- Sarah Aronson – author of young adult novels, a middle grade series, and picture book
- Tracy Clark – author of the Cass Raines PI series, her novel, Broken Places, was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, an Anthony Award for Best Debut Novel and a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel
- Sarah Domet – author of the The Guineveres, voted one of the Best Books of 2016 by Southern Authors and included on Bustle’s list of 2016’s best debut novels; also the author of 90 Days to Your Novel
- Kelcey Parker Ervick – award-winning author of The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and art about a Czech fairy tale writer
- Lori Rader-Day – Edgar Award-nominated and Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of The Lucky One (February 2020), Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour
- Kristina Riggle – bestselling novelist of women’s fiction, Vivian in Red, Real Life & Liars, and Things We Didn’t Say, a USA Today bestseller
- Carol Saller – author of children’s books and contributing editor to The Chicago Manual of Style
- Simon Tatum – 20 years in the film and television industry; assistant director for Tim Burton, Edgar Wright, and Ben Wheatley on many high-end feature films, commercials and music videos
- Nick Werner – award-winning 20-year career in journalism
- Angela Jackson-Brown – award-winning writer, poet and playwright
- Jamie Thomas – director of operations at Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago
- Holly Miller – award-winning author, co-author or ghostwriter of 15 books, including four novels, three how-to’s, and a bestselling textbook; she is a contributing editor and has written more than 2,500 published articles and short stories
- Lylanne Musselman – award-winning poet, playwright, and artist, and writing educator
CATAPULT YOUR WRITING WORKSHOP:
- Matthew Clemens – co-author with Max Allen Collins of the Reeder and Rogers thriller series, plus 17 TV tie-in novels
- Larry D. Sweazy – award-winning author of 14 mystery and western novels, and over 80 nonfiction articles and short stories
Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published three stand alone novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe, a young MG series, The Wish List (Scholastic, 2017-2019) as well as the picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Robert Neubecker.
When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, social action, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at the amazing Highlights Foundation or Writers on the Net (www.writers.com). She currently serves as PAL coordinator for SCBWI-Illinois–and the SCBWI-IL initiative, Read Local. Warning: She overuses exclamation points. When she gets really excited, she makes funny faces and talks with her hands. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Tracy Clark is the author of the Cass Raines PI series. The series, set in Chicago, features ex-homicide cop turned PI Cassandra Raines, a hard-driving African-American gumshoe who works the mean streets of the Windy City dodging cops, cons, killers and thugs.
Her debut novel, Broken Places, made Library Journal’s list of the Best Crime Fiction of 2018 and was short listed in the mystery category on the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List. CrimeReads also named Cass Raines Best New PI of 2018. The novel also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, a rave from Kirkus Review, and was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, an Anthony Award for Best Debut Novel and a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.
Her second Cass Raines novel, Borrowed Time, released in May 2019. Book three, What You Don’t See, releases May 2020.
A native Chicagoan, Tracy roots for the Cubs, the Sox, the Bears, the Blackhawks, the Chicago Shy and the Chicago Fire equally. She is member of Sisters in Crime and Sisters in Crime Chicagoland, Mystery Writers of America Midwest and International Thriller Writers. She is also a member of the Bouchercon National Board and secretary of her MWA local chapter.
Sarah Domet is the author of The Guineveres, originally released from Flatiron Books/Macmillan in October 2016. It received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal along with praise from O Magazine, People, Elle, Real Simple, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times Book Review. Southern Living voted it one of the Best Books of 2016 by Southern Authors and Bustle included it on their list of 2016’s best debut novels. She is also the author of 90 Days to Your Novel, and her short fiction and nonfiction have been published and anthologized in numerous places. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from The University of Cincinnati, and she currently teaches in the creative writing program at Ball State University.
Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of three award-winning books: The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and art about a Czech fairy tale writer; Liliane’s Balcony (Rose Metal Press), a novella set at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater; and the story collection For Sale By Owner (Kore Press).
She is co-editor, with Tom Hart, of the forthcoming Field Guide to Graphic Literature: Artists and Writers on Creating Graphic Narratives, Poetry Comics, and Literary Collage, which Rose Metal Press will publish in 2021.
