Loew's Ventanta Resort

23rd Annual Conference
October 26 – 28, 2017

Set in the West: Cultures Old and New

Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort
Tucson, Arizona

Set in the West: Cultures Old and New


Kristen BucklesKristen Buckles

Kristen Buckles is the editor-in-chief at the University of Arizona Press, the premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works in the state of Arizona. Along with overseeing the acquiring department, Kristen actively acquires scholarly titles in Native American and Indigenous studies, Latina/o studies, Latin American studies, and history, as well as general-audience books about Tucson, Arizona, and the West. Kristen’s acquisitions have received top honors, including awards and recognition from the National Book Critics Circle, the Academy of American Poets, the American Library Association, and Women Writing the West. She is currently seeking regional trade titles that capture and celebrate the spirit of the Southwest.

Aaron DowneyAaron Downey

Aaron Downey has been the managing editor at Rio Nuevo Publishers since 2013. Armed with a BA in English Literature and a passion for the written word, his publishing career began in 1999 with three years at the Jed Mattes, Inc., Literary Agency in New York City. He then spent eleven years managing the production of college textbooks for publishers such as Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Heinemann, and Elsevier. He has been a freelance editor, proofreader, and indexer; taught and tutored at the Southwest University of Visual Arts; and writes book reviews. Rio Nuevo Publishers creates compelling, visually exciting, award-winning books about the people, places, and things that make the West so distinctive. Aaron is acquiring mainly non-fiction adult titles related to the U.S. West and Southwest in the realms of travel, art, culture, nature, cooking, history, memoir, gift books, Native America, and the National Parks.

Sam Henrie


Sam Henrie

Sam Henrie is President and Founder of Wheatmark, Inc., a publishing services firm; Managing Editor of QuillPop Books, a publisher of pop culture books; Chair of the Book and Movie Business Genre of the Literary Committee for the Tucson Festival of Books; Senior Faculty at Wheatmark's Authors Academy; and Past President of the Arizona Book Publishing Association.

Mary Lou Monahan
Co-owner Fireship Press

Fireship Press is approaching its 10th year in business. Started in 2007 by co-owners Tom and Mary Lou Monahan, it was the result of Tom’s experience as an author when he co-authored the #1 golf book in 2003. After a $2000.00 advance payment, Tom received $.05 per book. Tom, an enormously creative person, knew that there had to be a better deal for authors – so Fireship Press was started with the small pittance of his royalties. It has 2 imprints – Fireship Press for its historical and nautical books and Cortero for the golf, health and everything else. Because Tom had been a medical school professor for over 20 years, one of his goals was to identify quality manuscripts of novice writers and work with them one on one to get their book published. Mary Lou primarily handles the manuscript management and finances of the business. Tom died suddenly in 2011 but he left a legacy that we continue to honor at Fireship Press.

MJ JohnsomMargret "MJ" Johnson

Margaret “MJ” Johnston is an Editorial Assistant at Sourcebooks working in tandem with editors on the adult fiction and nonfiction teams on a wide variety of projects in the commercial space. On the fiction side, she is looking for stories that hit the sweet spot between commercial and literary, with interesting settings and a strong narrative voice; mystery (particularly cozies), literary thriller, and psychological suspense; as well as compelling women’s and historical fiction. For nonfiction, MJ is drawn to memoir by writers who connect with readers though incredible storytelling; social science titles that show an interesting lens on a timely topic; as well as a wide variety of prescriptive and narrative nonfiction books.

Annette RogersAnnette Rogers
Editor, Poisoned Pen Press

Annette Rogers became addicted to reading during dark childhood winters in Juneau, Alaska, when she read the city library from one side to the other. Now she edits mysteries, corresponds with writers and agents, and evaluates new submissions. Poisoned Pen Press is an independent publisher founded in 1997, based in Scottsdale, and is one of the largest publishers of hardcover mysteries in the world.
Rogers’ soft-coated wheaten terrier, Doctor Watson, is an energetic, if not always helpful, sidekick. She has published a bestselling history/travel book on Egypt that was translated into six languages. She has written for O, the Oprah Magazine; served as managing editor of Utah Holiday Magazine; and reported for Time/Life on court hearings during the Mormon Bomber case. She holds a master’s degree in History and English.


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Address Conference questions to Conference Co-Chairs Jan Cleere (Jan@JanCleere.com; 520-909-2299) and/or Carolyn Niethammer (cniethammer@outlook.com; 520-622-0252).