Conference 2014 logo

Join us in the journey “From Pen to Published!” We’ll take some important steps together as we explore the uneven terrain in today’s world of writing and publishing.

It’s an all-day event, Redwood Writers eighth conference, Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Bertolini Student Center of the Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (map), 8:00 am – 5:30 pm.
Download a single page schedule here.

8:00 am: Check-in with casual breakfast and hear morning keynote speaker, John Rothmann.

All-day: Craft, Genre, Publishing, Marketing: Select among four tracks with sixteen sessions. We’ll explore topics with expert presenters who’ve made this trek and know the landmarks.

Noon: Enjoy a buffet lunch with an all-poetry program celebrating National Poetry Month, a Redwood Writers first-ever poetry anthology, conference poetry contest awards, and a keynote presentation by noted poet and critic, Dana Gioia.

5:00 pm:  Take part in the event finale with Your First Page session, the Helene S. Barnhart Award, and conference prose contest awards. 

Registration closes April 24th!

John Rothmann

John Rothmann

Morning Keynote Speaker
John Rothmann, “From Conception to Delivery
(Not to Mention Labor!): Making The Dream Become A Reality!”

John F. Rothmann is a political and foreign policy consultant and is an expert on the American Presidency. He is a professor serving on the faculty of the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco. Rothmann is the co-author of Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti, and the Rise of Radical Islam (Random House, 2008) and Harold E Stassen: The Life and Perennial Candidacy of the Progressive Republican (McFarland, 2013). Rothmann was a Talk Show Host on KGO News Talk 810 AM from 1996 to 2011 and is currently the Political Analyst on KKSF 910 AM.

Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia

Lunch Keynote Speaker
Dana Gioia, “The Joy and Misery of Being a Poet”

Dana Gioia is a poet, critic, and teacher who’s published four collections of poetry and Can Poetry Matter. As Chairman of the National Endowments for the Arts, he created the largest and most effective literary programs in federal history: Shakespeare in American Communities, Poetry Out Loud, and The Big Read. Gioia currently teaches poetry and public culture at USC.

Tracks and Sessions

Click here for Presenters Page.


9:30- 10:30 am “Make Point of View Work for You”  Presenter: Ransom Stephens 

The way you use point of view determines the level of intimacy between your readers and your characters. Perhaps the most important and often mistaken case is memoir. By carefully employing narrative distance, the first or third person can be used to give your readers the most effective perspective on your story. In this presentation, Ransom teaches how to switch points of view without jarring your readers, how to manipulate narrative distance to emphasize characters’ feelings and how to choose the points of view for your work.

10:50 – 11:50 am “The Power of Place” Presenter: Amanda McTigue

Eudora Welty wrote, “Fiction depends for its life upon place.” In fact, across all genres (fiction to non-fiction, poetry to prose), setting speaks volumes. Through imagination-stirring exercises and plenty of inspirational chat, novelist Amanda McTigue explores the hidden depths of place-writing.

1:30 – 2:30 pm “The Secret That All Best Selling Authors Know – How to Outline Your Story” Presenter: Anne Jordan

Learn what best-selling authors know: that stories are not broken down into three acts, but four! Once you learn the secret of outlining your novel, you’ll never have writer’s block again.

2:50 – 3:50 pm “Crafting Dazzling Double-Duty (and Triple-Duty!) Dialogue” Presenter: Tanya Egan Gibson 

Great dialogue takes on several jobs simultaneously: It characterizes, reveals relationships between characters, and moves the plot forward. Bad dialogue leaves your readers wincing or yawning or (worst of all) closing the book. Learn how to craft dialogue that sounds natural yet sings in ways that “how people really talk” cannot–making your readers emotionally engaged and keeping them turning those pages.


9:30- 10:30 am “Beyond Dragons and Time Travel” Panel: Robert Digitale, Linda C. McCabe, Ann Wilkes

A panel of Science Fiction/Fantasy (SF/F) writers will discuss the differences and challenges of the various genres of the SF/F category as well as reader expectations. Included will be contrasting the building of a fictional universe set in mythical worlds like Middle Earth or Narnia vs. setting a story in an historical place and time vs. choosing a futuristic, foreign planet. There will also be a discussion of how to research for narrative detail such as science technologies or religious practices in the Middle Ages depending on the genre.

