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2024 ANWA Writers Conference Faculty

Keynote

Ally Condie

Ally Condie

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Ally Braithwaite Condie is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched series and the Edgar Award Finalist Summerlost, among other novels, of several picture books, including Here, and of the adult murder mystery The Unwedding. A former English teacher, Ally resides outside of Salt Lake City with her family, including her four children. She has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is the founder and director of the nonprofit WriteOut Foundation, and her books have been published in 30+ languages.

Special Guests

Literary Agent Kendall Berdinsky

Kendall Berdinsky

Agent with Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret LLC

A native Texan, Kendall Berdinsky fell in love with the Junie B. Jones books she discovered in kindergarten and has been an avid reader ever since. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in professional writing with a minor in English literature. During her junior year abroad, she interned in the children’s department at Simon & Schuster UK; after graduation, she served as an editorial assistant at Foundry Literary + Media and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.

Kendall is interested in seeing upmarket romance, book club fiction, psychological thrillers, and narrative nonfiction. Overall, she is looking for work from underrepresented communities with new stories to tell.

Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum

Editor from Shadow Mountain Publishing

Lisa Mangum has worked in publishing since 1997. She has been the Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain since 2014 and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors. While fiction is her first love, she also has experience working with nonfiction projects. Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels (The Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello), several short stories and novellas, and a nonfiction book about the craft of writing based on the TV show Supernatural. She has edited several anthologies about various magical creatures, pirates, and food for WordFire Press. She regularly teaches at writing conferences, including hosting a writing weekend in Capitol Reef National Park through UVU. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.

Literary Agent Timothy Travaglini

Timothy Travaglini

Agent with Transatlantic Agency

Since 1994, Timothy Travaglini has worked in trade marketing for Scholastic, Inc.; been a bookseller for Books of Wonder, an all-children’s bookstore in New York City; and has edited for Henry Holt and Company, Walker & Company, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, and Open Road Integrated Media where he was the director of children’s acquisitions.

Books he has acquired and edited have been, among other things, #1 New York Times bestsellers, a Washington Post Best Children’s Book of the Year, Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction winner, have been made into an award-winning musical, made into an award-winning animated television show (currently on Netflix), and traveled on board the International Space Station. He has edited, published, and now represents artists and authors who either previously won, or have gone on to win, nearly every award and honor under the sun. He has edited an American Library Association’s 10 Most Frequently Challenged book as well as a Christianity Today Book Award for Fiction winner.

Tim is a Senior Agent at Transatlantic Agency. He represents fiction and nonfiction for adults, as well as for young readers of all ages. Tim loves a book that makes him laugh out loud. He loves a book that makes him cry. He loves a book that makes him fall in love, and he loves a book that breaks his heart.

He is interested in biographies or memoirs of people or groups that inspire: overcoming adversity, perseverance, hard work, compassion, empathy, giving back to the world. He is interested in nonfiction about topics that are amazing: but is also particularly interested in aviation, architecture, caves/tunnels/mines, cemeteries/memento mori, environmental concerns, island settings, outer space, politics, reading/writing/storytelling, all things Scandinavian/Nordic, socialism or anything the less-informed may label as socialism, and travel.

Tim has a fondness for science fiction and fantasy (SFF) in all forms, graphic novels and comics, bibliomysteries, literary horror, romantic comedies, literary romance, middle grade boy books, goofy energetic picture books, swashbuckling adventure, ghost stories, well-loved stories reimagined in new ways, exotic settings, parodies, anything over-the-top or weird or macabre, innovative books that break new ground, and anything to do with roller derby.

Writing Coaches

Jennifer Griffith Author photo

Jennifer Griffith

Jennifer Griffith is a USA Today bestselling author, and has received several awards for her writing, including two Swoony Awards (for outstanding clean secular romance). She has been nominated for a Whitney Award, as well as named among the Best Books of 2012 by news station KSL.com. A regular presenter at writing conferences, Jennifer is the author of roughly 50 novels and novellas, with over 46 million KENP page-reads on Kindle Unlimited, and 200,000 e-book and print copies delivered to readers of light fiction. Her work has been optioned for film, read in high school and university classrooms, and has also been called boring and a waste of time by people who aren’t the audience for fluff. Parents of five brilliant young adults, Jennifer and her husband live rurally in the hot Arizona desert, where her husband works as an attorney and as Jennifer’s muse.

Author Michelle Wilson

Michelle Wilson

Michelle Wilson is an inspirational author, speaker, podcaster, and editor. She has published inspirational nonfiction books with Deseret Book, Covenant Communications, and Cedar Fort, and has a new title coming out this August. She has taught writing nonfiction at ANWA, Storymakers, and LDSPMA Conferences for the past ten years. But Michelle’s real claim to fame is the time Lisa Mangum dressed up as her at an ANWA gala a few years ago. Michelle also enjoys writing fiction and is querying her latest WIP now, so she’s very familiar with rejection and consolation chocolate. Michelle loves to teach and mentor those who have a desire to share light through writing. She can be found at michellewilsonwrites.com

Teachers

Tyson Abaroa

Whitney Award Winning author, Tyson Abaroa, was born in Provo, UT but raised in Gilbert, AZ. His freshman year of high school he was assigned to write an essay on what he’d be when he grew up. He turned in a step by step plan to become world dictator. That should have been his first clue that maybe he should keep imagining. In July 2001 between his junior and senior year of high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. After graduating high school, boot camp, and MOS school; his unit was deployed to build a fuel hose line in support of the invasion of Iraq. After this deployment he served in the Chile Santiago East Mission. He married soon after returning home and just before his first anniversary was deployed again. This time to Djibouti, Africa as part of a provisional security company. Tyson’s ADHD has led to an eclectic career after the Marine Corps. He has been a credit card collector, a claims processor, a Track Director for USA BMX, and now a Pest Control Technician. He draws from his experiences and develops stories to write about in his spare time.

Anika Arrington

Anika Arrington is the author of the Havensgate Chronicles: The Accidental Apprentice (a Whitney Award Finalist) and Ideal Apprentice. She runs the Youtube channel Story Serpent reviewing middle grade and YA literature. When she isn’t writing or running a load of laundry she likes to paint watercolors, watch baseball, and hike with her loving husband and their truckload of children.

Kaylee Baldwin

Kaylee Baldwin’s love of all things books and reading led her to graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in English literature. She is a founding editor at Sweetly Us Book Services and has several published novels, including a Whitney Award Finalist. She lives in Arizona with her family. Follow her on Instagram to learn more about her adventures. @kayleebaldwinbooks

Stephanie Black

Stephanie Black is the author of fourteen books, including the Natalie Marsh mystery series and, most recently, The Trespassers. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense and a finalist for Best Speculative Novel. She thinks the ANWA Conference is one of the best events on the planet and loves to hang out with a bunch of people who understand hand-wringing over characterization, the thrill of twisting a plot, and the temptation to overuse em-dashes.

John Burger (Johan Twiss)

Johan Twiss is an award-winning author who’s passionate about writing exciting science fiction and fantasy stories that are suitable for tweens, teens, and adults alike. He has nine published works, including his award-winning novel, Four Years Trapped in My Mind Palace, and the I Am Sleepless series. He’s the recipient of the Lonestar.Ink Rising Star Award, finalist in the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition, and runner-up in the Book Pipeline Adaptation Contest. He has over forty published children’s stories available on the Sleepy Stories App and doubles as an audiobook narrator when time permits. He’s a loving husband and father with five amazing children and enjoys playing sports, a variety of musical instruments, painting, and exploring the world on road trips with his family. Learn more at www.johantwiss.com.

Ashley Bustamante

Ashley Bustamante has created stories from the moment she could scribble and staple sheets of paper together. She simply cannot recall a time when writing was not a force in her life. She strives to create stories with positive messages that encourage others to come together. She enjoys participating in the writing community and hopes to nurture other writers in the way she was nurtured by so many throughout her youth.

Darci Cole

Darci Cole is an author, narrator and podcaster. Her debut series THE UNBROKEN TALES is a set of intertwined fairytale retellings for young adults. She has been part of Brandon Sanderson’s beta team since 2015, and co-hosts the Pineapple P Podcast with Gina Denny. Darci lives in Arizona with her husband and four children. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok, and her website at darcicole.com.

