Writing the Rockies Faculty and Panelists
Faculty and Panelists
The distinguished faculty for this summer's four concurrent workshop tracks -- popular genre fiction/nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, and publishing -- are all active and successful authors, poets, screenwriters, or publishing professionals.
|Barbara Chepaitis||Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction|
Holding a doctorate in creative writing from SUNY, Albany, Barbara Chepaitis has ten published books, eight in fiction and two in nonfiction, including Saving Eagle Mitch (SUNY 2013), The Green Memory of Fear (Wildside Press 2011), Feathers of Hope (SUNY, 2010), A Lunatic Fear (Wildside Press 2004), Something Unpredictable (Simon & Schuster 2003), These Dreams (Simon & Schuster, 2002), Learning Fear (Ace 2000), Feeding Christine (Bantam 2000), Fear of God (Ave 1999), and Fear Principle (Ace 1998). She was a finalist in the 2003 Sundance screenwriters contest and has written four other screenplays. She has numerous shorter works collected in a variety of anthologies, and she also has experience in radio drama, voice-over work, and editing.
As a 15-year Hollywood development executive, Trai Cartwright has consulted on thousands of screenplays for HBO, Fox, Paramount, Universal, and New Line. She has produced three indie movies and has optioned her own screenplays to Academy- and Emmy-award winning producers. In addition, she was assistant director of Leonardo DiCaprio's online ventures, the Hollywood liaison for a massively multi-player online role-playing game company, and made really bad cell phone content for 20th Century Fox. She currently teaches screenwriting and film studies at Colorado Film School and University of Northern Colorado, and works one-on-one with novelists and screenwriters across the nation. Trai can be found at
Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction
Best-selling author and editor Russell Davis has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. In addition to his work as a writer, he has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches on writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. A past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Russell now writes and edits full time, as well as teaches for Western's MFA in Creative Writing. His newest work, The End of All Seasons, a collection of short fiction and poetry, came out in 2013, and he is presently working on several new projects.
Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction
Stacia Deutsch is the author of more than fifty children's books, both original and write for hire. She is the author of the eight book, award winning, chapter book series Blast to the Past. Her resume also includes Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew and The Boxcar Children. Stacia has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for the movie novelizations of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the Smurfs. Look for her newest releases: Mean Ghouls from Scholastic and Batman: The Dark Knight Legend Movie Novel from Harper Collins. Stacia and her children live in Irvine, California. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing from Western State College. Find her at www.staciadeutsch.com.
Jack Lucido is an Associate Professor of Communication at Western State College of Colorado. He teaches film studies, production, and screenwriting. His Master of Fine Art degree in Cinema is from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and his BA in Theatre & Film is from California State University Humboldt. He is currently working to complete his documentary, Across the Fence, which focuses on sustainability in ranching. His recent short film Chill Out won the National Wildlife Federation’s “Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus Video Award” in 2010. In 2006, Jackson Sandwich, his documentary about his son’s autism spectrum disorder, was awarded the prestigious Cine Golden Eagle and has been broadcast on Public Television in North Carolina and South Carolina. Lucido received an Emmy nomination in 2000 for directing and producing for prime time broadcast, a documentary on engineering wonders on Northern California’s Redwood Coast. At the time, he was a producer for KEET TV, a PBS member station.
|J S Mayank||Screenwriting|
With an MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University, filmmaker J S Mayank lives the life of a Hollywood screenwriter, pitching his own ideas and reworking others’ work. He’s developed scripts with Hollywood bigwigs such as Derek Dauchy (XXX, Across the Universe), Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Big Fish), Ted Field (Last Samurai, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) & Steve McEveety (Braveheart, Passion of the Christ) and worked with some of the best production companies and studios in town. His first sci-fi feature – Slate earned him a spot on the BLOODLIST, and he was invited by Robert DeNiro to the prestigious 2010 Tribeca All Access Program. For his directorial debut, Mayank was granted an opportunity by the band Radiohead to create a concept music video for their song "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi." Most recently, his script for EMIT won a Grand Prize, winning him a trip to Sundance (2012) where a table-read of it was performed. He resides in Los Angeles.
Torrance Maurer graduated from the prestigious University of California at Los Angeles Graduate School of Theater, Film and Television with an M.F.A in film production. His thesis film ‘Kids for Kidnapping’ has shown at international film festivals and won the Northwest Emerging Artist Award at the Salem Film Festival. Torrance recently worked on a feature narrative production in India and a documentary short film in England. He is currently the Technical Director of Media at Western State Colorado University where he teaches Multimedia Communication and Feature Screenwriting."
