Workshop Calendar


February 10, 2018

Sandston Branch Library
23 E. Williamsburg Rd.
Sandston, VA 23150-2011

Doors open: 10am
Meeting begins: 10:30am

Madeline Iva–Plotting Techniques to Save You Time & Make Your Writing Irresistible

Plot forms the backbone of your work-in-progress. But how robust is that skeleton? Sharpen your foundation with easy techniques as you learn Aristotle’s theory of drama in five minutes.

  • What’s an inciting incident?
  • How should I use backstory and flashbacks?
  • What are turning points and where do they go in my plot?
  • I have a lot of characters—when do I introduce them all?
  • Why are endings particularly challenging? What’s a coda?
  • What’s the difference between action arcs, narrative arcs, & character arcs–and how are they necessary in romance? 

We’re now living in a publishing world where rapid, efficient production is key to greater earnings. Learning how to implement plot structure at the beginning of your novel drafting process will save you hours of major revision time later.  

Some of Madeline’s examples will be drawn from these romances:

  • All I Ever Wanted by Kristin Higgins
  • The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
  • Dark Lover, by J.R. Ward
  • The movie “While You Were Sleeping”

Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read or watch any of these works in advance.

Madeline Iva is a fantasy/paranormal romance author with an MFA in creative writing from a top graduate program. A ‘teaching dork’, Madeline has been a professional creative writing instructor since 1997. Romances got her through grim times in high school; after leaving her job as a rhetoric professor in 2008, she joined the world of romance writers and never looked back. Now she lives in the Blue Ridge mountains with her one true love, two adorable tiny dogs, and a very wild cottage garden. In 2012, Madeline Iva started #LoveFest—the romance track at Virginia Festival of the Book. That same year she co-founded, a blog devoted to sex, romance, and pop culture.



March 10, 2018

Tuckahoe Branch Library
1901 Starling Dr.
Henrico, VA 23229-4564

Doors open: 9am
Meeting begins: 10am

Guest Speaker–Kimberly Kincaid

April 14, 2018

Doors open: TBA
Meeting begins: TBA

Guest Speaker–TBA

May 12, 2018

Doors open: TBA
Meeting begins: TBA

Guest Speaker: Adriana Anders & Andie J. Christopher–Building an Author Platform

Build a Newsletter! Create a Reader Group! Find followers! Build a brand! As daunting as marketing is for published authors, it seems inconceivable as a newbie. Two multi-published recent debut authors share insight, timelines, tips & tricks, along with advice on building a personal/author brand, attending conferences, preparing for signings, and more. This will be a step-by-step guide and a candid conversation, providing both introverts and extroverts with advice on how to recognize your strengths and utilize your specific skills on the most relevant social media platforms, decide where to focus your time, money, and energy, and how to find your people.

Bring your computers and get your social media typing fingers ready!

Adriana Anders writes romance that’s dark, smart, and full of heart. She has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and two cats in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

Her debut contemporary romance, UNDER HER SKIN, was a Publishers Weekly Best Romance of 2017.

Andie J. Christopher is a USA Today Bestselling author. She writes edgy, funny, sexy contemporary romance featuring heat, humor, and dirty talking heroes that make readers sweat. She grew up in a family of voracious readers, and picked up her first Harlequin Romance novel at age twelve when she’d finished reading everything else in her grandmother’s house. It was love at first read. It wasn’t too long before she started writing her own stories — her first heroine drank Campari and drove an Alfa Romeo up a winding road to a minor royal’s estate in Spain. Andie lives in the Nation’s Capital with her French Bulldog, Gus, a stockpile of Campari, and way too many books.

June 9, 2018

Annual Awards Luncheon
Twin Hickory Recreation Center
5011 Twin Hickory Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059

Guest Speaker–TBA

July/August–NO MEETING

September 8, 2018

Location: TBA

Guest Speaker–TBA

October 13, 2018

Location: TBA

Guest Speaker–TBA

November 10, 2018

Location TBA

Guest Speaker–TBA

December 8, 2018

Annual Holiday Party
Twin Hickory Recreation Center
5011 Twin Hickory Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Time TBA

Guest Speaker–TBA


Past Meetings


01/13/2018 Jane Friedman—The Art and Business of Author Platform & The Basics of Marketing and Promoting Your Work Online


12/9/2017  Canceled due to inclement weather

11/11/2017 Donald Maass—The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Tell the Story Beneath the Surface

10/7/2017 Sherry Thomas—Intergenre Fortification

9/09/2017 Grace Burrowes  & Joanna Bourne—Ten Tweaks to Perk Up Your Prose

6/10/2017 Kit Wilkinson—The Power of Romance and the Women Who Write It

5/13/2017 Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary Agency—Everything You Need to Know About Finding a Literary Agent

4/08/2017 Lori Wilde—Stepping Stones on the Path to Career Success

3/11/2017 Madeline Martin—Crafting Your Critique & Abigail Sharpe—Write Tight: Eliminating the Unnecessary from Your Manuscript.

2/11/2017 Angele McQuade—Cash & Creativity: Good Finances Spark Creativity.
Linda Budzinski, Tina Glasneck, & Jessica Ruddick—Journey to Publication Panel.

1/14/2017 Fiona Quinn—Making a Move: Characters Colliding in Our Plots


12/10/2016 Mary Burton—Guest Speaker for Holiday Party

11/12/2016 Scott Silverii—Police vs. Sheriff & Liliana Hart—The Future of Self-Publishing

10/8/2016 Due to hurricane Matthew, Madeline Martin & Abigail Sharpe will appear in March 2017.

09/10/2016 Hope Ramsay—Using Character Archetypes to Find the Love Story

06/11/2016 Carolyn Greene & Cynthia Holt Johnson—Guest Speakers for VRW Awards Luncheon

05/14/2016 Mindy Klasky—Organizational Tools For Writers & Kathleen Connor—Search & Rescue Dogs

04/09/2016 Lyz Kelley—Business Planning & Diane Gaston—Polish Your Writing

03/12/2016 Sadeqa Johnson—Pursuing Your Passion & BIAY Kick-off

02/13/2016 Bethany Burke, Blushing Books & Love Between the Covers Screening

01/09/2016 Alexa Day—Self Confidence Workshop & Mary Behre Using Vision Boards


12/12/15 Cathy Maxwell—Guest Speaker Holiday Luncheon

11/14/15 Mary Buckham—All Day Workshops

10/10/15 Valerie Bowman—Romance Novel Marketing 101

9/12/15 Jane Friedman—Write a Query That Gets Manuscript Requests

6/13/15 Kieran Kramer—Awards Luncheon Guest Speaker

5/09/15 Joyce Lamb—How to Get the Media to Fall in Love with You (and Your Book) Alleyne Dickens—Everything I Know About Pitching I Learned at the Dog Show (Part 2)

4/11/15 J.T. Bock—Some Assembly Required: A Whedonite’s Guide to Characterization

3/14/15 Avery Flynn—Street Team Savvy & Alleyne Dickens—Everything I Know About Pitching I Learned at the Dog Show (Part 1)

02/14/15 Mary Burton—Writing Your Novel One Draft at a Time (All Day)

01/10/15 Mary Behre—Writing Contests: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck & Tracey Livesay—The Language of Romancelandia