Storymakers Conference Faculty
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from BYU, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, 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 considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first two Whitney Awards. She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming. You can learn more about Traci on her website HERE.
Class: Top Secret: The Art of Restricting the Flow of Information to Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats
Liz Adair’s book COUNTING THE COST, based on her family history, was a 2010 Whitney Award winner. In speaking to family history groups and classes at writers conferences, Liz has found that this class is a revelation to many. As she says, “It’s as if they find they have permission to ‘edit’ a family story. When that happens, light bulbs go on all over the room.”
Class: Writing Family History as Fiction
A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novels include the science fiction/horror mashup, PITCH DARK (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends 2018), and SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, an urban fantasy set in Japan. (Co-authored with Valynne Maetani. HarperTeen 2018). Courtney holds a degree in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five-pound cat with a giant personality. To learn more about Courtney Alameda, you can find her on her website HERE.
Class: Do You Even ILL*, Bro? Or, How to Research Like a Reference Librarian
Camille Andros is the author of CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED, and THE DRESS AND THE GIRL, coming fall of 2018. She loves asking lots questions and won first place in the school science fair when she was in Kindergarten. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and six children who know a little something about being squished. You can learn more about Camille on her website, HERE.
Class: How to Write a Picture Book Agents can’t Say No To; Picture Books 101
Lindzee Armstrong has spent the last year intensely studying newsletter lists and what makes them work. She’s taken hours of video training from industry experts, studied the newsletter lists of authors who are doing this effectively, and implemented the practices into her own list. What started out as a list of only a few hundred has now exploded into many thousands, and she sometimes adds as many as a thousand subscribers a day. She has open rates four times the industry average and click-through rates thirty times higher. Focusing on her newsletter list has made her finally love marketing! You can learn more about Lindzee on her website, HERE.
Class: Build Your Own BookBub
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: 4 steps to Getting Published
Stephanie Black is the author of nine novels (seven contemporary suspense novels and two dystopians). Her most recent novel is Not a Word(2016). She is a four-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense and a Whitney finalist for Best Speculative Novel. She loves the LDStorymakers Conference and is delighted to come talk shop with a bunch of people who won’t think it’s weird that she used to read the dictionary for fun.. You can learn more about Stephanie on her website HERE.
Class: In Search of a More Compelling “Hive of Scum and Villainy.” Or Just One Awesome Antagonist.
Dave Butler has been a corporate lawyer and teaches business acumen skills by day. By night he’s the acquisitions editor of WordFire Press. Whenever he can find the time, he also writes series for Wordfire Press, Knoft, and Baen. His books include THE KIDNAP PLOT, CITY OF THE SAINTS, and WITCHY EYE.
Class: Hybrid Publishing Strategy: Objectives, Pitfalls, and Opportunities
Rachelle J. Christensen
Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading. Visit www.rachellechristensen.com to learn more about upcoming books.
Class: Amazon’s KDP Select Program, Kindle Scout, and How to Turn on the Money Machine
Frank L. Cole
Frank inherited his musical talent from his grandfather Nat King Cole, his fashion sense from his uncle Kenneth Cole, and his merriness from his ancestor Old King Cole. During his session he will sing Unforgettable while wearing a stylish sweater-vest, accompanied by his fiddlers three. You can find Frank on his website, HERE.
Class: Becoming the Writing Juggernaut
Peggy Eddleman is the author of SKY JUMPERS (a children’s book award nominee in Texas, Utah, Nebraska, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi, an American Booksellers Association’s ABC Best Book, a NYPL’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing selection, a Whitney Awardfinalist, and a Kids Indies Next selection) and its sequel, THE FORBIDDEN FLATS (also a Whitney Award finalist). Peggy has given presentations, assemblies, workshops, and classes at conferences, libraries, and schools across the nation. You can visit Peggy online HERE.
Class: Present Like a Pro
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.
Classes: Show-Don’t-Tell: Hands-on guide to one of writing’s most well-known pieces of advice; Seven Point Story Structure: Romance Edition
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: The Objective Correlative
Dennis Gaunt became a writer the day a strange woman rose up out of a lake and handed him a magic pen. At least, that’s what he wishes had happened. In reality, he is an author, teacher, and speaker in the LDS youth/young adult market. In addition, he has been a slushpile reader for Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain publishers since 2000. In that time, he’s seen just about every mistake new writers can make, and he is on a personal crusade to help others avoid those mistakes. When he’s not reading or writing, he enjoys making mix tapes for fictional road trips, Godzilla movies, and encouraging witty banter on his Facebook page. He also hates onions.
