Ruth Percey

One-on-One Sessions Now Open!

Registration is now open for the Lakefly 2024 one-on-one sessions! Pre-registration for the conference is required sign up for any/all of the five sessions offered:


Website Coaching with Celeste Anton

Meet with Dandelion Web Marketing and Consulting owner Celeste Anton to discuss options for enhancing your existing author website or how to begin creating a website. Ask questions about the other pieces of an online writer’s platform such as social media marketing, email lists and google analytics. Each session will be 15 minutes.

Headshots by Shaena Friedman & Andrea Holmgreen

A professional photographer and makeup artist will be on-site to create a quality headshot for use on your book jackets, website and marketing materials. Learn about them at Note: There is not included in your conference fee; cost is $85 for five digital images.


Free Pitch Sessions

Dan Cramer, founder/agent of Page Turner Literary Agency, will accept pitches for children’s literature – picture through YA, and graphic novels. Each pitch session will be 10 minutes.

Prior to opening his own agency, Dan was an associate agent at Flannery Literary, working directly with Jennifer Flannery, agent to the late Gary Paulsen.

Writing Coaching Sessions

Kate Penndorf of Much Ado About Writing will offer 15-minute, individual writing coaching sessions.

Option 1: Submit 300 words and get a critique

Submit 300 words in advance and come ready to tackle questions about the premise, writing, characters, POV, and direction of your story. Deadline for submitting a sample is Sunday, April 28, 2024.

Option 2: Sit, chat, and ask questions

Don’t have words to page yet, but have questions about an idea or plotting? Get answers for all genres of both fiction and non-fiction.

Social Media For Beginners

A presence on social media is vital to launching your writing career. Meet one-on-one with Kaila Mielke to get a social media account started or learn how to better use the one you have. Sessions are 20 minutes long; social media options include Facebook, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Please come with your own device and some potential passwords at least 8 characters long that include an upper case letter, a number and special character.

One-on-One Sessions Now Open! Read More »

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview: Poetry

Writing Poems Helps You Write Everything Else

In this fun and interactive workshop led by UW-Oshkosh Professor William Gillard, we’ll dive into the elements of poetry that are shared by other literary forms, including metaphor, imagery, rhythm, voice, and sound. If you write fiction, nonfiction, song lyrics, or anything else, this session is for you. Bring pen and paper, because we’ll all be writing!

Between The Lines: Poetry and Imagination

During this engaging workshop, Tom Cannon (Poet Laureate of Oshkosh) and Jeffrey McAndrew (Poet Laureate of North Fond du Lac) will delve into how poetry can assist in navigating challenging times. Writing poetry aids in understanding our emotions and pinpointing issues that may seem overwhelming. Expressing our feelings through writing can bring relief. Furthermore, revising our poems helps us refine and structure a strategy to cope with life’s challenges. The speakers will share a few of their poems they wrote during difficult times and lead the attendees through creating a poem.

Lakefly After Hours Open Mic

It’s your turn to take the stage! At Lakefly After Hours Open Mic, you’ll have five minutes to read your work in front of an audience. Join other writers for a fun night of listening and sharing. Held under the Dome at the Oshkosh Public Library, just a few blocks from the Oshkosh Convention Center.

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview: Poetry Read More »

Lakefly 24: Subject Specialists

It’s often said that you should “write what you know.” When writing about something you don’t know, research is crucial in creating accurate and authentic scenes/settings. This year, we’re offering three subject specialists who will talk about their professions and answer questions to help you nail down the details that will make your writing realistic and believable.

  • Forensic anthropologists utilize their knowledge of the human skeleton to assist law enforcement agencies in death investigations. This work includes estimating the sex, age, ancestry, and stature from skeletal remains, searching for clandestine burials, and examining trauma. In this presentation, Dr. Jordan Karsten will introduce attendees to the scientific methods employed by forensic anthropologists through a series of case studies from around the state of Wisconsin.

Dr. Karsten is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He specializes in forensic anthropology and consults on death investigations for law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation, and Wisconsin State Crime Lab. His work includes developing biological profiles for unknown human skeletons, excavating burials, and conducting trauma analyses. He also co-hosts Cold Case: Frozen Tundra, a True Crime podcast focused on cases in Northeast Wisconsin.

