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Center for Professional and Continuing Education
800.959.5376 or 209.946.2424
Office Location: 1776 W. March Lane Ste. 290, Stockton, CA 95207
Mailing Address: 3601 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95211

Conference Presenters

 James Rollins, Keynote Speaker

  James Rollins the New York Times bestselling author of The Eye of God and other international thrillers, sold to over forty countries. Known for unveiling unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets, Rollins' knack for breakneck pacing and stunning originality has been hailed by critics and embraced by millions of readers around the world. His Sigma Force novels have been praised as "enormously engrossing" (National Public Radio) and "smart, entertaining adventure fiction" (New York Journal of Books) and one of the "hottest summer reads (People Magazine). Rollins is also determined to pay it forward, having founded Authors United for Veterans, a group of bestselling authors dedicated to raising funds and awareness for USA Cares, a nonprofit organization that helps soldiers and their families, through job placement, housing assistance, and emergency aid. When Rollins is not writing, touring, giving seminars, or making presentations, he can be found spelunking, scuba diving, hiking, and/or traveling. He shares his family with three Golden Retrievers amid chew toys and his collection of paleontological treasures in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

 Lytton Bell has published five books: A Path before Winter (1998), The Book of Chaps (2002), Nectar (2011), Poetica Erotica, Volume One (2012), and Body Image (2013), won seven poetry contests and has been the featured reader at many California literary venues. Her work has appeared in over five dozen publications. As a teenager, Lytton won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, where she studied with Deb Burnham and the late Len Roberts. Lytton graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College. Email: lytton_bell@hotmail.com.


 Karma Bennett offers fully customized publicity and social media campaigns tailored to the needs of her clients. In addition to traditional outreach, she offers help with marketing, SEO, book tours, and branding, as well as Twitter, Tumblr and other social media resources. Genres she's worked with include fitness, health, horror, sexuality, pop culture, humor, and young adult. Karma has secured publicity on a wide variety of media, including Cosmopolitan, Fox & Friends, Woman's World, Mother Jones, USA Today and LA Weekly. Prior to founding Future Is Fiction Communications, she was the publicist for Ulysses Press.



Robin Burcell,spent nearly three decades working in law enforcement as a police officer, hostage negotiator and a detective, investigating sexual assault, child abuse, crimes against persons, and crimes against property (burglaries, thefts, embezzlements), and welfare fraud. Burcell has testified as an expert in the fields of forensic art, fingerprints, and child abuse. An FBI Academy-trained forensic artist, her drawings have been used to solve a number of crimes, including homicides, bank robberies and hate crimes, and she was called upon by the various Valley law enforcement entities, including the FBI, for this skill. She has worked with live witnesses, and the dead, sometimes having to set up shop in a morgue to draw the corpses for identification purposes after they have been found in a state beyond recognition (hence the term forensic artist). Burcell is the award-winning author of ten novels to date. Her new series is about an FBI forensic artist and agent. The first, Face Of A Killer, received a starred review from Library Journal, and was followed by The Bone Chamber, The Dark Hour, The Black List, and the upcoming The Kill Order. She is currently working on the sixth in the series. More information can be found on her website at: http://www.robinburcell.com/


  Daniel Coshnear lives in Guerneville, California with his wife and two children, works at a group home and teaches writing at UC Berkeley Extension, and in other north bay facilities. He is author of Job & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine 2001) winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Award, and Occupy & Other Love Stories (Kelly's Cove Press 2012). He is currently finishing a third collection, tentatively titled Cleave. He is the recipient of a Missouri Review Editor's Prize and a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship.


Nancy Ellen Dodd earned two graduate degrees in writing from the University of Southern California in Professional Writing (focusing on screenwriting), and in playwriting. She has received numerous awards for writing, and her book, The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages, published by Writers Digest Books, covers the creative writing process and is available in print and eBooks around the world. Dodd teaches advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine University and develops and teaches online courses for Writer's Digest University and Screenwriter's University. She is on faculty as academic editor of an online peer-reviewed journal at Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business. Dodd has published more than 130 articles in local and national publications.


  Scott Evans taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which is one of the settings in his "literary" murder mysteries. These thrillers follow Joseph Lawrence Conrad who, in Tragic Flaws, is accused of a series of brutal crimes. First Folio picks up three years later when Joe receives the handwritten plays of William Shakespeare. The problems? The handwriting is NOT Shakespeare's and a ruthless collector has hired a mercenary to steal the priceless manuscripts. In Sylvia's Secret, published in 2013 by Port Yonder Press, Joe Conrad is called to London to help a colleague who feels her life is in danger when she finds evidence revealing what may have really happened with Sylvia Plath's "suicide." Scott is Editor and Publisher of the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, a journal that has featured works by New York Times best-selling authors. He has published numerous stories and poems, as well as newspaper articles, and was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Lectureship in Southern Literature in Louisiana in 1985. He currently teaches at the University of the Pacific, leads writing workshops, and organizes the Conference on Creative Writing at Pacific. Visit www.scottevansauthor.com or http://www.bluemoonlitartreview.com to learn more.


