Guest Speakers

 Shari Stauch – Evening Keynote Speaker

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Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing, and PR for thirty years. She is the principal author of the WWW blog, and works with authors and publishers around the country, helping them market themselves and their work to find more readers and sell more books. Where Writers Win’s innovative Winner Circle offers access to vetted book reviewers, live and virtual book clubs, and other curated resources developed specifically for authors, publishers and book publicists.

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Jessica Ashley Burkhart – Noon Keynote Speaker

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Jessica Burkhart was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1987. Jess started college at sixteen and enrolled at Florida State University in spring 2006 studying English and humanities.  That fall, she heard about National Novel Writing Month—the contest that challenges writers to compose a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Jess signed up and a month later, she had a rough draft of TAKE THE REINS–her first tween novel.

 In April 2007, Jessica graduated magna cum laude from FSU and four months later her agents sold TAKE THE REINS, as part of a four-book series to Simon & Schuster. Jess decided to become a full-time freelancer and author.

 TAKE THE REINS spawned a 20-book series, CANTERWOOD CREST, which to date has over 1 million copies in print and is published in Portuguese, French and Polish. 

Jess also wrote the four-installment chapter book series UNICORN MAGIC (S&S) and a young adult novel WILD HEARTS (Bloomsbury.) Her latest work, SIDE EFFECTS: 31 YA AUTHORS ON MENTAL ILLNESS (S&S) publishes in 2018. 

Jess has previously spoken at the Tallahassee Writers’ Conference, Missouri Writers Guild, Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Book Expo America and the Target Children’s Stage for the Decatur Book Festival. 

Twitter:  @JessicaBurkhart
 Instagram: @JessAshley87
Facebook: JessicaBurkhart1
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M.J. CarlsonCarlson, MJ photo2015

Michael’s word processor workshops have been well-received at writers conferences throughout Florida and in Colorado.  He’s used more than twenty word processors spanning thirty years and Scrivener since 2009 to outline and write six novels, three novellas, and six short stories.


Sea-Chapman-headshot-548x800-206x300Sea Chapman

Sea is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and the American Copy Editor Society (ACES).  Sea provides developmental editing, substantive editing, and copyediting, as well as manuscript critiques.  She specializes in science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, thrillers and mysteries.


Doug Dandridgedougdandridge

Doug received almost three hundred rejections from publishers and magazines before entering the self-publishing world in 2011.  He has since published twenty-nine books on Amazon and sold over one hundred and eighty thousand copies of his work.


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Vic has written three novels in his Quint Mitchell Mystery Series.  He’s also published the short story collection, Ghostly Whispers, Secret Voices.  Vic has also worked as a ghostwriter, penning biographies for two WWII veterans.


Saundra Gerrell Kelley

Saundra Kelley

Storyteller and author Saundra Kelley is a 7th generation Florida Cracker. Her story bag, filled with folklore from around the world includes the tales of natural North Florida, the folktales of Appalachia, personal narrative, original stories, and narratives from her travels in Korea, England, France and Ireland.  

After earning an undergraduate degree in the Social Sciences at Florida State University, Saundra worked as a community relations specialist in the non-profit sector in Tallahassee and wrote community-based articles for the Tallahassee Democrat. Many years later the oral tradition took her to East Tennessee State University’s storytelling program. While living in Appalachia she was a features writer for Jonesborough’s Herald & Tribune and continued to write as the Tennessee Rambler for the Wakulla Area Times in Florida. After earning an MA in performance art she took to the road, traveling America’s highways, and back roads, collecting and sharing her love of that which makes us human – our stories.

Saundra is the author of three books, Southern Appalachian Storytellers: Interviews with Sixteen Keepers of the Oral Tradition; The Day the Mirror Cried: a Collection of Short Stories, Essays, and Poetry; Danger in Blackwater Swamp, a romantic suspense, and her CD, Legends of the Wild: Tales of North Florida.

Workshops include The Storytelling Element; Collecting Oral History; Build a Better Guild; The Perfect Emcee; How to tell Story; From Printed Page to Performance and Back Again, and Finding History in Our Stories.

Again living in Tallahassee with her miniature poodle Geoffrey, her focus is on saving, preserving and protecting what makes this place so special – it’s natural and elemental beauty.


Deborah Malone

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Deborah is a 2012 and 2013 nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association.  Her writing has been featured in the Christian Communicator and Southern Writers Magazine.


Donna Meredith

Donna Meredith

Donna Meredith’s  award-winning novels include The Glass Madonna, The Color of Lies, Wet Work, and Fraccidental Death. She also wrote Magic in the Mountains: Kelsey Murphy, Robert Bomkamp, and the West Virginia Cameo Glass Revolution. Her work has appeared in Tallahassee magazine,Goldenseal, the Seven Hills Review and various newspapers. The retired English and journalism teacher is regular contributor to Southern Literary Review. A graduate of Fairmont State College, West Virginia University, and Nova Southeastern University, she also studied creative writing at Florida State. For the past thirty years, the Clarksburg native has called Tallahassee, Florida, home.

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Katya Sabaroff Taylor
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Katya has been offering lifestories and Haiku classes in the Tallahassee area since 1990.  She believes we all have stories (and poems) inside us, waiting for expression.


Ned Stuckey-French

Ned teaches at Florida State University and is book review editor of Fourth Genre.  His articles and essays have appeared in journals and magazines such as In These Times, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Walking Magazine, Guernica, Middlebrow, and American Literature.


Andrea Wenger

Andrea is an award-winning writer and editor in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in creative, technical and freelance writing.  She’s the author of the women’s fiction novel Coronado Beach and a fiction editor with Torquere Press.  Her short fiction has appeared in the literary magazine The Rambler.