Featured Speakers for

the 2018 Agents & Editors Conference

We'll kick off our day on Saturday with a general session (9:00am to 10:00am) open to all conference registrants and featuring a conversation with Beth deGuzman, Vice President of Grand Central Publishing, who will be in conversation with WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver.



Beth deGuzman, Vice President, Grand Central Publishing

Beth deGuzman is VP, Digital and Paperback Publisher at Grand Central Publishing, where she oversees eBook publications and trade paperback and mass market programs, and acquires fiction and nonfiction. She works with James Patterson and Michael Connelly; sits in meetings with David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, and Nicholas Sparks; and is proud to be attending this conference with her author and fellow Texan Melissa Radke.  Because she is a graduate of UT Austin, you should expect to hear her yell "Hook 'em, Horns!" all weekend long. Also, her favorite things begin with the letters B and C: the Beatles and barbeque, Cheetos and crossword puzzles.






On Sunday morning, we eight presenters will drill down into various aspects of writing and publishing.


Matthew J. Hefti is the author of A Hard and Heavy Thing, named a Top Ten Book by Military Times and Top Ten First Novel by Booklist in 2016.  He spent twelve years in the US military as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, doing four combat deployments with two each to Iraq and Afghanistan.  While enlisted, he earned a BA in English and an MFA in Fiction. After graduating, he earned his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Law School. He edits fiction and poetry at www.Wrath-BearingTree.com, and otherwise lives and works in Houston, TX.

Isobella Jade is the author of Almost 5’4”, a modeling memoir first written on the display computers at the Apple Store in SoHo when she was without her own computer at the time. Ms. Jade followed Almost 5’4 with her ongoing graphic novel digital series Model Life, a lifestyle podcast and the YA novel Careful – which is about a teenager who dies in a texting and driving crash. Her story of striving to beat the odds has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Publishers Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Glamour, Seventeen, Sirius Radio, BBC and others globally.

Lindsey Lane is an award-winning playwright and children’s and young adult author. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel Evidence Of Things Not Seen is a “unique, powerful novel,” said Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo and the Real World. Publishers Weekly said, that it “offers a gripping and genre-bending mosaic.” Lindsey is also the author of the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain, illustrations by Melissa Iwai, which was named Best Children’s Book of 2004 by Bank Street College of Education.

Melynda Nuss is an attorney who specializes in helping writers, artists, and other creative people handle the issues that arise in their business lives.  She obtained her law degree from the University of Chicago in 1989, and she has a BA in English from Princeton University and a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught literature and legal writing at the University of Texas Pan American until 2013.  She is a member of the Texas State Bar Entertainment and Sports Law Section, the Writers’ League of Texas and the Austin Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm section. She volunteers her time with the Texas Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

Kris Pauls leads Disruption Books, a hybrid publisher based in NY and Austin. She shepherds authors and their books through the evolving landscape of today’s publishing industry. She has worked on titles ranging from business and history to cookbooks, real estate, and children’s literature, including several New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. Before leading Disruption Books, Kris served as managing editor of Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher focused on independent authors; and as director of design and production for Dana Press, which is the books and journals division of the Dana Foundation, helmed by William Safire.

John Pipkin’s first novel, Woodsburner, was published to national acclaim by Doubleday in 2009. Woodsburner won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize for First Novel. His novel The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter was published by Bloomsbury in 2016.  John was the Dobie Paisano Fellow at UT-Austin for the spring of 2011, and he recently returned from a three-week writing fellowship at the MacDowell Artist's Colony in New Hampshire. John teaches at UT-Austin and in the Low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY.

Richard Santos teaches English at Cedars International Academy in Austin and writes book reviews for Kirkus Reviews. His work has been published at The San Antonio Express NewsThe Huffington PostThe Texas ObserverKirkus Magazine, and The Rumpus. He's a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN America.  In a previous career, Richard worked for some of the nation's top political consulting firms, national campaigns, and labor unions.  

Tex Thompson was once described as "an explosion of 52 enthusiastic kittens all trying to go in the same direction, but instead latching onto everything at once." In addition to being an instructor for the Writers Path at SMU and the author of the internationally-published Children of the Drought series, Tex is the founder and 'chief instigator' for WORD - Writers Organizations 'Round Dallas. When she's not leading the charge at home in Dallas, Tex brings her particular brand of 'red-penthusiasm' to conferences, conventions, and workshops all over the country - as an egregiously enthusiastic, endlessly energetic one-woman stampede.

David Eric Tomlinson was born and raised in Oklahoma, educated in California, and now lives in Texas. His first novel The Midnight Man was listed as a 2017 top crime debut by Austin’s independent bookstore BookPeople, and was shortlisted for both the PEN Southwest Book Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Sergio Troncosco Award For Best Work Of First Fiction. David has contributed to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and teaches craft classes for Writing Workshops Dallas. He lives in Dallas with his wife and two daughters.