories (winner of 2016 Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award). Her stories have appeared in Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. Wendy teaches for the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension and Washington State at Tri-Cities and is Associate Prose Editor for Fairy Tale Review. She lives in Walla Walla, WA with her wife and a hiccup-prone dog named Winston.

Flash Fiction. Over the last decade, the popularity of the flash fiction has exploded. This “narrative in miniature” (under 1,000 words) stretches writers’ ingenuity and readers’ expectations. In this session, we’ll talk about what makes a piece of flash tick. You’ll also leave with several flash-generating exercises to try on your own.

Breaking Through Writer’s Block. A writer has got to write, right? So what happens when it’s all coming out wrong…or worse, not at all!? In this Saturday afternoon session, we’ll talk about factors that fetter our writing momentum and at least a dozen strategies to break through the block!

Kimberly Kessler

About Kim. Kim Kessler is a Certified Story Grid Editor and creator of Trench Coach, an all-in developmental editing service for the whole person. A TEDx speaker and member of the Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast, Kim weaves expertise with infectious enthusiasm to help you write, and live, your best story.

Unraveling Genre. The single most important question for a writer to answer: What’s the genre? Nailing your story’s genre is a North Star that guides all other story decisions, and the difference between a story that hits deep and one that leaves us unsatisfied. But what is genre? This is the question we will answer together.

Amy Sonnichsen

About Amy. Amy Sonnichsen is the author of RED BUTTERFLY, a critically-acclaimed novel in verse for middle graders, and the co-author of gymnast Shawn Johnson's debut YA novel, THE FLIP SIDE. She grew up in Hong Kong, and then lived in Mainland China for almost a decade as an adult. She now resides in Kennewick, WA with her family, where she provides a free taxi service for her children.

Friday Afternoon Author Panel