2022 Rising Star Award First Round Judges

Christa Allan is a multi-published and award-winning author of Women’s Fiction. A born and bred NOLA chick, she recently boomeranged from Louisiana to Texas to Mississippi. Christa is editing a new book she plans to soon query. You can find her on Twitter and on Instagram @christaallan.author. Her website is www.ChristaAllan.com 

After years as a nurse, Ellen Carol Andrews began writing and wishes she had pursued it a long time ago. She is currently querying her third novel, IN THE MARGINS, and re-editing/revising two earlier self-published novels. She has had many varied jobs in her life, including being a school bus driver, industrial seamstress, certified landscape designer, and the owner of an herb nursery. She grew up in Northern Indiana but has lived throughout the United States, following her husband’s military career. She resides at present on ten acres in rural north central Florida. This is her fourth year as a Rising STAR judge. You can follow her on twitter @elliespetals on Facebook [email protected] and her website ellengreenandrews.com
Kathleen Basi is the quintessential jack-of-all trades writer: musical composer and songwriter, feature writer, essayist, nonfiction author, and of course, storyteller. Basi spent her childhood drawing inspiration for stories from the fields and trees on her family's farm . . . when she wasn't climbing on tractors and jumping off hay bales. Now, as mother to three rambunctious boys (read that to mean always breaking something!) and one chromosomally-gifted daughter (Down syndrome: more alike than different!), she doesn't have to look any farther than her kitchen table. Her novel, A SONG FOR THE ROAD, published by Alcove Press, debuted in May 2021. Her website is kathleenbasi.com.

Lara Bernhardt is a Pushcart-nominated writer, editor, and audiobook narrator. She is Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Press and also publishes a literary magazine, Conclave. Twice a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction, she writes supernatural suspense and women’s fiction. This is her third year as a Rising STAR judge. You can follow her on all the socials @larawells1 on Twitter and @larabern10 on Facebook, BookBub, and Instagram. Her website is larabernhardt.com.

Kim Taylor Blakemore writes historical novels that feature fierce and often dangerous women. She is the author of THE DECEPTION (releases Oct 2022), the Amazon bestselling historical thriller AFTER ALICE FELL, and Goldie and WFWA Star Award Finalist THE COMPANION. Other historical novels include BOWERY GIRL, and the WILLA Award winner for Best YA Fiction, CISSY FUNK.

She is the founder of Novelitics, providing a dynamic writing community, novel coaching, developmental editing, and monthly workshops on the craft and business of writing.

Visit her at www.kimtaylorblakemore.com or on Instagram @kimtaylorblakemorebooks.

As a teen, Marci Bolden skipped over young adult books and jumped right into reading women’s fiction and romance novels.

Marci lives in the Midwest with her husband, two kiddos, and numerous rescue pets. If she had an ounce of willpower, Marci would embrace healthy living, but until cupcakes and wine are no longer available at the local grocery store, she’ll put that ambition on hold and appease her guilt by reading self-help books and promising to join a gym “soon.” Her website is marcibolden.com.

Betty Bolté is an award-winning American author and editor of fiction and nonfiction books. She has published 25+ books, most recently BECOMING LADY WASHINGTON: A NOVEL, NOTES OF LOVE AND WAR, and FRACTURED CRYSTALS (Fury Falls Inn Book 4). She earned a Master’s Degree in English in 2008, emphasizing the study of literature, and has judged many writing contests for both fiction and nonfiction. She’s published essays, newspaper articles/columns, magazine articles, and nonfiction books but now enjoys crafting entertaining and informative fiction, especially stories that bring American history to life. This is her eighth year as a Rising STAR judge. She’s a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Authors Guild, and Historical Novel Society, among other professional organizations. Find out more about her and her books at www.bettybolte.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter @BettyBolte, or Instagram @bjbolte.

