CAC17 Schedule of Sessions

Unlock the Secrets of Successful Publishing at CAC17


Register for CAC17

We will publish this schedule to the Guidebook app in March 2017, so when you arrive at CAC17 remember to download it!

Regular Conference Sessions Begin Friday, March 31, 2017

Bellwether Map CAC BigLocation: Hotel Bellwether
1 Bellwether Way, Bellingham, WA 98225

Rooms (See map on Right):
Board Room
Compass Room
Admiral’s Room
Ballroom (across form main hotel)

Session Descriptions
Session Schedule

**Sessions are subject to change**

Registration opens at 8:30am Friday morning in the Bellwether Ballroom and continues throughout the weekend. When you arrive, please check in with registration to receive your conference badge and information packet. You will be able to check your books into the book room when the book room staff arrives.

We can’t wait to see you!

Session Descriptions:

Our sessions and events for the weekend fall within several key tracks.

  • Special Masterclasses (MC): Limited attendees, intensive hands on workshops before regular conference sessions begin.
  • Storycraft, Editing, Development (SED): Tools, tips, advice for improving your craft and making your words shine.
  • Marketing, Publicity, Platform (MPP): From social media savvy to author websites and brands.
  • Sales Tools & Strategies (STS): Clever promotion, timing, strategies, tools and techniques for optimal sales.
  • Publishing, Production, Distribution (PPD): Form and design. Pitches. Book blurbs. Covers. Book Design. Current publishing trends. New digital media.
  • Organization, Motivation & Self Help (OMS): Get your mind on the right page.
  • A Touch of Hollywood (ToH): It wouldn’t be the west coast without it.
  • Networking & Fun (NetFun): Special events and networking opportunities.
  • Kaffee Klatsches (KK): Informal gatherings led by some of our terrific speakers and guests in the ballroom.
  • Author Panels (AP)

Register for a Full Day Immersive Master Class with Margie Lawson!

Want to hook the reader viscerally?

Want to turn your WIP into a page-turner?

Register for this power-packed, high-energy master class! (not included in conference registration)

Deep Editing: Empowering Characters’ Emotions – Margie Lawson

Thursday Morning:
Part 1: Deep Editing Techniques
Part 2: Margie’s Top Twenty Rhetorical Devices for Fiction Writers
Break for Lunch
Thursday Afternoon:
Part 1: Writing Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist
Part 2: Writing Body Language Like a Psychologist

March 30, 2017, 9:30am – 5 pm
Bellingham Yacht Club
Lunch included

Seating is limited. Register Now!


