• Announcing our 2024 Flathead River Writers Conference

    Our plans so far:

    • Speakers: Debra Magpie Earling is our keynote speaker and featured presenter. She is the acclaimed author of The Lost Journals of Sacajawea. Others include Agent Joanna MacKenzie from the Nelson Agency along with Danica Winters, Maggie Doherty, Leslie Budewitz, Kathy Dunnehoff and more to be announced.
    • Plans: Our regular 2-day general conference on Oct 5 and 6 at the Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center in Kalispell, Montana. There will be an additional four-and-a-half hour workshop Friday, October 4, with author/editor Keir Graff. The conference is limited to 100 participants and the Friday workshop to 25.
    • Conference Schedule: TBA
    • We aim to have the lineup posted by February 1. For questions, please contact Authors of the Flathead president, Craig Naylor, at craigtnaylor@gmail.com, 406-250-8867. 
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    Our Moderator


    Kathy Dunnehoff is the author of four romantic comedies: “The Do-Over”, “Plan On It”,
    “Back to U” and “Hollywood Beginnings." She also writes screenplays, stageplays, and has
    taught creative writing for more than 30 years. And she believes that writers need conferences
    the same way dogs need dog parks. https://www.amazon.com/stores/Kathy-Dunnehoff/author/B005519KTG?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

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    Keynote speaker Mark Sullivan

    Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 Amazon Charts
    and #4 USA Today historical bestseller "Beneath a Scarlet Sky", which has been translated into 37 languages and is in development as a feature film with Imperative Films. Sullivan's other novels include the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestseller "The Last Green Valley", about Bozeman's Martel family, and five #1 New York Times bestselling novels with James Patterson. His prior novels have earned him a New York Times Notable Book citation, the W.H. Smith Fresh Talent Award, a nomination for the Edgar Allen Poe Award, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book nod. His forthcoming historical novel, ALL THE GLIMMERING STARS, which takes place in Uganda, will be published in May 2024. He lives with his wife on Flathead Lake during the summer and Bozeman and Big Sky the rest of the year. https://marksullivanbooks.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UAto-ep80c

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    Agent Zach Honey


    Zach is North-Carolina-born and Montana-raised with an equal love for sweet tea and waist-deep snow. Zach joined Fine Print Literary in 2020 and became an Associate Agent in 2022. He studied film production and philosophy at Montana State University and received a Master's Degree from the University of Nottingham in England. Zach is primarily seeking thrillers and adult fiction, especially those set in rural places, mountainous regions, or other hard-to-reach corners of the world. His other interests include hiking, skiing, music, board games, golf, and other outdoor activities, and is is open to non-fiction pitches in these categories.


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    Agent Julie Stevenson


    Please note: The one-on-one Conference appointments for Julie Stevenson are all filled. Please consider Zach Honey.


    Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie & McQuilkin in New York. She represents

    literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction,

    young adult fiction and children’s picture books. She is drawn to storytelling with

    unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, and a strong sense of narrative

    tension. She looks for work that explores the depths of human experience, particularly the

    many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and regional and

    international backgrounds. She’s agented #1 New York Times and international best

    sellers, as well as books that have won the Pulitzer Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel

    Prize, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton

    Literary Peace Award, the Eisner Honor, and the Caldecott Honor. Before she became an

    agent, Julie worked in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly. She

    received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washington University in St.

    Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York.


