Schedule of Events & Programming

Please note: This is a preliminary schedule, and is subject to change up to the day of the event. Full, up-to-date event details

Friday, September 19

2:30 pm

Panelist 101: A crash course in convention etiquette and panel performance for new guests. A team of seasoned professionals will answer questions and help guide you through the ins and outs of the con experience from the other side of the table. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Marian Allen

3:00 pm

Poetry Workshop: Join Bianca Spriggs on an interactive journey as she takes this class through generative writing exercises for speculative poetry. Early access granted for attendees of this workshop only.

4:00 pm

Documentary 101: From choosing a subject to finalizing the credits, our panelists will take you on a step by step walkthrough of the documentary process. Moderator: Melissa Goodman Panelists: Michael Epstein, Amy McCorkle

Happily Ever After: The most important part of a good romance novel is the ending. Romance readers are fiercely loyal creatures, and if you give them a satisfying ending, they’ll keep coming back for more. Our romance panelists will discuss the “happy ever after” and “happy for now” terms and how to make them work in your own tales. Moderator: Alexandra Christian Panelists: J.M. Madden, Carol Preflatish, Rose Pressey

Good Reviews: Our authors and Reviewers speak out about book reviews and the proper way to execute one so readers and authors alike can use them constructively. Moderator: Alexx MomCat Panelists: Robin Blankenship, Rodney Carlstrom,  Mysti Parker, Tommy B. Smith

Paths of Publishing: A look at various publishing avenues – major press, indie press, and self-publishing – and what it means to be a part of each. Come listen to our panelists, ask questions, and decide which path is right for you. Moderator: Annie Jones Panelists: Eric Garrison, Lee Martindale, A.E. McCullough, Tim Waggoner

Publishing Nightmares Roundtable: From editorial mishaps to publisher scams, the literary world isn’t always a bed of roses. Our panelists share some cautionary tales of the dark underbelly of publishing. Moderator: Eric Beebe Panelists: James O. Barnes, Charlie Kenmore, Kathryn Lively, Jessica McHugh, Scott M. Sandridge

The Plot Thickens: Sometimes plots can be tricky things, full of holes or overly complicated. Sometimes they just don’t work no matter how you try to mold them. Our authors will be talking about how to keep your plot in check while toeing the line between too much and not enough. Moderator: Marian Allen Panelists: Dave Creek, Brian Dobbins, Robby Hilliard, Terri-Lynne Smiles

The Monsters: An in-depth look at how mainstream media has both helped and hindered the classic monster tropes. Moderator: Herika R. Raymer Panelists: L. Andrew Cooper, Jack Wallen, Michael West, M.B. Weston

5:00 pm

Critique Groups: Positives & Negatives: Some people call them a blessing, others a curse. Here’s your chance to get the lowdown from published authors on critique groups and how they both help and harm writers. Moderator: Marian Allen Panelists: Matthew Barron, David Blalock, Andrea Judy, Kristen Kindoll, RJ Sullivan

The Big Reveal: Plot Twists are an important part of mystery writing. Ever wonder how to keep yours from sounding trite or goofy? Come talk to our experts about how they establish and reveal twists and turns in mystery settings without being corny. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: John F. Allen, Tommy Hancock, Christopher Kokoski

Publishing Fiction for Children: An in-depth discussion about writing and publishing fiction for children. Moderator: Meaghan Fisher Panelists: K.A. DaVur, J.L. Mulvihill

Utilizing Local Settings in Urban Fantasy: The most common bit of advice for new writers is “write what you know.” Our urban fantasy panelists discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using your hometown as a setting for your next novel. Moderator: Missa Dixon Panelists: C. Bryan Brown, Brian Dobbins, Eric Garrison, Georgia Jones, M.B. Weston

Marketing Roundtable: Our super-panel of artists and industry professional discuss the ins and outs of successful multi-media marketing and answer the audience’s questions. Moderator: Katina French Panelists: Jerry Benns, Sophia Cacciola, J.M. Madden, Kathryn Sullivan

The Art of the Screenplay: Literary and Film panelists discuss the elements and qualities of a good screenplay. Moderator: Anthony Taylor Panelists: Cherokee Hall, Devin Hylton, Scott Sullivan

 5:30 pm

Destroying the Archetypes – Writing Good Romance without a Formula: Romance is currently the #1 selling genre of fiction, but that means there are a lot of ideas out there being used, re-used, and abused. Our romance novelists will be discussing how to write fresh, new romance without a rehash of what’s already been done. Moderator: Alexandra Christian Panelists: Lucy Blue, Robert Kohl, Carol Preflatish, S.A. Price, Leslea/Red Tash

Nonfiction Today: A look at growing trends and topics in today’s nonfiction market. Moderator: Alexander S. Brown Panelists: Eric Beebe, Mark Davis

The R-Word: Tips and suggestions for effective research to go with your writing. Moderator: A.J. Scudiere Panelists: Joann Buchanan, L. Andrew Cooper, Jeff Seymour, AshleyRose Sullivan, Michael Williams

6:00 pm

Epic Adventure Awaits: Gamers and Game Writers discuss world building and storytelling for players’ ultimate enjoyment of gaming campaigns. Moderator: Bob Freeman Panelists: J.P. Chapleau, Bradley “Corpse” Walker

A Brief History of Storytelling: From ancient oral traditions to today’s digital publishing landscape, our panelists discuss the art of telling stories and the future of the craft. Moderator: Selah Janel Panelists: Brady Allen, A. Christopher Drown, Tally Johnson, Tiffini Johnson, Thomas Lamkin, Jr.

