Stories From the Heart
Friday, April 15
9am Registration opens [Highland Lakes Foyer]
9am Exhibitors Room opens (hours: 9am-4pm, 5:30-7:30pm) [Guadalupe/Barton Creek Rooms]
9-11:30am Heart-to-Heart: 15-minute coaching sessions with experts in writing, editing, marketing. Sign-ups required (March 11-April 1).
[Lake LBJ Room]
noon-1:45pm Optional Pre-Conference Workshop "Breaking Ground on Your Memoir" with Linda Joy Myers & Brooke Warner (not included in your registration; extra fee for this workshop)
[ELC Room]
2-3:45pm Optional Pre-Conference Workshop "Paths to Publishing" with Susan Wittig Albert, Connie Spittler, & Debra Winegarten (not included in your registration; extra fee for this workshop)
[ELC Room]
4-5pm Conference Welcome session
[Lake Austin Room]
5:30-7:30pm Dutch-treat dinner, Wyndham Hotel restaurant
6pm Silent Auction opens [Lady Bird Lake Room]
7:30pm Sarton Memoir Award Presentation
Keynote Speech [Lake Austin Room] with Brooke Warner
(Dessert reception following; included in registration fee) [Lady Bird Lake Room]

Saturday, April 16
8:30am Registration opens [Highland Lakes Foyer]
8:30am Silent Auction opens [Lady Bird Lake Room]
8:30am Exhibitors Room opens (hours: 8:30am-12pm, 2-6pm) [Guadalupe/Barton Creek Rooms]
9-10am Session 1
10-10:30am ***Coffee/Tea Break***; Meet and Greet for Online Class Faculty [Highland Lakes Foyer]
10:30am-11:30am Session 2
11:30am-noon free time; Sarton Winners Book Signing [Highland Lakes Foyer]
12:15-2pm Lunch (included in registration fee) [Highland Lakes Ballroom]
Entertainment: readings: Sarton Literary Award winners' books
2:15-3:15pm Session 3
3:15-3:30pm ***Coffee/Tea Break*** [Highland Lakes Foyer]
3:30-4:30pm Session 4
4:45-5:30pm Presenters & Sarton Finalists Book Signing [Lady Bird Lake Room]
5:30pm Silent Auction closes [Lady Bird Lake Room]
6-8pm Dutch-treat dinner, Wyndham Hotel restaurant and other nearby restaurants
We will have several "Special Interest" tables
8-10pm After-dinner Open Mike: Storytelling from the Heart [Lake Austin, Lake Travis, & Lake LBJ Rooms]

Sunday, April 17
8:30am Exhibitors Room opens (hours: 8:30am-12pm) [Guadalupe/Barton Creek Rooms]
9-10am Session 5
10-10:30am ***Coffee/Tea Break*** [Highland Lakes Foyer]
10:30-11:30am Session 6
noon-2pm Lunch (included in registration fee) [Highland Lakes Ballroom]
Luncheon Speech: Community, with Susan Wittig Albert

Preliminary Program
more details coming soon... *

Friday Afternoon Pre-Conference Workshops
noon-1:45pm; 2-3:45pm
(There's an extra fee for each of these workshops. Please pre-register.)

* Breaking Ground on Your Memoir [Lake LBJ Room] noon-1:45pm
Linda Joy Myers, Richmond CA & Brooke Warner, Berkeley CA
Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers lay the foundation in craft and motivation that all memoirists need. Writers will come away inspired, equipped with new tools, and a new perspective on their story.

You can expect:

  • Energetic co-teachers, fully informed, widely experienced
  • Engaging interactive lecture with PowerPoint
  • Writing prompts that will take you deep into the teaching
  • Important information and help for writers at all levels: beginners to advanced

Your Take-Away:

  • A deeper understanding of the art and craft of memoir
  • A firmer grasp of important craft elements
  • A renewed energy and motivation—a shot in the arm!

