Online Workshops

ALL courses are online and free to members of the Romantic Women’s Fiction Chapter. Join RWF now.

Reflective Writing:  A Journal Workshop for Writers

with Joy Held

April 3rd – April 28, 2023 (4 weeks)

RWF Members: FREE
RWA Members: $30
General Public: $40


Workshop Description

This workshop will explore the many different ways writers can utilize journaling to document process, clear mental clutter, examine story, and cull ideas from the pages. We’ll look at the journal practices of writers like Sue Grafton, John Steinbeck, and others to see how their journals contributed to their output. Participants will receive three journal prompts per week to practice and have ample opportunities to discuss the outcomes and uses of keeping a journal when it comes to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc. We’ll look at what’s out there as far as journaling tools and how keeping a journal provides insight, focus, and positive change. With a bit of research and journal keeping history thrown in, this workshop will expand your ideas on how, why, and when journaling can assist your professional writing and personal growth. Journaling is more than sitting down with a pen/paper or at the keyboard and recounting your day. Reflective writing is a metacognitive process that will free your creative spirit.

Students will discover: 

*what reflective writing is and is not

*ways journal writing supports a writer’s creativity, organization, and wellbeing

*examples of journals of published authors

*journal practice

*tools of the trade

*wide range of journal prompt ideas

*how to make time for journal writing

*resources online and in the library related to reflective writing

*class discussions utilizing the 3-2-1 strategy for learning

Presenter Bio

JOY E. HELD, AAS, BA, MFA is an author, freelance editor, educator, Yoga Alliance Registered yoga and meditation teacher, college English professor, certified “Journal to the Self” facilitator, and workshop presenter with over 500 articles published in trade magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. She has published two historical romance novels writing as Liz Arnold. Her award-winning nonfiction book Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, third edition is available from Headline Books, Inc. Joy is a member of The Author’s Guild, Editorial Freelancers Association, and Great Lakes Fiction Writers. She holds degrees in education, journalism, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She recently received the “2020 Member of the Year” award from Northeast Ohio RWA.


Organizing Your Time to Write More

with Susan Carlisle

RWF Members free with membership

RWA Members: $30
General Public: $40

May 14th – May 20, 2023 (1 week)


Workshop Description

Time management can be one of the most difficult techniques to master as a writer.  Every writer strives to find more writing time. One way to find time is being well-organized.  

In this workshop, the writer will discover ways to improve productivity through organizing his/her life and how to organize the work area to help maintain quality writing time when life gets in the way.  

Easy first steps will be introduced that can make organization a reality. Ways to effectively use a calendar, set goals, make lists and how to plan an organized day as well as an efficient work area will be discussed. 

Attendees will learn:

1. The benefits of being well organized

2. How to get organized and stay that way

3. The basic items needed to organize


Susan Carlisle’s love affair with books began when she made a bad grade in math in the sixth grade. Not allowed to watch TV until she brought the grade up, Susan filled her time with books. She turned her love of reading into a love of writing. Writing as Susan Carlisle she has completed more than thirty books for HarperCollins’s Harlequin imprint medical line. Her heroes are strong, vibrant man and the woman that challenge them.

As Susan May she writes nonfiction. Her book Nick’s New Heart 30 Years and Counting…is about her son’s heart transplant experience. Daily Inspirations from the Unflappable Substitute is also under the name. A historical biography called A WWII Flight Surgeon’s Story released under the author name S. Carlisle May.

Susan lives in Georgia with her husband of over forty years. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Susan loves castles, traveling, cross-stitching and reads voraciously.

You can reach her at:,


Twitter: SusanCarlisle1

Master Emotive Storytelling and Showing

Presented by Sandy Vaile

September 4th – September 29, 2023 (4 weeks)

RWF Members free with membership

RWA Members: $30
General Public: $40



How to combine showing action with effective telling. 

This workshop is for fiction writers who want to decipher the contradictions in the old ‘show don’t tell’ adage so they can avoid author intrusion and maximize evocative actions and sensory details.

