Join us for the brand new HNS Academy on Thursday, June 22, 2017, featuring an all- day à la carte menu of craft classes.

THE WRITER’S TOOLBOX, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Internationally acclaimed bestselling author Kate Forsyth (BITTER GREENS, THE WILD GIRL) will presents this all-day soup to nuts workshop.

In this fast-paced and intensive workshop, award-winning author Kate Forsyth equips participants with all the tools they need for their writer’s toolbox: plotting, creating characters and narrative voice, inventing the world of the novel, understanding story structure, building suspense, controlling pace, and much, much more. The workshop is always refined to suit the particular needs of the participants, and so is never taught in the same way. It is suitable for writers at any stage of their creative journey.

DYNAMIC PACING: The Best-Kept Secret to Making Your Novel Impossible to Put Down: Selden Edwards & Irene Goodman, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon

Long-time New York City literary agent Irene Goodman and NY Times best-selling author Selden Edwards (THE LITTLE BOOK, THE LOST PRINCE) will lead a spirited two-hour exploration of creative plot structure that grabs the reader in the first pages and doesn’t let go until the last. In this workshop you will learn how clever plot construction and wording could make all the difference in selling your manuscript to a publisher, no matter the genre.

When Selden Edwards wrote his first novel and sent it out to agents, he received a call from an agent after only a few days. The agent said he “just couldn’t put it down.” The book went out to publishers immediately, and was sold within a matter of days. The editor said he “just couldn’t put it down.” Why? Because this book had great pacing. Most authors don’t even realize that this dollop of zing is essential. If you have good pacing, you can write about watching paint dry and make it impossible to put down. Learn how in this intensive, interactive and occasionally hilarious class.


“YOU HAD ME AT HELLO,” 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

In a duo of afternoon workshops, author-editor Heather Webb (BECOMING JOSEPHINE, RODIN’S LOVER) will teach you how to write that un-put-down-able “grabby” opening and author-actress/director Gillian Bagwell (THE DARLING STRUMPET, VENUS IN WINTER) will reveal the secrets of writing believable dialogue.

HOW TO WRITE AN AGENT-GRABBING OPENING, Instructor Heather Webb: 1:30 pm -3:00 pm

In this workshop, learn what makes an opening grabby—or trite—and how to win the agent or editor’s eye for which you’re vying. We’ll look at first lines, clichés, and techniques for making opening pages both appealing and unique by examining samples of the greats, as well as other methodologies. Attendees are invited to submit pages ahead of time for feedback from the instructor. One-on-one discussion to follow.

SAY WHAT? WRITING HISTORICAL DIALOGUE, Instructor Gillian Bagwell: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

What characters say and how they say it is vitally important to the quality and flavor of a novel, and writing dialogue in a historical novel presents special challenges. Gillian Bagwell will share what she’s learned in the course of writing three acclaimed historical novels.

Participants are also encouraged to attend the workshop offered during the conference titled “Speak the Speech I Pray You,” in which Gillian, Leslie Carroll, C. W. Gortner, and Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, all professional actors and authors of multiple historical titles, read aloud scenes from selected submissions.


Instructor Gordon Frye will walk participants through the history and handling of firearms representing the major periods of history from the mid-16th century to the present day. From Francis Drake to Cromwell, Redcoats to Bluebellies, Cowboys to Doughboys and GI’s, the workshop will walk participants through the proper loading, handling and firing of representative firearms from these periods. Participants will hold, load (using dummy rounds of course!), and learn the proper carrying and firing techniques.


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