First Round Published Author Judges

Leah DeCesare

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons and the nonfiction parenting series Naked Parenting, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, Simply Woman, Eligible Magazine, International Doula and The Key, among others. She writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family. Connect with Leah across social media and on her website:
Mary Ann Carman

Mary Ann Carman is the author of fiction in three genres. She lives in Tucson, Arizona where some of her works take place. Mary Ann holds two degrees in nursing but is currently working part-time at a local non-profit. She is president of the Society of Southwestern Authors association and co-chairperson of her community social committee.

Mary Ann is currently completing her ninth novel, the fourth in her contemporary cozy mystery series, Love After Life entitled Something Blue. Other works include a medieval series set in 11th, 12th, and 13th century Ireland and Wales, The Clan Hewit Trilogy and a contemporary cozy fantasy series, Chronicles Between the Pages.

You can find her at, Amazon, Kindle, Good Reads, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and a variety of other online booksellers. She is also on Facebook (Mary Ann Carman The MAC Team), and Twitter (@Mary_Ann_Carman).
Jessica Glenn

Jessie Glenn attended Reed College and Portland State University in Portland, Oregon and started her book publicity company, Mindbuck Media, in 2006. A one-year stint as a book publicist with Amazon Publishing gave Jessie singular insight into Amazon Publishing and over a decade working with small, medium and large traditional publishers contributed to Jessie's remarkably well-rounded understanding of 21st century publishing. Jessie's publicity work has been highlighted in Poets & Writers Magazine, Annie Jenning’s EliteWire, AWP, and numerous Ask the Expert articles. In addition to Rising Star, she is a judge for the IndieReader Discovery Awards. Her recent essays (part of a collection) have been published in NYT, WaPo, Salon, and Toronto Star and she has an upcoming essay in Longreads. A well-known member of Portland’s vibrant writer’s community, Jessie teaches a Master's level book publicity class for Portland State University's Masters in Publishing degree.
Suanne Schafer

Suanne Schafer’s pioneer ancestors and world travels fuel her imagination. Originally she planned to write romances, but either as a consequence of a series of failed relationships or a genetic distrust of happily ever-after, her heroines are strong women who battle tough environments and intersect with men who might—or might not—love them. Suanne’s debut women’s fiction novel, A Different Kind of Fire comes out November 1, 2018, and explores the life of a nineteenth century artist who escapes—and returns—to West Texas. Her next book, Hunting the Devil, due out in 2019, explores the heartbreak and healing of an American physician caught up in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
You can follow her at: Website:
Judith Keim

Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.

Visit her website:, Facebook: Facebook: Goodreads, Book Bub
Suzanne Kamata

Suzanne Kamata is the award-winning writer or editor of ten published books, including the novels The Mermaids of Lake Michigan, winner of a Silver IPPY Award; The Screaming Divas, which was named to the ALA Rainbow List; Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible, which was named an APALA YA Honor Book; and Losing Kei, which has been translated into Russian. She is a former fiction editor of, and current fiction editor of Kyoto Journal. Her website is
Nancy Burkey

After practicing psychiatry for many years, Nancy found fiction to be the perfect escape from spending time inside the minds of very real people. Nancy writes in the suspense-thriller genre with strong underlying women’s fiction themes.

She published her debut novel, Rubbing Stones in 2016—the story of a family taken hostage on a river trip down the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, where political and personal agendas collide.
Nancy is now working on a second suspense-thriller involving a female medical student who begins to suspect that deaths at the university hospital are actually murders, obtaining her clues from her Schizophrenic patient with a thought disorder. This story was inspired by Nancy’s experience as a psychiatrist working with psychotic murderers in a large, state-run, public hospital.

She enjoys support from WFWA and is honored to be a judge for the WFWA Rising Star contest.
J.v.L. Bell

J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 foot mountains, exploring ghost towns, and learning about early pioneer life. She loves intertwining historical characters, menus from the 1860’s, proper female etiquette, and mining stories into her cozy Colorado mysteries. Her first novel, The Lucky Hat Mine, is a delightful mystery about a Southern Belle who answers a wife-wanted advertisement in 1863 and travels to the Colorado Territory only to arrive to find her intended dead. J.v.L’s next novel, a sequel to The Lucky Hat Mine, will be published in October, 2018 by The Hansen Publishing Group. More information about J.v.L. Bell and her novels can be found at
Sara Dahmen

Sara Dahmen’s first job was producing TV commercials, before building a Silver Anvil winning event coordination company. Now Sara works as a metalsmith of cookware and manufactures pure metal kitchenware in her garage as one of the only female coppersmiths in America. Her debut novel, Widow 1881 {SillanPaceBrown 2018} is the first in the Flats Junction Series, with the next volume, Smith 1865, following later this year. The historical research for her fiction inspired House Copper & Cookware, Sara’s cookware line. Her non-fiction book on cookware, Flame, will also be out at the end of 2018. She has published over 100 articles as a contributing editor for trade magazines and spoke at TEDx Rapid City. When not writing or sewing authentic clothing for 1830’s reenactments, she can be found at her apprenticeship with a master smith or playing with her husband and three young children. Visit for more information.
Laura Drake

Laura Drake is a New York published author of Women's Fiction and Romance.
Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She also published a four-book small town romance series with Harlequin’s Superomance line. Her women's fiction, Days Made of Glass, released January 2016, and The Last True Cowboy, first in her Chestnut Creek series will release in December.
Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Stefanie August

Stefanie commenced my professional career in an administrative and managerial capacity while studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Music at the University of Bridgeport, CT. (1980-83). After graduation she worked with the National Booking Director of Columbia Artist Management, Inc. Stefanie left C.A.M.I. to work independently, producing shows and musical events in small theaters and venues in New York and the region.

In 1989 she relocated to Miami, FL, Stefanie to create the Miami Beach Music Studio, a rehearsal and production facility. She expanded her work to the west coast in 2007, relocated to San Francisco, and started B&B Talent.

From 2012-2017, Stefanie co-operated TigerKat Publishing, Inc., producing four CD’s and five books under the TigerKat imprint. She continues to offer her services to clients in arts, entertainment and publishing.,
Donna Everhart

Donna Everhart is the USA Today bestselling author of The Education Of Dixie Dupree, and The Road To Bittersweet. She stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone south. A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister. Her next novel, titled The Forgiving Kind will release February, 2019 with Kensington Publishing Corporation. Visit her at
Samantha Bryant

Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. When she's not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything).

She wrote the Menopausal Superhero Series including Going Through the Change, the sequel Change of Life, and the three-quel Face the Change, all available through Curiosity Quills Press on Amazon or by request at your favorite bookseller. You can also find her short stories in several anthologies. Find her on Twitter @mirymom1 or at her blog/website:
Betty Bolté

Award-winning author Betty Bolté writes historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. Her most recent release is Elizabeth’s Hope, a prequel novella to the four novels of the A More Perfect Union (American Revolution) historical romance series. She’s working on a WWII home front historical set in Baltimore and on the fourth book in her Secrets of Roseville paranormal romances while her agent markets an historical women’s fiction story. In addition to her romantic fiction, she is a freelance editor, the author of several nonfiction books, and earned a Master’s in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild.
Sara Z

Sara has never lacked for imagination, but it wasn’t until the Fates decided to give the string of her life a tug, bringing her romantic leanings together with her passion for the sport of cycling and Poof! A story was written down and completed, much to her surprise and chagrin.

She is a (self)published author of women's fiction/sports romance series, Wheeler, and Wheeler: In Darkness, There is Still Light. A third novel to complete the story is in development.

The author resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her husband and their son. Sara is a paralegal for a law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist, and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain. Connect with the author at or on Twitter and Instagram @sarazalesky
Stef Ann

Born in Southern California, Stef Ann attended Chatsworth High where Val Kilmer entertained on the school’s stage. She enrolled in drama and played a Fandango hostess in the chorus of Sweet Charity. It was the beginning and the end of her acting career. She got a “C” in Drama and an “A” in Creative Writing.

Stef Ann sold her first romance in 1987, and subsequently had twenty-three novels and one novella traditionally published. She’s a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, as well as a two-time RITA Finalist. Her books have been described as “Slices of life stories about real people.”

Currently she’s completed a manuscript set in Los Angeles from 1957 to the present day and is now working on a women’s fiction novel inspired but actual events surrounding Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Stef Ann lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and her squirrel-crazy Yorkshire, Cocoa Puff.
Ute Carbone

Because she knows you’re dying to ask, her first name is pronounced Ooh-tah. She has no idea what it means, though it has something to do with Rhineland sagas--Ute was Siegfried's mother. Ute lives in New Hampshire. She has two grown sons and is the grandmother to two little ones. None of them are named Seigfreid.

Ute has written a dozen full length novels, several novellas, and a parcel of short stories and poems to date, with many more ideas floating around and in various stages of completion on my computer. To date, six of those novels, threes novellas and a parcel of poems with a few short stories have been published.

If she not writing and drinking copious amounts of coffee, you’ll likely find her walking through the woods near her home and taking lots of pictures to support her photography habit.
Sandra De Helen

Sandra de Helen, author of the LGBTQ thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, in thirteen of the United States, as well as Chicago and New York City. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her poetry collection Desire Returns for a Visit is forthcoming from Launch Point Press. Samples of her work are available on her website at
Karen Sargent

Karen Sargent is an award-winning author whose debut novel, Waiting for Butterflies, is the 2017 IAN Book of the Year. She writes “stories that stir the soul” with characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts. A romantic element is woven within. In addition to writing inspirational novels, she blogs at The MOM Journey, where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Her writing has been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine and online at Writer’s Digest, Positive Writer, Seekerville, and Southern Writers Suite T. She is the volunteer coordinator for WFWA and a member of ACFW, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and the SEMO Writers’ Guild. When she’s not writing, she teaches high school and college English and resides in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at
Sally Crosiar

Sally Crosiar’s debut novel Come Back (2017) uses four voices to uncover family secrets and address the unintended consequences of running from trauma. Sally also wrote Find the Love of Your Life (2000) based on her own love story, a children’s book with an adult message titled My Uncle Dave (2002) and co-authored Love Builders: Tools to Build Every Relationship (2003) with Dr. Sidney B. Simon.

