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Conference Faculty

Rick Acker
Website: http://www.rickacker.com/
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    WS 9: The Suspense Writer’s Toolbox

Rick Acker is a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. His unit prosecutes large corporate fraud lawsuits of the type described in his newest legal thriller, When the Devil Whistles (#1 Kindle bestseller). His other novels include Dead Man’s Rule (Top Pick, RT), Blood Brothers (4 stars, RT) and the Davis Detective Mysteries for young adults. Rick holds law degrees from the University of Oslo and the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with honors. In addition to his novels, he is a contributing author on two legal treatises published by the American Bar Association. Rick lives with his wife, four children, and miscellaneous animals in the San Francisco area.

Kathryn Albright
Website: http://www.kathrynalbright.com
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book? We Can Give it New Life!

From her first breath, Kathryn Albright has had a passion for stories that celebrate goodness, endurance, and hope in people.


She has written several historical romances for Harlequin and now, upon retiring from a career in the medical field, is excited to pursue her dream of writing inspirational historicals.

Allen Arnold
Website:
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    CE5: The Wildness of Writing with God

Allen Arnold, recipient of the 2012 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, loves the story he is living. From the mountains of Colorado, he oversees Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing. He’s honored to have been the founding Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction, overseeing more than 500 novels during his eight years as Publisher. But that doesn’t really describe the man. Allen loves hanging out with his family, craves the beach, is more in awe of Jesus each day, drinks salsa from a glass, is hooked on the TV series “Once Upon a Time”, savors deep conversations of the heart, and is passionate about helping others, especially storytellers, discover the story God is writing with their lives.

 

 

Karen Ball
Website: http://www.karenballbooks.com
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    WS 3: Help Me, I Need an Agent! (And Help, I HAVE one!)
    WS 26: Write From the Deep

Karen Ball has always loved the power of story. She considers it a gift that she’s been able to use that love during nearly 30 years in publishing as an executive and acquisitions editor, building fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. Currently the owner/operator of Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC, and a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Agency, Karen loves to partner with authors and help them refine their craft to bring out the power in their work. She’s had the honor of acquiring and working with some of the best novelists in the market, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Brandilyn Collins, Ginny Yttrup, Robin Jones Gunn, and many others. A published author herself, several of Karen’s novels have received awards, including the Reader’s Choice award and the ACFW award for the Best Inspirational Novel of the Year. Karen lives in Oregon with her husband, father, and a their four-legged, furry “kids,” including an incorrigible Corgi named Kirby, and an Aussie-Terrier mix she affectionately refers to as “the black hole of emotional need.”

Christy Barritt
Website: http://www.christybarritt.com
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    WS 4:  Self Publishing Q&A

USA Today has called Christy Barritt’s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”

Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times’ Reviewers’ Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.

She’s married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious—but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.

When she’s not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

Kristin Billerbeck
Website: http://www.KristinBillerbeck.com
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    WS 19: Pushing the Refresh Button on Your Career

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than 30 novels, including “What a Girl Wants” and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls Series. She is a fourth-generation Californian, who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides.


Learn more at http://www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Katie Bond
Website:
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    WS 22: The Changing Face of Christian Fiction

Katie Schroder Bond, originally from Augusta, GA, holds a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College, with concentrations in Southern literature and narrative nonfiction.  She began her career at Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta. After completing coursework at the Denver Publishing Institute, Katie moved to Colorado Springs to accept a position at WaterBrook Press, executing print publicity campaigns for fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books.  She joined Thomas Nelson in 2007 and currently serves as Director of Marketing, overseeing the promotions team for Fiction publishing under the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan imprints. 

Katie pursues nonfiction writing of her own and has been published by periodicals like Real Simple and Skirt! She loves clever marketing campaigns, strong coffee, gypsy jazz, triple lemon macarons, yoga, and everything about the Southern life in Nashville, TN.

Patricia Bradley
Website:
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book?  We Can Give it New Life!

