The Business of Writing International Summit – 2014 Summit Speakers. Speaker Biographies

“I really enjoyed the accessibility of all the speakers.”

Mark Wayne Adams (2014 Keynote Speaker) Born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Mark Wayne Adams graduated college with a BFA in Drawing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He then moved to Central Florida, and has called Florida home for over twenty years. His work experience includes Walt Disney World Company, SeaWorld Orlando, Art Director for GSI Architectural Sign Company, and store manager for Sprint Print, Inc. Mark is now CEO of Mark Wayne Adams, Inc. and serves as VP of Communication for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

Mark has illustrated over thirty childrens books in six years winning numerous childrens book awards. An unexpected reward in his publishing journey has been public speaking. Whether at professional organizations or elementary schools, Mark offers valuable insight, inspiring presentations, and a voice that reaches audiences across the United States.

Mark Wayne Adams can be reached atwww.markwayneadams.comor via email Follow him on Twitter:@markwayneadams

Tara R. Alemanyis an inspirational author, speaker, social marketing consultant and publisher. She has authored two books, and co-authored or contributed to three others.

Her latest book, The Best is Yet to Come, was released in November, and shares the lessons learned while overcoming the unexpected death of her fianc in October 2011. Tara speaks frequently on social media, publishing and inspirational topics, and is the creator and host of The Survivors Summit, a virtual inspirational conference held in November, where she brings together powerful speakers with amazing stories of overcoming adversity to create lives of power, passion and purpose.

Tara is the owner ofAleweb Social Marketing, a consulting company that helps authors, speakers and entrepreneurs with book preparation (editing, formatting and publishing) website and social profile development, and the training and strategies required to reach your target market with your unique message.

She is also the creator of The Bite-Sized Marketer, a video tutorial subscription service that guides you through the process of marketing yourself online, one bite at a time. Romance Writers of America will be featuring this program in an upcoming article Tara was interviewed for on “Using LinkedIn for Authors.”

Tara also serves on the Board of Directors for a Christian writers’ critique group and is Chaplain of that same group.

Gina Barlean has owned and operated her own professional photography studio, managed a small town Opera House, worked as a leadership trainer with the University of Nebraska’s Rural Entrepreneurship Program, and spent several years as the Director of her town’s Chamber of Commerce. A self-starter and natural entrepreneur, Barlean is usually ready for a new adventure and has learned that by networking with other professionals in a field one wishes to master, you can always be learning, growing, and evolving into a better you.

Barlean is also the Membership Chairperson for the Nebraska Writers Guild, a writing organization founded in 1925 by Willa Cather, Bess Streeter Aldrich, John Neihardt, Mari Sandoz, and many other prominent Nebraska writers of the time. As a novelist, Barlean enjoys writing suspense and mystery fiction from a midwestern perspective. She is an Indy Author, and her books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. She also writes humorous essays on her blog site, Moments of Clarity. Gina is the mother of two grown children and is owned by two fuzzy cats, Lena and Katniss, and a little sergeant of a Schnauzer named Schatzy who is always guarding her perimeter. Her husband is a Nebraska corn and soybean farmer, and tolerates all of Gina’s creative endeavors. Visit Barleans website at

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writers Digest Writing Community, which includes editing books (including Writers Market), managing websites, blogging, writing a column for Writers Digest magazine, leading online education, and speaking on writing and publishing around the country. Also a poet, Brewer was the 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere and expects his debut full-length poetry collection Solving the Worlds Problems (Press 53) in late August. He also curates an “insta-poetry” series for Virginia Quarterly Review. Hes married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). To learn more, visit his website at or follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

Patricia Charpentier, author of the multi-award winning book, Eating an Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time, teaches, writes, edits, ghostwrites, and publishes personal and family history. Patricia is a popular speaker who has helped hundreds of people write the most important stories of their lives. She offers workshops and ongoing courses, including coaching programs that utilize audio/video modules, one-on-one coaching, group Q&A calls, and more to help you succeed in writing your personal and family history. Her next program, See It Through! Finish My Book in 90 Days, begins in September 2014. Patricia has coauthored, edited, and published more than thirty family histories. Visit her at

Amy Collins started her career in the book industry as the book buyer for Village Green Books in Upstate, New York. In 1996, she “hopped the desk” and thoroughly enjoyed working as a National Account Rep for Prima Publishing. In 2001, Amy was named Director of Sales at Adams Media in Boston and quickly rose to the Special Sales Director for parent company, F+W Media. Over the years, Amy has sold to Barnes & Noble, Target, Costco, Borders, Wal-Mart, and all the major chains as well as helped launch several private label publishing programs for bookstore chains and stores such as PetSmart and CVS. In February 2006, Amy started a private book marketing firm which quickly turned into the fastest-growing book distribution company in North America, New Shelves Distribution, where she now offers her sales experience to small publishers and self-published authors. She can be reached at

