How far do writers carry their research? Paranormal author Deborah LeBlanc spent 15 minutes locked in a casket. Because of that commitment to story, her suspense, horror and romance novels are bestsellers.
LeBlanc is among the authors featured at the 28th annual Flathead River Writers Conference, Sept. 22-23 at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell.
Additional special guests are: Attorney William Bernhardt, bestselling author of more than 40 novels; and Dennis Foley, acclaimed UCLA writing instructor, author, and screenwriter who will talk about the memoir.
Speakers addressing the business end of publishing include editor Marcia Markland, who worked more than two decades at St. Martin’s Press and Thomas Dunne Books; agent Natalie Grazian, with Martin Literary and Media Management; and senior marketing director Jeffrey Yamaguchi of Blackstone Press, who will discuss digital marketing and publicity.
This year’s event takes place in the Arts and Technology Building at FVCC. The fee of $160 for both days, or $90 per day, and includes lunch and a Saturday evening social. For more information and to register online visit Authors of the Flathead or send a check by mail to: P.O. Box 7711, Kalispell, MT 59904-0711.
Conference registration is first-come, first-served, with a limit of 100 participants.
Writers Conference presenters
William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than 40 books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, which is currently being adapted into a miniseries, two books of poetry (The White Bird, The Ocean’s Edge), and a series of books on fiction writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars, and has become one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation.
Oklahoma State University named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man,” noting that in addition to writing novels, he can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, prepare homemade ice cream, beat you at Scrabble, and work The New York Times crossword in under five minutes.”
Dennis Foley, who started his writing career in Hollywood as a writer and producer, now lives and works in Whitefish. He has written for major motion picture studios as well as network television series and worked as a screenwriter, freelancer, staff writer, producer, consultant and technical advisor. A former Special Forces officer in the Vietnam War, he’s the author of the Jim Hollister series of military fiction novels.
A nationally recognized writing instructor and frequent guest speaker and lecturer at writers’ conferences, workshops and college campuses, Foley taught fiction writing at the UCLA Writer’s Program for 15 years and continues to teach online at Writers on the Net and locally at Flathead Valley Community College.
Deborah LeBlanc is an award-winning, bestselling author and business owner from Lafayette, LA, who is also a licensed death-scene investigator, a licensed private investigator and has been an active paranormal investigator for more than 25 years. She is currently the clairvoyant for the upcoming paranormal investigation television show, “Through the Veil.” She’s also worked in funeral services for 12 years, assisting with removals and embalmings.
She served four years as president of the Horror Writers Association, eight years as president of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, and two years as president of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter.
Editor Marcia Markland spent two decades as an executive director at Thomas Dunne Books and St. Martin’s Press where she acquired both fiction and nonfiction. She has worked with some of the foremost authors of crime fiction in the world, including Ann Cleeves, Arnaldur Indridason, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and others.
This year Markland initiated her own service called Talk to an Editor, which provides authors with expert manuscript advice from highly regarded New York editors.
Agent Natalie Grazian is an associate agent with Martin Literary and Media Management, a Seattle-based literary agency. She is accepting queries in all areas of adult fiction, from commercial to literary, and says she’s partial to cuttingly perceptive contemporary fiction, soft sci-fi, magical realism, and historical fantasy.
More than any specific genre, Grazian looks for complex characters who make “the unrelatable relatable and for a smart, distinctive narrative voice.”
Publicist Jeffrey Yamaguchi is a digital marketing professional currently serving as the senior director of marketing at Blackstone Audio. He’s worked at HarperCollins, Random House and Abrams Books, leading campaigns for bestselling authors such as John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Chuck Palahniuk, Dan Brown, Robert Reich, Anne Rice, Cheryl Strayed, and Haruki Murakami.
He’s also the author of 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity and Working for the Man: Inspiring and Subversive Projects for Residents of Cubicle Land, both published by Penguin. He teaches courses at NYU and Mediabistro focused on publishing, marketing and digital storytelling.
Authors of the Flathead – comprised of a group of writers around northwest Montana, ranging from novelists to non-fiction writers, screen to short story writers and poets to journalists – hosts the annual conference.