Gloria Mwaniga Minage Odary
Gloria Mwaniga Minage Odary grew up in a blue house full of books, music, siblings and stories. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi, she set out to teach and thus hang out with her favourite crowd in the world, children and teenagers.
Gloria splits her time among three towns, Kabarnet where she teaches Geography and Business Studies, Kakamega, her muse town and the place where she gets to listen to family stories and Nairobi where she visits so as to keep tabs with her literary friends and the publishing community.
She writes regularly for the Arts and Culture pages of two of Kenya’s leading newspapers, The Saturday Nation and The East African. Gloria has also published two children’s books with Moran Publishers East Africa. Her first short story Boyi was shortlisted for the 2016 International Writivism Short Story Competition and subsequently published by the South African publishing house Black Letter Media in the Anthology titled Sundown. She has also been published in the Johannesburg Review of Books. Gloria, who is a 2017 Ebedi Residency Fellow, had her creative non-fiction book proposal shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship.
She enjoys reading a wide range of books among them creative non-fiction, children’s literature, contemporary fiction, classics, biographies, Young Adult Fiction and Short Stories. Her favourite writers include Okwiri Oduor, Euphrase Kezilahabi, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Adichie, Marjorie Holmes, Katherine Mansfield, Sandra Cisneros, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and Truman Capote.
When not writing, reading or teaching, Gloria loves traveling to the East African Coast of the Indian Ocean and to far off new places where she can learn new cultures and eat strange foods. She hopes to one day grow a flower garden with Tiger Lilies and orange Nandi Flames and pink Bougainvillea bushes.
Melanie lives on the shores of the beautiful Lyttelton harbour and fits writing in around two energetic kids, a handful of chickens, a growing brood of guinea pigs, and a backpack that's always ready to head to the mountains. Her books, The Witch Catcher and Mud Boy, have both been shortlisted for the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award and she has had short stories and flash fiction published and anthologised internationally.
Originally from Wales, Melanie studied Biology and Environmental Change at university. She worked for the BBC Natural History Unit and BBCi as a researcher and writer before moving to the other side of the world in 2002. Melanie loves nothing more than hiking with her family, some of her favourite trails include the John Muir Trail, the GR20 and the St James Walkway.
Melanie enjoys reading across a wide range of genres including contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction, and children's books, she is inspired by writers such as Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Eleanor Catton, Marcus Zusak, Susan Cooper, Cornelia Funke, and Roald Dahl. She has a long-standing interest in environmental and wilderness writing and often likes to put her characters in wild places. Melanie also loves music and plays the oboe, violin and ukulele all equally badly. She is attempting to keep up with their children as they work their way through the Suzuki repertoire.
Melanie is a graduate of Hagley Writers' Institute and a tutor at the School for Young Writers, as well as a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors and the Christchurch Story Collective. When Melanie's not writing she's usually planning her next adventure.
Having grown up in a creative and loving home between the city of Philadelphia and the rural beautiful New Jersey shoreline, Raven has written poetry since childhood. Her writing has taken her to many adventures – from a career at Atlantic Records in NYC as a songwriter, a greeting card verse writer, and a children’s poet.
Her children’s picture books include Dozy Poems, Cozy Days (available through Background Noise Books), Spinning Circles: Action Poems, Gibber/Animal Acrostics, Shimmer/Songs of Night (Spork), A Star Full of Sky (Daffydowndilly Press) and a 2018 rhyming picture book, My Community (MacLaren-Cochrane). Her book release with illustrator Carina Povarchik, Shimmer, held the honor of Amazon’s #1 Top Hottest Children’s Poetry Book releases.
She writes poetry for a variety of magazines such as Highlights for Children, Ladybug, Stinkwaves, Fun for Kidz, Cricket, Spider, Hello Highlights, High Five, Babybug and Bumples. Raven’s work is included in a variety of anthologies and she has received awards for poetry from the SCBWI and Poetry Soup.
A member of SCBWI and ILA, she enjoys presenting children’s writing workshops, visiting schools and libraries. Raven lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, sweet terrier, Elsie, and their mischievous black cat, Lilac.
