2024 Presenters


Yasmin Angoe is the Anthony-nominated author of the critically acclaimed thrillers Her Name Is Knight and They Come At Knight of the Nena Knight series. She is a first-generation Ghanaian American and, in 2020, received the Eleanor Taylor Bland Award for Emerging Writers of Color from Sisters in Crime. 

Yasmin’s books were an Amazon Best Book of the Month for Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, and an Editor’s Pick. Her work has received numerous recognitions, was on a billboard in Times Square, Best Of lists, and a Library Journal Starred Review. Her Name Is Knight has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, OprahDaily.com, POPSUGAR, Nerd Daily, the Washington Independent Review of Books, The Guardian, and other platforms.

The Nena Knight series has been optioned for a TV series by Ink Factory and Fifth Season and is currently in development.

Yasmin is a proud member of several prestigious organizations, such as Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and the Women’s National Book Association. 

Yasmin is a former English teacher and lives in South Carolina with her husband Vincent and their four children.

New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell writes modern space opera, science fiction, military science fiction and fantasy, and science fantasy.

Jack Campbell is his pen name. His real name is John G. Hemry, and he is a retired naval officer who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis before serving with the surface fleet and in a variety of other assignments.

He is the author of The Lost Fleet series and The Lost Stars series, as well as the Stark’s War, Paul Sinclair, and Pillars of Reality series and has written many shorter stories featuring space opera, fantasy, time travel, and alternate history. Many of these stories can be found in the three Jack Campbell ebook anthologies. 

He lives with his indomitable wife and three children in Maryland.

Literary Agents

Award-winning blogger, La Sheera Lee, M.Ed., is a senior agent with SBR Media, a literary agency for all genres.

She is also a wife, mother, educator, podcaster, moderator, literary event planner, and magazine contributor. She is on a mission to help others to see the beauty of their own voices.

La Sheera, also known for her savvy as a social media strategist and book influencer, loves to help people connect the dots. She utilizes the power of social media to inspire, inform, and educate on a global level.

She is also the founder of the artistic event Lights! Camera! Action! #LCA is an experience that integrates books and the arts into an interactive weekend. Readers, authors, and publishing experts converge to have a weekend that is literally one for the books.

You can also catch her FB Live (Cool Conversations with La Sheera Lee ) or Clubhouse (Cool Conversations Club), chatting it up with some of your favorite authors and industry professionals.

You can contact her  @readyoulater on Twitter and Instagram.

She represents:

  • Romantic Suspense,
  • Contemporary Romance,
  • Young Adult,
  • Urban Lit,
  • Erotica,
  • Suspense/Thriller,
  • Christian Fiction,
  • Women’s Lit

Jackie Kruzie is an associate  literary agent at Focused Artists, a Literary Management and Media Company, championing inclusive representation on screen and on the page, particularly amplifying Latiné voices and narratives.

Jackie earned a master’s degree in library science and advocated for literacy in both school and public libraries while cultivating her writing skills. She joined many writer’s groups participating in workshops and attending conferences and served as the regional advisor for her local chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), where she connected with agents and editors prompting a desire to shift from libraries to publishing. She was an acquisitions editor for an Indie publisher before completing a 6-month internship with Olswanger Literary and joining the team at Focused Artists.

Jackie is the author of The Lousy Layup, a graphic novel published by Capstone Publishing. She contributed a chapter in Serving Patrons with Disabilities published by The American Library Association. She is the creator of the P.A.S.S. Approach, an innovative step-by-step guide designed to help librarians, and others, communicate more effectively with those who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices. This approach was featured in American Libraries Magazine receiving national recognition and earning her an invitation to present at the American Library Association conference in 2023.

Jackie has taught numerous workshops on writing, literacy, and the value of open access to information at writing and library conferences nationwide. Jackie is open to queries for children and adult fiction across multiple genres. A comprehensive wish list can be found below and on MSWL. Jackie only accepts submissions through Query Tracker.

Adult Fiction:

  • Graphic Novel
  • Historical Fiction
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Paranormal/Supernatural
  • Thriller
  • Western
  • Women’s Fiction


She loves supernatural and paranormal stories where characters must keep their abilities hidden as they strive to right wrongs and exist in a world where fear of the unknown and misunderstood is prevalent.

She has a soft spot for historical fiction with dual timelines where events from the past impact the present.

She is a sucker for stories with a romantic element and enjoys when budding romances develop organically throughout the story.

She would love to find characters with series potential where the story changes but the characters remain (Agatha Christie is one of her all-time favorite authors so think Miss Marple).


  • Board Books
  • Chapter Books
  • Graphic Novel
  • Middle Grade
  • Picture Books
  • Young Adult


She loves fast-paced character-driven picture books with humor and heart. She likes short punchy sentences and word count under 600. She doesn't shy away from tough topics but does not want didactic text with a heavy moral. She will consider nonfiction books but will be extremely picky in her selection. When sending nonfiction texts, please include backmatter with your submission.

Chapter books are tough to sell so you must know your stuff. The text should be grade-level specific with room for limited illustrations.

In middle grade she is looking for mystery, magic, time travel, anything just for fun! She wants books that create lifelong readers.

In Young Adult she wants books that tackle tough topics and speak to those who feel invisible.

In both adult and children’s titles she welcomes diverse characters and would like to see more main LGBTQ+ characters in a setting where they exist without scrutiny and their sexuality isn’t the main issue but simply a component of the story.

​She does NOT represent:

  • Erotica
  • Illustration Only – invitation only*
  • Nonfiction
  • Memoir – invitation only*
  • Religious Themes
  • Self-Help

*Invitation only includes submission opportunities through conferences or personal interactions where submission is requested.

Nikki Terpilowski is the founder of Holloway Literary Agency.

Some of her publishing achievements include representing RITA nominated titles, RT Book Reviews Top Picks, and starred Publishers Weekly reviews. Notably, her Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Globe & Mail, and iBooks UK bestselling author, Kimberly Belle was a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Mystery/Thriller in 2017 and a nominee for 2023 ITW ThrillerAwards for best audiobook.

She has also worked with several bestselling authors, including Amazon US & UK best-selling author Katie Oliver, USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns. Other notable clients include: Daytime Emmy nominee BlackSouthernBelle.com’s Michiel Perry, Food Television personality Saba Wahid and screenwriter Greg DePaul (Bride Wars, Saving Silverman)

Lastly, Nikki is a tv and film producer specializing in book IP with several projects in development, including the Haunted Harmony Mysteries with Hallmark.

She is seeking the following: 

In fiction, she is currently looking for: women's fiction, southern gothic, southern fiction, small-town contemporary romance, historical romance, magical realism, fantasy and science fiction.

In nonfiction, she is looking for culinary and lifestyle nonfiction (food, drink, crafts, hobbies, etc.), and southern history.

 Other Workshop Presenters

Dr. (April) A.D. Nauman, a Chicago-based literary author, is a professor and program coordinator at Northeastern Illinois University.

Her first novel, Scorch,(Penguin/Random House, 2001) was re-released in 2019 in an ebook StoryBundle. Her second novel, DOWN THE STEEP (Regal House Publishing) was released October 2023.

Nauman’s short fiction has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Willow Springs, TriQuarterly, Necessary Fiction, The Literary Review, Roanoke Review, The Chicago Reader, and many other journals.

Nauman’s work has been recognized in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology, produced by Stories on Stage, broadcast on NPR, and granted an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award.

Nauman’s fiction investigates the sociopolitical in the personal, especially the impact of culture on identity, the mechanisms of power in personal relationships, and the challenges of life in a hypercapitalist society. Now a Midwesterner, Nauman grew up mostly in Tidewater, Virginia.

BettyJoyce Nash's debut novel, Everybody Here is Kin (Madville Publishing, September 2023,) tells a coming-of-age tale that challenges notions of motherhood, both familial and as guardians of the earth. 

Her essays, articles, and stories have aired on the NPR-affiliate WVTF, and have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, North Dakota Quarterly, Reckon Review, Across the Margin, Broad River Review, and elsewhere.

In 2015, she won the F. Scott Fitzgerald story prize. She co-edited Lock & Load: Armed Fiction, a collection of literary short stories that probe Americans’ complicated relationship to firearms. (University of New Mexico Press, 2017.)

Her fiction also has been recognized with fellowships from MacDowell, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA-France, The Ragdale Foundation, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland, and the Weymouth Center.

She earned an MSJ with distinction from Northwestern’s Medill Journalism School, and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. 

She teaches fiction at WriterHouse in Charlottesville. She’s also taught writing at the University of Richmond and the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Praise for her debut novel: “In her beautiful, Everybody Here is Kin, BettyJoyce Nash has laid bare the ways our blood betrays and restores us. The book is a powerful exploration of love’s shadowy forms, and the ways our relationships are as shaped by desire as they are by the places we’ve called home, the places we keep running from and toward.”—Bret Anthony Johnston, director of the Michener Center for Writers, and author of Remember Me Like This, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Jody Hobbs Hesler is the author of the story collection What Makes You Think You’re Supposed to Feel Better (Cornerstone Press, October 2023), and the forthcoming novel, Without You Here (Flexible Press, September 2024).

Her short stories, essays, articles, book reviews, and author interviews also appear in Necessary Fiction, Atticus Review, Pithead Chapel, CRAFT, Arts & Letters, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Writer’s Digest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Gargoyle, and many other journals.

She teaches at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia; writes and copy edits for Virginia Wine & Country Life and Charlottesville Family Magazine; and serves as assistant fiction editor for the Los Angeles Review.

A lifelong Virginia resident, Hobbs Hesler currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills.

Kate Lewis is an essayist and poet whose work appears in The New York TimesThe Washington PostGood HousekeepingMen’s HealthRomper, TODAY, The Good Trade, Literary MamaRiver Teeth’s Beautiful Things, and elsewhere.

Her work has been supported by time at the Sewanee Writers Conference and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Perry Morgan Fellowship from Old Dominion University.

At Substack, she writes The Village, conversations on craft and community. Find her online @katehasthoughts. She is represented by United Talent. 

She lives along the tidewaters of Coastal Virginia with her husband, their two young children, and a mischief-making dog.

Henry Hart, the Hickman Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where he teaches English, has published four poetry books, the most recent of which is Familiar Ghosts. The others include The Ghost Ship (1990), The Rooster Mask (1998), and Background Radiation (2007).

Wiley-Blackwell published his biography The Life of Robert Frost in 2017.  LSU Press will release his new book Seamus Heaney’s Gifts in 2024.

Hart has written critical works on such poets as Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, and Robert Lowell. He edited The James Dickey Reader (1999) and his biography James Dickey: The World as a Lie (2000), was a finalist in nonfiction for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. He also edited The Wadsworth Themes in American Literature Series (2009).

His poems and essays have appeared in The Yale Review The New YorkerPoetryKenyon ReviewSouthern ReviewSewanee ReviewDenver Quarterly, and numerous other journals. Hart was a founding editor of Verse, an international poetry journal.

In 2010, he won the Carole Weinstein Prize for Poetry. On July 2, 2018, he was sworn in as the 17th Poet Laureate of Virginia in the commonwealth's capital of Richmond.

Kathy Smaltz writes poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her work has been published in numerous journals including KalliopeThe Northern Virginia ReviewThe Piedmont JournalThe Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review, DC Trending, and for three years she was the parenting columnist (Busy in Bristow) for Bristow Beat. Her first collection of poetry, Pieces, has recently been released by Piedmont Press.

A graduate of The College of William and Mary, she later earned her M.F.A. from George Mason University. She is a creative fellow with the VCCA and has been in residence in both Amherst, Virginia as well as Auvillar, France. She is the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation fellowship, the Elizabeth Ireland Graves Scholarship, a Virginia Press Association award, and from 2016-2018 served as Prince William County’s Poet Laureate. She is a member of the Poetry Society of Virginia and won first and second place awards in their 2019 Spring Contest.

Kathy teaches for Prince William County Public Schools and is a Teacher Leader with the Northern Virginia Writing Project.

She lives in Virginia with her husband and four children and teaches creative writing when she’s not out hiking and chasing mountains. 

Kyle Marie McMahon  is an author, editor, and writing instructor. Possessing a degree in English Literature and a background in project management, she has guided self-published authors to publication in genres ranging from fantasy and science fiction to self-help and essay collections. In addition to being the associate editor for 5 West Magazine, Kyle teaches creative writing, speculative worldbuilding, and self-publishing in The Triangle, North Carolina.

Her most popular course, “Share Your Story: Memoir Writing,” will be available through her website in 2024. Kyle has two books forthcoming, a nonfiction guide to memoir and an epic fantasy story. (www.literatusediting.com)

Preslaysa Williams is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction with an Afro-Filipina twist. She loves sharing her culture with her readers. Her writing awards include the Indiana Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Golden Opportunity Award and the ACFW Genesis Award. In addition, her stories have been a finalist in the Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star Writing Contest, the Windy City RWA Four Seasons Contest, and the Valley of the Sun RWA Hot Prospects Contest.

She has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a MPA from the College of Charleston. She is also a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar, a Jackie Robinson Foundation Extra Innings Fellow, and a Sol Spiegelman Scholar. Preslaysa also recently earned a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

In addition, she’s a professional actress. She started acting at age eight, joining the Screen Actors Guild as a teenager when she co-starred on the Nickelodeon TV show, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.

She’s an avid bookworm and planner nerd who hoards pens, pencils, and notebooks in her spare time. In her daily life, you’ll find her serving as the Mom taxi and teaching composition at a local university. Preslaysa presently makes her home in Virginia with her husband and two children. You can visit her online at www.preslaysa.com where you can sign up for her newsletter community.

Heather Weidner writes the Pearly Girls Mysteries, the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of CabernetDeadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and she has non-fiction pieces in Promophobia and The Secret Ingredient: A Mystery Writers’ Cookbook.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Sisters in Crime - Grand Canyon Writers, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers, and she blogs regularly with the Writers Who Kill.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

She earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

She is represented by Cindy Bullard, Birch Literary