Stephanie Bourbon is an author, screenwriter, TV writer, YouTuber, blogger, artist, and creative consultant/writing coach helping writers and storytellers find their unique path. She is a certified book coach and runs courses for female writers. She has worked in the entertainment industry as a writer, consultant, reader, actress, animator, and storyboard artist for more than three decades. She can be found at www.judaniebean.com and www.stephaniebourbon.com
Sarahlyn Bruck is the author of the award-winning DAYTIME DRAMA (TouchPoint Press 2021), which Kirkus Reviews called “A fun, frothy tale that will leave readers excited for a sequel.” Her debut novel, DESIGNER YOU (Crooked Cat Books, 2018) won the 2019 Indie Star Book Award and was included on the 2018 “35 Over 35” list. When she’s not writing novels, Sarahlyn moonlights as a full-time writing and literature professor at a local community college. A California native, she now lives in Philadelphia with her family. This is her third year as a Rising STAR judge. For the latest book news, events, and announcements, check out her website: sarahlynbruck.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @sarahlynbruck.
Carole Brungar is a multi-awarding-winning New Zealand author. She loves to write heart-wrenching love stories set in one of the harshest environments of our time, the Vietnam War. This is her second year as a Rising Star judge. Find her at www.carolebrungar.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolebrungarauthor.

Lynne Bryant is an American author, educator, and member of WFWA. She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Colorado. Lynne’s debut novel CATFISH ALLEY (2011) “. . . tackles the racial divide of both 1920s and current-day Mississippi in a page-turning narrative that has, at its heart, the search for personal connections as the path to both survival and understanding,” said Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River. Her website is www.lynnebryant.com.

Samantha Bryant believes in love, magic, and unexplainable connections between people. Her favorite things are lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, and sunlight through the leaves of trees. She has lived in many places, including rural Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Vermont, England, and Spain and has learned to bloom where she’s planted. She is fierce at heart, though she doesn't look it.

She writes women-centered stories in a variety of speculative fiction genres, but is best known for her Menopausal Superheroes series. GOING THROUGH THE CHANGE, the first book in the series, won a Jacquis Award for feminist fiction.

Find her through her website http://samanthabryant.com or wasting time on Twitter and Instagram @samanthabwriter. If all else fails, check the woods. She likes to get lost there as often as she can.

Kelly Byrne is an award-winning poet, playwright, and short story writer. Her novels include CHASING KATE and UNBECOMING EMMA, the latter releasing soon. In a former life, she was a snowboard instructor, a personal trainer, and a pet photographer. All provided great fodder for writing. This is her third year as a Rising STAR judge. Follow her on Facebook @authorkellybyrne and on Instagram @author_kelly_byrne. Her website is www.authorkellybyrne.com.
Carmen Catena is a writer, educator, developmental editor, and book coach. Her short fiction has been published in The Dillydoun Review, among other places, and an excerpt from her novel WIP won the 2020 Colorado Gold Rush Literary Awards. This is her first year as a Rising STAR judge. Find her online at www.carmencatena.com and on Instagram @catenaedits.

Karen Cino is a multi-published author who has been writing since she was fourteen years old. She started her career by writing poetry, short stories, and articles for her high school newspaper and worked as an investigator reporter for the Staten Island Register. Her daily walks down at the boardwalk are what gets her muse going. It clears her mind and helps her find realistic plot ideas and characters, boosting up her muse. Karen loves writing about local places that people can relate to. 

Karen loves the summer, loves the beach. Her previous books were written and take place in various places across Staten Island. Karen relocated to the Jersey Shore in 2015, where her current novel DOWN AT THE SHORE and her Cookie Cutter series take place. Karen is a member of Women’s Fiction Writing Association. Currently, she’s working on a women’s fiction and cozy mystery series. Her website is karencino.com.

