Presenter Bios

Liz Adair

Born in southern New Mexico, and mother of seven, Liz began writing as middle age approached. Since then she’s published nine novels and two novellas. She’s won the Whitney Award and has been finalist for another Whitney as well as the Willa Award, Arizona Publishing Association’s Glyph Award, the RONE Award, and the Utah Book Award. In 2017 she was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Whitney Award for her work in mentoring writers. Liz turned indie with her 7th novel, and she’s never looked back.

After living in Washington State for forty years, Liz and her husband, Derrill, moved to southern Utah. Her last four novels have been set in red rock country.

Liz sends out a newsletter that began as weekly and dwindled to occasionally. If you’d like to be on the mailing list, email her at writer.lizadair@gmail.com.

Holli Anderson

Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on.

Besides being an author, Holli is the Chief Editor of Immortal Works Press—a publishing company that strives to bring to readers books that are appropriate for teens and intriguing to adults, publishing books of all fiction genres, middle grade through adult.

Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah—the same small town in which she grew up.

Shirley Bahlmann

Her love of reading motivated 10-year-old Shirley Anderson Bahlmann to write her first book. Twenty-five hand written pages later, she gave it to her 5th grade teacher to read, and hasn’t seen it since.

No worries, she has more story ideas than she has life left to write them, such as, “Flushing Watermelon Rinds: Advice and Anecdotes From Mothers of Sons,” an idea generated from raising six boys. (Life is truly inspiring!) She’s published over 20 books in several genres because she can’t pick just one.

She’s also written for newspapers ever since she was named editor of the elementary school paper in 6th grade. A few years ago, she won first place in Utah’s Small Newspaper Publishers Feature category for a story on Justin Osmond’s autobiography, “Hearing With My Heart.”

You can sample some of her short pioneer stories (they’re like bathroom readers for the outhouse!) at shirleybahlmann.com, or visit her eclectic blog at http://shirleybahlmann.blogspot.com/ where you never know what you’ll find until you go look.

Have a good day, a happy day, a reading day!

Shanan Ballam

Shanan Ballam is the Poet Laureate of Logan City, Utah. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Red Riding Hood Papers (Finishing Line 2010), Pretty Marrow (Negative Capability 2013), and Inside the Animal (Main Street Rag Publishing 2019). Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals including Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, and DIAGRAM. She is a Senior Lecturer for Utah State University where she teaches poetry writing, fiction writing, and composition, and she served on the Utah Arts Council Board of Directors from 2013-2017.

Julie Coulter Bellon

After winning $10 in a second grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now the author of nearly two dozen romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense, The Capture and Second Look were Whitney Award finalists for Best Suspense, and Julie has been a #1 bestseller on several Amazon category lists.

Julie loves to travel and her favorite cities she’s visited so far are probably Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She loves to read, write, teach, watch Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Julie offers book deals, reviews, and writing tips on her blog ldswritermom.blogspot.com You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website juliebellon.com.

C. David Belt

C. David Belt was born in the wilds of Evanston, WY. As a child, he lived and traveled extensively around the Far East. In Thailand, he once fed so many bananas to a monkey, the poor monkey swore off bananas for life. He served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Korea and southern California (Korean-speaking), and yes, he loves kimchi. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Aerospace Studies, but he managed to bypass all English or writing classes. He served as a B-52 pilot in the US Air Force and as an Air Weapons Controller in the Washington Air National Guard and was deployed to locations so secret, his family still does not know where he risked life and limb (other than in an 192′ wingspan aircraft flying 200′ off the ground in mountainous terrain). When he is not writing, he sings in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and works as a software engineer. He collects swords, spears, and axes (oh, my!), and other medieval weapons and armor. He and his wife have six children and live in Utah with an eclectus parrot named Mork (who likes to jump on the keyboard when David is writing). There is also a cat, but she can’t be bothered to take notice of the parrot, and so that is all the mention we shall make of her.

Rebecca Blevins

Rebecca Blevins is the author of a middle-grade pirate adventure series and two contemporary romances. Her feminist fairytale retelling, Of Brambles and Moonlight, releases November 2020. Rebecca is the CHRO for Salt and Sage Books, as well as an editor and sensitivity reader. Her deep POV technique is taught as part of a curriculum at USU. She is a huge Wonder Woman fan and lives in the Utah Valley along with her husband, four kids, and a fluffy, gray, snobby cat.

Carol Bradley

Carol Pratt Bradley is an historical novelist with a Master of Fine Arts from Brigham Young University (2009). Her fourth novel—Daughter of Anne-Hoeck—was released February 2020, about the life of Susanna Hutchinson, daughter of the famous Boston dissident, Anne Hutchinson. Two of her novels—Light of the Candle (2015) and its sequel Waiting for the Light (2017), imagine the life of Daniel in the Bible. Both were finalists for the Whitney Award. Fire of the Word, was published in 2016, about the English Protestant Anne Askew. Carol resides in Mapleton, Utah with her husband Bryan.

