Conference Instructors

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SARAH M. EDEN

keynote speaker & historical romance author

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep 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.

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BRANDY PRETTYMAN

poet & author

Brandy L Prettyman is a writer, singer, painter, mother, Army veteran, and coffee snob. A professional jack-of-all-trades, Brandy earned a Bachelor in Business Administration and spent the last decade (maybe it’s longer, but let’s not make this awkward) writing poetry and working on her debut novel. Brandy lives and works from home in Papillion, Nebraska, and like to spend her spare time with her trusty four-legged sidekicks Mary Puppins, Spidie, and Muffin. Most days she can be found drinking a large latte at her writing desk, frantically writing her thoughts down in verse before they disappear.

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CINDY GUNDERSON

dystopian ya, women's fiction, middle grade, & children's picture book author

Cindy Gunderson is best known for her award-winning and best-selling series, the Tier Trilogy. She has written twelve full-length novels, as well as two children's series under the pen name Cindy Prince. Cindy grew up in Airdrie, AB, Canada, but has lived most of her adult life between California and Colorado. She currently resides in the Denver metro area with her four children and handsome husband, Scott. Cindy holds a B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University.

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DANYELLE FERGUSON

romance & non-fiction author

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first newspaper article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books. She’s grateful every day to work in her dream jobs – author, editor, and nurturing her readaholic tendencies.
She grew up surrounded by Pennsylvania’s beautiful Allegheny Mountains. Then lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and four angels-in-training. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing in the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”

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DENNIS GAUNT

motivational speaker, ya nonfiction, & religious author

Dennis Gaunt has been a writer ever since that fateful day he pulled a magic pen from a stone. At least, that’s what he tells people. He has been working with Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain Publishers as a slushpile reader since 2000, he’s seen it all and then some, and is eager to share what he’s learned. He has published books and talks for LDS young adults with both Deseret Book and Covenant Communications, and is also a long time youth speaker and teacher. He enjoys playing the guitar, going to Disneyland, and Godzilla movies. He also hates onions.

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DON CAREY

contemporary realism & science fiction author

Don Carey is an author and project manager currently living in Kansas. He writes both Contemporary Realism and Science Fiction Adventure. Don 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.” His day job involves writing computer programs, which is almost the same as writing fiction, but with a lot more semicolons.

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ELLIE WHITNEY

writing tutor, freelance editor, & nonfiction author

Since the age of three, Ellie Whitney has been addicted to reading, so a master’s degree to teach high school English seemed a natural fit. She graduated summa cum laude and received a perfect score on the Praxis, the national teacher qualification exam, for literature, language, and composition. After teaching for over ten years, she has spent the last seven as a writing tutor and freelance editor. Her work has appeared in various local, state, and national publications. Currently, Ellie lives in Virginia with her wonderful family, two Japanese bobtails, and several stashes of dark chocolate.

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EMILY BLEEKER

ya fantasy author

Emily Bleeker is the best-selling author of five novels with her sixth forthcoming in July 2021. Combined, her books have reached over 1.5 million readers. She is a three-time Whitney Award finalist, a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and was recently listed as one of the top 100 Kindle authors “of all time.” And her first novel, Wreckage, is optioned for a pilot on ABC.

Emily lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her four kids and a growing menagerie of animals. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), performs on the House Team of a local improve troupe, and embraces her newfound addiction to running.

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GREGG LUKE

suspense/thriller author

Gregg Luke grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. He pursued his education in Natural Sciences at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy—including a rotation in the Utah Poison Control Center. He currently practices clinical pharmacy in Logan, Utah.
Gregg has been a voracious reader and a prolific writer since childhood. He has been published in Skin Diver, Destiny, and New Era Magazines. His suspense novels include The Survivors, Do No Harm, Altered State, Blink of An Eye, Bloodborne, Deadly Undertakings, The Death House, The Healer, Infected, The Hunter’s Son, Insidious, and Plague, six of which were Whitney Award finalists.

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HEATHER JUSTESEN

sweet romance author

When she's not glued to her laptop, Heather loves to decorate cakes, work in the garden and play with her many pets. You can check out the first chapter for any of her books, see the book trailers, or learn more about Heather on her website at www.HeatherJustesen.com, or check out her blog at HeatherJustesen.blogspot.com

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HILLARY SPERRY

sweet contemporary romance, cozy mystery,  & children's book author

Best Selling author Hillary Sperry writes Sweet Romance, Cozy Mystery, and Children’s Books. She has been writing books for ten years and has embraced indie publishing for all it's many graces. She started publishing with sweet romances and started writing mysteries by a twist of fate and has loved discovering her inner Nancy Drew! 

Hillary loves creating in all forms. Whether it's with plants, food, art, music, or books if it let's her imagine and have fun, she's all in.

