SCBWI is a nonprofit organization and the Nevada chapter of SCBWI is wholly operated by volunteers. The regional team consists of an Advisor, Assistant, and Illustrator Coordinator who are responsible for organizing all events; however, the regional team is not paid staff but volunteers as well.
Cynthia Mun, Regional Advisor (Las Vegas)
Cynthia Mun has two decades of experience in strategic and product marketing. As Vice President of Marketing, she worked in emerging technology sectors in Silicon Valley and in hospitality in Las Vegas. She launched the first e-Book and Pandora.com. She switched careers in 2011 to write children’s novels.
Cynthia immigrated to the US from South Korea as a child. She graduated from Westridge All Girls School in Pasadena, CA. She graduated from Yale University and was the first to receive a college degree in her family.
When she isn’t working, she is an active community advocate. She serves on the board of Communities in Schools of Nevada, a nonprofit that helps at-risk students graduate. She is the past President and Founder of the Yale Alumni Association of Nevada (Yale Club). She is also responsible for Yale undergraduate recruitment for Nevada as the ASC Director.
Cindy Ritsko, Assistant Regional Advisor (Las Vegas)
Originally from Ohio, Cindy Leopold-Ritsko holds an A.A. in Business, a B.A. with emphasis in education, and a M.A. in theology. In pursuit of aspirations, she has taken college courses in graphic and fine arts and has recently joined the Storyteller Academy Community.
Residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cindy is an active member of SCBWI Nevada, community volunteer, and contributing writer for LV Pet Scene Magazine under the name, C. A. Ritz. Representing Pet Scene, she writes for children and visits classrooms to engage students and encourage literacy. Cindy loves to inspire reading, writing, and illustration from one’s heart.
Illustrator Coordinator (Reno)
Megan “Jade Griffin” Kellermeyer joined SCBWI in 2016 but she’s been writing about far off lands and people since her teens. She currently writes and illustrates the column/comic Author Ity in the SCBWI Nevada Chapter Newsletter WriteRider. She has created and maintained websites like www.zomboo.com for local businesses for over eight years and sometimes writes for the late-night TV show, Zomboo’s House of Horror Movies. Known online as Jade Griffin, she is both writer and illustrator for the webcomic 56shards.com, which has been running for over seven years.
Whether writing, drawing, or delighting in the screams of people exiting the home haunt she helps put on every Halloween, Megan is constantly creating and is working toward the publication of her first middle-grade novel.
Suzanne Morgan Williams, Regional Advisor Emeritus, PAL Coordinator
Suzanne Morgan Williams is the author of the middle grade novel Bull Rider and eleven nonfiction books for children. Bull Rider is a Junior Library Guild Selection, is on several state award lists and won a Western Heritage Award from the National Western Heritage and Cowboy Museum. Her nonfiction titles include Piñatas and Smiling Skeletons, The Inuit, and China’s Daughters. Suzanne has presented and taught writing workshops at dozens of schools, professional conferences, and literary events across the US and Canada. She is a Nevada Arts Council Artist in Residence and was Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Member of the Year, 2012. Visit www.suzannemorganwilliams.com
Jenny MacKay, PAL Coordinator
Jenny MacKay has written 33 nonfiction books for middle-grade and teen readers on topics ranging from murder scenes and roller coasters to mythology and haunted houses. She has a master’s degree in creative writing and currently teaches college courses in English composition and communications. She has been a member of SCBWI since about 2007 (but who’s counting?) and has been a mentor for two of Nevada SCBWI’s Mentor Programs. She is a teacher at heart, and helping writers unearth and polish up the diamonds in their rough drafts is undoubtedly her favorite thing to do. She also preaches that a good story is a good story, whether it is true or make-believe, so she is equally happy working with writers to shape stupendous tales of both the fictional and the nonfictional kind.
Nazanin Ford, WriteRider Newsletter Editor
Although she’s considered kicking the habit, Nazanin Ford keeps coming back to writing. She’s written for newspapers, magazines, and handbooks, but her first love has always been fiction. Currently, she writes picture books and poetry that revel in the ordinary magic of growing up.
Born in Iran and raised in Southern California, Naz now teaches and writes in Las Vegas, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and chocolate Aussie Labradoodle. You can find her snacking at her desk (for most of the day), reading under a tree (in her dreams), and online (at your leisure) at nazaninford.com, @nazfordwrites or @ford_naz.
Phyllis Mignard, Member Liaison – guides and assists new members and answers general SCBWI questions.
Phyllis Mignard is a retired graphic designer/illustrator of print publications for metropolitan libraries, research firms and public relation departments. A long time doodler she is now following her passion of crafting stories for her characters that appear on scraps of paper and in margins of newspapers and magazines. All paper space is fair game, never wasted and must be filled is her motto.
Her membership with SCBWI fulfills her desire to be a part of a community that pulls together with a common goal of crafting a body of work that makes our hearts sing.
Bonnie Kelso, Picture Book Writer-Illustrator Liaison – coordinates picture book group related events, moderates PB Zoom meetings.
Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave creative self-expression. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she has a background in exhibit design and has worked on projects for NASA, National Geographic, and the Smithsonian Institution. Bonnie traveled all the way around the world… twice! She still enjoys indulging her wandering nature whenever she gets the chance. Currently, she lives in Las Vegas with her partner and two sons with whom she enjoys many real and imaginary adventures. Learn more about Bonnie and her work at www.BonnieKelso.com.
Critique Group Leaders
Shannon Cangey – A former singer/dancer, Shannon Cangey has now turned her creative energy toward writing Picture Books and Middle Grade novels. Her work is inspired by her Midwestern childhood, her background in the Arts, and the bedtime stories she makes up for her son every night. Shannon’s work has been featured in the Henderson Libraries’ anthology Impressions, and she is a judge for the annual Teen Writing Contest hosted by ThinkArt!. As part of her job at Nevada Ballet Theatre, Shannon writes the Academy’s annual Spring Concert, turning fairytales into mainstage productions. You can find Shannon up early on twitter as part of the #5amWritingClub (@ShannonCangey), or through her website, www.ShannonCangey.com.
Stephanie Espinoza Villamor – has lived in the Las Vegas area since she was six weeks old. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Film and from San Jose State University’s online program with a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Stephanie has always loved books and stories, especially for young people. She worked as editor of a youth magazine in college and later in the children’s department of the public library. Stephanie is currently an academic librarian at the College of Southern Nevada, where she helps students and continues to write for the library’s news blog and social media. Her writing interests outside of work include middle grade and young adult novels, both realistic fiction and fantasy. Her stories have appeared in local publications such as CLASS! Magazine, and the Henderson Libraries’ creative writing anthology, Impressions.
Lisa Hallett – Boulder City, Nevada – Thanks to the unending knowledge and inspiration infusion she constantly receives from the writing community, Lisa, a long time SCBWI member, has moved beyond writing and revising her own grocery and to-do lists. She has settled into the world of writing chapter books and middle grade novels, and recently wrote a cover story for a regional magazine. Her critique group is magical, because when they meet, sprinkles from the clouds of creativity and encouragement plink down onto the table splattering shiny puddles of insight into their writing.