Storymakers Conference Faculty***UNDER CONSTRUCTION TO ADD 2018 FACULTY***
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has written more than twenty bestselling novels and is a three-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. You can learn more about Traci on her website HERE.
Class: Series, sequels and spin-offs: What to do when the end is really just the beginning
Sarah Allen is an MG and YA writer who received her MFA from BYU. She has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and WritersDigest.com, and has been blogging on social media (and other writerly topics) for many years. She’s built a social platform of nearly 4000 Twitter followers, over 1000 on Instagram, and more, and hopes to show you how to make social media easy and fun. Learn more here.
Class: Platform Huh?: Why Social Media is Just Another Non-Scary Storytelling Medium, and How to Use It That Way
Bestselling author Amber Argyle writes young-adult fantasies where the main characters save the world (with varying degrees of success) and fall in love (with the enemy). Her award-winning books have been translated into numerous languages and praised by such authors as NYT bestsellers David Farland and Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Class: Support Group For Those Lacking Support
Lindzee Armstrong is the USA Today bestselling author of the No Match for Love series and Sunset Plains Romance series. Her superpower is the ability to create order out of chaos, and she’s used that ability to successfully launch her writing career—and keep it there. She loves teaching other authors how to increase their productivity through organizing! You can learn more about Lindzee on her website, HERE.
Class: Getting Organized
Cindy Baldwin is a fiction writer, essayist, and poet. She grew up in North Carolina and still misses the sweet watermelons and warm accents on a daily basis. As a middle schooler, she kept a book under her bathroom sink to read over and over while fixing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she dreams of writing the kind of books readers can’t bear to be without. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, surrounded by tall trees and wild blackberries. Her debut middle grade novel, WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in 2018.
Class: Descriptive Writing 101: It’s More Than Just Adjectives, Baby!
Stephanie Black is the author of ten novels, most recently Mind Games (Covenant Communications, September 2017). She is a four-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense and a finalist for Best Speculative Novel. She thinks the Storymakers Conference is one of the best events on the planet and loves to hang out with a bunch of people who understand hand-wringing over characterization, fretting over plot twists, and the challenges of semicolon usage. You can learn more about Stephanie on her website HERE.
Classes: Dialogue: How to Get Your Characters to Sound Like Themselves & Clarity: How to Avoid the Need for a Vulcan Mind-Meld
Steven Bohls has a useless BA in English from BYU, and an even more useless master’s degree in Why-In-The-World-Did-I-Study-Business? He’s slain scourges of slithy toves, and always seeks to wield the vorpal blade of eccentricity. He’s an artist first, a thinker next, and a writer last. He sees rules as big, red, “DO NOT PUSH” buttons, begging to be pushed. And so he pushes them. Then smiles at the sound of distant sirens. He lives by the words of Arthur Miller: “The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.”
Class: Show AND Tell
Helen Boswell loves writing stories that include tough topics but happily-ever-afters. A first-generation Chinese-American, Helen is the author of the multicultural romance-suspense LOSING ENOUGH and the urban fantasy MYTHOLOGY trilogy. She’s also an associate professor of biology at SUU, mother of two boys, and a long-standing contributor to ThinkingThroughOurFingers.com.
Class: Are You Whitewashing Your Characters?: How to (and How NOT to) Write Diversely
John D. Brown writes action thrillers and epic fantasy. He currently lives with his wife and four daughters in the hinterlands of Utah where one encounters much fresh air, many good-hearted ranchers, and the occasional wolf.
Class: Make Them Beg for More
Dave DJ Butler
Dave (D.J.) Butler’s fantasy fiction includes WITCHY EYE (Baen), THE KIDNAP PLOT (Knopf), and ROCK BAND FIGHTS EVIL (WordFire Press). He has degrees in Near Eastern Studies and Law and reads a hell of a lot.
Class: Real World Magic
Blake Casselman is a screenwriter, film producer, and comic book writer. His films, including the feature-length comedy Adopting Trouble, have won multiple awards have been viewed around the world, both online and at film festivals, including the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival. His comic book work includes the graphic novel, Devil’s Triangle and the Scepter Squad web comic, to be released in 2018. A sci-fi thriller, The Roof, his first novel, will be released in 2018 as well. He has taught screenwriting, and facilitates the Utah Film Writers screenwriting group.
Class: Improving Your Elevator Pitch: Writing Successful Loglines for Novels and Screenplays
Nicole Castroman received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of Blackhearts and Blacksouls (Simon Pulse).