Joan Frank is a North Bay author of five books of fiction and a recent book of collected essays. Her novel, Make It Stay (The Permanent Press, 2012), won the Dana Portfolio Award; it was called "first class fiction" in a starred Kirkus review, "masterly" by the San Francisco Chronicle, and "a stylistic tour de force" by the Cambridge Review. Her story collection, In Envy Country (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), won the Richard Sullivan Prize in Fiction, the [Gold] ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and was named a finalist (one of five) for the California Book Award. The Boston Globe called In Envy Country's stories "so complete that they will satisfy readers who typically grab 400-page novels," praising the collection as "perceptive, funny, and wise." Frank's recent essay collection, Because You Have To: A Writing Life (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012), won the Silver ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, winner of the Michigan Literary Award, Emrys Fiction Award, and Iowa Writing Award, three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and recipient of grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Barbara Deming Fund, and Sonoma County Arts Council. She has taught the short story at San Francisco State College and is a frequent contributor, as a book critic, to the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. Visit Joan at www.joanfrank.org.



Heather Haven's first novel, Murder is a Family Business, won the Single Titles Reviewers' Choice Award 2011, and the second, A Wedding to Die For, received the 2012 finalist nods from both Global and EPIC for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. The third of the series, Death Runs in the Family, won the Gold, Dan Poynter's Global eBook Award Mystery Fiction 2013. Stand-alone noir mystery, Death of a Clown, is steeped in Heather's family history. She is the daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination. Death of a Clown was published by The Wives of Bath Press, March 1, 2013. Heather Haven attended the University of Miami and ended up as a writer in New York City, writing humorous commercials and ad copy for No Soap Radio. There she fulfilled her dream of writing comedy and getting paid for it. She has also written comedy acts for performers, television treatments, and off-off Broadway plays. The Dagger Before Me and Iced Diamonds, were #1 in both Amazon's Historical Mystery and General Humorous categories, October 2013. Her stand-alone mystery noir, Death of a Clown, is based upon her mother's memories of performing with Ringling Brothers' Circus, circa 1942.


  Andy Jones has taught for the English Department and the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, since 1990. As a Lecturer in the University Writing Program, Andy enjoys teaching pre-professional writing classes, and counts among his favorites "Writing in the Professions: Journalism," "Writing in Fine Arts," "Style and the Essay," and "Writing in Education: Advanced Writing for Future Teachers." Andy was named "Educator of the Year" by the Associated Students of UC Davis in 2006. Formerly coordinator of the University Writing Program's Computer-Aided Instruction Program, Andy loves to teach in computer classrooms, and now also advises the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (formerly the Teaching Resources Center) on instructional technology and recent research in adult learning. Andy was named the Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services in July of 2011. In that capacity, Andy founded the UC Davis Instructional Technology Blog, The Wheel; and created the monthly workshop series titled DOLCE: Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education, as well as the Faculty Panels Program. He also servers as the faculty advisor to Nameless Magazine, the undergraduate journal of creative writing at UC Davis; hosts "Dr. Andy's Poetry and Technology Hour" on radio station KDVS. In the Davis community, Andy chairs the Cultural Action Committee, and enjoys hosting the Poetry Night reading series at the John Natsoulas Gallery on the first and third Thursdays of the month.


Paul Landes had always been a voracious reader over the years and had harbored a hidden desire to write a story on his own. When he first met his soon-to-be wife in 1994, they quickly discovered they shared that same desire. Without any idea as to what they were doing, they plunged into writing a novel and getting to know each other at the same time. They never did finish the story, but they became best friends, fell in love and got married. Seventeen years later, Paul pulled the manuscript from a drawer and spent the next 12 months writing, editing and polishing Wings to Redemption, an Alex Boudreau Adventure, became his debut novel. Armed with a Bachelor's degree in economics from Bucknell University and a law degree from the University Of Utah College Of Law, Paul's career took him throughout the country in the world of real estate development and project consulting. His second novel, Latitude 87.7, joined Wings to Redemption as an Amazon Best Seller and he is busy penning the next Alex Boudreau Adventure novel. Paul resides in northern California. www.PaulHLandes.com


