Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.
Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”
Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe. In his podcast “The Story Blender,” he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web. Listen now to any of the dozens of archived podcasts for free by visiting his website thestoryblender.com.
HARTLINE LITERARY AGENCY
Cyle Young is a force-sensitive dragon rider trapped in the modern world. When he and his three muggle padawans aren’t racing chocobos, they search for a magical wardrobe or time stone. Cyle credits his 20+ writing awards to his discovery of the One Ring to Rule Them All.
He lives in the Midwest and when he is not shopping manuscripts for Hartline Literary Agency, he can be found pastoring a growing church or lounging in his hammock beside the tranquil Grand River. Cyle will be teaching a general session, a workshop, and taking appointments.
MANAGING EDITOR @ LIGHTHOUSE PUBLISHING OF THE CAROLINAS
Karin Beery, the managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, is looking for stories that entertain, encourage, inspire, and enlighten. She also serves as the Christian Editor Connection coordinator and teaches several classes through The PEN Institute as well as at local and national conferences.
In her free time, she runs Write Now Editing (specializing in substantive fiction editing) and writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. She works from her home in northern Michigan, where she lives with two cats, two dogs, and an amazing husband. Karin joins us to teach workshops and take one-to-one appointments.
David Lambert is the author of eleven published books, including the gold medallion award-winning Jumper Fables, coauthored with Ken Davis, and This Road I’m On, co-authored with Tennesse governor Bill Lee, released by Thomas Nelson in 2018.
He has received numerous awards for magazine articles and short stories published in such places as Virtue, Moody, Story, Christian Parenting Today, Sweet Sixteen, Decision, Montana Magazine, Campus Life, Outreach, and many other periodicals.
David has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Montana. He has held a variety of positions in publishing, including managing editor of a youth magazine and founding editor of two others. He spent eighteen years as an acquiring editor at Zondervan, most of that time as Executive Editor for fiction, and more recently, three years as senior fiction editor at Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. David joins us to teach and take appointments.
Michelle has more than 20 years of experience helping clients tell their stories. In addition to her writing, editing, and proofreading expertise, she has proven skills in formulating and executing marketing communication plans; creating and implementing PR campaigns; planning advertising campaigns, and orchestrating special events and industry trade shows for domestic and international companies.
Michelle is one of EABooks' Marketing Coaches and she is also a much sought after ghostwriter. Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa; she is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the Florida Authors & Publishers Association. She joins us to teach and take one-to-one appointments.
ACQUISITIONS EDITOR @
Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books and worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. His passion is encouraging writers to persevere in their craft. He has written fiction in a variety of genres, from love stories and supernatural thrillers to young adult series.
His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes and pastors. He’s also co-written memoirs and self-help books. His novelizations include Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago and will be teaching and taking one-to-one appointments.
MICHELLE MEDLOCK ADAMS
JOURNALIST, AUTHOR, ASSISTANT ACQUISITIONS EDITOR FOR LITTLE LAMB BOOKS
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author of over 80 books with close to 4 million books sold. Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than one thousand articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helped pen a New York Times Bestseller; served as a blogger for Guideposts; hosted TBN’s “Joy In Our Town” TV program; and taught at more than 100 writers conferences across the U.S. Today she is President of Platinum Literary Services, a premiere full-service literary firm, and co-owner of PlatLit Books.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two daughters, two son-in-laws, one grandson and one grandpup. She brings her experience to share with us through teaching and one-to-one appointments.
Abby McDonald is an award-winning writer, wife, mom and speaker whose hope is show women their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. She believes when we’re firmly rooted in our identity as daughters of God, our lives will be fuller, richer and less complicated. When she’s not chasing her two boys or cuddling her newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog and other places where she regularly contributes.
Abby’s work has been featured in numerous publications including A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions to Meet You in Your Everyday Mess, and 101 Secrets to a Happy Marriage. Places where she’s published on the web include Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)Courage, Crosswalk, iBelieve and more. Abby joins us to teach and to take appointments.
Susan Call is an author and speaker whose passion is encouraging faith-filled strength to overcome life’s challenges. Susan’s memoir, A Search for Purple Cows shares her story of betrayal, abuse, finding faith, the power of forgiveness, and redemption. She has also published a fiction short story “Secondhand Miracle’ in A Cup of Christmas Joy, and has written for Guidepost Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Focus on the Family Magazine.
She’s a proud mother of two children, a wife and a stepmother and currently lives in New Hampshire. Susan will be taking 15-minute appointments as well as teaching.
AUTHOR, SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST
Brenda is a writer, national speaker, counselor, life coach and consultant whose passion is encouraging others when life doesn't fit the storybook image. She's a parenting and mental health columnist, has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Washington Post, and the Purpose Magazine. Her first book, "Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All" was released in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, can be found at brendayoder.com.
She lives on a farm in Indiana with her husband and four children. She enjoys gardening and is also active on social media. Her latest book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind, is set to release early this year with great anticipation. Brenda will be teaching a workshop and taking 15-minute one-to-one appointments.