Class: Talk the Talk: Tips on Writing Effective Dialogue
Rachelle J. Christensen
Rachelle Christensen is the award-winning and bestselling author of twenty books, including The Soldier’s Bride (a Kindle Scout Selection & Whitney Award Finalist), Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, Veils and Vengeance, Proposals and Poison, Hawaiian Masquerade, and Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology. Her novella, “Silver Cascade Secrets,” was included in the Rone Award–winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection. Rachelle lives on a farm in Idaho with her husband, five children, and 100 chickens. Join Rachelle’s VIP mailing list to learn more about upcoming books & get your free book here.
Class: Owning Your Path
Frank L. Cole
Author of 9 traditionally published MG novels. My book, The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine, released in August 2017 from Delacorte Press and the first novel in my Potion Masters Trilogy comes out January 2018 from Shadow Mountain Publishing. You can find Frank on his website, HERE.
Class: Be Fruitful and Multiply – How to Write a Novel with More than One Main Character
Renee Collins grew up in Hawaii, where stories are told through dance. Sadly, she has no rhythm, so she decided to write her stories instead. She is the author of Relic, Until We Meet Again, and Remember Me Always. She lives in Colorado with her family and a parakeet named Dr Pepper.
Class: Finding High Concept Ideas
Sarah M. Eden
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today Bestselling author of witty and charming historical romances. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in research and has traveled far and wide in search of just the right details to give her writing authenticity and depth. You can learn more about Sarah on her website.
Class: Career Saving Advice and Insights
Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the reading and telling of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. She has a PhD in English, emphasis on rhetoric and composition, from Penn State, and she teaches writing at Southern Utah University. Her debut novel, a historical YA fantasy, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, comes out March 2017 from Knopf/Random House. You can Find Rosalyn Eves on her website HERE.
Class: Cultivating Culture
Classes: When to Show, When to Tell
Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish twenty historical romance titles, to date. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and she juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and she loves to ballroom dance. Donna and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.
Classes: Dressing Your Regency Lady
USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie is the author of western romances, the anthology Love for All Seasons, and World War One romances, which include Hope at Dawn, a 2015 RITA Award finalist for excellence in romance. She was born and raised in the West, where she currently resides with her family. She enjoys reading, road trips, interior decorating, chocolate, and most of all laughing with her husband and kids.
Class: ROMANCING THE PAST: How to Write A Compelling Historical Romance
Charlie N. Holmberg
Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of several (often romantic) fantasy novels, including the bestselling The Paper Magician series. A RITA Award finalist, she majored in English and minored in editing at Brigham Young University. Raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names, Charlie plays the piano and ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day adopt a dog. For more on the author and her work, click here.
Classes: The Anatomy of the Short Story & Magic Systems
Margot Hovley has given presentations on Scrivener several times, both to groups and to assist individuals, after using the program extensively for years. Sometimes she feels like a Scrivener missionary! She’s published two books with Covenant Communications, and has published stories in several anthologies. She’s received many awards for her writing, including a 1st place in a national short story contest. She is currently a department editor for Ensign magazine.
Classes: Scrivener For Dummies & Scrivener 201
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She lives in Southern California with her husband and children and a series of doomed houseplants, and holds a masters degree in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Melanie has several romantic comedies published by Covenant and her work in the national market is represented by Alyssa Henkin of Trident Media Group.
Class: The Ultimate Emotional Payoff
With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer Jenkins had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington, the Napoleonic Wars, and Ancient Sparta … until the writing began. She is the author of the NAMELESS Trilogy (YA Fantasy, Month9Books) and co-founder of Teen Author Boot Camp, a federal non-profit organization dedicated to promoting teen literacy and authorship. She divides her free time between reading, writing music, taking spontaneous trips, researching random events from the past, and fostering her adrenaline junkie addictions.
Classes: Becoming Your Reader’s Worst Nightmare & Sovereignty and Idealogies
Krista Lynne Jensen
Krista writes contemporary romance, and fantasy. She is the author of OF GRACE AND CHOCOLATE (2012 Whitney Award Finalist), THE ORCHARD (2013 Whitney Award Finalist), FALLING FOR YOU (2014), and KISSES IN THE RAIN (2015 Whitney Award Finalist) with Covenant Communications. She has novellas in Love Unexpected: With All My Heart (2014, Covenant), and A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letters (2014, Mirror Press). Many of Krista’s readers and reviewers praise the way her settings come to life and bring an added depth to her stories, a compliment she greatly appreciates.
