We’ll continue updating this page as speakers and instructors are added.
SPEAKERS / BREAKOUT INSTRUCTORS
Susan DeFreitas is the author of the novel Hot Season, which won a Gold IPPY Award, and the editor of Dispatches from Anarres, an anthology of short fiction in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been featured in the Writer’s Chronicle, the Huffington Post, the Utne Reader, Story magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Portland Monthly, and High Desert Journal, along with many other journals and anthologies. An American of Indo-Guyanese descent, she divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Portland, Oregon, and has served as a independent editor and book coach since 2009. She writes science fiction under SDeFreitas Timmons.
Learn more: susandefreitas.com
Charlie Gilkey helps people start finishing what matters most. He’s the author of the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done and The Small Business Lifecycle, the co-host of the Productive Flourishing podcast, and the founder of Productive Flourishing, one of the world’s top websites for planning, prioritization, and productivity for creative people.
His work is regularly featured in places like TIME, Inc.com, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, and the Huffington Post. Prior to starting Productive Flourishing, Charlie was an Army Joint Force Military Coordinator and pursuing a PhD in Philosophy.
Learn more: productiveflourishing.com
H. Claire Taylor
H. CLAIRE TAYLOR has lived in Austin since the eighties (it’s her hometown) and hasn’t yet found a compelling reason to move away. After being a Very Good Student™ of creative writing at Texas State University, she worked an assortment of not-quite-right jobs. Eventually, though, her inner tortured artist recovered from the four soul-crushing years of academia, at which point she held her nose and jumped into the muddy waters of writing comedy full time.
She is the founder of FFS Media, author of Reclaim Your Author Career, and cohost of the Sell More Books podcast.
Learn more: ffs.media
Tammi Labrecque lives in Central Maine with three spoiled cats, two neurotic dogs, and dozens of fictional characters that keep her awake nights.
She writes under a few pen names across several genres, including urban fantasy, thriller, and LitRPG.
Under her own name, you can find her writing romance novels that no one reads or teaching at newsletterninja.net.
Learn more: newsletterninja.net
McCall is unique in that she’s a media insider and a veteran publicist who operates on a first-name basis with hundreds of top-tier producers, editors, and writers at such outlets as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Investment Business Daily, The View, Today, The Huffington Post, Yahoo, and many others.
Her clients include business consultants Brian Tracy and Ken Blanchard, radio host and author Dave Ramsey, New York Times bestselling author, Geneen Roth, The Deepak Chopra Center for Wellbeing, and the founder of NLP, Dr. Richard Bandler, among others.
Through webinars, teleseminars, and consultations, she trains entrepreneurs, coaches, and consultants on how to attract media, work with them once they land the interview, and finally helps them to deliver a fantastic interview. As a master practitioner of NLP, she helps those who want to expand their reach by embracing visibility and allowing big success into their lives.
Learn more: joannemccall.com
J. Thorn has published two million words and has sold more than 185,000 books worldwide. He is an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.
J. co-founded the Writers, Ink podcast with J.D. Barker, and has interviewed some of today’s most successful authors including Matthew McConaughey, James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Seth Godin, Joyce Carol Oates, Hugh Howey, Andy Weir, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Lee Child, Stephen Pressfield, Chuck Palahniuk, and many more.
Thorn earned a B.A. in American History from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.A. from Duquesne University. He is a husband, father, full-time writer, and a part-time professor at John Carroll University.
Learn more: https://creativeaidigest.beehiiv.com/c/about
Jeff Adams is an author of queer romances, and queer young adult fiction. He’s also the co-host of “Big Gay Fiction Podcast.” In his day job, he is the Accessibility Operations Director for UsableNet, a company focused on making the digital world more accessibility and usable. In that role, Jeff consults with companies around the world on how to make their websites, apps, emails, and social media posts accessible. His creative pursuits and day job came together in the book “Content for Everyone: A Practical Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs to Produce Accessible and Usable Web Content,” which he co-wrote with his friend and colleague Michele Lucchini.
Learn more: jeffadamswrites.com
Joe Biel is a self-made autistic publisher and filmmaker who draws origins, inspiration, and methods from punk rock. Biel is the founder and CEO of Microcosm Publishing, Publishers Weekly’s #1 fastest growing publisher of 2022. Biel has been featured in Time Magazine, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Art of Autism, Reading Glasses, PBS, Bulletproof Radio, Spectator (Japan), G33K (Korea), and Maximum Rocknroll. Biel is the author of People’s Guide to Publishing: Building a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful Book Business, Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business on the Spectrum, Manspressions: Decoding Men’s Behavior, Make a Zine, The CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting, Proud to be Retarded, Bicycle Culture Rising, and more. Biel is the director of five feature films and hundreds of short films, including Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland, $100 & A T-Shirt, and the Groundswell film series. Biel lives in Portland, Ore.