She has received grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Her stories, essays, and comics have appeared in The Believer, The Rumpus, Colorado Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, Booth, Notre Dame Review, The Common, and elsewhere. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and teaches creative writing at Indiana University South Bend.
Lori Rader-Day is the Edgar Award-nominated and Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of The Lucky One (coming in February), Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour. She lives in Chicago, where she is co-chair of the mystery readers’ conference Murder and Mayhem in Chicago and the national president of Sisters in Crime.
Her short fiction has been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, TimeOut Chicago, Crab Orchard Review, Freight Stories, and in the anthologies Dia de los Muertos (Elektrik Milkbath Press), Unloaded 2 (Down and Out Books), and Murder-a-Go-Go’s (Down and Out Books). Bestselling author Jodi Picoult chose her story as the grand prize winner of Good Housekeeping’s first fiction contest in 2010.
She studied journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, twice—but eventually gave in to her dream and studied creative writing at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Now a resident of Chicago for almost twenty years, she has a favorite deep dish pizza (Lou Malnati’s) and is active in the area’s crime writing community. She is also the current national president of Sisters in Crime, a proud member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, and co-chairs with publicist Dana Kaye Murder and Mayhem in Chicago, a one-day mystery readers’ conference.
Bestselling novelist Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was a Target “Breakout” pick and a “Great Lakes, Great Reads” selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and Things We Didn’t Say was a USA Today bestseller. Her other novels have been honored by independent booksellers, including an IndieNext Notable designation for The Life You’ve Imagined.
Her latest novel of 1930s Broadway and today, Vivian in Red, is about the clouded history of how a famed Broadway producer’s most famous song is connected to a woman from his past.
Kristina has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction, and elsewhere, and is a former co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. Her flash-fiction short story, “Chips“, was one of two finalists in the 11th round of NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest. Kristina was a full-time newspaper reporter before turning her attention to creative writing. She likes to run and read, though not at the same time.
Carol Saller is a longtime contributing editor to The Chicago Manual of Style and writes for Fiction+ at the CMOS blog. She has also worked as an acquiring editor in children’s book publishing (Cricket Books). Her own books include The Subversive Copy Editor and several books for children, most recently the MG/YA novel Eddie’s War.
Simon started working in the film and television industry twenty years ago as a runner, fetching coffee and generally doing all the horrible stuff no one else wanted to do. He eventually worked his way up to Assistant Director for the likes of Tim Burton, Edgar Wright, and Ben Wheatley on many high-end feature films, commercials and music videos.
He then shifted focus into directing documentary, traveling the world and having weird and wonderful adventures for the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, Comedy Central, Warner Bros and many more.
Since relocating to LA eight years ago he has moved back into the world of movies and TV, becoming a prolific screenwriter and director. He has a number of feature film and television projects set up at various studios, including a 10 part crime drama based on the true story of the largest manhunt in US history, an anthology horror film co-created with the makers of Sherlock and Dracula, and an animated feature with the team behind The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Jamie Thomas is the director of operations at Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois. She has worked in bookstores for over twenty years and has previously held roles as a bookseller, buyer, inventory and merchandising supervisor, and store and office manager. She served on the American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce committee in 2017, has been part of the Indie Bookstore Day exclusives curation committee, and has been awarded a James Patterson Holiday Bookseller Bonus twice. She has been a panelist at both BookExpo and the ABA’s Children’s Institute in discussions about trends in children’s books and category management. She is currently beginning the query process of her first novel, which is in part set in (where else?) a bookstore.
Nick Werner registered for his first high school journalism class for the sole purpose of sitting next to a girl he liked.
She dropped the class before day one and began dating his twin brother.
Thankfully, things got better from there. He fell in love with journalism instead, attracted to the suspense of covering developing stories, the camaraderie of a newsroom, and the opportunity to affect change. Over an award-winning 20-year career, he has worked at two newspapers, has written for magazines that include the Ball State Alumni magazine, Outdoor Indiana and Travel IN, and authored a hiking guide.
