PopTop Stage


PopTop Stage

The PopTop Stage will focus on popular favorites including: Romance, Horror and Storytelling. The PopTop Stage will feature readings, discussions, book signings and presentations. The PopTop Stage will be located in Exhibit Hall E of the Washington State Convention Center at the end of the 600 Aisle. (Schedule is subject to change.)

Romance Day - Saturday January 26
Hosted by Romance Writers of America

Each Panel will be followed by a book signing.

The Appeal of the Paranormal
9:00 AM - 9:45 am
Karina Cooper, Theresa Meyers, Laurie London, Alexis Morgan

Family Ties: Romance Series that Pull You In
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Susan Mallery, Christina Dodd, Lauren Dane, Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, Kaki Warner

The Romance Novel Hero: Why Do Readers Love Him?
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
Melissa McClone, Gina Robinson, Regina Scott, Jill Barnett, Stella Cameron, , Cherry Adair

YA Romance: Breaking the Rules
2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
Barbara Caridad Ferrer, Heather Davis, Serena Robar

Beyond Jane Austen: Historical Romances for Every Reader
3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
Margaret Mallory, Elizabeth Boyle, Stefanie Sloane, Rose Lerner, Gerri Russell

 Romance Day Author Bios

Cherry AdairCherry Adair
New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike.  She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on three series – T-FLAC, CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE.


Jill BarnettJill Barnett

Coming Soon!




Elizabeth BoyleElizabeth Boyle
Elizabeth Boyle, a former pirate hunter for Bill Gates and now a full-time author, has written stories since childhood, including tales about her imaginary friend, an oversized Holstein named John Clapper, eventually graduating to notebooks of the usual bad, adolescent poetry that only an angst-ridden teenager can conjure.  After college and a stint of travelling, Elizabeth began writing what she loved to read:  romance novels. 

Elizabeth’s debut novel, BRAZEN ANGEL won the Dell Diamond Debut Award and eventually the RITA for Best First Novel. Since then she's gone on to publish 20 more historical romances which have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, garner numerous awards and leave readers longing for more fast-paced and uproariously funny adventures. Think of her books as more 20 Shades of Jane Austen. Her next book, And The Miss Ran Away with the Rake, will be published this March.

Stella CameronStella Cameron
Stella Cameron is the New York Times best selling author of the acclaimed Court of Angels Series, the Bayou Books and many others. There are fourteen million copies of her books in circulation worldwide. She is the recipient of the Pacific Northwest Achievement Award for distinguished professional achievement and for enhancing the stature of the Northwest Literary community. She lives in Washington State.

Karina CooperKarina Cooper
After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance, steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee. One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an airship captain’s wife, and a steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie, a severe coffee habit, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. Visit her at www.karinacooper.com, because she says so.

Lauren DaneLauren Dane
The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.

Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres. Though she no longer has to deal with Polly Pocket and getting those tiny outfits on and off, she still has trouble blocking out the sound of iCarly so she can write a love scene.

Visit Lauren on the web at www.laurendane.com.
E-mail laurendane@laurendane.com.
Blog www.laurendane.com/blog

Heather DavisHeather Davis
Heather Davis is the author of the YA novels THE CLEARING, NEVER CRY WEREWOLF, and WHEREVER YOU GO, and a contributor to the DEAR TEEN ME anthology.  Her work, which blends realistic fiction with elements of paranormal, has been on the Shortlist for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best YA Romance.  The daughter of a high school English teacher, Heather was writing stories even before she could hold a pencil. 


Christina DoddChristina Dodd
New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with romance and adventure and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty novels — paranormals, historicals and romantic suspense — have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year’s best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle (11/18/05, # 13 Down:  Romance Novelist named Christina) — her mother was totally impressed. Publishers Weekly praises her style that “showcases Dodd’s easy, addictive charm and steamy storytelling,” and her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they know they’ve found a story “For the wild at heart!”

