Online and In-Person Workshops

Melissa is a practiced speaker and teacher. She has a background in teaching secondary English/Language Arts, has taught with Southern Methodist University’s CAPE program and has presented for both Duke and North Carolina State University’s OLLI program.

She has presented workshops at various Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and RWA chapter meetings, both in person and via Zoom.

Presentation topics include:
The Hero’s Journey
The Hero’s Journey for Mysteries
Developing Deep Backstory
Writing Compelling Dialogue
Showing versus Telling
What’s your Story: Begin your Memoir 
The Business Side of Writing: Marketing Yourself

Please contact Melissa at melissabourbonbooks at HEY dot com for more information on presenting for your chapter or group.



“Melissa Bourbon’s workshop titled a Hero’s Journey for Mysteries is excellent. The efficient organization and number of examples allow both beginning as well as more experienced writers to understand and internalize the subject matter. I highly recommend this workshop.” ~Carol Pouliot, Author of The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, Hudson River Mavens of Mayhem Sisters in Crime Chapter


An Exceptional Workshop!  The Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers chapter meeting featured Melissa Bourbon recently, and I had the pleasure of attending. Melissa discussed “Understanding Scene Structure” and she held the entire audience of 150 people in rapt attention, for the full 80 minutes.

The audience (comprised of writers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and coast-to-coast locations across the USA, among others), didn’t want to let her stop.

Praise for the program flew through the Zoom Chat, including:  “excellent”, “outstanding” “so informative”, “… made things so clear”,  “fabulous”, “so thorough”,  “Fantastic event, thank you!” 

“… love the way (Melissa) broke it down and gave us a way to check our own work”,  

“…one of the best presentations ever! It really gives me guidelines to move from chapter to chapter, scene to scene to sequel. Loved it!”,

“This presentation was so awesome. (Melissa) broke it down so logically and clearly” and “Melissa is a master writer AND a master teacher!”

I look forward to the next time this multi-talented author and instructor presents one of her ground-breaking programs.

Yvonne M. Corrigan-Carr, Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers 


“I can’t recommend Melissa Bourbon highly enough. A successful hybrid author, former marketing director at a publishing house, and an educator at both the secondary school and adult level, Melissa is well-equipped to present programs for writers’ organizations. She knows how to keep an audience engaged, and offers practical advice and useful information for authors at all levels, from beginner to master.” ~Diane Kelly, Board Member Murder We Write and Triangle Sisters in Crime


“Melissa Bourbon’s “Creating Characters with Deep Backstories” talk provides a useful toolkit for making characters in any genre more realistic. She offers helpful examples and actionable building blocks for authors.” ~Heather Redmond, author of the A Dickens of a Crime series (Columbia River Sisters in Crime President)


Melissa Bourbon knows the importance of story structure in the writing of mysteries. She is able to describe and compare various methods such as the Three Act Structure and Hero’s Journey.

Melissa’s ninety-minute presentation covers the classic structure of The Hero’s Journey and how to apply it to the writing of mysteries. Her presentation is clear, engaging, and relevant to readers and writers of crime.

Feedback on her courses for N.C. State OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) and for Duke OLLI included, “Extraordinary presenter” and “I am halfway through writing my first novel. This course was extremely helpful and got me even more excited to continue writing.”

Melissa would be an asset to the Sisters in Crime Speakers Bureau.

~Sara E. Johnson, Past president, Triangle Sisters in Crime (Author, Alexa Glock Forensics Mysteries)

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