Review of a Writers Conference

Saturday I attended the 1-Day Intensive Writers Conference  with suspense author Mike Dellosso that I posted about a few weeks ago. It took place in Harrisburg, PA. When we arrived, Mike had a custom-made notebook for us to take notes on all of the topics he covered for the day. It is a very attractive notebook and was extremely helpful for note-taking, with the topic titles and a few main sentences listed.

There was a small attendance, and I have to say that I had never attended a conference that had a single speaker so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, due to the small group, it was a wonderful opportunity to not just hear what Mike had to present, but also to ask questions.

It was a wonderful experience to learn more about the writing craft as well as the publishing options and marketing ideas. Since Mike has both Traditionally and Indie published, and has worked with an agent, he was a wealth of experiential information. Also, because Mike is very open and honest and has a good sense of humor, not only was the conference educational, but it was also lot of fun.

My favorite thing is that, because Mike speaks from personal experience that comes from nine years in the writing and publishing world, some of what he shares is unique compared to many things I have heard over and over again, that I question. For instance, I’ve been told many times that I should read mostly or only the genre I want to write. I have issues with that because I love many genres. Therefore, when Mike said, “Read in a variety of genres and read to learn, not just to be entertained,” that made sense to me because even though I’ve been told to read mostly or only the genre I want to write, I have continued to read many different genres and I learn something from each one, which is also quite helpful in my editing business because it allows me to be familiar with how different genres are done and allows me to be more effective in my editing.

Mike’s writing tips and advice make a lot of sense and are helpful no matter where you’re at in your writing journey. I have been active in the writing world for four years, even though I’ve been writing since I was in junior high school, and I learned something about how to really find my writing voice, how to be sure each of my characters has their own voice, and how to improve on how I create my setting and mood, which is one of my weaknesses.

Mike has two books coming out in March of 2018. These will be books 14 and 15 of his, not counting the ebooks he has on writing. He’s known for his suspense novels, and one of the upcoming releases will be a suspense novel. He has also written one Southern Fiction story in the past under the pen name Michael King, and one of his upcoming releases will be a Southern Fiction novel, but this time he will use his real name, Mike Dellosso, for this book as well.

If you ever get a chance to attend one of Mike’s workshops or conferences, I highly recommend it. I have heard him several times over the past four years, and I always learn something from him. I appreciate his openness and honesty.

An Upcoming Writers’ Conference

I know, if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you will be seeing this as a repeat of a Facebook post and a Tweet I shared last week. However, for those of you who follow my blog but not my Facebook or Twitter, I don’t want you to miss out on this news. There is a one-day Writers’ Conference coming to Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, October 21,2017. Mike Dellosso, who is a wonderful writer will be teaching some great workshops. I would love to meet some of your fellow bloggers/writers at the conference. Find out more about it, by clicking “Creative Writing for Everyone”.

I will definitely be there, so if you can attend, please be sure to introduce yourself to me and let me know you follow my blog.

If you want to know more about Mike, I did an interview with him here on this blog two years ago: “Meet Author, Mike Dellosso”.  I’ve also done some reviews on books he’s written. You can find them by clicking the following titles: Centralia, and A Thousand Sleepless Nights, which he wrote under his pen name, Michael King.

I’ve heard Mike speak at conferences as a keynote speaker and as a workshop teacher and he always inspires me. I look forward to attending this workshop and hope to meet you there.

Centralia by Mike Dellosso


Things are not what they seem.

Peter Ryan can’t find his wife and daughter.  Everyone keeps telling him they died, but he doesn’t believe them.  He does, however, have memories of their funeral.  When his house is invaded, he discovers that he has survival skills he was not aware he had.  He doesn’t understand what is going on, and do the disconnected memories have anything to do with what’s happening?  And, what about the nightmare he has almost every night?  Is it significant?  Centralia is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat suspense story where “things are not what they seem”.

This story is very well-written and the characters, down to the very minor characters who only appear in one chapter, are very well-developed.  One of the best minor characters in the book is Ronnie.  He’s only in one chapter, but Mike gave me so much information about Ronnie that I immediately cared about this character.  I would like to see Mike continue Ronnie’s story in another book sometime.

The story grabbed my attention right from the start and held it in a strong grip right up until the very end.  Mike Dellosso has a talent for giving great descriptions of people and settings without making it too wordy or slowing the action and suspense down.  The story is action-packed, suspenseful and frightening.

I’ve been a Mike Dellosso fan for a year now, and though I haven’t yet read all of his books, I think this could be his best work yet.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to be kept up late because you just can’t put this book down; to anyone who loves a story packed with action and suspense, you won’t want to miss this one.

Workshop and One-on-One

The workshop I want to share about today was presented by Mike Dellosso.  He is a Christian thriller/suspense writer.  He did a workshop on creating characters.

Mike said that creating authentic characters is important because the characters are the reason readers keep reading.  He said the antagonist should be someone the reader can identify with and can connect with.  The antagonist should also be someone the reader loves to hate but also has a connection with and, on a certain level, feels sorry for.

Mike said that giving characters heart and soul requires drawing much from your own experiences and using your desires, fears, etc.  

It’s important to give your character something to fight for.  i.e.:  Internal — self-worth, sanity, etc. or external — marriage, family, etc.

Mike explained POV (point of view):  First person — me telling the story — “I” (he suggested that this is the hardest to write); Second person — “You” (this is rare in fiction); and third person — “He said/she said”.  Third person limited — narrator telling from the narrator’s point of view (no thoughts, emotions, etc.), everything is base strictly on sight.  Third person omniscient — God View — can see inside the character’s head, heart and emotions — seeing inside the total person.  Deep third person is like first person but written as third using he or she instead of I but you are the main character.  Also, in deep third person you need to show who the speaker is through actions as much as possible (movement, body language).

POV “rules”:  One POV character per scene/chapter — no head hopping!  Stick to the POV!  The POV character never describes himself/herself unless he/she is looking at their reflection in a mirror or pool, unless they are getting dressed.  The POV character is the one whose five senses plus thinking/feeling — internal, the scene/chapter is focused on .  You cannot go into another character’s thoughts and senses.

Learn to observe people and take mental or real notes.

Describe enough of the character’s physical features so the reader can get a mental image but don’t overdo it.  Keep it minimal.  Describe females a little more than males because females show more variability in their looks than males.

Show action.  People move in real life:  body language, facial expressions, scratching, etc.

For dialogue learn to listen to people and take mental or real notes.  Listen to the way people talk and how conversation flows.  Long monologues are not normal.  It’s a lot of back and forth.  Characters should sound different because they have different personalities: a favorite word or phrase, accent, vocabulary, speed of speech.  Make their words count.

If you kill a character, someone needs to care, and it should either be the reader (preferably) or a character in the story, or both.

Bad guys can be redeemed at the end as long as it’s plausible enough that the reader will buy it.

Don’t use words if you don’t know what they mean.

Research whatever you don’t know; enough to get the idea and to make it authentic to your readers.


In addition to Mike’s workshop, I had signed up to have a one-on-one 15 minute session with Mike because I wanted to know a little more about writing suspense stories and because I had questions about POV.  (I had my one-on-one with Mike before his workshop). He was very helpful in tips and advice he offered and he was very encouraging.  I enjoyed meeting Mike and having the opportunity to discuss writing with him.

Mike Dellosso currently has seven books published:  six suspense/thriller books and one under the pseudonym Michael King.  He had six out of the seven books available in the conference books store.  Mike also has a great website.  Check out: