Meet Our Pre-Published Authors
The Seymour Agency is proud to continue to search for talented new authors and fresh voices to bring into the industry. Meet some of our gifted, soon-to-be-published clients. For more information on how to qualify, contact us in Canton, New York
Mike Ajnsztajn is a serial entrepreneur and participates in an international network of investors, Angels, Venture Capital, and Private Equity funds. He is the founder and ACE Startups, the largest startup accelerator in Latin America In addition, he is also the Founder and Chairman of the Board of GVAngels, one of the largest and most active angel investing groups in Brazil.
Mike is fluent in five languages and grew up in Brazil, in a family that was an amalgam of nationalities; a Polish father. Egyptian mother and German sister. Mike married an American Jersey girl; his family is the real Tower of Babel.
After graduation from business school, Mike worked for large multinational companies and had the opportunity to live many years in Paris and China.
He decided to abandon a prominent executive career to return to Brazil and spend a few months with his father, that was diagnosed with terminal cancer, before becoming an entrepreneur and starting his first business.
Nowadays, Mike divides his time between Sāo Paulo and New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and a smart border collie.
Maya Ameyaw is a contemporary YA writer. She was born and raised in Toronto by a family of poets and artists. Previously, she worked as a bookseller while studying sociology at York University. She currently works for InkWell Workshops, a community writing group for people with lived experience of mental health issues and as a counsellor at the Canadian Mental Health Association. Maya has curated and edited several mental health themed anthologies for youth and adults with funding from the Toronto Arts Council. When It All Synchs Up, her contemporary YA work in progress, has been awarded grants by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council of the Arts.
Maya has a YouTube channel where she interviews YA authors about their unique paths to publication and debut experiences. In her free time, she enjoys cuddling up with her adorable dwarf rabbit and devouring as much YA as possible.
Julie Augensen is a children’s author, writing adventurous fiction and branching into nonfiction picture books. Her stories range from humorous to folk tale. As a reluctant reader, she hit her reading stride in middle school when she discovered the Laura Ingles Wilder series. She lives in Tampa, FL, with her husband and a teenaged son. As a lover of pink, all things girly, dark chocolate, and a decaf caramel latte with almond milk, Julie is pursuing a writing career and she is a senior at USF earning a Studio Art degree. Julie is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Tim Berry is the founder of the Center for Positive Change LLC. As such, he has enjoyed wearing two professional hats. First, he has consistently maintained a clinical practice (psychotherapy) in psychology. His particular focus for over 30-years has been in coaching individuals and couples towards positive transitional changes. Second, as a consulting psychologist and leadership coach, Tim helps organizations, family-businesses, and individuals resolve difficult blind spots, restricting productivity, personal fulfillment, and peak performance. He was a licensed fly-fishing guide for 18-years in California and Washington. When appropriate, he continues to utilize the water in his Transition-Coaching work. Experience has shown that doing the coaching work on the water expedites the coaching process exponentially.
By way of training, Tim holds master's and doctoral degrees in both theology and psychology. Since 1982 he has been interested professionally in both organizational and leadership development and leadership transition issues. Tim has advanced training in sports psychology, biofeedback, and interactive guided imagery, making him particularly useful in coaching leaders who seek to lead from their center.
The Center for Positive Change LLC is located in the charming town of Missoula, Montana. Montana in general and Missoula specifically are world-famous as vacation destinations for discerning travelers and as a fly-fishing mecca.
Thornton Blease wants to live in a world where horses, dragons, and mermaids roam free, and everyone can reach their fullest potential.
As a teen, Thornton won 26 gold keys and three National titles from Scholastic's Teen Art and Writing Awards and has been published in Scholastic's Teens' Best Writing. As a young adult, he is a judge for the same awards.
He has a BA from Sarah Lawrence and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from The New School.
Conferences allow him to travel the country to hone his craft and encourage children, especially those with (dis)abilities to read and write. Thornton is a proud and active member of the SCBWI. 12X12 and GLVWG. He has also attended the competitive Southampton Children's Literature Conference, VCFA Writing for Young Peoples Retreat and Highlights.
Thornton has been published in Scholastic's Teens' Best Writing, The Underground, River of Words, Rewriting the Past Anthology, and CSA Journals.
Growing up in rural Stewartsville, NJ, Thornton jokes about being born in an animal hospital/shelter. Not quite. But he has learned about love, devotion, sorrow, and cruelty from his experiences at the clinic. He lives with his rescue cats, dogs, horse, and donkeys.
Stephanie Bleser is a middle grade and picture book author who loves coffee, eating out, and all things outdoorsy (minus the bugs). When she isn’t writing, she works as a civil engineer. She lives outside of St. Louis with her husband and two kids.
If you would like to know more about Stephanie, please visit the following links:
Bailey Boone is a teacher and writer, living in Kentucky with her family and her very spoiled guinea pig. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Western Kentucky University. She has been writing since before she can really remember (and, before she could actually write words, would fill notebooks with scribbles and pretend that they were words) and is thrilled to be working alongside Julie Gwinn on her debut historical novel, IF ALL ROADS WERE BLIND, which details the lives of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
Rachel Brittain is a writer from Arkansas. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Andromeda Spaceways, The Conium Review, Parentheses Journal, and as the title story in My Name Was Never Frankenstein. When not playing around in fictional worlds, she can be found writing for Book Riot and cuddling every animal she meets.
KL Burd has always made a home in multiple cultures. Growing up on various continents as an Army brat in an Immigrant Caribbean home, KL loved to read books from all genres and backgrounds from Fantasy to Contemporary to Mystery and Horror. However, his absolute favorite was Sci-Fi. The only problem: as a young Black man, KL never saw himself in any of his fantastical heroes.
Years later, as a husband and dad in a mixed-race household, KL’s dream is that his boys will not only love books like he does but can identify with their favorite protagonists.
KL writes so that underrepresented kids, especially young Black boys and girls, can see themselves in every type of story imaginable.
A professional communicator for more than 30 years, Nancy writes fiction and non-fiction, speaks, leads retreats, and provides soul care. A treasure hunter for beauty everywhere and in everyone, she’s president of InSpero, Inc.(www.inspero.org), a non-profit arts organization committed to bringing hope and healing to the city of Birmingham and its churches through its creative community. Her series of ten “Beholding-is-Becoming” Bible studies are available in print and soon to be online. She has master’s degrees in theological studies and marketing communications. She loves macro photography as a way to slow down and see God in the details. She and her husband have two slowly launching adult children.
In these disorienting times, Nancy’s fiction and non-fiction help people to recalibrate, find their way home, and “re-find” their voices and courage.
Cathy Castelli is a middle grade writer with a love of reading and writing mysteries. She was born and raised in La Salle, IL, an area she likes to revisit in her writing.
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in public speaking, Cathy moved to South Florida to teach acting, debate, and English. Her love of libraries led her to a Master's Degree in Library Science. She is a National Board Certified media specialist. Cathy is currently a high school/college media specialist where she loves to match books to readers. Her school library was recently named a Florida Power Library school.
Cathy is a member of SCBWI and was selected for the SCBWI Nevada Mentoring Program in 2014. She also received two Rising Kite Awards from Florida SCBWI.
When not concentrating on all things book related, Cathy enjoys hot yoga, sewing, and spending time with her husband and teenage son especially if that time is spent at Disney.
For S.L. Choi, becoming a published author has been a dream since before she could call it a dream. As an only child with a hard-working single parent, she entertained herself creating and living in her own stories from the fantastical to the macabre.
Goblins lived in the rocks outside her bedroom window, fairies flew among the flowers, and five-legged carnivorous horses hunted children while they slept.
Having worn many hats, she veered away from writing, going from college, to caretaker, to realtor until her husband encouraged her to find her passion. That encouragement ultimately led back to her first love in life—storytelling.
A new transplant from Florida to the beautiful New England area, she has developed a love for the outdoors. When not writing, she is either photographing her new state, hiking, gaming with her equally nerdy husband, or attending to the small furry overlord who rules them both.
