Teaching faculty

Sonja Anderson, Author

Sonja Anderson is a former teacher and a certificated librarian who is a Librarian Assistant at a public elementary school by day and a writer of children’s books by night. She is represented by the wonderful Adria Goetz and their first picture book deal will be officially announced soon. A three-book series of novels for children (ADVENTURES OF SOPHIE TOPFEATHER), is under contract by Brimstone Fiction; two of the novels were originally published in the UK. She and her husband co-wrote MOUNT RAINIER’S HISTORIC INNS AND LODGES (Arcadia Publishing) in 2017. She enjoys teaching about writing and especially loves to hear when students at her school are inspired to write their own stories after attending one of her presentations!

Debbie Austin, Author

Debbie Austin has been writing for as long as she can remember. She grew up in the country in Montana where a dog, some cats, chickens, horses, her imagination, and loads of books filled her days. She graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Computer Science (safer than Creative Writing!) and spent the first years after college writing software. When her kids were little, reading so many picture books fired up the desire to write one of her own, and a two-year move to the UK planted a seed for a middle grade novel. But it wasn’t until she joined NCWA, found a critique group, and began attending conferences that she really got serious about writing and had the confidence to pursue publication. Since then, she’s had two stories published in Highlights magazine and recently her middle grade novel The Trinity Knot won first place at both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest and Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Contest. She is actively seeking an agent for this novel (but hasn’t given up on picture books). After many starts and stops following this dream, she is eager to share some of the things she and other writer friends have discovered (sometimes the hard way). She can’t wait to hear your stories and dreams!

Melanie Dobson, Author & Speaker

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson’s excuse to immerse herself in the past by reading old books, interviewing new friends, and exploring fascinating places around the world. She is the award-winning author of almost thirty historical, time-slip, and romantic suspense novels including The Wings of Poppy Pendleton, Catching the Wind, and Memories of Glass. Melanie and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, and when she's not writing, she enjoys teaching at conferences and as an adjunct professor. More information about her journey is available at melaniedobson.com. 

Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott, Agent for AuthorizeMe, Author & Speaker 

Life That Matters Ministries and AuthorizeMe® Literary Firm. She encourages everyone who will listen to live a life that matters. Dr. Sharon is amazed at how God’s goodness has brought her from being “Straight Outta Compton” to standing before great people and teaching audiences domestically and internationally. Dedicated to teaching and learning, she is a cum laude college graduate (Biola University, Bachelor of Arts/Liberal Studies), holder of a Doctor of Theology degree (ThD) from HSBN International School of Ministry (an affiliate of Gateway International Bible Institute), and member of several prestigious organizations (ACE, AWSA, SCBWI). Sharon is also a religious broadcaster hosting her own show, Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (HSBN.tv), (CWWN.tv), Roku, and other networks. The show is also available on YouTube, Facebook Live, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and several other platforms.. Through her AuthorizeMe® Literary Firm LLC, Sharon is literary agent and also edits others’ work, mentors up-and-coming writers and speakers, coaches writers as they draft their manuscripts, and conducts hands-on masterclasses (via the AuthorizeMe Academy) personally assisting attendees toward their publishing goals. To date, the agency works with over 60 clients and has contracted over 40 books in just the past 3 years.

Miralee Ferrell, Editor for Mountain Brook Ink 

Miralee Ferrell is an award-winning, best-selling author of 27 books. Her novel, Runaway Romance, released in January 2018 on UP TV, and subsequently on Hallmark on Demand, and four other books have also aired as movies. 

She’s the owner and founder of Mountain Brook Ink, a traditional publisher with over 120 titles, a large number being award-winners. She lives in the Pacific N.W. with her husband, two cats, and two very spoiled little dogs. Miralee loves horseback riding and hiking with her married daughter. 

While Miralee has spoken in a number of venues, she doesn’t see herself as a speaker as much as an encourager. She loves helping writers find ways to succeed, improve, and learn to believe in themselves. 

Deb Gorman, Author

Deb Gorman, owner of Debo Publishing, lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest
with her husband, Alan, and their very smart German Shepherd, Hoka. 

She is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a wife, mom,
grandmom, and author. Her purpose is to regift the Word of God to believers
and seekers everywhere, using the literary talent and imagination God gave

Believing that one of the most foundational bedrocks of humanity—family
relationships—is under attack, she writes redemptive stories of families in
crisis. Her prayer is that His Name would be praised and His glory would fill the

Athena Dean Holtz, Founder and Publisher, Redemption Press

Athena Dean Holtz serves as founder and publisher at Redemption Press in Enumclaw, WA where her Romans 8:28 Books & Gifts is one of the few remaining independent Christian bookstores in Western Washington. Having pioneered the indie publishing movement in the Christian space over 3 decades ago she is past president of NCWA, was named Publisher of the Year 2022 by the Soul Café Awards and Best Female Podcast Host 2021 by the national Spark Media for her All Things Podcast. She is the author of Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God, and most recently co-authored Together for a Purpose: Love and Mission in Marriage and Ministry with her pastor-husband. She also founded the She Writes for Him movement, launched during the pandemic. Their virtual events continue to equip, inspire and create connection through its extensive global community.