Larry Meredith is the owner and publisher of Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd. He is the author of the historical novel This Cursed Valley and has a second novel in the hands of a literary agent. He has written hundreds of published essays and newspaper and magazine articles. In his career he has been a newspaper man, a salesman, an advertising and sales promotion writer for a Fortune 500 company, a university public relations director, and has owned his own marketing and video production company. A former administrator for Western State Colorado University as well as executive director of a library district, Larry also directs the Certificate in Publishing program for WSCU.
| Michaela Roessner||Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction|
With an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, Michaela Roessner has had four novels published, as well as assorted short fiction and nonfiction in publications that include Asimov’s Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, OMNI Magazine, Canada’s Room Magazine and anthologies that include Full Spectrum 2 and Intersections. Her first novel, Walkabout Woman, won the Crawford and John W. Campbell awards. She has also had work short-listed for the Calvino Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Millennium Publishing short fiction contest. Her current “front-burner” projects include a fabulist novel about a mask-maker and finishing up the third and final book in her series that revolve around the life of the young Catherine de Medici.
David J. Rothman
David J. Rothman has been an editor, reviewer, publisher, and judge in regional and national poetry circles for over three decades. His own work has a distinguished record in such journals as Appalachia, The Atlantic Monthly, The Gettysburg Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry and many others. He has published five collections, most recently The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press), both in 2013. A sixth, Go Big, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2015, and a volume of essays about life in the mountains, Living the Life, is forthcoming from Conundrum Press this fall. He is Western's MFA Poetry Concentration Director and also teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Lighthouse Writers Workshop of Denver. For many years before moving to Boulder, Colorado, he lived in Crested Butte, where he taught at Western, served as the Headmaster of a private secondary school, and co-founded the Crested Butte Music Festival.
Mark Schwiesow began his industry career while majoring in Film Production at Columbia College Chicago where he won the Al Weisman Scholarship Award for Acting Up!, a documentary which went on to success on both PBS and Network TV stations across the country. As a film gypsy based in Crested Butte, Colo., Mark worked on productions ranging from documentaries and commercials to feature films and TV series for over 30 years, at various times writing, producing, directing, acting and teaching. During this time, his writing included option deals with Gary Goldstien (Pretty Woman, Under Siege) and Magnus Films (Anna), works-for-hire including Record Players, Angels at Harvard and The Inn Crowd (TV pilot developed for actor Tom Skerritt). In 2010, Mark shared 2 “Best Screenplay” awards from the Moondance International Film Festival for Rites of Passage with 2 co-writers. In 2011, he won another “Best Screenplay” award at Moondance for his original script, Another Theater of War.
David Yezzi, acclaimed poet and Executive Editor of The New Criterion, is former director of the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, where he also currently teaches poetry in the center’s writing program. Yezzi’s poems appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The New Republic, The Paris Review and elsewhere. He writes literary criticism regularly for The Wall Street Journal, Poetry, Yale Review and many other publications. Yezzi has held editing positions at Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The New York Observer, and The New Criterion. In 1998, he was awarded Stanford University’s prestigious Wallace Stegner Fellowship. He lives in New York City with his wife.
Poetry Symposium Presenters
Joining David J. Rothman and David Yezzi
are the following poets and critics:
Kim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010, and recently celebrated its third anniversary at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in affiliation with the exhibition The Female Gaze. Her collaborative work with the visual artist Jo Yarrington has been honored with a Ucross fellowship. Bridgford is the author of seven books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit, a book of poems on bullying, and Epiphanies, a book of religious poems. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Connecticut Post, on NPR and the website of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in various headline news outlets.
Natalie Gerber is Associate Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia. Her articles on modern poetry and poetics have appeared in Paideuma, The William Carlos Williams Review, and The Wallace Stevens Journal, for which she serves as an associate editor. She is obsessed with using insights from linguistics to clarify what we talk about when we talk about poetic measure, meter, and rhythm.
Simon Jarvis is the Gorley Putt Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Wordsworth's Philosophic Song and of many essays on poetry and prosody. His most recent collection of verse is Eighteen Poems (London: Eyewear, 2012); Night Office appears from Enitharmon this summer.
|Jan Schreiber has published poems and critical essays in many journals, both print and on-line, over more than four decades. His poetic sequence, “Zeno’s Arrow,” was set to music for tenor and piano by Paul Alan Levi in 2001. His books include Digressions, Wily Apparitions, Bell Buoys, and two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His most recent book, a collection of critical essays called Sparring with the Sun, is just out from Antilever Press. A founder of Canto: Review of the Arts and a co-founder of the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Western State Colorado University, he is also a study group leader at Brandeis University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, specializing in Renaissance and modern poetry.|
Marilyn L. Taylor
Marilyn L. Taylor, former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, has published eight collections of poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, American Scholar, and Measure. She taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and served for five years as Contributing Editor and regular poetry columnist for the Writer magazine. She is currently a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
Born in England, Frederick Turner holds degrees from Oxford University and teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas. His books include Shakespeare and the Nature of Time; Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education; Beauty: The Value of Values; The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit; and Epic: Form, Content, and History; as well as several volumes of poetry. He is married to Mei Lin Turner (née Chang), a literary periodical editor, and has two sons.
Panelists, Agents, Editors
|Leah Rogin-Roper||In 2006, Leah Rogin-Roper co-founded FastForward Press, a press dedicated to flash fiction and other compressed forms of writing. Since that time, she has served as an editor, as well as the head of research and development in charge of seeking new projects and directions. The press's 2010 anthology, The Mix Tape, was recently named a finalist in the category of literary fiction for the Colorado Book Award. Her own work has been published in Mountain Gazette, Powder Magazine, Monkey Puzzle, Daily Love, and Not Enough Night, as well as in other literary journals. She has also written three novels, most recently A Grizzly Love Story. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and teaches writing at Arapahoe Community College. She lives in the mountains west of Denver with her dogs, daughter, and husband.|
|Caleb J. Seeling|
Caleb J. Seeling is founder and publisher of Samizdat Creative, an independent house at the forefront of new models of publishing. Currently in negotiation to acquire the award-winning Conundrum Press, he has plans to create a major poetry series, to publish the best fiction and creative non-fiction, and to develop a “Buy a book / Give a book” model of corporate philanthropy. Prior to starting Samizdat Creative, Caleb was a senior acquisitions and developmental editor for NavPress, a literary agent with WordServe Literary, an organizer for International Arts Movement, an adjunct professor of sociology at Front Range Community College, a corporate communications leader and educator for Kaiser Permanente, and community manager of Northeast Denver Housing Center, a permanent housing program for chronically homeless people. A native of Colorado, his passion is to help establish the Rocky Mountain region as a national cultural hub. He lives in Littleton with his wife, four children, and six chickens.
|Samuel Smith is a poet, blogger and marketing strategist who lives and works in Denver. As a poet, his work has been published in journals like Poet & Critic, Cream City Review, The New Virginia Review and Dead Mule, which also published his chapbook, "The Miles Between Here and Home." He's also published short fiction in storySouth, Wilmington Blues and Dead Mule. Sam is the executive editor of Scholars & Rogues Literary Journal http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/sr-litjournal/, and accompanying blog addressing culture, arts, literature, politics and music (among other things) that Technorati currently ranks among the Top 1500 in the world (out of more than 100 million). He founded Lullaby Pit, one of the first 2000 branded Web sites in the world, in April 1994, and also operates his own business blog, Black Dog Strategic. His collective blogging efforts have earned him a number of honors, including multiple finalist recognitions by the Weblog Awards and recognition in several categories by the Blogger's Choice Awards. S&R was one of 120 blogs credentialed to cover the 2008 Democratic National Convention.|
|John Steele has been the Fiction Editor for the online literary journal BloodLotus (www.bloodlotus.org) for four years. He received his BA in English from Western State College in 2003 and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University in 2006. He writes fiction and screenplays and teaches at Western State College as a Lecturer in Communications and English.|
|Literary agent Terrie Wolf has traveled the world in search of good stories and great books. As a member of the international media, an award-winning journalist and promotions specialist, Terrie has learned what it takes to write well, get accepted and develop notoriety; not necessarily in that order! She is happiest when given the opportunity to pitch softly, edit gently and market fiercely. A partner at AKA Literary agency, Terrie mastered her skills in the literary world from inside the offices of several large companies, which include CBS, NBC, and Hobson's Press. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University, Creative Writing at NYU and Journalism at CU-Denver. Her specialities include all genres of Romance, Graphic Novel, Western, Young Adult, Children's (all levels) including young adult, Women's, Multi-Cultural, Empowerment (Things of Faith), and Inspirational. She also represents non-fiction: Cookbooks, Humor, Memoir, Religion, Music and Nature.|
Andrew Zack is president of The Zack Company, Inc., a literary agency, and Author Coach, LLC, an author coaching and editorial consultation service, as well as publisher of Endpapers Press. A publishing veteran with nearly a quarter-century in the publishing business, Andy has worked in-house and freelance for many major publishers. He began his literary agent career at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency in New York, and started his own firm in 1996. In 2006, he moved to San Diego, CA. His areas of interest for both TZC and AC are wide and varied, covering nearly all areas of fiction and nonfiction. A complete list of representation areas can be found at www.zackcompany.com. Those interested in author coaching services or managed self-publishing options should visit www.authorcoach.com.
Conference Organizers/Panel Moderators
|Larry Meredith is the owner and publisher of Raspberry Creek Books, Ltd. He is the author of the historical novel This Cursed Valley and has a second novel in the hands of a literary agent. He has written hundreds of published essays and newspaper and magazine articles. In his career he has been a newspaper man, a salesman, an advertising and sales promotion writer for a Fortune 500 company, a university public relations director, and has owned his own marketing and video production company. A former administrator for Western State Colorado University as well as executive director of a library district, Larry also directs the Certificate in Publishing program for WSCU.|
|With a doctorate in English from Texas Tech University, Mark Todd has served on the faculty at Western for over 25 years, where he coordinates the undergraduate Creative Writing Emphasis. His own works include two collections of poetry (Wire Song, 2001; Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe, 2008), and three novels -- Strange Attractors (2012) and two paranormal adventure-comedies co-written with wife Kym (Little Greed Men, 2013; All Plucked Up, 2012), with a third in the series forthcoming in early 2014. Mark also serves as program director|