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April 29th, 2023

Pre-Quill Faculty

*Please note, life sometimes happens.

Special guests and presenters are subject to change. 

Alex Jay Lore

Author of Empire of LIGHT

Alex Jay Lore (he/they) is a queer author of science fiction and fantasy with LGBTQ+ protagonists. When not writing queerness with a chance of explosions, Alex is a high school English teacher, waging epic battles against comma splices and misused apostrophes. His debut science fiction novel, EMPIRE OF LIGHT, written as Alex Harrow, is out now from NineStar Press.


Workshop: Genres and Tropes as the Backbone of your Story

Aminah Mae Safi

Author of Tell Me How You Really Feel

Aminah Mae Safi is the author of four novels, including Tell Me How You Really Feel (Feiwel & Friends) and Travelers Along the Way: a Robin Hood Remix (Feiwel & Friends). She’s an erstwhile art historian, a fan of Cholula on popcorn, and an un-ironic lover of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Her writing has been featured on Bustle and Salon and her award-winning short stories can be found in Fresh Ink (Crown Books) and the forthcoming First Year Orientation (Candlewick Press, 2023) and Out of Our League (Feiwel & Friends, 2024).


Workshop: The Writer's Framework

Ashley Bigbie

Owner of AudioBee Productions LLC

Ashley earned degrees in theatre and film from Weber State University and The University of Utah. Ashley has worked for Hale Centre Theatre Sandy, KSL TV, Voodoo Theatre Company, and was even the assistant producer for an Off-Broadway play in NYC. Ashley writes under the pen name Jen Ellwyn and served on the Board and Conference Committee for the League of Utah Writers as their Volunteer Chair and Tech Coordinator. She is the owner of AudioBee Productions, a brand-new Utah local audiobook production company.


An Author's Guide to Audiobooks

Bryan Young

Best-selling Author

Bryan Young (he/they) works across many different media. His work as a writer and producer has been called "filmmaking gold" by The New York Times. He's also published comic books with Slave Labor Graphics and Image Comics. He's been a regular contributor for the Huffington Post,, Star Wars Insider magazine, SYFY, /Film, and was the founder and editor in chief of the geek news and review site Big Shiny Robot! IN 2014, he wrote the critically acclaimed history book, A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination. He co-authored Robotech: The Macross Saga RPG has written two books in the BattleTech Universe: Honor's Gauntlet and A Question of Survival. He teaches writing for Writer’s Digest, Script Magazine, and at the University of Utah. Follow him on Twitter @swankmotron.


Building Suspense

Workshop: Writing Great Dialogue

Caryn Larrinaga

Internationally best-selling author

Caryn Larrinaga is an internationally best-selling mystery and horror author, a freelance editor, and the League of Utah Writers Publications Chair. She has won multiple awards for her work, frequently finding inspiration in her Basque and Irish roots. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. She is an active member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, the Cat Writers Association, and the League of Utah Writers. Visit for free short fiction and true tales of haunted places.


Workshop: Principles of Editing

Cassidy Ward

Short fiction author, freelance journalist

Cassidy Ward is a writer specializing in science and pop culture. He's written for SYFY,, Observer, The Daily Beast, and more. He's had short stories published in a number of anthologies and you can find his shortest writings, by virtue of character limits, on Twitter.


Workshop: Generating Ideas For Your Short Story

Christina Allen

Award winning KidLit author

Christina Allen (publishing as C.W. Allen) is a Midwestern transplant to rural Utah, where she serves as the League of Utah Writers newsletter editor and the president of the West Desert Wordsmiths chapter. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her middle grade novels Relatively Normal Secrets and The Secret Benefits of Invisibility are out now, with many more stories waiting in the wings. Follow her latest projects at


Workshop: Pre-Writing Your Synopsis

Curtis Moore

Environmental Conflict Junkie

Curtis Moore is an attorney and mediator from Eastern Nevada. He has a law degree and master's in conflict and dispute resolution from the University of Oregon. He has published articles on scientific mediation in Nevada Lawyer and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Journal, as well as articles on horsemanship in Nicker News. He has written one novel that was bought by a small press, but it went out of business before it was released. Curtis maintains this was not entirely his fault. In his spare time Curtis rides his horse, writes, and makes memes about underrated fantasy novels.


Mapping Levels of Conflict in Fiction

Daniel Yocom

Known for reviews of games, books, and movies.

