Calendar

Oct
1
Tue
What do you do when a horse shows up in your story?
Oct 1 – Oct 25 all-day

Description:       What do you do when a horse shows up in your story? Do you panic? Hit the brakes? Inform her she can’t have a horse?  Not if you take this course filled with basic horsemanship, in-depth equine knowledge, critical terminology and a bonus list of don’ts to save you from looking like a rooky and making readers toss your book at a wall.

Presenter KATHRYN JANE has extensive experience riding in the show ring, on the racetrack, over jumps, cross-country chasing cattle, training horses and assisting veterinarians.

Instructor Bio:  Author of page-turning, Romantic Suspense, Women’s Fiction, and Short Stories about feral cats, Kathryn Jane takes readers to places they’d like to live and introduces them to characters they will end up loving.

Fulfilling her passion for education Kathryn presents workshops for both aspiring and accomplished writers and covers a broad spectrum of subjects.  In her spare time (she says laughing), Kat loves spreading kindness and joy to family, friends, and strangers alike.

Nov
1
Fri
Naked and Lost
Nov 1 – Nov 25 all-day

Description:  NAKED AND LOST: Use Narrative, Setting, and Description to Both Show AND Tell

This three-week workshop will get deep and dirty into what is often considered anathema in today’s “show, don’t tell” writing world—setting, description, and narrative. We’ll dig deep into our own WIPs, finished manuscripts, or favorite novels to see how we can use narrative, setting, and description to deepen our characters’ POVs, help our readers know them better, immerse readers into the worlds we’re building—even if they’re in small-town USA. We’ll also look at continuity, pacing, and visual tricks to help us keep track of time and place so that no one’s getting lost and naked (unless, of course, we want them to be). Roll up your sleeves and get ready to become worldbuilders, architects, fashion designers, and timekeepers.

Lessons will include: Why setting and description are important; the difference between them; examples of good and not-so-good; the functions setting and description should be playing in your novels.

  • Worldbuilding: Fantasy-based.
  • Worldbuilding: Reality-based.
  • When to Show and When to Tell.
  • House Hunters and Character Building
  • Fashion Sense, Trash Talk, and Character Building
  • The Description Toolkit, Part 1: Mapmaking 101
  • The Description Toolkit, Part 2: Writing Tools
  • Putting it All Together: The Plot Map
  • Putting It All Together: Setting as Character
Jan
6
Mon
Bringing Pirates to Life
Jan 6 – Jan 31 all-day

Description:  Peter Blood in Captain Blood, Long John Silver in Treasure Island, and Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean conjure up images of buried treasure, black schooners, wooden legs, eye patches, vibrant parrots, walking the plank, and swashbuckling swordsmen. Are these accurate portrayals of pirates? Some are, some aren’t.
This workshop explores the differences between the reality and mythology of Caribbean piracy during the mid-seventeenth through the early eighteenth centuries, and how writers can create believable characters that fit within historical parameters. We look at why individuals became pirates, who’s who on a pirate ship, the rules governing pirates, individuals who interacted with or encountered pirates, and other aspects of maritime life an author needs to know to write a pirate tale. Cindy enhances the workshop with writing assignments, a timeline, and resource bibliographies. At the end of the workshop, Cindy offers to provide a free edit of a chapter from participants’ manuscripts involving pirates.

About the Instructor: A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar began researching pirates in college while working on The Rebel and the Spy, a historical novel involving Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans. She is the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, a monthly column on the history of maritime piracy that is now in its eighteenth year. She also reviews piratical and maritime fiction and non-fiction books, and maintains an annotated list of the best piracy and maritime sites on the web. For fourteen years, she wrote “The Red Pencil,” an editing column profiling authors and comparing pieces from their published novels with early drafts of those works, for Historical Novels Review. She is also a freelance editor and historical novelist. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, Historical Writers of America, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, the Laffite Society, the Louisiana Historical Society, and the National Maritime Historical Society. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (http://www.cindyvallar.com), to learn more.