Learn more: microcosmpublishing.com
Elly Blue is a co-owner and the vice president of Microcosm Publishing, and the co-host of the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast. Her books include Everyday Bicycling and Bikenomics, and she is the editor of the annual Bikes in Space anthology of feminist bicycle science fiction. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner, dog, and a small fleet of cargo bicycles.
Learn more: microcosmpublishing.com
Eleanor Whitney is a writer, editor, and content marketer. She is the author of Riot Woman, a collection of feminist essays examining the impact of the Riot Grrrl movement, Quit Your Day Job, a business workbook for creative people, and Spread the Word, about marketing your book. Throughout her career she has worked to build communities, education programs, and content strategy at museums, art organizations, and tech startups, including the Brooklyn Museum and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Hailing from Maine, she divides her time between Brooklyn and the Mojave Desert. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Queens College, a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College, and BA in cultural studies from Eugene Lang College. She also enjoys playing guitar, walking around the desert, and lifting heavy things.
Learn more: eleanorcwhitney.com
Maquel A. Jacob
Maquel A. Jacob (MAJ), is a writer of Gender Shifter Social Sci-Fi with a bit of romance, a touch of gore and much more. Growing up on B rated horror flicks, Star Wars and Harlequin books gave her the idea to blend genres; keeping things more interesting. At the tender age of twelve, she encountered her first Stephen King novel, then moved on to the darker stuff: Clive Barker.
Originally from the Windy City of Chicago, MAJ has been to half the United States, mostly by bus and train. She looks forward to seeing the rest before delving into foreign countries. Writing was always an escape from the harsh streets of the inner city and served her well.
There was a two year stint at The Art Institute studying digital film and video and cosmetology school where she became a certified nail technician. Her passion stems from always wanting to learn new things, because knowledge is power. Words can hold so much meaning and convey the wide spectrum of humanity.
Learn more: maquelajacob.com
T. Thorn Coyle
Author T. Thorn Coyle worked in a variety of strange occupations before settling on novelist.
Their magic-infused novels include The Witches of Portland, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, the Seashell Cove Paranormal Mysteries, The Panther Chronicles, and The Steel Clan Saga. You can also read Thorn’s work in many anthologies, magazines, and collections.
Thorn is author of the non-fiction books Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists, & Other Creatives, Crafting a Daily Practice, Kissing the Limitless, Make Magic of Your Life, and Evolutionary Witchcraft.
An interloper to the Pacific Northwest U.S., Thorn drinks a lot of tea and stalks city streets talking with crows, squirrels, cats, and trees.
Learn more: thorncoyle.com
Kate Sheeran Swed
Kate Sheeran Swed loves hot chocolate, plastic dinosaurs, and airplane tickets. She has trekked along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, hiked on the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in Iceland, and climbed the ruins of Masada to watch the sunrise over the Dead Sea. After growing up in New Hampshire, she completed degrees in music at the University of Maine and Ithaca College, then moved to New York City. She currently lives in New York’s capital region with her husband and son, and two cats who were named after movie dogs (Benji and Beethoven).
Kate is the author of several sci fi and fantasy series, including the League of Independent Operatives series, a superhero saga; the Toccata System sci fi trilogy; and the Parse Galaxy space opera series. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Fireside, the Young Explorers Adventure Guide, and Electric Spec.
Learn more: katesheeranswed.com
Blaine Moore always wanted to be an author when he grew up, until he discovered he’d be more likely to make a real living with computers back in the early 90s. Fast-forward an Information Technology and Literature degree plus a couple of decades, and he’s now putting his education to work by developing software and coaching authors from across the world.
Blaine works mostly with non-fiction and children’s book authors and has directly sold over 350,000 books over the past dozen years. His author coaching business has turned into a family business, where he bores his children every night over the dinner table with constant talk about books and publishing with his wife, Erin.
Learn more: apexauthors.com
Brian W. Parker
AUTHOR, ILLUSTRATOR, EDUCATOR, AND CREATOR OF THE FANTASTICAL
Growing up in the contrasting landscapes of Alaska and then Mississippi, Brian W. Parker has harbored a lifelong passion for storytelling across various mediums – from literature to movies to art. Holding a BFA in graphic design and illustration coupled with an MA in writing and publishing, he dedicated nearly 15 years to graphic design and illustration in diverse sectors like music publishing, corporate marketing, and sports/entertainment.
Today, Brian immerses himself in the realm of youth publishing and imparts wisdom about the creative process through teaching. Constantly evolving in his craft, he finds the greatest joy in bringing his imaginative works to fruition and cherishing the process with others.
Learn more: believeinwonder.weebly.com/