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Past Speakers

Wondering who we’ve had speak at past Writing Retreat Samplers? See below for more info on all of our fabulous writing retreat hosts who have shared their time and knowledge with us.

Caroline Topperman, speaker at the Writing Retreat Sampler virtual event.

I am a European-Canadian writer, entrepreneur, dancer, and world traveler. Born in Sweden, raised in Canada, I hold a BFA with a specialization in screenwriting. While completing my degree, I script-doctored an award-winning screenplay. More recently, I spent 4 years living in Poland but am currently back in Canada. I love traveling and experiencing different cultures, and I speak fluent English, Polish, and French. Never one to say no to a new opportunity, I’ve worked in the fashion and beauty industries, sold insurance, and aftermarket car upgrades, did a stint in real estate, and I’ve even owned a Pilates studio that was frequented by A-list celebrities. My screenwriting degree has taught me to be aware of the details, to be present and in the moment with writing. As the founder of the popular blog, StyleOnTheSide, I’m here to share my personal experiences, insights and ultimately give you permission to step outside of your box and discover your own unique voice. I am an Author Accelerator certified book coach, as well as a developmental editor. My book, Tell Me What You See, is a visual prompt journal to help you see the world through a new lens.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Threads

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Andi Cumbo speaker at Writing Retreat Sampler.

I’m a writer and editor. I love to read narratives – stories that tell us more about other people and ourselves. My favorite genres are magical realism, mysteries, and essays, but I read widely and as much as I can. I used to say I wrote mostly creative nonfiction – and that’s still where my heart and words most feel at peace – but I’ve also written some YA novels and a few books about the writing life, too. Plus, I’m now writing cozy mysteries under a pen name, ACF Bookens, and soon I hope to have some mid-life rom coms out under my pen name Andrea Cumbo. Most of my books are self-published, but I also co-authored Plantation Jesus, a book about racism in the Christian church with Skot Welch and Rick Wilson that was published by the wonderful Herald Press. Additionally, I provide coaching for folks who’d like a little accountability and support in their writing journey. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature, and I’ve taught at several colleges and universities all around the country including George Mason University, Cecil College, Stevenson University, Santa Clara University, and Solano College.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Threads

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Kathryn Kay, A Writer Within retreat host

Kathryn Kay is an author, editor, writing coach, and the founder of A Writer Within. She holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of the novel The Gilder. As an experienced and innovative teacher, Kathryn has been offering writing workshops for 25 years. She knows what it’s like to start a writing project or be stuck in the middle of one without a clear way forward, and is an expert on how to structure a writing practice, prioritized ideas, set goals, and get the best words on the page. In 2017 her dream of holding writing retreats for women in Tuscany became a reality, and her retreat can be found on many of the “best retreats” lists, including The Write Life. Kathryn believes that freeing your writer within can lead to the writing life you’ve always wanted.

Website |Instagram |Facebook

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Robin Henry, Novel Whisperer writing retreat host

Robin Henry is an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach and holds an MLS (Library Science) and MA in Humanities. She is a librarian, adjunct professor of Humanities, and an independent scholar and book coach, specializing in Historical Fiction, Cozy Mysteries, and Women’s Fiction. She has over 20 years of experience working with books and authors, as a reviewer, book award committee member, writing teacher and coach. She is a total history nerd!

Writers work with Robin to craft the compelling novels readers crave about people who’ve made a difference.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

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Kat Caldwell, Writing Retreat Sampler Speaker

Kat Caldwell is a novelist and short story writer. She writes both historical and contemporary fiction, sometimes dabbling in magical realism when life needs an extra sparkle. As an author she decided to pursue the indie author route, publishing her historical romance, Stepping Across the Desert in 2017, her magical realism novel, An Audience with the King, in 2019, and her contemporary women’s lit, Coffee Stains, in 2021.

To help all writers, whether indie or traditionally published, Kat started her podcast Pencils&Lipstick in 2019. After becoming an Author Accelerator certified book coach, Kat turned her focus to developing writing workshops and retreat, both online and in-person. If she isn’t writing or at a retreat, you can usually find Kat interviewing other creatives for her Pencil&Lipstick podcast or volunteering with her local church — always with a cup of cold brew nearby.

You can find her books and more about her at the links below.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

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Lori Hayes, Catch the Wave writing retreat host.

