After being born in South Africa and surviving everything from poverty to riots, Nirasha (known as Niri) shelved her desire for writing in a turbulent time to pursue a career in software engineering. While dusting off the remnants of Apartheid, Niri left for the shores of the USA to be a techno-geek by day while pursuing philanthropic interests by night. Fast forward 12 years…with a baby in tow (and another soon after), Niri traded the rat race for her rug rats and turned back to her passion of writing at MommyNiri.com. She has been featured on Boston.com, Syracuse.com and India New England.She’s coupled her work in blogging to further several charitable projects and events, such as putting an end teacher-funded classrooms, supporting Rwanda Path2Peace and Heart 4 Haiti, building playgrounds with Kaboom, hosting events to support Autism, and working on the End Child Hunger campaign. In December 2010, she launched a Mommy Niri Cares holiday drive to provide items to children born into poverty instead of a holiday gift guide. Brands received free advertising while their products were donated.That spawned a newly launched site MommyNiriCares.com, which focuses on using social media for social good.
Sofía Quintero is a novelist, screenwriter and producer whose work crosses genres and garners acclaim. Her latest novel Efrain’s Secret (Knopf, 2010) earned raves from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus, was a winner of the Parents’ Choice Award and is a nominee for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2010 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Quintero’s screenplays have won the San Francisco Black Film Festival and Montage Entertainment Diversity in Screenwriting Award as well as semi-finaled for the ABC New Talent Development Program and the Sundance Institute Screenwriters’ Lab. She is a member of the inaugural class of the TV Writers Studio at Long Island University where she is pursuing her MFA in Writing and Producing Television and studies under Norman Steinberg (The Cosby Show, Blazing Saddles, My Favorite Year) and Bernie Orenstein (Kate and Allie, Sanford and Son, That Girl, What’s Happening.) Quintero and her work have been profiled in Latina, Upscale, New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times and Catalina. Quintero is also the creator the HomeGirl.TV network and web series which she will launch in March 2012. A self-proclaimed “Ivy League homegirl,” Quintero was born and raised in the Soundview neighborhood of the southeast Bronx. Although she attended an academically challenged high school, her intelligence and discipline gained her admission to Columbia University where she earned her BA in history-sociology as well as a New York State provisional teaching license through the highly regarded education program at Barnard College. Quintero went on to earn an MPA from the University’s School of International and Public Affairs as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. From there she embarked on her first career as a policy analyst and community advocate who worked on behalf of diverse issues and communities in the areas of public education, criminal justice and public health. These experiences inform the many stories Quintero many of aimed to tell when she decided to heed the muse and pursue a second career in multimedia entertainment. Upon making that decision, her talent and perseverance enabled her again to realize quickly what many aspire but few achieve – the publication of her first novel in 2004. In fact, under the pen name Black Artemis, Quintero published three novels of “hip-hop noir” with Penguin – Explicit Content, Picture Me Rollin’ and Burn. She also scored a two-book deal with Random House which published her 2006 “chica lit” novel Divas Don’t Yield based on her award-winning screenplay Interstates. Having been published by virtually every major house in the industry, Quintero has authored almost a dozen short stories and novellas in anthologies and collections including Friday Night Chicas (St. Martin’s), Juicy Mangos (Simon & Schuster, Names I Call My Sister (Harper Collins), Iridescence (Alyson), Dirty Girls (Seal) and Politics Noir (Verso.) She joins Joyce Carol Oates, Nikki Giovanni, R.L. Stine Meg Cabot and other notable authors who are contributing young adult fiction for an anthology by the Book Wish Foundation; the proceeds will go toward building a library in Darfur. Quintero’s novel-in-progress is the young adult novel Show and Prove and will be published by Knopf in 2012. She is also a writer-in-residence for the National Book Foundation’s innovative reading program BookUpNYC and was awarded the Gaea Foundation’s SeaChange Artist Residency in 2008. In 2001, Quintero co-founded Chica Luna Productions to identify, develop and support other women of color seeking to make socially conscious entertainment. The award-winning East Harlem-based nonprofit quickly became known for its signature filmmaking institute the F-Word and its innovative workshops that uses popular media from independent films like Girlfight to studio fare such as Thelma and Louise to cultivate film literacy as well as appreciation and awareness of women’s stories and their makers. The almost two dozen graduates of the F-Word have had their work screened on HBO, POV, ITVS, Showtime as well as festivals nationally and internationally. Lauded for her insight, accessibility and humor, Quintero remains an in-demand public speaker, providing media commentary, giving platform readings of her own work, delivering lectures and facilitating interactive, multimedia workshops. Her novels are taught in colleges and universities across disciplines and alongside authors such as Margaret Atwood and Asha Bandele, a rare achievement for an unapologetically commercial novelist. In partnership with Elisha Miranda, Quintero has also become the screenwriter/producer of the short films Blind Date and Corporate Dawgz which not only have been well received on the festival circuit but also continue to be screened in diverse venues. Along with Miranda, Quintero founded Sister Outsider Entertainment in 2007, a multimedia production company that creates content by and about women for television, film and theater. SOE produced and premiered the off-Broadway multimedia production of Pandora’s which at Theater Row in New York City and is presently developing the television series Sangria Street in 2008. This year SOE launched Athena Casting, a multicultural talent boutique serving the entertainment industry in the United States and abroad. In the next two years, Athena is slated to cast four feature films and commercials in the next two years. Quintero is represented by literary agency Avenue A Literary and the speaker’s bureau SpeakOut. She is also a writing mentor for Urban Word NYC, literary coach for aspiring authors and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Post, New York Daily News, Ms., Urban Latino, El Diario/La Prensa and Russell Simmon’s360HipHop.
Doug French is a writer and single dad who began blogging in June 2003. He is also co-founder and organizer of the Dad 2.0 Summit, an annual conference where marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents connect to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood. He has been profiled in or written for The New York Times, Slate, The Huffington Post, and Parents magazine, and his writing has appeared in several parentcentric websites and blogging anthologies. In July 2010, he co-created When The Flames Go Up, a blog about co-parenting after divorce, with his ex-wife. She and he and their two sons live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Based in Orange County, California, Marcy Massura is a Digital Community Manager at Weber Shandwick. In addition to developing social strategies for numerous high-profile clients this award-winning international agency represents, Marcy serves as the digital voice for Oscar Mayer and Lunchables within the social media space. Her love of writing inspired her to create Smartly, a network of regional websites showcasing essays from a national collective of writers. Additionally, Marcy is Co-Founder and President of the largest North American regional blogging organization, BlogCrush. She is also heavily involved in several other websites, where she contributes essays, photography and video on a weekly basis. She maintains her own popular humor website The Glamorous Life Association, and speaks as often as possible spreading her passion and joy for all things social. Her second book “How to Play with Words and Make Them Do (great) Things” is expected for Spring 2012.
visit: http//marcymassura.com or email her at email@example.com