Choose one workshop in the morning (10:00am to 12:00pm) and one workshop in the afternoon (2:00pm to 4:00pm). Stay for a bonus author panel discussion, Self-publishing 101 at the end of the day.

Morning Workshops (10:00am to 12:00pm)

AM1: Death Done Right with Lesley Donaldson

“I’m a writer Jim, not a doctor.” Why doesn’t anyone perform CPR right in Hollywood? Learn why Flatliners was wrong, and about other typical medical blunders in popular culture in this hands-on workshop. You can write a better death or dramatic recovery than Hollywood.

Lesley Donaldson is a multi-genre author who loves crafting escapes for readers and helping authors achieve their writing dreams. Her debut fantasy, The Queen’s Viper, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards. Indie and small-press published, Lesley is a Canadian nurse, hobby medievalist, mother to a son with special needs, and an often companionable wife. Catch up with her on Facebook at and on Twitter at

AM2: Marketing for Genre Fiction Authors: Crafting Books that Sell, and Selling Books You’ve Crafted With Love with Zoe York

This workshop will:

  • walk writers through a catalogue assessment of books written to date and guide them towards a writing plan for the next year (or two)
  • introduce new tricks for their marketing toolbox
  • help them craft a marketing plan that meets their publishing goals

This workshop will be most useful for writers who write genre fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, suspense etc.) and children’s fiction of all ages. 

Zoe York is a USA Today and NYT bestselling author of more than fifty romances. Her career began in 2013, when she self-published a small town Canadian romance, What Once Was Perfect. That was a Christmas story, published in the month of June, and it sold 45 copies, mostly to her friends and family. The rest of her career has been mostly about lessons learned and trying new things over and over again until she got them to work. In 2014 and 2015, the boxed sets SEALs of Summer and SEALs of Summer 2 hit the NYT bestselling lists, growing her reputation as a writer of military romance as well as modern, sexy small town stories. In 2016, under her alter-ego Ainsley Booth, she co-wrote the blockbuster erotic romance, Prime Minister, which debuted on the USAT list. Today, she has more than three million copies of her books in circulation, and her friends and family no longer feel the need to buy every release.

AM3: Creative Nonfiction with Phil Dwyer

The techniques of creative nonfiction: help you write more effectively in a variety of professional and personal situations; provide dynamic new ways for you to preserve life experiences as you or others felt them; allow you to share stories in ways that readers will find vivid and compelling; and open up new perspectives on how you think about non-fiction writing, from biographies and memoirs to blogs and public speaking scripts to personal essays and magazine articles. In this interactive workshop, Phil Dwyer will provide story theory, examples and interactive exercises to help you develop or further a memoir or other CNF project.

Phil Dwyer is the author of Conversations on Dying (Dundurn, 2016), an examination of the end-of-life experience of one of Canada’s palliative care pioneers. 

Dwyer is an Alumni of Humber School for Writers. His journalism, essays, travel writing and fiction have been published in over fifteen international titles, including The Financial Times, The Times (of London) and the Globe and Mail. In 2014 his short story Allergies Stephanie won first prize in a contest judged by author Sarah Selecky, and in 2016 his non-fiction story Answers Mostly D: A Cautionary Quiz, was short-listed in the Carte Blanche/Creative Non Fiction Collective’s annual contest. In 2017 his non-fiction story Where The Spine meets the head was long-listed in the CBC annual non-fiction contest. 

He has workshopped short fiction with Alissa York at the UofT and non-fiction with Charlotte Gill at Banff.

Afternoon Workshops (2:00pm to 4:00pm)

PM1: Genre Bending & Blending: A Structural Approach to Fitting All the Pieces Together with Kate Freiman

It’s not easy breaking into the writing market and often pushing the boundaries is frowned upon when you strive to follow traditional methods. However, all is not lost! Authors have been blending genres and bending the rules for a long time… it just helps to know what works and how far to push. This workshop will use a number of story structure models to explore how different genres can be blended to create new hybrid genres. Geared to writers of all genres, and based on the premise that different story structure and models suit different genres, it will give attendees the tools to pursue both new and tried-and-true genre crosses.

Kate Freiman

Kate Freiman is an award-winning, USA-Today bestselling author of romantic fiction ranging from contemporary romances (some dramatic, some lightly comedic) to romantic high fantasy, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Of her stories, a reviewer wrote: “Kate Freiman deals powerful emotions with a tender hand.” She is a member of the Honor Roll for Romance Writers of America and is the last remaining charter member of Toronto Romance Writers. Kate holds a B. A. and an M. A. in English literature and wrote her M. A. thesis on British Detective Stories of the Golden Age (1920-1939). She is working on a new series of light paranormal romances to be indie-published. After serving five years as president of TRW back in its formative years, Kate somehow got herself talked into becoming the current president of the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime and has a bias toward mysteries heavy with romance and, wherever possible, talking cats. Her own cats do not talk, but her Golden Retriever, Tosca, sings opera and her Morgan horse, Unique, does stand-up comedy when she wants to stay out in the paddock.

PM2: Deep Research Techniques for Writers with Nate Hendley

Whether you are trying to find out what milk prices were in Winnipeg in the 1920s or secure court documents, financial statements or corporate secrets, research can be a vital component to writing compelling fiction and non-fiction alike.

Shocking as it may be, there’s plenty of material out there that isn’t available on the Internet and requires deep research techniques to uncover. As a true-crime author, Nate Hendley knows what it’s like to dig up obscure data, look through archives and deal with bureaucrats and administrators in search of important information. Nate offers insights about his own methods and those of other journalists and authors, in an informative workshop that aims to sharpen your research skills.

Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist and author. He has written a series of non-fiction books, primarily in the true-crime genre on subjects such as the American Mafia, the drug methamphetamine, Bonnie and Clyde and the Steven Truscott case.

Nate’s most recent book, The Boy on the Bicycle, examines the largely forgotten wrongful murder conviction of 14-year old Ron Moffatt of Toronto in 1956. Nate’s website ( offers more details about his books and background.

PM3: Creative Writing Kick-Start with Richard Scarsbrook

Eliminate “Writer’s Block.” Discover new ideas for stories you didn’t even know you had. Transform your experiences, ideas, and feelings into great stories. Using fun, real-time writing cues and prompts, you can leave this workshop with the beginnings of up to a dozen new stories.

Richard Scarsbrook is the award-winning author of nine books:  Rockets Versus Gravity, The Indifference League, Destiny’s Telescope (adult fiction); Cheeseburger Subversive, Featherless Bipeds, The Monkeyface Chronicles, Nothing Man and The Purple Zero (Young Adult fiction); Six Weeks, and Apocalypse One Hundred (poetry). He has also published nearly one hundred short stories and poems, and teaches Creative Writing Courses at The Humber School for Writers and George Brown College. Find out more about Richard’s literary adventures at