Racquel Henry (Writer’s Atelier Founder and Director), is a Trinidadian writer, editor, and part-time English Professor with an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In 2010 Racquel co-founded Black Fox Literary Magazine where she still serves as an editor. She is a contributing editor for Burrow Press’ Fantastic Floridas, the nonfiction editor of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s alumni anthology, and a member of The YA Chicks. She is also a board member for The Jack Kerouac Project, an Orlando-based writing residency and has presented and moderated panels at writing conferences and residencies across the US. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in places like Blink-Ink, The Rusty Nail, Lotus-Eater Magazine, The Best of There Will Be Words 2014 Chapbook, UCF Creative Writing MFA Blog, Moko Caribbean Arts & Letters, and Ghost Parachute Literary Magazine, among others.
Christina Farley is the author of the bestselling Gilded series, a YA contemporary fantasy series, and upcoming middle grade, The Princess & The Page. Gilded was nominated for Korea’s Morning Calm award, Ohio’s Buckeye award, and Tome’s It List. It also was hailed in Epic Read’s anticipated reads, PriceStyle’s recommended summer reads, Book Riot’s favorite myth inspired reads, and BuzzFeed’s 21 amazing series they’ll miss. She is a certified teacher holding a master’s degree in education and has taught writing workshops worldwide.
Ashley Inguanta is a small-press author, artist, writing teacher, and yoga teacher who has dedicated her life to helping others heal by developing healthy coping mechanisms. She is the author of three collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press, 2013), For The Woman Alone (Ampersand Books, 2014), and Bomb (forthcoming with Ampersand Books in the fall of 2016). Ashley is also the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly, and she is a Contributing Editor at The Writing Disorder. As a mental health advocate and queer rights advocate, she’s volunteered with organizations and facilities like Equality Florida and Lakeside Alternative, and currently she teaches healing, restorative writing, and yoga classes at several locations in Central Florida. Her fiction, poetry, art films, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in places like The Rumpus, the Iron Horse Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, Bartleby Snopes, Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women, OCHO, The Good Men Project, SmokeLong Quarterly, PANK, Wigleaf, and Sweet: A Literary Confection. Ashley’s work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and she’s also had the honor of receiving an Honorable Mentoin in Glimmer Train for their Very Short Fiction Award. Currently she is working on a series of art films and poetry performances with violinist Sarah Morrison.
Paige Lavoie is a writer who has a passion for bringing her characters to life with the power of storytelling (including the undead ones). Her first YA novel, Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl in 2015 was released in 2015, bringing her love for geek culture and stories of friendship onto the page. Paige spends her days hiding underneath a parasol in sunny Orlando, FL and frolicking through bustling convention centers, theme parks and farmers markets with her husband and their fluffy dog, Oliver. She also shares writing and comic advice on her youtube channel.
Laura E. Perez has been writing stories and poetry for most of her life. After a career change in 2010, she started writing fanfiction and became determined to complete her unfinished novels. Since moving to Orlando 5 years ago, she has self-published three novels and spearheaded two separate anthologies, with a third due out later this year. She is a regular presenter/instructor with OCLS and has participated in workshops and panels for the FWA conference and Indie Bookfest. She launched her own publishing company, Palmas Publishing, in 2016.
Valerie Willis, a sixth generation Floridian, launched her first book, Cedric the Demonic Knight, at the start of 2014 on Amazon.com. Since then, she has continued to add to The Cedric Series a high-rated Paranormal Fantasy Romance Series featuring an anti-hero who finds himself dragged away from his revenge on his maker by both love and the onset of a larger threat. She pulls in a melting pot of mythology, folklores, history and more into her work with a remarkable amount of foreshadowing that makes reading her books a second time exciting. Rebirth is the first book in her Teen Urban Fantasy, the Tattooed Angels Trilogy where the main character struggles with social issues with the complications of turning immortal. And if fantasy wasn’t your cup of tea, head over to her Blog for some “Val, Tell me a Story” posts featuring true, hilarious, and sometimes bizarre, life events from recent to old.
Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. She is the author of the novels Olivia Twisted, Paper or Plastic and Olivia Decoded.
Kristin Durfee grew up outside of Philadelphia, where an initial struggle with reading blossomed into a love and passion for the written word. She has also been a writer since a very young age, writing short stories and poems, though now is focusing on longer works. She is the authors of the novel, Four Corners and Two Worlds. Durfee currently resides outside of Orlando, FL, and when not enjoying the theme parks or Florida sun, she spends most of her time with her husband and their quirky dog. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association.
Lauren Gibaldi is the author of the young adult novels, The Night We Said Yes and Autofocus, (both with HarperCollins, HarperTeen) and is a public librarian. She’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University. Gibaldi currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband, daughter, and ever-expanding collection of books. (It comes with the professions, right?) She loves dinosaurs, pasta, musicals, and cheesy jokes. She is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler with Regal Literary.
Lori Goldstein was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. A former journalist, she currently lives and writes outside of Boston. BECOMING JINN is her first novel. You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com and follow her on Twitter at @loriagoldstein.
Ella Martin is a young adult author and self-described “prep school survivor” from Southern California. With a keen sense for combining relatable teen characters with engrossing stories, her books blend aspects of romance, angst, and intrigue. Her Westgate Prep series tackles female friendships, quirky characters, and sensitive topics with equal tact.
Amy Christine Parker earned her degree in elementary education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and then proceeded to try out many different jobs, including collectible doll maker, fondue waitress, and inner-city schoolteacher. It wasn’t until she became a mom and began making up bedtime stories for her children that she finally realized what she was meant to do. Now Amy writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. She is the author of the novels, GATED and ASTRAY. Visit her at amychristineparker.com.