Speaker Interviews

Enjoy these writing tips from our conference speakers!




If you’re ready, you can sign up using the button below (registration takes place on the main, Pennwriters, Inc. website). Or click the More button to continue learning more about the Writer's Road Trip.


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Sponsored by Pennwriters, Inc.

Enjoy these smiling faces from past events! You could be here!

Click on any image to enlarge and view the slideshow.




(You will be taken to the Pennwriters website for payment when you click the "Register" button.) 

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Sponsored by Pennwriters, Inc.

(You will be taken to the Pennwriter's website for payment when you click the "Register" button.)

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A Writer's Road Trip #7
October 12th, 2019 -- 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
Buffet lunch included.
Tom Ridge Environmental Center,
301 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505

Early Bird Registration by September 30, 2019: $60.00 for Pennwriters Members, $70.00 for non-members. YPPP small cover shdw

Planning to take Jamie Saloff’s 2-part class on publishing? Let us know! A limited supply of printed books with all your class notes and more will be given free to early bird registrants, on a first-come, first-served basis. Once our supply is gone, no more will be available. (This book is not available in stores!) Learn more here.


Register after September 30: $70 for Pennwriters Members, $80 for non-members.

Last day for registration is October 9, 2019.

No refunds after September 30, 2019.

Prefer to pay by check? You can mail a check to Todd Main, 1248 W. 22nd Street, Erie, PA, 16502. Please include the registration form you can download by clicking here

(You will be taken to the Pennwriters website for payment when you click the "Register" button.) 

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Need a local hotel? Mention Pennwriters at these hotels for a discount:  Map

Clarion Hotel and Conference Center
2800 W. 8th Street
Erie, PA 16506

Comfort Inn Presque Isle
3041 West 12th Street
Erie, PA  16506

Discounted rates apply when you mention "Pennwriters." Special pricing available until October 9th.


Still have questions? Stop by our Facebook Page and message us or email Todd Main, Conference Coordinator at: toddmain (AT) neo.rr.com.


Sponsored by Pennwriters, Inc., October 12, 2019

TinyBurst--- Why Attend the Writer's Road Trip --- 

Why Attend? You attend because you have talent. (Of course, you do!) You’ve spent your whole life working and this time is for you. You want your writing to shine. You want your characters to strike a chord in people.

Technical Support smallOrson Scott Card said, “I learned to separate the story from the writing, probably the most important thing that any storyteller has to learn—that there are a thousand right ways to tell a story and ten million wrong ones, and you’re a lot more likely to find one of the latter than the former your first time through the tale.”

A thousand right ways and ten million wrong. Revision. Separating the story, poem, or article from the writing.

This is why writers attend conferences: to seek those of like minds; to learn from one another; to find support and know we are not alone on this journey; to take that kernel of an idea and create something that can transport our readers to another place; or simply touch their hearts. It’s a gift from ourselves to our readers.

That’s why the Area 1 Pennwriters put together an enjoyable writing experience titled A Writers’ Road Trip. Our goal is to introduce you to the “Keys to Great Writing” and give you the opportunity to master the elements of composition, revision, publishing, and marketing.

When you join us on this Writers Road Trip you can:BookLove

• Explore 3 tracks/17 workshops,

• Hang out and chat with other writers,

Pitch your work to an editor,

• Submit an entry for our Billboard Writing Contest,

• Peruse the author's book table,

• Purchase a chance for one of the many gift baskets,

• Enjoy the included hot buffet lunch,

• Relax and have fun.


During our 7th annual one-day conference, we’re once again hosting a personable group of experts to help pull your writing together so it becomes that book (or article or story or poem) you envisioned when you first sat down to write. Unlike the “assembly required” furniture, these experts supply the missing instructions.

This is not a virtual event. You actually will meet with other writers to learn, share, laugh, talk writing, eat, and spend the day in beautiful, fall-colored, northwestern Pennsylvania. This interaction could lead to discovering the writing mentor you always longed to meet, having your first book published, or learning how to finally break through to the marketing success you need to see your work succeed. 

Register for A Writer’s Road Trip 7 (October 12th, Erie, PA) by clicking any of the REGISTER buttons on this site. To learn more, follow us at: https://www.facebook.com/WritersRoadTrip.

If you have a question about the Road Trip, you can also email Area 1 Rep, Todd Main at toddmain (AT) neo.rr.com.


Are You Tired of Going It Alone?

Are You Ready to Get the Info You Need to Succeed?


TinyBurst--- What Makes A Writer's Road Trip Unique? --- 

• We offer industry experts, published authors, and other specialists in their field.
Bookgirl sm
• Our venue is small enough to allow you one-on-one interaction with speakers and guests and time to get your writing, publishing, and marketing questions answered.

