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Conference Faculty



Jessica Faust founded BookEnds Literary Agency because of a love for discovering new books and her desire to bring them to readers. Fifteen+ years and a number of award-winning and best-selling authors later she is still seeking out the best books and clients most specifically in mystery, suspense, thriller, women’s fiction, upmarket and literary fiction, and select nonfiction. In addition to building her own list, Jessica has been working hard to build BookEnds into an agency for everyone. BookEnds now has 10 agents representing a range of nearly all genres in fiction and nonfiction for adult and children of all ages. If Jessica doesn’t represent it, you can almost guarantee someone else does.

In addition to agenting, she hosts Fireside Chats on the BookEnds Youtube channel. She also tweets under @BookEndsJessica


Clelia Gore is a literary manager at Martin Literary & Media Management, a literary agency based in Seattle, Washington. She heads the children's and young adult book division. Clelia is a former attorney from New York. She represents everything under the kid lit umbrella--from picture book to young adult, fiction and nonfiction. This past year, her clients Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes' book, RESCUE & JESSICA: A LIFE CHANGING FRIENDSHIP reached #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. You can read more about Clelia at and You can also find her tweeting at @MadmoiselleClel.



Colleen Oefelein is an associate agent with New York's Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars. She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult books in many genres.




Gary Goldstein started his editorial career at Crown Publishing in 1986. He spent two years at Bantam Doubleday Dell (which then became Bertelsmann AG and is now Penguin Random House) from 1988-1990. He joined Putnam Berkley Publishing in May 1990. Following his stint at Berkley, in 1997 he moved on to Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books division, where one of his acquisitions was a little novel titled Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. He rejoined Penguin USA in 2000 (Alpha Books division, as a senior editor for the popular series  The Complete Idiot’s Guides,  a job for which, many said, he was uniquely qualified.

In October 2003, he joined Kensington Publishing Group, where as Editorial Director he acquires and edits fiction for their Pinnacle Books imprint (mysteries, thrillers, westerns, and suspense), among them NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors William W. Johnstone, Marc Cameron, A.J. Tata, Tim Washburn, and many others.  Fourteen of  the many westerns he has edited were winners of the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, and in 2009 he was awarded the Homestead Award from the WWA for his many contributions to western publishing.

On the non-fiction side, Gary specializes in books about organized crime and the Mafia, including The Big Heist by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony DeStefano, and CHIN: The Life and Crimes of Mafia Boss Vincent Gigante, by Larry McShane. A lifelong New Yorker, he currently resides in Manhattan. He is not a member of the Mafia because he is not Italian.


Lisa Alexia grew up surrounded by tall stacks of books in a northern California city, raised by a rare book dealer and an English teacher. As a young adult, she spent many years living ‘off-the-grid’ in Minnesota, then later moved off the road system in Alaska. Since moving to Alaska, she has worked in health care, first as a community health practitioner and, since 2012, as a physician assistant. Among the odd jobs of her 20s and 30s, she wrote a newspaper column, produced newsletters, designed books, and managed production for a collector’s limited first edition of a Hemingway book. Her publishing company, Denali Sunrise Publications, is committed to using the best of her lifelong literary experiences to benefit rural Alaska and the people who depend on its survival. For more about the publishing company, please see the website:

VERED MARES         

Vered Mares was born into a household of poets, writers, artists and musicians. As a child, she explored the high deserts of northern New Mexico at Ghost Ranch near Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, while her father taught poetry and writing workshops. Vered earned a BFA from Boise State University in Visual Arts, focusing on ceramics, printing and sculpture. She has designed over 65 books and illustrated many others, including books for award winning authors Angel Gonzales of Spain, E.A. “Tony” Mares of New Mexico, and nationally syndicated cartoonist, Chad Carpenter of Alaska. Vered was one of the founding members of AGIA Alaska (the professional association for design), and has a core belief in quality, hard work and creativity. She is now the owner and executive editor of Alaska-based Vered Publishing & Design House, which seeks a select number of excellent writers for publication and promotion. 

FLIP TODD         

Philip “Flip” Todd worked as a general assignment and sports reporter at the Anchorage Daily News while in the Army before spending several years as a business writer and editor. He is currently president of Todd Communications, which publishes many books, calendars and maps. The company is also the state’s primary wholesale distributor of these products to more than 500 stores, museums, libraries, gift shops and institutional customers, as well as providing international print brokering services to other publishers. For more than 38 years, he has led Todd Communications and developed it into a fully integrated publishing and publishing services company serving publishers ranging from regional houses to local self-publishers.

Increasingly its services are focused on assisting Alaska and Pacific Northwest authors and photographers to self-publish their own works by offering editing, book design, printing and wholesale distribution of books about Alaska and by Alaska authors.


Evan Swensen, book publisher and editor, along with his wife, Lois, publishes books by authors worldwide.  He has been the publisher and editor of Alaska Outdoors magazine and producer of Alaska Outdoors television show and outdoor videos, and host of Alaska Outdoor Radio Magazine.  He has been an Alaska resident since 1957.