Visit her website at www.ravenhowell.com
FB page at https://www.facebook.com/dozypoems/
Rebecca Mitchel loves children, books and art. In addition to raising three children, Rebecca ran her own preschool, and taught there for thirteen years. Since then, Rebecca has continued to shape the lives of young children. She implemented, led, and taught an after-school program for elementary schools. During that time, she also taught continuing education classes for childcare teachers through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. A book lover, Rebecca was also president of Friends of the Library (Woodward, Oklahoma) for two years and president of the Woodward Public Library for sixteen years.
Rebecca's other experiences include organizing family trips to museums from New York City to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. She also enjoyed museum field trips with her own children’s classes as well as with the preschoolers in her care.
Additionally, Rebecca taught the after-school art classes for the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she developed her own curriculum based on the museum’s exhibits. The total of these experiences provided her the credentials to take on her exciting debut series: Museum Guides for Curious Children: Connecting Preschoolers with Art.
When Rebecca’s grandsons were born, she joined her family in Southern California, where she has lived for the last ten years. The move allowed her to continue to indulge her interests in storybooks, art and museum experiences.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and completed three years of study in Child Development from Texas Tech University.
Beth Charles grew up in a quiet town in northern New Jersey in a house full of unusual pets – a duck named Harvey, Flower the skunk, and Dylan, a cockatiel who sat on the dog’s paw to give kisses, just to name a few.
Although she loved history, Beth always thought she’d be a librarian like her mom or a teacher like her dad. Instead, she married a librarian and became a museum curator.
In 1982, she and her husband moved from the Midwest to Vermont and together with her parents and sister bought an historic apple orchard – which was a crazy thing to do since they were not farmers. Luckily things worked out and years later, one of her four children took over the orchard. Now Beth has lots more time to write middle grade books, read, knit, and teach tai chi. But what she likes best of all is spending time with her five grandchildren.
If you ask Beth about her favorite books, she’d say there are too many to name. But her favorite author by far is her dad, F.M. Steingress, who wrote wildly successful books on low and high pressure boilers. So actually, she did follow in her dad’s footsteps after all.
Over the years Beth has had lots of backpacking, canoeing, and traveling adventures which she likes to put into her books, because as everyone knows – you just can’t make that stuff up!
L. Morris Beals
Lauren grew up on the windy plains of Oklahoma where she developed a love of stories at a young age. In the first grade she won the title of Reading Champion after reading more books than anyone else in her grade. By the fifth grade she was obsessed with ghost stories and was hard at work filling notebooks with her own.
She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2009 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Women’s Studies. Initially Lauren dreamed of writing movies and cranked out four screenplays in the few years after college, but found that she didn’t possess the social skills required to get her scripts out into the world. Dejected, she dove into books headfirst, falling in love with one Young Adult series after another, and it wasn’t long until an idea smacked her in the forehead: Write your own YA story! So she did, and she is thrilled to have Storm Literary represent it.
Lauren’s favorite authors are also her heroes. Among them are J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood and Isaac Asimov. Recent favorites are Lauren Groff and Roxane Gay. A list of her top books would include Contact by Carl Sagan, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, but she believes the best books ever written in the four-and-a-half billion year history of planet Earth are the seven Harry Potter novels. And she’s willing to defend this claim.
In 2015, after twelve years of dating, Lauren finally married her high school sweetheart at the county courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Recently they moved from Oklahoma to the mountains of Colorado, settling in the Durango area. When Lauren’s not reading or writing she’s probably taking mountain walks with her beagle, Barney, binge watching Star Trek on Netflix or dreaming about attending Hogwarts.
Gary was raised on his grandmother's stories. She'd send him, his brother, sister and a group of his cousins on worldwide adventures. One day they would join the circus and another fly around the world in a hot air balloon.
One time Gary managed to save the Golden Gate Bridge from collapse with an indestructible shoelace. Another time, he travelled to Africa to assist local park rangers protecting the nearly extinct black rhinoceros from a group of evil poachers.
Grandma lived in a tiny cabin on the edge of a small town by a lake with a dog, Jeffry, two cats and a large calico duck who liked nothing better than to steal Jeffry's crunchy dog nuggets from a bowl on the back porch. When she wasn't telling stories, she cooked and listened to the radio.
As soon as Gary was old enough, he set out on his own adventures. He moved to Europe after finishing an MBA and an MA in English Literature and he's worked as a writer & director in London and Stockholm for television channels such as NBC, CNBC, Fox Kids, Discovery and Disney.