Josh Kelley, Author 

Josh Kelley is a traditionally published author (Radically Normal, Harvest House) and full-time freelancer with over a dozen collaborative or ghostwritten books. Prior to that, he was a pastor for fourteen years and holds a degree in biblical studies. He and his wife of twenty-five years have two adult daughters, one of whom got his ADHD and the other his dyslexia.  

Carolyn Mandarano, Senior Editor for Guideposts

Carolyn Mandarano is Senior Managing Editor at Guideposts, which inspires others to believe anything is possible with faith, hope, and prayer. In her role as head of the nonfiction book division, Carolyn helps set strategy for the book program, acquires authors and edits manuscripts, and partners with authors and key sales and marketing colleagues to reach audiences through multiple sales channels. Carolyn lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Christina Meline, Author

Christina Meline is an author and teacher from Minnesota. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from University of Northwestern, St. Paul (Minnesota) and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Winona State University (Minnesota). She has experience teaching in public and private schools, virtually and in-person. Christina recently published a devotional book for teachers entitled, “Called to the Classroom: Daily Reflections for Educators.” She is passionate about empowering fellow authors to explore their call to write devotionals to bless others. As the founder of Team Meline, LLC, Christina focuses on advocating for individuals who work with children and young adults through daily reflections, opportunities to connect with teammates around the world, and additional resources. 

Cynthia Ruchti, Agent for Books and Such, Author and Speaker

Cynthia Ruchti has been involved in some aspect of the professional writing and publishing industry for decades. As an author, she's published more than 40 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with more on the way. Many have been recognized with industry honors, including Reader's Choice, Reviewer's Choice, Retailer's Choice, a variety of Book of the Year awards, two Christy nominations, and Carol finalists and winners. She is a Senior Literary Agent with Books & Such Literary Management and was recognized in 2020 and 2022 as ACFW's Agent of the Year. She says those accolades, while encouraging, pale in comparison to the joy of her role as a shepherd for other author's projects, helping connect authors with the best possible publisher for their work, and guiding them through their writing careers. Whether speaking, writing, teaching, or championing others, her tagline remains: I can't unravel. I'm hemmed in Hope. She and her grade school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from cranberry bogs, forests, dairy farms, and cheese factories, and their three kids and seven grandchildren.

Tim Shoemaker, Author & Speaker

Tim Shoemaker is the author of over twenty books and is a popular speaker at conferences and schools around the country.  Over twenty-five years working with youth has helped him relate to his reading and listening audience in a unique way. His contemporary suspense, Code of Silence, was named in the “Top Ten Crime Novels for Youth” by Booklist. Escape from the Everglades won first place in the Selah awards, and Easy Target won second place, while others were finalists. Tim loves writing mystery, adventure, and suspense that is clean, powerful, and definitely not “hokey” Christian fiction. Tim’s energetic style of teaching helps make even difficult topics clear. He is all about encouraging and equipping writers to do what they do—better.   

Kim Vandel, Author

Kim Vandel is an award-winning author, science nerd, and speculative fiction fangirl. She is a long-time NCWA member and has taught workshops on social media and fiction writing. Her favorite stories are about transformation and finding your inner hero. 

Carolyn Warren, Author

Carolyn Warren is an internationally published author. Her first book in the Christian category, Praying Through Your Pregnancy, was a finalist for the ECOA book awards and translated into German, Arabic, and Indonesian. Her first book for the general market, Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers, became an Amazon bestseller in its category and was a Washington Post “Color of Money” book club pick. After building a platform through traditional publishers, she went on to self-publish four books, including the bestseller, Repair Your Credit Like the Pros. Carolyn has been a radio show guest, podcast guest, and leads writers’ workshops. She also does content editing under “Custom Design Writing” at askcarolynwarren.com

Carolyn Warren says, “I am passionate about helping people get the book inside them onto the page, because the world needs what Christian Believers have to say. Don’t wait! Now is the time to write the message God has impressed on you. Let me help you turn your idea into a compelling manuscript.” 

Dalyn Weller, Author

Dalyn Weller writes inspirational, small-town romance novels with sweet sizzle and a pinch of humor. She lives on a horse ranch surrounded by apple orchards and cattle in Washington State with her own tall, dark, & handsome. Two beautiful horses, three dogs, a flock of chickens, three retired dairy goats, and a few barn cats make their home on the ranch. Dalyn enjoys her family, horses, gardening, morning mocha cappuccinos, and afternoon tea. She writes from a cozy office overlooking the barn. She is a contributing blogger for Learn How to Write a Novel. You can find Dalyn and the critters on her social media accounts. The links are listed on her website: dalynweller.com Her newsletter: Writing from the Ranch  

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