Rolf's passion is long-term travel, the kind of journeys that immerse you in a culture and its people. He has reported from more than 60 countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times Magazine, Slate.com, and the Travel Channel. Rolf is an avid promoter of independent travel, and his book Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Random House, 2003), has been through 11 printings and translated into several languages. His newest book is the award-winning Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer (Travelers’ Tales, 2008). Sixteen of his stories have been short-listed for The Best American Travel Writing, including “Storming ‘The Beach’,” which Bill Bryson chose as a main selection in 2000. Rolf's website is www.rolfpotts.com
Debra is a Wichita resident who has written two Kansas-based books for middle readers: Grasslands and its sequel, The Last of the Roundup Boys. She led us in an interesting and practical discussion about researching historical fiction for any age. The most important thing, Debra says, is to put your characters first, and use the period details to color the scene around them--not dominate the story. Her website is DebraSeely.com
At the August workshop, we mentioned a handy critique guide. It's included in the July issue of editor Joan Upton Hall's Page Turners newsletter. Click here to download a PDF copy. Check the table of contents at the top of the newsletter to find David Ciambrone's article "How to Form a Writing Critique Group." It includes tips on finding or starting your own critique group, how to conduct a critique, and how to receive one. Great advice. Pretty good newsletter, too, and you can subscribe to it via email.
Ronda led us through interactive exercises to help us develop the relationships between our characters. We discussed the seven meta-skills for strong relationships and the four most toxic things you can do to poison them. Ronda spent 15 years as a legal assistant, eight of which she spent helping people through divorce and custody cases. She was also a Kansas Supreme Court approved mediator for the divorce courts. The next level of her journey seemed natural when she became a trained relationship coach. Her website is www.resolveittogether.com.
Phyllis runs a business helping others write their memoirs called The Memory Catchers, and she is the author of the workbook How to Write Time of Your Life Stories in Ten Easy Steps.
KWA member and author Brian Johnson gave us a crash course in storm chasing and talked about writing his horror novel, Hell to Pay.
Visit his blogs (including weather photos) at ruminationsofthunder.blogspot.com and thatdamndash.blogspot.com.
KWA member and author Mike Klaassen shared his expertise on "Scene & Sequels: The Ebb and Flow of Fiction," and led us through an excellent workshop to practice this method of pacing your action. Mike is the author of two young-adult novels -- Cracks and The Brute. He has also written numerous articles and book reviews about the craft of writing fiction. And he publishes a monthly e-newsletter, "For Fiction Writers."
Visit his website at MikeKlaassen.com
Jerry's first book, Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland, has been in reprint, and his second book, A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two, has shown the same kind of success rate. His latest collection is Highly Embellished Truth & Some Poetry: Just Folks Three Jerry hears often that readers find his short stories uplifting and unique.
Jerry has a long history in newspapers and agriculture, and now writes for the Hillsboro Free Press. He lives near Marion Reservoir where his wife, Belinda, runs a horse farm.
Find out more about him at JerryEngler.com or at his site on Authors Den.
Writer and screenplay analyst Elizabeth Stevens gave us illuminating insights into Hollywood and the art and craft of screenwriting. Plus, check out the extras from her talk that weren't in the September newsletter.
Author and KWA member Hazel Hart walked us through the CASTS system for revising your scenes, to maximize the use of fundamental story techniques.
KWA member Vicki Hermes-Bond gave some great tips for jump-starting a short story. Check out the exercises she suggested.
Check out our panel's tips and find links to sites mentioned at our workshop on building your own website.