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.

 Workshop Faculty

Michael Brody

Michael Brody graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Creative Writing, Filmmaking, and Philosophy. His first screenplay THE SUN KING was optioned by Hollywood producer Jeff Mackler. In 2010, he wrote, directed and produced the low-budget feature film, DOCUMENT (documentmovie.com.) In 2012 he was hired to adapt the novel CREATED EQUAL for the screen. Most recently, he was invited to submit his TV pilot "Sanctuary" to Sundance's esteemed Episodic Story Lab. His other gig is being the artistic and programming director for the annual Crested Butte Film Festival (cbfilmfest.org.)

Russell Davis
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.

Diana Pharaoh Francis 

Genre Fiction Diana Pharaoh Francis has published The Horngate Witches series, The Crosspointe Chronicles, and The Path trilogy, as well as a variety of short stories and essays. Her novels have been translated into German and French. Bitter Night was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Urban Fantasy of 2009, Crimson Wind best urban fantasy heroine for 2011, and Blood Winter was nominated for Best Urban Fantasy Building of 2013. Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Her latest book, Trace of Magic, will release in August of 2014, and she is currently working on sequels in the Crosspointe and Horngate worlds. She holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and literary theory, and an MA in fiction writing. She’s been teaching for more than 15 years, and now writes full time as well as teaching for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. She’s a member of SFWA. For more about her writing, visit www.dianapfrancis.com. She can also be found on twitter as @dianapfrancis.

Diana Tixier Herald
Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction
Diana Herald: Diana Tixier Herald, series editor of the Genreflecting (Libraries Unlimited/ABC CLIO) series of readers’ advisory books that help librarians guide readers to their patrons next great reads, has written several books on genre fiction. Her titles include, Genreflecting, Fluent in Fantasy, Strictly Science Fiction, and Teen Genreflecting. She is a longtime reviewer for Booklist, and her reviews have been published in several other periodicals as well as online. A frequent speaker on genre fiction at genre and library conferences, she has spoken at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Historical Novel Society Conference, DragonCon, the American Library Association, and the New South Wales Readers Advisory conference among others. She is a voracious reader, consuming hundreds of novels a year.

Jack Lucido
Jack Lucido is an Associate Professor of Communication at Western State Colorado University. 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
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.

Larry Meredith

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 Western.
Dave Reynolds

Dave Reynolds chairs the English Department at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs. Born in Indiana, raised in Connecticut, colleged in Maine, mastered in Seattle, he has taught high school for 25 years.  He writes poetry and creative non-fiction, loves hiking and nordic skiing, and is a noted bon vivant.  

Michaela RoessnerPopular 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 MonthlyThe 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.

Poetry Symposium Presenters

Joining David J. Rothman (featured above) are the following poets and critics:

Kim Bridgford


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.

Thomas Cable

Thomas Cable has devoted a lifetime to the study of the English language and its prosodic development in poetry. Now emeritus professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, he has also taught in France and at the University of Illinois. Among his books are A History of the English Language (with Albert C. Baugh) and The English Alliterative Tradition. His interests range from the metrics of Old English verse to the treatment of meter by today’s New Formalists.

Natalie Gerber

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.

Jan Schreiber

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 previous books of poetry include Digressions, Wily Apparitions, Bell Buoys, and two books of translations. His latest collection, Peccadilloes, was published earlier this year. A volume of his critical essays, Sparring with the Sun, appeared in 2013. 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.

Frederick Turner

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 TimeRebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education; Beauty: The Value of ValuesThe 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.

David Yezzi

Poetry with a Focus in Versecraft. 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.

Panelists, Agents, Editors

John Helfers

John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his fourteen years working for Martin H. Greenberg at Tekno Books (the largest commercial book packager in the nation), he has edited more than twenty short story anthologies, as well as overseeing numerous other ones for other publishers in all genres. He is also the Novel Line Developer for Catalyst Game Labs, which produces roleplaying game books and fiction set in the BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil OverlordTime Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy. His most recent non-fiction book, The Vorkosigan Companion, co-edited with Lillian Stewart Carl, was nominated for a 2009 Hugo Award. He recently finished writing several novels in the Room 59™ espionage series for Worldwide/Gold Eagle Publishing, and has written novels in their other long-running series as well. Currently he is working on several other tie-in projects, as well as an epic dark paranormal alternate history series with his wife, fellow author and editor Kerrie Hughes.

Julie Luek

Julie Luekenga has lived in the Gunnison valley for over twenty years. She writes under the pen name, Julie Luek, and is published in regional and national magazines including Dog World, Farm and Ranch, Today's Christian, Colorado Central, Coach and Athletic Director and many others. She is a frequent guest blogger and is a monthly contributor to the international writing site, She Writes. She has been published in Chicken Soup for The Soul:The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide and featured on the popular website, Blogher. She also authors two blogs, Julie Luek, (www.julieluek.blogspot.com) and, A Thought Grows, (www.athoughtgrows.blogspot.com). When not writing, Julie likes to take hikes, kayak, jog, and enjoy the Colorado country.

Sam Robards


Leah Rogin-Roper

Sam Robards was born on December 16, 1961 in New York City, New York, USA as Sam Prideaux Robards. He is an actor and producer, known for American Beauty (1999), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and Awake (2007).

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.

Juan Morales

Juan Morales is the author of Friday and the Year that Followed, and his poems have most recently appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Sugar House Review, North Dakota Review, and is forthcoming in Huizache and the anthology Monster Fancy. He is the Publisher and Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, a Canto Mundo Fellow, and the Director of Creative Writing at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Greg SmithGreg Smith has been a photographer, writer, editor and producer 35 years. A board member with the National Press Photographers Association, he has authored or edited several photography business tools and initiatives. Greg’s credits include the award-winning documentary “Keeping the May River Wild,” Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way for UNC Press and publications around the world. An university communications strategist for Western, Greg has two degrees from Ohio University. He exhibits photography at galleries and imediasmith.com.
Robert McBrearty


Writer Robert Garner McBrearty is the winner of the 2007 Sherwood Anderson Writer’s Grant. A native of San Antonio, Texas, he is a 1981 MFA graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a contributing editor of The Pushcart Prize anthology, and a consulting editor for Narrative magazine. McBrearty’s new collection of short stories, Let the Birds Drink in Peace, was published in October 2011 by Conundrum Press. His previous works, Episode and A Night at the Y, were met with rave reviews. 

John Steele

John Steele has been the Fiction Editor for the online literary journal Blood Lotus (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 Colorado University as a Lecturer in Communications and English.

Terrie Wolf

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 specialties 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.

Conference Organizer/Panel Moderator

Mark ToddWith 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 three paranormal adventure-comedies co-written with wife Kym (Little Greed Men, 2013; All Plucked Up, 2012; The Magicke Outhouse, 2013). Forthcoming are two creative nonfiction books, one about Colorado hauntings and co-written with wife Kym, and the other a memoir about his "previous life" as a mortician.