Speaker Schedule

2020 Speaker Schedule

If you have any questions about any of our upcoming meetings, please use our Contact Us Page.

Jan 4, 2020 – Genre Straddling with Tina Gabrielle

It’s a tough market. Authors are realizing the benefit of writing in different genres and not putting “all your eggs in one basket.” This workshop will discuss diversifying, the pros and cons of using different pen names, websites, and social media. The cozy mystery market will also be discussed as well as tips on how to add a dash of mystery to your romance to create unforgettable characters and increase conflict.

BioTina Gabrielle, also published as Tina Kashian, is a bestselling author, an attorney, and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. As Tina Gabrielle she writes adventurous historical romances for Entangled and Kensington. Tina’s romances have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady of Scandal, was nominated as Best First Historical Romance by RT Book Reviews. As Tina Kashian, she writes the Kebab Kitchen culinary cozy mysteries for Kensington. Her debut cozy, Hummus and Homicide, spent six weeks on the B&N bestseller list. Tina grew up vacationing at the Jersey shore where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She still lives in NJ with her supportive husband and two daughters. Please visit her websites to join her newsletters, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more! www.tinagabrielle.com or www.tinakashian.com

Feb 1, 2020 – Messenger Marketing for Authors with C.L. Mecca

Messenger marketing, specifically utilizing Facebook Messenger bots, is a powerful new method of digital marketing. Unlike email, Messenger is instantaneous, conversational and interactive. With over 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users, the power of a chatbot is unlimited. With average open rates over 95% and click-through rates upwards of 80% or more, messenger marketing can be a robust addition to any author’s marketing toolbox. Utilizing a character for the bot voice, readers become more heavily invested in them and the story than with static marketing techniques such as email or social media posts. Cecelia will offer an overview of the service provider she utilizes for messenger marketing, ManyChat, along with best practices for getting started.

Bio: Cecelia Mecca is the author of historical romance and also writes paranormal romance as C.L. Mecca. Cecelia first published The Thief’s Countess, book one in the now complete 11-book Border Series, in 2017. Six months after her debut novel, she left her 20-year career as an educator to write romance full-time. Armed with a PhD in Curriculum and Literacy which now collects dust in her basement, Cecelia takes readers to an admittedly romanticized time of knights and castles in medieval England and Scotland. She also has her hands full at times with the ultimate bad boys– sexy, wealthy and swoon-worthy vampires. Our Highlander-loving, vampire-writing author and mother of teens can be found in Northeast, Pennsylvania, chai in hand, thinking up new ways to tame both medieval and paranormal playboys. She is firmly House Stark and Gryffindor.

Mar 7, 2020 - Writer, get your $#@! together! - Veronica Forand and Eileen Emerson

Are you drowning in deadlines? Can’t figure out how squeeze more writing time into a jam-packed day? Don’t know which app or program or planner works with your brain and personality? Well, fret not! Veronica and Eileen are here to show you what’s available for managing your time, increasing productivity, organizing research, tracking income/expenses, and generally finding ways to simplify your life.

Bio: Veronica Forand is a novelist and an attorney, currently representing children in Family Court. She’s won and finaled in numerous contests, including the Golden Pen Award, the Bookseller’s Best in Romantic Suspense, & the Daphne du Maurier Contest for Excellence. She was also chosen as a Top Ten Finalist out of over 30,000 entries in the James Patterson Co-Author Competition and named 2019 RWA PRO Mentor of the Year.  A lover of education, a hater of tests, Veronica attended Smith College, the University of Geneva, Boston College Law School, and the Case Western School of Law. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.

Bio: Eileen Emerson spent years getting a Master’s degree in costume design for the theatre, and then chucked it all to make her way in the world of Corporate America. She eventually turned her creative focus to writing and began submitting her work to the contest circuit, with excellent results. She is now a four-time finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest. You can learn more about Eileen at her website: www.eileenemerson.com

Apr 4, 2020 - Writing Novella with Stephanie Julian
Best-selling Amazon author Stephanie Julian will share with us the best ways to write a novella. 
NOTE: In order to comply with Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order, we’ve rescheduled the speaker and will be holding our meeting via video conferencing. For more details, please use the CONTACT US Page to reach out for details and login credentials.
May 2, 2020 - Editing for Character Development and Voice - Roan Parish
Editing for Character Development and Voice 
June 6, 2020 - Informal day of craft and business!

With no speaker scheduled, we can let our collective hair down and break off into small groups to brainstorm, share, and plan.

Sep 12, 2020 - Michelle Haring, Cupboard Maker Books, Speaks About Independent Bookstore

​The wonderful Michelle Haring of Cupboard Maker books will be joining us September 12 to talk about independent bookstores. Michelle was named RWA Bookseller of the year in 2019.

Michelle has owned Cupboard Maker Books, an independent bookstore in Central Pennsylvania, for more than twenty years and recently opened a satellite store in the Colonial Hills Mall. She loves romance, her favorite genre since she started devouring Harlequin novels as a preteen. Michelle reads approximately a book a day, and most of these are romance. The Cupboard Maker Books hosts seven book clubs, including a romance book club. Book signings occur several times a month and include literary-themed parties and multi-author signings. In 2013, she won RT Book Reviews Bookseller of the Year and the 2018 RT Book Reviews Creative Initiative Award.

Oct 3, 2020 - TBD

This program is being designed as we speak. Stay tuned for the specifics!

Nov 7, 2020 - TBD

This program is being designed as we speak. Stay tuned for the specifics!

Dec 2020 - Members' Holiday Party - Date and Location TBA

Every year we get together to celebrate the holidays with food, friends, and a fabulous gift exchange. This is a members only event. Guests are not permitted. 


Each year, VFRW members enjoy a slate of programs from a varied and highly skilled group of speakers.

We plan our programs to ensure we touch on all the elements important to Romance writers:

  • Craft (lessons on the mechanics of character and plot, voice, and style),
  • Business (topics focused on publishing, marketing, and taxes),
  • Industry (updates on the publishing world and specific areas of interest to writers.)


Curious about our prior speakers and topics?

Check out our 2017, 2018, and 2019 speakers.


Many of our speakers are current or former members of VFRW.
We would be happy to recommend any of our previous speakers — feel free to use our Contact Us Page to ask for more information.