Class: Five Things That Are Keeping Your Manuscript from Being Awesome
Mel Henderson has taught writing at BYU since 2012 and earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction in 2016. She is a lifelong writer, compulsive researcher, voracious reader, and a believer in the healing power of stories. Her work has appeared in (and/or on) Bloom for Women, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Literature and Belief, The Writing Disorder, and a handful of other literary journals. She lives in Utah with her husband, children, and too many pets because, tragically, she was born without the ability to maintain appropriate distance from any animal in need. Or if it’s really cute.
Class: Nonfiction: Structure and the Essayistic Cocktail
USA TODAY bestselling author Stacy Henrie is the author of western romances and the Of Love and War series, which includes 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. You can find Stacy on her website, HERE.
Class: REJECTIONS, STRESS, AND SETBACKS – OH MY! Maintaining Peace of Mind as a Writer
Tess Hilmo is the author of three novels for Young Readers: With a Name Like Love (2011), Skies Like These (2014) and Cinnamon Moon (Oct 2016) all with Macmillan Publishing, NY. Her work has garnered multiple awards including School Library Journal Best Books of 2011 list, Booklist Top Ten Historical Reads for Teens, Bankstreet College Best Books lists, James Patterson Read-Kiddo-Read Honor Award, two Whitney Awards, a Rhodda Award (National Church/Synagogue Library Assoc), an American Booksellers New Voices Award and others. She works as a high school writing specialist at American Heritage School and is the mom the three great kids. Visit her at www.tesshilmo.com.
Class: Kick it to the curb! 3 Harmful Habits Standing Between You and Publication
Charlie N. Holmberg
Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie Holmberg was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. Charlie currently resides in Utah with her family. She is the author of the bestselling The Paper Magician series; Followed by Frost; and Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. She’s also a board member for Deep Magic Ezine. You can learn more about her on her website HERE.
Class: Writing “Dirty” While Staying Clean
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: Characterization on Steroids; The Necessity of Narcissism
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
Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family. His debut novel, EXTRACTED came out in 2013 with Spencer Hill Press, and has been a Spencer Hill Press Best Seller, as well as an Amazon Best Seller. PRODIGAL and RIVEN, the second and third books in The Lost Imperials series were released in May of 2015. He has served on many panels across the country from New York Comic Con, to Denver Comic Con, to Salt Lake City Comic Con and LTUE. He’s also lectured at Teen Author Boot Camp and LDS Storymakers. To learn more about Tyler Jolley, visit his website HERE.
Class: Becoming the Writing Juggernaut
Heather Justesen has self-published more than two-dozen novels, and has worked with more than fifty other authors to help them get their projects ready for publication. She has sold more than 150,000 copies and has been making a living wage in self publishing for four years. She also publishes under the name Heather Tullis.
Class: The Top Ten Avoidable Mistakes in Self-Publishing
Brittany Larsen is an Idaho native who traded in parkas and potato fields for sunshine and beaches in Orange County, California. When she’s not busy writing or trying to keep up with her three tween/teen daughters, she enjoys running—especially the part when it’s over. Her regular regimen of hot yoga keeps her sane (somewhat) and stinky enough for no one to bother her until after she’s showered. She’s a guest blogger at The Soul Spa and a freelance writer for Blogmutt. You can find her own blog at mylifeherdingcats.blogspot.com
Class: How to Create a Thriving Critique Group
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: 5 Easy Steps to World Building
Crystal Liechty has watched over 1,000 hours of Asian dramas. She also claims credit for getting no less than 10 otherwise happy people obsessed with Korean music, TV and the culture in general (and the food! THE FOOD!). She’s studied the storytelling art frequently used in Korean dramas and adapted it to her own writing.
Class: Using Eastern Storytelling Techniques in Your Writing
Gregg Luke grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. He served an LDS mission to Wisconsin, then pursued his education in Natural Sciences at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy. He currently practices clinical pharmacy in Logan, Utah. Gregg has been a voracious reader and a prolific writer since childhood. He has been published in Skin Diver, Destiny, and New Era Magazines. His suspense novels include The Survivors, Do No Harm, Altered State, Blink Of An Eye, Bloodborne, Deadly Undertakings, The Death House, The Healer, and Infected, six of which were Whitney Award finalists.