Gina Denny

Gina Denny is a writer, editor, publishing professional, podcaster, speaker, and erstwhile music teacher. She is a contributing editor to the online magazine In Omnia Paratus, has been on numerous writing conference faculties including Storymakers and ANWA, and on the Storymakers conference committee from 2020-2022. Through her freelance work she has supported a multitude of authors along their journey to publication toward both indie and trad, and in addition to providing publishing advice on TikTok to thousands of followers, she is currently the royalties and commissions administrator for Ayesha Pande Literary.

Paige Edwards

Paige Edwards is an award-winning author of inspirational 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 isn’t writing, she serves as president of her area’s Interfaith Community Council, enjoys hiking, consumes way too much Dr. Pepper, and is currently converting a Sprinter van into a camper. Paige loves to connect with readers. You can reach her by visiting her website authorpaigeedwards.com.

Camille Fairbanks

Camille Fairbanks earned her BA in English Literature at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, and has worked as a copywriter, proofreader, managing editor, and social media marketing specialist. Her essay “Divine Nature” was published in Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women (Zvirzden et al., Signature Books). A proud member of the Red Mountain Writers chapter, she finally completed her first manuscript and credits ANWA with showing her how. She is a passionate hand-talker and if you ask her about feminism, sustainability, or the Oxford Comma, you’ll see exactly what she means.

Brekke Felt

A photographer and graphic designer, Brekke has an eye for imagery and composition. An International Award Winning photographer, she has earned her Professional Photographer Certification through the Professional Photographers of America. She has photographed on request for national cover submissions, as well as shot custom images for author’s books and author headshots. She designs word art and graphics used for retail production, school productions, and commissioned projects.

Danyelle Ferguson

Danyelle Ferguson is the author of the award-winning Crystal Creek sweet romance novels. She loves writing stories that feature strong women conquering difficult challenges and finding love along the way. She also writes nonfiction that has been published world-wide in 30+ languages. Once upon a time, she majored in business & marketing and has an ongoing love affair with spreadsheets and graphic design. When she’s away from her laptop, Danyelle enjoys dancing in the kitchen with her family, all things pink, and is obsessed with pretty pens. Follow her online for IRL goofiness, cat photobombs, and writing life updates. www.DanyelleFerguson.com

Dennis Gaunt

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. The truth is that he has been working with Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain Publishers as a slushpile reader since 2000, and in that time, 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.

Jessica Guernsey

Jessica Guernsey writes Fantasy and Sci-Fi short stories. With a degree in Journalism from BYU and a Masters in Publishing from WCU, her work is published in magazines and anthologies. By day, she crushes dreams as a slush pile reader for multiple publishers. During NaNoWriMo, Jessica is a Municipal Liaison for the Utah::Elsewhere Region. Frequently, she can be found at writing conferences. She isn’t difficult to spot; just look for the extrovert.

While she spent her teenage angst in Texas, she now lives on a mountain in Utah with her family. Discover more at jessicaguernsey.com.

Katie Harris

Katie Harris is an Arizona native who loves reading, writing, and definitely not arithmetic. A freelance copywriter, Katie has over a decade of experience creating marketing copy for local and global businesses. When she’s not using words to change the world, she can be found ignoring the laundry, playing chauffeur to her four kids, or wishing she was at Disneyland.

Serene Heiner

Serene Heiner is the creative soul behind the growing Instagram and TikTok accounts @magicalbooknook where she does all kinds of weird things with her eyebrows. She’s a diehard fantasy reader but can be caught cheating on the genre from time to time. She’s a proud mother to seven readers and lives with them and her husband in their Idaho home where books are stacked to the ceiling. Where does she find time to write? The world may never know.

Whitney Hemsath

Whitney Hemsath received her B.A. in Screenwriting from Chapman University, and her animated feature-length screenplay was selected for their 2005 Killer Script list. She also worked as a script reader for the Tom Lynch Production company and a script doctor for TwinStar Entertainment before pursuing other forms of writing. She’s sold and/or published ten short stories and two poems (one of which has been included in college curriculum). Her longer works include a comedic middle-grade time travel novel, an LDS inspirational non-fiction book, and her Costco shopping list. Her secret love is writing song parodies and the way to her heart is through frozen BYU mint brownies.

