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Friday, April 05, 2013

WV Writers 2013 Summer Conference Presenters

The following are the current line up of presenters for the 2013 West Virginia Writers Summer Conference.

UPDATED 4/5/13

Colleen Anderson is a freelance writer, songwriter, and graphic designer in Charleston, WV. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Redbook, The Available Press/PEN Short Story Collection, Arts & Letters, Kestrel, Antietam Review, and many others. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her essays for West Virginia Public Radio have won awards in two national competitions. She has received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the WV Commission on the Arts and a residency fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of Taos, New Mexico.

Laura Treacy Bentley is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and book editor for WV Living Magazine (“Conversations”).  She divides her time between Huntington, WV, and Garrett County, Maryland.  She served as writer in residence for the Marshall University Writing Project.  Laura’s work has appeared in the United States and Ireland, and her first book of poetry, Lake Effect, was published in 2006.  She received a Fellowship Award for Literature from the West Virginia Commission on the arts, and her poetry has been featured on the websites of A Prairie Home Companion and Poetry Daily.  In 2003 she read her poetry with Ray Bradbury in Venice, California.  One of her poems, “Keepsake,” was chosen by Maria Shriver and the editors of O Magazine in 2011 to be featured on Oprah’s website. Her first novel, a dark thriller called The Silver Tattoo, will be released soon.  Visit Laura’s website:


Todd Burge's songs are mostly stories that inhabit his invented characters. The scat singing and lyrical humor lighten the mood of some heavy subjects, letting his insights sneak up on you.  Producer Don Dixon said, "With wit and pathos in equal measure, Todd Burge takes on subjects in his songs that never occur to most folks.  Subjects too quirky, too controversial, too obtuse for most writers to get a handle on.” Over the last three decades, Burge, has played everything from Alternative/Punk Rock to Bluegrass, performing over 100 shows per year in venues as diverse as CBGB’s with his band 63 Eyes, to the The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Kennedy Center.  He is a repeat guest on NPR's Mountain Stage and has been called the “dean of WV songwriters”, by the show’s host, Larry Groce.  Burge has performed and toured with Tim O’Brien, Kathy Mattea, Lucinda Williams, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger, Larry Groce, Ricky Skaggs and many others. In 2013 he is getting together with Bill "Hot Rod Lincoln" Kirchen for a few duo concerts.  In 2012, Burge released two CDs, One for grownups entitled “Building Characters” produced by Don Dixon (R.E.M. Mary Chapin Carpenter) and featuring Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize, Mark Knopfler, Steve Martin) and one for children entitled “Character Building”.  The Children’s CD will serve as an ongoing fundraiser for The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.  His high energy shows are packed with songs and stories of bizarre characters and critters, from dogs to sharks to humans and beyond.  Burge has the ability to twist his catchy tunes into something we can all relate to. Todd Burge also hosts his own radio show and podcast, Songwriter Night with Todd Burge. He resides with his wife Lisa and two young children, Sophia (7) and William (9) in Parkersburg WV.

C. Hope Clark is editor of, chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 12 years. Her newsletters reach 35,000 readers each week. She is also author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, to include Lowcountry Bribe (February 2012) and Tidewater Murder (April 2013), published by Bell Bridge Books. Her nonfiction books designed to aid the introverted writer include The Shy Writer and The Shy Writer Reborn. You can find her works or sign up for her newsletters at and Hope lives on the banks of Lake Murray, in central South Carolina.


Christina Freeburn is currently working on two series. Her mystery series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series, is published by Henery Press. The first book, Cropped to Death, was released November 2012. The second book, Designed to Death, will be released Sept 4, 2013 and the third Embellished to Death in April 2014. She also writes the New Beginnings series published by Desert Breeze, featuring a skip-tracing business that specializes in relocating abused and stalked women. The first three books in the inspirational romantic suspense series are out, Lost Then Found, Led Astray, and Safe and Sound. Two more are scheduled for release in 2013 (Long Gone - May 2013 and Far and Away - Nov 2013).   Christina has been a judge for the Edgar award for Best Novel category and the ACFW Carol Awards, and previously chaired MWA:Reads, the youth literacy committee of MWA. Her first novel, Parental Source, was a nominee for the 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award.


