Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year-End Reflections and Aspirations of a Fiction Editor and Writing Coach

HAPPY NEW YEAR, writers! May all your hopes and aspirations reach fruition in 2016!

As I have in the past, I hope to continue in the upcoming year to help writers sharpen their skills and reach their publication goals through my editor's guides to writing compelling fiction, as well as my clickable e-resource guides, blog posts, and workshops -- and of course my editing of novels and short stories.

If you're looking to hone your craft at writing and also network with other writers, editors, agents, and publishers, my New Year's gift to you is a very comprehensive list of Writers' Conferences and Book Festivals in North America in 2016, just below this blog post. Or click here to view the list, organized by month, with links to their websites.

And here's a list, with active links, of my most popular tips for writing compelling fiction: Links to Jodie Renner's Top Craft of Writing Posts.

2015 was a very productive year for me -- in fact, a little too busy, for someone who is supposed to be retired and slowing down!

On February 28, I published my third writing guide, CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction. This book is all about engaging readers emotionally and keeping them eagerly turning the pages of your fiction using techniques such as deep point of view, avoiding author intrusions, and showing instead of telling. It has already won two book awards plus an Honorable Mention. You can check it out on Amazon HERE.

And here's my Amazon Author Page, in case you're interested in my two other writing guides; two handy, clickable resources for writers, editors, and students; and the regional anthology I organized and edited and published on Nov. 24, 2015.

In April 2015 (for the second time in a year!), I moved to a new town closer to my family, which I love. Think I'll put down roots here in beautiful Penticton, BC, situated between two lakes, with mountains on the other two sides - and mild winters, for Canada! I'm a member of the local writers' group, Penticton Writers and Publishers, and am on the organizing committee for a writers' conference here in April, the Okanagan Valley Writers' Festival, April 8-10, 2016.

Penticton, BC, Canada; photo by Doug McLauchlan

I've continued to edit novels for my clients around the world (but mainly in the U.S.), which I find very rewarding, both because of the opportunity to work with talented authors to polish their exciting stories, and for the warm, long-lasting relationships that are created as a result of long-term collaborations.

I also presented writing workshops at several conferences in 2015, including, in January, at bestselling author Steven James' Troubleshooting Your Novel workshops in Nashville, at Word on the Lake Writers' Festival in Salmon Arm, BC, in May, and at When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta, in August. And I've been busy judging short stories for various contests and anthologies, including again this year for Writer's Digest's Popular Fiction Awards.

After being an active blogger, publishing my tips on writing compelling fiction first on Crime Fiction Collective for three years, then for two and a half years every second Monday on the award-winning The Kill Zone blog (both blogs mainly aimed at writers and readers of mysteries and thrillers), I decided to step down from regular blogging to focus my energies more locally, with occasional posts here on my own blog.

In 2015, I again served as a fiction judge for short stories for Writer's Digest's Popular Fiction Awards. My category was thrillers, and I received about 245 short stories, which I had to narrow down to my top 10 choices, in order. That was a huge job, but I'm confident that the final 10 I chose were the most exciting and well-written stories in that category.

This year I've also been busy organizing and editing two anthologies for charity, with more to come in the future.

Because I was so delighted to be back in beautiful British Columbia, on Canada's West Coast after an extended absence, I decided to organize a high-quality anthology of stories and poems that typify and celebrate life in BC. This ended up to be a huge undertaking, reaching out to writers around the province and reading, then choosing, and editing their submissions. Many of the stories went back and forth several times during the editing process. Then I had to decide how the contributions would be organized and format the book. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet talented writers in BC and collaborate with them to produce a polished product that would also benefit a very worthy charity, Doctors Without Borders.

On November 24, we proudly released VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS - Stories & Poems about Life in BC's Interior.  Within 3 weeks, we were sold out of the first printing of 400 copies! We're on the second printing now, and I've already sent our first monetary donation to Doctors Without Borders.

At 107,000 words long and 308 pages, this high-quality anthology includes fiction, true stories, and poetry by 51 contributors, organized by region of the interior of BC, as well as drawings and both colour and black-and-white photos of BC.

The e-book version is without the images but contains a few extra stories and poems that I couldn't fit into the print version.

For more on this fabulous celebration of life in British Columbia, Canada, plus a link to a PDF of excerpts from the book, click HERE.