Writers for Hire: A look at being the hired help in major franchise markets. Moderator: Tim Waggoner Panelists: Scott Sullivan, Jay Wilburn

Writers as Real People: Writing can be demanding, isolating, and exhausting. Writers often struggle with depression, self-esteem issues, or chronic health problems. Learn how our writers find balance in a life where they’re often juggling day jobs, works in progress, backlists, marketing, public appearances, and a personal life. Moderator: TammyJo Eckhart Panelists: Brent Abell, Georgia L. Jones, Kristen Kindoll, Kimberly Richardson, Denise Verrico

 7:00 pm

Gats, Gams, & Greenhorns: Everyone always remembers to build worlds, but do they always remember to build language? This panel covers the proper way to use slang, jargon, and other language mechanisms in genre fiction. Moderator: Mandi Lynch Panelists: L. Andrew Cooper, Addie J. King, Sean Taylor

Comic Book Storyboarding: Looking to break into the Comic Book industry? Here’s your opportunity to take an entry-level crash course on comic book layouts and the differences between traditional and illustrated storytelling. Moderator: Dan Jolley Panelists: Matthew Barron, K.A. DaVur, Devin Hylton

Walk this (Dead) Way: A fandom panel for those who want to express their love (and hate) of the Walking Dead. Panelists discuss the pros and cons of the franchise, both as a graphic novel and a smash television hit. Moderator: S.A. Price Panelists: C. Bryan Brown, J.L. Mulvihill, Jack Wallen, Jay Wilburn

Beyond the Book – ‘Net Marketing for Those Who Know Nothing of Marketing: A quick and dirty look at today’s social media marketing opportunities and how authors without a marketing degree can make the most of their online presence. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: Jerry Benns, Meaghan Fisher, Glenn Porzig, Stuart Thaman

Inserting Science into Fiction: Enjoy science fiction but don’t know how to build the science? We’re here to help! Bring your best questions and your learning cap and our panelists will help make sense of the science in today’s best Sci-Fi media. Moderator: Randy Richards Panelists: Allan Gilbreath, Charlie Kenmore, A.E. McCullough, Herika R. Raymer, A.J. Scudiere,

The Adaptation: Authors and filmmakers discuss what it takes to move a book to the screen, and how to translate work from one medium to another. Moderator: Pamela Turner Panelists: Melissa Goodman, Amy McCorkle, Jeffrey Reddick, Anthony Taylor

The Plotter’s Workshop: Author Terri-Lynne Smiles demonstrates the differences between “plot” and “story” in this interactive book-building workshop. During this two-hour session, you will learn the types and elements of a good plot and how to utilize them effectively.


 Opening Ceremonies

 Amazon, Oh Amazon: Amazon has single-handedly changed the landscape of the publishing industry. It’s quick, cheap, and easy…but what’s the trade-off for that sort of instant gratification? What’s next for authors in the face of this retail giant? Moderator: Jeff Seymour Panelists: Jerry Benns, Maddie James, Annie Jones, Glenn Porzig, Leslea/Red Tash

Copyright Law, Creative License, and Parodies: We talk a lot about fandoms, fan fiction, and works honoring our favorite books and movies, but do we ever take into account the legality of our love? This panel will cover the important topics facing authors across the entertainment world when it comes to acknowledging and respecting copyrights and the use of creative license. Moderator: Scott Sandridge Panelists: James O. Barnes, Susan Burdorf, Iscah, Addie J. King

Sex is Transformative: There are right ways and wrong ways to use sex in fiction. This panel will help outline the best ways to use sexual scenes to strengthen and move plot along. Moderator: TammyJo Eckhart Panelists: Alexandra Christian, Marcia Colette, Cam Crowder

Saturday, September 20

8:00 am

Saturday Morning Mocha: Coffee, Hot Chocolate, and Readings by Mocha Memoirs Press Authors. Sponsored by Mocha Memoirs Press.

9:00 am

A Poet? You Know it!: Poetry experts discuss the craft of writing effective verse. Moderator: Scott M. Sandridge Panelists: Susan Burdorf, Iscah, Addie J. King, Michael Williams

Breaking the Cycle: It’s not an easy road from hobbyist to professional. Editors can be tough and negative reviews sting. But if you believe in yourself, good things can happen. Our authors will taken an hour to tell all about their individual literary journeys. Moderator: TammyJo Eckhart Panelists: Matthew Barron, Alexander Brown, Stephen Dorning, Logan L. Masterson, Jill Ranney-Campbell

Authors Behaving Badly: Authors, Editors, and Publishers discuss social media/public etiquette, as well as talk about how to handle public flubs with tact and professionalism. Moderator: Kay Iscah Panelists: Jerry Benns, C. Bryan Brown, Maddie James, Jessica McHugh, Alexx MomCat

The Evolution of Urban Fantasy: Panelists experienced in the growing Urban Fantasy genre talk about the evolution of the genre and how both their work and the work of their contemporaries fits into the grand scheme. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Missa Dixon, Addie J. King

 9:30 am

Finding the Right Editor: An in-depth discussion about evaluating editors and choosing the right one for the job, whether for small presses or self-published authors. Moderator: Scott M. Sandridge Panelists: Karen Block, Jesse Coffee, Kathryn Lively, Armand Rosamilia

Social Media Overview: A survey of the main social media networks, their strengths, and their importance for writers/storytellers. Moderator: Steven Saus Panelists: Katina French, Andrea Judy

10:00 am

Writing Horror Without the Blood: Blood, guts, and gore are staples in the horror world, but are they necessary? Not all of our panelists think so. This hour-long panel will detail the alternate routes to a good horror story. Moderator: Herika R. Raymer Panelists: Brady Allen, Max Booth III, Brick Marlin, Lori Michelle