Catherine grew up in Salt Lake City, needed some adventure and lived on both coasts, then returned home again to the mountains with a newfound certainty in her heart that writing stories was truly her bliss.
That discovery came after years of secondary teaching, film production and screenwriting, working in snooty restaurants, and earning a bachelor’s degree in English. Her sweet spot is stories for middle grade and young adult and she’s an active member of the SCBWI. She’s also a staunch advocate for the Oxford comma and a fierce lover of chocolate (she is half Swiss after all).
When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found running (mixed with a heel click or two), shopping at Trader Joe’s, and road tripping to National Parks with her husband and three children.
Kess Costales is a queer Filipino author and poet based in Toronto. She has an Honours Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Criminology from the University of Toronto. She also has a particular fondness for ice cream and cute animals, especially cats.
You can usually find her daydreaming about romance and the fantastical if she’s not writing or reading. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and WordPress (@kesscostales).
Creatively speaking, Tamara DeStefano is a jack of many trades. She began writing early in life, winning numerous illustrated poetry and short story contests. Then in her twenties she penned her first romances.
Set in contemporary, historical and futuristic settings each tale contained a dash of humor, a pinch of sex and, well…a bad word or ten. As she matured (we’ll use the description lightly) she expanded on her creative talents to include stories for middle grade and early readers, which, of course, she dialed back to a G-rating.
An accomplished artist, along with illustrating her own picture books, Tamara also uses her vivid imagination, and an addiction to acrylics, to create colorful still life paintings, whimsical animals, tongue-in-cheek pop art and even romance novel cover art via Photoshop – which do NOT have G-ratings.
Tamara lives in Georgia with her two dogs. She’d love a little gentle stalking!
You can follow her on Instagram @tamaradestefanoart and on Facebook as Tamara LeBlanc.
Alina attended Florida Southwestern University in Naples, FL and is continuing her education in Political Science. Alina’s career kicked off when she became the assistant to the most successful Marketing Director in a Corporation made of 35 restaurants. At the age of 26, Alina became the youngest Director of Sales in Naples, FL. Within her role as Director of Sales, Alina joined the Next Gen Committee for The Shelter for Abused Women and Children. Within that committee she received a behind the scenes look at the high demand for advocates of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.
In 2020 Alina was promoted to Human Trafficking Specialist. Alina feels honored to be a part of such an amazing organization. Part of Alina’s new role is assisting the Chief Operating Officer in creating and implementing an 18-month Rehabilitation Program for survivors of sex trafficking.
Alina is a graduate of the Associate Leadership Collier class. She has served as a committee member on the Domestic Violence Taskforce and Fatality Review Taskforce for Naples, FL. Alina currently sits on the committee for the Drug Exposed Newborn Taskforce and is a proud member for the Victim Advocate Team on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit.
Lori Dubbin was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She has been active in the local community as a past President of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Kendall Chapter, and as a board member of the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center. Lori also spent nineteen years as an early childhood educator at Temple Beth Am Day School in Miami, Florida.
Lori is an active member of SCBWI. In January 2020, she received the SCBWI Florida Regional Rising Kite Award for second place in the Picture Book category for her manuscript, Over the Rainbow with E. Y. “Yip” Harburg: The Man Who Wrote the Words the Whole World Sings.
Lori attended the public schools in Miami and graduated from Goucher College. She enjoys doing crossword puzzles. Sometimes she steps away and comes back to figure out the missing words. She approaches writing nonfiction picture books the same way, but with a lot more research and revision. She and her husband, Sam, have three grown sons.
Cari Dubiel juggles writing, librarian-ing, mom-ing, and bassooning in Northeast Ohio. She is the Head of Editing for Writing Bloc, a cooperative writing community, and a past Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime.
Cari won the 2017 Hugh Holton Award from the Midwest chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. Her short story collection, ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE, was selected for wide distribution by the Indie Author Project and Library Journal.
Melissa Escobar graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, with an MFA degree in illustration, focusing on children’s books. She has illustrated three educational paint-by-number books for children who are blind. She is now working on writing and illustrating her own stories. She is an active member of SCBWI and was a PBChat mentee in PBChat 2019. At any given time, she has at least three dragon, unicorn and dragonfly story ideas happily gamboling in her imagination. Her favorite color is blue, she loves 80’s music and adorable animals. When not working on her projects, she enjoys life in the Bay Area with her husband.
Tony Estrada is a Los Angeles-based Latino writer, producer, director, and speaker. He dove head-first into journalism and publishing while in elementary school self publishing a Saturday newspaper for the street he lived on. A passion for storytelling was born. Tony graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 and became a teacher at his high school alma mater, where he taught film, photography, and English Literature.
Tony has always been captivated by telling thought provoking stories of empowerment, unity, and connection. Writing and speaking through a “brown-ish” lens, Tony’s stories often tie everyday personal interactions and experiences to metaphors for personal growth. His POV writing has been published in online periodicals including Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Tiny Buddha.
His first article about being a male nanny for a single gay dad caring for his two foster children, was published in The Advocate and was the catalyst for the development of a TV pilot. He wrote and directed a short film that after playing the festival circuit, became the springboard for a personal-appearance school lecture series on bullying and self empowerment with the film as its foundation. The story is now being developed into a children’s graphic novel series and a television series. His films have played at film festivals across the world and spawned several projects in various stages of development.
In his sparse spare time; Tony trains for triathlons, plays piano, reads, roots for the Dodgers and shoots the bow and arrow.
Erin Ewens was raised in Michigan. She earned an MBA degree, leading to a career in the hospitality industry.
Several years ago, she embarked with her husband and children on an international adventure, moving to Singapore and then to Switzerland, where she currently resides. She is inspired by different cultures, and hopes to weave a global footprint into her writing.
Erin’s love of writing grew while documenting the daily mishaps and heart-melting moments of motherhood. As an African-American, she is a champion of multicultural representation in the media.
In her spare time, Erin loves baking, crafting and spending outdoor time in the mountains.
Faran Fagen is the author of “The Save”, a middle grade novel about a young power pitcher’s journey through baseball, autism and love.
Faran’s a transplanted Marylander who now lives in sunny South Florida with his wife, Kara, two kids, and two dogs.
In middle school, Faran interviewed his giant Sudanese neighbor, NBA 7-foot, 6-inch center Manute Bol, for the school newspaper. From then on, he was hooked on writing sports.
In his 25 years as a journalist, Faran wrote for mlb.com and reported on family/community news for The Palm Beach Post, South Florida Parenting, and SunSentinel.
Faran’s taught high school Journalism, English and Computers for 17 years in Pembroke Pines. He directs a camp in the summers to keep his spirit young.
Faran’s also a proud parent of a 13-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who inspires him every day with his growth and persistence. “The Save” is dedicated to his son, his wife and daughter – all three of whom throw major heat.
Two little known facts about Faran are that he can recite all the lyrics to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and lay down one of the meanest bunts in all of South Florida.
Heather Fishwick is a writer of middle grade and young adult fantasy novels. She studied English and Latin literature at the University of Warwick, and recently returned to student life (long distance) to study for a master’s degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults. She also writes on Wattpad, where she is part of the Stars Program, and runs a blog reviewing children’s books. She currently lives in Northamptonshire, England, with her husband and two children.
Margaret Frattaroli is a Middle Grade author with a love of fantasy and adventure. They are genres that she started reading when she was told she was too young for them and continued reading when she was told she was too old for them. She comes from a family legacy of writers (including her mother and grandmother) and has wanted to be an author since before she fully understood how letters worked.
Margaret teaches history to middle school students by day and she very much hopes she makes dead people seem as interesting as fictional ones. That being said, after hours spent focusing on things that really happened, it is always a relief to write about things that didn't. Although, a bit of history works its way in on occasion anyway.
Margaret lives in Stamford, Connecticut with her mutt, Nymeria. She is a member of SCWBI.