  John Lescroart is a New York Times bestselling author known for his series of legal and crime thriller novels featuring the characters Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky and Wyatt Hunt. His novels have sold more than ten million copies, have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries. Lescroart's first novel, Sunburn (1981), won the San Francisco Foundation's Joseph Henry Jackson Award for best as yet unpublished novel by a California author. Dead Irish (1989) and The 13th Juror (1994) were nominees for the Shamus and Anthony Awards for Best Mystery Novel, respectively; additionally The 13th Juror is included in the International Thriller Writers publication "100 Must-Read Thrillers Of All Time." Hard Evidence (1993) is named in The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List. His novel Guilt (1997) was a Readers Digest Select Edition choice. The Mercy Rule (1998), Nothing But the Truth (2000), and The Suspect (2007) have been major market Book Club selections. The Suspect was also the 2007 One Book Sacramento choice of the Sacramento Library Foundation, and was chosen by the American Author's Association as its 2007 Book of the Year. Damage (2011) made Entertainment Weekly's "Must List." Sixteen of John Lescroart's novels have been New York Times Bestsellers. Author of twenty+ novels, including most recently Betrayal, which is the fourteenth book in the San Francisco based Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky series, a stand-alone Wyatt Hunt novel entitled The Hunt Club and a couple of Sherlock Holmes pastiches: Son of Holmes and its sequel, Rasputin's Revenge. The Ophelia Cut was released in 2013. http://www.johnlescroart.com/ 

Karen Levy is an Israeli-American writer. Born in Israel, Levy spent most of her childhood traveling between her native land and the United States. Commuting between these two countries and having a keen eye for detail have afforded Levy the knowledge necessary to recount the immigrant experience in a very candid style. Following her military service, Levy pursued her studies in the United States where she earned a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Davis, and an MA in English/Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento, where she teaches composition and interpretation of literature. Her work has appeared in several publications including Welter Magazine, So to Speak, the Blue Moon, and The Meadow. She lives in Davis, California with her husband and two children. Her novel, My Father's Gardens, is the story of a young girl who comes of age in two languages, and on two shores, between warring parents and rules that change depending on the landscape and the proximity of her mother.


  Chip MacGregor, Literary Agent, is the president of MacGregor LIterary, Inc., a full-service literary agency located on the left coast. He has been working in the publishing industry for three decades, and made his living as a freelance writer and editor for several years. He is the author of numerous books, including a couple of bestselling nonfiction titles, and formerly served as a publisher with Time-Warner. Chip began working as an agent sixteen years ago, and has represented hundreds of titles, including numerous award winners and bestsellers, and one that hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Eight years ago he began his own literary agency, and over the past couple years has been one of the busiest literary agents in the United States. He works with both fiction and nonfiction titles, but the majority of the business he is currently doing is fiction. A well-known speaker at writing conferences and via online writing sites, he lives on the Oregon coast. WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR: Well-written literary and commercial novels. We're open to seeing women's fiction, romance, thrillers, romantic suspense, historical, and literary fiction. The most important aspect in evaluating a proposal is the writing quality. For us to seriously consider your work, you'll need to have a completed manuscript. We are also on the hunt for well-written business and historical nonfiction books, as well as the occasional memoir, humor, or advice book told with panache. WHAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR: Personal stories, cooking, true crime, porn, horror, cozy mysteries, sci-fi, most speculative projects, and novellas.


Patti McCarthy, PhD, MFA, Creative Executive at Rastar Productions for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment, worked on Harriet the Spy, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (Michelle Pfeiffer, directed by David Kelly), Random Hearts (Harrison Ford, directed by Sydney Pollack, written by Kurt Ludtke & Darryl Poniscon), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ( Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchette, written by Eric Roth, directed by David Fincher). At Sony, she was asked to develop projects, including, American History X, for New Line Cinema. She received her PhD in Critical Studies in Film and an MFA in Film Production from USC. At Pacific, she teaches Screenwriting, Introduction to Film Production, and Advanced Film Production.


  Indigo Moor, poet, playwright, and author residing in Sacramento, CA. His second book of poetry, Through the Stonecutter's Window, won Northwestern University Press's Cave Canem prize. His first book Tap-Root was published as part of Main Street Rag's Editor's Select Poetry Series. His short plays, Harvest, Shuffling, and The Red and Yellow Quartet debuted at the 60 Million Plus Theatre's Spring Playwright's festival. A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program, where he studied poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting, Indigo is also a graduate member of the Artist's Residency Institute for Teaching Artists. He is the winner of the 2005 Vesle Fenstermaker Prize for Emerging Writers, a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee, and 2008 Jack Kerouac Poetry contest winner. Other honors include: finalist finishes for the T.S. Eliot Prize, Crab Orchard First Book Prize, Saturnalia First Book Award, Naomi Long Madgett Book Award, and WordWorks Prize.



