Presenter Bios

Learn more about our presenters! (listed in alphabetical order)

Amy Atwell

Topic: What's Your Social Media Game Plan?
Learn how to make the most of the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest) by establishing your presence, finding your voice and making a plan to build your audience and promote your books. 

Speaker Bio: Amy Atwell is the author of two romance novels and founder of Author E.M.S. and the WritingGIAM online community. As part of her efforts to “pay it forward,” she’s developed and taught live workshops and online classes including Your Pitch Begins With You: Strengthening Your Pitch by Strengthening Your Presentation Skills, Prose & Contests: Everything You Wanted To Know About Writing Contests But Were Afraid To Ask, and Conceive—Believe—Achieve: Goal-Setting as a Proven Path from Abstract Wish to Concrete Plan. She now develops materials for the Author E.M.S. online resource library, researching, curating and sharing information on copyright, ISBNs, social media, promotion and improving productivity. There you can find her teaching online classes and webinars such as Introduction to Your Self-Publishing Business, Creating a Book Launch Plan, Creating a Social Media Plan, with more to come. Visit her online at her website, Magical Musings, Facebook, Twitter and/or GoodReads.

Clover Autrey
Topic: Search Engine Optimization Made Easy
Learn how to master Google, Amazon, GoodReads, and the like to improve your visibility to readers.
Speaker Bio: Clover has had a love of stories and romance reading for as long as she can remember, especially inventing her own. She writes the kind of stories she loves to read, high fantasy and time travels with Scottish Highlanders or magical mermen and shapeshifters with powerful elements of romance, where the hero and heroine must each make sacrifices to gain something even stronger.

When she dove into the waters of indie publishing she went head first into the deep end, researching every little aspect from figuring out the best keywords to optimizing websites and blogs. As writers, we already know the power of words so let's put the right words to good use for us. 

Linda Castillo
Fundamentals and Essentials of Writing the Suspense Novel
Linda Castillo wrote twenty three romantic suspense novels for two publishing houses before breaking out in 2009 with her debut thriller Sworn to Silence.  If you’re writing any type of suspense, whether it’s a straight thriller, an inspirational romantic suspense or something in-between, and you’d like to learn more about his exciting genre, this workshop is a do not miss!
Dealing with Negativity
New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo offers sage advice on how to deal with many of the negative aspects published authors and aspiring authors face in a swiftly changing industry.  Learn how to handle the naysayers, nitwits and numbskulls in your life without turning yourself into one of them.

Speaker Bio: Originally from Ohio where her Amish thrillers are set, Linda Castillo knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer—and penned her first novel at the age of thirteen. The author of twenty-seven novels, she is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.
Her debut thriller, SWORN TO SILENCE, was recently adapted into a two-hour original movie titled AN AMISH MURDER starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder. Her Amish thrillers routinely appear on the New York Times bestseller list. In her spare time Linda enjoys riding horses, especially trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing. She resides in Texas with her husband, three dogs, a barn cat, and two Appaloosa horses. She’s currently at work on her next novel, a thriller set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.

Cindy Dees
Topic:  Raising Your Writing to the Next Level--No Matter Where You Are Now
Speaker Bio: Winner of a Golden Heart and Holt Medallion for writing, Cindy is a two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award for Romance Fiction, two-time winner of RT Book Review’s Best Harlequin Romantic Suspense Novel of the Year, is a Romantic Times Lifetime Career Achievement nominee, and a Waldenbooks best selling author.

Her 40th romance novel will be published in 2013, and she’s looking forward to the release of her first epic fantasy novel with co-author, Bill Flippin, in 2014.

Topic: Facebook Intensive
Learn the ins and outs about Facebook from former corporate trainer turned USA Today and NYT Bestselling author, C.J. Ellisson. Video instruction and open Q&A period, class is best for intermediate users with existing Facebook accounts.

Speaker Bio: C.J. Ellisson came to writing four years ago, after owning a small business and working in commission sales for over a decade. Her background in marketing, art, sales, and a basic grasp of computers helped her to accomplish the following:
·         -Write and publish her best selling vampire series, which has sold over 50k copies.
·         -Start a small press, Red Hot Publishing, which publishes fifteen authors at this time.
·         -Create all her bestselling self-pubbed covers, plus dozens more for other authors.
·         -Learn to format print and eBooks, design and manage blogs, and handle basic website design.
·         -Mentor dozens of writers in various stages of their careers, focusing on increasing the marketability of   their work and gaining a readership.
·         -Found a reader-centric Facebook Page and book club group, Red Hot Readers, that matches authors  up with their three thousand interested readers.
·         -Build an extensive reader base, which includes 1500 readers on her private email list, 19k+ followers on  Facebook, and 300+ member street team.
           -Publish with a non-NY press and achieve NYT bestseller status with the first book in her contemporary  erotic romance series, Walk on the Wild Side.

New Adult: It's not your Momma's YA....
Sophie Jordan discusses the widespread appeal of two of the hottest genres in publishing, including their differences and similarities.
Historical Romance for the Modern Reader
Talk shop with bestselling historical romance author Sophie Jordan as she shares what she believes to be the key behind writing (and marketing) compelling historical romances that resonate with today's readers.

Speaker Bio: Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.
      A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature - teaching English seemed a natural choice. After several years teaching high school students to love ANTIGONE, Sophie decided it was time to pursue her long-held dream of writing. Two years later, she landed her first publishing contract.
      Her first book, ONCE UPON A WEDDING NIGHT, was a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best First Historical. Her second novel, TOO WICKED TO TAME, released in March 2007 with a bang - landing on the USA Today Bestseller's List. A few books later marked her first appearance on the New York Times bestseller list with the release of IN SCANDAL THEY WED.
      And as if she's not busy enough, Sophie writes young adult fiction for HarperTeen and contemporary paranormals for Pocket. Sophie resides in Houston with her family and loves to hear from readers. To learn the latest information about Sophie and her books, follow her on facebook and twitter.

Topic:  World Building in Women's Fiction
Jodi Thomas, who has two running series, Whispering Mountain in Historical Romance and Harmony in Women’s Fiction, that are both hitting the New York Times will talk on how to build a world that will be strong enough to carry a series of books.
The building blocks needed to write a successful series in any genre will be explored.  This workshop is directed toward authors, not just writing one book, but planning a career.  The steps learned can be used in World Building for a trilogy or a series in any field of writing.
Bring your notebook as she shows how to combine place, characters and plots that will keep readers reading through book after book.

Speaker Bio: A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.
      With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

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