From an early age, Karyn knew she loved school and the stories of childhood. Becoming a writer never crossed her mind—that was the business of gods who birthed fully formed worlds—what she wanted to be was a professional reader. When that job fell through, she became a teacher, which led her to the Head Start program and the Peace Corps. A few years later she briefly became a student again, to study library science. In Children's Lit her professor gently read to the class. Everyday clothes and close-cropped graying hair couldn’t hide the prof’s identity: she was a fairy godmother. She sat on top of her desk, tiny feet dangling, granny glasses perched low, and spun tales into being. That's when Karyn knew she wanted to be on that desk sharing stories of her own with kids.
A tween at heart, Karyn loves writing stories that intertwine the humor and heartache unique to early adolescence.
Karyn is very lucky to have hiked the foothills of the Himalayas, climbed Mount Mulanje, and made homes in the Cascades and Caribbean National Forest, but her favorite peaks are the cloud mountains of home, Southwest Florida, where she and her husband live with an assortment of tailed companions.
Kristy Gardner writes dark and twisty sci-fi and speculative fiction novels, creative non-fiction stories, and is the author of the award-winning cookbook, COOKING WITH COCKTAILS.
She attended the University of Victoria and graduated with distinction in Gender Studies and Sociology. Furnished with not one but two liberal arts degrees, she was clearly unable to find paid work. She started writing. As a non-straight woman who has wrangled questions of belonging her whole life, she crafts complex female characters that adventure through space, time, and water, questioning what identity - and home - really mean.
When she’s not jet-setting words on her laptop, she’s chasing stars, mountain adventures, belly laughs, coffee, big dog cuddles, and planning her next trip to SE Asia. She resides in Vancouver, BC with her partner and 90 pound rescued American Bulldog.
Sign up for her newsletter at KristyGardner.com.
Laura Genn is a YA fantasy author, fueled by caffeine and a lifelong love of words. As a former bookish child and fangirl teenager now turned overexcited adult, she’s dedicated to crafting stories that kids like her can get lost in.
When she isn’t writing, Laura is probably snuggling her three-footed cat, playing an RPG, or reading YA. She has a B.S. in Strategic Communication and works as a copywriter. She lives in a cave of treasure, somewhere in Pennsylvania, with more dragon accessories than people.
As a little girl, Adrienne loved God and people so much she decided to be the Pope to prove it. After learning she wasn’t qualified for the Papacy, she settled for a degree in theology, worked in leadership development, and dove deep into parachurch ministry. Adrienne never imagined she’d write books about how to un-do toxic theology or dismantling the patriarchy, but sadly the need is great.
Her love for empowering women led her to create women’s ministries for two of Denver’s largest churches, and launch a non-profit organization celebrating women’s stories. Adrienne loves helping others make peace with themselves and others by practicing empathy and authenticity through story sharing.
Writing found a resurgence in 2007 when Adrienne’s son, Noah, was hospitalized and passed away. A friend started a blog for her to update family, but writing became cathartic. Sharing her raw heart online, she discovered a million others who resonated with authenticity over churchy platitudes.
She’s also developed spiritual deconstruction, storytelling, life-coaching, and grief curriculums and uses these for her work as a Life Consultant, Coach, and group facilitator with Red Rocks Counseling in Colorado.
Adrienne is represented by Julie Gwinn.
Anna Hamilton grew up in Southern California. Before graduating from high school, she had written several short stories, one of which was featured in the local newspaper. Shortly after high school, she married and had three beautiful boys. When her youngest started kindergarten she found a new love—reading romance! Everything changed when Anna and her family moved to Northern California a year after losing her mother. She took writing more seriously and completed her first novel.
She is incredibly fortunate to be represented by the ever patient and extremely knowledgeable Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. She has learned that perseverance, commitment, diligence, and believing in a dream are key characteristics in order to succeed. A favorite inspiration for Anna is the fortune she received in a cookie that reads, “You will become an accomplished writer.”
Currently, Anna is working on a romantic suspense series, The Warriors Code. The series is centered on an ex SEAL Team now working for the CIA.
Anna also writes Historical Romance as Harper McLaine.
If you would like to know more about Anna, please visit the following links:
Ashlee Hashman is a children's author who is passionate about creating stories that entertain, inspire, and educate.
Her love of numbers prompted her to work as a math teacher, where she discovered how much she loves encouraging young people. Ashlee enjoys all the unique aspects of Midwest living with her husband and toddler. When she's not writing, you can usually find Ashlee giggling at her sister's chickens, rewatching the same two TV shows over and over again, or spending time with her family.
Rachel Haynes has always loved words. She’s worked with language in many capacities—as a student of English literature, an English language teacher, a student of linguistics, a technical writer, and, of course, a reader of everything. She’s been dancing around creative writing for her whole life and finally had the guts to pursue writing for children.
When she’s not writing, Rachel can be found enjoying the canyons and national parks near her home in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and daughters. She might also be wandering through the natural history museum or bothering booksellers at her local bookstore.
Kiersten Hathcock is the founder and CEO of Mod Mom Furniture. She left a marketing career with A&E and The History Channel in 2003 to spend more time with her kids. Kiersten wounded up building an internationally known furniture brand out of her 400 square foot-garage by trusting her intuition.
After 4 years of crafting and selling over 300 kids’ furniture items, Kiersten braved ABC’s Shark Tank and won an investment deal. Today, her furniture line is produced in Colorado and sold across the world. In addition to designing furniture, she writes for trade magazines and travels the country as a keynote and TEDx speaker.
She just finished writing a memoir about how she survived and healed from abuse using intuition. Unlike most memoirs about intuition written by professional mediums, Kiersten is not a professional medium and never wanted to be one. She was simply living her life when kids in spirit starting sharing messages with her.
Her book chronicles are about late-in-life intuitive awakening. They tell a story about a reluctant, undercover medium who volunteers her time helping law enforcement officers solve cases. Little did she know that by embracing her intuitive side, she would go on to uncover secrets from her past that explained why the kids were coming to her.
Those same kids would go on to help her survive and escape an abusive relationship in 2017 and guide her to healing. Today, Kiersten lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her husband and kids.
Represented by Tina Wainscott
Bethanie Baker Henderson
Bethanie Baker Henderson
Bethanie worked in marketing and market research in the publishing and insurance industries and at a casket company before committing her time to writing picture books. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has worked with youth ages K-12 in her community church and school district. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a concentration in English from Columbia University, as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan.
She enjoys learning about new underwater discoveries, space exploration and everything in between. Bethanie lives with her husband, two remarkable daughters and their cat in eastern PA.
Steve Hickner has worked at many of the fabled studios in animation: DreamWorks, Disney, Amblimation, Aardman, Hanna-Barbera and Filmation. His extensive career includes experience with both the production and artistic sides of the process, serving as Producer on such films as: American Tail II: Fievel Goes West, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, and Balto.
His director credits include Bee Movie and The Prince of Egypt. In addition, he has contributed to such feature films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Little Mermaid, The Great Mouse Detective, Madagascar, Shrek Forever After, Peabody and Sherman and Home.
His television credits include the childhood favorite, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Steve has contributed to theme park and location-based entertainment projects in China, Dubai, London, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hollywood.
He recently collaborated with Steven Spielberg to write and direct the Comcast sphere film, The Power of I. He has been a guest speaker at many colleges and universities, film festivals and animation events. He is the author of Animating Your Career, and Animation Rules!
Kyan is an award-winning Singer/Songwriter and Author. Her love of instruments from handpan to acoustic guitar, and her four octave voice make for an incredible reading and keynote. Studying with Bobby McFerrin and earning her Masters in Creative Writing, she innovates with word and sound. Westside Voice wrote “she enchanted both young and old”.
She created the Lullaby Club online, where her stories, songs, and ASMR relax the whole family. Her social media LIVES reach thousands and she’s been featured on Public Radio, as well as being a popular artist-in-residence at schools, hospitals, and conferences. She painted her blue convertible with magical images from her stories and songs with the help of friends, and is beloved as the singing nurse.
Having worked hospice and behavioral health, she knows the edge where a child jumps from a window and a grandmother reveals her secret cinnamon bun recipe with her last breath. Her own NDE gave her a love life to cloud nine and a bravery to advocate for the planet and LGBTQ community.
