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2017 Conference Faculty

Allen Arnold
Website:
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    CE1: Level All: Story Sense: Creation by Design
    WS7 Will the REAL Agenda Please Stand Up?

     

ALLEN ARNOLD is the author of The Story of With, an allegory that reveals a better way to live and create through the doorway of identity, imagination, and intimacy. His mission is to help people actively pursue and transform their talent by discovering how to pursue it with God. As the founding Fiction Publisher for one of the world’s largest Christian publishing houses, Allen oversaw the development of more than five hundred novels. He knows first-hand how common it is for creators to become disheartened, overwhelmed or burnt-out–as well as what it takes to help the dreams of writers become reality. In his current role at Ransomed Heart, he oversees content from the mountains of Colorado for the ministry. Before becoming a Board Member for ACFW, he was awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 for his substantial contributions to the world of Christian Fiction.

James Scott Bell
Website: http://www.jamesscottbell.com
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    Early Bird (optional) session

JAMES SCOTT BELL is the author of the #1 bestseller for writers, Plot & Structure, and numerous thrillers, including the Mike Romeo series and the Ty Buchanan legal thriller series. His novel Final Witness won the Christy Award winner for suspense, and his novella One More Lie was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers Award. Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver, and received his law degree from the University of Southern California. After practicing law for ten years, Jim turned to full-time writing. He became the fiction columnist for Writer’s Digest and began teaching writing workshops that have traveled all over the world. Visit his website at http://www.jamesscottbell.com

Misty Beller
Website: http://www.mistymbeller.com
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    WS20 Marketing for Indies

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and her nine indie-released books have spent regular time on the Amazon bestselling lists. With a background in project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to test and develop high-performing marketing approaches for book sales.

Through these efforts, she’s sold over 350,000 books in her first two years of publishing. It is her passion to help other authors develop the marketing strategies that best fit their books and goals. You can find her on her reader website (http://www.MistyMBeller.com) or marketing blog for authors (http://www.TheAmbitiousAuthor.com).

Lynn Blackburn
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    WS2 Mentor-Mentee Partnerships: How it works

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE, won the 2016 Selah Award and the 2016 Carol Award! Her second book with Love Inspired Suspense, HIDDEN LEGACY, releases June 2017.

Amanda Bostic
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    WS 18: From Proposal to Contract: An Inside Look at the Acquisitions Process

Amanda Bostic is the Publisher for Fiction at HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan). She traces her love of story back to her first reading of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” when she was in 2nd grade, and she’s still amazed by the fact that she’s been getting paid to read books for more than ten years. She loves any great story, but is particularly drawn to suspense and thrillers, contemporary, women’s fiction, and Southern fiction. She makes her home in Nashville with her husband Randy and their two children.

Nadine Brandes
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    WS16 Marketing 10.0

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. Her debut novel, A Time to Die, won the Carol Award while both it and the sequel finaled for the Christy Award. She’s been known to eat an entire package of Oreos by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living and other worlds soaked in imagination. When she’s not taste-testing a new chai, she and her hubby are rockin’ shalom, dorkiness, and board games with college students in the midwest.

Caleb Breakey
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    CE5 The Book Funnel Method: Build Your Platform and Sell More Copies - Senior

Caleb is one of the nation’s leading book directors and book funnel creators. He built two six-figure companies using his Book Funnel Method and is determined to change the publishing industry in a powerful and personal way. How? By helping authors (both fiction and non-fiction) implement their own book funnels that produce results. Caleb’s accolades include Lead Book Director of SpeakItToBook.com and SermonToBook.com, ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, winner of the prestigious Genesis Contest, graduate of the Christian Writers Guild’s highest level, award-wining journalist and interviewer, and teacher at all of the major Christian writing conferences across the nation.

Hallee Bridgeman
Website: http://www.halleebridgeman.com
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    WS13 Writing in Layers

With over half a million sales, 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. 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.

Kristy Cambron
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    CE1 Story Sense: Creation by Design

KRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her novels have been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. Kristy has 15 yrs. communications experience for a Fortune-100 company, partnering with companies such as IBM, Gallup, and Disney. She and her family live in Indiana, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut-mocha latte and some Verse Mapping.