Daniel Yocom writes about geeky things because people say to write what you know. Their love of the geeky, nerdy community dates to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. They’re an award-winning writer and editor of short stories, books, and hundreds of articles published by blogs, magazines, and gaming companies.
They enjoy attending conferences, conventions, festivals, sharing on panels, and presentations. Current serving as the president of the Infinite Monkeys Genre Writers, they want to help others become the writer/author they desire to be.
Join them at


Getting, Giving, and Using Reviews

David Rodeback

Published short story author, aspiring novelist

David Rodeback daylights as CMTO of a Utah manufacturing firm. By night he has published several short stories since resolving almost a decade ago to learn to write fiction, and he has his first novel back from beta readers. He has worked as a speech writer; a college writing, language, and literature instructor; an editor; a software developer; a database architect; and in digital marketing. He lives in American Fork, Utah.


Short Fiction: Who Should Write It & When/Why/How

Elizabeth Anne Suggs

Amazon best-selling author Elizabeth Suggs

Elizabeth Suggs is the founder of the LUW Romance Writers Chapter, co-owner of the indie publisher Collective Tales Publishing, owner of Editing Mee, and is the author of a growing number of published stories, two of which were in a podcast and poetry journal. She is also a book reviewer (, popular bookstagramer, and cosplayer (@ElizabethSuggsAuthor). When she’s not writing or reading, she’s playing video and board games or making cookies.


How to PREmarket your book


Freelance Editor

J. Audrey Hammer earned a journalism degree with a linguistics minor and now uses those skills to correct grammar and punctuation everywhere as a freelance editor. Audrey edits for Immortal Works and for authors such as Michael J. Sullivan and Johnny Worthen. Find writing and editing tips at


Trending Editing Errors and How to Avoid Them

Write About Music Accurately

JC Youngstrom

Publicist at Eight Moons Publishing

When Janelle Youngstrom is not playing with words in one way or another, you can find her baking something beautiful, spending time with her family of seven, or improving some wall of her home by painting a mural. She has since been the Vice President of the Write Here in Ephraim Writer’s Conference, a workshop speaker, is currently the manager of an online accountability group for writers, the Vice President of the Wasatch Chapter of the American Night Writers Association (ANWA), and a Publicist and Project Manager for Eight Moons Publishing.


The Editor and The Publicist

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Jodi L. Milner

Author of the Shadow Barrier Trilogy

Jodi L. Milner is the author of the YA fantasy Shadow Barrier series, which includes Stonebearer’s Betrayal, winner of the LUW Recommended Read award, and Stonebearer’s Apprentice, winner of the LUW Silver Quill. When not chasing daydreams, she enjoys destroying movie plots, making amigurumi, and plotting to take over the world.


Imposter Syndrome: How to Beat the Monster

Helping Characters Through Tough Transitions

John M. Olsen

Author, editor, and presenter

John M. Olsen edits and writes speculative fiction across multiple genres and loves stories about ordinary people stepping up to do extraordinary things. His short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, and he's edited for both small press and as a freelancer.


Copy Edit Cheat Sheet

Care and Feeding of your Amazon Author Account

Outlining and Story Structure

Johnny Worthen

Multi-Genre, Best-Seller, Tie-Dye

Johnny Worthen is an award-winning, best-selling author of books and stories. Trained in stand-up comedy, modern literary criticism and cultural studies, he writes upmarket multi-genre fiction, symbolized by his love of tie-dye and good words. “I wear tie-dye for my friends, but I write what I like to read,” he says. “This guarantees me at least one fan and easy dressing in the morning.”

Johnny teaches writing at the University of Utah and lives in a house with his wife, sons and assorted cats. There’s also a lawn.


Katherine Monasterio

Editor, Author, and Oxford Comma Advocate

Whether editing short or long fiction, RPG sourcebooks or podcast anthologies, Katherine lives for strengthening the written word. She hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, where her non-wordsmithing pastimes include playing video games and thinking about fictional characters a normal amount.


Punch Up Your Prose: Crafting Knockout Syntax

Kelley J. P. Lindberg

Award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction

Kelley J. P. Lindberg writes award-winning adult and YA fiction, nonfiction, and how-to books. She loves talking about writing with other writers and book lovers, and her writing workshops are full of take-away information attendees can use the very next day. When she isn’t writing from her home in Colorado, she’s traveling as far and as often as she can. Catch up with her at, where she blogs about writing craft and the writing life, or follow her on Twitter at @KelleyLindberg1.