Steve Goff is a comedian, actor and writer who has taught creativity and improv workshops for over twenty years. He has recently developed his Improve With Improv workshops which explore the relationship between creativity, improvisation and self expression. Since May of 2011, over 400 people have taken at least one of these innovative, energizing, creative, and fun improv sessions.

Goff is also the coach of the Vintage Theatre Co.'s improv team, Fearless Fools. In July of 2012, in recognition of this inventive approach to improv and creativity, Steve received a 2012 Individual Artist Professional Development grant from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, with funding coming the National Endowment for the Arts and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

In August of 2012, Steve finished his second year of study at The Second City Training Center(SCTC) in Chicago, IL. An accomplished character actor, Steve has been featured in a number of theater productions in WV, PA, NC, MD, and VA. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, and a Masters of Public Administration, both from West Virginia University. He was the first director of Morgantown's very successful Main Street Morgantown and also served as the first Executive Director of the Metropolitan Theater renovation project, also in Morgantown. His Main Street work later took him to North Carolina, and then to Washington, DC where he worked for both the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Main Street Center. While with the Main Street Center, Steve conducted creativity workshops for non-profit organizations, training staff and board members in 15 different states. Besides the workshops, the acting and being a comic, Steve is also a freelance writer and consultant for various regional non-profit organizations. Steve lives with his wife Beth in Harrison County, WV.

Chris Green, Director of Berea’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, is a poet and literary scholar whose books include Rushlight: Poems, Coal: A Poetry Anthology (which he had edited), and The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism (which won the 2009 Weatherford Award for best non-fiction book about Southern Appalachia).  From 2004 to 2012 Chris lived in West Virginia where he worked with poets, students (K-graduate), activists, writers, and citizens of all makes and models to know and celebrate themselves, their heritage, and the mountains, while also encouraging and enabling them to struggle for justice in the face of escalating MTR.

Marc's three poetry chapbooks include ROSE OF SHARON, Mad River, MA.  Periodical publications include Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, The Progressive, and Tuesday: An Arts Journal.  Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. Short prose works have recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  His eleven children’s books include THE STORM, a Smithsonian Notable Book.  A new children’s book is forthcoming from Eerdmans and a new chapbook of poems from the Quarrier Press in Charleston, WV.  In May of 2012 Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Marc as the next Poet Laureate of West Virginia to succeed the late Irene McKinney.

Jolie Lewis is a writer and teacher, and vice president of the Board of Directors at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in Pocahontas County, WV. She was raised in nearby Ohio, lived in West Virginia from 2000 to 2012, and now resides in southwestern Virginia. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House, Shenandoah and The Hopkins Review. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University and has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for emerging women writers and a professional development grant from the WV Commission on the Arts. She divides her time among writing, raising two young children, teaching the occasional workshop and doing volunteer work for nonprofits.

George M. Lies is a short story writer who has served WVW, Inc. since 1983, twice as President. He moderates Critique Workshops for Morgantown Writers Group, founded in 1994. He had directed GoldenRod Writers Conference (1983-2001). His story, Trailer Dogs Barking, was in Mountain Voices (2006) and chosen by Meredith Sue Willis for the 2008 online WV anthology in Hamilton Stone Review.  His story, Keys to Heaven, set in Monongalia County, was published by Steneau in Romania (2005) and a federal university in Brazil (2009).  He has worked with both emerging and published writers and coalesced editorial teams to produce two anthologies, Pokeberry Days (1998) and Janus ’95.  He has led writing and grant workshops statewide.

