Keynote Speaker

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Jay Asher

Jay Asher‘s debut YA novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, is a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. In 2017, it was released as a Netflix original series. His two other YA novels are The Future of Us and What Light, and his first graphic novel, Piper, will be released later this year. His books are published in 40 languages.

You can learn more about Jay Asher at jayasher.blogspot.com.

Featured 2017 Releases

Piper

Long ago, in a small village in the middle of a deep, dark forest, there lived a lonely, deaf girl named Maggie. Shunned by her village because of her disability, her only comfort comes from her vivid imagination. Maggie has a gift for inventing stories and dreams of one day finding her fairy-tale love.
 
When Maggie meets the mysterious Piper, it seems that all her wishes are coming true. Spellbound, Maggie falls hard for him and plunges headfirst into his magical world. But as she grows closer to the Piper, Maggie discovers that he has a dark side.
 
The boy of Maggie's dreams might just turn out to be her worst nightmare...

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13 Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. 
                
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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Pre-Conference Speaker

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Diane Drake

Diane Drake is an accomplished professional screenwriter, writing instructor, story consultant, speaker, and author. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Academy Award-winning director/producer Sydney Pollack. Her first produced original script, Only You, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, is the second highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. In addition, both films have recently been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars.

Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America and has been an instructor/mentor/panelist for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, Atlanta Film festival, Scriptwriter’s Network, Story Development Group, University Club, The Phoenix Screenwriters Association, and Writer’s Store. She has also served as a judge for the Humanitas Prize, UCLA Extension Contest, and Austin Film festival, and a mentor for the Young Storytellers and the ISA (International Screenwriters Association) Diane has been featured in IndieWire, Script, MovieMaker, and Creative Screenwriting Magazines. She recently released her debut book, Get Your Story Straight (Reel Life Publishing, May 2016).

 

 

Agents

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Melissa Edwards

Melissa Edwards joined Stonesong as a literary agent in August 2016. Previously, she was a literary agent at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency, where she managed the foreign rights for a 40-year backlist. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School, Melissa began her career as a litigation attorney before transitioning into publishing. She is a tireless advocate for her clients and a constant partner during the publication process and beyond. Melissa represents authors of children’s fiction, adult commercial fiction, and select pop-culture nonfiction. She is looking for warm and timeless middle grade fiction and accessible young adult fiction. For adults, she is looking for fast-paced thrillers and smart women’s fiction. She can be found on Twitter @MelissaLaurenE, where she often tweets her active Manuscript Wishlist requests under #MSWL.

 
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Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen represents debut to New York Times bestselling authors. She’s signed authors with small presses to major publishing house distribution. She received her master’s in 2008 and creative writing specialization in 2017. Predominately she represents YA SF/F but has a secret addiction for romance. While these are her favorite, she handles everything fiction from children’s books to adult thrillers.

Previously an editor for Mind’s Eye Literary Magazine, she became a part of Metamorphosis in July 2016. Originally looking to help Midwest authors garner the attention of major publishing houses, despite residing in “flyover states,” she found camaraderie with multiple agents and editors.

 
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Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management, representing both fiction and nonfiction. In the publishing business since 1995, Rachelle previously worked for two publishing houses, and currently represents an impressive list of more than 60 bestselling and award-winning authors. She’s looking for mainstream commercial projects for both the Christian and general markets. An author with an understanding of platform and social media is always appreciated!

 

Editors

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Rebecca Gober

Rebecca Gober has sixteen years of experience in upper level management, leadership, sales, marketing, and business relations. She has a history of finding ways to market outside the box and a passion for social media marketing and customer relations. She’s not afraid to take risks and doesn’t believe in the word impossible. Since entering the publishing world in 2011, Rebecca has co-authored seven young adult novels and has since gone on to open Clean Teen Publishing. Rebecca is continually working hard to make new strides in the publishing world.

 

Courtney Knight

Courtney Knight graduated from UNT with a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies. She went on to teach middle school where she found her love for the young adult genre. Courtney is a perfectionist who loves to work behind the scenes in formatting and web design. She believes that the interior formatting of a book should shine as much as the exterior does. Since entering the publishing world in 2011, Courtney has co-authored seven young adult novels and has since gone on to open Clean Teen Publishing. Courtney is committed to making her mark in the publishing world.

 
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Rhonda Penders

Rhonda is president and editor-in-chief of The Wild Rose Press. She and her business partner, RJ Morris, opened the company back in 2006. TWRP, as it is affectionately known, is home to authors worldwide and currently has over 3000 active titles. Although started as a romance only publisher, they opened their garden gate to adult mainstream fiction (including historical fiction, science fiction, erotica, thrillers, etc.) in 2013. They also publish YA, but do not currently work with children’s books or poetry. They publish in ebook format as well as print and audio. Rhonda lives in Upstate New York in a tiny hamlet nestled along the Erie Canal. She and her husband, Scott, have been married 32 years and have three adult sons, two cats, and an annoying spoiled Siberian husky. She enjoys writing, boating, cooking, and baking and is never happier than when all her sons are around her table.

