Presenters & Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are confirmed
for the 2019 Colorado Writing Workshop


Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 9.41.08 AMKristin Nelson is a literary agent and the founder of Nelson Literary.

At the 2019 Colorado workshop, she is teaching multiple sessions on query letter writing, and also meeting attendees for one-on-one pitches.

“My goal as an agent is simple: I want every client of mine to make a living solely from writing and 90% of my authors do without help from any other source of income. I established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade+ of my career, I’ve represented over forty New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. Although I’m a very nice Midwesterner, I’ve heard through the grapevine that editors call me ‘a hard-working bulldog agent that will fight for you.’ What a compliment!”

My client list is eclectic as I’m looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category.”


tTrai Cartwright, MFA, is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and creative writing and business development specialist. She teaches, produces, and writes screenplays and novels.

At the 2019 Colorado workshop, she is teaching the class “The Top 10 Things Movies Can Teach Novelists.” She is also doing critiques for attendees.

While in Los Angeles, she was a screenwriter, independent film producer, and story consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and New Line Cinema. She was the Assistant Director of Leonardo DiCaprio’s online endeavors and the Manager for 20th Century Fox’s Mobile Studios. Trai currently teaches creative writing, screenwriting, and producing for Western State Colorado University, Denver University and CU Denver, conferences and cons, and one-on-one as a development and story editor. She is the screenwriter of Secret Ellington, and producer of docu-web series Hidden Tigers, and short film Sundown Road.


Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.21.02 PMKaren Auvinen is an award-winning poet, mountain woman, life-long westerner, writer, and the author of the memoir Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living (Scribner), a finalist for the Colorado Book Award and chosen as a Top 10 Book of June 2018 by The Christian Science Monitor.

At the 2019 Colorado workshop, she is teaching on how to write a memoir. She is also doing critiques for attendees.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, LitHub, Real Simple, Westword, and The Rumpus, as well as numerous literary journals. She teaches first-years at the University of Colorado – Boulder.


Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.52.39 PM.pngUSA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling author Carter Wilson has written six critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories.

At the 2019 Denver workshop, he is teaching on writing great mysteries & thrillers, and also doing critiques for attendees.

He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a three-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his novels have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal.


Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.56.23 PMEllen Javernick is the author of over 25 books for children including the picture book best-seller, What if Everybody Did That?

Her hundreds of articles, stories and poems have appeared in dozens of children’s magazines including Highlights. For over two decades, she has been a teacher in Loveland, CO and currently teaches kindergarten.

At the 2019 Colorado workshop, Ellen is critiquing picture books for attendees.


Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.59.59 PM#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since.

At the 2019 Colorado event, Helen is teaching on romance writing, and also doing critiques for attendees.

In addition to being an award-winning author of romantic fiction, she’s a mother, an attorney, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family.


Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 9.37.51 AMJessie Hilb is a published young adult novelist.

At the 2019 Colorado workshop, she is teaching on how to edit and revise a young adult novel. She is also offering critiques for attendees.

Jessie’s debut novel, The Calculus of Change, released in February 2018. It has received critical acclaim from Kirkus, The School Library Journal, Booklist, and the Jewish Book Counsel. She lives in boulder Colorado with her 2 children, 2 cats, a dog, and a goldfish.

Jessie is a Writing Day Workshops success story, having found her literary agent at a previous Colorado Writing Workshop.


Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 11.12.28 PMMadeline Smoot is the publisher of CBAY Books and former editorial director for children’s books of Blooming Tree Press. She runs the Buried in the Slush Pile blog.

She is critiquing chapter book and middle grade submissions as an add-on element for attendees.

Madeline lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, son, two cats, a dog, and more books than should fit in any normal person’s house. Visit her website here.