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books published by Revell include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Midsouth Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Hallee Bridgeman
Website: http://www.halleethehomemaker.com
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    WS 4:  Self Publishing Q&A

Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a teenaged daughter, and two elementary aged sons deliver. A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker(tm) http://www.halleethehomemaker.com). Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture. Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.

Sue Brower
Website:
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    WS 13:  How to Write for ABA While Keeping Your CBA Values

I love finding and developing authors and connecting them with the reader.  Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years and it’s no secret that the novels that create buzz through their unique writing or concepts are the ones that become bestsellers.  Over the past 25 years in publishing, I have done marketing, editing, story development and acquisitions for Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Most recently, I was Executive Editor and had the privilege of working with New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen Carter, and Terri Blackstock and was named ACFW’s Editor of the Year in 2010. And now I am fortunate to partner with Natasha Kern at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

I am originally from Arizona and now live in Michigan with my hubby, and three furry “kids,” Shep, Ollie, and Pepper.

Kristy Cambron
Website:
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    WS 25:  Your First Year: Dos, Don’ts & the Lines in Between

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller.

Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN was named to Library Journal Reviews’ and RT Reviewers’ Choice lists of Best Inspirational Novels of 2014.

Kristy holds an Art History degree from Indiana University, and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and corporate communications for a Fortune-100 Company.

She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Brandilyn Collins
Website: http://www.brandilyncollins.com
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    WS 19: Pushing the Refresh Button on Your Career

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e . . .”® Brandilyn’s first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn’s awards for her novels include the ACFW Book of the Year, now Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice.

Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer Magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.

When she’s not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers’ conferences.

Scarlett Dunn
Website: http://www.scarlettdunn.com
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book?  We Can Give it New Life!

Scarlett Dunn is the author of PROMISES KEPT, the first novel in her inspirational historical trilogy to be published by Kensington. With her love of the old West and respect for the adventurous individuals that were willing to take risks, Scarlett loves creating strong characters and happy endings.
She lives in Kentucky surrounded by all manner of wildlife, and enjoys long “God walks” where most inspirations strikes. FINDING PROMISE to be released Jan 2016 and LAST PROMISE March 2016. You can visit Scarlett at her website: http://www.scarlettdunn.com

Rachelle Gardner
Website: http://www.rachellegardner.com
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    WS 20: Reader-Focused Marketing: What’s in it for THEM?

Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency. In the publishing business since 1995, Rachelle previously worked for two publishing houses in positions encompassing marketing, sales, international rights, acquisitions and editorial. Rachelle has done extensive research in the last year about how to use social media effectively and will share the insights during this workshop.

 

Jeff Gerke
Website: http://www.jeffersonscott.com
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    CE4: The Irresistible Novel

Jeff Gerke has written five fiction how-to books for Writers Digest, including “The Irresistible Novel,” “The First 50 Pages,” “Plot Versus Character,” “Write Your Novel in a Month,” and “The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction.”

Jeff is a multi-published Christian novelist, full-time freelance editor (at http://www.jeffgerke.com), and the founder and former publisher of Marcher Lord Press, which he sold in 2013 after an award-winning 5-year run.

He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and 3 children.

 

Amy Green
Website: http://www.bethanyhouse.com
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    CE7: Stress-Free Marketing

Amy Green is the fiction publicist at Bethany House Publishers, making her home in the frozen North of the Twin Cities. A typical workday for her involves planning book tours, setting up interviews, pitching books to review publications, running BHP’s social media, and connecting with bloggers. Her favorite part of her job is helping authors come up with ways to share their stories with more readers. Although she doesn’t mind getting free books either. She has taught guest sessions on marketing for classes at Taylor University, where she graduated with a degree in Professional Writing.

Rachel Hauck
Website: http://www.rachelhauck.com
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    CE3: In-Depth Brainstorming/Story Equation
    WS 18: 10 Awkward Questions

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling author of twelve novels with more to come. It’s her desire for readers to find hope and escape in the stories she writes, and inhale a bit of the fragrance of Jesus’s love.

