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 *Complete 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop audio MP3 recording $49.99   
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Full Conference - Audio Recordings

Available on CD-ROM or USB Flash Drive

This package includes the audio presentations from the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop recorded live during the conference, available as MP3 Files on CD-ROM. Each presentation provides the audio recorded live during the conference. Play the CD-ROM or flash drive to listen to the sessions, or transfer the files to your favorite MP3 player and listen to them anywhere!

$49.99 for a limited time!


Dinner with keynote Liza Donnelly
Liza Donnelly

Liza Donnelly is a writer and award-winning cartoonist with The New Yorker Magazine and resident cartoonist for CBS News. Her drawings and writing can also be seen in The New York Times, Medium, Forbes, Politico and other major publications.

She is the creator of a new digital visual reporting/editorial cartooning style called live-drawing. She was the first cartoonist to be granted access on location to live-draw the Academy Awards; she has also live-drawn the Grammys, Tonys, the 2016 Democratic Convention and more. Her innovative approach to reporting and commenting on events has been covered by CBS News, NBC News, Ad Week, USAToday, Watch Magazine and People Magazine.

An extensive traveler, she has received several international awards for her editorial cartoons. An accomplished public speaker, she has been a cultural envoy for the U.S. State Department, traveling the world to speak about freedom of speech and women’s rights. Her TED talk was translated into 38 languages and viewed over 1 million times. Along with her husband Michael Maslin, she was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning, has been a guest on numerous podcasts, television and radio shows, and has been interviewed for many publications. Liza is the recipient of an honorary Ph.D. from University of Connecticut and taught at Vassar College and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is the author/editor of 18 books. Her latest book, Women On Men, was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Donnelly is a charter member of the international project, Cartooning for Peace. She lives in New York.

Secrets to Getting Published in Magazines That Editors Won’t Tell You (But I Will!)
Zachary Petit

In this candid, brutally honest and genuinely funny session, author and editor-in-chief Zachary Petit breaks down the many critical ins-and-outs of writing for magazines, including the ways in which magazine editors can be divas, how to get their attention, get published and begin a successful freelance career.

Wit, Wisdom and a Good Naked Workshop
Joni Cole

Don’t worry, there’ll be no shedding of clothes, but this lively, interactive session will expose the creative process in all its glory. Come prepared to write in response to guided prompts, and share aloud your efforts for inspiration and appreciation. Takeaways: insights into how to confront the dreaded blank page, and how to nurture a more productive, positive creative process. Bring something to write on, and leave any self-doubts at the door.

10 Top Lessons Learned From 10 Years Interviewing Bestselling Authors
Jessica Strawser

Jessica Strawser, editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest magazine, distills best-in-class writing and process advice from her Writer’s Digest conversations with the likes of David Sedaris, Alice Walker, David Baldacci, Lisa Scottoline, Lisa Gardner and others.

Developing the Writer’s Eye
Katrina Kittle

To be a great writer, you need to do three things: write a lot, read a lot and pay attention. This class is all about that paying attention part. Paying attention takes practice and training because our culture doesn’t value it. (Our culture values filling up every second of spare time and attention with devices and being “productive.”) Whether you’re an experienced writer who needs your ideas energized or a beginner who wants to develop better habits and skills, this class will focus your observation skills as well as your ability to capture those observations in writing. A series of exercises will stoke your creativity, fan your senses and wake up your figurative language. This will be an inspiring, energizing class developing your artistic mindfulness and curiosity.

Create Vivid, Believable People, Places and Scenes in Fiction or NonFiction
Sharon Short

Through a mix of examples and writing exercises, writers will learn how to create compelling descriptions without stopping action, slowing pace or overwhelming readers. Techniques include bringing the senses to life, using simile and metaphor, creating context, mastering dialogue tags, describing action and knowing the difference between scene and narrative — or show and tell — and when to use which style most effectively.

