***Links & Speakers Updated – March 10, 2015***
Some of you may know I’m Conference Chair of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, INC Conference this year. It takes place May 1-2, 2015 at the Embassy Suites in OKC. Find more details on the OWFI website.
I’m excited to share our great line up of presenters for 2015. This year’s theme is Writing Zone: Craft from the Ground Up and is perfect for writer’s just starting out as well as established writers.
Below you can find information about most of our speakers, presenters, agents, and publishers.
Les Edgerton is a full-time writer with fifteen books in print. He teaches creative writing on the university level, through private coaching of writers, and on various on-line venues. He writes in a variety of forms: novels, short stories, nonfiction books, screenplays and the subjects he chooses to write about are just as varied, including sports, literary fiction, thrillers, black comedy and the craft of writing.
His work has been nominated for or won: the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Derringer Award, Spinetingler Magazine Thriller of the Year (Legends category), Jesse Jones Book Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award (short story category), Violet Crown Book Award, and others. His screenplays have placed as a semifinalist in the Nicholl’s Foundation Script-writing Award, and as a finalist in the Best of Austin and Writer’s Guild’s screenwriting awards. His 18th book, a black comedy crime caper, titled The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping came out in October from Down & Out Books.
Richard Thomas is the author of six books—Disintegration and The Breaker (Random House Alibi), Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots, Staring Into the Abyss and The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of three anthologies: The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for LitReactor and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press.
DARK HOUSE PRESS (where Thomas is Editor-in-Chief)
Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). She’s represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary. Look for her upcoming novels from Entangled Teen Touching Fate and Library Jumpers, releasing 2015.
Sarah Henning is a crime writer, recovering newshound, and word nerd of the highest order (aka a freelance copy editor). She has degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Kansas, and has worked for several news organizations, including The Associated Press, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The Palm Beach Post. When she’s not hunched over her computer or curled up with a good book, Sarah is probably running ultramarathons, playing with her cherub-cheeked kids, or nagging her husband to eat more kale. She is repped by Rachel Ekstrom of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Prior to joining the L. Perkins Agency, Leon Husock was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He has a BA in Literature from Bard College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Leon is actively building his client list. He has a particular interest in science fiction & fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels filled with strong characters and original premises, but keeps an open mind for anything that catches his eye. He is also looking for historical fiction set in the 20th century, particularly the 1980s or earlier.
Michelle L. Johnson is a literary agent and the founder of Inklings Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the urban fantasy, Divinity, released September 2014.
After spending a decade in bookselling, she opened and ran a writers’ center in Virginia where she helped aspiring writers find their voices. Michelle has been an editor for two indie presses, and began her career as an agent with the Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York.
In adult, NA, and YA, Michelle is looking for breakout stories in contemporary romance and also the adrenaline genres – Thriller, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, suspense, horror.
Andrew E. Kaufman is a former broadcast journalist-turned-author. He was named one of the highest-grossing independent authors in the country after his combined sales pushed well past the six-figure mark. His success led to an international dual publishing deal with Thomas & Mercer and 47North.
After receiving his journalism and political science degrees at San Diego State University, Andrew began his writing career as an Emmy-nominated writer/producer, working at the CBS affiliate in San Diego, and then in Los Angeles. For more than ten years, he produced special series and covered many nationally known cases, including the O.J. Simpson Trial.
Andrew is represented by Scott Miller, Executive Vice President of Trident Media Group in New York.
Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, a children’s book, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University. A former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Walmart Republic w/ Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014) and reluctant minivan (Living Arts Press, May 2014).
Trisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for over five years now and has published six YA novels and eight adult titles (as USAToday bestselling author Lyla Payne).
Trisha is the author of The Last Year series and the Cavy Files books. Look for The Historians, the first in a new YA science fiction series, coming from Bloomsbury Spark in 2015!
