Storymakers Conference FacultyIntensive Instructors, Author Chat Special Guests, Returning Faculty, Debut Faculty
2019 Keynote Speaker & Intensive Instructor
Jason Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author.
Jason is also regular columnist for Fox News and the Northern Virginia Daily. Articles by Jason have appeared in over other 100 newspapers, magazines and web sites across the United States including The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Forbes.
Jason is also a popular speaker who speaks on the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. He has been seen on CNN, FoxNews, C-SPAN, and on local television stations around the country.
Jason grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has also lived in Germany, Illinois, Brazil, Oregon and Utah. In 2007, while researching Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley for his novel The Wednesday Letters, Jason fell so in love with the area that he moved his family westward from northern Virginia to Woodstock.
Jason is married to Kodi Erekson Wright. They have two girls, two boys and a 110-pound Goldendoodle named Pilgrim who thinks he’s a lapdog.
Intensive Class: Connecting with Your Readers in an Authentic Way, off the Page.
Intensive Instructor & Author Chat Special Guest
Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. Her young adult and middle grade fiction has garnered numerous awards including the distinguished ALA Printz Honor, and she has received starred reviews from publications such as Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, BCCB, and the Horn Book. Her books have also been chosen for many popular lists such as School Library Journal and Kirkus Best Teen Books. Julie now lives in southern California with her husband and sons.
Intensive Class: MICRO and MACRO: The Economics of Revision
Class: Author Chat
New York Times bestselling author Brendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to write full time, and has now published ten young adult and middle grade novels. Brendan recently completed a masters degree at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. His science fiction thriller Nemesis was an instant New York Times bestseller and received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Booklist. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, son, daughter, and a herd of animals that tear up everything. Brendan cried uncontrollably when the Cubs won the World Series. He hates cakes, clowns, and spontaneous singing, which are all reasonable positions.
Intensive Class: Plotting Dynamic Novels
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jeff Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to write fantasy full-time and work on his e-zine, Deep Magic. He is a husband, father of five, and a devout member of his church. Jeff lives in the Rocky Mountains.
Intensive Class: Worldbuilding 505: Stop Living in your Head and Start Writing the First Chapter
Class: The How of Creativity
Becca Wilhite loves books – reading and writing them. By day, she teaches high school English. By night, she’s a wife and a mom. In between, she squeezes in wordplay.
Class: PICK UP THE PEN: Beginning the Writing Journey – an intensive for new writers
Author Chat Special GuestEmily Bleeker is the best selling author of four novels including Wreckage, When I’m Gone, Working Fire and The Waiting Room. She is a two-time Whitney Award finalist, a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and was recently listed as one of the top 100 Kindle authors “of all time.” Emily loves stories. She loves to read them, watch them, listen to them and most of all—write them. But do stories love her back? Tune in next week to find out… You can find Emily on her website HERE.
Classes: Dun dun dunnnnn! How to build tension and use cliff hangers to write page turning fiction & Author Chat
Author Chat Special GuestAlly Condie is the author of 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. She won a Whitney Award for her middle grade novel, Summerlost. She runs a writing camp for teens that allows students to work with published authors and experience the outdoors. She holds a BA in English from BYU and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Ally lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.
Class: Author Chat
Rachel Ann Nunes/Teyla Rachel Branton
Author Chat Special GuestRachel Ann Nunes started her writing career as one of the beloved voices in LDS contemporary fiction. Over time, as publishing evolved, so did her career and she became Teyla Branton, writer of paranormal and speculative fiction, and also Rachel Branton, author of contemporary romance. She was an early adopter of indie publishing and has been a strong advocate for choosing the publishing model that most empowers each writer. She continues to balance her successful writing career (over sixty published novels) with her family as a wife and mother to seven children.
