Confirmed Speakers

Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson, and Beneath a Scarlet Sky, which is being made into a film starring Tom Holland.  Mark has received numerous awards for his writing, including the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award. His works have been named New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.  He grew up in Medfield, MA and graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in English before working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps.  He then earned a graduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University and began a career in investigative journalism.  An avid skier and adventurer, Mark lives with his wife in Bozeman, MT, where he remains grateful for every moment.

— Mark’s Keynote address will be Mastery: Why writers young and old should aspire to mastery, and not the bestseller lists. And he will offer a 90 minute workshop entitled: The Writing Mindset: How to hack your brain and body to increase creativity and productivity in your writing life.

Christopher Merrill

Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier from the French government in the Order of Arts and Letters. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, and in April 2012 President Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities.

José Antonio Rodríguez

José Antonio Rodríguez, born in Mexico and raised in south Texas, is the author of the memoir House Built on Ashes and the poetry collections The Shallow End of Sleep and Backlit Hour. His awards and honors include the Bob Bush Memorial Award from the Texas Institute of Letters; a finalist citation for the 2014 Paterson Poetry Prize, a finalist citation for a 2017 International Latino Book Award, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award from the Paterson Literary Review, the Founders’ Prize from RHINO, multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and the Clifford D. Clark Doctoral Fellowship from Binghamton University, where he earned a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing. He is also a member of the writers’ collectives Macondo Writers’ Workshop and CantoMundo. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, POETRY, The Texas Observer, the Poetry Society of America online, and elsewhere. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Wendy S. Walters

Wendy S. Walters is the author of Multiply/Divide (Sarabande Books, 2015) Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem Books, 2014), Longer I Wait, More You Love Me (2009) and a chapbook, Birds of Los Angeles (2005), both published by Palm Press (Long Beach, CA). Walters was a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, and her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Bookforum, FENCE, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. She has won a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a research fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, a scholarship from Bread Loaf, and multiple fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She is a founder of The First Person Plural Reading Series in Harlem, a Contributing Editor at The Iowa Review , Associate Professor, Literary Studies at the Eugene Lang College, The New School, and Associate Dean, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons School of Design.

Evan L. Balkan

Evan L. Balkan is the author of six books of nonfiction, including The Wrath of God: Lope de Aguirre; Revolutionary of the Americas (University of New Mexico), and the novel Spitfire, as well as many essays and short stories in an array of publications. His screenplay Spitfire won both the 2016 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition and a Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Fellowship; his screenplay Children of Disobedience won the 2017 Baltimore Screenwriting Competition. He is co-writer for the television series, Wayward Girls. He runs the creative writing program at the Community College of Baltimore County, and is an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. Evan holds degrees from Towson, George Mason, and Johns Hopkins. His thesis, the novel Root That Mountain Down, won an Individual Artist Award for Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council. He has served as a guest lecturer at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Bryn Mawr and many other institutions.

— Evan will offer two sessions on Screenwriting and Travel Writing.

Summer Prescott

Best-Selling cozy mystery and thriller author, Summer Prescott, says that she kills a new person once a week and makes a darn good living doing it. This prolific writer has penned nearly 100 books in the past two years, beginning her cozy mystery career by cranking out one complete book per week. Her books are quite popular, and each one always spends a great deal of time in the top twenty of her genre. In addition to churning out the cozy hits, in 2016 she began Summer Prescott Books Publishing. The well-known indie publishing company is known as a launching pad for new talent, as well as a high-quality publisher of seasoned talent gracefully acquired from Big Five publishing companies. When she’s not writing or publishing, Summer enjoys spending time outdoors, usually with her faithful companion, Elvis the Standard Poodle, and she also loves interior decorating, creating art with found objects and repurposing unique furniture pieces.

— Summer will present three workshops including Even Cinderella Lost Her Shoe: this rags to riches story will knock your socks off, as Summer shares with you her personal experience in the world of indie writing and publishing. Her other workshops will be Murders, Mysteries and Munchies, Oh My! and Nifty Niche Publishing

Daphne Loveling

Daphne Loveling left her tenured position as a professor at a state university in July 2016 to write full-time. She has published over a dozen full-length novels and credits the changes in technology and the field of self-publishing for making possible a second career that she truly loves. She and her husband plan to wave goodbye to the United States at the end of 2018 and begin the next phase of their lives as expats — possibly in Cuenca!

— Daphne is going to tell us how she became a full-time writer in her session: A Million Dollars and A Baby Unicorn: My journey from side hustle to full time author as well as a session on How to Write Great Sex Scene.