10:50 – 11:50 am “The Shocking Truth about Romance” Presenters: Sharon Hamilton, Marina Adair, Elisabeth Barrett, Tina Folsom, Carolyn Jewel

So you think you know about Romance? Think again. Today you will discover variations of the genre you may never have considered: historic and paranormal; dark angels, vampires, guardians, and watchers. Sweet, sensual, spicy or scorching. Where will your romantic literary visions lead you?

1:30 – 2:30 pm “Non-fiction Writing: Get the Book You Need Using the Stuff You Have” Presenter: Catharine Bramkamp

Authoring your own book delivers an abundance of benefits. You will: Attract new clients, Establish yourself as an expert in your field, Increase  your speaking engagements. And a book will make you look thinner‚ because you can hold the book over your stomach when you speak. Learn how to take all the great information you already have, and create a non-fiction book that will take you and your career to the next level. 

 2:50 – 3:50 pm “A Playwriting Primer” Presenter: Garret Jon Groenveld

Get to your Best Stuff – Writing tips for getting to the best play for you to write! What are you waiting for?  Let’s be more brave together and challenge ourselves to push into the vital material you’ve been putting off.  Writing exercises, discussion and challenging assumptions combined with some simple “clean up your draft” techniques will help push your playwrighting to the next level!


 9:30- 10:30 am “DBA, EIN, POD and ©, Legal Guide to the Alphabet Soup of Writing and Blogging” Presenter: Helen Sedwick

Many writers, whether traditionally published or self-published, are surprised to find themselves running a small business. From licensing to sales tax, from consignments to merchandising, selling books involves legal issues. And blogging poses risks of infringement, defamation and invasion of privacy.  Helen Sedwick, self-published author and business lawyer, will offer practical, how-to advice on navigating the legal landscape of writing, self-publishing and blogging.

 10:50 – 11:50 am “Publishing Pathways” Presenter: Brooke Warner

In “Publishing Pathways,” Brooke Warner will discuss and compare traditional and indie options, including big and small publishing houses, as well as CreateSpace, Lightning Source and Ingram Sparks, Smashwords, and other digital-only options, as well as the variety of hybrid publishers in between. 

2:50 – 3:50 pm “How to Write a Winning Book Proposal” Presenter: Linda Joy Myers

The Secrets to a Great Book Proposal: After being immersed in your creative writing for so long, your next task is to write a book proposal. In this workshop we will dissect this daunting challenge into bite sized pieces, and work with an outline you can build from to create a great book proposal.

4:00 – 5:00 pm “Your First Page & How to Get It Out of the Slush Pile” Presenters: Amy Cloughley & Andy Ross

Open to everyone: Attendees will anonymously submit the first page of a novel, non-fiction project, or short story that they are currently writing. The agents will randomly choose submissions and comment on the page’s strengths and weaknesses as well as provide suggestions for possible improvements. This session will give insight into what makes projects stand out in the slush pile..


9:30- 10:30 am “A You Tube & Book Trailer How-To” Panel: Alexis Fajardo, Gil Mansergh, Peter Swehla

Funniest Book Videos: In the rush to post on YouTube, some authors create book videos that are memorable for the wrong reasons. Syndicated film columnist and KRCB radio host Gil Mansergh uses video clips to show conference attendees what NOT to do when making a book video! Lex, and his editor, Peter Swehla, will discuss what it takes to create compelling trailers and some tips and tricks on how to make your own!

10:50 – 11:50 am  “The Whole Package: How to Present Yourself (to the World) as an Author” Presenter: Julia Park Tracey

You are unique and so is your story, but, amid the noise and competition, how will you get the word out? Brand yourself, build your platform, make a name for yourself, establish yourself as an authority, generate publicity and attention with these tried-and-tested tips and methods.

1:30 – 2:30 pm “Book Covers That Sell” Presenter: Jonathan Glick

A discussion of the cover design process: elements of a successful cover from concept, iterations, and refinements, through production. Glick will walk through a number of examples of some classic and some contemporary covers with design solutions and break down what is working and why.

2:50 – 3:50 pm “How to Successfully Tackle Social Media” Presenter: Nina Amir

(Even When You’d Really Rather Be Writing)  Social media involvement can make the difference between acceptance or rejection by a traditional publisher, between selling the average 250 books per year or making the bestseller list with your indie book. Learn to integrate social networks and blogs in the most effective manner and to brand yourself with an author website. 

Download a single page schedule here.