Past Meeting Presentations – 2013


Past Meeting Presentations – 2013

RCRW meetings include presentations on craft, the publishing industry and the writing life.

These are some of the wonderful speakers who visited RCRW in 2013. Please check our main Meetings page for forthcoming presentations.

November 9, 2013

Sarina Dorie

Self-Editing Tools for a Writer’s Toolbox

When we go to a job interview, we wear our best suit, come with a list of references, and might even remember to put on deodorant. At least, we do if we want the job. When we format a manuscript, self-edit a novel, or polish a book before sending it off to an agent or editor, we strive to present it as though we are professional writers who know what we are doing. At least, we do if we want to be published. Whether a seasoned writer, or someone just starting out in the writing process, there are weaknesses we don’t always recognize in our skills. We get into ruts with grammar, formatting or stylistic “rules” we learned early on in high school writing classes that are bad practices in professional writing.

Learn common mistakes that writers make when submitting manuscripts and how to prevent them. And because Sarina Dorie is a wicked public school teacher with a red pen in one hand and a yardstick in the other, be prepared to do some exercises, writing, and correcting. You might even enjoy yourself during the process.


Sarina Dorie is the author of numerous award winning short stories, has a master’s in education teaches art in the public school system. After years of dedication to art and writing, most of Sarina’s dreams have come true; she is a writer/artist/ fashion designer/ belly dancer. She has shown her art internationally and is a first place winner of: Golden Rose RWA Award, Golden Claddagh RWA Award, Allasso Humor Award, Whidbey Student Choice Award, and published in Daily Science Fiction, Cosmos, Bards and Sages, Neo-Opsis, Flagship, Allasso, New Myths, Penumbra and Crossed Genres. Her first novel is scheduled for release in 2014.

Learn More at:

October 12, 2013

Laura Navarre

Sympathy for the Devil: Dark Heroes in Popular Fiction
A Writer’s Workshop

Using film clips from blockbuster movies, this multimedia workshop explores dark heroes and heroines across the spectrum of popular fiction: vampires and assassins, superheroes, courtesans and spies, from J.R. Ward’s urban fantasy to Philippa Gregory’s Tudor historicals to Daniel Craig’s icy James Bond and “lighter” dark heroes like Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice. What makes a hero/heroine dark, yet keeps them human (and sexy)? How do you establish and maintain reader sympathy and identification with dark heroes? How can you best develop a dark hero and a pure heroine—or vice versa? What happens when you reverse those tropes? We also look at dark hero/villain relationships, how the right villain “completes” the hero, and the villain’s role in the hero’s redemption.


In her other life, Laura Navarre is a diplomat who’s lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. In the line of duty, she’s been trapped in an elevator in a nuclear power plant and stalks the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world’s most dangerous men.

Inspired by the sinister realities of her real life, Laura writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance with a paranormal twist. A member of Romance Writers of America and former Golden Heart finalist, her winning entry for the 2012 PNWA romance award was subsequently acquired by Harlequin/Carina in a three-book deal. Magick by Moonrise (March 2013) is the series launch for a dark Tudor romance trilogy with elements of Arthurian legend and fallen angel heroes.

Laura’s “sinister twin” Nikki Navarre is an award-winning author of sexy spy romance laced with international intrigue. The Russian Seduction (Affluent Press) reached #1 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list for spy thrillers in 2013.

Living on an island in Puget Sound with her screenwriter husband and Siberian cats, Laura divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for government clients.
Coordinates for Laura Navarre:;;

September 14, 2013

Elizabeth Boyle

Fifty Shades of Sexual Tension 

Writing a romance or any novel that explores relationships requires an understanding of the deep subtext that is sexual tension. By exploring the process of sexual attraction and tension, participants will learn how to use the attraction between their characters as another layer to their plot and how it adds an emotional payoff for the reader.


Elizabeth Boyle, a former pirate hunter for Bill Gates, started writing what she loved to read: romance novels. Since her first book was published in 1996, she’s penned twenty more adventurous and romantic novels, won the RWA RITA award, two Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice awards and made the USA Today and NY Times bestseller lists. Elizabeth is a popular speaker, and was honored to keynote the Portland Reader’s Luncheon and the Richardson Library’s Buns and Roses Reader Tea, both in support of literacy charities. She resides in Seattle with her husband and two sons, or “heroes in training” as she likes to call them.

Learn More at

August 10, 2013

Susan Lute

Storymapping Your Novel

Whether you are a plotter, pantser, or somewhere in between, there are as many ways to develop and organize your story as there are writers. In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to break down the physical aspects of your novel, and then to map your character’s journey. You’ll answer questions like…why are you writing this book? What are your main protagonists’ internal and external journeys? What are their romance arcs (if you’re writing romance)? At what point are they no longer able to return to being who they were at the beginning of the story? Bring your current work-in-progress, or a new story idea, and pictures you’ve gathered that make you think about your story. The rest we’ll do in class.


