2022 Conference Sessions

Choose from a variety of hour-long sessions offered throughout the morning. Our industry experts will talk on subjects that focus on Craft, Genre, Publishing and Marketing.

Click on a name or topic, below, to read more.



10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Revision strategies: How to Read Your Manuscript Like An Editor

You know that after you finish a rough draft of your manuscript, you should go back and revise. But what does revision involve and how do you get started? How do you step back and evaluate your work with a critical lens? This talk will demonstrate concrete tools for evaluating your draft and craft techniques for revising your story, scenes, and sentences.

Kristen Tate


Kristen Tate is the owner and lead editor at the Blue Garret, an editorial services firm that helps authors transform their work from a rough draft into a finished book. She is the founder of the Bay Area chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association and the author of All the Words: A Year of Reading About Writing. She writes a weekly newsletter for word workers, full of craft advice, cheerleading, and personal reflections on how to balance life, work, and words. Visit her website at TheBlueGarret.com.



Amanda McTigue's first novel, Going to Solace, was published in 2012 with H.D. Media Inc. Her published short stories have earned a Pushcart nomination and a semi-finalist nod in the American Literary Review Awards. Currently, she's editing her second novel, The Cautionary Tales, and she is drafting her third, Monkey Bottom. She has studied with some greats over the years: Robert Penn Warren, way back when; Ron Carlson; Josh Mohr; also, Jericho Brown, Ramona Ausubel, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Cristina Garcia at the 2019 Bread Loaf conference.

She has worked as a producer in live entertainment at Paramount, and the Minnesota Opera staged her translation/adaptation of “The Merry Widow.” She's written backstories for Hello Kitty™ and Disney, and she auditioned German actors in Germany for roles in Star Trek™, Deutschland. She graduated with the fourth class of undergraduate women at Yale, studied classical singing in Aix-en-Provence, and performed her own shows in New York City. More recently she's been staging operas and coaching singers at Sonoma State University. From time to time, she leaves her writing desk to tell live stories (think The Moth). 

Visit her website at AmandaMcTigue.com.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Now You're Talking: Voice and Dialogue on the Page

Writers, we’re always in scene. Whether we have two characters talking, or we’re whispering invisible on the page, we’re talking even when we’re not talking. Okay, fine, but that’s damn hard. How do we write voices (including our own) that are authentic and arresting? Here’s the deal: we know how. We’ll revisit the elements that drive great scene writing to identify principles and prompts that can guide us as we refine our voices on the page.

Genres: Prose, fiction, non-fiction, memoir. Poets may benefit as well_



10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

What A Freewrite Can Do For You: A Hands-On Workshop for Transformative Writing

We write for a variety of reasons: to tell a story or a tall tale, to narrate our personal stories, to explore our past and write towards an epiphany, to figure out what happened. This session will generate ideas for deep writing and conquering stuck places to produce satisfying writing.

Marlene Cullen


Marlene Cullen is a writing workshop facilitator. She hosts The Write Spot Blog and Writers Forum, treasure chests of inspirational gems for writers.

The Write Spot anthologies, edited by Marlene, are collections of short stories, poems, and vignettes that entertain, with prompts to inspire writing.

Visit TheWriteSpot.us

Anthony Lee Head


Before running away from home, Anthony Lee Head was a trial lawyer, history teacher, and martial arts instructor living in San Francisco. In a fit of middle-aged madness, Tony and his wife, Cheri, drove 3,500 miles to begin a new life in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There they bought a run-down hostel near the Caribbean Sea, which they transformed into an award-winning hotel and bar.

Living in a white sand and blue water paradise, they rented rooms, poured drinks, ate tacos, blogged about their unconventional life, practiced their Spanglish, and navigated the endless challenges of living and working in a foreign land.

After a decade of inhabiting the wonderfully strange world of ex-pats, they returned to Northern California, bringing with them their pack of rescue animals—four dogs and six cats. There Tony began to indulge his inner storyteller and also started formal practice as an ordained lay Zen Buddhist.

His first book, Driftwood: Stories from the Margarita Road, won numerous awards and was inspired by their adventures south of the border. One of his short stories will be published later this year in an anthology called What’s Next? Short Fiction in Time of Change. He's also a contributor to the mystery collection Paranoia Blues being published in late 2022.

He is currently working on both a new novel and a memoir based on his experiences in Mexico. Visit his website at AnthonyLeeHead.com.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Fictionalized Memoir: How Ten Years in Paradise Inspired an Award-Winning Story Collection

Have an amazing life story to tell? You probably assume a memoir is the best vehicle to use. While a memoir is based on memories, fictionalized stories are inspired by those same memories.

Telling stories untethered by facts allows greater creativity and freedom. Fictionalizing some of your experiences offers distance from difficult moments and avoids angry complaints from friends and family who object to how they were portrayed.

Drawing from my own experiences, we’ll discuss beginning your storytelling journey with fiction as a prelude to fact and how doing so will leave your readers hungry for a true-to-life memoir.



10:15 – 11:15 p.m.

Writer's Block and Dealing with Our Fears

Did you know that our fears do not come from writer’s block? They are coming primarily from what we are saying about writer’s block.

And why is this so exciting; because we can replace what we are saying.

Steven Campbell, MSIS, demonstrates how we are NOT thinking people who feel, we are feeling people who think, and that our feelings FOLLOW our beliefs.

They do NOT come from what is happening to us, or events in our lives; they come from what we are saying about what is happening to us, and what we are saying about events in our lives. And when we learn how to replace what we are saying, our feelings follow!

Mr. Campbell teaches you how.

Here are some highlights of what he will be teaching:

  • Where do our feelings really come from?
  • What are the components that make up writer’s block?
  • How can it be overcome?
Stephen Campbell


Steven Campbell acquired his Masters at the age of 55 to pursue his greatest love: teaching. He then became a professor, author, educational dean, and professional speaker.

After writing his third book, Making Your Mind Magnificent in 2010, he has given seminars on cognitive psychology around the world, teaching how we can change what we are saying to ourselves about ourselves. The result has been significantly more satisfaction and success for the attendees of his workshops.

He also hosts a two-hour weekly radio program on Wednesday mornings titled “Making Your Mind Magnificent” on KOWS 92.5.



Jim Azevedo is the Corporate Communications Manager at Draft2Digital, having joined the company in March 2022 as part of the Smashwords acquisition. As marketing director at Smashwords since 2011, Jim helped the company grow from representing 35,000 indie authors and publishers who released 80,000 titles, to more than 150,000 authors and publishers who published over 590,000 titles.

Draft2Digital offers a broad suite of free and powerful, automated and self-serve tools that authors and publishers can use to build and grow their publishing businesses. This includes tools to simplify ebook and print publishing, distribution, metadata management, and marketing. Following its acquisition of Smashwords, Draft2Digital now serves more than 250,000 authors and publishers who collectively publish over 800,000 books worldwide.

Visit Draft2Digital.com or follow on Twitter @Draft2Digital.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Indie Publishing: What's the "Big Deal?"

In the last 14 years, the publishing industry witnessed not one, but two sea change events. The first was the democratization of the industry, circa 2008. The second was the merger of the two largest indie publishing platforms, Draft2Digital (D2D) and Smashwords, in March 2022. The union of D2D and Smashwords created a self-publishing juggernaut overnight, legitimized the indie author movement, and ensured that even more writers will achieve their dreams of becoming published authors. We’ll talk about why the merger happened and why it’s a “big deal” for indie authors and publishers.



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