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Our 50th Annual Conference will take place at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper, WY from May 31st through June 2nd! Mark your calendars now!

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2024 Conference faculty

Casey Rislov

Casey Rislov has 8 award winning children's books and has been in the children's book business  for more than 12 years. 

Time Together, Time Well Spent! was her debut book, Love is Forever has gained international  attention for its beautiful way to talk about loss. LOVE is a picture book for the youngest of  children to introduce the concept of connection. Come In: Open the Doors to You encourages  children to try new things, Imagination Bigger Together teaches children about friendship &  exploration, Rowdy Randy is a wild west adventure you won't want to miss. Rowdy Randy  returns in her latest book the Rowdy Randy Wild West Show! 

Casey Rislov also recently teamed up with acclaimed wildlife photographer Ron Hayes for  an adorable wildlife picture book for all ages in, "Let Me Tell You About My Mom." She has also contributed pieces for Elephant Journal, Working Mother, and HuffPost. 

Her passion has always been centered around child education. 

Casey has actively been involved with children in sports and academics from preschool age to  high school for over 30 years. She has coached kids swimming and skiing and worked in Special  Needs & Early Childhood Education. 

Casey has a Master's degree in Elementary Education from Montana State University. She is  endorsed in early childhood and special needs. 

Currently she is devoted to her writing, reading her books to children, & sharing the love of  books with children.

Zachary Pullen

Zachary Pullen’s picture-book illustrations have won awards and garnered starred reviews. He  has been honored several times with acceptance into the prestigious Society of Illustrators  juried shows and the Communication Arts: Illustration Annual, best in current illustration. 

Pullen’s character-oriented picture book illustrations have been well received since first being  published in 2004. His titles include: The Toughest Cowboy or How the Wild West was Tamed,  Friday My Radio Flyer Flew, Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize, S is for Story: A  Writers Alphabet, Finn McCool and the Great Fish, The Presidents, Rowdy Randy, The Christmas  Ass, The Thinkers, The Rowdy Randy Wild West Show, the legend behind the legend, and many  more.  

He is in the middle of another book continuing his partnership with Casey Day Rislov. 

Zak lives in Casper, Wyoming with his wife Renate while his son Hudson attends the University  of Montana.

Laura Pritchett

Laura Pritchett is the author of seven novels —two of these are being released in 2024. Known  for championing the complex and contemporary West and giving voice to the working class, her  books have garnered the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA, the  High Plains Book Award, and others. She’s also the author of two nonfiction books, one play,  and was editor of three environmental-based anthologies, including Home Land: Ranching and a  West that Works.  

Laura developed and directs the MFA in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University, one of  the few place-based writing degrees in the nation. She grew up on a ranch in northern  Colorado, and when not writing or teaching, she’s generally found exploring the mountains  nearby.

Aaron A. Abeyta

Aaron A. Abeyta is a Colorado native, Professor of English and the former Mayor of Antonito,  Colorado, his hometown. Abeyta is also the co-founder of The Justice & Heritage Academy 

He is the author of five collections of poetry and one novel. For his book, colcha, Abeyta  received an American Book Award and the Colorado Book Award. His most recent  book, Ancestor of Fire is shortlisted for the Reading the West Book Award. In addition, his  novel, Rise, Do Not be Afraid, was a finalist for the 2007 Colorado Book Award and El Premio  Aztlan. Abeyta was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry, and he is the  former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, as named by the Karen Chamberlain Poetry  Festival. Abeyta is also a recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership Award for 2017. Abeyta  was a finalist for Colorado Poet Laureate, 2019. 

Aaron has over 100 publications including 'An Introduction to Poetry, 10th ed.,' Literature: An  Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, & Drama, 8th ed.' ‘Conversations in American Literature:  Language, Rhetoric, & Culture,’ ‘The Leopold Outlook,’ ‘Colorado Central Magazine,’ ‘The High  Country News,’ and numerous other journals.

Elizabeth Anne West

Elizabeth Anne West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! A leader in technological  education for authors on digital publishing since 2011, she has helped hundreds of authors  publish profitably in their preferred genre. Starting her writing career as an SEO writer in 2007,  transitioning to a book marketer with The-Cheap back in 2012, and finally starting her own  author education school in 2018, she now speaks at national author conferences such as  20Booksto50K Vegas and Romance Writers of America on topics about the publishing business,  derivative fiction, and writing with AI.  

Working closely with Sudowrite in 2023 as their Community and Education Lead, she now  consults for prompt engineering and loves staying up on the latest innovations. An alumni of  Christopher Newport University with a B. A. in Leadership Studies, she has authored over 25  novels and hit the top 100 on the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play  stores.

Todd Fahnestock

Todd Fahnestock is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. Threadweavers and The Whisper Prince Trilogy are two of his bestselling epic fantasy series. He is a founder of Eldros Legacy—a multi-author, shared-world mega-epic fantasy series—three-time winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence, and two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy (2021) and Khyven the Unkillable (2022). His passions are great stories and his quirky, fun-loving family. When he’s not writing, he travels the country meeting fans, gets inundated with befuddling TikTok videos by his son, plays board games with his wife, plots future stories with his daughter, and plays vigorously with Galahad the Weimaraner. Visit Todd at

Rodger McDaniel

Rodger McDaniel was a Wyoming state legislator (1971-1981). He received a University of  Wyoming law degree (1980), and a Master of Divinity degree from the Iliff School of Theology  (1999). 

He was a 2000 Fellow at the College of Preachers, National Cathedral, Washington, DC, studying  what it means to worship God on land stolen from Indigenous Peoples.  

He was Director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services and mental health and  substance abuse programs (2003-2011). In 2023, Rodger retired after serving 15 years as pastor  at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. 

Rodger has written nearly 700 newspaper columns, 500 sermons, and five books, as he says,  “with two fingers.” His most recent book, “Profiles in Courage: Standing Against the Wyoming  Wind,” is a collection of stories of marginalized people or their advocates who stood  courageously against the prevailing culture.  

Others include “Dying for Joe McCarthy’s Sins-The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt”  (2013),“The Sagebrush Gospel,” reconstructing the parables in the context of contemporary  history (2014), “Howard Zinn and Lois Mottonen Fistfight in the Equality State, and “The Man in  the Arena-The Life and Times of US Senator Gale McGee,” (both 2018).  

He and his wife Patricia live in Laramie.

Janci Patterson

Janci Patterson writes young adult science fiction and fantasy, romantic comedy, and epic  fantasy. She has co-authored many books, including the sixth book in the Alcatraz vs the Evil  Librarian series and the Skyward Flight collection with Brandon Sanderson. Janci and Brandon  will be continuing the Skyward universe with a new co-authored trilogy, debuting in 2025. 

As a hybrid author, Janci has published forty books both independently and traditionally. She  lives in Orem, Utah with her husband, two children, and her energetic border collie. In her spare  time, she plays games of all kinds, customizes barbie dolls, and watches too much reality TV. 

Aaron Linsdau

Aaron Linsdau is the second American to have skied solo from the coast of Antarctica to the  South Pole, setting the world record for that expedition, featured in the book Antarctic Tears. He  lead one of the oldest teams ever to cross the Greenland ice cap unguided and unsupported,  featured in the book Two Friends and a Polar Bear. He has a Master’s Degree in Computational  Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. Aaron has published thirty-seven  books, many of which have reached number one in multiple Amazon categories. He is the  publisher of Sastrugi Press. 

Pitches accepted: 

All books except: 

No poetry. 

No cookbooks. 

No anthologies. 

No memoirs unless the person has done something remarkable. 

All the above holds unless they have 100k+ YouTube subscribers/ 50k+ Instagram followers. 

Mira Landry

Born and raised in British Columbia, Mira Landry has lived on four continents, traveled to over  eighty countries, and now resides in Colorado with her husband where she still seeks adventure  in both real life and on the page. After a decade building her own business as a photographer,  she’s eager to help authors turn their art into a career. As a chair on the Rocky Mountain Fiction  Writers' board of directors, she’s dedicated to building writing and literary communities through  events and educational programming, and was co-chair for their Colorado Gold Conference. She  has a Bachelors in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia and a Certificate of  Creative Writing from Simon Fraser University. She also co-hosts a podcast analyzing recently  published books using Literary Forensics (TM) called Writers Who Read. 

Mira is seeking literary and upmarket adult fiction, ideally character-driven literary explorations  with efficient, stunning prose and commercially appealing plots. She’d love to see experimental,  artful writing that reels her in with continuously building tension and curiosity. She likes when  speculative aspects are well-woven amid the protagonist’s journey and mostly set within our  current reality without too many dragons, vampires, or aliens. She prefers romance that is  embedded in women’s fiction, and mysteries rich in visceral settings and complex characters. 

Mira would specifically love to see more work from Indigenous/First Nations authors, as well  other historically marginalized and underrepresented voices.

Wyoming/Nature/Outdoors 30-minute mini sessions

Tracie Binkerd

Tracie Binkerd is the editor of Wyoming Wildlife magazine. A graduate of the University of  Wyoming, Binkerd got her start as a news journalist. She worked primarily as a local reporter at  newspapers, radio stations and online news stations before starting at the magazine. She  started working for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s magazine team as the associate  editor in 2018 and has served as editor since 2019. 

Tracie works with a team to plan articles for the magazine including text, photos, illustrations,  art and supplemental content. Wyoming Wildlife is a monthly publication that tells stories of  conservation in the Cowboy State including accurate, informative and entertaining content for  readers.

Tracie will be accepting pitches for Wyoming Wildlife Magazine.

Susan J. Tweit

An award-winning writer, Susan J. Tweit began her career as a plant ecologist in Wyoming  where she researched the life and relationships of big sagebrush, the ecology of natural fire,  and dissected piles of bear poop to study grizzly bear habitat. Tweit began writing after realizing  that she loved the stories behind the data as much as collecting that data. She's written thirteen  books ranging from memoir and nature writing to kids and travel, along with hundreds of  magazine articles, columns, and essays. Her latest book, Bless the Birds: Living with Love in a  Time of Dying, won the Sarton Award for Memoir, and her work has been included in nearly  three dozen anthologies, including the annual best of American Nature Writing series (twice).  When Tweit is not writing, she's most often outside eradicating invasive weeds—restoring  nature, plant by plant. She calls sagebrush country home. 

Nicholas Trandahl

Nicholas Trandahl is an award-winning poet, newspaper journalist, outdoorsman, and Army  veteran residing in northeast Wyoming, where he currently also serves as mayor of his  community and on several local boards. He has had six poetry collections and a novel published,  his most recent poetry collection Purgatory being named #1 New Release in American Poetry on  Amazon.  

Trandahl has been awarded the Wyoming Writers Milestone Award and has received several  nominations for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry. Additionally, he works as poetry editor for The  Dewdrop literary journal and as a contributor for The Way Back to Ourselves literary journal.



Conference Features


2024 Awards Nominations

Every year, Wyoming Writers, Inc. presents four awards, the Western Horizon, the Milestone Award, the Emmie Mygatt and the Arizola Magnenat. Use the form below to nominate yourself or someone else for an award. See a full list of past award winners here.

2024 Scholarship Application

The application period for this year's scholarship has not yet opened.

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