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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.

Paul Witcover

Paul Witcover

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. He can be found online at paulwitcover.com and on Bluesky @paulwitcover.bsky.social

Lindsay Averill

Lindsey Averill

Lindsey Averill is many things - a mom, a filmmaker, an academic, a writer, an activist, a USA Today bestselling novelist, a sake and sushi lover, a notorious trashy television watcher, an odd beauty secret keeper, an amazing dancer... really, the list is endless. Lindsey received her M.F.A in Writing from Emerson College and Ph. D. in the Comparative Studies from Florida Atlantic University. The focus of Lindsey’s research is fiction, feminism, fat civil rights and the representation of fat bodies in popular culture. In her spare time, Lindsey writes stuff for lots of cool media outlets, like CNN, xojane, Time.com, The Huffington Post, Alternet, Refinery29, and Bustle. Lindsey has also written academic stuff where she speaks to feminism – or a lack thereof in young adult novels – like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games."

Abigail Baia HeadshotAbigail Baia

Abigail Baia (pen name Abigail Wild) is the author of two novels: The Art of Drowning (2021) and More than One Way to Breathe (2022), both with Cable Creek Publishing. Her third novel is under contract. A Pushcart and Benjamin Franklin nominee, she is well-versed in the business side of publication, having launched her own small press, Wild Ink Publishing.

Baia earned her MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University and is thrilled to contribute to her alma mater in a faculty role. A dedicated educator, she also serves as Director of the Young Writers Workshop at a small liberal arts college near her home in central Pennsylvania. She holds a baccalaureate degree in visual arts and graphic design from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In her free time, she volunteers for an anti-trafficking organization, designing, writing, and speaking publicly.

Kait Ballenger

Kait Ballenger

Kait Ballenger is an award-winning paranormal romance author best known for her “Seven Range Shifter” series, which includes her bestselling book “Cowboy Wolf Trouble" among six other titles. She is also the author of the "Rogue Brotherhood" paranormal romance series, for which her debut novel, re-released as "Rogue Wolf Hunter," earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly. Ballenger has an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and has been teaching creative writing for over a decade. She lives and works in Central Florida and can be found online on Instagram.

Jessica Barksdale

Jessica Barksdale

Jessica Barksdale’s sixteenth novel, “What the Moon Did,” was published in February 2023 by Flexible Press. Her short story collection “Trick of the Porch Light” appeared in September 2023.  She’s published two poetry collections: “When We Almost Drowned” (2019) and “Grim Honey” (2021). Barksdale taught at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and continues to teach 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 and can be found online at www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com and on Twitter @jessicainclan.

Joseph ChianakasJoseph Chianakas

Known for his horror series “Rabbit in Red,” Joe Chianakas lives in Peoria, IL, with his husband, Brian. He's earned multiple master's degrees, including a master's degree in communication. He's currently represented by literary agent Amy Brewer and has multiple publishing contracts with Roan and Weatherford. His novel “Singlets and Secrets,” became an instant number one bestseller. He primarily writes young adult fiction in horror and LGBTQ contemporary. You can find him on Twitter @joechianakas.

Melinda Clayton

Dr. Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton earned her MS in Community Agency Counseling and her EdD in Education Administration. She 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 forty works, including novels, poetry collections, short stories, and children’s books.

Melinda Clayton can be found at www.melindaclayton.net and on Twitter @MelRClayton.

Marisa ClevelandDr. 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.

Twitter: @marisacleveland

Heather Demetrios

Heather Demetrios

Heather Demetrios is a critically acclaimed author, writing coach and mindfulness facilitator based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her publishers include Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and HarperCollins. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, Dutch and Romanian. Demetrios has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN America Discovery Award for her debut novel, “Something Real.” Her novels include “Little Universes,” “I’ll Meet You There,” “Bad Romance,” as well as the Dark Caravan fantasy series: “Exquisite Captive,” “Blood Passage,” and “Freedom’s Slave.” Her non-fiction 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 books 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.

Demetrios works with writers on integrating mindfulness into their writing practice, process, and life. In addition to being the Executive Director of Clouds in Water Zen Center, she is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. She is also the program director of Rebecca Dykes Writers in collaboration with the Highlights Foundation, where she works with writers who tell stories about trauma for young readers. Find out more about Heather and her books at heatherdemetrios.com

Caitlin Donovan

Caitlin Donovan

Caitlin Donovan is a novelist, journalist, teacher, poet, and, above all, a huge geek for all kinds of fiction. She has been published in several literary journals and anthologies, including The Great Smokies Review. She won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Creative Nonfiction for her autobiographical short story, "The Misadventures of Comic Book Girl." She is the author of the YA fantasy novel "In the Way of All Flesh," a finalist for the 2019 Golden Crown Literary Society Goldie Awards. When she's not writing or teaching at SNHU, Caitlin works as a tutor at A-B Tech Community College.  She is also an active freelance writer whose works have been published on many websites, including Cracked and The Mary Sue. Caitlin currently resides in North Carolina with her trouble-making cats. You can find her online at Caitlinalisedonovan.com.

