Keynote Session: Riding the Wave
Amy Silverman is managing editor at Phoenix New Times and a commentator for KJZZ, the National Public Radio affiliate in Phoenix. Her work also has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in The New York Times. Amy holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She lives in Arizona with her husband Ray and daughters Annabelle and Sophie. Learn more about myheartcantevenbelieveit.com
Jesse Caufield is branch manager for the Avondale Civic Center Library, and has worked for the city for ten years. She has hosted the library’s book club for the past four years and has purchased adult books, children’s books, and ebooks. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Library and information Science from the University of Arizona. She grew up in the Alaskan rainforest and now lives in the Arizona desert with her husband Sean.
Session: How to blog and earn money in a Google world
Nearly 90% of people now turn to search engines prior to making a purchase decision. This is why organizations are churning out content on their company websites. As writers make the transition from long-form content to short-form articles and blog posts, learn how to write for the web, for the search engines (like Google), and also for the audience.
As director of content marketing education, Drew Eastmead leads the Content Coaching program at Vertical Measures, an award-winning digital agency in Phoenix. He has 12 years of digital experience, including 10 in New York City, where he worked at Nielsen, Avon, and Incisive Media. His expertise includes digital strategy, content marketing, website management, SEO, user experience, and social media. In addition to his passion for playing and watching sports, Drew and his wife have 2 cats and 2 rescue dogs.
Valerie Bandura Finn
Session:Who’s Who Now: A look at the changing landscape of contemporary American poetry
Born in the former Soviet Union, Valerie Bandura’s collection of poems, FREAK SHOW (Black Lawrence Press, 2013) was a 2014 Patterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her second book, HUMAN INTEREST (Black Lawrence Press) is slated for publication in 2017. Bandura is a graduate of Columbia University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She was the recipient of the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellowship, and residency from the Vermont Studio and Bread Load Writer’s Conference. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Cimarron Reiew, Crazyhorse, Mid-Atlantic Review, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Beloit Poetry Review, Best New Poets, and others. She teaches writing at Arizona State University where she lives with her husband, fiction writer Patrick Michael Finn, and their son.
Terry Green Sterling
Session: Wire Your Writing
Terry Greene Sterling is the writer-in-residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. This year, she launched the popular Cronkite Writers Workshop, a safe workshop space for students to explore the elements of literary nonfiction. An author, magazine writer and well-known Arizona journalist, Greene Sterling She was a staff writer at Phoenix New Times for 14 years. Her writing has appeared online and/or in print in The Village Voice, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The National Journal Magazine, longform.org, Arizona Highways and other publications. She’s working on her second narrative nonfiction book, co-authored with KJZZ reporter Jude Joffe-Block, on immigration-themed discriminatory policing battles in the Phoenix area.
Deborah L. Ledford
Session: To Be Announced
An Agatha Award Winner, and three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Deborah L. Ledford is a screenwriter and award-winning author of the Inola Walela and Steven Hawk suspense series. She is president of the independent media company IOF Productions, Ltd. and producer of CAUSING CHAOS and CRESCENDO, the 2016 and 2014 Anthony Award Nominees for Best Audiobook narrated by television and film actress Christina Cox. Deborah is also an Adjunct Professor for Arizona State University’s Piper Writer Center for Creative Writing.
Iain has experience as a reporter, blogger and Author of Between Daylight and Hell, which is due for release in the UK in November, and in the US in February 2017. Coming from Scotland, Iain provides a unique international perspective on the industry.
Born in Scotland in 1956. Iain started working as a trainee newspaper reporter straight from school in 1974. He went from high school on the Friday and started working in a local paper on the Monday. No degree or college training was required then.
Iain stayed in the newspaper/media industry in Scotland for 40 years in various capacities including news reporter, features writer, news editor, and editor. The first 15 years of his professional life was spent using typewriters but, since the advent of computer technology he has embraced the changes and become an enthusiastic blogger. In 1989 Iain was co-recipient of Scotland’s Reporter of the Year award for coverage of the previous year’s Piper Alpha oil platform disaster, in which 167 workers lost their lives in the North Sea.
Iain has also written for a variety of magazines on topics including the environment, military affairs, travel features, human interest stories, business, history and heritage, genealogy, and general nostalgia. He also produced three radio series and spent several years heading up news agencies, providing story material to national newspapers and magazines.
Iain currently works as a content writer with a search engine optimization company; he provides stories to an online magazine called Positively Scottish; he write a weekly blog, Just a Wee Blether, about various aspects of being a Scot in America; carrying out proofreading and copy editing work; and contribute to a Celtic magazine in Arizona called the Desert Shamrock.
His new book concerns Scottish people who left their native land, came to the States, and disgraced themselves in a variety of ways. In all cases their ‘crimes’ have been largely unrecorded or forgotten. They include a serial killer, a crooked politician, a drunken army general, and a greedy land-grabber.
Session: The Art of the Short Story
Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. A freelance writer for over twenty years, she professionally blogs and manages Seekerville, a 13 author blog currently about to begin its ninth year. Seekerville is a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers awardee and has over forty-thousand visitors a month. www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. In 2016 Safe in the Fireman’s Arms was a Holt Medallion Merit Award finalist and a Detroit Bookseller’s Best finalist. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over fifteen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine and dozens of stories to the Trues. Her seventh book from Harlequin/Harper Collins Publishers and will release in December 2016. She has also independently published six novellas. Tina currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.
Tina is represented by Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds Literary, LLC.
Session: Ready, Set, Write!
Is it hard to bring your settings to life? Are one-dimensional characters populating your plots? Are your plots on a road to nowhere? Here’s one way to plan just enough, but still allow your story to grow organically. You’ll be able to paint a picture of the settings for your readers, to create 3-dimensional characters, and write a compelling plot.
Deena spends her time playing in the Garden of Good and Evil as she writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. She’s been known to have downed a few beers with her angels, and even put Satan in his place a time or two. She’s fascinated with the concept of immortality and all its implications. When she’s not writing, she’s teaching kids how to, and has been an educator for more than twenty-six years. Gilbert, Arizona, near her beloved Superstition Mountains, is where she and her family call home.
Laura Truman has been a librarian for the Avondale Public Library for ten years. During that time, she has hosted programming for all ages and has been purchasing young adult books, Spanish language books, DVDs and ebooks. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Arizona. She lives in Phoenix with her dog, Minnie.