The Presenters

Sam Hiyate: Guest of Honour

President and CEO 

The Rights Factory Literary Agency located in Toronto.

Sam worked at the literary magazines Blood & Aphorisms and The Quarterly in the 90s. He ran the edgy micropublisher, Gutter Press, from 1993 to 2002, as publisher. He launched the literary division of The Lavin Agency in 2003, where he built a list of clients and did his first deals. Sam’s projects for the agency have been in various categories, including memoir, literary and commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction and graphic novels.

He’s looking for works of all categories with distinct and compelling voices. He loved to discover and help new writers prepare their works for the market, and to help them build a career with their talent. Sam is actively speaking about creative writing, publishing and agenting. his newest project is, a LitSite with writing and art about love.

Interested in: 

Business, Commercial Upmarket Fiction, Crime, Cross-Genre, Graphica, Food, Health, Lifestyle, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Mystery, Self-Improvement, Thriller

We’re very excited to have Sam on board. He will be teaching a Master’s Class on the Friday night before the event. There will be a separate charge for this. He will also be in attendance at the Wine Country Writer’s Festival to take pitches and instruct some workshops. Stay tuned for more information…


Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 20+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

She is the author of 27 books, over 60 YouTube videos, and 6 online courses, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in Abbotsford with her family.

John Mavin

John Mavin is the author of the dark literary collection Rage who’s taught creative writing at Capilano University, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, with New Shoots (through the Vancouver School Board), and at the Learning Exchange in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He’s a graduate of SFU’s The Writer’s Studio and also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. A past nominee for both the Aurora Award and the Journey Prize, his work has been translated, studied, and published internationally. He invites you to visit him online at or follow him on Facebook at

Karen Barnstable

Karen Barnstable is an educator with a master’s degree in teaching and learning. Her thesis “The Four Dimensions of Reflective Learning” was published by the Ministry of Education in 2010. Karen has been an instructor at Okanagan College for the Learner Centred Instructor certificate program since 2011. She also offers in-person and on-line courses on writing a memoir through Continuing Studies at Okanagan College.  Karen’s memoir Seeking Silver was selected for the top five best new manuscripts of 2019 by the Word Guild. Blog:

Dave Butler

Dave Butler is the award-winning author of the Jenny Willson mystery series (Dundurn Press). Originally from Penticton and now living in Cranbrook, BC, he’s also a professional biologist, professional forester, and a photographer. His nonfiction and images have appeared in many Canadian magazines, but the first novel in his mystery series won the Arthur Ellis award for Best First Crime Fiction Novel in Canada in 2018. Dave is also a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is represented by Sam Hiyate at The Rights Factory.

Cranbrook, BC. Author of the Jenny Willson Mystery series (Dundurn Press). (Full Curl won the 2018 Arthur Ellis award for Best First Crime Novel) 


Jim Jackson

author – speaker – gentleman

Jim Jackson is a Calgary Herald bestselling author, vintage leather jacket enthusiast and dabbler in the dark arts of blues music. Jim’s mission is to show how the stories we all grew up with – the heroes, the monsters, the adventures – are still solid, muscular realities that shape our lives.

He’s the creator of the storytelling guides How to Tell a Really Good Story about Absolutely Anything in 4 Easy StepsElemental Tales and The Logical Creative, a handful of pulp mythology books and the blues record Flypaper Motel.

Josephine LoRe

… a pearl in this diamond world

Initially an open mic poet, Josephine LoRe’s words have now been published in Canada, the United States, England and Japan, shared on youtube, interpreted through American Sign Language, painted and even danced on the stage!

In 2018, Loft 112 published her first chapbook Unity. The Cowichan Series is her second collection to be published. It was written during a stay on Vancouver Island, inspired by the land and resonating with memory and hope. It features poetry and photography, and there is a corresponding album of the same name with music composed and performed by Calgary’s Jim Jackson.

The Cowichan Series is #1 on the Calgary Herald’s Bestseller List for the week of June 22, 2019

Julie Ferguson

Julie H. Ferguson believes writers need practical assistance, current information, and support from published authors throughout their journeys to publication

A working non-fiction writer for forty-nine years, she is the author of thirty-three nonfiction books, including four on Canadian history and six for writers like Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors (3rd edition) and Crafting Irresistible Query Letters that Result in Publication. Julie’s freelance articles have appeared in international, national, and regional publications, as well as online. Since 2006, she has been successfully writing and photographing for the global travel market and has many photo portfolios in print. 

Julie has done it all—traditional and self-publication both in print and electronically—and has been coaching unpublished authors to success for twenty-five years on a one to one basis, and through her workshops and writers’ groups. 

Join Julie for tips on getting published traditionally or by yourself. 

For more details, Julie invites you to visit her website at

Laura Thomas

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul—especially in her romantic suspense, teen fiction, marriage, and children’s books. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, B.C. as audacious empty-nesters.


Beth Burnett

Beth Burnett has a passion for education. She sits on the board of a non-profit literary organization and runs an online writing academy. She teaches creative writing, college English, and early British Literature. She is also a part-time adjunct with the MFA program at SNHU and a doctoral student at Murray State University. Beth has published five books with Sapphire Publishing. Her sixth book, Coyote Ate the Stars, won first place in fantasy in the Writer’s Digest Self-published book awards. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and journals including the esteemed feminist journal Sinister Wisdom. Beth is an immigrant to Canada from the US, and she lives in Princeton, BC with her wife and pets.  

Richard Kelly Kemick

What does it mean to turn real life into a real story? Author Richard Kelly Kemick (I Am Herod, 2019) will explain the inner workings of the non-fiction genre and the power that comes from creating a narrative out of actual events. From how to choose a subject, to how to approach those involved, to how to sew it altogether into a single piece, this workshop will be geared towards taking the true and turning it into the truly mesmerizing. 

Robyn Roste

Robyn Roste is a freelance writer and marketer who specializes in helping purpose-driven agencies, entrepreneurs and small businesses create meaningful connections with their customers. Unlike most business writers, she spent the last decade working as an in-house writer at a national non-profit, which taught her how creating authentic marketing messages builds relationships and makes emotional links with constituents and readers. Based in Abbotsford BC, Robyn has a passion for helping other writers break into freelancing and covers writing and marketing on her website

Michelle Barker

Michelle Barker lives in Vancouver, B.C. She is a senior editor at the Darling Axe ( and has published novels, short fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and a picture book. She is represented by Westwood Creative Artists. Her YA novel, The House of One Thousand Eyes, was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 and has won numerous awards, including the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. Her upcoming novel, My Long List of Impossible Things, will be out in 2020. Michelle holds an MFA in creative writing from UBC. She loves working closely with writers, many of whom have gone on to win publishing contracts and honours for their work.

David Brown

David Brown is a senior editor at the Darling Axe ( He is an award-winning short fiction writer, and his debut novel is represented by the Donaghy Literary Group. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in magazines and literary journals, and he volunteers for the Malahat Review where he interviews writing judges and screens contest entries. He holds a BA in anthropology (UVic) and an MFA in creative writing (UBC). As an editor, he pays special attention to structure, relationship arcs, and voice. David lives in Victoria, Canada, in the traditional territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

Christina Myers

Christina Myers is a freelance writer and editor, a former journalist, and a creative writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She is the creator and editor of BIG: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies (coming February 2020, Caitlin Press), a collection of non-fiction from 26 writers from Canada, the US, and the UK. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and online, and she has won or been shortlisted for a number of literary and journalism awards. She is an alumnus of the Writer’s Studio at SFU, holds a journalism degree from Thompson Rivers University and a BA from the University of British Columbia. She juggles stay-at-home-parenthood and her creative work from behind her desk in Surrey, BC. 

