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Writing the Federal Agent

January 24, 2023 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Events, Online Classes tagged as , , , , , , ,

Writing the Federal Agent

Presented by: John Bokal with Jennifer Bokal

Date: February 1 – 28, 2023 (one month)

Registration Closes: February 16, 2023

Pricing:  A2P Member fee: $5

Non-A2P Member fee: $10

 About the Workshop:

There’s no denying it—federal law enforcement agents and agencies have sparked the imagination of readers and writers for generations. But how can a writer really understand what it’s like to be a part of the law enforcement community?

Join retired FBI Special Agent, John P. Bokal, Jr. to discuss the various agencies tasked with investigating federal crimes and what it’s like to be a federal agent. His wife, multi-published and best-selling author Jennifer D. Bokal, will then provide exercises to help participants develop their own realistic federal agent characters.

About the Presenters:

Jennifer D. Bokal is the author of more than 20 novels and novellas. Her books include the best-selling Ancient World Historical Romance, The Gladiator’s Mistress, and novellas from the popular Contemporary Western series, Bear Creek Rodeo. But Jen spends most of her time writing for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line.

Her husband of more than 25 years, John P. Bokal, Jr., is retired FBI Special Agent. During his 30 years with the FBI, John worked a variety of cases including kidnappings, missing persons, and bank fraud. Jen and John live in upstate NY. They have three grown daughters and have filled their “empty nest” with several fur babies.

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Those Who Forget the Past: Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel

January 18, 2023 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Events, Online Classes tagged as , , ,

Presented by: Cynthia Owens

Date: February 1 – 28, 2023 (one month)

Registration Closes: February 15, 2023

Pricing:  A2P Member fee: $20

Non-A2P Member fee: $30

About the Workshop:

In Those Who Forget History: Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel, students will examine how to use backstory effectively to enhance their stories using elements of a character’s past.

We will cover:
• What is Backstory?
• Flashbacks and How to Use Them,
• The Five Ws of Backstory—Who, What, Where, When and Why—of a character’s past.
• Prologues—how to use a prologue to provide backstory.
• Dialogue—how to manipulate your readers by using a character’s dialogue to hint at backstory.
• Weaving—how to weave backstory into your story.
• Inner Thought—revealing your character’s backstory through inner thought.
• What Do They Want?—how your character’s backstory can affect his goals.
• The New Way to Plot: Using backstory to plot your novel
Included in the workshop is a workbook with assignments, checklists, and more.

About the Presenter:

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.

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Mystery in the Midlands

June 23, 2021 by in category Events, Writing Conferences tagged as , , , , ,

Mystery in the Midlands, co-sponsored by the Palmetto Chapter of SinC and the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America

Saturday, June 26, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm ET with Dr. Kathy Reichs as featured guest.  

$5 Registration Required. 


10:00 am to 10:15 am EST         Preparing for the Heat with a Warm Welcome

Dana Kaye (moderator), Paula Gail Benson (Eastern Representative of SEMWA) and Carla Damron (President of Palmetto Chapter SinC)

10:30 am to 11:15 am EST         Scorching Short Stories

Dana Kaye (moderator), and Frankie BaileyMichael Bracken, and Barb Goffman (panelists)

11:30 am to 12:15 pm EST         Temperature’s Rising Keynote

Dr. Kathy Reichs interviewed by Debra H. Goldstein, President SEMWA

12:30 pm to 1:15pm EST          Hot for Historicals (British mysteries by American authors)

Dana Kaye (moderator), and Laurie R. King, Lori Rader-Day, and Caroline Todd (panelists)

1:30 pm to 2:15 pm EST            Searing Suspense

Dana Kaye (moderator), and Yasmin Angoe, Robert Dugoni, and Alex Segura (panelists)

2:30 pm to 2:45 pm EST            Final Comments Before Cooling Off in the Pool

Dana Kaye (moderator), Debra Goldstein (President of SEMWA), and Carla Damron (President of Palmetto Chapter SinC)

Here’s the link to register that provides access to the live and recorded program:


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Not Just Stretch Marks and Hot Flashes: Writing the Seasoned Romance

January 18, 2021 by in category Events, Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

Not Just Stretch Marks and Hot Flashes: Writing the Seasoned Romance

Presented by: Jeannie Moon

Date: January 23, 2021, Saturday, 9AM PT

Pricing: A2P Member fee: No Charge

                Non-A2P Member fee: $10

Registration: Aged to Perfection Workshops

About the Workshop:

Romance readers are growing older and so are the heroes and heroines in the genre they love. This workshop will take you through the ins and outs of writing a seasoned romance from the physical realities of age to the subtleties of the older mindset. See how publishers are starting to embrace romances with more mature characters.

Topics covered will include both craft and marketing, so authors can explore issues surrounding age, including:

  • The concept of love being ageless
  • How intimacy between older characters can be sexy and fun
  • The myth of eternal youth (and why we don’t need it)
  • Tropes that work well with seasoned romance
  • How to envision and pitch your book in a changing market
  • Fighting ageism in the industry

About the Presenter:

USA Today bestselling author Jeannie Moon has always been a romantic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books and call it work. The author of sixteen contemporary romances for Tule Publishing and Penguin Random House, Jeannie is married to her high school sweetheart, has three grown kids, three lovable dogs and is a lifelong resident of Long Island. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week she gets twitchy.

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Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2019 Short Story Award

January 7, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Contests, Events, Writing Contest tagged as , , , , ,

Stories of 2,000 words or fewer about WILD ANIMALS, PETS, or IMAGINARY BEASTS will be welcome (so long as an animal is an important character or element of the story).

The winner will receive $200 and may be offered publication in BWG’s upcoming anthology, FUR, FEATHERS, & SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales.

For more information and instructions for entering see: Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2019 Short Story Award.

Contest opened January 1, 2019

To help you come up with some killer stories BWG has shared a few writing prompts.

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