Class: Contemporary World Building: Yes, It’s a Thing
USA Today bestselling author Elana Johnson is a speculative fiction author under her real name and an inspirational adult romance author under the pen name of Liz Isaacson. She is the author of over 50 novels in several genres and has a wide variety of experience in traditional publishing, self-publishing, and everything in between. Find out more at www.elanajohnson.com or www.lizisaacson.com.
Class: How to Increase Your Productivity and Write More Books in Less Time
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and has written twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and been part of multiple collaborations since then. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner and Best of State winner in Fiction. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children. Look for her upcoming national women’s fiction novel, As Wide as the Sky, published through Kensington Press under the name Jessica Pack, sometime in 2018.
Classes: Leveling up Point of View & The Yin and Yang of Dark Moments and Emotional Payoffs
Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of several middle grade and young adult novels, including The Clockwork Three, Icefall, The Lost Kingdom, the Dark Gravity Sequence, A Taste for Monsters, and the Assassin’s Creed series, Last Descendants. He has won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, the PEN Center USA award for Children’s Literature, the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, and has been named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, and the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults lists. He is also a school psychologist, and currently lives in Utah with his wife and three step-kids.
Class: The Forest for the Trees
Brittany Larsen has written, four contemporary novels based Jane Austen classics. The first was self-published, while Pride & Politics and Sense & Second Chances were both released by Covenant Communications. Her fourth, and last, Jane Austen retelling (unless she can’t resist doing another) will be released by Covenant in July 2018. She hopes someday to be the first author ever to come up with a totally original idea. Until then, she’ll be culling the classics for her next story.
Class: Old is the New New: Making a Classic Contemporary
Sara B. Larson
Sara B. Larson is the author of the acclaimed YA fantasy DEFY trilogy: DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE. Her latest release is DARK BREAKS THE DAWN, a fantasy reimagining of Swan Lake, coming May 30th, 2017. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their children, and their Maltese, Loki. When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction. To learn more about Sara B. Larson, visit her website HERE.
Class: The Murkiest Middle of All
Lindsey Leavitt is the author of over a dozen books for kids, tweens, and teens, including COMMANDER IN CHEESE, THE PAGES BETWEEN US, & GOING VINTAGE. She is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom/speaker/party animal (not to be confused with her spirit animal, which is a lion). A graduate of BYU, Lindsey uses her teaching background to present to hundreds of schools across the nation. Lindsey lives in a shoe with her many children in the Utah mountains.
Class: Writing in Spite of and Because of Life’s Challenges
Tricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, a YA fantasy series. Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read another textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing Overwatch, and watching her favorite TV shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.
Class: Follow the Action: Using the Proactive Character to Determine Point of View
Gregg Luke, R.Ph. spent his childhood and young adult life in Santa Barbara, California. He pursued his formal education at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy, including a rotation with the Utah Poison Control Center. Gregg currently practices pharmacy in Logan, Utah.His novels include The Survivors, Do No Harm, Altered State, Blink of an Eye, Bloodborne, Deadly Undertakings, The Healer, Infected, and The Hunter’s Son, six of which were Whitney Award finalists, and the novella The Death House (in Twisted Fate, an anthology with Traci Abramson and Stephanie Black).
Class: POISONS, NOSTRUMS, and DEADLY TOXINS
Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author of romance, women’s fiction, and books that definitely straddle the line. She’s won a Whitney Award for women’s fiction (Band of Sisters) and has been a Whitney Award finalist with both historical romance (Spires of Stone) and contemporary women’s fiction (The Newport Ladies Book Club: Paige). Her women’s fiction has been recognized by the League of Utah Writers (Band of Sisters: Coming Home and Paige.) For her work in both genres, she’s been awarded five of Utah’s Best of State medals. Annette is represented by Heather Karpas at ICM Partners. You can find her on her website, HERE.
Class: Am I Writing Romance or Women’s Fiction? Defining the Genres & Learning When and How to Straddle the Line
Valynne E. Maetani received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal and is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, the APALA Honor for Youth Adult Fiction 2015, a spring 2015 Junior Library Guild selection, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015, Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction, Whitney Award for Best New Author 2016,the Paterson Prize 2016, and Cybils Award Nominee 2015. She can be found online here.
Class: Crafting a Mystery
Lisa Mangum has worked with books her entire life, beginning with her volunteer work in the elementary school library all the way through her graduation from the University of Utah. She has worked in the publishing industry since 1997. In 2014, she was named Managing Editor of Shadow Mountain. She is also the author of four award-winning YA novels, several short stories and novellas, and the editor of four fantasy anthologies.