Leonardo Wild

Leonardo Wild is a professional author with 11 books and 200 published articles as well as 42 produced scripts. Although he wears many hats, writing has been his livelihood and passion since age twelve. Currently the CEO and co-owner of a company dedicated to environmental solutions, Leonardo has travelled extensively: sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific, was the skipper of a million-dollar yacht at the age of 24 in New Zealand and in 1989 survived cyclone Harry, a Category 4. He walked three times over the Andes into the Amazon jungle with Native Indians, took part in gold survey expeditions in Ecuador’s rain forests, cycled across South America, built wooden houses, advised Ecuador’s Central Bank on currency design; these, and many other experiences, are invariably being weaved into his writing.

— Leonardo will offer three sessions:  High Concept Conflict, Subtext- The Dark Matter of Story, and Wildly Creative Book Launches

C. A. (Carol) Newsome

Carol Newsome is the self-published author of six Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries. Her own career took off when an acquaintance embarked on a word of mouth campaign that rivaled Sherman’s march on Atlanta. Carol is an active member of the self-publishing community. She is also a painter who creates the dog portraits on her covers. She and Gypsy, her Catahoula leopard dog (translation: One-eyed, zombie swamp monster), live in Cincinnati. Carol is allowed to write while Gypsy rests between agility and fetch sessions.

— Carol’s presentations will include: Engaging Your Fans for Fun and Profit and Creating Internal and External Conflict Using Astrological Archetypes as Your Guide.

Don Morreale

For Don Morreale, writing and meditation are of a piece.  He began journaling while still in his teens, as a means of self-realization.  The writing led to a genuine experience of transformation which in turn motivated him to take up the practice of meditation.  He is a certified meditation teacher, and the author of two books on Buddhism in America.  In 2009 he began writing articles about people’s life-changing experiences for the Denver Post.  His articles were later anthologized in a book entitled, Cowboys, Yogis, and One-Legged Ski Bums; The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Coloradans”.  A university lecturer, he has taught Public Speaking and Speech Writing at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China, and Creative Writing at Nepal’s Kathmandu University.  Don makes his home in Denver, Colorado., and teaches creative writing worldwide aboard the ships of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Princess Cruise Lines.

— Don will offer sessions on Writing as Spiritual Practice and Conducting Interviews for your Non-Fiction or Memoir Project.

Anne Carr

Anne Carr, Doctor of Education, University of British Columbia, Canada. Anne has lived in Ecuador for 10 years teaching at the University of Cuenca’s Maestria Applicada Linguistica and undergraduate courses in International Relations at the University of Azuay. Previously, visiting scholar to many Canadian provinces and states in the U.S, Western Europe, Middle East and Asia teaching social and communication skills to teachers working within inclusive classrooms for both language and disability differences.
— Anne will offer a workshop on Global Flash Fiction.

Jeanne McCafferty

Jeanne McCafferty has been writing and editing for more than 30 years.  For the past 10 years, she has focused on editing and book design, and has been on the creative team for more than 20 books, including a National Indie Excellence Book Award, a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, and other honors.

— Jeanne will offer sessions on Creating Characters that Walk Off the Page, and Oh, Go Edit Yourself- HavingFun with Editing.

Kitty Hoffman

Kitty Hoffman’s award-winning writing has appeared in Prism, The Malahat Review, Grain, The Common, and Boulevard as well as several anthologies, and she has served on the editorial board of The Malahat Review. She has taught creative writing in a variety of settings including The Quebec Writers’ Federation, Concordia University, the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, the University of Victoria, and the Victoria School of Writing. Kitty has won or been short-listed for several awards for literary nonfiction, and received fellowships from The Banff Centre for the Arts, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Fondacion Valparaiso, The Norman Mailer Center, The Vermont Studio Center, Fondacion Can Serrat, and Centrum, as well as artists’ grants from the Canada, Quebec, and BC Councils for the Arts. She has an MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia’s Graduate School of the Arts, as well as degrees from McGill and the University of Toronto. She is currently working on a book of literary nonfiction that combines her search for her 11tlh-century ancestor, the father of Kabbalah, and growing up with parents who were Holocaust survivors.

— Kitty will offer What’s Creative About Creative Nonfiction? and a session on Narrative Voice in Non-Fiction and Memoir.

Kate Kunkel

Kate Kunkel has enjoyed a 30-year career in the arts, beginning as a writer for Let’s Live magazine. As a columnist for several local newspapers, UFO Magazine, In Light Magazine, and as a book and movie reviewer for The Auroran, Kate has covered all manner of arts and esoteric subjects. In 2010, Kate expanded her expertise to technical matters, and is currently senior editor of VALVE Magazine. Kate is also a harpist, teacher, performance coach and retreat leader who guides harpists in their musical journeys.

