Just a week left until ICON 40 arrives. It’s the Cedar Rapids scifi and fantasy convention and if you’ve never been to it, you’re missing out. The organizers put on a great convention with lots to participate in. ICON 40 is this weekend – Oct. 16-18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.

This year, the Saturday Writers are pleased to be on several panels. You can find us here:

Barnes and Noble Author Signing – Thursday, October 15 • 6:30pm • AR, Rachel

An open event at Barnes & Noble to meet many of the Authors attending ICON 40 – how can you resist a chance to meet them and buy a couple (or more) books?? Come join us at this Pre-ICON 40 event to kick things off!

DreamCON III – Friday, Oct 16 • 1pm • AR, Cheryl, Rachel

DreamCON is a writing workshop for high school and college students running in conjunction with ICON. Participants who are aspiring writers will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with our guests of honor and honorable guests to learn more about the writing craft and the publishing world.

Genre Rules for Book Covers – Friday, Oct 16 • 6pm • Cheryl, Rachel

An interactive presentation on the genre expectations for book covers. Lots of examples of great covers. Can you guess the genre?

Monster Creation – Friday, October 16 • 10:00pm • Rachel

Every few years an author “reinvents” a classic monster. Glittering vampires, anyone? But what goes into reinventing classic monsters. Five authors share how they reinvented the old to make it new again.

Author Meet & Greet – Saturday, Oct 17 • 10:00am • AR, Cheryl, Rachel

There will be over 30 authors will be gathered and waiting for you to ask questions about their craft. This is your opportunity to fawn over your favorite authors and learn about new ones. Buy a book (or two or three), get it signed and watch your to-be-read pile GROW!

Human Rights and the Influence of Science Fiction/Fantasy – Saturday, October 17 • 12:00pm • Rachel

How scifi/fantasy has advanced human rights…a gateway to opening the conversation.

Trials of Writing a Strong (and Good) Female Protagonist – Saturday, October 17 • 3:00pm • AR

Katniss and Tris, Cerci and Daenerys have taken over the airwaves. But are they good examples of strong female characters? Stop by this panel to learn about the pros and cons of writing “strong” female characters and what makes a characteristics make up a “good” female character?

Animals as Plot Devices – Saturday, October 17 • 4:00pm • Rachel

Superman has Kypto. Harry Potter has Hedwig. The Doctor has K-9. Animals play a large role in our personal lives and in the lives of the fictional characters. This panel will take a look at the role of animals as plot devices and how they can serve or destroy a plot.

Is There Such a Thing as Being “Well-Read” in this Day? – Saturday, October 17 • 7:00pm •Rachel

With literally millions of books being written every year, can anyone realistic claim to be well read? What does it mean to be well read? Is it important?  On the same basic topic, are there classics that everyone should read/be familiar with? How important is that we have a shared culture of books? Or should we all just read according to personal preference?

Can I Use That? – Saturday, October 17 • 8:00pm • AR

Learn how to go about finding and using images for your website, blog, or book cover.

Author Reading and QA: Rachel Eliason – Sunday, October 18 • 11:00am • Rachel

Join Rachel Eliason as she reads from her novel, Bear Naked 3: The Hunted, followed by a question/answer session.

Self-Publishing 101 – Sunday, October 18 • 11:00am • Cheryl

You wrote A Thing. Now you want to publish The Thing. What are your options? What are your first steps? Learn the common missteps and tips about self-publishing Your Thing.

How Do I Use That? – Sunday, October 18 • 2:00pm • Rachel

The Internet makes it easy to find images and use them in all kinds of applications. Explore some of the options available for finding images and manipulating them.

Designing a Magic System – Sunday, October 18 • 2:00pm • Cheryl

Creating a magic system that makes sense in your fantasy world can be tricky. Join author Cheryl Corbin as she shares some tips and tricks for creating and maintaining magic system.