Classes: Everything I Needed to Know about Writing I Learned from Cuthbert Clark Hemingnot & How to Write an Ending That Doesn’t Suck
Shallee McArthur is the author of THE UNHAPPENING OF GENESIS LEE. She originally wanted to be a scientist, until she discovered she liked her science best in fictional form. When she’s not writing science fiction and fantasy for adults and young adults, she’s attempting to raise her son and daughters as proper geeks, playing video games, or sewing her own clothes. She has an English degree from BYU and lives in southern Utah with her husband and three children. And because people always ask, her name is pronounced “shuh-LEE.” But she answers to anything that sounds remotely close.
Class: The Magic of Scenes and Sequels: How to Write a Book Readers Can’t Put Down
ou might be more familiar with Bradley McBride as the prolific L.D.S. blogger “Middleaged Mormon Man.” He has been blogging away since 2009, specializing in making the complex understandable by using personal experiences and analogies. He has published two books, “There’s a Message in There Somewhere,” distilled from over 1,000 blog posts, and the “There’s a Message OUT There Somewhere,” consisting of previously unpublished material. He calls Gilbert, Arizona home. And Zion. His favorite person in the world is his Eternal Companion, who tolerates his public presence. Together they have 5 kids who are occasionally embarrassed by him. Because that’s what good fathers do.
Class: Suffering for Your Art? Maybe You’re Doing it Wrong.
Originally from the Midwest, Caitlyn McFarland currently lives in Utah with her husband and three young daughters. She has a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she’s not writing about dragons or running around after her daughters, she can be found hunched over a sewing machine making elaborate princess costumes. A freelance editor, Caitlyn is the author of the Dragonsworn trilogy and was a 2016 Whitney finalist.
Class: Get a “Degree” in Creative Writing from the Internet
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Mendez is a fútbol obsessed Argentine-American. She’s the mother of 5 kids and 2 adorable dogs. An inaugural Walter Dean Meyers Grant recipient, a graduate of Voices of our Nation (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children program, she’s the author of the forthcoming picture book WHERE ARE YOU FROM? (Harper Children, 2019) and a yet untitled middle grade novel with Scholastic.
Class: Metamorphosis: The horror, drama, and exhilarating beauty inside the cocoon
L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 70 science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as a number of short stories and technical articles. He has been a U.S. Navy pilot; a market research analyst; a real estate agent; director of research for a political campaign; legislative director and staff director for U.S. Congressmen; Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. EPA; and a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues. His most recent book is Assassin’s Price. Find out more here.
Class: Geography and Economics
Heather B. Moore
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author. Heather has earned various awards for her fiction, including Best of State (5x), Whitney Award (3x), Golden Quill (2x), and the RONE Award (3x). She writes historicals and thrillers under H.B. Moore; women’s fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore; and YA speculative under Jane Redd. You can just call her Heather. Her kids call her Mom! Her husband calls her Knuckles (long story). She’s been a member of Storymakers for years and years. Heather runs Precision Editing Group as well as Mirror Press—indie publisher of the Timeless Romance brand. Find out more here.
Class: Making the most out of your writing career: Author Collaboration
Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail. You can learn more about Jennifer on her website, HERE.
Class: HEROES AND HEROINES: You Complete Me
Jennifer A. Nielsen
Jennifer Nielsen is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of several books for young readers, some which have also been Whitney award nominees or winners. She lives in northern Utah with her husband, three kids, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She loves dark chocolate and may or may not be addicted to a certain diet drink that shall not be named here. To learn more about Jennifer Neilsen, visit her website.
Classes: Deconstructing the Breakout Book & Antagonist Archetypes, Not Villain Stereotypes
Kevin’s novels have topped best-seller lists, received Utah State Book Awards, been nominated for Whitney Awards, and been read throughout the world. Kevin has been a Whitney Award Judge, is currently a Senior Acquisitions Editor at a small press, and lives on less than 4 hours of sleep a night. He writes a lot.
Class: Publishing Pitfalls: What I wish I’d known before publishing
Luke Peterson uses fiction to build real world cities, and real-world expertise to build great fiction. A graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Luke has trained hundreds of government executives, survived nasty run-ins with the mob on both sides of the Atlantic, consulted Congress on renewal of the Voting Rights Act, and helped actor Richard Dreyfuss launch a national nonprofit organization. In partnership with the Cities of Boston and Philadelphia, his innovation office uses empathy-based research and, under the Futurescapes Project, the forward-facing vision of science fiction to solve complex civic problems.
