Sunday, August 28, 2011

Speaker Laurie Schnebly Campbell - DESCRIPTION AND DIALOGUE

The Double D’s: Description & Dialogue

What kind of dialogue makes your characters real? What kind of description works best for your voice? No two writers will use the same techniques for these key elements, but having new tools to choose from can make writing description and dialogue easier as well as more fun…not only for you, but for your readers as well. For each technique, this session will use examples from books by the conference’s best-known guests.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell combines her background in counseling with writing novels like the one that beat out Nora Roberts for “Best Special Edition Of The Year.” Her latest book is a how-to on creating characters, and she’s taught writers online and in person from L.A. to London and New Zealand to New York…recently presenting her 100th live workshop to an RWA group. Besides teaching, she enjoys writing for an advertising agency, narrating for Talking Books, and vacationing with her husband and son in Sedona, the red-rock town named for her great-grandmother. “People ask how I find time to do all that,” Laurie says, “and I tell them it’s easy: I never clean my house!”

Visit Laurie online at

Posted by Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Blogger and Speaker

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Speaker Terri Brisbin - HOOKS and How to Use Them

Hooks and How to Use Them: From First Word to Last!

A writer must grab the reader’s attention and keep it from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, page to page and chapter to chapter. And if that reader is an editor, hooking them from beginning to end is critical. Terri reviews the elements and importance of the first page and the first chapter and how effective hooks are used throughout your story, strengthening the pacing and structure of your book to the last word.

Terri Brisbin has been writing romance fiction since 1995 and has more than 25 historical and paranormal romance novels, novellas and short stories published since then. When not living the glamorous life of a romance author in the southern NJ suburbs (or lusting after Gerard Butler), Terri spends her time being a wife to one, mom to three as well as a dental hygienist to hundreds. A National Readers’ Choice Award finalist, three-time RWA RITA® finalist, and winner of the NJRW Golden Leaf and Desert Rose Golden Quill, Terri is now working on more romance novels and novellas for release through 2012.

You can visit her website for more info about the author and her work or to contact her:

Posted by Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Blogger and Speaker

Friday, August 19, 2011

Speaker Beth Andrews - Hard-to-Write Characters - The Easy Way!

Writing Hard-to-Write Characters – The Easy Way!

Bad boys and bitches, villains and vixens, wimps and waifs. Sometimes, the most interesting characters are the hardest to write. They push us to dig deep for those sympathetic traits that will resonate with readers, resist when we force them into growing and changing too quickly and always, ALWAYS force us to keep them real. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to create complex, layered characters who will jump off the page and into your reader’s heart!

The Care and Nurturing of the Critique Partner Relationship (Panel) 

Join Harlequin Blaze author Tawny Weber and RITA winning SuperRomance author Beth Andrews as they show how to start, nurture and maintain a critique partnership on the way to publishing success. Critique Partner relationships -- Finding what works for you. Agreeing on the CP relationship -- A test period, how will you work together, what do you expect from the relationship. Growing and maintaining your CP relationship -- Are you in it for the long haul? Career pace and jealousy. Plotting/Brainstorming and setting goals with a CP -- Two heads are better than one, how do you plot/brainstorm with a partner? Do you want to? How to use the CP relationship to help you achieve your goals. Nitty Gritty of critiquing -- Meshing voices, giving and getting feedback. Voice and how nurture your CP's style. What kind of feedback is useful, what's not. Ways to word your suggestions so they don't come across as orders, learning to read between the lines in emails and critiques (and when not to).

Beth Andrews is a Romance Writers of America RITA® Award Winner and Golden Heart Winner. She lives in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and two teenage daughters. In her free time she visits wineries, drinks wine - both for research purposes, of course - and works on perfecting her recipe for Creme Brulee. When not researching (or making fattening desserts) she can be found counting the days until her son returns home from college.

Visit her online at

Posted by Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Blogger and Speaker
Award-winning Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Monday, August 15, 2011


Designed to teach writers how to become successful authors in the new age of publishing. We will clearly define your writing goals and why you want to achieve them. We will discover what you fear and how that fear is sabotaging you from turning your dreams into realities. We then map out a plan for success.

NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has over 50 books published. He has sold over four million books and is in demand as a team-building, life-change, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way concept which he translates into Write It Forward: a holistic program teaching writers how to be authors. He is also the Co-Creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing, which does both eBooks and Print On Demand, so he has experience in both traditional and non-traditional publishing. He is actively seeking backlist & nonfiction submissions.

Born in the Bronx, Bob attended West Point and earned a BA in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade recon platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division. He joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Special Operations Command (Special Projects) in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course which trains new Green Berets. He lived in Korea where he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts. He’s earned a Masters Degree in Education and currently teaches writing at the University of Washington.

Bob draws on all of these experiences to write his novels and his nonfiction books, including WHO DARES WINS: The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear & Succeed; The Novel Writer’s Toolkit: A Guide To Writing Great Fiction; and Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author. His novels include the bestselling Area 51 books and collaborations with Jennifer Crusie. His books have hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other bestseller lists.

