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Speakers

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2015 Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:

Tom Leveen
Keynote Session: 
What No One Else Will Tell You About Publishing

Tom Leveen is the author of six novels with imprints of Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harry Abrams, with his seventh (Hellworld) due in Fall 2016. His titles include Party, Zero, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick, Random, and Shackled. He’s also a writing teacher and speaker who has taught and spoken at ASU’s Your Novel Year program; Desert Nights, Rising Stars; Romance Writers of America; SCBWI; and many book conferences and festivals. He can be found online at tomleveen.com and fictionmentor.com, and on Facebook at /AuthorTomLeveen.

WORKSHOP SPEAKERS:

Betty Webb
Session: Writing the Contemporary Novel

Betty Webb is the author of the nationally best-selling Lena Jones mystery series (Desert Rage, Desert Wives, Desert Noir, Desert Wind, etc.) and the humorous Gunn Zoo mysteries (The Koala of Death, the Llama of Death, etc.)  Before beginning to write full time, Betty worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents, astronauts  who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize-winners, and polygamy runaways.  She has taught creative writing classes and workshops at Arizona State University and Phoenix College, has been a nationally-syndicated literary critic for more than 20 years, and is currently reviewing for Mystery Scene Magazine.  In addition to other organizations, Betty is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Connie Flynn
Session: Character Alchemization – Make them Live and Breathe

Connie Flynn wrote her first short story in the fourth grade for a wonderful teacher named Mr. Ryan who encouraged her vivid imagination and strong storytelling skills. She has taught creative writing and founded an online novel writing school but writing itself is her true love. Now busy with her next novel, she knows how lucky she is to have found out what she wants to be when she grows up.

 

Rita Ackerman
Session: Expand Your Research – Expand Your Writing

Born and raised near Dodge City, Kansas, home to a steady stream of popular Westerns in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Ackerman has the Old West in her blood. After moving to Arizona in 1967, she earned a BA in social work at ASU, got married and started a family. Along the way she discovered genealogy and became a professional researcher, instructor, and speaker.

A special client brought her back to her love of the Old West and published her book, O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton (Talei Publishers, Inc., 2006.) She writes a monthly column on town history in the “Tombstone Times” and has been published in “Wild West Magazine,” “The National Epitaph,” The Wild West Historical Association Journal, and “Chronicles of the Old West.” Research clients have included numerous family historians, authors, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, film agencies, and historians.

She also has two blogs, is co-founder of the Writers Inspiration Group, and various other groups. You can learn more at http://www.ritaackerman.weebly.com and http://www.ritaackerman.wordpress.com.

 

Drew Eastmead
Session:  Becoming a Content Marketing Writer

Drew is currently the Director of Content Marketing Education at Vertical Measures, an award-winning digital agency in Phoenix. He worked in New York City for 10 years before moving to Scottsdale in 2014. His past experience includes stints at Nielsen, Avon, and Incisive Media. His expertise includes content marketing, digital strategy, website management, social media, and user experience. Drew graduated from Miami (Ohio) University with a journalism degree. He is passionate about playing and watching sports, particularly college basketball.

Kris Tualla
Session:  Publishing in the 21st Century

Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series. An active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime, she was a guest instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Kris co-created The Dreams Convention – combining Arizona’s only romance-reader event: ArizonaDreaminEvent.com and its author-focused companions: BuildintheDream.com and Realizing Your Dreams.

 

Lori Beasley Bradley
Session: Writing is a team sport - from editors to critique groups, how to compile the right players to help you succeed  

I was born and raised in a small town in rural southern Illinois. I have always had a love of reading, writing, and history. My first love was Gothic Romance, then Gothic Horror, in high school I read Dune and fell in love with Science Fiction, after high school I picked up a Darkover novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley and fell in love with Fantasy, now I read everything I can get my hands on by James Rollins or Steve Berry. As you can see, my reading has been all over the map. I would like to think that my writing has been inspired by them all. I wrote and published my first novel, The Legend of the Swamp Witch, which is now available on Amazon.com.  I am currently working on a project called The Soiled Dove Sagas about young women who find themselves making their livings as prostitutes in the 19th century Old West. With my first book I realized, writing is not the hard part, Marketing is.

Cody Wagner
Session: Writing is a team sport - from editors to critique groups, how to compile the right players to help you succeed  

Cody is thrilled to be speaking at the Avondale Writers Conference this year. He became intrigued with the critique process after studying under award-winning writer slash professor Merrill Feitell. Her critical understanding of character development and story structure lodged itself in his brain. Consequently, after moving to northern Arizona, he founded Page Writer’s Group and focused on critique. Upon transferring to Phoenix, he has attended every group and workshop he can get his hands on. Cody now moderates sessions for the Central Phoenix Writing Workshop.
Cody’s debut novel, The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, will be available October 27th, and he’s giving out hugs to everyone who grabs a copy. The sequel is underway, as is another novel and a short story collection. Cody also blogs like crazy and can be found online at http://www.wagner-writer.com or on Twitter @cfjwagner.


Bios coming soon for:

Jacob Shaver, Writing is a team sport - from editors to critique groups, how to compile the right players to help you succeed  

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