Evan has 9 children, 24 grandchildren, and 23 great grandchildren. As a pilot, he has logged more than 4,000 hours of flight time in Alaska, in both wheel and float planes.  He is a serious recreation hunter and fisherman, equally comfortable casting a flyrod or using bait, or lures.  Evan has been published in many national magazines and is the author of five books, One Last Cast, Angler’s Guide to AlaskaHiker’s Guide to Alaska, Becoming a Published Author, Bringing Your Book to Market, and publisher of more than 900 books by other authors.




As an advocate for authors and writers and known as The Book Shepherd®, Dr. Judith Briles delivers practical authoring and publishing information and guidance. She has authored 36 books, won multiple book awards and co-founded Mile High Press. Judith is the Chief Visionary Officer, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful and founder of the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame which will debut in 2019. Each summer, she presents Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Book Camp, a three-day exclusive “happening” for authors who want to create and put their Book and Author GamePlans into action. In the spring and fall, Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Boot Camp delivers a two-day exclusive event to learn how to structure a speech or workshop, integrate story-telling and create a speaking business. In the winter, she delivers, one solid week of workshops and fun.

Her publishing books include How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos, The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors & Writers, Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers. They join her multi-award winning and #1 bestseller on Amazon, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms. Collectively, they’ve earned over 30 book awards.



Mariano Gonzales is the coordinator of Digital Design and Printmaking and has taught Foundation, Photography, Digital Arts, Metalsmithing, Sculpture and Painting courses at UAA. He has conducted numerous art workshops and lectures across South Central and Western Alaska. He has exhibited extensively in the state of Alaska in both solo and group exhibitions. In 2015, Gonzales had a solo exhibition of his work entitled “A Man in the Shadows” at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. He was honored as the Outstanding Individual Artist, 2010 Anchorage Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, and received the Excellence in Photography Award in 2004 from the Alaska Photographic Society. His work is in the collections of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks and the School of Business at the University of Alaska Anchorage.



Rebecca Zanetti is the author of more than forty romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists.  Amazon labeled Vampire's Faith as one of the best romances of June this year, and the Washington Post has called her writing “sexy and emotional.”  Her new romantic suspense series, Deep Ops, features a rag-tag and wounded unit of Homeland Defense that includes an alcoholic, high-heel wearing, red lipstick eating German Shepherd as the most stable character.  Book one, Hidden, releases this month.  Rebecca has ridden in a locked Chevy trunk, has asked the unfortunate UPS guy to release her from a set of handcuffs, and has discovered the best silver mine shafts in which to bury a body…all in the name of research.  Honest. 


Boone Brux is a USA Today Bestselling Author. Her books range from high fantasy to romantic comedy. She lives in the icy region of Alaska, where she writes full time with her husband, two daughters, and a myriad of animals.  Always looking for the next adventure, it’s not unusual to find her traversing the remotest parts of the Alaskan bush. No person or escapade is off limits when it comes to weaving real life experiences into her books.


Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as five others. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Author of the New York Times bestselling Jericho Quinn Thriller series, Marc Cameron’s short stories have appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and BOYS LIFE magazine. In late 2016, he was chosen to continue the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan/Campus Thriller series.  OATH OF OFFICE, his second book in the series, will release in November, 2018.

Cameron is a retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal who spent nearly thirty years in law enforcement. He holds a second-degree black belt in Jujitsu and is a certified scuba diver and man-tracking instructor.Originally from Texas, Cameron is an avid sailor and adventure motorcyclist.  His books often feature boats and bikes including OSI Agent Jericho Quinn’s beloved BMW GS Adventure.Cameron lives in the Alaska with his wife and BMW GS motorcycle. He enjoys hearing from readers. Contact Marc through: 




Jamey Bradbury is the author of The Wild Inside. Her short fiction has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Sou’wester, and Zone 3 and won an Estelle Campbell Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. Originally from Illinois, Jamey lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and has an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

She works for an Alaska Native social services agency.



Aliza Sherman is a web and social media pioneer, founder of Cybergrrl and Webgrrls International, a keynote speaker, and the author of 11 books. Her most recent books include The Happy, Healthy NonprofitSocial Media Engagement for DummiesThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Mom, Incorporated.

In the early 1990s, she started Cybergrrl, Inc. and Webgrrls International, the first woman-owned, full-service Internet company and the first Internet networking organization for women, respectively. In 1995, Newsweek named her one of the “Top People Who Matter Most on the Internet.” In 2009,Fast Company called her one of the “Most Powerful Women in Technology.” Aliza’s early work on the Internet helped pave the way for today’s web and social media industries.

Aliza speaks around the world and writes about women and the Internet, social media, marketing, the future of technology, entrepreneurship, and writing. 


When she was a girl, Peggy McKee Barnhill wanted to grow up to write novels under the pseudonym Greta McKennan. Today she is the author of the cozy mystery series, A Stitch in Time Mysteries, by (you guessed it) Greta McKennan.

Peggy lives in Juneau, Alaska with her husband and three children, and works as a paraeducator with preschoolers with special needs. She writes a monthly humor column, “Gimme a Smile,” for the Juneau Empire under her own name. She is a member of the Alaska Writers Guild and Sisters in Crime. Stay tuned for her new cozy mystery series: Alaska Loom Shop Mysteries.