Write Without the Fight: Free Your Writing From Doubt and Delay
Julia Roberts

Write Without the Fight takes participants through five steps to see and master their resistance within the creative process. (See it, Name it, Claim It, Tame It, Live it.) Take-aways include:

• Knowing exactly what you do — without being aware — that causes your resistance
• The one mind-tool that is right for you to get over the hump and just write
• How to choose your best collaborators and work with the right people

Geared for beginning writers, though appropriate for all who struggle with writer’s block.

Memoir Boot Camp
Marion Winik

In this hands-on workshop writers will explore a step-by-step process of turning a memory into a crafted essay. A series of prompts will break this mysterious transformation into bite-sized tasks, from choosing what to write about to developing characters, setting and dialogue, to thinking about theme, structure and organization. Participants will give each other feedback along the way and all walk out with the first draft of a short essay. Marion will also share some insights about the ethics of writing about your family and friends, and about the uses of both research and imagination in memoir.

It’s Okay to Laugh: How to Use Humor in the Dark Places
Lauretta Hannon

This workshop examines how to use humor when dealing with painful material. In this wildly interactive workshop, participants will do exercises such as six-word memoirs and then share them with the class. The session aims to open writers up to parts of their story they thought were better left unmentioned. There will be much cackling in this session and probably a few tears as well.

What’s the Real Deal? Uncovering the Best Publishing Options for Your Book
Panel moderated by Dr. Nancy Berk, featuring David Braughler, Donna Cavanagh and Cindy Ratzlaff

It’s ready and waiting — all your amazing book needs is a great publisher. But in the ever-changing writing world with many publishing and promotional options, do you know how to identify your best match? This panel will cover the pros and cons of traditional and independent publishing, the fascinating overlaps and gaps, and strategies, tips and tricks to maximize your publishing success.

So, What’s Your Website Done for You Lately?
Tracy Beckerman and Anne Parris

Is your website really doing all that it can to attract an audience? If you’re putting all your effort into your content, but not enough into your web tools, you may just be shouting into the void. In this tip- and trick-laden session, Tracy Beckerman and Anne Parris will select the websites of three session attendees (submitted in advance) and do live website reviews while telling you how to make your website work harder for you.

Developing Voice and Style
Susan Pohlman

An agent once told Susan Pohlman that the one thing she looks for in a submission is a solid sense of voice. Craft can be taught, editors can be hired, but voice is the real deal. A command of voice and style proclaims to the reader that you can be trusted to lead them on a worthwhile journey to a place of truth. This interactive workshop will clarify the definition of voice and equip you with specific tools to develop your own distinct writing style. Come ready to write and have some fun!

Lunch with keynote Karen Walrond
Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond is an attorney, speaker, photographer, author and leadership coach. She is the creative mind behind the award-winning website Chookooloonks.com, which features travel, art, food and life and serves as an inspirational source for living with intention, creativity and adventure. Her work, described as “all about connection, creativity, determination and resonance that we all experience, if only we look for the light,” has been featured on CNN.com, USA Today, Good Housekeeping and Wondertimemagazines, among others. She has appeared on PBS and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Her bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful — and may even be the source of our superpowers. Her latest book, Make Light: Stories of Bright Sparks, Slow Burns and Thriving Outloud, shares the stories of people who make it their mission to thrive out loud by pursuing passions, new businesses and breathtaking adventures, inspiring us all to hone our minds, bodies and spirits in ways that allow us to change our worlds.

She’s a certified Daring Way facilitator, trained in Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage, empathy and worthiness. Her keynote talks and workshops include these concepts, specifically addressing how vulnerability — the ability to show up in the midst of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure — is the strongest measure of courage that we have, courage which can help foster innovation and creativity.

How to Uncover Your Own Voice and Get it Down on Paper
Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff

Using a series of improvisational writing techniques and a simple kitchen timer, this hands-on workshop will help you get past your self-criticism, reveal your unique voice and help you incorporate that voice into your writing. You’ll learn how to use your voice to paint a clear picture for readers, helping them experience who you are, where you are, who you are to the others in your scene and what makes this day so important in the story. Come prepared to write without self-editing and to give your imagination a good workout.