Class: Author Chat
Author Chat Special GuestAn internationally known veteran of romance writing, Carla Kelly is the author of forty-three novels and three non-fiction works, as well as numerous short stories and articles. She is the recipient of two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Regency of the Year; two Spur Awards from Western Writers of America; three Whitney Awards, 2011, 2012, and 2014; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times. Carla’s interest in historical fiction is a byproduct of her lifelong study of history. Writing-centered jobs include PR work for hospitals and a hospice, feature writer and columnist for a North Dakota newspaper, contract researcher for a state historical society, and ranger (her favorite) in the National Park Service at Fort Laramie National Historic Site and Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. Interest in the Napoleonic Wars has led to numerous novels about the Royal Navy and British army. Carla has also written novels set in North America, revolving around mining, ranching, and the Indian Wars, and earlier during the era of Spain in the Southwest. Her many Christmas novellas are readers’ favorites. Her most recent novel is set in Spain during the Reconquista from the Moors.
Class: Author Chat
Author Chat Special Guest
David Farland is a New York Times bestselling author in both science fiction and fantasy, He has won a number of awards for his work, including the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award, the Whitney Award for Best Book of the Year, the International Book Award, and others. Dave is the lead judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests, and has mentored dozens of New York Times bestsellers, including #1 bestsellers like Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, James Dashner and Brandon Mull.
Classes: Author Chat & Writing for a Vast Audience, and Emotional Beasts
Traci AbramsonTraci 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: Writing Suspense: From crime scenes to spy scenes
Lindzee ArmstrongLindzee 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: Romantic Heroes and Heroines
Jeff BakerJeff Baker has always been comfortable with computers and technology. Over the years, he’s picked up a number of tips using computers that have made things easier for him as a writer, some of which he’s been able to share with others in critique groups. He also uses computers extensively on the job. Although he works as a copywriter, his experience and knack for finding new ways to solve problems has led him to assist with more tech-oriented tasks such as software testing and data manipulation. He’s trained his coworkers to occasionally refer to him as a “genius” or a “wizard.”
Class: The Computer Is Your Friend: Tools and Tricks to Make a Writer’s Life Easier
Cindy BaldwinCindy Baldwin is a fiction writer, essayist, and poet. Her debut novel, WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW, received multiple starred reviews, as well as being named an Indies Introduce and Indie Next title for 2018. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, surrounded by tall trees and wild blackberries.
Class: Poetic, Not Purple & Plotting the Quiet Novel
Stephanie BlackStephanie Black is the author of eight mystery novels and two dystopian novels. 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 hanging out with a bunch of people who understand the challenges of getting imaginary people to do what you want them to do.
Class: The Bones of Your Story
Sarah M. EdenSarah 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: Defining Your Core Story & Psychology in Fiction: Theory of Mind
Rosalyn EvesDr. Rosalyn Eves draws from her experience as a PhD candidate writing about women in the American West as well as her novel research (for historical fantasies set in 19th century Europe and the 19th century American West) to introduce research with primary sources. Her YA fantasy trilogy, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION (the first of which won a 2018 Whitney for best YA fantasy), is published by Knopf/Random House. You can Find Rosalyn Eves on her website HERE.
Class: Helping Stories Take Place
Dennis GauntDennis Gaunt has been reading in the Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain slush piles since 2000. In that time, he’s seen it all and then some. He’s always eager to share with new authors the lessons he’s learned of what not do, so that they won’t repeat the same mistakes.
Class: It Came From The Slush Pile!
David Macinnis Gill is the author of the YA novel Uncanny (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.
Classes: Hurt so Good & Scene and Sequel
For more than two decades Dustin Hansen worked as an artist and writer in the video game, toy and film industries, before turning his focus on his true passion, writing books. As the author of Game On! Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More (MacMillian 2017), The Greatest Stories Ever Played (MacMillian2019), and the Microsarus series, Dustin has been able to marry his love for video games and riding dinosaurs with his incurable writing habit. Dustin is currently chasing another lifelong dream as he creates his debut graphic novel (DC, 2020).