Class: Empathy: The Engine of Great Fiction & Integrated Systems Theory
Jenny Proctor lives in Summerville, SC with her husband and six children. She loves spending time outside with her family and is happy her home keeps her close to the beach, and to the mountains. She loves great food and great friends, especially when she can enjoy them together. Jenny has four published novels, including contemporary romances Wrong For You (2017) and the 2016 Whitney Award winner in the Romance Category, Love at First Note.
Class: Conflict in Romance: Keeping Characters Apart in Just the Right Way
Kathryn Purdie is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the BURNING GLASS series (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins). She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and has taught writing classes at WIFYR, Sundance Workshops, LDStorymakers Conferences, and has been the keynote speaker for Writing for Charity and the BYU Idaho College of Language and Letters. You can find her website HERE.
Class: How to Trap Your Character in a Crucible
USA Today, bestselling author, Janette Rallison/ CJ Hill writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms. Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing 26 novels that have sold over 1,000,000 print copies and have been on many reading and state lists. Her books are fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic comedy because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons. She lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric. You can find Janette Rallison & CJ Hill here.
Classes: Creating Memorable Characters & Seriously Funny
Amanda Rawson Hill
Amanda Rawson Hill is a writer of heartfelt middle grade stories, lover of bulldogs, certified daydreamer, and weird homeschool mom. Her debut novel, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, releases from Boyds Mills Press in the fall of 2018.
Classes: Infusing Your Story With Theme
Rebecca Rode is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her published fiction includes the Numbers Game trilogy, the Ember in Space series, and numerous novellas. She is also a freelance journalist. Her articles have appeared in Deseret News, KSL.com, Family Share, and Provo Daily Herald, although her true love is writing for teenagers. Rebecca has four children, two cats, one husband, and a ridiculous number of books. You can find more information on her website, HERE.
Classes: Amazon Ads: Taking Your Marketing to the Next Level
Caitlin Sangster has been writing since middle school. She always thought of it as a silly, compulsive habit sort of habit until she realized that people like reading stories and she liked writing them and there wasn’t much silly about that. The first book in her post-apocalyptic trilogy set in China, LAST STAR BURNING, is available now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. Caitlin also co-hosts the podcast Literary Work in Progress, where established authors read and critique querying authors’ first chapters to help them get agents’ and editors’ attention.
Class: Two Feet On the Ground: World Building Bibles
J. Scott Savage
J Scott Savage is the author of 18 published novels ranging from children’s fantasy to adult mystery. His books have received starred Kirkus and PW reviews, Jr. Library Guild Selection, a Whitney award and other recognition. He has published with Harper, Shadow Mountain, Deseret Book, Covenant, and self-published. He is represented by Michael Bourret of Dystel Goderich & Bourret. You can find his website here.
Class: Stories That Stand Out
Tasha Seegmiller believes in the magic of love and hope, which she weaves into every story she creates. A co-founder of Thinking Through Our Fingers, she is the managing editor of the writing-focused website as well as a contributor to Writers in the Storm. She is passionate about helping women nourish their creativity and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Tasha married a guy she’s known since she was seven and is the mom of three teens. She is represented by Annelise Robey of Jane Rotrosen Agency.
Class: Forces Unseen: How to Write a Perceived Antagonist
Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a national speaker, and a bestselling author of 17 books. And she occasionally finds time to sleep. She is a regular TV contributor on “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker” and a popular guest on radio, podcasts, and in publications. Connie’s book titles include the recent Amazon bestseller, What Now? 8 Ways to Deal with Life Difficulties, as well as Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Create a Powerful Life Plan, and 40 Days with the Savior. She is the founder of the Back to Basics program helping women live purposeful, organized, and joyful lives. Connie marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. You can find more information about her TV segments, blog, eboost and more here.
Class: The 5 Surprising Media Must-dos to Market Your Book
Erin Summerill was born in England. After spending years bouncing between Air Force bases in Hawaii, England, and California, her family settled in Utah, where Erin graduated with a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. She had aspirations to write the next great American novel, but writing proved tougher than she first thought. So she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional photographer while crafting manuscript after manuscript. The scenic detour of shooting weddings across the United States and internationally provided world-building inspiration. It gave her the vision to continue drafting new YA fantasies. She is the author of EVER THE HUNTED, EVER THE BRAVE, and ONCE A KING (2018 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Erin and her family currently reside in Utah.
Class: Geography and the Puzzle Pieces of Worldbuilding
Kimberly Vanderhorst is a speculative fiction author with a flair for writing evocative sentences. Her books aren’t half bad either. Represented by the incomparable Lorin Oberweger of Adams Literary, Kimberly co-chairs the annual Storymakers First Chapter Contest, and will be a 2018 Pitch Wars mentor. Despite being Canadian, she is sporadically impolite and cusses more than a Relief Society president probably should.