Susan Lute is first and foremost a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer, and author. She is traditionally and Indie published. Her debut novel, Oops…We’re Married? has sold over 130,000 copies, was a Reader’s Choice nominee and Holt Medallion Finalist. Things you should know: she was born the oldest child of a military family; she has traveled far, but has never been to Hawaii, Paris, or Crete, an omission she hopes to correct soon; and her favorite places in the whole world are New York City, Sedona (Arizona), Ouray (Colorado), and Bath (England). Currently she is working on the second novel in her Dragonkind Chronicles, and storymapping a new urban fantasy.

July 13, 2013

C. Morgan Kennedy and Therese Patrick

Push, Pull, POP – Seamless Self-Promotion

All marketing is designed to generate SALES at the POINT OF PURCHASE. Invest your time and energy into a dynamic plan instead of tossing cash into gimmicks.

Through interactive exercises you will learn how effective marketing should only take up 10% of your writing time – and how to make this work for YOU.

The POP is the peak of the pyramid and the primary point of contact between the Author Persona and the Audience. With the internet and a targeted website, POP can take place 24/7 around the globe.
The internet experience should be as engaging to the audience as a well planned promotional event with bonus material.

The PULL of your marketing plan is your delivery on the promise of a great experience to your audience. Pay attention to what feels like a good online experience for you and mirror that for your readers. A dynamic interaction between an author and an audience is a beautiful thing. It creates a positive potential for shared communication, better stories, and greater sales.

PUSH is promoting your books through your Persona, to specific target audiences. A good PUSH is another PULL to your Persona and Product and POP. This process is seamless and the basis of marketing.


C. Morgan Kennedy and Therese Patrick are the co-founders of the popular, free advice blog designated for novelists. C. Morgan Kennedy has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Otterbein College. Marketing and Entrepreneurship were her MBA focus. Therese Patrick is an active member of RWA for ten years. For Rose City Romance Writers she was a past treasurer, on the newsletter staff, and has been a coordinator with the Golden Rose Contest teams since 2003.

June 8, 2013

Jennifer Conner

The Long on the Short of it
Becoming a Better Writer through Crafting Short Stories

People think writing short stories is easy. It isn’t. It’s much easier to fill in word count with description, back-story, etc. With short stories, you aren’t allowed this privilege. You have to get in, get to the point, and get out. You still have to have a complete story arc or your writing won’t make sense.

Find out why some stories ring in the mind while others leave you with the feeling of what was the point? This is true with writing ten pages or a thousand.

  1. You need to have a clear theme. What is your story about? That doesn’t mean what is the plot line, the sequence of events or the character’s actions, it means what is the message or statement behind the words of your piece. You have to know this before you begin.
  2. A short story will cover a short span of time. It may be one single event that proves fundamental or critical in the life of the character, and that event which will push your theme home.
  3. Choose your characters wisely. Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, but with short stories, you don’t have time to explore too many different directions. Choose wisely and only have characters to illustrate your point.
  4.  Make every word count. There is no room for unnecessary expansion in so few of words. If you don’t need it, delete it.
  5. Focus. What is the point of your story? The best stories are the ones that follow a narrow subject line. Again, what is your theme. It’s tempting to veer off in multiple directions, but is this important to the final goal of the characters? Stay the course, it will make sense to the readers in the long run.

Learn to hone your skills for short stories. It will help you become a better writer.


Jennifer Conner is a best-selling Northwest author who has over thirty short stories on ebook and three full-length book in print. She writes in Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, and Erotica.

Shot in the Dark and Christmas Chaos were in the Kindle sales top 10 ebooks and Christmas Chaos was #2 in the Romance category. Her novel, Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests.

Jennifer is an Associate Publisher for the indie e-book company Books to Go Now that resides in the Seattle area. Books to Go Now offers professional editing, cover design, multiple book format file creation, and most important–publicity. Their staff works to help make our author books a success one book at a time. BTGN represents over 150 authors and just reached 300 titles.

Find out more about Jennifer Conner by visiting her her website, blog, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

May 11, 2013

Jessica Glenn

Book Publicity: The Lowdown

Book publicity is different than any other type of publicity and often seems to authors like an option rather than a necessity. Whether you already have a publisher, are looking for a publisher or plan to self-publish, you will need a watertight marketing and publicity plan. Without it, statistically, you are highly unlikely to find receptive agents, publishers and ultimately readers. If you have a publicist through your publisher, they act on behalf of a large number of authors, and do not have time to create and follow up on a completely customized publicity plan.

In this class, Jessica Glenn will lead you through the phases of book publicity from six months before the release date to three weeks after the launch. Learn how book publicity can make the best use of bloggers; how to use radio, print, and TV to your advantage; and why and when to organize book tours. This class is best suited to authors with finished or close to finished manuscripts who plan to pitch and authors who already have publishers or who are independently publishing and need to plan their release.


Jessica Glenn is a book publicist, manuscript shepherd, musician, inventor, writer, locavore and mischievous at times too. MindBuck Media is a natural extension of her work as a freelance writer and development designer, as well as her former employment with Web 2.0 savvy Electric Artists Marketing Services Company in NY.