• In between attending workshops, you can spend time in our hospitality suite where you can talk with like-minded writers, chat with speakers, browse and buy books by our speakers, and enter our silent auction.

• A variety of workshops for all genres and all levels of writing skill, from beginner, to published, and everything in between.

Choose to pay $5 at the door and pitch your work to a literary agent. 

• A delicious buffet lunch is always included. 


TinyBurst--- Pitch Your Book to a Literary Agent ---


"Writing a book is something you do to get your life back." ~Richard Bach


MelanieBillingsReturning This Year at A Writer's Road Trip #7

A Chance to Pitch Your Short Story or Novel!

Come meet editor Melanie A. Billings from Wild Rose Press (Editor, Special Projects Department) after a very successful debut at Writer’s Road Trip 4 she has become an enjoyable addition to subsequent Road Trip events.

Not just for romance anymore, after twelve successful years of operation, The Wild Rose Press has expanded fields. Melanie is looking for genres including, but not limited to: women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, historical fiction and erotica from 7,500 – 100,000 words.

Send an email to Todd Main, Conference Coordinator, at toddmain (AT) neo.rr.com to schedule a spot and pay only $5.00 at the door for this opportunity. 


TinyBurst--- Writing Contest Judged by Your Peers ---

All entries will be posted on the wall outside of the conference rooms at the start of the day. Instructions for casting votes will be included in each member’s welcome packet. All votes will be tallied and the winners will be announced at the close of the day. Winners must be present to win.

1st Place: Full Paid registration for Road Trip 8*

2nd Place: Half Paid registration for Road Trip 8*

3rd Place: $15 Gift Card


1. Only paid Road Trip attendees may enter.

2. All entries must be received by October 1, 2019.

3. Entries must be sent as an email attachment as either a Word document or PDF.

4. Your entry must be a complete work on one, easy-to-read, 8.5” x 11” page.

5. Put the title at the top of the page; DO NOT put your name on the entry.


For official rules, additional directions, and other notices click here


BusyGal photoRing"I am so grateful for my Area 1 friends. Whenever I need a boost to keep me going, they are a meeting, email, or Facebook Post away. I attended the WRT the past two years and can't say enough about how well-organized, valuable, and interesting this mini-conference is. I am going to be a published author of a novella (a Rosette) due to pitching my story to Melanie Billings, the editor at this [past] year's conference. She has helped me so much in this publishing process, which is brand new to me. I owe a lot of my courage to even put my work out there to Area 1 writers and the Fellowship of the Quill. This is the first that I'm sharing this news with anyone besides my family members and a few friends; I wanted to go through the motions before announcing. It's a small step into the publishing world, but one I never would have tried if not for this group and Pennwriters as a whole. I have grown so much as a writer since attending my first conference in Pittsburgh in 2013. Not only am I a member of this great organization, but I am also a superfan! Go Pennwriters!" ~Donna Snyder-Lucas


BusyGal photoRing"In 2012, Area 1 launched the very first one-day mini-conference, under the expert and determined guidance of Todd Main. The event is called A Writer's Road Trip, and it continues to get bigger and better heading into its fifth year. Todd and his team of volunteers hope to inspire similar events across all Pennwriters Areas, so members can get an idea, locally and at an affordable cost, of what to expect from attending the Annual 3-Day Conference. I was lucky enough to attend A Writer's Roadtrip in October of 2017, it was well worth the trip.." ~Hilary Hauck, Pennwriters President


BusyGal photoRing"At the Pennwriters Road Trip one-day conference, I took Deborah Riley-Magnus workshop. She talked about joining Facebook groups and posting on them to gain followers for your book. I joined several groups and started posting regularly. The head of one of the groups contacted me to write for his web page. He was so impressed with my writing he asked me to write a piece for his book and gave me access to his social media pages to post inspirational quotes. Deborah's advice helped build my platform and promote my writing." ~ Aimee Eddy Gross


If you’re ready, you can sign up using the button below (registration takes place on the main, Pennwriters, Inc. website). Or click the More button to continue learning more about the Writer's Road Trip.


SignUp Button      MoreButton


Sponsored by Pennwriters, Inc. 

These are the 2019 Workshop Descriptions!
More classes to be added! 


The Writer's Road Trip offers a three-track conference schedule along with time for lunch. Attend any workshop you choose. Some of the more in-depth workshops extend through two periods. You can download the whole schedule to pre-plan your learning experience. Also, check out the special events that are happening in the Hospitality Suite for those who just want to chat, browse our offerings, or just sit back and chill. Not sure which workshop is for you? Ask on our Facebook Page or email Todd Main at toddmain (AT) neo.rr.com for more information. 