Rachel is a past president of ACFW and currently serves on the Executive Board, as well as the worship leader for the annual conference.

Kristen Heitzmann
Website: http://www.kristenheitzmannbooks.com
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    CE1: Keys to Compelling Stories

Christy Award winning author of twenty bestselling novels, Kristen Heitzmann loves to share her passion for writing with excellence. She has taught the craft of fiction for the ACFW national conference, the Colorado ACFW Peak Conference, keynote and fiction track teacher for the Called to Write Conference in Kansas, workshop instructor for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and many other writing events. A love of words and storytelling driven by the desire for excellence brings a unique aspect to her instruction. She is constantly looking for fresh ways to bring out the best in developing writers.

A Colorado native, she loves hiking the Rocky Mountain trails by her home—preferably all by herself. She lives with her husband, various family members and friends, pets, and wildlife.

Cynthia Hickey
Website: http://www.cynthiahickey.com
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    CE2: The Successful Series

Multi-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey is an Amazon bestseller and had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with two new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. (Talk about a series success story!) Cynthia is considered one of the leading, cutting-edge hybrid authors of our day, earning her full-time living from her writing. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013, 2014, and 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, along with novellas in Barbour collections. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads.

She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Anita Higman
Website:
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    WS 19: Pushing the Refresh Button on Your Career

CBA best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published. Some of her publishers are Moody, Abingdon, Barbour, and Guideposts. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Traci Hilton
Website:
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    CE6: Tricks Rich Indies Use
    WS 4:  Self Publishing Q&A

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of the Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries, the Plain Jane Mysteries, and the Tillgiven Romantic Mysteries. She has been indie publishing since 2010, and though she’s had offers from small and large presses, she hasn’t gone hybrid yet.

She’s been #3 on Amazon’s free list three times and has hit the top 100 overall at Amazon with her paid titles. She has also been in the top ten on Amazon’s Religious Fiction authors list. In other words, she has a good handle on how to make a living indie publishing.

She loves the publishing side of the business as much as the writing, and has passion for sharing it with others.

She also loves teaching Bible and missions and speaking to large and small groups at her church.

Daisy Hutton
Website: http://www.thomasnelson.com
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    WS 22: The Changing Face of Christian Fiction

Daisy Blackwell Hutton is a native Mississippian and a graduate of Ole Miss, where she earned her B.A. in French and English Literature. She also holds her M.A. in Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Daisy has worked in the publishing industry for over 16 years, beginning her career at the Georges Borchardt Agency in New York and also spending time at The Perseus Book Group and Harvard Business School Press in Boston. She joined Thomas Nelson in 2008 and currently serves as Fiction Publisher for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, overseeing all Fiction publishing under the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan imprints. Her reading passions include 19th century and historical fiction, mysteries, literary fiction, and fiction in translation. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Matt, and their two sons, Leo and Silas.

Randy Ingermanson
Website: http://www.rsingermanson.com
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    WS 4:  Self Publishing Q&A
    WS 27: The Data Behind the Book: Metadata Primer

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels.  His most recent book is WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES.  Randy holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley and is the creator of the widely used “Snowflake method” of designing a novel.  He is the publisher of the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with over 24,000 subscribers around the world, and sits on the ACFW Advisory Board. Randy lives in southern Washington in virtual slavery to three brutal Cat Supremacists.

Kelly Irvin
Website:
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book? We Can Give it New Life!

Kelly Irvin is the author of The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan/HarperCollins, which released January 2015. She also authored the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, both from Five Star Gale Cengage.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty-one years.

