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September 6-7, 2019

Success strategies and insider advice for writers at ANY stage

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Hosted by Shepherd University, in scenic Shepherdstown, WV.  Only 75 miles from Washington, DC and Baltimore. 

Inspiring Keynote Speakers
2019 Keynote Speakers

ROBIN CUTLER, Director, IngramSpark

Go Publish Yourself 

Robin Cutler leads the development of IngramSpark as an Ingram Content Group service for indie authors and publishers. During her career, she has published over 1000 books as Assistant Director at USC Press, and CEO and founder of her own trade imprint, Summerhouse Press. Robin most recently worked for Amazon/CreateSpace. She has broad knowledge of indie, academic and trade publishing and is an expert in content creation, distribution, on-demand models, and author strategies.  Follow Robin on Twitter @rcutlerspark and be sure to check out IngramSpark on Facebook, on Twitter #ingramspark.


AMY COLLINS, President, New Shelves Books

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Sell Your Book

The most up-to-date, entertaining, and knowledgable publishing industry speaker, Amy Collins has sold to Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and other major chains. She helped launch several hugely successful private label publishing programs before starting New Shelves Books, one of the fastest-growing book distribution, sales, and marketing companies in North America.

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WENDY H. JONES, President, Scottish Association of Writers

Motivation Matters - Revolutionize Your Writing One Creative Step at a Time

After 17 years in the Royal Navy and Army and a stint in Academia, Wendy took up writing crime. In January she released the first of her new series, Cass Claymore Investigates. She’s also written the Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults, and recently published a children’s illustrated book, Bertie the Buffalo. Her original seven-novel series, D.I. Shona MacKensie Investigates, is set in her hometown, Dundee, Scotland, where she currently resides.

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Laurence O'Bryan, Author & Founder of BooksGoSocial

The Importance of Theme

Laurence O’Bryan has been marketing for over 30 years. Three of his six novels were published by Harper Collins and translated in 10 languages, and one has been optioned twice, to become a TV series or movie. To help others get discovered, he started, and to date has helped promote over 7,500 international authors.

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Conference Schedule
2019 Schedule


Friday, September 6, 2019

6 pm - Registration in the Atrium

7 pm - 8 pm - Keynote Address in the Lecture Hall: ROBIN CUTLER, IngramSpark. Go Publish Yourself!

8 pm - 9 pm - Reception


Saturday, September 7, 2019

7:30 am - Registration and coffee in the Atrium

8:15 am - 8:30 am - Welcome and Introductions

8:30 am - 9:30 am - Keynote Address in the Lecture Hall: LAURENCE O'BRYANThe Importance of Theme

9:45 am - 10:45 am - Panel Discussions #1 (Moderators in BOLD)

Writing your Book

How to Start and Finish Your Book

Paul Grussendorf, Ellen Hoffman, Ginny Fite

Selling your Book

Traditional vs. Indie Publishing

Writing Aids & Resources

Exit Laughing––or Crying:

Which Genre is for You?

 Pat Donohoe, Tim Hillegonds, James Pate

Laurence O'Bryan, Alan Gibson, Robin Cutler

11 am - Noon - Keynote Address in the Lecture Hall: AMY COLLINS, The Three Things That Will Increase Your Book Sales - Guaranteed!


12 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch with Presenters in the Dining Hall. Join a Presenter's table and continue the conversation.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - Panel Discussions #2 (Moderators in BOLD)

Writing Your Book

Plot and Structure

Lee Doty, Betty Ellzey, Alan Orloff

Selling Your Book

Wide Angle Thinking

Writing Aids & Resources

Resources for Writers

Rachel Hally, Wendy H. JonesAllie Marie

Amy Collins, Alan Gibson, Brianna Maguire

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm - Panel Discussions #3 (Moderators in BOLD)

Writing Craft

Creating Memorable Characters

Joanne Bario, Natalie Sypolt, Allie Marie

Selling Your Book

Social Media: How, Why, and When

Writing Aids & Resources

Authors Share Strategies for Success - 1

Ginny Fite, Wendy H. Jones, Amy Collins

Lee Doty, Alan Orloff, Shawn Reilly Simmons

4 pm - 5 pm - Panel Discussions #4 (Moderators in BOLD)

Writing Your Book

Developing Your Own Voice

Gonzalo Baeza, Shawn Reilly Simmons, James Pate

Selling Your Book

What Indie Bookstores Look For

Writing Aids & Resources

Authors Share Stratagies for Success - 2

Kendra Adkins Goldsborough, David Borchard, Amy Collins

Tim Hillegonds, Lisa V. Proulx, Natalie Sypolt

Keynote - 5:10 - 6:10 - Keynote Address in the Lecture Hall: WENDY H. JONES - Motivation Matters - Revolutionize Your Writing One Creative Step at a Time

6:10 pm - Closing remarks

The Book Fair will run on Friday evening and all day Saturday. Books by many presenters and panelists will be for sale.