Amy and Cheryl at Carroll Con

Another awesome book event! This Saturday, August 8, two of our writers will be in Carroll, Iowa at Carroll Con, a FREE mini-con (Comic Con) hosted by the Carroll Public Library at the Carroll Recreation Center during Carroll Fest.

A.R. Miller, Cheryl Corbin and Rachel Aukes will be speaking at 2 p.m. about writing and publishing.

There will be costumes, cosplay, comic books, artists, food, dancing… a lot of fun! For more information, check out the Carroll Con Facebook page. If you’re in the Carroll area, join the festivities!

Notes from the July Meeting as Rachel Plans to Take Over the Group

With Cheryl and Amy out of town at a book signing it was up to me, Rachel, to run the Saturday Writers meeting. <Insert diabolical laughter here> Bwa-ha-ha. I was thrilled to be in charge — until Dan pointed out that only thing I was in charge of was taking notes. Thanks, Dan.

The group was small but the discussions lively as usual. We had a couple of new members including one published poet. You can check out Dennis Maulsby and his Vietnam War poetry on his webpage.

One of the things we discussed were some of the great masters of psychological suspense, like H. P. Lovecraft and Hitchcock. All of H. P. Lovecraft’s writing is public domain, which means it can be picked up in ebook format for free. They can be read online on the H. P. Lovecraft Archives or or get a copy for the kindle/nook here.

We discussed novel planning for some time. Two of us were huge fans of Scrivener writing software. It allows you to keep everything related to your latest work in progress in one project folder, so nothing gets lost. It has tools for storyboarding and planning, as we as a built in editor, so you can both plan and write your novel in Scrivener. It can even format the end file for print or ebooks. It comes with a generous trial period and they often run Nanowrimo specials. If you do buy, it’s well worth the 49 dollars.

There are many ways to go about planning a novel. Some people like to write by the seat of their pants. Others like to plot and outline their novels. Still others storyboard. Many writers mix and match styles to suit their personality and needs.

Again, there were a couple of us who really like the snowflake method. The snowflake method helps you build the story from the center out, starting with a single sentence and expanding from their until you have enough background to write an entire novel. For Scrivener writers, Caroline Norington has provide an excellent Scrivener template to use with the snowflake method.

Shortly before we broke for the day, we discussed best sellers. Reading is part of learning to write and every writer should read as widely as possible. We might sometimes disparage certain bestselling authors or books, moaning about the state of literature and “how did they succeed?” But it can be worthwhile to suspend our judgement and read these books with a critical eye. Obviously they did something right, otherwise millions of people wouldn’t be buying their books. By identifying those things, we can make ourselves better writers, too.

As fun as the discussion was, we always have room for more writers. Feel free to come down and join us next month. Until then, keep writing.

Fort Dodge Book Fair

Fort Dodge Book FairAnother book fair! This one is at Central Perk and Dessert in Fort Dodge. This Saturday, July 11, there will be 10 authors there with books and coffee and dessert! You can meet Jessica Danow, Rich Griffith, Micki Fredricks, Tamara Jones, Michael Koogler, AR Miller, Jed Quinn, Rachel Smith and Sparkle Abbey and Cheryl Corbin!

If you’re in the area, come see us between 1 and 4 p.m. at Central Perk & Dessert, 14 S 14th St in Fort Dodge.

AR Miller will be at Wizard World Comic Con

AR Miller will be on a panel at Wizard World Comic Con this weekend! On Saturday, June 13 from 11:30 – 12:15 PM join her for :

How to add depth to a character different from yourself. Six novelists discuss writing characters of a race, gender, age, economics, species, and moral compass different than their own. With Rachel Aukes, Aaron Bunce, Dennis Green, Tamara Jones, AR Miller, and Jed Peterson.


The Mage Chronicles only 99 cents this weekend

There’s a sale on The Mage Chronicles this weekend only. Pick up the first book in RJ’s Gilded Empire series for only 99 cents! The Mage Chronicles

The Gilded Empire: A magical empire so ancient it’s name has been forgotten to the mist of time. Its citizens believe they are in their golden age, but already the rot is showing underneath the gold veneer.