Jeremy Flagg

Jeremy Flagg

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.

Instagram: @writeremyflagg

Lauren A. Forry

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 novel “They Did Bad Things,” from Arcade Crimewise, received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the ALA Booklist, was an Amazon Editor’s Choice pick, and was a book club pick for NY Times Bestseller Jenny Lawson’s “Fantastic Strangelings Book Club.” Her most recent novel is the locked-room sci-fi mystery “Launch Party.” She is an assistant professor of English at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA, and has taught for SNHU since 2016. You can find her on Twitter @laurenaforry.

James Gapinski

James R. Gapinski

James R. Gapinski (they/them) is the author of the novella “Edge of the Known Bus Line,” winner of the 2018 Etchings Press Novella Prize, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018, and a finalist for the 2019 Montaigne Medal. They are also the author of three chapbooks: “The Last Dinosaurs of Portland,” “Fruit Rot,” and “Messiah Tortoise.”

Their short fiction has appeared in the Best Microfiction 2023 anthology, Heavy Feather Review, Juked, Okay Donkey, Paper Darts, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, and other publications. James is managing editor of 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.

James earned their MFA in Fiction from Goddard College and their MA in Postmodern Literary Studies from Prescott College. You can find them on Twitter @jamesrgapinski.

Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart is the author of eight published books, including the novels “Daisy Woodworm Changes the World” and “Avenging the Owl,” and the memoirs “Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family” and “Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, Smithsonian, Slate, The Advocate, Real Simple and numerous other publications. She teaches for SNHU’s Online MFA program in Creative Writing. When she's not writing, she loves to hike and run and bike long distance, kayak and Nordic ski and explore the outdoors. www.melissahart.com and Instagram @WildMelissaHart.

Gregory A. Kompes

Gregory A. Kompes

Gregory A. Kompes (MFA, MS Ed.) has authored nineteen books (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), contributed to over a dozen anthologies (including four “Chicken Soup for the Soul” volumes), and written hundreds of published articles and essays on a wide range of topics. He is the founder and facilitator of The Writer Workshop and teaches for Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA program. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, a Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay, and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. Photo by Arpit Mehta.

Dawn Reno Langley

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.

Twitter: @proflangley

SNHU online MFA instructor and Ohio resident Patricia Lillie.

Patricia Lillie

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

Cynthea Liu

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.

Twitter: @cynthealiu

Amber LoganDr. Amber A. Logan

Amber A. Logan is an author of speculative novels and short fiction who lives in Kansas. Her debut novel, "The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn" (2022), is an adult retelling of the children’s classic "The Secret Garden" set near Kyoto, Japan.

Dr. Logan earned a PhD in Creative Writing from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, where her thesis examined the intersection of fairy tales, Haruki Murakami, and technoanimism. She also holds an M.A. in International Relations, a Master of Liberal Arts degree, and a B.A. in Psychology. She has been teaching online university courses since 2009.

Twitter: @AmberAnnLogan

Jennifer Loring

Dr. Jennifer Loring

Jennifer Loring is a feminist popular culture scholar and horror writer. Her short fiction has been published widely, including two volumes of "Tales from the Lake", "Nightscript IV", "Dim Shores Presents", and the "Bram Stoker Award-nominated anthologies Not All Monsters and Arterial Bloom". She is also the author of four novels and four novellas, including the critically acclaimed "Conduits" (2019).

Loring holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies – Humanities and Culture from Union Institute & University, where she used the postfeminist ecoGothic to redefine the monstrous feminine in horror video games. She has presented her academic work on horror and gender at conferences around the country and even in Romania. She completed her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction with a concentration in horror at Seton Hill University and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she and her husband are owned by a turtle and a basset shepherd.

Melissa Marr HeadshotMelissa Marr

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.

Twitter: @melissa_marr

Jennifer Mclaughlin

Jen McLaughlin

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

Nicole Melleby

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.

Stacy Mercado

Staci Mercado

Staci Mercado won a Midwest Book Award for her historical fiction novel, “Seeking Signs.” She has published work in Broad Street, Barely South Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Fiction Southeast, Canary, and Litro, and has work forthcoming in Hippocampus. Staci was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Literary Arts Educator Award from the Midwest Writing Center and was a top-five finalist for The Iowa Department of Education's Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2022.

Theresa MeyersTheresa Meyers

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.

Twitter: @Theresa_Meyers

Jason Morgan

J. Lloyd Morgan

J. Lloyd Morgan is a best-selling author, Associate Professor of English, 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 with his wife in North Carolina, where they raised four children. Aside from writing, Morgan is an avid reader. He’s also a huge fan of baseball and enjoys listening to music.

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.

In addition to his most recent novel, “Going Down the Far Well,” 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.

Eileen Rendahl

Eileen Rendahl

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.

Twitter: @eileenrendahl

Beth Revis

Beth Revis

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.

Twitter: @bethrevis

Mary SanGiovanni

Mary SanGiovanni

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

Cindy Skaggs

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.

Twitter: @CLSkaggs

Angie Smibert

Angie Smibert

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.

Twitter: @amsmibert

Connie Smith

Connie Smith

Connie Smith is a young adult/children’s author whose otherworldly stories often embrace fantasy, myth, magic, and humor. Her published works include “The Division” series (“Within the Essence,” “Through the Ashes,” “Beyond the Hope,” “A Midsummer’s Glimmer,” and “In Your Wings”). She’s also written young/new adult romance novels (“Jivin’ Tango,” “Waltzin’ Blind,” and “Tail Lights & Teardrops”), nonfiction articles, and short stories for different companies. Other projects include recipe and activity books, as well as lyric contributions to other fiction stories.

She loves and lives in her small Appalachian corner of Kentucky, where she teaches middle school English and enjoys the simple things in life. She holds her MA in English, which she earned at SNHU, as well as a master’s in teaching.

Jo StoutJo Stout

Jo Stout is an award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of more than twenty romance novels. Two of her novels earned the designation of The Romance Reviews Top Pick, one snagged third place in the Reveal Your Inner Vixen contest, and another was a finalist for Passionate Plume’s contest in 2021. She has been teaching at the college level since 2014 and earned her MFA from Seton Hill University. Stout has published both fiction and nonfiction works independently and with several small presses. Within romance, she writes both fantasy and contemporary romance, with high heat levels. In her (laughably little) spare time, she loves to read, travel, and binge-watch superhero movies, supernatural series, and food competition shows. She lives outside of Philly with her family, a mountain of books, and a raging caffein addiction.

Kim Tomsic Headshot

Kim Tomsic

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, the Norman A. Sugarman Biography Honor, the Keystone to Reading Award, and the Comstock-Gág Award. 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 other "best of" lists. She is a finalist for the 2024 Nutmeg Award, Beehive Award, the California Young Readers Medal, and other honors.

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 2024), is a highly illustrated epistolary novel co-written with 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.

Letitia Trent

Letitia Trent is the author of the novels "Summer Girls" and "Almost Dark" as well as the poetry collection "Match Cut." Her work has most recently appeared in Diagram, Ghost Proposal, Figure One, Jellyfish Review, and Waxwing, among others. She was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award for the short story "Wilderness," which also appeared in "Best Horror of the Year Volume 7". She lives in a haunted Ozark mountain town with her pets, son, and husband. You can find her on Bluesky and Substack.

Tiffany TrentTiffany Trent

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 WilliamsSidney Williams

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.

Twitter: @Sidney_Williams

Heather Wilson

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.

LIsa Wood Online Faculty HeadshotLisa Wood

Dr. Lisa Wood has a Ph.D. and MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in Communications/Film Production. She is the Vice President of the Horror Writers Association, the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, and a frequent contributor to the conversation around the evolution of genre fiction. As psychological horror author L. Marie Wood, she is a prolific author with 13 published works, including novels, novellas, short stories, and poetry. A two-time Bram Stoker Award® Finalist, Rhysling nominated poet, and accomplished essayist, Wood won the Golden Stake Award for her novel The Promise Keeper and is the recipient of over 50 national and international screenplay and film awards.

Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Weird Tales, Nightmare Magazine, Southwest Review, “Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2,” volumes 8 and 15 of “The Best Horror of the Year,” and many others.

Wytovich has been teaching in Southern New Hampshire University's MFA Program for 5+ years and is a recipient of the Elizabeth Matchett Stover Memorial Award, the 2021 Ladies of Horror Fiction Writers Grant, and has received the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship for non-fiction writing.

Wytovich is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy 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 “The Apocalyptic Mannequin.” Her debut novel, “The Eighth,” is published with Dark Regions Press, and her nonfiction craft book for speculative poetry, “Writing Poetry in the Dark,” is available now from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Her 2023 poetry collection, “On the Subject of Blackberries,” is out now.

Follow Wytovich at https://www.stephaniemwytovich.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram @SWytovich and @thehauntedbookshelf. You can also sign up for her newsletter at https://stephaniemwytovich.substack.com/.

Annemarie YerksAnne-Marie Yerks

Anne-Marie Yerks is a creative writer and Pushcart Prize nominee from metro Detroit, MI. A graduate of George Mason's MFA program, her short stories have appeared in journals such as "Juked," "The Penn Review," and several anthologies, including "Best Small Fictions 2022" (Sonder Press). She is the author of "Dream Junkies" (New Rivers Press, 2016) and "LUSH" (Odyssey Books, 2020), and recently finished a literary hybrid called "The Origin of Blair Millerstowe." She has freelanced for many magazines, publishing non-fiction 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. Anne-Marie is also a certified seamstress (but prefers the word "sewist"), fiber artist, wife, and a beginning gardener. Contact her on Threads @amyerks or through her website (amyerks.wixsite.com/home).