Class: Emotional Resonance: How to Craft Sentences and Stories That Will Wreck Your Readers
Elaine is a third-generation teacher and the author of Like Magic and Paper Chains, both of which were published by HarperCollins and received starred reviews. She’s a chemistry professor at SUU, a mom of three, a winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, and a founding member of Thinking Through Our Fingers.
Class: Writing Authentic, Memorable Voices
Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Dustin “Spanky” Ward, was born in Ogden, Utah. He began his writing career as a disk jockey at Weber State’s radio station – first creating radio spots, then turning to television commercials and film. In his last year of school, he began writing, directing and producing his own short films and commercials. He recently completed his first feature film titled, “Hello, I Love You.” He has also authored and sold 10 screenplays, two of which have been produced, while others are in various stages of development. Dustin resides in Holladay, Utah.
Class: Beginner Screenwriting and Final Draft basics
Robison Wells is the author of eight novels, including the Variant series, which was named a Publisher’s Weekly book of the year and was the winner of many state and national awards. He is married with three kids, living on a hill in the Rocky Mountains. He cowrote a book with James Patterson, Disasterland, which will be released on May 18th.
Class: When The Pie Was Opened: What I Learned From Co-Writing with James Patterson
Carol Lynch Williams
Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than thirty books for kids and teens. She runs Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers and teaches creative writing at BYU. Her books include The Chosen One, Signed Skye Harper, Waiting, Never Said and Messenger. The best work she’s ever done, however, was birthing and then raising her five daughters.
Class: Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Writing with Real Emotion
Michelle Wilson is the author of “Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat? Finding Peace and Joy Through the Power Of Perspective”, “The Beautiful Balance: Claiming Personal Control and Giving the Rest to God”, and “A Perfectly Imperfect Mom.” She writes women’s fiction we well. Michelle is a speaker, laugher, and avid chocolate inhaler. As if she’s not busy enough hanging out with her family and getting rejected by agents, she’s also the Conference Chair for the 2018 ANWA Conference in sunny Phoenix AZ. She loves people. You should come and hang out with her. She’d like that.
Class: How to Teach Without the Preach
Author Julie Wright is a Best in Romance Whitney Awards winner. She has written over twenty novels and is agented by Sara Crowe. Her latest novel, Lies Jane Austen Told Me, is part of the Proper Romance line with Shadow Mountain. She loves reading and writing, playing on the beach or hiking with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner. You can learn more about Julie on her website, HERE.
Class: Swipe Right: The Laws of Attraction for Romance Writers
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist and horror writer who wears poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Pretty Little Dead Girls, the Stabbie Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, and the Bram Stoker Award-winning Little Dead Red.
Class: Creating Sympathetic Villains Your Readers Will Root For
Tracey Adams co-founded Adams Literary in 2004, after running the children’s division of McIntosh & Otis and working at Writers House. Prior to agenting, she was in marketing and editorial at Margaret K. McElderry Books and Greenwillow Books. Tracey is a member of the SCBWI, the AAR, and a founding member of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) chapter in Charlotte, NC.
Class: aLit’s A-List
Jeff has worked as a professional copywriter since 2010 at two separate companies with a national presence. His work has involved numerous writing projects, including online curriculum, informational eBooks, sales scripts, product descriptions, blog posts, and more. Aside from his work as a copywriter, he has also assisted in the hiring of other writers through interviews as well as reviewing résumés and writing samples. Part of this included devising a highly specific editing test to evaluate candidate knowledge of grammar, style guides, and the employer’s industry.
Class: How to Land a Writing Job in the Corporate World
Award-winning author Sharee Campbell AKA Kierstin Marquet grew up fascinated by her dad’s career as a sheriff’s deputy and was always intrigued by why people do what they do—especially criminals. This curiosity led her to pursue a career in law enforcement. She graduated Cum Laude from Weber State University with a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. She worked in law enforcement, but eventually left crime fighting to her husband, a federal law enforcement officer, when they started a family. You can find her here.
Class: Why do villains do what they do?
