2025 Guest Instructors

Every year the lineup of Superstars speakers changes. Get to know the guest instructors.

Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson has published more than 175 books, 58 of which have been national or international bestsellers.

He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as unique steampunk fantasy novels Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives, written with legendary rock drummer Neil Peart. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Wake the Dragon and Terra Incognita fantasy trilogies, the Saga of Shadows trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI.

He has edited numerous anthologies, written comics and games, and the lyrics to two rock CDs.

Adriel Wiggins

Adriel Wiggins is a virtual assistant and continuity editor for independent authors. Over the last twenty years, her career path has taken many interesting twists, all of which have built her skills and passion for putting out fires and clearing mundane, routine tasks so that authors can focus on the important work.

Marie Whittaker

Marie Whittaker enjoys teaching about publishing and project management for writers. She works as Associate Publisher at WordFire Press and Director at Superstars Writing Seminars. She also puts in time as personal assistant to Kevin J. Anderson. In 2021, she co founded the epic fantasy world of Eldros Legacy. Marie is an award-winning essayist and author of horror, fantasy, children’s books, and paranormal mysteries. She is the creator of The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch, is published in Weird Tales, and habitually adopts rescue animals. Find out more about her at www.mariewhittaker.com.

Annie Stone

Annie Stone has been working with authors and publishers on both developing great content and connecting books with audiences for more than a decade. Currently, Annie is an Acquisitions Director at Podium Publishing, where she acquires for both the audio and all-formats programs across a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Most recently before Podium, Annie was Director of Content Acquisitions for YONDER, a serial fiction mobile reading app launched by the teams that created WEBTOON and Wattpad. Before joining YONDER, Annie was the Head of Business Development at BookBub, where her team helped authors and publishers all over the world leverage BookBub’s marketing platform to reach new readers and find more fans. Annie has also worked as an editor of fiction for adults and young people at several major publishing groups, including Harlequin and HarperCollins. She can be found in Boston, Massachusetts with her eccentric cat and her large pile of books.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith has been with Printondemand-worldwide for over 7 years during which time he has gained an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry. This placed him in the perfect position to lead the redevelopment of the Bookvault platform. He has worked very closely with some of the leading indie-publishing entrepreneurs to ensure that Bookvault continues to deliver the latest and greatest features they need for their businesses.

David R. Slayton

David R. Slayton (He/Him) grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver and writes the books he always wanted to read. His debut, White Trash Warlock, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. In 2015, David founded Trick or Read, an initiative to give out books along with candy to children on Halloween as well as uplift lesser-known authors or those from marginalized backgrounds. His latest release is Dark Moon, Shallow Sea, an epic fantasy.

Find him online at www.DavidRSlayton.com.

Dave Sheets

Dave Sheets has spent more than 25 years in the publishing industry working with many of the top book publishers, distributors, and printers in the industry. He currently owns a publishing services company primarily working with independent authors. Every year, he continues to work with hundreds of authors helping to create books that entertain and inform readers across the globe, with services including editing, design, interior layout, eBooks, and printing. Dave excels in helping clients by listening well and providing resources for them to reach their highest levels of potential every day. Dave grew up in the Midwest and graduated from St. Cloud State University in MN with a BS in Mass Communications while playing on a football scholarship. Dave is married with five adult kids, two grandsons, and enjoys spending his free time enjoying the Colorado outdoors.

Cameron Scot

Cameron Scot, founder of Merch Jar, is an Amazon Advertising expert and accomplished seller with over $4 million in personal sales.

Frustrated by the time-consuming demands of ad management, Cameron developed Merch Jar to streamline and automate Amazon Ads for KDP sellers—so they can focus on creating and writing, not managing their ads. To date, Merch Jar has helped sellers manage over $20 million in ad spend, generating more than $100 million in revenue and empowering authors to maximize their sales and reclaim their time.

In addition to his role at Merch Jar, Cameron shares his expertise through the Amazon Ads University YouTube channel and Facebook group, offering insights, strategies, and a supportive community for sellers at all levels.

Clark Rowenson

Fascinated by magic since pine cones could be fireballs, C. R. Rowenson (Clark) is an award-winning author, blogger, and writing coach that studies magic building like others study oil-painting. His prime directive is to help storytellers craft and repair unforgettable magic systems in their stories. You can visit crrowenson.com to witness, fuel, or join in his obsession.