TinyBurst--- TAKE A VIRTUAL ROAD TRIP WITH PODCASTING --- (The Value of Your Personal Story) 
--- Maxwell Ivey

IveyIn this session, attendees will learn the importance of knowing the value of their personal story. Yes, you are the expert on your own "story" (your life journey), so hone the details and let it work for you without ever leaving your house. Benefits include a sharper author platform and presence, a wider scope for book sales, increased confidence, networking both nationally and internationally and, on occasion, even physical speaking opportunities. Best of all, this trip is FREE every time! Our virtual vehicle will be Podcasts. I invite you to open the door, step in and accompany me as I point out wonderful "sites" and how podcasting has worked for me in the comfort of my own home--and can work for you, too!


TinyBurst--- BABY ON BOARD 2 --- (Picture Books and Chapter Books)
--- Debra Ray Sanchez

DebraSanchezBuilding upon last year’s very successful “Writing Children’s Books” (which was an overview of the basics of writing for children and teens), Debra returns with a more focused class. This workshop will take a closer look at what writing needs to consider when writing for young children.

Focus Points Include:

  • Age of child
  • Word count
  • How many pictures
  • Type of book
  • Genre considerations


TinyBurst--- DON'T FORGET YOUR SIDE MIRRORS --- (Life Impacts Writing)
--- Holly Jacobs

Holly JacobsHolly Jacobs is known for Monday Glee. She's a not so closeted science geek and knows a smattering of sign language, pottery, and cooking. She's taken care of kids (a lot of kids) and older relatives. She's served on the PTA. She's worked with teen moms. All those life experiences and so many more have ended up in her books. And those real life experiences have made her characters' fictional lives all the more "real and more powerful. Join bestselling, award-winning author, Holly Jacobs, to talk about how personal biography can take your fiction to a new level.


TinyBurst--- WAXing POETIC AND POLISHing YOUR WORDS --- (Learn 5 Benefits on How Toastmastrs Can Help Polish Your Words)
--- Amy Bovaird

Amy BoviardThere’s nothing better than sporting a spiffy “vehicle” as you travel your own writer’s road trip. But for many authors, the challenge of waxing poetic about the dream car they’ve worked so hard to achieve, falls flat. In this session, you will learn 5 benefits to how Toastmasters, a professional speaking organization, can help you polish your words to present your “baby” in the best possible light. With practice, your confidence will put you squarely in the driver’s seat. Your talk will leave your audience hanging onto your bumpers, even as you drive off!


TinyBurst--- RECONSTRUCTION AHEAD --- (Revising and Polishing Your Manuscript)
--- Annette Dashofy

Annette DashofyYou’ve finally typed “The End” on that first draft. Congratulations! Now what? Just because it’s finished doesn’t mean it’s ready for the world to see. Learn how to revise and polish your manuscript to take it from ragged to ready for submission.



TinyBurst--- A VIEW FROM THE OVERLOOK --- (Show Don't Tell Your Descriptions)
--- Kathy Otten

Kathy OttenIt’s the mantra of most critique groups, editors, and agents. But what does that mean? How do you describe a scene without telling? In this workshop, we’ll look at ways to take boring descriptions and make them active.



TinyBurst--- YOUR PROFITABLE PUBLISHING PATH --- (Which publishing path is right for you?)
--- Jamie Saloff

Jamie SaloffExpanded and back by popular demand, this is a 2-session workshop.
Register early and you won't need to take notes in this intensive class. YPPP small cover shdwYou'll get a free, printed book to use for reference. (Keep reading for details.

  Finalizing your book? Ready to explore publishing but unsure which type is right for you? Traditional? Ebooks? Self? Tucked between the pages of publishing are confusing terms and lingo. Advance? Royalties? Print-on-Demand? Vanity Press? Listening to the chatter on the web only blurs the lines more.

During this two-part session, learn how to discern which publishing path is right for your book—(and it can differ from book to book). We will look at the information you need to know before making a decision. We will discuss the potential costs and profits using numbers as reported by authors who have “been there.” You will glean the vital knowledge necessary to make the leap from manuscript to published—profitably.

How to Profit in Publishing, will be given free to early bird registrants who are taking Jamie's class. This 70-page book contains all the class materials. Books are available on a first-come, first-served basis so once you register, please email and let us know so we can reserve your book. Once our supply is gone, no more will be available. (This book is not available in stores!)


TinyBurst--- ARE WE THERE YET? --- (Dynamic Dialogue)
--- Catherine McLean

Catherine McLeanLearn how to confidently create and convey internalizations, telepathic conversations, and words spoken out loud that net dynamic dialogue.

Learn to effectively use speech tags and beats (stage business) and how punctuation can enhance the sound and emotion of a character's words.