  • Storycraft, Editing, Development (SED):
    • Why Would You Say That?  How to Improve Your Dialogue –Dialogue serves many purposes in a manuscript- it moves the plot forward, shows character, and can be used to increase conflict. This workshop will provide practical examples and prompts to help writers create dialogue that pulls in readers. It will also explore how what is not said can be as important (or more) than what characters say. Eileen Cook.
    • The Perfect Storm:  Character, Conflict and Motivation –The challenge of keeping readers turning pages requires the perfect storm of characters, their conflicts and their motivations coming together. This workshop will explore how these different aspects worth together and how the writer can use each of them to amplify the others. Practical prompts and examples will help participants with their current manuscript as well as providing areas to consider when planning new works. Eileen Cook.
    • The Sex Scene: how much is too much? A Male novelist’s perspective – What is the objective of any scene? To arouse? To inform? To offend? For novelist C.C. (Chris) Humphreys a scene only works if it makes the reader want to read more! So in this workshop, he will explore the hot topic of sex while seeking an answer to the burning question: how much is too much? Chris will look at limits – the author’s and the reader’s. How sex can be funny as well as serious. How sensuality- engaging the six senses – is so important. A fun, engaging, hands-on workshop with an opportunity for play – with or without devices! C.C. Humphreys.
    • Write the Good Fight – In this hands-on, blades-drawn workshop, fight choreographer, actor and novelist C.C. (Chris) Humphreys will take you through the dangerous art of fight writing. Unashamedly admitting that he got into acting so he could ‘leap around with bladed weaponry’. He will demonstrate how to turn research, from walking the battlefields to wielding the weapons, into pages of exciting storytelling. Join Chris as he shares ways to get your characters into the hottest action – and out the other side. C.C. Humphreys.
    • Writing in Multiple Genres – Join authors Pamela Beason (YA, mystery, romantic suspense and non-fiction), and Susan Colleen Browne (women’s fiction, short stories, MG and memoir) to look at the ins and outs of writing in different genres. Pamela and Susan will discuss story development, juggling different writing projects, and how genre influences their marketing approaches. They’ll also share what they’ve learned in their multi-tasking writing lives! Susan Colleen Browne, Pamela Beason.
    • Editors Panel – Pamela Beason, Sara Stamey, Diane Garland.
    • A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Building a Foundation for your Characters & Plot- Worldbuilding and WorldKeeping. What’s the difference? Do you need them? Learn how to organize your world to weave an intriguing and compelling tapestry that will hold up throughout a long series. Tools will be provided to help you maintain continuity and interest throughout your series. Diane Garland & Jacquie Rogers.
    • The Belly of the Whale: The Heroine’s Journey – Using visual media, this presentation will distill the collective wisdom of these texts into simple (ish) models that will hopefully help you to understand the essential elements of both the hero’s and the heroine’s journeys and their key differences. Mary Ann Clarke Scott.
  • Marketing, Publicity, Platform (MPP):
    • Deep Dive: Social Media Savvy for Authors: Building an Author Platform Using the BEST Social Sites for YOUR Audience – Which are the key social media sites you need to be on? Tips for building YOUR targeted audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Pinterest. What to share and how often to share it! A key part of building your platform revolves around serious social media. But what should you share? And how often? And with who? We offer tips for each of the most important traffic building sites for authors today! (pre-register to reserve your seat in this very popular class!) Shari Stauch.
    • 7 Steps to a Great Author Website: It’s All About Function vs. Form – A professional website is a must-have hub for your author communication. Why the “prettiest” websites tend to fail at the book sales box office. Combining form with function to present a professional message that converts visitors to readers. An author website can be attractive and still WORK. Learn why so many sites aren’t reader-friendly and how to ensure your own author website attracts attention and more important, book sales. Discover how to increase your searchability, what content readers are looking for, and what keeps them on your page (and coming back for more!) Shari Stauch.
    • High Touch Marketing in a Digital World – As technology migrates into more aspects of our lives, forging personal connections with readers is crucial to an author’s success. In this session, we’ll discuss high-touch approaches and incorporating them into your marketing efforts. We’ll explore authors’ communities and how you can enhance your book events. We’ll also brainstorm ways to bring more of a personal touch to online interactions and look at authors who have mastered high-touch outreach. You’ll leave with new ideas to boost your marketing and promotion! Susan Colleen Browne.
    • How to Use Pinterest to Develop Your Story and Career – As an author, you can use Pinterest for far more than collecting recipes and craft ideas you probably won’t ever get around to trying. Nicole Evelina will provide tips for and share personal examples of how to: Create boards for your stories, settings and characters, How to use those boards in marketing and fan activities, Use the images you find to brainstorm character attributes, Collect imagines for future inspiration, Provide a “human face” behind your author brand, Advertise and hold contests on Pinterest to attract and retain readers. Nicole Evelina.
    • Working with a Publicity Company: What You Need to Know – Fresh off a highly successful publicity tour promoting her most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, Nicole Evelina will explain what it’s like to have experts on your side when you are an indie or hybrid author. She’ll cover how to know when a publicist can help you, how to choose a company, what to expect from them, what they expect from you, and how to be a star client to maximize your ROI. Nicole Evelina.
    • Author Career Plan Boot CampThere is so much more to being an author than just writing a book. In Career Plan Boot Camp, Jacquie & Wendy share their experience as authors who have “been there,” and provide ten “must have” tips to help emerging writers learn how to create a professional writer’s platform and grow their writing careers. Wendy Delaney & Jacquie Rogers.