Gary loves telling stories in words and pictures. The combination of writing and illustration keeps him inspired because there's always something new to learn and explore.
He still remembers his grandmother's voice when he sits down in the early morning in his Stockholm studio to write his own stories.
When he's not writing or painting, you can find Gary out playing soccer with his two boys Maxi and Ruben, cooking or jogging around the nearby lake.
Feel free to Like his FB page: www.facebook.com/garyfabbriart
Or check out his website: www.garyfabbri.com
Karen Winnick loves children, books, art and all sorts of animals, which she especially enjoys writing about. She also has an avid interest in history. This interest led her to write picture books about girl heroines, while her three sons were growing up.
Karen is the author and illustrator of Gemina, The Crooked Neck Giraffe, How Lucky Got His Shoe, Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers, Sybil’s Night Ride, Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie, Barn Sneeze, A Year Goes Round: Poems for the Months, Sandro’s Dolphin and Patch and the Strings. She's also the author of Good Night, Baby Animals, You've had a Busy Day; Hank, The Ballpark Pup and The Night of the Fireflies.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Karen grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her BFA in art from Syracuse University and took a semester of study in Florence, Italy. She continued to study art and education at NYU, painting and design at the School of Visual Arts, and painting, writing and poetry at UCLA. Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies and her paintings have been exhibited in southern California galleries.
Karen is President of the LA Zoo Commission and serves on an environmental board that has enabled her to release baby turtles in Nicaragua and trek to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She lives in Los Angeles with her family that includes six dogs and many fish. You're invited to visit her website--http://www.karenbwinnick.com
Rachel was sent to the Principal’s office in Grade Three for using the word ‘distinguished’ in a creative writing task. From that moment, words became her passion – writing them, speaking them. Weirdly, writing as a profession never crossed her mind, until four years ago when no other vocation made sense.
Rachel worked for ABC and BBC Local Radio as producer, journalist and presenter for many years. As her family expanded, she worked as a copywriter and voice-over artist (her walk-in-closet was her studio).
In 2012, Rachel lost her youngest child Hamish. The words came pouring out of her and they refuse to cease. Her first Picture Book, FINN’S FEATHER (Enchanted Lion, 2017) is in honor of Hamish and deals with the important topic of grief.
Rachel is a prolific picture book writer and she’s committed to writing stories that delight, comfort and give children wonderful dreams. Fortunately for her, she has four children to inspire them and try them out on (best focus group ever).
Rachel lives in Queensland, Australia with her family and can often be found in her local café with a cappuccino and a laptop. Rachel is a proud member of SCBWI.
You can find Rachel on
Facebook – Rachel Noble – Author
Twitter - @Rachkln
Michelle Nott fell in love with words during a third grade assignment to write an original story. As she grew up, so did her words. And they played and danced and sang into poetry. Her first poem was published while she was in college, and future poetry credits include an Honorable Mention from Writer's Digest in its 80th Annual Writing Competition.
Upon earning degrees in French Education and Creative Writing, Michelle followed her passions and moved to France as a nanny and then as a graduate student, eventually earning an M. A. in French with a concentration in Surrealism.
She has taught pre-K to university classes, worked for a French company in Paris and an art gallery in NYC, as well as edited and written articles for American and European travel magazines.
In 2004, Michelle moved to Belgium. When she noticed that her daughters' book collection included more French titles than English ones, she decided to write some. She then joined SCBWI and wrote more stories. Many of which can be found on her blog Good Night, Sleep Tight where she also reflects on raising Third Culture Kids.
With American and French citizenship, Michelle travels to Europe regularly. She can be found snow-shoeing in the French Alps, hiking through the Belgian countryside, or relaxing with a book at Crantock Beach in Cornwall. But she equally enjoys city life: its museums, theaters, cafés and, of course, bookstores.
After 11 years in Belgium, Michelle currently resides in Texas with her husband and two daughters.
Julie is an early years’ teacher in the beautiful country of Switzerland, where she lives with her partner and their bouncy springer spaniel. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three (now grown up) children and immersing herself in new languages and cultures. She loves to travel and can always be found exploring children’s book shops wherever she goes.
