Workforce Development and Continuing Education

TMCC Writers' Conference

Achieve your writing goals!

Don't miss the 24th Annual TMCC Writers' Conference to be held Saturday, Apr. 12, 2014 in Reno, Nevada.

For decades, TMCC has assisted writers, like you, in their quest for writing excellence. Strengthen your prose, discover what agents want from authors and gain new contacts to further your creative journey, whether it’s writing that first draft or getting your manuscript published.

Meet writers with similar interests

Learn from your colleagues and esteemed literary experts during small group lunch discussions: fiction, nonfiction, creativity, finding representation and more. Bring your own lunch or buy one from us for $12.

Pitch your story in person

Gain valuable face time to pitch your novel or nonfiction book proposal to a literary agent or glean advice from one of our speakers. Reserve one 10-minute private meeting with the professional of your choice for $32.


Optional private meetings ($32) will be held in 10-minute intervals throughout the day. The TMCC Bookstore will sell books during breaks.

(Note: We regret the cancellation of previously-listed presenter Jeff Greenwald.)

8:30-8:40 a.m. Welcome Kathy Berry, conference manager
8:40-9:40 a.m. How to Hook Readers and Keep Them on the Line
Our culture's attention span has never been shorter. If you don't hook your reader within seconds, your work won't get read. Learn how to invite readers into your stories and make them want to stay.
Elissa Wald
9:50-10:50 a.m. Agent Panel Discussion Katie Reed, Ted Weinstein, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg
11 a.m.-noon Writing and Publishing in The E-book Age Laura Fraser
12:10-1:20 p.m. Luncheon Roundtables
with individual speakers (reserve a sack lunch through TMCC for $12 or bring your own) and book sales
1:30-2:15 p.m. The Seven Secrets of Personal Creativity
Learn how to create regularly and deeply, overcome blocks and resistance, deal with doubts and mood swings and get your creative projects completed.
Eric Maisel
2:20-3:20 p.m. Plotting for Novel Writers
Discover how to use a plotting board and screenwriting techniques to organize stories. Discuss the three-act, eight-sequence story structure to keep your writing on track. Recognize how your favorite stories come together and implement those techniques in your work.
Shaunta Grimes
3:30-4:15 p.m. So You Want to Be a Freelancer
Get an editor to notice you and to assign you a story for which you will be paid. Rewards include having more bosses than you ever wanted, more deadlines than you ever imagined, and the satisfaction of being able to answer the question, "So...what do you do for work?"
D. Brian Burghart
4:15-4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks  

Register Today!

Speaker Bios

Elissa Wald
Elissa has published three books (most recently, The Secret Lives Of Married Women), sold three full-length feature screenplays, and placed many different stories and essays in various anthologies and magazines (both online and print). Her work has appeared in The Beacon Best of 2001 (edited by Junot Diaz), Creative Nonfiction, Brain, Child Magazine, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, LitReactor, and many other places. She lives with her husband and children in Portland, Oregon.

Laura Fraser
Laura is the author of several books, the most recent ones being An Italian Affair and All Over the Map, and the e-book The Risotto Guru. In addition, she is the editorial director of Shebooks, a new publishing platform for short e-books by and for women. She's been a journalist for 30 years and has written for numerous national magazines, including: The New York Times; Gourmet; Vogue; Afar; Wired; O, the Oprah Magazine; and numerous others. She is a longtime member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, and teaches writing workshops in Italy and Mexico. More information is available through her website

Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
Eric is the author of more than 40 books, among them Why Smart People Hurt, Coaching the Artist Within, The Van Gogh Blues, A Writer's Paris and A Writer's San Francisco. He founded the profession of creativity coaching, developed natural psychology, the new psychology of meaning, is a featured contributor to Psychology Today and Professional Artist Magazine, and conducts workshops worldwide at centers like Esalen, Omega and Kripalu and in places like San Francisco, New York, London, Paris and Rome.

D. Brian Burghart
Brian is the editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review. He has lived in Reno since Aug. 7, 1984. He worked as a bartender until November 1993, when some friends who were starting a newspaper needed someone to do the music calendar for $25 a week. The Nevada Weekly introduced Reno to alternative journalism. In February 1995, those pals sold the paper to Jeff von Kaenel and Deborah Redmond of the Sacramento and Chico News & Reviews. The living personification of the Peter Principle, Brian performed every editorial job at the weekly before becoming editor in November 2002. He was a freelance writer and a stringer for Time magazine. He has won numerous journalism awards. Brian likes gardening, making stuff out of steel, and hanging with his son, Hunter. He has taught magazine writing and multimedia journalism at the Reynolds School of Journalism, and is currently pursuing master's degrees in English and Journalism.