Class: Writing, and Selling Your Nonfiction Proposal
Mette HarrisonMette Ivie Harrison is the national bestselling author of the adult mystery set in Mormon, Utah, The Bishop’s Wife. She’s also published 8 YA novels, including Mira, Mirror and The Princess and the Hound. She holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Princeton, University, and is a nationally ranked triathlete.
Classes: 10-Step Novel Structure & How to Make Your Voice More Distinctive
Amanda Rawson HillAmanda Rawson Hill grew up in Southwest Wyoming with a library right out her back gate (which accounts a lot for how she turned out.) After getting her degree in Chemistry and having a few kids, she did the most natural thing possible, she started writing books. Her debut novel, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, was published by Boyds Mills Press in 2018. You can find Amanda on her website HERE.
Class: Molding the Glass Menagerie
Charlie N. HolmbergCharlie N. Holmberg is a Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestselling author, whose debut series, The Paper Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney Award for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.
Classes: Writing Outside the Box: Fantasy Edition and Kissing Like You Mean It (Smooching 101)
Margot HovleyMargot Hovley is the author of two books published by Covenant Communications: The End Begins: Sudden Darkness, and Glimmering Light. She’s also a part of three anthologies from Covenant. She’s won many awards for her writing, including a 1st place in a national short story competition. She currently works as a department editor for the Ensign magazine.
Class: Writing for Church Magazines
Melanie JacobsonMelanie 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: Using Maladaptive Coping Mechanisms to Write Resonant Characters
J.R. (Jenn R.) JohanssonJ.R. JOHANSSON is the author of the Night Walkers Series as well as standalone thrillers CUT ME FREE and THE ROW. Her thriller/horror novels have been published in over a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. In her downtime, she’s an avid gamer and reader.
Class: Using Tension and Pacing to Create a Book the Reader Can’t Put Down
Heather JustesenHeather Justesen is the author of three dozen published works, most of which are indie published and has been making a full-time income as a writer since 2013. She formats books for ebook and print professionally and has recently returned to recording audiobooks for her own books.
Class: Audiobook Extravaganza
Josi KilpackJosi 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.
Class: Writing a Synopsis
Matthew KirbyMatthew 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: Ecology of the Imaginal
Sara B. LarsonSara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE) and the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology (DARK BREAKS THE DAWN and BRIGHT BURNS THE NIGHT). 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 four children, and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.
She’s online at www.SaraBLarson.com.
Class: Fear the One Who is Right
Tricia LevensellerTricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology and WARRIOR OF THE WILD, a standalone YA fantasy. 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 a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing Overwatch, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.
Class: Proactive Characters for the Win!
Crystal LiechtyCrystal Liechty worked as a journalist and editor in the newspaper industry for over 10 years and most recently, as a book editor and ghostwriter. Crystal currently works as a writer for Chapters Interactive Stories. She’s the author of a women’s fiction novel published through a niche press (The First Year, 2006) and has had an argumentative essay published in the college textbooks, The Structure of Argument and Elements of Argument (Macmillan Publishing, 2017). She’s also the mastermind behind the Educating Mom webcomic.
Class: There’s An App For That: How to make money with storytelling apps.
Annette LyonAnnette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 5-time Best of State medalist, and a Whitney Award winner. She’s widely known for editing but has hung up that hat to focus on her own work. As a cum laude graduate from BYU with a degree in English, she’s the author of over a dozen books. She’s a regular contributor to and the original editor of the Timeless Romance Anthology series and has received five publication awards from the League of Utah Writers, including the Silver Quill. Annette is represented by Heather Karpas at ICM Partners. She’s been BuJo-ing for three years and has no intention of stopping. You can find her on her website, HERE.
Class: Not Your Pinterest Board’s Bullet Journal
Lisa MangumLisa Mangum has worked in publishing since 1997. Named Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain in 2014, she has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors, including Brandon Mull, Ally Condie, and Jason F. Wright. While fiction is her first love, she also has experience working with nonfiction projects.
Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels (The Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello), and several short stories and novellas. She has also edited four anthologies based on magical creatures. She graduated from the University of Utah, and currently lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.
Classes: Put on Your PANTS: Outlining Tips for Pansters; Polishing Tips for Plotters & Surviving Sharknado 2: Writing a Sequel
Caitlyn McFarlandOriginally 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.
Thursday Workshop Instructor
Heather B. MooreHeather B. Moore has earned USA Today bestselling spots in four different genres. As a hybrid author, she has promoted through both traditional and indie routes, and is always looking for the next marketing trend. With six Best of State Awards and four Whitney Awards, Heather is dedicated to continually improving her craft and reaching new readers. Find out more here.
Class: Marketing with Zero Budget
Jennifer MooreJennifer 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. NielsenJennifer Nielsen is a New York Times Bestselling author and Whitney Award winner who eats way too much dark chocolate.To learn more about Jennifer Neilsen, visit her website.
Classes: The Magical Muse & Must-Have Moments in Your Novel
Shaela OddShaela Odd has been writing since she was six years old. She studied Theatre and English at BYU-Idaho, where she wrote and performed her own stories for a local storytelling troupe. She currently writes historical romance, and publishes under the name Shaela Kay. She is an award-winning cover designer, and hopes to someday turn her “little book business” into a real live publishing house.
Class: How To Write a Killer Back Cover Copy
Jolene PerryJolene Perry is a middle and high school teacher turned author, and a former “Author in Residence” at Alaska Pacific University. She married the guy she kissed on her high school graduation night, is a life-long Alaskan living in Colorado, and has spent months sailing in the Caribbean. She writes for Albert Whitman Teen and Simon Pulse, and is a three-time Whitney Award Finalist. She is represented by Jane Dystel and Amy Bishop – both of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management. She works as a freelance editor at CookieLynnPub.com
Class: Self-Edit Like a Pro
Luke PetersonLuke 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: Power Worldbuilding, Worldbuilding Power
Jenny ProctorJenny Proctor lives just outside Charleston, SC with her husband, six kids and a myriad of pets. If given the chance, she would spend every afternoon reading or writing at the beach, and eating delicious food she didn’t have to cook herself. 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. She is also a freelance editor specializing in romance.
Class: Be Still My (Always) Racing Heart: Common Mistakes in Romance and How to Avoid Them
Kathryn PurdieKathryn Purdie is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the BURNING GLASS series. In addition to teaching writing courses at past Storymakers Conferences, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR), Sundance Writing Workshops, and Teen Author Boot Camp, she has also been the keynote speaker for Writing for Charity and The College of Language and Letters at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Find her online at kathrynpurdie.com. You can find her website HERE.
Class: Mastering Deep POV
Janette RallisonUSA 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 28 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: Traditional publishing-vs-Indie Publishing. Which route is right for you?
Rebecca RodeREBECCA RODE is the young adult speculative author of the Numbers Game trilogy, the Ember in Space series, and numerous novellas. Her work has appeared on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She also dabbles in freelance journalism and inspirational nonfiction. She has four children, two cats, one husband, and a ridiculous number of books. You can find more information on her website, HERE.
Classes: Ads for Authors
Caitlin SangsterCaitlin has been writing since middle school. She always thought of it as a silly sort of compulsive habit until she realized that people like reading stories and she liked writing them and there wasn’t much silly about that. She is the author of the award-nominated LAST STAR BURNING series from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse.
Class: Making Promises You Can Keep
J. Scott SavageJ Scott Savage is the author of 17 published novels, many articles and short stories, and a new series of writing craft books. His novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, been named Amazon Book of the Month, Barnes and Noble Select Book, and Junior Library Guild Selection. He has won several awards including a Whitney, and been on several state lists. He is represented by Michael Bourret of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret. You can find his website here.