She lives on the shores of a great lake with her cat Vega, and they both turn mermaid on Saturdays, because life is too brief and beautiful, not to!
Email: [email protected]
Sahtinay Issac has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA. She spent most of her career life working with software companies around the globe.
She grew up in the United Arab Emirates before making Florida her permanent home. Having experienced life on both ends of the globe, she is an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Most importantly, Sahtinay is a proud mother of two little girls, who have been the main source of inspiration behind the stories she writes.
Aimee Jackson became best known as, “Not the Perfect Cook ™,” television personality, Christmas lover, cookbook author, recipe developer, writer and speaker. Most importantly, Aimee wants you to know she is Terry's wife, mom and bonus mom. Aimee is also dog mom to Rusty; the most energetic, loving, ever-present, velcro dog, alive. Rusty is a Vizsla, but he does not know that. Rusty believes he is a human, so your confidence and discretion in his presence would be greatly appreciated.
Aimee writes devotions and much is based on her “Sitting with You” series. Based on Job 2:13, “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Sometimes we do not have the words to offer to our hurting loved ones, but we can promise to sit with them. You can find Aimee on Facebook Twitter, Instagram or on her website.
Kevin E. Jackson
Kevin E. Jackson
Kevin E. Jackson writes middle grade and young adult fantasy novels that blend the action and adventure of modern-day blockbuster movies with positive messages for young readers. Kevin is a happily married father of five, an information technology manager for a pharmaceutical company, and an adjunct professor of IT at several universities. However, his heart doesn’t live within cyber-security processes or virtual machine computing, but in creating immersive fantasy tales based on positive, Christian themes.
With scores of unwritten stories hovering in his mind, he spent the last ten years learning the craft of writing. Kevin honed his skills within online writer’s groups then found bestselling author mentors willing to share their wisdom.
He believes in increased diversity in fantasy, so each story organically features mixed-race characters and characters of color in leading roles. He is also a musician, playing both guitar and drums, and as a result his books have songs as central plot elements.
At the core of Kevin’s writing is a love of children; he longs to see today’s young readers learn from his stories much as he did reading the fantasy masters of the past.
I was born in the Bible belt and grew up in a warm family of hearty laughers and voracious readers. I discovered the magic transport of reading at an early age and escaped on many adventures to strange new lands. Growing up in middle Tennessee, I visited often at my grandparents' farm in the rural hills, where the flat, stony banks of their creek was an incubator for my imagination. I thought up marvelous worlds and planned adventures floating down that creek on a raft, Huck style. I wrote my first story in the fourth grade. It was called Planet Kaler.
My mother was an English teacher who read novels aloud to us on long road trips. I minored in English, but with so much road trip instruction already, I got my BA in Mathematics. I spent two decades developing systems in corporate America and completing my MBA. After graduate school, I pursued what started in the fourth grade, during weekends and vacations. I spent hundreds of hours taking writing classes and studying the craft with a serious goal to become a published author.
I write middle grade sci fi about a clever, but insecure, eleven-year-old and his special dog. I live in Tampa with my husband and two special Yorkies who inspire me daily.
Twitter: [email protected]
L.L. Kaplan is an attorney and former prosecutor who spent twenty years as an FBI Special Agent. After never finding one X-file, she gave-up and retired. Now she pens crime fiction where justice prevails, but doesn’t always end in handcuffs. She also writes stories featuring talking turkeys, clever cats and other snarky sorts. When not writing, she can be found baking something killer, jogging with friends, plotting mischief or planting sunflowers. She lives in a small town on a Great Lake with her husband and one very spoiled rescued house panther.
Hannah Kates never means to get into trouble, but she always manages to do so, anyway. As a full-time author and part-time ghost, she’s chalked up misadventures all around the world. Between being shanghaied along with the French Foreign Legion, escaping Montenegrin castles, and eulogizing at rat funerals, she keeps herself busy.
Hannah specializes in middle grade horror, but you can also find her penning tales of cowboy werewolves and insidious alpine hotels. When she’s not writing, she’s usually skulking around cemeteries, giving tours through haunted cities, or playing honky-tonk piano.
Raised in India, Shachi worked as a lawyer. She moved to Texas a couple of years ago with her husband to begin a new life. As an active community member, she volunteers at the RoundRock Public Library. She hosts a monthly bilingual Hindi-English Storytime. Over the years, Storytime has become popular within the community, receiving a great response from parents. The joy bought to children’s faces by reading stories has always been the driving force of Shachi. She receives immense pleasure and gratification with her Storytime acts for children. As a result, she decided to look for other ways to spread the joy of stories and activities stories. She now works in animation production and on the side creates content on her YouTube Channel and monthly activity book ‘SmartyHathy’.
She also spends time mentoring students, which further helps her develop new ideas to serve the Children-Parent community through her book writing. She is a monthly contributor to Austin South Asian for the “Picture Book World” column, and her
articles have also appeared in Austin Family and BrownGirl Magazine.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOYEBMsMlgSc-yKZ6wytnQg
Erin Kennemer is a YA fiction author of several short stories and novels. She studied creative writing at Texas A&M University and continues to owe them money to this day.
Her speculative fiction has appeared both in print and online. Currently, she writes regular advice and travel articles for Vrbo. On her off days, you can find her elbow-deep in the dirt, either gardening or burying another body. If you want on her good side, bring chips and guac.
MAY YOU GROW ONLY CURSES is her debut novel.
Andrea Kilpatrick writes middle grade fantasy adventure where kids, especially those not usually seen, explore incredible new worlds. Her own adventures began in the suburbs of Philadelphia, armed with a dog-eared library card and her loyal hamster. Andrea wandered through wardrobes and tollbooths and into magical lands full of possibilities. Now, she wanders in the real world. Recent stops include New York, Miami, San Francisco, Jamaica, Gabon and the UK. A recovering attorney, Andrea has also been a strategy consultant, social entrepreneur and leadership advisor. Currently, Andrea lives in New York where she eats far too much take out. It’s so good! She loves the ocean, a good hike and has never met a sunset that didn’t move her to tears.
From Bar Harbor, ME to Key West, FL and points in between, Dee moved every few years as a child. Luckily, she loved each school, learning, reading, creating art and making friends. She earned her BA degree in Art History from Emory University and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from FAU. She thought she'd work in a museum but discovered she loved teaching, especially grades K-5.
As a mother, teacher and school principal, she wanted children to feel the magic of books and the joy of reading. Classroom experience and bedtime stories for her own kids inspired another desire — to write for children. On the job, she wrote curriculum, grants, and articles for teachers but longed to create her own stories.
After leaving the educational world, she learned and networked with the kidlit community in SCBWI, 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Inked Voices, Storyteller Academy, and the Writing Barn. She's always on the lookout for ideas that make kids ask questions, wonder, and want to know more.
Dee and her husband live in south Florida. At every chance, they visit their four children, six grandchildren, and menagerie of grand-pets.
Donna and Paul Kurtz
Donna and Paul Kurtz
When Donna Kurtz was 3-years-old, her mother put her into the stroller once a week and walked fifteen blocks from their apartment to the library. Little Donna toddled home hanging onto the stroller since it was filled with children’s and adult’s books. Whew! Was she ever tired. That’s how she discovered books and words. Now many years later, she co-authors with her brother Paul Kurtz fast-paced, funny PB, MG and chapter books featuring the adventurous kids she always wanted to read about and lyrical stories about nature. She still walks to the library.
Donna has a B.A in English and a B.F.A in Painting from Florida International University and an M.F.A in Painting from the University of Miami. As well as teaching art and humanities at university level, she has taught adult-education creative writing and art in elementary schools. She is a member of SCBWI and active in two mind-blowingly fantastic South Florida SCBWI critique groups.
From the time he laughed at his first nursery rhyme, Paul Kurtz has loved books. He became a dedicated reader and discovered how books sparked his imagination, transporting him through time and space to worlds he never dreamed of. While pursuing careers as an attorney and then videographer, Paul has always made time for books. With co-author and sister Donna Kurtz, Paul writes fast-paced, funny PB, MG and chapter books to encourage reluctant readers to explore the fun of reading. Enjoying hiking, canoeing and snorkeling in the South Florida environment, he and Donna also write books to inspire children’s love of nature and to convey the importance of protecting it.