Cindy Sample is a former corporate CEO who decided plotting murder was more fun than plodding through paperwork. She is the author of the best-selling Laurel McKay humorous mystery series set in the California gold country. Dying for a Dance, the second book in the series was a finalist for the 2012 LEFTY Award for best humorous mystery. It also won the 2012 Northern California Publisher & Authors Fiction Award. Dying for a Daiquiri, a 2014 finalist for the LEFTY Award moves the action to the big island of Hawaii. Never has research been so much fun. Cindy is past president of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has served on the boards of the Sacramento Opera, YWCA and California Mortgage Bankers Assn. www.cindysamplebooks.com www.facebook.com/cindysampleauthor


  Jennifer Basye Sander is a bestselling author, acquisitions editor, book packager, and publishing consultant who teaches writers to understand how the publishing business works so they can sell their work. Self-Publishing? Let's Run the Numbers, helps would-be publishers understand the various elements for success in this competitive book market. Book Idea Brainstorming sessions help writers see new ways to package their content and create new projects. As a writer/book packager, she has completed two inspirational anthologies for Harlequin, coached a former Random House author (with millions of copies sold in one genre but the desire to self pub in a new genre) through the e-book process, and consulted with a literary agent on a packaging project for a major cable network. During her years as the Senior Editor of the Trade Division of Prima (which later became a division of Crown), they grew from doing thirty titles a year to upwards of a hundred. In addition to projects she acquired from agents, she developed many of our strongest selling titles from scratch: The Cozy Book of Coffee and Cocoas, over 500,000 sold; Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes, over 100,000 sold; 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, over 300,000 sold.


Sam Shane graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in journalism. He's spent more than 20 years traveling across the country working for TV stations and covering major news events. He started in Duluth, Minn., and later in his career he worked at KCRA-TV in Sacramento, KGO-TV in San Francisco, at the Fox affiliate in Seattle and as an anchor at MSNBC. Sam has covered major stories like the L.A. riots, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the capture of the Unabomber. He's interviewed a variety of political figures and leaders including a president and a number of U.S. senators. In addition to reporting international, national and local news stories throughout his career, he also written and produced an award-winning investigative series on the failures of government officials during the 1997 floods in Northern California. Sam has also written a children's book called Rocky The Mudhen.


  Serita Stevens Tarlow is the author of over 30 published books and stories and has won numerous awards for her scripts. Her latest book, The Ultimate Writer's Workbook for Books and Scripts, talks about characterization, adapting your work for Hollywood, writing creative nonfiction, historicals and many other topics novice writers request. With a master's in writing from Antioch University in London, England, she went on to become well known in the romance and mystery field. Her book This Bitter Ecstasy, an historical romance from Pocket Books was her introduction to the film. Other historical romances include Tame the Wild Heart, Daughters of Desire, and Lightning and Fire. She turned her attention to mystery and suspense - The Bloodstone Inheritance, Unholy Alliance, Deceptive Desire, Red Sea, Dead Sea and Bagels For Tea and many more. Her book, Cagney and Lacey, is the prequel for the successful TV series. She has taught writing at USC, UCLA, Loyola, Santa Monica City College, University of Illinois and Roosevelt University, and her works have won or been nominated for over a dozen awards.



Mark Travis's second Dan Ballantine story, Intent to Defraud, won the Dark Oak Mystery contest. The following year Dead Drunk won the publisher's Cop Tales contest. Publication of previously written works followed. Readers have asked: Should his novels be read in order? While one will find an occasional reference to an earlier story, the books stand alone with exceptions noted below. The Dan Ballantine series: Express Malice, Intent to Defraud, Crash and Burn (action starts immediately after Intent), Cold Leg, Split-Dollar Murder, Payback (a two years later sequel to Crash and Burn), Devil's Drop (action starts at the end of Payback), Dead Peasants, The Best of Pals, A Hurt For A Hurt, Sucked Up, Slickrock, Destroying Angel (action starts at the end of Slickrock), Cold Water Death, Ambush. The Michael Hunt series include: Draftee, U.S. Army, 2 Each, The Bad Boy Murders Rebellion. The Ethan Cooper series include: Murder for a Buck, and Destroy Phoenix.


  Michael Wurtz has curated the John Muir collections for the Holt-Atherton Special Collections at the University of the Pacific since 2004. He has written over a dozen columns about Muir's works for the John Muir Newsletter. He holds a Master's degree in History from Northern Arizona University, and a Library Science degree from the University of Arizona. His interest in Muir started when he celebrated his first birthday among Giant Sequoia groves that Muir tried to protect.