Great Lakes Fiction Writers (GLFW) was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1986 by a group of dedicated writers who were as passionate about the romance industry as they were about becoming published. Originally known as Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America (NEORWA), we were a chapter of the Romance Writers of America until disaffiliating from RWA in October 2021 and changing our name to GLFW.
GLFW was originally established to provide support and encouragement for all authors writing in any sub-genre of romance. We now welcome fiction writers in any genre, at any point in their career, who wish to explore writing romance or including romantic elements in their stories.
Whether you’re a newbie just starting out or a veteran author with multiple publications to your name, we invite you to stop by and check us out. For more information about GLFW or to learn how you can become a member, visit our website.
9:00-9:30 AM -- CHECK-IN
9:30 AM / WELCOME & CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
Laurie Kincer, William N. Skirball Writers' Center
Marin McGinnis, President, Great Lakes Fiction Writers
9:40-10:20 AM / KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Introduction by Marin McGinnis
Mindy McGinnis is the author of multiple novels that span many genres. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to gothic thriller, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us. In her most recent releases, The Initial Insult, and its sequel, The Last Laugh, Mindy draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship...forevermore. Visit her online at www.mindymcginnis.com.
10:30-11:30 AM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. Diving into Writing a Romance / Miranda Liasson. Do you love romance? After reading one, do you close the book, heave a sigh, and ask yourself how the author worked that special magic? This talk is geared for the beginning writer with a burning desire to try her/his hand at writing a romance and will focus on how on earth to begin. We will discuss developing an idea, how to set up your story with lots of conflict and tension, the ups and downs of plot structure, and the critical importance of the first chapter. It is specifically focused on romance but also can also be helpful to anyone plotting a fiction book. (Romance)
2. Psychology of Characters / Abbie Roads. What makes us fall in love with a character, hate another one, or find amusement in another’s antics. What makes characters feel like they’re real? Personality. If we are successful writers, we create characters that readers believe are REAL. Abbie Roads will guide you on your journey to discover the psychology of characters through their personalities. (Craft)
3. Build Your Own Audio Book / Amanda Uhl. Audio is the up-and-coming market, but the price of entry can be a high $300-$500 per finished hour and up. Amanda Uhl said to herself “Hmmm. I wonder if I could do that myself?” She found out she could, and you can too. She’ll explain how you can narrate and publish your own audiobook by discussing her audio journey. (Business)
11:30-11:45 AM / BREAK
11:45 AM-12:30 PM / Q&A PANEL
What to Expect When You’re Connecting: The Author-Agent Relationship / GLFW Members. Signing with an agent means choosing a partner for your career. It’s important to choose carefully. GLFW authors Chloe Flowers, Miranda Liasson, Julie Anne Lindsey, Marin McGinnis, and Amanda Uhl will discuss the ups and downs of their agent-author relationships. Panel members will also take questions from attendees.
12:30-1:30 PM / LUNCH BREAK & BOOK SALE
Local restaurant map available at check-in table, or you may bring lunch and picnic outdoors, in your car, or in the Writers' Center.
1:30-2:30 PM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. Beyond Banter: Mastering the Art of Dialogue in Romance / Angie Hockman. Dialogue is often a writer’s most underestimated tool. But what your characters say—or don’t say—can reveal their emotional journeys, drive romantic conflict, and hook readers from page one. Join Angie Hockman to learn how to use the art of dialogue to heighten tension, strengthen characterization, create conflict, and propel your story forward. (Romance)
2. Wielding the Red Pen: Giving (and Receiving!) Critique Like a Pro / Jess Everlee. Starting out, most writers don’t have access to professional editorial feedback. We rely on each other to be critique partners, beta readers, and cheerleaders. But feedback from an agent or in-house editor can look a lot different! Using examples from real edit letters, learn how to give more useful notes to your writer friends, find the gems in well-meant critique on your own work, and build a critique group that is supportive, useful, and enjoyable for everyone. (Craft)
3. Training Yourself to Be a More Productive and Prolific Writer / Abigail Drake. Abigail Drake has written twenty award-winning novels in under six years. In this lighthearted and inspirational workshop she’ll discuss the tips and tricks that helped her achieve this success, including the best advice she ever received as a writer. Not every writer works at the same pace, but Abigail will help you figure out the system that best fits your needs. With a little discipline, and by creating better habits, learn how you can change what you’ve been doing wrong and reach your writing goals. (Productivity)
2:30-2:45 PM / BREAK
2:45-3:45 PM / BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. Love on the Run / Julie Anne Lindsey. Ever wonder what it takes to write romantic suspense? Or how authors blend romantic chemistry and relentless danger to create explosive, page-turning stories? Join Harlequin Intrigue author Julie Anne Lindsey, as she explores the popular tropes, elements, concepts and techniques that take romance to the next level. (Romance)
2. How to Write a Connected Series / Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta, & Kate Karyus Quinn. Join authors Mindy McGinnis, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Demetria Lunetta to discuss writing a series. Come talk world building, pacing, and character development across multiple series. Perfect for writers of YA, UF, and Paranormal. The authors will also discuss co-authoring and answer questions about being hybrid authors. (Craft)
3. Life After the Orphaned Book Blues: A Self-Publishing Story / Michelle Levigne. Early in 2018, Desert Breeze Publishing closed its doors, leaving two author friends with a gob of orphaned books on their hands, and a major investment in promotion that was showing some great returns. Initial inquiries revealed what they feared: most publishing houses weren't willing to pick up previously published books. After years of driving to writing meetings together and occasionally talking about starting their own small press, the solution was kind of obvious. They were already working on an anthology, and it only made sense to turn it into the launch book for their new label: Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Michelle Levigne will talk about the path they forged, the choices they made and why, lessons learned, tricks and shortcuts. The MZRP path might not be the path you will choose, but you might still learn something. Even if it's what not to do ... (Business)
3:45-4:30 PM / DOOR PRIZES, BOOK SALE & AUTHOR SIGNING
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She is the award-winning author of over twenty novels, novellas, and short stories. She also blogs about her dog, a Labrador named Capone. Abigail is represented by Lauren Bieker of FinePrint Literary Management.
