2018 Conference Speakers

International Speakers

Damon Suede

Damon grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He is currently on the board of RWA and is one of their most popular conference craft speakers. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.

Bella Andre

Bella Andre is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling self published author of “The Sullivans”, “The Maverick Billionaires”, “The Morrisons”, and the NYT bestselling “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” sweet romance series written as Lucy Kevin. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

Grace Burrowes

Grace is a recovering child welfare attorney who for decades turned to the reliable HEA of romance novels to balance the equally reliable stress of life as a litigator. She began writing as the empty nest years came into view, and has been happily engrossed in novel craft ever since. She writes Georgian, Regency, Victorian, and contemporary stories, is a six-time RITA nominee, and has won best book of the year accolades from Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Kirkus, Romantic Times and the iBooks store. She lives in rural Maryland with various felines and canines who consider her their valet, chauffeur, housekeeper, cook, and scullery maid.

Nalini Singh

New Zealander, Nalini Singh is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, she was first published in 2003. Her books have sold over seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than twenty languages, including German, French, Japanese, and Turkish. Her most recent releases (as of June 2018) are: Ocean Light, Cherish Hard, and Archangel’s Viper

Geoff Symon

Geoff is a 20-year Federal Forensic Investigator and Polygraph Examiner. His participation in high-profile cases includes the attacks on September 11, 2001, the War in Iraq, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, the 2002 bombings in Bali and the Chandra Levy investigation, among countless other cases. He has direct, first-hand experience investigating cases including murder (of all types), suicide, arson, kidnapping, bombings, sexual assault, child exploitation, theft and financial crimes. He has specified and certified training in the collection and preservation of evidence, blood-spatter analysis, autopsies and laboratory techniques. You can reach him at GeoffSymon.com.

Lizzie Poteet – Seymour Agency

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Poteet attended Colby College where she majored in English and Religious Studies. While studying at St. Andrews, she realized that though she enjoyed Shakespeare and the Dead Sea Scrolls, she preferred reading stories with a little more heat and heart. Lizzie took her passion for romance and turned it into a position with RT Bookreviews as a romance reviewer. In 2011, she joined the editorial team at St. Martin’s Press where she worked with romance, YA, nonfiction, and women’s fiction. Then in 2015, Lizzie became the e-book original coordinator for SMP Swerve, helping launch the digital only romance imprint.

Lizzie is always looking for a good love story. She loves classic romance tropes, strong dialogue, sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She’s actively seeking inspirational romance, cozy mystery, New Adult, YA, romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romances, and loves anything with a happy ending.


Leah Hultenschmidt -Editor Forever, Grand Central

Leah started her publishing career at age four at her local library, where she insisted on “helping organize” the children’s section…by color.  She’s currently the Editorial Director of Grand Central Publishing’s Forever and Forever Yours romance lines, part of the Hachette Book Group.  Her current authors include New York Times bestsellers Grace Burrowes, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Jamie McGuire, Carolyn Brown, Helena Hunting, and Katie MacAlister, among a number of others.

Leah’s particularly on the hunt for commercial women’s fiction, contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Kathleen Scheibling – Editor Harlequin Global

Kathleen has worked at Harlequin since 2001. She’s been an editor for Harlequin Superromance, Harlequin Special Edition, Harlequin American Romance / Harlequin Western Romance, and Harlequin Everlasting. Kathleen is currently the Senior Editor of Harlequin DARE, Harlequin Heartwarming and a whole bunch of other stuff.