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Romance

Speakers

Carly Bloom

Estelle Hallick

K.M. Jackson

Thien-Kim Lam

LaQuette

Kamrun Nesa

Sajni Patel

Christine Peele

Jessica Pryde

Vanessa Riley

Farrah Rochon

Morgan Rogers

Bianca Schwarz

Karelia Stetz-Waters

Rebekah Weatherspoon

Carly Bloom

Carly Bloom began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children grew old enough to literally die from embarrassment. To save their delicate lives, Carly turned to penning steamy, contemporary romance. The kind with bare chests on the covers. Carly and her husband raise their mortified brood of offspring on a cattle ranch in South Texas.

Estelle Hallick

Estelle Hallick is the Associate Director of Publicity and Marketing at Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, where she works with amazing authors like Abby Jimenez and Farrah Rochon. Before she worked in publishing, she co-founded a book blog with her BFF and credits a great publicist for getting her back into reading romance.

K.M. Jackson

USA Today bestselling author, native New Yorker, Kwana Jackson aka K.M. Jackson spent her formative years on the ‘A’ train where she had two dreams: 1) to be a fashion designer and 2) to be a writer. After spending over ten years designing women’s sportswear for various fashion houses Kwana took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. A longtime advocate for equality and diversity in romance and #WeNeedDiverseRomance, Kwana is a mother of twins and currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband. How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days releases in November.

Thien-Kim Lam

Thien-Kim writes stories about Vietnamese characters who smash stereotypes and find their happy endings. A recovering Type-Asian, she guzzles cà phê sữa đá, makes art, and bakes her feelings to stay sane. Thien-Kim is also the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy romances with erotic toys. She’s been featured on NPR, BBC America, and NBC.

LaQuette

LaQuette writes savvy, sexy contemporary romance. She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2016 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner, and a 2018 Passionate Plume Finalist. She is an advocate for diverse romance in the publishing industry. LaQuette, a native of Brooklyn, lives in the mountains with her book-boyfriend husband and their two rambunctious kids.

Kamrun Nesa

Kamrun Nesa is a senior book publicist at Grand Central Publishing and freelance writer based in New York. Her work has been featured in NPR, Glamour, The Washington Post, PopSugar, and more. She also co-hosts a romance book podcast called LITerally Us.

Sajni Patel

Sajni Patel was born in vibrant India and raised in the heart of Texas, surrounded by a lot of delicious food and plenty of diversity. She draws on her personal experiences, cultural expectations, and Southern flair to create worlds that center on strong Indian women. Her debut, The Trouble with Hating You, was named to “Best of 2020” lists by CosmopolitanPopSugar, and Insider. She’s a die-hard Marvel Comics fan, a lover of chocolates from around the world, and is always wrapped up in a story. First Love, Take Two releases in September. For more on Sajni and her books, visit SajniPatel.com.

Christine Peele

Christine Peele has been employed by the Detroit Public Library for almost 25 years. She has worked at a variety of branches across the city as well as Main Library. Christine is the Co-Chair of the African America Booklist and Co-Chair of DPL Author Series Committee. She is also President of UAW Local 2200. Christine has been married for 16 years and spends much of the year with her husband on the back of their Harley Davidson motorcycle. Right now, she is reading “Wild Rain” by Beverly Jenkins and “Glimmer of Death” by Valerie Wilson Wesley.

Jessica Pryde

Jessica Pryde is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Southern Arizona. As a contributing editor for Book Riot, she writes regular content about romance and the greater book world, and is the co-host of Book Riot’s romance podcast, When In Romance. You can also occasionally find her writing on Harlequin Ever After and the Read Bliss blog.  Her first book, Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happy Ever Afters, is set to release with Berkley in February 2022. 

Vanessa Riley

Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of Regency and Historical Romances featuring dazzling multi-culture communities and powerful persons of color. To fuel her interest in the Regency and early-Victorian eras, she made time for attending renaissance fairs and consuming period novels and films while obtaining her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Historical Novel Society, as well as a Christian Book Lovers board member. A frequent speaker at women’s events, she lives in Georgia with her military husband and teenage kid.

Farrah Rochon

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. The Boyfriend Project, praised by NPR, and Entertainment Weekly, is available now. The Dating Playbook will be available in August. For more on Farrah and her books, visit FarrahRochon.com.

Morgan Rogers

Morgan Rogers is a queer black millennial. She writes books for queer girls that are looking for their place in the world. She lives in Maryland with her five dogs. HONEY GIRL is her debut novel.

Bianca Schwarz

Bianca M. Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and teenage son. She has been telling stories all her life and holds a degree in English literature. Her first novel is The Innkeeper’s Daughter. The Gentleman’s Daughter is the second and most sweepingly romantic book in The Gentleman Spy Mysteries.

Karelia Stetz-Waters

Karelia Stetz-Waters is passionate about providing happy endings and a vision of redemptive love for readers of all orientations. Her novels include For GoodSomething TrueThe AdmirerThe Purveyor, and Lambda Literary Award and Golden Crown Literary Society finalist Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. She and her wife live in Oregon and have been together for twenty years. Karelia has a BA in comparative literature from Smith College and an MA in English literature from the University of Oregon, and she currently teaches English at Linn-Benton Community College. Karelia loves to hear from readers, and you can find her at KareliaStetzWaters.com.

Rebekah Weatherspoon

Rebekah Weatherspoon is a multi award-winning romance author and the creator of WOCinRomance.com, an online resource for discovering romances written by women and non-binary people of color. Her series, Cowboys of California, is currently being developed for TV. Raised on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy in Southern New Hampshire, Rebekah has BA in English with a concentration in Shakespearean works. She now lives in Southern California and can be found online at RebekahWeatherspoon.com and on Twitter at @rdotspoon.

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