  • There is a lot of talk about nurses these days, but most don’t really know what nurses really do. Media portrayal is mostly inaccurate. What is it like to be responsible for the lives and safety of others? Work in a difficult environment? Work long hours in situations that take a toll on your physical and emotional health? And why would I never do anything else?

Karen L. Leavitt has been a Registered Nurse for the past 37 years. She worked in pediatrics at two nationally renowned children’s hospitals: Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City (6 years) and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (25 years). In her capacity as a pediatric nurse, she worked in medical/surgical units including neurosurgery, hematology/oncology, diabetes education, neonatal ICU, infectious disease, cardiology and vascular access. She also
served as a House Supervisor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Karen grew up in Yuma, AZ and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Arizona. She is married to Andrew Leavitt and they have three grown children and two grandchildren, all living in Atlanta, GA. In 2015, Karen moved to Oshkosh, WI and joined Aurora Medical Center as a nurse in the Infusion Clinic. She is an avid reader, gardener, and any other activity where she is outdoors.

  • Almost all genres of books attempt to describe the use of some sort of weapon. Often, writers don’t get it right. The difference between a novice “shooter” and an expert in violence is profound. Jeff Miller will demonstrate the way a 25-year military and law enforcement trained and presented their firearm in lethal and non-lethal situations. He will explore the use of weapons as they relate to movement, proxemics, balance, distance, and timing.

Jeff Miller grew up in Marseilles, IL. He attended Illinois State University and graduated in 1993 with a history and legal studies degree. In 2009 he earned a Masters degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. He joined the US Army in 1994 where he trained as a Military Police officer. He spent time on deployment to Korea and Bosnia.

He transitioned to the Appleton police department in 1999. Jeff served in a variety of assignments at APD over a 21-year career. He was the SWAT team leader for five years, a member of the police Honor Guard, bike patrol, and community resource unit where he served in the drug and gang unit as a detective and supervisor. He retired in 2000 and worked as a corporate trainer in healthcare.

In 2024 he transitioned again as the Director of Campus Safety at Lawrence University.

Jeff has been married for 28 years to Julie, who he met in college. They have two daughters. In his off-time, Jeff is addicted to road cycling, logging over 100 miles a week. He’s an avid board and fantasy miniature gaming player. He loves many book genres but leans towards science fiction and historical fiction novels.

Lakefly 24: Subject Specialists Read More »

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview, Part 2

Memoir is having a moment in the publishing industry. Fifty percent of nonfiction books on the bestseller list are in the Biography & Memoir genres. You too have a story, that deserves to be told! In the session Writing a Memoir that People Want to Read, Tara Meissner Huck will teach techniques of memoir writing through exercises and prompts. She will also show how to use fiction-writing techniques to develop scenes that bring your personal story to life!

Setting are a vital part of any story. Kate Pendorf will examine how the setting can ground a reader in genre, time, and place, as well as the importance of interacting with setting. Two takeways of her workshop, Setting the Scene, are determining a character’s dominant impression and how that affects their interiority, actions, and dialogue, as well as discovering how setting can affect mood, reveal cast of characters, motivation, back story, hint at foreshadowing, act as an obstacle and/or display symbolisms. 

A 10-Step Plan for Self-editing. Nicholas Chiarkas advises that you never self-edit all at once. As you begin the rewriting process, you also start the editing process. This is the art and the heart of it; this is when you begin to build castles and rewrites you can share with your writing group or your initial reader. A poorly edited manuscript is certain death for any legitimate agent or publisher. And it is one of the things within your control along the journey to publication. Learning how to edit your manuscript will reduce costs and improve your writing skills at his presentation,

Have a manuscript ready for publication? Dan Cramer of Page Turner Literary Agency will present a special two-hour presentation on Perfecting Your Pitch Friday afternoon. In this workshop, Dan will go over the components of a great pitch, conduct multiple exercises on pitches, and have a Q&A session at the end. At the end of the workshop, you will know what a pitch is and how it is part of a query letter, understand the impact of word choice, and how to create your own pitch that highlights the main character(s), the hook, and the stakes. For the exercises you should familiarize yourself with the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. Please bring something to write with or type on for the exercises.