Sally’s choice – for reading or writing – is relationship-focused fiction. Her next novel is titled Homeplace and chronicles a conflict between siblings about whether to retain or sell ancestral land. Sally expects publication in 2019 – ‘if the characters will only stop going off on tangents.’
Sally lives in upstate New York State where she enjoys time in and on the water and teaches about health, play, and youth development for Empire State College and the Network for Youth Success.

Follow Sally at:
Orly Konig

After years of pushing the creativity boundary in corporate communications, Orly Konig decided it was time for a new challenge and made the switch to fiction. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She’s a co-founder and past president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, and a quarterly contributor to the Writers in the Storm blog. Her first novel, The Distance Home, released May 2017 and Carousel Beach, releases May 8. More about Orly one her website at
Kimberley Ash

Kimberley Ash is a British expat who has lived in and loved New Jersey for twenty years. Her first novel, Breathe, a contemporary romance, was published in 2018 by Crimson. When not writing romance or romantic women’s fiction, she can usually be found cleaning up after her two big white furry dogs and slightly less furry children. You can reach her at, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Sherrie Todd-Beshore

“In the beginning…” in high school Sherrie expected her entire writing future to focus on journalism and for 20+ years she did have interesting opportunities writing columns and features for various newspapers and magazines in Alberta, Colorado and New York.

Originally Patchwork Publishing allowed her to develop a wide range of freelance writing and editing projects. Most notably as Exploration Editor for Oil Week Magazine, the first journalist with a background in geology and the oil industry to hold that position. Sherri’s columns in the Denver Post became her first book: [revised 2016] “Another-Blended Not Shaken” Remarriage, After Divorce, With Children.

However, as years exposed Sherrie to travel experiences, ideas for fiction projects stole her attention. In 2006 she began to devote all of her writing time to mystery fiction. To date she has published 8 adult mystery-suspense titles & 10 young-teen adventure-mysteries.
Jan Maher

Jan Maher's novel Earth As It Is has won 2017 Grand Prize awards in the Great Midwest Book Festival and Great Southeast Book Festival competitions, is listed by Kirkus Reviews as a 2017 Best Indie Book, and has garnered Best Young Adult, Best Cross-Genre or Best LGBT awards or finalist status in four other competitions. Other writing credits include a novel, Heaven, Indiana; plays Ismene, Intruders, Widow's Walk, and Most Dangerous Women; and books for educators, Most Dangerous Women: Bringing History to Life through Readers’ Theater and History in the Present Tense: Engaging Students through Inquiry and Action. Her short stories and poetry have been published in online and print journals and anthologies, including Ride 2: More Short Fiction about Bicycles, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, and Straw Dog Poetry Anthology: Compass Roads: A dispatch from Paradise/Poems about the Pioneer Valley. Her website address is
Margaret Spence

Margaret Ann Spence is the author of Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by The Wild Rose Press in 2017. The book won First Place, Romantic Elements Category, in the 2015 Beacon Contest, sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers.

Born in Australia, Margaret has made the United States home for many years. A first job on the lowly editorial ladder at Penguin Books led to a life working with words. She’s been a journalist, an editor and a publicist, and turned to writing fiction several years ago.

In Lipstick on the Strawberry she takes as backdrops Boston, Massachusetts, and Cambridge, England, cities she's lived in and loved. An avid cook, she is often found in the kitchen or tending an unruly garden. Her next book (WIP) is set on a farm.

Margaret’s blog, reviews books by women writers. Her newsletter features recipes. She hopes you’ll sign up.
LG O’Connor

LG O'Connor is the author of the award-winning novel, Caught Up in RAINE, 2017 Kindle Scout Winner, Shelter My Heart, and newly-released Surrender My Heart, the third novel in her romantic women's fiction series, Caught Up in Love, which follows three women in the same family who must confront ghosts of the past to find redemption and another chance at love. A native 'Jersey Girl,' she's always in search of the perfect cup of coffee and fine Italian leather.

Purchase her books at Amazon. Stop by her website, get her newsletter and release schedule, or follow her blog:; Find her on Facebook:; or Instagram:
Tam May

Tam May was born in Israel but grew up in the United States. She earned her B.A. and M.A in English and worked as an English college instructor and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher before she became a full-time writer. She started writing when she was 14 and writing became her voice. She writes fiction that include traces of psychological literary fiction, magical realism, mystery and suspense, and women’s fiction. She especially likes exploring characters’ emotional realities informed by past experiences, dreams, feelings, fantasies, nightmares, imagination, and self-reflection. She currently lives in Texas but calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading classic literature and watching classic films. For more about Tam May and her fiction, visit,
Barbara Claypole White