Class: Know Your Hero/Villain Type and How to Use It & Planning a multi-book fantasy series
Erin SummerillErin Summerill loves candy, her kids, and books. If she sold more books she could buy more candy for herself and her kids. Buy one of her books…think of the kids. She’s also the author of the CLASH OF KINGDOMS from HMH and currently pursuing a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Class: Winning at Beginnings
A.L. SowardsA.L. Sowards is a Whitney Award winner and author of six novels published through Covenant. She enjoys reading, writing, learning about history, and eating chocolate, sometimes all at once. As an author, she is known for heart-pounding action, memorable characters, careful historical research, clean romance, and family-friendly language. She is the mother of three young children, including a set of twins, and currently lives in Utah.
Class: Getting More From Goodreads
Colleen StoryColleen M. Story inspires writers to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment. Her first non-fiction book, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018, and her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner. Her latest release, Writer Get Noticed!, is a strengths-based guide to finding your niche and building your own brand of creative success. With over 20 years in the creative industry, Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com). Please see her author website (colleenmstory.com) or follow her on Twitter (@colleen_m_story).
Class: Writer CEO, Find Your Niche!: Standing Out in a Noisy Publishing World
Robison Wells has published fourteen novels, local, national, and indie. He’s published in nine languages, in two dozen countries. He won an award for his dialogue in DARK ENERGY, and one review said the book was “like Independence Day, if you replaced Jeff Goldblum with the cast of the Gilmore Girls.” He has studied Sorkin deeply, having taken his Masterclass, and studied his many TV shows and movies.
Class: Walk and Talk: Dialogue Lessons from Sorkin
Kasie WestBio Coming Soon
Classes: Contemporary Worldbuilding & Slow Burn Romance
Natalie WhippleNatalie Whipple has writing experience all over the publishing world—traditional, indie, and even contract work. She has over fifteen novels published in both YA and MG genres, the most notable being the Transparent series, the I’m A Ninja series, the Vengeance Code cycle (under Nat McKenzie), and the Fornite series called Trapped In Battle Royale (under Devin Hunter). She’s been a gamer and sci-fi lover since she was a kid and that shines in her work.
Class: Works for Hire
Julie WrightJulie Wright is the author of over twenty novels, including Lies Jane Austen Told Me and Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line. She is the managing editor for Sunwarrior and is a Whitney Awards winner and a Crown Heart recipient. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe. She loves reading and writing, playing on the beach or hiking with her husband and kids, and watching her husband make dinner.
Class: Get paid to be a writer now by writing for the web!
Jennie BennettJennie Bennett is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Kpop Romance series, as well as a novella writer for the Chapters app. She’s also the first author to speak at on a panel at Kcon about fanfiction writing. In her free time, she enjoys watching Kdramas or listening to Kpop. She currently resides south of Houston, TX with her husband, four crazy children, and a cute puppy named Charlie.
Class: Novella Story Structure
Sian BesseySian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several articles in the New Era, Ensign, and Liahona magazines while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today best selling author and a Whitney Award finalist.
Class: So You Want to Set a Book in Britain . . .
Nicole BrouwerNicole Brouwer earned a degree in Behavioral Science and another in Social Work. She then worked as a Behaviorist for several years before becoming a full-time writer. Now, instead of studying people, she dreams them up. Nicole has attended the Storymakers Conference for years and loves her tribe dearly. She’s currently working with her agent, Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency, to prepare her debut novel for submission. THE LOTUS LADIES OF LONDON tells the story of a group of Victorian women who, after discovering a dusty manuscript, choose to defy social convention, form a secret society, and outwit the law in a fight for its publication.
Class: Why Your Brain Doesn’t Want to Write and How to Outsmart Your Funk
Kenneth CassellWriting under the name of Guy Antibes, Ken Cassell has developed a successful niche as an indie writer of over thirty novels. The same principles he has used to create book sales can be used by any writer seeking out how to view writing as a business. Ken has spent most of his career mired accounting numbers, budgets, and business plans including stints as the CFO of high tech startups. He combines literary and business to give a unique perspective to the business end of writing. You can find him on his website HERE.