From manuscript to book release, Jessica Glenn provides highly personalized author services ensuring the highest level of success possible for authors and their publishing companies. Conservatively, she’s helped authors sell half a million books in the last two years, two of which were bestsellers in 2011. She works directly with authors, with publishing companies (including Amazon Publishing), or in tandem with both to create the best bang for the publicity buck through her established relationships with a wide range of media sources, book manufacturing providers, and artists.

April 13, 2013

Cathy Lamb

Sketch a Character

No, really, come and sketch your character, then dig deep and figure out who he or she really is. Delve into her family history. Is she close to them or estranged? Describe her childhood. Good? Disastrous? Both? Does she have friends? Is she doesn’t have friends, does it bother her? Is she divorced, single? Why? What does her home look like? Does she like her home? If not, why? What does she do for a living? Why that occupation? What are her strongest characteristics? What does she hope for? Where is she weak or flawed? What mistakes has she made? What mistakes does she continue to make? What makes her cry? What are the three worst things that have ever happened to her? What has she overcome? Where has she failed? What advice would she give you about your life? What advice would you give her? What’s the character arc?


Cathy Lamb has published six novels and four short stories with Kensington Publishing in NYC and has written over 220 articles for The Oregonian. She is currently working on her next book and not getting much sleep…

Coming in 2013
If You Could See What I See
You’re Still The One anthology with Janet Dailey

March 9, 2013

Donald Maass

Writing 21st Century Fiction

Based on Donald Maass’s latest book, this intensive hands-on workshop teaches the techniques that give multi-year bestselling novels their high impact, resulting in both strong writing regardless of category.  Whether you’re a commercial storyteller or a literary novelist, whether your goal is to write a best-selling novel or captivate readers with a satisfying, beautifully written story, the key to success is the same: high-impact fiction.  Donald Maass will help you write a novel for today’s readers and market, filled with rich characters, compelling plots, and resonant themes. Author and literary agent Donald Maass will show you how to:

  • Create fiction that transcends genre, conjures characters who look and feel more “real” than real people, and shows readers the work around them in new ways.
  • Infuse every page with an electric current of emotional appeal and micro-tension.
  • Harness the power of parallels, symbols, metaphors, and more to illuminate your novel in a lasting way.
  • Develop a personalized method of writing that works for you.

With an arsenal of thought-provoking prompts and questions, plus plenty of examples from best-selling titles, Writing 21st Century Fiction will strip away your preconceived notions about writing in today’s world and give you the essential tools you need to create fiction that will leave readers and critics in awe.


Donald Maass founded the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York in 1980. His agency sells more than 150 novels every year to major publishers in the U.S. and overseas. He is the author of The Career Novelist (1996), Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004), The Fire in Fiction (2009) and The Breakout Novelist (2011). His most recent book is Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling (2012). Find out more about Donald Maass at

February 9, 2013

Courtney Milan

The Ins and Outs of Self-Publishing
(a hands-on, interactive workshop)

Hour 1: Should you self-publish?

Not everyone should self-publish. There are lots of reasons not to do it, and plenty of reason to do it. Reasons not to include: you don’t have a polished work; you don’t have the temperament to self-publish; you don’t trust yourself to put out quality work; you can’t reach your goals through self-publishing, or you don’t have the capital to self-publish. This portion of the workshop will focus on the most important question in the business of self-publishing: How can you tell if it is the right choice for you?

Hour 2: The basics of self-publishing.

This portion of the workshop will focus on the ins and outs of self-publishing. What is bare-bones necessary for publication (and how much does it cost) versus what would you spend if you went all out? We’ll spend the last half of this hour working on profit-loss statements. (Note: you may want to bring a laptop computer for this portion so that it can run numbers for you. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to add by hand.)

Hour 3: Expanding your reach.
Audiobooks, translations, and getting your works on hard-to-find venues.


You can visit NYT bestselling author Courtney Milan at her website at

January 12, 2013

Delilah Marvelle

The Everyday Life of a Disreputable Georgian, Regency and Victorian Lady

Throughout the ages, there were all sorts of women in the sex trade. But distinguishing the differences between Covent Garden Nuns (who did more on their knees than pray…) to Public Ledgers (who weren’t into opening their books but rather their…) to the highly paid demi-mondaine is an art in and of itself. Peer into the everyday life of a disreputable woman and learn how many of these women both survived their trade and reveled in it.


Delilah Marvelle spent her youth studying various languages, reading voraciously and playing the pianoforte. She confesses that here ends the extent of her gentle breeding. She was a naughty child who was forever torturing her parents with countless adventures that they did not deem respectable. Confined to her room on many occasions due to these misadventures, she discovered the quill and its amazing power. Soon, to the dismay of her parents, she rather enjoyed being confined to her room. She is a two time Golden Heart finalist and the winner for The Reviewer’s Choice of Best Sensuaul Historical Romance of the Year. You can visit her at her website at or her blog, which explores the naughtier side of history, at