Faculty 2022

KCWC workshop leaders are successful agents, editors, and authors. They have been carefully chosen as instructors based on their commitment to Christ and their desire to share valuable wisdom and insight with other Christian writers.

This page lists only faculty who will teach workshops. Visit the Agents/Editors page to learn about the folks who will participate in the panel discussion Thursday night.


A literary agent represents writers and their written works to publishers and assists in sales, promotion, and deal negotiation.


An editor works for a media outlet and facilitates the publishing process, sometimes including proofreading, copy-editing, and critiques.


A Christian author is a person who writes to glorify God. KCWC faculty members are recognized industry professionals.

Shellie arnold

Shellie has three published novels: The Spindle Chair, Sticks and Stones, and Abide With Me (nominated for a Selah in 2018), all of which depict the “perfect storms” in marriage—what happens when our weaknesses hit head-on, and we’re both left wondering if anything can be salvaged.

A multi-published author, she has written articles, Bible study/devotional curriculum, and contributed to several non-fiction works. She has keynoted at women’s retreats and taught in the workshop, Sunday school class, and small group settings. Shellie regularly serves on faculty at the Florida Christian Writers Conference leading the popular Manuscript Critique Track, which allows writers to get feedback on their current work-in-progress. She has also served on faculty at St. David’s Christian Writers Conference, and the Speak Up conference.

Shellie has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-six years. She has three children, one daughter-in-love, two grandsons, three cats, two dogs, and two rabbits. She lives in northeast Ohio.

Misty Beller

Misty is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. With over 25 novels published, she writes as both an indie author and for Bethany House Publishers, and is Managing Editor of Wild Heart Books, a traditional publisher specializing in Christian Historical Romance novels.

After thirteen years working in professional project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to develop best practices in her writing and book marketing efforts. It is her passion to help other authors on this journey.

Michele chynoweth

Michele Chynoweth is the best-selling and award-winning author of The Faithful One, The Peace Maker, The Runaway Prophet, and The Jealous Son, contemporary suspense novels that re-imagine Bible stories.

Michele is also a sought-after public speaker who has addressed a variety of writers’ conferences and other organizations across the country, a professional editor and book coach, college writing instructor, and founder of “Your Book Done Right” Master Class and Elite Coaching. A former news reporter and marketing director, she’s a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and lives with her husband in North East, Maryland.

Tracy Crump

Tracy Crump dispenses hope in her new book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness (CrossLink Publishing). Her writing has appeared in diverse publications, including Woman’s World, Focus on the Family, Upper Room, and Guideposts books.

Best known for publishing more than 22 stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul® books, her course on writing for the series is one of Serious Writer’s bestsellers, and her popular newsletter includes story callouts. Tracy co-directs Write Life Workshops, speaks at conferences, proofreads for Farmers’ Almanac, and edits for private clients. But her most important job is Grandma to four completely unspoiled grandchildren.


Rhonda Dragomir

Rhonda Dragomir is a multimedia creative who treasures her fairy tale life in Central Kentucky, insisting her home is her castle, even if her prince refuses to dig a moat. She has published works in several anthologies and periodicals, and is seeking publication of her first novel, an historical romance. Rhonda was named 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc., and she is represented by Linda Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency.

Rhonda formed The Dragomir Group to offer websites and design services to writers. She is a frequent guest in writers’ conferences and forums, teaching multiple subjects focused on the use of technology.

tama fortner

Tama Fortner is an ECPA award-winning author with more than forty titles to her credit. She is also the writer behind the bestselling Indescribable for Kids series with Louie Giglio, as well as a number of books in the Jesus Calling children’s line, including the wildly successful Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, which has sold more than 1,000,000 copies to date.

Tama has been working as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and editor for more than twenty-five years. She and her husband have two children who have grown up much too fast for their mama’s liking. They live on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy sampling new restaurants, watching old movies, and eating popcorn with far too much butter and salt.

Lori Hatcher

Lori Hatcher is a women’s ministry speaker, author, editor, blogger, minister’s wife, and healthcare professional. She shares an empty nest in Lexington, SC with her husband, David, and her vast collection of books.

Lori served as the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbia magazine for more than a decade. She’s authored three (soon to be five) devotional books, including Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publishing), and the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year, Hungry for God … Starving for Time. Lori writes devotions for Our Daily Bread and Guideposts projects including All God’s Creatures, Evenings with Jesus, and God Knows Her. Her feature articles and devotions have been published by Proverbs 31 ministries, Revive Our HeartsThe Upper Room, War Cry, Today’s Christian Living, and Christian Living in the Mature Years.

A contest-winning Toastmasters International speaker (ACG, ALB), Lori loves to use stories to impart spiritual truth. Encouraging, inspiring, and entertaining are the words people use most to describe her.

Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes, represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary, wears many hats. By day, he is a professor of communication. On Wednesdays and Sundays, he serves as a children’s pastor. In his “spare time,” he is a freelance writer. Carlton is an empty-nesting dad and devoted husband who enjoys classic sitcoms and chocolate—all the chocolate.

His work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Wonders of Nature, Just Breathe, So God Made a Dog, Simple Little Words, and Everyday Grace for Men. He is also currently writing for Focus on the Family. His latest book is Adventures in Fatherhood, co-authored with Holland Webb, from Ellie Claire/Hachette Publishing. Carlton also enjoys dressing up as crazy characters and making videos for his children’s ministry. He once made actress Emilia Clarke laugh. 

Julie Lavender

Julie Lavender is the author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, published by Revell, and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime, published by a Penguin Random House imprint. Her interview with Focus on the Family Broadcast about showing love to a child aired in January of this year, and she says she’s still doing a happy dance and praising the Lord for that exciting opportunity. Watch the video here.

Julie’s other published works include over 1000 newspaper credits, three teacher resource books, homeschooling and women’s devotionals, over 100 articles in 33 unique print publications, 11 compilations, curriculum lessons for Group Publishing, and regular contributions to several online websites. A Guideposts Writing Contest win in 2014 sent Julie to New York for a weeklong intensive with Guideposts editors and fellow winners.

Julie is a former homeschooling mom who holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is married to her high school and college sweetheart, and the two are parents of four, in-laws of two, and grandparents of one.

Robin Patchen

Robin Patchen is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of Christian romantic suspense. She grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, the setting of her Nutfield Saga books, and then headed to Boston to earn a journalism degree.

Working in marketing and public relations, she discovered how much she loathed the nine-to-five ball and chain. After relocating to the Southwest, she started writing her first novel while she homeschooled her three children. The novel was dreadful, but her passion for storytelling didn’t wane. Thankfully, as her children grew, so did her writing ability. Now that her kids are adults, she has more time to play with the lives of fictional heroes and heroines, wreaking havoc and working magic to give her characters happy endings.

When she’s not writing, she’s editing or reading, proving that most of her life revolves around the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter to receive a free book and stay informed about Robin’s latest projects. 

Edwina Perkins

Edwina Perkins is the assistant director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She is also the coordinator for Mentoring Moments and the manager for Sensitivity Between the Lines, both with BRMCWC. She is an acquisitions editor for Iron Stream Media and the imprint Harambee Press.

As a longtime member of Word Weavers International, she now serves as a member of the advisory board. Edwina is an award-winning writer, experienced teacher, speaker, freelance editor, and a sensitivity reader. She is also a freelance writer with Guideposts. One of her passions is to address the need for sensitivity and diversity in the publishing industry.

She’s a lover of anything dark chocolate, and chocolate-covered espresso beans are her weakness.


Blue Ridge Writers Conference

Sensitivity Between the Lines

Harambee Press


Leslie Santamaria

Leslie Santamaria is a May 2022 candidate for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with a concentration in writing for children, at the Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann School of Writing at Spalding University in Louisville. Her work has appeared in many periodicals, including Highlights for Children, Pockets, and Spider. Her children’s picture book, A Mother Who Prayed, is available from Concordia Publishing House.

As a longtime freelance editor for publishers, businesses, ministries, and individuals, she has coached many writers to publication. A frequent contest judge and workshop presenter, Leslie specializes in children’s literature and would love to help you, too!

Diane Stark

In 2018, Diane Stark won the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest and became a regular contributor to the four magazines published by Guideposts. She has written hundreds of personal experience pieces and ghost-written the experiences of others. Her stories have been published in more than 50 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Diane writes about the important things in life: her family and her faith.

Jim Watkins

First and foremost, Jim is a writer saved by grace. Of much lesser importance, he’s the author of 20 books and over 2,500 articles which have won numerous national awards.

Jim has worked as a magazine and book editor since his sophomore year in college and taught writing for fifteen years at Taylor University. Jim has spoken around the world in churches, colleges, and conferences. But mostly, he is a writer saved by grace!