Feb
3
Mon
PTSD  For Fiction Writers
Feb 3 – Feb 27 all-day

Description:  Get your facts straight before you write about PTSD.
The tools needed to respectfully portray characters dealing with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a broad layman’s overview – who, where, what, when, why, and how – of PTSD’s effects on individuals, families, acquaintances, interpersonal relationships, careers and other situations.

Presenter Kathryine Jane’s extensive academic research of PTSD was done as a mature student, and the information she will provide is based on research papers, research interviews, and personal experience.

About the Instructor: Kathryn Jane takes readers to places they’d like to live and introduces them to characters they learn to love,  by writing page-turning, Women’s Fiction, and Romantic Suspense, as well as Heartwarming Short Stories about feral cats.

Fulfilling her passion for education Kathryn presents a broad spectrum of workshops for both aspiring and accomplished writers.

In her spare time (she says laughing), Kat loves painting tiny rocks and spreading kindness and joy to family, friends, and strangers alike.

Mar
2
Mon
Quilting 101/Plotting
Mar 2 – Mar 27 all-day

Description: Course description coming soon!

Instructor: Suzanne Johnson

 

Apr
1
Wed
Witches, Kelpies, and Fairies, Oh My!
Apr 1 – Apr 30 all-day

Description: My first introduction to the Otherworld, as Highlanders call it, came when I joined the Brownies. My Girl Scout handbook included a tale that explained who brownies were. Little did I realize that many years later, I would immerse myself in this strange world in order to better understand my Scottish characters. I invite you to step into the unknown as we explore the supernatural world of Scotland. Highlanders and Lowlanders, as well as Islanders, believed the creatures and forces of the Otherworld were real, and sometimes more menacing than one’s neighbors. In this workshop you’ll learn about the differences between Highland and Lowland witches; second sight and seers; water creatures; portents of death; the world of fairies and elves; other supernatural beings; and ghosts.

Lessons are enhanced with a resource bibliography and excerpts from my novel, The Scottish Thistle, where I incorporated the Otherworld into this tale of the Rising of 1745. Aside from discussions on whether you believe and which elements of the Otherworld you would weave into your Scottish stories, assignments help to flesh out your stories and characters. At the end of the workshop, I offer a free edit of a chapter from your manuscript.

About the Instructor: A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar began researching pirates in college while working on The Rebel and the Spy, a historical novel involving Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans. She is the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, a monthly column on the history of maritime piracy that is now in its eighteenth year. She also reviews piratical and maritime fiction and non-fiction books, and maintains an annotated list of the best piracy and maritime sites on the web. For fourteen years, she wrote “The Red Pencil,” an editing column profiling authors and comparing pieces from their published novels with early drafts of those works, for Historical Novels Review. She is also a freelance editor and historical novelist. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, Historical Writers of America, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, the Laffite Society, the Louisiana Historical Society, and the National Maritime Historical Society. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (http://www.cindyvallar.com), to learn more.

 

May
4
Mon
Emergency Preparedness
May 4 – May 30 all-day

Description:  Skills for your characters, and for your own life.

There’s nothing quite as sexy as a woman who knows what to do next. Don’t let an unexpected emergency stop you or your heroine in your tracks. Information and practical exercises will help you be prepared, even if your emergency is between the pages of the book you’re writing.

Presenter Kathryn Jane, is a certified Public Safety Communicator, trained in Emergency Preparedness, as well as Police, Fire, Ambulance, and Airport dispatch.

About the Instructor: Kathryn Jane takes readers to places they’d like to live and introduces them to characters they learn to love,  by writing page-turning, Women’s Fiction, and Romantic Suspense, as well as Heartwarming Short Stories about feral cats.

Fulfilling her passion for education Kathryn presents a broad spectrum of workshops for both aspiring and accomplished writers.

In her spare time (she says laughing), Kat loves painting tiny rocks and spreading kindness and joy to family, friends, and strangers alike.

Jun
1
Mon
Unconventional Characters
Jun 1 – Jun 29 all-day

Description: Course description coming soon!

