2019 Conference Committee
2019 Storymakers Conference Chair
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 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 Norweigan, Take A Chance on Me, and One Little Kiss.
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.
Shelly Brown has always been a storyteller. That sounds better than saying that she’s always been a liar. She was trained in theater, film, and comedy before taking the leap into writing novels. She is married to author Chad Morris and they both write children’s books…because they think pratfalls and fart jokes are funny. Because they are. Fight me.
Frank Cole made the disastrous mistake of being THE LAST PERSON ON THE COMMITTEE to hand over his bio photo and bio. *insert evil laugh from Jo here
Frank is a goofball, a nice guy, and a fantastic writer. You really should read his books. Also, when you see him at Storymakers 2019, flick his ear for not GETTING HIS BIO IN ON TIME. Thank you! – Jo
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is the author of several romantic comedies for Covenant Communications including Perfect Set and Southern Charmed. Melanie holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her young adult novels are represented by Alyssa Henkin of Trident. Melanie binge watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of chocolate and goes out too much. Moderation isn’t really her thing. You can find her on her website.
REBECCA RODE is the author of the Numbers Game and Ember in Space trilogies. She’s a two-time USA Today bestselling author and has appeared on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Rebecca has also published inspirational nonfiction as well as newspaper and magazine articles about parenting and literature. She has four children, two cats, one husband, and a ridiculous number of books. Visit her at www.AuthorRebeccaRode.com. Or her Instagram account HERE.
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.
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.
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. The final book in her debut trilogy (Blood Rose Rebellion, Lost Crow Conspiracy, Winter War Awakening) comes out March 2019. You can Find Rosalyn Eves on her website HERE. (www.rosalyneves.com)
Rachel Larsen is a public speaker who occasionally writes. She hosts the storytelling podcast Humans Dealing with Humans . She’s a 10 year presenter for the Becoming a Love and Logic Parent program, as well as a motivational speaker for various groups about body image, individual worth, and embracing weaknesses to maximize strengths. She blogs about it, VERY OCCASIONALLY, here. Rachel has worked in a wide—random—variety of vocations including retail banking, preschool, catering, and flipping houses. She enjoys running trails, meeting people and hearing their stories, growing large pumpkins, and losing Just Dance tournaments to her kids. Seriously, she never wins.
Yamile Saied Méndez
Agent Editor Coordinator/Community Outreach
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) is a fútbol obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Meyers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children program. She’s the author of the forthcoming picture book WHERE ARE YOU FROM? (HarperCollins, 2019) and the middle grade novels BLIZZARD BESTIES (Scholastic 2019) and ON THESE MAGIC SHORES (Tu Books/Lee and Low 2019). She’s also the Children’s Lit guest editor at Hunger Mountain Literary Journal and a Pitchwars middle grade mentor. Find her on her website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.
Allison Hong Merrill
Allison Hong Merrill was born and raised in Taiwan, and immigrated to the U.S. at age twenty-two. She is a mother, a writer, a model, and an actress. She holds a B.A. in Chinese Teaching from Brigham Young University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She writes in both Chinese and English, fiction and nonfiction. Her Chinese books were published in Taiwan (2007). Find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allisonhongmerrill.
First Chapter Contest
Kimberly Vanderhorst is a YA speculative fiction author who delights in bragging about how awesome she is (she’s not wrong). She wrote her first book when she was seven, and her second when she was twenty-seven. When asked to account for the intervening decades, she likes to suggest the possibility of alien abduction with as straight a face as possible.
Represented by the incomparable Lorin Oberweger of Adams Literary, Kimberly fills her non-writing hours with four kids, four church callings, and four volunteer organizations (if there’s a joke in all those fours, she’s too tired to make it). Her life plan is to continually associate with people even awesomer than she is in hopes they’ll rub off on her. This is likely why she decided to be born in Canada.
First Chapter Contest
Jaime Theler is the author of two LDS non-fiction books and also writes YA speculative fiction. Her current job is a marketing project manager and content director at an international company, but she has also written, edited, and proofread for a variety of newspapers, businesses, and clients as a freelance writer. She is addicted to books and running, and enjoys dragging her family on vacations that usually involve a lot of hiking. She has been involved with running the LDStorymakers Writers Conference for the last ten years. Her family might argue that she has workaholic tendencies, but she simply isn’t good at sitting still.