— Kate will offer sessions including Turning Gobbledygook into Great Articles, Share Your Story to Sell your Book, and Give Away your Best Stuff!

Ricardo Segreda

Ricardo Segreda is an Ecuador-American filmmaker, journalist, publicist, and author. His works include the 2007 edition of The Viva Travel Guide to Peru, and the film, Stone Imprint: Italian Architecture and Ecuadorian Identity.  He also wrote nearly 500 film reviews for the Ecuadorian daily, La Hora. As a journalist, he has interviewed such notables in media as filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, graphic design legend Milton Glaser, and the “Survivorman,” Les Stroud.

— Rick will offer a session on Writing Horror

Cary Riggs

Cary Riggs (aka Jay Cardam) has written since his early teens, escaping into creating worlds in the distant past. Over the years he has written plays produced on the college stage, had poetry and short fiction published, been the author of a cooking column, and an alternative life-style column. After a chance meeting, and subsequent friendship, with Maya Angelou, he became a teacher (on her advice) and spent the next twenty-five years doing just that. He is currently writing a series of historical novels, the Numerius series.  Cary founded, and moderates, The Hammond Writers’ Critique Group. He and his wife, Bettye currently live in Hammond LA. and share five spectacular grandchildren.

— Cary’s session will be Writing Historically 101.

Magdalena Herreshoff

Magdalena Herreshoff is a poet, short story writer, and book artist. She was co-leader of the Sound of Four Rivers Poetry workshop at the March 2017 Cuenca International Writers Conference. Magdalena has authored six limited edition poetry books, several of which are in collections at the University of WA Special Collections Library in Seattle, and in other Book Art Collections in the Pacific Northwest. Her most recent limited edition poetry books published in Ecuador are Vodka Musings and Cloud Poems and High in the Andes: Book One.

— Magdalena will offer a session called Poetry and Book Art.

Judi Moreo

Successful entrepreneur, author, and motivator, Judi Moreo is one of the most recognized professional development trainers and coaches in the world. Judi is the publisher of both the Life Choices book series and Choices magazine as well as the host of the popular “Choices with Judi Moreo” internet radio show and the “World of Book Reviews” television show. She is the author of 11 books including 2 international bestsellers, You Are More Than Enough and Conquer the Brain Drain as well as The Achieve More Method Professional Development course, an online program for building self-confidence, communication, and leadership skills.  Judi is a Certified Professional Speaker, less than 10% of the speakers in the world hold this prestigious earned designation. She has delivered keynote speeches, seminars and workshops in 28 countries.

— Judi will offer sessions on You Have an Idea, Now What? From Thought to Publishing and How to Write a How To book.

Kimberly Parish Davis

Kimberly Parish Davis is the acting director at Texas Review Press where, under her direction, the press has produced forty-two works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She has overseen four international writing competitions over the past two years, and she is in the process of producing a further eight volumes for Texas Review Press. Kimberly has edited a number of online magazines and blogs as a freelance editor and web designer. She has three novels-in-progress; is working on an anthology about Paul Ruffin; and is ghost-writing a memoir about Ron Kenney, an English jockey who came to Texas in 1960. Kimberly earned an MFA from Sam Houston State University where she teaches freshman composition and technical writing.

— Kimberly will present The Role of the University Press in Contemporary Publishing.

Su Terry

“Su Terry is a remarkable storyteller, in music and in words…she looks at the world in a creative–we could say cockeyed–wonderful way.”​
-Erika Funke, ArtScene, NPR

As a jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and composer, Su has a discography of more than 50 recordings. She has authored three non-fiction books, a short novel, four music instruction books and dozens of magazine articles. Su has performed and recorded with many jazz VIPs including Dr. Billy Taylor, Hilton Ruiz, Art Blakey, Carmen McRae and Al Jarreau. She is Artist in Residence at the Jazz Society of Ecuador and has performed internationally as a guest soloist with a wide variety of ensembles, including the National Symphony and the New York Pops. She has given masterclasses throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Her other passion is for the martial arts: she is a 9-time USKSF Championship Tournament gold medalist in Taijiquan.

— Su will share a session on How to Perform Your Work.

Allison Blake

Although Allison has loved the theater since childhood, she was in her forties when she wrote her first play, Two White Dudes. This play led to her acceptance in the MFA playwriting program at Yale.  Since graduating, Allison has written a total of ten plays, all of which have had staged readings or productions.  Her plays have been staged in Manhattan, San Francisco, San Diego, Montana, and New Haven. Two White Dudes was filmed for television.  Her last produced play was The Pint, presented by Montana State University.

Allison will present Playwriting 101