Julie has spent many years working in international schools teaching English to her classes. Picture books have been her friends and allies bringing rhyme, rhythm and repetition to the ears of her young students. She now teaches in French, sharing her joy of picture books, storytelling and song with her local community. It is the magic that picture books create for children that inspires her to write.
When Julie isn’t working or writing, she’s running with the dog in the forest, walking or pottering in the garden. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and enjoys participating in the wonderfully supportive Kid Lit blog communities around the world.
Storm Literary Agency looks forward to representing Julie’s debut picture book, Little Tiger .
You can follow Julie on twitter at @juliedawnabery
Karla Valenti is originally from Mexico where she grew up embracing two native cultures (Mexican/American) and languages. Upon graduating from high school, her family moved to a small house nestled at the foothills of the St. Victoire in Aix-en-Provence. That year, while not without its challenges, was a transformative experience that would become a springboard for many other globe-trotting adventures, among them: undergraduate studies in the US and later a law degree from Columbia University; teaching English in a small village south of Kyoto; and most recently, moving to Germany where she now resides with her husband and three kids.
Past careers have included teaching, intercultural training, project management, client services, and corporate law. All have had their merits. However, her favorite gig is her current one as a storyteller, where she seeks to create literature that inspires children to see themselves and the world around them in novel and meaningful ways.
Karla is an active member of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 12x12, and ReFoReMo. She also participates in a number of PB and MG critique groups. In addition, she runs Rock Thoughts - a global art and collaborative storytelling initiative.
You can learn more about Karla at www.karlavalenti.com or by following her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Karla-Valenti-582319515214271/ or on Twitter @kwrites3 You can learn more about Rock Thoughts at http://www.rockthoughts.com
Christine Sromek Laforet
Chris Laforet’s first taste of creative writing was in the fifth grade. She picked a story starter card from the plastic box the teacher kept on the windowsill and stayed up hours past her bedtime putting the ideas that swam through her head down on paper. She loved placing familiar characters in unfamiliar scenes and adding plot twists with a touch of humor.
Chris always remembered her teacher’s comments: Great idea! How creative! You’ll be a writer one day! Those simple words meant the world to her, and, as a teacher, she hoped to encourage her own students and make a difference in their lives.
Growing up, Chris’s favorite books were Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel and George and Martha by James Marshall. She fell in love with a new generation of characters while reading with her children, flooding her brain with her own story ideas.
After years of studying the craft and too many rewrites to count, Chris is thrilled to work with Storm Literary Agency.
Chris’s classroom experience and children provide inspiration for her stories which often involve friendship. If one of her characters helps a young reader solve a problem, it will be her dream come true.
Chris holds a Master of Arts in Education and taught elementary and middle school students for ten years in the Cleveland area before raising a family. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and enjoys being involved in critique groups. She lives with her husband, three children, and two dogs in Avon, Ohio. @chrislaforet1
In third grade, Angela Calabrese was told by one of her teachers that the holiday poem she wrote brought tears to her eyes. That’s when Angela realized a simple truth. Words were powerful. And the ability to evoke reactions from them was pretty awesome. She loved that feeling and has been experimenting with words ever since.
As a reading specialist who has taught the most struggling of readers, Angela learned as much from her students as they did from her. She watched as they persevered through challenging concepts. She appreciated their leap of faith when her unconventional teaching methods were embraced. Her great joy is watching a student devour a book and be completely captivated.
Angela remembers the day she attended her very first writer’s conference. The tremendous talent and “pay it forward” climate was palpable. Right then and there, she wanted to be a part of it.
Angela writes both picture books and middle grade novels. She thinks no one is too old to gain pleasure from a picture book. It’s the harmonious pairing of text and art. And middle grade books? They are oftentimes an adolescent kid’s life preserver. Angela loves stories that generate laughter, portray unforgettable characters, and offer kids a sense of hope.
Belonging to a quirky family has its perks. She will always have plenty of unique material to write about! Angela is married to a funny husband with a heart of gold and has two talented grown daughters. She lives in a bucolic town in the Hudson Valley where every season’s beauty takes her breath away.