Thursday Workshop Coordinator
Brittany Larsen is an Idaho native who traded in parkas and potato fields for the sunshine and beaches in Orange County, California. When she’s not busy writing, substitute teaching, or trying to keep up with her three teen-age 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 published three books with Covenant Communications: Pride & Politics (2016), Sense & Second Chances (2017), and The Matchmaker’s Match (2018), self-published one anthology and had an essay included in the Winter 2017 edition of Exponent II. You can follow her on Twitter (@WriteBritt), Facebook, Insta (brittanylarsenbooks), and her website, brittanylarsen.net.
Thursday Workshop Coordinator
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 is the author of a dozen or so 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’s published several titles with Penguin Random House and founded CookieLynn Publishing Services. She is represented by Sharon Pelletier at Dystel, Goderich, and Burret LLC. She has a favorite of all her book babies, but no, she won’t tell you what it is. (Mainly because it changes depending on the day.)
Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Parks and Recreation and enjoys every Harry Potter weekend. She likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree. You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Luke Bryan to her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cassiemaeauthor
Sarah Cobabe (think “Co” as in “company” and “Babe” as in “Babe Ruth”) was the Marketing Coordinator at Shadow Mountain Publishing for 3 years. Sarah graduated from BYU with a degree in public relations and loves using her skills to promote books and authors. Her favorite books are Ella Enchanted, Edenbrooke, and The Selection Series. When Sarah’s not reading romance novels, she is most likely going through her Disney pin collection for the millionth time or eating something that’s chocolate peanut butter flavored.
Sponsors and Vendors
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.
Jeigh writes YA fantasy and harbors a not-so-secret hope that someday she’ll be famous enough to go by just her first name, like Beyonce. She graduated from BYU-I with a degree in Floral Design Management, which means she’s much better at giving already dying flowers a beautiful and dignified death than she is at keeping houseplants alive. She’s married with five kids and a blue Great Dane named Hydra. She likes to bike and pretend she’s riding a Night Fury, read and ignore everything else, and sing to the adoring invisible audience in the kitchen. She won Grand Prize in the 2018 Storymakers First Chapter Contest, so next step: Beyonce-dom.
GIveaways & At Large
Crystal Liechty worked as a journalist and editor in the newspaper industry for over 10 years and most recently, as a book editor and ghostwriter. 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). Crystal is the mastermind and writer behind the Educating Mom webcomic.
Tifani Clark grew up on a potato farm in southeastern Idaho. She had a lot of space to imagine and daydream, and often pretended to be a character in a book. More than once she fashioned a hula hoop and fabric into a hoop skirt so she could be Scarlett O’Hara. Tifani is married to the love of her life and is the mother to four fabulous children. When not writing, she enjoys playing the violin and piano, teaching orchestra, and traveling to new places on her quest to see all fifty states. You can find all her books at http://www.tifaniclark.com.
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.
Julie 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 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 kids, and watching her husband make dinner.
Visit her at her website: www.juliewright.com
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.
Shanna Hovley works at a library, sits down to write about when she gets home, reads in her spare time, and listens to books in the car in-between. When she’s not slaving away at the computer, she’s hiking with her doggo and playing games with her friends and family. Although she frequently attends many writing conferences and conventions, she prefers helping in the background where she’s less likely to be cornered by a bear. She serves on the committee at both the Teen Writing Conference and Storymakers. Her greatest literary claim-to-fame is coming in third place at a Teen Writing Conference some years ago (she lost first and second place to bears).
Assistant to the Chairs
Wendy Jessen loves yoga, Dr Pepper, devouring books, and changing her hair color. When she finds her focus, she writes a lot. She’s written over 600 articles and book reviews, and her debut nonfiction book for survivors of sexual abuse, Hope and Healing: A Survivor’s Faith-Based Perspective on Recovering from Sexual Abuse.You can find her on instagram as @wendyejessen, Twitter as @WendyJessen or on her website https://