Your Guides

Nicole Baart, Tosca Lee, and Kimberly Stuart are all authors, speakers, mothers, and Midwesterners. They’re also dear friends. After over a decade of navigating the publishing industry more or less on their own, these powerhouse women decided to combine forces—and the Traveling Pens were born. What began as a collaborative for live events, book signings, and speaking engagements became something much more as the trio shared experiences and a growing passion for encouraging and uplifting fellow writers. They believe that we are and always will be better together. And they are eager to share their wealth of wisdom and publishing experience with up-and-coming writers.

Nicole Baart

New York Times Bestselling Author
Nicole Baart wants to live in a world filled with handwritten letters, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and great conversation. A critically acclaimed novelist, Nicole’s work has been featured as a Midwest Connections book pick, nominated for a Christy Award, and earned a starred and featured review from Publishers Weekly. In 2011 she co-authored a book that debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Tosca Lee

New York Times Bestselling Author
Tosca Lee is the multi-award winning, New York Times, IndieBound, and Amazon bestselling author of ten novels including The Line Between, The Progeny, Firstborn, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals trilogy with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and optioned for TV and film. A notorious night-owl, she loves movies, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband. She’s also a big fan of her amazing readers.

Kimberly Stuart

Bestselling Author and International Speaker
Kimberly Stuart, in an effort to condone the time and money spent, would like you to know she holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Iowa. She learned lots of interesting things at these fine institutions, none of which prepared her for the lethal cocktail of parenthood and writing. Stuart is the author of eight published novels, including the Heidi Elliott series, Act Two, Stretch Marks, Operation Bonnet, Sugar, and Heart Land. She is a frequent public speaker and is passionate about helping others live great stories.

Guest Speakers

Danielle Egan-Miller

President of Browne & Miller Literary Associates

Danielle Egan-Miller is president of Browne & Miller Literary Associates. Danielle learned the business of book publishing from the agency side as she began her career as the assistant to, later the associate of, legendary literary agent Jane Jordan Browne. She went on to hold editor positions with several different publishing houses, where she acquired adult non-fiction titles with a strong emphasis on business subjects. In 2002, Danielle rejoined Jane as her partner and the agency was renamed Browne & Miller Literary Associates; she became owner and president of the agency in 2003.

As an agent, Danielle has sold hundreds of books, with a heavy emphasis on commercial adult fiction. Her roster includes many New York Times bestselling authors and numerous prize- and award-winning writers. Danielle holds a BA in English from Loyola University of Chicago and is a graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course. She is also a member of the Association of Authors Representatives and of The Authors Guild.

Jonathan Merkh

President of Forefront Books

Jonathan Merkh has been in the book publishing business for over twenty-five years. His career encompasses roles in marketing, sales, distribution, agenting, and ministry through work at Thomas Nelson Publishers, Guideposts, the William Morris Agency, and Simon & Schuster.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Jonathan also launched the Nelson Business and Political imprints. During his tenure with Simon & Schuster he oversaw the Howard Books division, growing and publishing over forty New York Times best-sellers, five at the #1 slot. Some of these best sellers include Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership, Brad Paisley’s Diary of A Player, William Paul Young, comedian Tim Conway, Debbie Macomber, and many more. In 2013, Howard Books made unprecedented publishing history by selling over 6 million copies of Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family books.

Jonathan Merkh’s extensive and varied experience gives him a well-rounded and unique perspective on every area of the book publishing industry. He has been interviewed and quoted by national media including The Wall Street Journal, NPR and Variety Magazine. With an eye for the changing industry, Jonathan has turned his attention to Forefront Books, a full service, concierge publishing company. He is the president and publisher of this cutting-edge hybrid between traditional/legacy and independent publishing.