Visit Angela at www.AngelaCalabrese.com
When she was at school, Katie was crazy about books and determined to become an author one day. She spent endless hours writing, drawing and putting together her creations. Sadly, somewhere along the way she forgot about her childhood ambition. She became busy doing other things like studying (for degrees and diplomas in horticultural technology, marketing, insurance) working, travelling and raising a family.
It wasn’t until decades later, when reading to her three youngsters, Katie realised she loves children’s books even more than she loves adult’s books. And then, she remembered she’d always wanted to write them...
So she started writing and hasn’t looked back.
In 2011 her first picture book manuscript was shortlisted for a major award in her home country of New Zealand (The Joy Cowley Award). In 2012 she received a mentorship through the New Zealand Society of Authors. Since then she’s had many short stories published in the New Zealand School Journal and The NSW School Magazine in Australia, and she’s written picture books for educational publishers. In 2015 her original fairytale Michael and the Magic Tree was published in an illustrated collection and her middle grade manuscript, The Doll’s House, was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.
When she’s not writing or reading Katie likes spending time with her family, running (slowly), tramping, pottering around in her garden and cooking for family and friends. She also loves travelling and scuba diving – both things she hasn’t done nearly enough of in recent years.
Katie lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and her three school age children.
You can visit her website: http://www.katiefurze.com/ or her facebook page: Katie Furze – Children’s Author: https://www.facebook.com/Katie-Furze-Childrens-Author-978233502197821/
Ellie Royce has been telling stories ever since she can remember. This caused a few problems initially, notably the time she swore to her grandmother that she’d flown around the world on a broom and the time she kept her year three class enthralled with the ‘true’ stories of her double life as a Secret Agent. (Gran made her sit in the corner for lying and year three weren’t impressed when they found out the stories were stories.)
Eventually Ellie learned to use her power for good instead of evil and, after fifteen plus years working as a freelance writer, she finally returned to fiction and discovered the wonderful world of writing for children and young adults. Now Ellie writes whenever she has time (and quite often when she should be doing other things!) Ellie is a committed advocate for the power of story, and storytelling, to change the world for the better.
She is the author of two Middle Grade books, Amy’s Secret and Passion for Fashion, a series published by ABC Books/Harpercollins. Ellie's first picture book, illustrated by Andrew MacLean, was published in 2014. This picture book, Lucas and Jack, was shortlisted for the 2015 Australian Speech Pathology Book of the Year Award.
Ellie lives in Northern New South Wales Australia, with her family.
Rina Singh was born in India and grew up in a small town where there were no public libraries. She went to a convent school, run by Catholic nuns. However, the school library was well stocked and she grew up loving books. She studied English literature and immigrated to Canada in 1980. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Concordia University and a teaching degree from McGill University, Montreal. She is an internationally published children's author and has written many books for children including A Forest of Stories, which has been translated in several languages, including Spanish and Korean. Her most recent publications are Nearly Nonsense, Guru Nanak: The First Sikh Guru and Hindi for Heart, which she did in collaboration with the Oscar winning Indian lyricist, Gulzar.
Rina has done readings and workshops in literary festivals across Canada. She recently presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (2014) in Singapore. She is also a photographer and has had a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She teaches writing, drama, and art in Toronto.
The world fascinates her and she has a deep interest in different cultures, especially their stories. She believes that reading stories of others gives us tools to adjust our own view on life and sharing our own stories reassures us that we matter. It is the same fascination that compels her to travel to different parts of the world and photograph people and places.
Rina’s daughter is a photographer, traveler, and teacher and her son recently moved to San Francisco. Rina lives with her husband in Toronto where she continues to teach, write and dream of far away lands.
Although Vivian Kirkfield is not a fan of heights, she is constantly taking leaps of faith. In 2010, she wrote an award-winning parent-teacher resource book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. On her 65th birthday, she went skydiving with her son, jumping out of a perfectly good plane, which caused her husband to question her sanity. And when a fellow author and blogging buddy invited her to fly half-way around the globe to speak at the 2013 AFCC/SCBWI conference in Singapore, she couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Vivian is a proud member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, an active participant in an insane number of critique groups, is up for just about every picture book writing challenge, and considers playing an epic game of Monopoly with her seven-year old grandson to be one of the best ways to spend the day. Vivian currently lives in the idyllic New England village of Amherst, New Hampshire with her husband. Having driven cross country twice, she appreciates the beauty of America, but is hoping to take her first trip to Europe in 2017. As a former kindergarten and Head Start teacher with a Masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian is passionate about helping kids become lovers of books and reading and is hoping to write stories that will have kids asking their parents, “Read this one again, please!”