 
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Ally Robertson

Ally Robertson is Editor of The Wild Rose Press’s Crimson Line, which houses the romantic suspense, mystery/suspense, and thriller genres.

Looking for: Any romance genre, general mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, suspense, sci-fi, paranormal, almost anything except nonfiction.

 
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Melissa Ann Singer

Melissa Ann Singer has worked at Tor/Forge Books for more than thirty years. Before that, she spent several years at the Berkley Publishing Group. She is currently a Senior Editor as well as Manager of Editorial Operations, which means that in addition to editing, she builds procedures and does other things that keep the editorial department functioning. 

She has edited almost every genre or category of commercial fiction, with the exception of romance, and has dabbled in nonfiction editing. At the moment she is most interested in horror, thrillers/mysteries/suspense fiction, disaster novels, historical fiction, epic fantasy, and contemporary women’s fiction—particularly if the protagonist is 35 or older. 

She is very interested in non-traditional settings and diverse characters and is looking for under-represented voices. A native of NYC, she lives in a small apartment with a large cat, loves art museums and the theater, and has a raft of hobbies and interests that reflect her general nerdishness.

 

Speakers

Mark Alpert

Mark Alpert is an author of internationally bestselling science thrillers and a contributing editor at Scientific American. In his long journalism career, he has specialized in explaining scientific ideas to readers and simplifying esoteric concepts such as extra dimensions and parallel universes. And now, in his novels, Alpert weaves cutting-edge theories and technologies into high-energy thrillers that make the science come to life.

A lifelong science geek, Alpert majored in astrophysics at Princeton University and wrote his undergraduate thesis on the application of Einstein’s theory of relativity to Flatland, a hypothetical universe with only two spatial dimensions. (The resulting paper was published in the Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation and has been cited in more than 100 scholarly articles.) After Princeton, Alpert entered the creative writing program at Columbia University, where he earned an M.F.A. in poetry in 1984. He started his journalism career as a small-town reporter for the Claremont (NH) Eagle Times, then moved on to the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser. In 1987 he became a reporter for Fortune Magazine, and over the next five years he wrote about the computer industry and emerging technologies. During the 1990s, Alpert worked freelance, contributing articles to Popular Mechanics and writing anchor copy for CNN's Moneyline show. He also began to write fiction, selling his first short story to Playboy in 1991.

In 1998 Alpert joined the board of editors at Scientific American, where he edited feature stories for the magazine and wrote a column on high-tech gadgets. With his love for science reawakened, he wrote his first novel, Final Theory, about Albert Einstein and his historic quest for the Theory of Everything. Published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in 2008, Final Theory was hailed as one of the best thrillers of the year by Booklist and the American Booksellers Association. Foreign rights to the novel were sold in more than twenty languages, Reader’s Digest condensed the book, and the movie rights were acquired by Radar Pictures, a Los Angeles film-production company.

Alpert continued the saga of the Theory of Everything in his second book, The Omega Theory, a gripping story about religious fanatics who try to trigger Doomsday by altering the laws of quantum physics. His next thriller, Extinction, focused on brain-computer interfaces and a collective intelligence that decides to exterminate the human race. His fourth novel, The Furies, told the story of an ancient clan who share a genetic mutation so shocking that its discovery changes the course of history. His 2016 thriller, The Orion Plan, described an extraterrestrial invasion of New York City. And his young adult trilogy—The Six (2015), The Siege (2016), and The Silence (to be published in July 2017)—is about six dying teenagers whose lives are “saved” when their minds are downloaded into U.S. Army robots. The Six earned extravagant praise from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Goosebumps author R.L. Stine and was nominated for the Cybils Awards.

Alpert lives in New York City with his wife and two non-robotic teenagers. He's a proud member of Scientific American's softball team, the Big Bangers.

 
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Linda Apple

Linda Apple is a Mississippi gal whose roots run deep in the South. Her stories flow from generations of Southern women who shared their stories and their wisdom while cooking, enjoying meals together, and rocking on the front porch in the velvety, magnolia-perfumed evening breeze. From this rich heritage of storytelling and these memories, Linda’s path to writing was formed. 

She believes everyone has a story and that these stories matter. They are the thread that weaves humanity together and helps us to understand others. Her personal experience stories have been published in sixteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has two books, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter and Writing From Your Soul, that teach others to write their stories. She has taught workshops across the Midwest and East coast of the United States and in the United Kingdom.

She also tells her stories through fiction. Her books, Women of Washington Avenue and Avalee’s Gift, are the first two books in her Moonlight Mississippi series. She is currently working on book three. 