Colleen Coble
Website: http://www.colleencoble.com
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    WS12 Love ‘em To Death

USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at http://www.colleencoble.com and connect at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/colleencoblebooks?ref=hl

Joseph Courtemanche
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    WS4 Patrol and Crime Scene Work
    WS14 Basic Personal Weaponry

Joseph Courtemanche is a former Police Officer and certified Middle East, North Africa intelligence analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy and is an Arabic linguist with training at The University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate.) His linguistic and intelligence experience include multiple deployments to surface, submarine, and land based intelligence collection platforms. Joseph holds several military awards including two flag letters of commendation for providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. He is a graduate of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges.

His background includes degrees in Computer Science, Law Enforcement, and Political Science as well as experience in cryptology, telecommunications, law enforcement, and lawn care. He has a large vocabulary in the military,
scientific, and medical fields, in multiple languages. He holds the Expert Pistol Marksman medal, Good Conduct medal, Sea Service ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Citation from the United States Navy and is a Life Member of the NRA.

His debut novel, Assault on Saint Agnes, won the 2015 Genesis award for the mystery/suspense/thriller category, Second Place in the prestigious Athanatos Christian Ministries 2013 Christian Novel Contest, and was a 2013 Final Five Finalist in the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel.

Among his performing endeavors, he lists being a professional Santa Claus (Official Santa for the Minnesota Vikings) and a background in radio and television commercials. His voice over work includes a two-year stint creating audio books for the blind as well as reading the newspaper live on the air for the Minnesota Society for the Blind and Vision Impaired. He has recently completed two commercial audio books, his own debut novel Assault on Saint Agnes, and Misconceptions: A Suspense Novel, by Colleen Scott.

Patrick Craig
Website: http://www.patrickecraig.com
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    WS17 Cracking The Indie Egg—A Recipe for Publishing Your Book

Best-selling author Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book in the series, The Amish Heiress, was self-published by Patrick’s own P&J Publishing in August of 2015. The Amish Heiress remained on the Amazon bestseller lists in three categories for seven months. The second book in the Series, The Amish Princess, will be released in December, 2016. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

Jennifer Dornbush
Website: http://www.jenniferdornbush.com
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    WS9 Everyone Can Spot a Fake: How to Build Compelling Clues & Convincing Evidence

The television or movie screen is the closest most people will ever come to witnessing the forensic world. But Jennifer Dornbush actually lived it. As a daughter of a medical examiner, whose office was in her home, she investigated her first fatality, an airplane crash, when she was 10 years old. Since that first case she has had decades of on-sight experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy.

Jennifer now uses these experiences to pen crime fiction for film, TV, and novel. Currently, Jennifer has several crime drama series being developed for television. She is also penning an international crime drama with Dynamo
Entertainment.

Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she scribed non-fiction work, Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions, hailed as a north star to creating authentic crime dramas.

She regularly leads seminars on forensics and fiction for The Writers Store, Great American Pitchfest, Crime Writers Weekend, Sisters in Crime, Act One, Scriptwriters Network, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Story Expo, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Universita Cattolica Milano, Italy; and Write Canada.

Jennifer hosts webinars on crime writing through Writer’s Digest; and she has collaborated with The Writers Store and Script Magazine to produce a video on crime writing for writers. She has taught screenwriting on the high school and university level and mentored writers through the Act One Program and Regent University.

Her feature film, God Bless the Broken Road, with God’s Not Dead director, Harold Cronk, is slated for release in early 2017 in conjunction with the novel release by the same title published by Howard Books/Simon & Schuster.

Jennifer also writes for children, most recently co-creating a bi-lingual animated show for Baby First Network slated to air 2017.

Lynette Eason
Website: http://www.lynetteeason.com
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    WS2 Mentor-Mentee Partnerships: How it works
    WS12 Love ‘em To Death

Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of almost forty books including the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, the Hidden Identity Series and the currently releasing Elite Guardians series. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 and 2016 Carol Award in the Romantic Suspense category. She also placed in the top ten (out of thousands of entries) in the James Patterson 2016 co-writer contest. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), International Thriller Writers (ITW), and Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of RWA as well as the Kiss of Death (KOD) chapter. Lynette can be found online at http://www.lynetteeason.com and www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and @lynetteeason on Twitter.

Sara Ella
Website: http://www.saraella.com
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    WS16 Marketing 10.0

Not so long ago, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle. Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Debut author of Unblemished, a Library Journal starred book, and RT Book Reviews TOP PICK of the Month, she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings. Find her at SaraElla.com.

