2017 Conference Committee
Jolene Perry is a middle and high school teacher turned author, and the “Author in Residence” at Alaska Pacific University. She married the guy she kissed on her high school graduation night, lives in the mountains of Alaska, and has spent months sailing in the Caribbean. She writes romance books for grown ups as Jolene Betty Perry, and for teens as Jolene Perry. Her novels for young adults include The Summer I Found You, Stronger Than You Know, Has to be Love and the upcoming Love Blind and A Forever Thing. She writes for Albert Whitman Teen and Simon Pulse. She is represented by Jane Dystel and Sharon Pelletier – both of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management. You can find Jolene online at jolenebperry.com
A glamorous day in the life of Kaylee Baldwin includes: chasing after her four children, obsessively checking her email, writing her latest book, trying to get motivated to train for that race she shouldn’t have signed up for, hanging out with her husband, and reading in every spare second she can find.
She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in English lit and currently lives in southern Arizona with her family. Her books include Whitney Award finalist Meg’s Melody, Six Days of Christmas, Silver Linings, and she has a story included in A Timeless Romance Anthology: California Dreamin.
She is represented by Rachel Brooks from L. Perkins Literary Agency.
Director of Instruction
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is the author of several romantic comedies for Covenant Communications including Always Will, Not My Type and several others. Her young adult novels are represented by Alyssa Henkin of Trident in the national market. Melanie is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She really likes French fries, high heels, and The West Wing. Sadly, she has never recovered from it ending. You can find her on her website.
Sarah Eden - Master of Ceremonies
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today Bestselling author of witty and charming historical romances, including AML’s “2013 Novel of the Year” and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, as well as 2014 Whitney Award winner for “Best Romance” and “Best Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.
Sarah is represented by Pam Howell at D4EO Literary Agency.
James Dashner - Master of Ceremonies
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. His newest series is The Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives.
Nikki Trionfo - Public Relations
Nikki writes, doesn’t cook, does those dance-step-classes at the gym, swaps mom-horror-stories, and loves watching her underweight three-year-old eat. But only the three-year-old. Dinner is her nemesis. She recently signed with literary agent Josh Getzler for a hip, smart-sleuthing YA called SHATTER, and if you’re into writer parties, plan to run into her. Check it all out at www.nikkitrionfo.com.
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, Mountains Between Us, and Whitney Award Finalist The House at Rose Creek. To learn more about Jenny, visit her webpage at www.jennyproctor.com.
During her early years of reading, Ranee` S. Clark devoured fantasy books, which continued into her adulthood—since she often believes that a well-written romance novel is a delightful fantasy. Though raising three boys can sometimes hamper both romance with her own Mr. Charming and her writing, she tries to get a little of both in every day. And most of the time she succeeds. Ranee’s books include Playing for Keeps, and Double Play, both from Covenant Communications.
Crystal Liechty published a book once. She used to be a newspaper reporter and an editor. Now she edits books for money, watches Korean dramas for fun and takes care of her three children because no one else will.
Rosalyn Eves is a part-time English teacher, part-time writer, and full time mom. She lives with her husband and three children in Southern Utah, where she enjoys watching BBC period pieces, hiking, and playing games with her family. She dislikes housework on principle. Her first novel BLOOD ROSE REBELLION will be published by Knopf/Random House in March 2017. For more about Rosalyn, visit her website, www.rosalyneves.com .
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
Thursday Workshop Coordinator
Rebecca Blevins is from the Midwest, land of tornadoes and cows—hopefully not mixed together. She began reading before she can remember, so books have always been part of her life.
As a grownup, she writes books for children and adults. Keeping Christmas and The Plus One are contemporary sweet romances. Her middle grade books, Captain Schnozzlebeard and the Singing Clam of Minnie Skewel Island and Captain Schnozzlebeard and the Curse of the Werechickens contain hilarious pirate adventures for all ages. Rebecca is currently working on a paranormal romantic comedy series for adults. You can find her on her website.
Aften Brook Szymanski
Thursday Workshop Coordinator
Aften is a member of SCBWI, and the Storymakers Guild. She’s a literary intern at GoldenWheat Literary, she hosts a series of writing skills videos, and her YA psych thriller KILLER POTENTIAL released July 2016 through BookFishBooks. She lives in Wyoming with her husband, three kids, and two female cats named Hamilton and Edgar, because she names things before getting up in their bydnass, where we’re being cryogenically preserved for all time in this friggin cold. Also, she’s pretty sure the WY climate is morphing her into Jadis (the White Witch of Narnia) because anything over 60 degrees Fahrenheit is like molten hell fire of death existence.
