WriteNow! 2019

The Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Proudly Presents:

“Becoming the Writer You Were Meant to Be”

The 2019 WriteNow! Conference
September 27-28 2019

Calling all writers! It’s finally here—a Writers’ Conference for the decades!

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.

Seminars, Workshops and Panel include:

“Crafting Conflict, the Key Element in All Fiction”
“The Secrets to Writing a Mesmerizing Plot”
“Market Your Book!”
“Creating Psychologically Real Characters”
“Make Your Setting a Captivating Co-Star”
“Writing from the Inside Out”
“Upcoming Changes in the Publishing Industry”
and So Much More!

Exciting NEW Additions to Our 2019 Conference:

For the first time, the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths WriteNow! Conference offers hands-on workshops led by best-selling authors. The workshops are scheduled concurrently, Saturday afternoon.  Please select one of the following workshops when you register: “Writing from the Inside Out”, “Make Your Setting a Captivating Co-Star” or “Market Your Book!”

Back By Popular Demand:

Again this year we offer our conference attendees the option of pitching their books to a literary agent and/or to an acquiring editor. Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity. Please register for your pitch sessions when you register for the 2019 WriteNow! Conference. Pitch sessions are optional and available for a nominal fee, however,  only those registered for this conference may sign up for a pitch session.


Enjoy a fabulous evening of fun, excitement, camaraderie and surprises! Meet, mix and mingle with our guest speakers and all of the other conference attendees at the dessert and coffee reception, sponsored by the  Desert Sleuths Chapter as part of your conference experience. Be there for the long-awaited debut of SoWest: Lady Killers, the newest edition in the Desert Sleuths Chapter’s award-winning anthology series and much more! A no-host bar will also be available. Don’t miss out on this wonderful evening!

Featuring An Outstanding Line Up:

Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland and lived there until 2010, before immigrating to California. A former academic linguist, she is now a full-time fiction writer, the multi-award-winning and best-selling author of the Dandy Gilver detective stories, set in Scotland in the 1920s. She also writes a strand of award-winning contemporary standalone novels including Edgar-finalist The Day She Died and Mary Higgins Clark finalists The Child Garden and Quiet Neighbors. In 2017, McPherson won the Agatha Award for best historical novel, the historical Macavity Award and the Bruce Alexander Memorial Lefty for best historical mystery, all for The Reek of Red Herrings. She is a proud member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, The Crimewriters’ Association and The Society of Authors. www.catrionamcpherson.com.

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. His acclaimed series of mystery thrillers–including Mirror ImageFever DreamNight Terrors, and Phantom Limb and Head Wounds–features psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. Suspense Magazine has named Head Wounds a “Best of 2018”. Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter for feature films and TV, Palumbo was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Screenplay for the feature film My Favorite Year. His first novel, City Wars is currently in development as a feature film.
Author of the highly-lauded Writing From the Inside Out, Palumbo’s dynamic workshop on the same topic is in constant demand at writers’ conferences nationwide. His extensive work helping writers has been profiled in ThNew York TimesPremiere MagazineFade InAngelenoGQ, the Los Angeles Times and other publications, as well as on NPR and CNN. www.dennispalumbo.com.

Jessica Lourey writes about secrets. She is the bestselling Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty-nominated author of the critically-acclaimed Mira James mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” Lourey also writes nonfiction, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure, magical realism, and feminist thrillers.
She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a Psychology Today blogger, and a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk for the surprising inspiration behind her first published novel). When not teaching, reading, or “dorking out” with her family in Minneapolis, you can find her dreaming of her next story. www.jesslourey.com.

Terri Bischoff,
Senior Acquisitions Editor for Crooked Lane Books, began her life in books as a bookseller at Kramerbooks in Washington, DC. After moving home to the Midwest, she worked at a feminist bookstore before purchasing and operating Booked for Murder in Madison, WI. She spent 10 years at Midnight Ink as their acquiring editor and published 36-40 books a year. Terri has a wealth of experience and knowledge in both mysteries and in bookselling, particularly as a book buyer and reviewer. Terri’s interests lie in mainstream suspense, thrillers, quirky and humorous cozies, LGBTQIA, and diverse characters/storylines.


With over 10 years of publishing experience, Literary Agent Abby Saul is an editorial expert with a passion for fantastic reads. Saul founded The Lark Group after a decade in publishing at John Wiley & Sons, Sourcebooks, and Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She’s worked with and edited bestselling and award-winning authors as well as major brands. At each publishing group she’s been a part of, Abby also has helped to establish ebook standards, led company-wide forums to explore new digital possibilities for books, and created and managed numerous digital initiatives. www.larkwords.com.


SISTERS IN CRIME MEMBERS: Sisters in Crime members may be eligible for significant discounts on registration fees. Please see Registration Page for eligibility requirements.

