• Announcing our 2024 Flathead River Writers Conference


    Red Lion Hotel, Kalispell, Montana

    October 4-6, 2024


    October 4 Workshop with Keir Graff - $125

    October 5 and 6 Conference - $190


    Student Discount and Single-Day Passes Will Be Available

    Registration for Members will open around April 20

    (Members will receive an email when registration opens)




    Author/Editor Keir Graff - 4.5 hour-workshop, Friday, Oct. 4


    Capture Readers with Conflict


    Good writers use conflict to capture readers’ attention—great writers put conflict on every

    page. Editor and author Keir Graff shares straightforward techniques everyone can use, in

    every kind of narrative writing, to punch up plot lines, create more fascinating characters,

    and make dialogue sing. (Handouts provided; bring up to five sample pages of your own

    work for sharing.)


    Full Conference October 5/6


    Keir Graff


    Secrets of a Working Writer


    Some full-time authors are household names with #1 New York Times bestsellers and

    National Book Awards—and then there are the rest of us. Join novelist, children’s author,

    ghostwriter, and editor Keir Graff for an inside look at how one working writer makes it



    Tales of a Fifth Grade Hero


    What is middle-grade fiction and how do you write it? How do you sell, publish, and

    promote it? In this informative and inspiring presentation, veteran middle-grade author

    Keir Graff (The Poison Puzzle, with James Patterson) shares the rewards of going back to

    grade school.


    Author Debra Magpie Earling presentations


    Keynote: Wonders of the Landscape: One writer’s journey


    We all possess connections to places both real and imagined that ignite our sense of

    wonder. In this lecture Debra Magpie Earling will explore how our personal lives can

    intersect with our personal geography and become part of a greater mythology.


    The Dark Door Opens


    What elements of fiction conjure a curious alchemy that haunts us after we close a book?

    How might we use our own unusual experiences to ignite our fiction? In this workshop

    we’ll explore the phenomenal stories that surround us. Be prepared to share an uncanny

    story, a spooky hometown legend, or a time when something strange occurred. We will use

    the grist of your stories to write convincing prose. Bring a sense of humor and an old-

    fashioned notebook to scribble your ideas. Come with the notion that writing is fun, and



    Elements of Conjuring Story


    Do you ever wish you had a few more ingredients in your writing cupboard to conjure a

    more effective story? Could you use some additional ideas that might make your characters

    and scenes turn from mundane to mesmerizing? In this workshop, we’ll examine a few

    essential ingredients that will help make your stories shimmer.


    Agent Joanna MacKenzie


    Finding and Working with an Agent


    Finding the best champion for your work can be,

    well, a lot of work. In this session we’ll talk about the query process, what to do when an

    agent offers representation, and how to make the agent-author relationship a fruitful and

    profitable one.


    Revise Like a Pro


    Learn what’s going through an agent’s mind when they’re reading your

    manuscript and then how to help yourself be the best editor of your own work. We’ll talk

    about the questions agents ask themselves when considering a new project, how to revise

    according to feedback and why killing your darlings is sometimes the best thing to happen

    to your story.


    Author Kathy Dunnehoff


    10 Hacks of the Successful Writers


    Writers are generous in sharing what works for them in their writing process. Why not

    enjoy our collective genius? Get the tips we could all use to make the job of writing more

    productive, more fun, and even more successful.


    The Story Bible


    You’d think writers would be good at paperwork, but that collage of sticky notes on our

    desks may illustrate we’re not. Why not create a system to track ideas, information about

    characters, plotting, and even future marketing plans? There are multiple ways to do it, and

    you can choose the best fit for you.


    Author Maggie Doherty


    From Ideas to Publication: the Path to Creative Freelance Writing


    The newsroom isn’t the only location to share the latest stories or pen noteworthy op-

    eds. Freelance journalism offers writers an opportunity to explore their interests, land

    exciting bylines, and develop relationships with editors at your favorite publications. This

    workshop offers an introduction to freelance journalism from pitching to publication in a

    variety of outlets, from local to national.