2019 Panelists
Kendra Adkins Goldsborough

Kendra Goldborough, an independent bookstore owner with two decades of experience, has the inside scoop on how emerging authors can get their books on the shelves. She and the staff at Four Seasons Books support and encourage community, creativity and literacy in Shepherdstown WV and beyond.

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Gonzalo Baeza

     Gonzalo Baeza was born in Houston, Texas, raised in Santiago, Chile, and currently lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He has been a Latin American correspondent for American and European news agencies, and worked as an editor and writer for different American labor organizations. His short story collection, La ciudad de los hoteles vacíos, has been published in Spain (Amargord Ediciones, 2012), Chile (Narrativa Punto Aparte, 2014), and the U.S. (Sudaquia, 2015). His fiction has been published in Boulevard, The Texas Review, Goliad, Alenarte, Tintas, and Estados Hispanos de América, among others.  

Joanne Bario

     Joanne has published a non-fiction memoir through Doubleday, short stories in the Appalachian Writers Series, and is currently working on a novel. She has had articles published in the Washington Post, and is completing a collection of short stories, entitled What We See Will Break our Hearts.  She lives in Shepherdstown, WV.

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Pat Donohoe

     Pat Donohoe's writing career spans fiction, nonfiction and promotional copy. She was the founding editor of an alumni magazine and has won awards from the Wyoming Writers Association and numerous professional organizations. Her nonfiction work, The Printer's Kiss: The Life and Letters of a Civil War Newspaperman and His Family, was published by Kent State University Press as part of their Civil War in the North Series. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, two of which have been published in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers.

     Her academic credentials include a B.A. in English/Education from North Carolina State University, an M.A. in English literature from the University of Colorado Boulder, and an M.Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. She retired as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Lee Doty

     Lee W. Doty, a retired lawyer, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Rosemont School of Graduate Studies. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Philadelphia Stories. She currently contributes to the Shepherdstown Good News Paper and leads the Capon Writer’s Retreat sponsored by Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program. Her first novel, Tidal Kin, won an honorable mention in the 2017 New England Book Festival. She is now working on her second novel.

Betty Ellzey

     Dr. Betty Ellzey joined the Shepherd College English faculty in 1989 after having completed a Ph.D. at The Catholic University of America and having worked a year as an assistant editor for The Middle English Dictionary at the University of Michigan. Her areas of specialization are Old and Middle English language and literature and medieval and Renaissance drama. Dr. Ellzey has published articles and presented papers on Chaucer, Beowulf, the Old English poem Genesis A, women in medieval romance, and medieval drama. Her other interests include ballet and modern dance.

     Dr. Ellzey is also the co-coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Director of The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players. As Director of the Rude Mechanicals, she has directed numerous Shakespeare plays, a wide variety of medieval plays, and five plays by the tenth-century German canoness Hrothsvita.

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Ginny Fite

     An award-winning journalist who has covered crime, politics, and all things human—is the author of the dark mystery thrillers, Cromwell’s Folly, No Good Deed Left Undone, and Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder featuring Detective Sam Lagarde and the thriller No End of Bad. A graduate of Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University, her 40-year career in communications included posts as correspondent for The Arundel Observer, Frederick Magazine, reporter and then assistant managing editor for the Mt. Airy Gazette, editor of the Frederick Gazette, lifestyle editor for the Herald-Mail, editorial manager for women’s health at, public relations director for Goucher College, deputy press secretary for Maryland Governor Harry Hughes, press secretary and district director for Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski, senior administrator at Hopkins School of Public Health, and media director for a robotics R&D company.

     After studying at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute, she developed the creative writing course, Writercizing(TM), which she taught for several years as an adjunct instructor at Frederick Community College. In addition to her novels, Fite, a Harpers Ferry resident, has published a collection of short stories, What Goes Around, a humorous look at aging titled I Should Be Dead by Now, and three collections of poems. Her stories have appeared in Fluent Magazine, the Delmarva Review, Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly, Heartwood Literary Magazine, Coffin Bell, Frederick Magazine, The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Spy Newspapers and Temenos. Her next book, a magical realism adventure titled Blue Girl on a Night Dream Sea, is set for release from Black Opal Books in July 2019.
Alan Gibson

     With over four decades in the advertising business, Alan has written and produced television, radio, print and digital commercials and built his reputation as one of the most creative players in entertainment advertising. 
     Not content with writing in thirty and sixty-second formats, he took to novel writing in 2015 and has since published three best-selling mystery/thrillers, under the pen name of A.B. Gibson. His third book, High Voltage, is published by Story Merchant Books. 

Paul Grussendorf

     Paul Grussendorf brings experience as an author in two very different genres—non-fiction and what he calls “Latino noir.”  A leading expert on immigration and asylum law, he has been a Federal Immigration Law Judge and has worked with refugee populations all over the world. His legal memoir, My Trials: Inside America’s Deportation Factories, received high praise from the American Immigration Lawyers Association for its “cast of colorful characters and compelling tales,” as well as its “heartfelt call for a return to the values upon which our nation of immigrants was founded.”

