Meet the Team
Founder & Publisher
Athena Dean is a publisher, speaker, radio host, blogger, and pastor’s wife. For the last 30 years she has worked in the industry, spearheading the independent publishing movement in the Christian publishing market. In 2014 Athena co-founded Redemption Press to fill an author-centered niche in publishing.
Her personal blog (athenadeanholtz.com/blog) was selected as one of the top 100 faith blogs for Christian women in 2015 by www.womensbiblecafe.com. She was president of the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association from 2016-2018, is a president’s club member of Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA), a member of Advanced Writer & Speaker Association (AWSA), and recently retired host of a weekly radio program, “Always Faithful” on AM 630 KCIS, where she shared God’s faithfulness with women across the globe.
Her newest book recounts the story of her twelve-year Job-like experience and the modern day Cinderella story she is now living.
Co-Owner and Chairman
Ross has been pastoring for the last 46 years. He founded The Summit EFC 31 years ago and continues to serve as the Senior Pastor today. His eldest son leads worship and both grandsons are on the worship team.
He attended Criswell College back in Dallas in the 70’s and holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies and a D.D. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. His ordination is with the Evangelical Free Church of America.
Most recently Ross received the “Pastor of the Year” award from the National Coalition of Ministries to Men at their Reload Convention in Little Rock, AR, and is the author of “Are You in the Game or in the Way: A Question for Pastors and Men’s Ministry Leaders” (Redemption Press 2017). He also has contributed to two other books, “How to Disciple Men” and “If You Passed Your Baton.”
Shelly Brown, Special Project Support
Shelly Brown comes with a diverse business, entrepreneurial and ministry background that includes start-up businesses, to business development and senior management leading and building teams, to radio talk show host, writing, speaking and transformational discipleship.
Coming from the same circles, Shelly’s earliest memory of Athena was seeing her photo donning her signature glasses. Her immediate thought was, ‘what a cool, beautiful woman!’ Shelly followed Athena from a distance on social media and rejoiced as she saw Athena’s story of redemption unfold. It was this common circle that would ultimately (many years later) bring Shelly across Athena’s radar as she was praying and looking for someone who could support her in the growing demands of her role.
Shelly lives in Orlando, Florida and is mom to three extraordinary adult children, two beautiful daughters-in-love and Grandma to three absolutely perfect grand-princesses.
Read More About Shelly
Through writing and speaking, Shelly had spent more than a decade sharing the hope and love of Jesus. A life filled with loss, abuse, abandonment and rejection left Shelly with deep heart and soul wounds. This gave her a unique platform of not only encouraging women, but also deeply understanding them and offering sound biblical truths and hope.
After more than a decade of ministry, in 2008 Shelly’s life took quite a drastic turn. With a series of losses, hurt and betrayals she found herself smack in the middle of a wilderness journey. One that would last for more than 11 years. From 2008 until 2012 it was the painful stripping away of things she loved and held tightly to … all with the purpose of driving her into the presence of her Jesus so He could shine His light into the deep brokenness and unhealed areas of her heart.
Shelly shares …
I had spent my life, even in ministry, coping, unknowingly wearing a mask of “having it all together”. One year into this 11 year wilderness journey I found myself flat on my face on my bedroom floor crying out, “Ok Lord, take me through whatever you need to, but whatever you do, don’t let me be the same woman I am today when I get through this journey!” I would have no idea that the worst was yet to come.
BUT … the healing process had begun. Just enough to prepare me for the next 4 1/2 years of an even darker wilderness journey where I would lose 95% of everything … my home and marriage of 21 years, my business, 95% of all my material belongings, my church of 33 years and treasured relationships. Surviving only with a deeper relationship with my Jesus and my three precious children. It was the ultimate cocoon experience. Dark. Scary. Lonely. Uncertain. Excruciatingly painful.
BUT GOD! Like a beautiful butterfly, I emerged from that cocoon completely transformed, healed and free! Free to spread HIS fragrance to others out of the overflow of His Spirit and a deeper intimacy and knowledge of His Truth.