Class: Writing White-knuckle suspense
Annette Lyon is a member of WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association) and has had success as a professional editor and in newspaper, magazine, and technical writing, but her first love is fiction. She’s the author of over a dozen novels, including the Whitney Award-winning women’s fiction title Band of Sisters, its sequel, Coming Home, along with her WF titles in the Newport Ladies Book Club series. She’s published a chocolate cookbook, a grammar guide, and is a regular contributor to the Timeless Romance Anthology series. She’s won Utah’s Best of State medal for literary arts in fiction four times, twice for novels (2007, 2013) and twice for short fiction (2015, 2016). She is represented by Heather Karpas at ICM Partners. You can find her on her website, HERE.
Class: Heightening and Deepening your Characters’ Emotional Arcs
Lisa is currently the Managing Editor of Shadow Mountain Publishing, and has worked in the publishing industry for nearly 20 years.
Class: The Editor is In: A Live Editing Demonstration
Shallee McArthur is the author of the YA sci fi novel 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, she’s attempting to raise her children as proper geeks. A little part of her heart is devoted to Africa after volunteering twice in Ghana. She has a degree in English from Brigham Young University and lives in Utah with her husband and three children.
Class: The 4 C’s of Query Writing
An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a great story. On the nonfiction side, she is the author of three books on writing craft. She served as the inaugural Education Director for Authors Incognito (now Storymakers Tribe) and was the keynote speaker at ANWA’s 2016 Northwest Writers Retreat. You can find Jordan McCollum on her website HERE.
Class: Make your Story Sing: Using Voice to Edit (and Vice Versa).
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: Improving Mediocre Sentences
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen historical novels and thrillers, written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women’s fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Website: HBMoore.com
Class: Increase Your Author Brand on Amazon
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 acute 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: Regency 101
Chad Morris grew up wanting to become a professional basketball player or a rock star. After high school, he wrote and performed sketch comedy while going to college, and eventually he became a teacher and a curriculum writer. He has a three book middle grade series called Cragbridge Hall out with Shadow Mountain.
Class: Writing Humor
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: The Psychology of Characterization; The Series Writer
Luke Peterson does one thing really well: build worlds that work both in fiction and in real life. A graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Luke has worked with local, state, and national governments, trained hundreds of government executives, survived nasty run-ins with the mob on both sides of the Atlantic, consulted members of Congress on renewal of the Voting Rights Act, and helped actor Richard Dreyfuss launch a national nonprofit organization. He directs one of the nation’s leading civic innovation offices in partnership with the City of Boston and the City of Philadelphia.
Class: Worldbuilding Government & Politics that Work
Jenny Proctor was born in the mountains of western North Carolina, a place she still resides and considers the loveliest on earth. She and her husband stay busy keeping up with six children and a growing assortment of pets. She loves to hike with her family and spend time outdoors, but she also adores lounging around her home, reading great books or watching great movies and when she’s lucky, eating delicious food she doesn’t have to prepare herself. Jenny’s novels include Love at First Note (March 2016), Mountains Between Us, and Whitney Award Finalist The House at Rose Creek. To learn more about Jenny, visit her webpage at www.jennyproctor.com.
Class: How to Write Heartwarming Stories without Eye Rolls or Gagging Noises
Kathryn Purdie is the author of the YA fantasy, BURNING GLASS (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) and its forthcoming sequel, CRYSTAL BLADE. 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 was inspired to write this debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. Kathryn has taught writing classes at Sundance Workshops and past LDStorymakers Conferences and was the keynote speaker for the BYU Idaho College of Language and Letters. You can find her on her website HERE.
Class: Improve your Writing with IMPROV!
USA Today, bestselling author, Janette Rallison/ CJ Hill has written 24 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. She has presented classes for IRA, Kansas IRA, Texas Library Association, SCBWI, LDStorymakers Utah, LDStorymakers western, ANWA, Writers for Charity, Teen Author Bootcamp, Kanab Writers conferece, Tucson Book Festival, Las Vegas Book Festival, Kingman Book Festival. You can find Janette Rallison & CJ Hill on her/their website HERE.
