In-Person Sat Oct 7

saturday oct 7 presentations

Session descriptions are below. Program subject to change.

For registration information, go to the registration page

9:15 - 10:30 am sessions


Mystery Subgenres from Cozy to Noir - Panel Discussion: This presentation introduces the range of mystery subgenres from the cozy to the noir. The panelists will discuss why it’s important for authors to understand and choose a subgenre that fits them and their work, which ones they write in, and how they do (or don’t!) follow “rules.” Panelists: Alice Boatwright, Curt Colbert, Glen Erik Hamilton, Charlotte Stuart, and Marty Wingate.

Authorpreneur: Level Up the Business Side of Writing  with Laurie BuchananWhen writing is treated as a business, a writer becomes a serious contender in magazines, newspapers, and on shelves in bookstores. In this interactive session, writers will learn what it means to be an authorpreneur and about the business side of writing. Attendees will obtain tips for avoiding burnout and overwhelm, processes for determining when to take important business risks, how to better manage cash flow, how to stabilize a writing business in a fluctuating industry and ways to efficiently manage your business.

Understanding Story Structure with April DávilaIn this session we will explore the difference between structure and plot, examine seven traditional story structures, and discuss how writers in various genres utilize these structures in unique and creative ways. Writers will leave the session with an understanding of which narrative structure best suits their own work.

SESSION FULL -- Today's Publishing Choices with Beth Jusino:  An unbiased, unvarnished look at today’s publishing options. Learn what it means to publish with the “Big 5” traditional publishers, small presses, self publish (with or without service companies), hybrid and other emerging models. We’ll also examine pros and cons of each choice, realistic costs and income potential, and pitfalls to avoid.


10:45 am - 12:00 pm sessions


SESSION FULL -- Navigating the Editorial Journey with AJ Bermudez: In this informative session, author and editor A. J. Bermudez will take attendees behind the scenes of the literary journal editorial process. She’ll share what editors look for, how the backend of the submission process works, and tips and tricks for navigating the editorial journey from submission to revision to publication.

Change Begins with Children with E. Danielle Butler: Talking about diversity is hard as adults. But children have no problem expressing their opinions and observations. Sometimes it’s too brutal and too honest. In Change Begins with Children, we explore how diversity is addressed in children’s literature. We dig into what diversity means and three questions all writers should be asking when writing diverse books. E. Danielle Butler leads a thought provoking discussion on how having a child-like perspective makes hard topics easier.

SESSION FULL -- How to Write a Thriller with John DeDakis: An overview that demystifies and deconstructs how it’s done.  We'll discuss the necessary components that make up a thriller, and look at how to tap into your subconscious and life experiences to transform them into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a high-stakes plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting.

Writing From an Animal's Point of View with Catherine Raven: An animal point-of-view is useful whether you employ an animal as a character or if the animal is meant to enhance the setting. Attendees will review examples of an animal character versus an animal as part of the setting, and obtain a step by step guide to write from the point-of-view of non-human animals. We will discuss the limits of anthropomorphism and why it’s less restrictive than most people realize.


featured speakers

 Included with any Oct 6, Oct 7 or Oct 8 registration.

Not available with Pre-conference Sept. 30 registration.

Not available for individual sale.


keynote & featured presentation
Presented by the Edmonds Arts Commission


KEYNOTE speaker: JAMIE FORD, 1:30 - 2:30 pm

Jamie’s debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list and won the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. It was also named the #1 Book Club pick in 2010 by the American Bookseller Association and is now read widely in schools all across the country.  An award-winning short-story writer, his work has been published in multiple anthologies, from Asian-themed steampunk set in Seattle in the Apocalypse Triptych, to stories exploring the universe of masked marvels and caped crusaders from an Asian American perspective in Secret Identities: The first Asian American Superhero Anthology, and Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology. He’s also written in other genres: speculative, dystopian, crime noir, and middle-grade horror. His latest novel, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, was named #1 IndieNext list pick for August 2022. 

Featured Presentation: Travel Writing the Rick Steves way, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Edmonds' own Rick Steves, author of over 50 guidebooks (including Europe Through the Back Door and Travel as a Political Act) and the best-selling travel writer in the United States will share insights on travel research, writing, and publishing. Steves believes that in a post-9/11 world, the role of a travel writer has broadened, and travel is more important than ever. Along with sharing practical tips for travel and guidebook-writing, he will talk about how to market your work and make a living as a travel writer.


2:45 - 4:00 pm Sessions


Nonfiction Book Proposals that Pop with Mary Boone: Most nonfiction books are sold to editors on the basis of a proposal—a package that pitches the book, you as an author, and the project’s marketability. Learn what you need to know to put together a stand-out proposal (presentation content not applicable for memoir).

Art of the Literary List with Melissa Cook: This session will examine one of the most simple yet powerful linguistic structures: the list. We will look at examples of profound list passages in literature, examining the attributes of each passage, before attendees will have an opportunity to create their own list passages using what they have learned. All will leave with a more nuanced understanding of the art of the list in literature, and with a new perspective on the effects that purposeful and carefully crafted lists can produce in their own writing. 

SESSION FULL -- Give your Protagonist a Worthy Antagonist with Kat Falls: A great antagonist can intensify the conflict in your story and turn it into a riveting read. But how do you create an antagonist who propels the story forward and forces your protagonist to change – all while fascinating the reader? In this workshop, we will discuss the different types of antagonists and do a series of writing exercises that will help you discover and design the antagonist who will best challenge your protagonist to their personal breaking point.


4:15 - 5:30 pm sessions


Creating Historical Fiction with Marianne Monson: Historical fiction novels have the power to transport us to another time and place, shedding light on our own modern society’s values. Marianne Monson will guide participants through the steps involved in creating successful historical fiction and invite attendees to begin fleshing out their own project ideas.

Finding the Core Message in Your Memoir with Valerie Ihsan: Theme is arguably more important in memoir than in any other genre. You need a compelling take-away for the reader. In this session, attendees will discover and clarify the thematic core of their memoir, as well as decide which structure to use, and maybe even settle on a working title. Come prepared to look underneath the plot of your story and find its true meaning.

SESSION FULL -- How to Create a Compelling Pitch with Eric Miller: Would you like to... Build a wide audience for your books? Approach potential agents, publishers, and Hollywood people with your books? Garner stunning endorsements from thought and opinion leaders for your books? Explain your books to anyone in an exciting and seamless way? The pitch is the means to make readers want to learn more. It is the preamble to the query, the synopsis, and the book proposal. It is the vital first impression that becomes the most important vehicle to success with your books.

Getting Curious about Poetic Structure with WA Poet Laureate Arianne TrueWhat becomes possible when we look deeply at the structure of a poem and ask genuine questions about it? What can poets working in any range of styles learn from experimental pieces? We’re going to poke at some poems together and get curious about how they do what they do, and the effect it has on us as readers.  

Thank you to Humanities Washington and the ArtsWA Poet Laureate program for making this presentation possible


Book Signing Reception | 5:30 - 6:30 PM

An opportunity to meet-and-mingle with presenters and speakers, as well as other attendees. The event is open to the public. Presenter's books available from the Edmonds pop-up WOTS Bookshop.