LORI HAYES has been writing since 2009 and is a Multi-Award-Winning Author. She loves helping writers learn and wants to help you demystify the arduous process of getting published. Lori has written eight published books. Currently, her agent is working on finding the right home for Lori’s narrative nonfiction. Also, Lori is working on the second draft of her next beach book, and she can’t wait to share this one with you. She is both traditional and self-published and has sold over $30,000 with her self-published books alone. She knows secrets of the trade, is willing to share, and wants to help you succeed in your writing career.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

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Dorothy Holtermann Writing Retreat Sampler Speaker

As a self-health expert with a resume of diverse executive positions, including law, grant writing, and project management, I bring a decade’s worth of skills to fuel the book-writing revolution. As the author of Love Food that Loves You Back, teacher, and founder of Birth a Book, I mentor authors and operate retreats to help writers transform into authors. My writing retreats are on Write Life’s list of 25+ Incredible Writers Retreats to attend from 2019-2022. Join me in crafting books that change lives, including your own! 

Website |Facebook

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Daniel Waldman, Writing Retreat Sampler Speaker

Daniel Waldman is a former marketing and PR executive turned expat and freelance writer/editor/event producer. He has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and public relations, including 7 years running his own boutique agency. He got his start as an editor at a vanity press, and later went on to lead marketing and communications at a variety of marketing agencies before starting his own business.

He has a BA in English from Loyola College in Maryland and a MA in Communications, Culture & Technology from Georgetown University. He’s also a published short fiction writer, with a short story published in Bewildering Stories. Daniel also loves painting, hiking, and seeing live music. He lives in Nantes, France with his family.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Barbara Boyd, speaker at Writing Retreat Sampler featuring Mainely Memoir Retreat.

Barbara believes everyone has a book to write-it’s just a matter asking the right questions. With more than two hundred books under her belt, she brings deep experience as a book coach, developmental editor, and ghostwriter. Barbara blends innate nurturing and laser-focused organizing. She has been celebrated by clients for her unique ability to honor their intentions with practical and intuitive insights that also ensure the reader has the best possible experience. Memoirist Nicola Mendenhall has this to say about working with Barbara: “Barbara has walked beside me through all stages of creating two memoirs: developing structure, reading first drafts, fine-tuning language, offering ideas to flesh out content, and supplying publication options while consistently encouraging me to keep growing as a writer. She is reliable, receptive, resourceful, relatable. I recommend her unreservedly.” – Nicola Mendenhall, author of Fear, Folly & Freud: A Psychotherapist in Psychoanalysis and Leaving Analysis: A Year Finding Freud, Rediscovering the Sacred. Barbara’s superpowers are active listening, organization, and being able to see both the whole picture and the steps to go from idea to completion. She’s skilled in research, writing, project planning, and production and applies those whether she’s coaching a writer on a book idea, editing a manuscript, or tending the garden, bringing the same care, attention, and intention regardless of task. When she’s not coaching, editing, or reading, she tends an olive farm and apiary in southern Italy, where she lives with her husband and their dog, Lucy.

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook

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Susanne Dunlap Writing Retreat Sampler Speaker

Susanne Dunlap is an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach in Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as the author of more than a dozen historical novels for adults and teens. Susanne loves to work with both fiction and memoir authors, helping them develop strong, compelling stories. As her client Susan Spector said of her memoir, Keep Calm, it’s Just a Brain Tumor (Bellastoria Press, 2019), “I just want you to know what a miracle this book was and is for me. I owe you a lifetime debt of gratitude for working with me in such a crazy time of my life.” Susanne is an active author and member of the literary community. Her most recent novel, The Courtesan’s Daughter, is a Chanticleer Reviews Best Book, and her novel The Portraitist is a finalist in both the Foreword Indies Awards and the CIBA Goethe Awards. Her young adult historical mystery The Paris Affair won first place in its category in the CIBA Dante Rossetti awards for Young Adult Fiction. The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Utah Book Award and the Missouri Gateway Reader’s Prize. In the Shadow of the Lamp was an Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award nominee. Her essay, What Memoir Writers Can Learn from Historical Novelists, was featured on Jane Friedman’s blog in March, 2023. Susanne earned her BA and an MA (musicology) from Smith College and her PhD from Yale University (music history), and lives in Biddeford, ME, with her little dog Betty.

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook

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Suzette Mullen Writing Retreat Sampler Speaker

Suzette Mullen is an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach in Fiction and Nonfiction and is the author of the memoir The Only Way Through Is Out, forthcoming Winter 2024 from the University of Wisconsin Press. She believes that everyone’s story matters, and she has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ writers and allies. Suzette has helped numerous writers find agent representation and land book deals, including Jamie Gehring, author of the memoir The Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber. Amy Goldmacher, winner of the 2022 Kurt Brown Prize for Creative Nonfiction, calls Suzette “calm, in charge without being bossy, and tough in the best kind of way. She won’t let you get away without going as deep as you need to go in service of the story you were meant to share with the world.” Suzette’s favorite part of coaching is helping memoir writers find their deeper story and the structure that serves that story. A former attorney and now a creative writer, she is both analytical and intuitive, attributes she brings to her coaching practice. Suzette also finds great joy in fostering writing communities, whether it’s by helping writers make one-on-one connections or creating ongoing accountability and support opportunities through her group coaching program for LGBTQ+ writers. She is the proud mom of two adult sons and lives in Lancaster PA with her wife and their nine-pound rescue pup, Lucy.