* Paths to Publishing [Lake LBJ Room] 2-3:45pm
Susan Wittig Albert, Bertram TX, Connie Spittler, Omaha NE & Debra Winegarten, Austin TX
These three panelists will offer experienced-based suggestions for various publishing paths, outlining the requirements, advantages/disadvantages, and challenges of the traditional publishing house, independent publishing, hybrid publishing, and self-publishing. We will also discuss pre- and post-publishing activities and marketing strategies within each path, and offer resource guides.

You can expect:

  • An deep look into the fast-changing world of publishing
  • Practical information from writers/publishers who have been there, done that
  • Instructive handouts and resource guides for marketing, pre-post publishing work
  • Interactive, engaging, stimulating discussion of strategies and best practices

Your Take-Away:

  • An understanding of the publishing/marketing process for each of several publishing paths
  • Resources for further exploration
  • A sense of community in what is often a lonely business


Session 1: 9-10am

* Write Like a Heroine! (Ruth Crocker) [The Writing Life]
We are heroines when we write our story, navigating obstacles that are personal, yet universal. Embarking on the voyage and staying on the journey requires embracing our own process and conquering our personal dragons. This inspiring workshop will help you find your spiritual writing center and embrace yourself as heroine.

* The Most Important Story You'll Ever Hear (Jeanne Guy) [Getting Personal]
[Lake Austin Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Are you stuck? In your life? In your writing? Using the Re-Story Reflective Writing Process™, we'll learn a method of exploring, sharing and reimagining/refocusing our current life stories. Through the use of this reflective writing-prompt process, we can make a shift—in our attitude and thinking—and reframe our lives. Why? Because the most important story you'll ever hear is the one you tell yourself.

* Writing in Sorrow/Writing in Strength (Jan Seale) [Getting Personal]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Writing on sorrowful themes unburdens, cleanses, and enlightens. Pouring out the pain on paper may be sufficient for your intentions. This workshop will help you learn techniques to deal with grief both passionately and effectively and turn your words on personal testing, crisis, and loss into a reader's solace.

* Creating Characters Through Dialogue (Susan Wittig Albert) [Craft Matters]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Dialogue and characters are two sides of the same narrative coin: dialogue reveals character, and characters create dialogue. In this workshop, we will practice turning narrative passages into dialogue that reveals characters' personalities, fears, intentions, and desires.

Session 2: 10:30-11:30am

* Putting Your Book on Amazon is Not a Marketing Plan: Creative Ways to Market Your Book and Find New Audiences: (Debra Winegarten) [Breaking Into Publishing]
In this workshop, you will learn how to go outside the ordinary venues (retail and online bookstores) to sell your book. You will discover how to: open conversations with other people about your book; send a "cold call email" about your writing and/or speaking; schedule talks and presentations (and get paid for them); generate new markets for your work; and much more Come ready to be empowered!

* Crafting a Winner: Sarton Winners and Finalists Discuss Their Work
[Lake Austin Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Jill Kandel, Barbara Stark-Nemon, Tammy Hetrick, and Susan Morrison talk about their entries in the Sarton Women's Literary Award Competition for 2015: the books, the writing process, and the path to publication. Panel moderated by Susan Albert.

* Creating a Writing Practice: From Discovery to Action (Lynn Bojinoff) [The Writing Life]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
This interactive workshop uses journaling exercises and worksheets to help you discover your present priorities, write goals, make a commitment, and take away an action plan that will keep you moving along on your next writing project. It will be as much fun as planning an itinerary for your next vacation!

* Building Your Memoir with Scenes and Narrative (Linda Joy Myers) [Craft Matters]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
A memoir is like a building—it's built from pieces that fit together seamlessly to create a pleasing structure. In this workshop, you will discover how to manage the elements of scene, dialogue, description, and narration to build a memoir that reaches the reader emotionally.

Session 3: 2:15-3:15pm

* Place as Character (Susan Tweit, Dawn Wink) [Craft Matters]
Place shapes the events of our lives and who we become. Learn how to evoke place and setting in vivid detail, how to use place as a character, how to employ place to illuminate often-unexamined truths, and how to weave place into your writing.

