2019 Presentations and workshops

Action 101 with Kristene Perron

Former professional stunt woman, Kristene Perron, shares the realities of high adrenaline action. From fight scenes to car chases, and everything in between, you'll learn how to craft compelling yet believable action scenes.

The Art & Engineering of Making a Living In the Writing World With Sylvia Taylor

Come Out of the Cave and Into the Village! Getting published and making a living isn’t just about writing anymore ~ it’s about building a solid foundation, a platform, of credibility and expertise. For experienced and emerging writers alike, we need to build our presence from the ground up, with good planning, good tools, good materials and creative flair.

Blue Stories - How to get the Law Enforcement details right in your Fiction with Tyner Gillies

Have you had trouble getting the fine policing details right in your story? Tyner, an RCMP patrol sergeant with over thirteen years policing service is here to help you. In this class you'll learn some of the common mistakes writers make, and the policing details you need to give your story that realistic punch. We'll discuss equipment, arrest procedures, the concept of Reasonable Probable Grounds, and basic forensics. Bring your questions!

Bullet Journaling for Life Balance With Michelle Vandepol

For writers, editors, and publishing industry professionals looking to avoid burnout or to bounce back from it. Creative and participatory workshop that helps people be productive, excited about work and life, and recharge creatively. Introduction to bullet journaling.

Draw your characters with Brenda Carre

Scrivener, Pinterest and magazine pictures may prompt you with images for your main character, but why not find out what a pencil and your subconscious reveal through the art of portraiture? Bring a written description of your character’s face, or a visual reference. Brenda will provide the materials and instruction to define your character with line and shadow. No previous experience necessary.

 Emotion In Your Writing with Jonas Saul

Everything is based on emotion. Readers read to feel something. Learn how focusing on emotion in your novel will make your writing stand out, get readers talking about your book, and ultimately, boost your career.

Elemental Tales: How to Deepen Your Writing Using Mythic Structure with Jim Jackson

Myths and folktales are like stream-worn pebbles. Time and repetition have worn these stories down to the very essence of human motivation, human vice and human desire. Because they’ve been told and retold by people as they went about the work of living, myths and folktales deal with what it means to be human. What it means to exist in the world.

This makes these stories a rich source of proven structures for writers to mine.

In this workshop, we’ll look at a practical structure to get at all that good story- gold and use it to deepen your writing.

Extraordinary People: The Essential Qualities of Good Characters with John Mavin

Most readers look for stories about interesting (and preferably unique) people doing fascinating things in the most surprising of ways they'll always remember (as opposed to stories about ordinary people doing ordinary things in the most ordinary ways they'll soon forget). This session examines the essential qualities of all good characters, giving you the tools to populate your fiction with compelling and memorable people both heroic and villainous (and everything in between).

Figuring Out Freelance with Faye Arcand

Learn How to Freelance. From the first decision of who you contact, to what you pitch, and even when you make that connection, can all make a difference of having your article published or not. Learn the steps of how to become a successful freelance writer from understanding the lingo, setting yourself up for success, and selling yourself.

5 Critical Things to Know for a Successful Signing with Adam Dreece

Many of us stumble into book signings and events, trying to connect with readers and sell our books. Adam shares some vital lessons learned that can make a world of difference.

Getting the Law Stuff Right with Jessica Steiner

So you've thrown your character into a situation that would be best described as... legally dubious, and they've actually been caught. Or maybe you're interested in writing a lawyer, and not instantaneously have them be eaten by a T-Rex. Bring your questions and listen to a real lawyer discuss what most popular media usually gets wrong, and how you can make your characters' brushes with the law as realistic as possible.

Going ALL IN and The Value of Setting “Stretch" Goals with CJ Hunt

Setting SMART goals for yourself is an important part of moving up to the next level in building your writing career. But sometimes what we really need is a big push and a cheerleading team to get us across that finish line. Sometimes, you need to really go all in and challenge yourself in a way that gets you outside your comfort zone. In this session we’ll look at what makes a goal effective, how and when you should set “unrealistic” or “stretch” goals, good vs bad rewards, and how you can identify stumbling blocks, and use them to help launch you towards your goal instead of tripping on them. You’ll come out of this workshop with a user’s manual for how to best launch yourself at your writing career!


The human body can only take so much stress or trauma from a fist, blow from an object, slash or stab from a knife, gunshot or explosion. What really happens when a fist collides with the jaw? Or a knife slashes an arm or stomach? Do gunshots really throw you back ten feet? Are ballistic vests bullet proof? He’ll show what paramedics would do to treat these injuries.

Dwayne answers these and many other questions and helps you put realism into your writing.

This session is not for the faint of heart!

This program has been rated ‘R’

How to Develop 'Fresh Start' Writing Behaviours with Donna Barker

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, it is a habit.” And modern science backs up Aristotle's visionary assertion. In this hands-on workshop you'll do a series of exercises to identify the actions (and anti-actions!) that will help you develop your own 'Fresh Start' behaviours to get your book finished faster.

How to Write About Horses Without Sounding Like an Ass with JM Landels

If you’d like to include horses in your writing and get it right, this session will help you sound like an expert. How far can a horse travel in one day? How would you care for it on a long journey? What are the costs of owning a horse? How varied are their personalities and what relationships do they really create with humans? JM Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Mounted Combat Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. Come learn from the voice of experience.