I'm also in the process of organizing and editing CHILDHOOD REGAINED - Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers. This collection of short stories, aimed at readers age 12 and up, is about children working in difficult conditions in South Asia - India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It's meant to raise awareness of the conditions these children are living under and to raise money to help eradicate child labor in Asia. It will be released in spring 2016, and we're still trying to find the best charity for it. The proceeds will definitely go to a charity aimed at helping third-world children. likely Save the Children.

For 2016, I'm thrilled to have been invited to present again at Word on the Lake Writers Festival in May in Salmon Arm, BC, where I will join esteemed Canadian writers such as Arthur Slade, Alan Twigg of BC BookWorld, Robert J Sawyer, and Richard Wagamese.

I'll also be presenting two workshops at the Okanagan Valley Writers Festival, April 8-10, and will be judging short stories for the Federation of BC Writers' contest, Literary Writes 2016. I also plan to continue editing novels and producing anthologies in 2016 and beyond.

What about you? How was your 2015? Please share any writing-related news in the comments below. How about 2016? What are your writing, editing, and publishing goals for the year to come? Let us know in the comments below.


Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Captivate Your Readers, Fire up Your Fiction, and Writing a Killer Thriller. She has also published two clickable time-saving e-resources to date: Quick Clicks: Spelling List and Quick Clicks: Word Usage. Jodie recently organized and edited a BC-wide anthology of stories and poetry for Doctors Without Borders, called Voices from the Valleys, and is working on a second anthology, Childhood Regained, to help reduce child labor in Asia. You can find Jodie at,, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Click HERE to sign up for Jodie’s occasional newsletter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker @JodieRennerEd 

As I do a few times a year, I've compiled a list of writers’ conferences and book festivals in North America. This one runs from January through October 2016 so far. Where you see 2015 in bold, it means I've checked their website for 2016 dates and they're not published yet. I'll update them as I find out the dates for 2016. 
Please tell us about any conferences or book festivals I’ve missed by posting the info in the comments below, or email me at Info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com, and I’ll add them to the list. Please supply the date(s), the name of the conference, the location, and the website URL. Thanks a lot! 
And here's an interesting-looking ongoing online writers’ conference:
The NEVER-ENDING Online Backspace Writers Conference.

Jan. 15-18, 2016 - 22nd Annual Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway, Seaview Resort, New Jersey Shore (near Atlantic City).
Jan. 16-23, 2016: Writers in Paradise conference, St. Petersburg, Florida.
Jan. 22-24, 2016 – San Diego State University Writers’ Conference, San Diego Marriott, Mission Valley.
January 24-30, 2016 – Todos Santos Writers Workshop, Todos Santos, Baja Mexico.
Feb. 10-14, 2016 – San Miguel Writers' Conference and Literary Festival, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Feb. 11-15, 2016 - San Francisco Writers Conference, San Francisco.
Feb. 11-14, 2016 – Savannah Book Festival, Savannah, GA. Free and open to the public.
Feb. 12-14, 2016 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference, New York, NY.
Feb. 19, 2016 - Alabama Writing Workshop, Birmingham, AL.

Feb. 19-21 2016 - Galiano Literary Festival, Galiano Island, BC, Canada.  
Feb. 20, 2016 - Atlanta Writing Workshop, Atlanta, Georgia.
Feb. 20, 2016, Birmingham Local Authors Expo and Book Fair, Birmingham, Alabama.
Feb. 25-28, 2016 - Left Coast Crime’s annual mystery convention. This year it’s called “The Great Cactus Caper” and is in Phoenix, Arizona.
Feb. 25-28, 2016 - Sleuthfest, an annual conference for mystery, suspense, and thriller writers, Deerfield Beach, Florida.
(Love is Murder mystery conference in Chicago is canceled for 2016.)
Feb. 26-28, 2016 – Digital Author and Indie Publishing Conference, sponsored by West Coast Writers Conferences. Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, California.
On Amazon & elsewhere
Feb. 27, 2016 – Book ‘Em North Carolina (book festival), Lumberton, NC. 

