Writers Conference

Oct. 14, 2017


Central School
809 Kirby St
Lake Charles, LA

This year’s conference will focus on the first part of our motto – to educate. We have a great lineup of speakers teaching various parts of the writing craft. Classes and workshops (breakouts) are held simultaneously. Schedule will be posted soon.

Register to attend at the bottom of the page.  *A $1.00 fee is added.


Scheduled *Speakers are listed below. *subject to change without notice.

Johnnie Bernhard – Topic – Developmental Editing and Content Editing

Johnnie is a former AP English teacher, journalist, and now the owner of Editorial Services, LLC, where she writes book reviewer for Southern Literary Review, as well as assists writers in honing their craft. Her work(s) have appeared in the following publications: University of Michigan Graduate Studies Publications, Heart of Ann Arbor Magazine, Houston Style Magazine, World Oil Magazine, The Suburban Reporter of Houston, The Mississippi Press, University of South Florida Area Health Education Magazine, to name a few.

Johnnie’s debut novel, A Good Girl was a finalist in the 2015 Wisdom-Faulkner Literary Competition held in New Orleans.  A Good Girl will be featured in panel discussions at the 2017 Mississippi Book Festival in August and the 2017 Louisiana Book Festival in October.

Juliette Cross – Building Believable Worlds – 90 min workshop

Juliette has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

She is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance with Kensington, Samhain, and Entangled Publishing.

Elizabeth Ludwig – Researching Historical Facts for Fiction Writing

Elizabeth is an award-winning author and speaker whose books have been featured in Southern Writers Magazine, More to Life Magazine, and Christian Fiction Online Magazine. Book three in her popular EDGE OF FREEDOM series, Tide and Tempest, was recently named a finalist for the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her latest releases include Home Sweet Sugarcreek and A Tempting Taste of Mystery, part of the SUGARCREEK AMISH MYSTERIES series from Guideposts.

She often attends conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews.

S.M. Schmitz – Topic – Tips for Visibility in an Increasingly Invisible Publishing World

S.M. Schmitz is a USA Today Bestselling Author and has an M.A. in modern European history. She is a former world history instructor who now writes novels filled with mythology and fantasy and, sometimes, aliens.

She currently has written and published twenty-two novels. Her novels are infused with the same humorous sarcasm that she employed frequently in the classroom, and as a native of Louisiana, she sets many of her scenes here. Like Dietrich in Resurrected, she is convinced Louisiana has been cursed with mosquitoes much like Biblical Egypt with its locusts.

Natascha Morris – Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary Agency – 15 min Pitches

Natascha spent most of her childhood in a leather chair with her nose in a book. Formerly an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster, her passion for books across genres and her desire to finding amazing talent drove her to make the transition from editorial to literary agent.

Natascha is primarily looking for picture book, middle grade and young adult manuscripts across most genres, including contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, historical fiction, and narrative non-fiction. She is also looking for artists that speak to her creatively.

She is not a good fit for adult literary fiction, horror, true crime, or serious nonfiction.

Kaitlyn Johnson – Literary Agent Apprentice at Corvisiero Literary Agency – 15 min Pitches

After receiving a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Kaitlyn refused to leave the concept of nightly homework behind. Centering her life around everything literary, she started her own freelance editing company, K. Johnson Editorial, as soon as her diploma arrived in the mail. She also recently became the YA Editor at Accent Press.

Kaitlyn’s favorite authors/books include the following: Cornelia Funke (Inkheart series); Michael Buckley (Undertow series);  John Green (more Looking for Alaska, less An Abundance of Katherines); Gayle Forman (Just One Year and Just One Day); Lois Lowry (The Giver series); Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins). Her favorite tv shows are Doctor Who, Buffy, Supernatural, Firefly, basically the nerdier the fandom the better.

She is looking to take pitches for MG, YA, and A – contemporary, historical fiction, and fantasy.

7:30-8:00  Doors Open for Registration
8:00-8:10  Opening Remarks
8:10-9:10  Developmental and Content Editing
9:10-9:20  Door Prize Presentation and Break
9:20-10:20  Researching Historical Facts for Fiction
10:20-10:30  Door Prize Presentation and Break
10:30-11:30 Becoming Visible in an Invisible Market
11:30-12:30 Lunch|
12:30-12:40 Door Prize Presentation and On the Wall Contest Winner
12:40-2:20 Writing Workshop: Building Believable Worlds
2:20-2:30 Closing Remarks
2:30 -3:00 Break—Registration for Pelican Tales opens
3:00-6:00 Pelican Tales Author/Reading Event

Included with the price of your ticket: The morning snack room will be serving coffee, juice, fruit, and coffee cakes; Lunch is an entree with two sides and a drink; Entry into Door Prize drawing; Entry as a reader (valued at $5.) into the Pelican Tales Event starting at 3 pm.

Authors interested in participating in Pelican Tales, (for an additional fee) an authors and readers event starting at 3 pm click here for more information.

Enter our On the Wall contest and you can win free entry in the 2018 conference. More info here.

Purchase your conference ticket below. Tickets are non-refundable, but are transferable. Print out your receipt for your records.

The shopping cart appears on the right side bar after items have been added to the cart. 

Tickets are available at the door – $60.00

A limited number of scholarships are available for those in need of assistance to attend the conference. To apply, BWG-Scholarship-Fund-Guidlines-rev.5.7.2017 Follow the guidelines, fill out application, and return with a sample of writing by email to bayouwritersgroup1@gmail.com.

Supported by grants from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, the Lake Charles / SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, LA Dept of Recreation and Tourism, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of SWLA.