Nita Collins is a Canadian author, developmental editor, and Author Accelerator certified book coach. Her debut novel, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD, is currently on submission. A long-time WFWA member and mentorship volunteer, this is her first year as a Rising STAR judge. Follow her on Twitter @nitacollinswri2, and Instagram & Facebook @nitacollinswriter. 
Barbara Conrey is the USA Today Bestselling author of NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE. This is Barbara's third year as a Rising STAR judge. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @barbaraconrey.
Lecia Cornwall is the author of 18 historical romances and two historical women's fiction titles. She lives in Alberta Canada in the foothills of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Her website is www.leciacornwall.com.
Joy Ross Davis is of Scottish/Irish descent and a student of the lore and magic found in the hills of Tennessee. After a twenty-five-year career as a college English professor, she traveled to Ireland and worked as a writer and photographer, publishing numerous travel articles and photos for an Irish travel agency. She has been a contributing feature writer for a local newspaper and has published articles in Southern literary magazines. The author of seven novels, she lives in Alabama with her son and beloved dogs. Her website is joyrossdavis.com.
Shelly Davis is a developmental editor and copyeditor specializing in women’s fiction and historical fiction. With clients ranging from Big 5 publishing to independent authors, she loves to dive into the details of a novel to determine what’s working and what needs a little polishing in order to shine. In addition to WFWA, she is also a member of Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and American Copy Editors Society (ACES). This is her second year as a Rising STAR judge. Visit her website at www.thedetaildevil.com and follow her on Twitter at @DetailDevilSD.
Grete DeAngelo is the author of GIVING MYSELF AWAY (2013), a teacher, and a parent. She has been a member of WFWA as well as LVWG (Lehigh Valley Writers Group) for many years. Her website is www.gretedeangelo.com.
Laura Drake is a New York and self-published published author of Women's Fiction and Romance. Her debut, THE SWEET SPOT, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Writers in the Storm blog. Her website is lauradrakebooks.com.
Marie Duess is the author of five full-length novels and two non-fiction history books about early Pennsylvania. She has also collaborated on a nonfiction book, JOSHUA'S RING. In 2016, one of her blog posts was included in an anthology, Feisty after 45: The Best Blogs from Midlife Women, which instantly became Number One on Amazon's Best Sellers in New Releases. She can be found at mariemduessconsulting.com.
Molly Dwyer teaches creative writing at Mendocino College in California. She’s been honored for “Writing Women Back into History,” and her novel, REQUIEM FOR THE AUTHOR OF FRANKENSTEIN, was nominated for a Northern California Book Award. 

Tracey Enerson Wood has always had a writing bug. While working as a Registered Nurse, starting her own Interior Design company, raising two children, and bouncing around the world as a military wife, she indulged in her passion as a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She has authored magazine columns and other non-fiction, written and directed plays of all lengths, including Grits, Fleas and Carrots, Rocks and Other Hard Places, Alone, and Fog. Her screenplays include Strike Three and Roebling’s Bridge.

Other passions include food and cooking, and honoring military heroes. Her co-authored anthology/cookbook Homefront Cooking, American Veterans share Recipes, Wit, and Wisdom, was released by Skyhorse Publishing and all authors’ profits are donated to organizations that support veterans. Life Hacks for Military Spouses is her latest non-fiction release, also an anthology from Skyhorse.

Her debut novel, The Engineer’s Wife, a historical fiction about the woman who built the Brooklyn Bridge, is an international and USA Today best seller. Her newest novel, The War Nurse, which tells the amazing story of Julia Stimson during WW1, was released in 2021, both from Sourcebooks.

A New Jersey native, she now lives with her family in Florida. Her website is traceyenersonwood.com

Lisa Fellinger is a writer turned editor and book coach who specializes in working with contemporary women's fiction and romance. She is an active member of WFWA and a certified developmental editor. This is her first year as a Rising Star judge. Follow her on Instagram @lisafellinger_editor. Her website is www.lisafellinger.com.