In addition to writing, she is also a motivational speaker. Her desire is to encourage, affirm, nurture talent, and equip people in order to help them achieve their goals and follow their dreams. 

She has served as president for the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., and presently serves as the Arkansas Regional Speaker Trainer for Stonecroft. Linda and her husband, Neal, live in Northwest Arkansas. They have five married children and thirteen grandchildren.

 
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William Bernhardt

William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than forty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, two books of poetry (The White Bird, The Ocean’s Edge), and a series of books on fiction writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His monthly Red Sneaker Writers Newsletter reaches over twenty thousand people, and the Red Sneakers phone app reaches many more. He is the only writer to have received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large." In addition to his novels, he has written plays, a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction, children books, biography, poetry, and puzzles. OSU named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man,” noting that in addition to writing novels, he can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, prepare homemade ice cream, beat you at Scrabble, and work the New York Times crossword in under five minutes.”

 
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Jack Burgos

Jack Burgos is a 33-year-old author of transgressive, speculative fiction living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was born in Miami, Florida, the son of Colombian and Cuban immigrants. He graduated cum laude from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2007, with a B.A. in English, a B.A. in philosophy, a political science minor, and a concentration in creative writing. He graduated with an M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Tulsa in 2013.

Jack co-founded the writing critique group Nevermore Edits in 2012, through which he continues to improve his craft. His work has been published in Happy Days, Sweetheart, Beyond the Nightlight, Now Playing in Theater B, Dark and Dangerous Things III, and The Book of Blasphemous Words. He edited Broken Worlds, published by A Murder of Storytellers. His series Stormborn debuted on May 1, 2017, with its first book, 13 Hearts to Start a Storm.

Jack serves as the webmaster for the Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc. and as the treasurer for Nevermore Edits. When he isn't engaged in writing-related activities, Jack proudly works as a home-based counselor in Youth Services of Tulsa's CARS program.

 
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Henry Cline

Henry Cline was born in 1994 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Living in Mustang all of his life, he has been writing since he was seven and started writing novels consistently at the age of eleven. His other passions include playing the electric guitar, cooking, and baking. His first published novel, Development Code: RED, was self-published when he was only fifteen. Too Close for Comfort followed later when he was twenty, and The Platinum Briefcase will be released through Sands Press Publishing Company in the fall of 2017. His debut album, Resilience, was released September 2016. There is still plenty more to come!

 
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Arlene Gale

If it needs writing, Arlene Gale “The Book Writing Business Coach” can do it with her 30 years of professional writing and international speaking experience. Her writing services range from working with clients as a writing coach, accountability partner, or ghostwriter. She offers a full range of writing services, including editing, marketing, and best-seller campaigns. Arlene also helps authors create professional signature speeches and presentation materials. Through her passion for writing and her step-by-step writing program, Arlene works with professionals to write and market top quality books for leveraging their business expertise and growing their business. While Arlene specializes in writing nonfiction, she also coaches fiction writers. Arlene is responsible for helping clients win local, state, and national recognition. Her nonfiction book Face Forward Move Forward is a multiple international and national award winner. It was an Amazon.com “#1 Best New Release” and “#1 Best Seller,” both in four categories. During her extensive career, Arlene has written books for dozens of clients, more than a thousand magazine articles, hundreds of advertisements, multiple social media platform content, website content, and more. In 2016, the national SCORE office recognized Arlene’s writing business with a “Small Business Champions Award.” She has a B.S. in advertising/public relations, with a minor in radio, television, film and a master’s in marketing with a specialization in communications.

 

Tamara Grantham

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than half a dozen books and novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, and a RONE award for best New Adult Romance. It is also a #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Mythology and Fairy Tales categories.

Tamara holds a bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at the Rose State Writing Conference, and she also been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World. She collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking long walks, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGranthamBooks.com.

 
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Vickey Malone Kennedy

Vickey Malone Kennedy—aka vck—won 1st Place in the Genre Fiction in the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition. She is also a former Darrell Award winner and an OWFI Crème de la Crème recipient.  

She received a BA in Theatre, Acting/Set Design from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and continued her graduate studies in Theatre, Acting/Light Design at Oklahoma State University.

She is a former Editor-In-Chief of 4RV Publishing, former President of Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Inc., and a proud Yard Dog Press author.

A retire licensed nurse, vck is now a full time Science Fiction/Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Author, a full time Granny, and a part-time movie extra.