     Writing under the pseudonym Jonathan Worlde, Grussendorf pens Latino noir novels that explore the rich worlds of America’s immigrant communities. His book, Latex Monkey with Banana, received a Hollywood Discovery Award in 1998. The second in the series, Deep in the Cut, was a finalist for the St. Martin’s Press annual Best Private Eye Novel competition. When not writing books, Grussendorf assumes yet another persona as Paul the Resonator, performing traditional blues on his resonator guitar at venues in the U.S. and around the world.

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Rachel Hally

     Rachel Hally is Coordinator of Collections and Liaison to the College of Arts and Sciences at Scarborough Library, Shepherd University, where she joined the faculty in February 2017. She is responsible for overall collection development at Scarborough Library and is also the liaison to the Shepherdstown Film Society, a community organization promoting film appreciation on campus and in town. Before coming to Shepherd, Ms. Hally was a product manager at ProQuest and LexisNexis for 14 years, responsible for developing new electronic research databases and bringing them to marker.

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Tim Hillegonds 

Timothy J. Hillegonds is the author of the memoir The Distance Between (University of Nebraska Press, October 2019).  His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Fourth Genre, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, The Rumpus, River Teeth, Baltimore Review, Brevity, and others. Tim earned a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing (MAWP) from DePaul University and currently serves as a contributing editor for Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts.

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Ellen Hoffman

     Ellen Hoffman, a former Washington Post reporter, is the author of four non-fiction books, two on travel and two on personal finance and retirement. As a free-lance writer, she has written hundreds of articles and columns for magazines and newspapers including Business Week, Money Magazine and others.

     Currently she works as a book editor and ghostwriter. When Ellen is not helping other writers start or finish their books, she is trying to figure out what her own Book Number Five will be.

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Allie Marie

     Author Allie Marie grew up in Virginia. Her favorite childhood pastime was reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries. When she embarked on a new vocation writing fiction after retiring from a career in law enforcement, it would have been understandable if her first book was a crime story. Researching her own family tree inspired her to write the True Colors Series instead. The other stories are patiently waiting their turn.
     Her debut novel, Teardrops of the Innocent: The White Diamond Story, was a 2015 New England Readers' Choice Award Finalist in paranormal. The second in the series, Heart of Courage: The Red Ruby Story released in May 2016 and earned Best Book in the 2017 IRC Awards. February 2017 saw the release of the third book, Voice of the Just: The Blue Sapphire Story. The fourth book, Hands of the Healer: The Christmas Emerald, released in 2018. A fifth and final book in the True Colors Series was released later in 2018. Besides family, her passions are travel and camping with her husband Jack.

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Alan Orloff

     Alan Orloff has published eight novels, including his latest thriller, Pray for the Innocent, which is a 2019 ITW Thriller Award finalist in the Best E-Book Original category. His debut mystery, Diamonds for the Dead, was an Agatha Award finalist; his story, “Dying in Dokesville,” won a 2019 Derringer Award (“Happy Birthday” was a 2018 finalist); and “Rule Number One” was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. His PI novel, I Know Where You Sleep, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2020.

     Alan lives in Northern Virginia and teaches fiction-writing at The Writer’s Center (Bethesda). He loves cake and arugula, but not together. Never together.

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Dr. James Pate

     James Pate has taught at Shepherd University since 2010. He has been published at Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, storySouth, Occulum, Superstition Review and Berkeley Fiction Review, among other places. His collection of essays on contemporary Gothic poetry, entitled Flowers Among the Carrion, was published by Actions Books in 2016. His novel Speed of Life was published by Fahrenheit Press in 2017.

Lisa V. Proulx

     Lisa V. Proulx is an award winning and international bestselling author of 13 books, a feature writer and columnist, a speaker and storyteller, and a publishing consultant with Indie Author Promotions. She was recently named President of the Maryland Writer's Association, Frederick Chapter. Her presentation, "Unemployed to Bestseller," guides her audience on the fun and informative path she took to go from an unemployed pet sitter to a bestselling author. 

Shawn Reilly Simmons

     Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of The Red Carpet Catering Mysteries featuring Penelope Sutherland, an on-set movie caterer, and of several short stories appearing in a variety of anthologies including the Malice Domestic, Best New England Crime Stories, Bouchercon, and Crime Writers' Association series. Cooking behind the scenes on movie sets perfectly combined two of her great loves, movies and food, and provides the inspiration for the Red Carpet Catering series, published by Henery Press.

     Shawn was born in Indiana, grew up in Florida, and began her professional career in New York City as a sales executive after graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in English. Since then she has worked as a book store manager, fiction editor, mystery convention organizer, wine rep, and caterer. She serves on the Board of Malice Domestic and is co-editor at Level Best Books. 

     Shawn is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the U.K. 

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Natalie Sypolt

     Natalie Sypolt lives and writes in Preston County, West Virginia.  She received her MFA in fiction from West Virginia University and currently teaches writing and literature at Pierpont Community & Technical College.  Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review Online, Willow Springs Review, Appalachian Heritage and other literary journals. Natalie serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers and runs the high school portion of the West Virginia Writers Workshop. Her first book, The Sound of Holding Your Breath, came out in November 2018 from West Virginia University Press.

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