NIKKI SHANNON SMITH (Co-REGIONAL ADVISOR and CONFERENCE COORDINATOR) Nikki Shannon Smith is an author, second grade teacher, wife, and mother of two. Her first book, The Little Christmas Elf (Random House, Little Golden Books) published in 2011. In addition to picture books, she writes chapter books and young adult novels. One of her passions is bringing more diversity to children’s books, and many of her retweets are from #WNDB (We Need Diverse Books) and from others who share this goal. She is an experienced presenter of school visits and conference workshops. She steals time for all things writing related, but hasn’t been arrested for it yet. You can find her on Facebook, twitter @nikki2smith, and at www.NikkiShannonSmith.com.
KRISTEN SCHWARTZ (Co-REGIONAL ADVISOR) lives in South Lake Tahoe with her husband, daughter, dog and cat. She’s been illustrating and designing professionally for over 30 years, but didn’t discover that she and her illustrations belonged in children’s publishing until after her daughter was born. Being transported to magical lands while reading picture books was a life changing experience and she and her daughter all but lived at the library checking out stacks of books. Kristen still spends a lot of time checking out books at the library, but now that her daughter is in college, the librarians have caught on that the picture books are all for Kristen. When not at the library she’s exploring the forests of Tahoe for story inspiration. Visit her at www.kristenschwartz.com and at her blog www.ajourneyillustrated.com.
SHIRLEY ESPADA-RICHEY (ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADVISOR) is a wife, mother of four VERY rambunctious children, Story Time presenter for her local library, and Spanish Instructor. She writes picture books and middle-grade fiction. When an idea strikes, she will write it on anything she can get her hands on—receipts, bills, even sugar packets! She loves to dance. Her Puerto Rican side comes through anytime she hears Salsa music. Binge reading is her vice. If not for the Audible app, her house would never get cleaned. Connect with her on Facebook, on Twitter @shirleyrichey, and at www.shirleyespada-richey.com.
LOUIS “BOOK LOUIE” ARREDONDO (MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR) @BookLouie. Husband. Father of eight, including three internationally adopted children. Writer of children’s picture books bound for publication. Secretly works as a data center manager near an undisclosed government location. Mission Statement: “Bringing Children and Parents Together Through Books.”
LINDA JOY SINGLETON (SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR) is the author of over 45 children’s books, including the CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB series, A CAT IS BETTER (picture book) and MEMORY GIRL (YA). When she was 14, a fan letter she wrote to her favorite mystery author (Margaret Sutton, Judy Bolton mysteries) led to a life long friendship and they even wrote a new Judy Bolton mystery together. She lives in the country with a menagerie of animals including dogs, horses, cats, chickens, and peacocks. For free short stories, writing tips and teacher guidelines, her website is www.LindaJoySingleton.com.
MARTHA LONGSHORE (WEBMASTER) writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She also designs and maintains websites—sadly not including her own, which is in dire need of updating. She lives with her daughter and sweet, though demented, pets, in the far reaches of the North/Central region, so she’s happy to have a way she can volunteer online.