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White creates hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her beloved OCD menfolk. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son (a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for best fiction 2015), Echoes of Family, and The Promise Between Us. She is also an OCD Advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with Barbara, please visit, or follow her on Facebook. She’s always on Facebook.
Lorrie Thomson

Lorrie Thomson is the award-winning author of A Measure of Happiness, What’s Left Behind, and Equilibrium. She’s lived in southern New Hampshire with her family forever. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, they let her tag along for camping adventures, daylong paddles, and hikes up 4,000 footers. Learn more about Lorrie’s work at Connect with Lorrie on Facebook (lorriethomsonauthor) and Twitter.
Sandy Bruney

Sandy lives in North Carolina with three rescue cats. She belongs to two books clubs and enjoy the stimulating discussions. Sandy also founded and is active in her local writers' group.
Sandy’s contemporary women's fiction novels are Angels Unaware, The Lunch Club, and The Almost Bride. A paranormal/shape-shifting/alternate history/time travel trilogy was something she wrote just for fun and never expected to get published. When a submission was rejected, the publisher asked if she had anything else and the rest is history. There's a lesson there somewhere! The titles are A Question of Boundaries, A Question of Loyalty, and A Question of Time. Her most recent release is a historical novel, Riverbend set in her home county. Two more novels are in the submission process. Check out her blog at and website
Lynne Bryant

Lynne Bryant grew up in rural Mississippi. After completing nursing school, Lynne worked as a psychiatric and public health nurse. She then earned both a Master’s and PhD in nursing.
Lynne’s debut novel, Catfish Alley, was published by Penguin/NAL in 2011. Catfish Alley “…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.

Lynne’s second novel, Alligator Lake (2012), was described by Natalie Baszile, author of Queen Sugar, as "a gutsy examination of southern race relations. Bryant is provocative and unflinching as she reveals her characters' private hopes and fears....”

Lynne and her wife live in Manitou Springs, Colorado, where Lynne writes novels, teaches nursing, and continues to be inspired by the generative power of women.
Visit her website at
Nikki Stern

Nikki Stern has published three books: the non-fiction Because I Say So: Moral Authority’s Dangerous Appeal and Hope in Small Doses, a 2015 Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist and 2017 BookLife Book of the Week. Reviews call her new thriller, The Former Assassin “a riveting read from start to finish” and “an explosive page-turner.” Her essays are included in three published anthologies, as well as the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Humanist Magazine. She shares author credit on the interactive musical mystery Café Noir series, published by Samuel French. Other short stories have appeared online; one was a Mark Twain Royal Nonesuch Humor Award finalist.

Nikki has just completed Gut Feeling, the first in a series of science-fiction/mystery hybrids about a small-town sheriff with murders to solve and a secret to keep about her true origins. For the latest on the author, visit
Sandy Richardson

Sandy Richardson’s first novel The Girl Who Ate Chicken Feet (1998) received Bank Street College's outstanding merit rating for The Best of Children's Books (1999) and was nominated for the South Carolina Junior Book Award in 2001-2002. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in several anthologies such as The Pettigrew Review, Porches: An Anthology, Cows: A Rumination, and His Mother! Women Write about Their Mothers-in-Law with Humor, Frustration, and Love. Her articles and essays have also been published on several on-line websites, and her nonfiction essay “Nana’s Basket” received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize in 2013. She is currently completing work on two middle-grade novels and is also owner of and Editor-in-Chief for Southern Sass Publishing Alliances. Her next book release is May 2018, an anthology compiled and co-edited with Susan D. Osteen, entitled Wild, Wonderful ‘n Wacky, South Cackalacky: True Stories about Life in South Carolina.
Barbara Josselsohn

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn is a novelist and freelance writer. Her debut novel, The Last Dreamer, was released by Lake Union Publishing in 2015. Her articles and essays have appeared in a range of print publications including The New York Times, American Baby Magazine, Parents Magazine, Brain,Teen Magazine, Consumers Digest, Writer’s Digest, and Westchester Magazine. Online, you can see her work on, The,,,, and Barbara is the founder and coordinator of the Scarsdale Library Writers Center, in New York, which supports and promotes local and regional writers, and was a first-round judge in the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. She teaches novel writing and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, at Scarsdale Public Library, and privately. She is currently at work on her second novel. You can visit her at or find her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@BarbaraJoss).
Kirsche Romo

K.L. Romo writes about life on the fringe: teetering dangerously on the edge is more interesting than standing safely in the middle. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. Her historical novel, Life Before, is an edgy time-warping tale of reincarnation, social justice, and forgiveness. Web: or @klromo.
Julie Carter

J. Carter Merwin is a self-published author of the Tales of Earden fantasy series and runs the imprint MacGregor House Publishing from Castleton, Vermont where together, she and her artist husband Tom run a gallery. Her books are filled with lovers torn apart and thrown together, warriors both human and animal, seers and a sect of goddess-worshipping women doctors. The series is available from Amazon in soft-cover and Kindle and online from any book store world-wide. The Seer, Volume IV has recently been released and the fifth and final novel in the series is being written. A portion of her profits goes to support the Rutland County Humane Society. Her website is
Dee Gatrell

Dee Gatrell wrote for the confession magazines and various other magazines and newspapers for many year, while also working as an educational advisor for Seminole State College in Florida. Upon retiring, she finished her first novel, Sweet Sunset, better known as her dysfunctional family book, and sold it last year to the Wild Rose Press.

