Samantha Skal

A fan of true crime and mysteries of all kinds, Samantha Skal (she/her) is a book coach and author from the beautiful Paci”c Northwest of the United States. She is proud to be an Author Accelerator Certified Fiction Book Coach who specializes in coaching thriller, mystery, and suspense authors from novel planning and twist brainstorming through agent pitching, and especially loves revision (and helping writers get out of revision hell and into revision bliss.) As well as being a proud member and fan of International Thriller Writers (ITW), she is the Co-Director PitchFest at Thrillerfest, ITW’s annual conference. She is also a many-time volunteer mentor for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), and a member of both Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and Sisters in Crime (SINC.) After ten years working in HR in tech startups, she is absolutely thrilled to have her most favorite things, writing and story craft, be her full-time job. On most weekends you can find her either on a well-maintained hiking trail with lots of flowers or kayaking on calm water. She is an enthusiast of homemade sourdough, cheese of all kinds, stories that keep her up at night, and good red wine. Learn more at

Suspense is just for thrillers and action adventure stories, isn’t it?


Every story needs suspense. It’s one of the key elements your novel needs if you want to give your reader a reason to turn the page and find out what happens next.

Conflict and suspense are at the heart of all scenes in all genres and that’s why I asked Author Accelerator certified book coach Samantha Skal to write a chapter on developing suspenseful scenes that hook readers.

The chapter is part of the upcoming book for writers, Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book, which you don’t want to miss. It’s going to be an essential part of your writer toolbox.

To get a feel for what you’ll learn, Samantha has condensed her top ten tips for writing suspenseful scenes into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Meredith R. Stoddard

Meredith R. Stoddard writes folklore-inspired fiction from her writing shed in Virginia. She studied literature and folk-lore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before working as a corporate trainer and instructional designer. Her love of storytelling is inspired by years spent listening to stories at her grandmother’s kitchen table. She also helps authors create repeatable processes for productive writing.

She can be found at and

Are you writing a police procedural? Or a novel set in the wild west of the 1860? Maybe in modern day Japan?

Every book needs research, but how do you do it effectively?

Writers know the research rabbit hole all too well, but you don’t want to get stuck down there forever. You need the right tools for the right job, and know you’ll get the information you need.

That’s why I asked Meredith R. Stoddard to be a part of Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book. She’s an expert when it comes to research tools and how to make the most out of them.

In her chapter Meredith R. Stoddard gives practical advice on how to search smarter, which tools to use and what you can do if you want to go the extra mile.

And, she’s condensed her top ten tips on how to research efficiently and effectively into a handy free, pdf download you can access here:

Lewis Jorstad

Lewis Jorstad is an author, editor, and story craft nerd who helps up-and-coming writers hone their writing skills over at The Novel Smithy. When he isn’t working on the next book in his Writer’s Craft series, you can find him playing old Gameboy games and baking homemade bagels. Find out more at

Have you ever tried to arrange a night out with ten of your best friends but found it’s a nightmare trying to get them all together on the same night in the same place?

Me too!

If you’re an author then you have this challenge in your fiction as well as real life!

That’s why I asked Lewis Jorstad, Novel Smithy extraordinaire, to be a part of the upcoming book for writers, Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book, and write a chapter on how to outline a novel for every kind of writer. Because hear me when I say this:

Plotters are not the only ones to outline. Even Pantsers need a degree of forward thinking!

Perhaps you’re a Puzzler who writes scenes as and when they hit you?

Can you really outline a novel if you’re a Pantser or a Puzzler?

The answer is yes, and Lewis shows you how to do it.

To give you a clue as to what you’ll learn, Lewis condensed his top ten tips for outlining into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Carol Van Den Hende

CAROL VAN DEN HENDE is the award-winning author of the Goodbye, Orchid series, a public speaker, and MBA with 20+ years’ experience in marketing, strategy and insights. Carol has keynoted and presented at conferences like Writer’s Digest, IBPA, International Women’s Writing Guild, Rutgers Writers’ Conference, Novelists Inc. and Women Who Write. She’s also the founder and president of Azine Press, one of the first B Corps publishers in the Northeast United States.

Carol’s novels Orchid Blooming and Goodbye, Orchid are inspired by wounded veterans and have won 30+ literary and design awards, including the American Fiction Award, IAN Outstanding Fiction First Novel Award, and Royal Dragonfly Awards for Cultural Diversity and Disability Awareness.

Buzzfeed, Parade, and Travel+Leisure named Carol’s books a most anticipated read. Glamour Magazine recommended her “modern, important take on the power of love.” The International Pulpwood Queens selected Goodbye, Orchid as a 2022 Bonus Book-of-the-Month and Orchid Blooming as a 2023 International Book-of-the-Month.

One secret to her good fortune? Her humorous husband and twins, who prove that love really does conquer all.

Please contact Carol to learn more at or

Harness The Power Of Point-of-View.

Carol Van Den Hende is going to show you how in the eagerly anticipated Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book.

Not only does Carol explain the complexities of pov (and provide excellent examples of it used well) but she takes a deep-dive into deep pov! She’ll also help you choose the right pov for your story.

Point-of-view is sometimes overlooked in favour of structure and character, but point-of-view plays a vital part in the tone of a story, and how engaged your reader is. That’s why I was so excited to ask Carol Van Den Hende to write a chapter on this topic. Don’t miss it.