William Joseph Roberts

In a previous lifetime, William Joseph Roberts was an F-15 mechanic and Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force. He has traveled the world and experienced many things in his few years. During this lifetime, he has been called a Jack of all trades, a Renaissance man, and an insane squirrel wrangler by his peers. Since his enlistment ended, he has perused careers as an industrial and architectural designer, design engineer, eclectic writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, and lead publisher with 3 Ravens Publishing. William currently resides in the quaint southern town of Chickamauga, Georgia with his loving wife, three freaky-smart nerd children, and a small pack of fur babies.

Johanna Parkhurst

Johanna Parkhurst is the author of multiple young adult and adult contemporary romance novels. Her most recently published ghostwritten work was a YA romance that received a Kirkus-starred review. She has been traditionally published, published by small presses, and she currently self-publishes her own works; she is the owner and operator of Maple Mountains Press, LLC. Her recent novel Counterpoint, which was published by Heart Eyes Press under the name J.E. Birk, was a bestseller in several Amazon categories upon its release. ILYBSM, a novel she penned with two co-writers, spent multiple weeks in the top 100 Gay Romance novels category on Amazon in December of 2022. Her novella The Worst Bad Thing was a Rainbow Romance award-winner.

Johanna is a long-time teacher who is happiest in any writing classroom. She was a Faculty of the Year recipient at Pueblo Community College and is currently the Director of the Genre Fiction M.A./M.F.A. program at Western Colorado University. She enjoys paddleboarding, skiing, and traveling. She does not enjoy vacuuming.

Brenda McGinnis

Brenda‘s passion for life permeates all of her work from stage acting and directing to film, VO acting, and audiobooks. Brenda feels most like herself when she is bringing truth to imaginary characters. She brings raw instinct and playfulness to her work while drawing on over 50 years of experience.She currently trains with some of Portland’s most talented coaches and has appeared in numerous local films. Brenda is coachable and plays well with others. When not on stage or in front of a camera she spends time working in her sound booth recording voiceovers and audiobooks. Brenda has a keen ear for dialects and loves voicing a myriad of characters. Brenda is a mother to 6 children and 11 grandkids and after 15 years of teaching in public school, she enjoys spending her free time at home with her kids and grandchildren.

Todd McCaffrey

New York Times Bestselling Author Todd J. McCaffrey — “a modern master of the craft” — has over 2.5 million words in print in 40 books including 8 in the classic Dragonriders of Pern® series, 6 in the epic space opera Canaris Rift series, 3 in the Steam World series, and two in the middle grade LA Witch series (with more to come).  Besides collaborating with the late SFWA Nebula Grandmaster, Anne McCaffrey, Todd has also collaborated with the award-winning Winner Twins, producing twenty books in the epic steampunk fantasy quick-read Twin Soul series, as well as The Magpie’s War — the first book in the Pan’s Children series.  He is the author of numerous shorter works including two collections — The One Tree Of Luna and Dare To Be Mighty. He grew up in science fiction and fantasy, earning his first typewriter when he was twelve. He holds degrees in art and engineering, is a licensed pilot, and an Army veteran.

Melissa Dalton Martinez

Melissa Dalton Martinez is the author of three different editions of “The Story of Doctor Dolittle,” which include the “Revised, Newly Illustrated” novel, the “Children’s Picture Book Edition,” and the “Coloring and Activity Book.”

Melissa has worked in different areas of the entertainment industry since 1998, including television, film, music, and books. Today she is the executive producer and host of the hit online show, The Book Break.

Melissa is the mother of three imaginative children ages eleven, nine, and six. As a lover of books, she started buying and reading massive amounts of children’s books from the first day she found out she was pregnant with her oldest child.

Chris Mandeville

Chris Mandeville writes SF/F and nonfiction for writers, and has been teaching writing workshops for more than fifteen years. She’s the author of 52 Ways to Get Unstuck: Exercises to Break Through Writer’s Block, Seeds: a Post-apocalyptic Adventure, and the IN REAL TIME time travel adventure series, as well as stories in the SSWS anthologies Undercurrents and Eat Drink and Be Wary. When she isn’t writing, she loves to cook, travel, and hang out with other writers.

Eric Madrid

Eric Madrid started audio engineering at a young age, pirating songs off the radio. With that ramshackle set up he recorded 1000 hours of book to tape for the Colorado deaf and blind school for his Eagle Scout project, Enharmonic studios was born. While dabbling in the touring rock band world for a couple decades and releasing/appearing on nearly 30 records and producing hundreds more for local and touring acts. Eric settled in Colorado Springs in 2002 keeping the tradition of his youth endeavors built Enharmonic studios an analogue/digital home studio catering to all things audio.

