The workshop for humor writing, human interest writing, networking and getting published

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2016 Bombeck workshop add-on
Speed Dating For Writers

Speed Dating for Writers (advance registration required, limited spots)

As a special — and what’s bound to be a popular — add-on session, seasoned writers, marketers and agents will answer your questions and share writing and publishing tips. It’s based on a speed dating model that allows writers to learn a variety of perspectives from the pros in a short amount of time.

Tracy_BeckermanTwo sessions will be offered (7:45-8:45 a.m., Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2).

The sessions will be moderated by Tracy Beckerman, nationally syndicated humor columnist and author.


Meet the pros:

Kim BongiornoKim Bongiorno, author, full-time freelance writer and award-winning blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying, is best known for her parenting humor, whether in 140 characters on Twitter or essay form in a New York Times bestseller. She has had well over 1,000 articles published on more than two dozen websites, appeared in seven humor anthologies, self-published a collection of short fiction, wrote a YA novel, was a social media manager for a popular women’s website, has taught writing and online presence at writing conferences, and creates something new every day. Kim lives in New Jersey with her handsome husband and two charmingly loud kids, who she pretends to listen to while playing on Facebook and Twitter. If she were less tired, she’d totally add something really clever to her bio so you’d never forget this moment. (Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros, Saturday, April 2)

David BraughlerDavid Braughler is the founder and CEO of Braughler Books. He works with authors, organizations and executives to help them turn their stories and expertise into published books. Over the last six years, he’s worked individually with more than 200 authors on nearly 300 titles. David has partnered with authors in the U.S., Spain and Australia on books ranging from self-help and memoirs to business topics and personal essays. He’s a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences. (Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, both days)

EstellefinalEstelle Erasmus is a journalist, author, writing coach and former magazine editor in-chief of five consumer publications who has been published in The Washington PostSalonNewsweekPurple CloverBrain, Child,,, Good, Your Teen and more. Clients say working with her is like “publishing on steroids” because they get published fast and furiously. She writes a column for, The Practice of Parenting, where she takes peer-reviewed and empirical studies and applies them to mothering in real time. Represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, she is a three-time BlogHer Voice of the Year winner and blogs at Musings on Motherhood & Midlife. Follow her on Facebook and join her 10K followers on Twitter. (How to Break Into the Huffington Post and Other National Online Outlets, both days)

Sorche FairbankSince establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic and varied list, representing best-selling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and of course, one of her favorite kinds of client — the debut author. On the nonfiction side, her list is split between books that tackle current events and topical and societal issues with a narrative treatment; memoir that goes beyond the “me-moir;” and a loose but strong category of humor, pop culture and gift books. Tastes in novels tend toward literary fiction, international voices and women’s voices. Sorche is actively seeking humor titles that will keep her standing as one of the top agents in the genre. (How to Find a Literary Agent, Saturday, April 2)

Bonnie Jean FeldkampBonnie Jean Feldkamp has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. She specializes in writing about topics relevant to kids and families. Her weekly blog for new and expectant moms can be found on the retail site Bonnie is also a frequent features contributor and blogger for Cincinnati Family Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Motherlode column; Brain, Child Magazine as well as regional parenting publications across North America such as Staten Island Parent, Vancouver Family Magazine, Space City Parent, Orlando Family and more. Ask her how to break into regional magazines and how to sell reprints in multiple markets across the country. (Writing for Magazines, Saturday, April 2)

Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books & Such Literary Agency, representing both fiction and nonfiction. In publishing since 1995, Rachelle previously worked for two publishing houses in positionsRachelleGardner-LowRes-2013 encompassing marketing, sales, international rights, acquisitions and editorial. She has ghostwritten eight books and edited more than 200. As an agent, she loves helping authors strategize and build their careers, and takes great joy in sharing the important milestones in a writer’s journey. Learn more about Rachelle by visiting her blog. (Finding a Literary Agent, Friday, April 1)

Katrina KittleKatrina Kittle is the author of five novels — Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, The Kindness of Strangers and Reasons to Be Happy. The Kindness of Strangers won the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction. Katrina teaches creative writing workshops from the third grade to retirement communities, focusing on craft and motivation (and is especially good at jumpstarting stalled writers). She teaches in the Dayton-Cincinnati area through Word’s Worth Writing Center and online through OnLiten. She also offers manuscript consultations through Write Sisters Consulting and is a public speaker. She lives near Dayton, Ohio, with her wonderful fella, and their sweet beagle and odd cat; has a thing for goats, gardening and going barefoot; and is totally addicted to coffee, pedicures and movies. (Fiction Writing, Friday, April 1)

