Online MFA Faculty
Our online MFA program is taught by a diverse and accomplished faculty of professional writers, who exemplify our program's commitment to welcoming a wide range of fiction genres. From nationally published authors and award winners to multiple degree holders, you’ll find their work in publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, Bustle, The Writer, and more. They share this rich array of experiences with our online MFA students, providing guidance in both the craft and profession of creative writing.
Associate Dean, Online MFA
Paul Witcover is the author of the novels “Waking Beauty,” “Tumbling After,” “Dracula: Asylum,” “The Emperor of All Things,” “The Watchman of Eternity” and “Lincolnstein.” His short fiction is collected in “Everland and Other Stories.” He has been a finalist for the Nebula, World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards, and he has served on the jury for the Jackson and Philip K. Dick awards. His book reviews and critical essays have appeared in Realms of Fantasy and Locus magazines, among other publications. He co-created and co-wrote the DC Comic Anima.
Witcover has an MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York and is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop. He is a recipient of a Hawthornden Fellowship.
Witcover was deeply involved in the program development for SNHU’s online MFA in Creative Writing. He has taught as an adjunct in SNHU’s MA and MFA in Creative Writing programs since 2013 and is committed to providing guidance, knowledge and opportunity to all online MFA students. Witcover lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Kait Ballenger is the author of the “Seven Range Shifter” paranormal romance series, which currently includes “Cowboy Wolf Trouble,” “Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing,” “Wicked Cowboy Wolf,” “Fierce Cowboy Wolf,” “Wild Cowboy Wolf” (forthcoming on Nov. 30, 2021), and “Cowboy Wolf Outlaw” (forthcoming on June 28, 2022).
She has an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and has been teaching creative writing for nearly a decade. She lives and works in Central Florida.
Jessica Barksdale’s 15th novel, “The Play’s the Thing,” and second poetry collection, “Grim Honey,” were published spring 2021. Her novels include “Her Daughter’s Eyes,” “The Matter of Grace” and “When You Believe.”
A Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in the North American Review, Salt Hill Journal, Tahoma Review and So to Speak. Her work has been recognized and honored by The Sewanee Review, The Wigleaf and The Ocotillo Review.
Recently retired, she taught at Diablo Valley College for 32 years and continues to teach novel writing online for UCLA Extension and in the online MFA program for Southern New Hampshire University.
Barksdale holds an MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.
Shana Chartier was born in Littleton, Colorado, and lived there for 16 years before moving to Amherst, New Hampshire. Enthralled by New England's lush beauty, she has made her home in a little town called Merrimack.
Chartier currently lives with her husband Shane, daughters Evelyn and Amelia, and two crazy cats named Kylo and Leia. She has published YA, new adult, contemporary fiction, romance and a children's picture book, as well as many short stories and poetry.
She earned her MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons University.
Dr. Melinda Clayton
Melinda Clayton began her writing career many years ago by publishing nonfiction mental health and relationship articles in various newsletters and magazines. In the early 2000s, she moved into fiction and had several short stories published in online magazines and print anthologies.
In 2010, she signed with an independent publishing house in Washington to publish her first three novels. When she regained those contracts in 2013, she founded Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC, a boutique independent publishing house located in central Florida. T-J Pub is now home to eight authors and has published over 40 works, including novels, poetry collections, short stories and children’s books.
She earned her MS in Community Agency Counseling from the University of Memphis and her EdD in Education Administration from Northcentral University.
Dr. Marisa Cleveland
With more than two decades in the education and publishing industries, Dr. Marisa Cleveland is adamant about supporting efforts toward the betterment of the human condition. Cleveland is the executive director for The Seymour Agency, a Hodges University Board of Trustees member, and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.
Cleveland joined SNHU in 2019, and in 2021, she was honored with a nomination for Distinguished Online Teaching for SNHU’s Online MFA.
Gulfshore Business and D’Latinos magazines honored Cleveland with the Arts and Culture 2015 FACE Award, and in 2014, Gulfshore Business selected her as a “40 Under Forty” honoree.
Cleveland holds an EdD in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University and an MA in Educational Administration and a BA in Speech Communication from George Mason University.
Heather Demetrios is a critically acclaimed author, writing coach and certified meditation teacher. Her novels include “Little Universes,” “I’ll Meet You There” and “Bad Romance,” as well as the Dark Caravan fantasy series: “Exquisite Captive,” “Blood Passage” and “Freedom’s Slave.”