Over the years Dee has sold stories to several newspapers and magazines, including the various confession magazines, while working as an educational advisor for Seminole State College of Florida. She has four grown children and over a dozen grandkids, who fill the well for characters for her stories. She has two novels out at two different publishers that she hopes to sell.
Dee lives in Florida with one adult son and two rescue dogs. Her husband of many years recently passed away.
K.S. Jones

Karen (K.S.) Jones is a multi-award winning author. Her debut novel, Shadow of the Hawk (young adult historical fiction) won the 2016 WILLA Literary Award, the 2015 Literary Classics International Book Award, the 2015 Chaucer Award, and the 2016 RONE Award. Her second book, a mid-grade sci-fi/fantasy titled Black Lightning, was the recipient of the 2017 Literary Classics International Book Award, as well as a Readers' Favorite finalist. She has just finished her first Women's Historical Fiction, which is on submission. Karen writes from her home in the Texas Hill Country where she lives with her husband. She loves dogs, gardening, cooking, and reading. Find Karen at or on Twitter at @KSJones2011or
Amber Cowie

Amber Cowie is a graduate of the University of Victoria and was shortlisted for the 2017 Whistler Book Award. She is a mother of two, wife of one, and a debut novelist who enjoys skiing, running, and creating stories that make her browser search history highly suspicious. She is deeply grateful for the willingness of others to read her early work and is thrilled to be a part of that process for unpublished WFWA authors. Amber lives in the mountains in a small West Coast town but you can find her online at or @ambercowie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Her first novel, Rapid Falls, will be released from Lake Union Publishing on December 1, 2018.
Kelly Byrne

An award-winning poet, playwright, and short story writer, Kelly Byrne is currently an indie-author with one published book, Chasing Kate, and a new series on the way. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with fantastical elements that dive into the inner emotional world of the main characters where the real magic lives. In a former life she was a snowboard instructor in Utah, and a personal trainer and pet photographer in Los Angeles. She’s also raced motorcycles and jumped out of a helicopter into a lake to test a stunt when she worked on Fear Factor. All of those things were exciting.

She lives in Los Angeles where she’s working on her first fantastical women’s fiction series. You can find Kelly at and her novel, Chasing Kate, at Amazon.
Jessica Moore

Jess Moore resides in historic gold-mining California and writes YA novels in the very early morning while her family sometimes sleeps. Her debut novel, The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh, is slated for release November 2018 from SunFire Imprint of NineStar Press. In this throwback contemporary, Jeremy is inspired by his best friend to draw comics again. In doing so, he creates a no-nonsense, truth-talking character named Penny Kind, who speaks to him. Literally. Illustrating is Jeremy’s way out of this small Ohio town. If he can face fears of failure and rejection, he might get everything he ever wanted in both art and love. Jess is currently completing an editorial internship with Filles Vertes Publishing and is always looking for ways to connect at, on Facebook @itwasjess, or Twitter @it_was_jess.
Kathryn Taylor

Kathryn Taylor was born at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, Illinois and spent much of her life in the Chicagoland area. She is a retired teacher and had taught in the schools of Illinois, California, and Virginia before her retirement and relocation to South Carolina. It was there where she wrote her book, Two Minus One: A Memoir (publication date 11/6/18) following the unexpected abandonment by her second husband. An avid reader, enthusiastic traveler, and incurable beach lover, she resides outside of Charleston, SC, which affords her the opportunity to enjoy all three of her favorite past times. Two Minus One: A Memoir is her first book. She can be found at,, and
Lori Henriksen

As a writer, Lori believes in synchronicity, the influence of the patterns of past generations and the power of story. She believes we have the potential to strengthen and transform ourselves through telling stories.
Before turning to writing, Lori worked as a social worker and licensed family therapist in San Francisco and now lives in Oregon in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. Finding solace in nature and in the company of Ponderosa Pines over 100 feet tall, pushing toward old-growth status, she writes stories, putters in her garden and hikes with her rescue dogs.

Lori’s LGBTQ-themed historical novel, The Winter Loon, is an invented story of her mother’s life about the healing power of love that occurs when we have the sense of being connected and whole, a love of self and others. More about Lori and her novel can be found at
Camille Pagán

Camille Pagán is the author of four novels: Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties, Forever is the Worst Long Time, The Art of Forgetting, and the #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was recently optioned for film. A journalist and former health editor, Pagán has written for Forbes; O, The Oprah Magazine; Parade; Real Simple; Time; WebMD; and many other publications and websites. She lives with her family in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Visit her at
Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn't somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. She is the award-winning author of The Bridge Club and the best-selling Love in Provence trilogy. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons which is also set in the south of France, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways, photography from France, and sneak peeks at her next book. She loves hearing from readers.