S.M. Freedman is the award-winning mystery and thriller author of THE FAITHFUL series, THE DAY SHE DIED, and BLOOD ATONEMENT. This is her second year as a Rising STAR judge. Her website is www.smfreedman.com.
Raised in the Midwest, Jennifer Fromke quit pre-med and married a doctor instead. She studied Literature and found herself living in the South with a cedar chest full of wool sweaters and an aversion to sweet tea. Jennifer has been a Rising Star judge since the contest began. She writes women’s fiction from North Carolina and tells everyone she meets what to read. Official book reviews can be found at shetalksbooks.com and IG: @shetalksbooks.

Elaine Gallant is founder of 808 writers and host of Books! Books! Books!, a livestreaming series through ThinkTechHawaii. She’s also a member of WFWA and a founding member of Maui Writers Ink. Her thriller, THE 5TH C: A CIA NOVEL, plus her Vella novel and freelance work in numerous print, anthologies, and online publications can be found on Amazon. When not traveling the world, you might find Elaine in a gown cavorting undersea. Follow Elaine at: www.WestMauiBookClub.com and ElaineGallantBlog.wordpress.com.

Maggie Giles is a Canadian author who is usually daydreaming about fictional characters. Always looking for a new creative outlet, Maggie dove into writing a novel head first. She has been a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association since 2014 where she works as their Social Media Director. She lives in Collingwood, Ontario with her Bullmastiff Cross. THE THINGS WE LOST is her first novel. To learn more visit maggiegiles.com
Jean M. Grant has a penchant for the misunderstood, be it sharks, microbes, or fictional misfits. A scientist by training, she now spends her days as an author and advocate for neurodiversity. She writes family travel articles and novels in the romance, women’s fiction, and upmarket fiction genres, with five books published by The Wild Rose Press. Two of her novels have won awards. Find her on Instagram @jeanmgrant, twitter @JeanGrant05, or jeanmgrant.com posting about her flower and vegetable gardens, coffee escapades, walks in nature, and Dwayne Johnson obsessions.
Alison Hammer has been spinning words to tell stories since she learned how to talk. A graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, she lived in 9 cities before settling down in Chicago. During the day, Alison is a VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago, but on nights and weekends you can find her writing upmarket women's fiction. Alison is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary Agency. Her novels, YOU AND ME AND US and LITTLE PIECES OF ME are out now from William Morrow (HarperCollins). Her website is www.alisonhammer.com.

Lita Harris is an American author of women’s fiction and sweet, small town romance. Her latest release is CHRISTMAS IN BROOKSIDE FALLS. A novella, CHOCOLATE NUT SOMEDAY, is slated for release in the summer of 2022. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her website is litaharris.com.

Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with a bit of an edge. Her novels explore the role of friendship in the lives of adult women and themes of identity. Her novels include HOW TO CLIMB THE EIFFEL TOWER, OVERLOOK, and ESCAPE PLAN. When not writing her own books, Elizabeth teaches basic fiction writing courses at her local community college. This is her sixth year as a Rising STAR judge. Her website is www.elizabethhein.com.

Rebecca Hodge’s debut novel WILDLAND has received rave reviews from readers and received the WFWA Star award for debut Women’s Fiction. Her second book, OVER THE FALLS, about a woman searching for the sister she hates, Released in September 2021. Rebecca is a former veterinarian and clinical research scientist who lives and writes in North Carolina. She has three grown sons, two crazy dogs, and one patient husband. When not writing on the back porch or brewing yet another mug of tea, she loves hiking, travel, and (of course) curling up with a good book.

Follow her on Facebook and Instagram and check out her website www.rebeccahodgefiction.com to sign up for her newsletter, which offers a book giveaway in every issue.

Pamela Kelley is a USA Today and WSJ bestselling author and member of WFWA. Her books include THE RESTAURANT and THE NANTUCKET INN and in Summer of 2023 from St. Martin's Press/Griffin, THE BEACHSIDE BOOKSHOP. This is her first year as a Rising STAR Judge. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest  and Twitter @pamelamkelley and Facebook. Her website is pamelakelley.com.