God answered my prayer from 10 years prior exceedingly, abundantly! There is not one part of me that resembles that woman who was laying face down on her bedroom floor crying out to God! Beauty from the ashes!
And now … I no longer “do” ministry. I live ministry. Whether in business or leisure, on a platform or one-on-one, “thanks be to God who always leads [me] in triumph in Christ, and through [me] diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Codey Forsel, Office Manager
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration in 2012, Codey spent a few years working in the heavy machinery industry and then in her field of focus within the healthcare industry.
After realizing how precious her time with her four children was to her she decided to quit her dream job working administratively for a healthcare organization and spent a few years focusing on her family.
Now that most of her children are older she is excited to be a part of an organization that helps people’s dreams of authorship become a reality, and is able to do so without leaving her own home town.
She is very excited to see what God has in store for this new season of her life.
Stephanie Gibson, Assistant to the Publisher
Stephanie was born and raised in Northern California, where she still resides with her High School Sweetheart of 16 years. She managed a heavy-duty towing company for over a decade before the company’s owners retired.
Her management experience and organizational skills will be an asset to our company. She has a passion for teaching and motivating others to use their gifts and talents to their full capacity.
Stephanie is the wife of a firefighter, Labrador mom [dog] , and loves being outdoors. She enjoys baking, hunting, fishing, and camping with family and friends.
Michelle Ventura, Administrative Assistant
Michelle Ventura has been called a “missionary with makeup,” and is passionate about ministering encouragement to others. After attending Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona in preparation to transferring to university to continue her education in midwifery, she changed direction and began anew when she moved from Arizona to Washington State with her two young children. Michelle has previously been employed in administrative assistant positions and is excited to bring her administrative skills, passion for books, and helping others to her work as an administrative assistant at Redemption Press. She and her husband Mike have a blended family of three girls and a boy.
Hannah McKenzie, Sr. Project Manager
After being a hairstylist for four years, Hannah’s love and compassion for people and their stories led her to her work at Redemption Press. Through the devotional she has written relating horses to her walk with God, she realized the power of words and helping others reach their goals in publishing. She has been with Redemption Press since the beginning as an administrative assistant and then office manager and moved into project management in January of 2016.
Hannah and her husband have been married since 2012 and have two daughters – Trinity and Paisley. They own a farm where they raise pigs, cows, chickens, and board horses. They enjoy having the opportunity to both work from home and raise their girls. In Hannah’s spare time (the little bit she has!), she enjoys riding horses, baking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Dotty Reed, Project Manager
Born and raised in Washington, Dotty has worked in administrative-related fields for several years. She is nationally certified in music and literary braille and is excited to bring her experience to Redemption Press and the Christian book publishing world.
Dotty studied Business Technology at Tacoma Community College and would soon like to continue towards higher education with a focus in business and entrepreneurship. She enjoys painting, photography and is even beginning work on her first novel.
Carrie Stevenson, Project Manager
Carrie Stevenson brings her experience and skills in interior design to her new position as a project manager with Redemption Press. A Psi Chi Honor Society student at Northwest University, she enjoys helping others reach their full potential through creative avenues. She and her husband Joey have two children and live in western Washington, where her passions are painting, art, design, music, and writing.
Tonya Williamson, Project Manager
Tonya Williamson has a bachelor of liberal arts, a master of arts in education, is certified in biblical counseling and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and has over thirty years’ experience in education and ministry. Currently an online instructor to students in China, she has taught in Bogota, Colombia and Beijing, China on short-term mission trips. The author of Worship God! and Praise Away the Pounds!, and two other books with Redemption Press, she co-leads a small group at her church, serves on an intercessory prayer team, and loves spending time with her grandchildren.
Andrea Tomassi – Director of Acquisitions
A resident of Northern California, Tomassi is a businesswoman, author, and motivational speaker who will be working in business development and with potential new authors.
With decades of experience in business marketing and sales, transportation, as well as franchise management, she brings to the company expertise in business development, communications, customer service, social media, advertising, and human resources. Andrea Tomassi is pursuing a Bible teaching certificate from Gateway Seminary in Freemont, CA, and is a member of West Coast Christian Writers’ Association, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association where she will complete her certification as an author’s coach in April.
