Past Authors


Peggy O’Neal Peden

  • Peggy O'Neal Peden
  • Summer Haze

PEGGY O’NEAL PEDEN grew up in Middle Tennessee and has lived in and around Nashville for most of her life. She has taught English at high school and college levels, owned a travel agency, been published in regional magazines, and written award-winning advertising copy. She has a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky. A member of the Nashville Artist Guild, she lives in Nashville. Your Killin’ Heart is her first novel.


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Michael Bishop

  • Michael Bishop
  • Murder In Music City

Michael Bishop was born in Gadsden, Alabama and had the good fortune to grow up on a small farm nearby on Sand Mountain. He is a graduate of Freed Hardeman University and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. When not working with hospitals and academic health systems around the country, he is at work on his next book. Available for speaking engagements – storytelling for sales teams and the story behind the bombshell book – A Murder in Music City.


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Joy Jordan-Lake

  • Joy Jordan Lake
  • A Tangled Mercy

Joy Jordan-Lake’s varied​–and admittedly odd​–professional experience has included working as a college professor, author, waitress, journalist, director of a program for homeless families, university chaplain, and–the job title that remains her personal favorite: head sailing instructor.

After earning a bachelors degree from Furman University and a masters from a theological seminary, Joy re-located to Boston, Massachusetts, area where she earned a masters and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Tufts University, and specialized in the role of race and religion in 19-century American fiction, especially in the cultural battle over slavery.

Joy’s most recent book project is in a genre completely new to her, a children’s picture book, targeted for adoptive families: A Very-Much Love. More details and preliminary illustrations will be gradually released, but, meanwhile, she is thrilled for the chance to work with a marvelous new editor and an award-winning illustrator from Spain. Honored to be raising a younger daughter who was born in China, Joy is ecstatic to get to be a part of a book that celebrates the extraordinary gift of adoption.

Having taught at universities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee, Joy now focuses primarily on writing–though the occasional class or workshop lure her out of her writing cave. Residing just south of Nashville, she and her husband relish getting to share life with their three magnificent kids (the oldest of whom has now launched to grad school), as well as the family’s sweet, needy Golden Retriever.

With friends and fellow readers, Joy values the chances to think about stories–in great literature, in contemporary novels, in sacred texts, in creative writing workshops–and consider how stories challenge, disturb, inspire and change the way we see the world.


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Emcee- Julie Schoerke

A public relations expert with 30 years experience, Julie specializes in developing winning book publicity campaigns for authors and publishers. But it’s her infectious smile, always-positive attitude and die-hard support that welcomes authors into the JKS family. Her hallmark is creative campaigns that fit the lifestyle of the author. She’s been on the forefront of industry trends, being among the first to work with book bloggers, to produce and creatively distribute book trailers, and to secure book sale numbers reporting for indie authors to hit bestseller lists. And, in bucking trends, she reinvented the book tour to be more author-friendly. Julie is frequently interviewed on radio, literary blogs and asked to speak before audiences of all sizes. Most recently invited by The University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, Decatur Book Festival, and James River Writing Conference among others throughout the United States, her advice and ideas for promoting books are endless, current and inventive.


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Kelly Oliver

  • Kelly Oliver
  • F.O.X

Kelly Oliver grew up in the Northwest, Montana, Idaho, and Washington states. Her maternal grandfather was a forest ranger committed to saving the trees, and her paternal grandfather was a logger hell bent on cutting them down. On both sides, her ancestors were some of the first settlers in Northern Idaho. In her own unlikely story, Kelly went from eating a steady diet of wild game shot by her dad to becoming a vegetarian while studying philosophy and pondering animal minds. Competing with peers who’d come from private schools and posh families “back East,” Kelly’s working class backwoods grit has served her well. And much to her parent’s surprise, she’s managed to feed and cloth herself as a professional philosopher.Kelly’s Jessica James, Cowgirl Philosopher Mystery Series moves between the Chicago area and Western Montana. Check out the original holding page for this site!

When she’s not writing Jessica James mystery novels, Kelly Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She earned her B.A. from Gonzaga University and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is the author of thirteen scholarly books, ten anthologies, and over 100 articles, including work on campus rape, reproductive technologies, women and the media, film noir, and Alfred Hitchcock. Her work has been translated into seven languages, and she has published an op-ed on loving our pets in The New York Times. She has been interviewed on ABC television news, the Canadian Broadcasting Network, and various radio programs.