Kim Lozano is a writer, writing teacher, and developmental editor. She works with private clients and leads group workshops in St. Louis and online. Her own work has been published in The Iowa Review, North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, DIY MFA, CRAFT, and many other publications. She's also a regular contributor for Scribbler (the book subscription box company). Her popular resource for writers, Kim's Notes, goes out every two weeks and you can sign up at kimlozano.com.

Maggie Lynch is the author of 26+ published fiction and nonfiction books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles.  Her fiction tells stories of people making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. After careers in counseling, the software industry, academia, and worldwide educational consulting, Maggie chose to make her joy of writing a full-time job. Her women's fiction books include UNDERTONES, HEALING NOTES, and HEART STRINGS. Her website is maggielynch.com.
Rachel Mans McKenny is an author, humorist, and essayist from the Midwest, and a member of WFWA. Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, was released in 2020 from Alcove Press. Her other work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, McSweeney's, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, and other outlets. Follow her on Twitter @rmmckenny and on Instagram @rachelmansmckenny. Her website is www.rachelmansmckenny.com.
Kelsey McKnight is a university-educated historian from southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history, and literature to create her own tales of dashing heroes, sultry bad boys, and lovable heroines who have their own stories to tell. They will take you through the ballrooms of Victorian London, the hills of the Scottish Highlands, New York City penthouses, and into small towns with big hearts, all at the flip of a page. Find her on Tiktok @kissatmidnight, Instagram and kissatmidnight.wordpress.com.

Nicole Meier is a multi-published author and book coach living in the Pacific Northwest. Her debut novel, THE HOUSE OF BRADBURY, was chosen as a Best Book of 2016 by Refinery29. Her second book, THE GIRL MADE OF CLAY, was named a Top Book according to Bookbub readers. Her newest novel, THE SECOND CHANCE SUPPER CLUB, is out now.