Paul holds a B.A from the University of Miami in Psychology and a J.D. from Levin Law School at the University of Florida. He is a member of SCBWI and participates in two earth-shatteringly great South Florida SCBWI critique groups.
Allison Lau is a YA and MG author who draws endless inspirations from the people and animals around her. She’s currently a PhD student at the University of California, Davis; her research focuses on animal behavior, specifically the social behavior of monkeys and apes. When she’s not writing fiction, Allison can be found preparing scientific papers and serving as the Editor-in-Chief for the official blog of the UC Davis Animal Behavior Graduate Group: The Ethogram.
When she's not working, Allison enjoys traveling with her husband, snuggling her two cats, corralling her latest litter of foster kittens, and devouring a good book with a glass of wine.
From the moment she first read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, E.J. Lawrence has been trying to find the Holy Grail. While pursuing her graduate degree in English literature, she spent a semester at Oxford University and thought she might kill two birds with one stone by finding both the Grail and the door to Narnia.
Though she found many fantastic portals, none fulfilled her dream of discovering those two mythological gems. She loves all things medieval, of course drawing inspiration from history and primary documents, but also from her experiences in Europe and knowledge of outdoor survival skills and archery.
She holds an M.F.A. in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and is regularly published in New Myths and Separate Worlds. She currently resides in Georgia, where she teaches British Literature to unsuspecting seniors.
Author Madison Lawson writes speculative fiction novels full of suspense, social commentary, and complex relationships. She is an English graduate from Texas A&M University and has all of John Mulaney’s standup about college memorized.
Born and raised in a small Texas town, Madison began escaping through reading and writing as soon as she could. This escape often cost her sleep so she could finish a book, got her detention for writing stories during class, earned her way too many A.R. points, and her first award for a creative nonfiction essay in 2017.
To stay updated, follow Madison on social media and check out her website: madisonlawson.com.
To get her talking nonstop, bring up Harry Potter, her dog (Teddy Lupin), Halsey, or her books. You probably won’t regret it.
Alice Lin started dreaming up stories in sixth grade and now writes young adult fiction. With a working background in libraries, she is an avid reader who loves to get lost in other people’s imagination. Her favorite genres include contemporary YA & MG fiction, and YA & adult fantasy.
Sarah writes books for MG and YA audiences, because those are the people who still have magic in their hearts.
She grew up in Montana, and while her first love will forever be Big Sky Country, she currently lives in Colorado with her crazy-supportive husband and three crazy-wonderful kids.
Sarah is the librarian for a rural K-12 school and currently has way too many dogs, way too many horses, and even a couple of squirrely goats (against her better judgement).
Chris Low is a children's writer and elementary school teacher outside of Philadelphia, PA. He draws inspiration from the organized chaos of his special education classroom and the perpetually surprising wit of his own students. In addition to his middle grade book projects, Chris has published several award-winning short stories with Highlights for Children and Cricket magazine. Chris is married with two young boys and a dog who will eat literally anything. He spends most of his free time running, hiking, and negotiating with preschoolers.
Shariya Lynn grew up in the burbs of Seattle where she was raised on sci-fi movies, video games, and went to hundreds of concerts as a music journalist. She’s a film school dropout that placed in the Oscars’ Nicholl Fellowship and has writing and directing credits on produced movies. After living in Chicago for school and Los Angeles for years she’s settled down in the most beautiful place on the world, Hawaii and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ronna Mandel is a freelance writer and former associate editor at L.A. Parent. Working at the parenting magazine sparked her interest in children's books and she’s been reviewing them, interviewing authors and illustrators, and promoting reading-related events on her blog, www.GoodReadsWithRonna.com since 2009. She is also a contributing writer at Jewish Life Magazine of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.
Ronna writes quirky picture books featuring unique main characters, wordplay, and themes of inclusivity and friendship. As an active member of SCBWI’s L.A. region, she’s co-coordinated the Pasadena Authors + Illustrators Mingle for seven years. She attends Storyteller Academy and also participates in 12 x 12, Storystorm, and the annual #PBChallenge. Before having children, Ronna traveled the world for several tour operators and gave educational seminars across the U.S. to introduce travel agents to foreign destinations including Russia, Eastern Europe and India. Having lived in London and Frankfurt with her husband and children for 10 years, Ronna is a tea and biscuit (cookies) loving, schnitzel and pretzel hooked nosher who cannot get enough of travel, museums, Masterpiece Mysteries and Antiques Roadshow. She is passionate about Paris, anything purple, standard poodles, her husband, two children and their rescue kitties.
Follow Ronna on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Anushi Mehta is a first generation Belgian-Indian who grew up in charming Antwerp. She pursued degrees in psychology and primary teaching at Warwick University and met her husband while working in London. Now, they live in Mumbai and everyone from her two-year-old to her 88-year-old grandma teases her for always feeling cold.
After moving to Mumbai, Anushi completed an introductory course on learning disabilities and ‘Yoga for the Special Child’ by Sonia Sumar and then worked as a special educator until her son was born. Moreover, she oversees a primary school in her ancestral hometown, where she focuses on raising literacy levels.
Anushi discovered the power of voice when she began inventing stories about spunky Indian girls for her daughter. It is her dream that each of her stories feature masala chai. In addition to honing her craft with courses at Highlights Foundation and The Writing Barn, she is an active participant of 12x12 and Desi Kidlit, a community of writers from the Asian Diaspora.
Anushi has also been selected by WeNeedDiverseBooks as one of the “sixteen creative, rising voices”. Alan Gratz is mentoring her for her MG, LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. She is also a chronicler at #LOVEnotfear, a mental health awareness campaign on the psychological impact of the pandemic encouraging values of love, hope & unity, one story at a time. Finally, Anushi is an interviewer at WeNeedDiverseBooks and a contributor at The Word - A Storytelling Sanctuary.
Michelle Michels is a writer of women’s fiction and romance novels. She embraced her passion for writing after moving from Chicago to Austin with her husband and children. Maybe it was the abundance of sunshine or the newfound quiet; but suddenly she had something to say, and she’s been writing ever since.
When Michelle isn’t dreaming up characters and plot twists, she’s downing coffee, getting walked by her rescue Borador, and telling her kids to stop eating junk food (she should really stop buying it). Michelle has a B.S. in Advertising and an M.Ed. She’s written press releases for Fortune 500 companies, taught sentence structure to second graders, and has implemented Spanish instruction in her children’s school district. Needless to say, she is a lover of words.
Michelle has completed three novels: two set in the Florida Keys and one in Austin, TX. She attended the Writers’ Workshop through the Key West Literary Seminar in 2020 and is a member of the Authors Guild, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America.
Michelle is represented by Julie Gwinn.
Aida Victoria Moussavi
Aida Victoria Moussavi
Aida Victoria Moussavi is an Iranian American from the Deep South. She grew up speaking a mixture of Farsi, English, Azerbaijani Turkish and hearing fascinating stories in each language that fueled a lifelong interest in history, and tales from around the world. She lives in Houston with her cats, finches, and fish and is forever chasing the ultimate career goal of being the neighborhood cat lady.
Jyothi is a South East Asian writer and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She leads product management at a major software company and works on artificial intelligence and machine learning. She was selected among the top 80 upcoming world leaders and was trained on exponential technologies at Singularity University. She earned a full scholarship to work on a project at Mars Desert Research Station. She was also featured by Amazon science as one of the four women making machine learning accessible.
Jyothi always loved picture books but as a child she was disheartened when she could not find books that represented her. When her daughter was born in 2019, she was determined to provide her child with mirrors and windows to her rich Indian heritage. Her picture books focus on topics that bring the world closer for our children.
In her spare time, Jyothi loves to dance Kuchipudi, a traditional classical dance of India and paint using oil and acrylic mediums.