Classes: Dialogue: How to get your Characters Talking–The Right Way; Creating your Novel’s Voice
REBECCA RODE is a freelance journalist and the award-winning author of the Numbers Game trilogy and the inspirational book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces. She writes boring stuff when she must and teen books when she can. She enjoys traveling, reading, and martial arts, and she has a ridiculous addiction to chocolate-banana shakes. Rebecca lives in Utah County and has four children, two cats, one husband and way too many ideas. You can find more information on her website, HERE.
Classes: Publish That Book!; The Hard Sell: Booths & Signings 101
J. Scott Savage - INTENSIVE Instructor
J Scott Savage is the author of 17 novels including the Mysteries of Cove series, the Farworld middle grade fantasy series, and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over fourteen years. He has visited over 1000 schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and three grandchildren. He lives with his wife Jennifer in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.
. He loves hearing from his readers at Scott at jscottsavage.com, or you can find him on his website HERE.
INTENSIVE Classes: Creating Powerful Scenes; Four Part Pacing
Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a national and local speaker, and a bestselling author who is represented by the Fuse Literary agency. She has written 16 books, fiction and nonfiction, including Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous,Create a Powerful Life Plan, 40 Days with the Savior, What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know and more. She is a TV contributor on “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker” and a national blogger for www.ksl.com. She is a former radio show host and contributor to newspapers and magazines. For Connie’s TV segments, blog, books, social media and more, visit www.conniesokol.com.
Class: The Soul Side of Writing: Fulfill YOUR Core Writing Goals at Any Stage
Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children. Her published work includes the YA science fiction novels REMAKE and RESIST from Shadow Mountain and Simon & Schuster. She is represented by Lane Heymont of The Tobias Literary Agency.
Class: Subtext Speaks
Elaine Vickers is the author of middle grade novels LIKE MAGIC and PAPER CHAINS (HarperCollins). She’s also a chemistry professor at SUU, a mom of three, a kidlit junkie, a winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, and a contributor to Thinking Through Our Fingers.
Class: Getting It Right: Science in Fiction
Becca Wilhite, writer, teacher, wife, and mama, loves to find moments to walk in the mountains, cook deliciousness made mainly of butter, and read great words. She loves teaching high school English and creative writing. Her newest novel, CHECK ME OUT, releases from Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line in the autumn of 2017. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and her occasionally neglected blog, beccawilhite.com.
Class: Write Beside the Teens
Julie Wright is the author of over twenty novels, including the Hazzardous Universe Series and the Spell Check series. She is a Whitney Awards winner and a Crown Heart recipient. She is a senior editor for Precision Editing Group and the managing editor at Sunwarrior. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating, writing, hiking, and playing on the beach with her kids and husband. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. You can learn more about Julie on her website, HERE.
Class: Frankenstein: Nuts and Bolts
Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University the author of the novels in The Canticle Kingdom Series, The Last Archangel Series, and the Chess Quest Series. His also authors several web serials through BigWorldNetwork.com. He publishes anthologies for charity in his Advent Anthologies series. He has also had work featured in various online and print magazines such as Bards and Sages Quarterly, Mindflights, Meridian, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. He has also won honorable mention twice in the Writers of the Future contest. You can learn more about Michael on his website, HERE.
Class: Crafting Sparkling Short Fiction
Cindy Baldwin is a Southern girl who now lives on the West coast and gamely does her part in keeping Portland weird. Her debut middle grade novel is forthcoming from HarperCollin’s Childrens in 2018. Learn more about Cindy at her WEBSITE.
Class: The Four Ts of Classic Middle Grade
Jeff Bateman served in the U.S. Air Force for 32 years, retiring as a colonel in 2010. He holds an MA in History from Utah State and an MS in Strategic Studies from U.S. Army War College. Following his military career, Jeff worked as a civilian historian at the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Flight Test Center. His work as an historian has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Utah Historical Quarterly, Airpower History, and the U.S. Army War College Press. Jeff currently teaches Utah History, American Military History and U.S. Institutions at Utah State University. Jeff is the author of On the Death Beat (2017, Grey Gecko Press) and co-author of No Peace with the Dawn (November 2016, Cedar Fort Press). Jeff lives on a mini-farm in Hyde Park, where horses, gardening, and playing the bass fill the time he isn’t writing or teaching.