Deon MacAdoo

Deon promotes the growth, sales, and brand of the IngramSpark platform to independent authors and publishers along with providing education to the industry on how best to utilize Ingram’s Publish-On-Demand services for bringing a new book to market or for breathing life into an out-of-print title. Deon received his Bachelor of Arts & Science Degree in Economics from the University of Tennessee.

Oriana Leckert

Oriana Leckert is the Head of Publishing at Kickstarter, where she helps creators bring a marvelous array of literary projects to life. She’s written and edited for Vice, MTV News, Slate, Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Atlas Obscura, and many more. Her first book, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity (Monacelli, 2015), grew out of a multi-year project chronicling the rise and fall of under-the-radar creative places across New York City. Follow her at @orianabklyn on most social platforms.

Sam Knight

Sam Knight has worked for three different publishers, curated five anthologies, authored six children’s books, four short story collections, three novels, and over five dozen short stories, including a Planet of the Apes story and a Wayward Pines story, both co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson. A stay-at-home father, Sam attempts to be a full-time writer, but there are only so many hours left in a day after kids. Once upon a time, he was known to quote books the way some people quote movies, but now he claims having a family has made him forgetful, as a survival adaptation.

Mia Kleve

Mia has been an avid reader since she was a kid, and her passion for reading went crazy once she discovered Science Fiction and Fantasy, and more recently Detective Fiction. Her current reading (and listening) also includes Military Science Fiction, Thrillers, and memoirs.

She started proof reading for a small publisher nearly 10 years ago, and she soon realized that along with enjoying the work she was very proficient at it. Since then she has been improving her editing skills.

She loves working with authors to help make their stories the best they can be. Whether it’s helping them with developmental issues or the fine tuning of line and copy edits.

Chelle Honiker

Chelle Honiker is an advocate for the empowerment of authorpreneurs, recognizing the importance of authors taking charge of both their craft and careers. In response to this need, she has founded a media and training company dedicated to supporting these creative professionals. As the co-founder and publisher of Indie Author Magazine, IndieAuthorTraining, Indie Author Tools, and Direct2Readers.com, Chelle’s team of more than 80 writers, editors, trainers, and support staff provides resources and insights that help authors navigate the complexities of self-publishing. Her role as the programming director for Author Nation, an annual conference in Las Vegas, further exemplifies her commitment to fostering a community where authors can grow and succeed. With a career spanning over two decades in executive operations and leadership, Chelle has honed her skills in managing complex projects and delivering impactful training programs. Her experience as a speaker and TEDx Organizer has taken her to many countries, where she has shared her insights with diverse audiences.

Jeff Hays

Jeff Hays is an audiobook narrator. Owner and CEO of Soundbooth Theater, an audiobook production and publishing company that specializes in premium multicast audiobooks and audio drama, Jeff has built his career around creating the most immersive audiobooks possible as a narrator while acting as a hype-man for the projects he works on. He’s brought his love of sound together with his success to found Soundbooth Theater, where he continues to build an independent audiobook platform, and to revitalize the medium of audio drama.

Laura Hayden

An early reader, Laura exhausted the children’s section of her local library by age ten. At that point, she switched to adult mysteries and science fiction and never looked back. Trained as an engineer, she continued to write “for fun” until one day, she decided to write “for real.”

She has now published fifteen full-length novels under four names, thirteen short stories/novellas, and an authorized companion book about Nora Roberts. Having traveled across the US as a military spouse, Laura now resides (permanently) in Colorado with her husband and dogs. To learn more, visit her at http://suspense.net.

Jayrod P. Garrett

Jayrod P. Garrett (they/him) is a poet, storyteller, educator with RISE Academy, and a poetry volunteer with Teen Author Bootcamp. Hailing from Northern Utah, Jayrod has performed with Next Ensemble, Salt Lake Acting Company, and is the current President of Northern Wasatch Oasis. They are currently writing a book of pictures and poetry. They hope to complete funding for its Kickstarter in late Summer 2023. They are also in the process of starting a publishing company.

They were the Managing Editor for Epiphany Nontraditional Student Literary Journal during their undergraduate career in Spring 2011 and 2013. They won first place in poetry with the journal in 2014. They were also published in Metaphor Undergraduate Literary Journal in 2014 and later by the League of Utah Writers in anthologies in both 2020 & 2021. They are currently a graduate student seeking their MFA at the University of Nevada – Reno and are set to graduate in the Spring of 2024.

Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan is an award-winning editor with an MA in English and Creative Writing.

Her debut novel, AnnaGrey and the Constellation, was published by Young Dragons Press in August 2023, with two more books about AnnaGrey slated for publication in 2024 and 2025.