Jen is the founder of the lifestyle blog, City Farmhouse. She is a writer, style expert, designer, artist, photographer, and content creator. Jen believes home design should feel personal and tell a story through the layers that evolve over time. City Farmhouse was launched in 2011 with the intention of building a platform to inspire other home enthusiasts to embrace the idea that “home wasn’t built in a day.” It embodies the sentiment that a beautiful space can be achieved on any budget through thoughtful planning, resourcefulness, and a little DIY.
When she isn’t busy writing or creating you can find her exploring the coast with her two boys, husband, and four-year-old cockapoo. She also enjoys running, a good beach read, podcasts that makes her laugh and coffee dates with friends.
Jen has worked with Sherwin-Williams, Pottery Barn, Target, Starbucks, Minwax and Lowe’s. She has been published in Better Homes & Gardens, Boston Globe, Cottages and Bungalows and This Old House. She has been seen on the Rachael Ray show and named a Stylemaker for the last seven years by BHG.
Christine Organ is a writer in the Chicago area where she lives with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. In addition to her freelance writing career, she writes about contemporary spirituality and the depths of human connection.
Her writing focuses on seeking grace in the everyday, celebrating life’s ordinary miracles, bridging the gap between the spiritual and the secular, and drawing inspiration from the soulful tales that live within all of us. Aside from her own website, she regularly writes for the Huffington Post. Her works appeared in an anthology of spiritual essays.
She obtained her and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. She later earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2002.
Originally from Franklin, Tennessee, Rebecca attended Christ Presbyterian Academy before heading to Paris, France for college. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from The American University of Paris, Rebecca lived in Chicago, Manhattan, La Jolla, Paris, the South of France, Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo, before returning to Singapore, where she currently lives with her French husband, Sébastien, and two children, Louis and Violette. They pass their summers at their beach house in the South of France.
Fluent in French, Rebecca is also conversational in Japanese.
Having visited nearly sixty countries, international travel is a major passion in Rebecca's life, but there is nowhere she enjoys being more than back in Tennessee, specifically walking around Radnor Lake with her Dad or visiting her Uncle Charles and Aunt Lynn at their farm in Altamont.
Rebecca is represented by Julie Gwinn and Elisa Houot.
Aixa Pérez-Prado is a native of Argentina who immigrated to the United States as a child. She is a writer, illustrator, editor, presenter, translator and faculty member at Florida International University with a PhD in Social Science and Education. Aixa began her teaching career as a bilingual Kindergarten teacher in Salinas, California and has since worked as a cross cultural trainer and teacher of teachers in pedagogy for linguistic and cultural minority students in the U.S., Costa Rica and Morocco. Her research interests include multilingualism and identity, anti-bias curriculum, culturally responsive pedagogy, peace linguistics, and diversity studies.
Aixa is also a homeschool/unschool mother of six who has led workshops for home learning both in the United States and Latin America. Her book, Habits of Mind for Homeschooling: A guide for parents and teachers includes resources and activities for families who choose to learn at home. Aixa is the founder of ‘The Thinking Café’, a website and series of workshops devoted to promoting critical and creative thinking for teachers, students and parents. Her thinking blog, thethinkingcafe.com/the-thinking-blog, explores thoughtful communication and empathy across cultures. Aixa writes in Spanish and English and translates in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Akure Phénix is a current graduate student at Harvard University, and alumna of Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign '18. She is also a 2017 Pitchwars winner and author of both young adult & adult fiction. She is currently based in Cambridge, MA.
I'm Amanda: an introvert and writer. I like to talk and write about faith, hope, and recovery. I'm also a nurse practitioner, board-certified in internal medicine, psychiatry/mental health, and addictions, and practicing at the nationally-renowned Lindner Center of HOPE in Mason, Ohio. As a pastor’s wife, anxiety sufferer, and mental health professional, I’ve been living at the intersection of faith and mental health for the past 7 years. I decided a while ago I want to do everything I can to help others who are in the middle of something I have survived. I’m still trying to figure out where the line is between professional expert (of which I am) and authentic human being that struggles (of which I also am). I've been married to Joseph for 16 years, and we live in Cincinnati with our two kiddos and dog, Marley.
Beth Pugh is a wife and mother searching for contentment among the chaos. She writes stories with heart like baby bear soup hoping to inspire others with her words. She has been published by The Good Men Project, Scary Mommy, Sasee, The Sun Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Lexington Herald-Leader, and On Parenting at The Washington Post.
When she isn’t writing, you can find her cheering for the Chicago Cubs or curled up with an e-book on the couch.
D.S. Rae writes dark Young Adult stories across all genres. With an insatiable love for the macabre, she aims to show how we all have a little darkness in us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be the hero. As a member of the community herself, LGBTQ+ characters and body diversity are of the utmost importance in any story she writes.
Born and raised in Northern California, she lives happily surrounded by gorgeous oak trees, two trouble making pups, and her wonderful husband. Destiny has worked as both a literary and editorial intern with hopes to one day branch out further into the publishing industry. Though, for now, she’s happy to be able to sell books to hungry readers at her local B&N.
Books are quite literally her life.
Daniel Roman writes tales of epic fantasy from the seclusion of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, where he lives with his wife, cat, and a corgi/collie mix puppy who reminds him that the occasional break to walk outside is still a necessity. He is very excited to be working with The Seymour Agency to bring his debut fantasy novel to shelves.
Daniel’s first freelance piece, an essay entitled A Grateful Ode to Game of Thrones, was published in 2019 by the science fiction and fantasy fandom website Winter Is Coming. Since then, he’s gone on to publish more than 50 freelance pieces with WIC, ranging from deep dives into fantasy shows to interviews with bestselling authors like Evan Winter and James S.A. Corey.
Most recently, Daniel sold his first short story—an Aztec-inspired urban fantasy. “The Teotl of Gaming” will be published in July 2021, as part of an anthology from Zombies Need Brains called THE MODERN DEITY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY.
In addition to writing, Daniel is also an accomplished acoustic rock musician, avid gamer, and lover of travel. Nature, and the reverence for it which is a part of his daily life, often informs his work.
Allison Rozo is a picture book writer, illustrator, and designer. She was raised in Orrville, Ohio, before moving to Chicago. After 16 years she and her family moved back to Northeast Ohio, near the Cuyahoga National Park, to be near her parents. She and her Colombian native husband, Rafael Rozo, write bilingual stories in English and Spanish for their children to weave together their two cultures. She also writes stories in English, as well as creating illustrations. Allison’s stories draw from experiences she had growing up, travelling from farm to farm with her father, a large animal veterinarian. Her grandmother was a librarian and an incredible story teller until Alzheimer’s silenced her magical voice. Allison has always dreamed of being able to entertain children with her own stories, just like her grandmother, and her wish has come true.
Allison received her BFA from Miami University of Ohio in the History of Art and Architecture and she studied Graphic Design at Harrington College of Design in Chicago. She attended Loyola University in Chicago, receiving her Certificate in Paralegal Studies, and was a litigation paralegal at Baker & McKenzie LLP, where the dramatic scenes of trials unfolded like acts of a play that she uses in her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and 12x12. Allison was honored to be a PB Party 2021 finalist and a PB Chat Mentee Runner-up in 2020.
Rafael Rozo is a native of Colombia who immigrated to the United States. He and his wife, Allison Rozo, write bilingual English and Spanish picture books to weave together his Hispanic and American cultures. He is proud to create books that represent himself and his two children.
Rafael graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia with a degree in Information Systems, Computer Science. He received a master’s degree in Business Administration from Universidad de La Salle. Rafael is the co-owner of the Quimera Group, a US based consultancy firm.
Jason Rush lives in Oregon with his wife, Shandy, and dog, Freckles. He grew up in Colorado, where he spent his time hiking, climbing and snowshoeing in the mountains. At the age of twelve, Jason stumbled onto Stephen King’s CHRISTINE and has been addicted to horror novels ever since. It was only a matter of time before he started writing his own.
Rachel Russell is a young adult author whose work falls into the fantasy and horror genres. She works full-time as a freelance content writer for various clients.
When not writing, she tries to squeeze in time binge-watching anime and C-dramas. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two children, three cats, and a dog.
