Our First Annual SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference Speakers Include:
Of the Blythe Daniel agency, Stephanie directs the agency’s blog network, BlogAbout, and is a writing/blogging coach, and also a publicity book agent. She has engaged with publishers, authors, podcasters, ministries, and creative businesses to be able to offer compelling and trendy material to the hundreds of bloggers who she works with to review and give away new books, movies, and merchandise. Stephanie has a good eye for what is working in the blogging world and has been able to help aspiring writers shape their writing and blogs into what an agent is looking for. She is also good at connecting people with prime media outlets.
For ten years, Frank Ball (www.FrankBall.org) directed North Texas Christian Writers to help members improve their writing skills. In 2011, he founded Story Help Groups (www.StoryHelpGroups.org) to encourage and equip all Christians to tell their life-changing stories. Besides his speaking engagements and writing his own books, he does ghostwriting, copy editing, and graphic design to help others publish high-quality books. As Pastor of Biblical Research and Writing for three years, he wrote sermons, teaching materials, and hundreds of devotions. He’s a panelist on The Writers’ View. His book Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story is a compilation of biblical information on the life of Christ in a chronological story that reads like a novel.
A publishing professional for over 35 years, Karen Ball has overseen fiction for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. Karen is currently owner of Karen Ball PublishingServices, LLC; a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Agency; an award-winning, best-selling author; the co-creator of Write from the Deep and Live from the Deep with Erin Taylor Young; and a popular speaker and podcaster. She’s worked with such notable authors as Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Brandilyn Collins, Robin Jones Gunn, Terri Blackstock, and many others. Karen lives in Oregon with her husband, and their four-legged, furry “kids.”
Kim Bangs, Senior Acquisitions Editor for Bethany House (nonfiction) and Chosen, divisions of the Baker Publishing Group (BPG) is often found at writers’ conferences throughout the year teaching, inspiring and encouraging writers.
Kim enjoys baking, gardening, the “littles” in her life, Disneyland and sports…but loves Jesus and His Church.
Published in both fiction and nonfiction, with four novels and five nonfiction books. His novel Dreams of Caladria was published by Enclave in 2015. His most recent book, Nothing is Wasted, was published this year by Beacon Hill Press. He is currently at work on a book about passages of Scripture that have changed the world. He is a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, where he teaches courses in writing and American literature. He teaches regularly at writers conference. Among the conferences at which he has taught are the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian WritersConference, Orange County Christian Writers Conference, Glorieta Christian Writers Conference, and others. His blog, Life of the Mind and Soul, can be found at www.josephbentz.com.
Rich Bullock is the author of four indie-published suspense/thriller novels. Perilous Cove was a semi-finalist in Zondervan’s First Novel contest, and Storm Song was an American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest winner. He’s a regular judge for writing contests, loves helping people achieve their writing and publishing goals, has forded the wily waters of interior layout, and broken through the bars of ISBNs. Although he detests marketing, over 50,000 of his books have escaped into the wild. He might be getting the hang of this. He lives in Redding, California.
Author, speaker, Parker J. Cole is also the executive of PJC Media Broadcasting Company. For the past three years, she had showcased Christian authors worldwide via her online radio broadcasts and has presented workshops at colleges and organizations to inspire writers to write. Included in her associations, she is a member of the Christian Apologetics Alliance and Christian Indie Authors Network. She advocates for Christian speculative fiction and edgy Christian fiction writers.
Valerie Coulman is a career freelance writer, author, editor, playwright and artist. From her award-winning picture books to business articles, white papers, stage scripts, poetry and songs, Valerie has written for all ages and audiences. She also teaches in a variety of settings, including her most recent adventure as a middle school art instructor. Valerie loves the process of encouraging each writer and artist to excel in their craft and develop their unique voice.
Valerie is a long-time member of SCBWI and CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America). She also serves as Creative Arts Director for BCVP Creative Arts (www.medfordbethel.com), where she oversees drama production, writing, and visual arts. Learn more at www.valeriecoulman.com.
The author of the Angel Eyes novels, Shannon has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys mentoring teen writers–both online and in person. Since 2013, Shannon has taught mentoring tracks at a local school where she provides junior high and high school students with an introduction to writing and the publishing industry. She also blogs for Go Teen Writers, posting encouragement and instruction on a weekly basis. Find out more about Shannon and her writing at shannondittemore.com.