Margot Hovley - Finance
Margot Hovley is the author of The End Begins: Sudden Darkness, released in 2012 from Covenant. The sequel, The End Begins: Glimmering Light, was released in March 2014, and she’s been a part of three anthologies. She’s won many awards for her writing, including a 1st place in a national short story competition. Her self-reliance blog, Old School, has thousands of readers from around the world. She also teaches a weekly writing class for teens, which she loves almost as much as her MacBook Air. You can find her on her website.
Cassie Mae (who dons the name Becca Ann on occasion) is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.
Since publishing her bestselling debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, she has published and sold books to Random House, Swoon Romance, and Spencer Hill Press. She is represented by Sharon Pelletier at Dystel and Goderish LIterary Management.
Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.
First Chapter Contest
Kimberly Vanderhorst is a spec-fic author who cherishes a love for all things strange and beautiful. Claims to fame include being a freelance content editor for Prism Editing (where 50% of profits are donated to charity), co-hosting the annual Pitch Slam contest, serving on the committee for the annual Whitney Awards program, and founding and running her local writers’ guild. Despite being a city girl with a tendency to cuss a lot, Kimberly is married to an LDS minister and lives in rural northern Canada. There, she helps raise her four lovely daughters while pretending not to be afraid of the neighbor’s chickens.
Indie Author Hub Representative
When Maria Hoagland is not working at her computer, she can be found combing used furniture stores, remodeling houses with her husband, or sitting on the sideline of a son’s soccer game. She loves crunching leaves in the fall, stealing cookie dough from the mixing bowl, and listening to musicals on her iPod. Maria’s published works include Nourish & Strengthen, Family Size, and Whitney Award finalist Still Time. She earned a degree in English at Brigham Young University. You can find her on her website.
Scott and Julie Wright
Julie Wright has written twenty novels including the Hazzardous Universe and Spell Check series. She is a Whitney Awards winner in the romance category for the novel Cross My Heart and a Crown Heart recipient for The Fortune Café. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe and is a senior editor at Precision Editing Group. 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.
Visit her at her website: www.juliewright.com
Scott Wright is a rock star. Except he doesn’t sing – not even in the shower. He’s just awesome enough to count as a rock star anyway. When he isn’t working the storymaker book store like a boss, he is a private detective for Evidential Investigations.
Technical At Large/Facilities
Don Carey is the author of Bumpy Landings and Into The Wind. He has long been fascinated by human nature, and loves trying to understand the thoughts and motivations of those around him. That interest has served him well as he writes stories about his “imaginary friends.” Don currently lives in a small town outside Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and two daughters. His day job involves writing computer programs, which is almost the same as writing fiction, but with a lot more semicolons. You can find him on his website.
Award-winning author, Ronda Hinrichsen, and her family own a small farm located between the beautiful Rocky Mountains and the Great Salt Lake where she regularly sees eagles, hawks, owls, and ducks. Lots of ducks. She is the author of independently and traditionally published romantic suspense and speculative books as well as numerous magazine articles and stories for children and adults. She enjoys teaching about writing in conference and classroom settings. Readers can find more information about her at rondahinrichsen.com
Chantele Sedgwick is a YA and MG author, harpist, wife to one and mom to four. She loves fairy tales, happy endings, Kit Kats and (judging by her bookshelves), buying way too many books. She lives in Utah with her family and can usually be found reading, or talking her husband’s ear off with her endless supply of book ideas. She’s the author of Not Your Average Fairy Tale, Not Your Average Happy Ending, Love, Lucas and Switching Gears (Feb. 2017). Chantele is represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. You can find her online at http://www.chantelesedgwick.
Kate Watson is a young adult writer, wife, mother of two, and the tenth of thirteen children. Originally from Canada, she attended college in the States and holds a BA in Philosophy. Seeking Mansfield is her first novel, with the companion, Shoot the Moon, to follow in 2018. She is also a contributor to Eric Smith’s Welcome Home adoption anthology coming fall of 2017 from Flux. She lives and writes in Arizona.
Kate is represented by Dawn Frederick with Red Sofa Literary.
Facilities Coordinator/Book Signing
Jaime Theler is the author of two non-fiction books, Enjoying the Journey: Steps to Finding Joy Now and co-author of Parenting the Ephraim’s Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, and Challenges of Children Who Are Intensely MORE. She is addicted to books and running, and enjoys dragging her family on vacations that usually involve a lot of hiking and sightseeing. She graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy and way too many credits in four other discarded majors, but the written word has always been her first love. She has helped organize, or been in charge of, the LDStorymakers Writers Conference for the last nine years. Jaime is also a marketing project manager and the social media coordinator for an international company. Her family might argue that she has workaholic tendencies, but she says that she simply isn’t good at sitting still.
Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits—otherwise she’s diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn’t trade that job for anything in the world. Ilima is the author of the YA science fiction novels REMAKE and RESIST published with Shadow Mountain and Simon & Schuster. www.ilimatodd.com