    Author Leslie Budewitz


    Mystery Genres and The Cozy Market


    From darkest noir to light and humorous, mystery and crime fiction is a wide-ranging

    genre. We’ll review the distinctive subgenres, then focus on one of the most popular, the

    cozy---the comfort food of the mystery world. What’s the appeal, what are the key elements

    and trends, and how can you make yours stand out?


    Setting the Scene in Fiction


    The most compelling stories take us somewhere, introducing us to places we’ve never been

    or giving us a new view of familiar ground. We’ll look at what makes a place come alive on

    the page, whether it’s the main location for your story or a side trip. We’ll dive into the

    emotional connections between people and places, and look at how your choices as a

    writer can create characters and plot so deeply integrated with setting that the story could

    take place nowhere else.


    Author Carl Stevens


    Technical Writing Doesn't Have to be Boring


    Using creative writing principles and techniques, attendees will have a hands-on

    experience in ‘punching up’ technical, professional and business writing. Course goal is to

    give students the tools to ensure that their messages leap off the page and offer the best

    chance being read and understood.


    Agent Zoe Howard


    Pitching Boldly: Agent and Publicist on Angling Books


    “Do you want to read a book with this energy?” Every writer eventually has to pitch their

    book, whether in a query letter to agents or to independent booksellers. Join literary agent


    and book publicist Zoe-Aline Howard for an inside look at how agents and publicists pitch,

    with practical tips for getting noticed, without veering too far from the formal.


    DIY Publicity for the Indie Author


    What is “DIY publicity,” and how can you make it work for your indie book? In this hour-

    long session, Pine State Publicity book publicist Zoe-Aline Howard surveys the state of

    book publicity, answers questions about working with an outside publicist (when to bring

    one on, where to find one, and what they can do for your book), and offers insight into

    building your own publicity campaign.


    Author Danica Winters


    The Romance Genres and Market


    Danica Winters helps you get your love, your desires, on paper. While geared to the

    Romance genres, this workshop is pertinent to anyone who includes relationship and

    romantic attachments in their writing.


    Hook, Line, and Sinker: Getting Attention and Sustaining the Momentum


    In this fun and informative hands-on course, we will break down what it takes to create a

    strong hook for agents, editors and readers. Bring (or have access to) your current H.I.P

    (hook in progress) so we can focus on what is working, what needs a tweak, and what will

    make your work stand out in the market.

  • Our 2024 Writers Conference Presenters

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    Our Moderator and Presenter - Kathy Dunnehoff
    Kathy is a National Bestselling women's fiction & romantic comedy novelist
    with the ability to bring writing and life together with insight and humor. After more than
    three decades of teaching creative writing at the college level, she’s begun a series of
    friendly writing guides: Hello, Writer! The first one, published in February 2024, will help
    you Plan to Have Your Best Writing Year Ever!
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    Keynote Presenter - Debra Magpie Earling


    Debra is the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewea (Winner of the 2023 Montana Book Award) and Perma Red. Her numerous recognitions include the Western Writers Association, the American Book Award, and grants
    from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial
    Foundation. She retired from the University of Montana, where she was named
    professor emeritus in 2021. She is published through Milkweed Editions. She is
    Bitterroot Salish.

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    Keir Graff

    Keir is the former executive editor of Booklist. He writes fiction for adultswith Linda Joffe Hull under the pen name Linda Keir (The Royal Game) andmiddle-grade mysteries with James Patterson (The Poison Puzzle). He isalso the editor of A Million Acres: Montana Writers Reflect on Land and OpenSpace and the coeditor of Montana Noir. He shares writing advice andreading recommendations in his free monthly newsletter, Graff Paper. https://keirgraff.com/


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    Leslie Budewitz


    Leslie is a three-time Agatha Award winner and the best-selling author of the Spice Shop mysteries, set in Seattle, and Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in NW Montana, where she lives. As Alicia
    Beckman, she writes moody standalone suspense, including Bitterroot Lake and Blind Faith. Leslie is a past president of Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America. Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com

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    Maggie Neal Doherty


    Maggie is a writer, opinion columnist, and book critic. As a freelance features writer,her work has appeared in The Guardian, Washington Post, LA Times, Field and Stream, High Country News, Montana Quarterly, and more. She also writes “Facing Main” for the Flathead Beacon and is the book critic for Flathead Living Magazine. She lives in Kalispell with her husband and two children.