Tomassi is the co-author of Live Bold (Redemption Press), along with Cynthia Nichols Cavanaugh, which won a Selah Award for best devotional in 2019. She represented Redemption when the company served as sponsors for the Women of Joy Tour in 2018. Part of her job description will be to represent the partner publisher at conferences, such as the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, SpeakUp, and She Speaks.
Kathy Green - Publishing Consultant
Jonathan Lewis – Designer
Owner and designer at Jonlin Creative, Jonathan’s commitment to excellence in design and serving our authors with stunning covers is a vital aspect to his place on the Redemption Press team. His spirit-led creativity and understanding of the author’s vision is an incredible asset to our work.
Nate Myers - Cover Designer & Typesetting
I got my start working in-house at the custom publishing company Athena originally co-founded doing book layout and working my way up to designing book covers and eventually running the design department. After over 4 years working at an independent publisher I left, went back to school for graphic design and while in school formed Wilhelm Design.
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, I currently live in the Enumclaw area.
Bill Johnson - Cover Designer
Accomplished Art Director, and goal-oriented strategic thinker inspiring a team of creative professionals consisting of graphic designers, illustrators, production artists and staff. Excellence in marketing and book design, magazine design, brand management, product development, photo shoots, and overall strategies to reach and surpass vision objectives on-time and on-budget with award-winning results. A great addition to the Redemption Press design team!
Sara Colley - In House Typesetter
Sara was born and grew up in the Seattle area but decided to branch out of the PNW after a mission trip to Nashville, Tennessee during high school. She began her four years at Belmont University in Nashville pursuing a BFA in Studio Art until she realized her hobbies in the arts were not necessarily her passions. She began studying the publishing process during her sophomore year and never looked back! Sara graduated in May 2019 with a BA in Literary Publishing, a Minor in Studio Art, and two years of advanced Koine Biblical Greek, and is still an aspiring intellectual properties lawyer.
Upon returning home to the ocean and mountains she had missed so much, Sara was extremely excited to start her career in publishing as soon as possible after picking up several months of experience working for a literary agent while at school. She looks forward to working with authors to make their stories come to life through Redemption Press!
Managing Editor, Dori Harrell
Dori is an award-winning writer, editor, author coach, and speaker at writers’ and editors’ conferences and relationship-marketing events.
As managing editor of Redemption Press, she works closely with Redemption’s authors and editors, guiding manuscripts through the editing process and ensuring top-notch editing that takes authors’ books to the next level. Dori also owns Breakout Editing and edits for indie authors and publishers, including Kregel Publications and Gemma Halliday Publishing.
As an editor, she releases more than twenty books a year. Dori also guest blogs for author and editing sites. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest, and she’s an avid Seahawks fan.
Inger Logelin - Sr. Editor / Coach
Julie Carobini - Freelance Coach / Editor
Linda Nathan - Editor
Today, Linda has over 30 years of experience as a professional independent freelance writer, editor, and publishing consultant, working with authors and institutions on a wide range of projects. Linda’s focus is Christian fiction and nonfiction, including extensive writing and editing in Christian apologetics, sometimes in conjunction with her husband. She also works in the areas of academia, law, journalism, business, the arts, health/social sciences, education, and history; as well as general market fiction and nonfiction. One of her fiction clients was a Christy Gold Medal finalist. Another client’s novel won first prize in a large regional contest by a Christian Writers Group.
Linda has interviewed and worked with political leaders, media figures, and Hollywood celebrities. She has edited nearly 100 college textbooks and helped numerous authors achieve publication. She is a published author of apologetics books, two devotions in Zondervan’s Livingstone Women’s Bible, and dozens of articles ranging from devotions to in-depth journalistic investigations of contemporary issues.
Linda has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oregon in Eugene, and master’s level work in interdisciplinary studies. She is a Gold member of the Christian Editor Connection, and a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Northwest Independent Editors Guild, and the American Christian Fiction Writers.
