2022 Conference Presenters

Keynote Speakers

Edmund R. Schubert is the author of the novel Dreaming Creek and of two short story collections, The Trouble with Eating Clouds and This Giant Leap. Schubert also contributed to and edited the nonfiction book, How to Write Magical Words. His 50+ published short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, covering a variety of genres.

His fiction has been: included in storySouth’s Year’s Notable list; reprinted in The Writer’s Post Journal’s Year’s Best issue; a #1 rated story on Zoetrope.com; a preliminary nominee for an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Short Story; and First Prize Winner in Lynx Eye’s Captivating Beginnings contest.

In addition to writing, Schubert served for ten years as head editor of the online magazine, InterGalactic Medicine Show (including publishing three IGMS anthologies and winning two WSFA Small Press Awards). He also served for two years as executive editor of the regional business magazine NC Career Network Magazine, and three years as managing editor of the nationally distributed Diversity Woman.

Schubert insists, however, that his greatest accomplishment came during college, when his self-published underground newspaper made him the subject of a professor's lecture in abnormal psychology. He graduated with his MFA from Converse College (Spartanburg, SC) in June 2019.

Wendy H. Jones is an award-winning, international best-selling author who writes adult crime books, young adult mysteries, children's picture books and non-fiction books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach, runs the Writing Matters Online School is the CEO of Authorpreneur Accelerator Academy, President of the Scottish Association of Writers, hosts the Writing and Marketing Show podcast, and is a sought after International Public Speaker. She is currently writing a series of historical fiction novels based around the life of a 19th Century Surgeon in the Royal Navy. She is a recent recipient of a Society of Authors Foundation Grant in order to travel to Antigua to undertake research into 19th Century Naval History in the West Indies. When not writing Wendy loves reading, eating out and travelling, most often combining all three. She never shies away from an international adventure.

Literary Agents and Publisher

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrong, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he speaks of the pompatus of love. He is also the award-winning author of the urban fantasy series The Black Knight Chronicles, the Bubba the Monster Hunter comedic horror series, the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter dark fantasy series, and many other projects. He is also a cast member of the role-playing podcast Authors & Dragons, where a group of comedy, fantasy, and horror writers play Dungeons & Dragons. Very poorly.

In 2016, John teamed up with several other publishing industry professionals to create Falstaff Books, a small press dedicated to publishing the best of genre fiction’s “misfit toys.” Falstaff Books has since published over 150 titles with authors ranging from first-timers to NY Times bestsellers, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. In February 2019, Falstaff Books launched Con-Tagion, which has very quickly morphed into SAGA – THE Professional Development Conference for Genre Fiction Writers, held in Charlotte, NC every year. In his copious free time John enjoys long walks on the beach, rescuing kittens from trees and playing Magic: the Gathering. John’s pronouns are he/him.

What we are looking for: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Weird West, and, of course, misfit toys. Our Falstaff Crush line specializes in romance but should include elements of the other genres as well. No Young Adult, Middle Grade, Chapter Books, or Picture Books please. We are not set up to market to these audiences. Also no Erotica; though we do accept work that has erotic elements, they can’t be the focus of the story/narrative itself—even in the Falstaff Crush line.

Novels — Falstaff Books prefers novel-length submissions in the range of 60,000 to 110,000 words.

Novellas — Falstaff Books considers novellas in the 30,000 to 40,000 words across various genres.

Kelly Thomas, agent at Serendipity Literary agency, brings seventeen years of sales and business expertise to the literary world as a champion for writers. Kelly is a Certified Copy Editor who has a Bachelor's degree in English (Literature) from Pace University. She is an associate member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and a member of the Editorial Freelance Association. Prior to joining Serendipity, she provided manuscript analysis for the D4EO literary agency. Kelly is a published poet with publications in 'Tales for the Disenchanted' (2008) and 'Penumbra Art & Literature' (2015). She has served as an editor for the literary arts magazine Pen & Brush and as a writing coach for the academic consulting company Brattlestreet. Kelly works as a freelance editor and ghostwriter in her free time. She is a ferocious reader and has a passion for reading and writing. Kelly is eagerly building her client roster and is actively seeking the next bestselling author!