JoLyn Brown

JoLyn Brown began seriously pursuing writing twelve years ago after she attended her first writing conference. She has a passion for helping new writers find their confidence and voice. She writes religious themed nonfiction and fiction and is working on her first fantasy novel. After publishing six books traditionally, she is now stepping into the world of self-publishing. Currently she is fulfilling a life goal of finishing her bachelor’s degree in English where she’s discovered a passion for many of the classic literary authors. She’s been married fourteen years and has two children. She has no pets, but has started a rather complicated relationship with six houseplants. The results of that endeavor are still pending. 

Shanda Cottam

Shanda Cottam is an editor and project manager at Eschler Editing. She founded and was the moderator of the LDS Women’s Book Review podcast and blog for over a decade. She served a year on the LDStorymakers Conference committee as well as two years on the UVU Book Academy committee. After several years of reading books that were already published, she discovered that critiquing and editing manuscripts was what really fueled her and opened her own freelance editing business. She’s currently working on a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English. 

Shanda Cottam is an editor and project manager at Eschler Editing. She founded and was the moderator of the LDS Women’s Book Review podcast and blog for over a decade. After several years of reading books that were already published, she discovered that critiquing and editing manuscripts was what really fueled her. She’s currently working on a BA in Creative Writing and English.

Ali Cross

Ali Cross is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult fantasy and frequent speaker at industry events. An expert in story outlining, craft and industry, she’s well-known for her up-beat and engaging presentation style. In addition to presenting at conferences, Ali’s a writing coach with rave reviews and loves to help other writers maximize their potential in every way possible.

Kathryn Cunningham

Kathryn Cunningham is just your typical stay at home mom who writes in the evenings and dreams of getting published. She has a BA in French from BYU and a bucket full of life experiences just waiting to be turned into bestsellers. She is a volunteer writer for the refugee advocacy organization, Their Story is Our Story, and an assistant editor for their book, Let Me Tell You My Story.

Brock Dethier

Brock Dethier retired in 2018 after teaching at Utah State University for 21 years and directing the composition program since 2007. In 2006 and 2012, he was chosen as the teacher of the year for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has published five books for college composition teachers and students as well as two volumes of poetry. His song-and-story albums for kids are available at Amazon.com and Bandcamp.com.

Angela Eschler

Angela Eschler, founder of the award-winning Eschler Editing and boutique publisher E&E Books, has over twenty years of experience in the publishing industry, including nearly a decade working in-house at traditional publishers. She now works as a freelance editor and industry coach for authors, editors, publishers, and other organizations and has edited  thousands of manuscripts from diverse genres. 

A best-selling author, Angela’s work has been featured on television, radio, and in documentary film. As a certified word nerd, she loves connecting with writers and readers of all sorts.

Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan holds a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature. After spending a decade in higher education, she took a leap of faith and left the field to become a freelance editor. She now edits for Eschler Editing and small presses. She also is an agency assistant at Raven Quill Literary. Lindsay loves authors and not just because she’s one, too. She writes young adult and middle grade novels, poetry, and creative prose. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s photographing the majestic mountainous landscapes of Utah, where she lives with her husband and two brilliant and beautiful daughters.

VJO Gardner

V.J.O. Gardner is an award winning hybrid author. After writing for 30 years, she has written many novels and published three. Valerie is an invited speaker at conferences as an expert in character development, formatting, world building and map making. She formats for a small press.

Jared Garrett

Jared Garrett is a family man, husband, full-time dad and consultant, voiceover and audiobook artist, public speaker, game show champion, and the author of adventure stories and contemporary fiction for all ages. At age 17, he escaped from a Scientology-style cult and has worked as a firefighter, BBQ chef, cowboy theater actor, worldwide corporate trainer, adjunct faculty, and a bellman. After designing training solutions, technology, and curriculum for Amazon, American Express, and BYU, he now works from home. He writes in the margins of the day and has published eight books since 2015.

Kristy S. Gilbert

Kristy S. Gilbert of Looseleaf Editorial & Production has edited genre fiction (especially science fiction and fantasy) and assorted nonfiction for almost a decade and is an intermittent instructor of editing and print publication design at Brigham Young University. She also has a master’s degree emphasizing folklore and enjoys cooking, kayaking, and krav maga.

Merry Gordon

Merry Gordon is silently correcting your grammar. An editor with Pink Umbrella Books, Merry also has two decades of experience teaching English at the high school and junior college level. She is the editor of the Arizona Beehive and Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy anthology as well as the author of the children’s book Shutterbug. Merry is a book geek, a Netflix binger, and a connoisseur of all things chocolate. She lives with her husband and children in Arizona.

