Photo by Pam Vaughan
Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade stories that blend mystery and adventure and young adult stories with heroines much braver than she is. Her best story ideas come from her two crazy kids. Unlike many writers, Rebecca did not write her first story at age eight…at least not fiction. She wrote for her high school yearbook and her college newspaper, but her first fiction course scared the bejeezus out of her! Having overcome her fear of fiction, Rebecca loves see how much trouble she can get her characters into, and sometimes back out of. You can find her blog here. She’s also on Twitter.

Photo credit: Gail Werner
Photo credit: Gail Werner

JULIE ARTZ writes stories for children that feature the natural world, folklore, mythology, history, and all that is magical about those things. In addition to contributing to The Winged Pen, she works as a developmental editor for Author Accelerator, writes about local Washington history for Gatherings, and contributes regularly to From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors. She is represented by Jennie Dunham of Dunham Lit. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

GKBGABRIELLE K. BYRNE lives in Olympia, Washington and writes fantasy for middle graders. Gabby studied opera in Philadelphia, medieval studies in New York, literature in Scotland, and marine biology in the Pacific Northwest, but writing is the common thread that ties all her interests together. She has a Master’s degree in literature and a second bachelors in environmental studies. When she’s not writing, you can frequently find her fishing spineless critters out of the Salish sea with her husband and two daughters. She is represented by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management. Find her on Twitter. Her web site is here.

Photo: © Jane Joo Park, 2017.

LAUREL DECHER writes stories about all things Italian, vegetable, or musical. Beloved pets of the past include “Stretchy the Leech” and a guinea pig that unexpectedly produced twins. She’s famous for getting lost, but carries maps because people always ask her for directions. You can read THE WOUNDED BOOK, her adventure story for young readers on Wattpad. Or find her on Twitter and on her blog, This Is An Overseas Post, where she writes about life with her family in Germany. She’s still a Vermonter and an epidemiologist at heart. PSA: Eat more kale! 🙂 Her short fiction for adults, UNFORESEEN TIMES, originally appeared in Windhover.

Folks - Headshot - webEVA FOLKS suffers from a female version of  Peter Pan Syndrome. She has worn many hats in her lifetime: CNC programmer, AutoCAD designer, interior decorator, house painter, muralist, faux finisher, and an art supply retailer. Having always had an aptitude for art and a need to be creative, she finally began her full-time art career ten years ago and has settled into it very nicely. Eva’s artwork has been a major influence on her writing. The characters she creates on canvas tell her their stories and she is more than happy to listen. Eva is currently finishing her fourth MG novel titled THE MAGIC OF ALEXANDER PEACOCK, after which she will continue her search for representation. She lives just north of Toronto (pronounced Tarrana by the locals) in Ontario, Canada with her husband David, dogs Lucky and Chester, and a cantankerous parrot named Green Man.

img_1701When HALLI GOMEZ was young, she planned three careers: law enforcement, teacher, and writer. She worked as an intelligence analyst for police departments in Florida and North Carolina. As a third degree black belt in taekwondo, she teaches martial arts and is inspired by her students’ stories and dedication. She writes for children and young adults because those voices flow through her brain. Halli is published in Police Chief magazine and her regional SCBWI bulletin, and won third place in two SCBWI Carolinas Writing Contests. Halli was born in New York, but grew up in Florida until chased out by hurricanes. Now she lives equidistant between the mountains of North Carolina. Her middle grade science fiction novel is represented by Kathy Green of Kathryn Green Literary Agency. You can find Halli on Twitter.

IMG_3550HILARY HARWELL writes dark, whimsical fantasy and atmospheric horror for kids and teens. Her middle grade fantasy, LAIMA MONTROVE WANTS TO BE A WITCH, was a finalist for the Eldin Memorial Fellowship in 2015. Her middle grade fantasy, THE TRINKET GUARDIAN, was a 2015 PitchWars finalist. Hilary studied anthropology at the University of Colorado and worked in the back office of a major Swiss investment bank for eight years, until she had an epiphany and decided to trade numbers for letters. When she’s not reading, or writing, or dreaming about riding horses again someday, she likes to hike the Rockies with her husband, three tow-head children, and their English Mastiff, Lola, in search of buried treasure. Lola tags along because of the bears. You can find Hilary on Twitter.

HoltzyAuthorMugWhile mild-mannered in public, behind closed doors MARK HOLTZEN has been known to groove to his diverse collection of music, cook and garden with moderate skill and make weird faces at his children and students. You also might find him inhaling large handfuls of popcorn, struggling to learn new guitar chords or riding one of his bikes through Seattle or its surrounding mountains. Currently on a teaching hiatus after years in an elementary classroom–including science at a gifted K-8 school for the past ten years–he writes essays, middle grade novels and is working to create more regional history for kids. He continues to be amazed and thankful (mostly) for the universe and its inhabitants daily. His debut picture book with Sasquatch Books, A TICKET TO THE PENNANT, will be out Spring of 2016. Find him at his blog, Twitter or Facebook.