TinyBurst--- PICKING UP HITCHHIKERS --- (Writing the Other: How to Make Your Cast of Characters Inclusive without Offending)
--- Fritze Roberts

Fritze Roberts

In this integrative workshop, you’ll learn how to diversify the characters you write without relying on stereotypes or tropes. We’ll cover how to write people of different genders, sexualities, cultures, and colors.

Then we’ll go over tips for how to avoid common pitfalls. An open and respectful attitude will be expected of all participants. 


TinyBurst--- Building a Garage --- (Web Site Building for the Tech Challenged)
--- Susan Gable

Susan GableYour writing needs a home! In today’s digital world, that means you need a website, whether you’re just starting out or already published.

Problem is, you just don’t have the mechanical (technical) skills to get it done. Not only that, but you don’t even know the basics!

Come learn the basics (and more!) of websites! USA Today Bestselling Author Susan Gable will give you a glimpse under the hood and show you around her favorite website engine. You’ll be tinkering in no time!

TinyBurst--- WHAT DRIVES YOUR STORY? --- (Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict)
--- Kathy Otten

Kathy OttenWhat are all the agents and editors of the publishing world looking for in the piles of manuscripts they receive: beautiful writing, an interesting plot, or great characters? In this workshop, we’ll take look at the three basic building blocks of story construction and learn how to use them to create a story your reader will love.


TinyBurst--- PUMPING YOU UP --- (Fueling Your Stories with Humor)
--- Amy Bovaird

Amy BoviardLaughter isn’t just for stand-up comics. In this hands-on workshop, Bovaird offers tips on injecting humor into your prose. She shares personal examples and provides a nurturing environment for participants to experiment with their own humor. Authentic humor lightens, enlivens, changes perspectives and sheds light on uncomfortable truths all while drawing readers to you.


TinyBurst--- Shiny & the Center of Attention --- (Creating Videos for the Tech Challenged)
--- Susan Gable

Susan GableYou’ve done everything to make your car (writing) shiny. But how do you make it the center of attention? How do you get someone to buy it?

You use the latest tools to make everyone take notice!

By 2022, 82% of internet traffic will be videos. USA Today Bestselling Author Susan Gable will teach you the ins and outs of basic video creation (using easy tools!) in this workshop. Don’t get left in the dust. Make your book the center of attention with video. 

TinyBurst--- FIX A FLAT TIRE --- (Three Act Structure)
--- Catherine McLean

Catherine McLeanMake no mistake—every good story has a structure, a blueprint, a foundation. Otherwise, the story goes flat, dead-ends, the middle is a muddle, and other vexing problems occur. Knowing the fundamentals of the 3 Act Structure helps a writer produce marketable fiction that readers will enjoy.


TinyBurst--- Making It to Your First Rest Stop --- (NANOWRIMO) --- Fritze Roberts

Fritze RobertsTBA



TinyBurst--- OUT OF THE CAR SEAT --- (Middle Grades and YA)
--- Debra Ray Sanchez

Debra Ray SanchezBuilding upon last year’s very successful “Writing Children’s Books” (which was an overview of the basics of writing for children and teens), Debra returns with a more focused class. This workshop will take a closer look at what writing needs to consider when writing for older children and teens.

Focus points include:

  • Age of reader
  • Ability vs. maturity
  • Word count
  • Genre considerations

TinyBurst--- TAKING THE RIGHT FORK IN THE ROAD --- (Author Website vrs. Blog)
--- Gene Ware

Gene WareIf you are like most up-and-coming writers, you probably dream of getting published. Most writers are sadly unprepared for what publishing actually takes. When they do eventually get published, they find themselves disappointed with the process, and with how many books they sell. This session examines what you need to do before you create a plan for the best way to move your writing success forward. In the end, it is simply a matter of doing first things first. Before you can do anything, you need to know:

  1. Where you are now.
  2. Where you want to go,

Only then can you know the best, most cost-effective, and worthwhile ways to move your writing venture forward. One good way to start is Googling yourself. Make sure you use your full name, including middle initial. If you have never done this, do it now. Do your results indicate that you are a “serious” writer?

If you were a literary agent, a publisher’s intake editor, or a potential fan eyeballing the search results, would you be interested? Would having an author website help? Would a blog be better? Maybe both? What is the difference between a Website and a Blog? What about social media? - - Does it help sell books, and is it helpful or harmful?
This session is designed to help you understand these important questions.


TinyBurst--- KEEP ON TRUCKING --- 

After the workshops, meet back in the Hospitality Suite for the silent auction, book signing, announcement of the Writing Contest winners, turn in your opinion survey, and closing remarks.


Download the day's schedule by clicking here (2019 Coming Soon). 



If you’re ready, you can sign up using the button below (registration takes place on the main, Pennwriters, Inc. website). Or click the More button to continue learning more about the Writer's Road Trip.


SignUp Button      MoreButton



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