2018 Put Your Heart in a Book Conference Keynote Speakers
Breakfast Keynote: Virginia Kantra Luncheon Keynote: Jane Porter Special Presentation: Hope Ramsay Pre-Conference Workshop Presenter: Melinda Leigh PUB Retreat Kickoff Speaker: Rebecca Zanetti
Pre-Conference Workshop Presenter
Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A life-long lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity while raising her kids. Over the next few years, she learned a few things about writing a book. The process was much more fun than analyzing financial statements, and she decided to turn her hobby into a career. Melinda’s debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She is a RITA® Award Finalist and has earned three Daphne du Maurier Award nominations, two Silver Falchions, and three Golden Leaf Awards. Melinda’s books have sold 4 million copies. Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate. She’s dabbled in Arnis stick fighting, studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and taught women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house with her family and a small herd of rescue pets, who clearly run the show. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination. Find out more about Melinda by visiting melindaleigh.com.
Luncheon Keynote Speaker
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jane Porter holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and has written 55 novels since getting her first sale to Harlequin Presents in 2000. A five time RITA® finalist, and RITA® winner in July 2014 for Take Me, Cowboy, Jane is known for her passionate, powerful stories and relatable heroines. An advocate for writers, Jane founded Tule Publishing in 2013 to give romance and women’s fiction authors support and opportunities. Jane and Tule Publishing are both based in sunny San Clemente, CA.
Breakfast Keynote Speaker
New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra is the author of thirty books of women's fiction, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. Her stories have earned numerous awards including two Romance Writers of America's RITA® Awards, ten RITA® nominations, and two National Readers' Choice Awards.
Carolina Dreaming, the fifth book in her Dare Island series, won the 2017 RITA® Award for Best Contemporary Romance - Midlength; was named one of BookPage's Top Ten Romance Novels of 2016; and won New Jersey Romance Writer's Golden Leaf Award. A popular speaker, Virginia regularly offers workshops to writers' groups and has participated in Winston Salem's Bookmarks Festival; the North Carolina Literary Festival; and Duke University's "Unsuitable" event series hosted by the Forum for Scholar and Publics. She is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love.
Special Presentation Speaker
Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances, set below the Mason-Dixon Line. She’s inspired by her husband of forty years, a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her Southern heroes. She has two grown children, a demanding lap cats named Simba who was born in Uganda, and a precious Cockapoo puppy named Daisy. She lives in Virginia where, when she’s not writing, she’s knitting or playing her forty-year-old Martin guitar.
PUB Retreat Speaker
Rebecca Zanetti is the author of more than forty romantic-suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. Deadly Silence and Twisted Truths won RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and the Washington Post has called her writing “sexy and emotional.” Rebecca has ridden in a locked Chevy trunk, has asked the unfortunate UPS guy to release her from a set of handcuffs, and has discovered the best silver mine shafts in which to bury a body…all in the name of research. Honest.