STUDENTS:  Special discounted registration fees are available for students who are 14-years-old to 22-years-old and attending their school or college at the time of the conference. Student registration is for Saturday only. Please see Registration Page for eligibility requirements.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 27, 2019
6:30 p.m.                                      Registration/Check-in
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.                       Welcome Reception & Celebration Debut of SoWest: Lady Killers

Saturday, September 28, 2019
7:00 a.m.                                     Registration/Check-in
7:30 .am.                                     Continental Breakfast (included)
8:00 a.m.                                    Conference Begins
12:00 noon                                Lunch (included)
1:00 p.m.                                    Workshops and Panel Discussions
5:30 p.m.                                    Conference Ends


Embassy Suites by Hilton, Phoenix/Scottsdale
4415 East Paradise Village Parkway South
Phoenix, AZ 85032

Workshops are presented concurrently on Saturday afternoon.

Market Your Book!
Jess Lourey

Over a million books are published every year in the United States alone. How do you get your book to stand out in that crowd? Marketing, that’s how!

Join Jess Lourey, writing professor and hybrid author of 16 books, as she teaches you how to tighten your book descriptions, create clickable Facebook ads, run a measurably successful Amazon ad campaign, and use newsletter swaps and early review crews to build an audience. Bring your existing book description as well as an idea of your specific income goals and marketing budget. If you have a laptop, please bring that with you–fully charged. Whether you’re a new author or firmly established in your career, this workshop provides critical keys to expand your fan base and increase your sales. (Seating is limited for this workshop.)

Make Your Setting a Captivating Co-Star
Catriona McPherson

“Some of the highest praise a writer ever gets is ‘New York (or Chicago, or Shetland or Reykjavik) plays a starring role in …'”
How do you go about making a character of setting? In this workshop, we’ll look at the role of setting in short stories, standalone novels and series, and explore how to make familiar settings fresh, and exotic settings accessible (while avoiding any whiff of “tax-deductible research trip”, which can kill a story stone dead). We’ll consider the pros and cons of real places, imagined places or a blend of the two and we’ll take a look at settings in time – past, present and future.
A dynamic workshop with award-winning author, Catriona McPherson, that you won’t want to miss.

Writing from the Inside Out
Dennis Palumbo

What does it take to thrive—and survive—as an author? How do you break through the barriers of writer’s block, procrastination, self-doubt and other traps writers can face? A career as an author is unlike any other. How do you create a path to success and balance this crazy, exciting, challenging profession with the rest of your life?  Join Dennis Palumbo, licensed  psychotherapist and critically-acclaimed author, as he presents his innovative, nationally-lauded workshop to help you unleash your creativity and become the writer you want to be.

We Are Also Excited to Offer the Option of Pitch Sessions to Our Conference Attendees This Year.


Pitch Your Book to an Agent

Don’t miss this opportunity to “pitch” your novel directly to literary agent Abby Saul, founder of The Lark Group. Abby is currently seeking adult fiction only in the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s fiction (upmarket and commercial), historical fiction, and select literary fiction. She “likes fiction that is character-driven and smart”.
(Please note: The Lark Group does not represent science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction or screenplays and Abby is not looking for Jack Reacher-esque or CIA-type thrillers or mysteries featuring talking animals.)

Pitch Your Book to an Editor

Editor Terri Bischoff returns for the 2019 WriteNow! Conference. Bischoff has dramatically increased the number of titles per season for publishers and expanded the type of crime fiction printed. She has signed multiple Sisters in Crime authors—including Desert Sleuths—to publishing contracts. Don’t miss this opportunity to pitch your mystery, thriller or other crime fiction novel to Terri.

*Pitch Sessions are an optional opportunity available for a separate fee. Only individuals who are registered for the actual 2019 WriteNow! Conference may sign up for a pitch session.

Please Review These Important Details for Registration



Cancellations received by email at desertsleuths@gmail.com no later than June 15, 2019 – OR – postmarked no later than June 15, 2019 and received at the Desert Sleuths mailing address, will receive a full refund, minus $25.00.

No refunds after June 15, 2019.


Guest Ticket for Friday Evening Reception –For those who have registered for the 2019 WriteNow! Conference, we offer the option of bringing one guest to the Welcome Reception. The optional Guest ticket is available at a nominal fee.  (Please note: this is not available for those registering for the Special Student Registration.)

Special Student Registration – SATURDAY REGISTRATION ONLY.  

The Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter supports and encourages students who wish to pursue a writing career.  A special student rate is available for the 2019 WriteNow! Conference with the following restrictions:  1) Students must be between 14-years-old and 22-years-old; 2) Students must provide an identification card that shows the student is currently enrolled in a middle school, high school, college or university at check-in on Saturday morning;  3) Student registration is for the Saturday program only.

Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter members who have fully paid both their Desert Sleuths 2019 membership dues and their 2019 Sisters in Crime National dues will receive a significantly discounted rate. Dues for 2019 must be current at the time of registration.* Membership will be verified.

Members of other Sisters in Crime chapters and Sisters in Crime National who have paid their 2019 membership dues can purchase conference registrations at a discounted rate. Dues for 2019 must be current at the time of registration.* Membership will be verified.

*Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter members who register under the Sneak Preview discount – or – the Early Bird discount must have paid their 2019 Desert Sleuths Chapter dues and their 2019 Sisters in Crime membership dues no later than February 1, 2019.  Additionally, members of other SinC chapters and Sisters in Crime National who register under the Early Bird discount for “Other SinC members” must have paid their 2019 Sisters in Crime and chapter dues no later than February 1, 2019.