Dwayne Clayden

Dwayne Clayden combines his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic to write realistic crime thrillers. Crisis Point, Dwayne’s first novel, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards. OutlawMC and Wolfman is Back are the second and third novels in the Brad Coulter Series.The Brad Coulter will continue in 2020. In his 40 year career, Dwayne served as a police officer, paramedic, tactical paramedic, firefighter, emergency medical services (EMS) chief, educator, and academic chair. Dwayne is a popular speaker at conferences and to writing groups presenting on realistic police, medical, and paramedic procedures.The co-author of four paramedic textbooks, he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences for the past three decades.

Author portraits for use on books and book proposals, as well as on LinkedIn, portfolio websites, and other online marketing tools. ©2015, Sean Phillips

Pamela Beason

Pamela Beason, a former private investigator, lives in Bellingham, Washington. She is the author of thirteen full-length fiction works: RACE WITH DANGER, RACE TO TRUTH, and RACE FOR JUSTICE in the Run for Your Life suspense trilogy, THE ONLY WITNESS, THE ONLY CLUE, and THE ONLY ONE LEFT in the Neema (signing gorilla) mysteries, ENDANGERED, BEAR BAIT, UNDERCURRENTS, BACKCOUNTRY, and BORDERLAND in the Summer “Sam” Westin wilderness series, and the romantic suspense novels SHAKEN and AGAIN in the Langston Family Stories. She’s also the author of the romantic adventure novella CALL OF THE JAGUAR, and nonfiction titles SO YOU WANT TO BE A PI?, and TRADITIONAL vs INDIE PUBLISHING: WHAT TO EXPECT. Her books have been published by Penguin (Berkley Prime Crime) and WildWing Press, and her writing has won the Daphne du Maurier Award and two Chanticleer Book Reviews Grand Prizes, as well as other minor awards.

When Pam’s not hard at work on another book, she explores the natural world on foot, on cross-country skis or snowshoes, in her kayak, or underwater scuba diving, and posts on InstaGram about writing, animals of all sorts, outdoor adventures, and the value of being present in the moment. She looks forward to connecting with readers on her website, Twitter, BookBub, or a new collaboration site with two other environmental mystery authors:

Carol Rose GoldenEagle

Carol Rose GoldenEagle is a Saskatchewan Author of award-winning novel BEARSKIN DIARY.   Her work has been previously published using the surname of Daniels.  Carol now chooses to use her Traditional name, which has more meaning to her.  BEARSKIN DIARY is an award-winning novel,  being chosen as the Aboriginal Literature Title for 2017 by the Periodical Marketers of Canada.  It was also shortlisted for 3 Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2016.  The French language translation of this novel, entitled Peau D’ours won a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2019.

Her first book of poetry – entitled Hiraeth – was released in early 2018 (Inanna Publications).   Hiraeth was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2019.   Her second novel – Bone Black– is  set to be released in 2019 (Nightwood Editions).   Her third novel – Narrows of Fear – will also be released, date tba (Nightwood 2020). She is currently working on fourth novel manuscript.  Carol is also an Aboriginal artist, multi-disciplined in the areas of writing, storytelling, singing/drumming & visual art.

On a regular basis, she enjoys performing at schools, community centres and children’s festivals across the province.  She is a published poet, short story writer and novelist.  As a visual artist, her work has been exhibited in art galleries across Saskatchewan and Northern Canada.  As a musician,  a CD of women’s drum songs, on which Carol was featured, was recently nominated for a Prairie Music Award.  Carol is Cree & Dene with roots in Sandy Bay, northern Saskatchewan.  However before pursuing her art on a full-time basis, Carol worked as a journalist for more than 30 years – working in television and radio at APTN, CTV & CBC.

Carol’s new novel Wapawikoscikanik – The Narrows of Fear is set to be released in the Fall of 2020.