Angelica Hagman

Angelica Hagman has published more than sixty short stories and non-fiction articles in print magazines. As a life coach, Angelica helps her clients overcome internal and external obstacles, navigate the plot twists of life, and rock their character growth arcs. She’s also a book cover designer, which has the added advantage/disadvantage of generating even more stories for her to write.

Cate Hart

Cate joined Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in 2019 after 5 years with a New York agency where she represented Middle Grade to Adult fiction. She specializes in Historical, whether in Young Adult, Women’s Fiction and Romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to oft forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction.

In fiction, Cate looks for a stellar, unforgettable voice, plot and character driven narrative, and a high-concept premise.

CH Hung

C.H. Hung grew up among the musty book stacks of public libraries, where she found a lifelong love for good stories and lost 20/20 vision for good. She possesses a stubbornly rational soul intersecting with an irrational belief in magic, which means her stories are often as mixed up as she is, melding the plausible with myth and folklore. Her stories are slated to appear in Analog magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and have been published in DreamForge and khōréō magazines, as well as anthologies edited by Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, among others. Read more at www.chhung.com.

Jef Huntsman

Jef Huntsman is the highly acclaimed and award-winning published author of five fiction and two non-fiction books, numerous published short stories, and two delightful poetry books. He was voted Utah’s Writer of the Year in 2017 for his Carson series thriller, “Jamaica Rush” and his dedicated service to the literary community. He spends most of his time writing from his loft, swimming, hiking, or enjoying the peace of raging flames from his under-the-stars firepit at his cabin in central Utah. For more info check out: Jefhuntsmanauthor.com

Janet Johnson

Janet Sumner Johnson lives in Logan, Utah with her husband and three children. When she isn’t driving her kids to yet another activity, she is busy writing or researching ways to torture her kids. She is the author of the middle grade book The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society (Capstone, 2016), and her first picture book will be released in spring of 2020 (Capstone). You can visit her website at janetsumnerjohnson.com.

Melissa Dalton Martinez

Melissa Dalton Martinez has worked in the entertainment industry since 1998, including television, film, music, online shows, and books. Melissa has a BA in Communications and Business Management and an MA in Publishing. Melissa currently works as the marketing director for Eschler Editing and E&E Books. She also hosts the widely successful online show The Book Break where she interviews authors and others in publishing. As part of her company The Book Break, Melissa serves as a book reviewer for multiple publications, and does monthly book recommendation segments on Utah’s ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX television stations. In addition, Melissa teaches at publishing conferences nationwide; provides publisher and author services in marketing, branding, and media consulting; is a bestselling author; and is a co-owner of Tolwis Publishing. 

Rod Miller

Rod Miller is a four-time winner and six-time finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award, recognized for novels, short stories, poetry, and a song. Other awards for his work come from organizations including Westerners International, Western Fictioneers, and the Academy of Western Artists. In 2012 the League of Utah Writers named him Writer of the Year.

Miller writes fiction, poetry, and history related to the American West and is author of seven novels (with two more awaiting release), a collection of short stories, four nonfiction books, and three collections of poetry, as well as several appearances in anthologies and numerous magazine articles and book reviews.

A frequent presenter at writers’ conferences and other events, Miller also reads and lectures to a variety of community groups.

For additional information about Miller and his books, visit www.writerRodMiller.com, www.RawhideRobinson.com, and www.writerRodMiller.blogspot.com.

Jo Noelle

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking (especially for desserts,) builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—a mother/daughter writing team.

Michael Norman

Michael Norman is a retired professor of criminal justice from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and a former law enforcement officer employed by the Bellevue Washington Police Department and later, the Lakewood Colorado Department of Public Safety. Norman is the award winning author of five published mysteries including, The Commission, Silent Witness, On Deadly Ground, Skeleton Picnic and his latest novel, Slow Burn.

Erin Olds

Erin Olds loves to travel, read, and drink boba tea! She currently lives in Seattle, where she homeschools her two young children. Erin is the CEO of Salt & Sage Books, an editing company dedicated to kindness & diversity. With a degree in English and French, Erin has worked with authors of all ages her whole adult life. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in various journals and magazines. She is a hybrid published author, with several indie books out under a pen name and her first traditionally published book (still a secret!) in progress.

Mary Olsson

Mary loves books and food. Really if all she did was eat, read and write, she’d be happy.

Books have been a constant foundation in her life since childhood when her parents brought home a set of Harvard Classics from a garage sale. She earned her MA in English, did a stint as a college professor, and currently works as an antiquarian bookseller.