“Your book is not your baby…your book is your business.” Peggy DeKay is an award winning author and freelance writer, blogger, podcaster, publisher, and book coach. As a book coach she has helped hundreds of authors self-publish their books through direct coaching, her podcast, live seminars, and the Business of Writing International Summit—a two-day writer’s conference to help writers and authors focus on the business, marketing, and promotional aspects of their careers. Her podcast, The Business of Writing Today helps authors and would-be authors achieve their dream of becoming full-time writers by approaching their writing as a business. The podcast is heard in over 80 countries around the world and throughout the United States. She is the author of Self-Publishing for Virgins: The first-time author’s guide to self-publishing published by Darby Press. DeKay is an adjunct instructor for several universities. She teaches book marketing, self-publishing, e-books, and other topics. A popular speaker, some of her recent presentations include The Florida Authors and Publishers Association, The Writer’s Workshop in Asheville, MidSouthCon in Memphis, Florida Writers Assn. Conference, Kentucky Womens Writers Conference in Lexington and The Business of Writing International Summit in Louisville. A former newspaper columnist and past director of Women Who Write, DeKay has been published in several anthologies, is an On Angels magazine creative non-fiction award winner, and is a contributing writer in both the 2014 Indie Publisher’s Guide and the2015 Indie Publisher’s Guide, published F & W Media (Writers Digest).

Dunn+Associates Strategic Book Cover Design and Branding for Authors and Experts
For over 25 years, Dunn+Associates has created bestselling book covers, informationproducts, and marketing materials that authors, speakers, consultants, and experts use to build their brands and businesses. Their list of clients includes Tony Robbins, Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield,Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen, John Edward, and Sylvia Browne, as well as HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Prentice Hall, Ballantine, Hay House, Pearson, and Scholastic. Dunn+Associates has designed hundreds of book covers, including numerous bestsellers, and has received over 150 prestigious awards. Website:

KATHI DUNN is sought after as one of the top book cover designers in the United States, renowned for her rare blend of unsurpassed artistic instinct and bottom-line business savvy. She is passionate about book cover design and approaches each as if it is the only book in the world.Since 1985 she has helped clients open doors, accelerate their careers, and expand their brands through her strategic approach to design. Classically trained with a B.F.A. in advertising and graphic design, she has a deep respect for typography and color theory, and a burning love for creating bestselling book covers.

HOBIE HOBART, Creative Director and Senior Project Manager, focuses on problem solving, creating acton plans, and helping each client accomplish very specific goals — like getting a book from manuscript to print. Hobie’s been around the block as a professional speaker, is co-author of Cover That Book — How to Write and Design a Bestselling Book Cover, and a sought-after seminar presenter.

Laura Anne Ewald, a former college librarian turned freelance writer, editor, and book indexer, will be featuring her contemporary pro-life novel, A Chance for Life, and the first two books of her science fiction Commonwealth Chronicles, The Stars of Dreams and The Stars of Home, along with two novellas, the paranormal romance, Voices in the Night, and the sci-fi, Derry’s Hope.

Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and book shepherd. He is also the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (formerly SPAN). Brian is the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books, Beyond the Bookstore and five titles on career transition that are distributed internationally and translated into Spanish. He is the author, narrator and producer of the video program The Art of Interviewing, and the author of the eight e-booklets with Proven Tips for Publishing Success. Brian is the editor of the Book Marketing Matters newsletter on special sales topics. Brian is a syndicated author and a regular contributor of book-marketing articles to a variety of publishing associations, newsletters and magazines. Brian is the founder of the CT Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA). You can visit Brian’s web site at: or reach him at

Debbonnaire Kovacs has been writing since she was a small child, and sold her first story at the age of eleven. Today she is a full-time author and speaker, with 17 books and over 300 stories and articles published. She also teaches writing classes for adults and children.

Victorine Lieske is a New York Times Bestselling author who has made her mark by studying the constantly changing trends in today’s publishing world. As Treasurer for the Nebraska Writers Guild, she has helped educate its membership about self-publishing options. As a blogger, show guest, panel member and speaker, Vicki’s candor has made her a favorite with audiences worldwide. Her willingness to share her successes, regretted decisions and insights provides a valuable experience for those seeking commercial success with their genre fiction.

Victorine self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April 2010. In March 2011, the novel hit the New York Times Best Seller’s List, where it remained for six weeks. To date, she has sold nearly 150,000 copies, most in eBook form. Victorine is represented by literary agent Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group, and turned down an offer from a traditional publisher to self-publish her second novel. Her latest work, How to Find Success Selling eBooks gives valuable advice to authors wanting to sell eBooks in the genre fiction market.

Dave Mattingly founded BlackWyrm Publishing in 2003. As of early 2012, the company has produced over 50 novels, mostly in the speculative fiction genres. Never wanting to turn away a good book, other genres have crept in since then, including mystery, romance, historical, inspirational, and others. As an early adopter of technology, BlackWyrm makes sure that all of the printed books are available in the various popular ebook formats.

