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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.

Judith Starkston
Session:Writing Successful Historical Fiction 

Judith Starkston writes historical fiction and mysteries set in Troy and the Hittite Empire. Her novel, Hand of Fire (Fireship Press September 2014), tells Briseis’s story, the captive woman who sparked the bitter conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in the Iliad. There was more to her than the handful of lines Homer gave her. Imagine a woman who can both challenge and love that most conflicted of heroes, the half-immortal Achilles.
Starkston is a classicist (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. Cornell University) who taught high school English, Latin and humanities. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Arizona with their golden retriever Socrates. An excerpt from Hand of Fire, book reviews, ancient recipes, historical tidbits as well as on-going information about the historical fiction community can be found on Starkston’s website www.judithstarkston.com.

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.

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.

  

Susan Pohlman
Session:  TBA

Susan Pohlman is a freelance writer, writing instructor/coach and Transformational Travel Retreat leader based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her memoir Halfway to Each Other was the winner of the Relationships category and runner-up in the Memoir category in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It was shortlisted for the 2010 Inspy Awards.

She has written six short films for the Baltimore 48 Hour Film Project and her essays have been published in The Washington Times, Family Digest, The Family, Raising Arizona Kids, Guideposts Magazine, Homelife Magazine, AZ Parenting, Goodhousekeeping.com and Italiannotebook.com.

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