Nicole has taught writing workshops in schools, libraries, wellness retreats, and writers' conferences. She currently works as a book coach and developmental editor for fiction writers. Her works have been published in The Oregonian, Cascade Journal, Southern Oregon Magazine, Women Writers Women’s Books, Brazen Woman, and more. Find her online at nicolemeierauthor.com.
J. Carter Merwin is an independent author and publishes under her own MacGregor House label through KDP. Her work includes children and adult fantasy. Her Newest YA fantasy (2022) is HOBB'S LAKE SECRET. Her 5-book adult fantasy series is THE TALES OF EARDEN. She is also an artist and illustrator whose work on THE LEGEND OF NOW: WINGLESS received praise from the Indie Book Awards 2021. Her website is www.jcartermerwin.
Theresa Munroe is an independently published author of three works of women’s fiction. Her most recent novel is ZOOK’S CORNER. She serves WFWA as the Goodreads page coordinator and has been involved in the Rising Star Contest previously as judge, judge coordinator, and an entrant. She is active on Twitter @azterimun and Facebook @tamunroe. Her website is tamunroe.com.
Donna Norman-Carbone has a passion for writing women’s fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. Her debut novel, ALL THAT IS SACRED, is being released later this year by Red Adept Publishing. In her spare time, Donna enjoys reading a good book on a sunny Cape Cod beach (her happy place), sipping a cocktail, surrounded by family and friends. Full of wanderlust, she travels abroad at every opportunity, immersing herself in other cultures. Her website is www.donnanormancarbone.com.
Lorraine Norwood worked as a professional journalist for over 20 years before making a career change to archaeology. She then worked as an archaeologist and archaeology editor while participating in excavations in the US and in England. She has two novels in progress, THE SOLITARY SPARROWand its sequel, A PELICAN IN THE WILDERNESS, both set in 14th century England and France. She has also published short stories and essays. She is an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. This is her third year serving as as a Rising Star judge. She lives in North Carolina and can be found at www.lorrainenorwood.com, Twitter, Instagram @lorrainenorwoodwrites, and Facebook.
LG O’Connor is a marketing executive at a Fortune 250 company who spends her free time spinning stories that touch the heart with themes of family, redemption, forgiveness, and, most of all, hope. She’s the author of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, THE ANGELORUM TWELVE CHRONICLES and the award-winning CAUGHT UP IN LOVE trilogy: CAUGHT UP IN RAINE, SHELTER MY HEART, and SURRENDER MY HEART, which follows three women who must confront ghosts of the past to find redemption and their second chance at love. A native ‘Jersey Girl,’ LG is always searching for fancy coffee drinks and fine Italian leather. In her books, her heroes always keep the heroine fed. You can find recipes from the sexy hero of CAUGHT UP IN RAINE in his cookbook, RECIPES FROM RAINE’S ROOST AKA JILLIAN’S KITCHEN. Find all things LG at: www.lgoconnor.com.
Kristina Parro is a Chicago-based author, entrepreneur, investor, and speech-language pathologist (SLP). Her debut novel, LUCKY, was published in June 2021. Kristina is an active member of WFWA, among other writing organizations. She hosts a show on IG Live, and has had conversations with more than 35 authors. This is her first year as a Rising STAR judge. Follow Kristina on Twitter @kristinaparro and Instagram @kristinaparrowrites. Her website is Kristinaparro.com.
Linda Bennett Pennell is the author of five works of women’s historical fiction and historical suspense. Her sixth work, THE LAST DOLLAR PRINCESS, set in the last gasps of the Gilded Age and Edwardian Era, will be released by Black Rose Writing on September 22, 2022. She has been a Rising STAR judge since the contest’s inception. Her website is www.lindapennell.com.
Abigail K. Perry is an editor, writer, and podcast host with a special interest in the literary agent-author relationship and a love for Women's Fiction, Upmarket/Commercial Fiction, Book Club Fiction, Historical Fiction, YA Fiction, and MG and YA Fantasy—especially if written by underrepresented voices. She has a B.S. in TV, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Endicott college (she taught high school for a handful of years and created and implemented three creative writing and film courses). Abigail's favorite publishing experience was working as an Editorial Intern and as the Agency Relations Assistant for P.S. Literary. She loves hot Americanos and long walks with good company, speaks fluently in book and movie quotes, and aspires to be a literary agent herself. Her website is www.abigailkperry.com.
Chris Posti's debut novel, FALLING APART, FALLING FOR YOU, features three 57-year-old women facing changes and challenges while preparing for their 40th high school reunion. During her career as an executive/career coach, Chris wrote three nonfiction books and a newspaper column and is now busy writing the second book in a series of three. This is her first year as a Rising Star judge. Her website is chrisposti.com.
Barbara Linn Probst is an award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction living on an historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her acclaimed novels QUEEN OF THE OWLS (2020) and THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES (2021) were medalists for prestigious national awards, and THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Indie Books of 2021. Barbara has conducted webinars for organizations including Story Circle Network and WFWA, and has published over fifty essays on the craft of writing for sites such as Jane Friedman and Writer Unboxed, along with two nonfiction books. Her third novel THE COLOR OF ICE will release in October 2022. This is her first year as a Rising Star judge. Follow her on Instagram @barbara_linn_probst and Facebook. Her website is www.barbaralinnprobst.com.
Lalitha Ram is a published author of novels in two languages, English and her mother tongue, Telugu. Her English novel, MEGHA, TWO WORLDS WITHIN, is available on amazon.com. She is a music album producer, sponsor-publisher of a poetry anthology, and an active international literary webinar speaker.  This is her first year as a Rising Star judge. Her website is lalitharam.com.
Shelby Riley is an author, speaker, licensed marriage and family therapist, and owner of a group family therapy practice in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. Her debut novel, ANGEL FALLS, won the WFWA Rising Star Award in 2018. Her second novel, MORE THAN ALL THE STARS, is currently out on submission. She is represented by literary agent Chris Tomasino at The Tomasino Agency. This is Shelby's fourth year as a Rising Star judge. Follow her on Twitter @ShelbyLRiley and on Instagram @shelbyrileywrites. Her website is shelbyrileymft.com/books.
Shawna Rodrigues is a business consultant, contemporary women's fiction author, and member of WFWA. She has spent much of her career writing grants, technical assistance, and white papers. She has relished the transition into fiction. Her debut BEYOND THE PEAR BLOSSOMS was released in December 2020.  This is her first year as a Rising Star judge. Follow her on Instagram @ShawnaBOSPDX. Her website is www.shawnarodrigues.com.

