Board of Experts
The Fiction Expert
Karin Beery is a published author and editor with experience in traditional and self-publishing, freelance editing, and editing for publishers. She is an active member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, as well as a PEN Institute instructor. Her specialty is substantive fiction editing with an emphasis in romance and women’s fiction.
Laura Pennington Briggs
The Business of Writing Expert
Laura Pennington Briggs is the founder and CEO of the Freelance Coach. A two-time TEDx speaker on how freelancing is changing the economy and the host of the weekly Advanced Freelancing podcast, Laura has helped over 15,000 freelancers start and scale their business. She’s an expert on systems, project and client management, marketing a solopreneur business, delegating to team members, retainers, and developing multiple income streams for writers of all stripes. Laura is the author of five books, including the Six Figure Freelancer and How to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business. She’s also the founder of Operation Freelance, a national nonprofit providing free entrepreneurship training to military spouses worldwide.
The Branding and Marketing Expert
Stephen ("Steve") Colwell is the founder of Completing.com, a California-based firm specializing in helping companies implement predictable, consistent project management processes, training and process improvements using tools like Asana, Monday.com, and Click-up. Stephen brings 15+ years experience leading high-performing creative and technical teams across the globe. A certified Agile practitioner, Steve helps teams of all types and sizes save time without all the confusion, chaos, and frustration that's become so common in today's remote work environments. Steve has helped national and global brands in technology, healthcare, education, finance, consumer goods, travel, entertainment, blockchain, and a number of other industries.
The Copyright & Permissions Expert
Mary Jo (“MJ”) Courchesne is the owner and principal consultant of Gryphon Publishing Consulting. A publishing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in trade, academic, and direct-response publishing, she has spent nearly two decades specializing in licensing, subsidiary rights, and permissions. MJ is a frequent and polished presenter on licensing and copyright, instructing future publishing professionals in the George Washington University’s Masters in Publishing program for the last 16 years. She currently serves on the Board of Experts for the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, serves on the Advocacy Committee for the Independent Book Publishers Association, and holds memberships with the Book Industry Study Group and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.
The Creative Nonfiction Expert
Jennia Herold D'Lima is a full-blown logophile. She joined her high school’s newspaper in ninth grade, winning statewide awards for her writing, and expanded her journalism skills by continuing to write and edit throughout her high school years and as a college freshman. While earning her BA in psychology (and minoring in cultural anthropology with a focus on precolonial Mesoamerica) and her MA in applied developmental psychology, her writing and editing naturally skewed toward all things academic. Writing for and publishing in peer-reviewed journals, editing papers for classmates, and writing parenting resource guides honed her research skills. She joined multiple professor-led research groups and completed four internships throughout her academic career. After graduating with a master’s, she worked at a national nonprofit in Washington, DC, and as an assistant researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle. She gradually transitioned to full-time editing. She enjoys traveling, volunteering, and taking creative photos of books and book-related items in those rare moments when she is not reading or editing.
The Podcast Expert
Kathy A. Gambrell is a veteran journalist, digital editor, and content strategist who helps local and national brands create content that builds relationships and drives engagement. She spent 20 years in community and political journalism, including work as a White House reporter and managing editor for two national online news services. Today, Gambrell is the chief digital content strategist for Content Essentials, an agency focused on content development and management as well as digital education for mid-to-enterprise level companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. She is an expert in information architecture, digital content strategy, content management, content governance, data analytics, and multimedia production.
The Freelance Expert
Jake Poinier made the leap into freelance writing and editing in 1999 after a decade of positions in the publishing industry, giving him key insights from both sides of the desk. As the founder and owner of Boomvang Creative Group, he has worked with a diverse array of Fortune 500 and small businesses, consumer and trade magazines, and independent authors. Jake is committed to helping freelancers improve their businesses and shares his knowledge and experiences frequently as a speaker at industry conferences, through webinars, and on his blog.