Ask an Author – Urban Fantasy & Horror: Join our authors for an anything-goes roundtable discussion about the literary world. Bring your best questions and a good sense of humor. Moderator: Tim Waggoner Panelists: Maurice Broaddus, C. Bryan Brown, Cam Crowder, Christopher Kokoski, Jack Wallen

Don’t Let Genre Get in Your Way: When you sit down to write do you find yourself trying to force your plot into a specific mold? It’s far past time you let your writing take flight without parameters. Come ask questions from our cross-genre panelists and learn the best way to write what you want to write on your own terms. Moderator: Robert Krog Panelists: A. Christopher Drown, Jackie Gamber, Georgia L. Jones, Terri-Lynne Smiles, R.J. Sullivan

Comic Book Critique Workshop: Imaginator Dan Jolley has offered his services to five lucky comic script authors! Register early for a chance to have an in-depth critique of your comic script during this two-hour intensive workshop. While the critique session is limited to five scripts, there is no limit to attendance!

11:00 am

Indie or Agent: Publishing professionals discuss the pros and cons of an author choosing to contract and agent or remain independent, including a discussion of presses of varying sizes and the amount of work and control that goes into publishing a book on both sides of the coin. Moderator: Tim Waggoner Panelists: Lucy Blue, Jesse V. Coffey, Abigail Keam, Anderson O’Donnell, Rose Pressey

Making the Most of Beta Readers: The best audience for a new book is a test audience. Come learn how to choose and utilize proofreaders to help make your work the best it can be. Moderator: Armand Rosamilia Panelists: Alexx MomCat, Kathryn Sullivan, Stuart Thaman, Jay Wilburn

Cover Lovin’: Regardless of genre, cover art is often an author’s first and only shot at hooking a new reader. But what makes a good cover? Come get the skinny on choosing an appropriate cover for your work. Moderator: S.A. Price Panelists: Robert Kohl, Thomas Lamkin Jr., Sara Marian, Peter Welmerink

Congratulations! It’s an Anthology!: Anthologies are a good way for readers to find new authors without a large investment. Come learn how anthologies work, why they’re popular, and what Anthology editors expect from their submissions. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Brent Abell, Jerry Benns, Robby Hilliard, J.L. Mulvihill, Kimberly Richardson

Plotters vs. Pantsers: The age-old war rages on: are you a plotter or a pantser? Or are you something in between? Come hear our panelists talk about their storytelling prep work. Moderator: Denise Verrico Panelists: Cam Crowder, Mandi M. Lynch, R.J. Sullivan, Pamela Turner, M.B. Weston

 11:30 pm

Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Launching Into the Business of Writing – Hosted by Elizabeth Donald: You got a contract? You’ve decided to publish on your own? Great, now what? Learn about contract terms and how to negotiate them, what’s standard and what’s a trap; launching and managing an online presence with social media; how to handle the money and taxes; the challenges specific to self-publishing as well as for those traditionally published; developing a marketing strategy; dealing with bookstores and signings, the tour circuit – and don’t forget to have a life!

 12:00 pm

 To Exterminate or Not to Exterminate: Panelists discuss Dr. Who in all of its incarnations and how it stays successful across multiple media forms. Moderator: Scott M. Sandridge Panelists: Robin Blankenship, Meaghan Fisher, Rebekah McAuliffe

Imaginator Q & A w/ Jeffrey Reddick: Join Imaginator Jeffrey Reddick for a moderated Q&A Session and learn everything you wanted to know about your favorite screenwriter!

Women in Genre: Our Ladies of Speculative Fiction come together to discuss the challenges and triumphs of women in today’s genre fiction market. Moderator: L. Andrew Cooper Panelists: Marcia Colette, K.S. Daniels, Selah Janel, Herika R. Raymer

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance: A common misconception among readers is that Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are the same thing. While this can be true, there are very distinct differences between the two. Our authors discuss those similarities and differences to help you distinguish between them. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Missa Dixon, Nicole Kurtz, Jettie Necole Angelia Sparrow, Pamela Turner

A No-Nonsense, No-Gimmick Approach to Marketing Your Book: Presented by Eric Beebe: Before Eric established the successful Post Mortem Press, he spent years gathering business experience in corporate America. He will discuss how the cornerstones of basic marketing—like promotion, engagement, and audience—can provide authors and small publishers with an edge in today’s dynamic marketplace.

12:30 pm

What Makes a Good Blog: Members of today’s blogosphere make up this panel which will tackles the touchy subjects surrounding blogging today. They will offer insights into how they built their followings and suggestions for creating a working, beautiful blog that will rise to the top of the web slush pile. Moderator: Steven Saus Panelists: Max Booth III, Amy McCorkle, Alexx MomCat, Armand Rosamilia, AshleyRose Sullivan

The Art of Mystery: Mystery is a pretty predictable genre – major conflict, plot twists, good guys turned bad… but sometimes the tropes can be a little too trope-ish. Join the discussion on the best way to write a good mystery without being silly. Moderator: T.Lee Harris Panelists: Tony Acree, Abigail Keam, Tom Wallace

1:00 pm

Mythological Creatures in Fiction: From the usual to the more obscure, our panelists discuss the use of mythological creatures in literature, and how to make even the most used tropes fresh and new. Moderator: Denise Verrico Panelists: P. Andrew Miller, J.L. Mulvihill, S.A. Price, Michael West, M.B. Weston

Sword & Sorcery vs. Fantasy – What’s the Difference: Our speculative fiction authors and industry professionals will tell you, there’s a huge difference. If you’re unsure which is which, stop in to hear the discussion about the genres, their history, and the authors who defined each. Moderator: Marian Allen Panelists: Earl Dean, Bob Freeman, Iscah, Sara Marian, Randy Richards