It’s all about blending telling with showing to create quality prose filled with active drama, and evocative and relevant details. 

My goal is to change the way they think about telling, and engender confidence when making stylistic decisions, so you can find a balance between action and brevity that will captivate readers.

I truly believe active showing is one of the fastest ways to improve the quality of your writing, and you’ll see amazing results in a short timeframe. 

This workshop will give you the skills to:

  • Understand the differences between and benefits of showing and telling.
  • Determine when to show and when it’s okay to tell. 
  • Use action to express the story and engage readers emotionally. 
  • Identify and banish information dumps.
  • Select relevant and meaningful details to infuse stories with visceral elements.
  • Use secondary characters and the antagonist to show who the protagonist really is.

Presenter Bio

Sandy Vaile is a motorbike-riding daredevil who isn’t content with a story unless there’s a courageous heroine and a dead body. She writes romantic-suspense for Simon & Schuster US and supports fiction authors to write novels they are proud to share with the world (and which get noticed by agents and publishers), through coaching, craft workshops and developmental editing.

Having a writing coach is like having an industry expert in your back pocket, to hold your hand through the writing process and act as a voice of reason when you’re standing on a ledge. Sandy’s Active Storytelling Method helps authors find the hidden gems in their manuscripts and make them shine. 

In her spare time, Sandy composes procedures for high-risk industrial processes, judges writing competitions and runs The Fearless Novelist Facebook group. 

Connect with Sandy Vaile on her website or social  

Discovering the Seasoned Romance

Presented by Brooke Wills

October 2nd- 13th, 2023 (2 weeks)

FREE to RWF members (To join click on link above)

RWA members: $30

General Public: $40



Whether you call it seasoned, later in life or mature romance, this new category of romance stories is here to stay. And there’s more to writing one than just upping the ages of your characters.

In this two-week workshop, we’ll look at:

         – what exactly is the seasoned romance category

         – characterization, settings and tropes

         – how to market your story whether you plan on indie or traditionally publishing

There will also be time for Q&A, FAQ’s and general discussion about this exciting category of romance.

Presenter Bio

Being a seasoned person herself, Brooke Wills is a retired CFO, controller and consultant who now spends her days storytelling as a copywriting specialist, creating seasoned characters like herself and enjoying living on an island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her mostly Maine Coon kitty, Tuxie. She is actively involved with the Aged to Perfection Seasoned Romance Writers as well as serving as treasurer on the RWA board.


Say It Like You Mean It

with Tina Tocco

Mar. 6th – Mar. 24th, 2023 (3 weeks)

RWF Members: FREE
RWA Members: $30
General Public: $40



Yada, yada, yada” was great for Seinfeld, but your dialogue might need just a touch more than that. In this three-week workshop, you’ll learn about the functions of dialogue, external versus internal dialogue, incorporating dialogue tags for the best effect, and strengthening your dialogue with action. We’ll read and discuss excerpts from novels and short stories to see what works and why. Get ready to make your characters do more than “yada, yada, yada.”

Students will write to various prompts, including revising multiple scenes from their work-in-progress.  Students will post their assignments each week, as well as give and receive feedback, and are encouraged to share their writing process. 


Tina Tocco is a Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications, including New Ohio Review, Roanoke Review, River Styx, Potomac Review, Portland Review, Passages North, and Italian Americana. Tina has also contributed to multiple anthologies, such as The Best Small Fictions 2019 (Sonder Press, 2019), Best Nonfiction Food (Woodhall Press, 2020), and #Me,Too, Anch’io: An Italian-American Women’s Anthology (Poets Wear Prada, 2020). Her short story “The Unknown Soldier” is pending publication in Haunted States of America, a middle-grade ghost story anthology (Macmillan Publishers).

Tina has taught adults and teens for the Hudson Valley Writers Center, Barnes & Noble, GrubStreet, Hugo House, Arts Escape, Westchester Community College, and other organizations. Tina earned her MFA from Manhattanville College, where she was editor-in-chief of Inkwell, the college’s national literary journal.