2018 Conference Committee
Jolene 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 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 (Whitney Award Finalist), 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, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management. You can find Jolene online at beenwriting.com, where she also works as a freelance editor.
A glamorous day in the life of Kaylee Baldwin includes: chasing after her four children, checking for a new season of Serial, writing her latest book, binge-watching reality cooking shows, 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 the Whitney Finalist Meg’s Melody, Hearts in Peril, a story in the Timeless Romance Anthology: California Dreamin’ which was recently translated into Norwegian, and the upcoming Take a Chance on Me. You can follow her on Instagram here.
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.
Jen Geigle Johnson
Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her love for history while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. Now an award-winning author and mother of six, she loves to share bits of the past we all forgot. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. Her debut novel, The Nobleman’s Daughter was published in November 2017 by Covenant Communications Inc. Her second, Scarlet, will be available May 2018. You can follow all her news here.
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.
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 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, won grand prize in Storymakers’ First Chapter Contest and first place in League of Utah Writers’ YA manuscript category. Along with hosting free writing webinars on YouTube at #50FirstChapters, she sends out free short-story romances occasionally, because romance. No explanation needed. This year, she traded in her social director title for a position in public relations at Storymakers Conference. Look her up if you need a reminder on how to get down.
Yamile Saied Méndez
Yamile (pronounced sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is an immigrant writer and reader, a Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA graduate, a 2014 New Visions Award Honor Winner, and one the 2015 Walter Dean Myers Inaugural Grant recipients. Born and raised in Rosario, Argentina (cradle of fútbol), she now lives in Alpine, Utah with her husband, five children, and three dogs, but her heart is with her family scattered all over the world. Find her on twitter: @YamileSMendez and online: yamilesmendez.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.
Raneé S. Clark lives with her husband and three boys in Wyoming, where the beauty in nature is abundant. Unfortunately, she often forgets to go out and enjoy it thanks to her love of reading, writing, and Downton Abbey. She has loved history since she was young and has a B.A. in the subject from the University of Wyoming, with an emphasis in Women and World War II. She is the author of three published contemporary romance novels and one forthcoming historical novel, Beneath the Bellemont Sky (March 2018). You can find out more at www.raneesclark.com.
Crystal Liechty is the mastermind behind the Please Don’t Call Child Services webtoon, which details the always funny and often inappropriate hijinx involved in homeschooling three mischievous children. If you’ve been to college lately, you might have seen one of her essays in the Elements of Arguments textbook (Macmillan Press). When not homeschooling or torturing college students with argumentative essays, Crystal can be found watching Korean dramas, teaching herself Kpop dances or in general working as an unofficial ambassador for South Korean culture. Find out more about her online comic by visiting her official Facebook page or blog.
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
Rachel Larsen is a public speaker who occasionally writes. She’s a 9 year presenter for the Becoming a Love and Logic Parent program, as well as a speaker for various women’s groups about body image and embracing weaknesses to maximize strengths. She blogs about it at www.runningravenous.wordpress.
Thursday Workshop CoordinatorRebecca 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 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 contemporary fantasy author who likes to quote herself.Despite being a city girl with a tendency to cuss too much, she lives in rural northern Canada and is president of her church’s women’s organization. When she’s not volunteering with the local Lion’s Club, elementary school PAC, and the writer’s guild she founded, she sporadically edits things for actual money. Hobbies include bragging about all the volunteer work she does, falling asleep in inconvenient places, and pretending to cook things. Represented by the ever fabulous Lorin Oberweger of Adams Literary, Kimberly cherishes the lofty hope of checking her own book out of a library one day.
First Chapter Contest
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.
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 with his family in Olathe, Kansas. 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 young adult author, harpist, wife to one and mom to four. She loves happy endings, Kit Kats and (judging by her bookshelves), buying way too many books. She lives in Northern Utah and can usually be found reading, listening to her favorite podcasts or spending time with her family. She is the author of Love, Lucas, Switching Gears, Interlude and others. Chantele is represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. You can find her online here.
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.
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
An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and finds true love. On the nonfiction side, she loves to teach about writing through her blog, online classes and Writing Craft nonfiction series. She served as the inaugural Education Director for Authors Incognito (now Storymakers Tribe), coordinating and teaching classes online for over 400 members. She’s taught at conferences including LDStorymakers & UAACon. On the fiction side, Jordan specializes in stories about love, lies, secrets and spies. Her novels in the Spy Another Day series were all finalists for the Whitney Awards.
Peggy Eddleman is the author of the middle grade post-apocalyptic adventures SKY JUMPERS and THE FORBIDDEN FLATS, both with Random House Children’s Books. She lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah with her three hilarious and fun kids (two sons and a daughter), and her incredibly supportive husband. Besides writing, Peggy enjoys playing laser tag with her family, doing cartwheels in long hallways, trying new restaurants, and occasionally painting murals on walls. You can find out more about Peggy at peggyeddleman.com.