Adair LaraAdair Lara is a writer, teacher and author in San Francisco. A former magazine editor, she wrote a popular, award-winning personal column for the San Francisco Chronicle for 16 years before leaving the paper to write and teach full time. Her most recent book, which has become a cult favorite in the writing blogsphere, is Naked, Drunk and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay. Anne Lamott calls it “very savvy and smart and hugely entertaining.” In all, she’s written 11 books. She holds sold-out workshops in her house on writing essay and memoir and other forms of autobiography, and consults with authors individually, in person or long-distance. Her essays appear in many national magazines, and have been anthologized in dozens of textbooks. (Memoir Writing, Saturday, April 2)

Susan Pohlman - retouchedSusan Pohlman is an author, writing coach/instructor, freelance writer and retreat leader from Scottsdale, Arizona. Her memoir Halfway to Each 
Other was the winner in the Relationships category and runner-up in the Memoir category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It was shortlisted for the 2010 Inspy Awards. She has written six short films for the Baltimore 48 Hour Film Project, and her essays have been published in The Washington Times, Family Digest, The Family, Raising Arizona Kids, Guideposts Magazine, Homelife Magazine, Arizona Parenting, The Review Review,, and The Mid. A graduate of the University of Dayton, Susan is currently working on a second memoir and leading “transformational travel” retreats for writers willing to leave their comfort zone to inspire their muse and work on craft. (Memoir Writing, Friday, April 1)

Cindy RatzlaffCindy Ratzlaff is a passionate brand evangelist, keynote speaker and marketing strategist who creates award-winning marketing campaigns for publishers, authors, entrepreneurs and businesses. She developed the campaigns behind more than 200 New York Times bestselling books. She has appeared on national television programs such as Good Morning America and The Today Show, and her essays on marketing and on happiness have been featured on, and Business Insider, among others. (Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros, Friday, April 1)

Julia Roberts founded Decoding Creativity to help writers achieve clarity on their creative thinking style and process. Her clients learn where their talents are unique and where they’ll be valued. Julia’s ownJulia Roberts creative thinking preference was assessed in grad school, and she could finally see – quite plainly – what overwhelmed and stopped her writing. She wants others to have insight into their creative strengths and struggles and to learn to work well with their innate creativity. Julia’s coaching approach is a mix of hard science of creativity and the softer skills and mindset tools. She has her MSc in Creativity from SUNY/Buffalo State College and is a certified creativity coach (Martha Beck, Eric Maisel). She is the author of three books, most recently Sex, Lies & Creativity (Difference Press, 2014). She is also the founder of the Storytellers Summit, an annual virtual conference for writers. (Are You Blocking Your Best Writing?, both days)

Sharon ShortSharon Short, executive director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, has written the coming-of-age novel My One Square Inch of Alaska (Penguin Plume), two mystery series and a collection of humorous essays. She is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council individual artist’s grant, a Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts and Cultural District Literary Artist Fellowship, and was the 2014 John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Sharon is also the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News, an adjunct instructor at Wright State University, and is part of a fiction manuscript consulting group, The Write Sisters. (Fiction Writing, Saturday, April 2)

Suzette_StandringSuzette Martinez Standring is a syndicated spirituality columnist with GateHouse Media. She wrote The Art of Opinion Writing: Insider Secrets from Top Op-Ed Columnists, which won a First Place in the 2014 New England Book Festival and is an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her previous book, The Art of Column Writinghas won awards, and both books are used in national journalism courses such as Johns Hopkins University. Suzette is a past president of The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the host and producer of It’s All Write With Suzette, a cable TV show about writing. She took first place in the category for on-line blogs in the 2013 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ competition. (Syndication, both days)

Kathy TullyWanting a husband as much as she wanted to become a writer, Kathy Shiels Tully began her writing career by proposing to her then-boyfriend on the op-ed page of The Boston Herald in 1996. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Today, she and her happily married husband live with their two daughters north of Boston. Inspired by Erma since age 10, Kathy is a regular correspondent for The Boston Globe and The Boston Globe Magazine where she writes about intriguing people, travel, food, lifestyle, human interest and parenting. Her work also has appeared in national, regional and online magazines, including FamilyFun, The Writer, NCLR’s Agenda, Lola, Boston Parents Paper, Cape Cod Magazine,, New Hampshire To Do and Merrimack Valley Magazine. Her stories are included in the books Chicken Soup for the Brothers & Sisters Soul and Thin Threads. (Writing for Magazines, Friday, April 1)

Reflections of Erma