Lisa Jordan
Website: http://www.lisajordanbooks.com
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    WS 1: The Plotting Puzzle: Piecing Together Your Story

Married over twenty-five years to her own real-life hero, Lisa Jordan knows a thing or two about romance. By day, Lisa works as an early childhood educator at her state-certified family childcare program. By night, she is an award-winning author for Love Inspired. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, won the 2012 Carol Award for short contemporary romance. She is the Voices Coordinator for My Book Therapy. In her free time (ha!), Lisa indulges in her current obsessions—stamping, good books, Netflix binging.

Ronie Kendig
Website: http://www.roniekendig.com
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    WS 12: He…Giggled?

Bestselling, award-winning author Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.

She can be found at http://www.roniekendig.com as well as on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction) and on Twitter (@roniekendig), Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/RonieK), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/roniek/)

Natasha Kern
Website: http://www.natashakern.com/
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    WS 13:  How to Write for ABA While Keeping Your CBA Values

Natasha Kern has personally over 1,500 books.  The agency has sold books to every major publisher and to most medium-sized presses in both ABA and CBA.  Her list includes: mainstream women’s fiction, romantic suspense and romantic comedies; contemporary and historical romances; ethnic, Amish and Biblical fiction as well as thrillers, mysteries and suspense. Her clients include several New York Times best-selling authors, USA Today Best Sellers; RITA winners an Edgar winner, and Christy winners or finalists including Tamera Alexander, Robin Lee Hatcher, Siri Mitchell and Cathy Gohlke as well as ACFW/Carol award winners including Mary Connealy, Julie Lessman and Melissa Jagears in addition to several ECPA best-selling writers including Beth Wiseman and Kathleen Morgan. She has assisted several writers to move from CBA to ABA and also vice versa.  Information about the agency is available on the Internet at http://www.natashakern.com.

Sarah Ladd
Website:
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    WS 25:  Your First Year: Dos, Don’ts & the Lines in Between

Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period. Ladd’s first book in the Whispers on the Moors series, THE HEIRESS OF WINTERWOOD (2013), was the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award winner for historical romance and was a 2014 Carol Awards finalist (Debut Author). THE HEADMISTRESS OF ROSEMERE (2013) was on the ECPA best-seller list for several months. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing.

Steve Laube
Website: http://www.stevelaube.com/
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    WS 16: Working with Your Agent

Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency (http://www.stevelaube.com), has been in the book industry for over 33 years, first as a bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year by CBA. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers and was named the Editor of the Year. He later became an agent and has represented nearly 1,000 new books and was named Agent of the Year by ACFW. He was also inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall-of-Fame by their College of Theology. In addition, he is the president and owner of Marcher Lord Press (marcherlordpress.com). His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Wendy Lawton
Website: http://www.booksandsuch.com
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    WS 7: Breaking Out of the Midlist
    WS 24: All About Agents

Wendy Lawton is an agent with the much-respected literary agency, Books & Such Literary Management. She represents some of the finest writers in the industry including many bestselling authors. She’s served on the faculty of several major writers conferences, won the infamous Bulwer-Lytton competition and authored twelve novels, one nonfiction book and ghosted a number of other nonfiction books.

Dana Lynn
Website: http://www.authordanarlynn.wordpress.com
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book?  We Can Give it New Life!

Dana R. Lynn grew up in a suburb of Chicago, IL, but now lives in northwestern PA with her husband, three children, and enough animals to start her own petting zoo. She began her career as a teacher of the Deaf and hard of hearing, but currently works as an educational interpreter. She has been crafting stories all her life and is often seen jotting down ideas wherever inspiration strikes. Her friends know to be careful what they say…it might end up in a book. You can contact Dana at http://www.facebook.com/WriterDanaLynn or www.authordanarlynn.wordpress.com.

Richard Mabry
Website: http://rmabry.com
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    WS 15: Don’t Paint By Numbers

Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is a past Vice-President of the ACFW and a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and winner of the Selah Award.