What She's Looking For:

Kelly considers herself a generalist who is drawn to lyrical writing and strong voices. She is interested in nonfiction (narrative nonfiction, memoirs, true crime), and adult fiction (psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, comedies).  She also represents children’s books including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. She enjoys fast-paced, plot-driven fiction with twists, turns, and jaw-dropping moments. She is drawn to stories about leadership, overcoming adversity, and beating the odds. Stories that are told from a unique psychological vantage point are always of interest. The truth is often stranger than fiction, so Kelly is actively looking for the next great true crime manuscript with a murderous and methodical plot. She loves multi-layered protagonists who struggle between what is right and wrong, and anti-heroes who are villainous but endearing at the same time. Some of her favorite books that perfectly master this include Dearly Departed DexterYouAmerican PsychoFight ClubPsychoInterview With a VampireDracula, and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children's, Commercial, Crime, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, New Adult, Picture Books, Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Non-Fiction: Biography, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Sports, Travel, True Crime

Cate Hart joined Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in 2019 after 5 years with a New York agency where she represented Middle Grade to Adult fiction. She specializes in Historical, whether in Young Adult, Women’s Fiction and Romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to oft forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, studying Theatre and History, Cate currently lives in Nashville with her children.

SHE IS ACTIVELY SEEKING PROJECTS IN THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

FICTION:

  • Historical
  • Commercial
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Psychological Thriller
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult

NONFICTION:

  • Narrative
  • History
  • Film/TV/Theatre
  • Pop Culture
  • Music

Jonathan Rosenliterary agent at The Seymour Agencyis also the author of several Middle Grade books, and has spent the last few years working as a freelance writer and editor. He goes into agenting with a knowledge of what it’s like to be on the author side of the trenches, to help guide writers along on their path to publication. He has a passion for books and wants to help as many people as possible get published. Being of Jewish-Mexican descent, he will always have an eye out for diverse voices, and in particular ones that reflect his background.

He is actively seeking Projects in the following categories:

Kidlit: YA, Graphic Novels, non-fiction, and will consider PBs and Chapter Books. (Not looking for MG at this time)

YA and Adult Fiction: Mysteries (All types), Thrillers, RomComs, Historical Fiction, Sports, Romantic Comedy, and anything with humor.

Non-Fiction: Biographies, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Science, Entertainment, Humor, Sports, Travel, True Crime, and Journalism, among many others.

Other Breakout Session Presenters

David B. Coe, who began writing in 1994 and who also writes as D.B. Jackson, is the award-winning author of more than 20 novels and as many short stories. He was a political consultant for years, and he earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history, flirting with the notion of an academic career before wisely thinking better of it.

As D.B. Jackson he writes The Islevale Cycle, a time travel/epic fantasy series from Angry Robot Books and Falstaff Books. The first book, Time’s Children, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was named the Best Fantasy Novel of 2018 by Reviews and Robots. The second novel, Time’s Demon, has been called “about as perfect a second book in a series as a reader could hope to have” by SffWorld. And the third and final book, Time’s Assassin, has recently been released by Falstaff Books.

Under the D.B. Jackson pen name he is also the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. ThieftakerThieves’ Quarry,  A Plunder of Souls, and, Dead Man’s Reach have been released, and are available in hardcover, ebook, audio book. David has also released Tales of the Thieftaker, a Thieftaker short story collection. And the most recent installment in the Thieftaker saga is The Loyalist Witch — Thieftaker, Fall 1770, a trilogy of novellas coming out in the spring and summer of 2021.

As David B. Coe, he has most recently published Knightfall: The Infinite Deep, a tie-in with the History Channel’s ™ Knightfall series.

Before that, he wrote a contemporary urban fantasy called the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, which was published by Baen Books. All three books, Spell BlindHis Father’s Eyes, and Shadow’s Blade, are  out and available in a variety of formats.

David’s early books include the LonTobyn Chronicle, a trilogy that received the Crawford Fantasy Award as the best work by a new author in fantasy. This trilogy has now been updated and re-issued and is available from all booksellers! David also wrote the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe. David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.

David received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his Master’s and Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University.  He co-founded and regularly contributes to the Magical Words group blog, a site devoted to discussions of the craft and business of writing fantasy, and is co-author of How to Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Ran Walker is the author of twenty-five books. His short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, and poetry have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals. Prior to becoming a writer and educator, he worked in magazine publishing and practiced law in Mississippi. He is the winner of the Indie Author Project's 2019 National Indie Author of the Year Award (selected by judges from Library JournalPublishers Weekly, IngramSpark, St. Martin's Press, and Writer's Digest), the 2019 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best Fiction Ebook Award, the 2018 Virginia Indie Author Project Award for Adult Fiction, and the 2021 Blind Corner Afrofuturism Microfiction Contest.

Ran is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hampton University and teaches with Writer's Digest University. He lives in Virginia with his wife and much better half, Lauren, and his amazing "galaxy princess" daughter, Zoë.

John Robert Mack studied writing in college, published the short story, "Jonny Hates Jazz," wrote a column, "Dancing The Rainbow," for two years in the regional Texas dance periodical, The Dancer's Guide, and has written and produced five plays (one on commission). His play Talking With Jacob won statewide recognition in Wisconsin. He produced an adaptation of the Ray Bradbury story, "The Better Part of Wisdom" with the author's input and blessing. He also self-published (before it was cool and edgy) a book called KEEP BREATHING: Zen and the Art of Social Dance. He has a total of twelve completed novel manuscripts, six plays, and ten screenplays. He has written a column for Out in SA and is a regular contributor to SA Monthly Magazine with both his writing and his photography. He has written five cover stories and shot for one cover and its feature. His creation of Zen Monster Tarot has seen sales internationally, shipping out to five different countries.

M. M. Finck (“Peggy”) is a novelist, essayist, and niche editor specializing in query letters, pitches, opening pages, and overall story analysis doing business as the Query Quill since 2014. She offers one-on-one consultation, small group workshops, and lectures on these topics at conferences and retreats across the country and virtually. She oversees WomenWriters,Women[‘s]Books magazine’s 'Agents’ Corner' & 'Author Interviews' segments. She was granted the first ever interview with the Editor-in-Chief of Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing. Among her clients’ successes are chart rankings, bestsellers, and recently an adaptation to a television series. She is a two-time Vice-President Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She is also the three-time chair of the Rising Star Award for Unpublished Authors, a role she treasures because it connects worthy writers with literary agents. She is the founder of Penning Suspense, a group for writers of suspenseful and thriller fiction. In addition to her beloved home writers’ group James River Writers and those organizations mentioned above, she is active in Sisters in Crime and Writer Unboxed. Her work is represented by Katie Shea Boutillier of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter as @MMFinck, on Goodreads as @MM-Finck, on Litsy as @MMF, and by email at queryquill@gmail.com. 

Nicole Glover is the author of the Murder and Magic series which includes The Conductors and The Undertakers. She believes libraries are magical places and problems seem smaller with a cup of tea in hand. Her life outside of books include bicycles, video games, and baking the perfect banana bread. She is represented by Jennie Goloboy at Donald Maass

A native of Durham, North Carolina, Kevin Richmond is an Award-Winning Producer, Director, Actor and Writer. He spent much of his early childhood exposed to theatrical arts in North Carolina and Chicago, Illinois. After immersing himself into the theatrical arts as a stage actor he gravitated toward films with several years of understudy at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He eventually began writing, producing, and directing, in efforts to break away from the stereotypical roles being offered and "formula" storylines. His third feature film, One Last Sunset Redux won various domestic and international awards and received distribution through the Amazon Prime Video platform. Known for nurturing talent and directing films that feature strong female characters, Richmond is considered to be an "Actor's Director" among peers. He has cast several high-profile actors in earlier stages of their careers, in his films, such as Brandy Brown (Suzie's Hope, Hit a Lick), Clemeen Connolly (Baywatch, Central Intelligence), and AMC's The Walking Dead's Addy Miller and Dahlia Legault.

Ann Eichenmuller is a marine and travel journalist, novelist, and online content creator whose articles have appeared in Chesapeake Bay Magazine, All at Sea, Motorhome, and RV Magazine. She is the winner of four Boating Writers International Awards and the author of a nautical mystery series that includes Kind Lies (2017), The Lies We Are (2018), The Lies Beneath (2019), and Drowning in Lies (2020), as well as a children’s book, Foo’s Way Home. Ann is also the author of a The Writing Rx, non-fiction guide and workbook on the healing power of writing.

She has a B.A. in English and M.A. in Literary Research. She is currently commissioned to write a history book chronicling marine rescue in the Northern Neck and is also completing two historical fiction novels, Troy Burning and Judith. Ann is a frequent guest speaker at boating and writing conferences and an instructor for Rappahannock Lifelong Learning Institute.

kelly morseKelly Morse is the author of the award-winning poetry chapbook Heavy Light (Two of Cups Press, 2016); her creative work appears in Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, The Cincinnati Review, Brevity, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. Kelly's translations of dissident Vietnamese poet Lý Đợi have been published in Asymptote, and received the Gabo Prize for Translation and Multi-Lingual Texts from Lunch Ticket.

Kelly holds an MFA from Boston University, is a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellow and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Mineral School, Cuttyhunk, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Jorge Mendez is an author, musician, and spoken word artist based out of Hampton Roads, VA. He has been the standing host of the weekly “Monday Night Open Mic” at The Venue on 35th in Norfolk, VA since 2012. He currently serves as Vice President of the Poetry Society of Virginia (Southeastern Region) and works in various areas of the arts community in Hampton Roads.

In 2015, he created Poet Fest 757, an all-day poetry festival held annually during National Poetry Month. He started writing poetry as a child, later putting the skill he gained as a page writer into Hip-Hop format releasing 3 independent albums on UKNODACREW Productions. In March of 2016, Jorge published a book of his works titled Keys & Crowbars, released on San Francisco Bay Press. He followed that with Candy and Rigor Mortis volumes 1 and 2, which he co-authored with JT Williams.