Instructor: Suzanne Johnson

 

Aug
5
Wed
Blast off Beginnings
Aug 5 – Aug 30 all-day

Description: Writing Opening Chapters That Take Readers along for the Ride!

In this month-long online class, New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight discusses how to write a beginning that will have readers clicking the BUY button.

Knight examines the elements that engage the reader’s curiosity and make her care about your characters. She will explain how to design and execute a fantastic story that will land you on your readers’ auto-buy lists.

Lessons in this month-long online class will be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students may email scenes to Angela for a critique and suggestions. This won’t be shared with the class.

  1. Introduction — why the first chapter matters
  2. 10 First Chapter Tips
  3. Building your book’s conflict launchpad
  4. Internal conflict without navel-gazing
  5. Romantic conflict for smart characters
  6. External conflict without wimps
  7. Make me care
  8. Brainstorming the perfect scene to introduce your hero or heroine
  9. First lines and first pages
  10. The heroic couple’s first scene together
  11. The villain’s first scene
  12. Plotting your course

Instructor: Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id. Her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name.

 

Nov
4
Wed
Hearts & Handcuffs
Nov 4 – Nov 26 all-day

Description: Writing believable police heroes, presented by New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight and veteran cop Detective Michael Woodcock

Readers love cops, but writing believable police and sheriff’s officers can be difficult if you don’t know the procedures cops use to defend themselves and investigate crimes. In this workshop, New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight and her husband Michael Woodcock, a veteran officer of more than twenty years, will cover everything from felony car-stops to murder investigations and hostage negotiations. Many cops have offered classes on aspects of police work, but since they’re not writers, they often don’t know what writers really need to know. As a result, they tell a lot of war stories, but may not cover the details essential to believability. Knight and Woodcock plan to give that information.

Topics include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Interview with Master Deputy Mike Clevenger on why people become cops, and how officers deal with psychological aspects of policing and balancing the needs of the job and family life.
  3. SWAT commander Lt. Mark Gaddy discusses officer training and how television gets it wrong. What makes a good officer?
  4. Weapons Use, with Lt. Gaddy: What are some of the weapons, lethal and otherwise, police use, and what are their limitations?
  5. SWAT Teams: How the teams are trained and organized
  6. An Interview with Lt. Diane Lestage —Why do women become cops? What are some of the advantages that women bring to the job? How do they deal with people that are generally larger and stronger than they are? How do they handle hand to hand? Since women are often the chief caregivers in the family, what are the techniques they use to juggle those demands and policing?
  7. Investigating Sex Crimes with Lt. Lestage and Detective Mike Woodcock — This lesson deals with both adult and child sexual assaults, and how you go about dealing with victims.
  8. Mike Woodcock on Investigating violent crimes; What are the steps a detective follows in investigating a homicide? What is the psychological effects on the officer?
  9. Interrogating witnesses, suspects and informants with Detective Mike Woodcock — How do detectives go about questioning witnesses, informants, and suspects, and how do they tell who’s lying?
  10. Crime Scene Investigation with Sgt. David Hogsed– what are the techniques officers use to collect evidence and document crime scenes?
  11. Hostage Negotiation with Detective Mike Woodcock: How do crisis negotiators handle confrontations with armed suspects?
  12. Interview with Lt. Ashely Harris on bombs and drug testing — Lt. Ashely Harris, now retired, discusses being a forensic chemist and bomb tech. He discusses methods for testing different kinds of drugs, including marijuana, meth and cocaine. He also discusses how to dismantle explosives, bombs and grenades, as well as the use of bomb robots.

Students are encouraged to ask questions and post scenes for critique.

Instructors: Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id. Her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name.

Detective Michael Woodcock began his 30-year career as a cop with the city of Spartanburg, SC, doing everything from high speed pursuits to searching for pipe bombs and investigating murders. In 1997, he became the department’s polygraph examiner, interrogating accused pedophiles, thieves and murderers, as well as screening potential police employees. In 2001, he was hired by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office as its polygrapher. Over the next 17 years, he led the county’s hostage negotiation unit, and conducted a number of negotiations with barricaded subjects. He’s now back with the City of Spartanburg as a detective.