Her nonfiction includes the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection “Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall,” and she is the editor of “Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love.” Her honors include books that have been named Bank Street Best Children’s Books, YALSA Best Fiction For Young Adults selections, a Goodreads Choice Nominee, a Kirkus Best Book and a Barnes and Noble Best Book. Her work has appeared in LA Review of Books, Bustle, School Library Journal and other fine outlets.
In addition to her writing, Demetrios is passionate about supporting women in the refugee community as well as "helping the helpers" on the ground through mindfulness and therapeutic writing. She works in communications and mindfulness outreach for Becky’s Bathhouse, a wellness center and safe space serving refugee women and their children in Lesvos, Greece.
She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN America Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, “Something Real.”
Jeremy Flagg is the author of the “Children of Nostradamus” dystopian science fiction universe and “Suburban Zombie High” young adult humor/horror series. Taking his love of pop culture and comic books, he focuses on fast-paced, action-packed novels with complex characters and contemporary themes. He is the co-founder of the New England Speculative Writers and Superhero-Fiction Authors.
He earned his MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Flagg spends most of his free time at his desk writing snarky books. When he gets a moment away from writing, he watches too much Netflix and Hulu and reads too many comic books. A Maine native, he resides in Clinton, Massachusetts, and can be found in local coffee shops pounding away at the keyboard.
Kirsten I.K. Flournoy
Kirsten I.K. Flournoy is a writer and editor who celebrates literature as a change agent that pushes us beyond our comfort zones, breaks us open and puts us back together.
She is the author of three novels: “The House of Erzulie” (2018, Shade Mountain Press), a Gothic tale set 1850s New Orleans, as well as the speculative fiction series “Ice Song” (2009, Random House) and Tattoo (2011, Random House). According to Foreword Reviews, “Kirsten makes the macabre beautiful.”
Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in publications including Arts & Letters, Existere Journal of Arts & Literature, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, and The Body Horror Book.
A Gothic Research Studies PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), she holds an MFA in Creative Writing and certification in the Teaching of Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She lives in San Diego and teaches graduate creative writing and literature.
Lauren A. Forry
Lauren A. Forry was brought up in the woods of Pennsylvania before moving to New York City to earn her undergraduate degree in Cinema Studies and Screenwriting from New York University. She later earned her MA and MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Kingston University in London, England. There she was awarded the Faber and Faber Creative Writing MA Prize for her thesis work, “Abigale Hall.”
Her short stories have been featured in The X-Files: Secret Agendas, Brick Moon Fiction and Lamplight Magazine. Her most recent novel, “They Did Bad Things,” from Arcade Crimewise, received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the ALA Booklist, is an Amazon Editor’s Choice pick, and was a book club pick for NY Times Bestseller Jenny Lawson’s “Fantastic Strangelings Book Club.”
She is an assistant professor of English at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA, and has taught for SNHU since 2016.
Dr. Diana Pharaoh Francis
USA Today bestselling author Diana Pharaoh Francis writes books of a fantastical, adventurous and often romantic nature.
Her award-nominated novels include “The Path” series, the “Crosspointe Chronicles,” the “Diamond City Magic” books, the “Mission: Magic” series, “Everyday Disasters” series and “Magicfall” series. Her novels have been translated into German and French.
She holds a PhD in Victorian Literature and Literary Theory from Ball State University and an MA in Fiction Writing from Iowa State University. She’s been teaching for more than 20 years and is a member of SFWA and Bookview Cafe.
She’s owned by a blue heeler and a corgi, likes rocks, geocaching, knotting up yarn and has a thing for 1800s England, especially the Victorians.
James R. Gapinski
James R. Gapinski is the author of “Edge of the Known Bus Line,” winner of the 2018 Etchings Press novella contest, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018 and a finalist for the 2019 Montaigne Medal. He is also the author of the linked flash fiction collection, “Messiah Tortoise.”
His short fiction has appeared in Heavy Feather Review, Hobart, Juked, Monkeybicycle, Paper Darts and other publications. He serves as managing editor of The Conium Review and Conium Press, an independent publisher of innovative fiction based in Portland, Oregon.
Gapinski earned his MFA in Fiction from Goddard College and his MA in Postmodern Literary Studies from Prescott College.
Alongside his work in SNHU’s MFA program, he is currently an instructional specialist at Chemeketa Community College. Previously, he has taught writing courses at Ashford University, Bunker Hill Community College, Pueblo Community College and Mt. Hood Community College. Gapinski has presented at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, the College Reading & Learning Association Conference, the Write on the Sound Conference and other conferences. His scholarly projects have focused on experimental literature, equity in publishing and the role of new media in the writing curriculum.
Melissa Hart is the author of “Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens” (Sasquatch, 2019) and the award-winning middle-grade novel “Avenging the Owl” (Sky Pony, 2016).
She’s contributing editor at The Writer Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Real Simple, Working Mother, Woman’s Day, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and numerous other publications.
Hart earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She lives in Oregon with her husband and teenage daughter.
Dr. Kelly Ann Jacobson
Kelly Ann Jacobson is the author or editor of many published books. Her chapbook “An Inventory of Abandoned Things” won the 2020 Split/Lip Chapbook Contest, and her queer YA novel “Tink and Wendy” comes out in October 2021 from Three Rooms Press. Her short fiction has been published in such places as Northern Virginia Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, New Plains Review, Best Small Fictions 2020 and Daily Science Fiction.
Jacobson received her PhD in Fiction from Florida State University and has been teaching speculative fiction and short story writing for Southern New Hampshire University's online MFA since 2020. In 2021, she received SNHU’s Rising Star teaching award.
Gregory A. Kompes
Gregory A. Kompes has authored 16 books, including bestselling works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He is included in 14 anthologies, among them “Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog,” and written hundreds of published articles on a wide range of topics.
As the facilitator of The Writer Workshop (originally founded with a Nevada Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts grant), Kompes leads weekly workshops and critique forums for writers. The author has been part of the SNHU MFA program since its inception, working first a subject-matter expert during the design of several courses in the program and since 2018 as a faculty member.
Kompes holds an MFA in Creative Writing from National University, an MSEd with an emphasis in online teaching and learning from California State University, East Bay, and a BA in English Literature from Columbia University.
Dr. Dawn Reno Langley
A writer, social justice activist and educator, Dawn Reno Langley has devoted her life to literature and the arts. Her first published work, an essay on the Cuban missile crisis, revealed a deep sense of social justice that has never waned, leading her to concentrate on those issues throughout her academic experience.
She researched female authors and their voices during her MFA program at Vermont College and transgender authors during her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from The Union Institute and University, a program steeped in social justice.
As an academic, she has taught classes on creative writing and women’s issues, spoken publicly about her own spiritual journey and runs regular workshops for writers who want to write about social justice issues. When her new book, “You Are Divine: Searching for the Goddess in All of Us,” releases in January 2022, she plans to travel the country to talk to women about their own connections with the divine.
Langley has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines, has published over 30 books (nonfiction, novels and children’s), and her award-winning short stories, essays and poetry appear in The Green Mountains Review, Provo Canyon Review, Superstition Review, as well as many others. She also reviews theater, music, and art and blogs about writing. Her last novel, “The Mourning Parade,” revealed the truths of elephant abuse.
A Fulbright scholar and TedX speaker, Langley lives in Kure Beach, North Carolina. She has taught at SNHU since 2018.
Patricia Lillie grew up in a haunted house in a small town in Northeast Ohio. Since then, she has published picture books, short stories, fonts, and two novels. As Patricia Lillie, she writes quiet horror and weird fiction. Her story collection, “The Cuckoo Girls,” was a 2020 Bram Stoker Award® finalist.
As Kay Charles, her much nicer alter-ego, she writes cozy-ish mysteries with ghosts.
Lillie is a graduate of Parsons School of Design, has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and has taught in SNHU’s Online MFA program since 2018. In 2020, she was the recipient of the UPCEA New England Region Adelle F. Robertson Emerging Professional Continuing Educator Award. She also knits and sometimes purls.
Cynthea Liu is an award-winning author, publishing consultant and editor. She is published with Penguin Random, Disney, S&S, Sterling and Scholastic.
As a consultant and editor, she works in the children's and teen sector for private client publishers, as well as aspiring and well-published authors within major trade. She also takes on unique creative projects requiring a story architect or managing editor. Example projects include creating narratives for augmented reality apps, workshopping storyboards for video and music for children with LA record producers, and novelization of a Hollywood romantic comedy for publication. Her work is never boring.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.
Left-handed. Like dragons, coffee, waffles, running and giraffes; order unimportant. Terry Maggert writes the “Halfway Witchy,” “Messenger,” “Starcaster” and “Shattered Skies” series. He’s a 10-time Amazon best seller, longtime advocate for audiobooks, and volunteers for both animal rescue and his local library.
He travels often to speak on issues of publishing, independent presses and the importance of branding as the book world changes with each passing month.
He doesn't sleep, but you probably guessed that already.
Melissa Marr writes for adults, teens and children. Her books have been translated into 28 languages and been domestic bestsellers (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, national bestseller), as well as in various countries overseas.
In addition to her bestselling fiction and awards for both romance (RWA) and horror (Goodreads), Marr also writes for DC Comics, edits anthologies and recently published her nature photography in “Wild Horses” (Penguin). She is best known for the “Wicked Lovely” series for teens, “Bunny Roo, I Love You” for children, and “Graveminder” for adults - as well as her utter inability to stick to one age demographic, format or genre.
Currently, she lives in Arizona with her wife and children.
Jen McLaughlin is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling romance author who was mentioned in Forbes alongside E.L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists.
She is published by Penguin/Berkley and Random House and has written three books with James Patterson/Hachette. Under her pen name Diane Alberts, she is also a USA Today bestselling romance author with Entangled Publishing.
McLaughlin is a firm believer in chasing after dreams, so she went back to school for her MFA at Wilkes University when her oldest daughter started college. Now a college professor teaching creative writing to undergraduate and graduate students, she is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education, also at Wilkes. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, four kids, one dog, a bearded dragon and five cats.
Nicole Melleby, a born-and-bred New Jersey native, is an award-winning children's author. Her middle-grade books have been Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections, and have earned the Skipping Stones Honor Award, as well as being a 2020 Kirkus Reviews best book of the year. Her debut novel, “Hurricane Season,” was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Melleby currently teaches college literature and creative writing, and she spends most of her free time roller skating. She lives with her wife and their cat, whose need for attention oddly aligns with her writing schedule.
Staci Mercado is the author of two historical fiction novels and won a Midwest Book Award for “Seeking Signs” (2013). She has published work in Broad Street, Barely South Review, Flash Fiction Magazine and Fiction Southeast.
Mercado earned an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. She was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Literary Arts Educator Award from the Midwest Writing Center.
A former journalist and public relations executive in the publishing industry, award-winning author Theresa Meyers had her first national piece published in Merlin’s Pen magazine at age 17.
Over the past 25 years, she’s penned dozens of articles for national magazines and daily newspapers and has 18 published novels with some of the largest publishers in New York, including Kensington and Harlequin, and smaller publishers Entangled Publishing and Diversion Books.
Meyers earned her MA in Strategic Communication from Washington State University. She writes steampunk, paranormal, historical, contemporary romance and young adult.
J. Lloyd Morgan
J. Lloyd Morgan is a best-selling author, English and creative writing professor and award-winning television director.Morgan earned his MFA in Creative Writing in 2014 from National University. He also graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in communications and a minor in English.
He has lived all over the United States, but now resides in North Carolina with his wife and daughters. Aside from writing, Morgan is an avid reader. He’s also a huge fan of baseball and enjoys listening to music.
Aside from his most recent novel, “National Bestseller,” Morgan’s other published novels include The Bariwon Chronicles (“The Hidden Sun,” “The Waxing Moon” and “The Zealous Star”), “Wall of Faith,” “Bring Down the Rain,” “Darker the Shadow” and “The Mirror of the Soul” (written in conjunction with musician Chris de Burgh).
Morgan joined SNHU in September 2018.
Dr. Michelle Pretorius
Born and raised in South Africa, Dr. Michelle Pretorius has lived in London, New York and the Midwest.
Her first novel, “The Monster’s Daughter,” published by Melville House and Audible, is an American Booksellers Association Debut Voices pick, and was awarded a 2017 FAW Literary Prize.
Pretorius earned a PhD in Creative Writing from Ohio University, an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College and a BA at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.
Eileen Rendahl is a national-bestselling, award-winning author of mystery, thriller, urban fantasy, romantic comedy and romantic suspense. She also writes as Kristi Abbott, Lillian Bell and Eileen Carr.
If you think you’re confused, imagine what it’s like inside her head.
All the Eileens were born in Dayton, Ohio. She moved when she was 4 and only remembers that she was born across the street from Baskin-Robbins. Rendahl remembers anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne.
She received her MFA from Antioch University in Los Angeles in 2015 and has been teaching at SNHU since 2016.
Rendahl has had many jobs and lived in many cities and feels unbelievably lucky to be where she is now and to be doing what she's doing.
Beth Revis is a multiple New York Times bestselling author with books available in more than 20 languages. She’s written over a dozen novels across science fiction, fantasy and contemporary genres, including “Across the Universe” and “Star Wars: Rebel Rising.” Her work has been published by Penguin Random House, Disney Hyperion and more, and she also has self-published, including experimental works such as reader-voted serial novels and highly interactive stories that play with form and style.
In addition to publishing over a dozen novels, Revis is also the author of the “Paper Hearts” series, a collection of aids for aspiring authors that includes advice books, workbooks, journals and planners.
A native of North Carolina, Revis received her MA in English Literature after gaining a BA in English Education and a teaching certificate from North Carolina State University. After years in public education, during which time she earned her National Board Certification, she pursued writing full time, but found she still missed being in the classroom. Over the years, she taught individual workshops across the nation before co-founding Wordsmith Workshops, a writer’s resource that provides a series of online and in-person programs for writers at every stage.
Mary SanGiovanni is an award-winning American horror and thriller writer of over 20 books, including The Hollower trilogy, “Thrall,” “Chaos,” the Kathy Ryan series and others, as well as numerous novellas, short stories and nonfiction. Her work has been translated internationally.
She has a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University-Pittsburgh, and is currently a member of The Authors Guild, The International Thriller Writers and Penn Writers.
SanGiovanni is a co-host on the popular podcast “The Horror Show” with Brian Keene, and she hosts her own podcast on cosmic horror, “Cosmic Shenanigans.” She has the distinction of being one of the first women to speak about writing at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and offers talks and workshops on writing around the country.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she currently resides in Pennsylvania.
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling that enables her writing addiction. She is the author of seven published romantic suspense novels, including “The Untouchables” series for Entangled Publishing, plus the “Team Fear” series.
Her essays have appeared in Progenitor Art & Literary Review, So to Speak Feminist Journal, Wanderlust Journal and the Fredericksburg Literary Art Review.
Skaggs holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and an MA in Creative Writing from Regis University.
She has three jobs, two kids and more pets than she can possibly handle. She also plays the flute, makes crazy-good sculptures out of tortilla dough and can wrangle the neurotic dog without getting mauled.
Angie Smibert is the author of the middle grade historical fantasy series, Ghosts of Ordinary Objects, which includes “Bone’s Gift,” “Lingering Echoes” and “The Truce.” She’s also written three young adult science fiction novels: “Memento Nora,” “The Forgetting Curve” and “The Meme Plague.” In addition to numerous short stories, she’s published over 30 science and technology books for kids.
Smibert teaches young adult, speculative fiction and thesis classes for SNHU’s online MFA in Creative Writing program, as well as undergraduate composition courses for Indiana University East and Virginia Western Community College.
Before that, she was a science writer and web developer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and a few other government agencies.
Smibert earned her master’s in English from Indiana University. She lives in Roanoke with a goofy dog (named after a telescope) and three bickering cats (named after Tennessee Williams characters), and she puts her vast store of useless knowledge to work at the weekly pub quiz.
Connie Smith is the author of the fantasy series “The Division.” This series brings together a variety of mythical creatures – such as vampires, mermaids, dragons, genies, wood nymphs, kapres and a unicorn – and includes a young adult trilogy (“Within the Essence,” “Through the Ashes” and “Beyond the Hope”), a children’s story and a paranormal romance novella.
Her published works also include the young/new adult romances, “Jivin’ Tango” and “Tail Lights & Teardrops,” as well as a nonfiction essay in a history journal, a short story for Still Moments Magazine and freelance pieces for several companies.
She earned her MA in English and Creative Writing with concentration in Fiction from SNHU.
Joan F. Smith has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College and bachelor’s degrees in English and social science from Providence College. Smith is published in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with expertise in young adult and literary fiction. Her first novel, “The Half Orphan’s Handbook,” was released by Macmillan’s Imprint in 2021.
In her work in higher education, she has been a key player in program development for SNHU’s online MFA in Creative Writing, as well as the MA in English and Creative Writing. She has extensive experience in course design in the areas of writing craft, capstone and the best practices of online teaching. She was nominated for SNHU’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.
She has given presentations on a variety of topics, including transforming the traditional MFA, building a diverse writing community, stripping the power dynamic in the online workshop, and establishing an online teaching assistantship at national conferences such as the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and the Online Learning Consortium. Her interests include developing high-quality curriculum, improving the student and faculty educational experience, and equipping students with practical skills to supplant creative careers.
She is also a professional dance instructor with awards for storytelling, choreography and technique.
Kim Tomsic is an award-winning author of two picture books and two novels.
She is the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Crystal Kite Award and the 2022 Norman A. Sugarman Biography Honor. Her books have been selected for the Junior Library Guild, the Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List, the New York Public Library Best Book List, the National Science Teaching Association’s Best STEM Books list and Imagination Soup's Best Books of 2021 list. She is a Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards finalist, a Keystone to Reading finalist, a Bluegrass Award finalist and more.
Tomsic is passionate about helping students deconstruct the tricks and tips that make a story delightful. She remembers what it’s like to be a hopeful new writer and looks forward to helping others navigate the maze of craft and the business of publishing. Her next novel, “The Truth about 5th Grade” (HarperCollins, summer 2023), is a highly illustrated epistolary co-written and illustrated by Rueben Award-winning cartoonist Mark Parisi.
She earned her MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and her BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tiffany Trent is the author of eight young adult science fiction and fantasy books, including the Hallowmere series (“Wizards of the Coast/Mirrorstone”) and The Unnaturalists duology (Simon & Schuster/Saga). Her first novel, “Hallowmere: In the Serpent’s Coils,” was a New York Public Library Book of the Teen Age and an IndieNext List book, among other lists. “The Unnaturalists” was a 2013 Green Earth Book Award Honor for young adult environmental content.
She has published several short stories in anthologies like “Clockwork Cairo” and “Willful Impropriety,” as well as in magazines like Mythic Delirium and Subterranean. Her most recent anthology, “The Underwater Ballroom Society,” co-edited with Stephanie Burgis, was a Locus Finalist for Best Anthology in 2018.
Trent has an MA in English, an MS in Environmental Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Prose from the University of Montana, and she has worked as a science communicator in addition to teaching creative writing for Virginia Tech and Southern New Hampshire University.
Sidney Williams is the author of a number of novels, including recent releases: “Fool’s Run,” “Disciples of the Serpent,” “Dark Hours” and “Midnight Eyes” from Crossroad Press. Publisher’s Weekly had this praise for “Fool’s Run”: “This thriller-cum-caper will keep readers eagerly turning pages.”
Williams’ early publications were released by Pinnacle Books, an imprint of Kensington. Those include “When Darkness Falls,” “Blood Hunter,” “Gnelfs,” “Night Brothers” and “Azarius.” Additionally, he wrote three young adult horror novels under the name Michael August for Kensington’s Z-Fave imprint.
His short work has also appeared in Cemetery Dance, Infernal Ink, Eulogy, Sanitarium and in diverse anthologies, including Quoth the Raven, Under the Fang, Demon Sex, Crafty Cat Crimes, Constable New Crimes, Love Among the Thorns, Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse, Hot Blood: Deadly After Dark and Deranged. He wrote comic book scripts for Caliber Press, Campfire Comics, Malibu Graphics and Silverline Comics.
Williams earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. He has taught creative writing for more than seven years. He is also a journalist and former newspaper reporter and has worked in corporate communications.
Heather Gemmen Wilson
Heather Gemmen Wilson is an award-winning author and speaker, having published over 20 books, most notably her memoir, “Startling Beauty.”
She enjoyed an exciting career as a book editor before returning to school, where she discovered that education brings not just new knowledge but a sense of exhilaration.
Wilson earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Ashland University, as well as her MA in Creative Writing at Ball State University, where her thesis was selected as the Outstanding Creative Project.
Now teaching at the college level, fulfilling her passion to help the next generation of writers to find their voices and impact the world.
Stephanie M. Wytovich
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues such as Weird Tales, Nightmare Magazine, Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2 and The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the poetry editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing, and has been working in SNHU’s Online MFA program for almost three years.
She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.
Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, “Brothel,” earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside “Hysteria: A Collection of Madness,” “Mourning Jewelry,” “An Exorcism of Angels,” “Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare” and, most recently, “The Apocalyptic Mannequin.” Her debut novel, “The Eighth,” is published with Dark Regions Press.
Anne-Marie Yerks is a creative writer and Pushcart Prize nominee from metro Detroit.
A graduate of George Mason's MFA program, her work has appeared in literary journals such as Juked, The Penn Review and in several anthologies. She is the author of "Dream Junkies" (New Rivers Press, 2016) and "LUSH" (Odyssey Books, 2020). She has freelanced for many magazines, publishing nonfiction articles about wellness, fashion, real estate, crafts, home improvement and education.
A longtime writing teacher, she loves traveling to literary destinations and occasionally presents at AWP and the Winter Wheat Festival of Writing. Yerks is also a certified seamstress (but prefers the word "sewist"), a fiber artist and a beginning gardener.