She’s edited for traditional publishers, worked for literary agents, and has taught about writing, editing, and publishing at numerous conferences, including Superstars Writing Seminars and Writing Day Workshops. She is a senior editor at Eschler Editing who specializes in developmental and substantive editing.

Her poetry, prose, and short fiction has been featured in several literary magazines such as Soft Cartel, Down in the Dirt, Mused Literary Review, The Penmen Review, The Scarlet Leaf Review, and Page & Spine. She’s also published writing, editing, publishing, and social media advice on industry blogs.

Her second creative love is photography, which you can view on Instagram.

Kerrie Flanagan

Kerrie is an author, writing consultant, speaker, writing instructor and freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience in the publishing industry. She is the author of, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing and the creator of the Magazine Writing Blueprint. In addition, She has published nineteen other books, including three series’ with co-author Chuck Harrelson, under the pen names, C.G. Harris.

Todd Fahnestock

Todd Fahnestock is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. Threadweavers and The Whisper Prince Trilogy are two of his bestselling epic fantasy series. He is a founder of Eldros Legacy—a multi-author, shared-world mega-epic fantasy series—two-time winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence, and two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy (2021) and Khyven the Unkillable (2022). His passions are great stories and his quirky, fun-loving family. When he’s not writing, he teaches Taekwondo, swaps middle grade humor with his son, plays Ticket to Ride with his wife, plots creative stories with his daughter, and plays vigorously with Galahad the Weimaraner. Visit Todd at toddfahnestock.com.

J.T. Evans

J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the former president of Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group and Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he keeps computers secure at the Day Job, spends time with his family, and plays way too many tabletop games.

He originally spawned in the deserts of west Texas. Before he could escape, his right arm was amputated in a car wreck when he was 15. He had the arm reattached a short while later and finally ran away from his home city to the sweltering heat of San Antonio before his 23rd birthday. After living there a year, he tried out the frozen tundra of northern Montana. That only lasted a year before eventually settling in the relatively moderate climate of Colorado.

J.T. joined the Gnome Stew Crew in March of 2016. Since that time, he has written dozens of articles for the site and has earned three Gold ENnie awards (2016, 2017, and 2018) as part of the team at Gnome Stew.

He is the author of the Modern Mythology and Flashing Blades series and is hastily working on more right now.

Joshua Essoe

Joshua Essoe is a full-time editor who has edited for NYT bestsellers including Piers Anthony, David Farland, and Dean Lorey. He has edited for USA Today bestsellers, Writers of the Future winners, and many independents. He was also lead editor at Urban Fantasy Magazine and founded the weekly writing podcast Hide and Create with Michael J. Sullivan, Diana Rowland, Jay Wells, and Debbie Viguie.  He is currently writing a series of books on the most common issues he sees as an editor.

Roland Denzel

Roland Denzel is a health, wellness, and business author of over 10 books, a restorative exercise specialist, and a printing and publishing specialist with over 30 years in the industry. Roland helps authors, small businesses, and even giant corporations put their messages out into the world via books, email, and digital publishing.

In 2015 Roland created IndestructibleAuthor.com to help authors just like himself be more productive and write more books, all while staying healthy, happy, and sane.

To find out more about Roland, visit his website at IndestructibleAuthor.com.

Laura Crenshaw

Laura Crenshaw founded Mythulu in September 2018, with a mission to Stabilize and Expand the Storytelling Industry.

Laura is passionate about the economics of art. She holds Business Entrepreneurship B.S. from Arizona State University, where she was a three-time nominee and top-five semifinalist for the Turken Award.

She writes both fantasy and non-fiction (including professional ghostwriting), publishes articles regularly on business and storycraft, and serves as editor-in-chief for Mythulu Magazine.

Damon Courtney

Damon Courtney is the creator and CEO of BookFunnel, an ebook delivery service for authors and publishers. Though he would like to be a highly successful indie author, he can only lay claim to publishing a single fantasy trilogy that he does really like, despite its lack of sales. But self-publishing three novels did lead to the creation of BookFunnel, so he’s got that going for him. As a lifelong software engineer, Damon is an expert in just about everything technical and can offer unique insight on publishing as it relates to software and technology. Our lives as authors cannot survive in this new world without software, so that makes Damon feel really important.

Loren Coleman

Loren L Coleman is an author of over two dozen military science fiction and fantasy novels, with additional credits in anthologies and writing for several computer games. He is best known for his work in BattleTech, a long-standing shared universe about to see it’s fortieth anniversary, and the relaunch of The Age of Conan. Loren is also the owner/publisher of Catalyst Game Labs (as well as a handful of smaller design and development studios) which has done groundbreaking work on publishing through crowdsourcing. His handbook, Crowdfunding Your Fiction, A Best Practices Guide, continues to be a reference manual for writers entering the space.

