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Writers' Workshops

If you have a story, these workshops are for you. Hear from local authors as they share their experiences, insight and advice on how they got their stories from ideas to paper to published! The Writers' Workshops are located on the 2nd floor at the top of the escalators.



Common Questions and Misperceptions in Publishing for First Time Authors

Join the Q&A session where local authors will walk you through frequently asked questions: Where do I start? How do I get published? How are traditional publishing, hybrid publishing and self-publishing different? Learn the best way for you to approach your book project.

Panelists: Rowena Crosbie, Bill Friedricks, Chuck Long and Terry Rich
Moderator: Ashley Bohnenkamp

William B. Friedricks

A leading Iowa historian and award-winning author, he serves as the editor of the Iowa and the Midwest Experience book series at the  University of Iowa Press. Published works include: "In for the Long Haul: The Life of John Ruan," "Investing in Iowa: The Life and Times of F. M. Hubbell," "The Real Deal: The Life of Bill Knapp" and "Constructing a Legacy: The Weitz Company and the Family Who Built It"

Rowena Crosbie

President of Tero International, an award-winning corporate training company she founded in 1993, Crosbie's research on the soft skills of leadership has been published in international journals and magazines. She is the co-author of "Your Invisible Toolbox: The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation."

Chuck Long

Long is a former football player and coach. He played at the University of Iowa and also professionally with the Detroit Lions. He coached at Iowa, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Kansas and Norman (Oklahoma) High School. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Iowa Sport Foundation.

Terry Rich

Rich is an author, former CEO of the Iowa Lottery and Blank Park Zoo, and currently the President and CEO of Rich Heritage Inc. He has appeared as a business expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Sirius XM and Fox News, and he has also been a movie host on Starz! and a panel guest on the "Tonight Show." He is the author of "Dare to Dream, Dare to Act: Unlock Your Ideas to Greater Success."

Writing for Children

From picture books to youth and young adult novels, get an insider's look at the KidLit market. Authors will share tips and advice on finding your story and getting it to the right audience. Bring your questions and learn how the Iowa Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators can help you succeed in the world of children's publishing.

Panelists: Rebecca Janni, Cindy Johnson, Katie Kennedy and Jenny Moyer
Moderator: Eileen Boggess

Eileen Boggess

Boggess is Iowa's regional advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI-Iowa). She is the author of the young adult series: "Mia the Magnificent," "Mia the Melodramatic" and "Mia the Meek," along with the play "Mia the Melodramatic." She is a former middle school teacher with a master's degree in Middle Level Education.

Rebecca Janni

Janni is the author of six picture books, including the award-winning "Every Cowgirl" series, the bedtime story, "Jammy Dance," and the bicycle adventure, "SPIN." She expanded her "Cowgirl" series with her debut chapter book, "Nellie Sue, Happy Camper" for beginner readers. Rebecca's books are published by Dutton Children's Books, Dial, Grosset & Dunlap, Penguin Young Readers, and Farrar, Strass & Giroux.

Cindy Chambers Johnson

Johnson writes picture books and middle grade novels. Her first picture book, "Russell Wrestlers the Relatives," was published by Aladdin in 2017. She is a mild-mannered genetic counselor by day, but when inspiration or a deadline calls, she whips out her Big Chief tablet and #2 Ticonderoga pencil and becomes a writer for kids.

Katie Kennedy

Kennedy is the author of the young adult novels "Learning to Swear in America" and "What Goes Up." She teachers college history and lives with her family in Iowa. The KGB rousted her for sitting in Red Square to eat her ice cream, and she has been bitten by a fish.

Jenny Moyer

Moyer writes young adult fiction and is the author of the science fiction fantasy novel, "Flashfall," and its sequel, "Flashtide." She has written and voiced national commercial spots and co-owns Luminary Creative with her filmmaker husband, Jacob.

From Idea to Book: The Ins, Outs and Everything Between

So you have an idea for a book or maybe you've already written one. Now what? This panel discussion will focus on the process of not only writing a good book, but also getting it published through an in-depth discussion, including the pros and cons, of the various publishing and distribution options.

Panelists: Adam Carroll, Joe LeValley and Karla Hansen
Moderator: Dr. Anthony Paustian

Adam Carroll

Carroll is the producer and co-creator of the documentary "Broke, Busted and Disgusted" and author of "The Money Savvy Student." His TEDx Talk "What Playing Monopoly With Real Money Taught Me About My Kids — and Humanity" has surpassed 3.5 million views.

Karla Hansen

Hansen is a documentary filmmaker, a licensed therapist and mental health advocate, and the author of children's picture book, "The Shimmering Secret." The book was inspired by a story during her childhood that reminds her of the sense of wonder that brings sparkle to a child's eyes.

Joe LeValley

LeValley is the author of the novel "Burying the Lede" and was inducted with the Mourning Glory Rock Band into the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. He's a former journalist and served for over 30 years as a healthcare executive in Iowa's largest statewide healthcare network.

Dr. Anthony Paustian

Paustian is an educator, award-winning author of "A Quarter Million Steps," publisher, and host of "A Step Beyond" through iHeartRadio. He is the creator of the annual ciWeek (Celebrate! Innovation Week) and has a regular column in "adAstra," the journal of the National Space Society.

Iowa Authors Panel

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has a rich community of writers and resources. This panel of five published authors will share their experiences on how local literary groups helped them take their stories to the next level. From novels and memoirs to poetry and short stories, there's a group for you.

Panelists: Marilyn J. Baszczynski, Francis Sparks, Kimberly Stuart, Julie Stone and Jennifer Wilson
Moderator: Kay Fenton Smith

Marilyn J. Baszczynski

Baszczynski is the past president and current editor of the Iowa Poetry Association. Her latest book, "Gyuri: A Poem of Wartime Hungary" tells a story of her parents' hardship and romance in WWII-era Hungary.

Kay Fenton Smith

Smith is the author of "Zakery's Bridge," a collection of nonfiction stories told by children and families who immigrated to Iowa from nine different countries. She teaches creative writing and cultural arts workshops inspired by the book. She is a board member of the Des Moines Writers' Workshop, a member of SCBWI-Iowa and an advisor for Drake Community Press. She enjoys helping writers of all ages achieve their writing goals.

Francis Sparks

Sparks is the author of "Made Safe," an award-winning detective thriller set in Central Iowa. He is a frequent guest author and a member of the Des Moines Writers' Workshops, Sisters in Crime (SINC) and several other national and local writing communities.

Julie Stone

Stone writes women's fiction and is the author of three novels: "These Darn Heels," "Déjà Who?" and "Try, Try Again." She is the graduate of the University of Iowa and a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Women's Fiction Writers of America (WFWA), the Iowa Writers' House and the Des Moines Writers' Workshop.

Kimberly Stuart

Stuart writes both Christian and women's fiction. She is the author of eight novels, including the "Heidi Elliot Series," "Act Two," Stretch Marks," "Operation Bonnet," "Sugar" and her latest book "Sugar Land." She is a member of Iowa Writers and Illustrators, the Iowa Writers' House and other local and national writing organizations. Kim is passionate about helping others live great stories.

Jennifer Wilson

Wilson's memoir, "Running Away to Home," received the Best Nonfiction of 2011 Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and earned her the Emerging Iowa Author Award in 2012. In the past she has written for publications like Esquire, National Geographic Traveler, Better Homes & Gardens, The Chicago Tribune and many others. She recently earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College.