2014 Presenters


Terry Brooks


Terry Brooks was born in Illinois, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received his graduate degree from the School of Law at Washington & Lee University.

A writer since high school, he wrote many stories within the genres of science fiction, western, fiction, and non-fiction, until one semester early in his college years he was given The Lord of the Rings to read. That moment changed Terry’s life forever, because in Tolkien’s great work he found all the elements needed to fully explore his writing combined in one genre. He then wrote The Sword of Shannara, the seven year grand result retaining sanity while studying at Washington & Lee University and practicing law. It became the first work of fiction ever to appear on the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, where it remained for over five months. Click here to learn more.

Elizabeth George

Susan Elizabeth

Elizabeth George is a graduate of University of California in Riverside and California State University at Fullerton, where she was awarded a master’s degree in Counseling/Psychology and an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

She started out as a high school English teacher, receiving honors as Orange County Teacher of the Year. She left education after thirteen and a half years when she sold her first novel, A Great Deliverance, to Bantam Books.

She has won the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award, and France’s Le Grand Prix de Literature Policiere for her novel A Great Deliverance, for which she was also nominated for the Edgar and the Macavity Awards. She has also been awarded Germany’s MIMI for her novel Well-Schooled in Murder.

Most of her novels have been filmed by for television by the BBC and have been broadcast in the US on PBS’s MYSTERY, and she now has a line of Young Adult novels out, all set on beautiful Whidbey Island. Click here to learn more.

Susan Wiggs


Susan’s first book was published by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Warner and Mira Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers’ conferences, including the literary institution Fields End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. Her novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA’s Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of three RITA awards for Lakeside CottageLord of the Night and The Mistress, and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. Her books appear regularly on numerous “Best Of” lists.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Click here to learn more. (Photo by Susan Doupe)

Myrlin Hepworth


Myrlin Hepworth is a poet, emcee, and teaching artist and has written and performed across the United States. In 2009 the Arizona Commission on the Arts selected him for its roster of Teaching Artists. In 2010 he became the first undergraduate teaching artist for the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University where he received his degree in English in 2011. In addition to visiting nearly thirty high schools each year, Hepworth makes a living with his art by performing at universities, youth centers, group homes, museums, and theaters. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam teams and co-founded and coached the Phoenix youth team to consecutive appearances at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam.  In 2011 Myrlin released his first collection of poems, From the Rooftops and is set to release his first hip hop mixtape in April of 2013 entitled The Funky Autopsy.

Elizabeth Engstrom


Elizabeth Engstrom is a sought-after teacher and keynote speaker at writing conferences, conventions, and seminars around the world. She has written thirteen books and edited four anthologies, and she has over two hundred fifty short stories, articles, and essays in print. Her latest book-length work of fiction is the thriller Baggage Check. She is on faculty at the University of Phoenix. Click here to learn more.

Susan Palmer

Award-winning reporter Susan Palmer has written about Pacific Northwest forest and farms, dams and rivers, people and politics for 15 years. In her off hours, she writes fiction. Her short stories have been published in Sunstone Magazine, and in the anthologies Imagination Fully Dilated and Dead on Demand. Her novel The Tabernacle Bar is a romp through the back streets of Utah.

John Reed

John Reed

John is the author of two novels, Thirteen Mountain and The Kingfisher’s Call, as well as numerous shorter non-fiction works. He has conducted writing workshops, classes and seminars around the country for the past 20 years; his sensitive and insightful critiques have inspired hundreds of writers. His classes on the novel, short stories, essays and magazine writing have given many students a stepping stone to publication. John has been a presenter at the Maui Writer’s Conference and the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.

Eric Witchey

Eric Witchey

Eric Witchey has worked as a freelance writer and communication consultant for over 20 years. In addition to many non-fiction titles, he has sold more than 70 short stories and several novels.  His stories have appeared in six genres on five continents, and he has received awards and recognition from many organizations. His How-To articles have appeared in The Writer MagazineWriter’s Digest Magazine, and other print and online magazines. He teaches fiction writing privately and at conferences. His seminars are popular because he is able to transform complex, interacting concepts into simple, clear, immediately useful skills. Click here to learn more.

Cidney Swanson

Cidney Swanson

Cidney Swanson is a full-time writer of Young Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy including The Rippler Trilogy and The Saving Mars Series. Saving Mars was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012. When she’s not writing, Cidney is distracted by shiny things such as books with raised foil covers, cleverly packaged bars of chocolate, or stars set against an inky night sky. She lives in rainy Eugene, Oregon with her family. Click here to learn more.