Besides his credentials at BlackWyrm, Dave is the vice president of the Christian Gamers Guild, and organizes church services at Origins, GenCon, and other conventions. As a former atheist that converted to Christianity late in life, he merges his geek life with his Godly life. He regularly speaks at Toastmasters, and has earned his DTM, the highest achievement possible in that organization.

Professionally trained as a computer programmer, database administrator, and scrum master, Dave has worked for a vast array of employers such as NASA, id Software (Wolfenstein 3d), Homeland Securitys bio-terrorism division, and as esoteric as oriental rug design software.

Joseph Michael is a top-notch Scrivener coach who helps people become world-class writers by mastering Scrivener. His online course, Learn Scrivener Fast, has helped even best-selling authors and full-time writers like Michael Hyatt and Joanna Penn create their best work. The course reveals Scriveners untapped powers and hidden benefits, which is why writers like to say that hes their secret weapon. His course helps them become published authors, novelists, and even professional bloggers who literally wake up delighted to write every morning. Once you know how to use Scrivener, he believes, there is nothing a writer cannot dream…and nothing a writer cannot do.

Ellen Birkett Morris is an award winning freelance writer who has written for publications including Cooking Light magazine,, and Her essays have appeared in Nesting: It’s a Chick Thing, The Writing Group Book, The Girls Book of Love, and The Girls Book of Friendship. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals including The Antioch Review, South Carolina Review, and Notre Dame Review. Morris is a regular contributor, a site for writers. She also works as a media relations consultant, helping small businesses connect to unpaid media.

Eddie Price, the author of Widder’s Landing, is a lifelong native of Kentucky. A graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College (BA) and Western Kentucky University (MA and Rank I), Eddie taught history for 36 years (31 at Hancock County High School). He also taught part-time classes for 21 years at Owensboro Community & Technical College. In that time he received Ashland Oil’s Golden Apple Teaching Award, was included in Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers, and won the Outstanding American History Teacher Award from KATH (Kentucky Association for the Teachers of History) and KCSS (Kentucky Council for the Social Studies.) Murray State University named him Outstanding Kentucky High School Teacher in 2000. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Campbellsville University, Kentucky in 2012. His students voted him “Teacher of the Year” numerous times. Eddie has coached many award-winning academic teams and history contest winners. He is active in the Hancock County Historical Society and helped organize the Young Historians Club there. Eddie is a designated “Kentucky Writer” by the Kentucky Arts Council and has been in the Kentucky Humanities Council Speaker’s Bureau from 2012-2014.

John Smith Born in East St. Louis, John spent a major portion of his youth in Illinois. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Memphis. At an early age, he fell in love with science fiction and horror. His twenty-five year military career included 12 years in the Air Force Reserve as a member of the Public Affairs team where he honed his writing skills, winning multiple awards. After retiring from the Air Force, he bought a Harley and wrote stories promoting motorcycling, motorcycle safety and individual freedoms. John currently lives in Highland, Illinois with his mother and Basset Hound named Barkley P. Howl. Nightmares of a Madman was John’s first short story collection, published in 2013. Dark and Stormy Night is a just released anthology, edited by John, featuring eighteen writers from across the nation. John has also published two short stories in booklet form: Spirit Dagger, a paranormal romance, and Colonial Scum, co-written by George Burbank, which is a fictional story of revenge.

Maria Smith has experienced the evolution in book manufacturing first hand. For the last 25 years, as manual processes have become automated and book manufacturing has kept pace with technological advances, the one thing that has not changed is Marias personal attention to customer service. Maria continues to work one-on-one with publishers and authors, helping to bring their work to the marketplace. From prepress to shipping, Marias first-hand knowledge of the book manufacturing process allows her to assist clients in making informed choices that help position their book for success. Maria contributed significantly to Thomson-Shores new guide: Details That Will Help You: An uncomplicated guide to working with Thomson-Shore. Maria’s willingness to share her knowledge; nurture her creativity and remain open-minded has made her a favorite with first-time authors as well as publishers printing their tenth book. Maria can be contacted at

Carol Topp, CPA ( and is an author and accountant who converts tax rules and business language into clear, easy-to-understand English. She has authored nine books including Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, the Micro Business for Teenagersseries and The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. In addition, she is a contributing author toWriters Digest’s 2014 Writers Market and the new Writers Digest Guide to Self Publishing. Carol has also published several magazine articles, guest blog posts, and hosted a weekly podcast for authors. Her Google + bragging rights say, “My book Starting a Micro Business, was made into a public television program.”

Carol is a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs Speakers Bureau and has presented numerous workshops on money management, business start up, and taxes to various writers groups and community organizations. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Carol graduated from Purdue University. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two daughters where she enjoys walking, traveling, good conversations with friends and books!

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