 
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Mariana Llanos

Mariana Llanos was born in Lima, Peru. The daughter of two journalists, Mariana developed an early passion for writing and reading. Mariana wrote poetry, short stories, and plays all the way through school. She studied theatre in the prestigious school CuatroTablas based in Lima, and moved to Oklahoma in 2002. In 2013, she published her first book, Tristan Wolf, which won a finalist spot in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Award and a spot in the 2013 Gittle List Independent Book Awards. Since then, she has published eight children’s books independently in English and Spanish. Her work geared toward an adult audience has appeared on Writer's Resist, Blackbirds Thirds Flight, a Haunting of Words, among others. But Mariana’s real passion was ignited after discovering the magic of virtual technology. Using Skype and Google Hangouts, she has visited more than 150 schools in the United States and around the world. These visits allow Mariana to spread her love for reading and writing, as well as to promote understanding and cultural awareness. Recently, Mariana signed a contract with the publishing company Penny Candy Books for the publication of her new children's story, Luca's Bridge, which will be available next spring. Meanwhile, Mariana continues her work of visiting schools, enticing young minds with the magic of her children’s literature.

 
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Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-around book lover. She runs the book blog Chick Lit Plus, focusing on book reviews and author features. She currently has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up to I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise, with her sixth novel due out in fall of 2017. Samantha created CLP Blog Tours in 2012 and has run over 500 online blog tours for authors, in addition to other book marketing services and also editing and proofreading services. You can also find Samantha on YouTube and Instagram as a beauty influencer, with a combined following of over 40,000 followers.

 

Adriana Mather

Adriana Mather is a full-time writer, producer, and actor. She owns a production company called Zombot Pictures, which produces feature films, including the award-winning Honeyglue. She lives in Los Angeles, California. How to Hang a Witch was her first novel and Haunting the Deep will be released by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers in October 2017. Look for her on Twitter at @AdrianaMather and on Facebook at @AdrianaMatherauthor.

 
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BJ McMinn

B.J. McMinn lives in N.E. Oklahoma with her husband of fifty-four years. She published her first book of a six-book series in 2007. Since then she has published ten novels, three novellas, and three instructional books for beginning authors.

 

Adrean Messmer

Adrean Messmer is the penname of Connor Orion, a horror writer living in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a tiny human she put together from some spare parts and a technowizard husband. She has too many cats and a dog who's really a magician. Her earliest memory is watching The Amityville Horror with her mother. She grew up afraid of everything and her mother always taught her to share.

 

 
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Brian Roe

Brian S. Roe is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, and a graduate of Herron School of Art and Design. Having grown up in his father’s print shop, Brian has seen first-hand the transition from print to digital media and strives to embrace both the history and the future of graphic art. He is an artist, writer, and freelance graphic designer who enjoys the act of creating above all else and takes great pleasure in helping others to create as well.

 
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Tara Lynn Thompson

Tara Lynn Thompson is an Emmy and Addy award-winning writer and author of Not Another Superhero and Just Another Sidekick, the first two books in The Another Series. Starting her career as a newspaper beat reporter at age 19, Tara Lynn quickly moved into newspaper management within five years. After managing two Tulsa magazines, she launched her own creative content company, Tara Lynn Creative, running it for five years before taking a position in Oklahoma City as the senior creative writer for an advertising agency and moving into the position of manager of content strategy for a digital marketing agency. She has worked on national campaigns, written for national businesspeople and celebrities, taught as an adjunct professor, and makes frequent presentations on creative writing and marketing strategy to civic groups and businesses. She now works full-time as an author, teacher, contract creative writer and is currently working on her next book. You can connect with Tara Lynn on her website, TaraLynnThompson.com or via Facebook at AuthorTaraLynnThompson.

 
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Hannah Joy Wilkinson

Hannah Joy Wilkinson is a part time compliance specialist at a local bank as well as a writer, blogger, and Bethany House book reviewer. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, before settling in McAlester, Oklahoma, with her beloved husband, Stan, and their two ornery cats. She enjoys spending time with God in His word with a good cup of coffee, discovering the joys of growing things in the garden, and reading too many books at one time. She has published numerous short stories full of fascinating history ranging from the time of ancient Israel’s judges to the Russian Night Witches of World War II. The Moor and the Maiden is her first Christian historical novel set in the time of the Crusades and debuts September 26, 2017.

 
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Erin York

Erin York is an author and editor in her late 20s. She received her B.A. in creative writing from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and her master's in education from the University of South Carolina. Her first collection of poetry, The Light You Cannot Touch, was published by Puff Puff in 2014 and won the international Author's Circle Award for Excellence in 2017. Currently, she is in her first year of her Ph.D. studies at the University of South Carolina; has co-authored a second collection of poetry, La Petite Mort, with renowned Chicago-based poet, Joseph Burrows; and has built a niche LGBTQ+ audience on Fanfiction.net where her first novel received over 75,000 reads (and counting). She co-owns Novel Edits, which helps emerging and well-known authors polish and publish their work and speaks nationally about writing, editing, and social media platforming. Follow her journey at www.erinyorkauthor.com to learn more.