Class: How to Incorporate Credible Military Action and Characters into Your Work
A native of the Utah desert, John Bennion writes essays and fiction about people struggling with that forbidding landscape. His collection of short fiction, Breeding Leah and other Stories (1991), and a novel, Falling Toward Heaven (2000), were both published by Signature Books. He has published short stories and essays in Southwest Review, Utah Historical Quarterly, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Journal of Mormon History, and others. He writing a collection of essays about his Bennion ancestors, who have ranched and lived in the western desert of Utah for six generations. He teaches creative writing in the English Department at Brigham Young University.
Class: Essaying the Spiritual
Helen Boswell is the author of the urban fantasy Mythology trilogy and contemporary novels including LOSING ENOUGH and SCARS RUN DEEP. She’s a biology professor at SUU (where she cofounded the TBird Reads program), a mom to two boys, avid reader of novels with (hopefully) HEA endings, and a contributor to Thinking Through Our Fingers.
Class: Getting it Right: Science in Fiction
Carol Pratt Bradley
Carol Pratt Bradley is an historical novelist with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. As part of her studies she researched the Bible’s influence on Shakespeare, and the history of Bible translation. Her biblical historical novel, Light of the Candle, was a 2015 Whitney finalist. The sequel to Candle will be published in 2017. Another historical novel, Fire of the Word, published in November 2016, is set in England during the Protestant Reformation. Carol lives in Mapleton, Utah.
Class: Apples of Gold: The Language of the Bible as a Model for Writing
Jodi is the author of the memoir “The Sun Still Shines: How a Brain Tumor Helped Me See the Light.”
Class: Memoirs and the Art of Storytelling
John D. Brown
John D. Brown debuted with Tor Books and has since appeared on a number of Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists. He 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: Banish Writer’s Block and Fear with Cognitive Therapy
Shelly Brown, author of Ghostsitter (Future House Publishing, 2016), has been performing comedy for more years than she is likely to admit. She is also holds a bachelors degree in history, is a mother to five, a chicken owner, and a fan of all things Korean.
Classes: The Korean Formula: Using Eastern Storytelling Techniques in Your Writing; Writing Humor
A New York Times bestseller and retired Deputy U.S. Marshal, Marc Cameron spent nearly thirty years in the gun-culture of law enforcement. His assignments have taken him from Alaska to Manhattan, Canada to Mexico and dozens of points in between. He holds a second degree black belt in Ju Jitsu and is a certified scuba diver and man-tracker. An avid adventure motorcyclist, Cameron’s books heavily feature bikes and bikers–from OSI Agent Jericho Quinn’s beloved BMW GS to Harley Davidsons, Royal Enfields, Ducatis. Cameron lives in the Alaska with his wife, blue heeler dog, and BMW GS motorcycle.
INTENSIVE Class: From Start to Finish
Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling novelist, produced screenwriter, multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee, and one of the top indie horror authors in the United States. He is a frequent speaker at comic cons, writing symposiums, and on school campuses; and has also designed an online writing course. Find him at his website HERE.
Class: Finding God in the Devil: Why It’s All Right for the LDS to Read and Write Horror; Screenwriting: the Art and Craft of Hollywood
Ally Condie - INTENSIVE Instructor and Keynote Speaker
Ally Condie is the author of the middle grade novel, Summerlost, Atlantia, and the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. Matched was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, Crossed and Reached, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Ally lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She is currently working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Ally loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.
INTENSIVE Class: If You Build it, They Will Come: Making Setting Work for Your Characters and Your Readers
Lee Falin is the author of Half Worlder, a YA Science Fiction novel and Science Fictioned, a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories based on ideas from modern research papers. Lee first fell in love with science watching Star Trek episodes with his mother. After completing a PhD in bioinformatics, he realized that real science wasn’t much like Star Trek, so he turned to writing and teaching. He met his amazing wife while serving as a missionary in Brazil, and together they homeschool their five awesome kids.
Class: Genetics and Evolution for Writers
Electra Gamón Fielding, Ph.D. graduated from the University of Utah with a Doctorate in Early Modern Spanish Literature. She is currently an assistant professor of Spanish at Weber State University, speaks four languages, and has tested the waters with many other modern and fictional languages. She is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction and an unabashed Tolkien admirer. In her free time you will find her building her own worlds, languages, and stories. Although she is originally from Spain, she currently lives in the untamed city of Ogden with her husband, two children, and two cats.