If you would like to know more about Rachel, please visit the following links:
Tahereh Safavi is half-Iranian, half-Chinese, all improv kid. Whether in dance, theatre, or circus, if it's ensemble improvised, she's down. As a performer, she was ‘born’ at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, where she learned to make history engaging for a non-academic audience. She is a contributing expert for Dan Koboldt’s Fact In Fantasy (Penguin 2022) and editor-in-chief at the Ubergroup, a 200-person intensive writer's workshop. She's currently based in NYC.
Marcy Salenieks is a picture book writer and native Jersey girl at heart, though she has been living in Florida for the last 25 years. Ever since she can recall, writing has been her main source of creative expression, particularly poetry and songwriting. As a teen, MANY angst-ridden tales of love were written with boxes of tissues on hand. She has always been swept away by beautiful language. A joyful experience, she wrote the lyrics to a song sung at her wedding by a well-known Nashville singer-songwriter.
Writing picture books that stir the heart, and tickle the funny bone, is what she calls her “out of body” experience where she loses all sense of time. Creating characters that children can feel connected to, and inspired by, is what makes writing magical for her, and bringing stories filled with laughter, hope, and wonder to children’s lives, is her greatest dream.
Her other passion is her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, in which she had a private practice while raising her now three young adult sons. and which now keeps her busy as a Therapeutic Educational Consultant helping families of children and teens. She can be seen happily flipping back and forth all day between writing and helping families.
In her spare time, she and her husband love trotting around the globe and soaking up unique experiences and cultures, many of which are whipped into creative concoctions in the kitchen. A music nut, she can be found on most weekends at local live music venues and concerts…and always in the front row dancing!
Kaitlyn Leann Sachez is a writer of humorous picture books and an active member of SCBWI. She's a proud finalist from the 2019 Picture Book Party event.
Kaitlyn is the co-creator and co-host of the many contests including: the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest, the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy, and Kidlit Zombie Week. Kaitlyn is also a literary agent with Red Fox Literary, helping writers achieve their dreams of publication.
She was born, raised, and has always stayed in California's Central Valley, where she lives with her family and teaches junior high school math. When Kaitlyn isn’t writing, teaching, or agenting, you can find her eating cookies, laughing with her hilarious family, or out on the soccer field, but you'll never find her cleaning. She would definitely rather be sucked into a vacuum than use it!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/KaitlynLeann17/
Through poetry, prose and non-fiction, Laurie is on a mission to help others discover and thrive in their unique human blueprint. A survivor, Life Coach, nature-lover and artist, Laurie writes from deep wells of experience, marking the trail on her path to deeper engagement, meaningful impact and less stress through simpler, more honest living. Laurie approaches life as she does a canvas, finding treasure in the little things, and celebrating beauty through writing, painting, baking and gardening.
Despite an insatiable curiosity and seemingly endless list of interests, her faith and her family are top priority. She and husband Grant enjoy collaborative play in woodcraft, Celtic music, and beekeeping, ever dreaming of more time with children Kelli, Katherine, Jackson and Graceann. They live in Nashville, Tennessee but dream of life in the Scottish Highlands.
When Kelly graduated with two degrees in Accounting, she had no plans of becoming a writer until a picture in People magazine sparked an idea and her romance writing journey began. She resides near Dallas, Texas with her illustrator husband and her two boys. When she isn't writing or solving math problems, she enjoys reading, baking, watching football, and spending time with her family. She is a member of ACFW.
Reverend Salvador SeBasco
Reverend Salvador SeBasco
Reverend Salvador SeBasco is the founder of Sheephook Ministries & Host of The Inside View Show Christian Radio Broadcasts, since 2005. Sheephook Ministries provides ministry services & ministers Christian resources to those in need.
An effective communicator of God's word, Reverend SeBasco is widely known for his dynamic teaching style. He serves as speaker and minister, and his mission is to guide people of all walks of life to applying and showing others how to apply timeless truths of Scripture to their everyday lives. As a member of the member of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), he also contributes written reviews for Christian Nonfiction Adult and Christian Children’s Books which publishers use inside those books, online, in social media, and on publishers’ web sites. Reverend SeBasco's expertise has been featured in media venues and speaking events throughout the United States. Unique Study Bibles he has created are available across the globe.
Since, 2010, he has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Prayerfully, he happily lives in San Diego, California, with his family. Prayerfully, he happily lives in California, with his family.
Reverend Salvador SeBasco Twitter: https://twitter.com/SalvadorSeBasco
Tumblr URL: sheephookministries.tumblr.com
Steve Smith is a compulsive writer – commercial, fiction, nonfiction, articles, musical compositions, and now children’s books. He’s received two national advertising awards, authored a marketing book that sold out two national printings, was a six-year adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago’s Graduate School, composed and performed tunes for the Arts Association of Carver County’s CD releases, and performed original tunes at numerous Chicago bars. His band was once labelled “The Alice Cooper of folk music.” He and his wife have three children and seven grandkids.
@smithamyth or stevesmith4607
Ramya G. Spaulding (R.G. Spaulding) is an Indian-American author-illustrator. She loves to draw and frequently got into trouble as a kid for daydreaming too much. She spent most of her lunchtime at the school library, escaping into different worlds of the stories she read. Before she was an author-illustrator, she used to be an engineer because she also loved math and science. She feels extremely privileged to be making up stories with words and pictures. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. She wants to make sure all children can see themselves in the books they read.
You can find out more about her by visiting https://rgspaulding.com/
DC Stanfa is an expert at Fun and its byproduct, Trouble. She is the author of The Art of Table Dancing: Escapades of an Irreverent Woman and co-editor of the anthology, Fifty Shades of Funny: Hookups, Breakups, and Crackups.
Her work has been featured in several of the Erma Bombeck Workshop publications, including the 2018 anthology Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Then and Now…Before We Forget, and The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Teenagers, published in 2019.
Stanfa has mentored women and girls in business, as well as the arts. She facilitated a creative self-expression program for the Boys & Girls Club and taught humor writing for the Mad Anthony Writers’ Workshop, and several workshops in conjunction with Scholastic.
Stanfa co-manages the popular Midlife Margaritas Facebook page where she creates humorous memes and short videos—many of which, have gone viral.
Marie Tang was born in Hong Kong, raised in New York City, and was a resident of Shanghai for over a decade. The unique characters and neon lights of the “Big City” have been an ever-present source of inspiration for her. As a child, she was neither encouraged nor discouraged to read so when she discovered the world of books as a young adult, Marie couldn’t help but read, study, write, and read some more. She was fortunate enough to spend several years as a literacy teacher. This has given her some of her most prized possessions, memories of reading aloud to kids. Marie sees herself as hardworking, mindful, and blessed for all the amazing experiences she’s been allotted. Her picture book manuscript, Tai Gong’s Celebration, won 2nd place in the 85th Annual Writers Digest Competition. Marie is a member of the SCBWI and an active participant in Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Challenge.
I make a delicious, spicy meatball!
I was born into a large Italian-American family where we talk and listen at the same time. Big hugs and loud conversations are in my DNA. I grew up in rural Upstate New York, but we didn’t milk any cows. We preferred frolicking in open cornfields and swimming in the cold waters of the Finger Lakes. I’ve lived in Boston, London, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale and just relocated to Orlando with my partner. I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. It provides the magical juice I use to write. I’m a certified Spinning Instructor and enjoy seeing my riders flourish and grow.
With twelve nieces and nephews as my audience, I made up silly stories to entertain them. I wanted to be their favorite uncle. One of them told me, “Uncle Matty, you should write these stories down.” So I have. I always remember a day when I was volunteering as a teacher’s aide in a first grade class. I read “The Giving Tree” to the children. I remember how moved they were and how the story made me cry. That’s my goal as a writer: to create children’s stories with heart. To inspire, enlighten and entertain. I always root for the underdog and characters who feel different. PAVE. THAT. ROAD!