Joe Limer is a spoken word poet living in California and a 2012 member of the San Diego poetry slam team that reached the semifinals of the National Poetry Slam Championships Summer 2012 in Charlotte, NC. He has performed in several venues throughout the U.S. including Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Morgantown, Oceanside, CA, Charlotte, NC, Hollywood, San Diego, Pomona, CA, Long Beach, Encinitas, CA, and Honolulu. He has won or placed in poetry slam competitions such as the Long Beach Slam, Pittsburgh's Steel City Slam, the La Paloma Slam in Encinitas, CA, and the San Diego Poetry Slam. He also teaches writer's workshops at various high schools, colleges, and community centers throughout the San Diego area. When he’s not doing poetry, he teaches political science at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. Despite all these activities, West Virginia is his home. He went to high school in Clarksburg, WV and got his degrees at Fairmont State and West Virginia University. Most of his family and friends live in WV so he travels home as much as he can.

Joey Madia is the Artistic Director/Resident Playwright of Seven Stories Theatre Company, Inc. and Resident Playwright at Youth Stages, LLC. His 19 plays for youth and adults have been produced across the United States and two of his plays are currently offered by Dramatic Publishing. He has written and performed pieces about Civil War captains Louis Emilio and Thomas Maulsby. A professional actor and director, he has appeared in or directed over 90 plays.

As a teaching-artist he has worked with, taught, and mentored thousands of students in theatre, playwriting, and creative writing and has spoken at many schools and national conferences. In 2011 he founded the Seven Stories Emerging Playrights Series, which has produced staged readings of new works by nearly a dozen playwrights from across the United States.

His poetry, essays, and short stories have been widely published and have earned him several awards. He has also written four books on using theatre in the classroom. His first novel, Jester-Knight, was published in 2009 and his second, Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward, was published in September 2012. He is a book and music reviewer and the founding editor of, an art and literary site.

Huntington native Marie Manilla is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her Urban Appalachian fiction explores the people and landscapes of her home state, often exploding the stereotypes, at times confirming them. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Mississippi Review, Prairie Schooner, Calyx Journal, The Portland Review, Kestrel, South Writ Large, and other journals. Her collection of stories Still Life with Plums (WVU Press, 2010) was a finalist for the Weatherford Award and ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year. Her novel Shrapnel (River City Publishing, 2012), set in Huntington, won the Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. The Patron Saint of Ugly, her forthcoming novel also set in West Virginia, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in spring 2014. Marie continues to live in Huntington where she teaches off and on at Marshall University. Learn more at

Maynard's novel, Crum, was the first original fiction published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In its first month of publication, the novel rose to No. 8 on the Doubleday Best Seller List. The novel has been taught in English literature classes in a score of prestigious universities. Sometimes called "the book that wouldn't die", Crum was republished by Vandalia Press (a commercial imprint of West Virginia University Press) in the summer of 2001. It was the first book published by Vandalia and within a year became the best-selling book in the history of the university.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a Literary Fellowship in Fiction to Maynard for Crum's sequel, Screaming With The Cannibals (volume II of a trilogy), published by Vandalia Press in 2002. The third and last volume of the trilogy, The Scummers, was published by Vandalia in spring, 2012.

The Pale Light of Sunset, a work of creative nonfiction, was published by Vandalia in October 2009.

Maynard's short fiction has appeared in such publications such as Columbia Review of Literature, Appalachian Heritage and the literary magazine, Kestrel.

As a journalist, Maynard was an assignment writer for Reader's Digest for more than two decades. His journalism and non-fiction work has appeared more than 100 times in publications as diverse as The Saturday Review, Rider Magazine, Washington Post, Country America, Dual Sport News and Christian Science Monitor.

Much of Maynard's work is highly controversial. His novel, Crum, was banned in his home state and, even today, stirs deep, conflicting emotions among the people of Appalachia. Nevertheless, Maynard's work has been critically acclaimed. His prose has been held in comparison to Hemingway, Twain, Harris, Faulkner and Salinger.

Specializing in the novel, Maynard has taught at many national and regional workshops, including the Appalachian Writers Workshop, Southwest Writers Workshop, and West Virginia Writers Conference. He has served as Writing Master at Allegheny Echoes.