The Comfortable Chair: Bringing Humor to the Personal Essay
Dinty W. Moore

Humor on the page is a delicate flower, and there is nothing quite so awkward as watching it wilt. This interactive workshop will explore the basics of using humor effectively in the personal essay, and in nonfiction writing generally, including the user of juxtaposition, irony, understatement and exaggeration. You will examine a few sterling examples and then pull out your pens and notebooks to try it for yourselves. We will laugh, too, along the way. For those bothered by delayed gratification, here’s a preview: The best humor sneaks up on you.

The F Word: Feminist Comic Writers Who Inspire Us
Peter Marino

How does outstanding feminist humor lead to better writing? In this workshop, you will focus on three iconic humorists — Nora Ephron, Fran Lebowitz and Tina Fey — and one writer’s writer, novelist Anne Lamott. Attendees will experiment with a writing exercise devised by Lamott, which is remarkable effective at unleashing creativity.

Sit-Down Comedy: Tweet Like a Stand Up and Kill It on Social Media
Joel Madison

Joel Madison wants to help you be funnier online. Are your tweets tired? Does your Facebook fall flat? In this hands-on session, you’ll learn the tricks of the joke-writing trade from a pro. Under Joel’s guidance, you’ll refine your comedic online voice by “punching-up” your own tweets and posts. Then you’ll create new posts from scratch. You’ll walk out with skills that will take your social media presence to the next level. Remember: you may not hear the spit-takes out in Internet-land, but that doesn’t mean they’re not happening.

Their, There, They’re: A Guide to Improving Communication and Using Words Goodly
Leighann Lord

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the English language? Are you annoyed by acronyms? Humbled by homonyms? Does punctuation make you panic? You’re not alone. First words, last words, magic words, bad words. Logophile (word lover) Leighann Lord takes attendees on a fun frolic through the land of word nerdery, exploring the power that language has to hurt and heal; entertain and inspire. And why sometimes, even for professional speakers and writers, our communication efforts can fail. But fear not! Attendees will take away a renewed appreciation for the English language and concrete tools on how to use it better. In this fun refresher, Leighann will show you:

• The importance of text, tone and body language
• Why subtext and context matter
• Why autocorrect is not your friend
• Why you should not ignore Microsoft Word’s “red” and “green” lines
• The three things you should do before you hit send
• The most important question to ask before you hit send
• five great resources literally at your fingertips

Landing a Book Deal: Creative Ways to Grow Your Brand
Jessica Murnane

Erma Bombeck quipped, (I have always felt cookbooks were fiction, and the most beautiful words in the English language were room service.) Jessica Murname landed a cookbook deal because food helped her heal — and she had a story to tell. She’ll share how she went from landing page to finding a publisher. Her workshop will cover the importance of a hook and a sharable concept when pitching, proposing and writing a book; positioning yourself as an expert (even if you’re still technically a beginner; meeting your audience where they are; and growing your brand before and after getting the deal.

Inspired: The Art of Writing with Humor and Heart
T. Faye Griffin

This lighthearted and highly interactive workshop is an entertaining primer on the rapidly growing genre of inspirational humor writing. Audio and visual materials will be employed to engage participants in fun and thought-provoking writing exercises, readings and gentle critiques.

Dinner with keynote Rita Davenport
Rita Davenport

Rita Davenport is an award-winning TV producer, host, bestselling author, corporate trainer, inspirational humorist and world-renowned entrepreneur.

In her role as president of a network marketing company, she elevated revenues from $5 million to $980 million dollars annually.

Rita has “walked her talk.” Drawing on her vast experience in effective sales, leadership and team building, she trains, inspires and entertains a variety of Fortune 500 corporate clients. Viewed in more than 32 million homes on her television shows, Success Strategies and Laugh Your Way to Success, Rita is a gifted messenger. She has the unique ability to empower, entertain and train audiences worldwide.

Rita’s four best-selling books have reached sales of more than one million copies, including Making Time, Making Money and her newest hit, Funny Side Up, which was published by Success magazine.