Kelly lives in Nashville with her husband, Benigno Trigo, and her furry family, Hurricane, Yukiyu, and Mayhem.


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Dana Chamblee Carpenter

  • Dana Chamblee Carpenter
  • Bohemian Gospel

Dana Chamblee Carpenter’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in The Arkansas Review, Jersey Devil Press, and Maypop. Her debut novel, Bohemian Gospel, won Killer Nashville’s 2014 Claymore Award and was be published by Pegasus Books in 2015.She teaches creative writing and American Literature at a private university in Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband and two children.Read more about her personal story, her motivations for the novel, and winning the Claymore Award at


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Michael J Tucker

  • Michael J Tucker
  • Summer Haze

Michael J. Tucker grew up in the cold northern climate of Pittsburgh, PA, and an only child, he was often trapped indoors and left to his own devices, where he would create space ships out of cardboard boxes, convert his mother’s ironing board into a horse and put on his Sunday suit and tie and his father’s fedora and become a newspaper reporter or police detective. This experience left him with an unlimited imagination and the ability to write electrifying short stories and novels.

Michael’s latest novel, Summer Haze, is set in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a coming of age of three youths–their bond of creative talent and skills mixed with friendship, their struggle for success and against infighting, and their handling of fame followed by loss.

Mike is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Aquarius Falling and Capricorn’s Collapse. His published short stories available on Amazon are: Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon, The New Neighbor, The Hemingway Notes, The King’s Man, and the Amazon best selling short story series, Katie Savage, and The Gardner Painting: A Katie Savage Story. In addition to his poetry collection, Your Voice Spoke To My Ear, his work also appears in the Civil War Anthology, Filtered Through Time, and By Blood or By Marriage, a Harpeth River Writers Anthology.

Reviewers of Mike’s novels have compared his writing to: Thomas Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, and J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.
Albert Beckus, Professor Emeritus of Literature at Austin Peay University recently wrote of his novels: “They move naturalistically in the American literary tradition of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, but with a twist…as found in The Great Gatsby.”


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Emcee – J.T. Ellison

  •  Emcee J.T. Ellison
  • Words on Words
  • The Devil's Triangle

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of seventeen critically acclaimed novels, including NO ONE KNOWS, WHAT LIES BEHIND, and ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS, and is the coauthor of the “A Brit in the FBI” series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. J.T. also cohosts the EMMY® Award-winning television series, A Word on Words.With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-six countries and fourteen languages. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original and Where All The Dead Lie was a RITA® nominee for Best Romantic Suspense. She is also the author of multiple short stories.

Ellison grew up in Colorado and Virginia. After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and receiving her master’s degree from George Washington University, she was a presidential appointee and worked in The White House and the Department of Commerce before moving into the private sector to work as a financial analyst and marketing director for several defense and aerospace contractors.

After moving to Nashville, Ellison began to research her hidden passions, forensics and crime, and was compelled to begin writing down her stories. To research her books, she has worked with the Metro Nashville Police Department and the FBI, as well as performing autopsies and studying survivalists.

In 2012, Ellison teamed up with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter to co-write a new FBI series. The first book, THE FINAL CUT, released in September of 2013 and hit every major bestseller list. The series continues with THE LOST KEY and THE END GAME; the next book in series, THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE, is slated to release in March 14, 2017.

Ellison published her first standalone novel, NO ONE KNOWS, a Nashville-based domestic thriller, in March 2016 with Gallery Books. Her next standalone, LIE TO ME will be available September 5, 2017. She also has co-written with Erica Spindler and Alex Kava on two anthology collaborations: SLICES OF NIGHT and STORM SEASON.

J.T.’s interests go beyond writing books—she publishes them, too. In 2015, Ellison founded her own independent publishing house, Two Tales Press, which features spine-chilling short stories and novellas, including THE FIRST DECADE. An avid oenophile, Ellison teamed up with her right-hand, Amy Kerr, to launch The Wine Vixen, a wine review website focusing on all varietals and price ranges.

In 2015, Ellison was named a cohost of the Nashville literary television series A Word on Words. The series was hosted by respected journalist John Seigenthaler for more than 40 years and remains a favorite among viewers. The rebooted show builds on Mr. Seigenthaler’s distinguished legacy with an exciting new version of the literary series. The show won its first Emmy for Best Interstitial in 2017.

J.T. Ellison lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville, where she enjoys fine wine and good notebooks.


