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Horror and Suspense Conference.png
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Do you enjoy writing about all the scary things that go bump in the night?
Is it your dream to turn your terrifying tome into a published novel? Then the Wordsmith Institute Day of the Dead Horror & Suspense Writing Conference
on November 1, is exactly what you need.


This one-day live conference, on the Day of Dead, brings together best-selling horror & suspense authors who will share their expertise and agents who are actively seeking new clients. Get an insider’s view of writing and publishing horror & suspense novels from those who have achieved success, ask them questions and pitch your book face-to-face via video chat to agents interested in novels like yours. Register today to reserve your spot at this one-of-a-kind  writing conference and move one step closer to your dream of being a published horror & suspense author. 

Our goal is not only to provide you with wonderful sessions taught by bestselling authors, and give you access to agents, but we want this to be a fun online conference that has the feel of an in person event, without having to dress up and leave the house. Throughout the day we plan to have fun giveaways. Register today to reserve your spot at this one-of-a-kind writing conference and move one step closer to your dream of being a published horror & suspense author. 

Featured Presenters



Bestselling Horror & Suspense Author



Bestselling Horror & Suspense Author



Bestselling Horror & Suspense Author



Bestselling Horror & Suspense Author

Support indie bookstores while supporting our presenters. 

Buy presenter's books at BookShop.org 


Event Details

Date: November 1, 2020
Time: 9:00-2:30 (MDT)

8:00am-1:30pm (Pacific)
10:00am-3:30 (Central)

11:00am-4:30pm (Eastern)

Location: Zoom

During this one day live event, the horror & suspense authors you love
and admire, along with successful literary agents in the industry, will teach classes on all different aspects of writing and publishing horror & suspense 
novels. Our goal is to make this event fun, informative and inspiring. We want you to ask questions, connect with each other and for fun, we plan to give away fabulous prizes throughout the day. This is going to be different than any other online conference you have attended in the past.

Participating in an online writing conference is easy. A couple days before the event, you will receive an email with the link; click on it and you will have access to an exciting day of learning.  

Pitching to an Agent

We are excited to offer you the opportunity to pitch your horror & suspense  novel to agents and editors who are interested in representing horror & suspense  authors like you. The 10-minute pitch sessions are done face-to-face via Zoom. Conferences are the one time you get the chance to talk directly with agents about your book, so take advantage of it. The attending agents  are seeking that next best-selling horror & suspense  author. It could be you!

Exclusive Facebook Group

Connecting with other authors is an integral part of any writing conference, so we have set up an exclusive Facebook group for participants of this event. Through this group you can meet other writers, ask questions, share resources and make new writer friends. During this time when you are encouraged to stay home and in-person events are on hold, this Facebook group allows you the chance to meet and connect with other writers, and provide support. Once your registration is finalized you will receive an invitation to the group. 

Pre-Conference Session

On the evening of September 10, we will have a special session to prepare you for the full day event and answer any questions you may have. We will go over the schedule for the day, how it is all going to work, and share tips on preparing for your pitch sessions. It also gives you a chance to make sure everything is working with your computer and familiarize yourself  with Zoom if you haven’t used it before. 



  • $99 (Conference price)

  • Pitch Sessions-$15 each (Must register for conference to be able to pitch)



All sessions will be recorded (including the pre-conference session) and you will have access to them for 2 months following the event. So even if you have to leave for a few minutes to pitch your book, you won’t miss anything because you can go back and watch the full session.

BONUS: In addition to the recordings of all the sessions, you will get 2 BONUS sessions as well, taught by Kerrie Flanagan.


  • Is Self Publishing Right for You?

  • Improve your Writing-Self-Editing and Self Revision


Times are listed in Mountain Daylight Time

9:00-10:00-Session 1-

10:15-11:15-Session 2-

11:15-12:00-Lunch and Social Time

12:00-1:00-Sessions 3-

1:15-2:15-Session 5-
2:15-2:30-Wrap up



Query Letter Bootcamp


Most writers will tell you that writing a good query letter is more difficult than writing the whole manuscript. How do you distill the essence of your novel into one pithy pitch paragraph? Come find out! Angie Hodapp, author of Query Craft, will divulge why so few query letters lead to requests for pages, and then walk you through how to write a standout four-part query letter while avoiding common pitfalls.

Angie Hodapp holds a BA in English and secondary education and an MA in English and communication development, and she is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. The author of Do You Need a Literary Agent? and Query Craft, Angie has worked in language education and professional writing, editing, and publishing for more than twenty years. The Director of Literary Development at Nelson Literary Agency, she is passionate about story and loves helping authors hone their craft and learn about the ever-changing business of publishing.