Linda Taylor has been a publishing professional for three decades and continues to work as a freelance writer and editor. She is an instructor in the Professional Writing concentration at Taylor University in Indiana. She has her M.A. from Ball State University and is pursuing her M.F.A. through Ashland University in Ohio.
She is the author of a book about editing titled Word by Word: An Editor Guides Writers in the Self-editing Process released through Bold Vision Books summer 2017. She blogs about writing, editing, teaching, and living in the country (with lots of cats) at lindaktaylor.com. Linda will be teaching and taking one-to-one appointments.
AMANDA CLEARY EASTEP
SENIOR DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR @ MOODY
Amanda Cleary Eastep is the senior developmental editor at Moody Publishers in Chicago, working closely with authors to help shape Christian nonfiction books in the areas of Christian living, church and ministry, personal and spiritual growth, and biography. A smaller part of her role involves meeting with writers interested in publishing with Moody.
As a longtime writer, she has contributed to Christianity Today, Think Christian, and IIT Magazine, among other publications. Her writing for children has been published by Ladybug magazine and in Sunday school curriculum. In 2016, she co-founded ThePerennialGen.com, a blog collective and online community for writers over 45. Amanda joins us for appointments.
@ BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP
Cindy Lambert is an author and speaker, an executive editor for Baker Publishing Group, and a collaborative writer of eleven books including the bestselling Unplanned with Abby Johnson and Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself with Ruth Graham.
She began her book industry career as the owner of an award-winning independent Christian bookstore, then expanded into leadership roles in distribution, editorial, and publishing at Ingram, Simon & Schuster, and Zondervan, where she served as vice president and associate publisher of trade books.
She and her husband, Dave, have six children and nine grandchildren and enjoy launching their kayaks off their pier in front of their log home in Michigan. Cindy joins us to take appointments.
EDITOR, AUTHOR, GHOSTWRITER
Estee Zandee is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter with eight years of industry experience. Before launching her freelance career, she worked at HarperCollins Christian Publishing as Assistant Editor for authors such as Candace Cameron Bure, Ann Voskamp, Mark Batterson, Randy Frazee, Philip Yancey, and John Townsend.
Her client list includes publishing houses like Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Baker, Discovery House, and missional organizations such as Focus on the Family and Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Estee lives in metro Detroit with her husband, Matt, and their energetic pup, Harper. Join Estee for one-to-one appointments, workshops, or her pre-conference workshop.
AUTHOR, EDITOR & GHOSTWRITER
Leilani Squires has never been a morning person, but she has always loved story—because every story is an example of what to do or what not to do. With more than 15 years of writing, editing, and publishing experience, Leilani’s expertise includes articles, books, website copy, ad and promotional copy, scripts, screenplays, radio dramas, and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing from Taylor University and a master’s degree in Communications from Regent University, with a concentration in Script and Screenwriting.
Leilani served as the Writer/Administrative Assistant for the Masterworks Festival, the Admissions and Marketing Manager for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, the Director of Content for PayProMedia, and as an adjunct writing professor for Taylor University. Leilani freelances and ghostwrites for national and international organizations from her home in Indiana and welcomes the opportunity to help equip writers with tools to succeed and tell their stories better.
MARKETING ASSOCIATE @
Mallory Vest is a Marketing Associate for Zondervan and Zonderkidz Bibles, meaning she gets to stage crazy-fun photo shoots, craft meaningful emails, and share cubicles with some of the brightest creatives and marketers in the publishing industry. She believes in helping brands find their voices and put them out into the world—whether via social media, a résumé, or any combination of the endless avenues available today.
Mallory holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Relations and Spanish from Campbellsville University. She joins us to share her marketing expertise in a workshop, in the Marketing track.
FOUNDER OF THE WELL
Kathy Bruins helps writers and authors take the next step in their journey through consultation, teaching, coaching, and praying. Kathy has a freelance business and is the founder of The Well ministries for Christian creatives. Prayer is important to Kathy. She has led many organizations in corporate prayer.
Kathy serves as President of Word Weavers, West Michigan. Her speaking topics include The Book Proposal Studio with Kim de Blecourt (and new this year, One Sheet Studio), Collaborating with Style, Mind Mapping Treasure Hunt, and other helpful writing workshops. She speaks at women's retreats, churches, and human trafficking events. Kathy and Kim’s new book on book proposals is Book Proposal Secrets and includes access to a book proposal template.
UNLOCKED TEEN DEVOTIONAL
KEYS FOR KIDS MINISTRIES
Kandi Zeller is the editor of Unlocked, a daily teen devotional from Keys for Kids Ministries. Unlocked is currently seeking short, gospel-centered devotional pieces in multiple genres—poetry, fiction, essay, etc.
With a bachelor’s in English from Kuyper College, Kandi is a word and theology nerd who loves helping writers and readers revel in the truths of God’s Word. She loves church history, documentaries, thrifting, and music. She lives in Michigan with her husband, Kevin (who also loves theology and writing). Kandi will be taking one-to-one appointments.