She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
With a career in law enforcement that spanned nearly two decades, Lee Lofland is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedures and crime scene investigations. He consults for many best-selling authors, and is a regular speaker at writers conferences, including the Left Coast Crime Conference, Pennwriters Conference, Deadly Ink, and Willamette Writers Conference. He is also the host and director of the Writers’ Police Academy, an event where writers learn realism by attending an actual police academy.
Having a great deal of wanderlust, Jennifer McMurrain traveled the countryside working odd jobs before giving into her muse and becoming a writer. She’s been everything from a “Potty Princess” in Yellowstone National Park to a Bear Researcher in the mountains of New Mexico. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and novels, including hitting #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list with her debut novel Quail Crossings. She lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma with her husband and daughter. She has just released her third novel, Return To Quail Crossing.
Melissa Nasson has spent her life in and around Boston, attending Boston University and Boston University School of Law (Go Terriers!). After interning at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, East-West Literary, and Perseus Books Group, she began working as Contracts Director at Beacon Press. Now, Melissa continues her work at Beacon while actively building her list as an associate agent at Rubin Pfeffer Content. She is open to MG, YA, NA, and adult fiction in any genre, though she particularly enjoys fantasy and sci-fi. Melissa loves dogs, craft beer, making pickles, tending to her tiny vegetable garden, and her pet tortoise, Norton.
Author of over 180 published books, Mel Odom lives in Oklahoma with his family and enjoys movies, books, television, games, gardening, and… (he’s ADHD and easily snared into bright and shiny).
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and author of 30 nonfiction and fiction pet-centric books, including Lost And Found and Hide And Seek, thrillers that include dog viewpoint. She’s also a composer, playwright and performer and has collaborated with Frank Steele to co-write, direct and produce three musical theater productions. Most recently, she combined her love of pets, music and theater when she and Frank co-wrote, directed and produced, Strays, The Musical to enthusiastic audiences in Sherman, Texas. Amy also is a past OWFI president and is delighted to share sessions about collaboration, playwriting techniques and pet-centric tips.
Jerry D. Simmons is an Oklahoma native and former New York publishing executive for the Time Warner Book Group. Over the years he directed an international marketing group and has worked on hundreds of New York Times bestselling titles and with numerous bestselling authors. Today he writes the INSIGHTS™ blog and publishes the TIPS for WRITERS™ newsletter.
Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria Snyder‘s been writing fantasy and science fiction since she was bored at work and needed something creative to do. A dozen novels later, Maria’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her Master’s degree in Writing from Seton Hill University where she’s now part of the MFA faculty. She also enjoys creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, ’cause let’s face it, they’re cool, although she’s been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out.
Frank Steele has had a passion for writing since he wrote neighborhood plays as a kid in Vernon, Texas. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to write and create original work. He is member of the Screen Actors Guild and plays/screenplays are his main focus these days. His topics for OWFI will focus on writing with a partner…the challenges and the successes. His most recent outing is Strays, The Musical written with OWFI member, Amy Shojai, which has been recently produced to enthusiastic crowds in Sherman, Texas. Can ‘partner writing’ be a success? Very much so! He’s looking forward to explaining how in the sessions he and Amy will present.
Prior to joining TriadaUS Literary Agency, Inc. Brent Taylor held numerous entry-level positions in publishing, most recently at The Bent Agency. He is based out of Louisville, KY and represents books for a wide range of readers, with a focus on middle grade, young adult, and select upmarket commercial fiction.
Publishers Marketplace: www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/brenttaylor
Brandy Walker is the owner and lead designer at Sister Sparrow Graphic Design. Brandy is an international award winning artist with over ten years of graphic design experience. After founding Sister Sparrow Graphic Design in 2012, she fell in love with book cover design and has been happily designing book covers ever since. Brandy’s covers have been featured on blogs like The Book Cover Designer and Library at the End of the Universe. Brandy lives in a small town in the Texas Panhandle with her military husband and their three rambunctious dogs.