Class: From Spanish to Sindarin: Using “Other” Languages Effectively in Your Fiction
Joey Franklin is the author of My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married (Nebraska 2015). His essays and articles have recently appeared in Writer’s Chronicle, Poets & Writer’s, Ninth Letter, Hunger Mountain, and the Norton Reader. His essay “Houseguest,” was a Best American Essays notable essay of 2015, and his essay “How to be a T-Ball Parent,” won the 2011 Sport Literate essay prize. He teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Class: SUBMIT, SUBMIT, SUBMIT: An Introduction to Publishing Creative Nonfiction
Classes: The Secrets of Retelling Classic Literature; How to Make a Difference in Your Writing
David Macinnis Gill is the author of the forthcoming novel, Uncanny, from Greenwillow/Harper Collins. His debut, Soul Enchilada, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. His stories have appeared in several magazines, and his critical biography, Graham Salisbury: Island Boy, was published by Scarecrow Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English/creative writing and a doctorate in education, both from the University of Tennessee, as well as a M.ED. from Tennessee-Chattanooga. David is the Past-President of ALAN (The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents) and an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is also on faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
INTENSIVE Class: Say What? The Talking Two-Step of Dueling Dialogue
Brian has been a graphic designer for 20 years, and he’s been designing book covers for over 5 years. He worked as the creative director at an LDS publishing company for several years, before going out on his own with Book Creatives.com. Brian’s book covers have generated quite the buzz on goodreads.com, with Cinder and Ella ranking first in best book cover design lists. He also landed the silver medal in the Publisher’s West 28th Annual Design Awards.
Class: Stand Out! 6 Principles of Winning Book Cover Design
Author and Video Game Director, Dustin Hansen, has been creating media for the MG audience for more than 20 years. His passion for crafting meaningful stories has led him to both coasts, where he’s worked as a creative director for some of the biggest video game franchises on the planet; including Madden Football, The Sims, and Hasbro’s most beloved franchises. Dustin’s debut fiction series, Microsaurs (Jan 2017), and his debut non-fiction book, Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario (Nov 2016), Minecraft, and More, have taken his experience in the gaming world to the printed page, where they secretly always belonged.
Class: Video Games: The New Storytelling Frontier, and How To Beat It
Teri Harman is an author, writer, and yoga instructor (RYT-500). She’s written about books and health for ‘The Deseret News,’ and ksl.com. Teri also contributes book related segments to Utah’s number one lifestyle show, ‘Studio 5 with Brooke Walker.’ Visit her at teriharman.com.
Class: Take a Deep Breath: Meditation for Writers
Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author. Her books have been published in thirteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah. Amy Harmon has written ten novels – the USA Today bestsellers Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 nominee. Her newest release, FROM SAND AND ASH, a historical set during WWII, is available from Lake Union Publishing.
Class: Author Talk with Amy Harmon
Christian McKay Heidicker has accomplished a handful of things outside of video games. His novel Cure for the Common Universe (Simon & Schuster) debuted in 2016, and he published a short story called “There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot” on Cast of Wonders. He also co-created a website called the Foxing Bureau. He’s never met a cute girl at a car wash, but he does live with the love of his life in Salt Lake City, Utah . . . and he often wonders how in the heck he did it.
Class: Method Writing
Amanda Hill grew up in Wyoming with a library right out her back gate. After graduating with her degree in chemistry from BYU, she lived all over the US with her husband and children, began writing, and became a hippie. (Ok, not really. She just homeschools her kids. But close enough!) Amanda writes heartfelt middle grade fiction and is represented by Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown LTD.
Class: The Four Ts of Classic Middle Grade
While he waits for publishers to realize that his novels are the stuff of genius, Chris makes several thousand dollars a year with crowdfunding and patron-model writing, almost all of it with pieces of less than 5000 words. One of those pieces is going to get him Noticed By The Right People, but until then, he teaches, writes, and politicks, not always in that order. He and his wife Jeanette live in Lehi.
Class: Eat Your Words
Margo Kelly’s critically acclaimed debut, Who R U Really?, was published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in 2014.Kirkus Reviews called it “a suspenseful page-turner.” Her second novel, Unlocked, was published by Merit Press in October 2016, and School Library Journal said, “The psychological elements and mystery bring…real tension.” Margo loves to be scared—when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She enjoys writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give readers the goosebumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things.