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Clay Stafford

  • Clay Stafford
  • Killer Nashville
  • Jazz Maker Films

Clay Stafford has been involved in the entertainment business since childhood and formed his first entertainment company The Clay Stafford Company in 1976 while still a teen.He was just a kid when he hung out in Hollywood with his older cousin, an engineer who created the sound connector that made movies such as The Jazz Singer possible, and who was also a friend of Jack Warner and other studio moguls. Clay remembers, through those relationships, associating with the likes of Merv Griffin, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Alan Alda and running amok at Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, and Universal.

As a writer, Clay has written articles, poetry, essays, novel adaptations, TV series, feature films, nonfiction books, live theater, book & film reviews, and newspaper articles. His retellings of American children’s classics released through Dalmatian Press have sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone.

Clay’s films and literary works have been released in over 14 languages. He has written for PBS, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Esquire Magazine, among others. He is currently working on several literary projects, including a screenplay based upon the novel Pork Pie Hat by bestselling author Peter Straub.

Clay is now CEO/President of American Blackguard Inc. ( where he has been responsible for green-lighting numerous national and international projects,including the documentary, One of the Miracles: The Inge Myering Smith Story.

Subsidiaries of American Blackguard Inc. include Jazz Maker Films, AB GUN Records, and the Killer Nashville Writer’s Conference (

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Ariel Lawhon

  • Ariel Lawhon
  • Flight of Dreams

From a dazzling new voice in historical fiction, FLIGHT OF DREAMS is an utterly suspenseful, heart-wrenching novel that vividly brings the fateful voyage of the Hindenburg to life.On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.

FLIGHT OF DREAMS is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, FLIGHT OF DREAMS is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing till the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after.

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She’s the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (Doubleday, 2014) and  FLIGHT OF DREAMS (February, 2016). She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus) and a black lab who is, thankfully, a girl.

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Sandra Brannan

  • Sandra Brannan
  • Solomon's Whisper

Solomon’s Whisper (the fifth novel in Brannan’s mystery series) spans decades and the country, uncovering a web of crime that causes Liv to question everything–including the integrity of her own colleagues.Solomon’s Whisper: “Finalist for Best Mystery/Suspense of 2014″ and “Finalist for Best Book Cover for Fiction” by Foreword Reviews

Sandra has created a heart-pounding, award winning mystery series around the intelligent, ballsy Liv Bergen, a woman who embodies the spirit of South Dakota. Much like her fictional character, Sandra Brannan has spent her career in the mining business and lives in the Black Hills.

After living in Wyoming, Washington, D.C., Washington state, and Colorado, Sandra Brannan returned to her hometown in South Dakota, where she is surrounded by family. She enjoys working with relatives in the mining business; living in the Black Hills with her husband, Joel; smiling with pride over the journeys taken by her four sons; doting over her three grandchildren; and appreciating all of life’s blessings, too many to count.



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Emcee – Chuck Sherrill

  • Chuck Sherrill - State Librarian
  • Tennessee State Library & Archives

Chuck Sherrill was named State Librarian and Archivist of Tennessee by Secretary of State Tre Hargett in 2010. This appointment followed ten years of service to the City of Brentwood, where he was the director of one of Tennessee’s premier public libraries. Prior to that he was head of the research section of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Before moving to the Nashville area he was the Director of the Cleveland (Tenn.) Public Library for nine years, and, before that, Head Reference Librarian at the Western Reserve Historical Society.He is a native of Cleveland Ohio and a summa cum laude graduate of Case Western Reserve University, with master’s degrees in history and library science. His undergraduate work was done at Ohio University in Athens, where he earned a B.S. in Journalism. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Jackson State Community College (TN) in the distance learning program.

Chuck is an avid genealogist and author of more than 20 books of Tennessee history and genealogy. Since 2002 he has been the editor of the “Middle Tennessee Journal of History and Genealogy.”

He is the father of three sons and lives with his family in Brentwood.

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Sedrik Newbern – 2015

President and founder of Newbern Consulting Group, LLC, Sedrik R. Newbern is an author and motivational speaker specializing in marketing consulting and relationship coaching.

Sedrik authored a book entitled Unconditional Forgiveness, Lessons on Letting Go To Build Better Relationships, his perspective on the impact growing up without his father had on his life. He also explores the evolution of the relationship with his father and how they moved beyond past pains to develop an unbreakable bond. Full of practical advice to those previously hurt in relationships, the book shares one man’s healing and how you too can develop healthy relationships.