Paul Fisher
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    WS8 Book Marketing in 2017 – Pulling all the levers

My passion is marketing and brand management and I have practical experience across multiple disciplines including market research, shopper marketing, consumer promotions, and even accounting & finance.  In addition to working with and for top-tier CPG companies as well as small entrepreneurial start-ups, I have my MBA from a perennially top-10 business school and international experience having worked in the Asia-Pacific rim for a year.

I currently lead the Fiction Marketing and Publicity team at HarperCollins Christian Publishin in conceptualizing and executing the consumer, retail, and trade engagement strategy for the evolving identity of HCCP’s Fiction program and for the 50+ frontlist titles and 40+ reprints we publish each year.

Rachelle Gardner
Website: http://www.rachellegardner.com
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    WS15 Transform Your Facebook Presence TODAY

Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She’s been an agent since 2007, representing both fiction and nonfiction. In the publishing business since 1995, Rachelle previously worked for two publishing houses in positions encompassing marketing, sales, international rights, acquisitions and editorial. Rachelle represents an impressive list of more than 50 bestselling and award-winning authors.

 

Rachel Hauck
Website: http://www.rachelhauck.com
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    WS6 How Becoming A New York Times Bestselling Author Didn’t Change My Life
    WS11 Crafting the First Line

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author. She is a 2016 Christy Award Winner and a RITA finalist.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world to write full-time in 2004. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and
leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

 

Kathy Ide
Website: http://www.KathyIde.com
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    WS3 What Can a Freelance Editor Do for Me?

Kathy Ide has been a published author since 1989. She has written books (fiction and nonfiction), magazine articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and Sunday school curriculum. She is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series.

Kathy has been a professional freelance editor since 1998. She offers a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, and subsidy publishers. She has worked with Moody Press, Thomas Nelson, B&H, Barbour Books, Heartsong, Reasons To Believe, VMI Publishing, Holy Fire Publishers, and CLASServices. Several of Kathy’s clients have landed book contracts with commercial publishers and/or agent representation after working with her. Books she’s edited, and authors she’s worked with, have been nominated, placed, become finalists, and won awards in several venues.

Kathy speaks at writers’ conferences across the country, teaching workshops and continuing-education sessions, leading mentoring clinics, giving keynote addresses, offering advance manuscript critiques, and having one-on-one consultations with conferees. She is the director of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.

Kathy Ide is the founder of the Christian Editor Connection (http://www.ChristianEditor.com), The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (http://www.TheChristianPEN.com), and the PENCON editors’ conference. She directed them until they became divisions of the Christian Editor Network (http://www.ChristianEditorNetwork.com), which she now co-owns.

Liz Johnson
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    WS1 Creating Settings that Become Characters

Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she’s not plotting her next trip to the island, she is the director of marketing for a Christian radio network. She is the author of twelve novels including The Red Door Inn and Where Two Hearts Meet, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona, where she loves to see local theater, explore history, and dote on her five nieces and nephews.

Jessica Kirkland
Website: http://www.kirklandmediamanagement.com
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    WS19 An Agent’s View of Traditional, Self, & Hybrid Publishing

Jessica Kirkland, a literary agent and entrepreneur, is the owner and primary agent with Kirkland Media Management, LLC., a Texas-based boutique agency that specializes in publishing & film contracts in the inspirational market. Jessica possesses a unique skill set as an agent, which includes a strong command of sales, marketing, and creative development. She loves discovering new talent and identifying stories that have the capacity to change the world. Her outside-the-box thinking and keen business sense have allowed her to excel in the publishing industry and emerge as a champion for traditional and hybrid authors. With her eye always on the big picture, Jessica represents fiction and non-fiction clients who continue to thrive in an ever-changing publishing environment.

Jessica graduated with honors from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Marketing. She is a popular conference speaker where she teaches on publishing trends, marketing, blogging, and the writer’s journey. She has been an agent for over five years, and was named Agent of the Year in 2016 by American Christian Fiction Writers.

Steve Laube
Website: http://www.stevelaube.com/
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    WS5 Beyond the Book Deal: What an Agent Can Do for You

Steve Laube, president and founder of The Steve Laube Agency, is a 35 year veteran of the bookselling industry. He began his career in the bookselling arena and his store in Phoenix was named the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) store of the year in 1989. He then spent 11 years with Bethany House Publishers rising to the position of an editorial director. In 2002 he was named the AWSA Golden Scroll Editor of the Year. The next year he became a literary agent and in 2004 formed The Steve Laube Agency. In 2009 he was named the ACFW Agent of the Year. In 2013 he was inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall-of-Fame by their College of Theology.