Class: Shark Tank – Create a Writing Business
Ashley CrosbyAshley Crosby is an MFA grad. Her short work has appeared in TreeHouse Arts and she has served as a judge for Sibyl’s Scriptorium for the last two years. Her works of fan fiction can be found on various websites, assuming you know the right pen names. With a technical support day job, Ashley enjoys turning technical documentation into narratives and often speaks as a panelist at tech conferences. You can find Ashley on her website HERE.
Class: Fanfiction, Text-based RPGs, and Re-filling the Well
Christina EnquistChristina Enquist is a certified instructor for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She is a playwright, screenwriter, and author of The Immundus series. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and teaches Student Success at College of the Sequoias in addition to holding a full-time job as a Training & Development Coordinator at a teaching hospital.
Classes: Writing through the lens of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Psychology in Fiction: Theory of Mind, & How to Start an Indie Publishing Company
Jared GarrettJared Garrett is a family man, full-time dad AND professional, and the author of the scifi thriller BEAT series and the recently completed Guide and the Sword series. With his wife a full-time law student, he plans menus, cooks, works for money, and everything else in between. He grew up as an unwilling cultist and has worked as a firefighter, BBQ chef, and a bellman. After designing training solutions for companies like Amazon and American Express, Jared has taken his last day job—in BYU’s Continuing Education department. He writes in the margins of the day and has published seven books since 2015. You can find Jared on his website HERE.
Class: Six Weapons For Crushing Your Productivity Enemies
Sharlee GlenSharlee Glenn is an award-winning poet, essayist, and children’s book author. She holds an MA from Brigham Young University and taught there for a number of years. Publications include Keeping Up with Roo (Putnam), winner of the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award and Just What Mama Needs (Harcourt), which was featured on the Emmy-award winning PBS children’s show, Between the Lions. Her first non-fiction book, Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s First Bookmobile was published by Abrams Books in April of this year, and she has a middle grade novel entitled Beyond the Green coming out this fall with Charlesbridge. Sharlee lives in the foothills of the Wasatch mountains in Utah. She and her husband, James, are the parents of five above-average children and three perfect grandchildren. Besides reading and writing, she loves hiking, yoga, eating cookies, and playing pickleball. You can find Sharlee on her website HERE.
Class: Children’s Nonfiction: A Burgeoning Market
Chelsea HaleChelsea Hale launched her first five novels within nine months. She has spent her time understanding the craft of writing and maximizing her productivity to capitalize on the indie market in romance. In addition to writing and reading, she has a big garden, travels, and recently added competing in multiple triathlons to her already full schedule. She is married to her Prince Charming. They have four children and live near the Rocky Mountains. You can find Chelsea on her website HERE.
Class: It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times
Jeff HunstmanJef Huntsman is the award winning author of “Heart Attack, Yak, Yak,” a humor filled memoir of hospital stays and recovery. His books include “Tattered Portrait,” the newest mystery thriller, “Jamaica Rush,” and his book of poetry, “Bald Cats and Deaf Elephants,” published by Belray Books LLC. “Mosquito Sands,” a Carson series thriller will be out early 2019. He has won numerous awards including “Utah Writer of the Year,” by LUW. He spends most of his time re-writing, swimming, and enjoying the peace of a raging firepit at his cabin in central Utah. You can find Jeff on his website HERE.
Class: Poetry: The Great Teacher of Novel Writing
Melissa LarsonMelissa Leilani Larson is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen on four continents. Plays: MARTYRS’ CROSSING, PERSUASION, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS, PILOT PROGRAM, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, and MOUNTAIN LAW. SWEETHEART COME will appear at Pygmalion Theatre Company in May 2019. She was recently commissioned by Utah Valley University to adapt Kelly Barnhill’s THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON for the stage. Film: JANE AND EMMA and FREETOWN. Mel is a 3-time winner of the Association for Mormon Letters Drama award and was a 2016 O’Neill semifinalist. MFA, Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Class: The Nuts and Bolts of Screenwriting
Kimberly LothKimberly Loth has published over twenty-five books. After teaching high school and middle school math for ten years, she quit to pursue her dream as an author. She’s been publishing for four years and is the author of the Amazon bestselling series The Dragon Kings. She’s the mother of two amazing children and travels full time with her husband.