Class: Infuse Tension Into Your Writing
Abel Keogh is the author of six books including the memoir “Room for Two.”
Class: Memoirs and the Art of Storytelling
Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Emily is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. Her debut, THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN, releases May 2017. Emily is represented by Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary.
Class: How to Compile a Story Bible and Why You Need One
Tricia Levenseller is the author of the YA fantasy, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, which released earlier this year from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. On top of her writing background, Tricia has also worked for book publishers and a literary agent. She graduated from BYU with a degree in English Language and Editing.
Class: Writing Unreliable Narrators without Frustrating Your Readers
TJ Mackay is the Founder and Publisher of InD’tale magazine, the publishing industry’s most trusted publication for independent and small published authors and readers. Each month InD’tale’s worldwide reach educates and promotes the very best in the exciting world of fiction. TJ is also founder and director of the RONE awards – indie and small publishing’s most prestigious and comprehensive award for excellence in writing. The premier status each of these endeavors enjoy was built on the high quality and professional yet personal interest Ms. Mackay is known and famous for.
Class: Writing PG in an R-Rated World – And Making It Profitable!
You 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 real-life experiences and analogies. He has published two books, “There’s a Message in There Somewhere,” distilled from over 1,000 blog posts, and the upcoming “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: A Blister is Worth a Thousand Words
Yamile Saied Méndez was born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, the same city where fútbol god Leo Messi was born. As a child, she taught herself English with an English/Spanish dictionary, and to this day she still has to think twice before saying the word “tired,” which, as a mother of 5 she is most of the time. She earned a MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She’s also an Inaugural Walter Dean Myers Inaugural Grant recipient, and her middle grade ON THESE MAGIC SHORES was awarded the Lee and Low New Visions Honor. She also served as a Cybils Award Round Two Judge for middle grade fiction in the winter of 2017.
Class: Casual Diversity
Katie A. Nelson graduated from BYU with a degree in English teaching. After teaching high school and junior high for a few years, she now spends her time nagging her four kids about their homework, opening the back door for the dog every five minutes, and writing when she should probably be doing laundry or cooking dinner. Her debut novel, THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP, will be published by Sky Pony Press on May 2, 2017. She is a member of the Swanky Seventeens and the Class of 2K17. She can easily be bribed with mint brownies and diet Pepsi.
Class: Slow Down, Speed Up: How to Drive your Story Without Giving Readers Whiplash
Mike Perry started his career in law enforcement as an MP for the US Army – military police. He worked as a security guard for a year as he applied to law school, and then worked at a women’s prison while in law school. He’s been a prosecutor for twelve years, and because of his police background, still finds himself on crime scenes often. He’s watched children go through the child services system, criminals get out of charges on technicalities, and also been fortunate to see justice served.
Class: Get it Right: Police Procedure, Legal Matters, and the Criminal Justice System
Alyson Peterson lives in a mountainside gully—of all places—in Northern Utah with her neurotic, shed-tastic dog, two ninja kids and superhero husband. She spent the majority of her life climbing rocks, riding horses, chasing cattle, hiking, biking, chucking snowballs at cars and making grass whistles. Alyson has two published books: Ian Quicksilver: The Warrior’s Return and Ian Quicksilver: The Cursed Dagger. Book three in the Quicksilver series will be released September 2017. Alyson is also an enthusiastic martial artist, specializing in swords and hand-to-hand combat.
Class: Writing Romance for the NON-Romance Writer
Caitlin Sangster grew up in Northern California, moved to XinJiang when she was eighteen, and has been fascinated with how much she doesn’t know about the world ever since. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Asian Studies and is the person you avoid at parties because she will probably start talking about Shang dynasty oracle bones. Her debut LAST STAR BURNING is coming Fall 2017 from Simon Pulse.
Class: Elevator Pitch Hell
Tasha Seegmiller is a mom to three kids and coordinator of the project-based learning center (EDGE) at Southern Utah University. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with a hint of magic, and thrives on Diet Coke, chocolate and cinnamon bears. She is a co-founder and the managing editor for the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog as well as the Women’s Fiction Writers Association quarterly magazine, where she currently serves as a board member. Tasha is represented by Annelise Robey of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.