When not embracing the Alaska lifestyle of getting outdoors despite inclement weather, bugs, and bears, Stefanie Tatalias writes stories and non-fiction for kids, teen and adults, some of which earned awards and been published. She loves Alaska, serving SCBWI, reading, raising her kids, teaching, adventures of all sorts from picking berries to ancient temples, and then curling up with a good book.


Dante Medema is a mother to four girls, amateur cake decorator, and professional Twitter addict. In her spare time, she serves on the board for the Alaska Writers Guild and writes young adult novels.



Erin Bentley has two passions in life: writing and sewing. When she’s not bent over her sewing table or studying a historical pattern book, she’s chained to her computer, creating worlds full of magic and wonder. A life-long Alaskan, Erin has spent many a long winter’s night curled up with a cozy blanket and a good book, letting her imagination run wild. Knowing that she wanted to be a writer from the age of ten, Erin has spent many years honing her craft in preparation for her debut as a published author.



Christiane Joy Allison is an Alaskan author, self-publisher, 2018 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Project Award recipient, and criminal justice reform advocate from Wasilla, Alaska. In addition to children's books, she writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and spiritual works. She has an MBA from Western Governors University and a BA in Journalism & Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. 



Author Lynn Lovegreen writes YA historical romance set in Alaska. She is a published author, and a member of the Alaska chapter of RWA and SCBWI-Alaska. Learn more about her at

Photo credit: C. Bydalek


Jennifer Bernard is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called “an irresistible reading experience” full of “quick wit and sizzling love scenes.” A graduate of Harvard and former news promo producer, she left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters.  She still hasn’t adjusted to the cold, so most often she can be found cuddling with her laptop and a cup of tea. Sign up for her newsletter for book news and fun exclusives.


Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. Though no longer a public librarian, Erin still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but now she hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.


Writer, wife and mother of three girls. E.M. Shue likes her whiskey Irish, her chocolate dark and her hockey hard hitting. She is an avid reader and you can find her Kindle packed full of all sub-genres of romance. When she isn’t writing action-adventure and strong woman she’s spending time with her husband and two girls that still live at home. She’s currently writing the hot and steamy romantic suspense series Securities International. The fifth book publishes at the end of September 2018. Her first book in the series Sniper’s Kiss was a finalist in the Colorado RWA Beverley contest. E.M.’s favorite saying is don’t piss her off she’ll write you into a book and kill you off in a new and gory way.


Karen Kiely writes romance novels, works as a librarian, and lives in Alaska (but not in an igloo). She also has too many cats, though only 1.25 per person in her household, so she can't possibly​​ be a Cat Lady. Oh, and she loves baseball (Chicago White Sox), creatively stimulating walks, and reading.



Mother-and-son authors BARBARA JACKO ATWATER and ETHAN JACKO ATWATER are of Dena’ina heritage from the community of Pedro Bay. In 2012, Barbara, a retired educator, wrote and published Walter’s Story, reflecting the history of the northern Iliamna Lake region in stories shared by a beloved great-uncle and community elder.  Before his death, Walter encouraged Barbara and Ethan to share their culture, and they began work on a series of Dena’ina stories for children. The first, How Raven Got His Crooked Nose, was released in 2018 by Graphic Arts Books of Berkeley, California, and has seen excellent reviews in Kirkus, the Children’s Book Council, and on Native literature sites nationally. Illustrated by Mindy Dwyer, the 32-page picture book is the first of several traditional Dena’ina stories that share aspects of their culture and its language. The Atwaters make their home in Anchorage.


LORETTA OUTWATER COX is an Iñupiaq woman, born in Nome and raised in various villages around the Seward Peninsula. She holds a bachelor's degree in education and a master’s degree in education administration. Loretta taught school in western Alaska for twenty-three years. She and her husband, Skip, have four children and three grandchildren and are now living in Anchorage.  Her first book, The Winter Walk: A Century-Old Survival Story from the Arctic, was published by Alaska Northwest Books and won an Alaska Indigenous Literature Award in 2004. It was followed by another popular title, The Storytellers’ Club: The Picture-Writing Women of the Arctic, which critics hailed as “The Joy Luck Club of the Arctic.”


Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff has served his people, the Unangan of the Pribilof Islands, leading through four decades in politics and nonprofit associations. He currently works on cross-cultural orientation and presenting as a visiting scholar at universities. Larry’s just-released book is titled Perspectives on Indigenous Issues: Essays on Science, Spirituality, Partnerships, and the Power of Words. 


Panel Moderator Tricia Nuyaqik Brown has been writing about Alaska’s Native people and their lifeways since her days as a newspaper journalist in the early 1980s. In 2004, Ruth Savok Outwater honored Tricia with her Iñupiaq name, and in November this year, she will be adopted into the Frog Clan in a Haida potlatch in Hydaburg. Tricia recently completed Bush travel for an all-new kids’ book titled Children of the Midnight Sun, Book 2


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