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    Author, Poet, Storyteller Chris La Tray


    Chris La Tray is a Métis storyteller, a descendent of the Pembina Band of the mighty Red River of the North, and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. His third book, Becoming Little Shell, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Niibin the summer of 2024. His first book, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large, won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His book of haiku and haibun poetry, Descended from a Travel-worn Satchel, was published in 2021 by Foothills Publishing. He was selected by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte to serve as Montana Poet Laureate for 2023–2025. Chris writes the weekly newsletter "An Irritable Métis" and lives near Frenchtown, Montana. http://www.chrislatray.com/

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    Author, Editor, Teacher Mark Leichliter

    Mark Leichliter (aka Mark Hummel) is a novelist, editor, and teacher. To Montana readers,
    he is best known for his crime novel The Other Side. Writing as Mark Hummel, his comedic
    literary novel titled Man, Underground is forthcoming in October (Regal House Publishing).
    He is previously the author of a novel In the Chameleon’s Shadow and the story collection
    Lost and Found. https://markleichliter.com/


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    Author/Coach Glenn Schiffman and Script Consultant/Coach Barbara Schiffman
    Glenn Schiffman has an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and an MSC in Counseling from the University of Santa Monica. A published author with
    screenwriting credits, he teaches FVCC Continuing Education classes about writing
    autobiographical fiction, crafting personal essays for publication, and creating short true
    life stories for spoken word presentation. Glenn’s autobiographical novel “The Way I Was
    Taught” was an Eric Hoffer Award finalist in 2014. His essays and stories have also been
    published in The Write Launch and other online literary journals. https://www.amazon.com/stores/Glenn-
    Barbara Schiffman was a Hollywood script consultant and career coach for entertainment
    industry pros before "retiring" to Montana to live near her grandkids. She has published
    personal development books and articles about “living, loving and expressing your life
    story.” She has guided writers and others to overcome their fears about public speaking as
    a clinical hypnotherapist. She also co-founded two Toastmasters specialty clubs (one in Los
    Angeles and one online-only) that help all types of writers learn skills for confidently
    speaking about their work and themselves. https://literasee.com/
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    Holistic Chiropractor and Author Erika Putnam


    Dr. Erika Putnam is an author, holistic chiropractor, and yoga instructor. She resides and
    practices in Whitefish, Montana. She combines her unique interests and expertise to deliver
    real life pain and prevention solutions on the page, in the office and on the yoga mat. For
    over 25 years she has approached health from a wholeness perspective that includes the
    complexities of the physical, emotional, and energetic elements of people. She is an
    advocate for prevention and pro-active self-care. Erika is a contributing author in several
    books including the Ultimate Guide to Self-Healing Techniques and leads an online writing
    group for healers and health care entrepreneurs who want to write and learn in
    community. https://thebendatwhitefish.com/meet-dr-erika-putnam/

  • Plans for our 33rd Annual Writers Conference

    Friday, Sept 29th through Sunday, Oct 1 2023 It will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, 20 Main Street, Kalispell, Montana (406) 751-5058


    • There will be a Special Workshop on Friday the 29th of Sept and the full conference the weekend of Sept 30 and Oct 1.

    • Start planning now to get the most out of our conference. Here are some ideas.

    • Registration will begin on April 15.

  • Here's our schedule:


    Friday, September 29

    10:00 am – 4:30 pm

    With lunch break on your own

    Limit: 25 Participants


    The Craft and Business of Memoir and Narrative Nonfiction Writing

    What makes a memoir compelling to read? What makes a publisher say “yes” to publishing
    a memoir? As a literary agent, Julie has worked with many writers and publishers over the
    years to develop compelling and saleable memoirs – from Senator Jon Tester’s memoir to
    Ryan Busse’s memoir Gunfight and many other books of narrative nonfiction and essay
    collections. In this workshop, Julie will share her thoughts on what tools writers can
    employ to write a saleable memoir or work of narrative nonfiction and how to keep a
    reader's attention from start to finish. We will look at craft elements such as story
    structure, narrative tension, scene and character development, the use of composite
    characters, how writers approach the “truth” of memories. We’ll also talk about the
    importance of a writer's platform and how writers can develop a platform. We will take an
    in-depth look at the nonfiction proposal and discuss what elements editors expect to see
    when a proposal lands in their in-box.


    Saturday, Sept. 30

    8:00 - 8:25 AM - Opening and Welcome with Kathy Dunnehoff

    8:30 - 9:20 – Mark Sullivan Keynote Address: Writing from the Heart Not the Head

    Sullivan will chronicle how he moved from writing from the head to writing from the heart
    and how that has made all the difference in his career.

    9:30 - 10:30 – Glenn & Barbara Schiffman: Moving From Page to Stage

    Sharing book excerpts, short stories, poems or true-life essays out loud at book signings or
    storytelling events is a different experience than when your words are read silently on the
    page. Learn easy ways you can be more confident and engaging as a writer-speaker when
    presenting your work to audiences by using listener-focused editing tools and simple
    performance skills.


    10:45 - 11:45 – Zach Honey: Suspense in Story Telling

    A deep dive into the nature and definition of suspense and a discussion on how to use it to
    serve and strengthen your story.

    Noon - 1:15 – Lunch Break (lunch is not provided, many restaurants nearby)

    1:15-1:30 – Dr. Erika Putnam: Easy Neck and Shoulder relief for Writers
    A group mini class to stretch your writing muscles and focus on the health of your neck and
    shoulders. Participate, feel good, and gain helpful tips.

    1:30 - 2:30 – Mark Sullivan: The Power of Intent and the Pursuit of Mastery in a Long
    Writing Career

    Sullivan will detail how writing with a specific intent in mind changed his outlook and his
    success. He'll also talk about why the pursuit of mastery versus book sales make all the
    difference in a writing life that spans decades.

    2:45-3:45 – Chris La Tray: Observation and the Daily Practice

    Silence and observation are key to the creative process, particularly writing. This 60-
    minute workshop will discuss the practice of observation and transferring it to the journal
    ... even if only one sentence at a time.

    4:00-5:00 – Mark Leichliter: Envisioning Revision

    The writer Leich Bardugo said, “I think the hard work of writing is just how long a book is
    terrible before it's good.” Revision is how we get from terrible to good, and it’s where we
    spend most of our time as writers. Revision starts with RE-VISION, re-seeing the
    manuscript, learning to listen to it, asking the right questions of it. This workshop will give
    you more tools for learning how to “re-see.”


    Sunday, Oct. 1


    8:30-9:30 – Zach Honey: Query Letters and Book Proposals


    A step-by-step discussion for creating all the material you'll need to catch an agent's eye including the query letter, synopsis, elevator pitch, and log line. Additionally, how to write a pitch for your non-fiction concept, and the differences between the two submission processes.


    9:45-10:45 – Chris La Tray: The Writing Life


    How teaching workshops and saying yes to opportunities – combined with a reasonably
    successful newsletter and a refusal to ever give up on a book – has enabled writer Chris La
    Tray to make a living as a writer.

    11:00-12:00 – Julie Stevenson: Literary Fiction

    What are the differences between literary fiction, upmarket fiction and commercial fiction?
    Literary agent Julie Stevenson will discuss the many ways in which the publishing industry
    categories fiction, what she looks for when taking on literary and upmarket fiction, and
    how a writer can develop understanding for what niche best fits their work.

    12:00-1:00 – Catered Lunch

    1:00-1:20 – Dr. Erika Putnam: Back Pain Relief for Writers

    A group mini class to relieve your backside and reduce the strain of prolonged sitting.
    Recommended and taught by a chiropractor. Engage in safe movements and learn
    preventative self-care for your back.

    1:30-2:30 – Mark Sullivan: Relying on Your Body and Your Mind to Write with Deeper

    In a lively "hands-on" class, Sullivan will show how adopting certain body positions can
    trigger the mind and heart to write with deeper meaning and more impact.

    2:45-3:45 – Julie Stevenson and Zach Honey: Navigating Publishing

    A brief overview from both presenters followed by open questions from conference

    4:00 - 5:00 - Julie Stevenson and Zach Honey: First Impressions

    One page of an anonymous manuscript is read out loud with instant feedback from the

    Other activities:

    Fifteen-minute author visits with Agent Stevenson or Agent Honey (limit 12 each)