Instructor Bios

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Janice Gable Bashman

Janice Gable Bashman is author (with Jonathan Maberry) of Wanted Undead or Alive, nominated for a 2010 Bram Stoker Award. She is Managing Editor of The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers) and has written for leading publications, including Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, The Writer, and Wild River Review. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies; and she is an active member of the International Thriller Writers, the Horror Writers Association and Mystery Writers of America.


Mark DiIonno

Star-Ledger columnist Mark DiIonno is a lifetime newspaperman and a four-time winner of the New Jersey Press Association’s first-place award for column writing. Mark was part of the Star-Ledger’s editing team during coverage of Gov. Jim McGreevey’s resignation, for which the paper won a Pulitzer Prize, and coverage of the Seton Hall fire, for which the paper was a Pulitzer finalist. In addition to his twice-weekly column in The Star-Ledger, his “Mark in the Morning” column appears daily on DiIonno is the author of three award-winning nonfiction books: New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage, A Guide to New Jersey’s Revolutionary War Trail and Backroads, New Jersey. His new novel, The Last Newspaperman is about how tabloid journalism in the 1920s and 30s changed American media into the crime- and celebrity-obsessed mess we have today. The novel was named a finalist in USA Books Best “Books of 2012″ contest in the general fiction category. Mark is the father of six children, who reside with him in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.


Jon Gibbs

Born in England, Jon Gibbs lives in New Jersey, where he gives writing presentations and workshops in schools and libraries around the Garden State. The founder of The New Jersey Authors’ Network and, Jon’s middle grade fantasy, Fur-Face (Echelon Press), was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. The sequel, Barnum’s Revenge, was released in February 2013.
Jon has a website: and a blog:


Brandi Megan Granett

Brandi Megan Granett (formerly Scollins-Mantha) is an author, English professor, and private writing mentor.  She holds a PhD  in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first book, My Intended, was published by William Morrow in 2000. Her other books, including the short story collection, Cars and Other Things That Get Around, can be found at:

Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of 21 books, an adjunct professor of creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania, a frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, and thestrategic writing partner in a boutique marketing communications firm. Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir won the 2013 Books for a Better Life Award (Motivational Category). Most recently, Beth’s tenth young adult novel, One Thing Stolen (Chronicle Books), won a Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Award. Going Over, her 1983 Berlin story, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, was launched to three starred reviews, and was named a Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth. Kephart’s Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River has recently been released as a paperback and is a key component in a William Penn founded pilot education program created by the Fairmount Water Works. She most recently launched Love: A Philadelphia Affair, a collection of essays and photographs.

She blogs daily at <> .

Lisa Mastroianni

Lisa M  is a Life Coach who specializes in helping women from late teens through the twilight years, who are experiencing transition in their life and need some structure and support to accomplish their goals.  She works with are in some transition around family, career, and purpose and include new grads, newly employed, empty nesters, caregivers and retirees. She provides structure through goal setting, planning and accountability.

Lisa’s entire life has been about helping others. Her background in nursing, and corporate leadership along with personal experiences in moving, changing careers, family care-giving and personal loss provided Lisa with a great deal of experience in helping herself and others move forward while finding balance, fun and Joy.


Life is filled with transitions; it is how we choose to navigate them that matter. It’s so rewarding for me to see someone have that Aha! Moment when they figure it out, when they achieve that goal they never thought they would reach.  This is my passion!


Molly Morton

Molly Morton teaches English and creative writing at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. She also is the advisor for the school’s award-winning art and literary magazine, Changing Perspectives.
Ms. Morton has a BA in English Literature and Latin American Studies from Scripps College in Claremont, California Ms. Morton holds a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education from Rutgers University.  She continues to take seminars and classes in writing through the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, among others.


Shannon O’Connell

Local artist Shannon O’Connell graduated sigma cum laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in May of 2012 with Bachelors in Fine Arts, a concentration in printmaking, and a minor in psychology. Imaginative, charming, and a tad unnerving; Shannon’s art explores a mix of childhood monsters and fairy tales. She is best known for her illustrative drawings, paintings and prints.

Since graduating, Shannon has been continuing to create art and has also been working with children in Hunterdon County. What started out as a basic art class quickly turned into a specialized course in graphic narrative. Shannon has been inspired by comics since childhood and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge with others.


John Smith

John Smith’s poetry has appeared NJ Audubon since the 1980s and in numerous literary magazines. His work has also been anthologized in Under a Gull’s Wing: Poems and Photographs of the Jersey Shore and Liberty’s Vigil: The Occupy Anthology. His poem, “Lived Like a Saint,” which appeared in The Journal of New Jersey Poets, was set to music by Philadelphian composer, Tina Davidson, as part of a choral work, Listening to the Earth, commissioned by the New Jersey Parks Commission. Another poem, “Birding,” was commissioned by New Jersey Audubon for their centennial. “Red Moon,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013.


Bill Spear

Mr. Spear’s writing has been published and produced for over ten years. Since founding Hunterdon Radio Theatre in 2000, Spear has had more than 20 plays produced.  In 2006, he published an anthology of scripts titled “Lit Between the Ears, Volume: Chekhov, O. Henry Spear and Tarkington On the Air” and his scripts have been included in publications across the country. His full-length stage play titled “Replays (Great Moments Live Forever)” is under review for development and production. In 2010, he began teaching writing and has conducted workshops with titles ranging from “Super Heroes, Super Poems” to “Monstrous Valentines” to “Novels and Subplots” to “Screen Plays, Stage Plays, and Audio Plays.”


Loren Spiotta-DiMare

Loren Spiotta-DiMare of Tewksbury specializes in animal subjects, for both adults and children, Spiotta-DiMare has been involved with the publishing industry for over 30 years.  Her titles include:
Beyond The Finish Line:  Stories of Ex-Racehorses, The Sporting Spaniel Handbook, Everyone Loves Elwood, Madeline’s Miracle, Chelsea & The New Puppy, Rockwell:  A Boy and His Dog, Norman To The Rescue and Hannah’s House Rabbit.

Published both nationally and internationally, Spiotta-DiMare’s work has been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States, The Doris Day Animal Foundation, The Dog Writers Association of America, and New Jersey Press Women.   Spiotta-DiMare formed her own publishing company, J. Pace Publications in 2007.


Skye Van Saun

Skye Van Saun holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. A featured poet at the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Poetry Festival and nominee for a Pushcart Prize for “Hide nor Hair” in the anthology Submerged: Tales from the Basin (2008), Van Saun is Director of the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival and currently teaches creative writing at Bucks County Community College’s New Hope/Solebury Community School.