Power Up Your Memoir or Personal Essay

Kyro Dean

Author/Editor/Owner for Eight Moons Publishing

Kyro Dean has written over 20 novels, including The Baron’s Ghost, which can be found on Kindle Vella. In addition to her works for Eight Moons Publishing, she owns and edits for the blog, Vanilla Grass Writing Resources. She loves to speak and help other authors find their voice. When not writing, she loves spending time with her delightfully curious children and talking with her plants, though they often give terrible advice. Check out her website @ Or check her out on social media (Twitter and Instagram): @kyro_dean


Perfect Your Writing Style with the Masters

Judge a Book by Its Cover

Mark Hansen

Author of "A Tale of Heroes"

The overactive imagination of Mark’s childhood never went away. After playing way too many Role-Playing games and struggling in school, he took a lot of creative classes in college, including music and creative writing.

Through the years, he has kept busy at both, and in recent years returned to fiction and gaming, self-publishing a system of rules and a series of novels set in the same world. "The Hero’s Tale", and "A Tale of Heroes"


On the Killing of Characters

Rachael Bush

Botanist and author

Rachael Bush published her fourth book, Love on Location, with The Wild Rose Press in 2018 under her pen name, September Roberts. As September, she writes romance that's smoking hot and always happy ever after. As Rachael, she writes short stories about her tumultuous childhood (featured in the 85th anniversary League anthology, The Function of Freedom) and the Botany for Everyone series. When she's not writing, she volunteers for the League of Utah Writers as the President-Elect, Blue Quill chapter president, and builds the app for our conferences. For nerdy science and art, follow Rachael on Instagram @botanyforeveryone


Workshop: Intro to Outlining

Sabine Berlin


Sabine Berlin spends her days working in higher education and her evenings imagining what the world would be like if aliens, alternate realities, and all things science fiction were real. She has degrees in higher education leadership, history, and editing and document design. She is a senior editor with Eschler Editing where she has helped authors hone their writing skills and prepare their books for publication for over 10 years. Her YA novel AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS came out November 2022 from Immortal Works.


The Editor and The Publicist

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Sofiya Pasternack

National Jewish Book Award Finalist

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories. She enjoys speaking to crowds about writing and mental health. She does not enjoy running but she does it anyway. She is actually a gremlin in a bad wig.


Workshop: What Now?: How to Brainstorm New Story Ideas

Spencer Osburn

Utah Valley Legends President

Spencer Osburn is the president of the Utah Valley Legends Chapter of the League of Utah Writers, an opportunity he feels honored and amazed to have, having lived in Las Vegas since 2020. He is also a supervising senior at his accounting firm, a fact amazing to everyone else, given the general prohibition on accountants possessing creativity of any sort whatsoever.

In addition to writing, he loves options trading, bowling, karaoke, and vain attempts to convince anyone with a pulse to watch the 1967 TV masterpiece The Prisoner, and its criminally underrated predecessor Secret Agent.


A Beginner's Guide to Fraud

Steve Capone

Debut author publishing historical fiction

Steve is a veteran teacher whose debut published novel is set for 2024 release with Gibbs Smith. His specialty is in academic research, and he puts it to good use in his historical fiction. Steve also writes literary and genre fiction and is developing a litfic/gamelit mashup novel.


Historical Research for Your Novel

Talysa Sainz

ACES' 2022 National Editor of the Year

Talysa Sainz is a freelance editor who believes life’s deepest truths can be found in fiction. She runs her own editing business and spends her time at the library or volunteering with the League of Utah Writers. Always fascinated with the structure of words, she studied English Linguistics and Editing at BYU. She then went on to receive a Master of Science in Management and Leadership, focusing on nonprofit work, from WGU. Talysa is the President of the Utah Freelance Editors.


Poetry Basics

Editing Poetry

Emotion in Poetry

Terra Luft

Award winning author

Terra Luft is an award-winning speculative fiction author of short stories whose work explores women’s themes and challenges societal norms in hopes of allowing fresh perspectives to emerge. An overachiever by nature, she tackles all things with coffee and sarcasm and believes all rules exist to be broken. Terra holds a BA in Creative Writing and English with a minor in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University and an MS in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University. She resides in the mountains of Utah with her husband and two daughters.


Workshop: Short Stories: Why and How

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