How to Handle Negative Reviews with Grace: Worried about how to handle negativity toward your work? Come listen to authors and book bloggers talk about their firsthand experiences from both sides of the fence. They will offer suggestions for handling negative press without losing your cool and causing even more damage. Moderator: Alexx MomCat Panelists: H. David Blalock, Joann Buchanan, Robby Hilliard, Anderson O’Donnell, Violet Patterson

Read the Instructions: There are two things every artist needs – a strong product (be it a manuscript, play, or film), and a strong understanding of the submission guidelines. On this panel, our pros will walk you through submission etiquette for new artists. Moderator: Steven Saus Panelists: Jerry Benns, Mandi M. Lynch, Lori Michelle, Mysti Parker

2:00 pm

LGBT Themes in Popular Fiction: Our panel, well-versed in LGBT fiction, discusses the rising trends across all fiction markets and how to properly execute these themes in your work. Moderator: Eric Garrison Panelists: Alexander S. Brown, L. Andrew Miller, Pamela Turner, Denise Verrico

Growing Thick Skin: Authors and Editors discuss best practices for making friends with your editor. Learn when to fight, when to step back, and when to simply agree to disagree for the sake of your work. Moderator: T.Lee Harris Panelists: Jerry Benns, H. David Blalock, Allan Gilbreath, Robert Krog, Leslea/Red Tash

Guest of Honor Q&A – Rose Pressey: Our Guest of Honor stops in to answer all of your questions! Join Rose for this hour-long question and answer session.

The Nuts & Bolts of Comic Book Scripts: Imaginator Dan Jolley takes you through the steps required to build a strong comic book script.

What Editors Expect of a Professional Author: They aren’t the enemy, and here’s why. Editors sit down with the audience and candidly discuss their requirements for working with authors and how authors should behave when working with their editors. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Rodney Carlstrom, Lori Michelle, Jason Sizemore, Benjamin Smith, Angelia Sparrow

So You Wrote a Book – The Idiot’s Guide to Small Press Publishing: Writing the book is only the beginning of the journey! Come here our authors, editors, and publishers talk about what it takes to get a book published in the Small Press world, from edits to cover art, and even promotion. Moderator: Mandi M. Lynch Panelists: Eric Beebe, A. Christopher Drown, Katina French, Abigail Keam

Level Up! Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level – Hosted by Tim Waggoner: Do you find yourself getting rejections that say, “Close, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on this one?” Do you feel like your writing has a hit a wall, and that no matter what you do, it’s not progressing? What does it take to move from talented beginner to seasoned pro? If you’re just starting to write, this workshop will give you the tools to decrease your learning curve. If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ll learn tips and techniques to elevate your fiction so your stories are stronger, sell faster, and delight both editors and readers.

3:00 pm

Fan Fiction: Authors speak candidly about fan fiction, from the legalities and sometimes questionable nature to its popularity and usefulness as a literary practice tool. Moderator: Selah Janel Panelists: Lucy Blue, Alexandra Christian, Cam Crowder, Andrea Judy, Rebekah McAuliffe

The Art Of Improv – Game Mastering On The Fly: Your players go left. It says so right here in the supplement. Why didn’t they go left? Why did they torture the NPC, sneak into the castle, and suspect the princess as a double agent? And what are you going to do about it? Come learn tips and tricks from award winning author John Arcadian. Moderator: John Arcadian Panelists: J.P. Chapleau, TammyJo Eckhart, Bob Freeman

RPG 101: Hosted by gamers and game masters, take our crash course on running a role-playing game. Whether you’re the GM or just a player. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Scott M. Sandridge, Bradley “Corpse” Walker

3:30 pm

From Page to Stage: Screenwriters and directors speak about writing good dialogue that sounds natural on stage or in front of a camera. Moderator: Scott Sullivan Panelists: Sophia Cacciola, Michael Epstien, Anthony Taylor

Author on Author Interviews: Moderated by Lee Martindale – Authors break into teams and interview each other. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Robby Hilliard, Kristen Kindoll, Rebekah McAuliffe, Anderson O’Donnell, Mysti Parker, R.J. Sullivan

World Building 101: Our professionals are giving a crash course on best practices for building a believable, sustainable world in your fiction across all media and genres. Moderator: Kathryn Sullivan Panelists: Brady Allen, Maurice Broaddus, Dave Creek, Brick Marlin

4:00 pm

Writing The Other: Aliens, Fairies, and Animals, Oh My! Who gets it right, who gets it wrong, and what are the best practices for writing unconventional, non-human characters? Moderator: Scott M. Sandridge Panelists: K.S. Daniels, Selah Janel, Tommy Smith, Denise Verrico

The World of a Magazine Editor: Submissions, Deadlines, and Edits, oh my! Sit down with editors as they share the inside scoop on editing for magazines. Learn why pieces are accepted, why they’re rejected, and what magazine editors expect of their authors. Moderator: Sean Taylor Panelists: Eric Beebe, Lori Michelle, Jason Sizemore, Benjamin Smith

Erotic Romance vs. Erotica: A panel of our romance authors will discuss the difference between “erotica” and “erotic romance” as well as the growing trends in today’s explicit fiction market. 18+ only. Moderator: Missa Dixon Panelists: Jesse Coffey, Charlie Kenmore, Maddie James, Robert Kohl, Angelia Sparrow

Myth and Fiction – Presented by Michael Williams: Whether from their time-honored structure and plotting, their inherent sense of mystery and wonder, or their willingness to take on the large and important human issues, ancient myths remain among the best stories in all cultures. Imitating them, adapting them, or even just thinking about them can add depth and power to your own fiction, and in this workshop, we’ll discuss and practice ways of doing just that.

