Master Class Instructors

Romance Writer Damon SuedeDamon Suede

Master Class: TROPE-TASTIC—The Key to Genre

TROPE-TASTIC: The Key to Genre

Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Having lived all over, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter.

Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for almost three decades. He has won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.

Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons

Kathy Lyons

Master Class: The Inner World

Kathy Lyons is the wild, adventurous half of USA TODAY bestselling author Jade Lee. A lover of all things fantastical, Kathy spent much of her childhood in Narnia, Middle Earth, Amber, and Earthsea, just to name a few. There is nothing she adores more than turning an ordinary day into something magical, which is what happens all the time in her books. Winner of several industry awards including the Prism—Best of the Best, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and Fresh Fiction’s Steamiest Read, Kathy has published over 50 romance novels, and she’s just getting started. Check out her latest news at KathyLyons.com

Jennifer Prokop

Master Class: Write Better White People

Jen’s lifelong romance habit began in 7th grade when she found a bag of remaindered romance novels in her grandmother’s basement. Jen reviews romance for Kirkus and whoever follows her on Twitter (@JenReadsRomance). She has created a website to help new readers find romances based on theme or trope (www.jenreadsromance.com). Jen hosts a bimonthly romance book club at 57th Street Books in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. She and author and Spring Fling 2020 headliner Sarah MacLean are the co-hosts of the romance podcast Fated Mates.

Jen has a BA in English from Villanova and an MS in Education from Northwestern. Jen not only teaches middle school English, but she also teaches graduate students how to be middle school English teachers. It’s all very meta. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son, and two cats. She’s ridiculously proud of the fact that she makes an honest living talking about books all day.

Virginia Van Vynckt

Master Class: Getting the Most Out of Scrivener

Depending on which day of the week you ask her, Virginia/Ginger is a cookbook author, writer, editor, publisher, or web designer and developer. She is Chicago-North’s webmaster. She prefers to refer to herself as a “creative geek” rather than “scatterbrained.” She has mostly retired from these various jobs to write romance novels under the nom de plume Ginger Rand. She has a BA in journalism and worked at the Chicago Sun-Times for 17 years before launching her assorted freelance careers. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two dogs of undetermined lineage.

Ginger uses Scrivener for everything from outlining and writing her in-progress romance novels to creating a recipe book for her children, and knows the popular writing program inside and out. She has discovered that playing with all of Scrivener’s many features is a good way to put off actually writing, but does not recommend that course of action.