Presentations & Appearances

Virtual: June 2021

Gothic Girls Gone Wild: Riverdale’s Recrafting of Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge

For decades, the Archie comics have depicted the fictional world of Riverdale and while doing so explicitly and implicitly addressed era-relevant social issues. Two Archiverse characters, Betty Cooper, sweet girl-next-door, and Veronica Lodge, privileged debutante, have been reinvented and freshly envisioned in the CW’s series, Riverdale. Their new depictions in the show offer the opportunity to inform on present attitudes of gender politics, such as commodification of sexuality and gender performativity.

Despite, or perhaps because of, being a broadcast television show, Riverdale intersects with mainstream popular culture. As part of that culture, the series should represent the interests and concerns of its audience. The world surrounding Archie Andrews has been updated, intensified, and othered. This multilayered amplification of setting provides an effective backdrop for the revitalized Archie characters but also complicates the understanding of the degree to which Betty and Veronica have been recrafted in a way that makes them currently relevant when situated in the conversations and politics of this #metoo era.

Intergenerational family dysfunction, secret societies, predatory men, marginalized women—all are classic elements of gothic fiction and all are present in CW’s Riverdale. Deconstructing the strategic and central role of setting in Riverdale provides a fuller opportunity to evaluate the influence of these tropes on the characterizations of Betty and Veronica. Have the characters truly been recrafted in ways that acknowledge the changing roles of heroines in present popular culture? Or has their potential been undervalued and are used as tropes themselves? Once the impact of the gothic setting is identified and disconnected from the overall narrative, an isolated assessment of the depictions of Betty and Veronica will be accomplished.

Romance Writers of America
New York, New York: July 2019

Readers for Life Literacy Autographing

Every year the Romance Writers of America hosts the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, all proceeds of which are donated to adult literacy organizations. This year they are supporting ProLiteracy, Literacy Partners, and The Literacy Assistance Center. 

Washington, D.C.: April 2019

Scary Vulnerability: Considering the ‘Guilty Mom’ Horror Film Through the Lens of Lacan’s the Real 

The ‘guilty mom’ is at the center of three tensions: society’s expectation that she provide for her child’s emotional and physical safety, the child’s needs, and her own needs. Within the context of a horror film, this tensional dynamic highlights the unique vulnerabilities of this marginalized, archetypal character and creates an avenue through which viewers experience Jacques Lacan’s the Real.

A comparative assessment of The Exorcist (1973), Babadook (2014), and Hereditary (2018) offers the opportunity to examine the ways in which Lacan’s conflicting imaginary order and symbolic order create the impossibility of absolute comprehension. Salvoj Zizek expands on Lacan’s theory to identify the “real Real” (2006). This modality can additionally inform an analysis of the unique terror of the ‘guilty’ mom horror film. 

East Lansing, Michigan: September 2018

Elemental Magic: Creating Scenes That Have Purpose and Power

Scenes are the building blocks of story, the chunks of action where the story unfolds. Each one contains a goal and conflict. Each delivers an outcome. Sound simple? It is. Then why can they so tricky to write? An a tangle to revise? The goal of this session is to demystify scene structure, offer the “rules” and then consider when and how to break those rules.

Reno, Nevada: May 2018

Booklovers Convention & Signing

Indianapolis, Indiana: March 2018

The creation of a virtual identity for self-promotional purposes requires strategic and intentional development. The resulting ‘brand’ serves a purpose unique from a casual or personal online presence. Evaluating the effectiveness of an individual, sole person, virtual brand requires a specific understanding of how singular brands are created and perceived. The creation of an effective brand depends on the creator’s willingness and ability to efficiently fragment and abstract their identity. One-person, virtual identities are received differently than identities resulting from corporate or institutional brands. This complicates on-line interactions. A consideration of the two primary user needs met by social media, belonging and self-presentation, as identified by Nadkami & Hofmann (2012), can assist in creating, negotiating, and evaluating the effectiveness of a singular virtual brand.

Rochester, Michigan: February 2018

Romance Festival & Book Signing

Royal Oak, Michigan: January 2018

Elemental Magic: Creating Scenes That Have Purpose and Power

Scenes are the building blocks of story, the chunks of action where the story unfolds. Each one contains a goal and conflict. Each delivers an outcome. Sound simple? It is. Then why can they so tricky to write? An a tangle to revise? The goal of this session is to demystify scene structure, offer the “rules” and then consider when and how to break those rules.

Atlanta, Georgia: May 2017

Booklovers Convention & Signing
Grand Rapids, Michigan: February 2017

Social Media...and Selfies

An author can get lost out there in social media land...Facebook is only the beginning. There's also Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Goodreads, Periscope... Which is right for your author brand? Once you decide which platforms suit you best, you need to connect with your audience and build. These insights, along with some fun with selfies, will be covered.
Online: February 2017

Write Sexy: Online sex scene writing seminar

No matter the heat level, creating satisfying, well structured, emotional sex scenes is a challenge. Online seminar combines daily challenges, lessons, scene work-shopping, and instructor feedback. Participants finish with at least one complete sex scene.

Online: January 2017

Tame the Revision Monster: Online sex scene writing seminar

The first draft may seem easy compared to the daunting task of revising. This online seminar provides a structured approach to shaping up and finishing your manuscript. One on one instructor conferences included. 

Lansing, Michigan: November 2016

National Novel Writing Month Kick Off Speaker and Write-In Facilitator

Grand Rapids, Michigan: October 2016

Savvy Social Media: creating and reinforcing your author brand

An author can get lost out there in social media land...Facebook is only the beginning. There's also Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Goodreads, Periscope... Which is right for your author brand? Once you decide which platforms suit you best, you need to connect with your audience and build. 
Online: September 2016

Write Sexy: Online sex scene writing seminar

No matter the heat level, creating satisfying, well structured, emotional sex scenes is a challenge.
Online seminar combines daily challenges, lessons, scene work-shopping, and instructor feedback. Participants finish with at least one complete sex scene.
Lansing, Michigan: June 2016

Michigan Romance Writers Open House
Panel presentation with authors Nancy Gideon, Loralee Lillibride, Alyssa Alexander, Dana Corbit Nussio, and Elizabeth Heiter.

Have a question about writing Romance?  Behind the scenes info on the books you love reading!  

Las Vegas, Nevada:  March 2016

Developing Dynamically Diverse Characters
Panel Presentation with authors Aliza Mann and MK Shiller

Ethnicity, social class, religious beliefs, sexual orientation--these are tough topics, yet they are the stuff our characters are made of so we explore them through our writing. But how do you create authentic characters who may be different from yourself? 

East Lansing, Michigan.:  January 2016

Naughty and Nice: Spotlight on romance

A reflection on the two ends of the Romance spectrum, with an evaluation of sub-genre differences and similarities inherent in all great relationship stories.
Online: May 2015

Write Sexy: Online sex scene writing seminar

No matter the heat level, creating satisfying, well structured, emotional sex scenes is a challenge.
Online seminar combines daily challenges, lessons, scene work-shopping, and instructor feedback. Participants finish with at least one complete sex scene.
East Lansing, Michigan: April 2015

Writing Like a Writer, Not an Academic

Think of yourself as a writer, one who does. Not someone who will. But how to get the work done?  Developing your writer tool-kit to include tools typically used by fiction writers, may be the answer to pounding out those pages.

East Lansing, Michigan:  March 2015

Making the Good Bad: Using sex scenes & intimacy to create & increase conflict 

Like all scenes, it must serve a purpose. The end result of the scene should change the character either internally or externally or better yet, both. Use the same approach to a sex scene as you do to any scene. Structure and purpose.

Lansing, Michigan: Fall 2014

Writing the Novel

Course addresses all aspects of writing a novel. Classroom sessions will emphasize finding a narrative voice, establishing sturdy characters, and developing a workable plot. Students will receive feedback on their fiction in a workshop setting. Publishing information will be provided, but will not be a focus of the course.  

Seattle, Washington: April 2014

The Irony of the Internet: Reevaluating and Redefining Business and Creativity in the Digital Age: Panel Presentation with author William Hastings, author Mike Miner, and Unstuck editor Matt Williamson

The literary world is experiencing what the music industry has been for years: expanded audience access, revised distribution channels, and pressure from business giants. We all know business is done differently, but the digital age also requires us to think differently. This panel—editors, authors, and an agent—will explore these aspects of the digital age as well as how the internet and electronic media alter attitudes on creativity and the perceived value of artistic endeavors.

Savannah, Georgia: July 2013

Horror in Romance
Panel Discussion with authors CJ Ellisson, Marie Rose Dufour, and Saranna DeWylde

Spontaneously Paranormal
Panel Discussion with authors Julie Kenner, Melissa Ecker, MK Mancos, Cam Cassidy, and Kaitlyn Ballenger

Erotica
Panel Discussion with authors Saranna DeWylde, Melissa Ecker, and Julie Kenner

Zombies
Panel Discussion with authors Jess Haines, Lia Habel, Mary Janice Davidson, and Bianca D’Arc


Kansas City, Missouri: April 2013

Readers Know Best
Panel Presentation with authors Katharine Ashe, Sabrina Jeffries, Deb Marlowe. Beth Ciotta, Kieran Krammer, Mari Freeman, Cherry Adair, and Cindy Holby/Kassie Tayler

Readers know best--covers, storylines, heroes, heroines, and promo--and authors want to hear your opinions. Bring your questions, praise, and pet peeves about romance novels to this interactive gathering where we'll talk business, play games, share prizes and giveaways.

Sex Goddess Hour 
Presentation with authors Marilyn Campbell, Cheryl Dragon, Bronwyn Green, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, Brynn Paulin

Aliens, androids, cowboys, call girls, and vampy vampires--we love them all as long as they're HOT. If you want your stories sizzling and sexy, this party is for you. Over the top erotic is just the beginning. Come play games, win prizes, and be in the drawing for a 100$ Amazon gift card. Giveaways to everyone who attends.

Chicago, Illinois: April 2014

Romance Readers Town Meeting
Panel Presentation with authors Cherry Adair, Katharine Ashe, Beth Ciotta, Cindy Holby aka Kassy Tayler, Sabrina Jeffries, Kieran Kramer, Deb Marlowe

Romance Readers Town Meeting! Bring all of your questions and opinions about what you like best about romance novels, what you like to see on covers and in online forums, the types of heroes you love, heroine pet peeves, etc. 

Naughty Hour of Fantasy & Fun
Reader event with authors Cheryl Dragon, Brynn Paulin, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, Marilyn Campbell

Super hot shifters, over-the-top ménage, BDSM, zombies, or intensely erotic contemporary romances--are these for you? If so, this is your event! Nothing is off limits in this naughty hour! Ask your favorite authors anything...names may be changed to protect the very guilty. Find out what this group has in store for you in 2012... and hear the author's funniest stories, like "You know you're an erotic romance writer when..." Play games and win goodies from books to sex toys and even a Kindle. Giveaways to everyone who attends...sorry, no cover models can be raffled off. We tried! They won't let us.

Romanticon
Akron, Ohio: October 2012

Please Don’t Call My Baby Ugly: Reviewing, Reviewers, and Reviews
Presentation with reviewer Laura Topaz

Reviews are a touchy subject among authors, readers, and even the reviewers themselves. Get everyone's POV and engage in some open, honest discussion about book reviews. What do readers want/expect from reviewers? How are books chosen for review? Should authors read them, why or why not? And of course, what about those semi-dreaded, nonprofessional consumer reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, and other sites.?
Grand Rapids, Michigan: October 2012

The Attraction of Fiction: The Emotional Connection

Dynamic characters and a compelling plot are crucial. But they’re not enough! Sensual details are the key to giving readers that up close and personal experience—and not just in love scenes. Come to this workshop and discover the fictive dream, what techniques can be used to induce it, and how to maintain that dream state that’ll have your readers begging for more.

Columbus, Ohio: October 2011

Using the mythological hero’s journey to shape and develop reflective personal narratives

In this two-hour interactive workshop session, participants will explore how understanding the structure of the mythological hero’s’ journey, and the archetypal characters found within it, can be used to help students shape creative writing and personal narratives. As part of the exploration, theme, thesis, conflict, purpose, and audience will be addressed.

Los Angeles, California: March 2011

Sense-Sational and Sexy
Presentation with author Katherine Ashe

Dynamic characters and a compelling plot are crucial. But they’re not enough! Sensual details are the key to giving readers that up close and personal experience—and not just in love scenes. Come to this workshop and discover the fictive dream, what techniques can be used to induce it, and how to maintain that dream state that’ll have your readers begging for more

Livonia, Michigan: April 2011

Got Structure? Using the mythological hero’s journey to shape and develop reflective personal narratives

In this interactive workshop session, participants will explore how understanding the structure of the mythological hero’s journey, and the archetypal characters found within it, can be used to help students shape creative writing and personal narratives. These personal narratives can serve as both reflective papers and preparation for analytical expository essays. As part of the exploration, theme, thesis, conflict, purpose, and audience will be addressed.

Traverse City, Michigan: February 2011

Got Structure? Using the mythological hero’s journey to shape and develop creative writing and personal narratives

The meeting place of creativity and intellect is unique to fiction. It is the creative nature of fiction that makes reading novels evoke an “afferent” process—meaning students put themselves in the work. (Rosenblatt, Theoretical Models and Processes, pp. 1057-1092, 1994) Once the student is immersed in the story, fiction’s distinct capacity to illuminate the human condition by fostering the interconnection of mind and spirit can pull readers through universal themes while speaking culturally, offering glimpses into different values, traditions, and life issues. This combination of characteristics invites discussion and critical thinking, two elements essential for academic success.

The goal of my session is to explore how fiction can be used to encourage critical thinking which can in turn be used to develop student writers who are emotionally connected to their topics and intellectually invested in their thought and writing.

Port Huron, Michigan: February 2010

Fiction as a Springboard for Critical Thinking and Expository Writing

Using fiction in academic courses can deepen student connection and interest. The benefits of assigning novels in academic courses include not only more lively course discussions, accompanied by deeper thinking, but also the fostering of student writers who are emotionally connected to their topics and intellectually invested in their thought and writing.

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