Margie Lawson
Website: http://www.margielawson.com
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    Post Conference Session: Power Up Emotion: How, When, and Wow!

Margie Lawson —editor and international presenter – teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners.
Margie has presented over 120 full day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and on cruises in the Caribbean. Writers credit her innovative deep editing approaches for boosting them toward contracts, awards, and bestseller lists.   

To learn about Margie’s 5-day Immersion Master Classes (in 2017, in Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C., San Jose, Calgary, and in Sydney, Melbourne, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, and Nine Mile Beach, Australia), her full day and weekend workshops, keynote speeches, online courses through Lawson Writer’s Academy, lecture packets, and newsletter, please visit: http://www.margielawson.com

Becky Monds
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    WS18 From Proposal to Contract: An Inside Look at the Acquisitions Process

Becky Monds is an Associate Acquisitions Editor for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. After working as an events coordinator and marketing manager at an independent bookstore in Nashville, she joined the Thomas Nelson team in 2007. She’s a new mom to twins and loves spending time with her husband, knitting, waterskiing, and, of course, reading great fiction.

Tamela Hancock Murray
Website: http://www.tamelahancockmurray.com
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    WS5 Beyond the Book Deal: What an Agent Can Do for You

Tamela Hancock Murray has been a literary agent since 2001. She is a bestselling author of over thirty novels, novellas, and nonfiction books, and won an RWA Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Although her current writing for publication is limited to the Agency blog, because of her experience, Tamela brings the perspective of a working writer to her role as a literary agent. She represents many top authors and continues to develop new talent. She earned her BA with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Today she enjoys living in Northern Virginia with her husband of over thirty years. They are the proud parents of two lovely adult daughters. She can often be found reading books.

Carrie Stuart Parks
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    CE2: Secrets to Great Writing - Freshman

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist, instructor, and author, and an internationally known forensic artist. Her first two books finaled in mystery/suspense/thriller category in the Christy, Selah, and Christian Retailing Best, and won a Carol and Inspy awards. She was mentored by NY Times bestselling author, Frank Peretti.

Cara Putman
Website: http://www.caraputman.com
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    CE3: Peeling Back the Curtain on Publishing - Sophomore

Cara Putman is the award-winning author of 25 books with more on the way. She is also a full time lecturer at Purdue University, homeschool mom to four, and looking at colleges with her oldest. She is a frequent teacher on writing and loves sharing with others what she’s learned in large part from those who mentored her along the road.

 

 

James Rubart
Website: http://www.jameslrubart.com
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    CE3: Peeling Back the Curtain on Publishing - Sophomore
    WS7 Will the REAL Agenda Please Stand Up?

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the bestselling, Christy, Carol, INSPY, and RT award winning writer of eight novels and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://www.jameslrubart.com

 

 

Susan May Warren
Website: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/
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    WS10 A Novel Career

Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. A prolific novelist with over 1 million books sold, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of http://www.MyBookTherapy.com and www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She’s also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation. Find excerpts and reviews of her novels at http://www.susanmaywarren.com

Mary Weber
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    WS7 Will the REAL Agenda Please Stand Up?
    WS16 Marketing 10.0

Mary Weber is the bestselling HarperCollins author of the Scholastic Pick, Christy, Carol, and INSPY Award winning young adult novel, Storm Siren, the Storm Siren Trilogy, and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow. As a youth pastor,
conference and avid school speaker, Weber’s passion is helping others find their voice amid a too-loud world. In her spare time she sings 80’s songs to her three muggle children and ogles her incredible husband. They live in
California which is perfect for stalking tacos, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. Visit with her on FB (Mary Weber, Author), IG (MaryWeberAuthor), & Twitter (@MChristineWeber).

Lacy Williams
Website:
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    CE4 Intermediate Self-Publishing - Getting to the Next Level - Junior

USA Today bestselling author Lacy Williams has published 35 titles since 2011. Twelve of those were with a traditional publisher and the rest have been independently published. Lacy’s books have been award finalists
and sold over 350,000 copies.

 

 

 



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.