Tara Holladay

Tara (T.M.) Holladay is the creator of “The Only Character Workbook You’ll Ever Need,” along with the other bestselling workbooks in a series to help writers craft immersive worlds, captivating characters, and gripping plots. She lives in Arizona with her family and writes YA fantasy and rom-com, with four published novels and a novella. She thrives in “project mode” and doesn’t know how to do things halfway; ipso facto, her story-bible-building workbooks are re-launching as a desktop and mobile app in the fall of 2024. Creating intriguing story worlds is about to get a tech upgrade!

DeAnn Huff

D. Ogden Huff is the self-published author of seven novels, two novellas, and many other short stories and articles. She’s a sun addict who moved to Arizona at the age of two. She’s lived there ever since, except for a two-year stint in Utah where she discovered that she gets cold just looking at pictures of snow. Thankfully, she lives in sunny Phoenix with the man of her dreams and a house often full of kids. They are the funniest people she knows and, with them, a dinner table can be a dangerous place where the threat of choking while laughing is always a possibility.

Rachel Huffmire

Rachel Huffmire is an award-winning author who writes futuristic fairytale retellings with twisty plots and happily-ever-afters. She believes there is courage in compassion and writes about optimistic heroes who change the world. She has worked in the book and publishing industry since 2007, managing bookstores, acquiring and editing manuscripts for publishers, directing a marketing department for a small press, and recently signed her first screenwriting deal with a major Hollywood production company. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband, three children, and a library of books that is slowly overtaking their house. When she’s not writing, Rachel enjoys baking apple pastries, taking long naps, and wearing warm cardigans.

KaTrina Jackson

KaTrina Jackson loves penguins, cross-stitch, chocolate, and Star Wars, and spends much of each day trying to fit those loves in around her jobs as a freelance editor and as project manager for Eschler Editing. She graduated with a degree in editing and publishing from Brigham Young University because she couldn’t get enough stories in her life. She’s also a member of three different writing groups, attends multiple writing conferences yearly, and is currently working on publishing her first novel. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she can be found practicing yoga, discussing the depth of the Star Wars universe with anyone who will listen, or watching Disney movies. She and her husband live in Olathe, Kansas.

Sarah Lynne John

Sarah Lynne John is crazy about children’s nonfiction, and after you attend her class, you will be too! She is the winner of the Michigan SCBWI Middle Grade Nonfiction
Mentorship Award with Stephanie Bearce and has studied the craft of nonfiction picture books under Kirsten W. Larsen. She is a member of 12X12 and SCBWI, and recently went on submission with her agent, Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency.

Victorine Lieske

Victorine self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April of 2010. In March of 2011, Not What She Seems began its 6-week run on The New York Times best-selling eBook list. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies. Victorine’s first romantic comedy novel hit the USA Today Bestselling books list in January 2015. When she’s not writing, she’s watching swoony Korean Dramas, or making something with her extensive yarn collection.

Annette Lyon

Annette Lyon is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of a Whitney and many other awards, including a Whitney Award and nine Best of State medals in Utah for her fiction. She’s authored more than a dozen novels and even more novellas, a cookbook, a grammar guide, and dozens of articles. She co-founded—and was the original editor for—the award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology series and its spinoff series, and also coauthored The Newport Ladies Book Club. She’s worked as a professional editor in high demand since 2008, though she’s largely hung up the hat in recent years to focus on her own work—and on being a grandma. JUST ONE MORE, her first suspense novel, was released in 2023. She’s represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Brad McBride

Bradley McBride has He has been a prolific blogger for well over a decade, currently at ThusWeSee.com, and Middle-aged Mormon Man. Self-publishing two non-fiction books along the way. Most recently he has most recently entered the world of fiction, publishing two Christmas novellas, and a new thriller. Bradley’s talent is taking complex concepts and breaking them down to present it in a way that is understandable, and entertaining. He specializes in walking the precarious tightrope between humor and spirituality in his writing.