To check out CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS on Amazon, click HERE.
MARCH 2016:
March 5, 2016 – Writing Festival, Wordcrafters in Eugene Writers’ Conference, Eugene, Oregon. “The focus is on fiction.”
March 5, 2016 – The Augusta Literary Festival, Augusta, GA.
March 12, 2016 – Florida Authors & Publishers Spring Conference, Orlando, Florida.
March 12-13, 2016 – The Dahlonega Book Festival, Dahlonega, Georgia
March 12-16, 2016 – The Tucson Festival of Books, University of Arizona campus, Tucson, AZ. Free and excellent!
March 14, 2015 - Unicorn Writer's Conference, Purchase, NY.
March 16-20, 2016 – The Algonkian Novel Retreat, Sterling, Virginia, NW of Washington, D.C.

March 16-20, 2016 — Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA. 5 days, hundreds of authors, mostly free! 
March 18-20, 2016 – Temecula Valley Indie Christian Writers Conference, Temecula, CA
March 18-22, 2016 - The Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference,
March 18-22, 2015 – Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, Virginia,
March 22-24, 2015 - The 2015 PubSense Summit, in Charleston, South Carolina.
March 25, 2016 – Tampa Writers Conference, Tampa, FL
March 26, 2016 – Fort Lauderdale Conference for Writers, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Mar. 27-28, 2015 - Northern Colorado Writers Conference, Fort Collins, CO. 

[ For a list with live links to editor Jodie Renner's most popular writing craft articles, click HERE. ]
APRIL 2016:
March 30–April 2, 2016: AWP Writers’ Conference and Bookfair, Los Angeles, Cal., Assoc. of Writers and Writing Programs.
April 7-9, 2016 – The Write Stuff writers’ conference, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
April 8, 2016 - Writing by Writers Workshop at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado.
April 8-9, 2016 – IBPA Publishing University, Salt Lake City, Utah. 
April 8-9, 2016 - North Texas Book Festival, Denton, Texas.

April 8-9, 2016 - Maine Crime Wave, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.
April 8-10, 2016 – Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival, Penticton, BC, Canada.
April 8-10, 2016 - Word of South Festival of Literature and Music, Tallahassee, Florida.
April 10-11, 2015 - Faith and Culture Writers Conference, Portland, Oregon.
April 12-17, 2016 – Romantic Times Book Lovers’ Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.
April 14-17, 2016 - Arkansas Literary Festival. Little Rock, AR
April 15-17, 2016 – Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
April 15-17, 2016 – Story Circle Network Women’s Writing Conference, Austin, TX.
April 15-17, 2016 – Writer’s Institute, Madison, Wisconsin.
April 22-23, 2016 – Southern Kentucky Writers’ Conference and Bookfest 
April 22-23, 2016 – NETWO (North East Texas Writers' Organization) writers conference, Sowing Seeds of Success, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.
April 23, 2016 – Alabama Book Festival, Montgomery.
April 23-24, 2016 – DFW Writers Conference, Fort Worth Convention Center, Texas. Twitter: @dfwcon 
April 24-26, 2015 - WisRWA (Wisconsin Romance Writers of America) Write Touch Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
April 28-30, 2016 ­– Las Vegas Writers Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.
April 29–May, 2016 – Malice Domestic, annual traditional mystery fan convention, in Bethesda, MD.
April 29–May 1, 2016 – Grub Street’s “Muse and the Marketplace” Conference, Boston, MA.
On Amazon & elsewhere
April 29-May 1, 2016 – Chanticleer Authors Conference, Bellingham, Washington.
April 30–May 1, 2016 - Ontario Writers Conference, Ajax, Ontario, Canada. 

FIRE UP YOUR FICTION - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories
MAY 2016:
May 4-6, 2016 - Nonfiction Writers Conference, virtual.
May 6, 2016 - Creative Ink Festival for Writers, Readers, and Artists; Burnaby, BC, Canada.
May 6-7, 2016 – LD Storymakers Writers Conference, Utah Valley Convention Center, Provo, Utah.
May 9, 2015 - 12th Annual Connecticut Authors and Publishers Assoc. University - Conference on Writing, Publishing and Marketing - Hartford, Connecticut
May 12-14, 2016 – Oklahoma Writers Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
May 13-14, 2016 – Lakefly Writers Conference, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
May 14, 2016 – Indie Author Fringe, online conference for independent authors and publishers.

May 12-15, 2016 - StokerCon, Horror Writers Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.
May 20-22, 2016 – Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, Salmon Arm, BC, Canada.
May 20-21, 2016 – ASJA’sAnnual Writers Conference: Connect for Success (Am. Society of Journalists and Authors), New York, NY.
May 20-22, 2016 – Pennwriters Conference, Lancaster, PA.
May 23-28, 2016 - Salt Cay Writers’ Retreat, Salt Cay, Bahamas.

