BIO: Wende Dikec is the award-winning author of three young adult novels, and six adult novels under the pen name, Abigail Drake. She has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun.
Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children through the Young Writers’ Institute and at local libraries. Her non-fiction article about the life of a child in Istanbul was published in Faces Magazine (an imprint of Cricket Magazine) in February 2016.
PRESENTING: New Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade: What Am I Writing, and Whom Am I Writing It For?
BIO: John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of Final Target, Friendly Fire, Nick of Time, Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom. Four of his books have been purchased or optioned for the Big Screen. In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris. He will co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom, which should begin filming in 2018.
A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution. Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, weapons systems, hazardous materials, and fire behavior. John lives in Fairfax, VA.
PRESENTING: How to Write a Thriller
BIO: Tom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a care-giver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning short stories (seventeen in print) came from the better part of thirteen years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam as an undercover NSA operative supporting army and Marine units in combat before escaping under fire when Saigon fell. With a BA in Music, a master’s in Government, and a doctorate in Public Administration and trained as a musician, actor, and public speaker, he toured the country lecturing on leadership and management, trained federal executives, and was the Dean of the Management Department at the National Cryptologic School. In recent years, he has spoken extensively on his writing, offered many presentations on fiction craftsmanship, and, more than forty times, given a presentation on the fall of Saigon. Maryland Public Television interviewed him and 15 others in its salute to Vietnam vets aired in May 2016, and his memoir article on the fall of Saigon has been published by Studies in Intelligence and reprinted in the Atticus Review and NSA’s Cryptologic Quarterly. His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system, and Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, a consequence of his time in Vietnam. These days he is a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books where he specializes in books on war and Vietnam. His Vietnam novel-in-stories, Friendly Casualties, is now available on Amazon.com. Apprentice House of Baltimore brought out his novels No-Accounts in 2014 and The Trion Syndrome in 2015. In March 2017, the Naval Institute Press published his latest novel, Last of the Annamese, set during the fall of Saigon. You can access his blog at https://tomglenn.blog/
PRESENTING: The Forgotten Discipline: Fiction Craftsmanship
BIO: Paula Goddard is the founder and executive director of Horizons Youth Program, Inc. (Horizons) which provides academic and cultural enrichment and leadership development for youth and adults. Her creative programming often blends fields such as performing arts and financial literacy. Goddard earned a B.A. degree – graduating Magna Cum Laude - from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (now Notre Dame of Maryland University). Having a background in both the sciences (including Animal Science and Biology) and liberal arts, and experience in the performing arts (dancer, choreographer, poet, and singer) provides Goddard with a broad scope for her projects and “outside the box” thinking.
Goddard is the author of the 2016 eLit Award-winning personal finance book “Money Minute: Financial Food for Thought – Volume 1” and the children’s book, “Children of the Sun: The Painted Ones – Part 1.” She also writes poetry and short stories such as “Peter – My Unexpected Gift.” She also writes the children’s book series “The Tea Princess.” Goddard is a recipient of the 2017 Financial Educators Day award from the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC).
PRESENTING: Finance For Writers
BIO: J.A. Grier is a poet, planetary scientist, fiction writer, and wine lover. Over three dozen of Dr. Grier’s poems and stories have appeared in venues such as Mad Scientist Journal, Eternal Haunted Summer, Eye to the Telescope, Liquid Imagination, Space and Time, and Mirror Dance. Her credits include the textbook “The Inner Planets” published by Greenwood Press, and the poem “Officemate” published (under Bryce Ellicott) in the MWA anthology “Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poetry.” In addition to the MWA, she is a member of the the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and the Horror Writers Association. Dr. Grier spends her time penning perplexing poems and strange stories, comparing vintages, and researching impact craters on other worlds. Currently in the works are a sci-fi novel, and a book of horrific little childhood poems. Look for posts and tweets of astronomical facts and unusual fictions at jagrier.com and @grierja on Twitter.
PRESENTING: Finding the Fantastic in Poetry