Your Hosts

Karen Dionne and Christopher Graham are your hosts for the Salt Cay Writers Retreat.

karen brown door smiling big croppedKaren is the internationally published author of the science thrillers Freezing Point and Boiling Point (Berkley). She is co-founder of the online writers community Backspace, and served on the board of directors of the International Thriller Writers as Vice President, Technology. Karen has written about the publishing industry for DailyFinance and blogs at The Huffington Post. She has been honored by the Michigan Humanities Council as a Humanities Scholar for her body of work as an author, writer, and as co-founder of Backspace.

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Chris is a former independent bookstore owner and co-founder of Backspace. Chris works closely with the International Thriller Writers as Website Administrator, and also designs websites for authors and other clients. He has written for a variety of newspapers, and his fiction has appeared in BluePrintReview.

Together, Karen and Chris have been organizing and directing the highly respected Backspace Writers Conferences and Backspace Agent-Author Seminars held in New York City twice annually for nine years.

“Backspace is well-run, gorgeously organized, and managed with a great deal of care and consideration. I participate in this conference often and each time my respect and admiration for the organizers increases.” — Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management

“I love being associated with you guys. Such a class act. Always innovating, thinking outside the box, and just generally doing conferences bigger and better than they have been done before. I’m honored to have been there from the start.” – Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

“Thanks so much for your prompt and kind response! I’ve heard very good things about the organizers of this conference–the excellent support and helpful answers–and it makes me even more excited to go.” – 2013 conference registrant

“The Fall 2009 Backspace Agent-Author Seminar was the most phenomenal conference I have ever attended. The mixers with agents were wonderfully informal and comfortable, nothing like nerve-wracking pitch sessions. They provided a great opportunity to network with agents and other writers. I recommend this conference to all my writer friends.” – Lisa Iriarte, conference attendee

“Unquestionably the best of all writers conferences, this two-day annual conference has leaped to the top with its emphasis on quality, not quantity. There are no formal pitch sessions. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to attend quality workshops and mingle with some of the best editors, agents and other publishing professionals in the industry in a comfortable, non-aggressive atmosphere.” – Bibliobuffet

“I’ve never attended a conference that was so all-encompassing, so excellent in its breadth and depth. I returned home with a notebook full of notes and a head full of ideas and must-dos to improve my writing and my manuscript. I will be pulling from it all for years and books to come!” – 2012 conference attendee

About Backspace

Backspace ( is an online writers community with over 2,100 members in a dozen countries who write in all genres, and are at all stages of their careers. A third of the members are agented and/or published, and include several dozen New York Times bestselling authors. Members’ books have been nominated for and won prestigious awards including Quills, Edgars, Anthonys, Lambdas, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, John Sargent Jr. First Novel Prize, Michael L. Printz Honor Book, L.A. Times Book Prize, and Booksense’s Book of the Year.

Backspace is endorsed by authors David Morrell and Lee Child, agents Jeff Kleinman and Kristin Nelson, and many others associated with writing and publishing. Backspace has been named to Writer’s Digest Magazine’s “101 Best Websites for Writers” list every year since 2005.

“Backspace is the real deal – which is amply proved both by the quality of discourse within and the truly amazing hit-rate its members have already achieved.”– Lee Child, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“I mention Backspace whenever I teach my writers workshop around the country. The Backspace conference is an invaluable resource. I’ve taught there and can’t say enough good things about the information, encouragement, and enthusiasm they provide.” — David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author, former University of Iowa literature professor, and creator of the iconic character “Rambo.”

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