When she’s not researching first editions, Mary can’t resist making her mom’s decadent chocolate mousse on a special occasion (like her birthday), browsing through recipes, trying new ones, and reading all about food. She’s obsessed!

Currently, she’s also working on getting some of her writing projects published into the wider world.

Cevin and Carol Ormond

Carol Ormond is an author and a speaker (among other things, of course).

Carol’s first book, The People, combines her lifelong study of photography with her background in journalism.

She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon where she studied photojournalism under Bernard Freemesser.

Her interest in the black and white photographs of Dorothea Lange, Maynard Dixon’s second wife, brought her to the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts and a collaboration with Paul and Susan Bingham on this project.

The book celebrates the contribution of the Southern Paiute tribes to the success of John Wesley Powell’s expeditions, in particular, his later expeditions.

As a “flat lander” from Wisconsin, Carol is captivated by the dramatic skies and landscapes of the desert Southwest and loves hiking, exploring and photographing the region whenever she and her husband, Cevin, can.

Carol can be contacted at Carol@CarolOrmond.com.

Cevin (pronounced “Kevin”) Ormond is a publisher, a best-selling author, and a Keynote and Inspirational Speaker.

IN FACT… since no business, self-help, or other book will ever impact your life more than the one you write, he owns a hybrid publishing company, Git ‘er Done Books, to help people who are serious about being published get their own books written and published in 100 days or less. (If you are SERIOUS about getting your book finished and out the door soon, contact him directly now.)

HE IS ALSO A… Bestselling Author and has previously written and published 6 books including 2 Bestsellers and a #1 International Bestseller. His book, “The Constitution of a Great Leader – Leadership in the 21st Century”, is arguably his best Leadership book and he is excited to share it with you. (People love his keynote talk on this subject!)

IN ADDITION… for over 31 years Cevin has personally entertained, educated, and inspired over 350,000 people at over 4000 live events worldwide with an average quality rating of 9.8 of 10. That’s a lot of travel! It’s also a lot of experience with people, organizations, and cultures. (If you are SERIOUS about having Cevin speak at your organization or event contact him directly today.)

As an Engineer he designed electronics for the Space Shuttle, the SR-71, and the U-2 among other things. (His education includes a BSEE and an Executive MBA.)

He is a cancer survivor, a Vietnam Era Veteran, the oldest of 10, the father of 8 and grandfather of 31, a meat cutter, and has even milked cows for a living.

You are in for a real treat as you learn from someone who has been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt!

PS: You can contact Cevin at Cevin@giterdonebooks.com.

Adrienne Quintana

As an author who has published both traditionally with a small press, and independently, Adrienne Quintana has experience on both sides. She also works with independent authors on a regular basis through her micro-publishing company, Pink Umbrella Books.

Johan Twiss

Johan Twiss is passionate about writing clean science fiction and fantasy stories. He has eight (soon to be nine) published works, including his award-winning novel, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace, and the I Am Sleepless series. Johan doubles as an audiobook narrator is the recipient of the Lonestar.Ink Rising Star Award and was a finalist in the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition. Learn more at www.johantwiss.com.

Tiffany Unsworth

Tiffany has loved living in the red rock country of Kanab for seven years now, and in that time has become involved with the Willow Winds Chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society.  

Her love of free verse and the power of words has incited her to write her first book (soon to be published): Carried Through Cancer… My Sick Story, in Verse.  Writing this book was an outlet for Tiffany, as she recorded many of the kindnesses shown to her family while she battled breast cancer.  As a survivor, she hopes to give back to the cancer research community by donating any proceeds from the sales of her book to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where she was healed.
 
Inspired by local writers, she hopes to include any aspiring authors wanting to find their voice.  Tiffany has a Bachelors Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education from Utah State University, and she and her husband own Kanab Tour Company and National Park Tourz. 

Elaine Vickers

Elaine/E.B. Vickers is an award-winning author of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels that aim to help readers of all ages find connection and belonging. She grew up in a small town in the Utah desert, where she spent her time reading, playing basketball, and exploring. Several years and one PhD later, she found her way back to her hometown, where she now spends her time writing, teaching college chemistry, and exploring with her husband and three kids.

Cindy R. Williams

Cindy R. Williams is a hybrid author with five published books in various genres In the market and nine more books scheduled for releases by 2021. Her children’s picture book has earned several awards. She also won the Arizona Mothers of America writing contest with an excerpt from her first non-fiction book, Welcome to the Motherhood. Cindy writes a column in a statewide Arizona newspaper. With a Public Relations degree and a minor in Journalism from BYU-Provo, Cindy creates her own marketing programs, writes press releases, schedules book signing events and enjoys creating “outside of the box” marketing. As the mother of five and grandmother of eight, she finds writing is her ticket to sanity.