2014 Conference Presenters

In no particular order at the moment and still subject to changes, additions, and deletions:


Janet Burroway, a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University, is the author of eight novels, including Raw Silk, a National Book Award runner-up, and most recently Bridge of Sand, silver medalist in the Florida Book Awards. Her textbook Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft is the most widely used creative writing text in America; her recent plays include Sweepstakes, Medea With Child, and Parts of Speech; a collection of essays she edited, A Story Larger Than My Own: Women Writers Reflect on Their Lives and Careers, will be published in winter 2014, and her memoir Losing Tim will Appear in the spring of 2014.

Other of her novels include: Descend Again; The Dancer from the Dance; Eyes and The Buzzards, which was nominated for the 1970 Pulitzer Prize. Opening Nights was a Book of the Month Club alternate selection; Cutting Stone was a New York Times Notable Book.

Imaginative Writing: the Elements of Craft is in its fourth. She is the author of three children's books, including: The Truck on the Track and, with John Vernon Lord, The Giant Jam Sandwich. Together with The Perfect Pig, these have been set to music by composer Philip Wharton and performed throughout the country. Her 1981 book of poetry, Material Goods, was published by University Presses of Florida and a collection of essays, Embalming Mom was published by by University of Iowa Press in Spring 2002. In 2005 Grove press brought out an edition of Robert Olen Butler's lectures entitled From Where You Dream, which Burroway edited.

Her poems, stories, and essays appear in Atlantic Monthly, Mademoiselle, New Statesman, The Guardian, MS, Story Quarterly, New Virginia Review, Prairie Schooner, Prague Review, Five Points, St. Petersburg Times, Ninth Letter, Narrative and New Letters, and in Pushcart Prizes XXVII. She has reviewed for New Statesman, The World and I, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times Book Review.

Brad Parks is the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Awards. A Dartmouth College graduate, Brad spent a dozen years with The Washington Post and the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger and is now a full-time novelist. His fifth Carter Ross thriller, THE PLAYER, was released in March 2013.

His other Carter Ross mysteries, which feature sometimes-dashing investigative reporter Carter Ross, include: FACES OF THE GONE (Carter Ross Mystery #1); EYES OF THE INNOCENT (Carter Ross Mystery #2); THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (Carter Ross Mystery #3); and THE GOOD COP (Carter Ross Mystery #4).

Parks received the Shamus (for best first private eye novel) and the Nero (for best American mystery) for his debut, FACES OF THE GONE, the first book in history to take both awards. The Lefty (for best humorous mystery) went to his third book, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. His mysteries have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. Shelf-Awareness has deemed the Carter Ross books "perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories." Library Journal has called the series "essential reading" and "a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul."


Emily Gref is a literary Agent at Lowenstein Associates Inc., as well as the contracts and royalties manager. She also handles foreign and subrights.

Her interests are wide and varied. In Young Adult and Middle Grade she is looking for all genres, but has a weak spot for fairy tale, folklore, and mythology retellings. Emily is also interested in fantasy and science fiction, as well as literary and commercial women's fiction.

In non-fiction she is looking for strong narratives and books by recognized experts with a wide-reaching platform, especially books that lend themselves well to digital mediums. Subjects of interest include popular science, linguistics, anthropology, and history. She is not looking for memoirs or biographies at this time.

Kaylee Davis is a literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary. Growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, Kaylee’s lifeline to sanity was the local library where she nurtured her love of all things literary. Kaylee received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Recognized for her obsessive-compulsive attention to detail and crazy-fast reading ability, Kaylee joined the team as a professional copyeditor, proofreader, and administrative assistant. She has recently been promoted to Associate Literary Agent.

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, young adult, new adult, steampunk, urban fantasy, social commentary, and counter-culture*

FAVORITE BOOKS: The Ender saga by Orson Scott Card, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris, Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

WRITERS CAN GET BONUS POINTS BY: Always using serial commas and never using Courier New

Kimiko Nakamura is a literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary. Her career started in the publishing houses of Boston where she fostered her talent for sales. At Dee Mura Literary, she found another passion: helping writers build successful careers. Kimiko works with new and emerging writers. She looks for page-turning fiction and non-fiction that leaves people inspired and offers readers a full range of emotions—laughter that slips out while reading in public, tears that splash onto our e-readers, and an aha of connection on the page, reminding us that books are more than something we simply hold in our hands.

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Contemporary fiction, young adult, new adult, women’s lit, romance, upmarket literary, mystery, urban fantasy, satire, memoir, narrative nonfiction, mind and body, cookbooks, spirituality, and health*

FAVORITE BOOKS: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Great House by Nicole Krauss, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, and One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

WRITERS CAN GET BONUS POINTS BY: Understanding the difference between “showing” versus “telling” and spelling her name correctly

*A full list of the categories Dee Mura Literary accepts for submission can be found here.

Linda Epstein has been a literary Agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency since 2011. Before that she interned and read manuscripts at some of the top agencies in New York. She is actively seeking Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction as well as picture books. She likes quirky, character driven stories that don't skimp when it comes to plot, including realistic contemporary, historical, fantasy, and science fiction, both literary and commercial. She is drawn to stories that touch upon questions of identity and social issues (without being too heavy) and particularly appreciates a distinctive narrative voice. Linda is not a good match for any kind of thriller, horror, western, or Christian fiction.

Diana Flegal, has been a literary agent at Hartline Literary Agency since 2010. Before that she held the position of Office and Editorial Assistant to Joyce Hart, CEO and founder of Hartline Literary Agency, for 6 years. Hartline Literary Agency represents fiction and non-fiction books to leading mainline and inspirational publishers. Diana is seeking to add both established and promising authors to her list of clients. She enjoys coming along side of her authors, encouraging them in their long term writing goals and career development. Diana represents writing of all genres, but is not interested in titles that would conflict with the Christian Worldview. She is currently looking for inspirational non-fiction titles written by authors with well established platforms. Her fiction slots are almost full, but she will entertain well written contemporary fiction or formula romance at this time.


Dr. Philip Brady, professor of English at Youngstown State University, where he directs the Poetry Center, is also Executive Director for Etruscan Press. Brady is the author of three collections of poetry, Fathom, (Word Press, 2007); Weal (winner of the 1999 Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press); and Forged Correspondences, (New Myths, 1996) chosen for Ploughshares’ “Editors’ Shelf” by Maxine Kumin. His latest book is  BY HEART: REFLECTIONS OF A RUST-BELT BARD (ForeWord Gold Medalist, 2008). He also has published a memoir and has edited a book on James Joyce.

 His poetry and essays have appeared in over fifty journals in the United States and Ireland, including Abraxas, The American Literary Review, The Belfast Literary Supplement, Centennial Review, College English, Green Mountains Review, The Honest Ulsterman, The Laurel Review, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Northwest, and Thought & Action. One of his essays was chosen as Notable Essay of the Year by Best American Essays 2008. Brady won an Ohioana Award, five Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, and a Thayer Fellowship. He plays in the New-Celtic band, Brady's Leap.

Etruscan Press publishes books of poetry, literary novels, creative non-fiction, literary short story collections, literary criticisms, literary anthologies, and translations. They do not accept individual poems, essays, or short stories. All manuscripts must be a minimum of 50 pages book length. The mission of Etruscan Press, a national literary publishing house founded in 2001, is to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, achieve a distinctive voice, and reshape our literary and cultural landscapes. Etruscan produced two National Book Award Finalists, earned four NEA grants, and had work reprinted in Best American Poetry, 2007.

Amanda Aksel, is one of the three founders of Elephantine Publishing. She realized her passion for publishing in 2011 when she co-produced and ghostwrote the New York Times Bestseller, Vision: Your Pathway to Victory. She has more than five years of experience working with entrepreneurs and enjoys helping others build a successful career with innovative ideas and effective marketing. She is a women's ficition author who understands the entire process from inspiration to promotion. Amanda is looking for women's fiction with unique female leads and general fiction, particularly coming of age. As a representative of Elephantine Publishing, Amanda will listen to pitches for all of the genres listed below.

Elephantine Publishing is accepting submissions for the following genres:

YA Paranormal, YA Urban Fantasy, YA Contemporary, NA Paranormal, NA Urban Fantasy, and NA Contemporary accepted by Heather Hildenbrand.
Heatherelephantine (at) gmail dot com

Science Fiction, High Fantasy, and Middle Grade accepted by Sara Panek.
Saraelephantine (at) gmail dot com

Commercial Women’s Fiction and General Fiction, particularly coming of age stories, accepted by Amanda Aksel.
Amandaelephantine (at) gmail dot com


Jeff Andrews, author of The Freedom Star and The Gandy Dancer, grew up in Moorestown, New Jersey, a stone's throw from Philadelphia and a short drive to the Jersey shore. After graduating from Baldwin-Wallace College (now Baldwin-Wallace University), he set off on a twenty-year adventure with the United States Marine Corps, rolling up his sleeves and getting down to business in such exotic settings as Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Denmark, Brazil, and Beirut, Lebanon. Along the way, he picked up a graduate degree from George Washington University. Jeff is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians and his love of history inspires his writing. He strives to create an experiential connection to our past through rich, character-driven stories spun across a carefully researched historical tapestry. Jeff and his wife, Mary Lou, live in Virginia Beach, VA and enjoy every opportunity to lace up their hiking boots and trudge across the plantations, battlefields, and historic parks of the Old Dominion.

Randy Ferrance is a doctor, but he doesn't play one on TV. A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, he earned his MD, and then remained in Richmond to complete a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.  He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and spends his professional time as a hospitalist and the hospice medical director at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital.  He won Richmond Magazine's short story contest in 1996, and has had two short stories published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Nora Firestone is a professional writer/reporter, website designer, and founder of Step-by-Step Presentations. Through Step-by-Step Presentations she develops and leads instructional workshops and presentations pertaining to writing for small business, do-it-yourself website building, home improvement and more. www.stepbysteppresentations.com

*Bill Glose is a former paratrooper, a Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collections Half a Man (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and The Human Touch (San Francisco Bay Press, 2007). Since 2003, he has been the Books Editor for Virginia’s most prominent lifestyle magazine, Virginia Living. He writes in many genres and hundreds of his articles, short stories and poems have been published in four countries. His honors include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Award, Virginia Press Association First Place Award for Sports News Writing, and being named a Daily Press Poet Laureate. More information is available online at www.BillGlose.com. *PHOTO courtesy of Linda Walsh

Hampton Roads native, Michael Khandelwal, is an award-winning writer and teacher. He is a contributing writer for Coastal Virginia Magazine, served as the past poetry editor for Port Folio Weekly, and teaches poetry and fiction writing at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk.

Ginger Marcinkowski, is the author of Run, River Currents, a 2012 semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Indie Awards. Her second novella, The Button Legacy is being expanded into a full novel and will be released in 2014. She is a health columnist for the online Book Fun Magazine (over 220,000 subscribers) and a Creative Writing professor with Ashford University.

Charlotte Matthews is the author of two full length collections of poetry, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars. She is also the author of two chapbooks, A Kind of Devotion (Palanquin Press, 2004) and Biding Time (Half Moon Bay Press, 2005). Her work has recently appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Borderlands, Ecotone, Tar River Poetry, and storySouth. Most recently she received the 2007 New Writers Award from the Fellowship for Southern Writers. She is a graduate of The University of Virginia and The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She teaches in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies at the University of Virginia.

Dr. C. Thomas Somma, Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science at Old Dominion University, he has a co-authored to two medical textbooks, and has published over 34 research publications. He teaches Clinical Chemistry, Phlebotomy, Clinical Instrumentation, and Forensic Science at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He is a retiree of the Virginia Beach Auxiliary Police serving over 28 years, with the latter in the motorcycle division. He is an avid student of Muay thai kickboxing, a runner, and a competitive Latin ballroom dancer. He is also a member of the HRW, and placed first in their fiction competition in 2012. He has published two works of fiction. A World War II a novel set in the pacific entitled, Midori and the 1000 stitch Belt, and a collection of short stories entitled, Requiem. Both are available on Amazon and the Barnes& Noble websites.

Cheryl Tan is a broadcast journalist, speaker, and writer.  Over a career that spans 15 years, she has seen the power of a good story.  Through thousands of interviews with newsmakers, business owners and people just like you, she has learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to getting the attention of mass media.

Valerie Wilkinson earned her MFA in fiction from ODU in May 2013. She has published short fiction in Water~Stone Review and in Yemassee Journal as a runner-up in the 2012 William Richey Short Fiction Contest. She co-authored Whispers from Our Soul, a book of creative nonfiction, and served as a quarterly essay contributor to Moondance Magazine. She has taught multiple craft seminars and fiction classes. She’s currently working on a novel and revising a collection of short stories.


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