4:30 pm

Toastmistress Q&A: Join our Toastmistress, Lee Martindale, for this in-depth, audience-interactive interview. Moderator: Stephen Zimmer

5:00 pm

Mysteries Today: What are the hot elements of today’s best-selling mysteries? What might lie just ahead? A discussion of the genre’s trends in today’s publishing climate. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: Carol Preflatish, Tom Wallace

Comics & Graphic Novels in an eBook World: Artists, authors, and publishers discuss the state of comics and graphic novels in today’s literary world. An in-depth look at how the rise of digital publishing has changed the illustrated fiction landscape. Moderator: Dan Jolley Panelists: Devin Hylton, Bobby Nash

Monster Porn – Cool New Trend or Really Bad Idea: A candid look at the frightening new trend in paranormal romance: Monster Porn. The ladies of the pen will be discussing monsters in their envelope-pushing glory , from the ways the new subgenre is helping and hurting the romance market to the controversy facing retailers and marketing specialists. Moderator: Alexandra Christian Panelists: Crymsyn Hart, Robert Kohl, Jessica McHugh, S.A. Price, Angelia Sparrow

Pitch Perfect: If you’re looking to pitch a book to a publisher, this is the panel for you. Our panelists discuss the right way to build a pitch. Bring your best pitches for the chance at a critique! Moderator: Eric Beebe Panelists: K.A. DaVur, J.L. Mulvihill, Rose Pressey, Jeff Seymour, Benjamin Smith

Steampunk Today: Ever wanted to ask a bunch of questions about Steampunk but were too afraid to sound like you were behind the times? Never fear! Our panel of experts are here to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the rise of Steampunk, its origins, and where it’s headed with today’s increasing technology and advancements in modern media. Moderator: Eric Garrison Panelists: Maurice Broaddus, Rodney Carlstrom, Thomas Lamkin Jr., Mandi M. Lynch, Violet Patterson

6:00 pm

Sherlocked: From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved books to BBC’s international TV hit, everyone has thoughts on the world’s favorite opinionated detective. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Robin Blankenship, Alexandra Christian, Iscah

Faith in Fiction: Whether it’s contemporary religious fiction or a fantasy novel where religion plays a major role in the events of its world, there are both right and wrong ways to utilize characters’ faith to tell a story. Moderator: Logan L. Masterson Panelists: Stephen Dorning, Annie Jones, Rebekah McAuliffe, Jill Ranney-Campbell

Racial Lines in Romance: Authors and editors discuss how to properly execute an interracial romance scene without being trite or offensive. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Maddie James, Annie Jones, Nicole Kurtz, Kimberly Richardson

Comic Script Creation Part 1 – Hosted by Sean Taylor: Join comic book writer Sean Taylor (Gene Simmons Dominatrix, Bad Girls Club, The Invisible Man) for a two-day workshop to help you begin and complete a comic book script for a four-page anthology short. Super heroes, horror, drama, slice of life — all genres welcome.

Writing Genre Short Fiction:
Join Apex Magazine editor-in-chief Jason Sizemore for a two hour workshop that will (hopefully) lead you on the path to mastering the art of short fiction. The workshop will cover common new writer pitfalls, cover the basic structure of short stories, examine plot, talk about the importance of perfecting your first page and how to tantalize your reader from the start, and discuss the short fiction venues and short fiction editors that you should follow.

6:30 pm

Cross-Medium Horror Forum: Panelists spanning different media come together to discuss horror from every angle – the trends, the successes, the failures, and the multitudes of adaptations. Come get scared with the best of them. Moderator: Selah Janel Panelists: L. Andrew Cooper, Cherokee Hall, Crymsyn Hart, Christopher Kokoski, Jeffrey Reddick, Tim Waggoner

Avoiding Self-Publishing Pitfalls: You’ve written your book…now what? Self-publishing, the growing new trend, lends a unique chance to completely control your creative outlets. However, like any other new system, there are some risks. Come hear what our authors have to say about self-publishing’s pros and cons and what it means to be in complete control of your work. Moderator: Tiffini Johnson Panelists: Matthew Barron, Alexander S. Brown, Eric Garrison, J.M. Madden

So You Wanna Be a Reviewer: Reviewers, book bloggers, and authors talk about what it takes to be a successful book blogger. They will answer questions and discuss all aspects of the reviewing process, from procuring books to posting both positive and negative reviews. Moderator: Jeff Seymour Panelists: Kathryn Lively, Mandi M. Lynch, Alexx MomCat, Steven Saus

7:00 pm

Young Adult / New Adult Romance: Young Adult and New Adult Romance are the biggest thing since sliced bread, but what makes them work? Our YA and Romance panelists discuss the best way to write satisfying romance that’s still appropriate for young ‘uns. Moderator: Susan Burdorf Panelists: Joann Buchanan, Jettie Necole, Violet Patterson

The Zombie Horde: Zombies are popular, but are they too popular? Panelists take zombie-mania back to the bare bones and discuss the trends, how to use them, and how to create something new from the already-been-done slush pile. Moderator: Armand Rosamilia Panelists: Brent Abell, Jack Wallen, Peter Welmerink, Jay Wilburn

Imaginator Q&A: Dan Jolley: Join Imaginator Dan Jolley for a moderated Q&A Session and learn everything you wanted to know about comics, writing, and more!

