Meet Your 2018/19 Story Coaches

We are pleased to offer prospective Story Makers the opportunity to choose the Story Coach they would like to work with. Review this years coaches and pick top three favourites. If chosen to participate in the program, we will do our best to match Story Makers with their top Story Coach.

Rona Altrows

Literary Fiction (short story collection, novel), Memoir

Rona Altrows has been writing fiction, creative non-fiction and plays for 25 years, and has been editing professionally since 1981. Her most recent book, At This Juncture, came out in April, 2018 and consists entirely of fictional letters. Fall, 2018 will mark the release of Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, which Rona co-edited with Julie Sedivy. Rona’s previous books include A Run on Hose, a short story collection that won the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize; Key in Lock, another short story collection; The River Throws a Tantrum, a children’s chapbook; and Shy, an anthology she co-edited with Naomi K. Lewis. Rona’s work has appeared in magazines and journals in print and on line and has been produced on CBC Radio. Her 10-minute plays have been produced in Canada and the U.S. She has served as Writer-in-Residence for AWCS and for the Calgary Public Library and was the inaugural Mentor in the Loop for AWCS.




Nancy M. Bell

Adult/YA Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction

Nancy M. Bell is a proud Albertan and Canadian living near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She works with and fosters rescue animals. Nancy is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction and for the last three years she has been invited to read her poetry at the Stephan G Stephansson House event Poetry at Stephen’s House.



Ali Bryan

Literary Fiction, Commercial Literary Fiction

Ali Bryan’s first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs was released in the spring of 2018. Her non-fiction has been twice shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and longlisted for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize. She is a 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s Emerging Artist Award recipient. A strong advocate for how mentorship can advance both a writer’s confidence and craft, she looks forward to coaching a writer working on a novel.



Susan CalderSusan Calder

Adult Mystery, Suspense, Literary

Susan Calder is the author of two mystery novels, Deadly Fall (Touchwood Editions) and Ten Days in Summer (BWL Ltd). Her third novel, To Catch a Fox, a literary suspense, is scheduled for release by BWL Ltd. in February, 2019. Susan’s short stories have won contests and appeared in magazines and anthologies and broadcast on CBC radio. Susan teaches courses at AWCS and serves on the board of Calgary’s When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers.



M. Jane Colette

Romance, ChickLit, RomCom

JANE COLETTE writes tragedy for people who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for men and women who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres.

She’s the author of the erotic romance Tell Me, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) Consequences (of Defensive Adultery), and the steamy rom-coms (that’s a genre) Cherry Pie Cure and Text Me, Cupid: a (slightly filthy) love story for 21st century adults in four episodes (coming December 2018), as well as the non-fiction collection of essays Rough Draft Confessions: Not a Guide To Writing and Selling Erotica and Romance But Full of Inside Insight Anyway. //



Susan ForestSusan Forest

Adult/YA/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Horror

Susan Forest is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror and a three-time Prix Aurora Award finalist. Her novel Bursts of Fire, the first in a seven-volume YA epic fantasy series, the Addicted to Heaven Saga, will be out in 2019 from Laksa Media, followed by Flights of Marigolds. She has published over 25 short stories which have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless SkiesOnSPEC Magazine, and her collection, Immunity to Strange Tales, among others. Susan has co-edited three anthologies (Aurora-winning Strangers Among UsThe Sum of Us, Shades Within Us) on social issue-related themes with Lucas K. Law. Susan is the past Secretary for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), contributes to Calgary’s literary festival, When Words Collide, teaches creative writing at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, and has appeared at many local and international writing conventions.



Vivian Hansen

Poetry, Memoir

Vivian Hansen’s poetry includes A Bitter Mood of Clouds, the story of Arne Petersen and their sex reassignment in 1953 (Frontenac), and Leylines of My Flesh (Touchwood Press). Leylines chronicles oral stories of Danish immigration to Canada. Vivian is the author of two chapbooks: Angel Alley: the victims of Jack the Ripper and Never Call It Bird: the Melodies of AIDS. Her recent essay of immigration “Hundedagene and the Foxtail Phenomena” appears in the anthology Coming Here, Being Here. Vivian teaches in the Creative Writing Certificate Program with the University of Calgary, Faculty of Continuing Education. She also teaches creative writing, memoir and poetry at Mount Royal University and AWCS. Vivian’s latest book A Tincture of Sunlight (Frontenac) is about the character of Old Man, who haunts important world events as a trickster, a lover, a veteran, and a scientist. Vivian holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Universtiy of British Columbia.



Phyllis HeltayPhyllis Heltay


Phyllis Heltay is a Calgary award winning screenwriter and playwright. She won a Praxis Screenwriting Fellowship (Simon Fraser University) for the comedy feature screenplay, “Stealing Jesus”, and was a bronze prize winner of the Page International Screenwriting Awards for “Peripheral Vision”, a supernatural thriller. Her short drama “Mustang” was a first place winner of the American Gems screenwriting competition, and she has had numerous options with international production companies for her sci-fi and animation scripts. She currently has an independent comedy feature in development to be produced in Canada.



J. Jill Robinson

Short Story/Creative Nonfiction Essay Collections

J. Jill Robinson has worked with many writers as a writer-in-residence (colleges, universities, and organizations), and in mentorship programs. She’s edited full manuscripts for publishers and done manuscript evaluations for publishers and individuals. Open to all kinds of styles and content, Jill believes strongly that there is no right way or wrong way to write, but rather only what works and what does not work. Approachable and encouraging. She’s assisted writers at different writing levels, and with very different goals for their writing—some intensely private, some public, some professional, and feels well-prepared for most challenges. 

Jill is the author of the novel More in Anger (Thomas Allen) and four collections of short stories. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have won prizes include the Prism International fiction contest, the Event creative nonfiction contest (twice), National and Western Magazine Awards, an Alberta Book Award, and two Saskatchewan Book Awards. She hold an MA in American poetry (Univ. of Calgary), and an MFA in Creative Writing (Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks). She has new creative nonfiction work, Hot Pulse, featured in the latest issue of Geist. She divides her time between Banff and Galiano Island. 



Caroline Russell-King


Caroline has been writing professionally for 30 years.She has had productions in theatres all across Canada, including Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario. As the former Vice President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, she is currently the Guild representative for Southern Alberta. She is also a Director at Large with Alberta Playwrights Network. Past committee work includes the national editorial board, adjudicating scripts for Playwrights’ Canada Press, and the Public Lending Right a branch of The Canada Council.

Carolinewas nominated for a Betty Mitchell Theatre Award for Outstanding New Play for her play Mr. Fix It, and she received a nomination from the Calgary Theatre Critic Awards for Best New Script for Second Chance, First Love.

Scenes and monologues from her work have been published in anthologies four times by Playwrights Canada Press. Palliser Suite which is comprised of her trilogy of one-act plays: Mr. Fix It, Second Chance, First Love and Funeral Fore! was published by Frontenac House Press and was a finalist in the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.