She’s condensed her top ten tips on how to use point-of-view into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Amy Ferris

Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screenwriter, and playwright. She has contributed to numerous magazines and literary anthologies, and her memoir Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From a Midlife Crisis was adapted into an off-Broadway play in 2012.

Author. Writer. Girl. 


The Story Summit Writer’s School

Recipient-Women’s eNews Award: 

21 Leaders for the 21st Century 

Honoree – NextTribe: 

The 12 Women Who Changed the World in 2021

Joe Bunting



Joe Bunting is a WSJ Bestselling writer, dad, founder of The Write Practice, and author of Crowdsourcing Paris. He cries in every movie.

Scenes are the basic building blocks of all stories. If you want to write a great book, start by writing great scenes!

But how do you actually write great scenes, the kind that grabs readers’ attention, draws them into your characters’ lives and the world you’ve created, and builds up to the big moments you’re working toward later on in the story?

That’s a good question! And it’s why I asked Joe Bunting of The Write Practice, to be a part of the upcoming book for writers, Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book, and write a chapter on how to structure a successful scene.

To start your learning, Joe has condensed his top ten tips for scene writing into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Kat Caldwell

Kat is a fiction writer, an Author Accelerator book coach and hostess of the Pencils&Lipstick podcast. Her passion is to help writers write their story through encouragement and honing their storytelling skills. In between conducting interviews for the Pencils&Lipstick podcast and writing her next novel, you can find Kat traveling the world, reading, or volunteering with her church—always with a cup of cold brew close by.
You can talk to Kat directly for a discovery call that you can schedule on her website,

Compelling characters are at the heart of any story and that’s why I asked Kat Caldwell to be a part of an exciting new anthology, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book.

She’s been diving deep into what makes up a believable and compelling character, and how you can develop one for your story.

Now she shares her knowledge with you in her chapter, Finding The Core of Your Character. Learn about personality types, understanding the role genre plays in the character you write about, how to find your character’s inner flaw, and so much more.

To whet your appetite, she’s condensed her top ten tips on how to develop your characters into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Stacy Juba

Stacy Juba, the founder of Shortcuts for Writers, helps fiction and creative nonfiction writers of all levels who want to simplify the writing and editing process so they can save time and money. She published her first novel at age eighteen, and over the years has written sweet and sassy chick lit novels, mysteries about determined women sleuths, and entertaining books for young adults and children. Her novels have been ranked as #5 and #11 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. Stacy is also a freelance developmental editor and line editor, a creator of online courses for writers, and an award-winning journalist who has published more than 3,000 articles. Check out her free and paid resources for writers at

Nervous about grammar or how to use punctuation correctly?

Me too!

That’s why I asked author and editor Stacy Juba to write a chapter on exactly this topic so you can edit your own work with confidence.

Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book, is the eagerly anticipated book that will give you just the right balance of inspiration, skill building, and a toolbox of writing craft tips. A literal Launch Pad for your writing career.

Stacy Juba gives you the last word on the Oxford Comma and how to use it. Colons and semicolons, not to mention ellipses… how and when to use them!

Get a head start by downloading her top ten tips on how to clean up your novel in a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Susanne Dunlap

Susanne Dunlap is a historical novelist and Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. Her love of history began in academia with a PhD in music history from Yale. She soon decided it was much more fun to spin stories based on the remarkable figures and times she discovered than to write peer-reviewed articles, and published her first historical novel with Touchstone Books of Simon and Schuster in 2005. She made the move into young adult fiction in 2010 and published four YA historical novels with Bloomsbury Children’s.

In 2019, Susanne stumbled into the orbit of Jennie Nash, CEO of Author Accelerator, took both the fiction and the nonfiction courses and became certified in both. It turned out that helping writers write the best books they’re capable of and realize their cherished dream of becoming an author was a role made for Susanne, as the many testimonials from her clients in both fiction and nonfiction attest. 

Today, Susanne continues to write and has a thriving business as a book coach in Biddeford, Maine, and considers herself the most fortunate of people to have a life completely immersed in books and writing.

I don’t write SFF, so I don’t need to worry about world building, do I?

Yes, you do!

When you read Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book, you’ll discover that all stories need world building.

It’s such an important part of storytelling that I asked Susanne Dunlap, Author Accelerator Accredited book coach, to be a part of Launch Pad and give you the lowdown on the principles of world building, the best tools for the job and how to get off the world building merry-go-round.

You don’t want to miss this, and to get a feel for what Susanne has to share, she’s condensed her top ten tips for world building into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here:

Janyre Tromp

Janyre Tromp is an in-house book editor by day and writer of historical novels with a healthy dose of lyrical intrigue at night. She’s the best-selling author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and co-author of both O Little Town and It’s a Wonderful Christmas. And that all happens from her unfinished basement when she’s not hanging out with her family, two troublesome cats, and slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.

You can find her on social media and her website



Instagram: www.instagram/JanyreTromp

BookBub: Janyre Tromp Books – BookBub (where you can grab a copy of her FREE novella, Wide Open)

You’re nearly at the finish line. You are so excited to put your book out into the world, but you don’t know what to do next.

Don’t worry – I’ve got you!

I asked Janyre Tromp, acquisitions and developmental editor, to write a chapter for the upcoming anthology, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book.

She guides you through the three things a publishing gatekeeper wants: knowledge, sparkle and an attention to detail.

You’ll uncover each of these things in more detail when you read her chapter, but in the meantime, Janyre Tromp has condensed her top ten tips on what to do before you pitch into a handy, free, pdf download you can access here: