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Gateway to Publishing Conference & Convention

June 15 - 17, 2018 

A Writer's Conference and Reader's Convention

Affiliated Organization
speaking at 
Gateway Con

St. Louis Press Club

St. Louis Publishers Association

Sisters in Crime 
Greater St. Louis Chapter 

Missouri Romance Writers of America

Saturday Writers

Find out more about Gateway Con by clicking on the PDF below

Speakers Appearing at 

Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention

Literary Agents and Publishers 

Appearing In Person at Gateway Con 2018

More to be named, plus bios, genres represented, and more to be posted soon.

Kortney Price
Corvisiero Literary Agency

Having grown up in a small town, Kortney has always valued the stories that allow readers to escape into fantastic worlds and visit far away places. She loves reading about the things she loves so stories featuring an awesome sense of humor, art and artists, antiques and old buildings, and strong and quirky families are always welcome. Because of her 15+ years working in the special needs community, Kortney is always looking for stories featuring characters with special needs.


Middle Grade: Adventure or survival stories, mysteries (The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin), science fiction, fantasy, contemporary (Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff and Wonder by RJ Palacio), and light horror.


Young Adult: Psychological thrillers, “geeky” or “artsy” romance, magical realism (The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle or The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton), fantasy of any kind, science fiction, and steampunk (Airborn by Kenneth Oppel and The Finishing School series by Gail Calliger).


New Adult/Adult:

New Adult/Adult: Selectively looking for fantasy or paranormal featuring history. Old buildings, antiques with ghosts, romance, time travel, ancient curses, and did she mention time travel?

Kortney is actively looking for MG Adventure (think ship/plane wreck survivors, lost in the wilderness, etc.) and YA Fantasy as well as YA Thrillers.

Kira Watson, Emma Sweeney Agency
Kira Watson is ESA Rights Manager. She began working at ESA as an intern in 2014 and now oversees subsidiary rights in addition to building her own YA and MG list. She graduated from Hunter College with a BA in English (with a focus on Creative Writing) and a BA in Russian Language & Culture. Kira is actively seeking YA and MG books with a strong narrative voice, well-crafted storylines, and memorable characters. Stories with folklore elements, complex villains, morally enigmatic (and very flawed) protagonists, medieval literature influences, and taboo subjects are bound to catch Kira's attention. KIra is also seeking Picture Books that explore introduce readers to new ideas, play with language, and explore the world in a new and exciting way. In May, Kira will be attending the EPA SCBWI Pocono Retreat.
Claire Applewhite
of Smoking Gun Publishing

Bio and genres to be posted soon.

Visit for more
Jennifer Geist, Brick Mantel Books, Open Books Press, and Pen and Publish Inc.

Jennifer Geist is the publisher at Pen & Publish, Inc., and its imprints: Brick Mantel Books, Open Books Press, and Transformation Media Books. With experience in editing, book compositing, photography, graphic and web design, marketing, writing, and more, she manages every book from acquisitions to publication and beyond. Geist received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing with a focus in small press publishing through Southeast Missouri State University. She has worked with numerous small presses and her stories and photos are published in a variety of literary magazines.

Taking Pitches Remotely at
Gateway Con 2018 

Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary 

Jennifer Chen Tran of Bradford Literary 

Kari Sutherland of Bradford Literary 

Justin Wells of Corvisiero Literary Agency

Suzie Townsend

New Leaf Literary

Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, and crime fiction. On the children’s side, she particularly loves YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.
Jennifer Chen Tran
Bradford Literary Agency

Jennifer is very interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/ marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In non-fiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on ‘big ideas.’


In short, Jennifer is looking for:



        Women’s Fiction (Contemporary, Upmarket, Literary)

        Select Young Adult (must have distinct voice)

        Select Middle Grade

        Graphic novels and visually-driven projects


    Non-Fiction, particularly in the areas of:

        Narrative non-fiction (biography, current affairs, medical, investigative journalism, history, how-to, music, pop-culture, travel)

        Cookbooks & culinary projects

        Lifestyle (home, design, beauty, fashion)

        Business Books (social entrepreneurship, female and/or minority-led businesses, and innovation)

        Select memoir with an established platform


        Relationships and Psychology

        Mind, body, spirit


Jennifer is NOT looking for:

    Children’s picture books

    Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy





Kari Sutherland

Bradford Literary Agency

Open to genres from picture books through adult, Kari is most interested in finding stories full of heart; ones that carry readers to faraway places or deep into a character’s mind; action-packed page-turners that surprise her; dark dramas with touches of humor; and, above all, a voice that leaps off the page. She is actively seeking diverse voices across all genres.


In children’s books, Kari is interested in character-driven stories, new twists on classic tales, empowering themes, epic fantasy, fresh voices and experiences, inventive mysteries, humor, and magical realism.


In YA, which is near and dear to her heart, Kari is drawn to compelling voices, tight pacing, and clear world-building regardless of whether it’s a space drama, an underground dystopia, a small town, or a big city contemporary. She is open to any genre within YA.


Kari is interested in adult fiction including general fiction; upmarket women’s fiction; intergenerational tales; magical realism; historical dramas; and light-hearted contemporary fiction.


A firm believer that truth can be stranger than fiction, Kari is seeking nonfiction in the following categories: quirky topics; history and biography; pop science and psychology; humor; and parenting. Most important to her are a concrete platform, an engaging voice, and well-researched material that will broaden readers’ understanding of themselves, the past, and the world around them.


Kari is not seeking: horror, romance, erotica, memoir, adult sci-fi/fantasy, thrillers, cookbooks, business, spiritual/religious, poetry, or screenplays.

