Bios

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.

 

GABRIELLE K. BYRNE writes MG/YA fantasy in Olympia, Washington where she lives with her husband and two daughters. 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 passions together. Her debut, RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON, comes out in winter, 2019 with Imprint/Macmillan. 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.

img_1701When HALLI GOMEZ was young, she planned three careers: law enforcement, teacher, and writer. For 17 years she worked as an intelligence analyst for police departments in Florida and North Carolina. Now, as a third degree black belt in taekwondo, she teaches martial arts and is inspired by her students’ stories and dedication. She also 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 and the beach in 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. She’s also an agent with KT Literary. 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 handfuls of popcorn, struggling to learn new guitar chords or riding one of his bikes through Seattle. And, of course, reading. Currently on a teaching hiatus after years in an elementary classroom–including science at a gifted K-8 school–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 was A TICKET TO THE PENNANT with Sasquatch Books. Find him at his blogTwitterInstagram or Facebook.

KARIN LEFRANC is from nowhere and everywhere. She lived in Sweden, Lebanon, South Africa and the UK but now lives in the US in a small Connecticut town which boasts the largest tree in the state. She’s an admitted tree hugger, who has on occasion, even been spotted kissing a tree or two.  Her debut picture book I WANT TO EAT YOUR BOOKS was published in 2015 by Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing picture books, she’s time traveling to the 6th century in her middle-grade novel. You can find her on Twitter.

After spending ten years working with an engineering dream team developing commercial blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), MICHELLE LEONARD 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 or pushing books into young readers’ hands at her local Indie bookstore, she’s turning outlandish 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 is part of the BRAVE NEW GIRLS ANTHOLOGY: STORIES OF GIRLS WHO SCIENCE AND SCHEME. The young adult anthology is a collection of 22 stories about brainy young heroines using their smarts to save the day. Michelle is a member of SCBWI Carolinas. You can also find her on Twitter .

Kate photo Spring 2014KATE HILLYER 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 Kate 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. 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, SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, released in Spring 2017 from Simon Pulse.  You can find her on Twitter.

REBECCA PETRUCK is the author of STEERING TOWARD NORMAL (2014) and WILL NOLAN EATS BUGS (March 2018), both with ABRAMS/Amulet. STEERING TOWARD NORMAL received a Best Book of 2014 Blue Ribbon from the BCCB, and was an American Booksellers Association New Voices selection as well as a Kids Indie Next List title. It also was featured in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood, the L.A. Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and ABC Best Books for Children. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Wilmington, and is a mentor for SCBWI Carolinas, Pitch Wars, and Writing in the Margins. She is represented by Kate Testerman of kt literary. Visit Rebecca at http://rebeccapetruck.com

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 Maine coast. She is represented by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency and her debut novel, ENCHANTÉE, comes out from Flatiron/Macmillan in January 2019. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

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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 www.jessicavitalis.com.

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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 from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. You can find her on Twitter.

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