Maynard has been a management and editorial consultant to newspapers, magazines and small publishing companies, and was once a college president. An avid outdoorsman, he is a mountaineer, sea kayaker, skier and former professional river runner. He once rode a motorcycle from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Arctic Circle. He lives near Santa Fe.

Phyllis Wilson Moore recently completed a twenty-five year research project identifying the literature of West Virginia and related sites. For the project, Jim served as graphic artist, poster maker, power point program creator, and photographer.  Phyllis’s role included reading the literature and writing about it for websites and journals.  She is an essayist, a poet, and the author of the text for the first official literary map of West Virginia. Her author interviews, author survey information, and personal research serve as the nucleus of the map’s content.  In 2011 the couple donated their extensive West Virginia literary materials to the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University, Fairmont, WV.

Edwina Dawn Pendarvis lives in Huntington. She has written on various topics—from gifted children to exotic dancers. Her publications include authored and co-authored books of educational research, poetry, fiction, memoir, and biography. Her essays, stories, and poems are collected in periodicals, such as Appalachian Journal, and in anthologies, such as Appalachian Love Stories and The Southern Poetry Anthology. Her poetry collection, Like the Mountains of China, reflects a visit to China, and her four young-adult biographies of Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature are published in dual language editions by Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. She is book review editor for Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine. (Thanks to Dave Lambert, photographer, for the picture of Eddy at the Sydenstricker House in Hillsboro)

Cat Pleska writes, edits, and blogs from Scott Depot, WV, just a stone’s throw down the road from Hurricane, WV, where she grew up. As a sixth generation West Virginian, her memories and the memories of her family and ancestors have become layered, like a good taco salad or the Almost Heaven 7 layer chocolate bar. Where does the coconut layer begin? Where does it end? Cat is an essayist for West Virginia Public Radio and a regular contributor to Wonderful West Virginia magazine. She’s been published in state, regional, and national journals and is still working on her beloved memoir, The Last Storyteller. She’ll finish it! She promises! She also believes, with all her heart, in the Oxford comma (note examples above—but she also apologizes for the excessive use of exclamation points—sometimes she just wants to fit in :).

A graduate of Georgetown University, Sheila Redling hosted the morning radio program on WKEE-FM in Huntington, WV, for fifteen years. In 2011 she stepped away from the microphone to pursue writing full-time. Writing as S.G. Redling, her first thriller, FLOWERTOWN (Thomas & Mercer, 2012) sold over fifty thousand copies in its first six weeks. Her next book, the sci-fi novel DAMOCLES (47North, 2013) hits the shelves at the end of May; with her third book, the thriller THE WIDOW FILE (Thomas & Mercer, 2013) set for release in late fall. She is currently working on the sequel to THE WIDOW FILE and if she doesn’t have it mostly finished before the WV Writers Conference, expect her to be very nervous and cranky. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at SG Redling.

Marilyn Sue Shank earned her PhD in special education from the University of Kansas, where she majored in learning disabilities and behavior disorders and minored in counseling psychology and families with disabilities. She has taught general and special education at the elementary, secondary, and college levels.

Marilyn’s work has been published in journals, and she coauthored the first four editions of Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools. Child of the Mountains is her first work of fiction. She lives in West Virginia with her three rescued dogs.

Robert Tinnell is a writer/director/producer with experience in a variety of media. Tinnell’s initial claim to fame was as producer on the notorious cult class SURF NAZIS MUST DIE and as a producer of music videos, including the class MTV Award-winner, STRAIGHT UP by Paula Abdul. As time passed, he became better known for his work as a director and screenwriter on feature films including KIDS OF THE ROUND TABLE, FRANKENSTEIN AND ME and BELIEVE, as well as the upcoming productions of SACRIFICE, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, and THE MOTHMAN CHRONICLES. Tinnell has been equally successful creating commercial and image campaigns for a variety of clients (among them Kawasaki, Clearsil, Pierpont, Fairmont Federal Credit Union, Total Gym), garnering both awards and critical acclaim, including work that was featured on the cover of Adweek. Outside of the film industry, Tinnell is a well-respected graphic novelist, known for such works as THE BLACK FOREST, THE WICKED WEST, SIGHT UNSEEN, FLESH AND BLOOD, and the Eisner Award-nominated FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES.

