Who’s Who for the 2017 TAZ Writers Conference


Wendy Duchene

Wendy Duchene is a freelance writer and personal historian.  (She is also a lawyer, but please don’t hold that against her.)  Wendy loves listening to people tell the stories of their lives, believing there is no such thing as an ordinary life – we all have truly fascinating stories to tell. As a ghostwriter of memoirs, Wendy helps people tell those stories to those they love

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JOYCE FAULKNER is an author, co-author, ghostwriter, book designer, graphic artist, and publisher. She has been writing for over fifty years and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work. She has published in a variety of genres including creative nonfiction, humor, technique, history, historical fiction,  and thrillers. She first studied writing as an art form at the University of Arkansas in 1966. She holds degrees in Engineering Science, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and has an MBA. Her business experience in the natural gas industry includes many years as an engineer, supervisor of Gas Supply, and Manager of Information Services. She ended her career as Director of eCommerce for Consolidated Natural Gas. She has also been part-owner of Red Engine Press for more than a decade and is a former President of Military Writers Society of America.   Her new book, Vala’s Bed was released this past spring. “Vala’s Bed is far more than a story, far more than historical fiction. Its detailed descriptions of the concentration camps and events such as Kristallnacht tell us of one short period of history. 

FC Diana Fletcher

DIANA FLETCHER is the author of the International Bestseller, Happy on Purpose Daily Messages of Empowerment and Joy for Women, revised and expanded edition. Diana is the Stress Reducing Expert Life Coach and author of five other books on self-care. She is a contributing writer to the Michigan magazine, Kudos, and many online sites. She is an advocate for women and an anti-human trafficking activist. She publishes her blog at www.thoughtsbydiana.com

Sandra Gould Ford

Sandra Gould Ford is an award-winning author, artist, and educator.  She uses the literary and visual arts to encourage, refresh, enrich creative thinking and inspire.  Sandra has taught nationwide and established the creative writing program at the Allegheny County Jail.  Her photography, contemplative art and quilts are exhibited nationally.  She writes modern myths.

Web site:  www.SandraGouldFord.com



Katherine F.H. Heart, GPC, M.Ed., Speaker on “Making a Living as a Writer / Author”

Katherine F.H. Heart, GPC, M.Ed. is an author and self-described GrantepreneurTM who enjoys using her passion for writing to earn a living and make a difference in the community. Katherine is the Owner of Heart Resources, LLC, which has provided grant consulting, writing and training to organizations in Western PA and nationally for 15 years. She has prepared proposals and concept papers to foundations and government agencies resulting in 25 million in grants. Katherine is one of only a dozen individuals who’ve earned national credentials as a grant professional and grant trainer. She’s been selected to serve as a federal grant reviewer for child traumatic stress initiatives and in a federal health fellowship program. She is a frequent presenter for nonprofits and faith groups, universities, and municipalities. Katherine is co-facilitator of the Grants Café, a free monthly discussion group for everyone with an interest in grants. Katherine has published articles in anthologies and a psycho-spiritual memoir about healing from childhood trauma, TELLINGS: From Wound to Wellspring (Outskirts Press, 2008). Katherine is the author of GrantepreneurTM-Getting Started in a Grant Career and Business published by Red Engine Press in 2016.

Ann Howley


Ann K. Howley is the author of the award-winning memoir, Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad. A regular contributor to Pittsburgh Parent Magazine, her articles and essays appear in publications nationwide, including Skirt Magazine, Bicycle Times, Pittsburgh-Post Gazette and others, and is a contributor to the most recent HerStories Project anthology, So Glad They Told Me – Women Get Real About Motherhood. She won the First Place Prize for Nonfiction in the 2015 and 2016 Pennwriters Writing Contest, and in 2017, she won a national award from the Parenting Media Association. She has conducted workshops in cities across the country, and teaches writing courses for CCAC’s Community Education Program. A popular speaker, Ann loves to convince people that their lives are worth writing about.

Author of Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, contributor to newest HerStories Project anthology, So Glad They Told Me – Women Get Real About Motherhood, and runner who is <this> close to 20 marathons.
Read my Mom About the Burgh Blog at: http://annkhowley.com/blog



Tiffany T. Huff-Strothers is an Author, & The Founder of the soul-nourishing Tiffany Huff Experience, which is inclusive of the life-changing Coffee & Clarity sessions, The Reinventing You Podcast & Tour, and The Write For Your Life Master Class, and When She Thrives. Tiffany has published two books in 2017: Empower Moments: A 31 Day Devotional to Empower The Everyday Woman, & 30 Day Stay: A Story of Escaping Death, Healing from Heartbreak and Finding Hope in Homelessness. Both books and all of Tiffany’s works are testaments of God’s light being manifested through her.
Tiffany believes that the ultimate form of self-care is to honor yourself by honoring who God created you to be and doing what  He created you to do.  This belief, paired with her spirit of determinationhttp://Tiffanyhuffexperience.com, gifts of clarity and insight, fuel her passion for challenging women to overcome their fears and to reinvent themselves as the women they were called and created to be.

Tiffany studied Communications & Professional Writing, as an undergraduate at Carlow University, and Higher Education Management at the Graduate School of Education at The University of Pittsburgh.  Tiffany has held a variety of leadership positions in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors. She now uses her experience and knowledge acquired during her professional career to fuel her fulltime entrepreneurial pursuits as an Author, Coach, and  Evangelic Mentor for women around the world.

A native of the “Steel City”, Tiffany lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two preteen sons.

You may learn more about Tiffany and her work here:  Tiffanyhuffexperience.com


DALEL KHALIL is the author of the TAZ award-winning book, FROM VEILS TO THONGS: An Arab Chick’s Survival Guide to Balancing One’s Ethnic Identity in America, a Colbert-like take on living in the cross-fire of the conservative Arab and liberal American cultures.  Her book was included in the 2013 Carnegie International Exhibit because it was found on the streets of Cairo, one month before the revolution.  Dalel has traveled extensively throughout the world and worked for 3 of Pittsburgh’s top radio stations as a broadcaster. She lectures on cross-cultural understanding and has written 2 Op-Eds for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette regarding Syria. www.dalelkhalil.com



DENISE LAROSA is the founder, host, and CEO of Mom Talk with Denise LaRosa, LLC, a multimedia platform designed to motivate, inspire and inform mothers along with their journey in motherhood. Denise utilizes her parenting experiences and background as an elementary educator to bring mothers invaluable information and resources on parenting through her podcast, blog, and workshops. A devoted wife and mother of two precious girls, Denise is also an elementary school teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in dance (Magna Cum Laude) from Radford University in 2003 and graduated from Carlow University in 2008 with a Master of Education degree in elementary education. Empty Shoes is Denise’s first children’s book. She plans to write many more for you to enjoy.

Learn more about Denise and stay connected at www.momtalkdenise.com

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Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven-year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations and has been a writer for print, television, and radio. Her nonfiction—FINDING AUTHOR SUCCESS, CROSS MARKETING MAGIC FOR AUTHORS, and the newest, WRITE BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN— focuses on helping authors by teaching them how to bridge the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author. She is currently developing a series of workbooks to help authors build and perfect marketing skills. As an Author Success Coach, she produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She teaches online and live workshops, clinics, and boot camps. She writes an author marketing industry blog and coaches authors, one-on-one, for sales success. She belongs to many writing and professional organizations.

In addition to writing nonfiction marketing books for authors, Deborah also writes fiction. She has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years



GINA MAZZA is the author of –Everything Matters, Nothing Matters: For Women Who Dare to Live With Exquisite Calm, Euphoric Creativity and Divine Clarity

Gina Mazza is well known as a publishing consultant, freelance journalist, author of 3 nonfiction books, book editor, ghostwriter, marketing/branding specialist, and all around word provocateur and creative alchemist. She views her work not just as a vocation and path of service, but as a sacred merging with the Creator. Gina loves to help others imagine, unfold and clarify their creative expressions. She has much to contribute to the panel today, as she has decades of experience with both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Learn more  www.ginamazza.com  and www.creativeonemarketing.com



Monyok, Michael Bio 2016

  MICHAEL MONYOK is an attorney at Meyer Unkovic & Scott who focuses his practice on intellectual property matters, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.  Michael assists his clients in protecting their valuable intellectual property, licensing their work, and when needed, enforcing their intellectual property rights in court.  Examples of Michael’s work include obtaining a royalty payment for a client whose musical composition was used without his permission in a national television advertising campaign, preventing the unauthorized release of a copyrighted work maintained as a trade secret, and advising a client on the terms of an agreement used in a joint project.  In addition to his legal practice, Michael has authored several articles on intellectual property topics for publications such as the Post-Gazette and The Legal Intelligencer.  Michael is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is a member of the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association and The Q. Todd Dickinson Intellectual Property American Inn of Court


Ellen A. Roth, PhD, Author, Ten Fingers Touching. Carl Kurlander, Screenwriter of St. Elmo’s Fire, and President/CEO of the Steeltown Entertainment Project describes “Ellen Roth as an enchantress – as if she came out of one of her stories. She reminds us that fairy tales are not just childhood fantasies, but can engage, delight, surprise and inspire us at any age, and make us all dream again.”

As a child, Ellen spent countless hours reading fairy tales, dreaming and nurturing a creative streak that led her to earn a BA in art and art history (Goucher College), an MFA in museum studies (Syracuse University), followed by a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. Ellen worked with physically and emotionally challenged children as a registered art therapist, and later co-founded Getting to the Point, Inc., a premier relocation consulting firm.

During her career, Ellen has received many awards and was named one of the Best 50 Women in Business in Pennsylvania, honored as a Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, and is a recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women Leadership Award in the category of Entrepreneur.

Ellen’s love of fairy tales inspired her to write one for grown-ups. Ten Fingers Touching has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and received first place for Fantasy Fiction at the TAZ awards (2016). It also received the Benjamin Franklin Digital Silver Award for exceptional content, design and use of technology (June, 2016) and was named the Travel Size Good Read of the Month by the Fairytale Traveler (July 2015).

Ellen is currently writing the screenplay adaptation of Ten Fingers Touching.

An accomplished presenter, Ellen speaks on Truth in Fiction:  Lessons Learned from Fairy Tales.


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Jay Speyerer is a writer, speaker, and book designer. He gives presentations on business communication so relentlessly that audiences simply break down and agree to do whatever he says. Jay lives with animals and is much taller in print.



Paula Reed Ward is a reporter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, having joined the paper in 2003.  since that time, she has covered both federal and state courts, including the criminal trial of jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach charged with sexually abusing children; the death penalty trial of a man accused of killing three Pittsburgh police officers and the criminal trials of three sisters – a state senator, state supreme court justice and her court administrator – accused of fraud and theft; as well as countless state and U.S. supreme court cases, including the issue of mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

Paula’s first book, Death by Cyanide: the murder of Dr. Autumn Klein, was released in October by Foreedge.

Before moving to Pittsburgh, Paula worked in Savannah, GA., and Pottsville, Pennsylvania. she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in criminal justice.

October 19, 2017~~~TAZ Celebrates the Independent Author. TAZ awards are based on 80% content and 20% production of your book. Judges are authors/writers/teachers/editors from Pittsburgh and New York. Submit your book before September 13, 2017, for the 4th Annual Author Awards ceremony and Authors’ Night Out.