2016 Featured Author: Maggie Mitchell


Maggie Mitchell has published short fiction in a number of literary magazines, including the New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, and Green Mountains Review. Her story “It Would Be Different If” is included in the Bedford Introduction to Literature. She teaches English and creative writing at the University of West Georgia. Pretty Is is her first novel.

(Bio and image from macmillan.com)



2016 Feature Author: Linda Sands


Linda Sands is a well-traveled Yankee transplanted to Atlanta via California. Her internationally published legal thriller, Simple Intent, is based on a true story in 1970’s Philadelphia. Linda earned a Kirkus Starred Review for the Southern Gothic novel, Not Waving, Drowning. Her most recent book,  3 Women Walk into a Bar is a 2015 Kindle Scout Winner, Winner of the 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for Best P.I., Winner of the 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for  Neo-Noir, and earned her the title, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year for Mystery.

Her award-winning short stories and essays can be found in Skirt! Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily Post, The Walton Sun, Dana Literary Society, New Works Review, Byline, The Duck & Herring Company Pocket Field Guide, venuszine, zygote in my coffee, BigCityLit, oculartravel, espressofiction, Divine Caroline, NPR’s I Believe, Europe From a Backpack, The Signature Series, Golden Short Stories, O’Georgia! A Collection of Georgia’s Newest and Most Promising Writers, Big Water, Moronic Ox, Weird Year, DogPlotz, and various anthologies. Many of her short works can be found on Amazon and are available for most e-readers through Smashwords.

Agented by Josh Getzler of HSG Agency, Linda’s Cargo crime series introducing badass long-haul trucker Jojo Boudreaux will debut in spring 2017 with Grand Theft Cargo.

(Images and bio from author’s website)



2016 Featured Author: Erika Marks


Erika Marks is a native New Englander, raised in Maine, who went to New Orleans to study architectural preservation and promptly fell in love with a man named Ian when they were each walking our dogs on the levee in the rain. They now live in North Carolina with their two children. Marks has worked as a carpenter, an illustrator, an art director for a woodworking magazine, and a cake decorator, and after many years of marriage to a native New Orleanian she is proud to say that she can make a mean gumbo and a praline that peels cleanly off a sheet of waxed paper.

(Images and bio adapted from author’s website)



2016 Featured Author: Valerie Boyd


Valerie Boyd is the author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the forthcoming Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood.

She is an Associate Professor and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, where she teaches magazine writing, arts reviewing and narrative nonfiction. She also has taught creative nonfiction in the graduate writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Valerie earned a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1985 and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College in 1999.

An accomplished journalist and cultural critic, Valerie is the former arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Ms. magazine,Paste, The Oxford American, Book magazine, Essence,The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Creative Nonfiction, African American Review, The Scholar and Feminist Online and other publications.

She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal of black arts and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the first nationally distributed magazine focusing on African-American health.

Wrapped in Rainbows—the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in 25 years—was published to wide critical acclaim. It was hailed by Alice Walker as “magnificent” and “extraordinary”; by The Washington Post as  “definitive”; by the Boston Globe as “elegant and exhilarating”; and by the Denver Post as “a rich, rich read.”

For her work on Wrapped in Rainbows, Valerie received the Georgia Author of the Year Award in nonfiction as well as an American Library Association Notable Book Award. The Georgia Center for the Book named Wrapped in Rainbows one of the “25 Books That All Georgians Should Read,” and the Southern Book Critics Circle honored it with the 2003 Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year.

Valerie is currently finishing her next book, Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood, which will be published by Knopf. She lives in Atlanta.

(Bio and images from author’s website)



2017 Featured Author: Rita Mae Brown


Rita Mae Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series (which she writes with her tiger cat, Sneaky Pie) and the Sister Jane novels, as well as Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, The Sand Castle, and the memoirs Animal Magnetism and Rita Will. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, with cats, hounds, horses, and big red foxes.

(Bio and images from author’s website)



2016 Featured Author: Ann Hite


Ann Hite’s debut novel, Ghost On Black Mountain, not only became a Townsend Prize Finalist but won Georgia Author of the Year in 2012. Her personal essays and short stories have been published in numerous national anthologies. The Storycatcher and Where the Souls Go are the second and third books in her Black Mountain series. The latest Black Mountain novel is Sleeping Above Chaos.