J. Marie Rundquist believes a day isn't complete without time spent reading. Stories she loves best—to read and to write—feature characters from all walks of life who learn from one another. When she isn't writing, you'll find J. Marie exploring all the K-12 public education world has to offer through teaching, learning, and supporting others in their educational roles.

In spite of trying to live in other parts of the US, J. Marie accepted her fate and now embraces six-month winters in Minnesota, showing off photos of hiking in sub-zero temperatures. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family, two cats, and a never-ending supply of Dr. Pepper.

ALL I’M ASKING, her debut novel, released in March 2022. You can find her on Twitter @ProfeJMarie, Instagram @ProfeJMarie and Facebook. Her website is jmarierundquist.com

Suanne Schafer’s world travels and pioneer ancestors fuel her writing. A genetic distrust of happily-ever-afters gives rise to strong female protagonists who battle tough environments and intersect with men who might—or might not—love them. Suanne has served as editor for a mainstream/romance publishing house and fiction editor for a literary magazine, as well as published several novels. A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIRE depicts an early 20th century artist in West Texas while HUNTING THE DEVIL explores the plight of an American physician during the Rwandan genocide. THUNDER AND ASH, due out in 2023, is a contemporary Texas Hill Country slow-burn romantic suspense. Her current work-in-progress, BIRDIE, looks at women’s rights in the 19th century through the eyes of a teenager committed to an insane asylum because she refuses the man her father has chosen for her. Her website is suanneschaferauthor.com.

Karen Winters Schwartz wrote her first truly good story at age seven. Her second-grade teacher publicly and falsely accused her of plagiarism. She did not write again for forty years.
Her widely praised novels include WHERE ARE THE COCOA PUFFS?, 2010; REIS’S PIECES, 2012; and THE CHOCOLATE DEBACLE, 2014 (Goodman Beck Publishing). Her new novel, LEGEND OF THE LOST ASS, was released by Red Adept Publishing on July 21, 2020.
Educated at The Ohio State University, Karen and her husband moved to the Central New York Finger Lakes region where they raised two daughters and shared a career in optometry. She now splits her time between Arizona, a small village in Belize, and traveling the earth in search of the many creatures with whom she has the honor of sharing this world. This is her fourth year as a Rising Star judge for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her website is www.karenwintersschwartz.com.

Rosemary Shomaker mulls story ideas and exercises her writing craft from Central Virginia. Her work features the mysteries of seemingly everyday, banal surroundings, circumstances, and routines, and her stories often include dogs and trees. She’s a member of national Sisters in Crime, the online Sisters in Crime “Guppies” chapter, her local Sisters in Crime chapter, and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. See muttmysteries.com for two of her novellas and the Virginia is for Mysteries series (Facebook @VirginiaIsForMysteries) for a few of her short stories.

Joanne Simon Tailele grew up in the Youngstown, Ohio area, and wrote her first short story at the age of ten. Beginning her commercial writing career in 2010, it took multiple publications before she realized that her brand is mother-daughter stories. As a mother of four, a grandmother of ten and a great-grandmother of one, family is a natural topic. Ms. Tailele has published four Women’s Fiction, two biographies and two children’s books. She is currently adding to her children’s book series, Carly’s Island Adventures. Ms. Tailele is also the owner of Simon Publishing LLC, a small independent press catering to the authors that seek a personal touch. www.SimonPublishingLLC.com.

When not writing, editing, or publishing, she dabbles in real estate. She loves spending time on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. She lives in Naples, FL. with her beloved husband and two ornery cats. Her website is joannetailele.com.

Alisa Tapia, writing as N.L. Zuniga, is a freelance writer and an aviation administrative law judge for a federal agency.  She is a member of WFWA and the Authors Guild.  Her articles have been published in The Federal Lawyer magazine, and her short story, "A Special Place" in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Believe in Angels book published in January 2022.  She has served as a contest judge for Ageless Authors, Omega Writers, and a Rising STAR judge for WFWA.  Ms. Zuniga plans to pursue her MFA degree in 2023. 
Rebecca Taylor is the award winning and bestselling author of HER PERFECT LIFE (winner of the 2021 WFWA STAR award) and THE SECRET NEXT DOOR (an Apple Best Books of the Month selection). Her pervious books have won the Colorado Book Award and been finalists for the RWA RITA award. She lives in Colorado with her family. Learn more at: www.rebeccataylorbooks.com
@RebeccaAuthor (Twitter) @RebeccaTaylorPage (Facebook) @RebeccaTaylorBooks (Instagram)

Lorrie Thomson is the award-winning author of three novels from Kensington Books: A MEASURE OF HAPPINESS, WHAT’S LEFT BEHIND, and EQUILIBRIUM. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their youngest offspring. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, you can find her climbing indoor walls, hiking outdoor trails, and pedaling upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

To learn more about Lorrie and her books, sign up for her newsletter and arrange a book club chat, visit her website at www.lorriethomson.com.

Connect with Lorrie: www.twitter.com/LorrieThomson, www.facebook/lorriethomsonauthor, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6880966.Lorrie_Thomson, https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lorrie-thomson.

Sue Toth has dedicated most of her professional life to honoring the English language through writing, editing, and teaching. For the past 20 years, Sue’s specialty is collaborating with authors on editing their fiction manuscripts and getting them ready for readers to enjoy. She loves working with independent authors and helping to guide them through the editing process. She also teaches journalism at Bergen Community College in New Jersey. Her website is www.suetoth.com.
Ann Warner is the author of six single titles, a trilogy, a five-book cozy mystery series, and a children’s story. Her novel DREAMS FOR STONES was an Indie Next Generation Book Award Finalist, and her BABBLING BROOK NAKED POKER CLUB series of cozy mysteries has garnered over 1000 five-star reviews. Formerly an academic and a scientific researcher, Ann took an unexpected turn down a different road when she began writing fiction. Ann has been a member of WFWA since its founding and has served as a judge a number of times. Visit Ann’s website at AnnWarner.net.

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White was born in rural England, but writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina. Her passion for creating troubled characters inspires emotionally-charged book club fiction with complicated relationships, invisible disabilities, crazy critters … and a big ol' dollop of hope. Her novels include: THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, which won the Golden Quill for Best First Book; THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR, a SIBA Okra Pick Winter 2014; THE PERFECT SON, a 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist for Best Fiction; ECHOES OF FAMILY, a WFWA Star Award Finalist; and THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, a 2018 Nautilus Award Winner and a 2019 American Fiction Awards Finalist. Novel six, THE GIN CLUB, is currently on submission. To connect with her, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com.

Sara Zalesky is the author of a cross genre series featuring women’s professional cycling. The series began with WHEELER, a 2017 New Apple Award Official Selection for Cross Genre Fiction. In 2018, WHEELER: IN DARKNESS, THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT was published, with a third, WHEELER: ONE FIRE BURNS OUT ANOTHER’S BURNING completing the series in May, 2019.

Her next story, a sci-fantasy loosely based on the ancient Celtic gods, is currently (still!) in the development stage.

2022 will be her fifth year as WFWA Rising Star judge. The author resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with her husband, their son, two cats, and six bicycles. Sara is an avid road cyclist and e-sport competitor on Zwift as well as a legal assistant at a mid-sized law firm. Her website is Sarabutlerzalesky.com.