RWA2018 Special Speakers Announced

We're pleased to announce our lineup of special topic speakers for RWA2018! Attendees can hear from experts outside the romance genre on topics to help them improve their writing, their research methods, and their business savvy. These sessions will take place Thursday through Saturday at the RWA Conference in Denver, though specific dates and times will be announced later. For more information on each session, please click here!


Jennifer Lynn Barnes, PhD

The Romance Writer’s Guide to the Psychology of Fiction

Writing for Your Id

Jennifer Lynn Barnes Speaker Bio
In addition to being the author of more than a dozen young adult novels, Jennifer Barnes is also one of the world's leading experts on the cognitive science of fiction and the psychology of media fandom. She is a Fulbright Scholar with advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science and received her doctorate from Yale University in 2012. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma, she studies the universal appeal of stories and runs a research laboratory dedicated to scientifically exploring the ins and outs of how the human mind engages with fictional characters, situations, and worlds. Jennifer wrote her first published novel at the age of nineteen and has written television pilot scripts for MTV and USA. She has a dual appointment in psychology and professional writing.


Mark Dawson

A Walkthrough of How to Set Up a Facebook Ad, a BookBub Ad and an AMS Ad

Creating and Implementing a Launch Plan to Fire Your Book to the Top

Ask the Expert!

Mark Dawson Speaker Bio
Mark Dawson is the USA Today best-selling author of the John Milton series. He is also the founder of, a resource for writers including marketing and advertising training.


Diane Drake

Get Your Story Straight: Structuring Your Screenplay to Sell

What’s the Big Idea: Creating a Strong Logline

Diane Drake Speaker Bio
Diane Drake is an accomplished professional screenwriter, author, writing instructor, story consultant, and speaker. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as vice president of creative affairs for Academy Award-winning director/producer Sydney Pollack. Her first produced original script, Only You, starring Robert Downey, Jr., and Marisa Tomei, sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, is the second-highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. In addition, both films have recently been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars.

Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America and has been an instructor/speaker for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, Atlanta Film festival, Scriptwriter’s Network, Story Development Group, University Club, Phoenix Screenwriters Association, and Writer’s Store.

She has served as a judge for the Humanitas Prize, UCLA Extension Contest, and Austin Film festival, and a mentor for the Young Storytellers and the ISA (International Screenwriters Association) Diane has been featured in IndieWire, Script, MovieMaker, and Creative Screenwriting Magazine. She recently released her debut book, Get Your Story Straight (Reel Life Publishing, May 2016).


Geoff Symon

Burning Questions: Fire in Fiction
Speakers: Terence Keenan and Geoff Symon

Dead Right: Autopsies for Authors

Geoff Symon Speaker Bio
Geoff Symon is a forensic investigator, polygraph examiner, teacher and consultant. His participation in high-profile cases includes the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion and the Chandra Levy investigation, among countless other cases over his 20-year career. He has specified and certified training in the collection and preservation of evidence, blood-spatter analysis, autopsies and laboratory techniques.

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