Jess Everlee is the author of The Gentleman’s Book of Vices, the first book in the queer, Victorian Era Lucky Lovers of London series. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she studied English and Gender Studies at The Ohio State University, focusing on Victorian Literature and public health topics. She now lives in Northeast Ohio with her small family of furballs and fellow humans.
Chloe Flowers is an award-winning author and the recipient of the University of Akron, Wayne College 2018 Writer of the Year Award. She writes small-town contemporary women’s fiction, and American historical romance novels about scoundrels, pirates, and spunky, independent heroines. Chloe has a weakness for good red wine, Calvin & Hobbes comics, pie, dark chocolate and brown-eyed guys with beards, which is probably why she digs pirates, men in uniform and treasure hunters and writes about action and adventure and of course romance, which is the greatest adventure of all.
Angie Hockman is a RWA Golden Heart Award® winner. Her professional background includes stints in law, education, and eco-tourism, but these days you can find her writing romantic stories, enjoying the outdoors with her family, or dreaming of her next travel adventure. Author of Shipped and Dream On, she lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, young son, sweet old-lady cat, and an ornery golden retriever.
Michelle Levigne started writing for fanzines in college, while earning a bunch of useless degrees in theater, English, film/communication, and writing. Her first professional publication came from winning first place in the Writers of the Future contest in 1990. She has over 100 published books and novellas in SF, fantasy, and romance. A tea snob, she freelance edits for a living and terrorizes writers and readers through two small presses she co-owns: Mt. Zion Ridge Press and Ye Olde Dragon Books. Be afraid…be very afraid.
Miranda Liasson is a bestselling author who writes about the important relationships in women’s lives. Her heartwarming and humorous romances have won numerous accolades and have been praised by Entertainment Weekly for the way she “deals with so much of what makes life hard . . . without ever losing the warmth and heart that characterize her writing.” A proud native of Northeast Ohio, she lives in a neighborhood of old homes that serve as inspiration for her books.
Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published fifty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names, for Harlequin, Kensington, Sourcebooks and Crooked Lane Books. She is the 2020 Golden Quill Award Winner for Series Romance, a double finalist (and winner) of the National Readers’ Choice Award for Romance Adventure, Winner of the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Mystery & Suspense, the Stiletto Award for Romantic Suspense and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award for romantic suspense. When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends.
Demitria Lunetta is the author of novels for children and adults. She has many dogs and many books. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and events. Demetria is represented by Maura Kye-Casella of Don Congdon Associates, Inc.
A lawyer by day, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing historical romance and mystery. She’s spent more than half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She lives with her husband and two standard poodles. While her very first completed manuscript will forever languish under the bed, Marin subsequently published four Victorian-era romances. In a never-ending quest to ditch the day job, Marin also works as a freelance copy editor, teaches at Lawson Writer’s Academy, and lectures on various writing topics. When she’s not writing, editing, teaching, networking, or lawyering, she’s cooking for family and friends, learning how (and how not) to bake bread, and spending far too much time watching superhero movies.
Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy. While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us. A graduate of Otterbein University with a BA in English literature and religion, Mindy lives in Ohio.
Kate Karyus Quinn is a Chapstick addict with a love for live theater and a BFA from Niagara University to prove it. After growing up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, Kate left her hometown for Southern California and film school, where she earned an MFA in Film and Television Production from Chapman University. She currently lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, three children, and 2 dogs. Kate is first and foremost an avid reader and unapologetic booknerd. Although she mostly reads YA and romance, she often samples different genres in her constant search for the next great read.
Abbie Roads is the bestselling author of the Fatal Dream Series and the Fatal Truth Series. Her novels have been finalists in the Golden Heart, The Daphne Du Maurier, and many others. Her debut novel Race the Darkness was a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick Fall Romance and Never Let Me Fall is an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Romance. By day Abbie is a mental health counselor always focusing on the bright side. By night she writes on the dark side, but always with hope and a happily-ever-after. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Amanda Uhl is an award-winning author of fast-paced, romantic suspense novels with a paranormal twist and humorous, big city contemporary romance with small town heart. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater and a Master’s degree in Marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies. Amanda is an avid reader and tea connoisseur and lives with her husband and three children in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.