OLIVIA KIERNAN is an Irish writer, blogger and novelist. She is a member of the SCBWI and has an MA in Creative Writing, awarded by the University of Sussex. She was recently shortlisted by the BBC for their ‘Class Dismissed’ Initiative: a childrens’ comedy script writing competition and in 2015 was longlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award. She was born and grew up in Co. Meath, Ireland but has lived in the UK for almost fifteen years.

She writes for children and young adults under the pseudonym Olivia Bright and has published her picture book ‘Pip Learns to Fly’ through Amazon and Createspace. Her latest publication is a romantic comedy for teens, titled, Becoming Lady Beth. On Twitter: @LivKiernan

SussuSUSSU LECLERC lives in the Midwest with her husband and a  couple of troll-sized knights in shining armor who regularly rescue her from her writer’s angst. When she was little, she felt deeply for characters who came to life like the Velveteen Rabbit and the Tin Soldiers. During her time as a French University professor, she stuffed her students’ heads with tales of Rabelais and Voltaire until the magic poked out of their ears. Now she writes MG and YA fantasy when she is not borrowing her kids’ toys or skating away with them. Read more about her passion for fantasy on Book Riders and her tips for writing fiction on Novel Without Further Ado or follow her on Twitter.

pic of me2KARIN LEFRANC is from nowhere and everywhere. Born in Sweden, she went to school in Lebanon, South Africa and England before coming to the US to attend college. She now lives in Connecticut with her French husband and four kids. She self published her first picture book A QUEST FOR GOOD MANNERS. Her first traditionally published picture book I WANT TO EAT YOUR BOOKS was published in 2015 by Sky Pony Press. She’s currently realm jumping in a middle-grade novel about trolls and giants and a girl who is a direct descendant of Beowulf. You can find her on Twitter.

MICHELLE LEONARD was born a math and science nerd. After spending ten years working with an engineering dream team developing commercial blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), she escaped the world of seventy-hour workweeks. Nowadays, when she’s not tinkering on her teleporter for transporting her talented daughters to their important gigs and lessons, she’s turning wacky thoughts into stories for young readers. Michelle lives in North Carolina with her science-savvy husband, three inspiring daughters, and a border collie who hates numbers. Her young adult sci-fi short story IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT will be published in the BRAVE NEW GIRLS ANTHOLOGY: STORIES OF GIRLS WHO SCIENCE AND SCHEME releasing August 2017. You can also find her on Twitter .

Kate photo Spring 2014KATHARINE MANNING lives, works, and runs the trails near Washington, D.C. She writes middle grade stories by the light in the attic, and has three kids, one of whom inspired her first book with a whispered, “I take care of unicorns.” You can find Katharine through her website, her book blog, at From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors, or on Twitter.


rm-picRICHELLE MORGAN writes, works, plays and drinks too much coffee in Portland, Oregon, often in the company of her husband and their three spirited children, mischievous beagle and long-suffering cat. When not writing fiction for young adults and children, she pens fundraising letters and other marketing copy for progressive nonprofit organizations. Richelle keeps an occasional blog about nonprofit marketing and communication. She has also written feature articles for The Oregonian, and her short fiction has appeared in Voicecatcher. You can find her on Twitter.

PWmandypic2JENNIFER PARK lives in Texas, where she writes fantasy, scifi, and contemporary stories for teens and kids. Before becoming mom to two minions, she taught middle school art, and has degrees in museum studies and fine art. Her debut novel, FOREST OF SHADOWS (temporary title), will release in Spring 2017 from Simon Pulse.  You can find her on Twitter.

Amy_03_printAMY KURTZ SKELDING is a middle-grade fiction writer and podcaster. While she’s not a fan of referring to herself in the third person, she is an admirer of comedic adverbs and books with maps. With a B.A. degree in broadcasting and mass communication, Amy also has a muggle career in marketing professional services. She is the creator and host of the KidLit Drink Night podcast and can be found on Twitter at @akskelding and @kidlitdnpodcast and at Amy and her husband live in North Carolina with the smartest dog in the entire recorded history of human-animal companionship.

IMG_1617 GITA TRELEASE writes YA fantasy. She was born in Sweden and has lived in France, Italy, and the United States. In her former life as a college professor, she taught classes on fairy tales, monsters, and Victorian criminals. Along with her artist husband, teenage son, and Maine Coon, Gita divides her time between a boarding school in Massachusetts and the wild Maine coast. Her current project takes place during the French Revolution: hot-air balloons and gambling, decadence and dark magic. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.


A jack of all trades, JESSICA VITALIS worked for a private investigator, owned a modeling and talent agency, dabbled in television production and obtained her MBA at Columbia Business School before embracing her passion for middle grade literature. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she divides her time between chasing children and wrangling words. She also volunteers as a Pitch Wars mentor, with the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and eats copious amounts of chocolate. She’s represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch and would love to connect on Twitter or at

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KRISTI WIENTGE is originally from Ohio where she grew up writing stories about animals and, her favorite, a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world from China to England, teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids inside out before finally calling Singapore home. Now, all her adventures revolve around her four children and within the contemporary MG books she writes. Her debut middle grade novel KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE will release from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in summer 2017. You can find her on Twitter.