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JAQUELINE WINTERS

sweet contemporary romance authors

Jackie Wallick grew up in northeast Nebraska. She spent ten years in Alaska before settling in Omaha. She’s a full-time writer of sweet contemporary romance under the pen name Jacqueline Winters and has published 21 books. Her most popular Sunset Ridge series is coined the "Moose Books" by her readers. She's an animal lover and enjoys creating memorable furry four-legged characters who steal the show.

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JANETTE RALLISON

ya & contemporary romance, fantasy, & adventure author

USA 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 31 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.

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JOHAN TWISS

ya adventure, fantasy, & non-fiction author

Johan Twiss is passionate about writing clean science fiction and fantasy stories. He has nine published works, including his award-winning novel, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace, and the I Am Sleepless series. Johan doubles as an audiobook narrator is the recipient of the Lonestar.Ink Rising Star Award and was a finalist in the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition. Learn more at www.johantwiss.com.

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JOHN WAVERLY

middle grade author

John Waverly loves writing middle grade stories and hanging out with authors. He doesn't particularly like selling things, but realizes sometimes you have to sacrifice for the things you love. Which is why you'll find him running the bookstore. Please stop by to commiserate and pick up some great reads!  

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LISA SWINTON

romance author

Award-winning author Lisa Swinton loves romance, travel, Disney, Jane Austen, and tidying up, not necessarily in that order. When she's not writing and being a mom, you might find her singing onstage.

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LIZ LOWHAM

editor, screenwriter, & author

Liz Lowham has a BA in English from BYUI, where she took courses in advanced editing, writing, and publishing. She has worked as a freelance editor for the past five years, and her editing clients include Tingey Injury Law Firm and USA Today bestselling author Konstanz Silverbow. She also works as a solicited screenwriter and has written more than sixty short video scripts and three full-length movie scripts for clients. She loves piña coladas and not getting caught in the rain.

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LORIN GRACE

romance author

Lorin Grace was born in Colorado and has been moving around the country ever since, living in eight states and several imaginary worlds. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Graphic Design. 
Currently, she lives in northern Utah with her husband, four children, and a dog who is insanely jealous of her laptop. When not writing Lorin enjoys creating graphics, visiting historical sites, museums, and reading. 

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LYNN PARSONS

nonfiction author

Dr. Lynn Parsons is the author of three nonfiction books about helping individuals with disabilities at church. She has been traditionally and self-published. Recently retired after 20 years in special education, she is learning to write fiction and contracting as an educational diagnostician. Lynn enjoys training her emotionally disturbed dog, reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and doing needlework.

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MARLA BUTTARS

editor & ya fantasy author

Marla Buttars wrote her first epic fantasy at thirteen. Since then, she's graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Utah and taken classes from David Farland and Brandon Sanderson. She created the Ink Stains writing group for YA Fantasy authors and is a member of ANWA. Her publications include articles for Eschler Editing and a couple short stories in the Mind Games and Love Undefined anthologies. When not writing magical worlds, she feeds her fascination with medieval history and attempts to teach her three boys the difference between TARDIS and Enterpise-D.

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PAIGE EDWARDS

contemporary romance & adventure author

Paige Edwards is an award-winning author, a Reader's Favorite Book Award Finalist, and a Whitney finalist of romantic suspense novels. Due to her deep British roots, Paige’s books are often set in the UK, and she hops the pond whenever she gets the chance. She is styled the Lady Paige Edwards when in Scotland, but her favorite title is Grandma. When she needs a break from writing, she serves as president of her area's Interfaith Community Council, is fond of digging in the dirt, biking battlefields, and kayaking the lake. Paige enjoys connecting with her readers @authorpaigeedwards.com.

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TAMARA GRANTHAM

fantasy & new adult romance author

I'm the bestselling author of more than 20 novels. I've won numerous awards, including a first place Rone award and Foreword Review's book of the year award. I live in Kansas with my husband and five kids. I love chocolate, naps, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made.

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TAMARA HART HEINER

middle grade, ya, & adult fiction author & editor

Tamara lives in Arkansas with her husband and four children, two crazy boys and two pretty little princesses. She is the author of the young adult suspense PERILOUS series (DELIVERER, PERILOUS, ALTERCATION, and PRICELESS), INEVITABLE, LAY ME DOWN, and the Cassandra Jones saga. Her non-fiction book about the Joplin tornado came out in May, 2014. You can find out more about what she's writing and catch deleted scenes from her books on her blog at: http://tamarahartheiner.blogspot.com.

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TRACI HUNTER ABRAMSON

contemporary suspense & romance author

​​Traci 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 for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and 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. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

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VICTORINE LIESKE

contemporary romance author

Victorine's first book hit the USA Today and NYT's bestseller lists. She loves all things romance, and is currently addicted to Korean Dramas, which are super swoony and romantic. When she’s not writing, she’s designing book covers for authors or making something with her extensive yarn collection.

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