Online Workshops



  • The cost of participating in a STAR Online Workshop is $15 for STAR members, $25 for RWA members and $30 for non-members.
  • Payment may be made either by check or Money Order in US Dollars, made out to STAR Online Workshop, and mailed to: STAR Online Workshop Coordinator, 90 Drybrook Road, Willseyville, NY 13864.
  • If you have a PayPal account and would like to pay via PayPal, go to  Select the “send money” button, then enter the amount due, and STAR’s email address for payment:

If you have any questions, contact our Workshop Coordinator, Carol Henry, at her email:

APRIL 4 – 28, 2016: World Building from an Intelligence Point of View (CIA, US Special Forces, etc.)

Instructor: Rhonda Beardsley

Cost: $20 (RWA Members); $25 (non-RWA members); $15 (STAR Members)

 Course Content: With a decade of profiling, country study building and travel under her belt in the intelligence profession, Rhonda realized that the vast majority of things required to build a fictional world are the same indicators and criteria that intelligence professionals use to research locations and groups. This class is about how that is done, and how to apply the same techniques to fictional stories. It covers why logistics, politics, and a lot of other small details matter and how authors can make them work for them. Rhonda will give examples, and free handbooks (unclassified PDFs) from the CIA, US Special Operations Command and various other handbooks for public use most people don’t know exist. This class gives an idea of how big picture things can greatly affect a characters mentality, daily existence, and GMC.

About the Instructor: As an intelligence instructor in the US Air Force for just shy of a decade, Rhonda taught nearly five thousand hours of instruction on history, weapons, violence culture, communication, profiling and organization and presentation to thousands of soldiers of all ranks and numerous occupations. Since leaving the service Rhonda has finished a total of four degrees along with a professional writing certificate with my major concentrations being in Anthropology, Sociology, English, and Communications Technology. Her classes are based on her time as an Intelligence Professional and her educational and law enforcement experience.

Online Workshop Registration Form

MAY 2 – 30, 2016: The Reading Writer—An English Teacher’s Guide to Better Writing through Reading

Instructor: Rebecca Hunter

Cost: $25 (RWA Members); $30 (non-RWA members), $15 (STAR Members)

 Course Content: This is the course that was never offered in your English department! We will be looking at bestselling romance from a critical perspective and learn what these authors are doing right—and how we can do these things in our own books. But the word “criticism” sounds so negative, doesn’t it? The focus of this course will be on what is effective, not on what we do or do not like about the books. We will take apart some current and past bestseller romances and learn about their approaches, figure out what make them work, look at other readers’ responses and then apply this knowledge in short writing assignments. And we’ll have fun with it.

About the Instructor: Rebecca is the author of the Stockholm Diaries series about North American women who find romance in Stockholm, Sweden. Her debut novel, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline, was released in July, 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s in English from University of Michigan and a Master’s in English Education from New York University, and has worked as an English in a very wide range of schools, from a community college in Sweden to a New York City public high school.

Under another name, she has published in The Colombia Review, Vestkusten, The Lansing State Journal, and was a regular contributor to The Local, Sweden’s News in English, when she lived in Stockholm. She has edited all sorts of books and articles, mostly academic, and has translated many of Swedish-to-English texts, from magazine articles to memoirs.

Rebecca grew up in Michigan and has been moving around ever since. After their most recent move back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband swore they’d never move again. Well, probably not.

 Online Workshop Registration Form

JUNE 6-30, 2016: Deep Story Techniques II

Instructor: Carol Hughes

Cost: $25 (RWA Members); $30 (non-RWA members); $15 (STAR Members)

Course Content: Carol Hughes will help you with the mechanics behind developing the writer/reader link and bond that is the key to a writer’s success. Go beneath the surface to explain the mechanical underpinnings of the emotional bond and sense of loyalty readers develop for their favorite authors. Learn some of the tricks and techniques that are used in advertising and film/TV marketing to build a brand and user loyalty. As more and more writers become familiar with the simple to use Deep Story Techniques to actually craft their stories – what they also need is a rock solid understanding of how to actually draw readers to them and how to forge a strong emotional bond that will actually translate into reader loyalty to them and their stories.

About the Instructor: From Oscar’s Annual Bash to Cannes’ glitzy Red Carpet. From fabled palaces to rat-infested tunnels. From the floor of the Coral Sea to the vacuum of space. From the rain slicked streets of midnight Paris to the bombed out streets of Beirut at high noon. Writer Carol Hughes has lived and written about sights, adventures and characters that have dazzled audiences, and raised more than a few eyebrows, around the world. Dashing Alpha males, deadly killers, fictional red-haired mermaids, and celluloid heroes – she’s known them all. She’s navigated the killer-infested back alleys of Europe’s grandest cities and the shark-infested corridors of Hollywood’s studios as a writer/producer – and has picked up enough secrets and tips to make a living – and writing – an adventure in itself.

Online Workshop Registration Form

OCTOBER 3 – 28, 2016: Developing Stronger Characters through Journaling

Instructor: Catherine Chant

Cost: $25 (RWA Members); $30 (non-RWA members); $15 (STAR Members)

Course Content: While exciting events in a book may entertain you, it’s really the characters that grab your attention and hold it on the page. Strong characters pull you in and keep you invested in the story, turning those pages. Creating a strong character comes from understanding who this imaginary person is inside and out, not just on the surface, and conveying that to the reader. Journaling is a fun way to dig deep enough below the surface to unlock your character’s hidden secrets and bring that character alive on the page.

At the end of this workshop, you will have a better understanding of what makes your main character tick, what drives your character through the story, and how conflict affects character growth and change. You’ll get inside your character’s deepest thoughts and fears to discover what’s missing from his/her life and how to use this to drive your story’s plot to a satisfying conclusion. This four-week workshop covers the basics of journaling, the powerful question “Why?”, a review of character Goal, Motivation and Conflict, uncovering the internal conflict and character flaw,  character arc, and how understanding your main character can help with plot development. The workshop includes exercises with every lesson designed to strengthen the concepts discussed, including several writing exercises.

About the Instructor: Catherine Chant is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a Golden Heart® finalist. A longtime fan of journaling since she received her first diary at age 11, Catherine finds free writing one of the best ways to break through writers block and/or daily writing resistance/procrastination. It’s fun and easy, and anyone can do it! Her young adult novel, WISHING YOU WERE HERE, a rock ‘n’ roll time travel romance set in 1957, is available at She has also written two Vampire Diaries novellas for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, and is working on the next young adult novel in her Soul Mates series. She teaches several online workshops for writers throughout the year, and you can learn more at

Online Workshop Registration Form


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Southern Tier Authors of Romance