YARWA Workshops

All of YARWA’s workshops are run online in a Yahoo discussion group. Instructors post their lessons and assignments daily (or near-daily) and students all over the globe log in at their leisure to access class materials and participate in discussions. The classes are designed to be as user friendly and accessible as possible. Please join us!

Don’t forget: in order to get the reduced member rate, you must be a member of both YARWA and RWA.


February 2017: Dumping the Info Dump

  • Instructor: Eilis Flynn and Heather Heistand
  • Dates: February 27- March 24
  • Cost: $15 for YARWA members ($25 for non-members)

Dumping the Info Dump

About the course
Say you’re starting work on your latest story. You’ve just done a ton of research to get all the details right, down to the outer ridge of your heroine’s left boot. You are proud of what you’ve done, and who could blame you? Inspired, you want to bring the reader into the story and you want him or her to be as fascinated and intrigued by it as you are. But you make a small tactical error. You dump all this stuff into the beginning of your story so your readers can get started on the wonderfulness that is your story… And you are left scratching your head when the readers read the first couple of pages…and wander away. What happened? Why weren’t they fascinated? What’s wrong with them?! So how much research is just right? Here are some tricks and tips to keep in mind when it comes to making the best use of your research, along with some examples of what to do and what not to do.

About the Instructors:
Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a new-adult novel, novellas, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for almost 40 years. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Heather Hiestand’s first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period and she continues to return there, fascinated by the rapid changes of the 19th century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she is a bestseller at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She also writes as Anh Leod. For more information, see her website at heatherhiestand.com. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather@heatherhiestand.com.


March 2017: Designing Visual Marketing Content

  • Instructor: Brinda Berry
  • Dates: March 6-31
  • Cost: $15 for YARWA members ($25 for non-members)

Designing Visual Marketing Content

About the course
Ever wonder why size matters? It does.

Want to use that photo of Zac Efron to advertise your book? Don’t.

Not artistic? You can be.

In this hands-on course, we’ll create images for our book marketing using several different web and mobile applications. We’ll discuss the optimal sizes and shapes of images for web marketing, the balance and power of words, and how to choose content. Basically, we’ll build your book world domination campaign. Apps will include PicMonkey, Canva, and Pixlr.

About the Instructor:
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family, where she surfs (the internet) too much, writes too much, and laughs too much. She’s fond of a lot of things, including but not limited to Kings of Leon, peanut butter cookies, flip flops, and good friends. Oh…and books. Of course, books.

Brinda holds a MEd in Learning Systems Technology, but this only slightly prepared her for book promotion. It did make her fearless when it comes to all things tech.


March 2017: Creating Unforgettable Characters — How to Make them Walk, Talk and Seduce Readers

  • Instructor: Samantha Bond & Carla Caruso
  • Dates: March 20- April 14
  • Cost: $15 for YARWA members ($25 for non-members)

Creating Unforgettable Characters

About the course
Have you heard of Buffy Summers? How about Scarlett O’Hara? Or maybe you remember Jessica and Elizabeth, the Sweet Valley twins? Perhaps Rhett Butler sticks in your mind or even The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. The one thing these characters have in common is that they’re unforgettable. They’re iconic, stand the test of time, and readers and viewers can’t get enough of them.

So how do you bestow your characters with the same ‘unforgettable-ness’?

In this workshop, two experienced writing teachers will deconstruct what makes an iconic character. They’ll discuss why some work and others fail. Through practical lessons covering the important components of character, the instructors will show you how to make your very own walking, talking, unforgettable characters who will simply seduce your readers.

At the end of the workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to submit a piece of your work-in-progress for critical feedback on the effectiveness of your characters.

About the Instructor:
Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day, Cleo and Shop Til You Drop.
These days, in between writing romantic comedy novels (sometimes with a touch of cosy mystery), she plays mum to twin lads Alessio and Sebastian. Published with Penguin and HarperCollins, her books include the ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series (kicking off with A Pretty Mess), Catch of the Day, Starcrossed, and Cityglitter.
Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au, ‘Carla Caruso Author’ on Facebook, @CarlaCaruso79 on Twitter, or her blog, www.theunitalianwife.com.