Website | InstagramLinkedIn | Facebook

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Valeria Speaker Page

Valeria Vescina is a writer, reviewer and creative-writing tutor, as well as Literary Director of the Hampstead Arts Festival. She is a graduate of the Goldsmiths MA in Creative & Life Writing (University of London) and debuted at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival with That Summer in Puglia. A highly experienced creative-writing teacher, Valeria has designed and delivered workshops and lectures since 2013 for a variety of audiences: from secondary-school pupils to university Creative Writing BA and MA classes in the UK, and from diverse Adult Education groups to fellow authors. Her writing retreats are on the Write Life’s list of 25+ Incredible Writers Retreats to Attend in 2022. Valeria works across borders and cultures: a citizen of both Britain and Italy, she’s bilingual in English and Italian, fluent in German and French, and based in Switzerland since 2020 after living in London for most of her life.Website |Twitter |Instagram |Facebook |LinkedIn

Mimi Herman Speaker Page

Mimi Herman is the author of The Kudzu Queen, Logophilia and A Field Guide to Human Emotions. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard ReviewThe Hollins CriticPrime Number, and other journals. She has performed her fiction and poetry at Why There are Words, Symphony Space, and Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Mimi is a member of the AWP Board of Directors, a Warren Wilson MFA alumna, a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and a Hermitage Artist Retreat Fellow. 

Website |Instagram |Facebook

John Yewell Speaker Page

John Yewell is a writer and editor with an MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University and twenty years of experience in journalism, fiction and science writing. His bibliography of stories and articles runs to 45 single-spaced pages. With his brilliant eye for plot and ear for dialogue, John helps writers engage readers through fiction, nonfiction and poetry. His editing clients have been published by the University of Mississippi Press, University of Massachusetts Press and Regal House Publishing.

Website |Instagram |Facebook

Susan Hagen Speaker Page

Susan Hagen combines her experience as a writer and wilderness rites-of-passage guide to offer heart-opening, life-affirming writing circles and retreats for women. Her former work as a journalist and firefighter/EMT inspired her to co-author the 9/11 book, Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion. Many of the first responders who shared their stories for the book later credited that experience as the first step in rebuilding their lives and careers. Now, two decades later, their journey is a testament to the healing power of story. It also remains a potent seed for the work Susan is passionate about today: creating a safe place for women to write, connect, heal, and grow.

Website

Wendy Ridolini Speaker Page(1)

After a career in accounting, administration and marketing, I ran away to Italy with my partner to renovate an old Italian farmhouse in 2009. Things did not exactly go according to plan as an earthquake destroyed most of it. Using my skills from being a teacher of English, I started to edit  ‘Olives and Earthquakes,’ an account of our adventures in Italy written by my dyslexic partner. I felt he had a great deal of talent as a storyteller. As he started to write thrillers and historical fiction,  I set up my own publishing business, Sunflower Publishing to self-publish his stories as e-books and paperbacks. I loved this so much, I wanted to help other people on the same journey. I’ve always loved reading, been fascinated by the use of language to express emotions and adore great stories in any genre. I am a book blogger and reviewer for books set in Italy. 

Website |Twitter |Instagram |Facebook

Amy Scott Speaker Page

Amy Scott is the founder of Scott Editorial. She is a published author with a Master’s degree in Creative & Critical Writing and a BA in English Literature. With twenty years of experience editing fiction and non-fiction, she has gained extensive knowledge of both the self-publishing and traditional sections of the industry. Before starting Scott Editorial in 2016, she developed scripts for TV documentaries, was one of the original journalists for the London Progress Journal, and is currently the senior editor for the University of Gloucestershire’s Anthology.
QUIRKY FACT: I once threw a dart at a map and moved to where it landed. Thankfully, it was the Dominican Republic and not Antarctica.
MY GOAL: To continue inspiring indie authors to be the best that they can be.
MY MANTRA: Live for the whimsical.

Website

Marissa Morrow Speaker Page

Marissa Morrow (she/her/hers) joined Lighthouse as the newest Administrative Associate in November of 2021 and started as the Community Engagement Program Manager in August of 2022. Previously she worked as a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. Marissa has a BA in human development with a minor in sociology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. With a steadfast passion for poetry, literature, and social justice, she has always found joy and freedom in the literary arts.