8:00 pm

The Blog Tour: What are they? Why do we use them? How do I get one? And what are they supposed to accomplish? These questions and more will be answered by our publishing professionals as they talk about this useful marketing tool. Moderator: Steven Saus Panelists: A. Christopher Drown, Alexx MomCat, Mysti Parker, Jay Wilburn

Creating Your Space – How Authors Find Their Zones: It’s not easy being an author in today’s fast-paced society. We’re constantly pulled in so many directions that sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit and write. Sometimes we have to take control and make time to write. Come hear from our authors about their writing spaces and the techniques they use to get back to their worlds despite their busy schedules. Moderator: Logan L. Masterson Panelists: Cam Crowder, Georgia L. Jones A.J. Scudiere, M.B. Weston, Michael Williams

The Authoress’ Guide to Good Steamy Romance: A late-night panel for steamy romance enthusiasts. Come listen to our literary beauties as they talk about good romance for grown-ups and where to find it. 18+ only. Moderator: Missa Dixon Panelists: Alexandra Christian, Jesse V. Coffey, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Carol Preflatish

Ghost Stories: Tally Johnson: Sit down with South Carolina Folklorist and Historian Tally Johnson as he weaves tales of love, loss, and local hauntings.

10:00 pm

 Masquerade Ball

11:00 pm

Make Me Scream!: Join #TeamErotica for a late-night chat about the thrills of writing sexy romance! These erotic romance experts will be telling all when it comes to steaming up the pages and making your readers beg for more. 18+ only. Moderator: Alexandra Chrsitian Panelists: Lucy Blue, Marcia Colette, Crymsyn Hart, Nicole Kurtz


Sunday, September 21

 9:00 am

Lone Hero vs. Heroic Group: What’s better when writing sci-fi and fantasy, a single hero or a group to share the task? This panel features on a discussion on heroic tropes and how to properly use both. Moderator: Tommy Hancock Panelists: Nicole Kurtz, Sara Marian, Peter Welmerink

The Pen Name: Many authors choose to write under a name that is not their own. If you’ve ever considered choosing a new name for your literary self, be sure to stop by this panel and hear the arguments for and against pseudonyms. Moderator: S.A. Price Panelists: Joann Buchanan, K.A. DaVur, Maddie James, Violet Patterson, A.J. Scudiere

Crafting a Hero(ine): Every book needs a strong lead character. Authors discuss best practices for building strong, believable heroes and heroines that shine in any genre of fiction. Moderator: Iscah Panelists: Max Booth III, Cherokee Hall, A.E. McCullough, Michael West

The Nonfiction Pitch: Nonfiction authors and editors discuss what goes into a nonfiction pitch and how the genre differs from the rest of the literary market. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Eric Beebe, Amy McCorkle

The Newsletter and How to Make People Read It: Considering starting up a newsletter but not sure how to get people’s attention? Join in the conversation about newsletters, led by a team of panelists familiar with the art of making personal and publishing news interesting and fun. Moderator: Pamela Turner Panelists: Marian Allen, Melissa Goodman, Crymsyn Hart, Kristen Kindoll

9:30 am

YA and Speculative Writing: Young Adult fiction is the hottest trend on the market right now, but is it always done correctly? Speculative Fiction often takes more focus and determination than readers realize, and our publishing professionals are here to give you the low-down on how to build a believable speculative story geared towards the younger crowd. Moderator: Susan Burdorf Panelists: Stephen Dorning, Jackie Gamber, Brick Marlin, J.L. Mulvihill

10:00 am

The GM’s Guide to a Perfect Campaign: Veteran GMs and gaming professionals come together with their tips and tricks for building an interesting, engaging, and fun campaign for players of any age or experience level. Moderator: Iscah Panelists: John Arcadian, J.P. Chapleau, Logan L. Masterson, Randy Richards, Scott M. Sandridge

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: Our panelists talk about how to tell a good story, graphic style. Moderator: Robert Kohl Panelists: Dan Jolley, Glenn Porzig, AshleyRose Sullivan, Bradley “Corpse” Walker

The Gothic Romance: Paranormal romance hasn’t always been sparkly vampires and brooding shapeshifters. Come listen to romance industry pros discuss the ideas and themes of gothic romance and how it has evolved into today’s chart-topping genre of choice. Moderator: Alexandra Christian Panelists: Lucy Blue, Maddie James, Kimberly Richardson

The Language of Fear: A roundtable discussion of definitive horror elements and how to make and market them in new and interesting ways. Moderator: Angelia Sparrow Panelists: H. David Blalock, L. Andrew Cooper, Selah Janel, Michael West

Publishing Magazines: Have you ever sent story to a magazine? Or perhaps you’re thinking of starting your own. Our publishing professionals talk candidly about editing magazines and the triumphs and tribulations that come with getting each edition out on time. Moderator: Mandi M. Lynch Panelists: Eric Beebe, Lori Michell, Jason Sizemore, Benjamin Smith

Cover Art for the Self Published: Self-published authors are responsible for making sure every aspect of their book is perfect. With cover art often being the first and only chance to catch a reader’s attention, some would contend that it’s just as important as the story itself. Our self-published authors discuss best practices for procuring good artwork for your self-published titles. Moderator: S.A. Price Panelists: Tiffini Johnson, Robert Kohl, Thomas Lamkin Jr., Kristen Kindoll, Sheri L. Wright

Exploding Out of the Gate – Hosted by Lee Martindale: A 2-hour workshop on getting that piece started with a bang. A modified version of Allan Wold’s workshop, hosted with his permission by Toastmistress Lee Martindale, this session help authors master the art of a strong opening. Limited to 15 participants, no non-participating observers, please.