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Tamera Alexander – 2015

USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander is the author of inspirational historical romances set in both the Colorado Territory and in post-bellum Nashville, TN. Her latest novels, A Lasting Impression, To Whisper Her Name, and A Beauty So Rare are set at two of the South’s most famous antebellum homes, the Belmont Mansion and the Belle Meade Plantation.Her bestselling novels include Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart along with her Women of Faith Fiction novel, The Inheritance.

Tamera’s signature style of deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose has earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards. For more information, visit her website:


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Andrew Maraniss – 2015

A New York Times bestseller, Strong Inside is the first book by Andrew Maraniss. A partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville, Andrew studied history at Vanderbilt University as a recipient of the Fred Russell – Grantland Rice sportswriting scholarship, earning the school’s Alexander Award for excellence in journalism and graduating in 1992. He then worked for five years in Vanderbilt’s athletic department as the associate director of media relations, dealing primarily with the men’s basketball team. In 1998, he served as the media relations manager for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays during the team’s inaugural season, and then returned to Nashville to join MP&F. The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author David Maraniss and trailblazing environmentalist Linda Maraniss, Andrew was born in Madison, Wis., grew up in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas and now lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife Alison, and their two young children. Follow Andrew on Twitter @trublu24 and visit his website at

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Cathie Pelletier – 2014

Cathie Pelletier is the author of ten novels, eight of which are under her own name, beginning with The Funeral Makers, published by MacMillan in 1986. Her first middle grade novel, The Summer Experiment, is forthcoming from Jabberwocky, in May of 2014. And her next adult novel will be published August, 2014.

Under the pseudonym of K. C. McKinnon she wrote two novels, Dancing at the Harvest Moon and Candles on Bay Street, both published by Doubleday, the latter earning a million-dollar advance. The first McKinnon novel was translated into 19 languages and was a CBS TV film starring Jacqueline Bisset, Valerie Harper, and Eric Mabius. The second was translated into 10 languages and was a Hallmark Hall of Fame film starring Alicia Silverstone.

She adapted her novel A Marriage Made at Woodstock for producer George Stevens, Jr. and Michael Stevens. She also adapted The Funeral Makers for director Doug Liman (Swingers; Bourne Identity; Mr. & Mrs. Smith). Her original screenplay, The Luna Christmas, has been optioned by actor Donald Sutherland.

Cathie created and sold to Simon & Schuster a book with country music icon Tanya Tucker, titled 100 Ways to Beat the Blues. She co-wrote The Christmas Note with her friend, the late Skeeter Davis, singer and Grand Ole Opry legend. She has co-written the forthcoming memoir, The Ragin’ Cajun, with her friend Doug Kershaw, the legendary fiddler-singer. She has sold and helped with the collaboration of Cows: A Rumination, with her long-time friend and collaborator Carl Hileman. She is currently in collaboration on a book with harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who has performed and toured with Willie Nelson for forty years.


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Ariel Lawhon – 2014

  • Ariel Lawhon
  • The Wife the Maid and the Mistress

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS,  was published in January 14, 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.


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Inge Meyring Smith – 2014

  • Ariel Lawhon
  • The Wife the Maid and the Mistress

Born for America: The Life of Inge Meyring Smith tells the fascinating and inspiring story of Inge Meyring Smith, who  was born in Germany and narrowly escaped the Holocaust.

In New York as a teen, living in poverty and able to read only German, Inge struggled to complete her education. While working as a secretary on Wall Street, she met and married Paul M. Smith. They later moved to Franklin, TN where they had three children.

In 1952, Inge started a kindergarten in the basement of her church and her love of teaching children flourished. Wishing to continue her education, Inge enrolled at Vanderbilt’s prestigious Peabody College. After earning her Masters degree in education, Inge served in the Appalachians and Mississippi in John F. Kennedy’s Head Start program where her life was threatened several times for bringing food and the love of learning to impoverished Mississippi black families.

In the midst of Head Start in 1969, Inge was given the opportunity to create a private elementary school, Harpeth Academy (currently the Battleground Academy Lower School in Franklin), which would eventually serve as a role model for several independent schools throughout the U.S. and Europe. With the motto, “Teach the child, not the subject,” Inge has inspired untold thousands of children with a love of learning that they otherwise might not have experienced.

Inge Meyring Smith’s lifelong passion for teaching is rooted in her father’s conviction: “your possessions can be lost, but what you have in your mind can never be taken from you.”

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