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    Zoe-Aline Howard
    Zoe is a literary agent at Howland Literary, and a book publicist at Pine State Publicity, a full-service publicity firm that supports writers and publishers who may seem traditionally peripheral in the larger publishing landscape. She holds a BFA with Distinction and Publishing Certificate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and has had the privilege to work across publishing with several entities, including independent press Lookout Books.
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    Joanna MacKenzie


    Joanna MacKenzie is a Sr. Agent with Nelson Literary Agency, where she represents authors writing for both the adult and children’s markets across all areas of fiction. She is drawn to vivid, engaging writing and is particularly interested in high-concept thrillers (with a soft spot for speculative and anything that challenges tropes), voicey mysteries, dark academia, stories that straddle genres, and women’s fiction where the personal intersects with the world at large - if any of these are set in the Midwest, all the better. Across the board, she’s looking for works that highlight under-represented voices. Her authors are New York Times bestsellers, Edgar and Anthony Award nominees, and critically acclaimed storytellers. You can learn more about her list at nelsonagency.com


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    Carl Bond Stevens 


    Carl is a ‘recovering’CPA. After a twenty-year business career, he earned an MFA in Writing andLiterature from Bennington College. Since then, he has worked extensively in organizational diagnostics, forensic consulting and analytical writing; his client base ranged from small entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 100 multinational firms. He has taught technical and business writing at community colleges in Montana and Alaska. Recently, he has completed two novels.

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    Danica Winters


    Danica is a bestselling author known for her award-winning books that have sold over one million copies, and have earned her bestseller's recognition from Publishers Weekly, Nielson Bookscan, Walmart, and Amazon. Beyond her writing career, Danica wears multiple hats in the literary world: Business Director and Co-Owner of Self-Publishing Services, a women-owned company that focuses on the author's goals at the core of
    production; Published Author Network Advisor for the Romance Writers of America; Guide for Pen 2 Paper mentoring aspiring writers; Guide for Paper to Polished, which helps authors refine their manuscripts,ensuring they shine brightly before publication.

    When she’s not immersed in the world of words, Danica can be found in the wilds of Montana where she is usually in the woods hiking or on the river fly-fishing. Her personal philosophy is simple: the cup is neither half full nor half empty—she likes hers filled with Titos. Danica is represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC. http://www.danicawinters.net/

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    Sat & Sun Conference attendance

    Sat & Sun Conference attendance

    All appointment slots for agents Zoe Howard, Joanna MacKenzie, and Keir Graff and now filled.
    View more details...
    Coming soon
    Friday Workshop with Keir Graff

    Friday Workshop with Keir Graff

    Coming soon
    Sun attendance only

    Sun attendance only

    Coming soon
    Sat attendance only

    Sat attendance only

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    Full-time Student attendance

    Full-time Student attendance

    All appointment slots for agents Zoe Howard, Joanna MacKenzie and Keir Graff and now filled.
    View more details...
    Coming soon
    Authors of the Flathead Annual Membership

    Authors of the Flathead Annual Membership

    Members get:

    A.) Access to weekly meetings, including lectures, workshops, open readings, and write-ins.

    B.) Early access to our conference.

    C.) Access to critique groups.

    D.) Free assistance formatting their book for independent publishing.

    E.) Invites to get-togethers including a holiday party.

    The group is a non-profit. Dues also help pay for operating expenses and support writing in the community by sponsoring writing competitions for students.

    Note: You can pay online OR fill out your information (name, email address, address) and pay by cash or check at the next meeting.
    Coming soon