Author R.G. Yoho was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. While he was still a child, his parents moved the family to a cattle farm in southeastern Ohio.

A graduate of Hyles-Anderson College, R.G. has been employed in manufacturing for almost thirty years. At the same time, he worked as a freelance writer for years in many fields, such as politics and sports. In addition, R.G. also hosted a weekly radio talk show for over four years.

The author has published three Westerns, a passion that began with the reading of Flint, a novel by famed Western author, Louis L'Amour.  In addition, Yoho has also published three works of non-fiction.

His first book, Heroes in Our Midst, received the 2009 James P. Vaughan Award for Historic Preservation from the Wood County Historical Society.

A loving husband, father, and grandfather, R.G. is also a devoted fan of West Virginia University football and basketball.
Marlene Stringer founded Stringer Literary Agency in December 2008. Prior to this time she spent almost seven years with the Barbara Bova Literary Agency. Among her clients are authors Alex Bledsoe (the Eddie LaCrosse series, Memphis series, Tufas -The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing); Alyxandra Harvey (The Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet, and Stolen Away); Bethany Wiggins (Shifting, Stung); Erica Hayes (Shadowfae series and Blood Cursed, The Revelation Series); Michelle Diener (The Emperor’s Conspiracy, Keeper of the King’s Secrets), Andrea Thalasinos (An Echo Through the Snow, Traveling Light), Stephanie Thornton (The Secret History), Gabi Stevens (Fairy Godmother Trilogy); Beth Orsoff (Vlad All Over), Suzanne Johnson (Royal Street series); Susannah Sandlin (The Penton Vampires Series), YA author Shari Maurer (Change of Heart); Liane Merciel (The Ithalas Series); Geoffrey Wilson(The Land of Hope and Glory series);MG authors Jen K Blom (Possum Summer), and Randi Barrow(Finding Zasha, Saving Zasha); and some select nonfiction.

As a full service literary agency based in Naples, Florida, Marlene represents a wide range of commercial fiction in the areas of romance, mystery, thriller, fantasy, women’s fiction, YA and MG, historical and earth-based science fiction. She also reps select non-fiction. The Stringer Literary Agency website is, on Twitter ~ @marlenestringer, and on FB ~

Christine Witthohn is a literary agent and the founder of Book Cents Literary Agency, as well as the U.S. Sales and Licensing Agent for leading French Publisher, Bragelonne, and German publisher, Egmont-Lyx. She is one of the main sponsors of the International Women’s Fiction Festival held annually in Matera, Italy and she teaches brainstorming, branding, and social media classes in the U.S., U.K., France, and Italy. She is member of AAR, RWA, MWA.

Christine is on the hunt for well-written commercial and women’s fiction, romance (rom suspense, contemporary, rom coms), new adult, mysteries (cozy or soft boiled), and thrillers. She is not looking for: middle grade, picture books, inspirational, westerns, sci fi, horror, erotica, poetry, or screenplays/stageplays.

Here are a few of her top 2012-13 titles: Murder For The Halibut (Liz Lipperman), Fury Of Seduction (Coreene Callahan), Flowertown (S.G. Redling), Corpse In The Crystal Ball (Kari Lee Townsend), Temptation Rising (A.C. Arthur), Knight Avenged (Coreene Callahan), The Birthday Scandal (Leigh Michaels), Child of the Mountains (Marliyn Sue Shank), Damocles (S.G. Redling), Memoirs of a Vagabond (Beatrix Kramolvsky). For a complete list of her 2013 published titles, her sales and what she represents, visit Publisher's Marketplace at: