VIP Speakers


By the end of 2012, Maggie Shayne will have published 54 novels and 30 novellas for nearly every major publisher in the industry, including Harlequin/Silhouette/MIRA, St. Martin’s Press, Avon Books, Penguin Putnam/Berkley, St. Martin’s Press, & Pocket Books.  A 15 time RITA Award Nominee, Maggie was going for the Susan Lucci Award before she finally took home the prize in 2005 for Her Best Enemy.  

In addition to writing romances, Maggie wrote a weekly advice column, Shayne On You, for her local newspaper for three years, which she later compiled as an e-book, and she also spent more than a year writing for CBS Daytime Dramas As The World Turns and The Guiding Light, where she was offered a lucrative job as co-head writer--an offer she turned down.  While weeping.  Buckets.  But after that year of working in TV, she knew her heart was in novels, not soaps. 

Maggie’s most recent releases were: TWILIGHT PROPHECY, TWILIGHTFULFILLED from MIRA, the final two books of Maggie’s 20 volume Wings in the Night vampire romance series, which began with Twilight Phantasies, from Silhouette Shadows way back in 1993.

This year, Maggie launches a new series, THE PORTAL, which begins in September with LEGACY OF THE WITCH, a free prequel, followed by Book 1: MARK OF THE WITCH on October 1st.  Writing about Witches comes naturally to Maggie, who’s been practicing The Craft for more then fourteen years, studied under Silver RavenWolf, and is a legitimate Wiccan High Priestess, Craft Elder, and legal clergy.

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Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber graduated with a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. While acting professionally she adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country.

Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 FF&P Prism Award for excellence in the genre of Futuristic, Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the Strangely Beautiful series of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels, hit Barnes & Noble's Bestseller Lists, won two 2010 FF&P Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book) and has been optioned for musical theatre adaptation currently in development. She was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year. Her YA Gothic Victorian Paranormal saga with Sourcebooks Fire debuts with DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul (11/11).

A member of Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers, she's also a proud member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Leanna resides in New York City and works often in television and film. She has taught workshops for RWA NYC, COFW Ohio, WIS-RWA Milwaukee, RWA Women's Fiction, Ohio Valley RWA, The Buffalo Book Fair, Elements of RWA, Chicago-North RWA, Capital Region RWA, NJRWA, has spoken and presented in schools and conventions around the country, written articles for the RWA NYC Keynotes newsletter and Dramatics magazine, as well as teaching theatre and adaptation workshops for the Guthrie Theatre and the International Thespian Festival.

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Kristen Painter is a former college English teacher, who has held a crazy mix of other jobs including maitre'd for Wolfgang Puck, personal trainer, and sales for Christian Dior Bijoux. On the writing side of things, she's a two-time Golden Heart finalist and has been on the board of three different RWA chapters.

Her forays into writing have been as varied as the jobs she's held. She's written poetry, articles for magazines, short stories, paranormal romances (that include fantasy, contemporary and steampunk genres) and now she's found a home with urban fantasy. She loves worldbuilding and few genres give her the kind of license urban fantasy does.

She's also the co-founder of the award-winning writer's site She blogs occasionally at and tweets at more often than she should. You can also find her on her Facebook author page

She lives in Florida with her retired Air Force husband and a horde of feline dependents.

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NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has over 50 books published. He has sold over four million books and is in demand as a team-building, life-change, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way concept which he translates into Write It Forward: a holistic program teaching writers how to be authors. He is also the Co-Creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing, which does both eBooks and Print On Demand, so he has experience in both traditional and non-traditional publishing.

Born in the Bronx, Bob attended West Point and earned a BA in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade recon platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division. He joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Special Operations Command (Special Projects) in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course which trains new Green Berets. He lived in Korea where he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts. He's earned a Masters Degree in Education.

Bob draws on all of these experiences to write his novels and his nonfiction books, including WHO DARES WINS: The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear & Succeed; The Novel Writer's Toolkit: A Guide To Writing Great Fiction;and Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author. His novels include the bestselling Area 51 books and collaborations with Jennifer Crusie. His books have hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other bestseller lists. His last release, The Jefferson Allegiance, was released independently and reached #2 overall in sales on Nook.

Bob has presented for over 1,000 organizations both in the United States and internationally, including keynote presentations, all day workshops, and multi-day seminars. He has taught organizations ranging from Maui, to Whidbey Island, to San Diego State University, to the University of Georgia, to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, to Boston SWAT, the CIA, Fortune-500, Microsoft, the Royal Danish Navy Frogman Corps, Microsoft, Rotary, IT Teams in Silicon Valley and many others. He has also served as a Visiting Writer for NILA MFA program in Creative Writing. He has done interviews for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, the SyFy channel and local cable shows. For more information see

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