During the conference, Kate Penndorf of Much Ado About Writing will be offering free individual writing coaching sessions. Also, Dan Cramer will be accepting free individual pitches sessions on behalf of Page Turner Literacy Agency, Chicago. Advance registration required for both ; watch for details the first week in April!

The Lakefly Writers Conference is May 3-4 at the Oshkosh Convention Center. Register before March 10 and save $15.

The conference is sponsored by the Oshkosh Public Library, in partnership with the Oshkosh Community Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Oshkosh Area Writers Club.

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview, Part 2 Read More »

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview

Below is a preview of some great workshops we have planned:

Me Talk Good For Money

Actions speak louder than words, but it’s the great one-liners we all remember. Novel and comic book writer Shaun Harris, will take you through the 10 Ironclad Rules of Dialogue and why they should be broken. Expect some group participation and on the spot work-shopping.

Developing and Revealing Three-Dimensional Characters

To ring true to readers, characters need to be as unique as the people around us. If filling out pages of character interviews to flesh out a hero or heroine sounds daunting, join this session. From using photos to inspire unique physical descriptions to consulting personality types, attendees will come away with a variety of strategies for creating well-thought-out characters readers can root for. We’ll also discuss how to reveal layered characters in a way that intrigues readers into turning pages. Led by Emily Conrad.

Self-Publishing on a Shoestring

What are the must-haves of self-publishing? What things aren’t worth your time early on and what
are essential? What does it mean to go wide and when do you get paid? Learn the basics and more in this session led by Bailey Hansen about launching your writing career on a shoestring.

Back by popular demand, forensic anthropologist Dr. Jordan Karsten is one of three subject specialists. Co-host of Cold Case: Frozen Tundra, the UW-Oshkosh professor consults on death investigations for law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin, including the FBI and Wisconsin State Crime Lab.

Bram Stoker Award winner Sarah Read will present The Art of Anxiety: How to introduce tension into your writing and keep the reader turning pages. She will address story structures, character development, dialogue, and sentence-level techniques that contribute to raising the stakes on the page. Each technique includes a mini writing exercise that builds throughout the lesson, so the students have a completed scene written by the end. The desired outcome is that students will have learned techniques that they can intentionally employ in order to make their writing more engaging and exciting.

The Lakefly Writers Conference is May 3-4 at the Oshkosh Convention Center. Register before March 10 and save $15.

The conference is sponsored by the Oshkosh Public Library, in partnership with the Oshkosh Community Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Oshkosh Area Writers Club. 

2024 Lakefly Conference Preview Read More »

Keynote Speaker: Holly Day

We’re pleased to announce Holly Day as the keynote speaker at #Lakefly24!

Holly has worked as a freelance writer for over 30 years, with over 7,000 published articles, poems, and short stories and 40 books and chapbooks—most recently, the nonfiction books.

She offers workshops and classes to writing centers all over the country, including the Flatiron Writers’ Center in North Carolina, the Hampton Roads Writers group in Virginia, Hugo House in Seattle, and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Welcome, Holly!

Keynote Speaker: Holly Day Read More »

It’s Happening!

The good news? Registration for the 2024 Lakefly Writers Conference is open!

The bad news? You’ll notice a price increase. The registration fee was last raised in 2018 and maintaining financial sustainability will ensure the event’s continuation – something we all want.

The “new” news? In response to a demand for a local book fair and to expand the customer base of our vendors, we’re introducing a stand-alone Lakefly Book Fair. Same location but separated from the conference.

The book fair will be free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. Plans include scheduled book signings and specialized “author alleys.” Please note: The number of vendor tables is limited to 50.

What’s the same?

  • Free pitch sessions
  • An opportunity to have a professional photo taken for use on social media, book jackets, etc.
  • One-on-one sessions with writing and marketing coaches
  • Lakefly After Hours Open Mic

… and another wonderful line-up of speakers whom we will begin to announce shortly!

You can register for the conference, the conference and a vendor’s table, or just a vendor’s table. The early-bird rate ends March 10.

I can’t wait to see you!

~ Ruth

The conference is sponsored by the Oshkosh Public Library, in partnership with the Oshkosh Community Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Oshkosh Area Writers Club.

It’s Happening! Read More »

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