* Getting Comfortable with Social Media: Overcoming Your Fear and Promoting Your Writing (Kay Kendall) [Breaking Into Print]
[Lake Austin Room] / LEVEL: NOVICE
Yes, social media can be scary! But once you've overcome your hesitation, you'll see how you can use it to promote your writing. In this workshop, we'll survey the different media, their demographics, costs, and their best uses; share experiences (successes and mishaps); and learn what types of social media suit our particular needs.

* Journal Your Way to a New Beginning Using the Wisdom of the Moon (Tina Games) [Craft Matters, Getting Personal]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Are you on the verge of a new beginning? Where in your life are you ready for a fresh start or a recharge? What doors are closing—so that new ones can open? The new moon phase always brings a time of new beginnings. By tapping into the wisdom of the moon phases—and through the art of journal writing, you'll be gently led into your own "new moon beginning" with grace, ease, and clarity. We.ll work with a series of journal prompts that reflect the wisdom of each moon phase and a closing celebration that allows us to connect with our "new moon beginning."

* Story Circles: Sharing Women's Stories (Susan Wittig Albert, Pat LaPointe) [The Writing Life]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Story Circles offer opportunities for women to form safe, caring communities where they can create and share the stories of their lives. In this workshop, we will learn ways to create, market, and facilitate circles; explore "from the field" stories of the way circles operate; and practice the process by doing some circle work. Participants will receive a copy of SCN's revised Facilitator's Guide and learn how to connect their communities with SCN's Story Circle Program.

Session 4: 3:30-4:30pm

* Creating an Ethical Will (Ann Haas) [Craft Matters]
An ethical will is an unusual way to craft a memoir and leave a legacy gift to our family and friends. This specialized storytelling method can personalize the way we are remembered for our values, traditions, hopes, and dreams. We will learn about the ethical will as a storytelling method, survey steps in documenting our legacies using this format, and examine examples of ethical wills.

* The Treasure of Your Coming of Age Stories (Suzanne Sherman) [Getting Personal]
[Lake Austin Room] / LEVEL: ALL
The time between childhood and adulthood is filled with first times and influencing experiences. Explore what coming of age means to you and uncover the wealth of writing topics in this fertile subject. You'll write from one of your topics and take home a new story and a rich list of topics for future writings.

* Getting There... From Here: 5 Strategies to Creating the Successful Writing Life You Love (Carol Walkner) [The Writing Life]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
This experiential, interactive workshop will offer creative strategies to help each participant determine what her ideal writing life might look like, consider the steps she needs to put it into practice, and gain deeper clarity about herself, her writing life, and her passions.

* It's All about Voice: Writing Memoir That Readers Will Love, Buy, and Recommend (Lisa Dale Norton) [Craft Matters]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Writing memoir is about voice, the persona you bring to the page. We'll tease out your way of perceiving the world—are you a closet essayist or fiction writer?—and use those strengths to create your voice. We'll explore key skills: writing with compassion, and casting yourself as a heroine.


Session 5: 9-10am

* Sharing the Tough Stuff: Digging Deeply (Lynn Goodwin) [Getting Personal]
Find your character's treasures. Speak in her voice, share her secrets. We will use acting exercises to help you think and speak as a particular character, spark your imagination so you can come up with your own methods for digging deeply, and celebrate positive results and stimulate your confidence.

* Oral Story Telling for Writers (Penelope Starr) [Craft Matters]
[Lake Austin Room] / LEVEL: ALL
The skills a writer needs are similar to but different than storytelling. In this interactive workshop you will learn how oral storytelling can support your writing, become aware of your potential as storytellers, learn important elements of organization and presentation, and gain confidence in speaking to an audience.

* Transforming Your Writing Life in Just 20 Minutes a Day (Len Leatherwood) [The Writing Life]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Daily writing practice can help you develop a personal voice, a body of work, and an audience. Participants will understand the elements of daily timed writing and publishing via a blog and Facebook, gain information on the benefits of daily writing practice, participate in and share a timed writing, and learn strategies to face the obstacles inherent in this practice.