Linda and Richard live in the foothills of beautiful Mt. Baker in Washington State, where they enjoy writing together, taking walks in the woods, and visiting their three adorable grandchildren.
Christina Miller - Editor
Christina loves to make a manuscript sparkle and to help authors bring their writing to the next level. She’s a Bethany College of Missions graduate (now Bethany Global University), pastor’s wife, worship leader, and author for Love Inspired, the Christian imprint of Harlequin.
Many of Christina’s non-fiction editing projects have dealt with aspects of Christian living. Because of her theology degrees, she has edited a good number of books written by pastors of almost every major denomination. Her affiliation with the Assemblies of God has naturally attracted Pentecostal authors/pastors, including Dr. Michael Bean, executive presbyter in the Indiana District of the Assemblies of God and author of Hello, Holy Spirit, and Randall Burton, cabinet member of the Indiana District of the Assemblies of God and author of River Rising. She has also edited many personal stories/memoirs, including What Do You Have that God Can Use? by Dr. Carolyn Smith.
Novels are Christina’s favorite books to read and edit. She is particularly proud of editing five award-winning novels. Love Ain’t No Soap Opera by Connie Kuykendall won the Golden Leaf Award for Best Novel at the Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat. Shenandoah Dreams, Shenandoah Crossings, and A Shenandoah Christmas, all by Lisa Belcastro, were finalists in seven contests. In addition, between these three books, Lisa won the Christian Small Publishers Association Romance Novel Book of the Year, the Booksellers Best Award for Best Novella, and the SELAH Award for Best Novella. And The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, debut novel by Carole Brown, was the 2015 Book of the Year in General Fiction from Christian Small Publishers, an RWA Oklahoma International Digital Award second-place winner, a Clash of the Titles top-three finalist, a SELAH Award finalist, and a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest.
While Christina is qualified to edit fiction of all Christian genres, historical romance is her specialty. Growing up on the farm her ancestors settled in the 1850s, she loved nothing more than to explore her grandmother’s attic, finding wooden shoes and sea chests the settlers brought to America from Prussia and pretending to sew on the old treadle sewing machine. Christina’s grandmother often told stories of growing up in rural southern Indiana at the turn of the twentieth century, and those stories ignited her love of history. That love flows into her own writing as well, with her Love Inspired Historical books set in Natchez, Mississippi, during the postbellum years.
When Christina doesn’t have her nose in a book or her toes in the sand, you might catch her visiting an antebellum mansion, exploring a museum or antiques shop, or teaching at a women’s conference. She lives on her family’s farm with her husband of thirty years and Sugar, their talking dog.
Marlene McCurley - Editor
Marlene has worked in Christian education for twenty-five years and as a freelance copy editor, proofreader, and writer for nearly twenty years. She as a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas and an editing credential from the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, a division of the University of Chicago, home of the Chicago Manual of Style. She is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Northwest Editors Guild, and the Christian PEN. She is also the Editors Connection Coordinator for the Northwest Christian Writers Association. She has volunteered her editing services for the Western and Central Washington Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the NCWA.
When not helping to spot inaccuracies, typos, grammar no-nos, and fuzzy logic for an author, she is enjoying her three grandchildren, traveling with her husband, reading speculative fiction, writing about her new favorite word, or strumming the ukulele.
Find out more about Marlene at www.mwords.net.
Rebecca Florence Miller - Coach / Editor
Prior to her career as an editor, Rebecca received a master of divinity from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) and spent three years in parish ministry. Her undergraduate degree from Waldorf College (Forest City, IA) is in English and humanities.
Rebecca also knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the editorial relationship. She understands how quality editing can help a writer reach the next level of communication, as well as the vulnerability a writer feels when sending their work to an editor. Her writing has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Christian Bible Studies, Christ and Pop Culture, Christianity Today TV and Movies, and Mockingbird.
Jeanette Hanscome - Coach / Editor
As a freelance editor and coach, Jeanette has experience in a variety of genres, including devotionals, women’s contemporary fiction, historical romance, YA, memoirs, and general nonfiction. She is also a speaker and regularly teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. She is currently on the board of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference and is a member of Christian Editor Network, Inspire Christian Writers, and Christian Authors Network.