Class: Playing with a Different Rainbow: Solidifying the Emotional Arc
Breeana Shields graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English. Her debut young adult fantasy, POISON’S KISS, will be released from Random House in 2017 with a sequel to follow in 2018. When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her three children and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle.
Class: CPR for a Mostly Dead Middle
Summer Spence is a YA author represented by Heather Flaherty at The Bent Agency. She lives in Utah with her husband and four kids, but still calls California home and wears flip flops year-round, no matter the weather. A classically trained actress with degrees in English Literature and Theatre, she fell in love with storytelling on stage, but discovered that the costumes for writers were much more comfortable, and happily tells stories in her pajamas now. While she uses the perspective of a dramatic performer to create her imagined characters and worlds, she’s not dramatic at all in real life.
Classes: How to Make A Scene Work: Just Beat It!; Improve your Writing with Improv!
Ellie Terry doesn’t personally own any shiny stickers, but in 2014 she was a recipient of the Nikki Grimes Poetic Techniques Merit Scholarship and her debut MG novel in verse, FORGET ME NOT, which School Library Journal called “an important literary perspective yet untold for a middle grade audience [that] will stay in the hearts and minds of readers for a long time” was published in March 2017 by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan. Ellie lives in Southern Utah with her husband and their three children. She is represented by Mr. Steven Chudney. Learn more at ellieterry.com.
Class: AND THE WINNER IS…A Deep Analysis of Award-Winning Titles in Children’s Literature
Kristen Tracy - INTENSIVE Instructor
Kristen Tracy has published twelve novels for young adults and young readers, including Lost It, Camille McPhee Fell Under the
Bus, Too Cool for This School, Hung Up, and Project UnPopular. She grew up in a small town in Idaho, near Yellowstone Park,
where she learned a tremendous amount about bears. She has an M.A. in American Literature from Brigham Young University, an M.F.A. in poetry from Vermont College, and a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University. At one time in her life she was a college professor and aerobics instructor. At another time she was a volunteer gardener on Alcatraz and aspiring bird docent. Now she
makes her home in Los Angeles with her husband and their young son.
INTENSIVE Class: How to Deepen Your Characters: Creating a Character Sheet
Nikki Trionfo lives in Riverton, Utah with five kids, a CrossFit-training husband who writes computer code, and lots of hip hop background music. Her teen murder mystery, Shatter (May ’17) won grand prize in LDStorymakers’ First Chapter Contest and first place in LUWs manuscript category. Under a New York Skyline features four of the hippest, smartest teen romance novellas evah! She hosts free #50FirstChapters webinars on YouTube. A committed party-girl, Nikki is the social coordinator for the LDStorymakers Conference and chair of Storymakers Tribe. This all sounds really serious, but if you run into her, she gets down. Truly.
Class: 1 Weird Tip for Getting Paid to Write Corporate Blog Posts
Kate Watson is the author of two upcoming YA Contemporary novels: SEEKING MANSFIELD (Spring 2017), a retelling of MANSFIELD PARK with a splash of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, and the companion novel, SHOOT THE MOON (Spring 2018), loosely based on GREAT EXPECTATIONS with a shot of the movie ROUNDERS. She has a BA in Philosophy and loves existential geek out sessions about things of no practical use whatsoever. Originally from Canada, she has also lived in Israel and Brazil and now calls Arizona home. Her husband and two children are the loves of her life.
Class: The Art of Retelling
Terresa Wellborn is a poet, librarian, and often mistaken for Miss Frizzle. After declining life as an FBI agent, she pivoted to balloon animal artistry, accordion playing, poetry blogging, and fountain dancing. She has a BA in English literature and a MLIS degree. Her writing as been published in various journals and anthologies and she is currently the associate poetry editor for Segullah. When not on a mountaintop, she prefers to dwell in possibility.
Class: Poetry in Motion: The Art of Wordsmithing
E.B. Wheeler has an M.A. in history and has worked for twelve years writing historical fiction and nonfiction. Her prose won the Gold Quill Award from the League of Utah Writers and the Heather Campbell Award for Excellence in Writing from Segullah Journal, and she was the League of Utah Writer’s 2016 Writer of the Year. She teaches history at Utah State University and is the author of three historical novels: The Haunting of Springett Hall, Born to Treason, and No Peace with the Dawn.
Class: Putting the History in Historical Fiction