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Workshops for Writers
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2009 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner

Florida Writers Association's Royal Palm Literary Award

Insider Information from a career Manuscript Editor

Save Your Manuscript From Turning Up D.O.A.
Author: Chris Roerden
Original Title from Bella Rosa Books
6" x 9" Trade Paperback; 312pp

ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6

"Chock full of practical advice for the novice writer. Even seasoned writers could use a copy as a refresher course."
Charlaine Harris, New York Times best-selling author of 29 books in multiple genres; Sookie Stackhouse series is HBO hit True Blood

"Best book of its kind by far. Required for my college level students. Recommended for all aspiring writers."
Reed Farrel Coleman, two-time Edgar nominee; Shamus, Barry, and Anthony winner

"Without qualification, I recommend this book to fiction writers, be they literary, mainstream, or genre writers."
John Thornburg, Professor English/Creative Writing, San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas

"A savvy writer's guide to creating a manuscript that will SELL!"
Carolyn Hart, two-time winner of Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards

"A must for anyone who seeks to become a published author."
—Midwest Book Review

"This is an undisputed winner. If you're after a book that will help you whip your writing into shape, you couldn't do much better than this. This book, in my opinion, is one that you must buy if you're at all serious about seeing yourself in print. Highly recommended."
—Concept Sci-Fi, a UK ezine (named DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSION its book of the month)

... As I read each chapter, I discovered new reasons why agents reject my manuscript after a partial read. With the exception of the chapter on Prologues and the one on shifting point of view, there wasn't a mistake that I hadn't made. The good news, of course, is that all of these mistakes can be corrected, and thanks to Chris Roerden, now I know how to do it.
Whether you have written a mystery, a romance, some other genre, or a literary novel, Chris Roerden's book can help you improve a lackluster manuscript into something that will catch the eye of agents and editors.
Sam Falco, Florida Writer's Association, reviewing DON'T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY and DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSION


"Many experienced writers may also find the tips helpful and inspiring if they have hit a roadblock in their current work. I went back and rewrote an entire first page after reading it."
P.J. PARRISH/Kelly, NYTimes Best-Selling author of 7 thrillers
read entire review

"Immensely insightful.... Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Choice read entire review #1

"Invaluable to fiction writers of all genres. An enthusiastically recommended, energetic, easy-to-follow guide."
Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Choice read entire review #2

"Offers a wealth of good advice, supported by excellent examples."
Mystery Scene

"Roerden has a clear and thoughtful style . . . Don't Murder Your Mystery is smarter, more comprehensive, more effectively targeted, and more accessible than most books on writing . . . a thoughtful tune-up for writers at all levels."
ForeWord Magazine Spotlight review, KATE FLORA (former national president, Sisters in Crime) author of 10 books read entire review

"Based on her 40 years' experience as an award-winning author, manuscript editor and teacher, Chris shares the secrets of how to get past the manuscript screeners. . . . they apply to all genres of fiction."
Mensa Bulletin

"Emphatic thumbs up."
My Shelf

"Even after writing 9 novels, I keep this book by my computer with my thesaurus and dictionary as an indispensable tool. I can truthfully say I've learned more from it than any of the numerous other instructional manuals I've read."
SCOTT NICHOLSON, Absolute Write read entire review

"Every thoughtful writer will find at least a half-dozen tips that will directly apply to his or her own work. I certainly did!"
MARGARET MARON, award-winning author of the Judge Deborah Knott series (2005 President of Mystery Writers of America)

"On the level of the William Noble writer's guides. I wish this excellent manual was available when I began my career!"
CHARLES TODD, NYTimes Book Review Notable Books of the Year author, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series

"Noteworthy small press book. . . Get a copy."
Southern Review of Books read entire review

"I couldn't put it down. Another benchmark. She shows us how to avoid all the mistakes writers make that drive readers nuts. I find myself quoting from it when I teach workshops."
LONNIE CRUSE, author of 4 mystery novels

"It's one of the best books of its type on the market. Of all my books on wrirting, it's the one I would not part with."
PHIL HARDWICK, author of 10 mystery novels