Follow her on Instagram @patricialsands. Represented by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency
Under contract to Lake Union Publishing
Mary Chris Escobar

Award-winning author Mary Chris Escobar was destined to write romantic comedies from a young age (as a child, her stuffed animals always got their happily-ever-afters). She lives in Richmond, Virginia in a renovated parking garage with her husband. Find her at or just about anywhere good coffee or craft beer is served.
Linda Smolkin

Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She's the author of Among The Branded and currently working on her second novel. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. For more information, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @lindasmolkin and Facebook @AuthorLindaSmolkin
Teya Peck

Teya Peck is an author and speaker. She debuted summer of 2015. Continuing to publish children's books, non-fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy.

She has been a writer for as long as she can remember. Now participating in ANWA (American Night Writer Association), Winner of NaNoWriMo, judging writing in many capacities, involved with Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and many other local community associations.

Teya grew up loving Idaho adventures with her family. Her husband and four active, beautiful children are her life. They are her constant support and inspiration.

Her father, who passed away in 2006, has always been and will always be an inspiration in her life.
Teya’s favorite thing is speaking to third graders, lighting a flame for dreaming big. Her future projects include but not limited to: Suspense Romance- cover approved and awaiting editing An Urban Fantasy Trilogy, a Halloween tween book. On face book as: Teya's Books
Alexis Krasilovsky

Alexis Krasilovsky is the author of Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling (Routledge) and the novel Sex and the Cyborg Goddess (under the name Alexis Rafael). She also wrote the poetry chapbook/DVD, Some Women Writers Kill Themselves, co-wrote Shooting Women: Behind the Camera, Around the World (Intellect/U.Chicago Press), and contributed to the books Women on Poetry and Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. As writer/director, her films include End of the Art World, Exile, Beale Street, Let Them Eat Cake, and Women Behind the Camera – winner of five Best Documentary awards and available through Amazon Video Prime. Alexis was one of the first women to graduate from Yale. She also holds an MFA from CalArts. Her short film about menstrual rage, Blood, was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times as “in its stream-of-consciousness way, more powerful than Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.” Visit Alexis Krasilovsky’s website at
Sandra Gulland

Sandra Gulland is the author of six historical novels, including the Josephine B. Trilogy, based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte, published in seventeen countries. Her latest novel, The Game Of Hope, is a Young Adult novel about Josephine Bonaparte's daughter and Napoleon's stepdaughter.

An American-Canadian, Sandra was born in Miami, Florida, and lived in Rio de Janeiro, Berkeley and Chicago before immigrating to Ontario, Canada in 1970, where she and her husband cohabited with their two toddlers (now adults), two horses, a dog, three cats, twelve chickens and two pigs. She and her husband now live half the year in Canada and half in Mexico. For more information about the author and her work, go to
Leslie Lynch

Out of Darkness, Into Hope: Novels of Suspense and Healing. Amazon Bestselling author Leslie Lynch gives voice to characters who craft unconventional solutions to contemporary issues.

Leslie lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and a rescued feral-turned-sweetheart cat. A light airplane pilot, she also loves quilting and pottery. She’s written three full-length novels: Hijacked, Unholy Bonds, and Opal’s Jubilee; and two novellas: Christmas Hope and Christmas Grace. A graduate of Spalding University’s MFA program in Louisville, she writes both fiction and creative nonfiction. Her work has been included in various anthologies, and she is an occasional contributor to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s newspaper, The Criterion.

She is currently working on a yet-to-be-named novel and a third Christmas novella, both featuring characters from Opal’s Jubilee. Visit her at; on Facebook at Leslie Lynch Writes; on Pinterest as Leslie Lynch; and on Twitter @Leslie_Lynch_.
Tina Ferraro

Tina Ferraro has been writing since she learned to hold a pencil. After almost 100 short stories published in national magazines, she sold three young adult novels to Random House, two of which were nominated for the Romance Writers of America's RITA award. Her YA short, "One Hot Mess" appeared in the summer 2017 RWA anthology, and she was delighted to sell her first adult-themed novella, Kiss Me, I’m Irish to Boroughs Publishing Group. She lives with her NASA physicist husband in southern California, where their two cats rule their roost.
Jennifer Fromke

Jennifer Fromke writes from North Carolina, where she pines for colder temperatures all year long. Northerners by upbringing, she and her husband of 26 years have raised three Southern-ish children, much to their amazement. When she began writing contemporary women’s fiction in 2010, she was forced to reduce her reading time (which might have been exorbitant), but writing produces a similar joy. Her first novel was award-winning, and she’s been honing her craft ever since. Jennifer reviews books at and she offers a free story download on her website:

Dawn Loffler

Dawn Loeffler comes from Bagley, MN. She enjoys long walks, on soft beaches, in warm weather, that doesn’t cause early menopausal symptoms. She spends her free time cleaning up other people’s vacations while secretly dreaming of escape into a fictional workplace of leisure. In the meantime, she organizes artistic performances and attends a writer’s group to stimulate the dormant creativity out of the pruned trees in her yard. Dawn has been published several times in The Talking Stick, as well as Dust & Fire, and Rivers Meeting Project anthologies.
Multiple publishings in local newspapers: Park Rapids Enterprise, The Backwoods Journal, and Bemidji Pioneer. She has been awarded prizes in contests with the League of Minnesota Poets, Northwoods Arts Council, KRLS Poetry Slam,, and Poetry Motel. She has recently been a judge for the 28th Midwest Book Awards.
Ann Anderson Evans

Ann Anderson Evans is the author of the award winning memoir, Daring to Date Again (SheWrites Press 2014), the story of what happened when she started dating at sixty after two divorces and twelve years of celibacy. She is finishing a second memoir, The Portrait of a Lady, an homage the eponymous novel by Henry James. Both books are the story of an American woman who grows restless in America and tests herself against the less innocent cultures of Europe. Her short stories and essays have been published widely. She taught freshman writing at Montclair State University for eight years and continues to give writing workshops. Ann comes from Montclair, New Jersey, spent a decade in Europe, and now lives in Hoboken, New Jersey with her third and final husband.
Sandra Hutchison

Born and raised in Florida, Sandra survived a transplant to a small, snowy New England town during high school and eventually stopped sulking about it, though it's possible she's still working it out in her fiction. She spent 17 years working as an acquisitions editor, marketing manager, and creative director for professional and educational publishing companies in New Jersey before moving to upstate New York to freelance as an advertising copywriter. She currently lives in Troy, New York, where she teaches writing at Hudson Valley Community College. She is the author of The Awful Mess (2013), The Ribs And Thigh Bones Of Desire (2014), and Bardwell’s Folly (2016, all Sheer Hubris Press). She has also had two one-act plays produced. Learn more at
Nicky Penttila

Nicky Penttila writes science fact and adventurous fiction, reads mightily, and wonders at it all. Author of An Untitled Lady (Manchester 1819) and The Spanish Patriot (Corunna 1809). Chattiest on Twitter @nickypenttila
Molly Dwyer

Molly Dwyer’s debut novel, Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein, was shortlisted for the 2009 Northern California Book of Year. In 2010, the National Women’s Political Caucus honored Molly for “Writing Women Back into History.” Molly has been an educator for twenty years, facilitating workshops and teaching composition, creative writing, and critical thinking in community college. She is the founding president of Writers of the Mendocino Coast and is currently adjunct faculty at Mendocino College. Her nonfiction work, From Maidens to Mavericks: Mendocino Women was published in 2017 by Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum. Her current novel, Belle Mendocino: Chasing Light, moves fact to fiction and chronicles the history of women on the Northern California coast. Molly earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and a PhD from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She coaches writers, edits manuscripts of all stripes and facilitates critique groups.
Lorena Hughes

Lorena Hughes was born and raised in Ecuador until moving to the United States at eighteen. She has a degree in fine arts and mass communication & journalism from The University of New Mexico. Her previous work has won first place at the 2011 Southwest Writers International Contest in the historical fiction category, earned an honorable mention at the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, and placed quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakout Novel Award. The Sisters of Alameda Street is her first novel.
Theresa Munroe

Besides having been a lunch lady and a 6th grade and substitute teacher, T.A. (Theresa) Munroe is a two-time cancer survivor, so writing strong women comes naturally to her. A book lover from an early age, her current day job is at a public library where she loves to connect people with books but dislikes when they mess up her tidy shelves. She is the author of the self-published Another Place on the Planet and Places Bright and Dark, the first two books of the Lilyland Trilogy and is currently completing the final installment, Frame by Frame, Shot by Shot. She plans on publishing her third novel, Zook’s Corner this year. She lives outside of Phoenix with her husband, dog, and cat but misses her two adult children in Pennsylvania. Her favorite things are other writers, reading, movies, sewing, coffee, and chocolate. Website and blog:
Julia Kelly

Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Her upcoming historical women's fiction novel, The Light Over London, will be published by Gallery Books in January 2019. You can find out more about Julia and sign up for her newsletter at
Meghan Masterson

Meghan Masterson is the author of The Wardrobe Mistress, about one of Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe women who spies on the queen during the French revolution and finds herself torn between her loyalty to the queen and her love for a fiery revolutionary. Meghan is currently working on her next historical novel, and is drawn unique situations in history which present unexpected opportunities and dilemmas for her characters. Her other interests include reading at all hours (even at breakfast), cooking, and going for walks with her dog. Visit her website at for more information.
Sheila Athens

Sheila Athens writes contemporary book club fiction set in the Southern United States. Her debut novel, The Truth About Love, was published by Montlake, Amazon’s romance imprint, and was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. She loves quiet space, eccentric people and colorful reading glasses. She lives near the Atlantic coast of Florida, but looks forward to one day moving to the log cabin she and her husband have built in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Website: Instagram: @SheilaAthensAuthor Twitter: @SheilaAthens
Facebook: @SheilaAthensAuthor
Ann Margret Hovsepian

Ann-Margret Hovsepian is an award-winning in Montreal, Quebec, with over 25 years of professional experience in various areas of the publishing world. She has written hundreds of articles for dozens of different Canadian and U.S. print periodicals and is the best-selling author and/or illustrator of several non-fiction books. Ann-Margret is also a speaker and workshop instructor who specializes in teaching about freelancing. She will be the keynote speaker at the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship fall 2018 conference in Alberta. You can follow Ann-Margret on Facebook, her personal blog Piece of Mind, and Instagram for regular updates and inspirational posts (visit for complete links).

Denny Bryce

A three-time Romance Writers of America (RWA) Golden Heart® finalist, Denny is a 2018 finalist in the mainstream fiction with a central romance category for Wild Women And The Blues, a historical novel set in 1925 Chicago. She is also a 2014 Golden Heart® Winner in romantic suspense for Chasing Damn.
A regular contributor to the Happy Ever After USA Today blog, she writes about fan fiction, author book boyfriends/book girlfriends, and recaps OUTLANDER on STARZ. She is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), Historical Novel Society (HNS), Romance Writers of America (RWA), Washington Romance Writers (WRW-DC), Maryland Romance Writers (MRW), RWA Chapters Kiss of Death (KOD), and CIMRWA.

She is represented by Nalini Akolekar at Spencerhill Associates.
Her website is, You can also follow her on Twitter @dennysbryce, Instagram,, and Facebook,
Carmen Radtke

Carmen Radtke is a former newspaper reporter, novelist and screenwriter. She was born in Germany, emigrated to New Zealand and currently lives in the U.K. Her writing is fueled by an insatiable curiosity, a love of facts and regrettably large amounts of chocolate. Her debut novel The Case of the Missing Bride (Bloodhound Books) is a historical mystery set on a ship in 1862. It was inspired by a true event, was a finalist in the Malice Domestic competition and nominated for a CWA Historical Dagger. Her second novel A Matter of Love And Death (Bombshell Books) was written as Caron Albright and combines mystery, romance and frog cakes in 1931. Her Sci-fi short story Safe House won a place in the upcoming anthology Singularity50.
website: Twitter: @carmenradtke1
Kaela Coble

Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Her first novel, Friends And Other Liars, was published by Sourcebooks Landmark in February 2018, and by Atlantic Corvus in the U.K. under the title Friends And Liars in June 2017. Coble is also a Certified Professional Résumé Writer through the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches, a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association as well as the League of Vermont Writers, and is a graduate of the WoMentoring Project. She lives in St. Albans, Vermont with her husband, Randy, and their dog, Gus.
Greta Deangelo

Grete DeAngelo is author of Giving Myself Away (Assent Publishing, 2013) and has had several articles published in the Huffington Post Parents and Education sections. She worked as a reporter, fact-checker, researcher, and proofreader after graduating from Lehigh University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in history. She is an active member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. Her background experience includes several years of nonfiction writing for newspapers and magazines. In addition, she has given presentations at several writers’ groups on “Making Time to Write” and at educators’ conferences on “Teaching Without a Textbook.” She and her husband are “deeply in parenting;” that is, in the midst of raising three teenagers.
Laura Spinella

Laura Spinella is the author of eight novels, including the #1 bestselling Ghost Gifts trilogy. She receives consistent industry and reader praise for her complex characters and layered plots. She is a two-time RITA finalist. Her latest release, Echo Moon, is the final installment of the Ghost Gifts novels—a family-based saga that chronicles the extraordinary life of psychic Aubrey Ellis. Other novels include the award-winning Beautiful Disaster and Unstrung, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, in addition to being named a most notable and anticipated book for spring. Laura lives in the Boston area with her family.
Tina Jenkins Bell

Tina Jenkins Bell is a published fiction writer, playwright, freelance journalist, and literary activist. Her work has appeared in They Said (a Black Lawrence Press anthology, 2018), Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, Hairtrigger, BAC Street Journal, Expressions of Englewood, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, and Guildworks. As a freelance journalist, she has written for the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Upscale Magazine among others. Ms. Bell is President Emeritus for FLOW (For Love of Writing). She is currently completing edits on her first novel, Mud Pies.


Lydia Barnes  (L.D. Barnes)

As a poet, L.D.’s ‘Recipe’ appears in the Gwendolyn Brooks centennial anthology entitled Revising the Psalm: Celebrating Gwendolyn Brooks, ‘Heels’ can be read in the July 2016 edition of and ‘Crafter’s Way’ on  As a blogger, she posted about Jazz at 

As a short story writer, she’s been published in the Tallgrass Anthology Home edition, Chicago’s Beverly Arts Center’s BacStreet Journal and PopMatters E-Zine.  Her short story, What A Little Cinnamon Can Do will become a podcast for King’s River Magazine summer of 2018. As a performing writer, she read an excerpt of her novel on the April podcast of The Frunchroom.

As a member of FLOW (For Love of Writing), Longwood Writers Guild and Mystery Writers of America – Midwest Chapter, she lives in Chicago with her retired Chicago Policeman and cat Cleo while working on a series of police procedural novels.


Lecia Cornwall


Loretta Nyhan


Alexandra Haughton