    • Guerrilla Marketing: Going the Extra Mile to Build a Brand – This is not for the faint of heart.  Learn and discuss how to create a “package” for your book. How do you brand your series, yourself or a piece of your literature for more than the literary crowd?Beyond bookmarks and postcards, how can you create an experience, a product or a service that dovetails into your book or your series?  By making your product and book bigger than one single item, you can cross-promote and create an entirely new “story” to pitch outside traditional book circles.  What’s your unique way to stand out? Sara Dahmen
    • How to Build a Press Kit –  Why do authors need in a press kit? How do you create one from scratch, and what kind of information will make you stand out from others? What is included in a press kit, and where do you use them? What tools do you need to make one yourself? Discuss all the elements of a press kit and get started creating one in this workshop, or get pointers on your current one. This is an informal discussion/interactive workshop. Sara Dahmen
    • Guest Blogging & Blog Tours – possible panel of KK – TBA
  •  Sales Tools & Strategies (STS):
    • Everything you need to know to get your book discovered in a really big way: It’s all about Book Clubs and Social Media – Getting readers one at a time can be a long and grueling process. Book clubs are little groups of readers who read books as a single entity. Learn how to super charge your promotion by leveraging book clubs and discover how and where to source the best clubs and how to make the most of each and every book club appearance! Kathy L. Murphy.
    • My Life as an Unconventional Book Tour – Gone are the days where an author simply reads, opens the floor to Q&A, and then signs books. Your audience craves engagement, and you want them to leave with your book in their hands—and with vivid memories in their minds. Learn how to: find your audience, generate clever promotions and land the venues you want, organize and present a killer book tour and not go broke doing it, set the mood, engage and dazzle your audience, and more. Susan Conrad.
    • Bigger Than Books: Business Growth Applied to Authorship & Beyond – What more does it take to be a successful author?  Whether you’re represented or self-published or somewhere in between, using overarching business tools are a huge assistance in building success. How can the tools commonly manipulated by marketers, large and small companies, and retailers help you create a successful ‘business plan’ as an author?  From multi-pronged approaches, to developing a tiered ‘clientele’, to organization and presence, business is business, whether you’re an author or the manager of Apple.  Use those same tools to create yours. Sara Dahmen.
    • How to sell without selling – Even in today’s world of online selling, there are still going to be occasions when an author will face another human being, with book in hand, and attempt to convert them to a reader (AKA sell their book). But selling is taboo! Everybody avoids is. Learn how to avoid being branded “sales-ey” with some handy tips from a retail veteran. Amanda June Hagarty
    • Optimizing Point of Sale Information – Kiffer Brown
    • The Imitation Game: Finding your audience by leveraging existing audiences – Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, it’s also the quickest path to acquiring the exact audience you are writing to. Tips and tricks of how to leverage fandoms and the audiences of influencers in your genre, while still keeping your own unique flair. Amanda June Hagarty.
    • Book Promos – possible panel or KK – TBA
    • The Book Launch – possible panel or KK – TBA
    • Author Events – possible panel or KK – TBA
  • Publishing, Production, Distribution (PPD):
    • Storytelling Through Video Games: An interactive new way to reach audiences – Video games are nothing new, but they have been an unattainable medium to most writers. Not anymore! One More Story Games has created a tool called Story Stylus that gives writers the ability to turn any story into an interactive video game by themselves. What once took a team of people, can now be done with just one. Michelle Rene will walk you through her journey to make her game, Danielle’s Inferno, and help you to visualize how your story can also be turned into a compelling game. Michelle Rene.
    • Resources for Self Published and Hybrid Authors – Just because you’ve self-published a book doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. In addition to your production team (editor, cover designer, etc.), there are a wealth of resources and partners out there to help make your publishing experience fruitful and fun. Nicole Evelina will share some of the ones she’s found during her six-month crash course in learning how to self publish. She’ll tell you about associations/groups, books, websites/blogs, email lists, Facebook groups, contests and more that can be valuable tools for education, marketing and networking as you strive to break out in a crowded marketplace. Nicole Evelina.
    • A Tour of Modern Publishing – TBA
    • Book Covers & Book Design – TBA
  • Organization, Motivation & Self Help (OMS):
    • Mindfulness for Writers (KK)- Is your writing time squeezed, your story stalled, or technology taking over your life? In this informal gathering, we’ll practice a few mindfulness exercises to help you tune into your self- awareness for your all around well-being. We’ll also look at tapping into your intuition to address your writing challenges, and share tips for creating more balance and focus in your writing life! Susan Colleen Browne.
  • A Touch of Hollywood (ToH):
    • Lights, Camera, Author ACTION: Creative Uses of Video to Build Your Author Brand – Seven ways to create and use video to promote yourself, your brand and your books. Elements of a great video book trailer that will actually sell books. Where to push that video content once you create it! Interviews, video book trailers and more can bring life to your words in all new ways to build a serious fan base. This informative workshop includes ways other authors are using video to build buzz, the elements of successful video book trailers and the dozens of ways you can use and share the video content you create to build a bigger reading audience. Shari Stauch.
    • Name that Book in less than 33 words – A compelling logline/elevator pitch is essential to spark interest in your book, especially with today’s ubiquitous short attention spans. It’s a fine art to compact your book’s ideas into in 1 or 2 sentences – think of it as your story’s DNA. (pre-register to reserve your seat in this very popular class!)   Diane Sillan Isaacs
    • Story Cocktail: Stirred, Shaken, with a Twist –  Diana Sillan Isaacs.