The Public Relations and Book Marketing Expert
Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is an award-winning author of eleven books including her newest one, An Agatha, Raymond, Sherlock and Me Mystery: Murder at the Zoo plus The Senior Sleuths, Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series, and The Gourmet Gangster: Mysteries and Menus (menus by her son Jory Rosen). She is also author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award-winning My Memoir Workbook. For 25 years, she was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency. Marcia has frequently been a speaker or program moderator at organization meetings and conferences, bookstores, libraries, and Zoom programs. Topics she has taught and presented over the past twenty years include Encouraging the Writer Within You, Marketing for Authors, Writing Mysteries…Not A Mystery, Writing Your Memoir, and recently Anatomy of Writing a Murder. Many articles on these topics have been published on mystery reader blogs and in newsletters and magazines and her newest articles relating include Location, Location, Location: Murders Have Their Places; Hearing Voices of Past Famous Detectives: Their Impact and Influences; and Writing Mysteries at a Zoo: With Caution. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National and New Mexico (Croak & Dagger), Southwest Writers, New Mexico Book Association, Women Writing the West, Public Safety Writer’s Association, Women’s National book Association, and National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.
The Memoir Coach Expert
Suzanne Sherman is an author, book and magazine editor, and writing and publishing coach and consultant. She specializes in memoir and nonfiction and offers a weekly memoir writing class on Zoom. Her latest book is Girlhood in America: Personal Stories 1910-2010.
The Networking Expert
Ruth Thaler-Carter has been a full-time freelance writer, editor, proofreader, desktop publisher, and speaker for more than 30 years. She has been published locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally in, and does writing, editing, and proofreading for, publications, associations, nonprofits, websites, service firms, independent authors, and businesses. She sold her first freelance articles when she was still in high school. Often called the Queen of Networking, Ruth is active in about a dozen professional associations, serving as a newsletter editor, webmaster, publication author, speaker/presenter, blogger, program host or planner, and chapter leader. In 2006, Ruth launched the Communication Central Be a Better Freelancer annual conference, now cohosted with NAIWE — to help aspiring and established freelancers find greater success. Ruth is also owner and editor-in-chief of the An American Editor blog and owner of the A Flair for Writing publishing business. Her honors include member of her high school alumni hall of fame, in part for her publishing work and networking services; Writers and Books Big Pencil Award for teaching adults and contributions to the literary community; EFfie awards for writing, editing and newsletters; an APEX award for feature writing; the Philip M. Stern Award of Washington (DC) Independent Writers for service to freelancers; and IABC/DC Communicator of the Year and Silver Quills for magazine writing and newsletters.
The Author Representation Expert
Leslie Truex is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency and an author coach. She began her writing career by accident after starting a career website in 1998 that resulted in a freelance writing career and two traditionally published nonfiction books. However, Leslie's passion lies in writing fiction. She is the author of a dozen romance and mystery novels using a pen name. Leslie enjoys sharing her insights and experiences to help emerging authors get their books published. She also supports authors through her online community for romance writers and coaching to both fiction and nonfiction authors. Leslie has spoken and provided workshops as an author and agent at a host of events, including The Virginia Festival of the Book, Malice Domestic, Maryland Writers Association, The Virginia Writers Club, as an adjunct at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and more, and she is the former president of The Virginia Writers Club
Amy Waters Yarsinske
The Nonfiction Expert
Amy Waters Yarsinske is the author of several best-selling, award-winning nonfiction books, published regionally, nationally, and internationally. Amy’s proposal technique was featured in literary agent/author Peter Rubie’s Telling the Story: How to Write and Sell Narrative Nonfiction; she also did a National Press Club panel with Rubie during the No One Left Behind press tour. She has been a regular contributor with international, national, and regional media, to include continued guest spots on national radio. An American in the Basement: The Betrayal of Captain Scott Speicher and the Cover-up of His Death won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Non-fiction in 2014, and No One Left Behind: The Lt. Comdr. Michael Scott Speicher Story earned her literary awards, an incredible press tour, and national/international recognition. With over 30 years in the publishing industry, Amy has published over 85 nonfiction books, most of them spotlighting current affairs, the military, history and the environment with a few biographies and corporate histories interspersed. Amy graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she earned her bachelor of arts in English and economics and the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where she earned her Master of Planning and was a DuPont Fellow and Lawn/Range resident.