Having shared the stage with John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Sir Richard Branson, Les Brown and Daren Hardy, Rita was elected to the National Speakers Association’s Hall of Fame. She is also an esteemed “charter member” with the distinct recognition of CSP and CPAE held by only 3 percent of national speakers.

Rita has been featured in many prestigious publications, ranging from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal to People and Success magazine, and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America and Kathie Lee & Hoda, among countless other television and radio programs. She’s also known for speaking two languages — English and Southern.

Drag Races, Detours and Destinations: Finding the Power in Your Creative Journey
Panel moderated by Dr. Nancy Berk, featuring Kathy Kinney, Katrina Kittle, Leighann Lord and Jessica Murnane

Creative success rarely happens overnight. Ask any overnight sensation, and they will remind you of the years of hard work that led up to those late night shows and paparazzi moments. So how do you know when you’re in the right place? Is it best to tiptoe or dive into the experience? When do you embrace or ignore the critics? And what about shifting gears? Is dreaming big ever a detriment? This panel will help you identify strengths and weaknesses, look at your obstacles in new ways and discover alternative shifts and strategies to give you power and options on your writing journey and beyond.

How to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page
Tracy Beckerman and Anne Parris

Many people wonder why they may have 1,000 Facebook fan page followers but only a tenth of their fans actually see their posts. Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool for promoting your blog and getting more eyeballs on your work, but you have to know how to be Facebook savvy and use its tools to engage more people with the right content at the right time. In this session you’ll learn why you should:

• Share video that’s already on Facebook, rather than from YouTube or another platform
• Create and use memes
• Use the Native Scheduler function to schedule your posts
• Share 20 percent of your own material and 80 percent of other people’s stuff
• And lots more tips for increasing the number following your fan page and the number Facebook chooses to share your posts with

Lunch with keynote John Grogan
John Grogan

John Grogan is the author of the international #1 bestseller Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, which has sold 6 million copies in more than 30 languages and was turned into a major motion picture starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. He also is the author of the national bestseller The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir and of numerous children’s books. A native of Detroit, he spent 20 years as a journalist and newspaper columnist in Michigan, Florida and, most recently, at The Philadelphia Inquirer. His popular, award-winning column was known for its blend of humor, warmth and pathos. John is an adjunct professor of creative narrative nonfiction writing at Lehigh University. In his free time, he enjoys gardening, backpacking and sailing. He and his wife, Jenny, live with their two surprisingly calm Labrador retrievers in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

It’s a Brand New Brand YOU World: Why Authors MUST Treat Themselves and Their Books as Brands - Even Before Publication
Cindy Ratzlaff

You are the brand and every book you write is a brand extension. Developing a personal author brand will save you time, money and frustration as you move from the writing phase to the marketing phase of your book — and help you attract a large following of passionate readers who are truly interested in your books. Cindy Ratzlaff will share the exact tips, tools and strategies she has used to help best-selling authors create their own personal brands, promote their books through a set of massive, branded social platforms and drive sales — all without compromising their privacy or engaging in hardcore selling. You’ll come away from this workshop with a step-by-step guide to developing your own personal author brand and a checklist of action items you can take immediately to build your own brand and position your social influence for rapid growth.

Dinner with keynote Monica Piper
Monica Piper

Monica Piper is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and stand-up comic. She has written for sitcoms Roseanne, Mad About You and Veronica’s Closet, and was the head writer of the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats. She also developed and wrote series for Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network.

She starred in her own Showtime Network special, No, Monica, Just You and was nominated by the American Comedy Awards as one of the top five female comedians in the country. She is proud to be an artist-in-residence with the Jewish Women’s Theatre of Los Angeles. Her critically acclaimed one-woman play, “Not That Jewish” ran to sell-out crowds in LA, before its hit seven-month run Off Broadway. When she’s not touring with the show, she works in the corporate world as a motivational comedian. As a breast cancer survivor, she inspires audiences everywhere to lose the stress and find the funny.

Monica began her career as a high school English teacher. While finding it rewarding, she had to move on: “I couldn’t handle the money and prestige.” She lives in Santa Monica with her son, Jake, whom she loves and adores “almost every day.”


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