Writers Conference

Thursday – February 20, 2020 – Kick Your Writing Up a Notch Workshop

It’s not uncommon for writers to hit a point where they know their writing is good, but it’s not where they want it (or need it) to be. They could use a little help to push their skills and story to the next level, but they’re not sure how to get that push or where to apply it in their manuscripts. In this workshop, you’ll learn ways to improve your writing and story developing skills to take your novel from nice to “Wow!” From macro-level structure techniques, to micro-level word choices, this full-day of exercises and tips will dig into your writing and polish the gems within. Bring your laptop or pages and be ready to write!


$85 in advance ($90 at the door) includes lunch.

Friday – February 21, 2020 – Presentations

8:30 – 5:00 — Friday, February 21

We're excited to announce a full day of writer and panel presentations soon.

3000 Years of Great Writing Advice in 60 Minutes – Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark has been called America’s writing coach.  Over the last three years he has been digging through influential writing books — from Aristotle to Stephen King — looking for the best, most practical, most inspiring advice for writers at every level. His discoveries have just been published in his new book “Murder Your Darlings.”  He’s ready to share it.  And he will take musical requests.

Diversity Schmersity – Rod Martinez

Diversity in writing has become a hot topic. From whether a person of one race can factually portray a protagonist of another, to dialect, to “isms” to dealing with cultures and sexual orientation. Diversity Schmersity flows through these subjects and more in a smooth, fun (non offensive) entertaining way while still keeping you on task.

Stomp Stage Fright – Rod Martinez

It is widely known that public speaking is one of the greatest fears among us all. It tops the score in almost every “What do you fear most” list next to dying, the IRS and having to eat broccoli at grandma’s house. When we began our quest in the literary world, several fantasies of fame were sure to follow. However, once we finished that masterpiece and knew how great it was, lo and behold those literary giants weren’t knocking on our doors. But maybe local notoriety happened. In either case, you as an author have to prepare for that dreaded fear – if you wrote a book, got it published, sooner or later you will stand in front of an audience of your peers, or readers or even students to promote it. We will cover this with different scenarios to help make you a literary rock star.

The (Florida) Facts Behind the Fiction – Richard Wickliffe

Award-winning Florida author Richard Wickliffe explains the true stories and events that inspired his tropical crime thrillers, one of which was optioned by a major film studio. For aspiring authors, a great way to find inspiration within our own incredulous headlines. For readers, a peek behind the curtain, proving that truth can be as disturbing than fiction.

Story Starters- Memory, Sensory, Arbitrary – Steph Post

Using a variety of techniques including exploring memory, visual art, archetypes, artifacts and collaboration, students will engage in writing exercises and discussions designed to develop story ideas, flesh them out, and find their direction. This workshop is designed for all levels of writers with the purpose of generating material for both short and long forms of fiction. Come with a blank slate, leave with a head full of ideas and a notebook full of words!

Writing Mythology- From the Epic to the Personal – Steph Post

Some of the most popular fictional sagas of our time are founded on archetypes, classical narrative arcs, elements of comparative mythology, and fairy tale tropes. A story doesn’t have to be epic, however, to dive deep and make use of these motifs. By dissembling visual art, engaging in discussion, reading modern myths and working with non-traditional writing prompts and development activities, students will create several pieces of workable fiction exploring the narrative mythological tradition on both the large and small scale.

Friday, February 21, 2020 – 6-9p.m. – Literary Legend Reception

The Literary Legend Reception will honor the achievements of award-winning journalist and bestselling author, Craig Pittman.

More info on Pittman and the reception can be found here.

Saturday – February 22, 2020 – Writing Critiques

Individual writing critiques with three award-winning authors. These sessions will be by appointment only and there will be a limit of three pages of work submitted by January 31, 2020.


$125 in advance only.

The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village


All events take place at the The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village. Discount room pricing for conference attendees is available at $155 per night. Please click here to reserve your room before January 20, 2020.

2020 Event Pricing (Registration Coming Soon)

Thursday: $85.00 in advance ($90.00 at the door)


Friday: $125.00 in advance ($130.00 at the door)
Add Saturday: $110.00
Add Legend Reception: $60.00


Thursday/Friday Package: $200.00

Add Saturday: $110.00
Add Legend Reception: $60.00


Saturday: $125.00 in advance only
Janice Hardy
Janice Hardy
Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She also writes the Grace Harper urban fantasy series for adults under the name, J.T. Hardy. When she's not writing fiction, she runs the popular writing site Fiction University, and has written eight books on writing, including her bestselling Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It), Plotting Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, and the Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft series.
Craig Pittman
Craig Pittman
CRAIG PITTMAN is a Florida native and an award-winning journalist at the Tampa Bay Times. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country as well as three other books. His newspaper work has won the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida four times. Twice he has won the top investigative reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists, a national organization. He has twice won the top reporting award, the Charlie, from the Florida Magazine Assocation for freelance stories for Sarasota magazine. His book Oh, Florida! won the gold medal for Florida non-fiction from the Florida Book Awards. His fifth book, Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther comes out in January. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.
Roy Peter Clark
Roy Peter Clark
Roy Peter Clark is senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, one of the most prestigious schools for journalists in the world. He has taught writing at every level -- to schoolchildren and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors -- for more than 40 years. A writer who teaches and a teacher who writes, he has written or edited 19 books, including the best-selling "Writing Tools" and his most recent: "Murder Your Darlings: And Other Gentle Writing Advice. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and plays keyboard in a local blues band.
Sharon Cobb
Sharon Cobb
Sharon Y. Cobb is a professional screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America west. She has written several feature films including June, Lighthouse Hill and On Hostile Ground. She has also penned many award-winning short films and a novel False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter. Sharon also wrote the book, Touched by an Angel, A Christmas Miracle. Sharon owned an advertising agency and shares her knowledge of marketing and e-publishing with writers.
Rod Martinez
Rod Martinez
Author of middle grade & young adult, Rod Martinez grew up on Marvel Comics and Twilight Zone, the inspiration was inevitable. Challenged by his son to write a story about him and his friends “like the Goonies’ but in Tampa”, his first novel “The Juniors” was picked up by a publisher – and the rest– is history. Rod was recipient of the 2017 Jerry Spinelli Scholarship and the 2018 Professional Development for Artists Grant in Tampa and speaks at schools, conferences and libraries promoting the love of the written word.
Rich Wickliffe
Rich Wickliffe
Richard Wickliffe’s crime-thriller “Storm Crashers” was awarded Best Popular Fiction at the Florida Book Awards, and was optioned by a major film studio. His first novel “Tropical Windfall,” set in Key West, was published as a result of an Amazon crime-writing competition and still remains a fan favorite. 2019 marked his first non-Florida “holiday” thriller, “Don’t Be Home For Christmas.”

Rich enjoys speaking about creative crimes, including the FBI’s InfraGard Counterterrorism conferences and on panels at seminars in Las Vegas dedicated to accuracy in crime writing. He is the recipient of the FBI’s Exceptional Service in the Public Interest Award.

Rich’s material usually borrows from the unique (scandalous, criminal or satirical) environments of South Florida where he resides with his wife and family.

Please “Like” Rich Wickliffe’s Author Page on Facebook or visit RichWickliffe.com to see more.

Steph Post
Steph Post
Steph Post is the author of the novels Miraculum, Lightwood, Walk in the Fire, Holding Smoke and A Tree Born Crooked. She graduated from Davidson College as a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship and holds a Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from UNCW. Her work has most recently appeared in Garden & Gun, Saw Palm, and Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in Florida.