Scheduling in Progress, last updated December 2, 2016. SUBJECT TO CHANGE. As with any conference, all scheduled sessions are firm…until they are not.


Time Special Masterclass Sessions (limited attendees)
**Location: Bellingham Yacht Club**
9:30-noon Margie Lawson – Writing Body Language & Dialogue Cues
1:00pm-5pm Margie Lawson – Writing Body Language & Dialogue Cues cont.

**Regular Conference Sessions (Fri-Sun sessions) are held at the Hotel Bellwether**


Time Board Room Compass Room Admirals Room Ballroom
9:00-9:55a Registration
10:05-11:00a  Why Would You Say That? How to Improve Your Dialogue – Eileen Cook. Bigger Than Books: Business Growth Applied to Authorship & Beyond – Sara Dahmen. Vendor Fair and Book Room Open
11:15-12:15p  The Imitation Game: Finding your audience by leveraging existing audiences – Amanda June Hagarty.  Writing in Multiple Genres – Susan Colleen Browne, Pamela Beason. Lunch setup
12:30-1:30p Keynote Speaker – TBA  > Lunch in the Ballroom
1:45-2:45p  How to Build a Press Kit – Sara Dahmen
3:00-4:00p The Perfect Storm: Character, Conflict and Motivation – Eileen Cook. Resources for Self Published and Hybrid Authors – Nicole Evelina.
4:15-5:15p Author Career Plan Boot Camp – Wendy Delaney & Jacquie Rogers.  7 Steps to a Great Author Website: It’s All About Function vs. Form – Shari Stauch.
5:30-6:00p  Casual Networking in the Ballroom – Book Room Closes at 6!
6:00-7:00p  Cocktail hour in the Ballroom
7:00-9:00p  Dinner in the Ballroom


Time Board Room Compass Room Admirals Room Ballroom
9:00-9:55a  My Life as an Unconventional Book Tour – Susan Conrad.  How to Use Pinterest to Develop Your Story and Career – Nicole Evelina.  Mindfulness for Writers (KK)- Susan Colleen Browne.
10:05-11:00a  How to sell without selling – Amanda June Hagarty  Write the Good Fight – C.C. Humphreys.  High Touch Marketing in a Digital World – Susan Colleen Browne.
11:15-12:15p  Deep Dive: Social Media Savvy for Authors: Building an Author Platform Using the BEST Social Sites for YOUR Audience – Shari Stauch.
12:30-1:30p Keynote Speaker – TBA  > Lunch in the Ballroom
1:45-2:45p  Guerrilla Marketing – Sara Dahmen
3:00-4:00p  Working with a Publicity Company: What You Need to Know – Nicole Evelina  Everything you need to know to get your book discovered in a really big way: It’s all about Book Clubs and Social Media – Kathy L. Murphy.
4:15-5:15p  A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Building a Foundation for your Characters & Plot – Diane Garland & Jacquie Rogers. (requested time slot) Story Cocktail: Stirred, Shaken, with a Twist – Diana Sillan Isaacs
5:30-6:00p  Casual Networking in the Ballroom
6:00-7:00p  Cocktail hour in the Ballroom – Extended Bookroom hours for Gala
7:00-9:00p  Dinner & Chanticleer Awards Gala in the Ballroom


Time Board Room Compass Room Admirals Room Ballroom
9:30-10:30a  Lights, Camera, Author ACTION: Creative Uses of Video to Build Your Author Brand – Shari Stauch.  Name that Book in less than 33 words, effective loglines – Diane Sillan Isaacs
10:45-11:45a  The Sex Scene: how much is too much? A Male novelist’s perspective – C.C. Humphreys.
12:00-12:45p Casual Brunch in the Ballroom
Networking, Autographs, Last Chance to buy Books! Saying goodbye in the Ballroom.