11:00 am

Urban Fantasy – The Gateway Genre: Let’s face it, Urban Fantasy is a huge trend and a growing portion of the Speculative Fiction realm. Our panelists discuss how the rise in Urban Fantasy has changed the sci-fi/fantasy landscape. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Allan Gilbreath, Nicole Kurtz, Tim Waggoner

Ask an Author: Romance: Join our authors for an anything-goes roundtable discussion about the literary world. Bring your best questions and a good sense of humor. Moderator: Charlie Kenmore Panelists: Missa Dixon, Crymsyn Hart, J.M. Madden, Angelia Sparrow

The Role of the Screenwriter: A sober look at the place of the screenwriter in the equation of motion picture and television production. Moderator: Anthony Taylor Panelists: Cherokee Hall, Jeffrey Reddick, Scott Sullivan

Paranormal Reality: Authors discuss trends in the paranormal world, ranging from historical ghost stories to popular media portrayal of the spirit world. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Alexander S. Brown, Bob Freeman, Rebekah McAuliffe

Into the Wastelands: Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian stories are on the rise. Join our panelists for a discussion of the world after the end of the world. Moderator: Peter Welmerink Panelists: Robin Blankenship, Sara Marian, Jettie Necole, Anderson O’Donnell, Jack Wallen

Stop Telling & Start Showing: New writers often find themselves falling into the dangerous trap of over-descriptive narratives. While flowing descriptions of scenery and characters help pad word counts, what industry pros have come to call “purple prose” is a serious no-no for any publisher. Listen in and learn when description works and when it’s better to just get to the point. Moderator: Robert J. Krog Panelists: TammyJo Eckhart, Robby Hilliard, Tiffini Johnson, Terri-Lynne Smiles

Creatures from A-Z Creatures from A-Z, A looking for something new in the way of supernatural beings and beasts to populate your stories? Tired of vampires, elves and dragons? Author Denise Verrico offers a fun and informative PowerPoint on mythological creatures from all over the world. Presenter: Denise Verrico

 12:00 pm

 Pulp Fiction 101: What is Pulp Fiction? This panel will cover the history of pulp writing and how today’s trends differ from the stories that started it. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Earl Dean, Andrea Judy, Sean Taylor

Writing Serial & Episodic Fiction: How to write in pieces and keep your readers coming back for more. Our authors share tips and techniques for building a story in multiple parts. Moderator: Terri-Lynne Smiles Panelists: Tony Acree, T. Lee Harris, Glenn Porzig, Jill Ranney-Campbell, M.B. Weston

Imaginator Q&A: Maurice Broaddus: Join Imaginator Maurice Broaddus in this moderated Q&A Session. Bring your questions and learn everything you ever wanted to know about our Author Imaginator!

Poetry in Motion: Poetry and song can serve as beautiful outlets for creative and emotional expression. But it isn’t as easy as you’d think. Our panelists will discuss the best practices for capturing your emotions in lyrical prose. Moderator: Iscah Panelists: Michael Epstein, J.L. Mulvihill

Comic Script Creation Part 2 – Hosted by Sean Taylor: Join comic book writer Sean Taylor (Gene Simmons Dominatrix, Bad Girls Club, The Invisible Man) for a two-day workshop to help you begin and complete a comic book script for a four-page anthology short. Super heroes, horror, drama, slice of life — all genres welcome.

The Write Way to Success! Presented by Entrepreneur, Author, and Promoter Kenneth Daniels: Marketing your way to a career as an Author. Key Steps to take to save you $1000′s of dollars and years of wasted time marketing yourself. What you will learn from this 90min Workshop: Getting Noticed! There is a glut of authors. Too many and not enough attention given to the ones who deserve to be read. Find out how to do it and do it by being a better marketer; The Write steps to take to make a living as an author; Finding your perfect market. Which one’s are a waste of your time and money and which ones are going to cause you to give up eventually; Why it’s NOT about YOU? Why you should RETHINK your whole model of what being an author is? Vending the WRITE way. Successful tips to increase your vending success by 100%. How to FIND the WRITE market, then WRITE for that market. Learning the difference between MARKETING, SELLING and ADVERTISING. These key differences can set you up for OUTSTANDING success or ABYSMAL failure! Why most authors fail to ever launch a financially successful book.How to navigate social media without paying for it.Why marketing to your PEERS may not be the best way to be successful in the world of writing. How to navigate the world of EBOOKS without using traditional Methods. Niche, Niche, Niche.

 12:30 pm

 Writing for Children: Everyone knows keeping the attention of a child isn’t easy. Keeping a child’s attention with a book is even harder. Our panelists discuss what goes into writing children’s literature, from important themes to plotting and final output. Moderator: Kathryn Sullivan Panelists: K.A. DaVur, Meaghan Fisher, Dan Jolley, Jessica McHugh

Here There Be Scumbags: Scams built on separating new and aspiring writers from their hard-earned cash are everywhere. Learn to spot a legitimate opportunity and identify a scam. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Eric Beebe, Dave Creek, Charlie Kenmore, J.M. Madden, Sheri L. Wright

1:00 pm

Troll-Free Promotion: Are you tired of constantly ignoring Facebook and Twitter because all you see are ads for the same book or movie over and over? Worried your hard work is going to get lost in the mix? Then come on in and listen to what our people have to say! Our panelists will talk openly about the annoyances of promotion and how to get your word out without being obnoxious. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Maddie James, Kristen Kindoll, Steven Saus

Finding the End: Getting to those two beautiful words isn’t always easy. Panelists discuss how to end a story while avoiding plot holes and kitchy tropes. Moderator: Brady Allen Panelists: Karen Block, Alexander S. Brown, Joann Buchanan, Christopher Kokoski, Sara Marian