Lynn Donovan is an award-winning author, speaker, and ministry director. She writes and speaks on a variety of topics, including marriage and parenting. She has written articles for newspapers and many national ministries such as Focus on the Family and Family Life Today. She has served as a magazine columnist, is an avid blogger and she is notable in Social Media. Her delight is pointing believers toward their creative and God-given calling and support them as they write their best story for the Kingdom.
Mike Duran is a novelist, blogger, and speaker, whose short stories, essays, and commentary have appeared in Relief Journal, Relevant Online, Bewildering Stories, Rue Morgue, Zombies magazine, Breakpoint, and other print and digital outlets. He is the author of THE GHOST BOX (Blue Crescent Press, 2014), which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best indie novels of 2015 and first in a paranoir series that continues with SAINT DEATH (2016), a Southern Gothic Horror short WICKERS BOG (2016), a short story anthology SUBTERRANEA (Blue Crescent Press, 2013), the supernatural thrillers THE TELLING (Realms May 2012) and THE RESURRECTION (Realms, 2011), an e-book fantasy novella entitled WINTERLAND (Amazon digital, Oct. 2011), and a non-fiction exploration on the intersection between the horror genre and evangelical fiction entitled CHRISTIAN HORROR (Blue Crescent Press May 2015). You can learn more about Mike Duran, his writing projects, cultural commentary, philosophical musings, and arcane interests, at http://www.mikeduran.com.
Publisher and lead acquisition editor for Mountain Brook Ink, Miralee Ferrell is also an award-winning author whose Western and historical fiction titles have appeared on the ECPA best-seller lists. Miralee founded Mountain Brook Ink in 2014 to fill a need she saw in the industry. It is a traditional, royalty-paying house that pays a small advance and employs a publicist, professional editors, and cover artists to produce and promote quality products. Mountain Brook Ink has released books with debut and multi-published authors alike. To date, the house has released 24 titles and has 15 additional books contracted for 2017–18. Mountain Brook Ink has four books that have been optioned as movies, with one of Miralee’s books under contract with the UP Channel for a three-movie-series.
SoCal native Lindsay Franklin is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mother of three. Her debut fantasy novel, The Story Peddler, releases in 2017 from Enclave Publishing, and her book of devotionals for young women, Adored, releases October 2017 from Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Lindsay has had dozens of short stories published, and she managed the flash fiction mayhem at Splickety Publishing Group for two years as Senior Operations Manager. She is a Bible college student and has taught fiction to wildly creative homeschooled junior and senior high students. Lindsay may or may not be addicted to full-leaf tea and organic coffee. Don’t tell anyone. Connect with Lindsay on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also follow her stuffed wombat on Instagram. Yeah, you read that right.
Author, editor, and writing coach Lori Freeland is an encourager at heart. She’s written numerous articles for new writers and presented at multiple writing workshops—including the North Texas Christian Writers Conference, the Orange County Christian Writers Conference, Romance Writers of America National Conference, and (two) week-long tracks at the West Texas Writers’ Academy. A former editor for The Christian Pulse, she’s a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, and has published a novella as well as contributed to several devotionals and anthologies. When she’s not drinking too much coffee, driving her husband crazy, or worrying about her kids, she loves dreaming up conflict and messing with the lives of the imaginary people living in her head.
Brian Godawa is the screenwriter for the award-winning feature film, To End All Wars, starring Kiefer Sutherland. Previously he adapted to film the best-selling supernatural novel The Visitation by author Frank Peretti, as well as writing and directing several documentaries for PBS and other producers. His popular book, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment is used as a textbook for film analysis in schools around the country. His Amazon best-selling novel series is Chronicles of the Nephilim, an imaginative retelling of the primeval history of Genesis, the fallen Watchers, and the wars of the giants. Website: www.Godawa.com.
Adria fostered her knack for developing creative work during her three years as an intern and assistant at Martin Literary & Media Management with Sharlene Martin and Clelia Gore. Adria is a 2016 graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, a six-week intensive course on all aspects of book, magazine, and digital media publishing. She is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, receiving a B.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis. Adria represents the Lifestyle genre and everything under the Christian umbrella—children’s, middle grade, young adult, adult fiction and nonfiction, including memoir. Adria lives in the Seattle area with her husband Alex, a youth pastor, and her bunny, Eleanor Roosevelt. To learn more about Adria and what she is looking for, check out her blog at http://www.AdriaGoetz.com. She tweets at @AdriaMGoetz.
An ECPA best-selling author, multiple award-winning journalist, experienced teacher, and seasoned speaker and performer. Her background as an aging southern beauty queen combines well with her writing and stage experience to give her a unique voice filled with humor and hope. Renae’s audience reaches beyond the Christian market. She has a passion for pointing people to God using humor and grace, and presents a message that is both appealing and nonthreatening. Renae’s background in theater and music, as well as her years in the teaching profession, make her a natural on the speaker’s platform. She’s comfortable in front of large or small groups, and her wit and easy style connects easily with audiences of all ages, races and backgrounds. She longs to use her gifts of writing and speaking to inspire others toward faith in God, and to help them use their talents and abilities to impact the world in a positive way. Renae has been featured at events in Texas, California and Louisiana as a comic, a serious speaker, and a worship leader. She’s also taught about writing and publishing at professional writers conferences around the country. She desires to reach people of all ages and cultural experiences with a message of hope and grace, and longs to pour herself into future generations in order to propel that message forward.
Tessa Emily Hall
Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teenagers they’re not alone in their struggles. The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second YA novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, released with Clean Reads fall 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling, and is a columnist for Broken But Priceless Magazine. Tessa also enjoys helping other writers achieve their dreams through her role as a Jr. Agent at Hartline Literary Agency.
When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
MacKenzie Howard is the editorial director of the gift and children’s areas of Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. She has been with the company for nearly eleven years and has worked on bestselling books with Sarah Young, Max Lucado, Lysa TerKeurst, and many others. She’s passionate about creating beautiful books that inspire people and draw them closer to Jesus.
Claire Hutchinson is a multiple award-winning screenwriter. Her screenplay about the euthanasia program in Nazi Germany, entitled “The Doctor,” won the Grand Prize at two major film festivals, Life Fest and the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival. Claire wrote the first MOW of a three-part Christmas series called “The Mystery of the Christmas Stars” for a client, which is under consideration by Hallmark. Recently, Claire wrote “Lucky’s Treasure” for Grace Alone Films. It will be distributed by Pureflix Entertainment (“God’s Not Dead”) in 2017. In total, she has written over 20 scripts in a wide variety of genres, and co-authored two film soundtracks.
Claire is also a professional script analyst. She has consulted for various individuals and film companies such as Living Water Media, Visual Productions, and Worthington Media, CV Films, and the Abel Company, getting rave reviews from all of her clients. One of her clients achieved 2nd place in the Kairos Prize with her script “The Shoe Box.” Another placed in the top ten finalists. Claire did a polish on the script/film entitled “The Third Day” for Visual Productions, which was nominated for five Crown Awards, including Best Documentary, Best International Film, and Best Picture.
Her goal is to inspire and equip screenwriters and producers to write and produce meaningful and high-quality scripts.
Associate Editor Susan King has been with The Upper Room magazine for twenty-two years while at the same time teaching English at Lipscomb University. Formerly she taught English and feature-writing classes at Biola University and Abilene Christian University, served as book editor and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, and wrote magazine features as a freelance writer. Susan and her husband, Joe, have three adult children and two young grandsons (both perfect, of course!).
“One of the most gifted novelists writing today.”
–Steven James, best-selling author
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROGENY, ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.
You can find Tosca at ToscaLee.com, on social media, or hanging around the snack table. FIRSTBORN, the highly-anticipated sequel to THE PROGENY, releases May, 2017!
Rachel A. Marks
Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory. As an artist, her work has appeared on several USA Today and NYT Bestselling books. As an author for teens, her debut series The Dark Cycle, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL (Skyscape, 2015), was a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Young Adult, and her new series Otherborn will be released Winter 2018.
A freelance writer, speaker, and lay counselor, Kathy has over 50 published nonfiction books with publishers such as Word, Bethany House, Elk Lake Publishers and Leafwood Publishers. Several of her books are best sellers and award winning books. Her first book was published in 1984 and her newest books are the revised Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Kathy has written in the genres of Christian Living, Bible commentaries, compiled books and Bible studies. Kathy’s writing includes over 1,000 articles, blog posts, and guest posts for various magazines and websites, including her own, www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries at women’s retreats, writers conferences, and events along with appearing on numerous radio and TV programs including The 700 Club. Her husband of 46 years, Larry, often co-writes and co-speaks with her and they live in Indio, CA. They have two children and two grandchildren.
