Featured Instructors

Every year the lineup of Superstars speakers changes. Get to know the featured instructors.

Toni Weisskopf

Toni Weisskopf is an American science fiction editor and the publisher of Baen Books. She has been nominated four times for a Hugo Award. She has won the Phoenix Award, the Rebel Award, and the Neffy Award for best editor.

David Weber

David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. Weber and his wife Sharon live in Greenville, South Carolina with their three children and “a passel of dogs”.

With a blue-collar, science-fiction loving father, a college English teacher mother (who also owned her own ad agency in the 70s), and a life-long love for history, he was clearly predestined to perpetrate a whole host of military science-fiction (and fantasy) novels and anthologies.

Previously the owner of the small advertising and public relations agency he took over from his mother, has written science fiction full time for thirty years. He is probably best known for his Honor Harrington series, from Baen Books, and his Safehold series, from Tor.

Nick Thacker

Nick Thacker is the USA Today Bestselling Author of action-adventure thrillers and mysteries. He writes and speaks about the future of books and publishing and is the founder of numerous author-centric businesses, including Book Career In A Year and Author.Email. He lives in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.

Ann Rose

Ann Rose is a literary agent with The Tobias Literary Agency. Prior to her joining, she’s been exploring publishing by working and mentoring with literary agents in various capacities for years. Everything she has experienced from editorial work to the magic of finding the perfect match between author and editor has hardened her resolve to be a part of this wonderful profession. She’s thrilled to be building her list and is actively seeking clients ready to grow amazing careers with her. Ann’s perfect manuscript is a character driven story that isn’t afraid to push boundaries. She loves an unlikable character — even though she is incredibly likable herself!

Craig Martelle

Craig Martelle is retired from the Marine Corps, spending time both as enlisted and as an officer. Then he went to law school, took his law degree into business consulting where he became a business diagnostics specialist and leadership coach. He retired from that at age 52 because he was away from home way too much. That’s when he started writing full time and has not looked back since.

Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum has worked in publishing since 1997. She has been the Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain since 2014 and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors. While fiction is her first love, she also has experience working with nonfiction projects. Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels (The Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello), several short stories and novellas, and a nonfiction book about the craft of writing based on the TV show Supernatural. She has edited several anthologies about various magical creatures, pirates, and food for WordFire Press. She regularly teaches at writing conferences, including hosting a writing weekend in Capitol Reef National Park through UVU. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.

Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, and comic book writer. His vampire apocalypse book series, V-WARS, was a Netflix original series. He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and action; for adults, teens and middle grade.

He is the editor of many anthologies including The X-Files, Aliens: Bug Hunt, Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Nights of the Living Dead, and others. His comics include Black Panther: DoomWar, Captain America, Pandemica, Highway to Hell, The Punisher and Bad Blood. He is the editor for the rebirth of Weird Tales Magazine, a board member of the Horror Writers Association, and the president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.


Allyson Longueira

An award-winning writer, editor and designer, Allyson Longueira has worked in fiction and nonfiction in multiple media, including newspapers, magazines and books for twenty years. She holds a BA in English from Rutgers University and an MA in journalism from the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism. While a newspaper editor, she led her newspaper to three general excellence awards in three consecutive years from the Society of Professional Journalism and the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. After she transitioned to fiction editing, Allyson launched Fiction River Presents, a series of reprint anthologies published by WMG Publishing, for which she serves as series editor. She has taught writing, publishing and design at the college and professional levels, including a post as adjunct professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication as well as teaching professional workshops and lectures through WMG Publishing alongside award-winning authors and editors Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. In 2020, Allyson joined the faculty of Western Colorado University as part of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing, where she teaches alongside Publishing Concentration Director and New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson. Allyson’s latest projects are co-executive editor with Kevin J. Anderson of Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales (Wordfire Press, July 2022) and Merciless Mermaids: Tails from the Deep (Wordfire Press, July 2023). Allyson is the publisher and CEO of WMG Publishing, Inc., headquartered in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Mark Leslie Lefebvre’s first story appeared in print in 1992, the same year he started working in the book industry. Under the name Mark Leslie he has published thrillers and fiction, paranormal non-fiction, and anthologies. His books about writing and publishing appear under the name Mark Leslie Lefebvre. His industry experience includes President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, Board Member of BookNet Canada, Director of Author Relations for Rakuten Kobo, Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital and Professional Advisor for Sheridan College’s Creative Writing and Publishing Honours Program.

Mark lives in Waterloo, Ontario and can be found online at www.markleslie.ca.

Joni Labaqui

Joni Labaqui has been the Director of the International L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest since 1995. More than 12 New York Times bestsellers and scores of national bestsellers have received their start with the contest to date.

Michael La Ronn

Michael La Ronn has published over 80 science fiction & fantasy books and self-help books for writers. He built a writing career publishing 10-12 books per year while raising a family, working a full-time job, and even attending law school classes in the evenings.

Visit his fiction website at www.michaellaronn.com and his resources for writers at www.authorlevelup.com.