Class: Math for Authors
Patrick Madden is the author of two essay collections, Sublime Physick (2016) and Quotidiana (2010). He co-edited After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays (2015) and co-translated the Selected Poems of Eduardo Milán (2012). He has received a Howard Foundation Fellowship and two Fulbright Fellowships. He is co-editor of the 21st Century Essays series at Ohio State University Press and vice president of the NonfictioNOW Conference. He holds a PhD in English from Ohio University.
Class: Creative Non-Fiction
Anne-Marie MeyerAmy Meyer, pen name Anne-Marie Meyer, is a lover of tropes. They are the building blocks of every story she tells. And her fans love them! Which is why she became a six-figure author her first year as an indie author.
Classes: Debunking (DEMISTIFYING) Facebook Ads & What is a trope? For romance authors
Michelle MilletMichelle Millet edits fiction for Write On Editing and is a freelance editor for Month9Books. She has a degree in art history from BYU and still holds a ridiculously soft spot for all things Russian. Michelle lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her engineer husband and three lively children and dreams of hiring a housekeeper, cook, and butler in order to spend more time reading and editing. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @SeeMichelleRead.
Class: First Chapter Intensive
M.A. NicholsBorn and raised in Anchorage, M.A. Nichols is a lifelong Alaskan, though she did take a hiatus for a few years in Utah to get a fancy university education from BYU and USU. She’s an eclectic reader, so she became an eclectic author of fantasy, sci-fi, and historical romance for young adults and adults. For more information, visit her website at www.ma-nichols.com. Find her on her website HERE.
Class: Website Design 101
Children’s author and 2019 SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner, Jessie Oliveros, debuted last fall with her picture book, THE REMEMBER BALLOONS, released from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte. THE REMEMBER BALLOONS received a starred review from Kirkus, was chosen by the ABA for the Fall 2018 Indie Next List, was named by the Children’s Book Council and the National Council for Social Studies as a Notable Social Studies book, and won the 2019 SCBWI Golden Kite Award and the Schneider Family Honor for picture book text. She is represented by Mike Hoogland of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret LLC. Jessie grew up a Kansas girl and attended college at Brigham Young University Provo where she earned her BS in nursing. After a fulfilling career as a registered nurse, she hung up her stethoscope to grow children and stories. These days you can find Jessie in the Texas hill country with her husband, their four children, and a dog named Della. You can visit her at jessieoliveros.com.
Class: Writing Neverland: Creating a Picture Book Manuscript Inspired by the You Who Never Grew Up
Lehua ParkerLEHUA PARKER is an award-winning and best-selling author of Pacific literature stories that explore the intersections of Hawaii’s past, present, and future. Her MG/YA magic realism series, The Niuhi Shark Saga, is used in public and private school curricula. Book One, One Boy, No Water, was a 2017 Hawaii Children’s Choice Nene Award Nominee. Originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools, Lehua is an author, book doctor, public speaker, and educator. Trained in literary criticism and an advocate of indigenous cultural narratives, she is a frequent speaker at conferences and symposiums. Connect with her at www.LehuaParker.com.
Class: Location, Location, Location: Crafting Place-based Fiction
Kelly ParkinsonAuthor, presenter, and motivational speaker, KA Parkinson loves helping others achieve their goals. Her newsletter has thousands of subscribers and click rates higher than industry average. She is the author of four novels, the fifth and sixth to be released in 2019, and the winner of the 2017 Rone Award for Novel Excellence.
Class: Is the Newsletter Dead?
Kara ReynoldsKara Reynolds is a stay-at-home mom of three with a Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling, who likes to spend her nearly-non-existent free time writing contemporary and lightly speculative YA novels. She spent three years as a weekly contributor to Operation Awesome, a blog providing resources for readers and writers five days a week.