* Trust Your Writing Voice (Cindy Eastman) [The Writing Life]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Your writing voice is unique to you—can you hear it? Hearing and trusting your writing voice is essential to your work as a writer. In this facilitated workshop, you will learn strategies and models for writing practice, understand the value of taking risks in your writing, and be guided to identify, hear, and trust your own writing voice.

Session 6: 10:30-11:30am

* Research for Writing: Digging Deep and Avoiding Pitfalls (Noelle Sickels) [Craft Matters]
Solid research can make the difference between writing that falls flat and writing that sings, whether memoir or fiction. We'll explore ways to determine your research needs; avenues of inquiry beyond the obvious; interviews; using your research without overwhelming your story; and the role of courage and ethics in conducting and using research.

* Travel Touchstones: Making the Most of Your Travel Journal Writing (Rhonda Wiley-Jones) [The Writing Life]
[Lake LBJ Room] / LEVEL: ALL
In this workshop, you will match types of travel with journaling tools and techniques you can use, learn narrative modes to enhance your travel journal, and discover ways to use your travel writing to enhance your memoir, create blog posts, and expand your writing portfolio.

* Creating Powerful Writing Agreements (Carolyn Scarborough) [The Writing Life]
[Lake Travis Room] / LEVEL: ALL
Do you ever find yourself vowing to... write more, be less perfectionistic, finally finish that novel, find a writing routine? In this workshop, we will create a list of powerful intentions that motivate us in our writing and our lives. These guidelines act as roadmap, coach, muse. To find the ones that deeply resonate for us, we will use writing prompts, guided visualizations and practical exercises. You will leave with a personal set of writing and creativity practices that energize you daily.

Story-Telling From the Heart: Open Mike

Saturday Night, Live,
in Austin Texas

Stories From the Heart

It's Saturday night in Austin TX—what would you like to do after you've enjoyed a fine dinner at one of Austin's many great restaurants? Well, you might take in a film, or visit Austin's disco district (the River City is widely known as the Live Music Capital of the World).

Or we could all hang out together and swap stories.

Swap stories?

Hey, what a great idea! After all, isn't that what Story Circle is all about? And who has more stories to swap than women—women who have loved and laughed and cried and succeeded and failed and survived and, yes, triumphed! Creative, canny, crafty, clever, courageous women. Women who have lived ordinary, extraordinary, and sometimes downright outrageous lives!

So for Saturday night's entertainment, we offer you—ta da! (a flourish of trumpets and rattle of drums, please)—an open mike!

And all you have to bring is you, and your story. Maybe it's a piece you've already shared with your Story Circle, or a poem or two that you've just finished, or a short autobiographical fiction piece. Maybe it's a story to be sung, or danced (if you need music, let us know ahead of time). Or perhaps you'd like to bring a piece of art that you've made—pottery, painting, textile, whatever—and tell us how and why it is part of your story. The sky's the limit, gals, and the only thing we have to fear (as some famous man said once) is fear itself. So let's see how many different stories, and how many different ways to tell a story, we can all come up with.

To give each story-teller a chance to participate we will be dividing into three separate meeting rooms and will ask reader to limit her turn at the mike to five minutes including opening remarks. (Please note that it takes ONE minute to read ONE double-spaced page or to read ½ single spaced page and plan accordingly.) There are a limited number of spaces available, so sign up will begin Saturday after dinner and will end when all places have been reserved and Open Mike begins at 8pm. Whether you come to read, listen, share or all of the above, we look forward to seeing you there! And please plan to email your piece to us for sharing with the attendees!

Remember that wonderful '60s song that began "When you come to San Francisco, be sure and wear flowers in your hair"?

When you come to Austin, Texas, be sure to bring a story from your heart. We're eager to hear it, y'all!

*Session topics are still tentative.