[ For info on Jodie Renner's 3 award-winning writing guides and 2 clickable resource ebooks, click HERE. ]
JUNE 2016:
June 1-5, 2016 – Romance Novel Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.
June 2-6, 2016 – Bear River Writers’ Conference, Walloon Lake, Michigan.
June 1-7, 2016 - The Writer’s Hotel Master Class in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, New York City.
June 5-6, 2015 – Arkansas Writers’ Conference, North Little Rock, AR
June 5-7, 2015 - New Orleans Genre Writer's Conference
June 6-10, 2016 – West Texas Writers’ Academy, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas.
June 12-14, 2015 - Philadelphia Writers' Conference, Philadelphia, PA.,
June 10-14, 2016 – Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Land’s End Resort, Homer, Alaska.
June 13-17, 2016 - Write-by-the-Lake Writer's Workshop and Retreat, Madison, Wisconsin.
June 19-20, 2016 – “Create Something Magical” – Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference, Iselin, NJ.
June 19-23, 2015 - Southeastern Writers Workshop, St. Simons Island, Georgia.    
June 21-25, 2016 – Western Writers of America convention, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Stories & poems about BC
June 23-25, 2016 - Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
June-July 2016 - Iowa Summer Writing Festival, Iowa City, IA.

VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS - Stories & Poems about Life in BC, Canada, 308 pages, 51 contributors, all net proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. Print & e-book. For info, click HERE.
JULY 2016:
July 5-9, 2016 – Master Craftfest, Craftfest, and THRILLERFEST – International Thriller Writers annual conference, New York, NY.
July 8-19, 2015 – Southampton Writers Conference, Southampton, NY. 
July 9-15, 2016 – Antioch Writers' Workshop, Yellow Springs, OH. 
July 10-11, 2015 - Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, Nelson, BC, Canada.

July 13-16, 2016 – Romance Writers of America Annual Conference, San Diego, California.

July 14-17, 2016 - Denman Island Readers & Writers Festival, Denman Island, BC, Canada.

July 14-17, 2016 - Saskatchewan Festival of Words, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
July 16, 2016 – All Write Now! Conference, Southeast Missouri State University Center, Cape Girardeau, MO Center.
July 16-19, 2015 - West Virginia Writers' Workshop, West Virginia.
July 16-19, 2015 - Pacific Northwest Writers Assoc. annual conference, Seattle, Wash.
July 17-19, 2015, The LexiCon Writers Conference, Denton, TX -
July 28-31, 2016 – Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference, Corte Madera, CA.
AUGUST 2016:
Aug. 6-9, 2015 – Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, Hyannis, Mass. Cost varies depending on number of courses you register for.
Aug. 7-9, 2015 – HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers, Lancaster, PA.
August 11-14, 2016 – Writers’ Police Academy, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Aug. 11-14, 2016 - Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Sechelt, BC, Canada.
Aug. 12-13, 2016 – Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute (MAFWI), formerly The Nora Roberts Writing Institute, Maryland.  
Aug. 12-14, 2016 – Willamette Writers Conference, Portland, Oregon.
Aug. 12-14, 2016 – Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, NYC.
Aug. 12-14, 2016 – When Words Collide, A Festival for Readers and Writers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Aug. 15, 2015 - Unicorn Writers' Conference, Purchase, NY. 

Aug. 18-21, 2016 – Killer Nashville, Nashville, TN.

Aug. 19-21, 2016 – Historical Writers of America Conference, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.
Aug. 25-28, 2016 – The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference, Nashville, Tenn.

WRITING A KILLER THRILLER - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction
Sept. 4-6, 2015 – Decatur Book Festival, Decatur (Atlanta), Georgia.
Sept. 5, 2015 – White County Creative Writers' Conference, Searcy, AR.
Sept. 9-11, 2016 – Colorado Gold Writers Conference, hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Denver, CO.
Sept. 12, 2015 - Michigan Writing Workshop, Detroit, MI.
Sept. 15-18, 2016 – Bouchercon Crime Fiction Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana.