Samantha Bond is a reformed corporate lawyer, now writer and public servant. Her creative work has been published in numerous literary journals, anthologies and magazines. She has an Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing, winning the award for Highest Overall Achievement for her graduating class of 2014 and now tutors in that course. She also runs creative writing workshops, has taught for Romance Writers of Australia, and her novels have agent representation. As a reviewer for Indaily and Glam Adelaide, Samantha has had over 200 articles published. She also does freelance corporate writing work and creative writing mentoring. Samantha is part of the Seasoned With Romance virtual writers group, which has produced seasonally-themed chick lit anthologies. These have been downloaded in excess of 15,000 times and received grant funding from Romance Writers of Australia. Finally, Samantha is a busy mum of two littlies, is an unapologetic chocolate addict, believes that Buffy would so slay Edward (which perhaps shows her age), and is a writers’ festival groupie. If you’d like her services, she’s contactable through her website, www.samanthastaceybond.com.


April 2017: Master Conflict for any Story

  • Instructor: Melinda Williams
  • Dates: April 3-28
  • Cost: $15 for YARWA members ($25 for non-members)

Master Conflict for any Story

About the course
Most authors try to conquer all aspects of writing. Hard at times, huh? Want to master the art of conflict? Then, take this class where we will explore conflict in a story. Anticipate a fun filled class where it’s easy going and a lot of knowledge. Unleash the power of conflict, transform your writing, and intensify your conflict. If the above statements ignite a yearning, then come on in and sign up for the class.

About the Instructor:
Melinda lives in the majestic mountains of Arizona. She is a published author of romance, mystery, and paranormal. She also writes articles for Southern Writers Magazine, Native Hoop Magazine, and a former editor for CM Wright Author Services, owner of Red Rock Author Services. When she isn’t creating a suspense story with captivating characters, she can be found reading, writing articles for a magazine, or spending time with her husband Vernon and her kids, Shaelee and Erik.

As a young child, she loved reading and writing. To her own surprise, she started writing and creating her very own world, a place where she could go and lose herself with just a pen and paper.

She grew up with the fascination of the American Indian. Her love for them grew rapidly as she read about them from my history book. She wanted to show, in her writings, of the proud people that the American Indians truly are. They show honor and respect for all living things. If she can capture just a small portion of that in her writings then that would be an added bonus for her.


April 2017: Author Branding

  • Instructor: Lana Pattinson
  • Dates: April 17 – May 12
  • Cost: $15 for YARWA members ($25 for non-members)

Author Branding

About the course
Have you ever thought…gosh, that author looks so put together. Everything matches on her website and social media, and she stands out from the crowd.
Branding for Authors is a mixture of career planning and marketing. Of defining yourself, and what you offer to your readers.
Each week will have a lecture and assignment(s) to complete, with feedback from the instructor and the rest of the class. You’ll finish this class with a clear understanding of your brand, what you stand for, and how you can leverage your messaging to reach your target audience.


  • What is a brand and why is it important?
  • Defining yourself through branding
  • The 3 phases of brand building
  • Developing your visual brand guidelines
  • Visual tools for branding consistently across multiple social media channels
    Please note: this course walks you through strategic thinking and offers exercises to define your brand. It does not include tactical specifics (e.g. which social media channels to use or how to refresh your author website).

About the Instructor:
Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I’ve worked in the wine & spirits industry, marketing powerhouse brands globally such as The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Jacob’s Creek wines, and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur.
I’ve lived all over: Ontario, Texas, Las Vegas, New York & Scotland. I have a BS in Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
I write YA Historical Fantasy. I’m a member of RWA, YARWA, and CHRW.
Currently, I live in Westchester County, New York with my husband, daughter, and furbaby. Connect with me via my website, LanaPattinson.com, where I blog about Books, Booze & Scotland. You can also find me on Pinterest or Twitter.
Cheers! Lana



For any questions, please contact Danielle Doolittle, YARWA’s VP of Programs at vp-programs@yarwa.com or Angele McQuade, YARWA Workshop Coordinator at workshops@yarwa.com

Interested in teaching for YARWA?

We are interested in workshops in ALL areas including:

  • Craft
  • Plotting
  • Character development
  • GMC
  • Writing scenes
  • Planning/writing sequels/series
  • Deep POV
  • Marketing/branding
  • Writing romance
  • Blogging
  • Self-publishing
  • Getting into school and library markets
  • Teen/YA-specific topics

All our classes occur on-line, via a private YARWA Yahoo loop. Classes can range in length from 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, or more. YARWA splits the proceeds of each class 50/50 with the instructor.

Please submit all proposals to Danielle Doolittle, YARWA’s VP of Programs at vp-programs@yarwa.com along with the following information:

  • Name of Instructor
  • Title/Brief Description of Workshop
  • Bio
  • Dates you are available to teach the course

Thank you for considering YARWA!