Speakers

Laura Delaney, Rediscovered Bookshop
Laura DeLaney, co-owner of Rediscovered Books, is passionate about education, books and the arts.  She holds a B.S. in Music Education and a M.A. in English and has been an educator in both public and private settings for over 20 years.  Laura is a frequent presenter at conferences for educators and writers and she enjoys working with organizations to see where their efforts can overlap and support each other.  She and her husband Bruce opened Rediscovered Books in September 2006 and have had a rollicking good time working on the perpetual puzzle that is growing an independent bookstore. 




Lilly Ghahremani, Full Circle Literary
Lilly Ghahremani is a literary agent and recovering lawyer (!) now using her powers for good. She co-founded Full Circle Literary over a decade ago, and leads the charge on the agency’s dynamic non-fiction list. She is always on the lookout for a project told in an engaging, even humorous voice by someone who really knows their stuff. Recent representative deals include Leah Ingram’s College Money Hacks, Dawn Dais’s Sh!t No One Tells You parenting series, and The Crafted Life by Instagram superstar Rachel Mae Smith. Lilly is always actively seeking projects in: Health & Fitness, Self-help, Parenting, Business, Relationships, Decor/Design & Lifestyle and Pop Culture. Although she takes on fiction selectively, she would love to find some non-genre fiction to represent, especially stories that are very high concept or that feature diverse characters. She is open to memoir and narrative projects from an author who has a strong public platform and a clear plan for how to get the book into the right hands once it’s published. For more information about Lilly and her agency, please visit FullCircleLiterary.com, or join her on twitter @Wonderlilly.




John Helfers, Editor 
John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his eighteen years working at Tekno Books (the largest commercial book packager in the nation), he co-edited twenty short story anthologies, and oversaw the production of more than one hundred volumes in all genres. He has worked with many bestselling authors and co-editors, including Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Larry Bond, Elizabeth George, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, Nelson DeMille, Charlaine Harris, John Jakes, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Kevin J. Anderson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Max Allan Collins. He has also edited more than forty novels by such authors as Doug Allyn, Brendan DuBois, James Patrick Hunt, and Jean Rabe. He also operates Stonehenge Art & Word, an editorial and literary fiction management company, which assists bestselling author Mercedes Lackey on her Valdemar and Elemental Masters shared-world anthologies, worked with Esther Friesner on the latest Chicks in Chainmail anthology, and with the Mystery Writers of America on their 70th anniversary anthology Manhattan Mayhem, edited by Mary Higgins Clark.





Annie Hwang, Folio Literary Management 
Annie Hwang is an agent at Folio Literary Management where she represents a range of fiction for adults and select nonfiction projects. She gravitates towards literary fiction with commercial appeal, and is particularly drawn to braided narratives and layered plots, especially when populated by complex characters with deep emotional resonance. Commercially, she’s looking for both sweeping historical fiction and visceral literary thrillers that depart from the norm of the genre. The most important thing to her, beyond concept or pitch, is breathtaking storytelling that stretches its genre to new heights. A California native, Annie worked in journalism before joining the publishing world, where she digs for stories that keep her reading late into the night and stay with her long after she puts them down.


Sam Kaas, Third Place Books

With the exception of a regrettable six months spent peddling lawnmowers, Sam Kaas has been a bookseller for his entire adult life. He began his career at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, where he wore various hats – including resident e-book guru and Community Outreach Coordinator – before becoming Events Coordinator, where he oversaw more than three hundred author events each year. He is currently the Offsite Events Manager at Third Place Books in Seattle. He is a founding board member of Film Is Truth, a Bellingham-based non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation and education, and is a contributor to various book-related publications.  A typical resident of the Pacific Northwest, he enjoys complex novels, loud music, strong coffee and long walks in the rain. He can be found on Twitter at @GrimlyAmused.



Margo Kelly, Writing Thrillers for Young Adults
Margo Kelly is an award-winning writer and speaker. Her critically-acclaimed debut, Who R U Really?, was published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in 2014. Her second novel, Unlocked, also published by Merit Press, released in October 2016. School Library Journalhas called Margo’s writings suspenseful, realistic, and dramatic. She enjoys writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give readers the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Visit her online at www.margokelly.net.


Dorian Maffei, Kimberley Cameron & Associates
Dorian Maffei graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Creative Writing, and began at Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in 2013. She has since become a junior agent as she is now looking to build a client list of her own. While she appreciates most fiction that traverses across multiple genres, she is especially interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page and explores the peculiar within the mundane. She serves as a literary representative and assistant under Kimberley Cameron by managing the submission selection process. To learn more about Kimberley and what she’s looking for in a manuscript visit kimberleycameron.com




Allison Malecha, Grove Atlantic
Allison Malecha is an assistant editor at Grove Atlantic, an independent publishing house that focuses on literary fiction, serious nonfiction, mysteries/thrillers, and plays. She also works with Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Press imprint, including authors Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Perry, Robert Olen Butler, Thomas H. Cook, and Charles McCarry. A native of the Midwest, she has a B.A. from Columbia University and is doing her best not to lose her language skills in French and Czech.



Jen Mann, People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Jen Mann is best known for her wildly popular and hysterical blog www.peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com. She has been described by many as Erma Bombeck – with f-bombs. Jen is known for her hilarious rants and funny observations on everything from parenting to gift giving to celebrity behavior to politics to Elves on Shelves.


She does not suffer fools lightly. Her blog received a Bloggie Award for Best Parenting Blog. Jen is the author of the New York Times bestseller People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges which was a Finalist for a Goodreads Reader's Choice Award. Her latest book is Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She is also the mastermind behind the New York Times bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series.

Jen is a married mother of two children whom she calls Gomer and Adolpha in her writingsshe swears their real names are actually worse.  

Elisabeth McKetta teaches writing for Harvard Extension School and is the author of The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell (2013), described by novelist Ben Fountain as a collection of “wise, unflinching poems”; The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers (2014), praised as a guidebook that “will make everyone want to write”; Poetry for Strangers (2015), a lively smorgasbord of poems based on encounters with strangers ranging from post office clerks to Salman Rushdie; and Fear of the Deep (2016), a collaboration with artist Troy Passey. A fifth book, Energy: The Life of John J. McKetta Jr., is forthcoming from University of Texas Press. 



Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency 
Patricia Nelson has been a literary agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency since 2014, representing women's fiction, contemporary and historical romance, and select literary fiction, as well as all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction. Recent sales include books placed with St. Martin's Press, Simon and Schuster, and Penguin Random House, among others. Patricia holds master's degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California and, prior to joining the world of publishing, spent several years teaching literature and writing at the college level. She is actively building her list and is currently seeking new talent in all genres she represents.



Joanne Pence, Mystery & Suspense Series Author
Joanne Pence is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling author of the Angie Amalfi and Rebecca Mayfield mysteries as well as historical fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, a fantasy, and a supernatural suspense series. Joanne has been both a "traditionally" published and an "indie" published author, with about 14 books in each category. Her books have won or been nominated for a number of high honors, including the Willa Cather Literary Award for Historical Fiction; RWA's Rita and Golden Heart Awards; the Daphne du Maurier Award; Romantic Times Career Achievement Award; and the Idaho Top Fiction Award for mystery. Born in San Francisco, she now lives in Boise, Idaho where she has been president of the local Sisters in Crime chapter, and is a founding member of the Idaho Writers Guild. 


Rolf Potts, Vagabonding
Rolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic TravelerThe New Yorker, Slate.com, Outside, the New York Times MagazineThe BelieverThe Guardian (U.K.), Sports Illustrated, National Public Radio, and the Travel Channel. His adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, driving a Land Rover across South America, and traveling around the world for six weeks with no luggage or bags of any kind. Potts is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Random House, 2003), has been through twenty-one printings and translated into several foreign languages. His newest book, Marco Polo Didn't Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer (Travelers' Tales, 2008), won a 2009 Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers, and became the first American-authored book to win Italy's prestigious Chatwin Prize for travel writing.



Tom Reale, Brown Books Publishing Group
Throughout his diverse career, Tom has held a variety of creative, operations, and development-driven roles across a number of top-tier publishers, including Random House, HarperCollins, Miller Freeman, and Harcourt Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. As a facilitative force in these organizations and others, Tom brings with him deep competencies in publishing process, quality management, organizational change management, content management, publishing production technologies, and project management. 

By conservative estimate, Tom Reale has cajoled, conspired on, influenced, aided and abetted, or otherwise published over 150,000 books, 20,000 magazine issues and untold number of Internet-distributed assets over his 30-year career in publishing. As a veteran to publishing in traditional royalty, pre-purchased subscription, government contracted, and now, author-owned business models, Tom has acquired a singular perspective on what it means to publish, and what it takes to succeed in today’s ever-evolving publishing markets.

Dan Smith, Smith Publicity, Inc.
Dan Smith is the CEO and Founder of Smith Publicity, Inc., the most prolific book marketing agency in the publishing industry. From a tiny bedroom office with one client, Dan built Smith Publicity into one of the largest book publicity firms in the industry, that has now promoted more than 3,000 books over 20 years. With offices in New Jersey and Toronto, it is an “equal opportunity” firm that promotes all genres as well as both self-published and traditionally published books. Specializing in securing media coverage to spread the word about authors and books, Smith Publicity has worked with all types – from first time, self-published novelists to New York Times bestselling authors and major publishing houses.



Eric Smith, P.S. Literary Agency
Eric Smith is an associate literary agent with P.S. Literary, focusing on sci-fi, fantasy, select non-fiction, and Young Adult books across all genres. When he isn't working on other peoples' books, he can be found writing his own. His debut humor book, The Geek's Guide to Dating, was published with Quirk Books in 2013. His YA fantasy novels, Inked and Branded, came out in 2015 and 2016 with Bloomsbury's digital imprint, Bloomsbury Spark. You can catch him writing about books for Book Riot, Barnes & Noble, and Paste Magazine. Follow him at @ericsmithrocks. 


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