I have built my CPA firm around serving the needs of the creative entrepreneur. I have the privilege of calling authors, bloggers, magazines, editors, independent publishing houses, digital designers, and photographers my clients. I provide services including the creation and review of contracts, personal and business taxes, business consulting, and bookkeeping. In other words, I live and breathe in the business world of the creative entrepreneur.
Sally Klein O’Connor
Sally Klein O’Connor is President of Improbable People Ministries (improbablepeople.org), a Christian music ministry founded in 1990. After graduating Berklee College of Music in Boston she began singing standards and original songs in L.A. clubs during the 80s. She served as a freelance writer for Music Connection Magazine, reviewing top recording artists of the day. Sally met her husband, Michael in a songwriting class taught by the late Jack Segal. Drawn to each other’s lyrics they began an unlikely collaboration from which sprang 3 daughters, many more songs, and a ministry of music and healing called Improbable People Ministries. Sally currently hosts the televised program Love Stories on the Internet-based Holy Spirit Broadcast Network. As a Jewish believer in Jesus Sally leads the special missions project A Tour ofRoses, an international outreach of healing and reconciliation.
Paul Regnier is the author of the Space Drifters science fiction series. He is a technology junkie, drone pilot, web designer, drummer, Star Wars nerd, recovering surfer, coffee snob and a wannabe Narnian with a fascination for all things futuristic. He has turned his childhood love of storytelling into a professional pursuit. Paul lives in Orange County, CA with his wife and two children.
Tim Riter transitioned several decades as a pastor into a professional writing and educational career. Winner of the Pacesetter Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, he has nine royalty published nonfiction books in Christian living and has spent the last eight years combining the best practices of both writing and speech communication at the university and high school level. He taught AP English Language and Composition, and with half of the class not being previous honor students, he had a 90% pass rate, with the national average at 55%. He has also been published in Discipleship Journal, Moody Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications.
He has taught major tracks at Mount Hermon CWC for five years on Ministry and Writing, and given the keynote address and done workshops at the Antelope Valley CWC. He has spoken at about 25 different conferences on spiritual life and/or writing. He has an MA in Communication from Pepperdine, an MA in Ministry from Hope International University, and a BA in History from Pepperdine.
A semi-reconstructed Jesus freak from the Jesus Movement days, he yearns to reach our secular culture with the radical transformation that God can bring to a life. His blog “Unconventional,” at timriter.com, offers small issues that have huge impacts.
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. Jill writes fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. She loves working with teenagers, giving writing workshops, and blogging for teen writers at www.GoTeenWriters.com. She has published two writing craft books: Go Teen Writers and Storyworld First. Jill is also a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant. She is the author of the Blood of Kings trilogy, the Safe Lands trilogy, and the Kinsman Chronicles. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
Ben Wolf is a multiple award-winning author and the founder/Editor-In-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group (SPG), publishers of three flash fiction magazines: Splickety Magazine (young adult fiction), Havok Magazine (speculative fiction), and Spark Magazine (romance fiction.)
Ben’s debut novel, Blood for Blood won the 2015 Cascade Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel and has been characterized as “bold…with nonstop tension” and “hard to put down.” It examines the question of whether or not God can redeem anyone—even a vampire. His debut children’s book, I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You, won the 2016 Cascade Award.
When not running Splickety or writing fiction, Ben is a sought-after freelance editor whose waitlist for new clients often exceeds six months, and he specializes in helping speculative fiction authors make their work stand out.
For more information about his writing and his professional services, please visit his website, www.benwolf.com.
Founding member of Serenade Books—a boutique publisher focusing on romance e-books in the inspirational market—where she hones her publishing skills as an acquisitions editor, co-managing editor, and author liaison. Her deepest passions are the Word of God and bringing His truth, whether in her own books or the books of other authors, to readers. She teaches workshops about writing and publishing at conferences across the country, produces podcasts, and is the co-creator of Write from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s also an award-winning humor writer who has a remarkable gift for making her readers laugh out loud even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith. Her recent book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, has been repeatedly accused of making readers laugh until they cry. Find out more about Serenade Books at serenadebooks.com. Visit the podcast and website resource at writefromthedeep.com to find encouragement, refreshment, and truth, from writers, for writers.