WriteNow! 2020 Conference

Craft + Publish + Market

The WriteNow! 2020 Conference

is going virtual!

September 12, 2020
(New Date!)

With the move to take our conference online, we also decided to open it up to a broader community and waive the registration fee this year. To continue supporting authors and local booksellers, we are asking that all attendees buy books from our conference bookstore,  The Poisoned Pen, which ships across the country.



Named the Best Writers Conference in Arizona by The Writer Magazine!

A full day of internationally-acclaimed, award-winning authors and industry insiders—sharing their secrets to success—in seminars, hands-on workshops and panel discussions.

Learn the keys to writing an epic novel, getting it published and skyrocketing to bestseller status.

Featuring An Outstanding Line Up:

Michael Connelly
Author Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over seventy-four million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent #1 New York Times bestsellers include Dark Sacred Night, The Late Show, Two Kinds Of Truth, The Late Show, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, The Crossing, The Burning Room, The Gods of Guilt, The Black Box, and The Drop. Michael is the executive producer of BOSCH, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, SOUND OF REDEMPTION: The Frank Morgan Story and Tales Of the American. He spends his time in California and Florida. MichaelConnelly.com

Author Matt Coyle


Matt Coyle was fourteen when his father gave him The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler. Since then, Coyle has dedicated his writing career to hard-boiled PI mysteries following the haunted character Rick Cahill. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and lives in San Diego with his yellow lab, Angus. Coyle’s debut novel, Yesterday’s Echo, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Ben Franklin Silver Award for Best New Voice in Fiction. Night Tremors was a Bookreporter.com Reviewers’ Favorite Book of 2015 and was an Anthony, Shamus, and Lefty Award finalist. Both Dark Fissures and Blood Truth were also Lefty awards finalists and Top Picks on Bookreporter.com, and Blood Truth was also nominated for the 2018 Shamus award for Best Private Eye novel. Wrong Light is Coyle’s fifth Rick Cahill novel. MattCoyleBooks.com


Naomie Hirahara
Author Naomi Hirahara

Naomi Hirahara, born and raised in Southern California, is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Japanese American gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes (SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI, GASA-GASA GIRL, SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, BLOOD HINA and STRAWBERRY YELLOW). Books in this series have been translated into Japanese, Korean and French (September 2015 publication date). MURDER ON BAMBOO LANE, her new mystery series with a female twentysomething LAPD bicycle cop, was released with Berkley Prime Crime in spring 2014. Her next in the series, A GRAVE ON GRAND AVENUE, was released in April 2015. She also has penned a middle-grade novel, 1001 CRANES, which was chosen as an Honor Book for the Youth Literature of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in 2009. A former editor of the largest Japanese American newspaper in the U.S., she also has released a number of nonfiction works. A number of her short stories have been included in various anthologies. NaomiHirahara.com


Editor Jessica Page Morrell

Jessica Page Morrell understands both sides of the editoral desk–as an editor and author. She is the author of Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life; Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: master the subtle elements of fiction; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell works as a developmental editor where she has learned how to quickly size up a story’s merits, as a writing coach, and was formerly the Writing Expert at iVillage.com. She’s been writing a monthly column about topics related to writing since 1998.  Morrell has contributed articles to newspapers and The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazines. She also contributes to anthologies and is the founder and coordinator of writing conferences. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she is surrounded by writers. JessicaMorrell.com


Literary Agent Kirby Kim of Janklow and Nesbit

Kirby Kim, a native of Los Angeles, California, attended Pomona College and got his JD at UC Hastings College of the Law. Kirby got his first job in publishing working for Charlotte Sheedy Literary, at that time an affiliate of Sterling Lord Literistic, then moved to Vigliano Associates and WME and now at Janklow & Nesbit.
Kirby represents both literary and commercial authors. He’s most interested in receiving manuscripts that straddle the fence a bit, with upmarket expression combined with a genre element or plot device. When it comes to straight literary work, he’s alternatively drawn to rich, sweeping stories that try to encompass a time or a place or tightly written, narratively innovative stories or voices with award potential. His commercial interests include thrillers and mysteries, speculative fiction, and young adult. He also represents a range of nonfiction working with leaders and journalists in the areas of science, culture, business, and current affairs. Kirby is currently a board member of the Asian American Writers Workshop. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and two kids. Janklow and Nesbit – Kirby Kim


September 12

8a-8:15a – Welcome Session with Dana Kaye and the Desert Sleuths Team

8:15a-9:15a – Edgar-award winning author Naomi Hirahara shares top notch tips on “How to Create Characters Worth Reading.”

9:30a-10:15a – Literary agent Kirby Kim helps us “Navigate the Publishing World (like a pro.)

10:30a-11:15a – Best-selling crime writers Michael Connelly and Matt Coyle team up to discuss “Writing Crime in the Era of Police Reform,” with Edgar award-winning author friend Naomi Hirahara.*

11:30a-12p – Integration Session with Dana Kaye

12p-12:30p Lunch

12:30p-2:30p – Editor Jessica Morrell will spill all the “Secrets of the Dark Arts” in this can’t-miss editing workshop for all writer levels.

2:45p-3:15p – Kirby Kim and Jessica Morrell answer all your burning questions with this publishing panel.

3:15p-4:00p –  You’ve got Q‘s, they’ve got A‘s! An author panel with Naomi HiraharaMatt Coyle, and Michael Connelly.

4:15p-4:30p Closing Session with Dana Kaye and the Desert Sleuths Team

* This session is pre-recorded, but Matt, Naomi and Michael will be available to answer questions during the Author Q&A panel.




September 11
PitchNow! with Literary Agent Chip MacGregor (MacGregor and Luedeke) **SOLD OUT**

September 11-12
PitchNow! with Senior Acquisitions Editor Terri Bischoff (Crooked Lane Books)

Variable Dates
EditNow! with Freelance Developmental Editor Jessica Morrell **SOLD OUT**

September 11-12
MarketNow! with Hailey Dezort (Kaye Publicity)

Bonus content sessions are incredible supplemental opportunities to the WriteNow! 2020 Conference and available for a nominal fee on a first come, first served basis. Registration for these events is separate. Click here for those details.

Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths and The WriteNow! Annual Conference are dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all attendees, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, body type, or veteran status. We will not tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment and encourage anyone who believes they have experienced or witnessed discriminatory or harassing behavior to report it to a member of the WriteNow! Conference committee or a Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuth Board Member. All complaints will be handled in a discreet and confidential manner. Individuals found to have violated our policy will be asked to leave the conference.