Sarah Floyd was born in Carmel Highlands, California, on the edge of Big Sur where she and her friends explored, built forts, and acted out adventure stories in the woods. She loved to read, especially her older brother and sister’s comic books, and she wrote her first picture book when she was six. Her family moved to San Francisco, and then to Kuala Lumpur—Sarah went to five different elementary schools, made new friends, and introduced them to her best books.
She never forgot the coastal woods and mountains of her first home. When she was a junior in college she enrolled in a summer program with the National Outdoor Leadership School where she learned to navigate without a compass, climb rock cliffs, and create shelter and tools to survive in the wilderness. Sarah loves the rugged beauty of the woods, but she is equally enamored with fine art, theater and ballet—all elements that find their way into her picture books and middle grade novels.
Sarah enjoys helping kids become strong, happy readers and has worked for many years as a reading coach for first graders. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Florida with her husband, thirteen-year-old son and seventy pound lap dog. You can follow Sarah on twitter @kidlitSarah
Lela Nargi lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, her daughter, and an enormous rabbit. Her first picture book, The Honeybee Man (Schwartz and Wade, 2011, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker), was a Junior Library Guild Selection, A Kirkus starred review, a NSTA "Outstanding Book", a Bank Street "Best Book of the Year," a 2012 Cook Prize Honoree, a Cornell University/Spoons Across America Agricultural Literacy 2013 & 2015 read-aloud pick, and a First Book. A Heart Just Like My Mother’s, her second picture book (illustrated by Valeria Cís), will be published by Kar-Ben/Lerner in Spring 2018.
She’s the author of three middle grade books: Above & Beyond, about the history and future of flight; and Absolute Expert: Dinosaurs and Absolute Expert: Volcanoes, coming from National Geographic in Spring 2018.
Lela is also a journalist and writes extensively for adults about a variety of topics; and about science for children, in magazines such as Muse, Ask, Scholastic’s Storyworks, Science News for Students, and Highlights.
Find her at lelanargi.com
George grew up in Waterdown, Ontario, where he has fond early memories of weekly trips to the library with his Dad, an English teacher, and where he later worked (and read) as a student. His Mom was a watercolor painter. After many years as an English Professor, George became fascinated by the more visual forms of writing: Drama, screenwriting and picture books.
As a playwright and literary critic, George has won a number of awards for his writing, including the 2007 Canadian National Playwriting Competition for his comic play Still Life With Nudes, published by ArtAge. His screenplay “The Wonder,” about an Edwardian boy genius, was a finalist in the British Independent Film Festival Competition and his new screenplay “Peace Pledge” has been shortlisted for the Euroscript Screenplay competition. His unconventional alphabet story, “Aldo Renaldo and the Renegade Alphabet” was a finalist in the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference Writing Contest and his story “Marisa and the Mountains” was a finalist in the 2014 competition.
George likes to tell Jellybean stories (just ask Sophia and Ben), make puns and sing.
George is Professor and Chair of the English and Modern Languages Department at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, where he teaches creative writing and literature as does his wife and sometime collaborator, Nina. He can be reached at email@example.com
Living surrounded by mountains, with a wife from the prairies, inspired him to write “Marisa and the Mountains,” now represented by Storm Literary Agency.
Annina Luck is Swiss-American children’s writer and illustrator inspired by her love of Byzantine and Medieval history, mythology, Swiss folklore and art. She is currently at work on a picture book series “A Day in the Life of a Princess” for Clear Fork Publishing. The first book featuring Princess Anna Komnene of Constantinople is due out in Fall 2017.
She has also just published her second article for the SCBWI Bulletin: “Get Inspired by #illustrationprompts”.
When not telling tales of princesses or trying out new art supplies, Annina is the Illustrator Coordinator for the newly created Long Island chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers (SCBWI) and participates in both writer and illustrator critique groups.
Alexandria LaFaye is best known for her historical fiction, including the novel Worth which won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the picture book Walking Home to Rosie Lee which was an IRA Teacher’s Choice selection, Stella Stands Alone, The Year of the Sawdust Man, and Nissa’s Place, but she’s also done reality based fantasy Water Steps, and supernatural tales in a historical setting, The Keening.