A true bookworm at heart, Leigh Therriault is a children’s author who has loved reading and storytelling ever since she was a child herself. She began spinning her own stories during her childhood paper route and now she writes humourous picture books and mysterious MG novels. Leigh has a degree in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University and has completed four Creative Writing certificate programs at the University of Toronto, UCLA Extension, and Algonquin College. She is currently studying at the Institute of Children's Literature and UC San Diego Extension because she loves learning and cannot stop registering for writing courses!
Leigh lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with her family and two wily Bengal cats who have infiltrated their house. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Canadian Authors Association. She is also a volunteer at Centrepointe Childcare Services, serving on the Board of Directors, and is Chair of the Communications Committee.
Globally published blogger, Jennifer Thompson is the founder and face behind the motherhood lifestyle blog, They Whine, so I Wine. Married to her husband, James, along with their one little guy (4), Jennifer balances her love of writing while simultaneously working full-time for a Fortune 100 Company, where she specializes in marketing.
A strong advocate for women and mothers everywhere, Jennifer possesses a unique ability to get inside her readers heads and express the things many women think. Never one to shy away from hard conversations, Jennifer gives her readers tough love with a dash of humor through her raw and inspirational truth telling.
Described by her readers as empowering, driven and motivational, Jennifer has created an amazing online community of over 220k women who support and encourage one another.
Her words have been shared by millions around the world and featured in dozens of national media outlets, including ABC News, the Today Show and Good Morning America.
Jason R. Thompson
Jason R. Thompson
Jason Thompson is a thought leader in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, having spent the past twenty-five years building DE&I programs in sports, health care, technology, and education. Jason is currently the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) at Western Governors University (WGU).
Thompson is regularly sought out for advice and leadership on how to create, grow, measure, and sustain a DE&I program by DE&I officers.Thompson developed the initial diversity and inclusion program for the United States Olympic Committee and created the D&I scored cards to measure diversity within the US Olympic movement.
The diversity and inclusion programs developed by Jason have won several awards. Most recently the D&I Scorecard received the top honor in the 2016 International Innovations in Diversity Awards program from the Profiles in Diversity Journal. Jason was also recognized as a 2017 and 2018 Diversity Leader by the Profiles in Diversity Journal. In 2015, the USOC D&I department received the Diversity Champion Award for Excellence from the Colorado SHRM.
Jason has served on local, regional and national committees for multiple organizations, including the founding member of the Diversity and Inclusion Sports Consortium (DISC) one of the largest sports organizations in the US with participation by the NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA of America and the NCAA. He also works with Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Oklahoma Diversity Officers and Practitioners Consortium, and the Advisory Board and the Center for African-American Health.
Mae Thorn enjoys being romanced and terrified- a combination not normally found in books so she writes them. Her favorite stories include kickass women and the men they fall for. She writes historical romance, fantasy, and gothic romance.
When she isn’t writing she battles for equal access for those with hearing loss, discovers hidden records as a volunteer archivist, geeks out about Legos, torments her feline minions, and watches bad movies.
Mae holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.
She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah with her cats; Church, Shadow Moon, and Sabrina.
Ralph Walker is an author of speculative fiction and thrillers. His books, stories and screenplays place broken characters in worlds just around the corner; taking on climate change, technology, and a world spinning faster than they can possibly catch up.
He designs buildings by day and builds worlds until dawn. Both architect and writer, his fiction has appeared in a variety of anthologies and publications. Ralph also writes for the screen and has both short and feature screenplays in development with directors and producers attached.
His debut novel THE LAST ICEBERG, a quarterfinalist in the Screencraft 2018 Cinematic Book Contest will be taking off in the near future. You can regularly find Ralph handing out the donuts on twitter at #5amwritersclub.
Ralph lives with his wife and two crazy kids in northern New Jersey, and is an active part of the community; serving as an elected member of the Bloomfield School Board and participating in various township committees.
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Jill Watson started her career as Associate Editor of True Confessions magazine. (Don't ask if the stories were real, she'll never tell.) After three years, plot twist! Jill moved over to the production end of publishing, where she managed Graphic Design departments at CBS, USA TODAY and a mutual funds company. She was also Type Consultant on fanzines for Amblin' Entertainment. Fun!
Every chance she got, Jill danced on her roller skates and in her cowboy boots. She appeared on several TV shows, as well as in a Top 10 Country Music video. All this, without the ability to hear the music well.
In 2017, Jill gave up the 9-to-whenever-o’clock life to concentrate on writing. Her first middle grade book, THE MAGNIFICENT ROLLING ROXIE, won a Rising Kite Award from SCBWI in 2020.
When she's not writing, Jill still dances on her skates. She also raises butterflies in her Florida garden and feeds two bunnies who visit every day. Jill is a member of SCBWI and the Central Park Dance Skaters Association. She’s represented by Joyce Sweeney.
Mindy Alyse Weiss
Mindy Alyse Weiss
Mindy Alyse Weiss is a glitter-loving kid at heart who loves viewing the world through a child’s eyes. Writing, reading, and hanging out with other book-loving people is her air. She’s written many humorous picture books and middle grade novels, but also enjoys tapping into the challenging parts of her life so she can spread sunshine and hope.
Her heartfelt picture book manuscript, Mason’s Greatest Trick, won 5th place in the Writer’s Digest Competition and helped her receive a 12x12 PB scholarship. She’s had several pieces published in Highlights magazine, is the SCBWI FL Critique Group Coordinator and Free Meeting Facilitator, an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, a founding member and Administrator on the From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors blog and host of the PBParty chats, challenge, and annual contest.
Mindy lives in Florida with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog and cat. She adores animals and would adopt every homeless one if she could. She also loves chatting with other book-loving people on Twitter and Facebook…and seeing their adorable pet photos! She’s thrilled to be represented by Joyce Sweeney.
J. Bradley Wigger
J. Bradley Wigger
Brad Wigger has spent years studying the wild world of children’s invisible friends. As a professor and researcher in childhood studies, he has traveled to several countries, from Malawi to Nepal and back, listening to kids talk about their special relationships. After several nonfiction works he is delighted to turn to fiction to tell stories about imagination and friendship.
Home is Louisville, Kentucky and when Brad isn’t writing, teaching, or listening to children, you may find him playing music around town with the band Mundo Brew.
Invisible Friend website: www.seethroughknowing.com
As a child, Megan Woodward lived and traveled all over the world, but always felt at home with her head in a book. She also loved movies, especially old black and white talky ones (she was a strange child). Combining her love of the written word with her love of film, she got an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, and has since been working as a comedy screenwriter. Recently, she rediscovered her long lost love of children’s books, and now refuses to ever be parted with them again.
Megan loves all things funny, from silly puns to satire, from sarcasm to slapstick. So it’s no surprise that all of her writing, whether for actual kids or grown up kids, contains some element of humor.
When she’s not busy writing or procrastinating from writing, she can be found cooking, dancing, laughing, singing, or all four at once, much to the annoyance of her family. She lives in Portland, OR with her kid, her parents, a sweet old dog, two crazy kittens, and one extremely boring fish who’s terrible at cuddling and doesn’t laugh at her jokes.
Katie Rose Yen
Katie Rose Yen
Katie Rose Yen has a background in linguistics and foreign languages. After a near-death experience that coincided with becoming a first-time mom, her priorities were turned upside down. She walked away from the corporate world, and in between naptime and playtime she began to write fearlessly.
Michele Ziemke is an author, artist, and optimist. She won her students hearts with hugs and humor for over 25 years. She was recognized as an educational visionary in the creation of the Great Lakes Performing and Visual Arts Academy, and honoured with the new Michele Ziemke Student Art Gallery! Her degree in Art Education and a Masters in Educational Administration are from Bowling Green State University. Retired, Michele brings that same heart and humor to her picture books. She is also passionate about interior design, tailoring, theater, and chocolate covered peanuts.
Michele is an active member of SCBWI and Julie Hedland’s 12x12 Challenge. Proud finalist of the #PBParty and #Fall Writing Frenzy competition in 2019 & 2020. Michele resides in Northern Ohio, and Manitoulin Island in Canada with her husband and fluffy labradoodle, while sprinkling her time among twelve grandchildren!
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