Elizabeth’s greatest life adventure has been raising four diverse kids. Besides writing, parenting and running a business, Elizabeth advocates for inclusion, destigmatizing mental illness and the neurodiversity movement. She has a B.A. in psychology and is neurodivergent herself. Published in religious non-fiction, she currently writes middle grade and YA fiction
Class: Characterization in Inclusive Fiction
Lezlie Evans is the award-winning author of numerous picture books including recently released Daddies Do (Sterling, 2018), Finding Christmas (Albert Whitman & Co., 2017), Who Loves the Little Lamb (Disney-Hyperion 2010), and Can You Count 10 Toes; Counting to 10 in 10 Different Languages (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999). She is an avid speaker who enjoys teaching writing workshops and visiting with school children of all ages. She is a member of the Washington DC Children’s Book Guild, the PAL (published and listed) Coordinator for the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic region, mother of six, and grandmother of eight. She lives with her husband in Brambleton, Virginia.
Class: Crafting Picture Books that Pack an Emotional Punch
September C. Fawkes
Mentored by a creative writing university professor, an award-winning international best-selling author, and a full-time professional freelance editor, September C. Fawkes has worked in the fiction-writing industry for over five years. She has edited for award-winning and best-selling authors and has worked on manuscripts written for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She holds an English degree with honors and served as a fiction editor and managing editor for the literary journal The Southern Quill. When not editing, she’s penning her own stories and running a writing tip blog. She also serves as a writing coach.
Class: Exactly How to Create and Control Tone
Classes: The Publishing Industry Didn’t Want Me
As an author of over 600 articles for familyshare.com and book reviews for the Deseret News, a contributor for Thinking Through Our Fingers, and the author of a website for survivors of sexual abuse, Wendy Jessen has the know-how necessary to help others find success in these areas. She has been writing articles, blogging, and writing reviews since 2012.
Class: Articles, blogs, and book reviews… Oh my!
Janet Sumner Johnson is the author of the middle grade novel, THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY. She bakes a mean cinnamon twist and eats way more cookies than are good for her, which explains her running habit. Though her full-time occupation as evil tyrant/benevolent dictator (aka mom) takes most of her time, she sneaks in writing at night when her inner funny bone is fully unleashed. She is represented by Lauren Galit at LKG agency. You can learn more about her here.
Class: Using Setting to Amplify Character
Jason Kirk is the Senior Editor for 47North and Skyscape, two imprints of Amazon Publishing. He has edited a 2016 Philip K. Dick Award finalist (PJ Manney’s (R)evolution), received the 2016 Utopia Award for Best Edited Book of the Year (Amy A. Bartol’s Darken the Stars), and is currently looking for adult and YA SFF and YA/NA contemporary novels. He’s especially keen to find new fantasy authors at Storymakers, having worked with Charlie Holmberg, Emily R. King and Jeff Wheeler.
Class: Writing a Speculative Fiction Series
Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with his clients and the Park Literary & Media team on marketing, branding initiatives and promotions to get great books into the hands of readers. Before joining PLM, he was a story editor at a book-scouting agency working with film clients, and he continues to look for new ways to partner with Hollywood on adaptations and multimedia properties. His clients include Soman Chainani, Melanie Conklin, Lindsay Cummings, Brenda Drake, Anna Michels, Emily Bain Murphy and more. Find him re-watching Studio Ghibli movies, playing board games with friends, or reading through his submissions—he’s ready to add more authors to his growing client list!
Class: Passages of Time: How Time Fits Into Your Novel
Rachel Larsen is a public speaker who occasionally writes. She’s a 9 year presenter for the Becoming a Love and Logic Parent program, as well as a speaker for various women’s groups about body image and embracing weaknesses to maximize strengths. She blogs about it here. Rachel has worked in a wide—random—variety of vocations including retail banking, preschool, catering, and flipping houses. She enjoys running trails, writing contemporary fiction, growing large pumpkins, and losing Just Dance tournaments to her kids. Seriously, she never wins.
Class: Speakeasy: Public Speaking 101
Victorine E. Lieske is a NYT’s and USA Today bestselling indie author. She has sold over 300,000 books, mostly while sitting around the house in her pajamas. Victorine and her husband live in Nebraska where they raise their four children. When Victorine isn’t writing, she’s creating book covers for other authors or messing around in her craft room.
Classes: The Six-Figure Indie Author: How to Make Money without Endless Marketing & Building Blocks of Romance
Monique Luetkemeyer has worked in psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment centers since 1997. Her experience includes crisis intervention at all levels of psychiatric care from outpatient to involuntary, inpatient hospitalization. Her background expands into detox, addiction recovery and sex offender treatment. She has a BA in psychology (2000), a BSN in nursing (2014), and a Masters in Education (2003). When she isn’t donning scrubs and drawing up meds, Monique enjoys writing short stories, and non-fiction. She lives with her husband, and three children in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains outside Salt Lake City.