Justin Wells

Corvisiero Literary Agency

When it comes to reading, he is very open. His main focus is young adult, middle grade, and new adult, though he has been known to branch out and explore other books that catch his eye.

Authors & Speakers 

Authors at Gateway Con 2018

     Cole Gibsen, Young Adult Author

     Sarah Jude, Young Adult Author

     Heather Ash, Screenwriter and Author

     Kathleen Kayembe, Author and AWA Workshop Presenter

     Nicole Evelina, Historical Fiction and Historical Non-Fiction writer

     Meghan Pinson, Editor

     Catherine Rankovic, Author and Editor

Plus NEW for 2018... Manuscript Consultations (30 mins with an editor and a sample edit) More info to be posted soon!


More to be announced soon 

We’re waiting for some answers right now! 

Cole Gibsen, author
and head of Got Your Six Support Dogs

At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

Risen is now available from Entangled Teen

Sarah Jude, author

Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She loves to write delightfully creepy stories. She is represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

The May Queen Murders

Nicole Evelina, author

Nicole Evelina is a multi-award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, MADAME PRESIDENTESS, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G Medallion and was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Her debut novel, DAUGHTER OF DESTINY, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews and took home Silver for Best New Voice from the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards, in addition to winning gold in five additional competitions.

Its sequel, CAMELOT’S QUEEN, was named Fiction Book of the Year by Author’s Circle and Best Second Book by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, took first place in the myth/legend category of the Ozma Awards for fantasy, and was a finalist for four other awards, including the fantasy category of the Midwest Book Awards, where it took second to its prequel, Daughter of Destiny.

BEEN SEARCHING FOR YOU, her contemporary romantic comedy, was named a Novel of Excellence by Author’s Circle, won the romance category of the Midwest Book Awards and took Silver in romance category of the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards, in addition to winning three additional romance competitions and finaling in three more.
Heather E. Ash, screenwriter and author

Heather E. Ash worked as a staff writer for STARGATE SG-1 and GLORY DAYS. Her one-hour original script SQUARE ONE was chosen by Written By magazine (the trade publication for the Writers Guild of America) as one of its top five unproduced drama pilots, and was a finalist in the film/television script category of the 2013 Writer's Digest Annual Competition. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, Sisters in Crime, and serves as Vice President for the Mystery Writers of America - Midwest Chapter. She teaches both screenwriting and math at the college level, and can be heard on the occasional Nerd Outcast Podcast -- -- rhapsodizing about science fiction on the screen. Her short story, "Method", appears in the anthology HELL COMES TO HOLLYWOOD II.

Meghan Pinson, editor

Meghan Pinson provides expert editing, engaging critique, and fearless consulting to authors of novels and nonfiction manuscripts. She launched My Two Cents Editing in 2009 as a full-time freelance copyeditor and has steadily expanded to help her clients move from first draft to faithful readerships. Now her small crew of literary specialists provides comprehensive manuscript critique and a full range of editing services: editorial assessment, developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, proofreading, and post-editing cleanup. She leads writing and editing workshops and collaborates with her partner at Outrider Literary to guide authors through publication along indie, traditional, and hybrid paths.


Meghan is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, the Missouri Writers Guild, the St. Louis Publishers Association, and Reedsy (where you can see her portfolio). 


For more information, check out

Catherine Rankovic, author and manuscript consultant

Master of Fine Arts in writing, Washington University; Master of Arts in English literature, Syracuse University; Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Marquette University. Formerly a full-time newspaper reporter and magazine editor, I taught creative writing at Washington University from 1989 to 2010, in the online MFA program at Lindenwood University for six years, and developed a following as an independent book and manuscript editor.


My poems and essays have appeared in Boulevard, Midwestern Gothic, The Iowa Review, December, The Missouri Review, The American Journal of Poetry, River Styx, Section 8, River Teeth, UCity Review, Natural Bridge, Umbrella, and several anthologies including  Two Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press, 2017), The American Dream (Blue Thread, 2013), Flood Stage (Walrus Publishing, 2010), Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak About Health Care in America (PenUltimate, 2008), and Guilty Pleasures: Indulgences, Addictions and Obsessions (Andrews McMeel Universal, 2003).

Workshop presenters at Gateway Con

     Brad R. Cook, St. Louis Writers Guild 

            Perfecting your Pitch (an all new presentation)

     Brad Watson, Saturday Writers

     St. Louis Press Club

     St. Louis Publishers Association

     Midwest Mystery Writers of America

     Peter H. Green, Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime

     Write Pack Radio Live

Specific programs to be names soon!
Gateway Con will feature several literary agents and publishers. We'll be announcing the rest soon as soon as we firm the details. Gateway Con will feature pitches both in-person and via the web. (for conference attendees only) 
Registered attendees will be contacted by conference officials before the event to set up pitch sessions. Pitch sessions are included in the conference fee. SLWG will be requesting the attendees choices and will fill the slots based on the order of registration. Sign up now to ensure you get a spot with your preferred literary agent or publisher. 
One note, there are a limited number of remote pitches. 

All attendees wanting to pitch to literary agents or publishers must attend the event. All pitches will be given in person at the conference.
Literary Organizations 
Giving Workshops at Gateway Con
St. Louis Writers Guild won't be the only literary organization at Gateway Con. With so many groups dedicated to the written word in the city, we are honored to showcase them through great workshops for conference attendees. 
St. Louis Press Club
St. Louis Publishers Association
Midwest Mystery Writers of America
Missouri Chapter of Romance Writers of America
Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime 
Saturday Writers

Writer Panelists
Beyond the Workshops and Master Classes, the Gateway Con Writer's Conference will feature three days of panels on a variety of topics. 

We'll have the complete list of panelists closer to the conference. 
More speakers, literary agents, and publishers will be announced soon!