The Mage Chronicles: A mage level healer, Mary is unprepared when the Council of Mages wants her to intervene in a border dispute in a distant part of the empire. What does she know of nobility or war? Not one to back down, she must confront the harsh realities of life outside the central core, a legion of unstoppable warriors and the ghosts of her own past.

Get your copy here.


It’s time again for Demicon, the Des Moines Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. This is it’s 26th year and the theme is Magic. It will be held on May 1-3 at the Holiday Inn Northwest in Des Moines.

One of our members, Cheryl Corbin, will be presenting a panel on Designing a Magic System with Jim C. Hines.

“It’s tempting to use all-powerful magic when creating a world, but it makes for a boring story. Magic with limitations and consequences adds drama and intensity to your world.  We’ll discuss how to design a believable magic system for your created world, including the different types of magic, the ways they can be used, and how to decide the rules that govern magic in your world.”

If you’re attending Demicon this year, stop by to say hello!

Breathless Press – Ebook Sale

Breathless Press, a small publisher of romance books, is going out of business on May 1. Until then, all of their ebooks are only 49 cents.

I know some of the writers who are published by them. They would certainly appreciate the support of folks buying their books while they adapt to this change.

Breathless carries romance books in several genres – historical, contemporary, paranormal, futuristic and the stories range from sweet to suitable for adults only.

If you’d like to stock up on some great romance, check out their sale.


North Iowa’s Author Event

AR and Cheryl will be at the North Iowa’s Author Event on April 18. The event is hosted by BF Bookies.

It will be a gathering of amazing authors from Iowa and surrounding states.  Come mix & mingle & pick their creative minds.  Books will be available for purchase.

Date:  Saturday, April 18, 2015

Time:  1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Place:  Best Western Holiday Lodge, Clear Lake, IA

  • 20 confirmed authors!
  • Door Prizes!
  • Goodie Bags for the first 100 people!
  • Meet & Greet on Friday night at the Bennigan’s Bar from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

**To see a list of attending authors, visit Facebook and find the event:  North Iowa’s Author Event

Travelers & Shifters & Fey

Travelers & Shifters & FeyAR Miller and Rachel Eliason have joined forces with Dennis Green to release a box set of their books, called Travelers & Shifters & Fey.

And it’s FREE on April 8th and 9th! Get this box set now!

Iowa isn’t considered flyover country for the reasons you think. Dennis Green, A.R. Miller and R.J. Eliason invite you to experience Iowa for what it really is…magical.

Traveler by Dennis W. Green

Detective Trav Becker can travel between parallel realities. But other versions of him also have this talent, and one of them is systematically killing every other variant of himself that he can find. Trav must now fight to keep the very fabric of time itself from unwinding as he hunts the most dangerous quarry of all…himself.

Disenchanted by A.R. Miller

Middle age is supposed to be boring, average at best, but not for stylist Keely Fey. Her Talents are evolving, an imaginary childhood friend reappears and a light elf takes an interest in her. This wouldn’t be so bad, if he weren’t stalking her. As her life tumbles into chaos the authorities decide it’s no coincidence the victims of The Collector are clients of her salon. Welcome to The Meadows, a typical Iowa community, if you’re an Enchant.

Bear Naked by R.J. Eliason

Amanda Burnson is a typical teen with all the typical problems: excess weight, struggles with body odor, random people trying to kill her . . . oh, and her boyfriend just might be a werewolf.

At seventeen, Amanda, who has been raised by her neo-pagan uncle, has more friends at the local Renaissance faire than at her high school. Most of her summers are spent at faires, festivals, and Aunt Maggie’s farm.

There is something new going on in the heart of America, in the small Iowa town that Amanda calls home. The whole town is changing–a tough way to begin a school year. New kids alongside the old; new attitudes colliding with the usual annoying old ones; menacing new faces alongside comforting ones. . . things will never be the same once this brew is boiled.

Get it at Amazon before the price goes back up.