Enter Christina’s worlds www.christinadodd.com and join her FREE mailing list for news, exclusive excerpts, and book sales! http://bit.ly/M9A5gX

Barbara Caridad FerrerBarbara Caridad Ferrer
Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose 2006 young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster) was the Romance Writers of America's 2007 RITA® winner for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list by the ALA.  In addition, Adiós was also named the Bronze Medalist in Young Adult Literature in the inaugural Florida Book Awards in 2006.

Her third novel, When the Stars Go Blue, a contemporary young adult retelling of Bizet's Carmen, was released in 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan) and in 2011 was honored as the first place YA Novel: English Language at the International Latino Book Awards.

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories (Rayo/Harper Collins) and in 2012, the Dear Teen Me anthology (Zest Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) along with such acclaimed authors as Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Sara Zarr. 

Her first novella for Harlequin Kimani TRU will be published in late 2013.

A native Floridian, Ferrer now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, thriving amidst the rain and cooler weather, finding it the perfect environment.

Rose LernerRose Lerner
Rose Lerner discovered Georgette Heyer when she was thirteen, and wrote her first historical romance a few years later. Her writing has improved since then, but her fascination with all things Regency hasn't changed. When not reading, writing, or researching, she enjoys cooking and marathoning old TV shows. She lives in Seattle. She has published two historical romances, In for a Penny and A Lily Among Thorns. She was voted Best Debut Author in AllAboutRomance's 2011 reader poll, and In for a Penny made the 2011 RUSA genre fiction Reading List (as a read-alike with Mary Balogh, Georgette Heyer, and Julia Quinn!).

Laurie LondonLaurie London
Laurie London is the author of the Sweetblood and Iron Portal series—dark, sexy paranormal romance, set primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Publisher’s Weekly calls the Sweetblood series “sexy” and “sizzling.” Her latest release, the e-novella ASSASSIN’S TOUCH, kicks off the new Iron Portal series.

She lives on a small farm outside of Seattle with her husband, two children and a variety of animals. After graduating cum laude with a business degree from Western Washington University, she worked for a Fortune 500 company as a programmer/tester and an underwriter. Her other jobs included cocktail waitress, hotel maid, candy store manager and bridal gown sales.

When not writing, she can be found running, reading, sewing, making jewelry, mucking stalls, volunteering or riding her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.

Please visit her website at www.LaurieLondonBooks.com She loves talking to readers at www.facebook.com/LaurieLondonAuthor and www.twitter.com/LaurieBLondon

Susan MallerySusan Mallery
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Publisher’s Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” While Susan appreciates the critical praise, she is most honored by the enthusiastic readers who write to tell her that her books made them laugh, made them cry, and made the world a happier place to live. Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather.

Margaret MalloryMargaret Mallory
Margaret Mallory is the author of the Scottish historical series, THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, and the medieval series, ALL THE KING’S MEN. First published in 2009, Margaret’s second novel was a RITA finalist. Her subsequent four books have all received 4 ½ stars—three of them Top Picks--from RT Book Reviews. Her books have won several awards, including the Maggie and the National Readers’ Choice Awards for best historical of 2011.

Margaret lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest, which looks a lot like parts of the Scottish Highlands. Now that her children are off on their own adventures, she spends most of her time with her fictional characters, but she also loves to read, watch movies, hike, and travel. Readers can find her at www.MargaretMallory.com. 

Melissa McCloneMelissa McClone
Melissa McClone is a RITA-nominated romance author and writes for Harlequin Romance. She has a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, but analysing airline engines couldn’t compete with her ‘happily-ever-afters’. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest, with her own real-life hero husband, two daughters, a son, too many oh-so-spoiled indoor cats and a Norwegian Elkhound named Chaos. Melissa loves to hear from her readers! Contact her via her website: www.melissamcclone.com.

 Theresa MeyersTheresa Meyers
The progeny of a slightly mad (NASA) scientist and a tea-drinking bibliophile who turned the family dining room into a library, Theresa Meyers learned early the value of a questioning mind, books and a good china teapot. A former journalist and public relations officer, she found far more enjoyment using her writing skills to pen paranormal novels in the turret office of her Victorian home. She’s spent nearly a quarter of a century with the boy who took her to the Prom, drinks tea with milk and sugar, is an adamant fan of the television show Supernatural, and has an indecent love of hats. You can find her dabbling online on twitter at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers or at www.theresameyers.com

Courtney MilanCourtney Milan
Courtney Milan’s debut novel was published in 2010. Since then, her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She’s been a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller, a RITA® finalist and an RT Reviewer’s Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance. Her second book was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010.

Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat. Courtney has had many careers--teaching, computer programming, lawyering, scientificating... But her favorite job is the one she's now doing full-time: writing historical romance.

Alexis Morgan
Alexis Morgan has published over twenty-five books, novellas, and short stories, including contemporary romances, American West historicals, and paranormal romances. Her fantasy romance, My Lady Mage, is the first book in a new series from Signet Eclipse titled Warriors of the Mist. She’s also hard at work on her new contemporary series, Snowberry Creek, which will debut in August 2013. She has been nominated for numerous industry awards, including the RITA© from the Romance Writers of America. 

Julia QuinnJulia Quinn
The author of twenty-one previous novels for Avon Books, Julia Quinn is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.




Serena RobarSerena Robar
Serena Robar is a multi-published Young Adult author in both contemporary and paranormal genres, whose work has been optioned for television and movies. She is currently adapting one of her novels into a web series for a film studio and has embraced the shift of storytelling into this new medium.  Serena now enjoys being rejected on two coast lines.


Gina RobinsonGina Robinson
Gina Robinson lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children. She loves humor, romance, suspense, and spies. Not necessarily in that order. She writes spylicious romance, spy romps, spy romance, contemporary romance, humorous thrillers, historical romance, and women's fiction.

If she could meet just one fictional spy, she'd be hard pressed to choose between James Bond and Max Smart. in her opinion, the perfect spy would be a combination of the two. Most days she writes while wearing slippers, flip-flops, or tennis shoes, depending on the season. But she loves a great, sexy heel and has a closet full for special occasions.

She belongs to Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. To find out more about Gina, visit her website at www.ginarobinson.com 

Gerri RussellGerri Russell
Gerri Russell has done it all when it comes to writing; she’s worked as a broadcast journalist, newspaper reporter, magazine columnist, technical writer and editor, instructional designer, which all finally led her to follow her heart’s desire of being a romance novelist. Gerri is the award-winning author of six novels and one novella. She is best known for her adventurous and emotionally intense novels set in 13th and 14th Century Scottish Highlands. Her most notable series to date is that of the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars. A two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award and winner of the American Title II competition sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and RT BOOKreviews Magazine, she lives in Bellevue, Washington with her husband and children.

Regina ScottRegina Scott
Regina Scott grew up in a library.  Well, that’s the way her parents see it, as she was more often there than home, and when she came home it was with a wagon full of books that took her to far-off lands. Perhaps that’s why she always wanted to be a writer.  Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. Her books are frequently reviewed in Booklist and Library Journal.  She has shared her love of books by speaking at libraries around her home in southeast Washington State, where she lives with her husband of over 20 years, when he can keep her out of the library.

Stefanie  SloaneStefanie Sloane
A native Northwesterner with the pale skin to prove it, Stefanie credits her parents’ eclectic reading habits—not to mention their decision to live in the middle of nowhere—for her love of books. A childhood spent lost in the pages of countless novels led Stefanie to college where she majored in English. No one was more surprised than Stefanie when she actually put her degree to use and landed a job in Amazon.com’s Books editorial department. She spent over five years reading for a living before retiring to concentrate on her own stories. Stefanie currently resides with her family in Seattle.

Kaki WarnerKaki Warner
In between her years as a mother, teacher, commercial artist, reluctant collection agent and surly secretary, Kaki fooled around with writing. Then, in 2008, after twenty-five years of procrastination, she sent her first manuscript out into world. Now, four years later, she has six books in print and is busily working on her next trilogy.

Although they’ll always be Texans at heart (and proud graduates of UT), she and her husband are happily retired on a mountaintop in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, doing whatever they feel like doing—which in her case is writing and enjoying the wildlife and thinking up stuff for her husband to do.  It’s a grand life.

For more information and excerpts of her books, please visit her website at www.kakiwarner.com.

Horror Day - Sunday January 27
Hosted by Horror Writers Association

Each Panel will be followed by a book signing.

The HWA and Libraries - Forging a Literacy Partnership
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
JG Faherty, Lisa Morton, Joe McKinney, and Angel Leigh McCoy

The Ebook Revolution
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Angel Leigh McCoy, Ellen Datlow, Joe McKinney, and Christopher Payne

Small Press Horror- Where the Real Books Are!
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
JG Faherty, Christopher Payne, Jason Brock, and Lisa Morton

Graphic Novels
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Nancy Holder, Lisa Morton, Jonathan Maberry, Jason Brock, and William Nolan

YA Horror
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
JG Faherty, Jeyn Roberts, Nancy Holder, Ellen Datlow, and Jonathan Maberry

Horror Day Author Bios

Nancy HolderNancy Holder
HWA Charter Member Nancy Holder is a New York Times bestselling author (the Wicked Saga) and has received five Bram Stoker Awards® for her supernatural fiction. She has also received a Scribe Award from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (for Saving Grace: Tough Love, based on the show of the same name) and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times for young adult fiction. Her newest books are Buffy: the Making of a Slayer and Hot Blooded: The Wolf Springs Chronicles. She writes and edits comic books and pulp fiction for Moonstone, writes columns for the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Horror Writers of America, and is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program offered through the University of Southern Maine. She is the writer in residence at Odyssey in New Hampshire this summer, and is teaching YA fiction through the Romance Writers of America University next November. She lives in San Diego, and is a proud booster of Seattle's GeekGirlCon.

Sunni BrockSunni K Brock
Sunni K Brock has been involved in digital creations since the late 1980s: She has consulted for Microsoft, Adobe, and Sonic Solutions. Sunni is also a published poet, writer, and talented vegetarian cook. If she had spare time, she would spend it working with genealogy, doing crafts, shopping at the farmer’s market, and conducting experiments on controlled randomness.


William NolanWilliam F. Nolan
William F. Nolan writes mostly in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Though best known for co-authoring the classic dystopian science fiction novel Logan’s Run with George Clayton Johnson, Nolan is the author of more than 2,000 pieces (fiction, nonfiction, articles, and books), and has edited 26 anthologies in his 50+ year career.


Jason BrockJason V Brock
Jason V Brock is a writer, filmmaker, composer, and artist, and has been published in Calliope, Weird Fiction Review, Fangoria, S. T. Joshi's Black Wings series, and many other venues. He has a new digest called [NameL3ss]. As a filmmaker, his work includes the documentaries Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man, The AckerMonster Chronicles!, and Image, Reflection, Shadow: Artists of the Fantastic.


JG FahertyJG Faherty
JG Faherty is the author of The Burning Time, Cemetery Club, Carnival of Fear, He Waits, The Cold Spot, and the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated Ghosts of Coronado Bay, plus more than two dozen short stories. His work includes horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. He is a life-long resident of New York's extremely haunted Hudson Valley region, where tales of ghosts, monsters, and sinister ancient graveyards provide a never-ending source of inspiration. Currently, he serves as the HWA's Library Liaison and as a Mentor in the HWA's Mentor Program.

Ellen DatlowEllen Datlow
Ellen Datlow is a multi-award winning editor who has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years. She was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and has edited more than fifty anthologies, including the annual Best Horror of the Year. She is also a recipient of the Horror Writers Association Life Achievement Award for her extensive work in the genre.


Angel McCoyAngel Leigh McCoy
Angel Leigh McCoy has more than twenty years of professional experience as a writer, editor, and game narrative designer in the horror and science fiction genres. She produces the speculative fiction podcast WilyWriters.com and is co-editor on the upcoming Deep Cuts horror anthology, which honors women horror writers. Learn more at AngelMcCoy.com.


Jonathan MaberryJonathan Maberry
Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and freelancer for Marvel Comics. His novels include Assassin's Code, Flesh & Bone, Ghost Road Blues, Dust & Decay, Patient Zero, The Wolfman, and many others. Nonfiction books include Ultimate Jujutsu, The Cryptopedia, Zombie CSU, Wanted Undead or Alive, and others.  Jonathan’s award-winning teen novel, ROT & RUIN, is now in development for film. He’s the editor/co-author of V-Wars, a vampire-themed anthology, and was a featured expert on The History Channel special ZOMBIES: A LIVING HISTORY. Since 1978, he’s sold more than 1,200 magazine feature articles, 3,000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, and poetry. His comics include Captain America: Hail Hydra, Doomwar, Marvel Zombies Return, and Marvel Universe vs The Avengers. He teaches the Experimental Writing for Teens class, is the founder of the Writers Coffeehouse, and co-founder of The Liars Club. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sara and their dog, Rosie. http://www.jonathanmaberry.com/.

Joe McKinneyJoe McKinney
Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a disaster mitigation specialist, homicide detective, administrator, patrol commander, and successful novelist. Winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, he is the author of the four part Dead World series: Quarantined, Inheritance, Lost Girl of the Lake, Crooked House, and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World. For more information, visit his website at http://joemckinney.wordpress.com.

Jeyn RobertsJeyn Roberts
Jeyn Roberts is the author of Dark Inside and Rage Within. She grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and started writing at an early age, having her first story published when she was 16 in a middle-grade anthology called Let Me Tell You. When she was 21, she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star, graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. For the next few years she played in an alternative/punk band called Missing Mile before moving to England where she received her MA from the prestigious Creative Writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier and tree planter. An avid traveler, she’s been around the world, most recently, teaching high school in South Korea. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. A lover of animals, Jeyn volunteers regularly with helping abandoned and abused animals, especially cats.

Lisa MortonLisa Morton
Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, award-winning prose writer, and Halloween expert. Her work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”, and Famous Monsters called her "one of the best writers in dark fiction today". She began her career in Hollywood, co-writing the cult favorite Meet the Hollowheads (on which she also served as Associate Producer), but soon made a successful transition into writing short works of horror. After appearing in dozens of anthologies and magazines, including The Mammoth Book of Dracula, Dark Delicacies, The Museum of Horrors, and Cemetery Dance, in 2010 her first novel, The Castle of Los Angeles, was published to critical acclaim, appearing on numerous “Best of the Year” lists. Her book The Halloween Encyclopedia was described by Reference & Research Book News as “the most complete reference to the holiday available,” and Lisa has been interviewed on The History Channel and in The Wall Street Journal as a Halloween authority. She is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and winner of the 2012 Grand Prize from the Halloween Book Festival, and she recently received her seventh Bram Stoker Award® nomination for the collection Monsters of L.A. A lifelong Californian, she lives in North Hollywood, and can be found online at www.lisamorton.com.

Christopher PayneChristopher C. Payne
Christopher C. Payne is the President and Editor-in-Chief of JournalStone Publishing, a small-press publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror for the adult and young adult markets. Within its first 12 months of operation, two of its books were nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® and several of its authors have been highlighted or featured in Publishers Weekly and other industry publications. Born in Illinois and currently residing in San Francisco, Mr. Payne earned a Bachelor's in Finance from Southern Illinois University. In his spare time, he enjoys biking and snowboarding with his two daughters and an amazing wife. 

Storytelling - Monday January 28
Hosted by the National Storytelling Network         

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Schedule To Be Announced.

Allison Cox   Norman Brecke   Alton Takiyama Chung by Reid Shimabukuro
Allison Cox Norman Brecke Alton Takiyama Chung

Naomi Baltuck   Henegar   Pat Peterson
Naomi Baltuck Steven Henegar Pat Peterson

Margaret Read MacDonald
Margaret Read MacDonals

National Storytelling NetworkThe National Storytelling Network

NSN advances the art of storytelling – as a performing art, a process of cultural transformation, and more. We offer direct services, publications and educational opportunities to individuals, local storytelling groups and regional associations. These services are designed to promote storytelling everywhere – in entertainment venues, classrooms, organizations, businesses, medical fields, families, and wherever else storytelling can make a contribution to communication and community.  WE GROW STORYTELLERS!