Alexandria is an associate professor of English at Greenville College and a visiting associate professor in the summer graduate program in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at Hollins University. Alexandria is a versatile presenter, able to speak to kids from pre-school to high school and offers workshops for teachers and librarians on a variety of subjects.
Emma Bland Smith
Emma Bland Smith lives in San Francisco with her husband, Alex, and their two kids, Everett (12) and Cate (9). Emma was born in Scotland, grew up in San Francisco, and has lived in New York, Santa Barbara, and Paris. Now she’s back home, living a block away from her childhood home. Formerly a French teacher and magazine editor, today Emma works part-time as a children’s librarian and fills the rest of her days camping with Girl Scouts, failing to help with middle school math homework, protecting her lettuce from the slugs, watching British murder mysteries, and organizing the books in her Little Free Library. And writing.
Emma’s first picture book, Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West, was published by Sasquatch Books in 2016. Journey was featured on NPR and the Huffington Post and is the winner of Bank Street College’s Cook Prize and Northland College’s SONWA award, as well as a finalist for SCBWI’s Crystal Kite award.
Coming up: a series of chapter books called Zadie Jacobs, CEO from ABDO Publishing (September 2018); a picture book entitled What Is It Like to Live on an Island? from Sasquatch Books (April 2019), and a nonfiction picture book called The Pig War from Boyds Mills Press (date TBD).
Debbie grew up in Ocala, a small town in North Florida that’s home to mostly retired folks and horses. But she had big dreams and shook the dust of that little town off her feet and went to see the world. Well, maybe not the world, but more than Ocala. So, after graduating from college she moved to Los Angeles and began her career in advertising with J. Walter Thompson.
Her favorite part of the job was finding out what motivates and inspires people and even today she loves to travel and discover how people choose to live, work and play. In fact, she has been known to ask complete strangers about their life story.
Debbie draws on these experiences and likes to combine fact with fiction in her stories. She considers herself an easy audience and is happy to pay for a ticket as long as she doesn’t have to go anywhere near the stage.
When not writing, she can be found playing ball with her husband and two children and volunteering for parks and PTA’s. She finds volunteering in the front office of the middle school absolutely fascinating.
Katey Howes is a children’s author and a fierce advocate of not just literacy, but of raising kids who love to read. She treasures those moments when books allow children to relate their experience to the greater world, or when their curiosity skyrockets from interest to obsession. Katey tries to weave her passion for nature, travel, science, and creativity, as well as her sense of wonder, into stories that make children think more deeply, explore more broadly, and laugh a little bit louder.
Katey is the author of GRANDMOTHER THORN, which Publishers Weekly calls “a visually arresting reminder that compromise has its benefits.” The folktale-style picture book relates the battle between the prickly Grandmother Thorn and a particularly stubborn vine that sprouts in her perfectly ordered garden. A dear friend, the passage of seasons, and a gift only nature can offer help Grandmother Thorn discover that some things are beyond our control, and that sweetness can blossom in unexpected places. GRANDMOTHER THORN is beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Hahn and published by Ripple Grove Press. (Available August 29, 2017.)
Katey’s next picture book, MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE, releases January 2, 2018, from Sterling. Magnolia is an irrepressibly inventive girl who’d rather tighten a nut or bolt than tie a ribbon or bow. When her rocket-scientist uncle (and inventing partner) decides to get married, Magnolia must invent a “Mudd-powered” way to be part of the wedding, or get stuck tossing petals in a frilly gown. Magnolia offers girls a positive role model who not only excels at engineering and science, but who is also unafraid to express herself in creative ways, all while showing her family how much she loves them.
Prior to her writing career, Katey was a physical therapist, specializing in brain injury rehabilitation. She now divides her time between writing for children and raising three ravenous readers. In addition, Katey is a team member at All the Wonders, a multi-media website that helps parents, teachers, and book lovers of all ages discover wondrous new ways to “go beyond the book.” Katey is also a founding member of Picture the Books, a place to discover debut authors and illustrators as they enter the children’s literature scene. Katey is an active SCBWI member, a Girl Scout leader, and contributes guest posts to blogs such as The Nerdy Book Club and Multicultural Parenting.