Much of Jeanette’s writing and speaking flows from her unique perspective as a woman who has been visually impaired since birth. She was born with Achromatopsia, a rare eye disease that causes complete colorblindness, extremely light sensitivity, low vision, and an inability to drive. This has not stopped her from being an avid book nerd and pursuing her passions for writing and encouraging writers.
Jenne Acevedo - Editor
As a freelance editor, consultant, and editing instructor, Jenne Acevedo encourages both writers and editors through Acevedo Word Solutions LLC and Chandler Writers’ Group (Arizona), which she started in 2011.
Jenne is a cofounder of Christian Editor Network LLC, the former director of The Christian PEN and PENCON, a member of Christian Editor Connection, and an instructor for The PEN Institute. She has written multiple articles and devotions, received an award for children’s writing, and has judged both book and editing awards.
Currently, her focus is copyediting nonfiction books, proofreading for publishers, and consulting for industry clients.
Sarah Barnum - Coach and Editor
Sarah Barnum is a freelance editor with a passion for writing and riding. After a career managing a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with special needs, the Lord led her to start TrailBlaze Writing & Editing. Sarah is a member of Inspire Christian Writers and the Christian PEN, and she serves on board for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Sarah has published articles and short stories—most recently in Chicken Soup for the Soul—but her true passion is in helping other authors make their writing the best it can be. When she’s not working with words, Sarah enjoys ranch life in northern California with her husband and her Appaloosa horse, Ransom. Learn more at www.trail-blazes.com.
Sue Fairchild - Coach and Editor
Sue is an editor, writer, blogger, webmistress, and blog coordinator. She has written and self-published three books: What You Think You Know (young adult fiction), Summer’s Refrain (women’s contemporary fiction), and Edit Your Novel for Less. She has published close to twenty devotions in The Secret Place and The Upper Room devotional magazines, as well as articles for her local newspaper. She is a member of the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network (PEN) and St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. You can learn more about Sue on her website: www.suessimplesnippets.wordpress.com.
PROMOTION / MARKETING
Director of Program Design & Development, Cynthia Cavanaugh
Cynthia is an award-winning author, speaker, and certified Life Coach. She has two titles with Redemption Press, Live Bold: A Devotional Journal to Strengthen Your Soul (2018) with co-author Andrea Tomassi, a bible study, Live Unveiled: Freedom to Worship God, Love Others and Tell Your Story (2017), and a third title to be released in early 2020, Live Bold: A Bible Study to Fuel Your Faith. She is also an author with New Hope Publishers, Anchored: Leading Through the Storms (2018), and Unlocked: 5 Myths Holding Your Influence Captive (2013).
Cynthia has coached a wide range of authors to encourage them to leverage their influence to the next level. Cynthia has a passion for helping others flourish with their gifts. She looks forward to serving you as a writer and author to reach your goals with your message!
Book Launch & Platform Development Coach, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
Saundra is an award-winning author and speaker. She spent over 20 years in clinical practice as an internal medicine physician before transitioning into a career that allows her to indulge in her love of books. She is the author of Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves and Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurt’s and Recieve God’s Healing Love (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). Her newest release is Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity (2019 gold winner for the Christian Author Network (CAN) Crown Award in Outstanding Broadcast Media).
Saundra has spoken at numerous Christian writer’s conferences teaching authors how to effectively launch their books, improve their author platform, and secure their own media placements including She Speaks, Speak Up Conference, Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, and She Writes For Him Conference. She leads a Christian Author Mastermind group and has coached both fiction and nonfiction authors. She loves helping authors learn how to grow their email list, build relationships with readers, and position their book in the market for maximum exposure.
Walinda Alleman - Social Media Manager
Vincent Davis - Amazon Marketing Expert
He is passionate about helping authors improve their brand and platform. He works with publishing companies and individual clients to help them sell more books in the modern publishing environment. Vincent is also the Senior Editor for blueridgeconference.com.