Chip MacGregor
Website: http://www.macgregorliterary.com
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    WS 5: The Basics of Contract Negotiation
    WS 21: Refining Your Novel Proposal

Chip MacGregor is the president of MacGregor LIterary, Inc., a full-service literary agency located on the left coast. He has been working in the publishing industry for three decades, and made his living as a freelance writer and editor for several years. He is the author of numerous books, including a couple of bestselling nonfiction titles, and formerly served as a publisher with the Time-Warner Book Group. Chip began working as an agent sixteen years ago, and has represented hundreds of titles, including numerous award winners and bestsellers, and one that hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Nine years ago he began his own literary agency, and over the past couple years has been one of the busiest literary agents in the United States. He works with both fiction and nonfiction titles, but the majority of the business he is currently doing is fiction. A well-known speaker at writing conferences and via online writing sites, he lives on the Oregon coast.

DiAnn Mills
Website: http://www.diannmills.com/
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    WS 19: Pushing the Refresh Button on Your Career

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com .

Tamela Hancock Murray
Website: http://www.tamelahancockmurray.com
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    WS 16: Working with Your Agent

Tamela Hancock Murray is a full-time literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency (http://www.stevelaube.com). She has worked in publishing for over 25 years. Her authors appreciate that her past experience as an award-winning, bestselling author gives her an understanding of the challenges writers face today.  Her goal is to work with authors over the long term to develop and maintain solid careers. Tamela and her husband of thirty years are empty nesters living in Northern Virginia and are the proud parents of two lovely daughters. She welcomes visits online at http://www.tamelahancockmurray.com and Twitter followers @Tamela_Murray

Mindy Obenhaus
Website:
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    WS 1: The Plotting Puzzle: Piecing Together Your Story

It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. But once God called her to write, she never looked back. She’s passionate about the craft of writing and touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. Mindy served as ACFW’s Carol Awards Coordinator for four years, but found herself on the other side of the table when her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, was named a 2014 Carol Award finalist. Mindy lives in Texas with her husband and two of her five children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her grandkids.

Dani Pettrey
Website: http://www.danipettrey.com
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    WS 6: Taming the Social Media Beast

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and Silenced, and upcoming release, Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson.

Becky Philpott
Website: http://www.zondervan.com
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    WS 22: The Changing Face of Christian Fiction

Becky Philpott is an Associate Acquisitions Editor at Zondervan, mainly focusing on fiction. Her favorite books are ones with compelling characters and story—whether real or fictional. Becky lives just outside of Grand Rapids, MI, with her husband and two black cats. In her spare time, she figure skates competitively and dabbles in interior design.

Deborah Raney
Website: http://www.deborahraney.com/
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    WS 17: SHOW Me a Story: Writing Cinematically

DEBORAH RANEY dreamed of writing a book since the summer she read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and discovered that a Kansas farm girl could, indeed, grow up to be a writer. Her more than 25 books have garnered multiple industry awards including the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, Carol Award, Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The novel inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title and continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences and serves on the Executive Board of ACFW. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They have four children and five precious grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at http://www.deborahraney.com.

Katherine Reay
Website:
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    WS 25:  Your First Year: Dos, Don’ts & the Lines in Between

Katherine Reay is the author of Dear Mr. Knightley, a Christy Award Finalist and winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut as well as Carol Awards for both Best Debut and Best Contemporary. She is also the writer behind Lizzy & Jane and upcoming novel, The Bronte Plot. Katherine is a wife, mother, runner, former marketer, avid chocolate consumer and, randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago.

Mary Sue Seymour
Website: http://www.theseymouragency.com
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book? We Can Give it New Life!

Mary Sue Seymour, nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Agent of the Year, has been agenting for 20 years and is listed as a top deal-maker for inspirational fiction on Publisher’s Marketplace. She has sold multi-book deals to Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Harvest House, Bethany House, Cook, Harper One, Guideposts and others. She travels the country and world presenting writing workshops, mentoring writers and doing appointments with them. She has been a guest agent at The Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, has attended the London Book Fair and has traveled to almost every American city to writing conferences and she’s loved every minute of it. If you’d like to see current sales, conference pictures or recent covers of books she’s sold, please visit her web site.

