Jessica Alvarez, Bookends Literary ( 

After ten years as an editor, Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds in April 2011. She began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity to acquire and edit a wide array of fiction, specializing in historical romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance. Jessica left Harlequin in 2008 to pursue a freelance editing career, and completed projects for Harlequin, Scholastic Books, Thomas Nelson, and independent writers. She uses her editorial background to help writers hone their skills and develop strong, marketable books. Jessica is actively building her client list and is proud to work with a wonderful group of clients. She is a member of AAR.

You can query Jessica at http://QueryMe.Online/JessicaAlvarez or follow her on Twitter at Also be sure to check out for the latest on what Jessica and the BookEnds team are looking for. 

MSWL: Jessica Alvarez is looking for a wide range of nonfiction, but is particularly looking for unique, entertaining voices (think Mary Roach or Sarah Vowell). In terms of fiction, she wants romance of all heat levels (including inspirational and category romance), women’s fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and suspense. She’s open to light and funny reads, as well as darker ones. She’s looking for books that celebrate diversity in all its forms. In no particular order, she’d especially love to see more books featuring Asian characters, adoption issues, the Amish, coroners and morticians, physically and emotionally tortured heroes, and women who kick ass. Please note that Jessica is not looking for paranormals, sci-fi/fantasy, or young adult novels at this time. 

Lauren Bieker Fine Print

After a brief career in the fashion industry, Lauren made her move to publishing as an intern for agent Paige Wheeler. She moved to FinePrint to assist with day-to-day administrative tasks, but is now developing her client list and is open to queries.

Lauren is looking for commercial and upmarket women’s fiction and some well-crafted and differentiated YA novels. She is also open to select science fiction, as well as high concept and literary fiction works. She appreciates great storytelling and is a “sucker” for outstanding writing and convincing characters. While primarily interested in fiction, she will consider non-fiction proposals related to the world of fashion. She is also looking for #OWNvoices, Feminist lit/ #MeToo, and LGBTQ authors in both fiction and non-fiction.

Lauren writes during her free time and has been published on various online platforms. She has attended many writing workshops and intensives, including the National Academy of Writing’s intensive at Cambridge University in the UK.

Please note: Lauren is NOT looking for religious fiction, horror, fantasy, or political/military fiction.


Kerri Buckley, Harlequin/Carina (

Kerri Buckley spent eight years at the Bantam Dell imprint of Random House, editing books by Danielle Steel, Luanne Rice, Dean Koontz, Diana Peterfreund, Eve Ensler, Anne Kreamer, and Kurt and Mark Vonnegut, among many others.

Since joining Carina Press in 2013, Kerri has been actively acquiring across all subgenres of romance and mystery but has focused her list primarily in contemporary romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, male/male romance, and cozies/amateur sleuths. Some of Kerri’s recent and upcoming Carina Press projects include Perfect Day by Sally Malcolm, Hard Wood by Jenika Snow, and One Match Fire by Lissa Linden. Kerri’s titles have twice been nominated for a RITA and she was the 2016 RWANYC Golden Apple Editor of the Year.

​This year, I’m finding myself most drawn to romances that fall to one side or the other: mile-a-minute action with super-high conflict or deliciously excruciating slow burns. When it comes to mystery, though, I’m more of a classicist—get the big event right up there front and center, please!

DILF romances (not sure what this stands for? Ask me on Twitter!). Bonus points if your hot dads are also silver foxes or if these fall into the “ugly cry” category above ;)
Romantic odd-couple duo capers in the vein of Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s Fox & O’Hare novels or the television show Bones
Police procedurals, amateur sleuth or PI stories with female leads and strong romantic elements
Cozy mysteries set in the present-day UK and/or starring British protagonists
Grumpy heroes. All of them.

Madeleine Colavita, Grand Central (Forever) (

I always knew I wanted to work in publishing, and I was lucky enough to make that dream come true in 2013 when I joined the Grand Central/Forever team. Over four years later, I still love every minute. As I build my own list, I’m looking for stories and writing that take me someplace new. I’d love to dance at a Regency ball, explore the Scottish Highlands, visit a charming small town, or go on a paranormal adventure, all without leaving the comfort of my apartment. I prefer reads that make me laugh to ones that make me cry, but no matter what, I want to feel that swoop in my stomach when the main characters realize, “This is the one.” I’m looking for heroes I can fall in love with and heroines who can become my best friends. And I never say no to reading about sweethearts reunited.

 In particular, but in no particular order, I'm looking for:
·    Cowboys
·    Highlanders
·    Rock stars
·    Athletes
·    Office romance
·    Smart, beautifully written historicals
·    Romantic suspense/contemporary with a band-of-brothers hook (think law enforcement/military heroes)
·    Shifters
·    Strong heroines who know who they are/what they want
·    Jane the Virgin in romance novel form
·    Ocean's 11 (or other heist story) in romance novel form
·    Women’s fiction with a central friendship like the one in Playing House

I am not looking to acquire inspirational romance.

Tahra Seplowin, Harlequin (
I was born and raised in New York City. I’ve worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, Entangled Publishing and am now with Harlequin. Voice is paramount; I want to lose myself in an unforgettable narrative. Manuscripts that take me on an emotional roller coaster—laughing one chapter, sometimes even sobbing the next—are usually the ones that keep me up until three in the morning because I can’t stop reading. High character stakes and a keen awareness of what makes for a compelling emotional journey are key. I am looking for commercial women’s fiction (Graydon House), single title romance (HQN), and contemporary category romance (Desire).

Grace House, Penguin Random House - 

Grace House is a graduate of Tufts University and joined Penguin Random House in 2014. She started her career in the contracts department before switching over to the editorial side, and is currently an Assistant Editor with the Berkley Publishing Group. Grace enjoys reading and working on romance, women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and true crime. Her authors include Lorna Barrett and Tom Wood.

Right now, she’d especially love to see romance and women’s fiction featuring complex female friendships, thrillers that mix a compelling puzzle with action, and both contemporary and historical cozy mysteries.

Laura Costello, Sourcebooks ( 

Laura Costello began her publishing career at Sourcebooks in 2015 after graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English and Journalism. As an undergraduate, she interned at Globe Pequot Press’s Falcon imprint and Warscapes, an independent online magazine. When she’s not lost in a book, Laura enjoys playing video games, watching way-too-scary movies, and cuddling her chubby corgi.

She’s currently looking for: gripping romantic suspense, unique fantasy and paranormal romance, contemporary romance with a compelling voice, and diverse/own voices romance.

Abigayel Bryce Phillips, Sourcebooks (editorial assistant with Laura) ( 

Abigayel Bryce Phillips joined the Sourcebooks team in January 2018, continuing her foray into the publishing world after completing an internship at a Literary Agency. She graduated from Fairfield University with a degree in Literature, dedicating her thesis projects to Afrofuturism and LGBTQ themes in YA Fantasy fiction. Outside of books, she’s a rock-climber and road-trip taker.

Agents and Editors

Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
​99 East Ave, Norwalk, CT
September 7-9, 2018 
Fiction Fest 2018