Ask an Author – Science Fiction/Fantasy: Join our authors for an anything-goes roundtable discussion about the literary world. Bring your best questions and a good sense of humor. Moderator: Randy Richards Panelists: K.S. Daniels, Stephen Dorning, Addie King, Jeff Seymour

Making Your Novel Shine in an Editor’s Eyes: Our editors and publishing pros give the low-down on what they want to see in a submission. From checking your plot to polishing your dialogue, this is the tell-all panel for prospective authors looking to break into the market. Moderator: Katina French Panelists: James O. Barnes, Meaghan Fisher, Scott M. Sandridge

2:00 pm

White Page/Silver Screen: Our panelists compare today’s most popular film and television adaptations to the books that spawned them. Moderator: Jackie Gamber Panelists: Melissa Goodman, Cherokee Hall, Amy McCorkle, Jettie Necole

The Editor’s Function: Hear what real editors have to say about why they do what they do, and how their “being mean” benefits you as an author in the long run. Moderator: Marian Allen Panelists: Lucy Blue, Kathryn Lively, Jeff Seymour, Jason Sizemore

Hashtags for People Who Don’t Tweet: New to Twitter? Don’t understand how to get your 140 characters heard over the din? We’re here to help! Join in the conversation on the best use for Twitter as a marketing tool. Moderator: Randy Richards Panelists: Tony Acree, H. David Blalock, Violet Patterson, Steven Saus

Publishing Comics & Graphic Novels: Words and pictures…can’t be too hard, right? Think again. Our panelists discuss what goes into making a good comic series, from the idea’s inception all the way through final layout and printing. This is a must-see panel for anyone interested in breaking into the graphic literature world. Moderator: Sean Taylor Panelists: Matthew Barron, Dan Jolley

Unconventional Fantasy: Not every fantasy novel has to be set in Medieval Europe, and not every fantasy novel needs a princess in a tower waiting to be rescued. Come learn how to buck the trends and stop writing the book everyone else has already written. Moderator: Allan Gilbreath Panelists: Brian Dobbins, Robert J. Krog, Sara Marian, Terri-Lynne Smiles, Denise Verrico

“For the Love” Isn’t Always Love: Authors, editors, and publishers discuss the usefulness of “For the Love” anthologies, the proper way to select them, and the potential for scams in those markets. Moderator: Eric Beebe Panelists: Brent Abell, Annie Jones, Mysti Parker

The Creative Process – Hosted by Tiffini Johnson: Join Tiffini Johnson as she takes her audience through the creative process, from conception to post-publishing and marketing. This interactive workshop will feature activities and discussions on inspiration, story-building, research, writing, and publication options.

 3:00 pm

 How to Build a Better Bad Guy: Heroes are important, but having a strong villain can make or break a story. Learn how to make your bad guys the best they can possibly be. Moderator: Sean Taylor Panelists: Karen Block, K.S. Daniels, Dan Jolley, Tommy Smith, Michael West

What Writers’ Organizations Can Do For You, and What You Can Do For Them: From promotion to awards, this panel hosts a frank discussion of literary organizations, membership guidelines, and proper etiquette when joining and participating. Moderator: Lee Martindale Panelists: Dave Creek, Armand Rosamilia, Kathryn Sullivan, Tim Waggoner

What to Write…: Keeping up with all of the ideas in a writer’s brain is no easy task. And just because we have ideas doesn’t mean they’re all good ones. This panel will help you sift through the clutter and find your way to picking out the best ideas and getting them on paper. Moderator: Carol Preflatish Panelists: Cam Crowder, A.E. McCullough, Stuart Thaman

Writing Strong Female Characters for the Screen: Female Characters tend toward the week or the overconfident. Either way, they often come off as unrealistic. Learn how to give your stage women strength while still allowing them to be feminine. Moderator: Jackie Gamber Panelists: Melissa Goodman, Amy McCorkle

4:00 pm

What’s in a Name: There are so many tags and titles in today’s publishing world. Come talk to industry professionals as they talk about what each title means and clear the biggest misconceptions about the market. Moderator: T. Lee Harris Panelists: A. Christopher Drown, Meaghan Fisher, Katina French, Scott M. Sandridge

Whose Genre Is it Anyway: Best practices for properly categorizing your book for the right market to get it in the hands of the people who want to read it. Moderator: Tim Waggoner Panelists: Maddie James, Addie J. King, Randy Richards, Kathryn Sullivan, Jay Wilburn

Putting an End to Piracy: Piracy is an artist’s worst nightmare. Our panelists discuss forms of piracy and the best ways to help stop the theft of creative property. Moderator: Tally Johnson Panelists: Charlie Kenmore, Anderson O’Donnell, Steven Saus, Violet Patterson, Michael Williams

Short Form Non-Fiction: From blogging to bios, our panelists host a discussion of the trends in short non-fiction and how to use it to break into the writing market. Moderator: Alexx MomCat Panelists: Amy McCorkle, AshleyRose Sullivan

Facebook as a Marketing Tool: Facebook is the place where the world hangs out. Learn how to use that massive audience to your advantage and boost your book sales. Moderator: Randy Richards Panelists: John F. Allen, Marian Allen, A. Christopher Drown, Jessica McHugh, Scott M. Sandridge

6:00 pm

Imaginarium 2014 Awards Banquet

A full dinner buffet will be served at the awards banquet which will feature the announcements of the Imaginarium 2014 Film Festival Winners, along with several other awards and the unveiling of a new series of Literary Awards to debut in 2015.

To secure reservations at the awards banquet and get further details, please visit the Awards Banquet page.

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