She represents several best selling Christian authors such as New York Times best selling author, Shelley Shepard Gray, Beth Wiseman, Mary Ellis, Amy Clipston, Don Reid of the Statler Brothers, Vannetta Chapman and so on; her writers have won numerous publishing industry awards, have been written about in Publisher’s Weekly and other publications.

Mary Sue likes to keep busy since her sons, Matt and Luke, named after the gospel writers, have grown up. She ran the Disney half marathon this past January and took 317th place in her age category of 55-59. She teaches art on cruise ships in exchange for a complementary cruise for two [which has made her exceedingly popular with her friends!]. The most important aspect of Mary Sue’s life is her faith in Jesus Christ. She attends two churches - one service at 9:00 - the other at 11:00 and she is never fearful of witnessing about the love of Christ.

Karen Solem
Website:
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    WS 13:  How to Write for ABA While Keeping Your CBA Values

Karen Solem is the President of Spencerhill Associates Ltd., a literary agency.  She represents a broad range of commercial fiction including women’s fiction, thrillers and mysteries and a small selection of non-fiction. A number of her clients have become NYT bestsellers and though it’s wonderful to have that kind of recognition she still takes a lot of pleasure in discovering and working with new talent.

Prior to her years as an agent Solem had 25 years of corporate publishing experience.  She was most recently Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Harper Paperbacks and, earlier, Editor in Chief of Silhouette Books.

Sarah Sundin
Website: http://www.sarahsundin.com/
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    WS 10: Historical Research Without the Headaches

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the adventure and romance of the World War II era. She is the author of seven historical novels, including Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015), the Wings of the Nightingale series, and the Wings of Glory series. Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A mother of three, Sarah lives in northern California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She also enjoys speaking to church, community, and writers’ groups.

Melissa Tagg
Website: http://www.melissatagg.com
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    CE7: Stress-Free Marketing

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. Her latest contemporary romance, Here to Stay, released from Bethany House in May 2013, and her 2014 releases include Three Little Words and From the Start. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies and daydreaming about her next book. She also weirdly thinks marketing can be pretty fun. She blogs regularly and loves connecting with others.

Janice Thompson
Website: http://www.janicehannathompson.com/
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    CE2: The Successful Series

Janice Thompson is the author of over 100 books for the Christian market, including the best-selling “Weddings by Bella” series which has sold over 200,000 copies. She is known for her light-hearted romantic comedies and her “Bridal Mayhem” cozy mystery series. Her tagline: Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters pretty much sums up her take on life.

Janice lives in Spring near her children and grandchildren. She balances her time between writing, baking, teaching, directing musicals at a local Christian theater, playing with her grandbabies, and scolding two naughty dachshunds, who seemed determined to try her patience on every level. 

Annslee Urban
Website: http://www.annsleeurban.com
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    WS 23: Have a Rejected Book?  We Can Give it New Life!

Annslee Urban grew up watching old-time romance movies, which she attributes to her passion for sweet romance, true love and happy endings. A daydreamer at heart, Mary began her writing journey when the youngest of her five children started school. For several years she worked as a freelance writer for newspapers in her community and has written for magazines and online publications.
Raised in the foothills of Arizona, she survived temperature shock when she moved to Western Pennsylvania, before setting in North Carolina with her husband and children. Aside from writing, Annslee works part-time as a Registered Nurse in the Behavioral Health field. She is a member of ACFW, and has served as on the board of Carolina Christian Writers. She currently has 4 published novels. Her current book, Broken Silence, Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, is due out March 1, 2015.

When she isn’t writing, Annslee enjoys cooking, traveling to faraway places, playing with grandbabies and all things chocolate!