He currently works in Ball State University Marketing & Communications as a content strategist and writer. He loves to tell stories of students and alumni beating odds and overcoming obstacles on the path to success.
Nick lives in Muncie with his wife, Gail, and their two children. He long ago forgave his brother but has yet to adequately thank the young woman who unknowingly kickstarted his career.
Angela Jackson-Brown is an award winning writer, poet and playwright who teaches Creative Writing and English at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She is a graduate of the Spalding low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing. She is the author of the novel Drinking From A Bitter Cup and a book of poetry called House Repairs published by Negative Capability Press. She has published in numerous literary journals and her work has been anthologized extensively. Angela has written and produced numerous plays that have appeared in Indianapolis, IN and Muncie, IN. Her play, Anna’s Wings, was selected to be a part of the IndyFringe DivaFest and her play, Flossie Bailey Takes a Stand, was part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She also wrote and produced the play It Is Well and she was the co-playwright with Ashya Thomas on a play called Black Lives Matter (Too). In the spring of 2018, Angela co-wrote a musical with her colleague, Peter Davis, called Dear Bobby: The Musical, that was part of the 2018 OnxyFest in Indianapolis, IN to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s trip to Indianapolis, IN on the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2019, she wrote, directed and produced a play called Still Singing Those Weary Blues.
Author or co-author of four published novels, eight nonfiction books, and 2,500 magazine short stories and articles, Holly Miller has led writing workshops from California to Massachusetts. A consulting editor to two national magazines and a judge for an annual fiction-writing contest, she holds communication degrees from Indiana University and Ball State University and has taught college writing classes for 25 years. Her how-to book, Feature & Magazine Writing, co-authored with colleague David Sumner, is in its third edition. Her greatest joy is helping unpublished writers break into print.
- Manuscript Makeover: All Genres – This interactive intensive is designed for those fiction and nonfiction writers who are ready to take a quantum leap forward in enhancing their writing skills. Participants will send a one-page synopsis and the first 10 pages of a book manuscript in progress by JULY 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org subject line: Manuscript Makeover: Holly Miller. Holly will edit and critique these pages and display them to the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses in the material. Additionally, she will lead the students in writing exercises and offer advice on such topics as creating strong titles and opening paragraphs, learning to self-edit, mastering proofreading, finding the right markets for manuscripts and knowing when and how to go into writing full-time. [Limit 12.]
Lylanne Musselman is an award-winning poet, playwright, and artist, and writing educator living in Indiana. Her work has appeared in Pank, Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal, The New Verse News, and The Ekphrastic Review, among others, and many anthologies. She has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, including in 2019. Musselman is the author of five chapbooks, including the recent Red Mare 16 (Pink House Literary Arts, 2018), a co-author of the volume of poetry, Company of Women New and Selected Poems, (Chatter House Press, 2013) and a full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately (Chatter House Press, 2018).
CATAPULT YOUR WRITING WORKSHOP
Matthew Clemens and his collaborator, Max Allan Collins, have penned 17 TV tie-in novels including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Dark Angel, Bones, and Criminal Minds. Twilight Tales published the pair’s collected short stories in My Lolita Complex and Other Tales of Sex and Violence. They have also authored the Reeder and Rogers thrillers You Can’t Stop Me, No One Will Hear You, What Doesn’t Kill Her, Supreme Justice, Fate of the Union, and Executive Order.
Larry D. Sweazy (pronounced: Swayzee) is the award-winning author of fourteen mystery and western novels, including See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, A Thousand Falling Crows, Vengeance at Sundown, and The Rattlesnake Season. He won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013. Larry is also a two-time winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for two books in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series–which is returning in 2020. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007, and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010, and won in 2011. He also won the inaugural Elmer Kelton Book Award in 2013. Larry has published over eighty nonfiction articles and short stories. He is also a freelance indexer and has written back-of-the-book indexes for over nine and fifty hundred books in twenty-one years, which served as inspiration for the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series. Larry speaks and teaches at writing workshops across the country. He lives in Noblesville, Indiana with his wife, Rose, two dogs and a cat, and is hard at work on his next novel.