How to Fight Like a Girl, Writing Fight Scenes in Your Books


Looking to put a little punch in your action sequences? Bestseller and critically acclaimed author L.L. McKinney has a few tips and tricks for making fight scenes in fiction believable. From her own fast paced and thrilling Nightmare-Verse series to Marvel’s Black Widow, to DC’s Nubia, Wonder Woman’s twin sister, Elle knows what it takes to Fight Like a Girl: One author’s guide to writing believably fantastical fight scenes set in this or any world.

L.L. McKinney is a writer, a poet, and an active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, the co-founder of Juneteenth Book Fest, and the creator of the hashtags #Publishing Paid Me and #WhatWOCWritersHear. She’s also a gamer girl and an adamant Hei Hei stan. Her works include the Nightmare-Verse series, Nubia: Real One, and others. 

Staying Motivated to Write


Do you value your career enough, not to make excuses?

In this session Jonathan will teach you how to:

-Flex your word-count muscle
-Make your “writing vision” your priority
-Fail better
-Defeat writer’s block

Plus, all the affirmations you won’t give yourself.

Jonathan Yanez, is an International Bestseller who owns his own publishing company. He's won the Jack London award. His, work has been translated to the foreign market, optioned for film and is being adapted to a mobile game. 

Tips for Writing a Successful Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel

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Have you ever wondered why one book in the SF/F world sells, and the once next to it doesn't? Wondered why some worlds feel more real even though they are fantastical and others fall flat? Wonder how the hell you are going to take that next step in writing your novel that doesn't make it a rip off of Lord of the Rings? You might need this session with one of the industries best selling urban fantasy authors, Shannon Mayer. With over four million sales to her name, and a multitude of accolades, this lady is ready to lay out some hard truths, and helpful hints when it comes to writing in these genres. So if you think you can handle a little bit of tough love, and a potty mouthed Canadian who can make you laugh and learn at the same time, you need this session. Good for authors, almost authors, and even readers who just want a glimpse into this side of the curtain. 

Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband and son, on a farm full of animals. She has a tendency to write stories that blend action, unexpected twists, and humor with a touch of romance that leaves readers on the edges of their seats. If you can't handle a bit of salty language and heart pounding moments that leave you gripping your kindle or book, you should probably leave now. #NoWiltingFlowersAllowed
She is the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of numerous urban fantasy, paranormal romance and epic fantasy style books. 



More Coming soon
Register now and you can add additional pitch sessions later.

Patrick Munnelly


In Fantasy, I'm looking for anything in the realm of epic fantasy. I’m a bigger fan of magic than I am of swords. Superheroes, witchcraft, angels/demons, and retellings are also high on my list. X-Men or Diablo are my two favorite comp titles for Fantasy. Don’t be too shy about anything on the dark/gruesome side of fantasy — I love it all!


In Science Fiction, I tend to gravitate towards anything virtual reality or alternate history. I’m not much of a fan of Space Opera’s or Alien Invasions, but AI, bionic people/weapons, or laboratory conspiracies... bring it on!


In both subgenres, I’m looking for only Novels and Graphic Novels for a YA or Adult audience. 


Jim McCarthy

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Jim McCarthy is a Vice-President and Literary Agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret where he started his publishing career over two decades ago. His list is heavily focused on middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction and loved projects with a fantasy or sci-fi bent. It includes New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Morgan Rhodes, Victoria Laurie, Robin Talley, Livia Blackburne, and Michael Arceneaux along with critically celebrated and award-winning authors such as Tehlor Kay Mejia, Joy McCullough, Fonda Lee, Remy Lai, and many more.

Eva Scalzo

Speilburg Agency

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Eva Scalzo was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Houston, Buenos Aires, San Juan, and Boston before settling down outside of Binghamton, New York. She has a B.A. in the Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. For Eva anything with a fairy tale at the root of the story is fair game, but also any retelling of a classic story in either sci-fi or fantasy would be right up her alley. She is also looking for Historical Fantasy with a diverse bent and lots of magic and adventure stories. Anything with a quest; where a diverse group of people have to band together to save the world (or the universe)

Alice Speilburg


Alice Speilburg is the founding agent of Speilburg Literary and has worked in publishing for more than a decade. Before launching the agency, Alice started her publishing career at John Wiley & Sons, and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She represents commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction for adult and YA readers. In Science Fiction and Fantasy, she's looking for fantasy that imagines fresh worlds with non-Western roots or fantasy that springs from newer American folk magic (especially Appalachian), contemporary fantasy that straddles mainstream and fantastical, or historical fiction that sidesteps into magic; she'd also like to expand her list in sci-fi, with a special interest in AI, technology, and medicine, and stories that consider the essence of personhood. She likes darker elements, especially when they're woven deeply and subtly into the atmosphere of a novel. Across the board, she wants to see elements and characters that reflect the author's own community or background.