With nearly three decades of experience, Cathy Risling has devoted her career to putting pen to paper and seeing the fruits of her labor spread across various mediums. She has checked off every box a writer would want in his or her career — newspapers, books, magazines and blogs. To say that she has writing, editing and layout expertise would be an understatement. While she continues to hone her writing and editing talents, she teaches college journalism classes and mentors fledgling scribes at a California university. The passion she has for writing and communicating a message or story clearly and concisely shows in her work. So why not have that work in your favor? When she’s not furiously typing away at the computer or grading students’ papers, she is baking sweet treats, donating her time to charitable organizations and learning how to grow wine grapes. She’s an avid traveler, whether teaching English in Spain, maneuvering the Central America jungles or vacationing in the South Pacific, but her time best spent is at home with her husband and two children.
Lori Basheda is an award-winning freelance journalist who freelances for various publications, including the Times OC, Orange County Register, Coast Magazine and Sunset Magazine. Basheda left the Orange County Register in Southern California in 2014 after 18 years with the paper. Prior to that she worked at the Riverside Press-Enterprise, as well as newspapers in Newport Beach, Ca., northern Virginia and the Philadelphia area. She has written thousands of stories over 30 years, everything from food reviews to travel pieces. But her forte is the feature story. Two of her stories can be found on Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism website, selected as examples of exemplary narrative journalism. Her talent is telling stories that people can relate to, that tug at the heartstrings and inspire action. One story about a horse rescue generated nearly $1 million in donations, enough so they could buy their own ranch. Basheda has won dozens of awards, most recently first place honors from both the California Newspaper Publishers Association and Best of the West for a 2017 investigative series on rehab corruption that she co-reported for the Orange County Register. And she instructed journalism students as a journalist-in-residence for 12 years.