Ann is an admitted book junkie with a library of over a thousand books. She lives in Smyrna, Georgia with her husband and daughter, where she allows her Appalachian characters to dictate their stories.



2016 Featured Author: Susan Sands


Susan Sands grew up in Northwest Louisiana, but has strong Cajun roots (Southern Louisiana) on both sides of her family. She currently lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her dentist husband and near-adult children, plus a few furry creatures.

Sands loves to cook and adores food. She writes Southern romantic women’s fiction. She’s a member of the Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America and is currently represented by Inkwell Management.

She would love to hear from her readers on Facebook, Twitter (links below) or at snsands@gmail.com.

(Image and bio adapted from author’s website)



2016 Featured Guest: Mark Braught


Mark Braught is an award-winning illustrator who has created images for numerous corporations, design firms, advertising agencies and publishers in the United States and Europe. He has taught at the University of Georgia, Creative Circus, and the Portfolio Center as well as workshops and presentations for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, numerous literary festivals, universities, high schools and elementary schools across the country.

Projects & Clients include The Kentucky Derby, Warner Brothers, Scholastic, Sleeping Bear Press, Newsweek, Citibank, Visa, Learner Publishing, Oxford Press among others.

Braught is the illustrator of the children’s books P is for Peach: A Georgia AlphabetCosmo’s Moon, Dear Baby, I’m Watching Over You, T is for Touchdown, A Football Alphabet, J is For Jump Shot, A Basketball Alphabet, and Ellen Craft’s Escape from Slavery, and Piggles Choice in addition to a number of book covers including Princess Nevermore and Cam’s Quest.



2017 Featured Author: Jacob M. Appel


Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012.  His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and will be published by Black Lawrence in November 2013.

Jacob has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including AgniAlaska Quarterly ReviewConjunctionsColorado Review, Gettysburg ReviewIowa ReviewPleiades, Prairie Schooner, ShenandoahSouthwest Review, StoryQuarterly, Subtropics, Threepenny ReviewVirginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. He has won the New Millennium Writings contest four times, the Writer’s Digest “grand prize” twice, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition in both fiction and creative nonfiction. He has also won annual contests sponsored by Boston Review, Missouri Review, Arts & LettersBellingham ReviewBriar Cliff ReviewNorth American ReviewSycamore Review, Writers’ Voice, the Dana Awards, the Salem Center for Women Writers, and Washington Square. His work has been short listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has most recently taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was honored with the Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.His essays have appeared in The New York TimesThe New York Daily NewsThe New York PostThe Chicago TribuneThe Detroit Free PressThe San Francisco ChronicleThe Washington TimesThe Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.

Jacob has been admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide.

(Bio taken from Website)

Biology of Luck


2017 Featured Author: H. W. Buzz Bernard


H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is a best-selling, award-winning novelist.

His debut novel, Eyewall, which one reviewer called a “perfect summer beach read,” was released in May 2011 and went on to become a number-one best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Plague (“One of the best thrillers of 2012″–novelist Al Leverone) came out in September 2012, and won the 2014 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense/thriller category.

Supercell (“Races along with the speed of a twister”–novelist Michael Wallace) was published in late 2013 and became a best seller on Kindle as well as the winner of the 2015 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense thriller/category.

Buzz’s fourth novel and third in his “weather trilogy,” Blizzard (“A terrific book”–novelist Deborah Smith) was released in February 2015.  It led to his nomination for a 2016 Georgia Author of the Year award.

Cascadia (“heart pounding”–Reed Farrel Coleman, NYT best-selling author of Where it Hurts) was released in July.

Before becoming a novelist, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel as a senior meteorologist for 13 years.  Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for over three decades. He attained the rank of colonel and received, among other awards, the Legion of Merit.

His “airborne” experiences include a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and a stint as a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135).

In the past, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope, and served two tours in Vietnam. Various other jobs, both civilian and military, have taken him to Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Panama.

He’s a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing.

Buzz currently is vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association.  He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Atlanta Writers Club and Willamette Writers.

He and his wife Christina live in Roswell, Georgia, along with their fuzzy and sometimes over-active Shih-Tzu, Stormy. Buzz is represented by Jeanie Loiacano of the Loiacano Literary Agency.

(Images and bio from author’s website)