Cynthia Merrill

Cynthia Merrill is an editor and writing coach by profession, but a writer at heart. She has written a contemporary middle-grade novel and is currently drafting an adult contemporary fiction novel. She believes the world heals and grows through stories; sometimes creators get stuck along the way and need support. Cynthia is passionate about helping writers get their ideas on the page and take their books from first-draft quality into the hands of agents and publishers. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her two goofy kids, a flock of chickens, two guinea pigs, and their dog Jasper.

Stephanie Morris

Stephanie enjoys the Arizona heat by spending time with her husband, five kids and two grandkids and combats the “cold” winters by wearing lots of jackets and fingerless gloves so she can still spend bliss-filled hours in front of a computer tapping away at her obsession. She has served on the ANWA Board of Directors and was the Conference Chair in 2019. Her short stories have been published in A Grimm Ever After, Kismet, and Wards & Rumors of Wards, and a chapter on revising is included in Create, Craft, Critique and More. Her fourth children’s book, A Web of Christmas Love, will be released in October. Her other children’s books are I Hope Your Dreams Are Sweet, The Children in the Box, and Come Dance in the Rain, which was released in February. She is currently working on a middle-grade fantasy and revising her third romance manuscript.

Jeff Moulton

Jeffery A. Moulton grew up in a small Arizona town halfway to nowhere. Almost from the moment he could talk, he made up stories. He wrote his first book in sixth grade and submitted his first middle grade manuscript when he was still in high school (the form rejection is a treasured possession). By the end of high school, he had written three books, two stage plays, and a screenplay. His first published work was a research book on how 9/11 changed the way we tell superhero stories. It was quickly followed by a sci-fi thriller about scientists being hunted across the Arizona desert. More recently, he wrote and produced two short films with his amazing wife and their incredible kids as part of an experimental “movie-in-a-day” idea, and is working on a dramatized podcast series, a screenplay (or two), a graphic novel, and a table-top roleplaying game.

Cori Petross

Cori Petross is a two-time published Indie author. Her debut novel is her memoir Love’s Last Bully for which she’s received two high-rated reviews from Writer’s Digest judges. Her first experience writing memoir was when she was eight years old, and she’s been writing ever since. She loves strong, descriptive emotion that captivates the reader.

Janette Rallison

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 write 34 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 and enough pets to classify her as eccentric.

Kaleena Shreeve

Kaleena Shreeve, Author of Light & Love, published her debut novel on Kindle Vella in January 2024 and then as an ebook and paperback in April. As a new Indie author, she learned how to design her own book cover, website, and social media posts. She is a self proclaimed non-techy person, but fell in love with the easy-to-use Canva program. She loves reading clean romance novels of all different tropes, watching K-dramas, and eating chocolate-with nuts of course, because what writer isn’t a little nutty. She dreams of cowboys and writes about them too. Shh, don’t tell her dentist husband … wait, he already knows.

Amy Standage

Amy Standage (who writes under the name L. L. Standage) has been making up stories her entire life. In high school, she decided she wanted to be an author and began writing the most cringe-worthy epic fantasies, which, sadly, will never see the light of day. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys laughing with her husband, playing Zelda with her kids, drinking herbal tea, getting pedicures, traveling, and eating food. She loves chocolate and geeks out over anything having to do with England. She lives with her family in the very sunny, cactus-infested fire hazard known as Arizona.

Peggy Urry

Peggy Urry is a long-time member of ANWA serving as secretary, VP, president, and member in her chapter. She also served on the ANWA Board as the Events Chair and then in the Presidency. She has self-published two novels and continues writing and learning more about her craft. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two of their five children and is Oma to three darling grandchildren.

Mercedes M. Yardley

Mercedes M. Yardley is a two-time Bram Stoker Award winner who lives in Las Vegas. She is the author of Darling, the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, Love is a Crematorium, and Nameless Mercedes is the senior fiction editor of Gamut Magazine, a member of the SFWA, ANWA, Brother Grimms Society of North America, and serves within the HWA. You can find her at mercedesmyardley.com.

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