Bob has presented for over 1,000 organizations both in the United States and internationally, including keynote presentations, all day workshops, and multi-day seminars. He has taught organizations ranging from Maui, to Whidbey Island, to San Diego State University, to the University of Georgia, to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, to Boston SWAT, the CIA, Fortune-500, Microsoft, the Royal Danish Navy Frogman Corps, Microsoft, Rotary, IT Teams in Silicon Valley and many others. He has also served as a Visiting Writer for NILA MFA program in Creative Writing. He has done interviews for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, the SyFy channel and local cable shows.

For more information see

Posted by Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Blogger and speaker
Award-winning Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Friday, August 12, 2011

2nd Keynote Speaker - Martha Alderson - The Plot Whisperer

Martha Alderson, AKA The Plot Whisperer, dedicates herself to teaching the structure of plot and has helped thousands of novelists, memoirists, and creative non-fiction writers master this elusive craft. The most difficult part of the writing process is the inability to see the forest for the trees. Martha, an educational expert and award-winning novelist, pushes aside the words for writers to see the "whole" of the overall story. Seven years ago, Martha introduced two innovative plot tools — the Scene Tracker and Plot Planner — for writers interested in creating a visual representation of the layers of their stories and anticipate their characters’ every move with moment-by-moment dramatic action with meaning. By effectively demonstrating the relationship between how a character's back-story affects the choices they make in the front story and plot and scene and explaining the art of story design, Martha offers writers proven techniques for creating more focused and balanced and complex plotlines.

You can visit her websites at:

Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Blogger and speaker
Award-winning Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of thirteen novels and three short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children. Allison began over 100 books that she never finished. After turning 30, then giving birth to her third child, Allison decided to actively pursue a career in writing. Committing herself to write a book from beginning to end, she wrote five complete novels before selling The Prey in 2004. Two years later it was released and nudged the New York Times list at #33. The first four manuscripts have been destroyed and will never see the light of day.

With her first book Allison's publisher asked if she could write two books connected in some way to The Prey. Since that book was already written and in production, plot options were limited. During the copy editing stage, she tweaked the backstory of her heroine so that she had two friends from the FBI Academy, and they became the heroines of The Hunt and The Kill. Her "Predator Trilogy" was the first of four loosely connected romantic thriller trilogies. Each story is a complete work with a separate hero, heroine, and villain with some recurring characters that can be read individually or in order.

Crime fiction, mysteries, and romantic suspense have always been Allison's favorites, so it's no surprise that her romantic thrillers have a dark suspense edge. Reviewers have called her books "terrifying," "mesmerizing," "fast-paced," "pulse-pounding," "wonderfully complex," "layered," and "a master of suspense - tops in the genre."

Allison's research shelf is filled with numerous true crime and research books, such as 65 Ways to Kill Your Victim in Print, Practical Homicide Investigation, Book of Poisons, and Tales from the Morgue. Her favorite research trips included a tour of the Sacramento County Morgue - complete with autopsy - and her eight week FBI Citizens Academy course, where she competed at the gun range and won a much coveted award by the SWAT commander: the "My Characters Shoot Better!" award. All of this has been supplemented by trips to the Quantico, interviews with law enforcement officials nationwide, and conversations with experts of all kinds in fields of forensics and technology.

Crime fiction is not Allison's only interest. Growing up, she immersed herself into the more supernatural worlds of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Saul, reading horrific suspense, unable to put the page-turning - and rather terrifying--books aside. Before she even sold her first book, she came up with a series based on the Seven Deadly Sins - as demons released from Hell by an evil occult seeking the key to eternal mortality. After the initial success with her Predator Trilogy, Allison put the Seven Deadly Sins idea aside to pursue the crime and suspense genre exclusively. Nearly seven years after the original idea for a supernatural saga however, she finally launched her Seven Deadly Sins series in early 2010 with Original Sin. Now, her crime research books share wall space with quite different research material, from The Black Arts to An Exorcist Tells His Story; Lilith's Cave to The Encyclopedia of Hell.

The first three supernatural thrillers - Original Sin, Carnal Sin, and Mortal Sin - were released in 2010. They are contemporary and grounded in the world as it is today, with the exception that the Seven Deadly Sins are incarnate demons who, when they touch someone, that individual loses his conscience and acts on his personal worst sin - to deadly results. Forensics and police investigations also plays an important part in the series so while the series is definitely paranormal, it's grounded in criminal procedure.

Allison continues to write her trademark romantic thrillers. In early 2011, she'll launch a series starring Lucy Kincaid, a favorite character from her No Evil trilogy. The stories will tackle complex and current issues in law enforcement through the eyes of Lucy, an FBI recruit; her brother Patrick, a computer genius who's recovering from a two year coma; and Sean Rogan, a private security expert.

Writing three books a year is more than a full-time job, and so is raising five kids, but Allison believes life is too short to be bored. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, watching old movies or new television shows, driving to or attending volleyball / basketball / football / soccer games, and on occasion even makes it to the gym where she enjoys people-watching more than the exercise.

Posted by Vijaya Schartz
Blog mistress and Speaker at Desert Dreams
Award-winning Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick