2020 Workshops

Unless otherwise noted, meetings take place on the second Saturday of the month at 1pm at the East Greenbush Library.

January 18th

Canceled due to inclement weather. The program has been rescheduled for April

February 15th: Anna Bowling – Play In Your Own Sandbox

  • Please note: due to meeting space availability, this is the third Saturday of the month, not the second

If you’ve ever had new ideas for the plots, worlds, or characters of your favorite entertainments, tell the “real” story behind your favorite song, or work of visual art, then you’ve got a powerful tool for creating your own new, original adventures, in a world all your own, with characters who could belong to nobody else. It’s fun to play in somebody else’s sandbox, sure, but if you play in your own sandbox, nobody can make you leave,  because you’re already home, and you get to keep all the toys. In this workshop, we’ll find out what we love, why we love it, and how we can make it work for us.

Anna Carrasco Bowling made the full commitment to her true writing love, romance novels, after over a decade spent among Klingons, Immortals and Newcomers. In addition to writing historical and contemporary romance, Anna writes for her own blog, Typing With Wet Nails, and various spots around the internet. A former nanny, ear piercer, and family caregiver, Anna is a member of Romance Writers of America, and hospitality co-chair of Capital Region Romance Writers. Anna lives with her Real Life Romance Hero and their family in Upstate NY, where she spends her days plotting world domination…okay, romance novels.

Anna was a regular contributor at Heroes and Heartbreakers  for many years, blogs now at Buried Under Romance, and her own blog, Typing With Wet Nails, all places where she loves to blabber about romance novels and tell people who kissed who on TV. She has also contributed to sites such as XOJane.com and the Unusual Historicals blog. Anna invites readers to connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Her other website, melvaandanna.com, will be updated soon, she promises.

March 14

Canceled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Our program will be rescheduled for a later date.

April 11: Caitlin Sheldon – Costume and Clothing History for Writers (rescheduled)

NOTE: This meeting will be held virtually using GoToMeeting. The virtual meeting will begin at 1:30 pm, with a brief business meeting followed by our regularly scheduled speaker. Details about how to log into the meeting will be made available through the email loop and Facebook group. We look forward to seeing you online!

In this presentation for anyone who wants to add period clothing details to their historical novels, historical costumer Caitlin Sheldon will explain the bits that keep the historically-minded reader completely immersed in the period. Topics covered will include but are not limited to:

  • how many layers, exactly, did women wear and in what eras?
  • “yes, I can breathe in this corset”
  • bodice closures for the bodice-rippers
  • the difference between silk and satin, and why it matters

Hand made examples of some of the clothing items and fabrics in question will be available for examination.

Librarian and historical costumer Caitlin Sheldon has been both an obsessive reader and sewist since childhood. She currently spends her days helping researchers and building collections at a public library, and her nights and weekends sewing historical clothing and traveling to events where she can wear her creations among like-minded friends

May 9: Jeanette Grey – Size Does Matter: Crafting Fantastic Fiction At Any Length

NOTE: This meeting will be held virtually using Webex. Instructions will be sent via our email loop and Facebook group. The video chat room will open at 1pm to allow time to troubleshoot access, with the business meeting beginning at 1:15

From five page vignettes to eighteen volume epic fantasy series, the power of fiction doesn’t need to be limited by its word count.

In this workshop, we’ll explore the creative freedom that comes from tackling different kinds of stories at different lengths, learn how to set the scope of your plot, and identify the secret sauce that makes stories of any size emotionally resonant.

Armed with these tools, we’ll also discuss marketing, pricing, and the best ways to strategically leverage both shorter and longer works to hook new readers—and keep them as avid fans for life.

June 13: Kathryn R. Biel – E-book Formatting for PC Users

NOTE: This meeting will be held virtually using Webex. Instructions will be sent via our email loop and Facebook group. The video chat room will open at 1:15 pm to allow time for socializing, with the business meeting beginning at 1:30

A tool for any indie author to have under their belt is the ability to format your own ebooks. Not only is this a cost-saving measure, but it will help you as your backlist grows or if you find the dreaded after-publishing typo. While it sounds daunting, Kathryn will break it down into manageable chunks so anyone can do it!

Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn R. Biel hails from Upstate New York where her most important role is being mom and wife to an incredibly understanding family who don’t mind fetching coffee and living in a dusty house. In addition to being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage insurance companies to fund her client’s needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Kathryn is the author of fifteen women’s fiction, romantic comedy, contemporary romance, and chick lit works. 

July: Summer Break; no meeting

August 8: KA Mitchell – From Slump to HEA

Writing slumps. They come for us all. A few days, a few weeks, a few—Don’t even say it! Sometimes even when you grind out the words every day, you know you’re going to have to rewrite everyone because it’s just not right. There’s no one kind of writing slump. Writing romance with the backdrop of a pandemic might require just a bit more than our usual amount of steely resolve to wrestle our imaginary friends to their happy-ever-after.

The pandemic is new, writing slumps are not. Over the course of getting 28 books to the finish line I’ve found some ways of looking at what’s holding me back. Sometimes it’s a wrong turn in the story, sometimes it’s just me getting in my own way. On August 8, I’ll be sharing those insights and strategies in a virtual workshop with exercises and downloadable content. I hope to see you there. 

Semptember 12: Shannon KaudererGoing Live on Social Media

NOTE: This meeting will be held virtually using Google Meet. Instructions will be sent via our email loop and Facebook group. The video chat room will open at 1:15 pm to allow time for socializing, with the business meeting beginning at 1:30

With everyone stuck at home it’s more important than ever to have an online presence. Selling anything, from book to clothes to tea, involves interacting with your audience on social media and there is no better way to do this than live video! This presentation will introduce you to different websites to host your live video on, go over the pros and cons of each, and best practices for going live.

October 10, 2020: Kilby Blades – Empowered Heroines: Tropes and the Divisive Issue of Feminism in Romance

Please note that our October meeting will begin at 2pm instead of the usual 1:30, and will likely run later as well. It will be held using Webex.

Some argue that Romance is inherently feminist in nature. Others view it as patriarchy-affirming and regressive. Content vs. outcomes are also part of the discussion. When you take it a step farther, and ask whether Romance novels lead to empowerment and positive impacts for women readers…that’s when the debate gets really interesting.

This workshop will deconstruct feminism in Romance through the lens of popular tropes. It will highlight ways in which trope choice drives character perceptions. It will cut to the core of what feminism in fiction is really about (power dynamics) and talk about the levels of power (e.g., personal, positional, financial, familial) authors must consider in order to craft characters reflective of evolving social expectations.

Finally, it will discuss stigmas related to writing on either end of the spectrum—Romance viewed as overly feminist vs. not feminist enough—and provide concrete advice around how to signal in a way that will satisfy prospective readers.

Connect with Kilby Blades:


November 14, 2020: Workshop in a Box: Markicity 101,  Presented by: Jessie Edwards, RWA Marketing and PR Manager

Congratulations, your book will soon be in the world for readers to enjoy! Now is not the time to sit back and relax, though–how will readers know your book is available to be enjoyed if you haven’t told anyone about it? In this workshop, we will discuss a basic overview of where to start in terms of marketing and publicity, or “markicity.”  We’ll take a look at your most important marketing and publicity tools, community-building strategies, pitching–your book and you, how to determine what to spend your time on, as well as some tips for working with a traditional publisher to enhance their efforts.

December 12, 2020: Annual Member Celebration

Join us in celebrating our members’ accomplishments! Be sure to fill out the survey posted on the loop and in the Facebook group so we can recognize you and everything you’ve done–even if it was just getting out of bed. (It’s 2020–small victories are still victories.)

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this year’s celebration will be BYOC (Bring Your Own Cake).

Continue to 2021 meeting schedule >>