2013 Conference Speakers
The Wyoming Writers, Inc., 2013 Conference takes place June 7 - 9, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie, Wyoming. An amazing line-up of speakers is planned, and writers will have opportunity to pitch to agents. Below are bios of this year's special guests:
Sandra Bond, Literary Agent
Sandra Bond started her agency in Denver in 1998, after working for the Jody Rein Books agency. While running her agency, she was also the program administrator at the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute, a 4-week, intensive, graduate-level certificate program in publishing, from 2005-2009, and she is now a guest lecturer at the Institute. Before deciding to pursue a career in publishing, Sandra was a film and television script analyst in Los Angeles, and the editor and production manager for a socioeconomic research foundation in Boulder. She has a B.A. in microbiology from the University of Colorado, and she’s a second generation Colorado native.
Sandra works with both first-time and previously published authors, and she represents adult fiction in various categories, young adult fiction, and many categories of nonfiction. On the fiction side she is most interested in adult literary and commercial fiction, including mysteries and thrillers, and young adult and middle-grade fiction, including fantasy. She does not represent adult fantasy, romance, science fiction, poetry, or children’s picture books. On the nonfiction side she is looking for interesting science, history, memoir, business and narrative, all written for the general public by credentialed authors who have a platform.
Katharine Sands, Literary Agent
Katharine Sands is a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York. She is the editor of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent's Eye and has been a guest expert on writing and publishing for Poets and Writers, The American Society of Journalists and Authors, New York University, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Writing commercially has probably been a bane to writers since Pliny the Elder plied the trade. But the truth is that today, writers can have the magical imagination of J. K. Rowling, the wit and wisdom of Frank McCourt, the perfect economy of Ernest Hemingway, and the inspired brilliance of (whoever really wrote) Shakespeare. Yet they still need to pitch, query, and propose before they can get published.
As a New York City-based literary agent, Katharine focuses her workshop on what writers need most when they enter the literary arena: a hands-on guide to the nitty-gritty of how to navigate the "how to get published" landscape. It's all about finding the right words and getting the right people to read them, she says. Learn her best ideas so you can make the perfect pitch for yours.
Margaret Coel, Fiction Writer - Keynote Speaker
Margaret Coel will be this year's keynote speaker for the Saturday night banquet. She is the author of sixteen award-winning mystery novels set among the Arapahos on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation including the most recent, Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now. The novels feature Jesuit priest Father John O’Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden. She is also the author of two suspense novels set in Denver.
The novels have been on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Margaret is a six-time winner of the Colorado Book Award and a winner of the Willa (Cather) Award for Best Novel of the West. She has received the Frank Waters Award for “exemplary literary achievement,” the High Plains Emeritus Literary Award for “a lifetime of outstanding work, ” and the Colorado Arts and Humanities Lifetime Achievement Award. Her book, The Spider's Web, received the 2010 Hillerman Sky Award for the most evocative descriptions of the Southwest. Margaret is the author of the short story collection Watching Eagles Soar as well as many articles for publications such as American Heritage and The New York Times. She has also published four non-fiction books.
A fourth-generation Coloradan. Margaret resides in Boulder where she writes from a study that looks out over the Rocky Mountains. A herd of deer graze on the hill outside her window and from time to time, a mountain lion will wander past. “Everyday,” she says, “I drink in the West.”
Eugene Gagliano, Children's Author
Known by many as the teacher who dances on his desk, Eugene M. Gagliano (pronounced Galiano) is a retired elementary teacher whose author presentations are entertaining, informative and inspirational. He has presented at 112 schools, and at IRA, teacher, SCBWI, and library conferences, and for libraries and festivals in Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Texas and Hawaii.
Gene was the recipient of the IRA’s 2004 Wyoming State Celebrate Literacy Award and the 2001 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Gene’s book Dee and the Mammoth, illustrated by Zachary Pullen, won the 2010-2011 Wyoming State Historical Society Award for Best Fiction. Dee and the Mammoth represented the state of Wyoming at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C in 2011. His other books include C is for Cowboy, a Wyoming Alphabet; Four Wheels West, a Wyoming number Book (a former Western Writer’s Spur Award nominee); V is for Venus Flytrap, a Plant Alphabet; My Teacher Dances on the Desk (winner of the 2010 Delaware Diamonds Book List Children’s Choice Award); Secret of the Black Widow (a former Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award nominee); The Magic Box; Falling Stars; Inside the Clown and Little Wyoming.