September 12-18, 2016 – Brooklyn Book Festival. Bookend Events – Sept. 12-18; Children's Day – Sept. 17; Main Festival Day – Sept. 18.
Sept. 18-20, 2015 - The Power of Story - Central Coast Writer's Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA.
Sept 19-20, 2015 – Alaska Writer’s Guild Conference, Anchorage Alaska.
Sept. 21-25, 2016 - NINC Conference (Novelists, Inc.), St. Pete, FL.
Sept. 23-26, 2015 – WORD Vancouver: Inspiring Words, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Sept. 23-25, 2016 – Baltimore Book Festival, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sept. 24, 2016 – Tallahassee Writers Conference, Tallahassee, Florida.
Sept. 24-26, 2015 – Florida Heritage Book Festival and Writers’ Conference, St. Augustine, Florida.
Sept. 22-25, 2016 – South Dakota Festival of Books, Brookings and Sioux Falls.
Sept. 23-25, 2016 – Southern California Writers’ Conference, A Weekend for Words, Newport Beach, Calif.
Sept. 25-27, 2015 – Chicago Writers Conference, Chicago.
Sept. 25-27, 2015 - SF: SE 2015, a Speculative Fiction Convention.
Sat., Sept. 26, 2015 - Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference, Columbus, GA. email:

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 - Word on the Street, Toronto Book & Magazine Festival, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sept. 25-27, 2015 - Tuolumne Writers Retreat, Columbia State Historic Park, Columbia, CA. 
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2016 – Moonlight and Magnolias romance writers’ conference in Norcross, Georgia;

Info in an instant
Sept. 30–Oct. 2, 2016 – Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference, Edmonds, Washington.
Oct. 2-4, 2015 - Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival in beautiful seaside Sidney, located on the Saanich Peninsula just 40 km (24 miles) north of Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. 

Oct. 2-4, 2015 - Write Your Memoir Retreat, Westbrook, Conn.

Oct. 6-9, 2016 – InD'Scribe Indie Author and Reader Conference, Burbank, CA. 
Oct. 7-9, 2016 – Imaginarium Writing and Film Festival, Louisville, KY

Oct. 8, 2016 - Great Valley Bookfest, Manteca, CA.

Oct. 8-10, 2015 - Ozark Creative Writers' Conference, Eureka Springs, AR -

October 8-11, 2015 – Women Writing the West conference, Eagle Truest Resort, Redmond, OR.

Oct. 9, 2015 - San Diego Writers' Conference, San Diego, CA

October 9-11, 2015 - The Southern Festival of Books, Nashville TN.

Oct. 10, 2015 - Great Lakes Book Bash, Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Oct. 10, 2015 - The Writing Conference of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 13-16, 2016 - Whistler Readers and Writers Festival, Whistler, BC, Canada. 
October 13-16, 2016 – SWAT Academy, Joint Emergency Services Training Center Louisiana State Police Training Facility, Zachary, Louisiana.   
October 14-15, 2016 -- Fall in Love with New England, Romance Reader-Writer Conference in foliage season, Manchester, NH,
Oct. 14-16, 2016 – Emerald City Writers’ Conference (Romance Writers of America), Bellevue, Washington.
October 15-18, 2015 – Florida Writers Assoc. Annual Conference, Altamonte Springs, FL
Oct. 16-17, 2015 – Put Your Heart in a Book, New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, Iselin, N.J.
Oct. 17, 2015 - Books by the Banks Book Festival, Cincinnati, OH 
Oct. 18-23, 2016 – The Vancouver Writers Fest, Vancouver, BC, Canada. 
Clickable & very quick
Oct. 20-23, 2016 – Surrey International Writers Conference, Surrey, BC, Canada.

QUICK CLICKS: SPELLING LIST - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips


Nov. 5-9, 2015 - BizarroCon.

Nov. 11-13, 2016 - New England Crime Bake, annual mystery conference for writers and readers. 
March 22-26, 2017 — Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA. 5 days, hundreds of authors, mostly free!

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor, workshop presenter, judge for fiction contests, and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Captivate Your Readers, Fire up Your Fiction, and Writing a Killer Thriller. She has also published two clickable time-saving e-resources to date: Quick Clicks: Spelling List and Quick Clicks: Word Usage. Jodie recently organized and edited two anthologies for charity: a BC-wide anthology of stories and poetry for Doctors Without Borders, called Voices from the Valleys, and Childhood Regained – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers, created to help reduce child labor in Asia. You can find Jodie at,, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Click HERE to sign up for Jodie’s occasional newsletter.