"Don't let the title fool you. This book is not just for mystery writers. ALL fiction writers can benefit. 5 stars!"
FUTURES Magazine, Catherine Chant

"The required reading will be Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden."
VICKI LANE, author of 4 mystery novels and instructor, UNCA Great Smokies Writing Program course description

"One of the more fascinating guests at this year's Cape Fear Crime Festival was an editor, Chris Roerden, who's worked in . . . publishing for more than 40 years. In case you missed her workshop . . . you can get her coaching through her book."
BEN STEELMAN, Wilmington Star-News

"Lots of good information, even for experienced writers, presented with wit."
CYNTHIA RIGGS, author of 7 mysteries

"I urge you to think of Don't Murder Your Mystery as a short (and well-written and often funny) lesson in 'author appreciation.' We take art appreciation without any thought to becoming an artist. Even tone deaf students take music appreciation."
Diana Vickery, Cozy Library


About the Author:
An accomplished editor, writer, and teacher, Chris Roerden shares knowledge gleaned from more than 40 years in niche publishing—a career that began upon graduation from New York City's H. S. of Music & Art at age 16. It took publication of a first book for Chris to act on the urge to go to college, which produced a BA in English summa cum laude, an MA, and an invitation to stay on at the University of Maine to teach writing.
    Eventually returning to publishing, in 1983 Chris left a busy managing editor's position to become a busy independent book editor, taking time out to teach communication skills in South Korea one summer, serve as president of a regional trade association of 250 commercial publishers and university presses, teach classes in publishing at night at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and serve six years on the southeast regional board of Mystery Writers of America, receiving its Magnolia Award for service to the organization.
    Her clients have been published by St. Martin's, Berkley Prime Crime, Midnight Ink, Rodale, Walker, and Viking, and have won more than 21 awards, including an Agatha for Best First Mystery and two Benjamin Franklins.
    Chris is also a member of Sisters in Crime and Mensa, and a proud parent and grandparent—with one son, three grandsons, and a daughter-in-law (also an editor) in Boston, and a son and two granddogs in Los Angeles.
    Now settled in Greensboro, NC, Chris enjoys seeing pansies bloom in February and hasn't put on snow boots since the 20th century.

Author's website:


2011 Workshops for Writers:

Fri.-Sun. Sept. 23-25, Charlotte, NC: FILLING THE BLANK PAGE
19th annual Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Carolinas fall conference. Chris presents a 90-minute session on Revision not Rewriting, designed to strengthen the technical skills of writers and illustrators and provide writers with information about finding an audience for their work. Marriott Executive Park Hotel.
Contact: Teresa Fannin,

Oct. 15, Manteo, NC/Roanoke Island: SKILL BUILD FOR ALL WRITERS
All-day program 9:00-4:30 (doors open at 8:30am) featuring:
* "Fiction-Writing Techniques To Help Your MS Get Published" by Chris Roerden;
* "Writing for Children: Harder Than You Think" by Suzanne Tate;
* "Before the Book: Writing for Periodicals" by Kip Tabb
* "Genre Crossing: Writing Mysteries and Romances" by Maggie Toussaint
+ a panel of all authors including Joseph Terrell, moderator
$20 (includes lunch); $15 for students and members of the Dare County Arts Council. Location: College of the Albemarle (COA),


2012 Workshops for Writers:

Sat. Feb. 3, Wilmington, NC: CAPE FEAR CRIME FESTIVAL
Sponsored by New Hanover Public Library. Registration $35.

Sat. Feb. 25, Lumberton, NC: BOOK'EM NORTH CAROLINA
Chris offers a free workshop for writers at the all-day Book 'Em book festival, open to the public. Location: Robeson Community College at Interstates 95 & 74. More information:

Chris presents craft workshops. Details TBA.

Fri.-Sat. Sep. 14-15, Nashville, TN: THE WRITERS LOFT ORIENTATION for a limited number of students earning a certificate in Creative Writing from Middle Tennessee State University.

Fri.-Sun. Oct. 26-28, Lake Mary, FL: FLORIDA WRITERS ASS'N CONFERENCE.

Author: Chris Roerden
6"x 9" Trade Paperback
Retail: $17.95US

ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6

Workshops for Writers

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