S. Lesley Buxton

S. Lesley Buxton is the author of the award-winning memoir One Strong Girl: Surviving the unimaginable, a mother’s memoir. Her essays have appeared in HazlittToday’s ParentStill StandingThis Magazine, and in the Caitlin Press anthology Love Me True. An excerpt of One Strong Girl appeared in the March 2019 issue of Reader’s Digest. Her blog, “Fall On Me, Dear” examines motherhood and grief.  She studied acting at Mountview Theatre School in London, England and has a MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Janine Cross

Janine Cross’s debut novel Touched by Venom (Penguin USA) made the top-five of one of Library Journal’s annual booklists, her fantasy trilogy has been translated and published internationally, and her literary novel The Footstop Café garnered critical acclaim in Canada. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Aurora Award, the Speculative Literature Foundation Award, and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. She’s presented at the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, Creative Ink Festival, the North Shore Arts Symposium, and the Oregon Writers Convention. As a private pilot, she writes aviation articles for the Canadian Owners & Pilots Association magazine.

Diane Terrana

Diane is the Executive Editor at The Rights Factory, an award-winning instructor in the University of Toronto’s SCS Creative Writing program, and an author: her debut YA debut novel—The World on Either Side—was published by Orca Books in Sept 2019.

Since, Diane spends so much time in her head, she occasionally needs to get out of it. To that end, she went skydiving with her son on his 21st birthday—an experience that felt out of body as well. She lives in the GTA with her husband, youngest son, calico cat and Siberian husky. (Her two oldest kids have left home but still haven’t cleaned out their bedrooms.)

Andrew Buckley

Andrew Buckley is a traditionally published author of rather silly, yet enjoyable fiction for all ages. Upon graduating from film school, he pitched and developed several screenplay projects before turning to novel writing, and became the author of the popular HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES SERIES for middle grade readers. 

In addition to writing, Andrew speaks to thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students each year about storytelling and writing through the delivery of interactive and engaging workshops and presentations. His novel writing series for teens to adults has received unanimously positive reviews, and he speaks at writing conferences and comic-cons, most recently as visiting faculty to the Las Vegas Writers Conference and North Colorado Writers Conference. 

Andrew is also the co-founder and lead instructor at Wordsmith Academy, is busy working on several new novels, has a stunning amount of other ideas, and is currently attempting to bend time and space to allow for more hours in the day.

He now lives happily in the Okanagan Valley, BC with one beautiful wife, three kids, two needy dogs, and a multitude of characters that live comfortably inside of his mind. 

Andrew is represented by Mark Gottlieb at the Trident Media Group.

JM Landels

JM Landels is author of the fantasy bestseller Allaigna’s Song: Overture, and is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press. In addition to her work as a writer, editor, artist, and publisher, she teaches swordplay and riding — sometimes both at the same time — in Langley, BC. She draws on this experience, as well as her time as a rock musician and childbirth educator, to inform her fantasy and historical fiction. Her second novel, Allaigna’s Song: Aria was released in April of this year and she is currently working on a new series, La Bergère, featuring a shepherdess-turned-spy in seventeenth-century France.

Melanie Anastasiou

Mel is a senior acquisitions editor with Pulp Literature. As well, she writes mysteries starring sleuths who are often fish out of water and gifted amateur ’tecs. Mel loves her editing and writing life on Bowen Island, BC, and St Albans, UK, and she can be found every day writing and drawing, walking for miles to look at inspired Victorian architecture, and eating scones with clotted cream and jam, thus the walking.

She is the author of the illustrated writing guides, The Writer’s Boon Companion, Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume and The Writer’s Friend and Confidante.  Her novel Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries is available through Pulp Literature Press, and her other mystery series, The Monument Studio Mysteries and The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries can be found on

Lacy Lieffers

Lacy Lieffers is an editor, strategic marketer, and brand developer. She has a degree in marketing, and provides editing and marketing services to authors through her business, One Leaf Editing.

Lacy has a passion for building strong brands, understanding consumer behaviour, and helping her clients shape and share their story with their audience.

It’s her belief that your brand is the storytelling portion of your journey, and a well-defined brand will highlight who you are as an author, establish your voice, identify your ideal reader, and serve as a guide for your words and strategic direction.

For more details, visit her website at

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