• 73°

KYOWA Writers to have annual conference: Award winning authors to offer writing advice

GREENUP, Ky. — The KYOWA Writers will have their annual writer’s conference this weekend at the Jesse Stuart Lodge at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park with award winning authors offering advice and other panels lead by experts.

This is the 20th year for the event and it is designed to help local authors learn the art of writing with cold reads of their works. There will be writing tips from a New York Times bestselling author, a local author whose books have been made into TV movies and a panel discussion on the state of the book business.

“We’re very excited about this year’s program,” said author Cat Shaffer, the conference chairman. “The conference began so that people who are writers or interested in writing could hear from the best authors out there. This year’s line-up certainly fulfills that goal.”

On Saturday, there will be talks by authors Teresa Reasor and Serena Miller.

Reasor, whose books have topped both the USA Today and the New York Times best seller lists, is from northern Kentucky but grew up on various military bases since her father was in the Marine Corps.

She learned to write early and created her first book in the second grade. In 2007, her first published work was released.

After 21 years as an art teacher and 10 years as a part-time college instructor, she’s now retired and living her dream as a full time writer.

Her body of work includes both full-length novels and shorter pieces in many different genres, including military romantic suspense, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical romance, contemporary romance and children’s books.

Serena Miller was born in Portsmouth, the youngest of four girls. Much of her childhood was spent playing on relatives’ front porches while listening to stories about the past.

She married a hometown boy studying to be a minister. They raised three sons while serving churches in various states.

Eventually, she and her family came back home to Ohio where her husband was hired to preach at the country church she attended as a child.

To pay for writer conferences and workshops, she got a part-time job stocking Hallmark cards.

In 2010, she published her first book, “Love Finds You.” It was later turned into an award-winning TV movie.

“I was as astonished as everyone else in my life,” Miller said. “I was a small-town preacher’s wife who was getting to attend a red carpet event in Hollywood.”

Since then, she has published many more books and won numerous awards.

Her most recent exciting moment was learning that one of her Amish books, “An Uncommon Grace,” had been chosen as the basis for a movie for the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel.

Also on the program this year is the popular “cold read” panel. During this segment, the opening of attendees’ work is read aloud with a panel of editors and authors offering critiques. Those wishing to have theirs looked at should bring a printed copy of their first two pages.

The final event of the conference will be a panel discussion of the book business today. Panelists will include Amalie Berlin, who writes medical romance for Harlequin.

The conference cost is $50. The conference begins on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Lunch is also provided.

Attendees are also invited to a pre-conference story party at 7 p.m. Friday at the lodge. This laid-back event will involve breaking into small groups and using story cubes, which are tossed like dice, to create story lines.