Stacey Kondla

A life-long bibliophile, Stacey’s experience includes working as a Field Representative for Scholastic Book Fairs, managing at Chapters/Indigo stores, freelance editing, and serving on the organizing committee of When Words Collide (A Festival for Readers and Writers). She joined The Rights Factory in 2018 and represents fiction and nonfiction authors across age categories and across genres. Stacey is drawn to strong narrative voices, innovative storytelling, feeling all the feels, laughing all the laughs, and also the dark and the weird.

Lisa Kastner

Lisa Diane Kastner is the Founder and Executive Editor of Running Wild & RIZE Presses. Featured in FORBES and several other publications, she’s been named to multiple “Best of”s. A writer and editor for more than twenty years, she has an MFA, an MBA. Lisa began Running Wild & RIZE with the belief that we can change the world through story.

Kevin Ikenberry

Kevin Ikenberry is a life-long space geek and retired Army officer.  As an adult, he managed the U.S. Space Camp program and served in military space operations before Space Force was a thing. He’s an international bestselling author, award finalist, and a core author in the wildly successful Four Horsemen Universe. His fifteen novels include Sleeper Protocol, Vendetta Protocol, Runs In The Family, Peacemaker, Honor The Threat, Stand or Fall, Deathangel, Fields of Fire, and Harbinger. August 2022 will see the release of his alternate history novel The Crossing from Baen Books.  He is an Active Member of SFWA, the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA), International Thriller Writers, and SIGMA – the science fiction think tank.

Henry Herz

Henry Herz’s stories will/have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Weird Tales, Pseudopod, Metastellar, Titan Books, Highlights for Children, Ladybug Magazine, and anthologies from Albert Whitman & Co., Blackstone Publishing, Brigids Gate Press, Air and Nothingness Press, Baen Books, and elsewhere. He’s edited seven anthologies and written twelve picture books, including the ALA Notable Children’s Book, I Am Smoke. www.henryherz.com

John Goodwin

John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press, has been involved with book publishing since 1986, publishing the fiction works of bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard which includes the Writers of the Future anthology. He is also host of the award-winning Writers and Illustrators of the Future Podcast.

Charles Gannon

Dr. Charles E. Gannon‘s best-selling books have won the Dragon Award, the ALA Choice Award (Outstanding Book), the Compton Crook Award, and have been nominated for four Nebulas. He is best known for the Caine Riordan series of hard sf novels, which have all been national best-sellers and include 4 finalists for the Nebula, 2 for the Dragon, and a Compton Crook winner. In 2020, the “Caineverse” expanded into an exclusive imprint, Beyond Terra Press (Chris Kennedy Publications) that first published the closely entwined Murphy’s Lawless series which is now being published in cooperation with Baen Books.

Gannon’s epic fantasy series, The Vortex of Worlds, debuted in 2021. He has collaborated w/ Eric Flint in the NYT/WSJ bestselling Ring of Fire series, the Starfire series, and written solo novels in John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising world. In addition to numerous other fiction credits, he has also written for table-top roleplaying games and as a scriptwriter/producer in NYC.

As a Distinguished Professor of English, Gannon received 5 Fulbrights, and his Rumors of War & Infernal Machines won the 2006 ALA Choice Award for Outstanding Book. He is a frequent subject matter expert for national media venues (NPR, Discovery, etc.) and for various intelligence and defense agencies.

Robert Davis

Robert Davis is an editor at Tor Publishing Group, acquiring for the Forge and Tor imprints. Over the last 10 years he has had the opportunity to work with many talented authors, as well as major franchises including The Wheel of Time and Dune. You can follow @rdavisreads on both Instagram and Twitter.

Katie Cross

Katie Cross is ALL ABOUT writing epic magic and wild places. Creating new fantasy worlds is her jam. When she’s not hiking or chasing her two littles through the Montana mountains, you can find her curled up reading a book or arguing with her husband over the best kind of sushi.

Amy Cowan

Amy Cowan, a seasoned professional with nearly a decade of experience in publishing, excels in acquisitions, editing, and financial intricacies. Presently the Publisher at Young Dragons, an imprint of Roan & Weatherford Publishing Associates, she spearheads Children’s and Middle Grade content, collaborating seamlessly with picture book illustrators. Based in Northwest Arkansas, Amy enjoys spending time with her always-supportive husband, six children, and three grandchildren, often accompanied by her newly-found love of crochet projects. Her expertise in shaping literary landscapes and her devotion to family and artistic pursuits define Amy’s dynamic presence in both her professional and personal spheres.

Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger writes books that are hugs, mostly comedies of manners mixed with steampunk, urban fantasy, and sci-fi (plus cozy queer joy as G. L. Carriger). These include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, Tinkered Stars, and San Andreas Shifter series for adults, and the Finishing School and Tinkered Starsong series for young adults. Also nonfiction: The Heroine’s Journey. She is published in many languages, has over a million books in print, over a dozen New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and Romantic Times.

Her first book, Soulless, made Audible’s Best list, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, an IndieBound Notable, and a Locus Recommended Read. She has received the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Prix Julia Verlanger, the Elbakin Award, the Steampunk Chronicle‘s Reader’s Choice Award, and a Starburner Award. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, cephalopods, and tea. Get early access, specials, and exclusives via her website gailcarriger.com.

Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is the author of The Dresden Files, The Codex Alera, and the steampunk series, The Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs when he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in Colorado.