This is our 2016 conference speakers lineup! Keep checking back as we add more faculty!
William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than forty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of novels, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, currently being adapted into an NBC miniseries, a book of poetry (The White Bird), and a series of books on fiction writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His monthly eBlast, The Red Sneaker Writers Newsletter, reaches over twenty thousand people.
Bernhardt is the only writer to have received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given “in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.” In addition to his novels, he has written plays, a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction, children books, biography, poetry, and puzzles. In his spare time, he has enjoyed surfing, digging for dinosaurs, trekking through the Himalayas, paragliding, scuba diving, caving, zip-lining over the canopy of the Costa Rican rain forest, jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, and in 2013, becoming a Jeopardy champion. OSU named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man,” noting that in addition to writing novels, he can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, prepare homemade ice cream, beat you at Scrabble, and work the New York Times crossword in under five minutes.”
Greg Johnson has been in publishing for nearly 25 years. Before becoming a full-time literary agent in 1994, he wrote and published 20 works of nonfiction with traditional publishers, as well as being a magazine editor for a teenage boys magazine for five years. In his years as an agent, he has personally represented more than 2,300 books and negotiated more than 1,800 contracts to over 85 publishing houses. These works included adult trade books (non-fiction and fiction), children’s books, specialty Bibles, movie options, video curricula, audio products, gift books and greeting cards.
While Greg’s stable of authors is near full, he will occassionally take on new authors and new projects. Along with representing a broad array of adult fiction, primarily in the Christian market, Greg works with pastors and speakers, male and female, who have important and compelling messages to author for their constituents. He has also carved a niche by representing military nonfiction/memior for those who have served our country from WWII until today. Business books, health and humor rounds out what he is looking to acquire.
Greg is married to Becky and together they are parents of six adult children and seven grandchildren. They make their home near Denver, Colo.
Cheri Fuller is the award-winning author of 48 nonfiction books, published both in the U.S. and over 80 countries. She’s written hundreds of magazine articles in her 30 years in the industry and loves inspiring and equipping emerging writers. One of the founders of WWSW, she’s helped many writers shape their proposals and find publishers for their books. Cheri lives in Edmond, OK with her husband Holmes.
Christopher P. N. Maselli is the award-winning author of more than 40 books including Zonderkids’ Amazing Laptop series. Chris has been writing for 20 years and his experience includes children’s writing, advertising, ghostwriting, online marketing and more. But more than anything, Chris loves helping put other writers on the fast track to success through his training at WritingMomentum.com. Chris lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife and three children.
Christy Johnson is a soul health life coach, popular conference speaker and the author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle. She’s appeared on numerous radio and TV programs including Trinity Broadcasting Network and her inspirational stories have been featured in several anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Christy holds an MBA from Central State University. She has three grown children and lives in Edmond with her husband and several ceramic dogs.
Melanie Hemry, winner of the prestigious Guideposts Writing Contest, has written stories that have warmed the hearts of readers worldwide. In addition to writing for Guideposts, her stories have been picked up for worldwide distribution by Reader’s Digest. She has written a total of 54 books, six under her own name and the rest which she ghosted for other people. Among them, Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy, which she ghosted for his widow, Macel Falwell.
Rene Gutteridge is the award-winning and best-selling author of twenty-five novels. She has published numerous multi-genre novels with Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Bethany House, B&H and Waterbrook Multnomah. She has novelized numerous screenplays and motion pictures, including Old Fashioned and Heart of the Country. Her romantic comedy with screenwriter Cheryl McKay, Never the Bride, won the Carol Award in 2010 for Best Women’s Fiction.
Her indie film Skid, based on her novel, won three Best Oklahoma Feature festival awards in 2015. Her novel My Life as a Doormat was adapted into a movie called Love’s Complicated on the Hallmark Channel. She is currently working as a full-time screenwriter for The Skit Guys.
She is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country and loves connecting and hanging out with fellow writers!
Carolyn Curtis is the author or collaborator of seven books, and a veteran journalist with awards from The Wall Street Journal, Evangelical Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists, etc. She served as the founding editor of On Mission. She has been published in Christianity Today (CT), By Faith, Facts & Trends, Sports Illustrated, The Saturday Evening Post plus many others. She worked in communications management for three Fortune 50 companies and at corporate headquarters for two church denominations, Presbyterians and Baptists. She reported from daily newsrooms and from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. She reported from the campaign trail – traveling with U.S. presidential candidates in a past election, also covering a party convention. She has taught college journalism and spoken at numerous conferences. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts degree in communication from Stephen F. Austin State University. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
They say those who can’t, teach. Gina Conroy says those who have a passion, inspire others to greatness. That’s why she teaches. Sure, she has several fiction and nonfiction published books out, not to mention hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. However, her passion is to inspire teens to follow their writing dreams and show them how to release the novel they have inside. Gina teaches creative writing summer camps and classes to aspiring writers throughout the year in addition to co-hosting the Teen Writers Publish podcast on iTunes. She’s homeschooled her four children (now all teens) and knows what it takes to keep teen writers engaged while learning new concepts.
Those who can’t attend her full 18 hour class, can pick up her novel writing workbook Release the Novel in You. It’s the DIY version of her novel writing course with options for one-on-one coaching and mentoring. So even though Gina can and does write, she also teaches. Because nothing is more satisfying than helping someone find their voice and write their story!
Janene MacIvor is a senior editor with Nelson Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. For fifteen years, before taking an in-house position, she did freelance management, substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading for Thomas Nelson, among other clients. Janene served as project manager for ELHI Publishers Services for three years. She and her husband served as national sales managers for Master Books, Creation Life Publishers. Her children and grandchildren bring her immeasurable joy and she loves sharing the wonderful world of literature with them.
Shel Harrington knew if she wanted to take her inspirational humor blog, Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce, to brand recognition, she needed to create a Facebook page that would help get the word out. Diving right into the Facebook world, she quickly learned that just because you make it, doesn’t mean they will it! So she set out on a quest to solve the “What will make them LIKE it?” riddle. And solve it she did – growing her Facebook page to over 100,000 “likes” and “follows” with a weekly page reach consistently in the millions. And it’s still growing! In her alternative world, Shel is a Family Law Attorney and adjunct law professor in Oklahoma City. In addition to her published law-related book and articles, she blogs with humor about improving relationships at www.shelharrington.com.
Erin Taylor Young is a founding member of Serenade Books—a boutique publisher focusing on romance e-books in the inspirational market—where she hones her publishing skills as an acquisitions editor and author liaison. Her deepest passions are the Word of God and bringing His truth, whether in her own books or the books of other authors, to readers. She teaches workshops about writing and publishing, produces podcasts, and is the co-creator of Write from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s also an award-winning humor writer who has a remarkable gift for making her readers laugh out loud even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith. Her recent book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, has been repeatedly accused of making readers laugh until they cry. Learn more about Erin at erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders. Find out more about Serenade Books at serenadebooks.com. Visit the podcast and website resource at writefromthedeep.com to find encouragement, refreshment, and truth, from writers, for writers.