On a given weekend you might find Katey curled up with her kids and pile of library books, camping with her Brownie troop, exploring a science museum, or discovering a new destination with her travel-loving family. On weekdays, she works from her basement, where she has a tiny office, a large castle, and a medium-sized trebuchet. She is primarily powered by coffee and Moose Munch.
Jean Healey lives in the UK with her partner, daughter and two cats. Jean's love for writing began at a very young age. Her favorite subject at school was literature and she won her first writing competition, when she was just 10 years old by putting together her very own poetry book. Growing up, she was inspired by the likes of Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. The Worst Witch Series by Jill Murphy was her favorite.
Although she's had lots of different jobs over the years, nothing gives Jean greater pleasure than writing, doing what she loves best. In her spare time, Jean actively volunteers for her local Cats Protection Charity and has recently taken up art as a hobby. She is also a member of SCBWI – Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.
Taking a break from work to raise her daughter, Jean found her passion for writing again. She can often be found browsing the bookshelves in the children’s section of her local library or bookstore, looking for inspiration. Being surrounded by children’s books, made her keen to put pen to paper and Jean has not stopped writing since.
Website – www.jeanhealey.com
Storm Literary Agency is excited to welcome Jean and looks forward to representing her many picture books and chapter books, including Hungry Horace and Myrtles Moggles Cat Hotel.
Mirka Breen was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel.
In first grade, Mirka discovered story books. Books seemed to convey some deep truths, and ask very good questions. She kept lots of books by her bedside, the way some keep their favorite stuffed animals.
In a way, the die was cast then. Some day she would grow up to write stories for children.
Mirka now lives in California, in a small house by the sea. At least her home seems to be close to the sea if you look at a map. You’d have to walk a few blocks and then you’d get a glimpse of the ocean, on a very clear day. But she thinks “by the sea” sounds better. Mirka shares her home and anchor with her husband, three adopted cats, and two rapidly maturing children who visit on college breaks, and come home to nest in the summer.
When not weeding, cooking or cleaning, Mirka writes stories. (Full disclosure— writing every week day.) Two of her stories were traditionally published, one picture book and one award-winning novel for pre-teens.
You can read more about Mirka on her website www.mirkabreen.com
…and her blog http://mirkabreen.blogspot.com/
Suzanne Poulter Harris
Suzanne grew up in Northern Ireland where she taught high school Geography for five years. While enjoying a Mediterranean cruise one summer, she fell in love with an officer and a gentleman from the United States of America. Since then, she has travelled the world experiencing countries and cultures firsthand. Her year in a penthouse in Rome was by far the most exciting place to call home!
Suzanne has worked as a middle school special education teacher in Massachusetts; an independent book consultant for Usborne Books in Alabama; and an English communication teacher near Stuttgart, Germany. But it was teaching first graders to read in Colorado that re-ignited her love of picture books. While raising her own two daughters to be readers, she decided to pursue a career in writing. Suzanne loves the fact that no matter where she moves, she can take her story ideas with her.
A member of SCBWI, Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 picture book challenge, and a couple of international critique groups, Suzanne currently resides in south west Texas. A strong supporter of daily reading to children, she is passionate about creating books to be enjoyed by both children and their parents. Suzanne gravitates towards quirky, clever stories with layers. @SuzannePoulterH
Kelly Johnstone has been a copywriter, lifestyle writer, spa and restaurant reviewer, celebrity magazine editor and travel PR guru. Although from the UK, she has spent more of her life outside of her homeland than in it, having called Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Qatar and now Dubai home. While she is the first to admit that being an expat has plenty going for it (just don't mention the term "trailing spouse" in her presence), Kelly's longing for English seasons, long country walks and local libraries is unwavering.
Kelly is currently wrapping up an online diploma in journalism, editing an online journal for a travel company and working as freelance Deputy Editor at Hello! Middle East all while trying to ensure her three children are fed, watered, rested, in the right place at the right time and most importantly, are kept out of the trouble that seems to follow them around.
Having parents with wild and creative imaginations meant that Kelly's childhood was packed with crazy, humorous and fun stories, which is probably what sparked her love of writing for children.
Storm Literary Agency is pleased to represent Kelly and her fantastic picture books