Class: Genetics 101 for Writers
Jo SchafferJo Schaffer is a Taekwondo Blackbelt and a teacher of martial arts. She is the author of YA novels, Against Her Will, and Stanley & Hazel (trilogy). Jo has also done writing for marketing, film and is a writer for BYUtv. Find her on her website HERE.
Class: How To Write A Killer Fight Scene
Liesl ShurtliffLiesl Shurtliff is the author of the New York Times bestselling (Fairly) True Tales series (Knopf) including Rump, which was awarded and ILA Children’s Book Award and named to over two dozen state award lists. The first book in her new time travel trilogy, Time Castaways (KatherineTegen) released in September 2018. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and a graduate of Brigham Young University, Liesl now lives with her husband and four kids in Chicago where she writes full time and delights in coaching novice writers on how to navigate the road to publication.
Classes: The Query-Go-Round & Seriously Funny
Bethany SimonsenBethany Simonsen currently works as an assistant editor at Kate Foster Editing, and also reads acquisitions for Lakewater Press. She enjoys diving into a manuscript to pinpoint what’s wrong and why, and providing authors with constructive tools to learn how to fix manuscript issues and grow as writers. She also writes Young Adult and Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Her short story “S.A.R.A.” was published in “Believe Me Not: An Unreliable Anthology.”
Class: Ten Techniques to Turn Your “Telling” Into “Showing”
SPECIAL GUEST: Agent, P.S. Literary
Class: Crafting Non-Fiction Book Proposals
PJ is hard to define. Sometimes she’s a Switzer, sometimes she’s a Gardner. She’s lived in the mountains, near the ocean, and currently in the desert. She writes for young readers, but dreams of penning a great love story one day. All anyone can say for sure is that she’s definitely not a unicorn. PJ is represented by Kari Sutherland at Bradford Literary agency, and her debut middle grade novel, Horace & Bunwinkle (Balzer & Bray) is scheduled for release in Fall 2020.
Class: Unleash Your Inner Twelve-Year-Old – Keys to Writing Middle Grade Voice
Eric TaylorEric Taylor holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. Author of Using Folktales (Cambridge) and editor of Some Fruits of Solitude (Herald), he’s also published short creative non-fiction and poetry for children and adults. He’s taught writing and editing at the college level, and presented lectures and craft classes at AWP, New England Young Writers’ Conference at Breadloaf, Vermont Conference on Christianity and the Arts, and others. Find Eric on his website HERE.
Class: Don’t Say What You Feel: A Better Approach to Writing Emotion
Kelsey ThompsonKelsy Thompson is a writer and freelance editor. She has served as copy desk chief at The Signpost and managing editor at distinguished literary journal Weber—The Contemporary West, and she is currently an acquisition editor for North Star Editions and its imprints Flux and Jolly Fish Press. She lives in Ogden, Utah, where she runs her editing business Word Maven Editorial. Kelsy believes her job is to educate and empower the authors she works with. When not worshiping the written word, she spends her time gaming, practicing micro-homesteading, and wrangling her clowder of cats.
Class: Building an Online Platform
Johan TwissJohan Twiss is passionate about writing clean science fiction, fantasy, and crime fiction stories. He has six published works, including his acclaimed novel, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace, and the I Am Sleepless series. Johan also doubles as an audiobook narrator and loves narrating almost as much as writing. He resides in Pleasant Grove, UT with his sweetheart and five crazy kids.
Class: DIY Cover Design
SPECIAL GUEST: Editor, Tu BooksStacy Whitman is the founder and publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books that publishes diverse middle grade and young adult fiction. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. Prior to launching Tu Books as a small press via a Kickstarter campaign in Orem, Utah, she was an editor for Mirrorstone, the children’s and young adult fantasy/science fiction imprint of Wizards of the Coast.
Class: Live Editing