Shannon Vannatter
Website: http://shannonvannatter.com
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    WS 2: 26 Keys to Improved Craft

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her debut novel, White Roses won the 2011 Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category. The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named Vannatter 3rd Favorite New Author, and White Roses #1 and White Doves #8 in the contemporary category. She has taught fiction workshops at The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis, MO, Life Press Christian Writers Conference in Memphis, TN, and Ozark Romance Authors Conference in Springfield, MO, a ten session writing class as a continuing adult education course at the Arkansas State University. Vannatter also does presentations at local elementary and high schools to encourage kids to write. Her 11th inspirational romance recently released through Heartsong Presents.

Beth Vogt
Website: http://www.bethvogt.com
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    WS 11: The Power of Story Question

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.”  A 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. Her e-novella, A November Bride, was part of the Year of Wedding Series by Harper Collins. Beth enjoys writing contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Find out more about her books at bethvogt.com. An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also part of the leadership team for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who’s taking them through the teen years again.

Becky Wade
Website:
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    WS 6: Taming the Social Media Beast

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Susan May Warren
Website: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/
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    CE3: In-Depth Brainstorming/Story Equation
    WS 18: 10 Awkward Questions

Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. A six-time Christy award finalist, a three-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!

She is also the founder of http://www.MyBookTherapy.com—a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: http://www.susanmaywarren.com

Mary Weber
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    WS 8: Writing YA in the CBA
    WS 25:  Your First Year: Dos, Don’ts & the Lines in Between

Mary Weber is a youth pastor and ridiculously uncoordinated author of the young adult STORM SIREN trilogy (Thomas Nelson), book one of which was endorsed by New York Times bestselling YA authors Jay Asher and Marissa Meyer - and more importantly, by Mary’s youth kids. In her spare time, Mary feeds unicorns, sings ’80s hair-band songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband, who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

Lacy Williams
Website:
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    WS 27: The Data Behind the Book: Metadata Primer

Lacy Williams is a USA Today bestselling author with 18 books under her belt. She is a wife and mom to three.

Her cowboy romances reflect the Oklahoma she experienced growing up.

Lacy is also the Managing Editor of Redbud Press, an inspirational romance publisher.

Karen Witemeyer
Website: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com
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    WS 20: Reader-Focused Marketing: What’s in it for THEM?

Karen Witemeyer is an award-winning, CBA bestselling author of inspirational romance fiction as well as an experienced speaker. She has presented workshops at several national conferences such as ACFW, ICRS, and RWA as well as numerous regional organizations. At the end of 2014, Karen overhauled her website to create a format focused on catering to readers. She garnered over 800 new subscribers to her newsletter in the first two weeks. She will be sharing her insight gained through this experience as well as practical ways to help other authors cater to readers and earn reader loyalty.

Kathleen Y’Barbo
Website: http://www.kathleenybarbo.com
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    WS 14: Writing is a Decision

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.

A member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and a former member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, she is currently a proud military wife and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River. To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at http://www.kathleenybarbo.com.

Erin Taylor Young
Website: http://www.erintayloryoung.com
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    WS 3: Help Me, I Need an Agent! (And Help, I HAVE one!)
    WS 26: Write From the Deep

Erin Taylor Young is an acquisitions editor and author liaison for Redbud Press—a boutique publisher focusing primarily on romance e-books in the inspirational market. She is also a founder member of the company. She loves working with authors but also enjoys her time working at her local library where she gets to connect readers with books and teach the occasional program about writing and publishing. Between all that, she writes humor. Her recent book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, is the story of her non-compliant dog, and has been repeatedly accused of making readers laugh until they cry. Learn more about Erin at http://www.erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders.



You must be at least 18 years old to attend conference without a parent/guardian present with you at all times.

Participation of an individual presenter, agent, editor, or publisher in the ACFW conference does not constitute endorsement by ACFW. Conference attendees are advised to use due diligence and take personal responsibility when choosing industry professionals with whom to schedule appointments or enter into agreement.



August 20, 2015: Late Registration rates in effect. - September 1, 2015: Walk-in registration rates go into effect.