Shaunta Grimes
Shaunta is the author of a young adult novel, Viral Nation, published by Berkley Books in July 2013. She has studied creative writing at Goddard College and at UNR. She's worked as a teacher, a paralegal, a newspaper reporter, and a vintage clothing seller, but always comes back to writing.

Katie Reed
Katie can't resist a good story. One of her greatest joys is opening a book and being held captive by it till the last page, often staying up all night because the riveting plot and brilliant characters won't let her put it down. Katie obtained her Bachelor's in English from California State University, Sacramento, but the most enlightening part of her college career was her internship with Andrea Hurst Literary Management. There she discovered her passion for being part of the process that connects compelling stories with book-hungry readers.

Katie has worked as a freelance editor and enjoys helping writers develop their novels in preparation for pitching and publication. She understands how challenging the writing process can be and strives to help her clients through it. Katie resides in the small town of Durham, California with her incredible husband, her joyful son, and Snoodles, her loyal cat. Besides her addiction to reading, she is also a diehard Miami Heat fan and obsessed with all things Disney.

Katie is looking for stories that demand to be read, having characters that transcend the page and remain in her thoughts long after the book has been closed. She represents all areas of young adult and adult fiction and nonfiction, with a special interest in YA and fantasy.

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg
Pam started her literary career as assistant to Laurie McLean in early 2012. By April, Pam was promoted to Associate Agent at Larsen Pomada. In January of 2013 after selling twenty-one books in her first year of agenting, Pam was promoted to agent. When Laurie McLean mentioned creating Foreword, Pam jumped at the chance to follow her mentor and create a new agency together. Pam blogs at,, and Brazen Reads.

Pam grew up on a sleepy little Podunk town in Virginia. She's lived in the UK, several US states, and now resides in the Bay Area of California. She has two kids, two dogs, two guinea pigs, but only one husband. You can find her mostly on Twitter where she wastes copious amounts of time.

Pam is interested in the following genres: fun and quirky picture books; chapter books in all genres; high concept young adult; middle grade in fantasy, contemporary, literary; adult historical and contemporary romance; genre fiction such as urban fantasy, paranormal and epic/high fantasy; and pop culture nonfiction and adult picture books.

Ted Weinstein
Ted is a literary agent with broad experience on both the business and editorial sides of publishing. Before founding his agency in 2001 he held senior positions in licensing, marketing, publicity and business development with several major publishing companies. Also a widely published author, Ted has been the music critic for NPR's All Things Considered and a commentator for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Guardian, SF Weekly and Might Magazine.

Ted received his B.A. cum laude in philosophy from Yale College and his Master's degree in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.

He is frequently profiled and quoted in media stories about the publishing business, including these pieces from La Stampa (Italy), Paid Content, PBS MediaShift, MarketWatch, Publishers Weekly, CNet, the Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Publishing Trends, Boston Globe, Mediabistro, the ASJA Monthly (PDF),, Writers Market, Absolute Write, Writers Digest, and frequent appearances in the San Francisco Chronicle and on public radio's Marketplace program.

You can listen to audio recordings of some of Ted's recent workshops and media appearances, including his "Book Proposal Bootcamp" and "The Business of Publishing."

What Writers Have to Say About This Not-To-Be-Missed Event

Being in such a creatively charged environment as the TMCC Writers' Conference is always encouraging and inspiring to me. And I always learn something new and useful about successful writing and publishing techniques.

Nissa, 2012 participant

I felt as though I'd somehow cheated TMCC—I got so much more out of this conference than I ever expected when I paid the fees. Honestly, I've had semester-long college courses that did not leave me with this much information and this many fabulous tips for success. As a published writer already, I'm blown away by how much this conference had to offer. Absolutely worth every penny.

Kristina, 2012 participant

I was skeptical that I would learn much from a one-day conference, but there is always something to learn when you get together with other writers who are all at different stages in their writing journey. The mix of speakers offered a little bit of everything. While I was already familiar with some of what was presented, there was just as much that was new. Lots of "ah ha" moments...All in all, a valuable experience.

Iris, 2012 participant