Kelly Colby

Kelly Lynn Colby is a writer of all things fantasy. Whenever she tries to create a mundane story, a dragon pops in to take over. She eventually stopped fighting and caved to the magic. The dragons must have known something she didn’t, because her debut novel, Tarbin’s True Heir, won a bronze medal in the IPPYs for fantasy. You can find her work in the Recharging series as well as numerous short stories in anthology collections.

For her day job, she is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing, LLC. We connect adventurous readers with speculative fiction authors to provide an endless array of fantastical worlds to explore. You can find out about this new company on CursedDragonShip.com.

Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the creator of Author Ad School, the founder of author copywriting agency Best Page Forward, and the MC of Self Publishing Live. He’s also an author with eight novels self-published and over 150,000 books sold, as well as the co-host of The Sell More Books Show, a weekly podcast for self-published authors. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter!

Dana Claire

Meet Dana Claire, a seasoned marketing and sales pro, public speaker, and acclaimed young adult author. Combining her literary knowledge and marketing expertise, Dana founded The INKfluence—an innovative marketing agency exclusively for authors. Passionate about author education, she empowers fellow writers to build their literary empires. INKfluence’s services include consulting, promotional product design and production, marketing ghost-writing, and direct sales assistance. The agency focuses on equipping authors with valuable insights and skills to thrive in publishing’s ever-evolving landscape. With a commitment to success, The INKfluence is the go-to resource for writers making a significant impact in the publishing world today.

Jana S. Brown

Jana S. Brown is an award winning author who writes speculative fiction (UF, Fantasy, and SF) as Jena Rey, Romance as Jadelynn Asher, and non-fiction and cookbooks under Jana S. Brown. She has nearly 30 years experience in content creation, editing, publishing, and general book geekiness having written for websites, the Deseret News newspaper, Legal firms, doctors, and worked with small presses and magazines. She read slush when the slush gave you real papercuts. She is the acceptance editor at Book Cave book promotions and an author coach, presenter, course creator, freelance editor, and marketing consultant.

B. Daniel Blatt

A graduate of Williams College and the University of Virginia School of Law, B. Daniel Blatt failed the bar in large part because he became distracted from his studies when his gay-coming out novel came alive to him.  He failed to publish that book, but after working on Capitol Hill, writing screenplays, and completing his PhD in Mythological Studies with a dissertation on the role the female Olympian plays in the life of the male Greek hero, he returned to narrative fiction, writing and completing a nearly million-word fantasy epic, The Messengers’ Kin.  As he revises and pares down that opus, he has found himself writing stories, four of which have been honored variously as Semi-Finalist, Silver Honorable Mention, and Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future competition.  His story, “Kutuzov at Gettysburg,” will be published in the Superstars Anthology, A Bit of Luck.

Sabine Berlin

Sabine is an avid reader, writer, and editor. She has a BA in History, a Certificate of Proficiency in Editing and Document Design, and an M.Ed in Higher Education Leadership. During the day she works in higher education. At night she reads, writes, edits fiction, and watches K-dramas. Life is good, especially because she shares it with her amazing husband, three great kids, and a crazy chocolate lab.

C.J. Anaya

C. J. Anaya is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author and writes teen and young adult fantasy romance. However, she tends to tell stories within the genres she loves to read. So you can find her sweet romantic comedies of the billionaire variety under the pen name Cynthia Savage and her super steamy scifi romances under the pen name Angelina Avery. She holds a BA in Communication and an MA in Publishing. So when she isn’t writing, she’s coaching other authors on crafting romance, the book production process, and best paths for publishing and marketing their books.

Lou Agresta

Lou Agresta is a novelist, game designer, and dinosaur lover. Denied a career in paleontology by the forces of evil, he became a writer. Since then, Lou has authored, edited, and developed over 1 million words for the adventure game industry.

His work includes the five time Ennie-nominated Razor Coast as well as Heart of the Razor, its award-winning companion volume. He is the author of cyberpunk novel, Club Anyone, set in the acclaimed Interface Zero game world.

Club Anyone from WordFire Press is Lou’s debut novel. ​

​A martial arts enthusiast and a fan of Nordic dotwork tattooing, Lou has been spotted in an orange tuxedo, co-hosting the Iron GM show with fave collaborator Rone Barton. Lou lives in the Hudson Valley with two cats, his girlfriend, and (part time) two children – not necessarily in that order.