Class: Padded Rooms & Straightjackets: A Guide to Psychiatric Issues in Writing
Dene Low has had several books published, both traditional (national/regional) and indie. Her writing spans the genres of YA historical fantasy, mainstream mystery, historical fiction, romance, poetry, and some scholarly publications. Her books have won numerous awards, including being a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award and a selection of the Junior Library Guild. She is a retired university professor who still teaches writing. She and her husband love to see their grandchildren and travel. She especially likes riding her motorcycle while thinking about what to put in her books. Go to www.denelow.com to see a list.
Class: Intentional Revision: You May Not Be The Best Writer, But You Can Be A Great Re-Writer
Allison Martin is a trained Graphic Designer, with over ten years experience in television and newspaper advertising, and freelance design. Makeready Designs began as an accidental hobby and grew to a full service design business that works with NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors, as well as Penguin Random House. Formal training in film, photography, fine art, web design, and graphic design, as well as seven independently published novels puts her in the perfect place to help authors grow into empires. Allison lives and breathes the North Canadian wilderness, adventuring with her husband and daughter and plotting her next novel on some mountain top. She is represented by Sharon Pelletier of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret Literary Management.
Classes: Create a high end visual marketing plan on a tight budget
Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is presently teaching continuing education classes for Weber State University at the Ogden Campus. Her Books include: Love, Hugs, and Hope; When Scary Things Happen; Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength; Family Talk. Her Native American coming-of-age book, Banished, received a Utah Arts Council Award and the Marilyn Brown award for Western Literature.
Class: Dive into Creative Nonfiction
Shaela Odd is an independent author who takes great pride in her work. She has designed all her own book covers and several for other authors as well. With over ten years design experience in the paper and digital crafting industry, her artwork has been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. Having shifted her focus from crafting to writing, she’s taken her artistic knowledge and skills and applied them to book cover design. She is proof that you don’t need to have a special degree or formal training to create amazing artwork!
Class: It’s OK To Judge: Book Cover Design for the Indie Author
Sharon Pelletier joined DG&B in 2013 after working for Europa Editions, Vantage Press, and Barnes & Noble. Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Sharon moved to New York in 2009 and now can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. In addition to growing her own list, Sharon oversees digital projects and social media for the agency. While her interests are broad, Sharon is especially seeking upmarket fiction, including unexpected suspense fiction; smart, complex women’s fiction; and hearty, unforgettable book club fiction. On the nonfiction side Sharon is eager for compelling, fierce narrative nonfiction by journalists and experts, and emerging voices with a growing platform who can speak to pop culture, feminism, sports, social justice, and/or religion.
Class: The Agent-Author Relationship: Red Flags and Green Lights
Colleen M. Story has worked in the creative writing industry for over twenty years. Her latest release, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, helps writers and other creative artists escape the tyranny of the to-do list and nurture the genius within. Her novels include Loreena’s Gift, a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner. She has authored thousands of articles for publications like Healthline and Women’s Health, and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer. She is the founder of Writing and Wellness, and regularly works as a motivational speaker and workshop leader.
Class: The Monster in Every Writer’s Closet: Free Your Writing from Self-Doubt Sabotage
Kate Sullivan grew up in Belgium, the daughter of an Air Force colonel, where the tiny American library skipped straight from middle grade to adult fantasy and science fiction, which is where she fell in love with reading. She has worked on several NYT bestsellers, and edited four Lambda finalists. She is currently a senior editor at Delacorte Press. (Bio taken from an article. Official bio coming soon)
Panel: Navigating the Slush Pile
Bestselling author Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters–which is why she writes romance. She has published over a dozen books, including the bestselling ROYALS OF MONTERRA series. She was one of the first winners of KIndle Scout and one of the first authors to publish with the Kindle in Motion technology. Learn more here.
Class: An Insider’s Secrets to Kindle Scout, Kindle Press and Kindle Worlds
Pam Victorio started her literary career as an assistant to an agent in early 2012. By April, Pam was promoted to Associate Agent. In her first two years as an agent, Pam brokered 24 deals, with such publishers as Knopf, Scholastic, NAL, ACE, Grand Central, and others. She joined D4EO in June 2014, where she continues to build her list. She has a passion for genre fiction as well as children’s lit.
Class: The Hook, The Book, and The Cook
Jessica is an INTJ agoraphobic hermit person who has been making connections online since the dawn of the internet (she even met her spouse of 17 years, another INTJ) online, proving that computer connections can translate into real and lasting relationships. She is a writer, a blogger, a builder of multi-million dollar businesses, and a web designer. She enjoys sleeping when she has the time.
Class: Authenticity Online: How a little vulnerability can help you sell books