Chris Madson, Editor - Wyoming Wildlife
Chris Madson will be the Friday evening speaker. He has served as editor of Wyoming Wildlife magazine for nearly 30 years. He began his academic training with an A.B. in biology and a minor in English at Grinnell College in Iowa, then continued with an M.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career with the Kansas Fish and Game Commission where he spent six years as the editor of Kansas Wildlife magazine.
In 1983, he moved to Cheyenne to assume the editorship of Wyoming Wildlife magazine with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. During his tenure, the magazine has won more than 100 national awards for excellence in writing, photography, and design. The Association for Conservation Information has named Wyoming Wildlife the best state conservation magazine in the United States five times in the last twenty years.
Chris has contributed nearly 200 articles to other publications, including Audubon, National Wildlife, National Wildlife Leader, Outdoor Life, Nature Conservancy Magazine, Ducks Unlimited, Bugle, and Pheasants Forever. He has spoken on issues of conservation and the outdoors to NASA, the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, the Governor’s Hunting Heritage Symposium, the National Watchable Wildlife Conference, the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the Kansas Wildlife Federation, and many other groups.
He is a certified wildlife biologist with The Wildlife Society and a member of the National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, and the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
Tom Rea, Editor and Writer
Tom Rea is editor and founder of WyoHistory.org, a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society. He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and has lived in Wyoming for 40 years. He holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Montana.
During the 1980s, Tom ran the literature programs for the Wyoming Arts Council and he and his wife, Barbara, published letterpress books of poetry at Dooryard Press, in Story Wyo. Later he worked for many years as a reporter and editor on the Casper Star-Tribune.
His books include The Hole in the Wall Ranch, A History (Pronghorn Press, 2010); Devil's Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006, paperback 2013), winner of the 2006-07 nonfiction book award from the Wyoming State Historical Society; and Bone Wars: The Excavation and Celebrity of Andrew Carnegie's Dinosaur (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001, paperback 2004), winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for contemporary nonfiction.
He is past president of the Wyoming Humanities Council and president of the Wyoming chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association. He lives with his family in Casper.
Rick Kempa, Poet and Essayist
Born in Chicago, Rick Kempa moved west in 1974 to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After a several-year career as a hitchhiker and oddjobsman, he enrolled at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing in 1987. Since 1988, he has lived with his wife Fern in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where they raised their two children, Claire and Adam. He teaches writing and philosophy and directs the Honors Program at Western Wyoming Community College.
A book of Rick’s poems, Ten Thousand Voices, is newly released by Littoral Press in Oakland, CA, while a first book, Keeping the Quiet, was published by Bellowing Ark Press in 2008. He is currently at work on two editing projects—one, an anthology of essays about hiking in the Grand Canyon, the other (with co-editor Peter Anderson) of Grand Canyon poetry—and on a collection of his own essays about walking in the West.
A member of the Wyoming Arts Council’s Artist Roster, Rick offers a variety of workshops on writing and publishing.
Michael Shay, Writer and Manager at the Wyoming Arts Council
Michael Shay’s book of short stories, The Weight of a Body, was published by Denver’s Ghost Road Press in 2006. One of those stories appears in the 2010 anthology from Coffee House Press, Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking out the Jams. An essay about his son’s ADHD, “The Great Third Grade AIDS Scare,” is featured in a 2011 DRT Press anthology, Easy to Love but Hard to Raise. An essay about rock climbing at Vedauwoo with his son is included in a new MIT Press anthology about families in the outdoors. His fiction and essays have been published in Northern Lights, High Plains Literary Review, Colorado Review, Owen Wister Review, Relief: A Christian Literary Expression, Visions and "In Short," a Norton anthology of brief creative nonfiction. He was co-editor of Deep West: A Literary Tour of Wyoming, published in 2003 by Wyoming’s Pronghorn Press.
A Colorado native who grew up in Florida, Michael earned an A.A. degree from Daytona State College and a B.A. in English from the University of Florida. He received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Colorado State University. Michael is the communications and marketing specialist for the Wyoming Arts Council. He lives in Cheyenne with his wife, Chris. They have two grown children, Annie and Kevin.