Website |Twitter |Instagram |Facebook |LinkedIn

Erica Green Speaker Page

Erica Jacobs Green has worked in book publishing for nearly twenty-five years. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a BA in English, she was most recently the Vice President, Editorial Director, for Children’s Publishing at National Geographic. Highlights of Erica’s publishing career include children’s book editor at Chronicle Books, founder of Ever After Studios (a book production company), and Director of Publishing at Discovery Channel (Discovery Communications). In addition to working on the Iceland Writers Retreat, Erica is a freelance writer, editor, and publishing consultant. Her articles and short stories have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and online. Erica has worked with award-winning authors and illustrators as well as an array of famed brands for children and adults. Originally from California, Erica has spent many years abroad, including two years in Iceland. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband, two children, and a beagle in a house full of traveler’s artifacts. 

Website |Twitter |Instagram |Facebook |LinkedIn

Dorothy Holtermann Speaker Page

As a self-health expert with a resume of diverse executive positions, including law, grant writing, and project management, I bring a decade’s worth of skills to fuel the book-writing revolution. As the author of Love Food that Loves You Back, teacher, and founder of Birth a Book, I mentor authors and operate retreats to help writers transform into authors. My writing retreats are on Write Life’s list of 25+ Incredible Writers Retreats to attend from 2019-2022. Join me in crafting books that change lives, including your own! 

Website |Facebook

Karrie Loomis Speaker Page

Karrie Loomis loves traveling, taking pictures, and writing. She is a Navy Veteran and has lived in Virginia Beach for the past 25 years, but she still calls Michigan home. Karrie is the treasurer and also on the conference committee for the Hampton Roads Writers Organization (HRW). She also teaches a creative writing workshop at The Muse Writers Center. Tidewater Writers is Hampton Roads’ largest critique group, and Karrie has attended the critique sessions since 2015 and hosted three of those years. “The Rocking Horse,” a stranger-danger, middle grade, fiction, is Karrie’s first book. She writes personal essays and women’s fiction. Karrie facilitates and hosts writing retreats and coaches writers on character development and creativity. Karrie is also a Reiki Master, Spiritual Life Mentor, and is in the process of finishing a Master of Arts Degree in Transpersonal Psychology.

Website |Instagram |Facebook

Page Lambert Speaker Page

Page Lambert grew up in Colorado where she fell in love with harebells, wild onions and gangly ponderosas. In her teens, she courted rivers, cottonwoods, horses, and frogs. She’s been “writing nature” ever since. Author of the classic Wyoming memoir In Search of Kinship, the historical novel Shifting Stars (finalist, Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award), nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, Page’s essays and poems are widely published. “Her River Writing Journeys for Women” were once featured in Oprah’s O Magazine as “One of the six top, all girl getaways of the year!”  In 2023, she’ll celebrate 26 years of creative river journeys, 16 years of “Literature & Landscape of the Horse” retreats, her 6th “Weaving Words & Women” retreat in Peru, her 2nd annual “Romancing the Story” retreat in Colorado, and her 2nd “Autumn Writing Retreat in the Berkshires.” Page also leads one-day writing seminars at Mount Vernon Canyon Club in the foothills west of Denver, Colorado.

Website |Twitter |Pinterest |Facebook |LinkedIn

Kent Sanders Speaker Page

Kent Sanders is the founder of Inkwell Ghostwriting, which helps leaders grow their business through books and other content. He is also the author and co-author of numerous books, including 18 Words to Live By: A Father’s Wisdom on What Matters Most and co-author of The Faith of Elvis: A Story Only a Brother Can Tell with Billy Stanley, Elvis Presley’s stepbrother. In addition to writing books for himself and his clients, Kent loves to help other writers. He is the host of the Daily Writer podcast and the founder of the Daily Writer Club, a membership community that helps writers build a business with their skills.

Website |Instagram |Facebook |LinkedIn

Kathryn Kay Speaker Page

Kathryn Kay is an author, editor, writing coach, and the founder of A Writer Within. She holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of the novel The Gilder. As an experienced and innovative teacher, Kathryn has been offering writing workshops for 25 years. She knows what it’s like to start a writing project or be stuck in the middle of one without a clear way forward, and is an expert on how to structure a writing practice, prioritized ideas, set goals, and get the best words on the page. In 2017 her dream of holding writing retreats for women in Tuscany became a reality, and her retreat can be found on many of the “best retreats” lists, including The Write Life. Kathryn believes that freeing your writer within can lead to the writing life you’ve always wanted.

Website |Instagram |Facebook