Jumpstart Your Novel with Mark Teppo

In this hour long presentation, Mark Teppo will discuss techniques for brainstorming the bare-bones outline for a novel. He’d discuss the Core Questions, show you how to map your (still unwritten) book to several classic narrative structures, and to envision the movie trailer of your (yep, still unwritten) book.  At the end of this presentation, your book will almost write itself. Almost.

Practical Approaches to Physical Barriers: Locks in Literature with Alistair Holness

Often heroes find themselves on the wrong side of a lock. An enemy stronghold isn't just full of open doors, sensitive documents aren't left strewn about a desk, and prisoners aren't politely asked to stay put. So how does your hero find their way out of (or into) trouble? The devil's in the details. Get a professional account of lock picking, key impressioning, and bypassing security hardware to flesh out those heroic burglary scenes. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of various locks and safes over the course of human history, and what to expect in the near future of security.

Rookie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them With Michelle Barker

Summary: Are you struggling to find a publisher for your novel? Maybe you’re making some rookie mistakes in your writing. Or maybe it’s the submission process that’s causing the problem. In this workshop you’ll learn how to spot some common errors, correct them, and make your submissions shine.

Scene and Sequel with Gail Sattler

Learn how to build your story and keep it moving using the concept of Scene and Sequel from Dwight Swain's book Techniques of the Selling Writer. Keep your plot building, have your characters grow, then build to a black moment your readers will never forget, because they are so bonded with your characters.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers with Lisa Voisin and Eileen Cook

Writing is a craft, a career, and a journey. From BOCHOK (button chair, hands on keyboard) to time management, there are habits all writers build that foster success. Join Eileen Cook and Lisa Voisin to learn how to build some of these habits for yourself and get the most out of your writing journey. Using skills evaluation exercises to meditation techniques, this is sure to be an exciting, affirming, hands-on workshop for all levels of writers.

Writing Short Fiction With KT Wagner

In 2019 there are a lot of good reasons to write short stories. The form is enjoying a resurgence of popularity and it’s an excellent path to reaching readers and connecting with publishers. Writing short is also a way to test-drive other genres and stretch your creative muscles. More than twenty of KT Wagner's short stories are published or pending. She’ll share her perspective, techniques (including the use of constraints) and approaches in this class.

Showing, Not Telling with Robert J. Sawyer

Everyone knows you're supposed to show, not tell -- but what does that mean exactly? How do you convey information without coming out and saying it? How can you show emotion without naming it? And when should you tell instead of show?

Slow Burn, No Burn, or Burn it All to the Ground—Tips on writing effective relationships with Barbara Ferrer

The thought of committing a relationship to the page—whether it’s friendship, familial, romantic, or antagonistic—has been known to give even the most seasoned writer pause. How do you make it work and not sound like you’re lobbying for a spot as a Bulwer-Lytton finalist? In this hour, we’ll discuss relationships depicted in books (and onscreen); what makes them work, what makes them flop, and we’ll even tackle the dreaded “purple prose.”

Ten Steps to Selling Your Manuscript with Janine Cross and Linda DeMeulemeester

You've written the story; now what?  In this workshop, learn ten crucial steps on how to get an agent/editor hooked by your manuscript.  Participants will learn tips for how to make their manuscript shine above the slush-pile, avoid common editing mistakes, write a solid query & synopsis, and find a genre-perfect agent.

Trad vs. Indie: What Are My Options and What's Best for Me? With Jennifer Sommersby

Best-selling indie author and self-pub teacher Mark Dawson says, "There's never been a better time to be a writer." He's so right! Think of the possibilities! If your dream involves querying agents and seeking a traditional deal, those eager agents and publishers await your masterpiece. But other options exist, including independent (or self-) publishing, an avenue with its own perks and potholes. And of course, why can't we have our cake and eat it too by becoming a "hybrid" author, both traditional and indie? How do you decide on the right choice for YOUR book(s)? Join hybrid author Jennifer Sommersby as she offers some real-world feedback on trad vs. indie publishing to help you put your best publishing foot forward.

Understanding Literary Publishing Deals and Legal Agreements with Jeff Young

This seminar will provide attendees with an opportunity to understand the legal and business ramifications of entering into Publishing Agreements, Literary Option Agreements and the like, as well as to ask legal questions that would otherwise only be available through private consultation.

Whose Plot is it Anyway? With Randy McCharles

Most novels and short fiction begin with an idea. The delivery of that idea is what makes each story unique. Delivery includes voice, character, and other elements, but most of all plot. Whether you are an outliner or a pantser, this workshop will provide you with several tools to help make your fiction sing as well as enable greater productivity and reduce writers block.

Writing Realistic Paramedic Scenes With Dwayne Clayden

There are a lot of emergency medical procedurals on TV and in the Movies. Unfortunately, much of the “procedure” they show is not accurate. As writers, those shows may be our only experience with paramedics, and so we write what we have seen. It’s entertaining and fast paced. Even when your brain says, “Hey wait a minute…” But when readers come to a point in the story that doesn’t make sense, they stop reading. They may decide that the writer doesn’t know what they are taking about, and put the book down. We don’t want that!

In this session I’ll show you what really happens as paramedics prepare for an emergency response, what happens during the response, how they ensure they are safe, what they look when they arrive on the scene and at the patient and when do they really use lights and sirens.

Writing for Young Adults with Gabrielle Sara Prendergast

This session will briefly outline the publishing category Young Adult Fiction while discussing many common misconceptions about this popular and lucrative part of the book industry. The session will include guidelines for writing in this category and discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages. We will cover YA tropes, and touch on some controversial issues in YA such as sexuality and diversity.